The battle

“if we know that we are moving in the direction God planned, nothing will ever cause us to loose His blessing or thwart His purpose for us”. Pastor Stoper, Mission 119

Why is it sometimes- really most times- totally frustrating, lonely, unfun, and seemingly endlessly unrewarding to continue the direction that deep down we know is right, all the while urges just for a little relief drown us even deeper into love of self and if we concede we then hate ourselves and wonder whether we even know God at all. I mean seriously, life can really be a cross to carry, and it doesn’t always seem like an easy yoke to work under.
I fear God, and there are lines I won’t cross, but then sometimes I think I fear men more than God cause other lines I’ve already crossed could be worse than certain ones I won’t cause of upbringing, and then one must think, well, WTH, I’ve already done all that, and we are saved by grace through faith…. But true faith manifests in the works and so why should I plummet any further … I’ve gone far enough and climb up and sink back and climb up and sink back …..I do so get discouraged – where is the power of the resurrection? Where is the new life? Why is it an endless road of repentance? Where is the repentance not to be repented of?
I really am discouraged.

I posted Pastor Stoper’s quote on my Facebook page the other day, and an acquaintance of mine shared it to his page with his post in italics… as I read his words, I felt his genuine discouragement, and my heart broke. I believe these are the lies that the devil wants to continually barrage us with.. he knows we can be easily discouraged.

I have felt the very same way that my friend feels at various times in my life, especially when I’ve fallen prey to the same sin that I know God has previously forgiven, and beat myself up over why it happened. I really appreciate my friends’ open and honest dialogue as it shows our humanity, it shows we don’t have it all together. (I know I certainly don’t)

Romans 7:15-20 New International Version (NIV)

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

I am comforted by the fact that even the Apostle Paul wrestled with this… I have found tremendous comfort and healing as I read the Bible and see that the people who God uses to further His kingdom in mighty ways were not perfect. If nothing else, it shows me that God can stilll use me despite my flaws, despite the lives I’ve crossed (or not crossed). When my heart is right and contrite, God forgives and grows. It IS an endless road of repentance, but a road of growth and expectation as well.

Philippians 1:6 English Standard Version (ESV)

6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

I have felt tremendous discouragement very recently, and wondered if the path I travel really is the path He has for me, or if I’ve simply misread. As I Stare in His direction though, I am convinced now, more than ever, that I AM doing what He’s called me to do, and He is using present circumstances to strengthen my faith for the purpose to which He’s called me. I pray I can remain steadfast in His promises as those challenges continue (because I know they will). I pray for those around me, that they would see Him working in my imperfect life to bring about His purpose. I pray that for those around me as well.

In His Holy and precious name I pray, I am His.

Be blessed,

SB

Therapy with Jesus… again

Saturday, February 1, 2020: Here I am a few months later, having a therapy session with Jesus in the lobby of our studio. Rob has told me that this place brings him peace. I’m sitting here in complete silence, interrupted only by the occasional passer by.

Lord, I love You. All I am, all I have is Yours.

https://journey-for-life.com/2019/09/24/therapy-with-jesus/

We have met the enemy…

…. And it is us

We are often our own worst enemy. We allow self doubt, even self loathing, to creep into our mind, and let it traipse all through, telling us that we can’t overcome our past, or our limitations, or our weaknesses.

The truth is, though, that where we fall short, God fills our gaps. He alone can be our strength when we are weak, and can do things through us that we are unable to do on our own.

It’s funny how the devil knows just where to hit us… and he’ll do it every time. Many times, it’s not a frontal attack he launches. Instead, he uses our own self doubt and weakness to convince us we’re powerless. He is so sly he fools us to thinking we’re the ones who aren’t worthy.. and we don’t even realize he’s doing it.

One of the best ways to combat that approach is to really study the word of God. When we know scripture, we can be in a position to recall the scriptures when we need them. Sometimes, a scripture verse will pop into my mind… and it’s completely appropriate for the situation in which I find myself.

Ephesians 3:20 New International Version (NIV)

Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”


English Standard Version exodus 14:14 “The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Turn your battle over to Him today. Let Him fight the fight for you and trust that He will carry you if you fully surrender to him.

Be blessed today, my friends

SB

Chasing Daylight… 2

“When you are passionate about God, you can trust your passions.”

“There are few things in life more inspiring than a life lived with passion and clarity”

“We were not created to live life from the sidelines. It’s about a refusal to live a life in neutral.”

These are a few of the awesome quotes from Erwin MacManus’ book, Chasing Daylight. I had the privilege to worship at his church last year on the day he spoke about this book.

Every now and again we need a reminder that we ARE warriors. We are created by Him for His purpose …and if we are passionate about Him, we can be confident that He’s got us, no matter how difficult a road we travel.

I have the courage to create my future, but only because I am confident in the One who created me for His purpose. I pray for wisdom and knowledge, and know that He is working together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

Blessings,

SB

Burden to intercede

To the readers who have been following my journey, you know that my friend, Rob, has gone through some incredible health drama lately, which have driven me completely to my knees in intercession prayer. As I’ve selected “pray” as my word of the year, I suppose it’s been appropriate.

I have called on others close to me to uplift me in prayer (as well as Rob), and am exceedingly grateful for their prayers. This morning, I had a brief exchange with one of those special people. He texted me Ephesians 6:18 and told me that I’ve certainly been persistent in praying for Rob.

“Sometimes I don’t understand why I care so much about him,” I replied.

“God put a burden on your heart to intercede for him.”

After long thought, I replied, “sometimes I wish He hadn’t.”

Truly, there are times when I’m exhausted and worn out, literally heartsick from wanting to see change happen in my timeline, and frustrated when it seems Rob doesn’t understand the sacrifices that people are making for him. I have seen God’s hand clearly provide, and I know He has a plan… but there are honestly times when, if I’m honest about it, I wonder if all of this effort will be lost because Rob has the free will to choose whatever he wants (and he could choose to rebel against God). I literally want to shake him… and I know that during this waiting, God continues to prepare both Rob and me (and everyone else involved) for something He’s got planned.

Bob’s response was, “I wish He hadn’t written in His word that we are to pray for our leaders, because there’s been some of them that I don’t want to. But He did.”

Touché. I get it. I’ve been burdened by the Lord to care for him, like it or not. Until God shows me otherwise, I will continue to interceded on his behalf.

Be blessed, Rob. You must be special for God to care about you so much.

SB

God’s SovereignWill

Numbers 23:19: “God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that he should change his mind. Does He speak and not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?”

My daily devotional took me through Numbers 22-24, which is a strange account that shows that sometimes God will use scoundrels to further His kingdom. It’s an account of a bad man that God used to bless Israel. Sometimes God uses people who have no spiritual depth to say and do wonderful things, and further His kingdom.

A few months ago our pastor talked about the difference between God’s Sovereign will and His will for our personal lives. His will is that we would all come to know Him as Lord of our lives, but He has given us free will to choose. He could have made us without free will and chosen to force us to love Him, but by giving us the freedom to choose to love Him, he finds those who are genuine. He WILL allow us to NOT choose Him… to take a path that leads to destruction… He WILL allow us to make bad decisions… and by His grace alone, He will extends His grace to get our lives back on track when we’ve chosen poorly. In our personal lives, His will is our choice. But in His Sovereign will…. His work will be accomplished despite the choices we make. He does not need us to accomplish His Sovereign will…. but oh, what a wonderful place to be in the very center of His will for our personal lives as well as the center of His Sovereign will.

Pastor Stoper: “when God is determined to bless a people, nothing, but nothing, but nothing is ever going to interfere with or block that plan…if we know that we are moving in the direction God planned, nothing will ever cause us to loose His blessing or thwart His purpose for us”

Lord, I don’t know what I’ve done to find favor in Your eyes, but I know that everything I have has been given by Your hand. I have seen You work miracles and know the power You have. I want everyone to know You fully, and be able to find the purpose You have for their lives. I want to continue moving in the direction of Your will and Your purpose. I want to be used so that others may see Your glory and Your glory alone. My prayer for my friends today is that they would find Your will for their lives, and find their way right to the center of it, to be part of Your Will for their lives as well as Your Sovereign will and plan.

So very grateful for all You have done and are doing to further Your Kingdom.

Be blessed today, my friends

SB

So humbled

Father, my Lord and Savior, how much I love you. To live in expectation of Your wonder is so incredible; to see the works that You have done, the power that You have; to bring healing where healing is needed, to prune what needs pruned in our lives to get us where we need to be to glorify You has been the most amazing thing I’ve ever witnessed.

Lord, I know that You have Your hand on me, You will not let me fall. Hold those around me, and give strength where we are weak. Trusting You with everything I have, every good and perfect gift has come from You alone.

Lord, You are Holy and feared. I love You.

Forever Yours,

Your humble servant,

SB