Lucia's Blog: September 2014
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

TILL THE STORM PASSES BY

"Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away.  After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary.  And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, 'It is a ghost!' And they cried out in fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.'  Peter said to Him, Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.'  And He said, Come!' And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, 'Lord, save me!'  Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, 'You of little faith, why did you doubt?'  When they got into the boat, the wind stopped... "''  Matthew 14:22-33


Till The Storm Passes By

In the dark of the midnight,
Have I oft hid my face;
While the storm howls above me,
And there's no hiding place;
'Mid the crash of the thunder,
Precious Lord, hear my cry;
"Keep me safe 'til the storm passes by."


I love this song!  It really hits home for me as I struggle with some personal storms. I sometimes feel like screaming into the howling winds.  What do you do when the storms are raging furiously all around you? There is ONLY one way out and that is to trust in God. It is the best and only wise thing to do because when you trust the Lord, you will never be unprotected. He is the Rock of our refuge. God is faithful! He can never go against His promises; it is not in His nature to do so. It is impossible for God to lie! I keep reminding myself when I am in the midst of my pain and helplessness, that things will get better. I must trust Him.


'Til the storm passes over,
'Til the thunder sounds no more;
'Til the clouds roll forever from the sky,
Hold me fast, let me stand,
In the hollow of Thy hand;
Keep me safe 'til the storm passes by.
Many times Satan whispers,
"There is no need to try;
For there's no end of sorrow,
There's no hope by and by";
But I know Thou art with me,
And tomorrow I'll rise;
Where the storms never darken the skies.


During stormy times, Satan loves to watch us suffer. He lies to us and makes us doubt our God's great faithfulness toward His children. Satan tells us there is no hope in waiting for God because in some way He has caused our injury. We lose sight of the blessings of God and the victory that He makes possible. This reminds me of what Joseph told his brothers, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good." (Genesis 50:20). We become impatient! We are overwhelmed. We start wondering why we are not getting our answers immediately. We don't have to understand or analyze all the potential benefits. It is enough to know that God is teaching us patience, perfecting our faith, working in our hearts, and teaching us to trust Him more and more. He is working for our good, even when we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28).


When the long night has ended,
And the storms come no more,
Let me stand in Thy presence.
On that bright, peaceful shore.
In that land where the tempest
Never comes, Lord may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by.


So during our toughest storms, let us trust Him. Let us trust Him when the dark days assail us. Let us trust Him when our faith seems to be small. Let us trust Him when the best and simplest thing to do is to trust Him. It is hard for us to do, but we are His children and He is our Father.

May our Lord help us to always trust Him. May we find strength in Him, the Rock, on whom we place all of our heavy burdens.


Luci


Thursday, September 4, 2014

PERSECUTED? ARE YOU SERIOUS?


 "Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."  
2 Timothy 3:12


How many of us choose to respond to God, the Potter, with a thanksgiving heart when we are reeling in pain, when He is spinning us, molding us, and burning the rubbish or impurities from our lives? How many of us just lie still, waiting and trusting that He is causing all things to work together for our good; to us who love Him when we are in the midst of trials and sufferings?   But God is good, long-suffering and patient toward us.  God loves us too much to indulge us in our fleshly lifestyle that we so often prefer.  It is time for solid food and not milk.  It is time for us to choose whether or not we are going to be faithful and hold fast to the Truth when opposition comes.  You can indeed rest assured it will come.  You can count on it!  So the 64,000 dollar question is:  What are you going to do when you realize you are standing alone for the Truth?

There is one thing I have learned:  PERSECUTION often comes from those who claim to be Christians and share our faith and hope.  Even those closest to us; those that we love and trust the most; those with whom we have shared fellowship can become our persecutors.  It is painful and it hurts deeply.  Jesus knew it well. We need to be aware of persecution and be ready for it.

"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God." 
2 Timothy 1:8


We must take the whole armor of God and be prepared for the attack.  Whether persecution comes from strangers, brethren, family members, government, extended family or wherever we must be prepared. Know that conflict will arise when you are attempting to give a defense of the Truth and of the hope there is in us through Christ.  It will also come when we attempt to live out Christ in our lives in a godly manner worthy of our calling.  Be prepared not to compromise.  Be prepared to praise Him through it.  Our God will give us the grace and strength we so very much need, if we remain faithful to Him. He will make a way and fight for us vigorously in the midst of this darkness and trial.  But, what if you find yourself frightened and thinking you won't be able to withstand, hold fast and remain faithful?  Don't worry!  Go before His Almighty throne in humility and ask Him to create in you a heart of trust and faithfulness so that you will be in harmony with His will.

"And in deed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.... You, however, continue  in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from  whom you have learned them."  
2 Timothy 3:12-14


Notice carefully that it does not say all Christians, but those who desire to live "godly" will suffer persecution.  Here, the apostle Paul is speaking directly to believers, those who have been redeemed through the blood of our Lord Jesus, those whose sins have been washed away through His blood and are seeking to be in harmony with God's will, walking in godliness in their everyday lives. If you are just going with the flow, being neither hot nor cold and being tossed here and there by the waves of doctrine, and the trickery of men, you most likely won't suffer any kind of persecution. Your faith has already been compromised so there is no danger for the enemy.  So, if you have not experienced persecution in your walk with Christ, start questioning your faith.  This is very serious!  Indeed, it is in living with Christ in our lives that we  are going to experience hard and difficult times.  Expect times of hatred, misunderstanding, reviling and slandering for His sake.

The Lord Jesus said, "Remember the word that I said to you, a slave is not greater than his master.  If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.  But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me."  John 15:20-21.  Remember my brethren, we are not here to please and be approved by men, but to fear and do God's will.  "And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  But.... fear the One who after He has killed has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!"  Luke 12:4-5.

This being said, remember your purpose and calling.  Remember, that we need to bless those who revile and persecute us. Show grace when persecuted. This is acceptable and glorifies God.

"When we are persecuted, we endure.  When we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now."  
I Corinthians 4:12-13 


Jesus said:  "But... love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.  In order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."  Matthew 5:44-45


If we truly want to share or proclaim the Good News of our Lord Jesus and His righteousness, we must imitate Him, "The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.  The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works."  Psalm 145:8-9.  By imitating Him in our daily walk, we will not be offended when reviled; not become sarcastic when misunderstood; not retaliate when being accused falsely; we will indeed love even when not loved in return.  Who would do this?  No one, but our Lord Jesus living in us.

"You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.  We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love."
 I John 4:4-8

 "For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself  bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed." 
 I Peter 2:20-24


Let us stand firm and boldly for the Truth, without compromising anything.  But, let us always remember that every word we speak, write or type must be full of grace and seasoned with salt. Let us not forget a genuine humility above all.  YES, we can do it with God's grace and strength!

My prayer to God is that we all speak the Truth boldly without any compromise or pride but filled with love, that we extend them the same mercy that You Oh Lord grant to us, "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you." Matthew 7:2.  Let me Oh Lord remember that in the same way that we judge, You will judge us, and that by the same standard of measure, You Oh Lord will measure us.  Let us treasure in our hearts what the apostle Peter said:

"To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.  For, the one who desires life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.  He must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."  
I Peter 3:8-12



May the Lord help us to be faithful even during the fiery trials of this life in our service to Him.


Luci