Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Don't Hide Yourself

Unexpressed or unexplained fear is causing more depression and loneliness than I can predict.  Young adults are hiding and not feeling known because they fear this will be taken the wrong way.
Stop it. 
Find someone who is loving and trusting and tell them everything.  Or at least try.  If they don’t get it, regroup and tell somebody else who does.  Don’t let the ashamed unknown eat away at you like a cancer. 
Did you know that the Bible describes a moment where all hell breaks loose on Jesus and all his closest friends desert Him and leave Jesus all alone. [i]  Jesus alone is not a something you hear preached very often.  God himself has felt your predicament to its fullest.  Yet Jesus' strong statement of faith in the alone was this, “Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.”
We are not all alone.  We are not that special.  God never gave us the prideful right to think that we are above or below anyone helping us.  Others can help if you will let them in.  God can help.  Choose someone who really cares and if you don’t have any friends like that, go to a church or find a stranger who will listen because you deserve that.  Pray out loud because God wants to hear.  God will understand our crazy.  One of his qualities to the max is patience.  When we are at our wits end for an answer, then the Holy Spirit can give us an answer.  But how can He give us an answer when we are still well supplied with all sorts of answers of our own. [ii]

Perspective Changer
Let it marinate and soak in. Reflect and read this statement below three times:
I called on your name, LORD,
from the depths of the pit.
You came near and said,
“Do not fear.”[iii]

[i] John 16:32
[ii] Karl Barth
[iii] Lamentations 3:55,57

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I LOVE that God is okay with me learning along the way

God is a God of Works in Progress

God desires Growth. Otherwise God would’ve had us all coming out of the womb at forty years old! You have hopefully been taught by now to be a lifelong learner. Well I propose that you should be a lifelong grower and preparer. Each day, each situation is preparation for something bigger God wants to do through your life (Ephesians 2:10). Whether it’s training for the next time a bigger challenge presents itself or the day you worship God in heaven, life is definitely preparation.

One of the best parts of a relationship is living the journey together. It is not enjoyable traveling with somebody who’s always telling you what you’re doing wrong, but it is fun being around the people who stretch you to go places you would’ve never gone by yourself. This is God. He knows we are works in progress on a journey of preparation. Jesus was once a five, fifteen, and twenty-five years old Himself. He understands growth and knows how to walk the journey with us. He is the one that makes things grow (1 Corinthians 3:7). He is the one that will carry us to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6; 3:12-14).

Don’t let embarrassment keep you from trying. Ask God to help or send you a helping hand. Be open to how God asks you to stretch yourself. Allow God to help you grow. Prepare. He actually enjoys me learning along the way. Enjoy the hard moment you are learning of fighting through right now as an opportunity.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I Love The Fact That God Is A God Of Those Who Want To Give Up

I definitely have my days or moments where life seems too much. I love the fact that the Bible portrays this as a rather common experience. Sometimes I wonder if I'm crazy for the hard moments. But then I remember I'm following in the footsteps of saints who have experienced similar struggles and it keeps me going. God's plan is to pull me through those times:

God, Just Make it all Stop!!! You were not the first to pray this prayer. Did you know that there were at least five Bible characters who told God it would be better for Him to just end their lives now if their current situations weren’t changing anytime soon!

Elijah has just called down fire from heaven and made one of those legendary stands for the Lord. Afterwards, in the loneliness of being overwhelmed and attacked he says, “I have had enough, LORD… Take my life”(1 Kings 19:4). Jonah gets so frustrated in the aftereffects of saving a whole nation that he says not once but twice, “O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live” (Jonah 4:3,8). Moses is carrying the burden of the Israelites grumbling and says to God, “If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now” (Numbers 11:15). Job. Good ol’ Job. Talk about being alone. Everything is going wrong and even his best friends and wife are giving him bad advice. You know he’s not happy when he says, “…I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine. I despise my life” (Job 7:15-16). Last but not least, Jeremiah preaches God’s message for twenty-three years, twenty-three years, with no visible results (Jeremiah 25:3)!!! In the midst of this trial he said, “Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed! …Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?” (Jeremiah 20:14,18). If you have ever felt this way, then you are in good company.

Elijah, Jonah, Moses, Job, Jeremiah… these are not obscure characters! These are God’s faithful men feeling alone and ready to quit. Yet God answered and was faithful to each one of them until the end, “for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again…” (Proverbs 24:16a). “…we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved” (Hebrews 10:39). You are not alone and God will answer and pull you through. God won’t give up. That is why we are thankful that He is the God of us those who want to give up.