Category Archives: Obedience to God’s word under pressure

This  blog I’ve been writing has really helped me through the last nine months. At the beginning, I didn’t think it would be possible to feel any lasting positive emotions, I didn’t understand that following God would heal and restore in the way it has.

Betrayal and adultery often end  acrimoniously, full of bad feelings, with bitterness and anger and hurtful arguments. 

The bible shows us another way. It’s a path full of difficulty because it denies self, and puts Christ at the  centre.

Going God’s way at first glance may feel too difficult. It’s hard to let go of debilitating hurt and leave it at the cross without clawing it back. We feel we have the right to hold onto it.

There are two options which are both full of difficulty. I’ve tried them both. When I’ve hung on to hurt and anger, It’s caused me to lose joy with my Father. I believed Satan’s lies which put me into the deepest darkest pit. 

The longer I continued  on the road of anger and bitterness, the harder it became to  respond rightly to God. We think we have the right to hold onto anger, but like all satan’s lies the only thing it really damages is ourselves. 

The second road is just as difficult. After experiencing betrayal and heartbreak, society tells us it’s all about looking after number One. Self is up there, exalted, loved and worshipped. Self is often put before all else and even as Christians we can be drawn into this mindset. 

So to go God’s way and to deny Self is truly swimming against the tide.

 To walk on God’s road is like doing a bungee  jump. We know that we have a harness on, but it’s so unbelievably frightening that we procrastinate, cling onto our hurt, and tremble on the platform. We know that if we take the plunge and jump, we will  be glad we did. But as so often in life, the first step is the hardest. We have to take God at his word. Believe that every command is because he loves us. That nothing he tells us to do is because he is harsh or uncaring. 

When we jump off that platform we realise that the harness is secure. With obedience comes joy. Those debilitating emotions dissipate and are replaced with peace and  liberty  because we know we are going God’s  way.

Total submission to God’s rules will bring liberty and peace like nothing else can. It gives us an understanding that forgiving others has wonderful symmetry with God’s forgiveness of us. When we step out of satan’s kingdom we feel the sunshine that only comes from walking in obedience to God’s word. 

As  we make those feeble attempts to put Christ first, he will honour us and help us, and keep us on that amazing road which leads to life. The more we deny self, the happier we will be. Loving self is not the best  way, it’s a lie which ends in despair. 

Last week it was our 25th wedding anniversary. I praise God that it was a happy day. We acknowledged the hurt, we were so sad over the damage caused. As we look forward, we are excited to see what lies ahead. We are on the road of obedience and we pray that the next 25 years will be full of faithful service. It will most probably be unseen, at the back. That doesn’t matter in the least. We are both on the road to heaven. We want to serve him well together from this point. No doubt our responses will be full of inconsistency, but we look to God for his help and grace to bring us through.

There are still so many unknowns. Jobs, security, finances. But God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and he will provide all that is needed for his children. 

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I met with my best friends yesterday. I have been unwilling to let go of resentment. As a result I have suffered spiritually. The wonderful thing about close Christian friends is that they can admonish with love. I needed that yesterday, and as they quietly challenged me about something unwise, I felt convicted. We meet in a coffee shop and then go and pray in the car. This is our pattern. As we walked to the car we were reflecting on psalm 23. Our shepherd King makes us lie down in green pastures and even uses his rod to enable us to do it. For me, this picture is so wonderful. God disciplines us. We see hurt and cruelty in it, and yet if we saw it from God’s perspective he is driving us from brown parched land, to lush green pastures, where the quiet waters are.


So as we got in the car, we all prayed that we would love those we don’t want to love, and that they would be made to lie down in green pastures. Since this prayer, my whole mindset has changed. Joy has returned to my soul. God is leading us beside the still waters and yet  for God to do it, it often causes us pain because just like stupid sheep, we don’t understand what’s good for us. 

We have such an amazing Saviour. Such a great God. The discipline we receive enables us to lie down in green pastures. I pray that when God disciplines us in the future we will have the green pastures in view, and thank God for the discipline and not rebel against it. 

There are many lenses I have viewed my husband through over the last eight months. The lens of anger and hurt, of bitterness and displacement. Even though the world would say that I have a right to all of these reactions, I am learning that we have to be very cautious about which lens we choose to view our life through. Viewing our life through a wrong lens distorts our understanding of the gospel and brings disaster into our lives. 

After many hard knocks I have come to understand that it’s only the lens of God’s word that should influence our lives. It’s the only way for true contentment and fulfilment with the one who knows us best.

When we are looking through a wrong lens, sin is crouching at our door.
 

Proverbs 17:9 says:

Love forgets mistakes; nagging about them parts the best of friends. 

God forgets our mistakes, he hurls our iniquities into the depths of the sea. If we are loving God before ourselves, then we do the same when people hurt and offend us. 

James 1:25 says:

 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it, not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it, they will be blessed in what they do.

When we experience betrayal and hurt our instinctive reaction often turns to bitterness and distance, anger and unforgiveness. Looking through the lens of God’s  word  enables us to see that God reacts to us very differently. God  reacts with kindness and forgiveness, with tenacious love and with no thought to his own feelings when we have hurt and offended him. When we are looking through the right lens we begin to view those who have offended us as loved and precious to God. When we break it down, we begin to view ourselves as no better than those who have hurt us. We are all sinners that don’t deserve the outrageous kindness of our Heavenly Father. So, if  God reacts with love, grace and forgiveness when he is hurt and offended, so must we. 


Philippians 4:11-13

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

My life has plateaued, and the adrenalin that was frantically pumping in every direction has finally halted. Being in a constant state of high alert is finally over, and I am faced with my new life which I didn’t choose. I have struggled to find contentment with my life as it is now.

Rick Warren says:

“Contentment means my happiness is not dependent upon circumstances. Most people get caught in “when” thinking — “When I get such and such, then I’ll be happy.” ”

This morning, driving to work I  prayed for contentment. I also acknowledged that I didn’t want to pray this prayer, and I needed God to work In my life to enable me to mean the words that I was saying.  This took energy  and effort  because I was asking God to make me content with something I was discontent with.  Its hard to ask God for true contentment if  we don’t feel proactive about changing our attitudes.

Paul says in Philippians 4:11 that  He had to learn to be content. It wasn’t something that came to him naturally.  I’m sure he didn’t want to be in dire need or in prison or shipwrecked or hungry. Yet paul experienced all these things and through it, learned contentment.

I know my heart is rebellious and I know how wrong I am. I am struggling and grappling and trying to work through finding contentment in this situation I am now in. The key is loving God more and wanting every situation we find ourselves in, good  or bad to please God.

This is my prayer for today:

Lord,
I am discontent about many things in my life.  There is an unwillingness to accept the here and now. I am discontent over all I have lost. Forgive me for my rebellious heart that is so slow and reluctant to ask for contentment with the life I now have.

To know contemtement in every situation pleases you. You know best, and whatever happens in our lives, help me to trust you and understand that you are working out everything for my ultimate good. Help me to know that contentment can only come from you. It has  to be learned and applied as we look to you for help.Thank you for your willingness to forgive again and again. Thank you for Jesus who gladly gave up everything, and yet was content to submit to your will. Help me to do the same.

Amen.

Negative feelings are truly awful. They paralyse and debilitate and make us feel overwhelmed and crush our spirit.

Negative feelings are difficult to shake off, and I have never had the ability to compartmentalise my feelings by locking them away for a later date. I am consumed by them.

I have to learn not to listen to the lies that come into my mind. Sometimes they come with force like a huge violent wave. When they are believed,  feelings of despair are never far away. 

I think that my last blog is the link. Feeling flat, not having the energy to read and pray, and Satan seeing a huge chink in my armour. 

Satan is an expert in understanding and exploiting our weaknesses. He loves it when we leave the armour off. Christians who aren’t praying are a huge target. 

Yesterday I was overwhelmed by shame. When I try to break it down, I realise it’s because I’m still hung up about people’s perception of us now.

Thankfully, the only validation that we need comes through Jesus. 

When our mood is low, sometimes it seems impossible to be braced and prepared for those fiery darts. God is near to all who call on him in faith. As I am writing this I am struggling,  but I know it’s the truth.

This is a hard lesson to learn and I’m very slow to grasp it. I need to be always braced and there are good reasons that God tells us to pray continually.  I haven’t prayed as I should have done this week and I have struggled with pride. I want to feel affirmed by others and I want to look good in the world’s eyes.


Praying for grace and help to resist the lies of the devil, and for forgiveness once again as I come to the cross. 

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.”

Psalm 32

Galatians 5:22-23 says:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I have been reading through Galatians this morning, and I have been reminded of the beauty of living with Christ in view. God is so kind and generous in the way he enables us to respond to one another by  his Spirit. 

 That simple list seems at first glance to to be such an easy thing. And it is easy to react like that with those who please us, those  we get on with, and those who make us feel safe.

These verses become less easy when we are hurt, under the cosh, and offended. I was struck also by these verses in Ezekiel which reminded me that any goodness we have is a gift. 

In  Ezekiel ch 36 :25 God says to his people,

 ” I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees.” 
Praying that the Holy Spirit does his work in our hearts today, enabling us to go God’s way; being kind to those who have hurt us. Not avoiding or giving the cold shoulder to those who have offended us. Reacting with gentleness and kindness in the face of unkindness.
We need Gods help, it goes against our natural inclination. But God is willing and able and He loves to pour his grace on those who want to go his way, for his glory.

Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. (Psalm 25:12)

Bend me, break me.

Through the heartache and the pain, God has been showing me how he changes and transforms our situations. 
In order to grow us, I have realised that he needs to change us first. 

This has been painful and uncomfortable, and Its very easy to resist change when our flaws are exposed. He has revealed and shown me facets of sin that I’ve never owned up to, or taken responsibility for, and he has even shown me sin in my life that I didn’t see as “sin.” This revelation is never pleasant, but needful if we want to grow and be right before God. Sometimes I have resented God  for showing me my flaws, and my response in my heart has been, “Come on Lord, I’ve been through enough! Please don’t  burden me any more!”


 As my previous blogs have shown, there were many things in my life that have been  exposed and laid bare. Today I feel many emotions, and a lot of them aren’t good ones for many reasons. 

It has taken me an hour to get dressed and dry my hair, and it felt like I was climbing Mount Everest.

But like the psalmist, it’s good to talk to ourselves and remind ourselves of how good and kind and mighty God is, and how he can smash through every situation that we find ourselves in when we are willing for him to work in and through us.

As we ponder on his goodness and his greatness, Satan loses his foothold because we are listening to God rather than him. Often it feels like we are taking baby steps when it comes to conforming to what God wants. All we can do is tell God that we can do nothing good in our own strength but cry to him for help and ask him for a desire to go the right way. God gives us that help when we earnestly seek him.

So the sins I once thought were acceptable, I now have to confront again and again.  Anxiety, worry, fretting and care. They need to be handed over to God like contraband items and be binned. 

I have found myself singing this morning, and this is my prayer for today: