I have long loved the 16th psalm. At one point, I had it memorized but hadn’t meditated on it for a few years. So when I began digging into it again this week, I realized, again, how profound it is, how pertinent for these times when we can feel so insecure.
The flux of a pandemic and its fallout, political tensions and racial injustice have made us wonder, if we are truly honest, who is really in control. Psalm 16 is a reassurance of all we hold most dear in our faith in Jesus.
Here are 7 ways it instructs us in how to ‘dwell secure’:
In verse 9 we see how all of this has led to a ‘glad heart’, a ‘whole being which rejoices’ and ‘a flesh which ‘DWELLS SECURE.’ This promise is absolutely ours as well when we live the truth of this psalm.
I trust you have heard me saying ‘me’ and ‘our’ throughout this post. I need to remember each of these things. You are not alone. And especially, none of us is ever alone, because our Great High Priest ‘in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.’ He is the Great Shepherd who leads us to the glorious pastures of peace found in the heart of God--which is ours no matter what is happening around us.
Abby is a small-town loving, big city adventurer. She and her husband have worked with high school students most of their lives! Since their internship in Budapest, Hungary in 2005-2006, they have been working with the ministry of CRU. In May of this year, they moved to Hungary answering God's call to work long-term with the students of Central and Eastern Europe. Abby loves to laugh, especially at herself, has a passion for God and making Him known and is ever learning how to do that with three small children, ages 5, 3 and one month. She wouldn't trade the journey for anything! She blogs regularly at Fan the Flame
Have you heard the quote by CS Lewis, "Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
Well, the other day my daughter asked me why when they ask me for something I tell them no and not to ask again, but God wants us to keep asking. I explained first that I am not as patient as God and secondly that God may not say no, but instead just waits for us to keep asking. He loves when we pursue and seek and keep on depending on Him. Then He answers.
And then this morning in my study through Matthew I read chapter 15. This is where the Canaanite mom sought Jesus. Because she had a child who was mentally tormented, it made the whole family desperate. So she sought Jesus, begging Him to heal her daughter. What does Jesus do? HE IGNORES HER!! How crazy is that!? And then the disciples, annoyed at her, ask Jesus to send her away. (How often do we want the same thing when were sick of dealing with something... Just make it/them go away already)
But then He makes a comment to push her a bit. Would she keep seeking Him? And then another wooing comment. She persists. She keeps pleading because what else is there? He alone has life. He is her only hope. Likely (as we see still today) the family's friends don't want to be around them as this kiddo has mental health problems and they likely have to deal with issue after issue, conflict after conflict. Likely she's heard this make her go away comment time and time again. This mama is exhausted, discouraged and wounded. And yet she's not going anywhere till Jesus comes to her desperate call for rescue. Her love for her kiddo drives her to Jesus where her faith can grow stronger.
And He rescues.
He not only answers her but ends with praising her faith. Jesus, God, Creator and Sustainer praises her faith. "Woman, your faith is great. Let it be done for you as you want. And from that moment her daughter was cured." 15:28
The pain God allows has purpose and often that purpose is to strengthen our faith. But of course! How else will our faith get strong? Just like muscles, faith only grows when it's torn, when it's stretched to the point of breaking, so it can heal back stronger.
I see myself in this woman. What about you? What is your megaphone? How is God wanting you to trust and pursue Him more? Will you keep pursuing and seeking Him even when others want you to go away? Even when the pain is deep and it seems like even Jesus Himself isn't listening? I pray you do. There is great reward.
Laura, the founder of Missional Women is married and has six kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries since 2002 and serve with Master Plan Ministries where she is Director of Women's Ministries. Laura has written 7 books and 2 ministry tools. You can see them all at the Missional Women Store and can find her on facebook, twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram, periscope, blab and her author site.
Have you ever wanted to ask God why?
There’s a lot of things that can cause us to want to ask God “why”. Sometimes it’s a difficult circumstance with a friend or family member. It might be hearing of or witnessing the physical or emotional distress experienced by another, or experiencing such distress ourselves. Loss often makes us ask God why. And other times, it’s a sin that we’ve struggled with over and over and can’t seem to battle successfully. All of these circumstances can bring us to the point where we find ourselves desperately praying, “Why now, God?” “Why not now?” “Why this way, God?” “Why this situation, God?”
Recently I found myself walking through a difficult season, a season when, even doing everything I could to push closer to God and preach His truth to myself, each day was an uphill battle! I felt very disheartened, wondering why God was allowing me to go through this struggle; I couldn’t see any point to it. It was awkward, inconvenient, embarrassing, and it wouldn’t go away, no matter how much spiritual sweat I expended or how entirely I relied on God’s power. I started wondering to myself, Why is this so difficult? I’m trusting God to help me, but it doesn’t seem like He is. He’s powerful enough to take this from me, so why doesn’t He?
God led me to share with a godly friend, who is one of my greatest blessings. When I told her my thoughts, her immediate response was, “Have you tried asking Him?”
No, I hadn’t even considered asking Him. After all, we’re not supposed to question God—we’re supposed to submit to His will, trusting that He’s doing what’s best for us. But God is our Father, and when His children cry to Him in their trials, He answers, although maybe not in the way we expect. As I humbly sought the Lord, asking “Father, what is the purpose of this situation? What are You trying to do with me through this?”, the verse that God brought to mind was Romans 5:3-5.
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation
brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character, and proven character,
hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within
our hearts through the holy Spirit who was given to us.”
What an encouragement to cling to! Through our trials, God produces endurance or perseverance in us, the ability to cling to Him even when the going gets tough. If we cling to Him long enough, the trial passes, and our character has been proven. That proving of our character produces a hope which does not disappoint. When we stick to God through a trial, putting our trust in Him to get us through it, and come out the other side, we have personally experienced God’s faithfulness to save, and as a result we know that putting our hope in Him will not lead to disappointment or shame.
Many times I bring suffering on myself by putting my hope in things other than God. I put my hope in my relationships, hoped-for circumstances, a certain status, or even a certain possession. Whenever I do that, God eventually either removes that idol from me or demonstrates to me how useless it is to try to satisfy myself with it. His discipline often causes me pain as I lose the worldly security and hope that I’ve been using to try to prop myself up, but God is drawing me closer to Him so that I can truly acknowledge, like the apostle Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians, that God’s grace is sufficient to enable me to be content in any situation. Earlier in Corinthians, Paul mentions being burdened so that he “despaired of life itself”. But, he explains, God allowed this to “make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)
As Christians, our hope is in a God who raises the dead! We know and have hope in the fact that His power has conquered and will one day wipe out sin forever. Someday we will no longer struggle with things like illness and death, or with the sin that causes broken relationships and tainted thoughts. Meanwhile, as we still struggle to live in a sin-ridden world, we have hope in a God who is powerful enough to sustain us through any trial through which we pass, and who can even take that evil and use it for our good and His glory.
In closing, I’d like to share with you a poem I wrote some time ago.
Acceptance with Joy
When life is hard, and troubles annoy,
Lord, make me Your servant “Acceptance with Joy”.
My attitude problems are pretty severe
When You make me do things I dislike, even fear.
Do not let me fight the trials You bring;
Instead change my heart—let me bear them and sing!
You are my Father, Your plans are the best.
I know I can trust You, and in that I rest.
Anna is a 20-year-old nursing student from Durango, Colorado who is currently dividing her time between her classes and clinicals and all of the fun things she likes doing. She enjoys writing and playing the mandolin, but some of her greatest pleasures are camping/hiking/being in the mountains, doing ministry activities with MasterPlan Ministries at Fort Lewis College, and interacting with people. She loves to see God working in people’s lives, and wants to make herself available as His tool, wherever she may be.
Soon, my Darling, oh so very soon, you will be at rest forever in my arms.
You are my Glory and my Delight. I will never stop fighting for you. Never ever.
I am making all things new. Everything is being readied for My coming to you.
Yet, it is a broken world, but I am redeeming it. Now you must look full into the face of despair. So many have no hope for a life beyond this one. It grieves my heart and so it does yours, because you are My imprint upon this world.
So yes, you wait.
I have seen every tear you shed in the waiting. I know it is grueling and often hard to understand. But you see you aren’t ready for our Wedding. The most gorgeous one there ever has been or will be is soon, but not now.
My Darling, we must yet be separated. You are in the land of preparation. Every moment has the purpose of getting you ready. And it’s the kind of ‘getting ready’ not just for the Wedding but for Forever.
You see, you are to be bejeweled and sparkling. Every moment of sadness where you turn to me is another precious stone for your crown. Every heart-wrenching place of longing for me is a glistening diamond sewn into your gown. For if you didn’t have the chance to desire Me, would you truly appreciate me as your Bridegroom, your future Husband?
Yet Dear One, I want you to know it is hard for my heart too. Although I see all things as they will be, I long to have our present be together, face to face. Just because I am the Triumphant One, doesn’t mean I don’t yet have to bear my heart for you as I ever live to intercede. My joy is not yet complete, because you aren’t Home yet.
So, never doubt how I work all things for our Coming Union. It is why I exist as God, that your glory might be Mine, untarnished, incorruptible, spectacular forever. I am making your Home, your mansion, your Garden—like Eden, every moment is closer to its fruition.
Lift your eyes to the hills. In the mossy low mountains, and snow-capped heights, as you contemplate their beauty, remember it is only dim. As you look to me and I fill you with delight, remind yourself it is just a faint glimmer. Then imagine the joy which reality will be!
Oh, My Darling, don’t lose heart. I have indeed overcome all that is between us and soon every eye will see it as I claim you forever. Breathe in and out, every motion a grand anticipation.
And yes, the glittering colors of our future Home are made of all who share the hope of Forever. But, many, so many don’t know it yet. Work for the Great Coming Day of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Spread my truth, my hope, my Gospel far and wide. Every kindred, tongue, tribe and nation will gather as one Darling Bride. And yes, our joy will be complete.
All my love,
Your adoring, awaiting Bridegroom
I am wife to a wonderful man, mama to three precious now-little-but-soon-will-not-be loves. Each born in a different place--two states including 2 states and 2 countries. I am a farm girl who found her heart in the city. I can now claim fluency in 3 languages :: English, Spanish & Hungarian.This combined with the all-too-true 'mommy brain' explains much regarding my mental state most days;) I am a sojourner longing for Home. Yet, in my messy and broken, I embrace the moments given with all I have. I am seeking, praying, and learning again and again that it is for His Glory I live. My prayer is that my little life would make much of Him! I write regularly at Abigail Alleman.
I have a hero. Her name is Corrie ten Boom. You've most likely heard of her--she and her family hid Jews in their home in Holland before being arrested at age 50 by the Nazis. She spent the next two years in a concentration camp and was miraculously released after the death of her father and sister.
You would think that would be enough of her story. She hid Jews. She was in Ravensbruck, a concentration camp where more than 96,000 women died. She shared the Gospel and had Bible studies in secret and saw miracles even in the middle of such evil.
Yet, when she was released, she began to travel the world to tell people about God's love and mighty forgiveness for them. For the next three decades she traveled to over sixty countries!
I read her book, Tramp for the Lord (the sequel to The Hiding Place) last month and I cannot get the stories out of my head. Corrie's life was marked by quick obedience to God and through her simple, direct words and actions God did miracles.
Once, she felt the Lord telling her to go to Argentina. She had never been to Argentina. She only vaguely knew one person in the country who had not returned any of her letters. Oh, and she didn't speak the language, either!
But go to Argentina, she did. As she and her assistant were sitting on a bench outside the Buenos Aires airport, a man shouted to her, "Are you Corrie ten Boom?" in her native tongue! He felt like he needed to come check the airport and see if she was there--even though they had never been in contact before!
The next day, he arranged for her to visit with patients in a nearby hospital. The patients had polio and were either in iron lungs or giant tables that shifted the patient upside down to enable breathing.
Corrie was scared of them and didn't even want to talk to them. She said, "No, I think I am unable to talk. I just want to go off somewhere and cry."
Then the Lord spoke to her, "I know you can't. I have known it already a long time. I am glad now you know it for yourself for now you can let Me do it."
She said, "All right, Lord, You do it." and she began to speak to a Jewish man on one of the rocking tables. She showed him some of her embroidery from her purse (oh, I wish we carried embroidery around in our purses instead of phones!). On one side was stitched a crown, the other the knots and strings of the back.
She told him our lives can look like this--knotted, dark and confused on one side but God has order, pattern and beauty on the other. That man gave his heart to Jesus before he died the very next day.
Corrie said she felt she came to Argentina for that one conversation, for that one man. It's hard to understand. There wasn't anyone one else in the whole country--or the whole continent that could talk to him? Why Corrie? Why an old Dutch woman? Why not someone who at least spoke his language?
I'm sure we'll never know why. It's one of those dark knots on the backside of our lives. And when I look at my own life--as a mom dealing with normal everyday kid and school and church and family issues--I know the feeling of wanting to go off somewhere and cry. I feel very inadequate for many tasks God has put before me.
What a relief to know God already knows I'm inadequate! He simply wants to work through me. Not because I'm the most qualified, speak the right language or even live on the right continent. The only qualification is my willingness.
I may not become a tramp for the Lord and travel the world, but I can obey where I am. I can stop trying so hard to do, and be and work in my own strength. Instead, I can simply let God work through me and be part of the divine pattern, the beautiful embroidery God has for me and for the world!
(all quotes taken from Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom)
We’ve all experienced a thunderstorm. Lightning, followed by loud claps of thunder, dark, looming clouds, strong gusts of wind, all in the midst of rain, sometimes torrential rain. We can feel at the mercy of the storm- out of control, afraid, and hoping it’s wrath will not be unleashed on you.
It’s ironic how the “storms” we walk through in life can feel eerily similar to a storm of nature. We find ourselves in a situation that is out of our control, we’re desperate and afraid. Does anyone see me? Does anyone care? Jesus, do YOU care?
This was the exact question the disciples asked Jesus in Mark 4:35-41. While traveling across the Sea of Galilee, a sudden storm arose and the disciples found themselves in a scary situation. “And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he (Jesus) was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (vs 37-39).
Let’s back up a little here and makes some notes on who this Teacher, this Jesus, really is. Proverbs 30:4 and Colossians 3:15-17, both talk about Jesus being involved in creation and the One who holds it all together. Isaiah 7 and Matthew 1 both talk about a virgin giving birth to a Son and this Son will be called “Immanuel”, which means God with us. In previous chapters of Mark, we see Jesus healing a paralytic (chapter 2) and a man with a withered hand (chapter 3). In Mark 5 we see Jesus healing a man possessed by a demon. A demon! That’s intense. We also see Him heal a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. And to cap off the chapter, Jesus goes ahead and raises a little girl from the dead. In Mark 6, Jesus feeds 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Obviously, this Jesus is more than the new Instagram hotness. He’s God.
But, let’s just be straightforward, the disciples didn’t realize who was in their boat. They had just witnessed Jesus perform miracles and they would continue to witness more. But, when it got personal, when they found themselves in the middle of a raging storm, they didn’t believe. They didn’t have faith in Jesus’ authority over their situation, let alone His authority over all things.
So what does Jesus do? Well, He wakes up to their accusation, stretches out His hand (my imagination stepping in here), and says, “Peace! Be still.” That’s it. Three words and BAM, immediate calm. He then turns and asks the disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (vs40).
It’s easy to attack the disciples, but honestly, I’ve found myself in the same boat- questioning and doubting whether Jesus is aware of what I’m going through, at the same time mocking His authority by lacking faith in the Creator of all things. I’m so consumed with my situation, my problem, my hardship, my storm that I lose sight of Who is present with me. The same Jesus who was with the disciples, is with me. The same One who spoke the world, including the sea (Gen 1:9), into existence, is with me. I forget. I don’t see clearly. I place my faith in other people, other solutions, even myself and my abilities.
Guys (and gals), life isn’t easy. Stuff happens (as they say). A loved one gets diagnosed with cancer, you lose your job, a fire burns down your house, your child is injured, or maybe you battle constant physical pain. Life isn’t always a walk in the park, calm and sunny with birds chirping. And yet, Jesus is worthy of our faith because He has all authority. It doesn’t mean our situations are easy or enjoyable or fun, but that doesn’t change who Jesus is, nor does it change how we should respond—by walking in faith, confident and secure in the One who is sovereign over it all and loves each of us deeply.
Philippians 2 says this (I would recap it, but it’s too good), “Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Chelsea and her husband have been married for 10 years and both of them serve with the Jesus Film Project in Orlando, FL. Together they have 3 boys, Isaiah, Asher and Uriah. Chelsea enjoys spending time with family, friends, working out, traveling, and going to the beach.
If I could say one thing to you, it would be this: I love you, but we may have a problem.
May I tell you more by what I mean by that?
My Dad (God) and I love you – YOU specifically – and desire to have a personal relationship. Nothing weird, but the kind of relationship where we would know each other really well. Like the kind of relationship you would have with your best friend.
The Bible (which God the Holy Spirit inspired people to write) says this about our love for you in John 3:16, "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
What is eternal life? “This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent -- Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Eternal life is knowing me!
So what is keeping you from knowing me? Well, to be honest, you are. You are full of sin – imperfection, wrongdoing, misbehavior. If it makes you feel any better you’re not alone in this! “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Who does all include? EVERYONE! It hard not to see to truth of this in our messed up world, isn’t it? Go to a daycare for one day and you’ll see from early on we are all deceitful, mean, manipulative, etc.! Whether it’s willful defiance or lack of care for our nature, it’s still sin.
Your sin only earns you one thing – separation from me. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So instead of knowing me and having eternal life, your sin only gets you eternal death and separation from me. Unfortunately for you, that means that you go to hell.
WHOA! JESUS JUST USED THE H-WORD! Yep. Because it’s true.
It’s like this: Since God is perfect and without sin, and where He lives is sinless means that people – like you – can’t be with Him because that would change His “clean space”. People try (like you have) to be good enough to get to me, to earn a place in heaven. But it’s like swimming across the ocean on your own. It’s impossible! Olympic swimmers might get pretty far, but they literally can’t swim all by themselves without dying on the way there. It is impossible for you to be good “enough” on your own to get to heaven or hangout with God – because the requirement to get in is perfection. In our swimming analogy, you would have to be a boat.
You want some good news? I became a boat for you. Okay, not a literal boat obviously, but I, Jesus, made it possible for you to get to God. Instead of you trying so hard to get to me, I came to you. Instead of people trying to get to God, God came to people and be a perfect person. “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:8) You didn’t anything to earn my love or prove your worthiness to me – I died for you knowing that you are sinful and unworthy.
Here is the clincher… I once said (and it’s recorded in John 14:6), “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” I’m not one of many ways to get to God. I’m not one choice of many to get to heaven. I Am IT!! I know this seems so contradictory to what may feel right, especially in light of our “tolerant world”. But I am inclusively exclusive – I give everyone a chance to know who I am and what I did for them but I don’t budge on truth. I died for all humanity throughout time – before they knew of me I died for them. It’s everyone’s choice whether they want to accept my gift. I don’t force people into a relationship with me (it would be like if someone just said they were you’re boyfriend/girlfriend, even though you didn’t want them to be… weird, creepy, awkward, right?). I want to be chosen, but I won’t make anyone choose me who don’t want me.
And that brings me to the last thing I want to talk to you about – do you want a relationship with me? Everyone makes a choice. To know God personally, to have eternal life, you respond to me.
You don’t have to choose me. You can choose your own way. You can choose to follow what seems what best to you, but be aware that you are going to stay in the sin that is keeping you from knowing God personally. You can’t be a good enough person to get to Me. My offer to follow me will stand for as long as you live (which, I know the day your life ends… do you?) I’m here whenever you’re ready.
Ephesians 2:8-10 says, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift -- not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”
You are saved from an eternity separated from me – spared living a life without truly knowing fully who you are and what you’re made for, and a life after in hell. You are saved by grace – grace is getting something you don’t deserve. My grace is a free gift that you get by faith – faith is a fancy word for trust. Just like if someone you don’t know hands out a beautifully wrapped gift, you would have to reach out and take it trusting that it’s a good thing and not trash.
Listen! I am standing at the door of your heart and knocking. I’m trying to get your attention. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. Are you hearing me? Are you ready to respond with opening up the door?
This isn’t just an emotional response you make based on how you feel, or a purely intellectual response based on doing this because you know all the facts. This is a choice you make because you want to. This response takes agreeing with God that you are full of sin and want to live a different life, trusting God to forgive you completely from your sin because of My sacrifice on the cross, and choosing to follow Me and putting me first in your life.
There are only two lives you can live – one without me or one with me. There is no middle ground. If you have more questions, you can ask me through prayer (which is just talking to me) and your friend who pointed you to this article. But if you know you are ready to follow me, you can pray right now. Talk to me! It’s not about your words as much as it is about the attitude of your heart. What’s stopping you?
Much Love, Jesus
Lord Jesus, I DO want to know you personally. I see my sin and I am sorry for choosing my way instead of yours for so long. I ask for forgiveness. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sin. I don’t want to do whatever seems right – that’s my old life. I want to follow you as Lord and Savior of my life. Please come in and take first place in my life. Guide and lead my life from here on.
With three boys around our house, I feel we are always having “discussions”. Our time with these guys is limited. As I’m staring down my nose at 9th grade preview days and signing up for college tracks (What?!? When do preschoolers sign up for 9th grade?!?) I’m really reminded that the days are fleeting. In fact, our oldest son has a little over four years left under our roof. Four years. Gulp.
There is so much I need/want these boys to know before I launch them into the world. Several weeks ago I was having a “discussion” with one of our boys. He had had a particularly tough day with being disrespectful to me and being rude to his brothers. I brought him into the kitchen, sat him down, and began our “discussion”. It started with me telling him that this behavior he was displaying toward me and his brothers was unacceptable. And it ended with me saying something like this, complete with hand motions,
“You have four years left in this house. Before I let you leave I need to know three things. I need to know that you love God, respect authority, and can love others. Based on the way you’ve been treating me and your brothers I have serious doubts. You know what I need? I need you to get it together. FOUR YEARS SON!!”
Fast forward a few days. I was pulling into our garage and thinking through a particular situation where I was struggling and it was as if God tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Looks like you don’t have it all together.” Yikes.
Isn’t that so true? I want my boys to have things together when I, myself, don’t have it all together. Do you know how freeing it was to wash my hands of everyone around me having it all together? Aren’t we all just works in progress? In my 38 short years, I’ve grown and experienced things that God has used to mold me into who I am today. Perfect? Absolutely not. Saved by grace? You better believe it. I can rest in that. I can live in that. And you know what? So can my guys. So, here’s to all of us walking in grace and not having it all together. Here’s to the bumps, bruises, stubborn refusals to yield, the good, the bad, the ugly, the blood, sweat, and tears…all of it. Rest and live with me friends because He is able…even when we don’t have it all together.
Need some verses to remind you of this? I’d encourage you to read these in context to really take in the full meaning. But, in the meantime, here are a few:
“For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6, NASB
“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3, ESV
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23, ESV
“Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth and it stands fast.” Psalm 119:90, ESV
Jennifer and her family live in the South. She and her husband, Fred, have three boys ages 13, 10, and 7, and one unruly dog named Dash. Chaos2Peace is a blog designed to bring peace in the midst chaos by providing organizational tips, menu planning, simple recipes, and a whole lot of laughter. Join us on the blog today as we do life together, one step at a time.
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Lately, this idea of compassion has been tugging on my heart. With politics, social justice issues, and everything in between hate is everywhere and compassion seems to be a memory of something we used to know.
Compassion is the foundation of a love we don't deserve or mercy we were gifted. Compassion is not separate from truth, but it is thought so little of in regards to grace.
Compassion fueled Jesus.
It is equal in importance to the attributes of God as any other attribute, because it is rooted in love. Compassion is love in its darkest and worst days. Don't confuse the idea that compassion takes away the value of truth, rather it says "I know this is hard, and I will walk with you hand in hand"
There is this one lady my husband knew from high school who likes to comment on my husband’s statuses about pro-life issues. Initially she started pretty harsh and it was hard to not fly off the handle and just yell, but what I learned is God calls us to have compassion and grace for people.
And EVERYTHING God does is with purpose and intentional. He doesn't teach us about compassion for fun, it’s because that is an attribute all of us should exhibit. Despite my sinful nature to yell and be snarky to her I decided to give her grace and seek compassion from her.
Because of that decision, we now have a full blown beautiful relationship--that not only shows compassion but also speaks truth. Recently she commented on his status and said “I have felt nothing but respect from both you and your wife, and for that I truly thank you. You are the Christians this country needs most right now, and I wholly appreciate your devotion to the betterment of people in general. “
There is a lie that speaking truth and compassion are two separate ideals that can’t go together. But Jesus shows this beautifully with the story of the woman at the well. Most people use this as a story to justify not judging one another, but what this story really shows is how Jesus reached people by showing compassion for the woman, and lovingly speaking truth to her. He shows this woman grace and compassion and loves her with truth. We can do that. We can be that type of example for people’s lives while not sacrificing truth.
We don’t have to wait to share the gospel or build a relationship with people to share the Gospel, but what we can do is show people the attribute of compassion while we talk about these issues. We don’t have to be mean, but we do have to speak truth. I weep with my friends who weep and mourn with those who mourn because even on our darkest day God is doing the same. Don't forget compassion when you speak out for truth, because my friend’s life hurts, and sin is in every one of us. It's compassion that carried the cross for Christ, and compassion that allows us to carry the burden of sin. Jesus' compassion and grace.
“12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12
Kaylee lives and works in Denver, CO with her wonderful husband Patrick and their dog Denver. She is currently pursuing a degree in photography at the University of Colorado Denver, where she is famous for her impeccable taste in scarves and cardigans. Kaylee uses her gifts in film and photography to create “makes your eyes dance” powerpoint slides for her campus ministry. Kaylee is a formal member of the Geek Squad Target, where she is a beast at explaining technology to old people. In her spare time, Kaylee likes to disciple girls and kill zombies.
Curled over in the darkened night, wolves howling in the distance, a small ember barely seen amidst the blanketed sky, trees thrashing in the wind, rain threatening to put out the fire desperate to be kindled.
Alone, is a show on the History Channel. It takes individuals, sets them out on islands in the Pacific Northwest, and leaves them completely alone, requiring men and women fend for themselves.
I love Alone. The show exposes our need for people, uncovers the deep, real, authentic self, inside people, and lays abandoned the whole, raw individual. Alone shows us what man is capable of, if we are left, like in the garden, with only God above and the resources God has given us.
One of the most vital resources when alone on an island is fire. Fire heats, cooks, and wards off animals prowling in the darkness. Fire provides light, the ability to dry wet gear, and the boiling of water which offers something to drink when thirsty.
On season one, a man lost his ability to make fire and walked off this social experience immediately. He knew he was done and that without fire, His chances of survival would be limited.
Even here in my home, our entire family will sit around, silent, and just stare at the dancing flames, warming themselves in front of the blaze, as if fire alone has a secret to something eternal.
Scripture actually talks about fire frequently. Fire was mentioned when Moses stared at a bush ablaze. The fire flamed, God spoke, and yet, the bush itself was not consumed. The Lord, holy and good, spoke from the fire. That place was sacred, so much so, Moses was instructed to take off his shoes, because he was "standing on Holy ground." (Exodus 3:5)
In Leviticus, fire also, "came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar." (Leviticus 9:24)
This same Moses, who stood at the burning bush, went on to help free the Israelites from slavery and captivity. Scripture tells us, "Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth." (Exodus 9:23)
When the Israelites finally escaped Pharaoh’s rule, "by day the Lord went ahead of them...by night in a pillar of fire to give them light."
Fire wasn't just a common theme among Moses and the Israelites. Jeremiah talks about the Word of God being like fire. "In my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it." (Jeremiah 20:9)
Revelations tells us, "The Son of God...has eyes like a flame of fire." (Revelations 2:8) There are even, "Seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God." (Revelations 4:5)
And yet, we can live, forgetting that God is unlike man, He burns and reigns and in Him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)
His living fire is a flame within us. We are not left alone, abandoned on some island of hopelessness, like some cruel social experiment. We are given His fire inside to lead and guide us, to brighten the darkness, to ward off the enemy prowling, to set ablaze the lies that try to discourage us.
In Acts, when the Holy Spirit fell, tongues of fire rested on each and every one who waited on Him in the upper room. (Acts 2) Not just some encountered the fullness of His presence. Not only a few select got touched, or was moved, or impacted by His fire that night...
But each of us waiting, calling upon, and seeking Him can be empowered with this same fire that descends from the throne room of grace.
We are not alone. Not stranded on some island. We are children of the Living God. And, "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." (2 Peter 1:2)
Now, won't we seek His fire? How might His fire empower us to live out His call as Missional Women?
Though born, raised, and still living only miles from where she grew up, Jen's heart lies in the nations. Jen loves the beautiful tapestry found in the wide diversity of people, different cultures, and all nations. Jen and her husband have been married twenty years, and have parented fifteen kids and counting; twelve foster, one adopted, and two bios. Her multi-racial family reflects her passion for unity, desire for faith without walls, and missional mindset to share both the gospel and the power of redemption to a world desperately needing the hope found in Jesus Christ. Jen and her husband have led in a variety of ministries; including prayer, small groups, children's, and women’s. Jen advocates for the orphan as a board member for the non-profit, A New Song; and loves doing missions work internationally, along with her family. You can find Jen writing about faith, while challenging her readers at her blog, Rich Faith Rising, as well as at tweeting faith-filled messages @Jen_Avellaneda . Jen is also on facebook.
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