Feeling Distant?

Feeling Distant_Every so often I will see a sign in front of a church that says something about it being me who moved if I don’t feel close to God. While it is true that God does not abandon His children, there are times when He is silent. God’s silence does not mean that He is distant. Sometimes He is silent because of His great patience and His great love for us. While Job was losing all of his children and all of his earthly possessions and his health, God did not speak to him. However, God did leave Job his wife, who told him to curse God and die. Finally, Job’s friends became an emotional pain to add to the physical pain He was already feeling (since he also lost his health).

We know more about why Job was suffering then Job did at the time. We know this because we are given a glimpse into God’s throne Room at the beginning of the book, where we discover that there is something bigger going on. There is a lesson that is being demonstrated that goes beyond Job. It is only at the end of the book, when God begins to speak to Job that we discover that there God was training Job as well. GodJob 38:22 was teaching Job to trust God, even when Job could not see or understand what God was doing. To me, this is one of the hardest lessons to learn. I understand in my head that God is The Creator and that God loves me and is working everything in my life, even my mistakes, into something good, to teach me and others and to bring us into the full, free and abundant life of joy that God originally planned for us. But, in my frailty I want to see and understand the end result. Just like Job, I want to know why.

When if feels like I am distant from God, I remember Job. I remember that I did not name each of the stars, nor have I entered the storehouses of snow or hail. When I remember how small I am in the entirety of creation, I bow in awe that The One who created all of this has chosen to call me His child and to bestow His love upon me. Then, my attitude changes to one of wonder, awe and gratitude, and I discover once again that God is always with me, he will never leave me or forsake me.Hebrews 13:5

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Are you blaming or trusting?

Job 42:12a

I just completed reading the book of Job. He had what seemed a perfect life – wealth, land, holdings, and lots of kids. Then he lost it all and had a choice to make. He could blame God for his dilemma or he could trust the Lord to get him through. Well, as the story ends, he did trust the Lord and in turn, received more blessing than he had before.

However, the trial wasn’t easy. A brief commentary on this situation put it all into perspective. “In the anguish of his darkest days, Job wished that he had never been born. Like it or not, brokenness is God’s requirement for maximum usefulness. Life is seldom a sustained march in a single direction. Job found that it has its highs and its lows, its delights and its tragedies. But through it all, God is there – and so is His blessing for faithful obedience”.

 

Enjoying his “retirement” years, Greg Partipilo brings a unique perspective gained from his many years walking with Christ and studying the Bible.

Adoption

Deuteronomy 14_1aWhat thoughts and emotions come to mind when you hear the word “adopted?” Do you think something must be wrong with the one that is adopted? Do you marvel at the openness and love of the parents

who are willing to adopt one that is not their own?

Depending on our background and where we are in our own life, we can have many different responses to the concept of adoption.

Parents who adopt do so for many reasons, but they all have one thing in common: they are making a commitment to love the child they are adopting. The key difference between adoptive parents and natural parents is that adoption requires a choice.

When parents make the choice to adopt, they are making a lifelong commitment. Parenthood does not end when a child reaches a certain age, it lasts as long as a parent and child are alive. Since God is eternal, this means that when God adopts a person, we are adopted forever and ever, with no ending!

Hebrews 6_1aThe parents do not expect the child they are adopting to be perfect, complete and mature when they take the child home. Rather, they expect to train the child, to teach and correct and guide, loving them when they succeed and when they falter. They are not surprised when the child messes up, makes mistakes, and acts selfishly. They expect the child to make mistakes. They even find many of the mistakes that they make along the way endearing.

So then, why do we think we have to be perfect and mature with complete control over all of our thoughts, emotions and actions before we come to God? Why do we struggle so much with the concept that God loves us and wants to spend time with us? Do we really think that human adoptive parents are more loving and have a better understanding of what it takes to raise a child then the God who created people?

God doesn’t adopt perfect and complete people. God adopts children to raise up to become what God has already destined, designed and declared them to be! How glorious!

1 John 3_1

Victim or Victor?

Have you ever referred to yourself as a victim? Do you notice how many people identify themselves as victims? What makes a victim?

Proverbs 7:26-27

The word victim only appears a few times in the entire bible. In these verses we learn that victims: are attacked by people who hate, believe lies and flattery, are reaping what they sowed, and/or run to God for refuge. What all of these passages have in common is that they are circumstances, situations and actions. They are not an identity.

When people attack me physically or verbally, when I believe lies, when past sins turn around and bite me, I suffer. How I respond however, determines whether I am a victim or victor of that situation. Those are things that happened to me. They are NOT who I am. I am not a victim. I can have victory over everything that threatens to overwhelm me.

As the psalmist says, I achieve victory by running to God. I do this by learning, trusting and relying on His Word; basing my thoughts, words and actions on truth. When I do this, I realize that I am a dearly beloved daughter (son) of the King of the Universe!

When I remember my true identity, I am able to forgive those who have mistreated me which frees me to move on, recovering from the attack and putting it into the past as a memory.

When I do not allow circumstances to define my identity, I maintain the power and control God has given me over my own life. I do not give it away to the attacker.

When I turn to God to ascertain truth, I do not allow lies to bind me up and steal my joy.

When I trust God, regardless of what things look like, I will see Him work all things together for good. Like Joseph, I will see how God will use everything that people do to me that the enemy is using to try to steal my joy and my life, and use it to prepare me to be His instrument to rescue many, to display His loving protection. I will see Romans 8:28 years in my life.

All this may sound good, but it is not easily accomplished. If I could go back, instead of accepting the assaults on my personhood, I would work on learning :

  • How to forgive,
  • How to live in the present, learning from the past and leaving it where it belongs, as a memory,
  • How to control my thoughts, rejecting lies and accepting truth,
  • My true identity as a child of God and what that entails, and
  • How to resist temptation, staying focused on God at all times and in all circumstances.

Oh, wait! These are all the things I work on now! Each of these have one thing in common, they start with knowing God and discovering my identity and destiny.

So, repeat after me:  “I, ________________(fill in your name), am not what happened to me in the past. That is a memory. I am, a dearly beloved daughter (son) of the Lord.
Psalm 9:9

 

If you need help learning how to forgive and let go of your past, join a Transcend group,  buy the book (info@alabasterboxes.org), and/or order The King’s Protocol (https://www.amazon.com/Kings-Protocol-Sean-Quental/dp/1630631728).