Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Praising God No Matter What

I went to my friend Elizabeth Prata's blog The End Time this morning to catch up with what she has been posting about.  I watched this video:

Praise You in the Storm

The Lord spoke to my heart as I listened, and I became aware that I have not been praising God properly during this time of trial in my life, nor have I been thanking Him for the things He has been showing me during the trial.

Ephesians 5:20 tells us:  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We don't grow during times of ease and leisure when all is well with our world.  We grow in our times of trouble and testing.  We don't run to God and depend on Him for comfort, strength and wisdom in our times of ease, but we certainly do in our times of trouble.  That's where He meets us and shares our burden; He carries us through it, never leaving us nor forsaking us.

So, my friend, REALLY, if you are having trials and testing, PRAISE GOD!  He loves you as a son or daughter and is disciplining you; helping you to grow in reliance on Him.

I have been going through testing, literally one right after the other now for the past 13 years.  I have failed in some of the tests to do what I know the Lord wanted me to do.  But one thing I have learned is that God is determined to purify those who claim Jesus as their savior, and if we fail in a test, that means we're going to get another one to make up for the one we messed up.  He is determined to bring us to that place where we are less and less and Jesus is more and more of us and we look more and more like He did.

As I sit here in the silence, I realize that He is nearby and He knows my every thought, He knows what I'm writing and that I finally(!) get what He's doing.  Every test or trial I must lay back in His hands, not holding on and let Him carry me through it.  I must trust that He won't drop me, leave me, or let me down.  He's not letting go of me and I; I must not let go of Him.  He is my lifeline, the one who gives perfect advice and perfect peace.   As I rest in His hands, I must thank Him for being my rock, my hiding place and my sure foundation, and acknowledge that this trial is not the end of me, it's the beginning of being more like Him if I let it be.

Oh, God, I recognize your hand at work in my life.  I believe in you, but help whatever parts of me haven't gotten on board yet and remove any disbelief I may still have.  I trust you, remove all the barriers I have still within me that make me want to be in control.  I want to be like a little child, trusting you completely with no reservations.  You are everything, I am a vapor.  Everything belongs to you, including me.  I was created for you, so take my life, Lord, and let it be always, only, all for you.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What is Meekness?

Since my surgery, the Lord has been teaching me about meekness.  I thought I would pop up from the surgery, get the device programmed and four weeks later be out on the golf course, driving my car and doing the shimmy in my post-surgery high heels.  What was I smoking?

In truth, since the surgery, I have been clinging to God with all that I am, praying for strength, praying for patience and endurance.  It is ever so hard to adjust to having a machine attached to the body.  I pray for each and every person on the face of this earth who rely on oxygen machines, pace makers, or any other type of mechanical device made by man to make their quality of life better.  God bless you, all of you with His wisdom and perseverance.

The adversary wants to destroy those who love God.   He wants to steal our happiness, kill our witness and destroy our lives.  He plays with our minds.  He feeds us lies.  He  whispers in our ears.  He accuses us constantly.  What is our part in this?  We are to steadfastly read God's Word, impress it upon our hearts and minds, to know who God is and what He's like and what His promises are to us.  We are to stand against the enemy, in full armor, deflecting his shots at us.

That, after your body has undergone a surgery which leaves you feeling like you've been hit by a Mack truck, is a challenge.  You are weak, your mind is clogged with anesthesia and uncertainty and you feel like a little kid who needs constant assurance and comfort from his or her mother.

One lie the adversary has been so confident in using is "You don't really know God.  You aren't saved.  You didn't even trust Him enough to heal you.  You had surgery.  You trusted in doctors.   God doesn't know you.  God doesn't hear you anymore.   Face it, you aren't a Christian."   Oh, Lord, how he has used these accusations against me.

But the Lord IS faithful,  He is true and good and beautiful and He NEVER leaves us or forsakes us.  His Word is true.  We can believe what He promises to us, and we must live a life of faith for without faith, we cannot please Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Everyday I tell myself, "nothing will happen to you today, Kim, that God has not ALLOWED.  God allows Satan to test us, to try us, to BUILD OUR FAITH.   Understanding that God is in control of EVERYTHING; everything good, bad, ugly, beautiful or otherwise that happens to us and if we love Him and are called according to His purpose, they all work together for OUR GOOD.   He, alone, is sovereign.   We must accept everything that comes from His hand because He is wiser, He is gentler, He is everything that we are not and in the end, He is in control.  We accept His wisdom, His generosity, His goodness, His allowing Satan to tempt us or try us with meekness.  It's not that we roll over and play dead or like a limp noodle; but that we understand that He is working to make us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ, and that it's all for our own good.   That is meekness.  

I had purchased the book Like Silver Refined by Kay Arthur several years ago meaning to read it, but it sat on my shelf, untouched until the other day when I was looking for a book to read during my devotion time.  God surely caused me to save this book to read during this time in my life for it is exactly what I need to hear right now, and I can't seem to hear it enough.  It's like I have to keep putting this message into my mind in order for it to sink in, set its roots down deep so nothing can ever pull it out of my mind.  God is God.  I belong to God.  He made me according to His will.  He has a plan for me and it is not a plan to hurt me, but for my good.  He wants the best for me, and each and every trial He allows into my life is meant to bring it about.

As I recognize all this, I am commanded by His Word to "GIVE THANKS ALWAYS FOR ALL THINGS UNTO GOD AND THE FATHER IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD, JESUS CHRIST." Ephesians 5:20

Dear Friend, are you, too, experiencing lots of trials and tribulations in your life?  Then be encouraged as you count it all joy in accordance with James 1:2-7 because the Lord is bringing you to the perfection that He requires; lacking in nothing.  Truly, knowing that God is the one who is orchestrating all the things that are going on in my life right now is the only thing that keeps me going.  Satan can tell me all he wants that I don't know God or that I am not God's daughter, but I have determined that I will run this race in faith for the length of my life.  God, himself, will have to tell me I don't belong to Him.  I know whom I have believed upon, (Jesus Christ) and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to him until that day when in joy and tears, I will see Him face to face in all His glory! 

Romans 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Now This is Warfare!

Since my surgery, exactly four weeks ago, I have been under attack from the adversary.   He's sneaky - that one.  He always strikes you when you least expect it and when you are at your weakest.

It's hard to explain to others how one feels after this kind of surgery - well at least how I have felt.  There have been very emotional periods when all I want to do is cry, there have been times when I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time and then there have been the "dark" times when I have sensed that my mind was under attack.  I am usually a pretty positive person (with the exception of telling people that we are at the end of the age; and then people tell me I'm "so negative").   During the trial and error period of programming the DBS system, I have been totally "off" which I had never been prior to the surgery.  "Off" meaning I am overtaken by tremors, my mind is blank and it is hard for me to focus.

It was during one of my first "off" periods that I felt a darkness coming over me and my thoughts went very negative.  I thought that God was very displeased with me for having the surgery, I thought about how if something went wrong I would have to undergo more brain surgery, and then I would not give permission to more surgery,  I thought about how complicated this had made my life for other illnesses that could possibly pop up, I thought God did not love me because I was no longer made in His image because I have this "thing" inside of me, etc. 

I recognized the hand print of the enemy on these thoughts, and immediately called my prayer partner.  The Bible tells us that Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy.  He must have heard me praising God in the OR (so they tell me), or reciting my scriptures, or thanking God with my family and friends afterwards in the recovery room and decided he was going to put a stop to that.   Anyway, I heard in my mind "Didn't I tell you he would do this?"  "He wants to steal your joy, kill your witness and destroy you."  So, I did as the Word says and resisted him.  He did, in fact, flee from me and I was at peace the rest of the day. 

I have had this happen now many times since I came home, and quite frankly, it was getting to me. As a matter of fact, it had me questioning my salvation and whether I had had this surgery performed without God's blessing and if He would forgive me for it.   Last night as I was reading scripture, the Holy Spirit led me to Ephesians 6:13-17 where it talks about spiritual warfare and putting on the whole armor or God.   I was reading through the verses and then reading the accompanying commentary when my spirit lit up and I rejoiced.

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

God showed me that every day, no matter what I do, if it brings glory to God, Satan is going to attack the one bringing God such glory and that every single day, I need to put on ALL of the armor of God.

 First the belt of truth.  This is a knowledge of the truth of God's Word.  I believe the Bible is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.   The belt of truth holds all the other pieces of armor in place.   Next, the breastplate of righteousness, which represents holy character and moral conduct which comes from knowing the truth and attempting to be an effectual doer of the word and not just a hearer of it.  Third, the preparation of the gospel of peace.  These are shoes on our feet that make us eager or willing to take the fight to Satan even though he is a powerful opponent.  The shield of faith means taking God at His Word and believing His promises (which I was not doing, and which the commentary says will "protect one from doubts induced by Satan).    The helmet of salvation which  is the assurance or certainty of salvation, which again means that I must trust God to keep His promises.   And last, but certainly not least, the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  

Friends, we must consciously take up the armor everyday for IF we are doing the Lord's bidding in glorifying His name, taking the gospel to others and lifting Him up so that all men are drawn to Him, then we are a sure target for the adversary.

I am so thankful today for God's amazing love for me, for the fact that I cast my cares upon Him, and He answered me.  He showed me that no matter what, I must trust His promises and depend upon
 Him to complete what He has started in me.  

Dear Lord, thank you so much for loving me, for hearing my prayers and answering them!You are Almighty God, and I say with the Psalmist, "Who am I that you would be mindful of me", I am as a mist, a vapor, a flower, here today and gone tomorrow..  Yet you take the time to reassure me that I am yours and you are mine.  I bless you today, Lord!  May you be glorified today in my life.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!