April 25, 2017

Hide Myself

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjvI’ve heard the thunder before
I’m not a stranger to storms
Even in the flood
I can always run
To where You are

I’ve had to wait in the dark
And hold the Truth in my heart
Even in the night
Still You open wide
Your faithful arms

And I hide myself
Where I find my help
And I hide myself
I find only rest
I find only peace
Beneath Your wings

You are the Refuge that stands
You hold my world in Your hands
The quiet in the noise
The stillness of Your voice
Will be enough

And it’s Your Presence alone
That changes all that I know
‘Til all that I know
Is just Your Presence alone
I’m safe in Your shadow

Even in the flood
I can always run
To where You are

Michael W. Smith
Writer: Mia Fieldes

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We certainly can sense there is turmoil and strife in the world.

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice.
They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness.
They are gossips….
Romans 1:29

God knew there would be trouble in our lives.  Some because of our choices and some because of the world.  It is how we meet those challenges, lifting His name in all situations, that sets us apart from the world.  He will not always remove the testing, but He will walk with us through it.  If God can be with David all the while, He will surely be with us.

We need to search our hearts to see where we might doubt Him—where our faith is weakest.  We must ask God to help us strengthen it, to help us grow our faith, and to trust more and more.  David sometimes wondered where God was; and even the prophets did, too.

Look at Elijah….  With God, he had just destroyed all of the prophets of Baal but upon hearing that Jezebel was going to kill him, he was afraid. But isn’t that the man in us—our human side? To forget what God had just done…?  (How quickly we forget when our peace is threatened?)  God knew that Elijah was tired and needed rest and reassurance.  After receiving it, Elijah’s faith was restored and God told him what would happen in the future (see 1 Kings 19).

As God was faithful in restoring Elijah,
how much more will He restore us?

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God
so that at the proper time He may exalt you,

casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.
Be sober-minded; be watchful.
Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion,
seeking someone to devour.
Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering
are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace,
Who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ,
will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
To Him be the dominion forever and ever.  Amen.
1 Peter 5:6-11

Let this be our prayer for our nation and our world.

Sincere Love

SeekingHimLogo

Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech
but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity).
1 John 3:18 AMP

This verse always steps on my toes.  Today’s ‘me first’ mentality is encouraged and supported by society.  Yet, John 13:34 (HCSB) instructs us on what Jesus says we are to do:

“I give you a new command: Love one another.
Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.”

My struggle with selfishness is a daily battle.  It is so easy to profess love.  But getting my actions to match my words is where the rubber meets the road.  Romans 12:9a (HCSB) states “Love must be without hypocrisy.”  OUCH!  Real love is demonstrated by deeds.  It requires a deliberate choice.  That choice doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary.  Encouragement and support cost nothing, except perhaps a little bit of time.  Sincere expressions of affection and labors of love show God’s love DOES dwell within us.

Galatians 5:13 (NLT) says we “have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”  We have a choice to make—live in bondage to our selfishness or live in freedom by putting our love into action.  The decision seems to be an easy one but persevering is the real challenge.

  *  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Abba Father, this is a struggle I cannot beat on my on. I truly want Your love to be seen in me by my actions and how I love. Please help me conquer my selfish desires so my expressions of affection will be sincere. In Your mighty name I pray – AMEN, It Is So!

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 8 – Recycling the Pain (pgs 241-267)

Choice8_LHC

Galatians 6:1-2
My friends, you are spiritual. So if someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path. But watch out, and don’t be tempted yourself. You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand.” (CEV)
At the beginning of this study in January, I had many comments on apprehensions, anxieties, and generalized worries about getting back in to the memories & experiences of the past. As the study progressed, I’ve been able to see transformations in our participants. Some have had small “AHA” moments on how the past has shaped today. Others have had eye-opening revelations. Where ever this study has taken you, God has blessed your life.
We are heading in to our final week of Life’s Healing Choices, but this is not the final week of our journey. John Baker tells us, in the Celebrate Recover Participant Guide 4, “Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Instead of the focus remaining on healing your personal hurts, it’s time to consider how others can benefit from our experiences. Baker references “recycling the pain.”
Recycle — to adapt or convert something to a new use
When we faced the events that shaped our attitudes, addictions, thoughts or behaviors, we never would have imagined that good would come out of it. Romans 8:28 states: And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT)
God truly does have an amazing plan for His children. He does not sit around looking for ways to hurt us, complicate our lives, or bring us pain. This comes from our choices in life. But He does promise to use ALL things for His good purpose. So when I consider the experiences of my past, I need to look to ways my experiences can help others. What did I learn from these events that can be passed on to another, give hope and encouragement?
We’re reminded that God “does His best work through weak people”

2 Cor 12:7 -10 tells us, “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” (The Message)
If you had asked me in 2001 what good would ever come from the chaos around me, I would have thrown up my hands and said “Nothing!” I never could have imagined that God would restore my heart and soul to the point of remarriage, blending families, and step-parenting. And, I certainly wouldn’t have ever guessed He would use me in a ministry position like Girlfriends Coffee Hour! But in the midst of everything, I didn’t blame God or accuse Him of doing things to me. I knew He didn’t want me to experience pain, but He promised to use whatever I did experience for the positive.
As a parent, I see the same type of things with my kids. I don’t sit around thinking of ways to inflict pain or hardship in their lives (though they may think otherwise with the household rules!), but I do know that their teenage minds will make decisions that sometimes bring painful consequences. My goal as mom is to help them learn from the experience, give suggestions to overcome, and help them move forward. There is a purpose behind all that we experience, whether we want to admit it or not.

God does the same for us through His Word, our interactions with fellow believers, and in daily prayers with Him. Baker shares that , “people are not helped by our strengths; they’re helped when we’re honest about our weaknesses … the proof that you are truly recovering is when you begin to focus outside yourself, when you stop being absorbed with your needs, your hurts, your problems. Recovery is evident when you being to say, ‘How can I help others?”” pg.242
This week we’ll look more closely at the following questions:

  • Why does God allow pain?
  • How can we use our pain to help others?

A few verses to ponder this week:
Ecclesiastes 4:9 -1 2 NLT
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too. (The Message)

James 1:22 NLT
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

 

Your Reading Assignment this Week

Monday – Chapter 8 Sharing the Choice – Laurie
Tuesday – Why does God Allow Pain? – Leslie
Wednesday – How to Use our Pain – Kim
Thursday – Make the Choice – Amy
Friday – Recap of the week – Laurie

Let’s Pray:

Lord, we thank You because You are ever-present in our lives. No matter what we experience, You are there with us to give us strength, courage, comfort through each and every step. Even as we look to heal from our past experience, we can hold hope in Your promise to work ALL things for good in those who live according to Your will. As our Heavenly Father, You desire the best for Your children. Continue to guide us as we continue to learn more about trusting You. Amen.

Power Verses for Chapter 8
Matthew 10:8
Matthew 6:24
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Deuteronomy 4:9
James 2:17
Ephesians 4:1
2 Corinthians 3:18
Hebrews 10:24
Romans 12: 9, 13
Galatians 6:1
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

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If you would like to send Amy a private email in regards to this blog, please email her at: Amy@girlfriendscoffeehour.com