June 10, 2008

Our Awesome TODAY God!

This is adapted from an excerpt from Beth Moore's "Believing God". I turned it into a prayer and added some to it.

"Father, You are the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Joshua, David, Daniel, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John and Paul- and You are mine and my family's God. You are the same yesterday, today and forever. A God so holy, powerful and present that when You revealed yourself to Ezekiel, Daniel, Isaiah and John, they fell before You like dead men. (Daniel had to be revived and lay as sick for days afterwards, his body was so overwhelmed by Your powerful presence. You are truly awesome and frightening!) You are the magnificent One, full of splendor, beautiful beyond comprehension. You are The I Am That I AM through every generation (that means THIS ONE too!). Whoever You were, You still are! Whoever You were to these 'heroes' of the Bible, You are to me, to us! Help us to believe. Forgive our unbelief and increase our faith. Increase our knowledge of You. Help us to start taking You up on Your 'Godness'. When we have no idea what to believe You for in any given situation, may we believe You to be huge! Come Holy God and be Yourself! In our lives and in our circumstances. Come be God! Thank You for being our powerful God, yet for loving us so tenderly and personally. In Jesus name, Amen."

June 6, 2008

Bearing The Bearable...

Ever felt like you've been a target of the 'accuser of the brethren'? I have felt like I've had a big red target on my back today and the accuser has had me in his rifle's scope.

Usually if there's a question of blame, even if I was a million miles away from the incident, I will feel a twinge of guilt. If a policeman pulls up behind me in traffic, even if I'm below the speed limit, I start to get nervous and to feel guilty. So the enemy knows how to get me. As a child, I was very mischievous and mouthy and curious... I got into trouble a lot. I was often 'to blame'. But also, almost as often, I was innocent, but still blamed. Unfortunately, it became a pattern in my life to be the scapegoat. As an adult I've found that I still tend to carry that with me. I am hyper-sensitive to blame. Even in normal relational arguments that are bound to come, if blame is ever leveled at me (even if deserved), I usually cannot handle it. But God has been healing me of this and working in my heart... I'm not there yet but I am seeing improvement.

Today I was blamed for something that I was innocent of. Just to be able to say those words- "I was innocent" is a breakthrough for me. Where some people can never be wrong, (even when they are obviously so), I'm just the opposite. I almost jump up and volunteer to take the blame! But not today! God helped me. A relative got offended with me. She didn't "believe the best" of me as 1 Corinthians 13 says love does. This has been an unfortunate mainstay in my life. Not having people believe the best about me is a familiar event. I seem to invite it somehow. Not intentionally. I believe when there's a stronghold, there must be some sort of a spiritual flag we wave that invites further wounds and proofs of the lies built within. For example- a person who struggles with rejection seems to invite it and find themselves in situations of rejection... I feel that way with the accuser of the brethren. He knows my name. He has my address. He is my frequent unwanted guest. But today when he came knocking, he got a door slammed in his face. Today I did not take the blame. Today, my conscience was clear as I calmly explained the situation to my accuser (we battle not against flesh and blood and I know who was behind my relative's accusations). My explanation was rejected. She was not seeking understanding. She was seeking to blame and accuse because of her own wounded heart. Ever notice how wounded people will often project an old emotion on a new unrelated situation and form a false conclusion?  But today she was seeking to lay blame on me. But I did not bite the bait. Not today. Thankfully I was coming out of my quiet time in the presence of God when she called. He kept me focused and my words gracious yet uncompromising. I am thankful. I was not manipulated. Praise God.

Sometimes you don't know that God has done something in your life until you face a situation and you surprise yourself. I know that this battle isn't over. The battle isn't with a person, it is with the enemy of my soul. I love my relative and God gave me compassion. This one is very important to me. It grieves me to be misunderstood by her, but I also know that sometimes life isn't fair and we are blamed unjustly. Sometimes, you can have pure intentions and a clean heart and still be blamed. And sometimes there's not one thing you can do about it.

But here is where I'm learning to trust: To present my heart to God and to let Him take care of me and the situation. To not take matters in my own hands. To not try to 'fix' something that I did not cause. To not try to take the blame in order to get man's approval. To not let my past shame make me susceptible to manipulation and blame.

For the first time in my life I can honestly say- I am being blamed for something, yet my conscience is clear. I pray for the relative to have illumination and to let God deal with her heart. I love her dearly, but I will not take on what is not mine to carry. I have done that my entire life. God is teaching me to give it to Him.

One of my favorite verses:
Matt. 11:28 "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

The cloak of shame/blame is heavy. It's like a lead vest put on us by the accuser of our souls. But thank God, we are not meant to wear it. We take on so much that's not ours to take on, I'm seeing that in so many areas of my life and relationships. We do have our own responsibility, but how much or our burnout and stress is caused by taking on burdens not meant for us to bear? Or for still carrying shame that's already under the blood? There's a grace to bear what IS ours to bear. Jesus promises that His burden is not unbearable. Accusation, shame, blame, sin- these are unbearable.

Let's ask God to show us what we are meant to bear and let us NOT bear what isn't meant for us. For people pleasers like me it may mean saying, "no" or learning to confront, or not bearing the blame of something that isn't mine to bear. Our yoke is a custom fit. Yours will be different from mine, but whatever it is, it will be bearable, and we'll share the burden with the One who loves us more tenderly than the most loving human we know. He really can be trusted folks. "Oh taste and see that the Lord IS good!"

God bless. Kayla