The Rejected Lamb

However, those the Father has given me will come to me and I will never reject them.  John 6:37

I’m not a fan of confrontation.  I have noticed that alot of people thrive on it.  I am a recovering people pleaser so previously when someone opposed me or was stern with me, I buckled under the pressure.  In the past I have agreed with them or kept quiet altogether.  This was a barrier for me to share my faith.  It caused me to agree with what I knew to be contrary to the Bible.  I’m not proud to admit any of this but I feel like someone needs to hear this today.  Someone needs to know they are not in the fight alone.

People pleasing originates from rejection. Rejection is knowingly or unknowingly withholding love from another person. Overt rejection is the obvious.  Name calling, physical abuse, throwing objects and fits of rage.  Covert rejection is subtle and hard to identify.  It manifests itself in the silent treatment, avoiding the person or the absence of physical touch. Both forms of rejection are harmful to a person’s self confidence and self worth.  The person rejected begins to try to please the other person in any way possible to regain that love and attention.  In time rejected people look to please anyone they come in contact with to feel loved and accepted.  It is empty and futile.  Jesus is all that we will ever need.

I remember clearly when these truths were presented to me.  My whole world changed.  Because I had experienced rejection most of my life, I was in turn treating those I love the same way.  If people didn’t act like I wanted them to, I withheld love from them.  I tried to control them into acting the way I wanted them to by restricting my love for them.  All the recipient gets from it is that they are unloved, unwanted or abandoned. The person rejecting is setting standards for people according to what makes them comfortable.  Only God has supreme authority and is the only one that can set standards.

People pleasing and rejection took me down many unwanted and unhealthy paths. “If I do that maybe they will accept me.  If I do this maybe they will love me.” These are all lies from the enemy! You have all of the acceptance and love you will ever need in Jesus.  He says in our key verse today that He will never reject you. The father didn’t reject the prodigal son and Jesus surely won’t reject you.

I heard a story this week that I wanted to share.  A shepherd had a sheep that was pregnant with twins.  She delivered a boy and a girl.  After a half of a day he noticed that the girl had been rejected by her mother.  She had not even been cleaned up.  The shepherd sprang into action!  He bottle fed the lamb.  When she was full, he carefully cleaned her up.  He took special care of the lamb because she had been rejected.  She received more attention than all of the other sheep because of her condition.

Have you been rejected by someone that you love, admire or respect? I know you are hurting. I know treating others the same way that you have been treated feels like the right thing to do and all you know how to do. Your Shepherd wants to step in and take care of you.  He wants to fill you with spiritual truths, living water so you will never thirst again and take your mess and clean it all up.  He knows first hand what the sting of rejection feels like from people that He loves.  He was abandoned by His disciples in His hour of need so He sympathizes. He sees you. He understands.  He cares.

Allow Jesus to come in and bandage those wounds and heal them completely.  He wants to show you a new way of living that produces life, hope and security.  He loves you with an everlasting love. That means He won’t stop for any reason and He will never give up on you, He will never stop loving you and He will never abandon you. He is completely trustworthy.

Friend, feel free to email or leave a comment if you would like someone to talk to.  I have prayed for you today.

 

Faith > Fear

Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. ‘Why are you all coming out to fight?’ he called. ‘I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves. I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!’ When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken.  1 Samuel 17:8-11

Goliath stood 9′ tall. His bronze coat weighed 125 pounds and his spear head weighed 15 pounds. He was an extraordinary warrior.  Funny to me having these attributes he called for one little Israelite to fight.  Seems to me he could have fought many of them and succeeded.  But he just asked for one.  With all of his weighty talk it sounds like deep inside there was some inferiority. Maybe he had heard of the God of Israel and wasn’t so sure he could win.  His arrogant taunts went on for 40 days.  Ever known anyone like that?  So deeply inferior that they are boastful about all they want you to think they are.

Saul and the Israelites were deeply shaken by his size and threats.  Day after day the same taunts from Goliath.  I surmise that their fear and anxiety increased with each passing day.  There is no mention that they went before Almighty God and petitioned Him as what to do.  Their anxiety over their situation had snuffed their ability to effectively reason.  Fear will do that to you.  It will grip your heart firmly.  Fear is the dependence on yourself or someone else (or lack thereof) to rescue you.  It’s hard to have confidence when trusting in fallible humans.

Enter David.  Enter faith. David is so offended by Goliath taunting God’s army that he volunteers to go. David doesn’t see a giant.  David sees his God that is more colossal than anyone can imagine.  David sees the solution rather than the problem. He has experience with God.  He fully trusts in Him. In his eyes, no one is going to oppose his God in that way.

Mind you, David is a shepherd.  He has no military training.  He knows how to tend sheep.  He also knows how to defend them against predators. With the help of Almighty God he had been victorious over lions and bears. This reminds me of Psalm 91:13 where it says that we will trample the lion and the cobra underfoot.

God likely used David because of his faith.  God uses highly unlikely people for great feats.  He does this for His own glory.  If he would have sent a great warrior against Goliath, him and the Israelites would likely have taken the credit for the victory.

Saul and David’s brothers opposed him.  They looked at David and then Goliath and thought “No way!” But that didn’t stop him. You can always expect opposition when on a mission for God. Press on, if God is for you who can be against?

David tried on Saul’s armor but it was heavy, awkward and unfamiliar.  Instead of doing it the way it had always been done, he went a different route.  He went into battle with no armor.  Just his faith, a sling and a stone. Faith is the absence of fear.  Fear is the absence of faith. Don’t be afraid to step out and take a different path than the others.

God went before David that day.  He was standing behind Him.  I believe that the glory of our Holy God shown in the face of that giant rendering him helpless.  The only thing David had to do was what he knew how to do.  Hurl the rock. He had no fear, he fully trusted God for the outcome. Of course he was victorious! Do what you know how to do.  Offer what you have to Him and let him couple it with supernatural power and just wait for the victory.

What about you?  What kind of giant are you facing?  Has fear gripped your heart and you have no idea what to do? Do you feel like you have faith but you are still afraid? I’ve been there.  I lived in fear most of my life.  I was afraid of everything because I was depending on myself to fix my problems.  I had botched up my past so badly, fear of my next decision crippled my life.

Enter Jesus.  Enter Hope.  Enter Strength and Resolution.  When I fully trusted God, my anxiety left.  I placed my life at his feet and walked forward in faith.  You can too.  You kind of feel like you are falling off of a cliff, but He’s there to catch you, I promise.  Trust Him, let Him take control. Show your giant who your God is.

 

Pick Up Your Mat

“When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” “I can’t sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up.  Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat and walk!” John 5:6-8

Jesus is full of compassion.  He looked at this lame man that had been ill for a long time.  He saw him and knew his affliction.  He knew exactly how long that he had suffered. There were many there that day but he chose him to bless.

What is interesting is that Jesus knew that the man wanted to be healed yet he asked him if he did.  Sometimes we get comfortable in affliction and sin.  It is easier to stay on the mat than to get up and implement change and receive what Jesus is offering.  Jesus was aiming for his heart with his question.  He was asking about the condition of his heart, not of his physical impairment.

The man’s response was simple.  “I can’t sir.”  He then goes onto explain why he could not be healed.  In essence he was saying that he had no friends or family that would help him into the healing waters when the angel came to stir them.  See, the first person into the pool after the angel had stirred the waters would be healed.

It would seem to me that once a person was healed that they would turn to help one of the others lying by the pool.  That is often the case though.  People experience healing and hope and keep it to themselves instead of spreading it to all around them.

He was telling Jesus someone was always ahead of him.  No one would help him.  He had no hope.  Have you ever felt like him?  I know that I have.  There is such good news! Hope Himself was standing in front of the lame man and He is standing in front of you!

He’s asking you, do you want to be healed?  Then stand up, take your mat and walk.  Make the changes necessary to get rid of the mat! Why can’t it be you? You may not have anyone close to you that can help you up, but let me tell you that Jesus is all of the help that you will ever need! With help from the Holy Spirit you can overcome any sin or affliction that is in your life.  Put your trust into Hope Himself.  He wants you to be free!

 

 

Worrywart

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”  Matthew 6:34

As long as I can remember, people called me a worrywart.  When I was a small child I was told that the wart that grew on my hand was due to me either playing with frogs or worrying.  I thought about that for quite some time.  I knew I hadn’t played with frogs because I couldn’t bear to hold one.  So the logical explanation for my wart was worrying.  I couldn’t remember what I had been worrying about.  So I worried about that.

I found it hysterical to look this word up in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and actually find it listed there!  It is a common southern expression which has migrated toward the north.  It’s origin is a comic strip called Out Our Way by J R Williams that ran from 1922 to 1977. It was actually a character in the strip.

The definition is: a person who worries too much or who worries about things that are not important.  Hmm.  I get that a person can worry too much.  But who determines what is important to one person or the other?  My neighbor might find it necessary to worry about the acidity of her pool.  That wouldn’t be important for me to worry about because I don’t have a pool.

Our key verse from Eugene Peterson’s translation “The Message” urges us to deal with what is right before us.  We can only process and make good decisions based on the information that we currently have.  I know people that obsess and worry over things that will likely never happen.  They take the small amount of information that they have for today and try to apply it to what will happen six weeks from now.  Only God knows our tomorrow.  He is already there.

Why do some people obsess over the future?  Because they aren’t secure in their present. I believe that when I am secure in my relationship with Jesus Christ, I realize He is the One in charge.  He is the one completely perfect, having no fault at all and ABLE to do exceedingly abundantly more than you could ask think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). If you have not trusted in Jesus, you are depending on yourself or someone else that is human.  People are capable of failing, capable of making mistakes, capable of blowing it completely.

It’s unfair really, to impose that kind of responsibility on yourself or anyone else.  When you have expectations for humans you will always be disappointed.  When you have expectations for Jesus you will always be satisfied.  I became free to love and appreciate all of the people in my life when I stopped expecting them to meet my all of my needs.  I can’t be disappointed or let down now because I don’t expect anything from them.  I can just love them for who God made them to be, not who I want them to be.

The last sentence in the verse states that God will help you when the time comes.  You don’t have His help yet?  It’s not time.  He is never late.  He is an on time God.  I often impose deadlines upon Him but He doesn’t work on my timetable.  So often I have “helped” God out by implementing my own plan.  I read recently that it is better to trust God now than wished you had later.  I have found that to be profoundly true.

I realize that not worrying is difficult for most people.  Just give Jesus a try.  Put all of your trust in Him and not yourself or anyone else and watch what He will do. You will be free to love others which is what He had in mind anyway.  Live in today.  Tomorrow will be here soon enough.  I have found what I worried about yesterday is not even an issue today.

 

 

Amazing Grace

“But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased Him to reveal His Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.” Galatians 1:15-16

I am in awe and wonder at this verse.  It astounds me that He knew everything that I would ever do and made me anyway.  The revelation of His Son and the blood that was sacrificed for me was certainly mercy and grace.

Grace is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.  Let that resonate within your soul.  God freely gives his love and favor to us.  We certainly don’t deserve it.  He thinks we are worth it.  He is crazy about us and proved that by sending His Son to be the propitiation for our sin.

The greatest example of grace in my life are my children.  I have the sin of abortion in my past.  So I did not whatsoever deserve to have children.  I recall the sonogram of my first child.  I was so sick when I saw the baby on the screen.  It was not tissue as I was informed.  I was terrified that God was going to punish me through her.  I had not given my heart and life to Jesus yet.  I believed in God and had gone through the motions of baptism when I was sixteen but had not surrendered my life.

The first two years of her life were joyous but so difficult.  I loved her so much.  I would not sleep for days at a time so I could watch her breathe all night long.  I was terrified that God was going to take her away from me.  I was obsessive about her being in my constant eye sight.  I even quit my office job and worked at night for a while so my husband or I would always be with her.  I did everything that I could get my hands on in the church to try to make up for my past.  I later discovered that you can’t work your way into Heaven.  It is a free gift.

I gave my heart and life to Jesus in October of 1998.  It would be years later before I really understood that I was fully forgiven.   Grace came again in 2002 when my son was born.  All of the tests said that he had spina bifida.  We cried out to God in the weeks before the appointment in Winston Salem to affirm the tests.  Before we went back the nurse said you can still have an abortion if you don’t want to bring a child into the world like this.  We said no! This is our child.

The sonogram showed a perfectly healthy baby boy growing inside of me.  He has a place at the base of his spine that used to be more prominent.  I believe that is where my Jesus closed his back.

He has called me to share my story with you today.  He knows where you have been and He knows what you have done. The blood covers it all.  If He can extend grace to me, He can for you too. Amazing grace.  Unmerited favor from God.  It is for you today. All you have to do is admit your sin, believe that He is the Son of God and confess that He is the Lord of your life.  You are made new! A new creation in Christ Jesus!

Lord Jesus, wrap your loving arms around this reader.  Hold them tight and shower them with your mercy and grace.  I pray for them today and anyone in their lives that they love.  I pray that they would share this with anyone who needs to know You and about your grace.