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God’s Enduring Faithfulness

God’s Enduring Faithfulness

Promise through the Storm

Another characteristic of God I’ve been focusing on the past couple of weeks is faithfulness.

The promises in the Bible are mind blowing. Yet, for many those promises can seem distant. One reason is because we are too focused on our faithfulness, or better yet faithlessness, instead of God’s faithfulness. As I focused on this characteristic of God, it refreshed my soul more than I would have thought. I realized I really don’t focus on it enough.

God is faithful. He does what He says. He is true to His word. He is reliable and dependable. He will finish what He started. We can count on Him. God gave us His promises and He (not us) is the One to manifest them in our lives in the perfect way and perfect timing for each one of us. He will fulfill His words to us, because He is faithful and can’t deny Himself.  2 Timothy 2:13

Seeking, Knowing, Trusting

God is faithful. So, what does He ask of us? The Word is replete with calls for us to seek, know and trust Him and His responses if we do.

Psalm 9:10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

These three acts are all connected; one leading to the next. Seeking leads to knowing which produces trust.  Seeking is about learning who God is and moving into a real relationship with Him based on His truth. It’s deepening our personal knowledge or “knowing” of God. It isn’t learning about Him through a third party, but one-on-one, intimate, personal. It’s walking through life’s experiences with Him, and deeply learning He is faithful, we can trust Him.

I’ve found that always going through a third party or middle man (pastor, writer, leader, teacher) dramatically slows down and inhibits the intimacy building process with God. We gain some understanding, true, but it’s drops in the bucket compared to going to Him one-on-one just us, Him and His Word. Jesus removed the middle man by becoming the middle man. We have to be very careful of depending or relying on a third part and their works (leading, teaching, words) because it feels comfortable. There is a place for others; it’s secondary to our relationship with God. Think of a marriage. We are God’s bride. In a marriage, do you always have someone there telling you who your spouse is? What kind of intimacy or lack of would that produce? Or do you go and experience and learn about your spouse yourself?

In an intimate relationship, deep knowledge grows and trust is the fruit. Without this type of a relationship it’s difficult to truly trust because we don’t really know God.  We trust what we know. If you find your trust is lacking, focus on cultivating a real relationship with God for that is where true trust blossoms.

Trust in God’s Mercy

One of the key aspects of God’s instruction is that He asks us to trust in is His mercy. It’s one of the most important qualities we trust in. Especially because we often don’t trust Him in other areas like we should!  The truth and mercy go hand in hand. Psalm 61:7 There is truth about who God is to us, who we are to Him, what He desires of us, and most of us struggle with completely trusting in these areas and others as we are inundated with lies and fears. Learning to let go and trust God is a lifetime journey. So above all we need to trust in His mercy, not that we live or trust perfectly. Confusing? Hope not.

Psalm 6:4 Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake.

God is faithful. Faithful to have His grace and mercy abound toward us always, thus to fulfill His promises toward us.  Especially in the midst of a trial, where our trust is being tested and being strengthened (real trust grows from our experiences not our pontificating), it’s important to keep our focus on what is right and true, like God’s faithfulness. During trials more than any other time our internal lies attack and weaken our trust in God and what He has taught us. We aren’t to give these lies a minute of our attention. When we focus our minds on who God is and not the lies, our current frustration, or the future outcome of what we think our circumstances will manifest, then we’re able to stand firm through the difficulties.

God’s faithfulness abounds toward us. Deeply knowing this truth brings peace among the storms in life, (as the rainbow breaks through the storm clouds). It isn’t a wishful thinking, but a very real reality. God wants to show Himself to us in powerful and real ways. In the midst of trials when we have reached our end is where His work becomes most apparent because we know what is done is not of us or anything else.

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The PERFECT Counselor

The PERFECT Counselor

Matthew 6:33-34 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

I’ve been focusing on seeking God. One way I’ve been doing that is by choosing three characteristics of God each week to meditate on. At the start of my quiet time I think on these qualities, letting them sink in. This past week one was God as our Counselor. As I’ve been learning to seek and listen to His counsel, the listening part takes practice, His counsel has astounded me. The detail in which He speaks about my situations is amazing. Just this morning, I was seeking clarity on a particular situation. His guidance was specific and complete. He speaks to us in our spirits where we know it’s perfect.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Imagine the most incredible counselor. One who is always available day or night. Will let you talk as long as you want. Doesn’t bill you. Leads you to each next step. Tells you what you need to hear when you need it, no sooner or later. (Otherwise, you wouldn’t get it or be overwhelmed, or it’s too late.) Won’t let you dive into something without counsel – though you may chose not to listen or follow. If you are trying to listen, will make sure you hear. Won’t mislead you. Won’t leave you confused. Knows you better than anyone else. Has complete understanding of everyone and every situation. Has perfect wisdom. Will guide you on the perfect path for you and those around you. Cares for you more than anyone else. Desires your very best. Will never give up on you. Gives you mercy when you don’t listen. Always forgives your rebellion to his counsel. Loves you more than anyone else in your life.

We would all love to have this kind of counselor. And if we are a child of God, we DO. Do we really understand what we’ve been given? Do we listen?

John 14:15-17, 26 If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever– the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

Others can be a good sounding board, offer advice, and share their experiences that are similar with ours and while they can be a blessing, their counsel doesn’t and can’t compare to what we receive from God. It isn’t one or the other, it’s building a relationship with God in which we learn to hear His counsel, and understand the support of others is to be built upon that sound foundation. It takes time to learn to hear His voice. But we need to be seeking to be able to hear Him so we can truly live an effective and satisfying life and one that truly glorifies Him. We can’t solely rely upon the counsel of others, because it’s limited and often can be “off” or incomplete. God can use others to speak to us and He often does. But this interaction doesn’t replace seeking and hearing His counsel from Him. From Him, it’s deeper, richer and more complete than any we’ve ever experienced. It’s just different. It’s like being taught by Him verses by a human. You can’t compare. It’s completely different.

God is all knowing. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows every side to a situation. He knows what lies ahead. He knows what really happened in the past. He has perfect wisdom. There is nothing He can’t counsel us in. He is an expert at everything. He is more than qualified to counsel us and He wants to. He asks only that we seek and trust Him.

During a trial is when we feel we need our counselor the most, however in reality we need Him all the time. Yet it’s in trials, He can seem to be distant or not as vocal. But He is closer than we know because we are a part of Him. He will never leave us. His care is perfect. We need to trust Him at His lead and the manner He is coming and speaking to us is perfect. Too often we have expectations about how He should be speaking or leading us, instead of being still, listening and realizing He is coming to us in the perfect way. Our expectations of what we think He should be doing prohibit us from seeing what He is doing. Sometimes it’s the silence and the stillness we need the most.

Don’t settle for less, when you’ve been given the best. If you take time to listen, His counsel will astound you and change your life as you develop a listening ear.

Psalm 31:3 For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.

Related Posts:

A Gift Often Left Unopened – the Holy Spirit

Reworking our Mindsets to be Spirit-Led

Listening to the Spirit

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Preparing for God’s Calling

Preparing for God’s Calling

 

If you’ve been following my posts, Wilderness Tests – God’s Care, Perspective Adjustments, then you know I’ve been going through what I call wilderness tests. (Wilderness because I feel like I’m out there in the wide open with nothing to cling to but God – and yet He is everything what I’m I worried about? And tests because I feel my trust is being tested at very deep levels within me.)

God often uses my dreams to reveal the depths of my heart, and I’m getting some deep insight during this trial. My dreams cause me to face what I’m really feeling, because my rational brain knows better. They have been exposing the depth of what I really think and feel so that it can be addressed with the Truth. They can be like an interpretive drama of what is happening in my emotions.

Here is another one . . .

A friend was putting together a Bible class for children. I asked if she could use my help.  She asked me to prepare some pages (on graph paper) with certain phrases written on them. The phrases were to be written in different colored markers. Some of the phrases were to be taken out of certain books. Sounds easy enough. There were other women helping out with the same task. As I started out I had all my supplies but not the markers. Once I got the markers, then all the sudden the graph paper was missing. Once I got the graph paper, then the books were missing. I couldn’t get it all together to get the task done. The other women seemed to have no problem getting it all together. They kept handing my friend completed pages, when I hadn’t written one phrase. Why was I having such a problem? I couldn’t figure it out. What’s wrong with me? Time started to run out and the children started showing up as the class was about to begin, and I hadn’t prepared anything! My friend didn’t seem too worried about it, but I felt horrible that I hadn’t made any progress with such a simple task. Then I woke up.

As I asked about this dream the next morning, I felt it was related to my calling.  My passion is to help others to cultivate a relationship with God that is deep, meaningful, passionate, and real.  I felt God had given me the next steps for moving forward. All the elements seemed to be in place. I felt I knew what I needed to do, but yet it seemed to go nowhere. What seemed to be an easy task ended up not really ever taking off as I expected it to.  Yet, others around me seem to be carrying on their callings with no problem.  This dream showed me how deep down I feel about my circumstances. The elements seem to be there but there isn’t much movement forward from my point of view. Why? What is going on? In my rational brain I know that God is in control that He is preparing me and I need to relax and trust, but deep down I was feeling a bit “concern” about the whole thing as my dream revealed.

This is what God told me about this “concern” I was having. It isn’t about you “efforting” your way through. I know your heart, willingness, and passion, I put them in you to drive and focus you in your life. BUT I’m the One to lead, guide, prepare and equip you for what I call you to do. You question your ability and sometimes your path to accomplish what seems straight forward because you don’t see the “successes”. But you are right where I want you to be.  Don’t give up on your passion because it isn’t happening in the way you thought. My ways are not your ways. The preparation of the person/leader is one of the most important parts to my callings. Too often people want to jump ahead. Resist that urge and trust me that I will guide you and lead you perfectly. The vision may be planted in your heart (however fuzzy), but it’s I who determine each step. You want to be there now, but I’m taking you along the perfect path at the perfect pace. Trust me. You are my workmanship. It’s not your work but mine. I will finish what I started. Trust me. Don’t you trust that I can guide you? Prepare you? Look at your past. My grace abounds toward you. You need to let go of your expectations of how it should be working out and trust me in this area. Just keep your eyes on Me – seeking my kingdom and my righteousness. This is all I ask of you.

As I was telling a friend, she said God has me “under construction” – I thought that was well said.  We want to jump ahead to the doing, because that’s what we often put our identity in, though we shouldn’t. We need to be patient as God prepares our heart, mind and spirit.

We want to be at the finish line now. But the truth of the matter is we will always be a work in progress in this life. We will always need to be dependent upon God. Therefore, we need to learn to trust and let go of our expectations of how things should be happening and trust His perfect counsel. We don’t see the big picture as He does. He moves His children along at the perfect way at the perfect pace. God spoke to me about this area of my life a week ago as I wrote in Perspective Adjustments. I got it on one level, but this truth needs to go deeper until it’s truly mine and that is a process.

Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

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Wilderness Tests – God’s Care

Wilderness Tests – God’s Care

 

The other morning after nine hours of sleep, I woke up emotionally spent. In my dream, I constantly yelled at everyone around me. They weren’t listening, and I was beyond frustrated. Despite how loud I yelled, they remained unfazed with my concerns and needs (probably because I was being very obnoxious).

When I woke up, I was exhausted from all that yelling. I rarely yell, so I’m not use to it. It’s draining! Does that happen to you – not the yelling part 🙂 – but waking up and feeling the residue of the emotions you had in your dream? I do. Every time it fascinates me how real our dreams are to our bodies.

My dreams often unveil the depths of my subconscious. In them, I face fears, un-dealt with emotions, and desires.

This dream revealed a question deep in my soul, which on a conscious level I didn’t question because I knew the answer – does God truly care for me? In the past, I’ve struggled with this issue because of experiences in my childhood, and often we transfer our childhood experiences with others to God. . .

In my younger years, I often felt that others didn’t care about me; that my concerns and needs didn’t matter. Looking back, I recognize the experiences in childhood that lead to this ill-belief. It’s a very painful thought to own, even some of the time. The reality was people did care, but at certain times my reality was they didn’t. Therefore, sometimes when situations aren’t going as expected, the enemy plays on my past and I question if God really cares for me . . . am I worth caring for?

Sometime ago when those old emotions started to arise, God said very clearly, I care. At His words, a smile danced across my face and my soul was at peace. At that moment, I knew God cared very deeply for me. It was a powerful moment I’ll never forget. Now, I know I only question His care when the raw unfiltered emotions of a child, who wasn’t processing reality correctly, are being triggered. It’s wise to understand why we feel what we do, because most of the negativity comes from past experiences where we didn’t process our emotions correctly.

But because of my past – this “caring” issue is tender in my soul. . .

The reason this dream came up is because of where I’m at right now. I’m going through a wilderness trial. The trial’s purpose is to test my trust in God in the areas that are the hardest for me, and to test how firmly I will stand on His truth when it’s challenged. In these trials, there is a combination of giants (seemingly tough situations) and lies. In the trial, because it’s challenging by nature, we can get weak and vulnerable and that is when our internal enemy strikes with lies.

The only real weapon this enemy has is lies. They aren’t very powerful unless we believe the lies as truth, then they become incredibly powerful. We are attacked in our thoughts in those areas that are vulnerable, for example, God’s care for us. Yet, if we reject the lies, hold onto the truth, then we can stand unwavering. When we truly trust God, then that is ultimate freedom. In this freedom is where He wants to be, thus the testing. God wants us to know without a doubt who He is and who He is to us and that is why we have these tests.

These tests aren’t for God to know my heart because He already knows it, but for me to know. I feel I’m going through this trial at this time because God has taught me so much and is preparing me for His plans that lay ahead. I need to know where I stand. I need to know that my trust is truly in Him and nothing else. It’s like in school where you are given exams to test what you’ve learned before you move onto the next level. These wilderness tests often include being presented with giants as well as lies that reflect issues close to our hearts. Our response to them is everything, because our beliefs reflected in our response are everything.

We can know God’s truth in our head. But do we know it in our heats – where it matters? When characteristics of God are related to a painful past, it can make deeply believing in His promises more difficult. For example, as a child if we are neglected, abused, or abandoned, then it can be difficult to trust that God will always be there, He’ll never leave, and He truly loves and cares.

I thought I knew that He cared for me. But going through this wilderness trial, I sometimes feel Jesus is asleep in the boat while I’m in the middle of the storm. Why is He sleeping, doesn’t He care? In part that is the nature of the trial – in the silence of His voice or actions do we still believe in His promises? Deep down I started to question – doesn’t He care? Why don’t I see His deliverance? If He cared wouldn’t He deliver me now? My internal enemy was trying to plant seeds exploiting issues of the past. Believing God cares is essential, because then we can truly trust Him. I needed to know He always deeply cares therefore it’s put to the test. . . was I going to give into the lies or stand firm on His truth?

I chose to stand on His promises and silence the pounding lies.

A thought, a lie, comes into our minds, and if we are equipped with the truth and connected to God, then we can kill it. If we don’t have the truth and aren’t connected, our minds will feed that lie, it will grow, we’ll act on it, and create havoc in our emotions and lives. In the wilderness, Jesus quickly dispelled the lies presented to Him. Jesus KNEW the truth. It was His truth, so He stood firm.

In preparation for this wilderness trial, God told me 1. to keep my focus on Him 2. Hold onto the truth 3. Be ready for certain lies that pertain to areas close to my heart. He forewarned me that I would be challenged in what I’ve learned. If we are listening, God will warn us – yet even with the warning it still can be a challenge because it hits our most vulnerable spots – that is why it’s a test.

If we do hold onto the truth, our trust and faith grow immensely. The truth is our shield, we are to cling to it and not give lies a foothold in our thoughts. Yet, even if we do start to fall, His mercy is more than enough to carry us through.

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Perspective Adjustments

Perspective Adjustments

 

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and HIS righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

This past week God adjusted my perspective in two significant ways.

Years ago, God opened my eyes to the powerful truth of Matthew 6:33. If I simply focused on seeking Him and His righteousness, then He would take care of the rest. I lived by this truth and put all aside and sought Him. The freedom was remarkable, and He did take care of everything else. My focus would wane here and there, but for the most part it was on seeking His kingdom and His righteousness.

But lately my perspective started to alter and stay in that altered state. As God exposed my heart this past week, it unveiled the two areas that had slipped to the top of my seeking heart instead of His kingdom and His righteousness.

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

First, I started putting seeking my life purpose above seeking His kingdom (His presence) in my life. I was getting too wrapped up and anxious about the next steps. God reminded me that seeking Him comes first, then all else follows. When we seek Him, we are able to trust Him with the rest. We are able to let go and know He is leading and guiding us in the perfect way right now.

When we seek God’s kingdom, our focus is on His love among His other characteristics. We can let go and trust God with areas of our lives, like our life purpose, when we trust in His love toward us. If we deeply believe in His love, then we would never worry or be anxious for anything. We would pray and trust all to His care. We would let go of all concern, trust He is working it out in our lives, and fall into His arms, free without holding onto anything.

However, when we doubt His love, we hold onto our ways and expectations of how our life should be playing out. We get nervous, anxious, and doubt He is in the midst of our situation. We question if He is helping us or wants to. We aren’t able to trust in His ways, which are very different from our own. We aren’t able to fully trust He will fulfill our desires like living a purposeful and meaningful life, good health, fulfilling relationships, emotional deliverance, and provision. Therefore, we try to take control, push forward and hold onto our methods and ideas because we think life isn’t playing out as it should if He was helping us. We intervene trying to make our life fit how we think it should be moving forward.

God reminded me that all is secondary to seeking His Kingdom. If we seek Him then the rest follows as it should. When we seek His kingdom, our focus is on Him and all that He is.

Joel 2:13b And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful , slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

This morning God impressed this verse upon me. Do I really trust in His great kindness, mercy, grace, and patience in my life? If I do, why am I worried or anxious about anything? When we seek and focus on God, our trust grows in His immense love and we are able to let go of what we are holding onto other than Him because we know He has us in His protective embrace.

God tells us He is a good Father and knows our needs and will provide for them. We are to put everything in His trust and focus on seeking a deep relationship with Him. Matthew 6:24-32, Matthew 7:11

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and HIS righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Second, in seeking for healing in a particular area, my focus moved from being on God’s righteousness to my own. My obedience was about my righteousness, not love. My healing was about my righteousness, not His love. If I obeyed God near perfectly in a particular area, then I’ll be healed – was what I thought. By focusing on my obedience as the solution to being healed, my thoughts were about my righteousness not His.

Now, sin can be connected to health issues. Sin corrupts, destroys, decays. And when we are walking in sin then our bodies can suffer for it. Sometimes we suffer in our bodies to draw attention to a sin we are living in that we need to repent of and seek deliverance from. Sin hurts us and others. God doesn’t want us living in it blindly as we sometimes do. Physical aliments can be a way to get our attention that something is amiss in our spirit. However, healing comes from the acceptance of God’s love and mercy toward us, nothing that we do. We trust in His mercy alone, in Christ’s righteousness that covers us for healing. When it was about me walking in “perfect” obedience for healing, it became about my righteousness. God doesn’t want us to be slaves of righteousness, but sons of righteousness – (meaning we are righteous because we are born of Him)

God also reminded me that all I do is to be driven by love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 We are to be obedient to His Word, but the motive of the heart is love nothing else – like punishment and reward. I needed to let go of the punishment and reward focus in this area and let my attention rest on letting His love flow through me for what He was asking me to do. Obedience is about love. John 14:23 We do what we do because we love God.

Instead of trusting in my obedience (my righteousness) for healing, I needed trust in Christ’s righteousness, and then walk according to His ways out of love not punishment and reward.

With these two adjustments of focusing on seeking His kingdom and His righteousness, incredible burdens were lifted. I had no idea now much I was carrying. I’m so thankful for the Spirit’s instruction in these areas – truly an incredible week.

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