“Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to Your name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness.” ~Psalm 115:1
I was actually praying that God would give me inspiration for today’s blog post. I had so many ideas swirling around my head, and no direction with any of them. I finally asked God to just lead me to a Bible verse and inspire me with it. Sure enough, a few hours later I was reading an article that started with this verse, and suddenly I had inspiration for a blog post. Thanks Jesus!! How cool is it that God is so mighty and yet so attentive to the cries of our hearts? He’s so faithful, even in the small things!
Anyway, this verse and this Psalm resonated with me, because lately it almost feels like I’m banging my head against a wall. I pray so hard for people or over situations. I pray before I post comments on debates over Christian topics. I check in with God before approaching people directly. Sometimes it seems my prayers have no outward results. Other times there are visible results and it ends up being one step forward and two steps back. It’s almost like there’s a battle going on. And I guess what I’m really looking for is proof that I’m successful in prayer, or that I’m ‘right’ in contacting someone I felt God tell me to contact.
This psalm made me stop and think. What do I want the confirmation for? Is it to feed my pride? To know I’m doing things right and moving in the right direction so I can continue? Maybe a little bit of both? But…who am I praying for in these instances? Who am I trying to reach? Not myself. Sure I ask for things. I started this blog with an example of how I asked for something and God delivered it. But when I’m praying for others, it’s about them, and it’s about what role God wants me playing in their lives. It’s not about me at all, other than being a vessel. So why am I so set on getting confirmation for myself? It’s not my success that needs to be noted; this isn’t for my glory. It’s for God’s and God’s alone. He’s the one that deserves it, isn’t He?? I can be a vessel and nothing more when it comes to the work. But when it comes to the credit afterwards, or the progress happening, I always seem to want in. This psalm reminded me that we are vessels when it comes to the results as well as the work. God is the One working through us, and God is the One who succeeds in the end, and if God is doing a work in someone, in the deepest part of them or on a spiritual level where I can’t see it, who am I to begrudge Him?
We all have a tendency to fall into this trap, but really it’s not our place. We each have tasks to perform under God, and we need to learn to trust God with all aspects of those tasks. We need to learn to lean on Him and Him alone for guidance and confirmation, and to trust Him to do the work in the meantime. That’s what it comes down to, really. Trust. Trusting in God to move even when you can’t see it. Trust that His ways are above our own and your prayers might be being answered in ways you can’t even comprehend. Trust that His plan is perfect, and your role in it is being orchestrated with His perfect knowledge of your heart. Trust in the Lord our God, our Counselor, Father, and eternal Savior.
Jesus, You’ve shown Yourself to be faithful and good always. You proved it to me again today. Help to remember Your faithfulness and take heart in it as I move in You. Help me to trust You and Your voice as I hear it and not depend on external things to validate what You call me to do. It’s Your voice I want to heed Lord, and for Your glory that I want to work. Jesus, I love You.
God has shown Himself so faithful in my life. He has held me in painful times and rejoiced with me through amazing moments. Through it all, I have found the key is giving God praise. I Thessalonians 5:18 says “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Each trying in my life has been just another chance to learn and fully embrace this concept.
In college, I started an alternative spring break program. We had 5 months to raise $30,000 and find 45 people to help rebuild post-Katrina New Orleans. Twice, there came a “make it or break it” moment and both times Jesus came through right at the last second. The first time, we had to send in over $4,000 to Habitat for Humanity. I was very worried until I remembered that my college pastor and his wife were the kind of people that, despite the battles they fought, worshiped Him with a confidence that He is able. That Sunday I put my fears aside and did the same. By the time the check had to be cut, we had the funds. I knew it was Jesus and even testified to my youth group about it. The week before we were to leave, almost $10,000 came in from an unexpected source. That time, I had not been as worried since God had already shown Himself able and faithful.
A little later, my family was misunderstood by a different pastor and his wife and driven out of a church. I wallowed in the pain of feeling rejection from the people were supposed to be the example of Christ in my life. Jesus reached His hand down and, on the very day I was moving, He used a friend in one state who had a visiting pastor from the state I was moving to for medical school, to show me clearly what church He wanted me to attend. That first Sunday, the sermon was on forgiveness. I quickly made my way to the bathroom and sobbed my heart out. There was no judgement from the ladies who went in and they showed me only His love. As time has gone on, He has given me opportunities to tell others of how He provided the exact church I needed.
When a teacher at my medical school tried to accuse me of helping others cheat, I looked at my roommate who was also a Christian and said “every time I get upset, you tell me- ‘You told me that God is going to take care of this, just rejoice.’ ” Within two hours of saying, the news came that the accusations were being dropped. It felt like a moment of redemption. After having failed so miserably at rejoicing with the situation with the church, it felt like I had passed the same kind of test.
A little later, I found myself with a breaking heart- the man that I loved and was ready to give my life to had told me he needed a break after having told me just a month before that he had picked the ring out. As I sobbed in my bed, I felt Him say to me, “You have two choices:
1) fear, worry and doubt
2) worship Me, knowing that I have all things in My hands”
I chose worship. I got up from my bed of mourning, raised my hands, and worshiped Him; believing that He had all things in His hands. In the end, he officially broke up with me in the most painful way possible just days before 3 major exams. When most were studying like crazy, I studied but still prayed three times a day- sometimes up to four or five hours total. When I received news that the scores were back, I felt excitement pour through me knowing I would have proof that my trust in Him was real- and it was! I quickly called up my parents and we praised God over the phone, worshiping Him for His faithfulness.
The day was not going well. It was cold and lonely. I was dragging my feet trying to motivate myself to get some work done. I left my office and walked slowly around the building. As I did so, I saw a large display of flowers. They looked so bright and colorful. I thought about how long it had been since anyone had given me flowers. I thought maybe I should buy them for myself; they would cheer me up. I really wanted those flowers, but I didn’t have money to spend on such temporary things, so I dismissed the thought. I went back to my office and buried myself in a project I was working on. A while later there was a knock on my office door. When I opened the door one of my co-workers was standing there with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. “Here”, she said. “I just felt like giving these to you.” As I stared at the colorful array I knew immediately that they were a blessing from God. No one knew I had contemplated buying myself some and yet here they were. That was the first time God gave me flowers, but it certainly wasn’t the last!
One afternoon several months later I was standing in line at a grocery store. There were flowers placed at the end of each register and just as they were designed to do, I once again, had the thought that I might like to buy some. Then I felt it would be silly. No one buys themselves flowers; people buy flowers for others, not for themselves. So I didn’t. The next morning a man I know showed up with flowers as a thank you for helping him with a health insurance issue.
This scenario has now played itself out at least half a dozen times in the last couple of years. In each case I have contemplated buying flowers and within 24 hours someone shows up to give them to me! I know they are from God because I have never told anyone I like flowers or that I wish I could splurge on them, and each time they have come from someone different. The flowers always come when I need a little pick-me-up. Somehow, they always come as a surprise. When I’m thinking about buying flowers, it never occurs to me that God will supply them, but He always does! God loves to please His children. He knows what we need and what we like! Men often give their sweethearts flowers as a way of showing them that they care, that they are thinking of them. When a girl receives them, she feels cherished. In this way, every few months, God reminds me that I am cherished. For a single girl, it is a sweet blessing.
I got another bouquet today!
This song has been on my heart today. First of all, I was so excited for my friend Chris to not reject prayer….only to have him trounce it again the next day. I was so excited that an atheist saw me comment about Christianity on facebook (commenting on a claim that every bible other than the King James Bible was from the devil), and then friended me so that we could talk more about Jesus…..only to have him never write back to me and in fact publicly insult me. So many little miracles happening lately….with so many setbacks. Perhaps I’m reading too much into the miracles? Seeing progress where there isn’t any? Or perhaps there’s a battle of sorts going on for these two men’s souls. Meanwhile, an agnostic friend is taking quite an interest in Christianity – he’s not totalllly ready to accept God’s existence, but we’ve been chatting extensively and he’s been getting a lot of his “If God exists, how come suffering does too?” questions answered. So it’s been good. I understand the process he’s going through – I went through the same thing!
It’s all a bit of a whirlwind.
But this song reminded me: when in doubt, worship. Put yourself at His altar and rejoice there. Because through it all, God is glorious. And He is worthy. And no matter what actions I may see my friends make or what words they may say, my prayers are heard. And at the sound of my praise, the heavens and the earth will move.
So it seems that all Jesus wants me to do lately is just submit it all to Him. Part of me feels like I’m failing and part of me is just so burnt by everything that I’m not sure I care either way. I know there’s a deeper level in Him that I could be at, since I was there before, but it was so much work. The rewards were also greater, but so was the sacrifice and effort.
Help me submit to You. Help me to stop fighting. Is it because either something really good or really bad will happen soon depending on my actions now? I keep feelings like I will reap what I sow right now. Help me sow the right things. Help me sow into You. Help.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. ~ Ephesians 6:13
I’m finding myself at this impasse. With crossing the line with Ex #2 (no, we didn’t sleep together, but I didn’t even want to kiss and we definitely crossed that line), I feel like I greatly weakened my armor. I know that Jesus wants me to throw myself into Him like never before. He’s even called a woman who’s like a second mother to me to even email me as such. Mercy Me even said it in their concert. I have had so many instances in which I’ve been told.
But I’m tired.
I’m exhausted mentally from everything:
- moving yet once again
- I just took my boards a week ago
- Ex #2 is still contacting me (I asked him to when we first broke up and part of me is regretting that request) and we act like we never broke up when we do talk- which confuses me to no end
- I met a guy at church who I wish I could get to know better, he’s really one of the hottest guys I have ever met and he’s going to help a foreign country for missions next year for three months
- I’m pretty sure I’ve gained weight or I’m just insanely bloated… lol
- I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep
- I need to apply to residency programs and I’ve barely started
Lord…. HELP ME. This is my cry for help. I don’t know how in the world You can reach me but all I do know is that from yet once again letting that line be crossed with Ex #2 I feel like my armor has kinks in it and so I’m having a hard time standing. I’m so exhausted mentally/spiritually. I don’t feel like fighting anymore. Part of me wants to give up. Lord, there are so many guys I could have dated if I just didn’t care about being in You. Help me to remember the sunshine. Help me to remember that in the end, You reward us for faithfulness. Remind me that You want only good things for me (Jeremiah 29:11). Remind me that everything is only for my good (Romans 8:28). Save me Jesus. Come to my rescue. This is my cry for help.
Recently some dear people in my life have been under the attack of the enemy. The Bible says “many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth them out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). God truly showed up right on time to fight the battle on their behalf. It got me thinking about how an attack of the enemy is never a surprise to God. The enemy may plan well, but he is no match for our Savior! But we have to do our part; when we are under attack there are specific things we can do increase our chances of success and bring glory to the Lord. We may occasionally lose a battle, but victory belongs to Jesus! Knowing what to do when you are under attack can reduce the damage and length of the affliction. If you find yourself under attack:
Put on the Armor of God
God never intended for us to go into battle unprepared. He has given us the armor we need (see Ephesians 6:10-18) to face the enemy. Always remember that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual darkness. The key is to use truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, and salvation as our defense and use the Word of God as our weapon to destroy the enemy.
Cry out to Jesus
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Get to your prayer closet and pour out your heart to the Lord. The bible makes statements such as “God heard” and the “Lord heareth” and “His ears are open unto their cry” hundreds of times throughout the scriptures! He knows what you are going through, don’t be afraid to share your every concern and frustration with Him.
Turn to your support system
When we are under attack we have a tendency to distance ourselves from the people that care about us. Resist the temptation to isolate yourself. That only leads to depression and self-pity. God places people in our lives to be His hands and mouth-piece. He may comfort you through your support system.
Don’t get mad at God
There is a propensity in the human spirit to blame God whenever things go wrong. As difficult as it can be to understand at times, God will not override our free-will. God is also sovereign. We may not understand why we have to go through what we go through, but in the end God is still God. He loves you unconditionally and he came to this earth as a man to die for you. In light of that, there is nothing in our lives that warrants anger towards the Creator.
Although this is one of the most difficult things to do during times of distress it is also one of the most important. If you don’t forgive those who have hurt you, that unforgiveness will turn into bitterness. Bitterness is like a poison that slowly destroys you. Jesus taught that if we are unwilling to forgive, neither will our Father forgive us.
Encourage yourself in the Lord
When David’s enemies sought to stone him, the bible says that he encouraged himself in his God. That means that he put his trust completely in God and turned over all his woes and fears to Him. How did David encourage himself? He remembered! David reminded himself of all the good things God had already done for him in the past! When you are under attack it is vital that you remember what He has already done for you. If he helped you before he will do it again!
Put on the garments of praise
There is one sure way to shake off the spirit of heaviness and that is by putting on the garment of praise. The scriptures tell us that God inhabits the praises of his people! When you take the focus off your problems and put your focus on Him you will begin to put things into perspective. It is hard to stay down when you are praising the Most High God. Remember “all things work together for the good of them that love Him” (Romans 8:28). That doesn’t mean all things are good, it means that no matter what happens, God can and will use it for your good.
When you are under attack it is important to remember that you are not alone. During times of distress the devil would like you to think that God has abandoned you or that you are the only human being to ever go through a trial. Satan is a liar and God will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Don’t forget that!
So, I have been praying, and asking for prayer, for an atheist friend who lives in a hospital with a terminal disease. Every time I have brought up prayer before, he has said “I won’t do something that’s such a waste of my time”. I’ve been feeling a real sense of urgency when it comes to him though, so I’ve been praying for him quite a bit!
Today I told him that I felt led to pray for him. I said I knew he didn’t believe in it but if he did, what three things would he want prayer for? He said “To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what to believe as far as that goes.” He then named three things: 1) for continued health, 2) to someday move out of the hospital and live independently, and 3) to find someone special to spend his life with.
They are three fairly simple things – we all want health and a spouse, right?
But what is so profound about this is that his heart is softened enough to even venture a request. Softened enough to entertain the idea that prayers might be heard, that there may in fact be a God. That softened heart is the work of the Lord. Jesus is doing something amazing in him, and that response is proof of it. Tomorrow, I will try to continue the conversation (Lord give me the words to say!). Today I’m rejoicing over it!
I ask for continued prayer. Yes, prayer over these three things that he allowed himself to ask for. But also prayer that God would continue to break the chains of darkness, anger, and depression that bind him, and would continue working in this man’s heart. Prayer that God would protect him from the darkness surrounding him, and show him His true light. Prayer that he would come to know his one true Father and Savior.
Jesus, thank You for Your attention and for Your mercy on us even when we slight You with non-belief. I thank You for all You have done in this man and all You will continue to do, and I ask that You guide my prayers over him and guide my words to him. Lord I pray for Him to come to know You and the pure love and hope you have for him. I pray that his spirit would turn away from the despondency and despair it finds itself and be set aflame with love and passion for you. I pray that he would find you; that in his darkest thoughts and darkest hours he would find a glimmer of your light – and I pray that he would run to it. Jesus you alone can grant him peace and healing from all past wounds, and I thank You for never giving up on Your children!
Thanks, and God bless!!
So my ex texted me today saying he missed me. I’m going to admit it- I gave in and texted him yesterday after silence from him for days. I saw a quote that made me think of him…
Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think~ Christopher Robin
Pathetic I know… I want to be his friend but I have a gut feeling that part of why I sent that was not just to be only friends forever. I have no clue what I’m doing. I have no clue why I can’t just forget him. All I do know is that I miss him. I miss his hugs. I miss the thought that there was hope that we could be something amazing. We are SO compatible in so many ways but I think part of me needs to cut him off completely soon and just learn to heal. It was the most painful thing for him to look me in the eye and just say “I can’t” after I fought for him to give our relationship a real try. After telling me he didn’t feel like he could drive the 2hrs to see me in a nearby city then a few sentences later saying he was going to another city equally as far from him to go see his friend that he hadn’t seen in a while… even after that I still just wish he’d finally just try.
Help. I need to stop wishing for this guy to change. I know that if he ever found this he’d be SO angered that I once again am accusing him of not putting in as much as me but really- really? He can drive to another state but the 2hr drive to see me was too much when I was driving 1hr myself and he was the one who picked the “middle ground”? He can drive the same distance for another friend but he couldn’t for his girlfriend that he wouldn’t see for perhaps 2 months? He could do all that stuff but he just couldn’t for some reason understand why I was asking him to just do the same and see me. I never asked to go to pricey museums/restaurants. The most expensive thing we did during our short relationship (that I know of) was going to an amusement park and I made sure to find out when the 1/2 price tickets started. I tried to find free parks to walk in, cook instead of go out, and was more than happy with Little Cesar’s Pizza. Why then was he so convinced that I was taking advantage of his money? I never cared about how much the gas would cost for me. I never cared about the hours spent driving to him. All he could see was the $$$ in his eyes and he saw my two mites as dust. Save me from these thoughts Lord. Save me from wishing for a guy who couldn’t see that spending time with the girl he was dating shouldn’t include considering the gas money when he was happy to spend it on things like trips to Chicago and Michigan. Why do I keep giving part of me to these guys who clearly don’t get it? Lord… help me find in this chaos some peace from You…