Truth in Trials: Joy Stealing Comparison

Whenever I am enduring something, I try to keep a Bible verse on hand. So far, I have utilized two particular Bible verses to reach me in my time of need. But, the second one is far easier to remember.

My sister had a baby this week. While it is exciting to know this new life is here, this was the week where my PTSD symptoms were off the charts. While I tried to be physically present, my mind was feeling a little bit sick and needing some self care.

What are those two Bible verses?


I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him [1 Corinthians 7:32, NLT].

I think it is easy to look at my life, and become depressed. My life, in comparison to others, is different. Most folks are either married, parents, or both. But, what is my role in society at this particular moment? While my mind and body are sick, I am exactly where the Lord Jesus Christ has planted me.

You know what, I don’t have a boyfriend or kids… but, my life still means something. And, I have to fight to believe this truth. At times, it’s quite difficult. But by being single and only an Auntie, I have freedom, time wise, that others likely don’t have. And, this time can be utilized by writing or spending time with my family (even when I am too sick to leave my bedroom).

With PTSD, I have to remind myself that I am not a failure or truly alone.

My Heavenly Father is present and working through me.

He is present in my circumstances.

He is present in the waiting room of life.

He is very present in our lives and acting on our behalf!

Even though I do fear still and am prone to anxiety, I can know He is with me.

And, I can keep reminding myself of His truths.


Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me [John 16:32b].

A sentence of God’s truth can move mountains in our hearts and lives!

The Holy Spirit has given me these specific Scriptures to fix my eyes upon. His Words are truth, regardless of my emotions.

One of the most amazing things is how the Lord can use His Word to speak His truth into our lives and pick us up when we have fallen down.

This past week, I have learned the value of 1 Corinthians 7:32 – because of what I endured last week. If it wasn’t for my “mental health week,” I cannot say that I would have become as intimate with this Scripture.

I have the freedom to be concerned only with the Lord Jesus, His Kingdom, and my immediate family. This is freedom, not everyone has. So while it may feel shameful like somehow I am not measuring up, I can make a bigger difference in the world – because I am exactly where the Lord wants me.

No amount of comparison is worthy of becoming my joy stealer. I want the joy of standing right where the Lord wants me!

As for you, what are the Scriptures that our Mighty God is carving into your hearts and lives?

Image: John-Mark Smith

Facing All Conditions {VOTD}

Today’s Scripture is the YouVersion‘s Verse of the Day –

I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me (Phil. 4:13, GNT).

This Scripture declares that – my circumstances aren’t too much for God to handle. If we were sitting face-to-face in a “bare your true heart” setting, I would have to ‘fess up that I feel overwhelmed by my circumstances.

Weight of Circumstances

. . . And, I am absolutely tired of feeling this way. I am weary in my mountain of circumstances, and ready for “almost any” vacation to spend a few days away. The only problem with the “need-a-vacation” way of thinking is – the eventual return to life as it is now. It doesn’t solve my problems.

As I write and think of my own circumstances weighing me down, I read a message from a former professor regarding a dear friend’s life-giving praise report of being cancer free. Like in hers, God is working mightily in many people’s lives – including mine. 

Focus

Though this life may seem long, I know it isn’t as long as we’d like to believe. Our lives are described as “no longer than the width of my hand. . . just a moment to [God]; at best, each of us is but a breath (Ps. 39:5, NLT).”

My focus needs to be on eternity. If my focus is found glancing around at my temporary life, then, obviously discouragement will surely find me.

As human beings, we need to focus on our Eternal God who is our Creator and the One in whom we find our purpose in life. God is the One who will supply us with life, guidance, and strength.

The “break” we need when life gets difficult isn’t found in a few days “away from it all,” but found in Jesus Christ. Our needed supernatural strength comes only from our Lord God.

Where Do We Turn?

I look to the hills! Where will I find help? It will come from the Lord, who created heaven and earth (Ps. 121:1-2, CEV).

We can seek answers in things, other than the Lord. Just because we have that freedom, it doesn’t mean they will meet our desperate needs. The psalmist is in active pursuit of real help. The pursuit is a deliberate one, and so should ours.

“How are we choosing to make Jesus Christ our Helpmate?” He is the One who will give us the answers we need, as we draw near and ask. He will either give us the answers or give us His peace along with contentment in the waiting.

Application

To whomever is reading this: Let’s draw near to the Lord our God and depend upon His strength.

This Scripture (Phil. 3:13) doesn’t guarantee that the conditions will subside. It says, we will have the strength to face all conditions. Choose today to –

  1. Focus on our great God and the power He holds in His hand.
  2. Realize He is the One Thing we need more than anything else. This relationship of trust through Jesus Christ is based on what God has done for us.

Featured Image by Elke Karin Lugert.

Signature

{Summer} Psalms – 2

Hi friends! My goal today was – to begin reading through the Chronological Bible reading plan. I missed a lot of days after my surgery, and I firmly believe *I can* still catch up. But, that is not the reason for today’s post. Earlier today, I was able to write out chapter 2 of our beloved book of Psalms.

One of my favorite parts of this passage is – the writer is pointing out people’s sins. The sins of leaders isn’t ignored, but it is exposed – which is what we are taught to do as Christians (follower of God’s Son Jesus Christ).

You are God’s children whom he loves, so try to be like him. . . Try to learn what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the things done in darkness, which are not worth anything. But show that they are wrong (vv. 1, 10-11; NCV).

Through today’s Psalm, we see this being lived out before our eyes.

For a summit conference of the nations has been called to plot against the Lord and his Messiah, Christ the King (vv. 2, TLB).

The God who sits on his throne in heaven laughs. The Lord makes fun of those rulers and their plans (vv. 4, NIrV).

I will announce what the Lord has promised (vv. 7a).

O blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are all those who seek refuge and put their trust in Him! (vv. 12b, AMPC)

Three specific truths spring to mind, and I want to share those with you – today.

(1) God demonstrates an effortless mode of acting with justice. He isn’t involved in a frenzy of activity or left without any strength. He shows He is all powerful. God is noted as sitting in heaven. God is supreme, and ruler over all. These earthly rulers aren’t the ones who have the most power. They are no match for God, and need to watch their steps carefully.

(2) We, too, need to have the freedom to point out sin and announce what God has promised as followers of Jesus Christ who are given the Holy Spirit {although, we need to be careful how we do these things}. God is awesome, and we are invited to join Him! Like this psalmist, we can choose the eternal things – over what is temporary.

(3) God will be the place of safety for those who trust in Him! As we live out our daily lives, let us choose to trust Jesus Christ – our Risen Lord – above the things of this world. Let us choose to run to God for safety. God promises to bless us beyond measure, when we do this.

Featured image by Biel Morro.

{Summer} Psalms – 1

The blessing behind using this blog is – the freedom. My fingers can walk joyfully across my keyboard, and use a different format for this particular journey. Each blog post can short or long. There is joy and freedom, because I can just seek Jesus without borders.

Welcome to Psalms, Chapter 1!!!

What stood out? At the top of my paper, I jotted down very specific Bible references. Tonight, I want to share those with you. Each verse is shared in the NIrV translation. I encourage you to check out these verses in your own Bibles. Highlight them. Write notes in the margins about what God is showing YOU through these verses.

. . . Everything godly people do turns out well (1:3a).

The Lord watches over the lives of godly people. But the lives of sinful people will lead to their death (1:6)

When the Lord judges them, their life will come to an end. Sinners won’t have any place among those who are godly (1:5, see Matthew 25:31-46).

Which Path Will You Take?

Several other things stood out to me too. The descriptive words in the first verse alone are soul stirring. Things like “join in,” “make a habit,” and “follow.” It can be tempting to crave what others are doing, or even just settling for what others are doing. But, we are reminded of these two different worlds.

If we will focus our attention on Jesus Christ, the Bible, and eternity, we will grow by leaps and bounds

. . . and find ourselves intensely joyful as we sit at our Savior’s feet.

This Summer, I want to develop a great joy for our Risen Lord and the Bible. I want to just be able to walk by the Holy Spirit. I want to see the distractions of my life sink into the background completely unnoticed, because I am just sooo full of God and the joy He gives.

In Psalms 16:11, we are reminded that…

You [God] will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore (AMPC).

Featured image by John-Mark Smith.

Job 29-31; Psalm 26-27

jan-11

Assigned Reading for January 11: Psalm 26-27; Job 29-31

Psalms –

Chapter 26 – What is a different way of putting what David is saying?

Lord God, I need You to free me.

Essentially, this is what he is saying. He is showing all of us that these are the kind of prayers worth praying. The result of such honest prayers is watching God show up like never before.

How are we intentionally seeking God through His Son Jesus Christ?

His heart cry was to lead a blameless life and to be mindful of God’s unfailing love. This serves as an important example for me, because I need to be mindful of God and His kind of love. I need to move out things, so I can be focused on Him and the things He is leading me to do.

Chapter 27 – God is greater than anything that could try to cling to our lives. We don’t have to be afraid anymore, because we have Jesus and God is on our side! My heart is safely kept by God, and He will protect it. He will guide me, and give me the confidence to trust Him increasingly more.

Job –

In chapters 29-31, Job makes his final defense. During the reading of Job, I have had some mixed emotions about this man of God who held to integrity and ran from evil. He spoke as a man. A very desperate man. He spoke bluntly to God, which is difficult to read as God is holy. Unlike us, God is holy. Yet, God saw fit to allow Job to speak such words. Job was holding onto his faith, but it was also being stretched – extended beyond its previous capacity.

As I began reading, these first few verses bring some heartfelt questions to mind.

How are we realizing God is watching over us? And, how are we enjoying an intimate friendship with God?

Job is recounting his former deeds, and how he was a man of integrity. He was spoken well of, offered counsel, and helped anyone he could. As he spoke, you can tell he was speaking genuinely. However, those days are long gone. During his testing, he was not respected – rather he was shamed by his community.

Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man when he cries for help in his distress. Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor? Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness. The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me (Job 30:24-27).

This is where Job stood. As he stood here, he wondered what was going on. It seemed like God was attacking him, but Job had an enemy he did not know. Job continued to show himself as a person who feared God and ran from evil.  As Job recounted his deeds, his heart was being searched. And soon, God would answer him.