Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Peace of God

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The Peace of God

I was just remarking to my mother the other day that it seems to me as though more and more people are getting dreadful diseases.  I began noticing this trend about six to nine months ago and had originally chalked it up to the fact that I’d been diagnosed with cancer assuming I was just hearing about so many other people with cancer because I as moving in that circle.  But I’m not so sure that’s the case anymore.  Every day someone else I know is diagnosed with cancer or some other disease like Parkinson’s, and we’re all fairly young (between 40 and 60).

A couple of weeks ago I heard from another of my OCFG’s (Outrageously Christ-Filled Girlfriends).  She had a routine mammography that had originally gone well but the doctor had called her back for additional pictures.  Having not had that ever happen, she was a little alarmed.  We (women) each handle this information in our own way.  Women grow up with their breasts taking an odd significance in their life – mainly because they are the only sexual organ that is so obviously prominent on one’s body.  For some women breasts become a sort of status symbol, for some they become part of our identity, for others they are the life-blood for rearing children, and for all of us they are simply part of our figure.  Men, would you like a useful finger or two lopped off?  I don’t think so.  But when a doctor gives you that look or calls you back for more pictures, your mind starts whirring with possibilities that could follow. If you’re not careful, it doesn’t take long to fall down the rabbit hole of worry and I can just imagine Satan’s demons hopping aboard the fear train and stoking the fires.  Breast cancer.  It’s not diagnosis you want to hear.

However, getting additional pictures isn’t an unusual step for women as they age.  There is always something weird popping into view somewhere!  And as any good Christian friend would do, I prayed that the doctor wouldn’t find anything of importance.

I didn’t hear anything for a week or so until she let me know that they were now calling her back for an Ultrasound (US).  And that’s ample reason for the bravest of us to grow even more concerned.  Half the problem is the doctor.  They never seem to say anything that truly calms us because they’re trying so hard to not upset us.  It’s a no-win situation.

I’d recently driven down routine mammy-extra views-ultrasound street and took a left turn at biopsy lane so I told my friend about the entire process I’d gone through so she’d know what to expect.  As I’ve written recently, I’d given my burden to God to handle because with everything that was going wrong in my body at that time I just couldn’t worry about one more frightful thing.  Then we prayed again, bringing her fear and anxiety to the foot of Jesus’ cross and laying it there. Not only did my friend not have to bear this burden alone – she didn’t have to bear it at all.  She knew that, but it’s always nice for a friend to come alongside and agree.

I love chatting with this particular OCFG because we throw Scripture at each other all the time and that’s not a bad thing!  We always seem to be bouncing God’s word or Christian-living views and questions off each other … what do we think … what do we know … how do we know it.  We talk it out and usually come to some sort of agreement.  It’s quite enlightening to discuss Scripture with someone who is studiously in the Word.  We should all have people in our lives who are at all ends of the spectrum.  The really knowledgeable, the semi-knowledgeable, and the maybe not so knowledgeable.

A little while later I’d checked in with my friend and she gave me the date of the US.  But this time she sounded different.  She shared right away that she was enjoying God’s peace and that she’d received a word of knowledge … Job 23:10 which reads in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

10 But He knows the way that I take [He has concern for it, appreciates, and pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as refined gold [pure and luminous].

How lovely is that promise?  He knows the way I have taken … God is so intimate that He knows everything.  We can be confident in His testing because we really can’t fail.

My friend continued her thoughts in a text, she said (and I could feel her joy), “So I know that no matter what happens, I will be refined as pure gold! How gracious of Our Lord to comfort me with that truth!”

How gracious indeed.  How can we not love and worship a God who provides this kind of peace and protection when we need?

I’m so ready to worship Him forever!

** Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation courtesy of BibleGateway.com

Happy Independence Day

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I’ll be back tomorrow with a regular post, but for today … a special holiday ScripturePicture using Galatians 5:13 … don’t worry, you’ll get another on Wednesday too!

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On this Independence Day, let’s remember what it means to be Christian.  To first love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind and second; to love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37&39)

My love to all of you!

 

God-Given Authority

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God-Given Authority

You know how God leads you to read or hear something at just the right moment?  People who don’t know God call it a coincidence, but Christians should realize that happenings like that are directly from the Holy Spirit.

The other day I caught a FB post from a friend of mine, Ben Nelson, who has the wonderful blog Another Red Letter Day and who was touting a post in another blog called “Go to Heaven Now!”  Written by Jonathan Brenneman, I thought it was a pretty interesting title for a blog.  Is the guy telling me to die now and go to Heaven?  No.  I’m fairly sure he’s just helping prepare his readers to go to Heaven.  The title of the post was “When Not to Cry Out to God” and considering that I’d just finished six posts on prayer I thought to myself, “Self. Is there ever a time NOT to cry out to God?”

The post is an empowering piece; and even though I get Jonathan’s point I actually believe there is never a time not to cry out to God.  I believe that God wants us to cry out to Him ~ perhaps to demonstrate our need or maybe to increase our faith when He delivers.  While Jonathan will argue that we, as followers of Jesus and vessels of the Holy Spirit have more power than we understand or know what to do with, often there are instances when God has given us marching orders and the power in which to do something for the Kingdom and we, in our human frailty and fear, sit on the sidelines asking God for (1) the power to do it, heal it, change it, rebuke it or (2) to do the work wihout us – or worse – to do the work Himself.

If I hadn’t cried out to God to help me get through cancer (of which I’m not through yet) He might not have given me the promise I needed to remember that He was in control and He was walking me through the season.  Did I have the power of the Holy Spirit within me? Absolutely.  But I, in my human weakness, needed a word from Him and He delivered.  I’ve lived through this entire last year on the joy that that word brought me.

But what spoke to me most within Jonathan’s post was his preamble about Satan.

It wasn’t too long ago that I learned to rebuke Satan (and his demons) when I needed to.  Sometimes I felt he had left but sometimes I felt like he was still hanging around ready to antagonize me.  Then, somewhere along the road I read Jude 9 which states:

Yet Michael the archangel, when he was disputing with the Devil in a debate about Moses’ body, did not dare bring an abusive condemnation against him but said, “The Lord rebuke you!

I sat back on my heels.  Whoa.  If Michael, the Archangel no less, wasn’t going to rebuke Satan on his own what makes me think that I have the authority to rebuke him myself?  And since I read this, I’ve been asking God to rebuke Satan when I needed it done.

I’ve spent a couple years operating in that manner and  I actually felt very secure asking God to rebuke Satan.  In doing so, I always felt he had been removed from my proximity or sufficiently beaten back to not have influence over me in whatever was going on.

But then I read Mr. Brenneman’s post which states, in part:

“I very regularly hear people pray “God, please rebuke all evil.” I’m not sure if this is a common prayer in the US like it is in Brazil. But where did God ever tell us to ask him to rebuke evil? He told us to rebuke it. One of the very reasons that Christ came as a man, was because God gave authority to men. I’ve recognized how these attitudes are crippling many in the churches, resulting in powerlessness. Believers need to learn to use their God-given authority.”

Whoa.  That’s a great point.  God has given me the authority to rebuke Satan, and more-over, Michael has not been given that authority.  That was my mistake.  Angels are not like humans – nor are humans like angels.  Jesus did not die to save angels.  He died only to save humankind.  I haven’t had to rebuke Satan since I read this post, but I know that I will no longer ask God to do what He has already given me the authority to do.  Thanks for the reminder, Jonathan!

I’m still going to blog about prayer because I love it so much!  But in the interim, here are some of my favorite books on prayer (no affiliate links):

Prayer by Richard Foster

The Valley of Vision (a collection of Puritan Prayers)

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

Prayer by Timothy Keller

Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!  Stay safe!

** Image courtesy of http://www.hersides.com through Bing search