Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony. Psalm 6:2 Ever feel stuck in a relationship where it gets increasingly difficult to feel anything positive? You cannot conjure up warmth for someone with whom you share no positive emotional connection. Each of us has been …
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. Psalm 119:15 The way of the disciple is to listen, meditate on what he’s heard, then travel the ways of His teacher. David doesn’t just meditate to enjoy kingdom musings. He narrows his eyes to consider God’s ways and to make sure …
April 25, 2016
Hold not your peace, or God of my praise. Psalms 109:1
Has the Word of God ever tormented you? Conviction is one thing; torment is altogether different. God is not a tormentor and yet, when it’s the Word of God that appears to eat at my soul, it can do tricks on my spiritual view of God. He becomes a tease.
I need to know that Satan is cunning. Paul warned me. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Cor. 11:3 The Word, rightly revealed, brings me closer to Jesus. My appetite for Him increases and I can’t help myself from drawing nearer. But Satan will quote scripture (as he did to Jesus) and weave truths together in a way that triggers my issues. How will I know that it’s him working against me rather than the Spirit of God convicting me? I will be led astray from my devotion to Christ. I will find myself backing up, growing shy, beginning to feel distrustful of God’s love for me. I’ll give you an example.
For fifteen years, Satan did a number on me by hooking two spiritual truths together. 1. God loves me just the way I am – enough to come and die for me. And, 2.) God’s will for my life is that I grow to become more like His Son. Combine those and it’s deadly. How can God love me just like I am if He wants me to spend my whole life changing to become like Jesus? Feeling continually inadequate, I feared drawing close to Him. I could only trust His love if I felt I was acting Christlike. See the trap? Feel my insecurity?
A wise counselor I was seeing at the time helped me sort it out. He didn’t try to make sense of the mis-matched truths. Instead, He suggested, “Christine, you must have lived in a world where you were only loved if you acted perfectly.” The door opened a crack and the light of Jesus love poked through.
Where are you stuck in your relationship with Christ? Where are you shy of Him? Over what do you back up rather than move closer? Find the answer to those questions and I’ll guarantee that God’s Words have been used against you. The devil knows scripture better than any of us and is not above quoting it out of context. We could be paranoid and say that we’re helpless against such craftiness but we must remember that we have the Spirit of God inside to guide each of us into the way of truth. When I identify feelings of torment, I know to go hunting for the lies that caused it.
Lord, I don’t know who this devotional is for today. Reveal the mis-used scriptures and set the captives free. In Jesus name, Amen
I have inclined my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end. Psalm 119:112 Tell a child, “Don’t do that!” and they’ll set out to do it. Tell a child “Do this!” and they’ll want to do anything but that. Being told what to do is distasteful. Rebellion is bound up in the …
April 22, 2016
Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him! Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity. PSALM 68:4-6
God wants me to know something about the nature of His love. I had a loving, attentive father in the first days of my development. Though my memory may be fuzzy and my recollection of Him absent, if I could go back in time and roll the video tape in the spiritual realms, I would see how active God was. I would see how He preserved me.
Oh, the heartbreak of a Father who has loved well, how deep the pain of a tender parent who has invested Himself yet I did not acknowledge Him for a long time. Instead, though I knew Him to be Father, I ignored Him while playing with toy gods. The pain He must have felt went beyond a mild sting. It was a blow to His heart.
Have you ever poured out your soul on another only to have your love spurned?
- Perhaps you’ve done it as a parent. You’ve sacrificed to give when there was little left for yourself. The one who drank of your affection didn’t know that you expended the last drop in your well of resources. They tossed your gift aside with disgust. God knows.
- Perhaps you’ve done it as a friend. You watched the promise of friendship unfold like a beautiful flower. You took it slowly and prayerfully. Yet, with all your caution, in time the friendship eroded and your heart was tossed aside like a worthless thing. God knows.
- Perhaps you’ve done it as a spouse. You dreamed the dream of intimacy. You modeled what ‘oneness’ would look like from the way you invested your trust. While you walked through the years with integrity, his heart grew cold and for a while He hid it well. One day, there was a pronouncement that the love was gone. God knows.
God knows! When our love is tossed aside, the wounds often run so deep that we withdraw and stop extending our heart. God does not. He keeps hoping, keeps the ache alive for the purpose of future reconciliation. Have you ever known such a faithful love as this? And may I not miss the bigger message in all of this ~ that when I was indifferent, He was not. When I was faithless, He was not. When I accused Him of being absent, He was not.
You have loved me with an everlasting love, past, present, and future. Whatever trust issues I had should be healed in the truth of our history. Thank you. In Jesus name, Amen
April 21, 2016
HOW AUTHENTIC AM I?
How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit! Psalm 32:2
Genuine. Sincere. These should be the last words I see on a 3×5 card before getting out of my car and going out in public. The world is often a stage and ‘nice’ is the mask I wear as a Christian. Do others experience me as sincere?
Sincere is based on Latin words meaning ‘without wax’. There was an ancient practice of using wax to hide cracks in inferior pottery so that it could be disguised as more valuable and sold for a higher price. A high-end piece of pottery had a stamp on it that said, “Without wax” to show that it had not been doctored. As a person, I want to be sincere, not just hiding my true nature and true feelings.
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. Psalm 119:98-99 As far as I know, we’re not told that David struggled with crippling inadequacy. I know of no admissions that revealed that he did. However, his acknowledgement …