The Big Picture

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Faithfulness Matters

Photo by IB Wira Dyatmika on Unsplash

“As for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are this day.” Genesis 50:20 (Amplified Bible)

For months I’ve lost track of life mourning the fact that some situations can’t be redeemed this side of heaven.

Some pain can never be reversed can it?

Like the death of loved ones … a way of life … relationships.

I’ve spent days in bed with my bible just trying to get a word from the Lord that would pull me out of this funk.

The enemy has used the pain and my introverted tendencies …  to tempt me in walking away from the church and community in general.

The Devil loves using pain and loss to persuade us that faithfulness doesn’t matter in light of our circumstances.

But the story of Joseph has been a great encouragement these last few months.

This story has it all – betrayal, loss, oppression, dysfunction, jealously, rejection, false accusations and bondage … the list goes on and on.

And every time Joseph was oppressed … falsely accused … rejected … the scripture reminds us that God was with him.

I recently read a story about Andrew Murray who was a beloved pastor and writer in England in the late 1800’s. He suffered from debilitating back pain as a result of an injury. As he was eating breakfast one morning, his maid came to tell him that a woman was downstairs in great distress and was seeking advice or encouragement. Murray handed his maid the piece of paper he had been writing on and said, “Give her this advice that I’m writing down for myself. It may be helpful to her too.”

The paper read:

“In time of trouble, say, ‘First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest.’ Next, ‘He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.’ Then say, ‘He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.’ And last, say, ‘In His good time He can bring me out again. How and when, He knows.’ Therefore, say ‘I am here (1) by God’s appointment, (2) in His keeping, (3) under His training, (4) for His time.”

When I read this story, I realized that Mr. Murray’s advice is the exact model that God used in Joseph’s life … over and over.

Amazingly … Joseph remained faithful in all things … good or bad.

As a result, God used him to save many lives … including the lives of the brothers who hated him … yet Joseph held no bitterness in his heart for his oppressors.

Trusting God with our pain and learning to walk in the fullness of His sovereignty … just like Joseph did … can lead us to our purpose in life … if we remain faithful.

Faithfulness matters … especially when our world has turned upside down.

So, let this truth seep into every crevice of your heart …

You are here by God’s appointment … kept under the shelter of his loving wings … for His instruction to grow … within His timing.

Oh, sweet friend with the broken heart …

God has a purpose for your pain … so trust Him and remain faithful.

And that’s the Big Picture that Joseph so wisely understood.

love mel

“What Is The Purpose Of My Pain Lord?”

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reedit faithful love

It’s so hard to sit and wait on God isn’t it?

To wait for him to move when we need movement……to exact justice when we need justice….to reward faithfulness when we’ve been faithful.

It’s so easy to be tempted to go it alone….but what about going deeper?

Going deeper is tough when it feels like everything is against us.

Rejecting the enemy’s lies.

Going to the word of God daily…sometimes numerous times.

Baring our hearts in prayer….over and over.

Waiting patiently while trying to have a faith attitude.

Being faithful in the small things when we want to give up.

All the above is what I call going deeper.

To be honest, this faith walk is miserable some days. And we know he sees our misery, but we forget it’s for a purpose.

The famines, the pits, the heartaches, the persecutions, the loss…all the negative that comes our way is allowed for many purposes.

The Lord showed me years ago that suffering brings me to the edge of my existence….I’m not living for this world….but for eternity. He has also shown me that many times I have invited suffering because of sin.

Yet the one purpose that keeps me coming back and seeking him with all my heart ….he wants to have a relationship with me…..and because of that one purpose….he has shown me how I desperately need him.

You see he is a relational God.

He’s not like the Greek mythology gods portrayed in books that look down from the sky and get their kicks by moving mankind around like chess pieces.

We are not sport to him….we are his creation….created to be in a love relationship….one on one.

Recently I texted two of my hairy, man boys, inviting them to dinner.  Now hairy, man boys will usually show up for a free meal; however, one replied yes while the other texted back a flimsy excuse.

When I miss my man boys, I want to see them; therefore, I am not above shaming if the need arises.

I replied back….  “The whole purpose in taking you to dinner is not necessarily to feed you….but to be with you.  We love and miss you.”

How’s that for the perfect guilt trip? It didn’t work…but it gets better. As we neared their house, I gave the 2 minute warning to be ready because we were arriving soon. I added this little tidbit to the message.  “Tell your brother that he will regret not going to dinner one day, when he can’t pick up the phone and talk to us ever again.”

I’m giggling as I type this….but it worked. I got to spend a little time with my stubborn, independent, hairy, man boys and it was sweet.

But this got me to thinking…..just like my “well intended momma manipulation”……God will do whatever it takes to draw us closer and closer to his side.

The illness that knocks us on our back and we can’t do anything but pray…..Oh the Father cherishes those tender prayers for help.

The persecution that makes us angry, takes our breath and drives us to cry out to him for justice. Oh the Father relishes in our acknowledgement that only he can exact justice.

The depression that locks us in darkness, straining to lift our heads up…..grasping for his unseen hand. Oh the Father delights that we know he is the only light to lead us out of the abyss.

The famine that is threatening our lives….robbing our peace…..dropping us to our knees in desperate prayer. Oh the Father takes joy in seeing us turn to him with our overwhelming circumstances.

When we quit trying to figure it out…..fix it, or stop reaching out to another flawed human for help ….and just turn to him….Can you imagine his joy?

Doesn’t it make us feel good as a parent, when only we can do for our children, like no other can?

So here we sit…. out of solutions. Tired of our own fixes. Our creativity, human thinking and resolutions are useless….and it’s only when we get to the end of ourselves that we can choose to go deeper with him.

Just like a momma missing her man boy babies, the Father will do whatever it takes to draw us closer and closer….even closer than we think we are. Why?

Because he loves us beyond comprehension and he wants to be in a crazy.…know me deeper….trust me greater….love relationship.

Whatever valley you find yourself in today…be it the depression, the famine, the sickness…the unknown circumstances…..can you go against your feelings…choose faith and believe that the Father is wanting more of you?

Tell me friend….are you willing to go deeper with the Father?

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.”  Jeremiah 31:3

Worship the Father with Bethel Music….calling us to go deeper.

A Blessing Named Jon #LightItUpBlue

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autisimHe’s handsome. He’s super smart. He’s delightful to be around and an incredible artist. He is an award winning student in numerous disciplines. His honesty is refreshingly childlike yet inherently mature…. a divine combination that could only come from his creator.

He’s gentle yet assertive. His sense of humor rivals any late night TV comic. Basically I could say he is a typical teenage boy; however, Jon is far from the typical teenager, he excels in everything.

jon scripture

I distinctly remember the blue October sky, the day Jon was born. A tired but beautiful mommy held this bouncing baby boy while I gazed at big, soulful, curious eyes. He was definitely a looker though he was only a few hours old.

Jon’s story is one of faith, perseverance, two incredible parents and a big God.

The murky unknowns during the early days were no cake walk for my dear friend, Kelli. She and Mike were in unfamiliar territory.

I can’t begin to relate to the incredible journey they have been on for the last 16 years; however, I am not surprised at the victories God has given Jon.

It’s pretty astounding the research and knowledge a driven momma can discover. My friend is ahead of her time in keeping up with cutting edge resources. Kelli became an expert pretty darn quick.

They are relentless in the cause, resilient to the battles, and faithful to their charge. God has blessed their faithfulness many times over…..for they have been devoted to God’s unknown purpose.

They still have days of walking in obscurity. They still have moments of overwhelming fear. They still trust God while some would turn against him.

They still love and serve a God who is sovereign.

You’ve heard it before, a momma’s love knows no limits….this momma AND daddy carry their cause to the throne of God persistently. The truth is….nobody prays for their kids like a burdened mom and dad does.  Jon has been covered in prayer, abundantly well.

And so on this “LIGHT IT UP BLUE” day, this is a post about a blessing named Jon…..an incredible blessing that is fearfully and wonderfully made according to his creator, but it’s also about two faithful parents who are very special.

In fact, they are so special that God looked down on them one day and said…..

“I shall give them a blessing named Jon.”

And so He did.

wards

“When You Want To Give Up” #RaRaLinkup

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“Ever Want To Just Give Up?”

Do you ever wonder what’s the use? Why keep praying that prayer? Why show up for something that is going to yield the same results?

Why clean a house that will get dirty again? Why cook supper for a thankless crew? Why show up to a dead-end job?

Day in and day out, it’s the same thing, same story, and same old tune.

Progress if any, seems to move like a snail. Of course the Devil wants us to think nothing is ever going to change, but in reality, nothing stays the same.

So what would it look like…..if you walked away from a cause that you know GOD has called you to be faithful to?

Or give up on a people HE has entrusted to you? Or abandon a task HE has given you to do?

What would it look like for you to let go of the dream? Turn your back in bitterness or defeat and strike a new path?

How would your life be better? Or worse?

My husband was abandoned by his mother at the age of 4. Tired of taking care of kids, living in the same place, with the same man, she was over the monotony of daily household chores. She wanted more. She wanted out and that’s exactly what she did. Like a thief in the night, she packed up a two-year old baby and left behind her other child, my husband, moving over 1000 miles away.

My mother-in-law gave up, and the emotional peril to my husband has been life-long.

Letting go of your cause may not be something so damaging….or is it?

Let’s talk about the consequences of walking away.

Chase down the path of giving up. Where will it take you?

Maybe you are a single person thinking about letting go of your purity? Or maybe Bible study is too difficult and you are having trouble comprehending? What about the diet? The one your doctor told you is imperative to good health?

What about the dream that’s stalled for the time being, because you have responsibilities to take care of, or GOD’S timing is not in it?

There are many heroes in the Bible who could have given up, yet didn’t.

Remember Joshua? He knew GOD would deliver the children of Israel from their enemies. He believed and stayed the course when no one else did.  Eventually he received the inheritance promised while the others didn’t.

Then there is Paul…beaten, imprisoned, oppressed, harassed, and hunted…yet he never gave up for the cause of Christ…he was faithful. How many countless souls have come to JESUS because of Paul’s faithfulness?

What about Noah? Can you imagine how hard it would be to build a big, honking, gopher wood, cruise ship, while everyone is making fun of you? Bible scholars say from 55 to 75 years Noah endured the critics, the scoffers, and the naysayers….yet he saw the project through to the first rain drop. I guess you can say he didn’t miss the boat.

Whatever “good” you are doing in life…get ready…the resistance and warfare is coming.

Satan wants us to think the worst about our situations so we will give up. But what is the potential if you stay the course? Close your eyes and imagine step by step what your life could be if you hang in there for the good of Christ?

Who will benefit from your faithfulness? What will your golden years look like as a result of your faithfulness? What child will know JESUS? What generation will be most affected by your contribution of faithfulness? What will you family dynamic be like? Who will you bless? What rewards will you have to lay at JESUS’ feet one day?

The warfare is the bullet to stop you.

The enemy knows faithfulness always wins, but he wants to make the journey hard so you won’t finish.

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If you are lost in a fog of monotony or discouragement today, don’t give up.

Maybe you feel GOD has turned his back or is withholding something from you….please don’t give up.

Perhaps life has changed and you can’t imagine normal or happy again….oh child there is too much at stake to give up now…..if you are in a place like this….you faith is on the line.

So why stay the course?

Why show up every day to the task GOD has put in front of you?

Because faithfulness matters.

The Bible says….

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9

galatians 6

If we stay the course and be faithful….we will reap a harvest from all our efforts and toil.

Faithfulness affects every aspect of our life and every relationship including our bond with GOD.

Faithfulness means that no matter the valley you are walking in, no matter the hurt you are carrying, no matter the rotten circumstances you are dealing with and no matter what man throws your way…..

Being faithful means you trust GOD for the outcome.

faithfulness matters

Faithfulness tells GOD, you are in this journey with HIM till the end.

Don’t give up friend, don’t run out and don’t let Satan win…..

If you are faithful to GOD…..HE will be faithful to you.

faithful 2

Stay in the fight friends, GOD sees you…HE cares for you….and HE will reward your faithfulness.

I am sending love and prayers to all my readers today who are tired and wanting to give up. Fight for your faithfulness!

Love,

Mel

Here are some scriptures and worship links to encourage you to fight for faithfulness in all areas of your life.

Proverbs 28:20, Habakkuk 2:4, Matthew 25:13-211 Peter 5:8-10, Revelation 2:10

Elevation Worship – Great Things (Worth It All), Your Promises, Fortress

I am so honored to be linking up with my sweet friend, Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup…on her blog purposefulfaith.com.