God Will Not Give Me More Than I Can Bear ~ Or Will He?

“God will not give me more than I can bear”.

Oh, YES, HE WILL, sister! He absolutely will.

It seems that, without forethought, intention, or planning, I have written myself right into a series here on the blog. Let’s call it, Lies We Believe. Here are the links to the two other posts in this impromptu series.

3 Reasons Why We Are NOT All God’s Children

I Just Can’t Forgive Myself and Other Lies We Believe

Today we are examining the lie that Christians fall victim to very often. It is a lie of reason, born of a lack of knowledge of what Scripture actually says. Here are two reasons why God WILL, indeed, give us more than we can bear.

 

God Won't Give Me More Than I Can Bear...or Will He?

 

 

God is Omniscient and He is Sovereign

Those are big, fancy spiritual words. God has infinite knowledge about everything and everyone. He knows everything there is to know about you and the things that impact you – that is Omniscience. God also has supreme power and authority.  He is working everything that concerns you out for your good. His goal is for your faith to grow so you will look more like Jesus to a lost and dying world.

Let me clarify that, when I talk about trials, I’m not talking about the temptation to sin. God does not tempt anyone (James 1:13). Neither does He allow us to be tempted beyond what we can resist. Paul assures us of this in 1 Corinthians 10:13. God will always provide a way to escape from temptation. The question is whether we will take it. If we choose to run toward temptation and not away from it, we cannot blame God for the consequences. We always reap what we sow.

In James 1:2-4, the Lord’s brother tells us to ‘Count it all joy’ when we undergo trials of any kind. Why? Because of God’s Sovereignty, He is working some things in and out of us that can only be accomplished by trials. What kind of things does He work in us? Patience, joy endurance, and humility. What does He work out of us through trials? Pride, hatred, selfishness, anger, and so many other lovely traits. Truly, if this working in and working out could be accomplished any other way, God would have chosen that way. He allows these trials to test and purify our faith in His power and wisdom.

Think about multiple examples of individuals throughout history, both biblical and non-biblical, who were, in fact, allowed to endure more than they could humanly bear. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. Stephen was martyred for his faith in Christ. Paul endured beatings, scourging, hunger, imprisonment, shipwrecks and so much more. Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and three other men were murdered because they tried to share Jesus with the Auca Indians. Corrie ten Boom was imprisoned by the Nazis and watched her sister, Betsie, die in the concentration camps. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was martyred because he tried to find a way to stop Hitler. Who can forget the twenty Coptic Christian men who were beheaded by ISIS because they would not renounce their faith in Christ? None of these people had the strength to endure these trials, but because they had a strong faith in Christ, they finished well.

So yes, God will give you more than you can bear in the human realm. He just will. It is the way of faith while we walk this dusty sod of earth. But, He also provides supernatural strength to equip you for victory in the middle of the trail. Trust His heart, dear friend. He will never fail you!

SDG/FCA!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

 

Praying the Promises of the Cross

It is my honor to be one of the contributing writers for my friend, Arabah Joy’s FREE 2019 Praying the Promises of the Cross event. This is a special time of focus, leading up to Easter, on the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice. In a world of ‘self-centered’ Christianity, this challenge is a critical and relevant way of getting Christ-centered truth into our hearts. Please click HERE below to discover more about Praying the Promises of the Cross.

There is also an awesome Praying the Promises of the Cross Bundle that contains some wonderful items like a 40 day Praying the Promises of the Cross Prayer Journal, 40 Daily Prayer Cards, and Scripture Coloring Sheets.

 

Praying the Promises of the Cross Bundle

 

These items will focus your heart on the cross and help you be intentional in your prayers during the Challenge. You can purchase that by clicking on the link HERE.

In a recent Thursday Thoughts post, I offered a quote from martyred missionary Jim Elliot. Today I am linking to a new book written by Jim and Elisabeth Elliot’s daughter, Valerie. It is a collection of letters and stories about her parents’ remarkable love for each other and for Jesus. If you are reading this post via email, please click HERE to go to my website and see the link to the book.

Three Reasons Why We Are NOT All God’s Children

 

“We are all God’s Children.” Over the years I have heard people use this phrase to attempt to position themselves, or others, in the family of God. Their logic is that God created every person, so we must be His children. It always bothered me a bit, but I never felt I could dispute their logic….until now.

The thought that ‘we are all God’s children’ is a nice one. It makes for warm, fuzzy feelings in the heart; a bit like sitting around a campfire singing ‘Kumbaya’. The problem is that it is not Scriptural. So, today I want us to consider three reasons why we are NOT all God’s children.

 

Three Reasons Why We Are NOT All God's Children

 

Relationship

The basic assumption in the ‘we are all God’s children’ theology is that God created all of us, so we must be His children. To be someone’s child assumes a parent-child relationship. It also assumes that one of two things happened: the child was either born into the family, or they were adopted.

In the Old Testament, God had children. Those children were the nation of Israel. He was their God, and they were, for better or worse, His people. Only when an outsider believed in the God of Israel were they taken into, or adopted into, God’s family, i.e. Ruth, Rahab.

In the New Testament, and going forward, the Jewish people rejected God’s Son Jesus. In doing so, they set themselves outside of God’s family. From the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the only way to be part of God’s family, or to be His child, has been to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life. Jesus made this crystal clear in John 14:6 when He said that no one comes to God except through Him. Hebrews 2:11 also speaks to the issue of God’s family.

First, there must be a relationship in order to be God’s child.

Spirit

At the moment you ask Jesus to be your Savior and to forgive you of your sins, the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of Christ, comes to live within you, and He never leaves you. He is the seal, or guarantee, of your salvation.

Romans 8:9 (ESV) is the verse that spoke clearly to me on this issue of being a child of God. Paul is seeking to clarify what qualifies a person as belonging to God. Consider this verse:

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact, the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

Also consider Romans 8:14 which tells us that anyone who is a child/son of God is led by the Spirit.

Second, in order to be God’s child, you must have His Spirit living within you.

Obedience

As a child, I was highly motivated to be obedient to my parents because I did not want the Bolo paddle applied to my backside. Other times, my motivation came simply from a heart of love toward my parents. Either way, as their child, I was expected to be obedient.

God expects no less from His children. He has set forth His commands in Scripture, and He expects His children to know the expectations and follow them. They are for our good because He knows what we need. He is not some cosmic judge just waiting to zap us when we are bad. He loves His children and wants them to be the recipients of His best for them. That best comes when we are obedient to His Word. (John 14:23-24, John 15:10, Romans 8:7, and 1 John 5:3)

Third, God’s children must be willing to be obedient to His commands in Scripture…..all of them.

I believe Scripture is clear that only those who are adopted into His family through the saving work of Jesus are God’s children.

Have you made sure that you are ‘one of God’s children’ by accepting Jesus as Lord? 

What are your thoughts about this issue? 

SDG/FCA!!

Want to read more in this “Lies We Believe” series? Click the links below:

I Just Can’t Forgive Myself and Other Lies We Believe

God Will Not Give Me More Than I Can Bear….or Will He?

 

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Praying the Promises of the Cross

It is my honor to be one of the contributing writers for my friend, Arabah Joy’s FREE 2019 Praying the Promises of the Cross event. This is a special time of focus, leading up to Easter, on the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice. In a world of ‘self-centered’ Christianity, this challenge is a critical and relevant way of getting Christ-centered truth into our hearts. Please click HERE below to discover more about Praying the Promises of the Cross.

There is also an awesome Praying the Promises of the Cross Bundle that contains some wonderful items like a 40 day Praying the Promises of the Cross Prayer Journal, 40 Daily Prayer Cards, and Scripture Coloring Sheets.

 

Praying the Promises of the Cross Bundle

 

These items will focus your heart on the cross and help you be intentional in your prayers during the Challenge. You can purchase that by clicking on the link HERE.

Me, My Selfie, and I: What Selfies Might Tell Us About Ourselves

Perhaps I am just getting old….or maybe 53 years of breathing earth’s air has planted a bit of wisdom and caution in my heart. Whatever the cause, the wariness I feel toward social media these days is very real and a cause of legit concern. Our devices are impacting us in so many ways that are good, but also in an equal number of ways that are not good. Today, I want to ponder the selfie phenom that has taken over our world.

Let me state at the outset that I am NOT pointing a finger at anyone with this post. If the shoe fits your foot, then wear it. If it doesn’t, leave it in the box for someone else to put on. I am simply sharing what the Holy Spirit has been working in MY heart.

 

Me, My Selfie, & I: What Selfies Might Tell Us About Ourselves

 

Have you ever looked up the definition of a ‘selfie’? Check it.

 Selfie: an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera, especially for posting on social networks.

 

In my heart, there is a great deal of discomfort with this ‘selfie’ obsession that has invaded social media. Have you ever Googled the word ‘selfie’? Sweet mercy, I did not just fall off the turnip truck yesterday, but what I saw shocked me. It is incomprehensible to me that people would take such pictures of themselves…AND POST THEM ONLINE. It is also hugely disturbing to me the sheer number of ‘selfies’ that many people take and post to social media in a 24-hour period.

An article published by the American Marketing Association in November 2015 entitled, Social Media Triggers a Dopamine High, tells us that there is a physical component to social media. Who knew? The neurochemical dopamine, known as the ‘reward molecule’ is “released after certain human actions or behaviors, such as exercising, or setting and achieving a goal.” Apparently social media activity is also a trigger for the release of dopamine according to a study of Australian consumers.

“Every time we post, share, ‘like,’ comment or send an invitation online, we are creating an expectation,” according to the AMA study. “We feel a sense of belonging and advance our concept of self through sharing.”

Nowhere is this more true than with selfies. Although the word ‘selfie’ is a relatively new one, the impetus behind the action is an age-old one. Obsession with, and glorification of, self. Taken to the extreme, that’s what a ‘selfie’ is…and it runs so counter to God’s desire and command for His children.

Let me clarify one thing, please. I am not talking about the occasional family/friend/group picture. Those are great, and I totally enjoy seeing them. Even the occasional ‘selfie’ posted to social media is acceptable. What I have become so leery of is the repeated pictures of self that are posted to social media. Five, ten, twenty or more ‘selfies’ in a day.

John, the beloved disciple, said that Jesus must become greater, but I must become less. (John 3:30). Paul emphatically stated that ‘to live is Christ’ (Philippians 1:21).

As Christ-followers, we are called to humble ourselves, look like Jesus, and ultimately, draw other people to Him. If my calling is to point others to Jesus, it is virtually impossible for me to do that when I am so focused on taking a dozen pictures of myself each day so that I, and others, can see my face on social media.

Psychologists have discovered that, taken to the extreme, the ‘selfie’ craze can lead to a psychiatric problem called body dysmorphic disorder, as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to some studies, more than 3 selfies in a day might signify a mental disorder. Seriously!!

Hebrews 12:2 tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, and Him only. I fear today’s ‘selfie’ obsession places self in the spotlight and dethrones Jesus in our hearts. Remember the definition of ‘idol’….anything that takes the place of, or occupies more of our heart than God is an idol. Y’all, I want my relationship with Jesus to be what other people remember about me rather than endless selfies that point to Leah.

I wonder if it is time for us to examine our motives in the area of ‘selfies’ and social media? Why are we posting selfies? What is our reason for being on social media? As I have done this self-examination recently, I decided that, for me, the right decision was to delete Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat from my mobile device. I’m not saying that decision is right for you, but for me, it was the right move. And you know what? To my surprise, I don’t really miss them. You may recall that my #OneWord365 for 2018 is ‘Christ-like’. I believe that as I seek to make much of Jesus and less of Leah I will become more like Jesus.

I would love to hear your thoughts on selfies and social media. Would you share in the comments?

 

SDG/FCA!!!

 

This post contains affiliate links.

God Never Wastes a Trial

“God never wastes a trial.”

If I had to choose a motto for my life, this would be one of my top five. You might think, “why in the world would you choose a motto about trials?” Great question! You see, sometimes the most seemingly ridiculous things end up being beautiful and good. Let me explain.

Imagine that I had one of those moments where my life flashed before my eyes and I was blessed with the benefit of seeing a panorama of events, both good and bad. I would see moments of love and joy, sidled up next to moments of pain and heartache. I would see stellar life choices that I made, but also some amazingly poor choices that brought great sorrow and distress into my life. You, too?

But, let me tell you the beautiful thing in all of this hot mess that is my life. God never wastes a trial or a heartache.  Every poor choice, every time those choices brought pain. Shoot! Even when my choices are good and right, there is the opportunity for God to bring something beautiful and useful out of a heap of ashes or bed of roses. AND HE DOES! I’ve seen it time and time again in my life.

 

God Never Wastes a Trial

 

 

Case in point! Years ago I shared about my decades-ago struggles with loving a family member in this video. Frequently, when I speak to women, I have the opportunity to share this same story. I cannot even begin to count how many times women have come up to me and said, What? You too? I thought I was the only one who felt that way! Just last week I had the privilege of coming alongside a beautiful young woman who is walking this very path in her own life. I pray that I was able to speak encouragement into her heart in regard to loving a family member when all you feel is anger toward them.

It is in those moments that the truth of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 comes alive:

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

I cannot resist giving you verse 4 from The Message:

 

He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.

It is true, y’all…..God never wastes a trial. He has purpose in them. He has good in them. They may not feel good or purposeful. You may just have to grit your teeth and think, ‘this too shall pass. It is passing like a kidney stone, but I have faith that it will pass…and that God will somehow redeem it.”

Even as I type this post I am walking a path where another person is slandering my character and reputation with lies and twisted truth, yet I keep trusting that God’s got it and that one day I will be able to use the comfort I am receiving from Him to comfort another person going through similar circumstances.

Do you have a 2 Corinthians 1:4 testimony? Sister, God did not allow difficult circumstances in your life for no reason at all. He has purpose in them, but you must walk by faith toward that purpose until you can see it with your eyes. If you can see above the circumstances to the good that God is working in your heart, are you willing to share it to encourage other people? I would love to read how God has comforted you in a difficult situation so that you can turn around and comfort others going through similar situations. Would you share in the comments or via email?

God never wastes a trial!

SDG/FCA!!

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Here is the link to a book that has brought me great peace in times of trial and trouble. I encourage you to check it out.

Eat Your Veggies….and Your Dessert!

 

Eat your vegetables, and then you can have dessert.

It is mantra of moms everywhere. The plate is colorful with broccoli, carrots, corn, and a side of cornbread. Oh, and don’t forget the meatloaf. Definitely eat the meatloaf! And if you eat all of everything that is on your plate, then you can have dessert.

 

Eat Your Veggies and your Dessert

 

 

It is bribery of the highest order. That delicious coconut cake is sitting in the corner, calling my name, tantalizing me so much that my mouth waters just looking at it. But, in order to get to that little slice of heaven, I must wade through the green, orange, and yellow on my plate. Every bite of those vegetables is a little bit of torture for a girl with an incurable sweet tooth. Yet, because I am a Type A who has to do everything well and right, I rip my gaze from the coconut cake and focus on the vegetables and meat loaf. Let’s get ‘er done!

Carrots. Check!

 

Broccoli. Check!

 

Corn. Check!

 

Meatloaf. Check! Check! (I do love me some good meatloaf.)

 

Now, the pièce de résistance. Coconut cake!

 

For a girl who is very much a productivity addict the idea of ‘finish your vegetables before you eat dessert’ can be crippling?

Oh, I see you frowning and wondering how I turned vegetables into a handicap. Let me explain.

As you know, if you have been around these parts for more than a few days, I am on a journey toward rest (it was my OneWord 2016) and observing Sabbath regularly. Part of that journey is navigating the tension of completing my checklist of things to do each week before my Sabbath begins on Saturday evening. I’m doing really well at it now, but that has not always been the case. You see, as a productivity junkie I reasoned that there were things that needed to be accomplished (i.e., all the veggies eaten) EVERY. SINGLE. DAY or the world might implode!  So, while I desperately needed a day to rest (coconut cake), the veggies that needed eating (tasks on my to-do list) never ended. Which meant that I never set aside a day to rest (enjoy my piece of coconut cake).

Is that clear as mud? What I am trying to say is that the eat-your-veggies-before-you-eat-cake principle works well with a child, but for an adult with a need to always be productive, it doesn’t work so well. There has to be a point at which I say, ‘enough veggies!’ and settle down to enjoy my coconut cake.

May I share with you the part of all of this that makes me clap my hands in praise to my Jesus?

When I am obedient to carve out that Sabbath rest, the world does not implode, nor does my to-do list become an unmanageable Goliath. In fact, quite the opposite takes place. I am much more able to do what needs to be done in six days, and I do it with a greater measure of peace than I had when I was frantically striving seven days a week.

No one on the planet has ever had a greater agenda and to-do list than God:

Monday – Create light

Tuesday – Create the heavens

Wednesday – Create the earth and the seas, plants and trees

Thursday – Create the sun, moon, and stars, and set the seasons in order

Friday – Create sea animals and birds

Saturday – Create livestock, beasts of the earth, creeping things (eekk!), and Man

 

Then, on Sunday, the seventh day, God blessed His work and rested. If God decided to rest on the seventh day, who in the world am I to decide that I do not need rest? The Sabbath is for me, not for God, because He knew that I would need that rest. And oh, how desperately I need it! I need that time to slow down so that I can hear His voice in the stillness and silence of rest. I need that time for my physical body to decompress and relax. I simply need that time…..and so do you!

I want to encourage you to make Sabbath rest part of your week. I promise you will be glad you did.

Tell me about your Sabbath observance. How do you prepare? What does it look like?

 

SDG/FCA!!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

I am linking to two books that have been great influences on my life this year in regard to making good choice and to observing a Sabbath rest. I hope you will check them out!

 

When All You Want To Do is Quit

I am not a quitter.

I was taught from an early age to stay faithful to my commitments, even when it is hard. But in the past couple of years I have wanted to quit the hard stuff, like ministry. In fact, in the spirit of transparency, in the few couple of weeks I had decided to do just that. Later this year, after the Come Away retreat was in the books, I would quietly step away from writing and speaking and mentoring in order to ‘just be’. My heart craves ‘just being’ right now like you would not even believe.

 

When All You Want to Do is Quit

 

 

November will mark 10 years that I have been in ministry. God gave me a clarion call in late 2007 to a speaking ministry that shared Jesus and His grace.  That ministry bloomed into a writing ministry that has allowed me to publish a few books. That ministry blossomed into a mentoring-in-the-kitchen ministry that has been the most fun thing I have ever done.

So, how did I arrive at this place of wanting to quit? I’ve pondered deeply whether it is a result of God withdrawing my calling to ministry. I’ve even secretly hoped that was the root of it all, yet each time I have tried to settle into that, God has sent something or someone along my path to point me in a different direction.

Like a Scripture:  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable ~ Romans 11:29

Well, okay, there is that!

Months ago I sat with a wise and trusted counselor who reminded me that perhaps I have not allowed my heart to heal from the traumas I have experienced over the past 3 years.

Valid!

Almost nothing in my life right now is the way I had envisioned it would be. Loss upon loss. Hurt compounded like interest. There have been blessings come out of it but, like a good ‘bootstrapper’, in the beginning of it all I soldiered on, feeling the pain, but not allowing myself time and space to move through the stages of grief. Is it any wonder I have nothing to pour out?

Still the desire to quit nearly suffocates me on a regular basis. I feel as if I have little of worth to give, and the words that once flowed easily now seem to have dried up. I even have trouble coming up with a worthwhile Facebook post.

Maybe you, too, have wanted to quit. Maybe you want to quit right now. Your job, your marriage, your ministry, your mothering, a friendship, a hobby, life. You want to quit because it has become too hard, too painful, too exhausting, too _____________________. I get that! I really do.

May I invite you to do with your ‘quit’ exactly what I did? Take it to Jesus. Ask Him if He has ‘quitting’ in the plans for you. Ask Him to give you wise counselors. Ask Him to speak to your heart over the whole thing. Ask Him for books to read or music to listen to or walks to take that will help you find His plan for your ‘quit’. Ask Him for peace and healing, for heaven’s sake.

I don’t know what He will tell you about your quit, but I know that He gave me encouragement through Dr. Tony Evans to not completely throw in the towel. He is encouraging me to hop out of the rat race for a time, come to Him, and allow Him to heal my heart. I am re-reading Shelly Miller’s wonderful book entitled, Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World, and realizing that perhaps part of my ‘quit’ is my disobedience about observing a Sabbath rest each week. God instituted Sabbath for us, and the fact that I do not regularly observe a Sabbath rest smacks of self-sufficiency and pride. And we all know how God feels about pride!

So, where does this leave you and me, dear reader? Well, I might be here with a post, but I also might not. And I am okay with that even though the ‘experts’ tell bloggers that you MUST post regularly in order to get/retain readers. Y’all, I will be here when the Holy Spirit tells my heart to write, and not until. I am grateful for you, and I hope the Spirit gives me permission and desire to return to this space regularly one day, full of His words to share with you. I would be so grateful for your prayers.

 

Please do not forget about the Come Away retreat! Registration is still open, but there are only a few spaces left. So click over to THIS POST to find out more information about the retreat and how to register.

SDG/FCA!!!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

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