Good morning, my dear friends!
I usually like to write an uplifting story to cheer you on in your Christian journey, but this morning it's of a different nature. I want to help you feel conviction. Why not? Misery loves company!
Yep, I am under conviction at the moment. My first thought was that I would never share that. On second thought, why not?
I always say that my life is an open book, and God knows what's going on in my heart anyway. Why hide it? Healing only comes through repentance, and repentance only comes after confession. So, this is me confessing.
On Mother's Day, I had a "mountain-top" experience. I felt honored to be asked to give the morning message at my home church. It was a healing time for me because I was able to convey the pain and healing that has occurred in my heart concerning my mother ... on the very day she left our family so many years ago.
I felt that God had brought me full circle. Done, finished, in the past now and healed! Thank you, Lord. But what I didn't see coming, though I should have, was the "down in the valley" that comes after the mountain top.
Of course I should have seen it coming. Jesus experienced it too, when Satan worked Him over in the desert for forty days following His baptism. Jesus suffered temptation right after His mountain-top experience and immediately preceding the beginning of His ministry. Being God, His battle was for our benefit; for an example to us, because He was God in the flesh. Satan never had a chance anyway. Do you know the story?
I encourage you to read Luke 4:1-12. The bottom line is that after all the temptations that Satan put before Jesus, He came forth victorious. So can we.
Since my morning message on Mother's Day, it seems that my life has been a series of ups and downs - mostly downs. Situations arose that caught me blind-sided, and I said some painful things to people I love. It's been agonizing. Along with that pain came anger - anger that I didn't realize I was capable of. Now I am at a place of attempting to fix things, and it all just gets very confusing and hurtful. Satan has another victory, but I can promise you that the story doesn't end there. No sir-ree, Bob ... you see, these very things happen so that we learn to keep our eyes on God and take them off of ourselves.
The Bible states in Ephesians 6:12, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
There you have it! Our battles may appear to be on the surface; we get hurt, we hurt one another and we react. The Bible says it's bigger, deeper than that. Satan wants his way. And he will have his way as long as our eyes are on ourselves and our hurt instead of God. If not, well, on with the battle!
How about you, friend? What sin besets you? And are you dealing with it in God's way, or are you caught up in Satan's web of selfishness?
James 4:1-2 says this, "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God."
Ooops! We don't ask God? Sure enough, we do not. Then our battles begin.
Friend, I am so very thankful that God doesn't leave us in this seemingly hopeless situation. Instead, He loves us with an everlasting love. While we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us ... not when we came into perfection, but while we were still sinners. Amazing!
In order to conquer this restless evil inside of us, we must keep our eyes on God and ask for His help.
Phil 4:6-7 states, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace that passes understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
The peace of God is ours, just for the asking. We may or may not get the answer to our prayer that we are hoping for, but the peace so outweighs the battle that is raging inside of us. Don't you agree?
John 15:5 tells us that, apart from God, we can do nothing. Nothing! But then, I already knew that ... how did I so quickly forget? Hopefully, the next mountain top I am approaching, I will remember so that I don't have to go so deep in the valley.
So, that was me confessing that I am struggling with some things. Now comes the repentance. That means stopping and turning in the other direction. Oh Lord, I'm gonna need your help with that one!
Debby Renninger is a free-lance writer and inspirational speaker. She is the leader of the women's ministry at Pine Glen Church of the Brethren and also leads a weekly Bible study, "Beauty for Ashes," in her home in McVeytown. Renninger may be reached at 250-7086.