Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘faithful’

Wounded by Friends

Caring about others makes you vulnerable in many ways.  The hurts our friends receive hurt us too.  We rise to their defense.  Those are hurts that can accomplish good.  They make us love harder and share one anothers’ burdens. We grow in strength together.

There are other shared hurts that can be deadly.  Our friends’ weaknesses can partner with our own and pull us both into deeper troubles.

But there’s an even greater vulnerability of friendship.  Sometimes friends directly hurt us…they betray us, accuse us of wrong, deceive us or abandon us.  The one we stood by leaves us high and dry.  The one we defended attacks us.

Those wounds are deep.   Does it seem odd that the wisdom of Proverbs says it is good?

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are lavish and deceitful.  Proverbs 27:6

All hurts have the potential to open our heart to new depths of Christ’s healing love.  Every wound has the possibility that Joseph declared in Genesis:  ‘You meant it for evil but God meant it for good…for the saving of many lives.’  When we take our wounds to the Healer, new legacies are born…eternal promises unfold.

One wound we all share is the grief when a loved one dies.  As I write this, my own heart aches at the loss of a precious 21 year old.  A young man with a gentle and kind heart who had a smile for everyone he met.  A young man who fell into the bondage of addiction; a young man whose life was stolen away.  He left behind many wounded, crying hearts. My hope-filled prayer is that his chains will open the way for many to experience the truth of his favorite song.

At first glance, the song is a cruel irony.  This young man loved Jesus, yet his chains were not broken.  Some might think Jesus was not a faithful friend or that the devil and drugs had more power.  Those are lies.  The devil is a defeated foe; an earthly life was taken, but seeds for eternal life were sown.  The unbroken chains of my young friend (whose own heart was broken by his own captivity) are piercing hearts that Jesus longs to heal.

Will we who know the Healer speak clearly about Jesus?

There is a desperate need in our world for loving, confident voices of hope.  In Psalm 51, David–the man after God’s own heart–cried out in sorrow over his own sin but confidence in God’s kindness, “…a broken heart you will not despise” he says to God.

David understood that the walk of faith is not based on sinless perfection or the right actions of others.  He also understood the pain of honest confession and the humility needed to receive God’s plan.  The kindness of God does not create a sugar-coated, life of ease on earth.

The kindness of God brings about purposes of eternal good–and untangling our sins often creates heartaches.  Faith does not always know ‘why’ but it understands heartache prepares ground for the good purposes of God!

God does what it takes to draw hearts to Him.  Horribly hard consequences came from the sin David wept over.  God forgave him but warned him a sword would slash through his family.  The consequences, though, didn’t wipe out the promises made to David decades before::

“…the LORD himself will establish a house for you…I will raise up your offspring…and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be his father, he will be my son….My love will never be taken away from him…Your house and your kingdom will endure forever…”  2 Samuel 7:12-17

 

God is faithful to His promises; we can reap the rewards of David’s promises too.  Centuries after David died our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ entered his family.  At least a dozen times, Scriptures refers to Jesus as the Son of David.  God was faithful to His promise.  The Messiah, Immanuel – God with Us – breaks legacies of sin when broken hearts are brought to Him for healing.

Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil and give us abundant life.  He died for our sins…and the hurts caused by sin.  We are never more unfaithful to Jesus than when we fail to receive healing for our wounds.

The wounds of life have purpose and beautiful potential when we place them in the loving hands of Jesus.

When we hold on the hurts, our voices are silenced.  We are like the addict, self-absorbed with meeting our own needs.  We never mean to hurt another.  We simply feel hopelessly trapped in our own hurt, clouded by our own questions.  The lies of the enemy loom so large that we can’t see Jesus.  We can’t give hope to others because we have not received it for our self!  The life Jesus died to give us is silenced.  We dishonor His work on our behalf; we are faithless friends.

Jesus shows us how to deal with unfaithful friends…with friends who use us, reject us, neglect us, abandon us.  Jesus died for friends like that.  He surrendered to the will of the Father; He lived out love to the end.  We are not separated from His love by the heartaches of life IF we give them to Him.  Then He plants His own life, and we become fields where hope blooms.

Do you have hard spots in your heart…spots that throb with anger, resentment and hurt…spots that have hurt so long numbness is all you feel?  Do you have habits you can’t break, relationships you can’t heal?  Let Jesus break your heart wide open.   He is the faithful friend who will heal every hurt.  Then receive the Living Word, let it take root and share it with the hurting world around you.  

A Life of Faithfulness

We looked at the quality of faithfulness in our study of Christian Character.  Today, though, I want to share the story of a faithful saint God blessed our lives with.  This saint exuded the characteristic of faithfulness.    Miss Marilyn Davis.

Sixty-nine years of teaching Sunday School is a pretty solid example of faithfulness.  Yet, it only scratches the surface of this saint’s example.  Courageous conviction lived with humble meekness are the right words, but the reality is so much more beautiful than the words.  Miss Marilyn lived consistently…she was the antithesis of the double-minded man in James.

Miss Marilyn could always be counted on to do what she said–even to living her entire life without electricity or running water because she made a commitment to her father years before.  I never heard her complain: she hauled coal buckets (and ashes) for heat and cooking; she carried water; she used an outhouse.  Yet all those things were simply the backdrop of a life that constantly reached out to others in faithfulness to her Savior.

She planted hundreds of  ‘Impatience” seeds each year to give to the ladies of the church on Mother’s Day.  She shared the bounty of her garden with all but the woodchucks; she had a gun and knew how to us56821_1545096159393_6199181_oe it!  She loved her woods and walking through God’s beautiful creation; and she shared it with those who wanted to walk with her.  She saved stickers and cards to give to the children.  She shopped for presents and candies to encourage the children’s attendance in Junior Church.  She shared Missionary stories to give little hearts a glimpse of devotion to Jesus.  She shared her life with everyone to give a glimpse of Jesus.

Miss Marilyn revealed the faithfulness of Jesus by the way she lived her life.  She was a woman who helped people know what the Bible said even if they didn’t open it.

As a Christian, that is how we are to live.  I am thankful for her example and so are hundreds of others.  I pray you have such an example in your life.  And I pray that God will help each of us give a glimpse to the world of what the faithfulness of God is all about.

 

The Source of Love – not a sample of love

For more than half of my life, Valentine’s Day has been celebrated with one man:  my husband, Craig. His love has been a blessing and privilege I could not earn and often don’t deserve.  It has shown me what the love of God looks like.  His love brought stability to me–and created two more loves of my life:  our children Rusty and Riesa.  But this really is a piece about the source of love…not just lovely samples of it!

God, in His infinite wisdom, actually led us to have this poem read at our wedding.  We didn’t honor God in those years, nor did we understand how true this is.  But accepting truth doesn’t make something true.  It either is true or it is not.  The love of God as a necessity is truth.

Marriage Takes Three

Human love is fraught with problems that come from our human nature–selfishness, self-centeredness and a lack of faithfulness.  We say “I love you” and really mean “I love how you make me feel.”  The only way we can really love is to receive the love of God and let it pass through to others.  True agape love–the love that is God–is beyond our human abilities.

It intrigued me to discover that only Peter expressed his love directly to the Lord.  We often talk of ‘loving Jesus’ but the Scriptures do not record many such expressions.  There are many commands to love God and discussions of love, but stating love directly is a different story.   You may recall that the disciple Peter saw himself as totally committed to Jesus prior to his arrest…and then he betrayed him three times. It’s also interesting to note the kiss Judas betrayed Jesus with came from ‘phileo’ love–the love that is based on shared interests.  When Jesus restored Peter, he asked him:  “Do you (agape) love me?”  Three times Jesus asked about Peter’s love.  Twice he asked Peter if we agape loved him, and Peter replied, “I phileo love you.” Finally, Jesus asked him if Peter phileo loved him.  Jesus knows our limits and he agape loves us…he meets us where we are at!

And that brings me back to this Valentine’s Day.  Craig’s love changed my life…changed who I was because it gave me a glimpse of the faithfulness of God’s love.  Make no mistake:  love matters.  We are called to love but true love only happens when it flows from the Creator.

We love each other because he loved us first.

If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer,[c] that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?

1 John 4:19-20

Celebrate those who love you.  But most of all celebrate the One who is love and made it all possible..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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