Freedom · God's character · Truth

Lies We Believe About God

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Isn’t it fun when we get to practice what we preach? I did that last night in regards to this very blog post. I’ve written this entire post twice (before this current attempt). Then something happened and the whole thing disappeared as quickly as a dandelion in the wind. No action would bring it back. What was I to do? I felt frustrated and irritated until I remembered the quote that has been permeating my thoughts in regards to thinking the truth about my God…

If you are irritable, frustrated or depressed,
it is likely because you are believing a lie about either yourself or God.

If I truly understand that the Lord is in control and knows my desire to publish this post about thinking truth, then I can let go of my attempts and just rest in His timing and His ways. It’s really okay. The world will not fall apart because RefreshHer didn’t get a post up at six this morning! That is the truth and it brings rest.

As I’m making my way through Nancy’s book, Lies Women Believe, Chapter two reminded me that there are many occasions that Satan whispers lies to us about God, as he did to Adam and Eve. If we’re not replacing those false statements with truth, we will be in great danger, because our belief about God is fundamental to everything in our lives!

Our belief determines our actions and our actions determine our outcome.

The book goes into several lies we are tempted to believe about God.

  1. God is not good. We might think God is good to others, but we don’t see His goodness to us because of ___________________. A cruel action by others, a crime, a disaster, or a hardship happens and some are tempted to question the goodness of God because, after all, couldn’t He have kept that from happening?
    The Truth – Of course He could have stopped it, but when Adam and Eve sinned, they plunged the world into sin and the result of that sin is everything I just listed. In His goodness, God sent His Son as the remedy! Titus 3:4,5 After that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. He provided an escape! He is good!
  2. God doesn’t love ME. When we sin we may feel we’ve pushed the limits of God’s love. We are tempted to judge God’s love by how we feel, but we have to tell ourselves the truth, that no matter how we feel.  God’s love is different from human love that is conditional and wavering.
    The truth – Jeremiah 31:3 – I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
  3. God is just like my father. If a woman had a cruel earthly father she may feel God is in heaven waiting for the chance to knock her down. For the girl who could say what I heard a child say to me this week,I’ve never had a father love me in my whole life.This little child was only seven, but when you don’t know the love of a father, it can feel like an eternity. I had the joy of telling him that God loves him very much! I get the joy of telling you, too, my friend that God is a loving, caring Father!
    The truth – Hebrews 12:9, 10 Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection Unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
  4. God is not enough. We may be glad we’re on our way to heaven, but we believe the lie that we need a little bit of Jesus plus… It might be a relationship – a husband, or a child. Perhaps we think if we just had a few more cute outfits, a bigger house or more money, then we’d have all we need. One writer said,

    When you get to the place where this is nothing left but God,
    you find that He is enough
    .


    Not many of us have absolutely nothing else but God, but one day we will all be in that place. As I recently watched a dear man in our church pass from this life into heaven, I got a clear picture of what it means to get to the place where you have nothing else but God. This man had peace in death. He had the joy of knowing he would see Christ soon and he stated that he was ready. He didn’t ask about all his stuff or his money. He was simply ready to go home.
    The truth – Psalm 73:25, 26 Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee. My flesh and my heart fails, but God is the strength of my life and my portion forever.

  5. God’s laws and ways are too restrictive. When we desire to go after something that God has said NO to, we may be like that toddler who is determined to put his hands on the things his loving mommy has put out of reach, like a sharp knife. So we “grab hold of that blade” and suffer the consequences.
    Nancy brings out in her book a thought that was so interesting to me. She talked about how many women have issues with food. We don’t like telling ourselves No, and keeping a “good” thing from our lips, do we? Didn’t Eve’s sin deal with the desire for good food, too? Perhaps that’s why we, too, deal with food and eating indulgences that could be categorized as sin because we’re overeating or binging and purging, or not eating at all.
    The truth – Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shall meditate therein. Then shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. God’s laws are for our protection and ability to succeed as a child of god!
  6. God should fix my problems. We have a headache so we take Tylenol. We don’t like our boss so we quit and find another job. Our husband isn’t meeting our expectations, so we leave. We know how to fix those irritations and we think God should be ready to make everything better.
    The truth – God is more interested in my spiritual growth in the midst of that trial than about getting me out of that difficulty. So many of these truths overlap. We have to remember God’s goodness, His love and His care as a father. II Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh in us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

Let me close with this quote by Ken Collier of The Wilds –

You say what you say and you do what you do because you think what you think,

And you think what you think because you believe what you believe about God and His Word.

Everthing we do will come from our acceptance of the Truth – or lies – about our God.

What truth do you need to plant deeply in your heart today?

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God's character · Responding to trials

How We Turn Our Treasures Into Curses

Treasures and Curses

When I was a 7 year-old girl, I really, really wanted a bike.  The children in our neighborhood rode their bikes on the sidewalks, and had such fun.  I knew I was missing out not being able to do the same!  So, for Christmas I asked, begged and prayed for a bike.  What a special surprise to find my longing fulfilled on Christmas Eve!  It was a purple/pink Schwinn with a bell and streamers.  I could hardly wait to join my friends, once the Michigan snow cleared.

Finally spring came, but there was just one problem – I hadn’t learned to ride a two-wheel bike yet!  My dad came to the rescue, doing what dad’s do best – holding onto my wobbly bike’s seat and running along side, yelling out instructions –

Keep your eyes in front – not on me.

Keep pedaling.

Keep your body in the center of the bike.

It was much harder than I imagined it would be! The afternoon when my bike met the tree trunk, and my lip the met the dirt, I was sure this bike wasn’t such a great idea!  Who thought of trying to stay upright on two wheels, anyway?! From that day on, when my dad would try to get me out to try to learn to ride, I’d run!  That bike wasn’t a special gift; it was a curse!

Yesterday’s post  showed us how Joseph’s brother’s assumed God was cursing them when they found the money for the food they’d gotten in Egypt was still in their sacks.  They assumed they would be severely punished for this.  When they told Joseph’s servant, he answered that God had given them treasure in their sacks. It was a gift of kindness, put into Joseph’s heart by their God! If only they could have seen the gift for what it was they wouldn’t have had to take that Pepto Bismol for their upset stomachs (okay, the Scripture doesn’t say that, but you know their stomach’s were churning in fear!).

What a difference a biblical perspective gives us!  Joseph’s brothers jumped to the same conclusions we do!  Consider how we respond in these kind of situations:

  • Those children for whom we prayed, begin a pattern of poor behavior and defiance, and suddenly the gift of motherhood has become a curse!
  • We moved into the house of our dreams.  It was roomy and big enough for our family AND for guests.  But we look at all the that hardwood and see so many floors to mop, and suddenly that gift of a house is a curse!
  • We prayed to be married, and he was the man of our dreams at the altar.  But over time we see his sinfulness and are disappointed.  He’s no longer a treasure; now he’s a curse!
  • We watched God give the perfect job and we were grateful.  But when we meet up with a difficult fellow-employee or two, that job becomes a curse!
  • To have a computer at home to work with eases so much – we can pay bills, shop or connect with friends, but on the day there is no Internet service that thing turns into a curse!
  • When we found our church we were thankful for its teaching, it’s congregation and it ministries, but when we see that not everything is done the way we think it should be done, those blessings are now a curse!
  • …You add whatever difficulty has touched your life recently.

All along, those things were all “treasures in our sacks,” only we didn’t have eyes to see it!  Instead we’re staring down in the deep well of the bag  and we become consumed with our own self-focused thoughts instead of what God could do in that darkness. 

If something seems to be a drudgery, a source of sighing and heaviness, or not what you wanted, take that need to the Giver of that blessing.  Ask Him to allow you to see with new eyes the joy of this gift, and what He can do in the midst of this time. A right perspective on the “hard things” in life can help us see that God is not against us, as a matter of fact, He just might be up to something really, really good!

When you have eyes of faith to look for the treasure, you’ll have peace while you wait.  You’ll have hope in your heart.  You’ll realize that that “thing,” whatever it is, truly is a TREASURE in your sack!

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God's character · Responding to trials

Treasure In Your Sacks

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Imagine that you have just gone to the grocery cart and filled your buggy with all the things you’ll need for the next month.  The cart is overflowing, and now your pocket book is empty!

After getting home, you begin the process of putting away all your groceries. In the bottom of the last bag you unload, you gasp because of what you see in the bottom of the bag.  There in the dark corner of the sack is the exact amount of money you thought you had paid for all this food!

How would you respond?  Would you:

  • Rejoice, skip and leap for joy?
  • Moan and wail, being sure you were headed to jail?

This scenario is pretty much what happened to Joseph’s brothers after they came to Egypt to get food during the famine.  Joseph recognized them, but they didn’t recognize Joseph.  He sent them back home to get their younger brother, Benjamin, but before they left for their journey, Joseph loaded them down with food, and then had their money put back into their sacks.

When they got home and “unloaded the groceries,” they found their money and feared for their lives!  They were sure Joseph would punish them severely, thinking they hadn’t paid for this load of food. They cried out, ”

What is this that God hath done unto us?

It was a curse to them.  It felt like God’s hand was against them, when all along, it was the Lord’s kindness, revealed through their brother, Joseph.

Have you ever felt that way when something difficult happened?  Our first response is to point a finger at heaven and say, “God!  Why did you do this to me?!”  We don’t recognize that this might be God doing something for us, rather than against us.

When the food was gone and the brothers returned back to Egypt, with their little brother in tow, one of the first things they told Joseph’s servants upon their arrival was about the “cursed money.”  But listen to the servant’s response:

Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks:

The very thing that was supposed to be a BLESSING to them, they looked at as a curse.  But all along, the Lord was going before them to provide for their needs.

 

Friends, let’s lift our heads out of the darkness and up towards God to see the plan for the “treasure that He has tucked into our sacks.”  See it with eyes of faith.  He has gifted you and me in ways we could never have planned.

Instead of fretting and fuming over what seems like a difficulty, rejoice!  There’s a treasure in our sack! If you don’t see the treasure today, keep looking; God will reveal it in time.

What treasure have you turned into a curse?  I pray this helps you get a biblical perspective!

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P.S. Tomorrow we’re going to take this principle and apply it in a very practical way to our everyday lives.  Hope you’ll come back and read!

God's character · Praise · Prayer

God Will Make You Laugh!

Imagine that you walk into your OB office and you see a 90 year-old pregnant woman sitting there waiting for her appointment.  Yes, it’s  Sarah, Abraham’s wife.  While waiting for her name to be called, she’s  knitting little baby slippers for her first-born son.  She sees you looking at her, a little grin stealing away on your face, and she smiles, nods and says, “It is funny, isn’t it?  Let me tell you how this happened!  This baby is God’s gift to me and my husband –  he’s 100!”

Then she laughs, and seeing her joy, you laugh with her.  We read in Genesis 21:6,  “God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.”

God revels in doing what seems to us to be the impossible. His acts are so astounding that often, they are laugh-worthy!  They are surprises in answer to our prayers that we would have never dreamed of!  A son is raised to LIFE?!  There were probably sad tears that turned to laughter!  A man is struck blind on the road and hears a voice from heaven calling his name?  From that day on, he no longer persecutes Christians, now he is preaching Christ!  A tax collector who had been cheating people now follows Christ and repays those he’s cheated?  God feeds one of his servants using a raven?!  These situations are all laughable because no one but God could have ever done such wonderful things!

What are you waiting for God to do?  Don’t try to figure it out!  God is going to do it in such a way that will make you laugh!  He’s an awesome God and He loves to demonstrate just how awesome He is!  When He answers, tell someone so they can laugh with you!

Have you had a “laughable” answer to prayer?

Christian Life · Encouragement · God's character

When God Seems Far Off

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When my husband and I were dating, we had many miles between us. We missed one another desperately, so we did whatever was necessary to eliminate the distance!

One summer I was in Kentucky and he was in South Carolina – not exactly next door! Then to make matters even more difficult, I had planned to travel with my family to Michigan. Knowing that even more miles were getting ready to separate us was an unpleasant thought, so he found a way to make the trip north with us! Being separated from one you love is rough business!

Have you ever felt that the Lord was very far away? That’s worse than feeling distant from any human being. In Psalm 13:1 the psalmist said,

“How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? forever?
how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?” 

 He was wondering if God had just plain forgotten him, and he wondered why he couldn’t see His face. However, an omniscient God can never forget and an omnipresent God can never be removed from us!

In verse two he said that he has sorrow in his heart daily. Do you feel that way right now? Does it seem like every day you wake up and that sorrow is staring you in the face? Have you discovered the happy device by which you can escape trouble? The answer is in verses five and six.

“But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” 

 The mercy seat refreshes the weeper. Remembering that fact that God took care of the greatest trouble a soul can face – eternal damnation in hell, reminds me that He is able to take care of every other need that comes into my life. He has truly dealt bountifully with us!

Joys remembered sweeten present sorrows.

Remember what the Lord has done for you.
Has he saved you?
What prayers has He answered in the past?
Has He comforted you in other trials?
Has He worked in the hearts of those you’ve prayed for?
What special blessings has He allowed you to enjoy?

Let those joys sweeten your present sorrow and encourage your heart!

God hasn’t forgotten you; He is very near.

When do you feel most removed from God?

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Christian Life · God's character · Heaven · trials · trust

The Storm Will Pass

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An hour before I took the picture above, a real spring storm blew through our area. It blew in from a completely different direction than most storms. The winds were really whipping, causing debris, porch pillows and vegetation to blow and bow down.  Earlier in the day I had heard we were in for storms, but it seemed unlikely at the time, because it was lovely in the morning.  But sure to the prediction, they came in just as they said.  I was glad I had secured things outside, and I was especially glad that I was inside where it was safe and dry!

I went about the work I was doing, and kept an ear and eye on the outside, for safety sake.  It wasn’t long, though until I looked through the window and saw the clouds clearing.  Then I saw the sun hitting the backyard.  I stepped onto the back porch and everything was cool, refreshed, and though dripping with the drops of the precipitation, it was evident that the storm was over.

I know many people who are going through storms in their personal lives.  I would have to add, that the storm is in their personal Christian life.  It’s a storm sent by the Lord for His purposes.  As I watch, I see the pressures of the trial causing them to bow, just like the trees in my front yard bent as the wind pushed against its branches.  They are bowing with the ache and the pain of the trial, but they are not broken.  They are trusting the God of their life to do His work, and they are firmly planted on His Word, even when their hearts may want to waver or ask why.

We’ve all been warned that trials will come to us.  Maybe you’re one who is experiencing one right now. Perhaps your trial is just around the corner. It’s easy to get caught off guard because the “sun is shining” today and we can’t imagine that dark clouds may be ahead.  We must prepare now for the storm that will come.  Like my friends, we must anchor our hearts in the Scriptures.  We have to know God’s character because we know His Word.  His Truth will keep us from breaking.  Knowing the Sender of the storm will remind us that He is there with us. And though we may never know why God sends or allows difficulties to come our way,  we can be sure that they went through His sovereign hands before they touched our lives.

When we find ourselves in the storm, we need to also remember that they won’t last forever.  There will be an end.  If not here, for all eternity, there will only be peace.  We may feel like quitting and throwing in the towel, but we must endure so we can see the joy of the blessings of the storm. When I was waiting out the storm yesterday, it didn’t last for long, really.  I’ve been through worse spring tempests.  We need to remind ourselves of the truth that though it seems that this trial is going on forever, there is a day when it will be over.

Hopefully when the storm is over, we won’t forget the things we’ve learned.  The lessons will be like the water droplets on my roses – little reminders that the storm was there.  There will be a freshness, a newness, and even sunshine in our hearts afterwards if we prepare for the storm, endure the storm and remember the storm.  

It’s time to go sit outside and enjoy the sunshine.  The storm is over.  To my friends who are experiencing difficulties today, I say, your storm will pass and the sun will shine again and God’s presence will refresh your spirit through it all.  

This won’t last forever.

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Are you going through a storm?  I’d love to pray for you.  Just leave a note asking for prayer – no need to share about the trial – God knows.

Lovingly,

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Family life · God's character · Heaven · home · memories · Motherhood · refreshment at home · Uncategorized

Family Friday – Mother’s Day Dilemnas

That holiday is approaching.  You know, the one where our family bows at our feet, singing our praises for the sacrifices of

  • laundry at midnight
  • science projects aided
  • homemade cookies baked for classroom parties
  • wounds kissed and cleaned
  • A patient, listening ear always ready to fix a relationship problem.

Okay, maybe not.  In reality, likely not.  Not if you still have children in your care.  Not if you’re a single mom.  Not if your husband is caught up in the pressures and stuff of life.  But I’m not here today to shake my finger at them because it’s so easy to forget.

I admit forgetting, too.  As a little girl, I was pretty much only focused on what my mom could and would do for me. Because she was so consistant, I came to expect a hearty meal every day at 5:00, clean clothes in my dresser, hugs when I was mistreated, and words of wisdom to guide my life.  It wasn’t until I became a young adult that I realized how much was sacrificed in order for me to possess that kind of home environment.  It was then that I really learned to say thank you to my loving mom.  I began to comprehend how truly blessed I was.  Every Mother’s Day since then, it’s been my goal to express to her how grateful I am today for all she was and still is.

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So let me stop to say, Mom (Millie Ray), thank you for all you did to make home so special.  Thank you for the meals you prepared that were both delicious and graciously served.  Thank you for taking the effort to decorate our home and keep it clean, and also teach me how to do those household tasks.  Thank you for sacrificing your own career so you could be home for us.  Thank you for loving God and making sure I knew Him, too.  And thank you for loving my dad and showing me that marriage was for keeps.  I appreciated it as a child, but today I once again say thank you and I love you!

To all you readers who are moms, I say, enjoy Mother’s Day by not expecting anything from your family.  Put your thoughts on your mom, or some other woman that the Lord has put in your life to encourage you, love you and support you.  Be grateful for them.  Do something to show your gratitude.  Stop and thank the Lord for your children.  Keep your focus on gratitude, rather than on your expectations. I learned this the hard way!

This is one holiday that makes me hurt for some dear women.  To those of you who wish you were a mom and find pain on this day, I say I’m sorry, and even greater, God understands and sees your grief.  Remember that He is a good, good Father, and don’t doubt His love because He has withheld this from you.

To those who didn’t have a loving mom, I say, God saw, God knows, and that is the reason we needed a Savior.  He gave us His son so we could all understand the greatest kind of sacrificial love.

To those whose mom or child is in heaven, remember that we’ll be joining our loved ones sooner than we think, never to be separated again. I love to think about what my daughter, Ashley is enjoying in heaven at this very moment!

Let’s allow Mother’s Day to find us showing our families that our greatest desire is God’s, “Well Done,” and that the joy of His comfort is enough for every pain in our hearts.  There are many coming behind us that need to learn from us that holidays are man-made, but the joy of being a Christlike woman is God-made!  That’s a gift that only He can give us, and that is enough!

Find refreshment in Christ!

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