Saturday, August 11, 2018

Don't Give Up Just at Finish Line-Prt1

Simply Ask, Seek and Knock

In Luke 11, the first verse, we are told that Jesus (Yeshua) had been praying and when He had finished, one of his disciples asked Him if He would teach them how to pray, since John (the Baptist) had taught his disciples to pray. It was then that Jesus spoke the words that have since become famously known as the “Lord’s Prayer”. [vs 2-4]

After a short story about a man who goes to the house of a friend at midnight to borrow bread so that he may feed a visiting friend, Jesus spoke the following words:

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone that asks, receives; and he that seeks, finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. [Lk 11:9-10]

We are to stand in faith on all the Word of God. I weary of those who come against God’s word, saying that it is corrupted, contradictory, a book of fables, allegories, legends and myths – a book, skeptics and critics alike say was written merely by men, and certainly not by inspiration of “some” Holy Spirit.

Should we be surprised? From the very beginning, Satan, who presented himself as a serpent in the Garden of Eden planted the first seed of doubt when he said to the then-innocent woman, “Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” [Gen 3:1]

From that very moment, mankind (in this case the woman) had to repeat what God had spoken, but sadly, in her confusion (the author of confusion is Satan [1Cor 14:33]), she added to what God said by saying that they were not to even “touch” the tree. Yet, God had commanded only that the couple not “eat” the fruit of the tree.

Without calling God a liar outrightly, the serpent (Satan, the father of lies) twisted what God said, knowing full well that Eve would misconstrue the truth of God’s words and thusly be blind to the dire consequences of disobedience. The serpent deceived the woman further when he stated that both her and Adam would not die, but have “eyes to see” and “be as gods, knowing good and evil.”  [vs 4, 5]

Satan failed to mention that their death would first be a spiritual death, followed later on by a physical death, something that God never intended for man when He created him.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes), and a tree to be desired to make one wise (pride of life), she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat (lust of the flesh), and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. [Gen 3:6]

From that point onward (the Garden), not only do people deny what God has spoken to us, but countless even deny God (Yhvh), let alone Jesus the Christ. To this day, atheists, agnostics, and sadly even many believers in Jesus/Yeshua, fall into sin, having been lured away by the various temptations Satan presents to the world through the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. There are even believers who today believe that we are “as gods”, that we are as Jesus Christ Himself.

You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stands not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. [Jn 8:44]

So yes, though I weary of those who question the [written] word of God, I stand in faith upon His word, and all that He speaks into my spirit man through His Holy Spirit.  The next verse is a favourite that I have prayed back to the Lord countless times, most often when I have prayed not to be deceived.

But it is also a verse I like to speak when I must wait patiently for the Lord to answer a prayer, or bring a matter to fruition. It is a reminder that God not only hears us; but His holy and precious Spirit leads us and that we can trust Jesus, God’s word in the flesh.

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?  [vs 11-13]

God Grants Peace and Strength to Endure

David Wilkerson once said, “The closer we walk with Jesus, the more intense the trials.” I think Wilkerson’s words are true, but in our closeness to Jesus, we also come to realize just how far we once were from Him in our sins before we were saved. Scripture teaches us that the trying of our faith is to reveal what is in our heart, even that which may be hidden even from ourselves. (More on that later)

When tragedy or overwhelming situations occur in our lives, once we get over the initial shock and the mixed emotions and feelings that surface, if we seek God in fervent prayer, humbly pouring out our heart, He responds and opens a door for peace to enter in.

These are not just words to bring false hope; they are a proven truth. When I received news of a tragedy that happened with an immediate family member, I went through all of the above – the horror, the shock, the rollercoaster ride of mixed emotions, the fear, the lack of understanding, and ultimately, the overwhelming realization that I was completely helpless to do anything about it.

Like the inestimable number of people who have lived since the Garden of Eden and throughout history, as well as the countless numbers in our day and age, there comes a time when there is absolutely no one to turn to but God. How those who do not know Jesus get through any calamity, tragedy or overwhelming, hopeless (and at times, seemingly endless) situation is beyond me, but I would venture to say that it has to be by God’s grace alone!

Yet, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I can promise you that when we cry out to God in prayer, He will answer us in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine, although naysayers will say it is a coincidence, since God is either “imaginary” or a God that only answers randomly.

Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God.
Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: [Jer 5:4, 21]

Indeed, when we come to [seek] Him and humbly pray, He will establish peace in our heart and mind, and step by step, He will lead us in such a way that in due time, thanksgiving will come forth out of our mouth, when our heart is set on Jesus.

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. [Phil 4:6, 7]

This has proven true to me numerous times. Even when undeserved, Jesus has remained faithful and always led me in the way of truth. His ways and His timing are not mine, but He is most trustworthy! In impossible situations, God does His greatest work, not only in the unwanted circumstances and situations, but more importantly, in our heart – if we allow it.

As hard as it may be to fight both the fleshly thoughts that try to keep us enveloped in negativity, despair and hopelessness, and knock away the fiery darts of the enemy, pushing hard to keep our focus on Jesus, help in the battle does come. It may be day by day and perhaps even moment by moment, but if we think upon Jesus (Yeshua), He will help us.

We must cling to Him as grapes cling to the vine, for He is the Vine and we are the branches. [Jn 15:5] It is He that brings forth fruit upon the branches. Grapes can only survive for a limited time when separated from the vine, then, they slowly begin to shrivel up, lose their vitality and wither, and eventually rot away.

How many times does Christ carry us and we know it not? In devastating times that crush us beyond mercy, it can be a challenge in itself to keep our focus. However, we must adjust our focus and keep our eyes upon Jesus the Messiah. That is how we regain our composure and peace.

Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Those things, which you have both learned and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. [Phil 4:8, 9]

Overwhelming Situations

The Lord always gives us understanding. Perhaps not in the ways that we believe we must have it, but always in the ways and in the things where He sees fit to grant it. And we all know, or come to learn that there is much that none of us will understand in this lifetime.

The Lord once put these words in my spirit (May 15, 2013): Mankind will never know all things upon this earth; neither will mankind come to understand all things, despite their wisdom and their most valiant efforts.

I also know that even the world’s most advanced computer with AI (Artificial Intelligence, machine intelligence) will be unsuccessful in matching, or even coming close to matching the wisdom of the true living God. [Jer 10:10]

Nevertheless, as stated in the previous article, after the Lord once again established peace of mind and heart in me, last Thursday (August 2, 2018), He led me to a story in the Old Testament that broadened the horizon of my understanding and gave me further hope.

It is a story that I have read before, but the Lord has given me eyes to see and the mind to understand the message contained in the story. It is a lesson that others learned long before me, but all the same, it contains a powerful message.

As I flipped open the Bible, there before my eyes was 2 Chronicles chapter 32, which speaks about Hezekiah, king of Jerusalem. Both he and the inhabitants of the land were overwhelmed by fear because Sennacherib, king of Assyria and his vast armies had encamped around the fenced cities of Judah.

After consulting with his princes and strongest warriors, Hezekiah ordered his men to stop the waters from flowing to where Sennacherib and his armies were camped, hoping to weaken them through lack of water. He also repaired a broken wall, built an additional wall and ordered an abundance of arrows and shields to be made.

Hezekiah then sent his captains of war to the citizens of Jerusalem with a message of hope, urging them to not be dismayed because of Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, and his great armies. Even though they were grossly outnumbered, Hezekiah urged them to be strong.

He encouraged them by saying that the Assyrian king only had an arm of flesh to fight for him, but Jerusalem had the Lord their God; and that it was He who would fight their battles. It is written that the people rested (found comfort, hope and peace) in their king’s words. [2Chron 32:6-8]

Through the words of Hezekiah, the God of Israel told the people to not fear or be distressed, but to be strong, for He was on their side to take care of the situation. The people were not to be moved by what they saw with their eyes (the gargantuan armies of Assyria). They were not to surrender to him, but rather to trust in God.

The Deception of the Adversary

Since the Garden of Eden, Satan’s strategies have not changed. Whether we are waiting on God to answer a desperate prayer and deliver us from overwhelming and impossible circumstances, or whether we await the fruition of a prophetic dream, vision, or word that God has given us, Satan launches an attack to steal that word, kill our hope, and destroy our faith and trust in God.

By his cunning, Satan will do all he can to deceive us. If we fall for his lies and deception as Eve did, the devil will weaken us and endeavour to persuade us to believe that it was God who “allowed” us to be deceived.

More often than not, Satan will even try to persuade us that all our misery is God’s fault. He will point an accusing finger at God and others. He will try to plant seeds of doubt (“Has God said…?”). If we water those seeds of doubt with fear that comes at us like a downpour, then indeed, a harvest of unbelief would be the result. He will mock and laugh at us as he accuses us before God.

If we stand strong in faith, adamant that we did indeed hear from God, Satan will try to convince us that we must have misunderstood what God actually meant. He wants us to give up, abandoning any and all hope that the answer is on its way.

If we are not waiting for a personal prophecy to come to pass, but desperately waiting for answers to an urgent prayer, Satan will do all he can to keep us trapped in the quicksand of fear. The longer we must wait, the harder he pushes us downward.

The devil will use anyone he can to speak against what we believe God for, a stranger, a family member or friend, even another believer who may themselves be wrestling with their own weaknesses. Remember Peter? [Mat 16:21-23]

The adversary will shoot forth fiery darts, hoping to penetrate our shield of faith. The thoughts he injects will seem like our own thoughts. In other words, the thoughts will be in the first person, not as thoughts spoken through a second person.

“I’m not that special; why would God do this for me out of the billions of good people in the world? What about the godly men and women who never had their prayers answered, who never saw their miracle come to fruition?”

“The world is filled with violence, calamities and chaos. There are people who have such serious problems that mine pale in comparison, people being persecuted, tortured and murdered!”

“I must be crazy to believe God will do this for someone like me. Besides, how would any miracle of mine glorify Him? Only a few would know about it. God! Does He even care? Do such miracles even happen today? I’ve never heard any testimony that even comes close to what I believe God for.”

“Hasn’t Jesus abandoned me? Wasn’t it Him that allowed this to happen in the first place? Is it not God who has led me? I’ve waited so long…He’s forgotten me. He said He would never leave or forsake us, but He must have because He’s not doing anything…”

The thoughts and words will be as individual and unique as we are, and as personal as our circumstances and situations. The devil will fill our mind with an avalanche of pessimistic thoughts, negative reports and stories, and adverse scenarios and possibilities.

He will plant seeds of doubt, causing us to question everything. His goal is to bring us to such a state of unbelief that we give up on trusting God and on having any hope of resolve. Satan may even bring in people to remind us of others who “trusted God”.

We might hear how some believed, only to be disappointed because God did not deliver them from their situation, nor did they see their prayers answered as they had hoped. He might cause us to think that we are as delusional as the many cult leaders and false teachers have been.

The devil may even cause us to think that we are living in a fantasy world of lies; even living in a matrix, a world full of people and scenarios programmed by an uncaring ‘god’ – a god who only answers prayers that were pre-planned to be answered.

We must fight such thoughts, such imaginations. Satan desires us to doubt God’s Word and to ignore or shun God’s leading. He wants us to walk in fear and unbelief, so that we will rebel and disobey.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, And having a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. [2Cor 10:4-6]

Satan will bring forth temptations in every effort to cause us to disobey God and sin against him through fear and unbelief. We must persevere in faith and trust, obeying what we know to be God’s lead. Above all else, keep Jesus as our main focus (our first love). 

When you are waiting on God, it is not the time to give up! Watch out for the adversary and his minions. Watch and pray, so that you will not be led into the temptation (fear, unbelief, rebellion, disobedience). Yes, spirit is willing to believe and obey, but our flesh is weak. [Mat 26:41]

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour. [1Pet 5:8]

Instilling Fear and Unbelief

Sennacherib received a report of Hezekiah’s words which were spoken to the people of Israel. In his pride and arrogance, the Assyrian king countered the words with a message that he hoped would cause the inhabitants of the land to become fearful and to doubt the words spoken by the king of Jerusalem.

With deceptive words, the serpent in the Garden of Eden challenged Eve to question and thereby doubt what the words of God, therein tempting her to eat and thus turn to persuade Adam to disobey what God had commanded. With the same strategy, the Assyrian king set out to do the same.

Sennacherib accused Hezekiah of leading the people in such a way that they would die by famine and thirst. He reminded the people that Hezekiah had torn down the altars used for worship and had taken away their other gods (idols). He mocked them, saying that their “one” God was certainly not enough to deliver them out of his hand, as certainly as the gods of all the other conquered nations were unable to save their worshippers. [vs 12]

Sennacherib warned the people not to let Hezekiah deceive them and not to believe him. [vs 15] It is true that the serpent in Eden avoided using those exact same words.

He cunningly and subtly hinted that God was trying to deceive Adam and Eve because He knew that they would “be as gods, knowing both good and evil”, if they ate the forbidden fruit. Oh, and here is some factual trivia. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the forbidden fruit was an apple. Some devil must have said that it was an apple and the whole world has believed it since.

Similarly, the Assyrian king also accused Hezekiah of deception and that none should believe him. He insisted that God would not intervene to save them.

He wrote also letters to rail on the Lord God of Israel, and to speak against Him, saying, As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people out of my hand, so shall not the God of Hezekiah deliver His people out of my hand. [vs 17]

Sennacherib spoke against the God of Jerusalem as well as the idols (the gods of the people), which were the work of the hands of men. [vs 19]

The Faithfulness of God
The threats of the Assyrian king did affect the people and they were unequivocally afraid. Therefore, Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah prayed and cried out to God. What happened? The faithfulness of God shone forth.

God is not a man that He should lie; neither the son of man that He should repent: has He said and shall He not do it? or has He spoken and shall He not make it good? [Num 23:19]

God did indeed answer. He intervened by sending forth an angel that stopped Sennacherib’s armies. It is written that the Assyrian king returned home with shame of face. When he entered the temple of his own idol, his sons slew him there with a sword. [vs 21]

So when the Lord God tells us to be strong and courageous, and not to look at the things we see with our eyes of flesh, listen to Him. No matter how overwhelming our circumstances are, no matter how impossible a victorious outcome seems, believe God through Jesus. We can and must trust God. No one can say in truth that it is easy to always trust God for a positive outcome, but it is absolutely necessary that we do trust Him.

But without faith, it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rearder of them that diligently seek Him. [Heb 11:6]

The arm of flesh is not mightier than God! No king, no queen, no prime minister or president, no sheik or prince, no judge, no authority whatsoever is mightier than the Creator of all mankind and of all that we know to exist.

That is why we are told to first submit to God and then, and only then, can we resist the devil and he will flee. When Hezekiah and Isaiah prayed, they were submitting themselves to God, surrendering the situation into His hands.

God handled it His way. In the particular case of Hezekiah and the people of the land, the Lord God sent an angel to carry out His instructions. The Old Testament is filled with types and shadows.

Sennacherib, who was a type of devil, fled to his own land, and God allowed those in his own household, his sons, to slay him. It is written that Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem were saved from the adversary, and God guided them on every side (in every way). [2Chron 32:22] God further honoured Hezekiah in the sight of all the surrounding nations; many brought gifts to the God of Israel, and to Hezekiah, king of Judah. [vs 23]

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He shall lift you up. [Jam 4:10] Glory to God!

A Different Kind of Battle

It is easy to read a story in the Holy Scriptures and determine that we would not do as the ancient people, our forerunners did. We would not make the same mistakes. After all, we have benefit of the Bible that writes about those who went before us, as examples.

We should not be so hasty though, simply because our trials are not as their trials were. Yes, there may be times that we can relate to what our forerunners experienced, but each person who ever existed, and each person that exists today have individual, unique lives.

We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, and they may or may not be as our forerunners or as others today. Yet, every single man and woman ever born since the days of Adam and Eve and the fall that took place in the Garden of Eden have one thing in common. Because we are born into this world, all of us can be tempted into sinning by the traps of various lusts, as well as our pride.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world. [1Jn 2:16]

God bestowed upon Hezekiah not only honour, but also great wealth and prosperity. The king built treasuries to contain all of his silver, gold, precious stones and jewels, spices and shields. He also built storehouses for the increase he had in corn, wine and oil. Stalls had to be built for the herds of numerous kinds of animals, and also for his flocks.

Indeed, Hezekiah was blessed. He even built a waterway so that the waters of Gihon flowed directly into the city of Jerusalem. So great was his prosperity and fame that news of it was heard in the ears of the princes of Babylon. 
[2Chron 32:27-30]

Similarly, the fame of Solomon regarding his wealth, prosperity and wisdom reached the ears of the queen of Sheba. She traveled a great distance to see for herself. [1Kings 10] Like the queen of Sheba, the princes of Babylon had to know if it was true that the God of Israel, the God that King Hezekiah and his people worshipped did bring victories and did indeed bless the kingdom so abundantly, more so than the gods they worshipped.

Now we have to back to the book of 2 Kings to fill in some gaps in the story. Despite the miraculous victory over King Sennacherib and his armies, and the favour and fame God granted Hezekiah in prospering him with an increase in riches, livestock, crops and armour, the king of Jerusalem soon faced a different kind of battle.

Hezekiah became gravely ill with a boil that became so infected that the poison spread throughout his body. God sent Isaiah the prophet to the king with a message to get his house in order because he was going to die and not live.

When Hezekiah heard Isaiah’s words, he lay on his bed and turned his face toward the wall. He wept grievously and prayed. He asked the Lord God to remember how he had walked in truth, with a heart that served Him, doing only what was right in His sight.

Isaiah had not even gotten as far as the palace courtyard when the Lord turned him back with a new message for Hezekiah.

I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears: behold, I will heal you: on the third day you shall go up unto the house of the Lord. And I will add unto your days fifteen years; and I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. [2King 20:1-6]

Isaiah instructed Hezekiah to take a lump of figs and lay them on the infected boil and he would recover, and three days later go and worship in the temple of God. But the king wanted a sign to know for certain that the Lord would heal him.

The Lord agreed to the sign, so the prophet asked Hezekiah if he wanted the shadow on the sundial to go forward ten degrees or backwards ten. Hezekiah said it was an easy thing for the shadow to go forward, so he asked that the shadow go backward ten degrees.

So, Isaiah prayed to the Lord God and sure enough, the shadow on the sundial went backward exactly as requested. Therefore, Hezekiah was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God had heard and answered his prayers.

The Heart is Tested

Some time later, Berodach-baladan, the king of Babylon sent Hezekiah a letter and a gift when he heard the news that he had been sick and miraculously healed. He sent ambassadors to witness the king’s success and to ask Hezekiah how he managed to become so prosperous. And what wisdom does the Word of God impart to us?

[…] God left him, to try him that He might know all that was in his heart. 
[vs 31]

According to scripture, Hezekiah forgot the benefit of the Lord reversing his “death sentence” through Isaiah, as well as the miraculous sign he was given when he had asked for proof that he would be healed. [2Chron 32:24]

When the representatives of Babylon’s princes came to visit to see the wonder of the blessings God had bestowed upon King Hezekiah, Jerusalem and the inhabitants, it is written that pride ruled in the king’s heart, as well as in the hearts of the people. [vs 25]

It would be easy to sit in judgment as we read the story, shaking our heads, wondering how Hezekiah and all the inhabitants of the land could allow pride to swell up in them after the victories God had given them.
But that is where we must guard our own hearts because pride is part of our fallen nature. 

Pride can be as cunning and subtle as the serpent (Satan) was in the Garden of Eden. His temptation and lies were the root cause of Eve’s deception. The pride that cloaked that deception perpetuated Adam’s choice to disobey God, which brought about the fall of both Adam and Eve and henceforth, all of mankind.

If God intervened in an impossible and overwhelming situation in our lives, and then topped it off with great riches and possessions, would we remain humble? If the leader of a powerful country heard of the miracles that God performed and the prosperity He had blessed us with and sent representatives to visit us and ask all about it, would we be able to keep pride from overtaking our hearts?  Something to consider…

Hezekiah delighted in giving the Babylonian ambassadors a full tour. He showed them all of the treasuries that held his various riches, as well as his abundant supply of armour. It is written that the king hid nothing from them. He showed them everything.

Isaiah knew that the wrath of God was upon the inhabitants and the land because of their  heart condition, their attitude. None of them had given glory to the Lord God for what He had done by His power. What was in their hearts had been tested.

Isaiah prophesied that the days would come where everything, all the riches, livestock, crops, everything that had been shown to the ambassadors would be taken away to Babylon. The prophet also stated that all the sons born in Jerusalem would be made eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. 
[2King 20:14-16]

Hezekiah’s heart had been tried, and instead of thanksgiving and praise to God, giving glory to Him alone, pride was found in the hearts not only in him, but in the hearts of the people. Hezekiah knew that God’s judgment was true and just.

However, he was grateful that peace and truth would remain in the land whilst he lived out the fifteen years God had added to his life. He knew that God’s judgment would be passed after he died, and so it was. Hezekiah was buried in the best sepulcher of the sons of David, and still greatly honoured at his death by all the people.

Humble or Proud

What was gleaned from this story? Well, in my own life a tragedy occurred, the news of which I received early in the morning of June 15, 2018. The situation is overwhelming and only God Himself can bring any victory out of it. God’s timing is perfect.

He allows us to go through the emotions and feelings that naturally come with bad news, and I know that I am not alone in such matters. Every day horrific things happen suddenly, things that are devastating to not only those it happens to, but also to their families and friends, brethren, and even those perhaps not so close that hear the report of it.

In a state of brokenness, when we are completely undone, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to bring all matters to the Lord. Not everything is a test. Yet paradoxically, these things will indeed test us, they will try our heart. What is in there will reveal itself. Even still, I encourage you to present yourself with great humility and fear of the Lord before Him in prayer; pour your heart out to the Holy King. He will hear you.

The Lord is nigh (close) to them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite (repentant, bruised, crushed) spirit. [Ps 34:18]

After a week or so of going through a myriad of emotions, great anguish, distress and turmoil, I knelt down in the kitchen, pressing my face to the floor, crying out and praying to God through Jesus. In truth, I must state that it was as though the Holy Spirit was impressing upon me that my heart was being tried. He shone a bright light through all the confusion and upheaval to bring an understanding and stability.

In retrospect, I can now say that in remembrance of that impression, it is why the story of Hezekiah struck me so profoundly. Only God could have led my hand to open to the pages of the very chapter that tells the story of all that I wrote above. All glory is His!

I do remember searching my heart and thinking upon many scriptures as I prayed to the Lord. I was honest about my thoughts, feelings and emotions, my confusion, and even any bitterness and negative thoughts I had.

None of us want a bitter root in us, and so I cried out to God to remove any bitter root and any other evil thing lurking in my heart. A bitter root goes deep, but it also has taproots that spread out into areas that we do not even expect or suspect, slowly changing us and affecting not only us, but all those who come in contact with us.

We will not understand why we are the way become until we go back to the bitter root, pull it up and destroy it. Ten times out of ten, forgiveness is the key to the destruction of bitterness. It is a good thing to pray for those who have offended us, or who are against us. If we pray and forgive, repenting and submitting to God, He will take care of the rest.

Prayer continued until I could think of no more to say, no more to acknowledge or repent of. How long I remained in that place of humility, I truly do not know. Afterwards, in complete exhaustion, I went to my bed and lay down, quickly falling into a much-needed deep sleep.

When I awoke, something was different; all my senses were aware of a change. From that day forward, a peace has ruled in my heart and my spirit – that peace that passes all understanding. My heart was immediately filled with gratitude and thanksgiving as soon as I realized the peace Jesus had granted me.

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man who takes refuge (trust) in Him! [Ps 34:8]

Thanksgiving and praise are now offered to the Lord daily. Yes, sometimes I must fight the flesh, along with negative thoughts that have to be pushed out (cast down), but God is worthy, so beautiful, faithful, merciful and gracious is He! That is truth.

for His glory alone