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How Much Does God Intervene In the Lives of Men?

devineinterventionNow that’s a weighty question, isn’t it?

There are many who believe that God creates us and then stands back and lets life happen. I don’t currently count myself among those. I may later in life but I fear that might be because new wounds have been inflicted and I really don’t want to go there . . . But today, today, I think the Bible supports the conclusion that God is very active in the lives of His creation.

Hagar, a pagan (not to be mean-spirited here, just a factual description) declared God to be, the God who sees me, after her desert encounter with what many believe to be the pre-incarnate Christ in the wilderness when she fled from Sarah. In fact, Hagar had two separate encounters with God and He intervened in her life twice but also in Ishmael’s future promising in Genesis 17:20 that he would have a great number of descendants of which would come 12 princes. Take a look at Hagar’s first meeting with the Lord – I love the meaning of Ishmael- that was a new discovery for me!

Genesis 16:7-14

Now the angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” Then the angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.” 10 Moreover, the angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.” 11 The angel of the Lord said to her further,

“Behold, you are with child,
And you will bear a son;
And you shall call his name Ishmael [I.e. God hears]
Because the Lord has given heed to your affliction.
12 “He will be a wild donkey of a man,
His hand will be against everyone,
And everyone’s hand will be against him;
And he will live to the east of [Lit before the face of; or in defiance ofall his brothers.”

13 Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees” [Or You, God, see me] for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi [I.e. the well of the living one who sees me]; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

redseaAdditional examples of God’s intervention into the lives of men include:

A poor shepherd boy, David, who was elevated to warrior, hero and eventually king.

Let’s not forget Joseph, who, by most accounts was a spoiled brat before he was elevated to Pharaoh’s right hand man.

And for goodness sakes, the poor prophets. God intervened repeatedly in their lives in order to fulfill His purposes.

It should be noted God’s plans for Ishmael, David, Joseph and the prophets didn’t rescue them from difficult circumstances. In fact, His intervention resulted in a host of problems in every instance. Ishmael and his descendants fought with everyone and everyone with him. David may have been anointed King, but his path to the throne included being hunted by King Saul who sought to kill him. David was forced to run for his life! Joseph, prior to stepping into his pre-ordained role to save the people from starvation, was cast into a pit, sold into slavery, escaped a lecherous queen only to be falsely accused and thrown in prison, all before he was elevated to Pharaoh’s right hand man. And the prophets were sent hither and yon to issue verbal slap downs to kings and communities, and for their trouble they were hated and killed.

emptytombNeed a New Testament example?

God intervened in the life of a young Jewish girl making her the mother of His son, Jesus Christ.

Paul a zealous pursuer of Christians was met on the road to Damascus, made blind, later had his sight restored, and then became an evangelist.

Jesus intervened and changed a bunch of fishermen into church leaders.

And all suffered for their service. Every single one. Mary watched as her son was hung on a cross. Paul was beaten, chased out of town, imprisoned, and shipwreck in service to the Lord.

timesandseasonsAnd those fishermen who established the Christian church were martyred often dying horrifying deaths.

I can’t tell you exactly how often God intervenes in the lives of common men, but I do think the Bible clearly shows that he doesn’t simply create humans and cut them loose to fend for themselves in this world. He also doesn’t hide the fact that following Him doesn’t ensure easy passage through this life either. Keep in mind that, like those named in the faith hall of fame found in the book of Hebrews, many will die without seeing the fulfillment of God’s promises.

2014_08-god-intervenes-to-keep-israel-safeI’m pretty sure that since the Bible says that God is the same yesterday, today and always, that He continues to intercede in the lives of men today. We should take that to heart as the presidential election bears down upon us. We should keep that in mind as we see more and more signs of the end of the age revealed. God is God. Always has been. Always will be. His word will not return void.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2016 in Faith

 

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Down the Damascus Road, Again . . .

damascusroadI have found there are points in my life where I find myself completely unable to accept God’s obvious plan. Maybe you’ve found yourself in a similar situation? It’s what I refer to as my “Road to Damascus” experience. By that point in time I’m filled with frustration and anxiety and doing everything I can in my own power to change the circumstances I find myself in only to have God pull me up short and shine a painful, blindingly bright light of truth down, revealing that I am not just kicking against the pricks but actively working against His greater plan.

It’s hard to describe how it feels to know that the thing you least want to accept in your life is an irrefutable part of God’s plan. Oh, to be a two-year-old again so that the temper tantrum I want more than anything to throw, while not tolerated, is at least understood.

Harder still and completely beyond my human capabilities, is the ability to change the desperate desire of my heart, let alone make any attempt to surrender and embrace God’s unacceptable plan.

I firmly believe changing the heart and embracing God’s plan only happens at the point where a believer’s brokenness is met by the active work of the Holy Spirit in that believer’s life. Surrender definitely comes before embracing the plan.

In fact, embracing the plan may never actually happen and it may not even be something God expects from me — from any believer. Maybe all God really expects is for us to quit actively working against Him — not because we have the power to prevent His plan from unfolding but because the fight — the anger, fear, frustration, anxiety and bitterness exhausts and destroys us from within.

Maybe simple resignation, surrender to the inevitable, is a victory in and of itself. Maybe surrender, resigned or not, allows one the energy to take the next step, endure the next blow, and the next, until only the sorrow and quiet emptiness remain leaving room for the Savior to fill you from the cup of consolation and enabling the broken believer to receive the only remaining hope worth clinging to — an eternal future promised to stand in stark contrast to every aching moment the present reality reflects. Maybe that’s sufficient until the day we are made like Him.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2016 in Adversity, Faith, Grief

 

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Questions I Ask & Thoughts I Ponder

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:21,

“For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

I can in no way claim to be anything like the Apostle Paul, but I can relate to his statement – if not in whole, then in part.

For me, to live is to care for Gracen, and I desperately want to be there for Gracen, but to die . . . to die is gain.

In our day and age, no one wants to hear that sentiment expressed. Maybe it makes people fearful that I might harm myself, but I wonder if maybe it is more about an individual’s fear that at some point in their life, they might find they desire death over life.

I have an eternal hope.

Death is not something I personally fear.

And neither did the Apostle Paul.

And if . . . if God’s purpose for the latter part of my life is to care for Gracen . . . if that is my ministry and service for Christ, then am I not, in effect saying just as the Apostle Paul did, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”?

Is it spiritual to laud his statement and rebuke mine?

If we as Christians are to be Heavenly minded, is it wrong to long for our eternal home?

Is it wrong to desire Heaven more than we desire this temporary world we currently reside in?

Do we unconsciously believe Paul’s ministry, the ministry of evangelism, is the pursuit of Christ and His desires, whereas ministry to the members of our family or the sick really doesn’t equate to living for Christ?

img_1412-1Is that why my longing for my eternal home is met with admonitions that I must have hope? That it is wrong for me to desire the rapture in order to escape these earthly sorrows?

Is that really wrong?

Does my motivation somehow make my desire impure?

Does God care why I desire Heaven or just that I do?

Does not a longing for my eternal home reflect the deepest trust that I, in fact, have an eternal home waiting for me?

Does it not reflect true faith?

And should I lose it all—should I lose both David & Gracen—what, if anything, would be capable of anchoring my broken heart to this earthly prison?

I know what the answer to that last question should be. I certainly don’t need anyone to educate me with the “correct” response. But what “should be” and “what is” are often two different things. I know that my mind and my emotions will not agree if my worst fears are realized. I know they won’t. They don’t now.

These are questions I ask myself.

Maybe that last question is the reason people so adamantly attempt to cram the necessity of hope down my throat.

Maybe that’s their secret fear too.

Maybe no one knows what would hold enough sway in their individual lives to anchor their souls to this world if they lost everything they value most in this world.

Maybe—God help us all—maybe there is nothing strong enough to do that for any of us.

img_1416Maybe that’s where the Holy Spirit steps in and performs a supernatural work in our hearts that enables us to receive God’s all sufficient grace instead of rejecting it in our agony . . . instead of taking action outside of the will of God due to complete despair and utter desperation.

These are thoughts I ponder.

I’d love to know how you answer these questions—if you think these same thoughts.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2016 in Faith

 

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Girl, Who’s Your Daddy?

If you don’t want to take the time to watch this three minute video, below is a paraphrased transcript. I thought you might like to have Priscilla’s answer to her own question. 

I added my own comments below the transcript.

“When you feel like you can’t handle the task at hand; and you ask yourself, Girl, who’s your daddy’s?. . ., And what if, when you got a good look at your God, remembering who He is and that you belong to Him, listen, I think until the Lord stops me from taking platforms and ministering to women, I will say this until the day I die, reminding myself as I do when I am quietly alone and I look myself in the mirror and say, Girl who’s your daddy?; you know what I tell myself, I tell       myself… ”

“He is the First and the Last. The Beginning and the End. He’s the Keeper of creation and the Creator of all. He is the Architect of the universe and the Manager of all time. He always was, always is and always will be unmoved, unchanged, undefeated, and never undone. He was bruised but brought healing. He was pierced but eased pain. He was persecuted but brought freedom. He was dead and brings life, risen to bring power, and He reigns to bring peace.”

“The world can’t understand Him. Armies can’t defeat Him. Schools can’t explain Him. And leaders, they can’t ignore Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Nero couldn’t crush Him. The new age cannot replace Him. And Oprah cannot explain Him away!”

“You remind yourself that He is Light, He is Love, He is Longevity, and He is the Lord.”

“He is goodness and kindness and faithfulness and He is God.”

“He is Holy and Righteous and powerful and pure.”

“His ways are right, His Word eternal, His will unchanging and His mind is on us.”

“He’s our Savior, our guide, our peace, our joy, our comfort, our Lord and He rules our lives!”

“I serve Him because His bond is love, His yoke is easy, His burden is light and His goal for us is abundant life.”

“I follow Him because He’s the Wisdom of the wise, the Power of the powerful, the Ancient of days, the Ruler of rulers, the Leader of all leaders.”

“His goal is a relationship with me.”

“He’ll never leave you, never forsake you, never mislead you, never forget you, never overlook you, and never cancel your appointment in His appointment book.”

“When you fall He’ll lift you up. When you fail He’ll forgive you. When you’re weak He’s strong, when you’re lost He’s your way, when you’re afraid He’s your courage, when you stumble He will steady you, when you’re hurt He’s going to heal you. When you’re broken He will mend you. When you’re blind He will lead you. When you’re hungry He will feed you. When you face trials He’s with you.”

“When I face persecution He shields me. When I face problems He will comfort me. When I face loss He will provide for me. And when we face death He will carry us all home to meet Him.”

“is everything, for everybody, everywhere, every time and in every way.”

“He is your God and that, Sisters, is who you belong to.”


 

I don’t know about you, but every morning when I crawl out of bed, I know I can’t handle the task at hand. But, I do know,… I do know that I can trust in the One who is able…

the thing is…

I don’t want to.

Or more accurately, I don’t want to have to, or need to, trust in Him for the task at hand.

I don’t want to go where my life is leading…

At All!

I just don’t want to go there.

And, given my history—given the prognosis that lies ahead for my daughter, can you blame me? Can you really think that all I’m doing is throwing the longest lasting pity party known to man?

Really?

If that’s what you think…

it’s not personal to you.

Try to imagine living with my daily reality—not the deaths of my three kids—not the progressive disease that is destroying my surviving child’s body—No, not that. Put your children’s faces on those bodies. Imagine you are really living my daily life.

And if…

if…

you still think I’m throwing a pity party, then, please, keep your criticism and judgement to yourself. Because…

Every.

Single.

Day.

I need to…

Remind myself…

Who My Daddy Is.

Every Day.

That doesn’t make what’s coming my way okay.

Not at all.

But…

It makes it bearable…

most of the time.

I need Priscilla Shirer’s answer. I need her words. I need the reminder of exactly who my Daddy is.

Maybe you need her words too…



Who’s Your Daddy? by Priscilla Shirer

Taken from the DVD Bible Study Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed. A Study of David. Video Session 1. By Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore and Kay Arthur.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2016 in Faith

 

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What Else Does the Bible Say?

lament beauty

At some point, every suffering Christian is encouraged to “choose joy” and move beyond their pain. And how can any good Christian argue with such biblical advice? But, as my grief counselor often says . . .

“What else does the Bible say?”

 

 

“When pain almost strangles us and darkness is our closest friend, what should we do?”

“For years, I thought the best response was cheerful acceptance. Since God uses everything for our good and His glory, I felt the most God-honoring attitude was to appear joyful all the time. Even when I was confused and angry. Even when my heart was breaking. And especially when I was around people who didn’t know Christ.”

Vaneetha Rendall Risner has something worth consideration to share on this topic. Click on the source link below to see what else the Bible has to say about how to handle suffering.

Source: Lament: Beauty out of Bitterness – Vaneetha Rendall

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2016 in Adversity, Faith, Grief

 

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Easter, Co-Wounded with Jesus

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Jesus of Nazareth was humiliated, tortured, and ostracized.  For some of us, the passion (suffering) inflicted upon Jesus is not so unlike what many of us have experienced in terms of our own traum…

(Clink on the link highlighted in red below to read the article.)  

Source: PTSD Spirituality: Easter, Co-Wounded with Jesus

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2016 in Adversity, Faith, Links, Uncategorized

 

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Jesus on the Cross and PTSD Soul Wounds

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Jesus helps us to heal from PTSD soul wounds.  Understanding how Jesus is the Christ can help us better engage Jesus as a healer.  The fact that Jesus is fully human and fully divine enables us to …

Source: PTSD Spirituality: Jesus on the Cross and PTSD Soul Wounds

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2016 in Adversity, Faith, Links

 

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