Butterfly in the Spring

Journey of Healing

Which Voice To Listen To?

At times there are many conflicting voices that you consider as you make a decision:

1.  Your gut feel of what you want.

2.  Your friend A who has been prayerfully seeking God’s will and Word to share with you.

3.  Your friend B who tells you her gut feel.

4. Your spiritual adviser who has an intimate relationship with God.

5. The message from your quiet time of reading God’s Word.

Photo from this site

Photo from this site

In 2Samuel, King David told his spiritual adviser, Nathan, his gut feel that he should build a proper house for God.  Nathan gave him the “go” trusting that David was being led by God.  It turns out, both David and Nathan were wrong even if David’s intention was good and was for God. God’s plan was for David’s son, Solomon, to be the one to build the temple.

2 Samuel 7:2 [David] said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”

3 Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”

4 But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:  5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? … 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 

This passage is teaching us that we, our friends, even our spiritual advisers could be wrong (until God reveals to them the way He did Nathan the confirmation of His will).   We need to inquire from God.  He speaks through His Word.  His Word is alive.

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Jeremiah 29:12-1 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 

Some reflection questions:

1.  Am I seeking God’s will through His Word?  Am I a testimony of living out God’s will?  What things do I need to make things right with God?

2.  Do I prayerfully seek God’s will before I add a voice to people’s ears or do I presume that I know exactly what God wants people to know and interfere with His will by blurting out whatever I feel like saying?

3. Am I considering the impact that my words will have on the person I’m talking to if they made a decision based on what I say?

Dear Lord,
Please help me to seek Your voice through Your Word.  Please give me discernment by the power of Your Holy Spirit to understand Your will that I will follow in my own life what it is You want for me.  Please help me to filter what is from You and not from You, be an edifying voice according to Your Word to the people You put into my path and to have reverence for You in considering the impact of my words on people, to be Your faithful servant and ambassador.  Please help me to seek to be (Holy) Spirit-filled always.  Please help me not to be a Confuser from the enemy who draws people away from Your will in Jesus’s name amen.

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Thank you, Heidi, for this devotion in Vancouver!

Clear Conscience Does Not Guarantee Innocence

1 Corinthians 4:4(NIV) My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.

Reasons why a person’s conscience might be clear but the person is not innocent:

1.  Ignorance (Lack of knowledge) Ignorance excuses no one.  Consequences will follow.  Remedy for Ignorance is to know God’s will through His Word.

Romans 1:19-21 (NIV) since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

2. Blindness Lack of discernment and understanding.  There is knowledge, but the person thinks it does not apply to him/her.

Ezekiel 12:2 (NIV) “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.

3. Seared Conscience.  Conscience is deadened from repeated rejection of the Holy Spirit’s conviction.

1 Timothy 4:2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

David Guzik on “seared conscience”:

b. Having their own conscience seared: Their conscience, which at one time would have convicted them of their departure from the truth, now doesn’t reply at all. It is as if the nerve endings of their conscience have been burnt over and are dead to feeling.  Paul refers to the ancient practice of branding a criminal on the forehead with a distinguishing mark. For these, it was not their forehead that was branded with a hot iron, but their conscience instead.  Paul knew what it was to have a dead, burned conscience. Before he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, he felt completely justified in his persecution of Christians and hatred of Jesus. He could feel justified because his conscience was seared and needed a wake-up call – which the Lord graciously provided. 

Dear Lord,
We know that if we have unconfessed sin, You will not hear our prayers.
Psalm 66:18 (NLT) If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
Please open our eyes, give us knowledge of You and Your will, understanding and discernment. Give us open humble hearts when someone rebukes us so that we may be made right with You. Help us not to presume we are innocent just because we feel we are innocent. Give us Your Holy Spirit and enable us to seek Your Word that we may not be destroyed from lack of knowledge, so that we may not be blind and rebellious, and so that we will not have seared consciences in Jesus’s name and for His glory amen.

You Can Be Victorious While Your Circumstances Haven’t Changed

Ever ask God why He didn’t grant you your heart’s desire? God didn’t give Nick Vujicic the miracle of getting arms and legs.  But Nick became the miracle.

Photo from MyDailyBooster

Photo from MyDailyBooster

Still “stuck” in the same circumstances, Nick changed his view from Life without “Limbs” to Life without “Limits”, not focusing on his disability but maximising his ability.  Nick’s knowledge of God changed his perspective to live out his position in Christ of being “More Than Conqueror”.  Instead of God’s victory just being theory to hear, Nick lived it out. Nick even said, “Who needs arms and legs when they’re just going to get arthritis?”  God’s Word was his anchor in knowing the truth of his identity, security, and position in Christ.  In the world’s eyes, he may hear “Poor thing!” aside from insults.  But God’s Word says that God has a purpose, God wasn’t mistaken, He has a good God plan (good God, good plan) for everyone which overrides inadequacy, the past, failures, traumas, and any series of unfortunate events.

The battlefield of victory/defeat is in the mind where Satan would feed lies such as “You’re not good enough”, “You’re trash”, etc.  God’s Word asks that we allow our minds to be transformed  according to His Word.  Read God’s Word, won’t you, Beloved?  It’s key to your victory.  (Previous Post: Weapon of Spiritual Warfare: Word of God)

Romans 12:2(NIV)  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

“When God doesn’t change a circumstance, we know that He can use it for good, that others may see the power of Christ in us… And this is the purpose that we are called to live for:  to be a living testimony to those around us that they can see the victory that we can live in by the power of His Holy Spirit.  And maybe these challenges that are present in my life are not just for me to be more dependent on God but to be an example and a visual aid of God’s strength and victory in my weakness… My future is not held hostage by my circumstance.  The act of living out God’s purpose and plan and seeing how it impacts others in such dramatic and life-changing way, there is no better life for me or for anyone else who will live their life for Jesus Christ.”                                                                – Nick Vujicic

Nick did not limit God.  Nick did not limit God’s plan and purpose.  He gave up what he so wanted—the arthritis-bound arms and legs—- the deprivation of which made him want to commit suicide when he was a child.  Nick did not give up on God when God did not grant his heart’s desire.  He was willing to let God put in his heart what God wanted him to desire.  Because of that, Nick did not lose out on the great life he is now living, giving hope to millions and millions of discouraged people around the world.

Could Nick have the same impact if he had arms and legs?

God doesn’t make mistakes.   Beloved, The all-knowing, all-loving God did not suddenly make a mistake on your life.  His plan for you was made before you were born.  I pray He will open your eyes by the power of His Holy Spirit to see your life from His point of view that you may not merely be victorious positionally as God’s child but victorious experientially because you are allowing His power to work in and through you amidst the circumstances and people He is using to accomplish His good, pleasing, and perfect purposes for your life.

In what ways do you need a godly change of perspective about your circumstances?

Here’s a previous post: Nick Vujicic: Spiritual Giant

I Will Be Complete If…

How would you fill in the above sentence?  Would your answer have anything to do with change in status of health? Relationship? Wealth? Career? Something different?

Merriam Webster defines “complete” as : “having all necessary parts : not lacking anything”

God’s Word tells us that we are complete through our union with Christ.

Colossians 2:9-10 (NLT) 9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.[a] 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

Photo from this site

Photo from this site

If our completeness, contentment, wellness, joy depend on anything other than Christ, we will be setting up ourselves for disappointment because everything and everyone is temporary.

1 John 2:17a The world and its desires pass away

2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

If we hinge our completeness on anything else:

HEALTH: Everyone dies. Ecclesiastes 9:2a (NIRV) Everyone will die someday.

PERSON(S):  They die and so do their plans and promises: Psalm 146:3 Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. 4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.

MATERIAL THINGS: Proverbs 23:5 Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

BEAUTY: Proverbs 31:30b beauty is fleeting

POWER: Psalm 75:7 It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.

GLORY: 1 Peter 1:24 For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall

THE FUTURE:  James 4:13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

As Ann Voskamp’s bestselling book, One Thousand Gifts, dares: We can live fully right where we are (even when circumstances are not perfect).  That fullness is in Christ.  Here is a previous post about One Thousand Gifts.

Beloved, by position as God’s children, we are already complete in Christ.  Let’s pray that we will experience that completeness in Him and live fully each day in His name amen.

Photo from this site

Photo from this site

Nothing Is Hidden

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Photo from health.com

Photo from this site

Photo from this site

According to God’s Word, everything will be made known. “No one will know” is probably what many people thought when they committed crime or sin.  The knowledge that everything is laid bare and naked eventually… will help the teachable to do what is right.

Luke 12:2 (NIV) There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

1Cor 4:4 (NIV) My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

Hebrews 4:13 (NIV) Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

You’re The Subject of a Documentary

Did you know that the show, Candid Camera —-the American hidden camera reality television series— started as early as 1948??  I wonder how many people had television sets then to watch it.  The genre of reality television as we know it today started around 1991 and these shows that document “unscripted situations, actual occurrences, confessions”… have since “become a fixture” of TV programming.  They highlight personal drama and conflict to a much greater extent than other tv shows. Critics, however, complain of scenes “being staged” (Wikipedia).

Photo from Spygear.com

Photo from Spygear.com

You and I are on some kind of reality TV show too with some sort of “hidden cameras everywhere” and God has all the footage.  Hebrews 4:13 says “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Jeremiah 23:24 (NIV) Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord.
    “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.

Proverbs 15:3 (NIV)  The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,  keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

Psalm 139:2-4 (MSG) I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going.

While we are on some kind of reality TV show because God sees everything, He isn’t impressed with putting on of shows or drama queens. He has x-ray vision up to the heart’s motives.

Matthew 6 (MSG) The World Is Not a Stage
6 “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.

2-4 “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.

I guess the reality of it is that the genre of what you and I might be in if life were like tv, is less of reality tv and more of a documentary.

Dear Lord,

We need You.   Please instill in us the right fear of You.  Please empower us by Your Holy Spirit to live our lives in a way that we can face You when the inevitable time to account comes in Jesus’s name amen.

 

 

 

Shall I Belong to God or Shall I Belong to the Enemy?

bits do right final
God’s power is available to us. We are given a choice. Let’s pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us into living the life that is consistent with belonging to Jesus Christ, following His example, being led by Him in every part of our lives, bearing the right fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of evil opposed to God which is from the enemy.

Dear Lord,

Apart from You, I can do nothing. But the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness as He pleads for Your people in harmony with Your own will.  It is your will and You have called for us to be holy. Please help us to live out our time as foreigners here on earth in reverent fear of You for we know that we are not destined to be here forever but our citizenship is in heaven with You.  Please open our eyes to the schemes and traps of the enemy through unforgiveness and getting stuck in the evil desires of youth.  Please help us grow in fear of You which is the beginning of wisdom.  Please help us to live as wise, not as fools so that Your victory may be upon our lives in Jesus’s name and for His glory amen.

Gal 5:16-25 (NLT)

Living by the Spirit’s Power
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

4 Ways to “Walk By Faith”

bits walk by faithMy friend, Lillian, sent me a list on how to “walk by faith”:

1. Obey

2. Be diligent

3. Let go of past

4. Forgive

These evidences of faith were demonstrated in the life of Joseph (the favourite son of Jacob).  God had a great plan for Joseph’s life and He gave Joseph this vision through a dream.  But the circumstances that Joseph found himself in were farthest from anything like a good God plan. Didn’t look like a good God nor a good plan:  His brothers plotted to murder him.  His brothers sold him as a slave. He lived the life of a slave, was wrongly accused of rape, was imprisoned.  He thought the cup bearer would remember him and help him get out of prison (Gen 40:14) yet the chief cup bearer forgot him (v23)

For someone in Joseph’s circumstances who might have been praying for God to show a sign of His goodness, to make Himself real, to show His favour, to hasten in delivering him from his terrible ordeal and yet not see the light at the end of the tunnel, it would be easy to be bitter and angry against God and other people who were instrumental to cause those circumstances.  As the pitiful details of the life of Joseph unfolded, you would see the verse “The Lord was with him.”

Joseph continued to walk by faith. He continued to be diligent in the tasks he was given to do. He rose up as head of Potiphar’s household (Gen 39:2-6).  Even in prison, Joseph responded to his circumstances in a godly way that he continued to prosper and Joseph was put in charge of all the prisoners by the chief jailer (Gen 29:22)

Until that one day (after God’s training through suffering) when the vision God gave Joseph came to pass.

Gen 41:41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck. 43 He had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, “Bow the knee!” And he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”

Joseph was now in power.  He could have used it to get back at those who caused him to suffer. But Joseph continued to walk by faith.  When they finally met, Joseph told his brothers that it was God (not they) who sent him to Egypt for the saving of many lives. Joseph saw his life from God’s point of view.

Gen 45:4… “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life…7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 8 Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9 Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, “God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. 10 You shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children and your flocks and your herds and all that you have. 11 There I will also provide for you, for there are still five years of famine to come, and you and your household and all that you have would be impoverished.”’ …14 Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. 15 He kissed all his brothers and wept on them, and afterward his brothers talked with him.

Joseph let go of the past and forgave the brothers who betrayed him.  It wasn’t just a verbal forgiveness.  Joseph blessed the very brothers who betrayed him and harmed him. After their father died, his brothers were afraid that Joseph would finally retaliate but Joseph maintained:

Gen 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

I invite you to listen to this message at CCF given by Pastor Peter Tanchi, “Walk By Faith.”  The message summary is:

To walk by faith is to trust God and know that He is greater than our past, present and future.

In what ways is God asking you to walk by faith today?

Worship Wards Off Wandering

Francis Chan said that we can’t sin and worship at the same time.  This morning, I started to grumble in my mind and then I remembered the line, “I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross” from the song, “Here I Am to Worship”.  Thinking of the lyrics of that song nipped the rumbling grumbling. By mid-morning, my friend Poshan sent me this perfectly timed photo via Viber: IMG_6463   Last Thursday, I was trying to send my friend, Fe, Philippians 4:6-7 about not being anxious after I learned that her son, Gabe, had an injury across the miles but the verse that my mind could think of  was Philippians 4:8 so when I looked it up, I read the latter verse: Phil 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Thank You, Lord, for reminding me that when I guard my mind with thoughts of You, when I fix my eyes towards thoughts that worship, praise, and thank You, the mind-wandering towards grumbling, complaining, dissatisfaction, and sin are warded off.  By the power of Your Holy Spirit, please enable me to guard my heart and mind in Jesus’s name amen.    Oh, and dear Lord, I ask for Your all-powerful, all-loving hand of healing upon Gabe from the inside out in Your name, amen.

Event: Don Moen Concert at CCF

The sound system for the mic and musical instruments died on the third song but that didn’t dampen the Spirit at the Don Moen concert last night at the CCF Main Center.  Unfazed, Don spontaneously walked in front of his keyboard. His accompanying vocalists, Lenny LeBlanc and Rachel Wilson Robinson (Thank you, Joel for giving me her name) joined him and they continued to sing in the expanse of the three-level hall  without a mic.  After a few songs, a small backup amplifier with a single mic was brought onstage while the audience, by this time up on their feet in unison, continued to sing along.

When the sound system came back to life (we are Resurrection People after all), Don said that if the sound system doesn’t work again, they still have a hundred other songs that they can sing. “Remember, before all this technology, we used to sing with just a guitar!” he quipped.

This man of God who is a recipient of a Ray DeVries Church Ministry Award and Dove Award is  a songwriter, worship leader, businessman, producer whose self-confessed God-given purpose is “To be an architect who designs products and events that help people experience God’s presence in a new and fresh way.” [from his website, donmoen.org]

In between songs, he gave messages of encouragement.  He spoke of the times when he gave up a secure job to do what he felt called out to do [what he's doing now], when the checks stopped coming in, when he and his wife of forty-one years, Laura, were waiting on the Lord to give them their first child [before the Lord gave them five children in seven years!].  He spoke of storms, prayers that take long to be answered.  He prayed for the people present… those who were wanting to have a child, for those who wanted healing, for those who wanted to give their lives to the Lord.  This is no ordinary concert that you bob your head up and down to and then forget once you get past the last song syndrome.  Don Moen succeeded in making this an event where the audience experiences God’s presence in a new and fresh way.  With God’s Word as the basis for the messages and song lyrics, they are seeds planted in hearts that will accomplish the purposes for which God sends them and continue to work in hearts even after the music has stopped.

Isaiah 55:11  (MSG) So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.

He sang one of his most popular songs, God Will Make a Way.  Here is a previous post about the time he wrote that song when his nephew died while their family was driving home from a ski trip.  He said that it was a song to give “hope in a hopeless situation. But it is not a song of desperation but a song of declaration that God will make a way.”

I’m glad I stashed my face towel in my purse as I dashed out of the house last night;  it was handy to do a quick cleanup to avoid switching to a racoon look on the way home from this moving worship concert.  Don Moen’s medley of “How Great Is Our God”, “There Is None Like You”, “Still”, and other favourites was a reminder of the times God ministered me out of discouragement through music like this, based on Scriptural Truths of who God is, of how real and alive He is, how He speaks His love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, healing, redemption, and freedom.  Add to that the fact that praise and worship are victorious weapons of spiritual warfare, it was time well spent!

Praise God for people like Don Moen who use their gifts to edify the church. Beloved, I invite you to listen to the Scriptural messages in the music. After that, here is a good reflection question to ponder: what spiritual gift do I have and am I using it to edify God’s people?

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