Lent devotional 38
Today I was shoveling our steps to our house of the knee deep snowfall we had last night. Suddenly my shovel his something metal and I had a moment of that ‘I found treasure’ rush before fishing it out of the snow and finding it be the cross we have hanging on our door. The wind had blown it down in the storm. I put it aside, finished what I was doing and then took it around to the back of the house where I could leave it in a shelter to dry. I noticed that something was wrong with it as I inspected it for damage and soon realized that the ‘faith’ on the front of it was covered with snow, so I brushed it off and went inside.
Isn’t that so like life? We dig for something of value in this world and find a treasure of faith. Then a big storm hits and our faith gets blown around and beaten until it falls and becomes buried by the crushing weight of our problem. Then we start to clean up from our pain and problems little by litte, knowing that we need help, and there we find our faith waiting for us, just a little wet and a little buried by the snow. we pick it back up, dust it off, and place it back in our lives where it belongs. Storms are supposed to be conquered through faith, they aren’t supposed to win and knock our faith down. They aren’t supposed to, but sometimes they still do. But God is faithful to us and is ready to help us even when we lose our faith, even when we can’t take anymore, even when we fall asleep in the garden. It breaks His heart, but He gets it and doesn’t give up on us.
“Thank you Jesus for getting me even on days when my faith has taken a beating, I know you are always there and that though you may rebuke me, you will never stop loving me.”
Don’t be ashamed to face God and ask for forgiveness for falling asleep on watch, go to Him and reach for Him, He will hold you close and restore you, because even if you fail Him, He never fails you.
Every hero has their costume. Without it, they simply don’t look heroic.
If John Wayne didn’t wear his hat he would still look like a hero to us, but that is simply because we have seen him in action. On the other hand if you saw All Might walking down the street in civilian clothes he would look, well, a little bit like a hippy; but full dressed in his hero outfit, he looks like the symbol of peace. Right? Right.
People can’t look at us and see that we are God’s heros. We are always in civilian wear. We can’t suit up and say, “fear not, for I am here!” Because we have nothing to suit up with. Like the Duke (John Wayne) we have to let people know what we are all about by our actions. If they see us acting like Jesus then they will know, “we are here to help✌.”
So, suit up everybody. It’s time to act like heros.
Lately over the past year I have taken up jogging. I say lately because we live in Manitoba and I don’t want to die running on ice. In the beginning I was doing it so my dog would lose weight and my vet could stop giving me ‘that’ look. In the beginning we started slow. About 5 mins.
Then we improved till we could go 10. The other day I set me treadmill at jog speed and started to run while watching TV. 25 mins later my show was over and I still had energy. I then realized that my body had adjusted to going on long jogs.
It’s the same in our prayer lives. We start off wanting to please God but we tire out quickly. Aiming for an half an hour prayer can seem a little much in the beginning. What we needed is persistence. A daily routine and time set. Then little by little, without us even realizing it, our souls stretch and our spiritual cardio expands and we find ourselves enjoying more and more time with God. It may seem like a frustration in the beginning, but once you learn to love it you can’t go back.
Where faith may fail
Do you ever feel as though your faith has failed?
Ya, me too.
You build yourself up with courageous words and scripture verses to make your heart feel okay, but deep down you still feel faithless. A nagging voice says, ‘you know God doesn’t operate like that anymore! You know that those kinds of miracles ended before the 20th century began. So why pray for it? Why run after something that you will never catch? You’ll just end up looking silly for trying so hard. Give up. Faith has no ground.’
Wow. Say ‘hello Devil, when did you get here?’ because that’s the voice I hear when I hear such words. It is clearly the Devil saying such things; eating away at your Faith like a monster devouring flesh, but that doesn’t stop us from believing such wicked and common lies. We hit a wall where our Faith feels powerless and we just can’t fight through. I realized something the other day. Why do we fight with our Faith? Faith isn’t a weapon. It’s a shield. The Holy Spirit is the weapon! Our Faith feels battered because we are using it to beat down our enemy. We drop our sword, take our shield in both hands and smack our enemy with it with all our strength! And we get knocked back on our belt of hard truth. The truth is that with our own strength we can’t do anything. But if we attack our enemy with the sword of the Spirit the enemy will fall! Because we are using God’s strength to win! Our Faith gets battered because we wield it as a weapon. Which it isn’t. But as a shield, as our defense, our Faith is unmatched in power because our Faith is in the unmatched, powerful God. Whose name is Jesus.
So then, put on the full armor of God-Ephesians 6:10
The ASL sign for complain is a hand motion of a cup that pounds on your chest. Isn’t that exactly what complaining feels like? A pounding of grief, anger, pain, pounding on your heart until it overflows from your mouth in the form of a complaint.
Everytime someone in the Bible complained something either went wrong or got worse. So what is the lesson? Don’t complain.Ya right. It is so very hard to not complain, even if the verbal sensation steals our joy and causes us greater destruction. We complain because we need relief and feel like spouting our problems will help. I have a solution. Don’t complain to people, instead beg mercy from God. Tell Him what you are going through and ask Him to help.
This way you accomplish three things.
A. You set your problems in the hands of the one who can actually help
B. You talk about your grief and get it off your chest
C. You fellowship with the All Mighty.
All of these things cause you to feel better, and best of all, actually make a difference in your situation.
God wants to help us, but He also wants us to bring these things to Him. Sometimes we won’t see a change until we ask God. Cry to God. Tell our Father that we need Him. Then He reaches out His hand and helps us back to where we are meant to be .
Looking to God can be a struggle because the world always says ‘yes’; God sometimes says ‘no’.
To face God and accept that your answer may be ‘no’ is painful and very scary. We want a ‘yes’ answer, and we want it quickly; meet World, because he answers with what you want quickly. Why? Because World doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about you or what happens next, he doesn’t even care if you have a story or a future, if you want a quick fix, find World, because that is how he operates.
If you want perfection, look to God.
My mom always says ‘wait for perfect,’ meaning the perfect that God is preparing. My answer? I want the perfect when it comes, but I want the temporary to fill the gaps of waiting.
Stupid? Yep. Bad logic? I know. Not realistic? Absolutely.
And in a few moments of post conversation reflection I see my flaw, or error in judgement I guess would be a better term.
Wait for perfect and accept that your ‘no’ is leading you to that perfect… whatever… whatever it is you seek, wait for it to be perfect. It is easy to say this, I know, but living it means pain at times and struggle at others. If you trip don’t worry about it, confess it and trust God to set back on your path, but keep seeking God and His answers because, painful or not, they are your best option. World is what they call a ‘toxic relationship’, God, the one who cares enough to want best instead of good enough, the one who goes with you and fights for you, (often fighting against World for you, ) He is the fairy tale relationship. He is the Prince, or in this case the King, riding in to give you the life that you need. Oops. That isn’t how the story goes is it? Doesn’t the King give the life you ‘want’? No. This King gives the life you need, but the end of the story is a dream come true when follow the King.
God please guide us to you in your power. Please help us through the pain life sometimes brings and please show us your road for our lives. In Jesus name..amen.
Credit to owner for cover image
Victory takes time
John Millias’ painting ‘Victory oh Lord’
Who remembers Moses having to hold up his hands to God for victory in battle?
Remember? As long as his hands were up God’s people were winning but whenever they were down God’s people would lose.
The battle lasted so long that Aaron and Hur had to come and hold up Moses’ hands because he was exhausted.
If you were Moses’ wouldn’t you be thinking,
‘Anytime now God! I am really losing will power here!’
Yet Moses persevered in Faith and ultimately the battle was won.
We live in a ‘now’ society.
Everything happens quickly, and we expect it to. When my wifi is slow and I have to wait a minute before something will download instead of the 10 seconds it normally takes, I am irritated. I am also an impatient person and am working on that.
You see my point though. Moses waited so long for God to bring victory that his body literally gave out on him; but Moses knew God well and had seen Him do unreal things before, so he kept his Faith and kept his hands raised.
We know God can do unreal things, so why do we doubt Him? Our arms get tired and we lower them. Our praise ceases, our prayer wanes and eventually we give up the fight. Don’t give up the fight! One more time. Don’t give up the fight! God is moving, acting and working! Keep your hands raised high! If you can’t keep them up on your own, seek help. Help from friends, family, your pastor or church, from a devotional or online Christian speaker, find somebody you trust to help hold your hands up with you. God will bring you the victory, just keep reaching up to Him and don’t stop until you see your breakthrough.
Thank you Lord Jesus for being our breakthrough. I pray for whomever is reading this devotional that they find peace and strength and support as they wait for the victory you are bringing. In Jesus name.
What is He to you now?
Alter call. On your knees, face to the floor, breathing in small bits of grit out of the carpet but so in touch with the Holy Spirit that you don’t even notice. White knuckles as you call out…”God I know I am a sinner, I repent of my sins, please God come into my life and make me yours!”
10 years later.
Where are you? Life is busy, sometimes way too crazy and God’s gentle embrace feels a bit distant.
When we first find God He is our everything; we seek Him, serve Him, share Him and feel Him in us like a wildfire. But life moves on and we have to move too, and between the hectic work days and the constant ‘Christian-ing’ we begin to lose God. Not that He is leaving us but….we may be unintentionally leaving Him.
Sometimes I feel like I trade off a connection with God because I am trying too hard to look like the spiritual warriors I know. I stop praying to God and start praying at God. I stop worshiping and just simply bob to the beat. I stop…seeking God’s face.
After all the years of being with God, what is He to me now?
Recently I noticed that I have been distractedly rushing through my prayer time. I hate that. I know I am busy and it is hard to make time, but it isn’t impossible. I feel like I stopped being Jesus’s friend and started to simply be flippant with Him. Oh big important me that I should slow down for Christ! How dumb. If my God makes the time to sit and talk with me than I should make the time to talk with Him.
Abraham Lincoln once said: ‘it does not matter if God is on my side, it matters if I am on God’s side.’
In the beginning I was always on God’s side, playing on His team, but where am I now? What have I made Him in my life?
The only thing I know to do to fix this dead wood life style is to pour food onto the embers. Then fan it. So Bible reading × 2, praying + extra meditation on God, devotional reading with concentration. Because with God, it only takes a little effort to make your heart hungry once again.
So I ask, what is He to you right now?
Also. If you have never prayed that prayer, asking God into your life, please do so now. He is worth it.
God, I know I am a sinner and fall short of your kingdom. I repent of my sins and ask you to come into my life and help me live a life that is for you. Help to never feel like I am not enough, because you are more than enough for me. In Jesus’ name…amen.