I recently made some delicious Apple Butter for my neighbors for Christmas. When I was finished, the sides of the crock pot were covered with burned, stuck-on sugar that wouldn’t come off no matter how hard I scrubbed. I heard … Continue reading
8 years ago yesterday my life was forever changed when our daughter died. My pain was incomprehensible, even to me. I was in so much pain that I cried in my sleep and while awake. I truly thought that God hated me, especially after walking through years of life-threatening sickness and pain, the premature birth of our son, the challenges he faced, and now this death. It was more than I could bear on my own. Honestly, I didn’t even know how to pray…I just cried. Then, over the course of time, He did something I will never forget…He drew near to me. He drew me to Himself and His Grace. This encounter took my orphaned, devastated and broken heart and transformed it with His love. I like to say that He jump-started my heart back to life again with His love.
Now, here I am 8 years into this new place and of course I still long for my daughter, I grieve for my daughter, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that my God loves me and that He loves her and so my grief is now with HOPE. I know that He found me in my hopeless places and gave me life again. I know that He has healed my body and my son and my daughter. I also know that the impossible has happened in me after so much pain, no, actually in the middle of my pain and there is no way I could ever do this on my own….I now rejoice.
If you find yourself believing or feeling like God hates you, I pray that you will be encouraged to open your heart to Jesus. Letting Him in, is the way to life again, especially after devastation. He is the way. He draws close to the brokenhearted. He is love. Love is not an attribute of God, it is God.
This is my little doggy and her name is Zoe! She is our little bundle of life and energy!!
One of our mainstays in training her is using treats. When she goes outside to potty she gets a treat. When she comes back in she will follow you everywhere expecting her treat… right behind your heels…everywhere! She never forgets until you get the message that she wants her blessing. Sounds similar to another story I know…
“And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. 24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” 27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” 28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. 30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”; ” Gen. 32:22-30
Our friend Jacob was in trouble, I mean it kind of seemed to follow him. In the natural, he had been given a name that meant, “Supplanter (substitute) or Deceiver” and apparently had lived up to that meaning. He had deceived his dad in blessing him rather than his brother Esau and Esau in turn hated him and wanted to kill him. Now some 20 years later God was speaking to Jacob and telling him to return to his family of birth because God wanted to deal well with him. I’m sure he was thinking, well? After what I have done?
At the same time Jacob is pondering his presumed demise, you see this scenario unfolding where Jacob’s men have just given him a report that Esau is coming near with a force of 400 men (vs. 6). Jacob is shaking in his boots with fear and dread. He has his wife and whole family that he has invested years to have and to build and adore. Now, this thing he did 20 years ago is coming back to potentially take everything from him the same way he took everything from his brother? What a dilemma! So, he continues reasoning and scheming to justify in his own mind how things could possibly go “well” with him and how he might, “help” God along. He tries to win Esau’s favor with stuff, tradition, intimidation and his preferred method…deceit. That night with his future uncertain and looming before him he has this encounter with what Hosea says is an angel of the Lord.
We know that Jacob is quite a tenacious man and he knows a thing or two about blessing. He deceived Esau out of his and then worked for Laban for years for a blessing from him. It seems fitting that he would go after it since it is such familiar territory! But, as with all things concerning God, mans tactics may work on man for a season, but they don’t work on Jesus. He sees straight through them and straight through us; right to our heart. He knows that Jacob has learned bad behaviors and has never understood who he is and that will not work for the ultimate blessing God wants to give him. He doesn’t mess around, He understands how Jacob sees himself and He doesn’t want to give him the opportunity to rely on his past methods. He jumps right in there in his face and wrestles him!! I love this!!
You can rest in knowing that God sees you. He will not allow you to operate in your learned behaviors when it concerns Him! He will not be manipulated or controlled! He loves you too much! He knows the only way for the blessing to come is by complete encounter with Him!!! Complete encounter brings complete transformation!! This transformation brought Jacob a new name, Israel. Israel means “Prince with God”!! All of these years Jacob saw himself as a deceiver and a substitute and God wanted him to know how He saw him…as Prince!
Jacob was destined for encounter. He was destined for blessing, that is why he was so drawn towards it his whole life. He just had to learn that he didn’t have to trick for it, work for it or any other human method. You simply receive God’s blessing through encounter. Then when he saw who he was in God’s eyes He longed to know who this was who had loved him so…
Do you ever find yourself like Jacob. God has given you a promise but the circumstances are the exact opposite of that promise and those circumstances are producing a dread in your heart, strategizing in your mind and anxiety in your soul? Well one thing you can trust is that God knows how to find you and there is nothing in all creation that will ever separate you from His love!! He will do what He needs to have a vibrant encounter with you. Call out to Him today in response to His love, grace and favor on your life. Jesus has made a way for you to have great relationship with him! He is the blessing! And that relationship is what will guide you through your distresses. He wants you to know how He sees you and what name He has for you so you don’t fall back into your old patterns and reasonings. So, when face to face with Him, you like Jacob will understand all He died to give and when you really see that love, you will not let Him go either until you receive Him as your blessing in Jesus Name!!
“My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast. Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? HOPE IN GOD, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.” Psalm 42: 3-5
Question # 1. Where is your God?
Question # 2. Why are you cast down, O my soul?
Question # 3 Why are you disquieted within me?
This is not a new tactic of Satan….He taunted many of the patriarchs in Scripture with this same question and even Jesus on the cross…..so, it is completely normal and expected that this will be a taunt presented to you as well….but let Jesus’ response yield your victory today!
When difficulties arise the first voice we hear is the devil and it conceals in the form of Question #1. “Where is your God?” Then, an even more subtle enemy arises in the form of your own voice. through the above Questions 2 and 3. This appeals to your reason and so seems legitimate…”So, What is my problem? What is wrong with me? Why does God show up for everyone else but me? Why does everyone else have this great life and mine stinks? Does God really love me?”…………….This furthers the cycle of condemnation and mistakenly looks within oneself for the answer?
BUT Jesus promises that He will never leave you nor forsake you! I absolutely love how the Amplified Bible communicates this:
“I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not [I will] not [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless, nor forsake nor let [you] down, [relax My hold on you]. Assuredly not! So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, I will not be seized with alarm-I will not fear or dread or be terrified. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5b-6
Jesus response for your victory is everything! He took upon Himself everything in life that could forsake you. It was the final victory on the cross before it was finished. Look at what He has done for you……Put your HOPE IN GOD! Silence the enemies voice and your propensity in the flesh to condemn yourself and receive Jesus’ victory on the cross for you….the lie has been revealed, the condemnation that imprisoned you has been exposed, and now see your hope today in Jesus Name like never before!
Any Question: Always 1 Answer…..Jesus!
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-37
Who are you letting separate you from His love today? Who or what are you giving permission to rob you of the greatest power known to man? Are you convinced today of this truth?
You must rise up against the voice of the enemy and declare your freedom today…..
Thank you God for your limitless gift of love to me. I have allowed the lies of the enemy, the idols of my heart, and the circumstances I have been in to dictate to me a wrong picture of who You are and Your love for me. NO MORE! Today in the name of Jesus, I take authority over these lies. They will no longer be effective in their message. I know today that I am loved and no matter what my life may look like on the outside, I know you don’t look on the outward appearance, but on the heart. Today I purpose in my heart to do the same. Today I declare that I am loved. I am accepted. I am able to conquer what is before me because of what Jesus did for me. I have complete victory! It is finished! Now, I take authority over this heaviness that has set up residence in my home and in my heart and I ask you Lord to wash this dust from my feet. Today I believe, I receive, and I will cling to this love. In Jesus Name, AMEN!