When Faith

Woven

When words cannot describe the soul’s movements. When the mind can’t understand what is going on in the heart.

When I’m completely baffled by the way the world works, by the way that God works. When I don’t see how what’s in the Bible matches up with what I see in life. And when all the confusion makes me want to pull away and not even mess with trying to figure it out.

When I’m engulfed in guilt, but not knowing why—and just wanting to get it all right, but not knowing how. Why do I feel this way when I think about God? What’s wrong with me? What do I have to do to make it better?

When you can’t explain it, but it’s so real. When your heart relates something that your mind can’t really agree with.

When I want to be close to God and give glory to Him, but I don’t see amazing things in His Word like I think I should. Or I don’t understand it. Or when I’m drawing near I feel indescribably uneasy.

When I analyze to pieces everything that I do or say. Is it something to correct? Or should I just forget about it?

When a mere feeling taints everything in my life. When everything else makes it seems like I’m disqualified to be a good servant of Christ.

I know that feelings don’t always portray what is real, but feelings are real. They are a struggle. They are a prison that we need to be freed from. They must be overcome so that we can take another step.

But it’s better today. It’s not because I have a ten-step system that clears away all of that. There’s no handy set of perfectly clear directions for the Christian walk, like there is on a cake mix. Because if we had a bunch of directions on the box of our Christian walk, we would trust those instead of Jesus.

Jesus is always the same. He is changing me to be like Him, but there’s still lots of me left that doesn’t look like Him. There’s still lots of sin. And while my life might look the same to everyone else, inside it’s raging or crying or baffled. I still need Him to save me from all of this.

When it’s the worst, it’s time to seek God. And when I can’t feel like I can, I can trust what I already know.

When I remember, “Satan is the accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10). Satan would love nothing more than to make me forget that Christ is the one who cleanses me by His blood. Satan wants to convince me that I have to fix all the mistakes that I’ve made.

When I remember Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” If God needs to convict me about something, He will be faithful to do that. He is not the God of confusion. But Satan condemns unreservedly. And I am pretty good at helping him when I look inward rather than upward when he accuses me.

When I do sin—“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). My only way to be right with God—for salvation and after salvation—is  the blood of Jesus.

When I know that what He says is real—more real than my feelings about it. When I can pray that He would change me and cleanse my mind from all this junk. When I know that He is making it better. When faith looks to Him, faith grows stronger.

When I don’t have it all together, “in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).

Look to Him, to His Word, pray to Him. In our weak state of human feelings and inconstancies, He is our only hope.

~Rachel Sue

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/meanestindian/5410126870/”>Meanest Indian</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

A New Kind of Patience

Clock1

I meet you. We talk…a little. I want a friend, and not just a casual see-you-once-a-week type of friend. I want a relationship where we can talk seriously about things that matter, where we can talk about problems in the world and how to approach them, where we can understand each other and have regard for each other. If you don’t know Jesus Christ, I want you to. I realize that this level of friendship isn’t possible the very day (and hour) that we meet. It takes patience for this relationship to grow into something beautiful and fruitful.

I help with a kid’s program at my church once a week. For these kids who have a background so different from mine, I want to see them saved, growing in grace, and spreading the fragrance of Christ to the people that they will be around. Right now. But the result isn’t going to be now, all at once. It takes patience, and He isn’t done with His good work.

God has been showing me about a new kind of patience. I used to think of patience as a passive quality or as something that knows what the result will be.

Patience to get to the occasion that’s only two days away now.

Patience to accomplish the goal and receive the reward.

This new kind of patience—I don’t know the outcome. I want both to know and to see the outcome. Now. The biggest part is relationships and my own shortcomings. My controlling nature wants the person and the problem fixed. Then, I think, it will be better.

Little by little, I’m seeing that this isn’t the way God works. He is always working, transforming all of His children into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. No, it doesn’t happen all at once. It could take a lifetime—which, in the moment, seems like a very long time.

I look at some people and think, “You need a lot of help.”(Honestly, though, we all need help). And I forget to realize that God might be working in that person’s life. It may not be looking as I think it should (and who am I to tell God what’s best?), and it may not be happening at the rate that I approve (but it’s His time and not mine).

The scary part is that now the conclusion is unknown. The comforting part is that God good and full of grace to us, and He is working things out for His infinite glory. I can’t change people (though I would really like to sometimes), but He can. He is the only One who can. He wants me to love unreservedly, listen unselfishly, obey His Word and Spirit, and believe His truth.

I’m still learning about this new kind of patience. (It would be handy to get the whole lesson down right now.) But really—it’s freeing because the responsibility is not mine to be sure people are behaving as they should. My job is to obey Jesus Christ and not to change the world into the kind of world I think it should be.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14).

“He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

~Rachel Sue

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/fjtu/2260860861/”>FJTUrban (sommelier d mojitos)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

 

We have so much.

Empty

There’s something in my life that I don’t like. One of many imperfections, but I think this is what I struggle with the most. I want it gone, but that idea just seems impossible. Anyway, I asked God to teach me what I needed to hear. Because honestly, I didn’t even know what I needed—but I knew that I needed something.

I didn’t even try, and God just gave me of a part of His Word that fit everything I needed to hear. Perfectly.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3, ESV)

How can I begin to understand all that this verse means?

Life. Jesus came that I could have life and have it more abundantly. In Christ, life has meaning and fulfillment. Life encompasses so much. It’s so complex. But by His divine power, I have everything I need to live.

Godliness. I can hardly take in that I already have all of God’s riches to become like Christ. Doesn’t that make you feel rich? And it’s not just a feeling; it’s true. Godliness is profitable for all things—today and eternity.

Possible. It’s possible to overcome this battle—or any other battle—because it’s through His divine power. My struggle is in both the “life” category and the “godliness” category. That doesn’t mean it’s too big or complicated for God to fix.

Passive. What did you and I do to receive all of this? He called us to his own glory and excellence. He gave us everything that pertains to life and godliness. I don’t have to do something amazing to get on God’s side. It’s not as if I have to have some incredible spiritual experience for this to apply to me.

If you’re a child of God, this applies to you.

And the best part? It doesn’t stop with me because it’s not about me. (Actually, that would be a tragedy because I’m so small.) It’s about God and His own glory and excellence. It’s one of the paradoxes of Christianity how God can give us so much and still make everything about Him.

God showed this to me this morning and it tied in with several other things I saw and read….

The Logos Bible art of the day:

Is61.10-2

This picture and quote from a friend:

Promises

This link:

http://stuffchristianslike.net/2014/01/02/thinking-youre-naked-2/

So often I put God in a box. I trust more in my weakness rather than His strength. Yesterday I knew I was going to need help, and He showed me not to ask Him to give ME strength, but to ask to go in HIS strength. There’s a difference.

I don’t know if my thoughts are very organized this post. Let me make it clear, however, that GOD IS AWESOME! He gives us so much! He supplies EVERYTHING that we need!

Be encouraged,

~Rachel Sue

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/6109294608/”>kevin dooley</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;