There Is Someone Who Understands You
Walking through times of suffering is when I have experienced the most spiritual growth in my relationship with the Lord. These often painful and difficult moments have helped shape me into who I am today. Can you relate?
After college, I worked in a very toxic environment at a job that I did not enjoy. I was belittled and criticized, and it seemed that nothing I did was good enough for my boss. Being at work was a daily emotional roller coaster that I desperately wanted to end.
I had only known the Lord for about five years at this point, but I wouldn’t say that I walked closely with Him or depended upon Him. I depended upon my well-paying job to provide for all my needs, and it was more a part of my identity than being a follower of Jesus Christ. When I lost my job in 2007, many emotions ran through me, and I was inconsolable. I felt like the rug was ripped out from underneath me.
Since I had no way to pay rent, I moved in with a friend while her husband was deployed in Afghanistan. I remember feeling so completely lost. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. Negativity consumed me and I struggled with feeling grateful for what I did have. I was angry with God, and I could feel myself drifting away from Him. I was angry at myself, too, for not making better choices with my finances. I was convinced that God was punishing me for my poor choices, and I listened to the lie that no one understood what I was going through.
It was through the help of a close friend that my eyes were opened. She suggested that I read through the book of Psalms and write down words that described who God is in each one. The more time I spent doing this, the closer I felt to God. Little by little, I began to see who God really was. I could also see that He was right there with me, walking with me one step at a time.
God used this to draw me closer to Him. Over the next several months, I learned what it meant to trust in the Lord and to depend upon Him for all that I need. I learned what it meant to seek after Him with all my heart. I learned the truth about who God is and who I am in Christ. The lies I had been believing for so many years were exposed, and God began to bring healing into my life where I needed it the most. As Ephesians 3:20 NLT says, God is truly:
…able to accomplish infinitely more than we could ever ask or think.
The truth is, God did not cause me to lose my job, but He did use my job loss to draw me closer to Him. God also chose to use that loss as a way to set me free from a toxic work environment that regularly filled my mind with lies about who I am.
The Great Feast
Julia Prins Vanderveen, Today Devotions
SCRIPTURE READING — REVELATION 19:1-9
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come. . . .
In the school where I teach, our senior students spend a lot of their spare time planning their graduation banquet. They taste samples from a banquet menu, raise funds so that they can have a special celebration, and imagine how great it will be to celebrate their long-awaited milestone.
A great feast is also at the culmination of God’s great story of redemption in the Bible. Throughout Scripture, many stories show how God feeds his people. It’s like a long bread-thread woven through and baked into the whole story of God’s amazing work in and through his people. And this great feast will have the finest and best of breads—no meal could be complete without it. This great feast combines so many things at once: it is high and long and wide and deep with the love of Christ; it celebrates manna in the wilderness and the “bread of the Presence” of God; it multiplies the feeding of the 5,000 exponentially; it recalls the bread that Jesus gave thanks for and broke with his disciples; and it fills us with Jesus himself, the bread of life.
All of these great memories and the fullness of every promise come together at the great supper of the Lamb in the new heaven and earth.
“Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (Revelation 7:12)
Streams In the Desert – September 30
- 202230 Sep
As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange God with him” (Deut. 32:11-12).
Our Almighty Parent delights to conduct the tender nestlings of His care to the very edge of the precipice, and even to thrust them off into the steeps of air, that they may learn their possession of unrealized power of flight, to be forever a luxury; and if, in the attempt, they be exposed to unwonted peril, He is prepared to swoop beneath them, and to bear them upward on His mighty pinions. When God brings any of His children into a position of unparalleled difficulty, they may always count upon Him to deliver them.
–The Song of Victory
“When God puts a burden upon you He puts His own arm underneath.”
There is a little plant, small and stunted, growing under the shade of a broad-spreading oak; and this little plant values the shade which covers it, and greatly does it esteem the quiet rest which its noble friend affords. But a blessing is designed for this little plant.
Once upon a time there comes along the woodman, and with his sharp axe he fells the oak. The plant weeps and cries, “My shelter is departed; every rough wind will blow upon me, and every storm will seek to uproot me!”
“No, no,” saith the angel of that flower; “now will the sun get at thee; now will the shower fall on thee in more copious abundance than before; now thy stunted form shall spring up into loveliness, and thy flower, which could never have expanded itself to perfection shall now laugh in the sunshine, and men shall say, ‘How greatly hath that plant increased! How glorious hath become its beauty, through the removal of that which was its shade and its delight!'”
See you not, then, that God may take away your comforts and your privileges, to make you the better Christians? Why, the Lord always trains His soldiers, not by letting them lie on feather-beds, but by turning them out, and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long march with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. This is the way in which He makes them soldiers–not by dressing them up in fine uniforms, to swagger at the barrack gates, and to be fine gentlemen in the eyes of the loungers in the park. God knows that soldiers are only to be made in battle; they are not to be grown in peaceful times. We may grow the stuff of which soldiers are made; but warriors are really educated by the smell of powder, in the midst of whizzing bullets and roaring cannonades, not in soft and peaceful times.
Well, Christian, may not this account for it all? Is not thy Lord bringing out thy graces and making them grow? Is He not developing in you the qualities of the soldier by throwing you into the heat of battle, and should you not use every appliance to come off conqueror?
Love to Jesus
By: Charles Spurgeon
“O thou whom my soul loveth.” Solomon’s Song 1:7
Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 103
The Christian, if he had no Christ to love, must die, for his heart has become Christ’s. And so if Christ were gone, love could not be; then his heart would be gone too, and a man without a heart is dead. The heart, is it not the vital principle of the body? And love, is it not the vital principle of the soul? Yet there are some who profess to love the Master, but only walk with him by fits, and then go abroad like Dinah into the tents of the Shechemites. Oh, take heed, ye professors, who seek to have two husbands; my Master will never be a part-husband. He is not such a one as to have half of your heart. My Master, though he be full of compassion and very tender, hath too noble a spirit to allow himself to be half-proprietor of any kingdom. Canute, the Danish king, might divide England with Edmund the Ironside, because he could not win the whole country, but my Lord will have every inch of thee, or none. He will reign in thee from one end of the isle of man to the other, or else he will not put a foot upon the soil of thy heart. He was never part-proprietor in a heart, and he will not stoop to such a thing now. What saith the old Puritan? “A heart is so little a thing, that it is scarce enough for a sparrow’s breakfast, and ye say it be too great a thing for Christ to have it all.” No, give him the whole. It is but little when thou weighest his merit, and very small when measured with his loveliness. Give him all. Let thy united heart, thy undivided affection be constantly, every hour, given up to him.
For meditation: The members of the Godhead are the only joint-owners of the Christian. May God teach us his way—that our hearts may be united and wholly for him (Psalm 86:11-12).