1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.
1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man looks on outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Psalm 4:5 Offer right sacrifices and put your trust in the Lord.
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 139:23,24 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life.
Jeremiah 17:10 “I, the Lord, search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Luke 6:45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 16:15 And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God
1 Timothy 1:5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
God wants us to love Him. Well, that sounds like a given, right? Sure, and that should be easy. Ok, love, God, and all will go well for the rest of your life. You love Him like you love your cat, the study of different birds, and/or animals (like bats—ugh) that eat and decrease the bug population, or the way you love stamps, or love to read romance novels, or walking in the rain, or seeing a fierce lightening storm over the ocean. We love—actually “love” many things.
But not with the heart. We prefer to read a good novel, maybe during a fierce and magnificent lightning storm—but that’s NOT our heart. And God wants that—that piece of you that makes Him First, Most Important, and the One who makes you alive, safe, secure, and Who has forgiven you, has taken you and enveloped you and will never, NEVER let you go. Our God knows True love. His is not a love that diminishes after the honeymoon p0period, when thigs are not rosy—there are bills piling up, you are no longer able to spontaneously go for dinner and drinks, no longer able to take a weekend to Mexico or Bermuda, or…….
We don’t love like that. We are too selfish and self-centered. If something hurts us, we pull back and start looking for ways the other might be hurting us, using us. We pull back, there are walls erected—usually on both sides, although generally, without an outside source we only see and feel our own hurts and grudges. But they are usually on both sides. It may start off as confusion—“What did I do to get him/her angry?” Then worrying, fussing without good communication and the foundation of the wall is laid, but going to further interrupt communication. This is not Unconditional love.
We have a very difficult time with unconditional love. We are too self-centered, selfish and self-serving to give unconditional love. We are our number ONES. And that does not serve giving unconditional love to others. We prefer giving unconditional love to ourselves. We are most important, we are number ONE—at least in our own minds and hearts. Generally, we believe we are good, loving, generous, and worthy….but when we finally hit our reason for reaching out for God because we cannot go on, we cannot see a way to do anything else, we cry out—with any belief that He will answer?—usually doubtful, but our LAST RESORT, OUR LAST DESPERATE CRY FOR HELP. Will He really help? Is He really there? Will this really change my circumstances? My cry of GOD HELP. . . PLEASE!!! That close to the end, do we believe He will help? No, it’s a matter of a helpless moan, will this plea—not even a prayer—really help me?
We love and want to give while it is to our benefit. But when things get difficult, we nibble at the problem and then. Pull back. It is not our prime goal. OURSELF and our take on the situation is the first of how we handle an issue. ‘How will it affect us? How is this going to ever be okay for me? I have given more love to. . . than I have been given. I am not loved as much as I have given, right God? I gave my all, and this is all I get? It’s not enough, God. I want and expect more.’
That is not the way God loves, and He wants us to love one another unconditionally—just the way He loves us. Oh My! He sees our sins, repeatedly, and more than one, and more than when we find Him and claim Him and still we sin—and He forgives us, He loves us! HE LOVES US ALWAYS.
We don’t love always. We see hurt, we see things that can hurt us, and we put up walls. That is not God’s way. And the fact He has done this since He created Man and Woman helped Man commit the first sin. He wants to LOVE ON US—He wants us to LOVE HIM UNCONDITIONALLY. Yikes, He wants us to love the way HE loves us. How deep, how wide, how strong, how circular and loving can that be? WoW! The greatest love of ALL. And He GIVES it to us. No monetary cost, no danger, only pure, GRACE and unconditional LOVE, giving, generous beyond measure, forgiveness, and LOVE. The kind you cannot deny. It’s deep—you mess up, and still His forgiveness reassures you you are HIS. His grace and love want you!!
He wants you to love the way He loves. Can you do it? Can you be that unselfish? Can you be not self-centered? After years of loving Jesus and God, I find I am still FAR, FAR so distant from the Jesus I want to follow?
How about you? Are you struggling with your heart?
Lord, I know it’s a struggle , but am I making your heart more like Yours? Thank You, Lord, for always being there for me and ‘mybellaviews.’
Jonah 1:2-3 “Arise, go to Nineveh; that great city, and call out against it.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish So he paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand
Psalm 26:2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart. ****
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! See if there is any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! ****
Mark 12:31, 33 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. . . . And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Luke 9:23 And He said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
Philippians 2:3-8 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant that yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this in mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God al thing to be grasped, but empties Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by being obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
James 3:14-16 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
James 4:1-3 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. Yu covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions
We, I think all people, but since I am not sure of that, I will go with of the folks I know, all think or have thought, and believe(d) they are/were very much the cause of their destiny. It seems we are all predestined to be full of our needs, our successes, our challenges, and how WE will fix them–and freely make those known. By the time we are school age we are pretty convinced we make most of our own successes–good grades in school, excel at sports in different games, maybe we are good at arithmetic/math, spelling, reading, and we feel we are a good buddy or sibling or some relationship with others. We are learning we can gain control as we get older, have more responsibility. So we are the ones responsible for or life.
As infants, I believe that is a good and necessary thing. They have true needs that must be tended to for their health—food, fluids, changing diapers and other skin care, sleep, and interaction and love. If they do not have these necessities, they will develop ‘failure to thrive.’ A baby cannot fend for itself and has needs—food, fluids, and cleaning after excretions. One article I read was very much saying that as innocent infants crying for those needs is the start of a human’s all self-centered, selfish, and concerned only with its own needs and gains. I tend to disagree, as I believe God instilled in infants the need to be fed, cleaned, and clothed, and spoken to and loved. I will say as a nurse, seeing babies who were not afforded that care, many were ‘failure to thrive’ which meant they did not strive to interact, they fussed for a minimal of food because they had already learned they would only get a small amount, and they tended to be smaller than normal for their age and growth chart. But it was always the lack of interaction that caused me heartache. Perhaps it was a child of autism and as yet too early to do testing, but there were several signs of neglect that would twist me up and I would want to scoop these children safely away.
Anyway, we humans tend to think first and foremost of ourselves. And we believe we are in charge, in control. And we pridefully believe it until we aren’t; maybe it’s a medical diagnosis, a severe accident, life occurrences, or a job loss, or losing a home to natural disaster or whatever. We try to get the best deal for us first and foremost, not for a sibling or a friend. Occasionally, there is one who will decide for the greater good of others rather than him or herself, but generally the cause is weighed in how it will turn out best for us.
I can remember thinking how generous and grandiose I was giving away the marshmallow chicks from my Easter basket to my siblings. ‘What a great sister.’ But the truth is, I don’t like marshmallow unless it is melted into hot chocolate. There was nothing generous or giving in my behavior. Sometimes I still give things away with the same process—a favored shirt, pair of pants, or dress being donated, but with regret….and the fact it no longer fits.
I no longer believe that I am in charge of all the outcomes in my life. Although I may still try to “argue” and convince God of why my decision is better for me than what He wants sometimes, I know God is in charge. Sometimes there are testing times He puts in my path to “test and check the response of my heart”. He checks out our true motives and reactions. And although I think God already knows when I am being selfish, self-centered, and not following motives with the heart He wants to see from me; I think sometimes He tests us so WE can see our motives are not altruistic.
But most people who do not believe God is the Creator and the One in control, think they are totally in charge of anything that befalls them—and for all the good decisions and blessings that come their way. All their successes and achievements are totally of their own making. I don’t know what they think when the bad things that occur in life happen. Nor do I know how they struggle through these events.
I, at least know, that God’s in charge and all will work for the best for me. That is one of His promises. Many who are non-believers in my family ask in a challenging manner, ‘What about death?’ I certainly don’t think death is a horrible thing. I won’t do anything foolish, but I’m rather excited to meet Jesus, see heaven, and thank Them for all the help They have given in my life.
I am still selfish and self-centered in many ways, although even I can see a bit of improvement, since it is easier to listen and obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the corrections I get. I am not as anxious and fearful and easily able to fall into the ‘doom and gloom’ of much of the world any longer. With God, life is a win-win. The only losing comes if one does not believe in God and choose Jesus as Savior. I have to say unequivocally Hell is a definite loss. So is believing you are solely in charge. I know I have made some poor decisions and have made better ones seeking God’s will and design for my life. Life is a progression; I pray I progress toward God’s will for my life.
I am so glad I chose to follow You and You have positively directed my steps for me and ‘mybellaviews’.
Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
Psalm 10: 4 In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Proverbs 16:5, 8 The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: they will not go unpunished. . . . Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 29:23 Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.
Isaiah 23:9 The LORD Almighty planned it, to bring down her pride in all her splendor and to humble all who are renowned on the earth.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
James 4:6, 10 But He gives more grace. Therefore, it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. . . . Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.
1 Peter 5:5-6 . . . Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud by gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
1 John 2:16 for all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.
Pride is such a sneaky thing slinking into our beings when we are trying not be to arrogant, and full of ourselves and believing we are so good, so talented, so . . . whatever. We quickly take credit for things that we have been blessed with, instead of thanking and acknowledging God’s goodness and help in attaining anything. We deserve nothing.
I recently heard an inspirational talk by former football star, Tim Tebow, who deeply believes in God and worship and acknowledges his success playing football. While having that career was hard work, it was not his hard work alone, but God’s path for him. He admitted there were times, too many, when he had the fleeting thought ‘I am really something, I’m special for this team.’ But then he’d fairly quickly check himself and remember it was God’s path for him, and not all his ability. However, it was a persistent fight he had—feeling his shining star vs God’s path for him. It was easy for him to take credit for all he had.
We all deal with prideful events in our lives. Somehow, we think we do a good job most of the time—but could we do more? We think that our successes are our own. Each day, each moment could change our circumstances; a fractured limb, an emergency with your family, a sudden death of family or friend, a severe illness, a devastating car accident, ANYTHING. Life can change in a moment and affect your circumstances . . . and sometimes be a mirror showing you how proud you were—and the sudden realization that you were not alone in the ability to win or succeed.
Suddenly, there is nothing between you and the truth.
Your pride can show up in several different ways; as worry, fear, anxiety, not trusting God, and believing everything is under your control. It is believing you alone are responsible for your life, for your path, your successes. The belief that all is under your control is a lie and it is prideful. God is there, He is there with each and everything that happens in our lives.
We all are arrogant and feel our demands should be met within our first cry for food or diaper change, and then generally learn that our fretting brings some attention to fulfill our needs. It fills the urge to have what we want—and need.
There are so many things we do in our normal days that feed our own arrogance, adding to the belief we are in charge of our lives, all our choices and successes belong to us, and only us. That is not at all true. We are held in God’s hands. He holds each of us. Our limited human minds cannot even fathom how He can hold each of us at any and every time/moment.
“Pride is self-worship and self-preservation.” Jaquelle Crowe “7 symptoms of a Prideful Heart” Oct 16, 2017. We only turn to God when we are at wits end, at the bottom of our own attempts to fix the details of what is going on in life. Things build up, compound, and grow, and we realize we cannot choose a way to go. Only then, we may cry out for help from a God we are at most unsure of. Being so sure of our own power, our own abilities, and our control of life. It is our choices and decisions that get us through life and let us climb whatever challenges and succeed. So often some do not even believe in God, never mind turn to Him with any regularity.
Our cockiness ensures us we are responsible for everything in our lives, all our choices, decisions, and moves we believe we are responsible for all the good in our lives. God hates our arrogance and pride. It is so self-oriented. It leaves no credit or thanks to our loving Father and Creator.
We are far more productive and giving if we humble ourselves, stop thinking of self, and start looking at the needs of others. God does not want us proud and arrogant. He wants us to see the needs of others and help when we can, He wants us to realize He gives life, He will supply our needs—and He did with all the years of the Israelites traveling through the desert from Egypt—water, manna, the path and laws, protection and guidance. He supplied and wanted them to only honor Him and thank Him and follow His rules and Law always recognizing that He is God, Creator and the guidance for all. He devised a way for each of us prideful people to be freed from sin with the death of His Son—God and man in one. Jesus had no pride or arrogance—He was humble and loving and full of peace and chose to give up His sin free life for our prideful sinful lives—for each of us as long as we chose Him as our Savior, believing fully.
And we can be saved and know our eternity is heaven if we accept Jesus, recognize He gave His life for us, and begin to break down our sinful nature still with its pride, arrogance, gossip, and worldly following. It’s a process, and we follow to reach the goal of being more Christ-like to the end.
Thank You for all You have done to help me recognize all my prideful, sinful ways as I continue to get free of my that disgusting nature, and thank You for all the blessings You have granted to me and mybellaviews.
Deuteronomy 8:2 And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.
Psalm 51:16-17 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.
Proverbs 17:3 The crucible is for silver and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.
Hosea 6:6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Mark 7:20-23 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.
Mark 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
I was one of the most self-centered, selfish people I knew, although I didn’t realize it. I thought I was a pretty good and generous older sibling, a loving and caring daughter and granddaughter, a hard worker, and had started earning some money toward clothing and things when I was twelve. But then I met the Lord, really met Him. This time it was not glancing up at the fresco on the church ceiling and seeing Him looking down, this was the humbling knowing I was a wretch, and even a wretch like me He saved. I truly did not know what all of that meant. But for sure, it was humbling—embarassing.
As I took and watched various programs and classes, the Bible became clearer to me. I still wish I had grown up in a bible teaching church rather than a rule based one, but perhaps this way, my thirst for knowledge is deeper. So many things I did not understand—and yes, I am sure my frustration with not clearly recognizing some of what was being discussed in the bible, made me want to give up. But I continued to watch Dr. Charles Stanley, Dr. David Jeremiah, and Joyce Meyer. I could usually relate to Joyce Meyer as I recognized her nasty, grumpy moods, and feeling like her hubby was wrong when it was her! It was like having an older sister, I never knew or communicated with! But it was both eye and mind opening, and what a relief. Those teachers made it so I could open the Book and see what I could interpret and get on my own.
One of the areas that used to bother me was the command to sacrifice animals for sins. So often I was horrified—and very relieved—I did not live during that time. I will never understand how they were able to get the animals where they needed to have them to be slaughtered. Blood, a lot of blood, is a very foul and distinctive odor, and all animals rebel against it. It invokes fear, and a means of doing anything to escape, to flee. They are terrified. The oxen must have been the first prodded rodeo beasts ever! But all those animals would have been balking and bawling to escape – it’s an instinct for them.
I didn’t for the longest time understand God’s need to have innocent animal blood shed in such a horrific manner. Yes, a relatively fast death, but still the animal knows something dreadful is coming, its throat is slit, and the blood spews forth. Now weakness, and the animal falls to its knees, still trying to struggle. I still am so very relieved I never saw it—my mind is graphic enough.
Then. . . I finally got it. We get attached to animals—not all, but even farmers may have favored cattle—heifer, bull, sheep or lamb. People are caretakers for these animals, and some touch your heart and you get attached. How awful to have and raise a beautiful lamb, care for it, and then it is sacrificed.
But that’s the point. God wants our heart, our obedience, our humility. He doesn’t want the animals killed and burnt, the grain and oil offerings. He wanted the people to realize an innocent animal was being destroyed because of their sin, their atonement. The innocent animal was being given for THEIR sin, certainly not for the animal’s sin. I can’t even imagine animals sin–they live and graze with other animals. They are not out to “better” someone else, to be in any competition. They have no pride or arrogance. But this sweet and innocent creature was being slaughtered for YOUR or MY sin. Death was the payment for sin, and we all sin.
God already knew we all had selfish hearts and minds, and He had given us the ability to choose, and most chose to sin and fill their selfish, sinful desires, so God demanded a sin offering, some death must occur. But God wanted us to be appalled at it, the slaughter of an innocent animal, throat being slit and the blood gushing out, while the animal struggled to continued standing, then down to the knees and soon, stillness–death. That should have been you–you should have died for Your sin. God wanted us to realize our mistakes and choices were costing an innocent animal its life. Sin is costly and deadly.
I am glad I finally had my eyes opened and realized God wanted us to see the significance of an innocent being’s death and why. ‘Maybe that will make them think.’ He must have thought and wished. Yet we are a hard-headed bunch and can sometimes continue making wrong choices, selfish choices. I am sure these deaths, these offerings did change some habits, some sinners’ hearts.
As His Word says over and over, throughout history we continued to mess up quite significantly.
God sent Jesus who all the Israelites were waiting for so they could be free—could finally fight and win their way from oppression, over taxation, be out of anyone else’s rule—they could govern themselves. Afterall, they had been waiting for the Messiah. He would come and He would be the King. They had read about the Messiah coming, but they did not understand who and what the Messiah was and would be. Jesus was anything except a violent man. He showed love, peace, patience to all—except those moneychangers in the temple– but He made time for all. Jesus, the Messiah, listened and taught, healed all who came to Him. And He gathered a following, but He was not the leader of war they were expecting. He taught through example, with patience, love, and gentleness, offering another way to live. He showed them how to live with their hearts—giving, sharing, helping, loving, and teaching, and healing, and spreading His good news.
And that’s the point. God wants our minds and hearts to seek Him to learn who He is and to sacrifice out sinful desires to be close to Him, to be obedient to Him. He sent Jesus to show us the way, the best Way to live and love others, and I think there are many who successfully work toward that goal. But we are still left with pride and selfish hearts, so that part of our life needs to be examined daily to see where we might have to confess because of a sinful, prideful choice. We are living according to God and Jesus IF God has our whole heart. It’s a battle inwardly oftentimes between giving our whole heart and doing at least some of what we want.
But God rewards more in unexpected ways when we give our entire heart to Him and His wishes for us. We always win if we follow Him fully, even if, at that moment, we feel as though we have lost out on something. Try it and give Him your full heart. I’m betting you will be overjoyed at the blessings He bestows on you.
Thank You, God, for all the teachers and classes I have taken which have helped open my eyes and mind to better understanding and getting to know You better all the time. Thank You for all You have given for me and ‘mybellaviews.’
Exodus 15:22 then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water.
Numbers 32:15 For if you turn away from following Him, He will once more abandon them in the wilderness, and you will destroy all these people.
1 Kings 19:9-21 Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the work of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life to take it away.” So, He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind and earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (I will admit, I ‘read’ this several times BEFORE I actually say led by the Spirit…..with express purpose of ‘being tempted by Satan) So it could blatantly show us if Jesus could resist temptations of hunger and thirst for 40 days and rebuke Satan with God’s words. . .we can certainly trust and do the same!
Mark 1:12-13 Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness 40 days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.
John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance
James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
1 Peter 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end results of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
I am not very good at journaling. I truly wish I was as I think it would be awesome to see the little areas of how God has worked in my life and in the lives of others close to me, that I’ve “forgotten.” I remember the big things, but those smaller things are also leading to a goal and because I don’t journal well, I think I may have lost those details.
And I have journaled some, but not consistently. And often, I will read over an entry from a year or more ago, and things have not advanced, and I feel deflated. And it certainly is not just my hopes, dreams, wishes, and prayers, but those of others close to me. They too are almost in the same situation as before. They are still frustrated with job, with their home life, with children, with money issues—whatever. And it makes me feel frustrated for them, and questioning ‘What IS your will for their life, Lord?’ I know you want forward movement, but WHAT?
Anyway, for someone who enjoys writing thoughts, stories, frustrations, growing spurts, I do Not like journalling. But again, thinking back to where my life was at nineteen and what I had to go through and grow through for a few years, I would love to know my ACTUAL thoughts then. I remember fear, but I don’t remember growth. I remember support from many others, but uncertainty, anxiety, fear and stress was a big part of my life, but fear and danger overrode so much.
I guess at the time, I didn’t even know all the verses which state God has a plan for ME. He has chosen me to walk a path, He has a goal in mind and my path is clearly delineated, and I will be safe following His path. But as a mass of quivering brain tissue filled with EVERY anxiety both real and imagined, I only hurried from place to place — to work, go to school, take care of my son and home, and try to supply our needs. There was no future I could clearly discern, no confidence I was doing the right things for me, for my son, and no back up plan if I failed. What would happen to my son if I failed? Failure was a big option. Big. Because I didn’t know God had a plan, so how could I know I was on the right path, the right plan.
When God prompted me out of my pew that Sunday morning in 1973, my usual shy, and quiet person changed and took charge making my way over several pairs of legs to get to the center aisle, to move forward to accept the award—I choose Christ as MY savior!
Somehow, I felt all would be golden and problem free then. Obviously, I had not read the verses when Jesus warned his disciples they would face problems and troubles….James, 1:2, James 1:12, 1 Peter 8:10, Romans 12:12, John 16:33. . . . Yeah, I had a LOT of growing to do!
The verse preached the day I accepted the invitation was Judges 6:36-40. For several years, I lived my Christian life with the testing that Gideon did. I have no idea how often God answered my “if….then…scenarios, but He finally said, “Enough. You have tested me, now it is time for you to grow.” But I didn’t really know how to grow. I know I loved God, but I was not in a bible teaching church, did not even know much about the bible. (What I would give to have been raised in the south with a good bible background; unfortunately, my church background was NOT biblical, but certainly used fear tactics. Anyway, that left me flummoxed.) I was uncertain how to seek Him. . .
However, I was back living in the US and had friends who had found bible teaching churches, and found I had opportunities. It was like shoe shopping—I had to find one that fit properly!
At the same time, I was working as a home health nurse and was in different homes over several days, and many would be listening to different TV evangelists—Charles Stanley, Joyce Meyer, Dr. David Jeremiah. As I was doing the patient’s care, I was being blessed by bible teaching and some explanations.
Although I had read the bible several times, probably half a dozen by then, I had little understanding of the “Torah” I truly enjoyed Genesis, some of Exodus, but the Numbers, Leviticus….oh my aching head. WHY do I need to read this?? Suddenly, Joyce Meyer was talking about the Israelites in the desert, whining to God AGAIN, and He said ‘you are still not getting it, now you can stay in the wilderness for 40 years’ The Wilderness was being Stuck in the Same Place; Not Moving Forward. I must admit learning the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land could be accomplished in 11 days. . . .I was shocked to learn that piece of information. . . since it took them 40 years. Wow! Because they had no faith.
TIME TO RE-EXAMINE How stuck are you, Kathleen? Gulp!
But I did not journal that time period. I don’t know, and I know I probably have forgotten a lot of the anxiety, stress, fear, and torment I went through. I had a lot of support from family and friends, but I remember feeling as though I swam in a dark murky swamp a lot of the time—and I am NOT much of a swimmer at all in any regards. I wish I had the journal, the thought processes, how many times maybe God scolded me, but I chose not to listen and follow—because I did not fully trust.
We are so foolish as we think we are in charge so often. Shame on me—for many reasons. But #1 for NOT trusting Him completely when I accepted the invitation; #2 for choosing to believe I was in charge when I never was; #3 even when I figured out I was not in charge, I did not fully hand over the reins; #4 when I did hand the reins over I fretted it was a mistake. . . ‘What if this failed, What if He did not come through, What if I was put in a worse place, What if I was sent to Ethiopia or Somalia or. . .or. . . then what would happen to my son? Yes, my fears galloped forward with NO inkling God had chosen some country in Africa. Instead, He had chosen I raise my son as a single mother.
You get the picture. Anyway, now, I sit and wonder what the journals would say about that journey. Would the journals show growth where my memory has forgotten the growing process, and just remembers the doubting? But here I am, safe, sound, (well, fairly sound of mind for those who know me), but I am significantly blessed—and frequently make that claim, and I know I don’t remember all the struggles, even as I can claim rewards. That is kind of sad. If the journals were written, then they could portray the struggles, the accomplishments, the doubts, and the initial surprise when accomplishments were made. (WOW! Look what God has done! Look what He gave me, encouraged me to do!)
There is little surprise for me when I advance and recognize it now. . . I have learned He’s got this and got it very well. I just follow along, fat dumb and happy to oblige.
Lord, You have been there for me, and yet I haven’t marked all the steps. I’m sorry for that. I know many of the goals. . . I hope I can and have thanked you as I met the goals. . .but I didn’t record the progress, and for that I am sorry. I’m sorry that my children and siblings can’t read the journey if they would like to; to know the prayers sent forward on their behalf, and the joy at the outcome at God’s answers. So, sorry, Lord, I did not follow through to journal, but I can thank You for my progress and my joy; but I am unhappy that no one can read the details of my incredible journey with You.
Thank You, Lord for all you have done for me and ‘my Bellaviews.’