When God Abandons You

Have you ever looked to the stars and wondered where God was? Have you felt the emptiness of your soul and longed to feel anything from God? Have you ever questioned his existence or his involvement? Have you ever accused Him of being uncaring? Have you ever been so broken that your heart ached and longed to be comforted, but comfort never came? Have you struggled from the depths of a tortured soul, tired of crying out to a God who did not answer?

I have.

I was devastated when I learned that a loved one was caught using drugs. I watched helplessly as they spiraled into a place of despair. I grieved the loss of the person I knew. It hurt. I sat on my back porch one night, as this friend cried and asked me where was God? In the heart of this good Christian girl I was crying out to know where He was, also.

God I am not the one who went astray. Why are you silent? Where are you? Do you know what is happening to me and my family? Do you feel the sorrow and pain that is ripping at my soul?

Maybe you understand this kind of pain. Maybe you felt the grip it takes as it holds you in a paralyzed state? Maybe you have looked to the stars and screamed to God, looking for answers.

If you have you are not alone. In agony on the cross, Christ cried out to his father. He felt total separation from God, so that we would never have to experience separation. (Matthew 27:46)

Nevertheless, I hear you say, “How does that help when I am hurting and I feel separated from God?”

You may not like the answer, it is odd.

You cry, scream if you need to, and pour your broken heart out before God. You search for him and continue to ask him where he is? Then in the midst of your brokenness you turn your heart to Him and acknowledge that you know you are His and you are going to trust Him even if you do not feel him. You are going to Trust Him for who He is even if your heart is still breaking. Even if He does not miraculously fix the problems you want Him to solve.

This worked for me. I believe it can work for you. More importantly it worked for Christ. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus Christ cried out to His father and He ended his prayer with, “not my will, but thine, be done. (Luke 22:42)”

If Christ found comfort this way we can, also. It may not fully come today. Yet, we can rest in the peace from trusting Him in the middle of the pain.

What heartache are you struggling with today, that allows your soul no rest? What do you desire from God?

Comment below or send me an email I would love to pray for you today.

The Boring Christian Life

Are you bored with your Christian life? Do you go to church and come home the same? Do you look for the next big Christian experience? That just may be the thing you have been looking for to fix your problems.

The Christian experience is like a drug. It has highs and lows and can leave you always searching for the next fix. Something else that helps keep up the persona that everything is all right. Always looking for the next service, where you can smile, rejoice, and praise God or the next book to help you align yourself to be a better Christian.

At the closing of the services or the end of the book, you are still the same. You feel like a good Christian. You do the things a good Christian should do and you don’t sin very often. Nonetheless, you feel distant from God. You are never fully satisfied. In your heart, you know there is something lacking.

Religious involvement can never fully satisfy. The longing heart desires more than an emotional high. Continual searching for joyful moments is draining to the soul. The situation feels good while they last and disheartening when they depart.

If you are tired of this revolving pattern that leaves you unfulfilled, then let’s begin the escape of boring Christianity and experience Christ.

1.  Look for Christ in the silence
Sometimes we have to quiet our heart and get away from the crowd to see Christ.

“11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? (1 Kings 19:11-13)”

 

2.     Desire Him above excitement
Do you want Jesus more than you want the excitement of a service or interesting book? If we seek Him, He promises we will find Him!

“12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:12-14)”

 

3.     Acknowledge that finding Christ will result in needing to change
Do you want Christ and the change He will surely bring? He is not just a warm, happy feeling. He is about live change and changing us to be more like Him.

 “22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:22-25)”

 

The Christian life is not a search for the next experience. It is a relationship with Christ, an intimate and close walk with Him, in which your life continually progresses to Christlikeness.

 

A Good Life Does Not Equal Spiritual Maturity

God came to give life and he gives life more abundantly. He did not come just so we could have a good life. He desires for us to become more like Christ and that leads to an abundant life he has provided in his Son. When we are living a good life that is not necessarily from God, it could be our circumstances or our upbringing. Christ offers a new way of living. The new way is giving up our way for his way. Sometimes that is in opposition to the good life. It can appear to be heading in a different direction than our idea of a good Christian life. God’s ways are not man’s ways.

God’s way is better.

God tells people to do strange things that are hard to understand.

He commands you to love your enemy.

Do good to those who hate you.

Love God more than you love your family.

Submit to each other in love, because of Christ.

God tells us that true Christianity is to provide the needs of widows and orphans.

He tells us to give of our limited resources to God who is supposed to have limitless resources.

God says not be joined with the world, yet stay with your unbelieving spouses if they choose to stay.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)”

God’s ways are abnormal. They do not fit man’s idea of judgment and fairness. We want things done now, God says wait. We want healing and God says in his time and in his way. We want to be right immediately and he says, “Ok, it is a long process let’s begin with one little thing and then another for the rest of your life.

Who will we believe? Will we stay with the things we understand? What we believe to be true about church and how a good Christian should live or will we fall before God acknowledging that we do not understand his ways; however we know they are right.

Spiritual growth comes from routinely putting down your way for Gods. In choosing Gods way for one issue leads to God showing you something different, this then leads to choosing your way or Gods way once again. All of this is a cycle of growth leading us closer and closer to being like Christ.

 

Do You Desire A Relationship With Christ

What are you looking for in your relationship with Christ? Do you feel distant and long for his presence? In what ways could your intimacy with Christ be enhanced? He is standing arms outstretched wanting you to come unto him. Is this what you desire? Could the connection between you and Christ be better?

Everyone is looking for something better, a better relationship, a better job, a better home. Our society is obsessed with having a better body or better income. There are so many get rich quick schemes and diet pills leaving people with debt and sick bodies.

 

The church is not exempt. We want good sermons and active children’s programs, with vibrant singing and entertaining pastors. We want the number of visitors and members to grow, and we wonder why our systems to supercharge growth do not produce results.

 

Our spiritual lives are the same. We want to feel close to God and have lives full of joy and peace. We will listen to sermons, singers, and speakers’ hoping someone has that magic pill to will solve the entire struggle with the disconnect between us and God. We rejoice and praise God at the moment then rapidly plummet back to the real world.

 

In all of these areas there is one thing in common an avid desire so strong that it turns into greed, a craving that begs to be filled with no wait and no hard work.

 

How does this affect good Christian’s who just want more of Christ that cannot be something bad? It is not greed, is it?

 

If this means wanting to be godly, without having a renewed mind, then maybe it is.

 

Wanting to be close to God without spending time with him without drawing near to him then maybe it is.

 

A relationship takes time. There is hard work put into relationships.

 

There are intense times.

 

There are fun times and pleasurable times.

 

Times that are full of laughter and times that are filled with tears.

 

Christ wants to give us all these things. He longs for a relationship with you. He wants a relationship with close intimacy, where he teaches you and helps you mature. Where he holds you when your heart is sad, and your tears are falling. Where you can run to him if you fall and he will lovingly pick you up. Where he can tell you when you are wrong, and you will listen and then change.

 

Relationships take effort. It takes two people who take the time to get to know each other, who spend time together.

 

Christ put effort into being able to have a relationship with you. What are you willing to do?

Does God Care?

The sun pleasantly spread its warmth over my tired and weary soul. The flavor of spring floated aimlessly in the wind, bringing with it a contagious sense of joy. I found a faint smile. It felt good to smile and enjoy the warm sun on my face. The suns warmth was an inadequate instrument at piercing my cold heart. I needed something stronger, with more power than the physical warmth of the sun.

God, do you care, I cried?

Do you see my hurt?

Can you sympathize with my pain?

Is there hope for me?

I talk quietly with God searching for a connection, longing for something to reassure my faith. I had talked to God like this for days, with no answer from him. Today would be different.

God, I am going to trust you, in spite of my feelings. I will trust you, even if I never receive an answer. I will trust you, even if my life is a mess. I will trust you because you are God. I will trust you because of Jesus.

With that, the Holy Spirit began to comfort my weary and cold heart. The warmth of his love penetrated my armor and brought renewed life that the physical sun could not bring. Did he give me an answer to my questions? No. Did he tell me what he wanted me to do? No. He simply held me in his strong and capable arms and gave me the rest I needed.

What do you want from God today? What questions would you like him to answer? What problem is stealing your peace of mind? 

Can you trust God, simply because he is God?

What are you having a hard time trusting with in your life today? Comment below or send me an email and let me know your prayer need, or how God has helped you. I would love to join in prayer with you today.

 

 “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; (Psalm 34:18a)”.

 

 

Of Course I Love You Jesus

Jesus asks a challenging question in John 21:17, “Do you love me”? He is intensely requesting your love. He desires you to get past the small talk. He wants you to look deep inside, where he already sees, and feel the love for him, to rise above nonchalantly saying, I love you and reach a place where the love you have for Jesus is so deeply felt it becomes an experienced.

“Do you love me”?

Jesus asks for a purpose. He wants you to love him, and he wants that love to pour out to care for others. When you experience love for Jesus Christ, it pours out from your being and affects your life. When your life embodies that love, the same love touches those you with whom you come in contact.

“Feed my sheep”.

Well, that was all well and good for the apostle Peter, you may say. He preached and was able to feed many during his time, and many after his time with the books of the Bible God allowed him to be a part of writing. What about today’s women who live stressed and busy lifes, with a husband, a job and some kids?

Jesus is calling even today, “Do you love? Feed my sheep? Jesus wants you to care for those he cares about. He wants you to touch the lives around you positively in his place. Will you? Do you love him? Will you touch those around you with the love you have for Jesus?

Will you respond lovingly to your exhausted seemingly unloving husband?

Will you love that tantrum throwing toddler?

Will you be kind to the bossy mean-spirited lady, who likes to remind you how to raise your kids?

Will you lower your voice and speak soft words instead of angry words, when your teenager is once again disrespectful?

Will you give five dollars and a smile, in Jesus name, to the beggar who asks you for money at the gas station?

Will you shy away from office gossip and show grace?

Will you be gentle to the waitress who brought out your order wrong, again?

Will you show Jesus Christ to those in your world? You may not be a preacher. You may not be a great woman’s teacher, but you can wipe that dirty nose for the 100th time today and smile. You can show love. You can show grace. You can care for those he cares for.

Do you love me? Feed my sheep?

How do you care for those around you? With the love you have for Jesus Christ!

 

In what ways do you try to live showing you love Christ? Comment below or shoot me an email. I would love to hear from you.

 

“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep (John 21:17)”.

 

“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me (Matthew 25:35-40).”

Three Lesson We Can Learn From the Magnificat (Mary’s song of Praise)

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. 48. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 51. He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 53. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 54. He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 55. As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever. (Luke 1:46-55)

  1. She focused on God, not her problem. (Verse 46, 47) She begins by acknowledging who God is and who she is. That she is the one in need, and he is the savior.

 

  1. She rejoiced in what God was doing in her life, even while facing hardships. (Verse 49) Mary is getting ready to face condemnation. She is an unwed mother, and she knows the hardship she is facing. She still praises God for the great things he is doing in her life.

 

  1. She dwelt on Gods promises, not her feelings. (Verse 54, 55) Mary lived in a hard time in Israel they were in the grasp of the Roman Empire and had not heard from God in hundreds of years. Looking back, Mary remembered the promises God had given Abraham and the children of Israel. She held to his promises and not what she could see around her.

 

Mary was in the middle of a confusing time in her life and was getting ready to face harsh opposition. She still praised God because of who he was, what he was doing, and what he had promised.

Are you facing hard times today? Are you hurting and struggling? Turn your focus on God. Remember what he has done in your life, and cling to his promises.

Hiding From God

Knowledge is not always beneficial. There are times that knowledge hurts. It leaves pain, chaos, and broken relationships. Eve found this out in a harsh way. She wanted to be like God, to have his knowledge (Genesis 3). She sure obtained what she asked for, but it did not improve her life or relationships. It drove her from her God and caused her to hide in shame.

Eve’s attempt to repair the damage was useless. She was still empty and distant from God and her husband. Nothing she could do would relieve the knowledge of her shame. Nothing could let her feel the closeness she once experienced with Adam. Nothing let her feel confident enough to approach the God she had once known.

Like Eve, we have this same knowledge passed down to each of us, her children. This knowledge causes us to hide from God, and in the same way as Eve, attempt to repair our flawed nature.

The way we cover up is different for everyone. Whether you hide in a church or a bar, with designer clothes or tattoos the separation from God is the same. No attempt can alleviate the emptiness.

God knew the relationship was broken. He saw her trying and failing to mend the situation. Knowing she would never be able to approach him, he came to her. He did not leave her to live forever in her condition (Genesis 3:22). He tenderly stripped her of all her attempts to cover up, revealing all her sin and shame, and with tenderness he gave her clothing made by his hands. With the promise of Christ, he gave her hope.

God does the same for us as he did for Adam and Eve. He comes to us, and as we stand in front of his righteousness, our sin and shame displayed openly before him. He does not reject us; instead he lovingly does what we could not do. He clothes us in his Sons righteousness, taking us out of our shame and giving us hope, giving us life!

“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15).”

 

Are you experiencing the freedom God has provided in Christ? Are you living free of the shame of sin, that salvation supplies? If you have any comments or questions, leave a message below or shoot me an email. I would love to hear from you!

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For the first part of this series click here. 

 

To Feel Alive

A few months back I attended a party where there were helium balloons. The kids loved them. After the party, they dominated my living room where they happily danced. They stayed that way for a while, and then I noticed they did not touch the ceiling. They started to fall. The fall was not fast it lasted several days. Once it began there was not much hope left for the dying balloons.

Life is frail and so is the feeling of life. The feeling that life is worth living that it is worth facing a new day. The emotions that flood a heart can be intoxicating and thrilling.

Were you once full of life? Did you long for each new day, daring anything to stand in your way? When did it end? How do you get to the place where your heart has no feeling?

What do you do when life is more than you can take, when your problems are merciless? How do you hold on when there appears to be nothing to hold?

Here are four things worth holding.

1. You have a God who specializes in life

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6)”

 

2. You have full access, as a part of Gods family.

“For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; (Ephesians 2:18, 19)”

 

3. It is not you anyway, it is CHRIST.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8, 9)”

 

4. He wants you to glorify him. In Christ, he gives you the ability for good works. You are capable, because of him.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)”

 

You have a hope! You can trust in our savior! He has given you assurance of his love and help.

Are you looking for signs of hope today? Do you feel lifeless? What problem is so relentless that you cannot move?

If you need prayer or have a question, leave a comment or shoot me an email I would love to hear from you.

Pursuing Christ With Abandon

I have not always found it easy to trust Christ. I wanted to, yet most of my teen years I held back and kept control.  When Christ finally won me over as a late teen, I continued to struggle with my identity in him. Even though I had trusted him for my salvation I nonetheless found it hard to let go and trust his heart.

Over the years, he has wooed me as a lover desiring a relationship with me. So often I played the unfaithful lover, who would go my own way, yet he has never stopped pursuing me.

I have felt the loneliness of the times he has had to withdraw from me (Psalm 131). How he must have hurt when he had to chastise me, because of my rebellion and how he must have ached for me to pursue him (Matthew 23:37).

Oh, the sweetness of the assurance of his love when I drew near to him he lovingly drew near to me. (James 4:8)

Over the years, I have learned to lean into his arms and to rest with abandon giving wholly to him and not holding back.

Christ is pursuing you! He loves you! He longs for you to embrace him with full abandon.

I want you to experience a love affair with him, to feel the love and safety his embrace provides. I want you to know he is faithful, he is trustworthy and you can trust his heart.

Do you want to begin this journey? Why not begin today?