I first shared this this several years ago when I was pondering the FACT that no matter how wonderful the moment, how beautiful the gift, how marvelous the fellowship of family or friends, I am simply unable to feel the same overflowing, unadulteraged joy I once experienced.
I absolutely feel JOY but it’s mixed with pain.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about the great heroes of Scripture and studying their stories in detail.
I may be wrong, but I haven’t found one whose life did not contain pain.
It appears that sorrow and suffering in this world is one of the chief tools God uses to help the hearts of His people long for the world for which we are made-the eternal city whose Builder is God:
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the summons to go out to a place which he would eventually possess, and he set out in complete ignorance of his destination. It was faith that kept him journeying like a foreigner through the land of promise, with no more home than the tents which he shared with Isaac and Jacob, co-heirs with him of the promise. For Abraham’s eyes were looking forward to that city with solid foundations of which God himself is both architect and builder.
Hebrews 11: 8-10 PHILLIPS
Some point to lack of abundant joy as proof of a weak faith.
I counter that obedience, in spite of the lack of abundant joy is proof of rock-solid faith.
Walking on in spite of my empty bucket means that I am trusting God to fill it even when I can’t see how.
Here’s the original post: There’s a Hole in My Bucket
If I had my way I’d store up grace like green beans-stacking one can atop the other “just in case”.
Then I could decide if and when to open it up and pour it out.
But grace isn’t like that. It’s a perishable though infinite commodity-like manna.
When God led the Israelites into the desert, He promised to feed, nurture and sustain them.
Read the rest here: Daily Bread: His Provision Is Sufficient
So much of the “faith” handed down today through Sunday School lessons and sermons is one that simply doesn’t leave room for mystery or for doubt or, honestly, for many of the actual Bible stories if you read them straight from the Book and not get them second hand from a loose retelling .
Jesus Himself-the exact representation of the Father (Hebrews 1:3)-didn’t greet skeptics with absolute proof. He pointed to the work He was doing, the truth He was telling and the miracles He performed but He left it to the audience to decide if that qualified Him as the Christ.
Yet we treat those who bring questions to the table of grace at best as immature and at worst as apostates or faithless wannabes.
Read the rest here: The Opposite of Faith Isn’t Doubt
I first shared this post a few years ago when I’d not yet been able to deep dive into my Bible again after Dom left us.
I kept reading a bit here and there but I wasn’t studying like I used to and like I knew I needed to if I was going to persevere in this life I didn’t choose.
Hope fades fast when I neglect to feed my heart with truth.
So if you are struggling to hold on to hope, struggling to get in a daily dose of Scripture and struggling to know where or how to start-this post’s for you. ❤ Melanie
I confess that I have not had a wholehearted desire to study Scripture since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
Oh, I nibble on verses every day, but I’ve shied away from the feast that used to fill my heart and soul.
This year, though, I’m committing to a more diligent approach-choosing to focus on one word per month and writing out corresponding verses. I am studying them, looking up cross-references, considering context and making personal application in my journal.
So the first word I chose was “Hope” because I think of all the things I’ve struggled most to hold onto in this life I didn’t choose, hope is the hardest.
In my flesh, I want to give up and give in.
Read the rest here: Holding On To Hope With Both Hands
Have you ever wondered why there are lists of names in the Bible? Do you, like me, sometimes rush through them or pass over them to get to the “main part” of a story?
But look again, the names ARE the story.
The God of the Bible isn’t the God of the masses. He is the God of the individual.
Read the rest here: He Knows My Name
Some people insist on reading the end of a book first.
They want to know if the characters they may grow to love end up well and happy.
Me? I start at the front and work my way through letting things unfold as the author intended.
I will admit though there are times when I’d kinda sorta like to have a heads up in real life.
Read the rest here: Battling Anxiety/Seeking Peace: The End From The Beginning
So here we are a year later and the headlines still proclaim, “Just wait! It’s going to get better!”
In some ways things ARE better-there are vaccines, treatments and protocols that can chip away at the virus. Toilet paper is back on the shelves. Working from home is working out for a number of folks who love the flexibility.
In many ways we are still in a holding pattern. Waiting for life as we once knew it to once more be available.
Young people have lost important opportunities and are anxious to not lose more. Old people have lost precious time with children and grandchildren and are oh, so aware that every passing day is one less to spend with them and build memories.
So we’re still practicing this whole waiting thing. And it’s hard. ❤
It’s hard to wait.
It’s harder to rest patiently for something you desperately want .
That’s why children shake the presents under the Christmas tree and grown-ups dip into their savings.
It’s also why we so often doubt that God has things under control.
When circumstances require sacrifice I want the Lord to step in and fix them. I want my omnipotent God to use a little of that power to make my life more bearable. And when He doesn’t, I’m more likely to call His character into question than to doubt my own motives.
Psalm 27 helps turn my heart back to truth.
Read the rest here: Battling Anxiety/Seeking Peace: A Stout Heart
When suffering is time-limited it is often more easily endured.
If I know six weeks of intensive though painful physical therapy will help me regain strength and use of a limb or joint, I can power through.
If restricting calories for a month helps me fit into that dress for a special event, I’m more likely to sacrifice for a short time so the pictures look good.
But if you tell me I’ll hobble around for the rest of my life because there’s nothing to be done about my bad back or crooked joints or you want me to change how I eat for good-well, that’s gonna take more strength than I have on my own.
When I realized-probably sometime near the end of the first year-that the sorrow and missing and pain of burying my son was going to be a burden I carried to my own grave, it was absolutely, utterly soul-crushing.
Read the rest here: Battling Anxiety/Seeking Peace: Strength To Endure
A few lines of this post are dated-locked into that time before we really suspected what we were in for. But I won’t edit them out.
Because the truths are timeless and it’s more than good to remind my heart that God’s grace has been and will be sufficient.
So come with me if you still find you have sleepless nights or restless days. Fear is absolutely a liar. I know Who can shout him down.❤
I don’t know about you but “sure and fearless” doesn’t necessarily describe me these days.
I’m not sleeping particularly well.
I try to avoid all but the most needful news and instead fill my days with useful work and outdoor activity.
But I wouldn’t be honest if I said it was working.
Read the rest here: Battling Anxiety/Seeking Peace: Sure And Fearless
It’s a commonly repeated untruth that there are 365 “fear nots” in the Bible.
But there ARE a lot of them.
While many folks like to interpret these commands as admonitions to the trembling hearts standing, kneeling or falling on their face before the Angel of the Lord or begging to be delivered from a perilous situation, I think they are an invitation.
Read the rest here: Battling Anxiety/Seeking Peace: “Fear Not!”-An Invitation Not An Admonition