Rise Above

There was a time when I wasted a lot of time being mad at people. The way I processed it in my brain was their wrongs toward me, plus my fury toward them, would lead to their decrease; and then I would be better. However, my choice to soak in continual upset conflicted with the instructions within my spirit, to love as Jesus loves, and to forgive as Jesus forgives. It wasn’t the people that wronged me who were weakening, it was me. I was getting pressed down and burdened with the exhaustion of being mad. Praise God He didn’t allow me to stay there.

As God showed me more of Him through His Son, I began to trust more in His total provision. His provision to care for me not just in the day to day, but also in matters of the heart, whether well or in hurt. I had to trust that as God was growing me, He would also grow those I once was mad at. Which meant giving people and circumstances over to God. Plus, in a willing heart and spirit praying for them to live, be loved, be healed, blessed and grown up in Christ. Hard but necessary. Because I believe in the Savior of the world, not a Savior just over me. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you,” (2 Peter 1:2a); leave the heavy lifting of social discipline and correction of those who harm you to the Creator of all things. It doesn’t mean not speaking up over what is wrong, though let God show you reconciliation or release over revenge.

Let me encourage you to give God your hurt, your upset and anger, because He knows best how to resolve it within yourself, and work in the lives of those who may have hurt you. God will not allow your to pain to prevail if you want to be freed from it, for His promise is life in abundance. Evil will not prosper over you as you remain in light, for where there is light the darkness will not comprehend and will flee (John 1:5). It is time to let it go.

But the Lord is with me as a mighty awesome One. Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail. They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper… (Jeremiah 20:11 NKJV).

In Sorrow Joy Remains

Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you (John 16:22).

There are many things I can list that I tried to prepare my children for. What to do if you fall down, or someone calls you an ugly name, or you face disappointment or a challenge. Rise up, be better, take heart, never give up. But I never considered preparing my children for grief and sorrow until they were faced with it once, then again, then again, and again. Oh Lord, I wish I would have seen Your example sooner. Jesus prepared His companions, His friends that He would lay down His life for those He loves (us all) (John 15:13-15), to remember His words and how He taught them and equipped them so they would not stumble. He warned them of adversities, cruelty and hardship. And Jesus also shared His provision never ceases, to remain in hope and joy, because even though He would be gone in the physical, His Spirit would always guide them and help them (and us) (John 16).

It is hard to be a parent and witness the pain life throws at our children. We want to protect them from everything. But God knew we couldn’t so He sent His son to experience the ultimate weight of sorrow for us, and teach us we have to even prepare our children for difficult news… the coming death of those they love. We will all die someday. Praise God for life eternal for all those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! (John 3:16). The Word of God teaches us loss is hard, sorrow does come, but it is not meant to keep us down to where we are unable to stand tall again, feel good again, rejoice again, fulfill our purpose and calling. We are to hold onto joy and celebrate the people in our lives; cherish them now, celebrate them always knowing special people in our lives have given us something. Words of wisdom, a shared talent or skill, knowledge, attributes that have grown us up or developed us, lasting memories. The light of the Lord equates to peace. Even in the depth of our tears, the peace of God remains and restores our soul.

Children; Dear ones, sometimes people must leave us unexpected, sometimes bad things happen to good people, sometimes people just get older and have loved and lived long, sometimes we will have time to prepare for a loved one’s departure; either way it won’t feel good in the moment. But they have given us something of themselves that never leaves. Our responsibility now is to continually share the love of God, the salvation of Jesus, and the never-ceasing joy that can’t be robbed by death because its source is heavenly, powerful and victorious. We celebrate those people by the way we love, the way we serve and help, the way we contribute, the way we encourage, and the way we walk with grace through tough times, road blocks, and stumbles. We celebrate them by living to our full potential, walking forward in righteousness and gratitude. Hug people, listen to people, be present. Manifest the name of Jesus, and know He is with you always.

The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And in the night His song shall be with me – A prayer to the God of my life (Psalm 42:8 NKJV).

Quietly

The wisdom spoken through Solomon, Wisdom is better than strength. Nevertheless, the poor man’s wisdom is despised; And his words are not heard. Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard (Ecclesiastes 9:16-17a). This stirred my heart to consider all the quiet areas of our lives. The things we think and feel, the emotions experienced from deep within, the unspoken doubts and victories, the observances we witness that leave a mark, the pauses after we read something profound, the gasp for air when at the edge of unbelief or utter gratitude. Somewhere in those moments we find ourselves changing and learning. O Lord You have searched me and known me…You are acquainted with all my ways (Psalm 139: 1, 3b), nothing about us is unknown to God, so He knows how to speak to each of us. So, it is unfortunate when we only share the so-called big, visual and interesting moments with people, and not the more minor and intimate moments that impact our spirit and heart; something I often have to remind my own self to do.

What have you learned in those quiet spaces that now you see produced growth and wisdom? Nothing about you, or your experiences are insignificant. Gift that to another, and share the unspoken spaces with others. John, one of the disciples said, Jesus did so much that the world could not contain all that would need to be written on it; and He is still at work in and through us. I believe Jesus spent a lot time with the disciples individually and collectively in the gap of the active moments sharing in the quiet, and demonstrating who He is through every small gesture. God, who is the same yesterday and today, is still reaching us in quiet moments. When we weep and when we walk what He says to us has worth. Reflect on them, for we grow in those moments. Then when you come out of the quiet let the wisdom of Christ in your life be shared.

I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me (John 17:23 NKJV).  

Enlarge My Heart

Such a simple but powerful request, “enlarge my heart.” Three words joined together in Psalm 119 (vs 32b). There are many things I am sure anyone of us could recall with quickness that are commonly asked for and requested throughout the day. Even in our quiet thoughts there are request and desires chattering around our minds. Though what an awesome prayer to ask for a bigger heart, filled with the heart of Christ and the passion of His Spirit. There are no perfect human ambitions or deeds, and we are all definitely far from being a perfect model of rightness. But praises there is a perfect love, there is a perfect heart. Not found in us, but found in Jesus, found in God the Father in who we have access.

Imagine the possibility of global peace if everyone asked for an enlarged heart? A heart with compassion for the weak, concern for the suffering, longing for the lonely, passion for the lost, eager toward serving, open to listening, willing to be available, endearing in speech, caring in approach, kind in motive, tender in expression, fond of building others up, craving consideration, loving sacrificially, driven by unity and to desire nothing in return.

For the love of Christ compels us,” (2 Corinthians 5:14a), to want to be patient and more understanding, to desire to love as Christ has loved. My prayer is that each of you will explore the love of God in your life and reflect on the promises provided through His redeeming love in Christ Jesus. Allow your heart to love for His sake (Lord allow my heart to love more for your sake), for “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear,” (1 John 4:18a). Through Jesus, love removes condemnation and we get to love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). For that reason let us together seek to be examples of love to those within our environments, fulfilling the greatest commandment (Mark 12:29-31) overflowing as we are filled by God, reciting with gladness that it is the Lord whom “satisfies the longing soul,” (Psalm 107:9).

…with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3 NKJV).