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Are You Perishing in Your Affliction?

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All of us at times find ourselves in a pit, to one extent or another—when we feel like we’re not going to make it.

Are you perishing in your affliction?

You don’t have to be. King David often found himself in a pit (see Ps 28:1; 35:7; 40:2; 69:15).

So why could he say…?

“If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” (Ps 119:92)

Isn’t God’s law just a set of rules? Dictates and precepts spoken and written by a prophet, just another person? Ah, but these are not just words. These (God’s laws) are the very words spoken by a loving, good, and faithful God!

At least nine times in Psalm 119 alone, David expresses that he delights in God’s Word. He had personally experienced the faithfulness of God. He had done his part by listening, reading, meditating and applying what God says (Ps 119:94). In just this one small section of Psalm 119:89-96, he says that God’s Word is:

  • Eternal and stands firm in heaven (v 89)
  • Trustworthy because God’s faithfulness endures to all generations (vv 90-91)
  • Life-giving (v 93)
  • Unforgettable (v 93)
  • Sufficient, never lacking (v 96)

Why can I, an emotional yo-yo, say…?

“If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”

Because I, too, have personally experienced the faithfulness of God.

I remember the first time this verse became alive to me. My husband and I were in the middle of fighting cancer which eventually took his life. Ed was my soulmate. How could I ever live without him?! But then I remembered the Lord—the countless times He had come through in the small, big, and humongous trials; of how He had always helped me and sustained me with His grace. And had even given me joy despite the pain. My God will come through again.

And He has—with flying colors! He still does!

 

Why can I say…?

“If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”

Because Jesus is the Word (Jn 1:1). Delighting in God’s Word is delighting in Jesus Christ Himself. These words became alive in me because they are The Living Word—Christ Himself. That’s why I am not perishing in my affliction. That’s why you don’t have to perish in your affliction either.

 

Can you say…?

 “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”

—even in the midst of whatever suffering you are currently experiencing? Are you perishing in your affliction?

My friends, if you cannot say this, would you like to?

 

You can say this…

By getting into God’s Word for yourself.  Not a verse here and there. But by listening, reading, studying, meditating, and applying God’s Word.

So my friends, will you commit this year and choose like King David by getting into God’s Word? When you do, you will find yourself delighting in God’s Word and in Him just as the Psalmist had, just like I have.

O taste and see that the LORD is good! (Ps 34:8)


Pray along with me…

Lord, I don’t want to perish in my affliction—in my current suffering of ________. Don’t let me be overtaken by my seemingly countless and never-ending trials. I choose You, Jesus, the Living Word! Your Word is eternal, an anchor for my soul–giving me hope not only for my future but also in the here and now.

I commit to seek You, to read Your precious life-giving words regularly; to think about them deeply so that I can apply them to my life. In so doing, I know You will prove Yourself faithful and true. Then I’ll be able to say and continue to say, with a grateful praising heart:

“Because I have delighted in Your Word I did NOT perish in my affliction!”

 

Scripture taken from New International Version (NIV) THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide. 

 

How to Get Out of Our Pits

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I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. (Ps 40:1-3 NLT)

Are you in a pit? In a place where you are frequently or constantly in a negative frame of mind? 2020 has been one of the most difficult years I’ve experienced in a long time. And I know I am not alone.

When I’m in a pit I want to be rescued—immediately and with one fell swoop of the Lord’s hand. Don’t you? And sometimes God does rescue us that way. But sometimes you and I have to patiently wait and do our part to get out of our pits!

Before I go any further, I need to clarify my usage of the term pit. I am using it here broadly to include everything from severe depression to a period of sadness, discontentment, or discouragement in which you cannot seem to escape.

So, how do we do get out of our pits?

(Assuming you want to!)

By grabbing onto Jesus, our Rope, and holding on tight with all our might, as He pulls us out.

What does that really look like in everyday life? How do you and I actually grab unto the Rope of Hope?

First, understand that Jesus Christ is the Word, the Logos, which basically means the whole of Scripture, its message in its entirety.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Jn 1:1)

But there’s another often-used Greek word—Rhema, which means a specific utterance—a specific truth (e.g. Eph 6:17).

And these words are alive (Heb 4:12)!

Jesus, the Logos, utters Rhemas down to us. He speaks specific pertinent truths which we need to hear, take hold of (i.e. believe), and apply to where we are, so He can pull us out.

Jesus, the Living Word, our Living Hope is speaking living truths that will set us free!

 

As He pulls me out of the deep mire, I hear Him speak…

  • Kind words of comfort and love:

“I am the God of all comfort. I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (2 Cor 1:3; Jer 31:3)

  • Encouraging, life-giving words:

“You can hold on. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” (Phil 4:13)

  • Logical words:

“My truth is what will set you free. Your way doesn’t work. Try it My way.”

  • Strong words:

“Come on! Keep fighting! Keep your eyes on Me, the Author and Perfecter of your Faith (Heb 12:2). You will receive what I have promised if you don’t give up! (Heb 10:32-37)”

  • Sobering words:

“There’s too much at stake for you to give up! Don’t waste all that you have done! Don’t waste this pain!”

  • Pleading words:

“Do it for Me—out of your love for Me.”

And

  • “Whatever else I need in that moment” words

How can you hear these words for yourself? Simply by taking the time and making the effort to read and absorb God’s Word for yourself. The more familiar you are with The Logos (the whole Bible—not just a few verses here and there), the more easily you will be able to hear and grab onto His Rhemas, His specific truths for you, and be pulled out.

You and I may not be able to see Jesus now, but we can hear His pit-saving words.

There may be times, though, when you need someone else to help you hear—to point out what those specific relevant truths are. That may be a friend, teacher, pastor, or even a counselor. There’s no shame in that—only be sure that their advice is biblically-based.

So my friends, when you’re in a pit and can’t seem to get out, remember that Father God has let down a Rope of hope into your dark place. He is the Living Word, our Living Hope. Grab unto Him. Listen to what He is saying. He’s not letting go; He won’t let you down (literally), and will help you not to let go, even when it feels like you have no more strength left. Do your part like King David who said…

My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. (Ps 63:8)

Then you’ll be able to say like him…

Here are some resources that will help you grab unto the Living Word of God:

Getting into the Word and Getting the Word into You Revive Our Hearts Podcast Series

How Do I Begin Reading the Bible? Living on the Edge Ministry

On My Father’s Lap: Drawing Near to Your Father in HeavenNew Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

All other Scripture taken from New International Version (NIV) THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide. 

How to be More Patient-Part 4: Understanding Ourselves

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If you’re reading this blog you are probably an impatient person who wants to change. Perhaps you’ve tried to be more patient but can’t figure out what’s taking so long to develop this quality!

A key to learning how to be more patient is by understanding ourselves

As mentioned in the first blog of this series, the root cause is our sinful nature. Like it or not

Impatience has its root in selfishness

And just like getting rid of those pernicious dandelion weeds that seem to pop up out of nowhere, it takes time and effort to remove the roots.

Consider these scenarios from my own life and see if you can relate.

In dealing with chronic pain: “I want this to stop! It hurts; it keeps me from doing what I want to do; it keeps me from enjoying life to the fullest. How long, O Lord, how long must I endure this pain?”

Or

In preparing my house for sale: “Why can’t the remodelers get here on time? Don’t they know how important it is to get my house repairs done? Another glitch? You got to be kidding me! I don’t want to spend that extra money! Are these people just trying to take advantage of a poor widow?”

Or

In waiting at a doctor’s office again: “My time is just as important as these doctors. Why can’t they schedule patients better? (So I can be more patient as a patient :)) I think they are just cramming patients in to make all the money they can!”

Notice the emphasis? I, I, I, me, me, me. When things don’t go the way we think they should, or we don’t get what we want, we become disappointed, disgruntled, distraught or discombobulated which can lead us to be impatient.

The solution? Submit to God and shift your focus off of self and onto God and others.

Did you also notice a sense of discontentment in the scenes above? Being dissatisfied is really just a subset of selfishness. When you and I are not satisfied we usually grumble. Then our complaining hearts just add to our misery. Subconsciously we then try to meet those unfulfilled needs and desires in our own way and timing. And the vicious cycle continues.

We can break that cycle by finding true satisfaction and contentment in Christ alone, looking to Him solely to fill our needs and desires, for trusting God’s ways (and His timing) are better than our ways..

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ…. (Col 2:9-10)

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19)

(If you struggle with discontentment find additional help here: How to Live an Abundant Life God’s Way)

Another root cause of impatience is just plain fear.

Fear:

  • That our needs won’t be met.
  • That we won’t be able to handle it.
  • Of the unknown.

However, these are also based on a self-focus. The solution is to trust our Faithful Provider who is always with us (Phil 4:19).

Another root of impatience is simply having too much on our plates. If we have too many plates spinning, it’s no wonder we’re running around like a chicken with its head chopped off. (Oh, there are so many wonderful and funny word pictures depicting our frantic lives!)

But it’s not funny when relationships are broken, job efficiency goes down, or ulcers arise because of busyness.

Whether the root of your impatience is self-focus, discontentment, fear, or busyness Jesus Christ is the only effective and lasting solution.

Understanding yourself—including your past, present circumstances, and personality—will help you to be more patient.

So my friends, examine your life and determine what causes your impatience. Then ask the Lord for specific truths and practical ideas so you can lose your IMpatience instead of your patience!

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways.” (Hag 1:7)*

 

Blogs in this series:

How to be more Patient: Part 1

How to be More patient-Part 2: Understanding Time and Purpose

How to be More patient-Part 3: Understanding Others

For more help get Rose’s book:

From the Vertical to the Horizontal: Empowered to Relate to People God’s Way

The Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

*New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Learning to be Content Part 4: Signs and Sources of Discontentment

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Amy and Beth sat having coffee. Beth murmured, “I don’t get it! Doesn’t Jack know he’s hurting me by going to that ballgame? He seems to irritate me on purpose. He never cares about how I feel. Do you know what he did the other night He? just doesn’t get it!”

What’s Beth’s problem?

She thinks it’s Jack. Surely he’s not totally faultless here, but she’s looking solely to her husband for her needs. Her main issue is discontentment.

A lot of times we don’t realize we’re trying to fill a hole. God in His kindness will bring circumstances into our lives to reveal what’s inside, to show us what’s missing.

So how do you know if you have a discontented heart?

Here are the Signs of Discontentment

  • Complaining
  • Worrying
  • Anxious
  • Preoccupied with what you don’t have—material or otherwise
  • Greedy
  • Jealous
  • Never satisfied with anything or anyone
  • Hard to please; critical
  • Sad
  • Disappointed

Ouch! And this isn’t even a complete list! Now I am not saying you are a discontented person if you occasionally experience these things. But it’s so important to self-evaluate instead of avoiding the truth.

So take a good look at that list and be honest.

Sources/Causes

As discussed last time, discontentment occurs when our needs are unmet or we dislike our circumstances. But there can be a few other possible explanations for our dissatisfaction.

~Loss of something important

Whenever we lose someone or something—a loved one, friend, job, home, special memento—there will be automatic sadness; grief. A hole has developed. This is when we must be careful not to run ahead of God to fill that vacuum on our own.

 ~Self-focus

Sometimes we’re discontent because we are simply filled with ourselves instead of Christ. In and of ourselves nothing good resides. But if we are abiding in Christ, we will experience all of His goodness, joy, peace (fruit of the Spirit) for He is dwelling in us.

For in him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

~Faulty belief system

A belief is something we regard as true—even if it’s not. Our belief system determines our attitude and outlook on life. Incorrect thinking is always at the core of discontentment.

For example, wrong beliefs about who’s in control, expectations, or entitlement often lead to unfulfillment.

~God

This one might surprise you.

If we fill our need or desires on our own, God might take away our satisfaction (see Hag 1:3-11; Num 11). Our needs may be filled but it’ll feel empty.

On the other hand, He can fill an apparent need without tangibly filling it. He does so supernaturally all by Himself!

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19)

Now if you were Amy, you could advise Beth that her frustration stems from discontentment. Then tell her to read my next blog on how to become satisfied!

Part 5 in learning to be content is continued next year on Jan 2, 2018

 

THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

 

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