In the Meantime, [Don’t] Give Up

When life gets tough, and despair seeps deeply into our bones, giving up seems only natural.  Yet, God offers us so much more.

The last month has been difficult.  Discouragement.  Weariness.  Grief.  I’d lost a friend and felt helpless to minister to the family. My son seemed to be falling apart at the seams and I’d so hoped we were past all this. Discouragement hounded my thoughts and spirit until I felt like I was beginning….to………d r o w n.

Through the course of the last two weeks, knowing I couldn’t rise above the crashing waves alone, God sent life preservers in the form of thoughts, scripture, sermons, and people.

Below are some of those precious life preservers I’ve held onto:

My choice is to believe God's word or my feelings. God says he is with me and won't let go. His love is too great to allow anything to crush me victoriously! Click To Tweet

“…Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” Romans 8:38-39 (MSG)

I'm not fighting a battle of emotions alone; I'm fighting an enemy who cunningly knows how to use my emotions and circumstances for his purposes! I must fight rather than give in. Click To Tweet

This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world. 13 For this reason, take up all the armor that God supplies. Then you will be able to take a stand during these evil days. Once you have overcome all obstacles, you will be able to stand your ground. Ephesians 6:12-13 (GW) 

“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:8 (NLT)

My inclination is to doubt God and give in. But I must choose instead to worship, even if tentatively. Click To Tweet

I found as I made worship a focus, despair began to crumble in the presence of the proclamation of truth.  

“…3-4 for you are holy.  The praises of our fathers surrounded your throne; they trusted you and you delivered them. You heard their cries for help and saved them; they were never disappointed when they sought your aid.” Psalm 22:3-5 (TLB)

Finally, last week’s sermon entitled “In the Meantime” struck at the core of my heart, infusing me with strength, becoming the final blow to despair.  The passage’s main scriptures were I Corinthians 13:12 (NLT) and Mark 6:45-53 (NKJV).  Below are the main points from the sermon notes.

Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. (A portion of the Mark passage)

  1. Just because God is silent, doesn’t mean God is absent. (Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT)
  2. Just because it doesn’t go according to your plan, doesn’t mean it isn’t according to God’s purpose. (Joshua 14:6-12, NLT and Proverbs 19:21, NLT)
  3. STAY IN THE BOAT (Romans 8:28, NIV)

Between the time the disciples strained at the oars in fear of their lives, and the time Jesus entered the boat and calmed the storm must have felt something like I have the last 3-4 weeks.

Yet the storm, and their feelings of fear weren’t the total reality. The unseen truth at the moment was:  “Even though it seemed the storm held sway over their lives, Jesus was master over the storm.  His power over the storm and their lives was a reality before they experienced it.  The storm was subject to Jesus whether or not he calmed it.

Our fear is, “Will he choose to calm the storm, or will he let me drown?”

Yet the truth, even in the midst of the storm, is:

The storm will never be master over me, no matter how much it rages.  Jesus is Master and it must bow at his feet. Even if I drown.  

Because, if I drown, Jesus has the power to either revive me or take me home. Either way, Jesus, rather than the storm has the greater power, and he is the one who chooses the outcome.  The storm is never the deciding factor when Jesus is in the equation.

With Jesus, the storm never wins.

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

p.s. I will be vacationing and attending a writer’s intensive in a couple of weeks, but will be preparing next week.  Because of this, I may not be able to post.  I will miss you, but am excited about the possibilities coming from this training!  God Bless!

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Why Do We Suffer, Part 3

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We were made to live in a garden, surrounded by God's goodness. Click To Tweet

What went wrong?

The Beginning of Suffering

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”  Genesis 3:1-10 (NIV)

Every time I read this, my heart breaks.

In choosing to eat from the tree, to acquire personal “knowledge” and “wisdom” apart from God, Adam and Eve immediately began to suffer the natural consequences of evil:

Decay and Death (verse 3)

They were created to know and experience God’s goodness alone.  Knowing evil was a poison that once entering their souls, suffocated their spirits with doubt, mistrust, shame, fear, and all manner of evil. Knowing evil altered their very core as their rebellion against their Creator imprinted on their souls. Thereafter the effects of rebellion and the knowledge of evil passed down from generation to generation.

Shame (see verse 7)

Before eating the fruit, their understanding of “good” came from the unchanging goodness of God’s character.  However, now, their sense of “good” would be based upon personal preference and circumstance. Ever-changing wisdom of man, rather than the unchanging character of God.

Their sense of “good” now saw shame in what God had made, so they covered their nakedness by sowing fig leaves to cover themselves in an attempt at providing their own goodness.

Fear (verses 8-10)

Evil is antithetical to Good – always has been, and always will be.  In listening to the serpent (Satan in disguise) and eating the fruit, Adam and Eve (as well as their offspring) became captive to Satan and sin, blinding them to God’s goodness.  Now aligned with the enemy of God, they feared the one who had made them.  God hadn’t changed, they had.

Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Romans 6:16 (NLT) Click To Tweet

Are We Any Different Today?

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time,gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. Ephesians 2:1-3 (NIV)

On our own, we can’t restore what was lost; but God can.

The plan of restoration began even before Adam and Eve ate the fruit. And so the rest of this week, we will look at God’s restoration plan through the series, “Amazing Grace” in discussing “Who Is Jesus?”

This discussion was very difficult to write, and so took me much longer than normal to pen. Hence finishing up last week’s post this week.  These truths are so pivotal to understanding suffering in our lives and in the world; I didn’t want to mess it up.  

Again, I love discussion!

With love and prayers,

Robin <3