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Life of an Ordinary Aussie Woman

Monday, 5 May 2014

I will praise The Lord...

Are you struggling?
Are you faced with a serious temptation?
Where is your heart…is your first love Jesus?

Tough questions, I know, but real ones to be sure…as we ALL go through difficult times and face temptations.  I want to encourage you today however by proposing that it is our response which makes all the difference.

You see I believe we all have a free will and we are all accountable for our own choices…I believe we all can choose to obey The Lord or not to.

None of us are immune…we all undergo difficulties and face temptations that can try to pull us away from Jesus being number one in our lives.

What are you facing right now?

Can I suggest that a very real option is to give praise to The Lord?

Bear with me a moment and see where I go with this…because I actually do know how awful and gut wrenching some struggles and temptations can be.

Just this week I have needed to stand firm in my resolve to have Christ as number one, as I was faced with a very real and alluring temptation and pain from loss…yes I have experienced this.

This week I thought I may lose someone in my life that I love, if I wasn’t easy going with their view on a matter that I know actually is not scriptural.

I had someone say to me… “Well I don’t know ANY Christians who actually do that…you may lose them.”

However I know what The Word says on this issue and actually how serious an issue it is.  So I resolved that I would put Jesus first, and risk losing this person I love…

To some I may seem like an overzealous Jesus girl or my own worst enemy…however my relationship with Jesus is my first priority and I cannot take Jesus’ sacrifice for granted and sin against my conscience.

I knew that I could not listen to the voice of un-truth in my mind that was feeding my anxiety.

I went to church and sang praise to The Lord and afterwards continued to do so at home for most of the afternoon…I praised The Lord even though my gut was wrenching!  When fear rose inside me I needed to keep my mind focused upon scriptural truths and upon the eternal relationship that I have with The Lord which is worth more than any temporal human one here and now.  I understand that can sound harsh…but I’m just being honest.

I think of the disciples when they were told to be silent about Jesus and the Gospel – they stood firm and said that they must obey God above all others – see Acts 5:17-42.  They continued to sing God’s praise through spreading the Gospel message and what was The Lord’s response?

I believe that He strengthened them in their relationship with Him and this is what I say to you He will also do for you.

No temptation you face is ever from God – see James 1:13.

When faced with temptations and struggles draw nearer to God and satan will flee – see James 4:7-8.

God will step in and strengthen you – He will not let you endure more than you can handle – see 1 Cor 10:13.

When struggling, stand firm in what you know is true – do not think “Oh it will be okay, God will understand…” For that can be putting The Lord to the test and we are not to do that – See Luke 4:12.

I had an interesting conversation recently with a person who said that the advice…”Give it to The Lord” was never helpful because they didn’t understand what this ‘churchy’ phrase meant.

I propose that this ‘churchy’ phrase is indeed helpful, when we understand how to do it, and actually put it into practice.  I believe that it does not mean to simply pray then do nothing, expecting God to pop you into a protective bubble and control everything around you…for how will you grow stronger this way?   I think it can look like this:
1.      Pray and ask God to help you overcome this issue– but really mean it!  Don’t pray and ask if you don’t have the resolve in your mind to take the fight on with God alongside – James 1:6-7.
2.      Draw near to God after praying by asking The Lord to speak to you through His Word, then READ IT!
3.      Draw nearer to God’s people for strength – go to church sing, cry, talk, laugh…do whatever is necessary and let God’s people minister to you during this time – we are made to be a community of believers, don’t lock yourself away…remember iron sharpens iron…book in for an appointment for a chat with your pastor.
4.      Pump up the music – put that biblical praise music on and let it soak into you.
5.      And finally try to understand that you are not facing anything that others have not had to endure and that you CAN be joyful during this difficult situation because you are enduring it BECAUSE you are a Christian which IS something to praise God for regardless!   Read this powerful section of scripture 1 Peter 4:12-19 (NRSV):

12  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, a criminal, or even as a mischief maker. 16 Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name. 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, what will be the end for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinners?”  19 Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator, while continuing to do good.

Scripture says that we are NOT to be mismatched with unbelievers – Read this:

2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 (NRSV)

The Temple of the Living God

14 Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? 15 What agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will live in them and walk among them,
    and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore come out from them,
    and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch nothing unclean;
    then I will welcome you,
18 and I will be your father,
    and you shall be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and of spirit, making holiness perfect in the fear of God.

We are supposed to be lights in this dark world…and I ask you how can we be if we live like everyone else?  Jesus spoke about us being light and salt…then proposed that if salt loses its saltiness that it is no good for anything and needs to be thrown out – see Matt 5:13.  He also said that if we love Him we will obey Him – See John 14.

If your problem seems overbearing do ‘give it to The Lord’ – be active and keep firm in your resolve to obey The Lord and have Him as number one – do not give in because you actually will suffer more, rather than grow and become stronger in your relationship with Him!

Finally as I know this is a long post – we are not Christians when it suits us – our lives are hidden in Christ, being a Christian is 24/7 stuff – Read this:

Colossians 3 (NRSV)

The New Life in Christ

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!
12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

In these last days some people will tell you what you want to hear – see 2 Tim 4:3 – however I say to you that drawing nearer to God through biblical truth is the way for peace in your life – love Melanie.

As for me and my house...we will only serve The Lord:


Chanda Griese said...

It is so hard to speak the truth in a loving and gentle way when you know that someone you love may reject you. If you are really speaking the words Christ is compelling you to speak, it is really Him that the person is rejecting. In the meantime, staying near to the Lord is vital. And, I have seen the fruit of a person broken and repentant from doing such a thing. It took time, but my friend later brought me flowers after he rededicated his life to Christ.

Melanie Baker-Nash said...

Thanks Chanda for your encouraging story...praise God! Much love, Melanie :)