Feeling like a failure

It is easy to take the circumstances of our lives and allow the enemy to use them to make us feel worthless.  The hardest thing for many to overcome is “feeling like a failure.”  September is suicide awareness month and a reminder that mental illness and overall feelings of despair and worthlessness are very real in our world.  Sometimes even those we love and are closest to, can make us feel like a failure, like we are not worthy of their love.  It is difficult to remember that we are not perfect and cannot allow our imperfection to define our emotional state.  It is too easy to say, “I can’t do this anymore” or “I’m just not good enough for …”  I know, I’ve been there.  Staying on track when all you want to do is derail and quit, is the hardest thing to do.  But we have a God that has been there!  He has suffered and walked in our shoes and knows how we feel.  He will never turn His back on us!

Psalm 37:23-24  The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.

Deep in the depths of failure and self-loathing, it can be difficult to understand the heart of God. Why would He love me when I messed up so bad? When you fail, not only does God love you, but He loves you enough to hold your hand. Others may desert and disown you, but Jesus is by your side holding your hand. He is not embarrassed by your mess.

I pray that this reaches the heart of those who may be suffering and encourages them to know that they are loved!  No matter what, God loves you!

I am appalled at the looting and destruction going on by the very people facing nature’s disasters.  As if this time isn’t hard enough as a nation, we are reminded of man’s fall from God.  Turn your eyes to the Lord!  Seek His guidance, comfort, and peace.  Turn away from the sinful ways of man.

Compassion

Let’s face it, no one is perfect.   We all make mistakes and fall short of the grace of God.  In doing so, we make mistakes that affect each other and can cause hurt feelings or emotional stress for those around us.  It becomes a great lesson in life when we have the opportunity to show grace and mercy when we are the ones hurt.  It is not always easy to show compassion, especially when we are hurting and still angry.  Jesus showed great compassion for mankind when He died on the cross for sins committed by everyone BUT HIM!  What a display of compassion!

Colossians 3:12 states “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

We are charged with showing compassion, even when we don’t want to, feel like we can’t, and don’t even know if we can.  Remember that you too, at some point in your life, have hurt someone.   How did they react?  How did that make you feel?  Did they show you compassion and forgiveness?

Remember, we are not perfect but we are created in the image of a perfect being who died for us!  Try to remember this when someone hurts you…God shows us compassion, kindness, gentleness, and patience when we least deserve it.

God Bless you all.

Genuine Love

As we finished up our bible study this week, the topic of love continued to come up and became a brief discussion once again.  We live in a society where the phrase, “I love you,” is thrown around too easily.  It is used to manipulate, tempt, and lure people for purposes that are not pure or even remotely loving.  In order to truly love someone or show genuine love, we have to remind ourselves what Christian love means, “Agape” love. 

Romans 12:9-10 states, “Love must be without hypocrisy.  Detest evil; cling to what is good.  Show family affection to one another with brotherly love.  Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Most of us have learned how to be courteous to other (speak kindly, avoid hurting feelings, appear interested in what they are saying).  Some of us have even perfected “pretending” to feel compassion when we learn of others’ needs, or to feel indignant when we learn of injustice.  God calls us to “genuine love.”  This goes far beyond pretense and learned politeness.  It requires concentration and effort and demands our time, money, and personal involvement.  We have to help others to become better people. 

No one person has the ability to show love to an entire community, but the body of Christ DOES!  I challenge you to this: stop throwing around the word “love.”  If it is not genuine love as dictated by the word of the Lord, do not say it.  As you continue to learn and express love for others, look around your community, school, church, or family for people who need your love.  Find ways you and your fellow believers can “love” your community for Christ.

God Bless you all!

Trials of Life

With all that is happening in our country right now, it is amazing to sit back and watch people of all cultures, races, religions, and political status, come together in the aid of all being affected by Hurricane Harvey.  Every day that we turn on the news, we see more stories of devastation and/or sadness related to that storm.  I cannot begin to imagine the emotions of those who have lost their homes, families, loved ones, or way of life.  What I do know, and CAN imagine, is how big our God is in spite of it all! 

James 1:12 states “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.”

We are called on to categorize hard times as joyful things.  Our faith grows immensely when we are tested by trials.  Our relationship with Christ grows and develops as we learn to trust God through the hardships we face.  The choice to trust God in the very midst of the storm, brings us His blessing.  No matter how large the storm is that rages, our God is BIGGER!!  We have His approval and He has our back!  All we have to do is cry out to Him and He is there!  Be bold. Persevere.  Cry out! 

As we sit in our warm, safe homes, remember those being affected and those that have been affected by this tragedy.  Pray for strength, comfort, and for the courage to cry out to our Lord for his protection and blessing.

Jesus does not care about societal norms.  He doesn’t care who you are, where you came from, the color of your skin, the political party you vote for…He only cares about LOVING US!!!  Go to Him, He WILL BE THERE!!!

Run to Him

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.

Hallelujah what a savior!!!

Rising Above Discouragement

Standing across the operating table from the neurosurgeon, I begin to focus more intently as the case has suddenly become more technically challenging.  It is in these moments that the chatter and small talk stops, and we are all on point, prepared to assist him in any way to control the situation.  Our entire day has been this way, each case presenting a new challenge, making for a very exhausting and stressful day.  My mind stays focused on him and what is going on under that microscope.  My goal? Assist him, in any way I can, to make this less stressful and hopefully improve the outcome.  Finally, the end of the case has come and all is well.  The mood lightens and we all start to relax.  He backs away from the table, leaving me to close, and proceeds to tell the person standing next to me how great of a job she has done and that he couldn’t do it without her.  Wait, what???  What about me?  What about the rest of the team who has been with you all day and working just as hard in our own ways?  In that moment, I felt so small and defeated.  Discouraged.

Discouragement is a part of life.  It comes most often when we do right things but experience poor results.  Jeremiah 20 reminds us that even a faithful servant of God can become discouraged.  But he rose above his discouragement and fulfilled God’s will.  So many times in our lives, we are faced with this very thing and often let it tear us down.  I stewed over my own self pity all night and into the next morning about something that was trivial.  I went to the Lord in prayer, telling Him that I needed Him.   I needed his strength to rise above the pain that accompanied my discouragement.  Like Jeremiah 20: 7-8, I cried out to the Lord that no matter how hard I worked, I was overlooked.  God desires this brutal honesty from us.  Tell Him how you feel!  He wants us to be real with Him, even when we are angry, upset, and frustrated.  He wants us to tell the truth.  Too often, we are dishonest in our relationships when it comes to true feelings, even to our Lord.  Honesty with our Lord is liberating!  He reminded me that my role at work is important.  I talked it over with a co-worker the next morning and she reminded me that I am important.  I matter.  The comment was more directed to the person who had gone above and beyond to stay and make sure things went smoothly.  It was never intended in a negative way to me, but as an encouraging moment for that person.

Despite the circumstances of our day, we are called to be obedient.  In verse 9, we see that Jeremiah is called to be obedient, to continue doing what he had been called to do.  He could not ignore what God was telling him, no matter how hard he tried.  When we are called, we cannot ignore that call.  I wanted nothing more than to walk out of the hospital that day and never return.  I knew that God desired me to return, to continue serving Him, serving others.  So, I cried out to Christ, put on the armor of my Lord, and obeyed.

When you are called, OBEY!  Obedience is difficult and sometimes painful, yet disobedience would be more so.

God Bless you all and don’t give up!

Ref: Sermon by Chuck Gililland (July 24, 2016); Jeremiah 20.