I am tackling a huge subject today…..the leadership of God in our lives. I have been having this conversation with people latley. The question that most people ask themselves on a daily basis( at least a few times a month) is who am I and what am I doing with my life? It is a very popular question in the minds of many, especially when you are graduating high school or college. The whole world wants to know two things: identity and purpose.
I have a better question to ask then these two popular ones. The question is do you believe that God is in control of your life? Do you believe that God knows what he is doing? I think many times we miss the opportunity to taste the rain and ponder the extravagence of creation. I mean come on……God created the world. Not only did he create this tiny little earth, but he created everything. God is on his throne and nothing will move him, nothing will stand in his way. Many times we don’t stop and think that God has the whole wide world in his hands, he has us in his hands. Many times we think that God is afraid or insecure about his creation. I have thought to myself many times that God is afraid of my weakness, that he doesn’t really know what to do with my weakness. NO!
NO WAY! God is unafraid and unintimidated at my weakness and my shortcomings. God is in control of our lives. he knows exactly what to do to get us to choose him and to see him. He knows exactly what it will take to cause me to worship him.
So, in conclusion, the next time you battle with control of your life and wanting to do things your way, remember who you are dealing with, GOD. Remember the power that he has, remember his burning heart towards you and me. Remember how unmoved he is about our weakness, he is not afraid of our shortcomings.
This is an old blog from a few months ago:
I am getting used to having this blog available to me everyday. My thought of the day is the goodness of God. In Psalm 103 David praises the Lord for God’s goodness. I have been meditating on this Psalm all day. David breaks down some reasons why God is to be blessed.
He says forget not all his benefits.
What are his benefits?
1. He forgives our iniquity- As believers we have been washed by the blood of Jesus. God has provided the atonement for our sin by the blood of his son. He longer holds our sins against us. For the unreedeemed God has made a way, there is nothing that you have done that can seperate you from his love. He is faithful to forgive.
2. He heals our diseases- This verse promises us that God is the God who heals our infirmities and sickness.
3. He redeems our life from the pit- God loves to take those that do not deserve his love and mercy(that would be all of us) and redeem them to himself.
Remember the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
My thought of the day is a question of purity-
What does it mean to live pure? Most of us have grown up believing that if only I don’t have sex until I am married then I am still a virgin and I have kept my purity. The only problem with this mindset is that everything else becomes acceptable.
The ruckus? Jesus defined purity in the Sermon on the Mount. First, he said blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. He is saying that without a pure heart you will be unable to enounter God. I think he is talking about the eyes of our understanding. Then, he says that if you even LOOK at a women to lust for her you have already committed adultery with her in your heart.
So, purity is not about not doing something, it is more about committing our eyes and our hands to the Lord everyday.
Think about purity.
Why is it that when called upon to act in obedience to the Lord I back down out of fear of failure?
I go out in public and I feel these things churning and turning inside of me, these longings to stand up and preach the gospel but yet I feel like it is impossible, that it will never happen, I will never have the courage to do it.
My thought of the day is that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself(some famous guy in history said it).
That’s all for now.
We are in the boat and Jesus is inviting us to step out and walk on water.
I wrote this paper a year ago in Shelly Hundley’s class, check it out:
The Apostle Paul concludes the famous love passage in first Corinthians thirteen with these words, “And now abide faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (13:13). If love is easy to obtain then what are we living for? What am I really after in this pursuit of Jesus? What am I living for unless it is love? The thing that we were all made for, the language we desire to have, the feeling we all want to wake up to, is love. The love of Christ cannot be lowered to pure sentiment or a one night stand of high emotions. Love has to cost something; love has to cost the most of all that you have.
Paul then begins the next passage with, “Pursue Love” (1 Cor.14:1). What does this really mean to someone that wants to follow Jesus? The Song of Solomon gives us the guide to this pursuit. What sets this book apart from any of the others is the focus on suffering and pain. Who we say that He is in the midst of suffering and pain will define our true level of commitment to His love. Could it be that God in His goodness and mercy would actually be the one responsible for these seasons of suffering?
The Webster’s Dictionary defines suffering as submitting or being forced to endure or sustain loss and damage. The definition for pain is mental or emotional distress. God hates pain and suffering; therefore, it is not our destiny in God to live in a constant state of pain and suffering. Beauty, strength, perseverance, and hope become a reality in the heart; if we respond rightly in seasons of pain. Isaiah writes that, “He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrow” (53:4). For us to become like Christ we must do what He did, “Learn obedience through the things which we suffer” (Heb.5:8). God is after those who would trust Him in every season of the soul, dark or light, day or night, bliss or dryness.
In the beginning of Song of Solomon we see that, in order for love to blossom, passion must be awakened. The first experience of the heart is seeing a love that is better then anything else (SOS 1:2). After being ravished by the heart of God the Bride sees what she is saved from, her dark, hard heart (SOS 1:5). The revelation of human depravity will produce worship inside of us, as the Bride proclaims that she is still lovely in the sight of Jesus.Love has to be a risk, it has to cost something and human nature will settle for comfort over difficulty any given Sunday. The settling for comfort is rooted in fear and insecurity. John the Beloved writes, “There is no fear in love but perfect love cast out all fear” (1 John 4:18). Our goal at the end of the day should be fearless love in Christ Jesus. In Song of Solomon chapter two we see that the Bride is drawn into the places that she has come to fear the most. The leadership of Jesus in fearful times is to show the Bride that all she has to really fear is fear itself. The painful reality of facing fears hurts; fear is accepted in the secret places of the heart, and when it gets exposed there is humiliation. The cry of dependence on God is what facing fear creates in us. That is what God desires; a Bride that trusts fully in Him.
The hurt and the longing that takes place when God leaves us alone for a season are almost worse then facing your fears. The desperate search for Him everywhere, the realization that he has left; the pain of searching alone, why does He do this? In Chapter three of the Song the Bride experiences the feeling of being forsaken. For two chapters the Bride has been romanced, satisfied, exposed, challenged; and now she suddenly has been abandoned. The feeling that you have when abandoned is that you have wasted your trust on someone and they have let you down; this is the worst kind of human suffering. Jesus embraced this feeling when His Father left Him hanging alone on the cross. In Mark 15:34, Jesus cries out with a loud voice, saying, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” The feeling of being left alone happens for a season only to expose how much we really do recognize when He is gone, if we do not know that he is absent then we do not know Him. The test of intimate communion is absence. When you become acquainted with someone’s presence you are very aware if they are not around. The Bride experiences this and she does not enjoy his absence. Her heart is moved to search for Him, she risks not finding Him, and in the search she gains strength. Jesus left her for a short time only to test her love for Him; will we do the same if He left us?
Jesus is perfect in everything that he does. He knows exactly when and how to move our hearts in such a way that will create worship inside of us. In chapter four of the Song of Solomon, Jesus affirms the Bride with words of lovingkindness. He encourages the Bride that her pursuit of Him is not in vain and that her labor of love will not be forgotten. This unrelenting pursuit of Jesus and the bride is most fervently expressed in chapter four verse nine; “You have ravished my heart, My sister, My spouse; You have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes.” Enduring the pain of surrendering all to Jesus is rewarded by gaining a more clear view of His love towards us. Jesus tests us all so He can reward us.
Surpassing the feeling of being forsaken in chapter three, is the ultimate longing produced in the Bride in chapter five. Jesus offers all that He is and all that He has and comes knocking on her door, what does she do? Love is a risk, love costs everything, love means she doesn’t hesitate to answer the door. He is gone, no note, no letter, nowhere to be found. This is the second time that the Bride has been left alone, and the first time she has been stood up. Why does He lead her on this way? Once again, it is absence that creates a hunger for presence. The Bride passes this test, not because she got up and answered the door, and not because she asked everyone where she could find her beloved (SOS 5:7). She passes this test because she opens up the secret places of her heart to Jesus (SOS 5:2). When we are drawn out or distressed, we tend to do whatever we can to relieve that pressure. The temptation to indulge with food, entertainment, and recreation pulls on the Bride to relive this tension. We all have the convenient little foxes that we run to; Jesus wants to catch our compromises so He can come in (SOS 2:15). The response that is created in the heart when we see that all things work together for good is displayed in Song of Solomon 5:10-16. The beginning and the end of the pursuit of love is Jesus. We see His beauty when we open up to Him.
The great paradox of suffering and pain is that it creates beauty inside of the Bride. The acceptance that Jesus is responsible for this pain; isn’t very easy to embrace. How could he wound the human heart, heal the heart, and then rejoice over our choosing of Him. This view of Jesus is the truth. Isaiah 55:8 Jesus says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my way”. God’s way of dealing with the human heart never makes that much sense in the beginning, but after embracing the pain, you find that it is the only way to true life. Jesus surprises the Bride again by rejoicing over her with such great delight. In chapter six verse five, He proclaims boldly to her, “Turn your eyes away from me, For they have overcome me.” The author of Hebrews writes in the famous faith passage that, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”(Heb.11:6). The Bride is rewarded for seeking God in the seasons of pain and suffering. She believes that He is always watching her and that He is who He says He is. Jesus is overcome by the Bride’s heart response to Him.
Chapter Seven, verse ten, “I am my Beloved’s and his desire is towards me.” The ownership that is taken when the affections of God are released upon the Bride is amazing. This is why the leadership of Jesus is truly perfect. At the end of the song, we see that the Bride is shining, leaning upon her Beloved; coming out of the seasons of pain and suffering. The fruit of saying yes to pain and suffering is the divine seal of burning, fearless love. The Bride ends with this revelation, “For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame (8:6)”
Does God create disaster in our lives? Is God the one responsible for making humans fall? Is God in control of all things? These are the kinds of questions that are asked in times of testing. The character, existence, attributes and natures of God are all questioned when disaster strikes anywhere. Amos 3:7 states, “Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.” God always gives a reason for His judgments, He is not arbitrary, and He knows exactly what it will take to turn any soul to Him.
We saw in the Song of Solomon how Jesus led the Bride through the seasons of suffering and pain, leaving her unsure of Him at times, but she not knowing that freedom from fear has taken place. This passionate God deals with His people Israel with the same love. In the Book of Hosea we see the emotions of God expressed in such a way that it redefines that He is an emotional God. He is always feeling, always moving, always longing, and always waiting for a friend. Hosea becomes a friend of the Bridegroom and is the first to prophesy that God is looking for a lovesick Bride. The cost of love in God’s economy is that you surrender all to Him. Suffering and pain produce a gratitude for this God that is truly faithful with revealing himself in His perfect time.
Hosea begins with God as a bridegroom mourning over His wife Israel; she has committed adultery against Him (1:1-3). The heart of God is grieved so much that He claims to not know them anymore (1:4-9). The definition of judgment is the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing. God is the only one that searches hearts and tests minds perfectly (Jer.17:10). In Hosea’s time judgment is made as God desires that His people would turn to Him (Hos.2:7). God reveals to Hosea His pain and desire for them to return; they are prostituting themselves (Hos.3:1-5). As shown also in the early stages of the Song, God identifies the Bride’s depravity in order to show His grace and mercy. The heart of the judge desires that no one should perish, but that the Holiness and Righteousness of His name would be manifested in His people. This requires that pain and suffering would again be enforced to reveal sin.
In Hosea chapter four the main problem of the day is that the children of Israel have no knowledge of God in them (Hos.4:1-6). Without maintaining a consistent understanding of the emotions of God’s love towards the Bride; the temptation to fall away from Him is very susceptible. God makes it very clear His case against Israel. Chapter four of Hosea reveals the grief of the judge over the people. “Though you, Israel, play the harlot, Let not Judah offend (4:15). “For Israel is stubborn…Ephraim is joined to idols…their drink is rebellion, they commit harlotry continually” (4:16-18). The action plan for redeeming Israel is presented in chapter five verses 14 and 15. As God was the one that wounded the Bride in chapter five of the Song, He takes the same action with His Bride, Israel. “For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, And like a young lion to the house of Judah. I even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away and no one shall rescue. I will return again to my place till they acknowledge their offense. They will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.” Listen to the longing heart of the judge as he desires mercy and love, not sacrifice (6:6). As also seen in chapter five of the Song; we see the end result of God judging is a lovesick Bride (Hos.2:15-23). The children of Israel make it through the catching of little foxes and the facing of fears; the cry in their heart in the end of Hosea is, “What have I to do anymore with idols? I have heard and observed Him!”(Hos. 14:8). The trials of judgment produce this heart in them.
What is the main purpose behind God judging through seasons of pain and suffering? Why is it the hardest experience on our hearts to experience the wound of Love? Why can’t God prepare our hearts in a different matter? In Jeremiah 17:9 the prophet proclaims, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; who can know it?” The reason for pain, abandonment at times and confrontation of hidden darkness; is because without the exposure now, the revealing of these things will never happen. The answer to the question earlier stated, is God responsible for the pain? Yes, He is responsible for the pain. The amount of darkness that will be on the earth during the Great Tribulation (Mth.24:21) will be so intense that every hidden offense at God will come out. Jesus boldly proclaims, “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (Mth.11:6). The love of Christ is all that the Bride has to stand strong. In order for love to be formed in us we must suffer through many trials, persecutions and painful encounters with our own hearts (Acts 14:22; 1 Tim.2:12, 3:12; Rom.5:3-5). Suffering exposes the truth and purifies the heart; this is what will produce confidence in Love and not confidence in our own flesh. Love suffers long, love is painfully good.