Tag Archive | Trials

Who Shall You Serve? I Will Serve El Elyon- The Most High God- Sovereign Lord.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been contemplating on the sovereignty of God. A lot has happened to me within those couple of weeks that for some people would make them turn away from God and harbor bitterness in their hearts. But for me, that is not the case at all.

I was reading Daniel chapter 3 in my private bible study. It has always been one of my favorite bible stories, but this time, the story came to life in a new and refreshing way. Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were faced with dilemma: worship a false idol or be put to death. What amazed me was their response to the King when he inquired of them why they did not obey his decree. They said :

“King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3: 16-18)

*SQUEALS* I’m sorry but every time I read this I get excited! Insert Laugh here.

But seriously, look at what they said! These three young men, in the face of death (in this day and age, we would say they were rebellious and defied authority) told the King that they made a choice. Their choice was to never bow down. First, they believed that God was more powerful than the King and could rescue them. But check this out. They knew God was not a genie to grant them their wishes. They truly believed He is a good God and could save them but they left their fate in the hands of God.

Ask yourself this question : What idols do I have in my life? Idols can come in the form of people, objects, goals/aspirations, our career and ideologies. As I was taking a good look at my environment, I realized that there were many people that were trying to take God’s place in my life. I also recognized that I was allowing it in some cases. Nothing can become an idol without our permission.

Like these men, I had to say from my heart that I will serve the Lord even if He never rescues me. I first had to believe He had the power to rescue me but even if he doesn’t, He is still my God and I will bow to no other. I made up my mind to work, live and serve as a child of God. When situations arise in my life, I had to always declare that I will serve no other gods. Persecution, lack of all kinds, hurt and pain, sickness and diseases will not turn me away from God.

In my recent pain, I had to “set my face like flint” and confess that I will never ever turn away from God. It doesn’t matter what happens, God must come first in my life.

It’s more than going to church on Sunday, looking modest in apparel. It’s even more than exchanging sweet words of encouragement to our brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s about looking at God as a loving and sovereign king. Who is bigger and badder than all. No demon, no human, and no angel can mess with my bad God. He is God all by himself and He chose to rescue me from myself. All the other things I mentioned are important but they flow from an intimate relationship with God. A relationship that transcends anything else.

When we believe that our good deeds, our church attendance, our modest apparel, and how often we read the bible determines our relationship with God, we run the risk of allowing these very things to become idols. These behaviors must flow out of our love for God and not be the means to reach a goal.

True love is not sentimental gush. It is not mushy romance or an idealistic view but the truth of the Word of God made manifest through Christ and through true intimacy with Him. It is not a merit badge, a flag to wave. It is not a fake handshake and a smile to keep up appearances in Church. It is not click groups, it is not title or position. It is not tallying up how many good deeds you did in a year. It is not how many tithes and offerings you give. It is not measured by who loves you or don’t. It is not measured by how beautiful or intelligent you are.

It is truly about intimacy: an openness to God. Being honest with Him. Going to Him first with everything. Being open to what He wants for you. It might look different from everyone else. Apostle Paul’s ministry was so different : He was a Jew preaching to the gentiles. No one might understand what God is doing in your life, but will you bow down to their idea of how your life should be or who God called you to be? When you read the Bible, do you read it to learn more about God and to draw closer to him, or use it as a self help-manual, treat it as a bullet on your to-do list or as a rod to whip people with?

Daniel’s friends were finally tossed into a very very hot furnace. It was so hot that it killed the King’s obedient guards. What happened next shook that King to the core! He looked down and saw that these three men were not only untied but unharmed and what looked like to be the “son of gods” was walking around with them!

Let me break this down for y’all! I’m weeping while writing this.

When you decide to obey God and not bow down to idols, this is what God does….whether or not you die in the furnace YOU WIN! When you face persecution from both the saved and the unsaved, the pharisees and the roman guards, God has a way of coming down….making himself available to you in the fire. He doesn’t just rescue you by removing you from the heat. He will untie the things that use to keep you bound. Untie the burdens that keeps you from walking around. Not only does He untie you but He dwells among you.  He places Himself in your situation. When people watch you walk around in the flames, they see you untouched and unharmed. And when you walk out, you will not smell like smoke. Nothing will harm you! While this is a physical representation, I see this as spiritual! You come out with your faith in God intact! They may even try to kill you and even if they succeed, they cannot take God away from you! God will give you strength and peace to go through it all. It isn’t about having a happy smiling face, it isn’t about never crying and pretending to be so brave and strong. It is whatever you choose to do: smile or cry, you say in your heart : I will not Bow!

The King, shocked and in awe declared this :

“Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”

“Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” (Daniel 3: 26; 28:29)

When God steps in because of your unwavering faith in Him, people will see and declare that God is the most high! They won’t be able to deny that God is the true and living God and all power belongs to Him.

El Elyon the most high God. What does this mean? It stood out to me.

“The name or title “Elyon” emphasizes God’s uniqueness and his supremacy above all others. It reminds us he is the Creator of heaven and earth and the Owner of all. He is not merely mighty, but Almighty. He is the Sovereign Possessor and Controller of all things. Elyon sovereignly delivers his children and sovereignly accomplishes his purpose even in their suffering, which itself is temporary and will be followed by the eternal refreshment he promises to bestow on them.” (Source)

  • I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me (Psalm 57:2).
  • If you make the Most High your dwelling, even the LORD, who is my refuge, then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone (Psalm 91:9-12).
  • “But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever; yes, for ever and ever” (Daniel 7:18).

 

 

STOP COMPLAINING!

I decided that I don’t want to sit around having a round table discussion about my problems. Neither do I want to participate in listening. I’m not trying to be selfish or anything but it really solves NOTHING when we sit around and  discuss how horrible life is. I find myself participating in things that drain my spirit: leaving me hollow, tired, and sad. I depend on the joy of God but if I’m feeding my soul with negativity, how can I be a productive christian? We can discuss our problems all day until we are blue in the face but what are we going to do about it? I’m making a conscious decision to walk away from every negative conversation. If I have a problem I will pray. When I am sad, I will speak the truth of God’s word over my circumstances. This cycle of complaining needs to end.

 

Sadly, I will have to put in great effort to stay away from people who love to complain. Who only see the negative in every situation. Who let their feelings cloud their judgement and chose not to let God work in their lives. You become just like the company you keep. It doesn’t matter how much you love someone, you cannot fix them. If this person is you, you are in control over your actions. YOU CHOOSE whether or not you want to trust in God. You choose whether or not you will listen to good advice. You CHOOSE!

So don’t blame anyone for the problems in your life. We all have struggles: from the rich to the poor, Black, White and those in between, Christians and Non-Believers. We are all suffering in this world of sin and we need to realize that. Pity-party and complaining will get us no where.

For those that believe in Christ we have hope. There is a bigger responsibility for us to depend on God and wait and trust in him. It is our responsibility to chase after him. We have a greater responsibility to be a joyful example of God’s grace.

Throw away fear. Throw away insecurity. Throw away negativity. Throw away pity-party and pride and chase after Jesus.

There are TONS of scripture about complaining, negativity, etc.

Here’s a link to give you a head start.

Holiness: Celebrating our Uniqueness in Christ.

From the moment we give our life to Christ and make him Lord of our lives, we are marked and every demon is on the attack. I knew this, but there were so many times when I was complacent because I couldn’t see demons or the kingdom of darkness.

Not to mention when one becomes complacent in their walk with God, Satan makes every opportunity to use our weakness to turn against God. We are naturally weak and defenseless against the attacks of Satan. It is only through Christ that we have power.

Over the course of a year or so, I was constantly hearing in my spirit to be still and  silent. God will move but you must be silent.  Did I listen? Nope. I found it necessary to speak  because it’s natural to defend. What do I have to prove? What can I do in my own strength to change anyone or their opinions of me? How is that going to make me feel better?

As a child my way of surviving was to stand up for myself and prove how strong I was. To this day, I struggle with that mindset. The biblical way to stand up to a bully is through love, submission and if all doesn’t work, removing oneself silently to avoid conflict. Too often I forget that this struggle is not with people but with the devil himself.

Too often the devil will use whatever means to get us to feel unworthy of God’s love, unable to act in God’s love, and to run away in defeat.  Too often the feeling of loneliness, not fitting in, being persecuted in various ways will wear us down when we lose sight of Christ.

Some of us respond by withdrawing, others in depression, some by backsliding in order to fit in ,  even others compromise to avoid conflict. I can personally say I’ve done all of those things. None of them fixed the problem. The feeling of emptiness is consuming. It’s an endless cycle of defeat. It’s only when I fall on my face and just worship Christ that I find purpose, healing and peace. Our whole lives are to be spent in worship. From the time we wake up to the time we sleep. From our choices, our group of friends, what we discuss, what we listen to, how we dress and how we react.

I realize now that this is not about winning, this isn’t about proving, this isn’t about perfection, it’s not about works but faith. Faith displayed in praise. My prayer for those reading is to continue walking in Christ, do not give up on praise. Do not give up on worship. Fight with the means of the Word of God, Prayer and spending time with God. Pray always. Never cease. Pray for each other as Paul commanded in his letters.

When you are lost and don’t know what to do, stand still. When you are being pushed to the limit, keep silent. When you feel hopeless keep singing. When you are sad look to the gospel. Don’t wait until something horrible happens to slap you into shape. But know that if that correction comes, it is for your own good.

You hear so often that “she was a good person” and ” he would do anything for anyone”, therefore, they must be with God. On the contrary, it is only those that trust and believe in Christ will be with him. We are different and unique not because of how good we are but because of how good He is, because of how righteous and holy and merciful he is. Simply because he is God.

So let’s celebrate.

Let’s Cling To Hope…

As I walk through my neighborhood, I couldn’t help but notice the mindset of the people here.

Most people have a sense of entitlement when they dealt with each other, but when it pertains to things like the quality of their food supply or the beauty of their street corners, they accept whatever they get.

Men and women that lack any sense of self respect. They live for each other: being wanted and needed but not necessarily the right way.

A “me, myself, and I” world but deep inside their actions are controlled by a need to be accepted.

They lash out with violence, sex, and all kinds of immorality. When I walk outside, I envision a spiritual war zone. Well, I could feel it. These last days, my emotional and spiritual senses have increased. Never pray for something you are not willing to endure.

As I began to see the world around me, my own nature started to take form. The way I react to certain situations and people.

Ignoring a situation won’t make it go away. Getting upset won’t change it either. Somethings with effort might never change, but then where does change start anyway?

The more I think about it, the more I realize that in many ways some of us are a pawn in a larger show.

Who are these pawns? The evil people. People who do not know God and forfeited their lives. They do not walk with God, therefore they do not have life. They walk around boastful, hateful, selfish. They believe that their actions are justified with no remorse. They hurt people and it fills their happy meter. Yes, there are people in this world that are evil. They do not have to kill a person physically to be evil. Anything outside of God is evil.

This is what I also noticed.

Evil people are pawns. Look at Satan, he’s a pawn. Every evil act these people do will build up the church. When Christians are persecuted, they cling and find hope in God. They no longer trust in their own feeble strength. If it wasn’t for my own personal persecution, I know exactly what kind of person I would be.

However, as evil as some people are, God still loves them. Hard to understand right? Well, here’s the thing: We were all once evil and every one of us still have a sinful nature.

God brought us out of the world of sin and into the world of grace. It is this grace that we can be made into the image of God: sanctified, holy, and full of grace.

The world is a dark and evil place. The evil comes from humans themselves. Humans are NOT good. We don’t just have goodness spilling out from us.

I remember fearing what people could do. I also remember when my trust in God’s power and protection was restored, fear left.

Humans live in fear. They fear loss, death, and separation. God said that he will never leave us. He said that he will supply all our needs and he said that Jesus has conquered death and we now have eternal life in him.

When I get too caught up in the pains of life, I forget who I’ve become. I forget who God says I am. We must not forget. We must not let darkness touch our soul again. We must chase after God with a desperation. This desperate need to be saved from our filthy desires. We cannot overcome our sin if we forget who God is.

Silence In The Darkness II

I think my actions forced me into silence. Honestly, I am very happy to have this silence. I am free to think. I am free to study. I am free to seek.

As confusing life is to me, I know that God has not deserted me. As evil my nature is, God has not turned his back on me.

Sometimes we can have good intentions, sometimes we think we are doing the right thing for ourselves to find out that it was flat-out wrong. But the joy I have is in productivity.

I am no longer a busy body like my teenage self doing everything and anything. I calculate my days and what needs to get done. I make time to take care of my body and adopting proper eating habits.

However, there is still room for improvement. My last post was titled:  “Silence in the darkness”.

I know for a fact that this is the silent part of my journey. I already know that I am a hopeless human being but I didn’t realize how hopeless I was.

As dismal as that is, the reality of it all is that I’m realizing more and more that only God is good and there is no way that I can be good in my own strength.

Not spending time in God’s presence is my problem. I always say I don’t have time even when I do. It’s always an excuse for me. The passion has left and I blame it on time. Then when something pops up I get upset with myself and the cycle continues.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think about God and I thank him for all he does in my life. However that is not enough. At some point I realized that I was spiritually blind. Spiritually dumb.

I was comfortable in my own folly. I made excuses for my own sins and  attitudes. I made goals without asking God exactly when and how.

It’s way to easy to fall off track when you make excuses. It’s way too easy to fall of track when you are worrying about who hurt you or how tired you are after a long day of work and chores. It’s easy to fall off track when you are too caught up being angry with yourself.

I decided this was a wake up call. Honestly, I am tired of wake up calls. I want to reach a place where they are few and far in between.

The word of God is like a flicker of light, a spark of fire in the darkness. Every sparkle and every flick illuminates each tile, brick or step of the way. It doesn’t illuminate the whole path, just the steps we need to take.

Satan is on the side lines trying to divert our attention  to what he has to offer ( the state of the world) . It may be enticing because it is easy, or maybe because everyone is doing it. Other times it could be because the light hasn’t shown up fast enough. Some of us could be on one step or tile for years. It seems fitting that we can take a detour.

However, as we move from beginners or babies to mature or elders, Satan’s tactics would soon begin to appear dull or desperate. He might even try new ways but because of our maturity in Christ we can rest on what we know of him and his ways/timing.

The Holy Spirit is with us throughout this journey. He reminds us of what we know and he will reveal to us what we need to know. That’s the comfort we have. He also gives us the authority and the power to stand against the bully ( Satan) in Jesus name.

This is exactly how it’s coming to me and it’s making sense. Along the way we develop new skills called virtues that help us reach our goal: heaven.  Most importantly it also  living life as a testimony of God’s grace and love for everyone. Soon that spark will light up other lives. I always wondered what makes a christian mature and now I’m seeing that it comes from experience: trials and tribulations.

Being alone in the dark is scary at first but sometimes necessary. We begin to notice our surroundings, our spiritual state and our relationship with God.

I guess despite everything, today was a good day.

Silence In The Darkness.

For the last few weeks my life has been topsy turvy, emotional and crazy. I don’t know where front and end or up and down, meet. I feel tossed around. I can’t hone in and truly feel my emotions. I feel disloyal to myself sometimes. But there is something in me that is telling me to hold my ground. Do not give in to the pressure and retaliation of what’s going on.

Being silent in terms of not standing up for myself is hard. I’m so use to expressing how I feel that I forget that I need to stop. I feel as if God is asking me to let him fight my battles. I feel as if he is asking me to trust him and love him and to forget my feelings and my cares when it comes to other people for a while.

It’s hard. I hate feeling this way. I hate being tossed to the side by people I care about. I hate it. I hate being lied to. I hate being taken for granted.

I don’t know how I am going to do this but I am asking for God to give me the strength and the knowledge of how to be silent. I need to be invisible right now.

I know there is something I am not seeing. I can’t see it. What is happening to my already messed up world? I didn’t think it was possible to lose anymore than I had already lost; but it happened. It happened suddenly and painfully.

Psalms 118:8. I keep saying this over and over again, I don’t care about people or what they do but honestly I do care. I care when I put effort into something and it’s not returned. Sometimes I question if it’s wrong to expect love and care from those you love and care for.

I had a realization that my life is changing and that the ideals and my way of thinking are being changed. I feel as if the walls around my heart and mind and everything I cling to are being broken. I don’t like it. It hurts more than I expected. I do know, though, that there is something to look forward to. That despite everything that is happening, I can put my hope in a new and better me.  Not in a selfish, self preserving way but a me that is God created.

I think the greatest thing I can do right now is to stand still. I want to run away but I will face everything that comes. Facing everything in silence. There is nothing to defend or prove. Nothing to argue over. Nothing to cry about. Nothing to be sad over.

I have no idea what the future holds but I’m going to hold God’s hand. I need him to lead me on this path that is dark, lonely and scary. There is no light. It’s like I’m walking with my eyes closed. How scary is it to do such a thing without a guide.