As we start a new week, let’s remember this:
Our flesh and our hearts may fail (Ps. 73:26), but His compassions NEVER fail (Lam. 3:22). When we fall short this week, when we make the same mistake yet again, our emotions will try to trick us into thinking that God wants nothing to do with us.
But God’s faithfulness is not dependent on our performance. And His compassions are not dependent on our emotions.
That’s the beauty of the Gospel, that we fall utterly short of God’s standard, but He loves us with a love so strong and sure that He sent His son to die for us (Rom. 5:8). So when we fail, let’s say “no” to shame and see it as a chance to marvel in Christ’s love, a love so powerful and unwavering that nothing we do will make Him change His mind (Rom. 8:38-39). #lamentations3 #compassion #faithfulness #godslove #jesus #christ #gospel #romans5 #romans8 #freedom
There’s a fine line between acting in faith and trying to gain freedom in my own strength.
I tend to think that if I talk about a struggle enough, if I analyze it from every angle and dress it in different words, I’ll be able to finally discover some insight that will set me free once and for all from thought patterns that keep coming back to haunt me.
But I’ve realized the irony: trying to win the battle of the mind with the power of my mind is foolish.
When the Israelites found themselves surrounded on all sides-the Egyptians ready to strike and the Red Sea blocking their way, no human battle strategy could save them. No human battle strategy could save them, but God could, and he would. Moses told the people, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” (Ex. 14:14) And God fought for them in a way only He was able: he parted the sea and His people walked to freedom.
In the same way, when freedom seems impossible to me, perhaps it’s because I’m trusting in my mind rather than trusting God to defend me. No amount of analysis on my part will lead to freedom; instead, my victory will only come when I rest my weary mind and say, “Lord, only you can fight this battle.” So may I trust His healing process, may I rest my mind, and may I take joy in the fact that He is fighting my battles, and that He always wins.
#surrounded #thisishowifightmybattles #rest #praise #bestill #exodus14 #thelordwillfightforyou #upperroom
When you don’t feel your faith, when darkness is all you see, it can be easy to lose heart. But know this: what you can’t see with human eyes, He sees with perfect clarity, when you can’t feel Him working, He’s working something mysterious and beautiful that will ultimately end in joy. #faith #thegodwhoseesme
A year ago today an idea lit in me that seemed too good to be true.
What if-what if I could actually leave a situation that had me wilting by the day and pursue health and wholeness? (If you’re a former student of mine reading this, know that you were NOT the problem and I LOVED working with you!)
But it seemed too good to be true because even with all I had known and experienced of Christ’s compassionate love, a distorted theology sought to take the reins.
It was a theology that said the painful, burdensome situation was by default the one Jesus required me to choose, that the worse I felt, the godlier I was becoming.
And it’s true, Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33). We will be persecuted for following him and will experience the effects of a fallen world.
But he didn’t tell us to seek trouble for trouble’s sake.
I think of the penance medieval monks put themselves through to prove their faith: whipping themselves, lying in the snow, sleeping on hard benches. I highly doubt that’s the type of trouble Jesus was talking about. In my situation though, I was acting as though it was.
But praise the Lord that he spoke through his word and through others to reveal that my view of what it meant to follow him had become so twisted. Praise the Lord that he revealed the freedom I had in him!
And now, a year later, I’m in awe of what he has done, how he has surrounded me with a family of believers, how he’s been unearthing and uprooting the lies and fears in my heart, and how he’s opening up doors to do what I believe he’s called me to do. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to you children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?” Matthew 7:11-12
#father #goodfather #matthew7 #godsfaithfulness
“Active love is a harsh and fearful thing compared with love in dreams. Love in dreams thirsts for immediate action, quickly performed, and with everyone watching. Indeed, it will go as far as the giving of one’s life, provided it does not take long but is soon over, as on stage, and everyone is looking on and praising. Whereas active love is labor and perseverance, and for some people, perhaps, a whole science.” Father Zosima in The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Active love isn’t the stuff of romantic comedies.
It’s not the meet-cute or the perfectly delivered lines or the proposal in front of thousands.
Active love is the boring, steady kind, the behind-the-scenes, humble kind. It’s the husband caring for his chronically ill wife day after day. It’s the exhausted mom, unseen, who gets up once again to comfort a crying child. It’s the pastor, under the microscope and misunderstood, who releases fear of man to God and keeps on serving where he’s been called.
Active love can be a science, which sounds wrong at first, because in our culture, love is defined more by feelings and grand gestures than by a quiet, gritty steadiness.
Active love is the love of Christ, a love that wasn’t just that day at the cross, but was 30 years of obscurity then 3 years of being misunderstood and vilified by those he came to save.
On days where dullness is common and acts of love are unseen, I sometimes romanticize situations in which I would have the chance to do something big, something that matters by worldly standards. In essence, I desire to love others in order to prove that I am significant.
But active love, Christ’s love, is the exact opposite: its focus is on the other’s good regardless of who notices. It’s okay with being misunderstood and unseen because it knows that God’s approval makes man’s pale in comparison. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”