Whenever we experience something difficult in our personal life, we are tempted to blame God. But we are the ones in the wrong, not God. Blaming God is evidence that we are refusing to let go of some disobedience somewhere in our lives. But as soon as we let go, everything becomes as clear as daylight to us. As long as we try to serve two masters, ourselves and God, there will be difficulties combined with doubt and confusion. Our attitude must be one of complete reliance on God. Once we get to that point, there is nothing easier than living the life of a saint. We encounter difficulties when we try to usurp the authority of the Holy Spirit for our own purposes.
God’s mark of approval, whenever you obey Him, is peace. He sends an immeasurable, deep peace; not a natural peace, “as the world gives,” but the peace of Jesus. Whenever peace does not come, wait until it does, or seek to find out why it is not coming. If you are acting on your own impulse, or out of a sense of the heroic, to be seen by others, the peace of Jesus will not exhibit itself. This shows no unity with God or confidence in Him. The spirit of simplicity, clarity, and unity is born through the Holy Spirit, not through your decisions. God counters our self-willed decisions with an appeal for simplicity and unity.
My questions arise whenever I cease to obey. When I do obey God, problems come, not between me and God, but as a means to keep my mind examining with amazement the revealed truth of God. But any problem that comes between God and myself is the result of disobedience. Any problem that comes while I obey God (and there will be many), increases my overjoyed delight, because I know that my Father knows and cares, and I can watch and anticipate how He will unravel my problems.
The God Who Lived Your Life
From: CBN, and Brian Simmons
Do you ever wonder if God understands your life? Whether he really understands what it means to be human and deal with all the stuff we have to deal with—the stress and worry, the health scares and difficult teenagers, the bills and demanding bosses?
Amazingly he does! We don’t serve a distant and removed God, like the Romans and the Greeks did. No, we serve a God who, in the words of the angel who visited Joseph, “became one of us!”
As a good Jew, along with all of his people, Joseph would have been waiting for the Anointed One God promised to send to save his people. What Joseph—or his people for that matter—would not have expected was that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, would conceive a child in his fiancée’s womb and “be known as ‘Emmanuel,’ which means ‘God became one of us!’” (Luke 1:21, 23, TPT)
Look at how various people throughout the New Testament described this monumental Emmanuel-event:
John says in his Gospel that “the Living Expression [Jesus Christ] became a man and lived among us! And we gazed upon the splendor of his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father overflowing with tender mercy and truth!” (John 1:14 TPT)
The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Since all his ‘children’ have flesh and blood, so Jesus became human to fully identify with us. He did this, so that he could experience death and annihilate the effects of the intimidating accuser who holds against us the power of death.” (Hebrews 2:14 TPT)
He doesn’t stop there, though; he goes on: “For we have a magnificent King-Priest, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who rose into the heavenly realm for us, and now sympathizes with us in our frailty. He understands humanity, for as a Man, our magnificent King-Priest was tempted in every way just as we are, and conquered sin. So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness.” (Hebrews 4:14-16 TPT)
Think about this: The God of the universe “sympathizes with us in our frailty,” he “understands humanity.” How? Because he “became a man and lived among us,” as John says! He “became human to fully identify with us!”
God lived this life, which means he understands your life—all of your frailty and pain, your baggage and brokenness.
He understands humiliation because he was humiliated on the cross. He understands rejection because he was rejected. He understands sorrow because he was a man of sorrows.
Do you ever wonder if God understands your life? Well, wonder no more! Because the beauty and majesty of the Christmas season is that Mary gave birth to Emmanuel, to the God who became one of us.
May this truth give us all hope as we celebrate the first coming of the God-with-us God!
|December 14, 2017
Give Jesus Your Baggage
SHEILA WALSHFrom: Crosswalk.com
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’” Matthew 11:28 (NLT)
I can hardly believe that the darling little boy who used to run around the kitchen dragging his toy dinosaur is now 6 feet tall and preparing for medical school.
The years seem to have gone by so quickly. I think of all the hot Texas evenings we sat on our folding chairs for football practice, swatting mosquitoes the size of small cats. I think of endless school projects and the time he created a to-scale version of Solomon’s temple. I’ve learned so much through being a mom, both the things I got right and the things I messed up. But there’s one memory that taught me a huge lesson. It was all about baggage.
“Mom, I would like to have a family meeting,” my 10-year-old son announced after lunch one chilly Saturday.
“Sure!” I replied. “What’s up?”
Christian waited until my husband, Barry, and I were seated at the kitchen table before he dropped the following bombshell.
“Today, I am running away from home,” he said.
“Wow!” Barry said.
“Yes … wow. That’s huge news,” I added.
My first thought was, I am a terrible mother! This lovely child simply can’t take life under our roof anymore.
“Did I hurt your feelings, babe?” I asked. “Did Dad say something to make you feel bad?” Christian assured us we hadn’t done anything wrong — he simply wanted an adventure.
“Think about it, Mom,” he explained, “There’s you and Dad and the dog. Nothing big ever happens here. If I don’t go now, I’ll never have stories to tell.”
I attempted to keep a straight face as he informed us that he planned to head north and would return on weekends! With that, he stuffed as many things into his backpack as he could manage … his soccer ball, the dog’s blanket, a few books and a pint of vanilla ice cream. He kissed us both goodbye and headed out the backdoor to begin his new life in “the north.”
I ran upstairs and watched from the bedroom window to see where he was headed. He walked all the way around the lake behind our house, then sat down by the tree where he and his friends like to fish. I’d decided that when he moved on from there, I’d take our dog for a walk and try and stay far enough back so he wouldn’t see me. If he spotted me, I’d simply apologize and say I had no idea this was north! Instead of moving on, though, I realized he was coming home.
That night, once he’d said his prayers and was tucked in bed, I asked him if he’d enjoyed his adventure.
“I did, Mom,” he said. “But I think I’d have enjoyed it more if my bag wasn’t so heavy.”
I thought about that for a long time. I found myself wondering, How much baggage was I dragging through my days?
I don’t mean the dog’s blanket or a pint of ice cream, but the heavy stuff of life, the emotions, issues from the past that I didn’t know what to do with, so I’d pushed them down inside. That’s when this beautiful invitation from Jesus became so real to me.
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest’” (Matthew 11:28).