Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Life

(Courtesy 123RF)
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed
Psalm 139:16 (NIV).

It was a struggle for me to understand.
Before I was ever born, God knew what would take place in my life… and he let it happen. He knew what those men would do to me, even before they were ever born… and he allowed them to be born. He allowed them to grow into men who would sexually abuse little girls.

Why?

That question plagued me for years. It was the source of my discontent with God. The wall that separated us.

Why? God seemed distant. Cold. Uncaring.

Why became the reason of disbelief.

Why? You must not love me. If God loved me, he wouldn’t have let this happen. He would have protected me. He would have answered my pleas for help.

Why became my reason for rebellion.

Why? If you don’t love me enough to keep me safe, then I won’t love you. God doesn’t deserve my devotion. I will live my life for myself. I will do what I want to do. I will use men the way they used me.

Why became self preservation and protection.

Why? Since you don’t love me enough to protect me, then I will live for myself. No one will get close enough to hurt me that way, ever again. I will keep relationships at an arms length. I won’t be vulnerable again.

Why became the fuel for my anger.

Why? You don’t care! God doesn’t care, so why should I? God doesn’t protect people, he is a distant, angry, uncaring deity that doesn’t deserve me. In fact, I hate him! If I could, I would slap him in the face for tricking me into thinking he did care about me.

Funny, even in my anger I didn’t deny God existed…

It’s hard to reconcile a loving, caring, personal God with the bad taking place our lives. One who knew everything there is to know before we even existed. We associate love and protection together. We love our own children and we protect them… or, we love our brother, sister, spouse and we protect them. We do everything we can to make sure they do not suffer. So, when bad things happen to good people (especially) we can’t wrap our minds around it. It is almost unfathomable to us that an All-Powerful God, who certainly has the ability to stop bad things from taking place, doesn’t.

It’s taken me the majority of my life to come to terms with it. Why? no longer haunts me. Sure, I still have questions, but those questions don’t stand in a gulf between God and me. God really doesn’t mind the questions.

In all of the days God saw for me, before even one of them began, just as our verse states, some one else was making plans. Someone who did not have my best interest at heart. Someone whose plan was to destroy my life with God before that relationship ever had a chance to begin.

The scriptures tell us, in 2 Corinthians 4:4, Satan is the god of this world.

Look at what I John 3:7 & 8 says:

GOD’S WORD® Translation
Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you. Whoever does what God approves of has God’s approval as Christ has God’s approval. The person who lives a sinful life belongs to the devil, because the devil has been committing sin since the beginning. The reason that the Son of God appeared was to destroy what the devil does.

By his Word, we know those who are not following God — obeying his commands — follow Satan, whether they accept it or not. Those men and women under Satan’s power are influenced to behave as he would have them behave, to accomplish his end. He [Satan] used those men, in their sin, to create havoc in my life. The ultimate purpose was to destroy my relationship with God (See John 10:10). To thwart the good plans God had for me (See Jer. 29:11).

God gave those men in my past a choice. They chose to sin against God by disobeying his command. And, they chose to sin against me by giving into their sin. Their choices had no bearing whatsoever on God’s intention for me and my life. Not then, and not ever.

Does that make sense?

One of the greatest things God gave us, other than his Son dying for our salvation, is the ability to make choices. We aren’t robots. We have a conscience that should help control our actions. But, when sin has such a grip on us — and child molesters are definitely held in the grip of that sin — personal control may or may not be that easy.

In my opinion — and this is just my opinion, I haven’t done any research to back this up… yet — Sexual sins are harder to control because of the physical pleasures they produce. The chemicals exploding in our bodies during sexual pleasures are very intimate and personal, and once they begin, are hard to get back under control. This is how I view my rapist, and my molesters. Men, so deeply trapped in their sexual sin, unable to resist the urges that plague their minds and their bodies.

Even though I understand what happened back then, it neither excuses their behavior, nor does it absolve them. I believe, with every fiber of my being they will be held accountable, and if the blood of Jesus has not covered their sin, that particular sin of rape and molestation will be the nails securing the lids on their coffins. They will have to stand before the Living God and answer to him.

Yes, God saw every one of my days, including the ones where terror and pain existed, before even one of them ever came into being. He saw them and provided the way in which those days could be overcome.

Isaiah 61:1 Jubilee Bible 2000
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to preach good tidings unto those who are cast down; to bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those that are bound;

That is the message today. God saw every one of your days, before they ever began. He knew the pain and terror that would fill some of those days, and he provided the way for you to overcome. He provided Jesus, not only as salvation for your soul, but as healer for your heart.

Be Blessed and #WalkInTruthToday

Advertisements

Psalm 119:107
I have suffered so much. Give me a new life, O LORD, as you promised. God’s Word ® Translation

I read Psalm 119:107 during morning devotions a couple of days ago. I was struck, in particular, over the sufferings of several friends and families. So many postings on Facebook about the death of loved ones. Personal trials. Heartache. Medical issues. Hurts. Pain. Suffering.

I also was taken back to my own personal sufferings. The life of sexual abuse I endured as a child. The fear suffered through adolescence and early adulthood. They abuse I suffered at the hands of my husband. The heartache of my divorce. Raising my three sons without a godly man in their lives. The sufferings of a single parent: not enough of anything. Loneliness. Depression. Heartache. And, as an adult, suffering through the memory of my childhood. The struggle to become free from the past. Suffering. And, surveying the landscape surrounding me in this space and time, suffering from the loss of my job over two years ago. Running out of savings. Uncertainty of the future. Suffering the loss of my mother — who lived with me for the past 18 years — and the loss of my car, and the loss of my house — all three within six months time.

Pain. Heartache. Suffering.

My life isn’t that much different from anyone else. The whole world suffers. Turn on the nightly news and the suffering of mankind is right in front of us. Well-dressed men and women recite the turmoil, heartache, and debasement of mankind at six, twelve and ten.

Some people suffer for no other reason than pure evil.

There is no rhyme or reason to the suffering of innocent children. Abuse. Abandonment. Starvation. Trafficking.

There is so much suffering!

I won’t lie to you. I don’t have all of the answers. I think I have a tiny piece of understanding that helps me make sense of it. I address the subject in my book Whispers From My Heart more in-depth, but I’ll try to give you the shorter version without compromising the heart of the answer.

Did you know Jesus, the Son of God, had to learn obedience?

It’s shocking to think of, isn’t it?
Wasn’t Jesus the only sinless person who ever walked the face of the earth? He was. Yet, we are told, Jesus learned how to be obedient. Look at the first part of Hebrews 5:8

Hebrews 5:8 GOD’S WORD® Translation
Although Jesus was the Son [of God], he learned to be obedient…
Other translations say the same thing.

Why would the Son of God need to learn how to be obedient? Didn’t he already know perfect obedience?

The Perfection of God took on the imperfection of humanity: Human Flesh. Flesh in its fallen state. Drawn toward the propensity to sin. Not only did Jesus fight temptation in the desert for forty days after his baptism, he had to fight against the daily lure of sin in his flesh just like we do. His body was 100% human, and his flesh waged a war against his spirit just as the bible says it does against our own flesh (See Heb 4:15, Gal 5:17, James 4:1 & 1 Peter 2:11). We learn through scripture that He was tempted in every way, just like us, but he did not sin. The one thing we haven’t seen yet is how he learned.

We all know we learn through lessons. Hands on experience. So did Jesus.

Let’s read the entire verse of Hebrews 5:8 Although Jesus was the Son [of God], he learned to be obedient through his sufferings.

So, through suffering, Jesus Christ learned to be obedient.

Hebrews 2:10 GOD’S WORD® Translation
God is the one for whom and through whom everything exists. Therefore, while God was bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was the right time to bring Jesus, the source of their salvation, to the end of his work through suffering.

The word suffering in the Greek is

:pathéma: that which befalls one, i.e. a suffering, a passion. In particular for verse 10: 1. that which one suffers or has suffered; a. externally, a suffering, misfortune, calamity, evil, affliction

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says this:

Whatever the proud, carnal, and unbelieving may imagine or object, the spiritual mind will see peculiar glory in the cross of Christ, and be satisfied that it became Him, who in all things displays his own perfections in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. His way to the crown was by the cross, and so must that of his people be.

If Jesus did, and we are to follow his example, then we, too, learn obedience through the things we suffer.

1 Peter 4:13 GOD’S WORD® Translation
but be happy as you share Christ’s sufferings. Then you will also be full of joy when he appears again in his glory.

It’s not pretty.
We, as his followers, are to share in the sufferings of Christ. Just take a look at the way the new church in Acts was treated. Look at the way Christians in third world countries are treated. Martyred. We are greeted with words like, “Love not your life until death,” “He who endures to the end,” and “Pick up your cross.” Those are not words of comfort and ease, my friend. They are words of hardship and trials.

Here in the United States, most of us suffer from the things we bring on to ourselves. We disobey God and suffer the consequences of our own decisions, then get mad at God because he is allowing us to suffer. But suffer we should. That suffering, even if it is of our own doing will be our teacher. We will learn.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary has this to say:

1 Peter 4:12-19 By patience and fortitude in suffering, by dependence on the promises of God, and keeping to the word the Holy Spirit hath revealed, the Holy Spirit is glorified; but by the contempt and reproaches cast upon believers, he is evil spoken of, and is blasphemed. One would think such cautions as these were needless to Christians. But their enemies falsely charged them with foul crimes. And even the best of men need to be warned against the worst of sins. There is no comfort in sufferings, when we bring them upon ourselves by our own sin and folly. A time of universal calamity was at hand, as foretold by our Savior, Mt 24:9,10. And if such things befall in this life, how awful will the day of judgment be! It is true that the righteous are scarcely saved; even those who endeavor to walk uprightly in the ways of God. This does not mean that the purpose and performance of God are uncertain, but only the great difficulties and hard encounters in the way; that they go through so many temptations and tribulations, so many fightings without and fears within. Yet all outward difficulties would be as nothing, were it not for lusts and corruptions within. These are the worst clogs and troubles. And if the way of the righteous be so hard, then how hard shall be the end of the ungodly sinner, who walks in sin with delight, and thinks the righteous is a fool for all his pains! The only way to keep the soul well, is, to commit it to God by prayer, and patient perseverance in well-doing. He will overrule all to the final advantage of the believer.

We’ve all suffered. Here on this earth, in this fallen state, we will continue to suffer. And, by those things, we too, like Jesus, will learn how to be obedient to our Father, even to the point of death. Once this life is over, our reward is eternity spent in God’s presence.

This is the life God has promised to those who follow him.

The Apostle Paul tells us the glory waiting for us far outweighs the suffering. I like how the Aramaic Bible in Plain English says it:

2 Corinthians 4:17
For the suffering of this time, while very small and swift, prepares us great glory without limits for the eternity of eternities.

If you would like to do a more in-depth study, you can find more scriptures on suffering here.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

He walked in and said I was indebted to him.

“I don’t owe you anything!” I said angrily. And, I didn’t. I had never seen him before. I had never gone into his house of debt to borrow anything. He had it all wrong. This man, whoever he was, was trying to scam me, and I wasn’t going to have anything to do with it. I am too smart to fall for that!

“The debt is yours,” the stranger said.

“No, it is not mine,” I repeated. “I have not borrowed anything from you. What I have, I have obtained on my own. I have purchased it with the funds left me by my deceased relatives. They were wealthy, and I was their only heir. I have never had to go into a lending institution in all the days I have been alive. I have always been well provided for. Even now, I do very well on my own. I have enough money to leave my own children, and their children after that. I have several real estate holdings worth millions of dollars. I have no need.”

“The debt I hold,” the stranger replied, “is transferrable debt. It transferred to your relatives, and now, it has transferred to you.”

“You are sorely mistaken, sir.” I said. “How in the world can you come into my house and demand payment from me for a debt I never incurred? You are making me angry. I have explained to you, as nicely as I can, that I don’t owe you a %#$%!^$ thing. I took what my relatives left me and built it into what it is today. I made it without borrowing anything from anyone. Me. Alone. I did it without your help, or anyone else’s. Get that through your thick skull. I don’t owe you anything, now please leave me alone. Get out of my house.”

“I have not come to make you angry.” The stranger spoke in a gentle voice.

“Do you know who you are dealing with?” I asked. “I am not some ignorant fool stupid enough to fall for this pitiful scheme of yours. I can take one look at you and know you aren’t a lender. Your clothes give you away. You wandered into town thinking you were going to get a free ride. I have very powerful friends. All I have to do is make one phone call and you will spend the night in jail.”

“You only have the power over me that my father gives you.” Still, the stranger spoke with gentleness.

“Who do you think you are?” I just about screamed at him. I was getting furious. This man… this BUM walks into my house with a piece of paper in his hands, and tells me I owe him? He is crazy! I am wealthy enough that I don’t have to worry… ever. I will always be comfortable. I can go wherever I want, whenever I want, and stay as long as I like. I have never relied on anyone for help… ever. I have always had enough… Always had more than enough. I didn’t need his money.

“Sir,” I began, “I will give you exactly two minutes to leave my house. After that, I will make one phone call. With that call there will be several police in my driveway just to pick you up. Do you understand?”

“You do not have to call anyone,” the stranger replied. “I will go, as you wish.”

“You are a crazy man.” I spit out, still angry at the stranger.

“All of your descendants have uttered similar things to the collector of debt.” He said.

I looked at him. He didn’t look that old to me, so how could he even know what ‘ALL’ of my descendants did? I was right, he is crazy.

 “Okay. Your two minutes are up. You need to leave.” My voice was firm.

“I will go,” he said, “but, just as it has been done with your descendants, I will do with you. I will leave you a copy of the debt I hold against you. It is up to you to take the time to read it, and accept it. But, you must be aware; this debt will be transferred to whoever assumes your estate when your life is over. It does not go away just because you deny it exists.”

And, just like that he walked out of my door.  I picked up the paper he left and crumpled it without looking at it. “Who does he think he is?” I shouted at the empty room as I threw the wadded paper into the fireplace. I’m still not sure what made me retrieve it so fast, but I did. I stomped out the flames and opened it.

As I read through the now charred pages tears began to fill my eyes. On this page was listed the original loan acquired to purchase my great-great-great-grandfather’s business… everything I had, even the things I had acquired myself, were tied to the original loan that had never been satisfied, and with the compounding interest that accrued throughout the years, the figure was astounding. As I continued to read, I discovered the signatures of my relatives, throughout the generations, affirming the validity of the debt. All of my grandfather’s signatures were there; even my father’s signature.

Why didn’t I know this? Why hadn’t dad told me before he left the estate to me? Was there a copy of this debt in the files? Was it scanned into the computer? Why did it take a stranger to bring it to my attention? I felt angry again. Betrayed. Trapped. For the first time in my life I felt like I was drowning and there was no way out. If I paid the debt I would, literally, have nothing left. It would take everything I worked hard to keep. Everything! The house, the cars, and the real estate holdings… every single thing I held dear. Everything that made me who I am would have to be sold in order to satisfy the debt. How could any

What was I going to do?

I put on my glasses to read the fine print. What else they can take?

The debtor, Thaddeus A. Peccator*, agrees, by affixing his signature, to assume all liability for the loan dated July 15, 1825, through Agnus Dei*. This debt shall include all heirs, administrators, and assigns forever.

Then a phrase caught my eye, Cancellation of debt.

I looked up from the page and ran to the door. Could I still catch him? Was he already gone? I had been so ugly with him.

The stranger was sitting on my porch; waiting.

“You didn’t leave!” I was thrilled. “I am so terribly sorry for the way I treated you earlier. Please, come back in! I was wrong. I do accept the debt. It is mine to owe.”

“It matters not how you come to accept the debt, my son. What matters is you have accepted it.” He was still so nice. So calm. Even after I was so rude to him. Who was this man? Why did my father never introduce us?

“You have accepted the debt, Mr. Peccator*, and, according to the terms of the agreement, by your signature, you assume liability. I will witness your signature.”

I grabbed the pen from my pocket and signed my name, and for good measure, I dated the document. I handed it back to him, beaming, “Your turn.” I said

There in his eyes, for the very first time, I saw intense love. His face was etched with deep sorrow & pain, why did I not see that before? I looked down as he took the pen from my hand. His hand is scarred. I shrank back. Who is this man and what happened to him? He sat down to sign the document. He seemed to be in agony as he signed his name, Agnus Dei*.

The story I have told is an age old story. The human race owes a debt to the Creator of the universe. It was a debt of exorbitant value; a debt we had no way of paying for ourselves. So God, even though he was the one demanding payment from us, knew we couldn’t come up with it… because of sin; we couldn’t satisfy the debt (the Law of God – 10 Commandments) of handwriting against us… so he devised a plan. Oh, we could try to be good enough, but inside, we know we never are that good. We, too, get angry, and self-righteous, showing God all the reasons why we think he is a scam; a delusion; that we are way too smart to be tricked into giving up our time for him. But still, inside, we can’t get away from the knowledge that something is wrong and we can’t fix it on our own.

God knew this and he made the way possible for us to cancel the debt he held against us. He became the solution. GOD BECAME THE EXACT PAYMENT HE DEMANDED FROM US! That is the GOOD NEWS of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God demanded payment of a debt we could not afford, so he became the very payment we needed! Just like in the story we must accept responsibility for our own debt, and then accept Jesus’s assumption of that debt on our behalf.

May you #BeBlessed and #WalkInTruthToday

Cheryl

*The names I chose are Latin.  Peccator is a male sinner. Agnus Dei is Lamb of God.

I Corinthians 15:53 “Because this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal must be clothed with immortality.”
During my morning reading today this verse stood out. I thought about my life here on earth. How, as even a little child I was surrounded by traumatic events that were beyond my control. I thought of the pain I have endured and the tears I have cried.
As I have surveyed my life, I must admit, at times, I have felt like I have lived the life of Job – the biblical figure who suffered great loss. I haven’t lost everything in the span of 24 hours, but I have lost. The past few months, I have lost a great deal. I have questioned God. I have wondered what is wrong with me. Why hasn’t God blessed my life instead of allowing so much sorrow and pain?
We all have rough times. We have never been promised a life, here on earth, without pain and suffering because pain and suffering are by-products of sin. And, we can bank on suffering loss, somewhere, throughout the strands of our time, in one way or another. But, here is not where our lives end. Sure, our physical lives will end, but we have a promise of so much more than the physical.
“Because this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal must be clothed with immortality.”
What we experience here on earth are all corruptible things. They will perish with the passing of time. But, as believers, our promise, as I Corinthians 15:53 tells us, is every corruptible thing will be clothed with incorruptibility and our mortal body will become immortal.
The things of this earth will one day pass away. They will no longer affect us as they once did. The traumatic events that have burdened us on this earth will fall off and be remembered no more. What once harmed us can no longer touch us. What crippled us will no longer hold us down. When we enter into the promise God created for us, we will indeed know what it means to be free for we will be free indeed!
That is the hope we hold onto. Freedom in Christ. Our mortal bodies being changed into immortality. The corruptible things will take on incorruptibility.
Matthew 24:13 tells us, “… those who have endured until the end who will be saved.”
The Greek word for “have endured” is: hypoménō and it means, to persevere: absolutely and emphatically, under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ (R. V. commonly endure)
I am reminded of the Apostle Paul, in 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul suffered greatly after he converted to Christianity. He proclaimed he had suffered more hardships, beatings, ship wrecks, stoning’s, imprisonments, harsh treatments, and the likes more so than others. In spite of every opposition and affliction he has remained true, without wavering, to Jesus Christ.
It is tough. This life here on earth can run us ragged. We long for an easy time. We desire simplicity. Yet, this life is anything but simple I would venture to say, instead, our lives are a series of ups and downs – more of a roller coaster ride. But, through it all, have you kept the faith?
Before you know it, the corruptible will clothe itself in incorruptibility and mortality will clothe itself in immortality. And, in the end, all that matters is… how you ran the race.
Run your race with endurance, and remember, the weight of this world will one day be swallowed up in incorruptibility and immortality.

Image

We’re all in the same boat.

We all have a part in this journey we call life. Some find the journey easy, light, carefree, while others find the journey hard, difficult and full of drudgery.

I don’t know if the view of the journey is based on our attitude — I know bad attitudes don’t help — or whether some are just destined to live a life of ease and others a life of hardship.

Even when Jesus walked the earth there were those yoked to the cost of daily living; those who were lost in the every day happenings that it took to live, and there were those who dined in palaces with royalty.

I’m not making a distinction between the rich and the poor, because that line will always be hanging around. What I am pointing to is the choice of the journey itself. Life. No matter where your journey began, and how it is playing out on the grand screen called earth, each of us have a choice to make. Do we choose to walk out our journey of our own accord, or do we grab onto the hand of Jesus Christ and allow him to lead us to our eternal journey?

Many years ago — when I was young — I made a choice to grab onto Jesus. Back then, I chose to walk this particular path because I was afraid of ending up in hell. But, because life continued to happen (IE: Bad things happening to good people), the choice to continue to walk on this same path — holding the hand of Jesus — took on a whole other meaning.

Pain has a way of inserting itself into your life in unexpected ways. Buried things get dug up. Scars are ripped open. Memories emerge. Suffering begins… and continues. Abuse. Job loss. Marital disharmony…. Real life. Sometimes, hardships are so intense, so difficult, that we are tempted to throw in the towel. Give up.

It is during these times of immense suffering we must ask ourselves a few questions. Does pain and hardship quantify the goodness of God? Or, are the circumstances surrounding our lives indicators of God’s pleasure/displeasure?

No matter how the questions are answered, one has a choice to make. Do I continue this journey with Jesus, even though the path has become difficult? Even though the walk has become a climb, or a crawl?

I faced extreme difficulties in my journey.

My 3 & 1/2 year marriage was over. I had 2 little boys, and one on the way, when I left my abusive marriage. I faced financial devastation, not once, but twice in my life. I have lived in extreme poverty, and barely made a living. I’ve worked for the same company for 15 years, then found myself unemployed. I’ve struggled with body issues, image issues, weight issues, peer issues; I’ve been a loner and a single mom for 25 years.

It was easy to follow Jesus when things were going good. But with each hardship; as the journey became difficult, my journey with Jesus became more of a statement of faith than it did a way to escape hell.

Through each and every hardship & difficulty I was able to overcome, I noticed something. I became stronger. My faith deepened. My journey with Jesus became a deep relationship. Good came out of bad. Order came out of chaos. Peace was found in the midst of the storm.

The following poem is my statement of faith:

I’ve chosen to walk down this path

This journey that’s called Faith

No matter what the circumstance

No matter what the fate.

I’ve made my choice, I make my stand

My heart is fully set;

I choose to follow Jesus Christ

And there is no regret.

Although the road gets steep and long

And jagged is the path;

When walking becomes difficult

I’m tempted to go back.

Or when the road, at times, descends

Into a valley low;

Through muck and mire I trudge along

Each labored step is slow.

But onward is the task at hand

Regardless of the cost;

In spite of rising obstacles

This path I have not lost.

I’m led by Hands I cannot feel

And Hands I cannot see;

And when I stumble or fall down

These Hands will carry me.

For God has never promised us

A journey free from pain;

But promised if we did walk on

With Christ we then would reign.

So when this journey finally ends

By Faith, in Him, I rest;

No matter where my path has led

This journey’s for my best.