venting and lamenting
Have you ever just gone on a major rant to God about anything and everything negative? The prophet Jeremiah did. His rant is called the book of Lamentations.
But what I love is after venting to God about all the negatory junk-ola in his life Jeremiah then says:
“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Lamentations 3:21-26 NKJV
Remember it is not wrong to go to God with both the positive and negative in your life. But after you get the negatory junk-ola off your chest, remind yourself that God is good. Remind yourself there’s always hope in God because of Jesus’s resurrection.
If you learn anything from the prophets, learn that there is always hope when you’re one of God’s kids!
PS Biblical hope is not wishy washy wishing. It is a joyful and confident expectation of God. Speak your hope out of your mouth or sing it as a praise song. There is power in declaration!
“But when he asks he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6
Just because a stray negative thought comes into your head doesn’t mean you have to believe it and let doubt toss you around like a toy ship in a hurricane.
Maintain your hope (your joyful and confident expectation of good from God) by casting down those negative thoughts and reminding yourself in whom you’ve placed your trust. Hope feeds faith!
PS Casting down simply means to throw. How do you throw a thought? By calling it out and saying NO! Then replacing it with God’s truth.
So many people read the first half of this verse and stop…but the life is in the second half.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life; and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
Abundantly means super abundant in quantity and superior in quality. Even when the thief is trying to steal, kill and destroy, Jesus enabled YOU to have a lifetime full of exceedingly abundantly above!
Greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world.
Think BEFORE You Speak
How many needless offenses, problems & fights would we save ourselves if we truly listened, instead of determining our response while the other person is still talking? Then we ask genuinely, “This is what I am hearing, is that what you meant?” Then we take a minute to respond in love!
“Understand this my dear brothers and sisters; You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, & slow to get angry.” James 1:19
If we choose to live this way, we will have less open mouth insert foot and better relationships.
Joy of the Lord
God does not want us to live sad little lives, bearly squeaking by. He doesn’t want us to be beaten down by circumstances and our enemies. He wants us to enjoy our lives even when they are difficult. He wants us to have peace that passes all understanding and joy unspeakable. He knows that when we remain in peace and maintain our joy, we are stronger.
In Nehemiah 8, the leaders were reading the Book of the Law to the people. The people realized they had been living against God’s law and they were grieved. The realization that you need to change the way you are living is good, but God does not want you to stay there and beat yourself up. Staying there makes you weak and vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. He wants you to be in a position of strength.
Ezra and Nehemiah wanted the people to understand that the Word of God should inspire celebration and hope. Not dread and fear. They told the people that the joy of the Lord was their strength.
“Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, “Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.” For the people had all been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” And the Levites, too, quieted the people, telling them, “Hush! Don’t weep! For this is a sacred day.” So the people went away to eat and drink at a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them.” Nehemiah 8:9-12 NLT
The Bible is a love story. It is full of stories about hope and joy. The Old Testament shows that God never gave up on the Children of Israel. He kept pursuing them even when they ran amok. When the Children of Israel pursued God, He poured blessing on them. But even when they turned their backs on Him, He never abandoned them. Not one single day. Were there repercussions for their poor choices? Yes. But when they came back to Him, He always received them. He didn’t reject or abandon them. The New Testament is the fulfillment of the love God has for people. We were the joy set before Jesus, that made Him willing to go to the cross. And He is our hope.
Knowing that God will never leave or forsake me, fills me with joy! Knowing that despite my past choices and mistakes, I am loved, fills me with joy! Even though my present circumstances are difficult, I’m not going through it alone. I will not be swallowed up. This makes me smile in the face of unemployment and not enough money to pay my bills. I am rejoicing that God will turn everything around for my good. This joy in the face of hardship, is the joy of the Lord.
Find a reason to rejoice today. That joy will make you stronger.
He Strengthens You
So many people say, “God will never give you more than you can handle.”
I want to ask them, please show me where it says that in the Bible?
I think they base it on I Corinthians 10:13, where Paul is talking about everyone being subjected to temptation. God will always provide away of escape from temptation, people don’t always take it, but He provides the way. If you read the verse and its context, it’s clearly talking about temptation. “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.” I Corinthians 10:12-14 NKJV Clearly talking about temptation.
Before I continue, I want to make it clear that God does not cause bad or give bad. He is a good God and He only has good to give. BUT He will allow things to come against us. Though we are subject to the same temptations as everyone else, we have a promise that God is faithful to show us a way out. On top of that we will have trials. This is all found in James 1:2-18.
Now back to my point. Life will give you more than you can handle. That’s life. It’s the world we live in. It’s stressful. It’s hard. You will be tested and have trials. But the difference between you and the rest of the world is that you have GOD! The Word says that you will not have to handle all the junk alone. God’s got you. He will help you to thrive in the midst of every trial and tribulation. He can bring you through anything, and leave you even better than you were before!
Isaiah 43:1-4 NLT, “But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;
I gave Ethiopia[a] and Seba in your place.
Others were given in exchange for you.
I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.”
The Word also says that God is your strength and that He strengthens you.
“Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.” Psalm 108:13 NLT
The Hebrew word translated valiantly means to show oneself strong. It can be translated strength, might, efficiency, wealth or army. It shows that God comes along side of us to assist us when the situation is beyond us. No matter whether our enemy is sickness or disease, poverty or lack, emotional trauma, a family situation, persecution or anything else, God is with us. He gave Jesus for our freedom, redemption and healing. The New Testament corresponding verse is found in Philippians 4:13, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (NLT)
You will have things that are too much for you to handle, but that is when partnership with God comes into play. He will strengthen you. You can ask Him for His wisdom, and He will give it to you. When you come to the end of what you can do, God steps in to do what you cannot. He makes a way where there is no way. He turns everything around for our good.
Asking God for help is strength, not weakness. Allowing God to do what you cannot, is trusting Him. David had more than he could handle when Saul was trying to kill him, but God protected David. Job had more than he could handle when the enemy came against him, but God guarded his life and returned to him 10 fold for what he lost. The Children of Israel had more than they could handle in taking the Promised Land, but God went before them and they were victorious. And these are Old Testament stories. Before Jesus came to take our sin, sickness, and brokenness. Before Holy Spirit came to give us power. Imagine what you can overcome now, this very day, with God!!!
One caveat…God likes to do things His way. And He is infinitely more creative and wiser than we are…so be prepared to have your mind blown! 🙂
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20