Quoting Carol Kent----One of the Enemy's most damaging tactics is to paralyze us with our own emotional and psychological wounds---to fill us with such pain and shame that we despair of ever being able to 'get up and walk'. Jim Cymbabla says,
Instead of focusing on the faithfulness of God, we focus on what the circumstances seem to dictate....But faith enables us to see God on top of all our problems. If we only see the problems , we get depressed and start making wrong decisions...'Unbelief' talks to itself instead of talking to God...when we talk to ourselves, we're not talking to anyone very smart because our outlook is very limited. But if we talk to God we're talking to someone who knows everything. He knows what He promised in the beginning , and He knows exactly how to fulfill those promises no matter the circumstances."
Henry Blackaby says, "To walk faithfully with God will always bring a person to experience God's laying His Heart over his." As we lay our Isaac down without demanding that the thicket produce a ram we will discover that Jehovah-Jirah is the God who provides. He lays His heart over our heart and holds us tenderly, loving us as we trust Him for what we cannot see."
From before time, the Triune God has been the kind of Being who sacrifices what He holds most dear. The Father sacrifices His own Son, the Son willingly sacrifices His own life--for a good and holy purpose. The Triune God has always been essentially giving, willing to take on pain when He could have avoided it, seeking the good of the creatures He made. The God who asks us to sacrifice is the One who has gone through it Himself. He's not off somewhere in heaven demanding that we suffer while He sits comfortably aloof on the sidelines and observes."
God was transforming my root of bitterness over all the bad things that had happened into a sturdy tree of faith, hope, and positive action. I began to believe that God could indeed give 'beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness'---and that He could be glorified even in this heinous and painful experience of the past four years."
(another speaker gave her a bracelet with "tiny silver squares, spelling out the name, Ephraim") Jackie explained:
...............In Genesis, Joseph......is naming one of his sons: 'The second son he named Ephaim and said, 'It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.' In Hebrew, Ephraim means 'double fruit'. The Lord used the name Ephraim as a reminder that a person can be fruitful in suffering....."
My view of this world and the world to come is different. I am aware of the brevity of life and of the need to use my sphere of influence to help others. Not the kind of fruitfulness I once knew--one that was measured by achievements and productivity, but a deeper, richer more meaningful fruitfuless tht is based on a love relationship with Jesus. A relationship that begins with loving Him more and letting tht love spill into the lives of others. This focus takes the 'work' out of my Christianity because I don't have to perform. I just get to 'be' His child, and He is my Daddy. He loves me whether or not I disappoint Him. He teaches me priceless lessons on choosing hope over despair. He opens His arms and lets me crawl into His comfortable embrace. And I am safe."
Bad things happen, and the Enemy tries to destroy our spirit and our sense of purpose. If we can remember that we are engaged in a spiritual battle--not with weapons and hatred, but with hope, faith, and joy--we affirm our ultimate security in God and our love for Him in the midst of our heartache.The grace-filled reward is that we find ourselves enveloped in steadfast, intimate, extravagant love that continues to move us into the heart of the greatest adventure of all. (she then talks about the coming day when we will have it all--life healed and whole--total salvation--the future in heaven).
"Richard Alves summarize our thoughts when he said, 'Hope is hearing the melody of the future. Faith is to dance to it now."
(Quoting Michael Yaconellie)--God.."loves us when we don't want him to love us. He loves us when we don't act like Christians. He loves us when our lives are a mess. His love is sticky, resistant to rejection, aggressive, and persistent. The challenge is on, so go ahead, resist his love, run from it, hide from it. Go ahead and try."