Settling for Impotency?

As I have been praying lately, I've realized that I can fall into a certain temptation of thinking God isn't powerful enough to do whatever I'm asking of Him in prayer.  I assume that this person won't be healed or that person will fall into sin or I will never change because...and I wouldn't say this out loud...but, because I don't think God is up for the job.  Clearly, this must be out of His hands if the sin is never vanquished or the person dies.  Because the current result isn't what I think it should be, then I've written off God's power and His work in it. I leave no room for God's bigger and better plans.  And I am left feeling disappointed.  Or disillusioned in a God whom I had thought was mighty, but apparently is not.

Are you settling for an impotent God?  If you are tempted to do this as I've admitted to, then here's the truth:  We have created a god in our own image.  This is NOT the one, true God.

Looking around me, I see magazine covers glorifying a former athlete dressed as a woman.  I hear stories of one celebrity after another 'coming out of the closet'.  There are  pastors and singers falling into temptation and disobeying the God they've professed.  Online articles celebrating five-year old tomboys being told they're actually really boys, not girls.

Are we accepting sin because we don't think anything can be done about it?  Is God without power to save and transform?  Maybe our own created image of a god is impotent, but not the God of all gods and the King of all kings.

And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.  1 Corinthians 6: 14

With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.  Matthew 19: 26

Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him!  But the thunder of His power who can understand?  Job 26: 14

May we all increase in faith!  Next time we are making apologies for God, may we be stopped short and remember that His ways are far higher than ours and we can't even begin to understand His plans for us.  If a dear loved one dies, is that because God was powerless?  Absolutely not.  His ways far exceed my human comprehension.  May I trust Him all the more.  He is a trustworthy promise-keeper who is a good and perfect Father.  When someone stops fighting against sin and wants us all to just "accept" him as he is, may we re-direct him to the transforming power of Jesus Christ!  Our God takes us as we are and changes us so that we are conformed more and more into the image of His glorious Son.

May we never settle for impotency in our God or the faith He has given us.  Heed this warning and turn to God:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away!  2 Timothy 3: 1-5

Fight the good fight and be strong and mighty in the Lord.  The Lord your God is in your midst and He is mighty to save.

Love, Wendy

 

Giving Up a Child

The giving up of a child is most likely a parent's biggest challenge.  Whether it's through fostering/adoption, sending them to kindergarten,  their adulthood and independence, or through death, parents know the difficulty involved.Moving on out

This past weekend we moved our oldest child out of the house and into his own apartment (that's him in the red truck with all his worldly belongings!).  Knowing it would be tough, I thought I could keep above the emotional fray by busying myself.  There were many boxes to be moved, food to be bought, dinner to be prepped.  I was surprised at how well I was keeping it all together until it was time to leave. How is it possible that a mother, the one whom God chooses to nurture, love and care for her children, is supposed to let this child "go"?  I've spent so much time through the years holding tightly, right?  Hugs after hurts.  Tight hand-holding in busy public places so no one gets lost.  This was all so very contrary.

And yet, this is precisely how God planned it to be.  Obviously, I'm not the first one to do this and I won't be the last (yes, mama of those "littles"...this will be you one day too...).  But, this isn't just a human thing.  This is a "God thing".  Our Heavenly Father also relinquished His son.  When Jesus came as God-in-human-form, His fellowship with the Father was different  than before yet they were still in union.  We read multiple times in the Word how Jesus spent diligent time in prayer with His Father.  Just as I hope my son returns to us for visits, Jesus returned frequently through prayer to the One He loved too.

This whole analogy falls apart, though, when God turned Himself away from His Son.  When our children leave our homes we don't turn our backs on them.  We continue parenting them, but in a different manner.  When Christ sacrificially lay down His life by obeying His Father to the point of death, even the death of the cross, this was far more than physical torture.  In a few weeks it will be the end of this Lenten season and we will commemorate Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.  Let's not forget that Jesus took our very place on the cross.  When He died for His own, our sins were placed upon Him.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5: 21

And it was during this precise time, when Jesus took our sins upon Himself, that He also bore the wrath of the holy Heavenly Father.

Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"...And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.  Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked and the rocks were split...

Matthew 27: 45, 50-51

God had to turn His back on Jesus because He was bearing OUR sins and our holy God could only have wrath upon them.  He consumed them.  Jesus took our place so we would never be forsaken by God.  We are His and no one can snatch us out of His hand.

If you are in a season where you must give up a child, God is with you.  He will not leave you nor forsake you.  Thank You, Jesus!  As you deal with your earthly trial, turn your eyes to the One who endured complete sacrifice for you.

Do you know Jesus as your Lord?  Live fully for Him.  Have you held out and not followed Jesus or seen your need for Him before now?  Today is the day for salvation.  Call upon Him:

For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."  Romans 10:13

Love, Wendy

 

 

 

Great Expectations

Have you ever felt like you just never measure up to others?  Maybe there's a sense that you should be like 'this' or 'that' and, hard as you may try, you seem to fall short every time.  I really don't believe this kind of thinking is unique to women in the church.  You can find this at your average mom/child playgroup, elementary school, neighborhood gathering, homeschool co-op.  Women compare and women demand.  Nothing lovely develops out of this system, though.  When I'm struggling with a busy week and I look around at my messy house, I imagine a friend stopping by unexpectedly and judging me. This thinking makes me angry at her, at my messy family and at my inability to keep up with life.  Whether the expectations from others are real or not isn't what matters.  Our minds can create a pretty play and attribute all sorts of motives to women who make us feel like we're failing.  They have standards, we have standards and the question is, "Who is meeting all these standards?!?" I wonder how many women in the church are faking it so they can appear like they have it all together.  Lies flow easily so no one suspects we sin.  We put on the smiley-face while we seethe inside.  Our days are consumed by doing, doing, doing and yet we feel further and further from God all the while.

Enough is enough, ladies!  I'm not here to tell you to lower your expectations or to embrace your messy lives as some are prone to do.  No, here's the truth--God's truth:

Be holy, for I am holy.  1 Peter 1: 16

Um...you might wonder how that's supposed to help.

And yet this is our expectation from God, and it's a great one.

So, what do we do?  Work harder?  Just give me the checklist, I'll complete it and earn favor with God and man.  While I know it's ludicrous to say it that way, how many times do I find myself doing this very thing?  How often do I hide what I do or proclaim those things that I don't really do?  This isn't authentic.  It's not genuine and we will never have peace living this kind of life.

There is an answer to dealing with all these great expectations, though:  Jesus Christ.  Jesus lived a perfectly obedient life on earth, something we will never be able to achieve.  He gave up His life to die on a cross for our sins.  His sacrifice was given as an exchange--His perfect obedience for our sins.  How unfair is this?!?  He takes my sins; He gives me His righteousness, His holiness, His perfection?  In my place, Jesus incurred all of God's wrath upon my sins.  Instead of consuming me, God now looks upon me, because of Jesus, and accepts me.  He accepts me!  All of my filthy sins have been cleansed so that God now sees me without blemish.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  But now He has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation--if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.      Colossians 1: 21-23a

When we are tempted to pretend, to compare ourselves to others and set up ungodly standards, may we be reminded of the One whose great expectations have been met through His Son, Jesus Christ.  It is only through Him that our works can have value and be received by God.

It's not about striving and proving to others that we've got it all together.  Rather, it's about pointing to Him, Jesus Christ, because He is holy and He has given us all that we need to be called holy by God.  We're called holy and we are being made holy.  This is all done through Christ's work on the cross.  If you feel inadequate or like you'll never meet others' expectations, then you have taken your eyes off of the Cross.  You have taken your eyes off of Jesus.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.       Hebrews 12: 1-2

Love, Wendy