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What is in a Tear?

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?

Psalm 56:8

Tears are the punctuation on the happenings in our lives. When something traumatic happens, we cry tears of fear. When something sad happens, we cry tears of heartbreak. When something thrilling happens, we cry tears of joy. God created this wonderful ability for us to release the emotions that accompany so much of what we experience in this life.

My first pregnancy was amazing. We had waited and prayed for seven years for a child. I enjoyed every single minute. It never even crossed my mind that something could take it all away. Eight years later and seven pregnancies later, my perspective has changed. God has asked for four of my seven children back.

  1. God never asks for anything from you that He doesn’t give to you first. Everything that you have is a blessing from God. We do not deserve anything. If life was “fair,” we would all be facing eternal punishment and separation from God. God is a good and perfect Father. He longs to give us good things. He wants the very best for us. If He asks us to return one of His gifts, we must trust that there is a reason for it. We must hold onto His gifts with open hands.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. James 1:17a

 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24

  1. We must remember that this life is only a preparation for the life that is to come. Everything in this life is fleeting, including life itself. As humans, we are often spiritually short-sighted. We want happiness and fulfillment in this world, and when we don’t feel happy, we feel that God has somehow failed us. When in reality, we need to be seeking the joy of the Lord.

“Happiness is most often associated with our circumstances or experiences. Happiness comes when everything is going “right” in our world. Happiness is not a bad thing, but it must be understood that it is fleeting – it will come and go without notice. Joy, on the other hand, is based on truth – on a belief system. Instead of needing a “state of well-being,” that happiness requires, it calls for a “sense of well-being.” The difference is not in the circumstance, but in the state of mind. It’s not having everything that you want and desire, rather, it is wanting and desiring what you already have and being content with that. It is holding out hope that God’s promises are sure and that everything will work out for our good and for God’s glory. It is knowing that every circumstance and experience in our life is designed to bring us closer to God, and to mold us into Christ-likeness. As Christians, this should be our ultimate desire.” – Excerpt from Joy Comes with the Mourning by Holly M. Besser

What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4:14b

For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart. Ecclesiastes 5:20

Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b

  1. Peace comes from trusting in the sovereignty of God. Believing that God is in ultimate control can be your bondage or your freedom. You can be angry that He has the final say, or you can rest in the fact that He not only knows the beginning from the end, but He exists in both. He is in your past, your present, and already in your future. Time is not a limitation for the God of the universe. He has it all figured out, and He has it all in His hands. We can find peace in knowing that He will make all things right in the end.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

Tears. Even our tears are a gift from God. I discovered some amazing facts about tears. All tears are not the same. There are three kinds of tears: basal – regularly lubricate our eyes, reflex – the kind you get from chopping onions, and psychic – triggered by emotions. Each one contains unique molecules. Emotional tears even contain leucine enkephalin, which is a natural painkiller. Not only that, each one looks distinctive as well, just like snowflakes! Trust your life to the God of tears. He has it all under control.

Tears from cutting onions

tears5

Tears of grief

tears4

Basal tears

tears3

Tears of change

tears2

Tears from laughing

tears1

Psalm 116:1-8

I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!” Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest;     for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.

Original material by Holly M Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2015. May not be used or re-printed without permission. Bsbp51p10-13-2015sp (Originally written for Life Factors Ministries with Sean Teis, lifefactorsministries.org)
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Why Should I Trust Him?

I have been reading the posts on our private support group page. My heart aches for you…I feel the pain, anger, frustration, and hurt in your words. I have been praying about what I can say to you that might help. I think that first, I need to share my story in a nutshell. If you read my story, I hope you will be willing to open your heart to hear what I am learning as well.

I had a relatively uneventful childhood. I was blessed to meet my husband when I was only 15 years old. Besides a couple of years in college, when we broke up, and I dated someone else, we have been together ever since. We were married in August of 2000. All that I ever wanted was to be a Mom. I never dreamed of being a teacher or a nurse or an astronaut…just a Mom. We had a five year plan: get good jobs, get settled into our own home, and have lots of kids! Well, within six months of marriage, we both lost our good jobs, because we had to move, due to a fire. We moved in with my in-laws to help save some money, while we got established into new jobs. My husband’s job paid $4,000 the entire first year. We were broke. We ended up living in my in-laws’ basement for four years! They are wonderful people and we were very thankful for their help, but I just wanted my own place, my own kitchen, my own home.

Well, in the following couple of years, my husband’s job finally took off. We built our first home, after much hopeless searching. During this time, at the beginning of 2012, I discovered, through much pain and agony, that I had an extremely degenerative spine. Now, lots of people (usually over 45 yrs) have degenerative discs in their backs, but it’s usually only one or two. I had seven degenerative and three herniated discs. I had the back of a 65 year old, as one doctor put it. He said there wasn’t a fix for it, “since most people that old will die soon.” I went for opinion after opinion. Over 20 doctors later, the only common consensus was that they had no idea how I would fare, and that I absolutely should never get pregnant. I was crushed! How could God give me such a passion and desire to have children, and then, take it all away like this? Not to mention, even if we adopted, how could I care for a baby, when I suffered from terrible and non-stop pain and muscle spasms? I felt that we were doing everything right. Why did we have to go through this? So many women could just think about babies and get pregnant, and some didn’t even want them! I just didn’t understand.

I fought with God for the next five years. I cried, begged, and screamed. I wasn’t really angry with God. I just wanted answers. I didn’t feel that I could trust someone who could control my life, without any explanation at all. I began a journey to find the true meaning of faith and trust, as well as a discovery of who I am and who God is.

FAITH:

  1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
  2. A strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

 

TRUST:

  1. Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
  2. Acceptance of the truth of a statement without evidence or investigation.

 

I soon found that neither faith nor trust had anything to do with what I wanted. Neither one involved my getting my dreams, desires, and hopes fulfilled. I still wasn’t sure how that worked, and I still wanted to be a Mom, more than anything in the world. I needed to know this One that I was supposed to trust and have faith in. So, I decided to seek out who God really was. I had always kind of felt that He loved me, when I was good, and punished me, when I was bad. I figured that He had a bigger plan, but that it only involved me, when it benefited Him. I began reading Scriptures about the attributes of God. Here are several blogs that we wrote on this topic:

https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/online-studies/gods-love/

I discovered that not only was I wrong about God…I was REALLY wrong! God did love me, more than I could ever imagine. Not only did He love me, but He had a plan designed just for ME! His heart longed to give me the very best.

Matthew 7:7-11 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

  1. Long ago, I had given my heart and life to Him. I knew that unless I was a child of God, His promises didn’t apply to me. He wasn’t obligated to meet my needs or to answer my prayers. There is a difference from knowing about God and actually knowing God. So, the first step is to be sure that you are a child of God. Here is an excerpt from my book, “Joy Comes with the Mourning:”

Isaiah 55:6 – Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.

God understands the loss of a child. He chose to give up His only Son for the weak, helpless, and sinful creatures that He created. He watched the human race defiantly ignore Him and decide to live life by their own selfish standards. He watched as His creation shook its fist in His face, and laughed at righteousness and truth.

Romans 3:12 – They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

And even though He could have easily chosen to destroy us, He chose to save us instead. Because sin cannot be tolerated by a holy and just God, payment had to be made. The punishment for sin was death and separation from God.

Romans 6:23a – For the wages of sin is death…

This meant eternal damnation in hell for anyone who fell short of His perfect standard. No matter how “good” you believe that you are, if you have been guilty of one sin, you are guilty of them all. God had compassion upon us and allowed His only child – holy, perfect, and completely without sin – to come to this evil world, in the form of human flesh, in order to be the ultimate sacrifice for all sin.

Romans 6:23b – …but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Philippians 2:7-8 – But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

What an amazing sacrifice! This holy child was entrusted to a young woman, a mom – just as sinful and unworthy as the rest of us – to be cared for. Jesus was mocked, hated, and even homeless for most of his earthly life, and ultimately was “sold out” by one of His own followers to face a grueling death. He was nailed to a cross – crafted from a tree, which He created – and He was hung there for the entire world to scoff at. Yet, as He died, He thought of you and me, and forgave us with His last breath. The cross and the blood that He shed upon it became the bridge that can connect us to a holy God.

Romans 5:8 – But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Ephesians 2:13-14,18 – But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us…For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Colossians 1:13-14 – Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. 

What a humbling thought. He knew all about you and me – including every single action, intention, and thought of our hearts, souls, and minds. He designed each of us before the world began. He knew every feature, every detail, and even the number of hairs on our heads. He knew that we would continually sin, that we would reject Him over and over again, and that many would hate Him, but He chose to love us and to give Himself for us anyway. As He rose from the grave on that blessed day, He conquered death, sin, and hell – for you and for me. The only thing that He asks in return is for us to confess and repent of our sin, to accept His payment for it, and to allow Him to be Lord of our lives. He wants the dominion in our hearts, souls, and minds.

Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

John 1:12 – But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

Salvation from sin and death was certainly not free, but it was paid for us by Christ. If you have never asked Jesus to come into your life and to free you from the bondage of the devil and his lies, to give you eternal life, and to rule and reign in your heart and life, I beg you to do it now!

Romans 10:9-10 – That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Acts 26:18 – To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Only God knows the length of our days, and the number of opportunities we will be given to accept Him. If God is calling you, seek out someone you feel comfortable talking to, contact me via email at joycomeswiththemourning@hotmail.com, or send me a message through Facebook. I would be thrilled to explain this amazing gift to you in further detail or to answer any questions you may have.   If you would like to read the entire account of Jesus for yourself, I would suggest you begin in the Bible with the Gospel of John in the New Testament. Please, do not wait until it is too late. The time to answer God is now.

II Corinthians 6:2 – For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

  1. Because I belonged to God, I knew that the second step was to build a foundation for trust and faith with a hope that will not disappoint.

HOPE:

  1. Possessing a feeling of expectation and a desire for a certain thing to happen – often, without any proof that it will.

Without hope, all seems lost. However, if you find someone or something to place hope in, it makes life worth the struggle. Again, this goes back to having a fail-proof reason to hope in that person or thing. Without a doubt, you can never waste your hope, when you place your hope in God. He is the only One Who will never fail you. We have hope in the redemption of our suffering, hope in comfort of our Saviour, and hope for a better day. Our God is a God of hope, “an anchor for the soul.” The goal is to re-ignite the hope of God in your heart.

Romans 5:5 – and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 8:24-30 – For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

I Thessalonians 4:13 (NIV) – Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

Titus 1:1-2 (NIV) – Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.

Hebrews 6:17-19 (NIV) – Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

  1. As a child of God, I could claim every promise…in Scripture. I discovered that I was actually taking my own dreams and desires and expecting God to fulfill them. However, there isn’t a promise in Scripture that says that God will make me a Mom…not even one. Even though I never struggled with infertility, being able to accept that having a biological child might not be in the cards for me was just as difficult. It was then that I discovered the third step – find my identity. If it wasn’t in being a Mom, what was it in?

Here is a link for blogs we have written on this topic of identity crisis:

https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/online-studies/identity-crisis/

I found that my identity was to be found in Christ alone. Being a mom was just a role that I might be blessed to play at some point, but it wasn’t who I was. When I discovered this truth, I felt a weight fall off my shoulders. If I didn’t become a Mom, my life wasn’t ruined. I wasn’t worthless. I still had purpose and a reason to be here on earth. It was then that I was finally able to surrender this part of myself to God. It was one of the hardest prayers that I ever prayed, but one of the most freeing. “God, if you never allow me to be a Mother, I will still follow you. I will still trust you. I know that you want the very best for me. If there was an easier, better, or more painless way for you to accomplish your will in my life, I know you would do it, because you love me that much. You are giving me exactly what I would ask for, if I knew what you know. Take my life. Take my dreams. Take my desires. Let your will be done.”

In 2007, I finally found a doctor who felt that I could carry a child. She also felt that the narcotics that I was taking at the time for the non-stop pain would not harm an unborn baby. I couldn’t wait to tell my husband! We were pregnant within a week. Our first son was born in January of 2008. It was a perfect pregnancy that resulted in a perfect baby. Just what I had expected…and deserved, of course.

About 18 months later, we decided we would risk my health again, and have another child. We really wanted a full house. Again, I got a positive pregnancy test very quickly – actually two positive tests. A week later, I began bleeding badly. An early miscarriage was certainly disappointing, but I wasn’t too upset. I hardly had time to get excited. I figured we would just try again. Another positive test came about a month and a half later. I still had no reason to believe that anything would go wrong. I had worked way too hard at this for it to “not work.”

We went in for our 10 week check-up…no heartbeat. NOW, it was real. This “having a baby” thing was getting difficult. I was crushed. The doctor’s office was crawling with women about to give birth. Why me!? Why did my dream have to die…again?

This is when I began my deep soul-searching. Would I ever be happy again? Would God continue to allow struggle after struggle? Why did life have to be so very hard?

  1. Well, that is when God reminded me of the fourth truth: “Life isn’t fair.” “Life isn’t easy.” “It’s not all about me.”

John 16:33 – I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

1 Peter 2:19-20 – For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.

1 Peter 4:12-13 – Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

1 Peter 5:10 – And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

I began writing down my thoughts and feelings. These, eventually, became a book, “Joy Comes with the Mourning,” which was published at the end of 2011. (You can purchase a copy through Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com)

I became pregnant during this time, and my second son was born in September 2010. A difficult pregnancy, but another healthy baby. The three years following his birth would prove to be the most trying and difficult of all.

  1. Through the losses and the scary pregnancy of my first rainbow baby, I began to realize that I was not placed on this earth just to be a Mom. The next truth and primary purpose of my life on this earth is to bring glory to God and to become more like Him. Whatever it took to accomplish that was “good” – not easy – but definitely good.

Philippians 3:8 – Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.

Romans 5:1-4 – Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

Everything that happens to me must be approved by Almighty God. Nothing is left to chance or is without purpose. I studied the book of Job. It blew me away. Not only was Job godly and without fault, He found favor in the sight of God. So, what did God do? Did He give Job all of the dreams and desires of his heart? Nope. He actually brought Job to Satan’s attention and gave permission for him to take away everything that was precious to Job. Was Job aware of the heavenly debate? Did Job know why God allowed this? Was this punishment for something Job had done? Was God just trying to torture him? No. No. No. No.

When God finally spoke to Job, in the midst of his pain and heartache. Did He give him answers? Did He give him reasons?

Job 38:2; 40:2 – [God said,] “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.”

Nope. He answered Job’s questions by telling him that the reasons were not for him to know. God’s thoughts and ways are so above and beyond anything we can fathom. Even if God did choose to give us all of the answers for our trials, we couldn’t understand them. Our human minds cannot even abide on the same level as God’s. This is why we must simply trust Him. The perfect, omnipotent, omnipresent, and all-powerful God of the universe is also our loving Father. His decisions for us are always perfect. He sees the beginning and the end – at the same time. In Scripture, we find that questioning God is foolishness:

Isaiah 29:16 – Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

Romans 9:14-23 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory.

I found that my response must be much the same as Job’s:

Job 42:1-6 – Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things,  and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

When my son was a little over a year old, we decided to try for a third child. So far, the health issues that I had encountered had been manageable, and we really felt that our family was not complete. We got pregnant quickly, but this time, the health issues started to increase. Before I even had a positive pregnancy test, I began having severe problems with my thyroid. I met with a surgeon and planned to have the gland removed. However, a positive pregnancy test put it on hold.

When I lost this baby, I was equipped with truth. Honestly, it was the hardest loss for my Mommy’s heart, simply because I was further along. I was wearing maternity clothes, and the little one was so perfect – fingers, toes, and a precious little face. Saying good-bye was really tough; however, I felt complete trust and faith in God, which brought joy and thanksgiving, in the midst of it all. (I actually named this baby “Bliss,” which means “Perfect Joy.” Hence, the name of this ministry, and the beginning of it.)

We quickly scheduled surgery for a thyroidectomy. The results of the biopsy were unbelievable: cancer in two places! Due to other circumstances, this cancer would not have been found any other way, at least for some time. My trial, my heartbreak, my pain was, actually, my salvation, my blessing, my gift.

You would think by now that I had learned everything that I needed to know about faith and trust. Nope. Two months later, I suffered a blighted ovum. Anyone who has had one of these knows the intense confusion and the roller coaster ride of emotions that accompany it. Once again, God was showing me that I needed to trust Him with every single area of my life – the ones that I could explain, and the ones that I couldn’t.

  1. The sixth thing that I needed to learn was that we don’t deserve anything. This was a tough one…

Didn’t I deserve something better? Didn’t Job? Here is a blog on the word “deserve:”

https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/even-if/

No. We all deserve death and eternal punishment. Period. Everything is a gift from the hand of God. EVERYTHING. So, when I had told God that “life wasn’t fair,” I was right. It could be a LOT worse. Only God’s unbelievable grace had made a way for me to have what I don’t deserve. Wow. Talk about perspective!

We went on to have our second rainbow baby, a precious little girl, in August 2013. So many gifts, and I don’t deserve any of them.

I recently had a cervical spinal fusion – the first of several, which finalized the fact that my body could definitely not support another pregnancy. As difficult as it was, I had a hysterectomy this past year. We always wanted a huge family. Well, we have seven children. I don’t get to parent all of them. I have to wait a bit to meet four of them – to hug them and hold them. But they are still my children…undeserved gifts from the hand of God.

  1. Lastly, in the end, it’s all about eternity. We are to live our lives for our heavenly home. This life is a vapor. We are just passing through. Our final hope lies in the promise of resolution and redemption of our pain in the next life.

Romans 8:18 – For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

James 4:14 – Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 – For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

1 Peter 5:10 – And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

So, back to the original question: Why should I trust Him? The answer is pretty simple: He is God. I am not. Knowing the truth about Who God is and who I am, along with understanding how God sees me, will truly set you free.

John 8:32 – And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Original material by Holly M. Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2015. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp49p02-11-15

Life is Hard

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)

Life never happens at a convenient moment. There is never a good time for a child to die, for a husband to cheat, for cancer to attack, for a job to be lost, for health to fail, for a friend to turn her back on you,…for life, in general, to occur. We have all experienced the feeling of “Really?!? Is this actually happening right now?” How do we cope? How do we survive? How do we take another step, knowing that another attack is sure to come at any moment?

  1. Be prepared for it. Don’t ask, “Why me?” The question that you should ask is, “Why not me?” What makes any of us exempt from the effects of sin? None of us deserve goodness. The fact that we are alive and breathing is more than we deserve. Perspective makes a huge difference.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.1 Peter 4:12-13 (ESV)

  1. Stop and pray…right now. Even if the only thing you can say is “Dear God…” The cry of our heart is not lost on Him. There have been months in my life when I just could not pray. My heart, my head, and my body hurt too much to compose a prayer. The best I could do was cry out Jesus’ name, with tears and often with my face in the carpet. Any other word that I uttered seemed to smash into the ceiling with all the force I could muster, and then, drop back down on me, just adding to the already debilitating burden I was carrying. Based on Romans 8, we know that God understands this. He knows our human hearts can only hold so much. He knows that we are limited. So, He provided us with a Comforter, Who knows all things – past, present, and future – knows our every hope and desire, and knows exactly what is best for us. What could be more amazing than that?

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:15-28 (ESV) (excerpt from this passage)

Also, try to practice praying with people in the moment. I know it isn’t always possible, and might be really uncomfortable, especially at first, but this will mean so much to that person. I have not done this as much as I would like to say I have, but the times that I have, it has blessed me as well. I have had people do this for me as well. I remember my husband telling me that a group of ladies had an online prayer meeting on facebook, when I was in the hospital. That meant so very much to both of us.

So often, we say, “I’ll pray for you,” as we pass someone or even in a text or email, but do we remember to actually do it? I have made an effort to pray immediately for that person, as soon as I walk away. I also try to choose an object that will remind me to pray for them each time I see it, such as certain plants in my garden that I planted in honor of certain people. When I go outside, I see them and remember to say a prayer for those individuals.

 

Prayer is such an amazing gift. What a huge privilege to go into the presence of the all-powerful God of the Universe, the God of angel armies, and the Creator and Sustainer of all things! Such a humbling thought. We should never take or use that gift lightly. Prayer is the best thing that you could ever offer or give on behalf of another person. Do not underestimate the power of it.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.Romans 12:12

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.  James 5:16

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. Hebrews 5:7-8 (ESV)

  1. Choose contentment. Choose joy. Life truly is what you make it. Happiness is fleeting, but joy will carry you through the difficult times. Do not dwell on the impossible. Do not waste today with the desires for tomorrow. Abandon the pity party. We all wish that people would take time to feel sorry for us. But everyone else is dealing with trials of their own. Take what God has given to you now, and use it to minister to others and for His glory.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Peter 1:6-7

But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

  1. Truth shall set you free. Speak truth to your heart…over, and over, and over again. God has never failed. He has never broken a promise. He has never made a mistake. The sovereignty of God never needs to be questioned. Do not doubt. When we are down and we are out, God is up to something.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.John 16:33

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?Romans 8:35

  1. Share your struggles, your pain, your heartaches, and your story with others. Obviously, we do not want to complain and commiserate with everyone that we talk to. That would definitely not make us very pleasant to be around. However, we are all hurting. Remember that everyone is going through difficulties. When you are willing to be real and share your hurts with others, in a positive and God-focused way, others are able to do the same. This allows you to not only receive some encouragement and support, but it also allows you to shift your focus from yourself to others. It allows you to see that you are not alone, that others are struggling too, and that even in the midst of your hurt and pain, you have something to offer. Don’t let your pain be wasted.

Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.2 Corinthians 1:4

Over the past six years, I have lost four children – three which required surgeries and other follow-up procedures, had three other very challenging pregnancies, had two major surgeries – a thyroidectomy and a fusion in my cervical spine, had cancer and radiation, gone through months of withdrawals from pain killers, had debilitating and life-altering chronic pain, almost destroyed my marriage due to my lack of obedience to God, dealt with post-partum depression seven times, been betrayed and hurt by many dear friends, am facing two more surgeries in the weeks ahead, etc., etc., etc. The list could go on and on. I know that you have your own list. You have your story. You have your life that you are living right now.

We can choose anger, bitterness, and discouragement, or we can choose to allow our lives to glorify God. He never promised it would be easy. However, He did promise to never leave or forsake us.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.Deuteronomy 31:8

 

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. Originally written for Mommies with Hope. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp46p05-17-14

 

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Stuck or still?

All too frequently in life, I’ve had that feeling of standing in a trance, while I watch the rest of the world pass me by. Whether it be physically, emotionally, or spiritually, no matter how hard I try to take a step forward, I just end up feeling stuck. The weight that holds me down each time may vary, but the feelings of lonliness and isolation are the same. I have felt trapped in this very spot for most of the past couple of years – in all three areas. Between my last two miscarriages, cancer, two major surgeries, and the birth of my daughter, I have been almost completely reclusive. I began contemplating my situation, and wondering if the “stuck” feelings were accurate and if so, was it a result of my own doing, or was it a place that God wanted me in? How could I tell? The Bible speaks of moving forward, but also speaks of taking time to be still. Let me share what I learned with you.

Questions to ask yourself:
o Do you see your heartache as useless and of no value?
o Are you “back-sliding” in your relationship with God?
o Do you have obvious anger and bitterness towards God or those around you?
o Do you feel that things are “not fair” or that you “deserve better?”
o Do you get jealous when others have what you want, or do you find yourself wishing for something other than what you already have?
o Are you avoiding your God-given roles and responsibilities?
o Are you suffering with depression that is not medical in nature?

1. If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you are probably “stuck,” at least in part.

Stuck: to be caught or held in a position so that you cannot move; unable to solve a problem and continue working; in a situation that you do not like but cannot avoid; forced to have, use, or deal with someone or something that you do not want.

They have forsaken the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds. Isaiah 1:4b-6a

But when I hoped for good, evil came, and when I waited for light, darkness came. My inward parts are in turmoil and never still; days of affliction come to meet me. Job 30:26-27

For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. Psalm 69:1b-2

Being “stuck” has the idea of being put in a situation that you do not like and being held there without your consent. (Such as a traumatic event, sickness, loss, chronic pain, etc.) However, as Christians, God has given us the freedom to choose to have joy and contentment or to choose to have bitterness and jealousy, in the midst of those situations. If you are stuck there, it is your choice. I would suggest that being “stuck” is the “easy way out.” It is easy to allow yourself to feel victimized and wronged, waiting on those around you to validate your pain and endorse your unwillingness to address it properly.

Questions to ask yourself:
o Are you fulfilling the day-to-day requirements of your God-given roles and responsibilities?
o Do you find joy and peace in the midst of difficult circumstances, and do others notice?
o Are you content?
o Are you strong in prayer and thankful in your current situation?
o Are you growing in your relationship with God, becoming more Christ-like, and learning new things?
o Do you find freedom in the sovereignty of God?
o Are you able to praise and worship God through the storms, even when God may not feel near?
o Do believe that your heartache will be redeemed to the glory of God, and are you working to this end, in so much as it lies within your ability to do so?

2. If you answered “yes” to the questions above, chances are, you are experiencing a time of “stillness” in your life.

Still: not moving; quiet and calm, with nothing happening.

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10a (kjv)

But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Psalm 4:3-4(kjv).

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way. Psalm 37:7

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2

Being still takes work. It seems it would come naturally; however, stillness is not really the act of doing nothing. Rather, being still involves seeking God, desiring to know His heart, and then, allowing Him to pull apart your very inner-being – refining, altering, and eradicating. Then, in the tranquility, He begins to redeem, restore, and revive us. Even though the same situations, such as mentioned above, may bring us to this place, our perspective and our expectations are different. Instead of expecting God to “fix” our circumstances, we allow Him to “fix” us. Instead of seeing our suffering as unfair, we see trials as an opportunity to give glory to God.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

Anyone can be stuck. It takes effort to be still. A quote that caught my attention was, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” Don’t waste the time that God has given you. Everyone gets 24 hours in a day – no more, no less. What you do with it makes all the difference. You can never get time back. Make sure it counts for something…better yet, make sure it counts for someone – God.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

 

Original material by Holly M. Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp44p04-02-14

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Judge Not

(Due to the fact that I will be undergoing cervical spine surgery on March 17th, it may be a few weeks before I am able to post again. This post is a longer one, but maybe it will cover for my absence. You all will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.)

But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 1 Corinthians 11:31

Nobody likes to feel judged. I hate feeling judged about my house, the status of my finances, my relationship with my husband, my chosen form of birth control, my other medications, the number of children that I have, my children’s behavior… The list could go on and on of things that I have felt judged about at one time or another. I know that you have experienced the same thing. We all want to be accepted and loved for who we are, no matter what that might mean.

Why do people judge? First of all, we need to understand the word “judge,” and what it really means. This word is often over-used in society, especially in Christian circles. The actual definition of the word “judge” is: “to form an opinion or estimation of after careful consideration.” When Scripture uses the word, it implies that “careful consideration” is the act of measuring something or someone against a set standard. So I think we can agree that when we judge something or someone, we are forming a belief based upon the impression that we get from that thing or person, when compared to a pre-determined set of rules or guidelines.

Scripture talks about judging others, being discerning, and testing to be sure something is truly of God. It is not so much the “judging” that is the issue, as is the measurement with which we judge. So, maybe better questions would be, what are the reasons that we may feel judged, what standard is being used, and how should we be responding to judgments, based on God’s Word?

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. 1 John 4:1a

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:14

1. Why do we feel judged?

a. Our Insecurities

If we do not feel confident about what we are doing or in who we are, we will often feel judged by others, even when no one is actually judging us.

The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. Romans 14:22-23

b. Misunderstandings

Often, we interpret what someone says and turn it into a judgment. This is especially true, if we know that they feel or believe differently than we do. We must be careful not to make assumptions. We need to be discerning.

Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 1 Corinthians 14:20

c. Actual Judgments

Sometimes, we are actually being judged. Whether someone states this flat-out, or infers it. We have all felt the sting of someone’s disapproval. How we respond to these is so important to our testimony. None of us are perfect. We all need correction once in a while.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3

2. What standards are used to judge?

a. Past expectations

I am a bit rough on things. I tend to break things, unintentionally and rather frequently. I truly don’t mean to, but somehow, I just do. After I got married, I would get so scared to tell my husband that I messed something up. I was so afraid he would get mad at me. Was it because he set this standard? No, it was because of how I grew up. If we broke something as a kid, it was bad news! My father’s personality was like mine. He was very verbal about his thoughts and feelings, and he wasn’t a big fan of fixing things, because of my negligence. He would get frustrated if a kick ball rolled into the garden. On the other hand, my husband is very even-tempered. Very little upsets him. In nearly 20 years, I have only seen him truly mad a handful of times. He has never yelled at me, and has never even made me feel stupid for breaking something. It took time to re-set this standard in my head, and allow myself to act accordingly.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. Philippians 3:12-14

b. Society

We often set standards based on what society expects of us. Think about something as simple as beauty. Commercials, TV programs, billboards, and magazines set a standard for beauty that leaves 99% of us lacking. Society sets many other standards as well. Money = success, Sex = love, Possessions = happiness, etc. If we are not careful, we will find ourselves judging based on the false standards of this world.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. I John 2:15-16

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 2 Timothy 2:4

c. Desires

Sometimes, we judge – especially ourselves – simply based on what we desire. For example: If we desire to be a mother and we are not, we assume that we are a failure. Our desires is such a shallow and frustrating standard, because we have little to no control over how to measure up.

For wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. Proverbs 8:11

Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way. Proverbs 19:2

d. Other people’s wishes

This is another one that is exasperating. The mother-in-law thinks that you should be spending more time reading to your 6 month old, while your husband thinks that books are a waste of time, if your child cannot even speak yet. What do you do? Most of us try to please both. Because you feel that either way, you are going to be a failure in the eyes of somebody. Not to even mention that we totally frustrate ourselves in the process. I love what Dave Ramsey says: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” This is often so true, unfortunately.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Colossians 3:22

e. “Written” rules

Whether they are literally written on paper or not, this standard is usually much more attainable, and most of the time, it is much more reasonable. This would include school procedures, government laws, and most importantly, God’s instructions in Scripture.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21

We must obey God rather than men. Acts 5:29b

3. How should we respond to judgments – real or perceived?

a. First of all, we need to establish a correct standard of measurement for ourselves.

God’s standard should be the standard we hold ourselves against. Anything else will have us frustrated and leave us feeling like empty failures. Only the truth can set us free, and only the truth can point us in the direction of how we should live – in every single area of life. If someone comes to us with a judgment, we should be open to listen, and then, we need to search our hearts and determine if the judgment is accurate. We must be honest with ourselves, before God. God does use others to exhort and correct us. Even though it may be uncomfortable, the direction of others can save us a lot of heartache later on.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. Proverbs 12:1

The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Proverbs 15:31

Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. Proverbs 15:32

b. Next, we need to establish a correct standard of measurement for others.

We all make judgments every day, all day long. We judge if the people around us in a parking lot look safe. We judge if the cashier looks smart enough to get us checked out in a hurry. We judge the mom in the next aisle, when her child screams out a swear word. We even judge other drivers, based on their speed and decisiveness. And that is just our list of judgments before lunchtime! Are we supposed to judge others? The answer is “yes.” However, Scripture is very clear that we need to be careful to judge everyone, including ourselves, by the same standard – God’s standard. We also need to have discretion, and exhortation needs to be coupled with grace.

For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:2

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. John 7:24

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

c. Lastly, we need to practice grace and forgiveness.

We are going to fall short of the standard – again and again. So is everyone else around us. Ultimately, if you do not enjoy being judged for petty things, avoid judging others for these things as well. Choosing to give grace and forgiveness – to ourselves and to others – will certainly go a long way in allowing us to live more peaceful and joyful lives.

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. Hebrews 12:14-15

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10

But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. 2 Corinthians 8:7

Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:13

Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37

Original material by Holly M. Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission.

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Impaired Vision

In this life, there are many things that rob us of clear vision to take that next right step. We often allow the cares and desires of this world to take away the blessings that could be ours.

And others are the ones [seeds of truth] sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.  Mark 4:18-19

1.      We often have a false sense of entitlement.

We feel that somehow we deserve to have our wants met – in our way and in our timing. We forget that in using the very word “deserve,” we disqualify ourselves from everything that we could ever desire, not to mention everything that we already have. We deserve death. Period. It is only by the mercy and the grace of God that we DO NOT get what we deserve or what is fair. We need to be careful how we use these terms. We often set ourselves up for disappointments, frustrations, and even anger. If we keep the proper perspective on what is truly fair and just, we would be less likely to feel victimized.

 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

 For the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23a

He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. Psalm 103:10

2.     Too often we have the major problem of open-mouth disease.

The Scriptures encourage us to share our burdens, to seek Godly counsel, and to use our trials to minister to others. That is one of the main purposes of Perfect Joy Ministries. However, this is not always the reason that we feel the need to talk about our circumstances. Many times, we want pity, a sense of justice re-enforced, and a chance to voice our opinions. As Christians, we need to guard our mouth. I recently heard someone say, “An open mouth leads to blurry vision.” The more we feed ourselves deception, the more we will begin to believe it. We begin to walk by sight, instead of by faith. If we open our mouths, we need to be sure that what is coming out is truth, wisdom, and edifying. The glory should always belong to God.

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. Proverbs 13:3

The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly. Proverbs 15:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom. Psalm 37:30a

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Psalm 141:3

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:29

3.     We all struggle with a lack of faith, at times.

The level of faith that we need to live a God-honoring life, even in the midst of difficult trials and circumstances, requires a supernatural strength. We must be continually asking God for faith to trust Him, and to allow Him to accomplish His will in our lives.

And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7

4.     We often fail to see clearly, due to a simple lack of wisdom.

This one is so easy that it’s hard. Ask. Ask. Ask. Ask God for the wisdom that you need. It is not His will that we should stumble around in the dark. God’s Word will give us everything that we need to take the next right step.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:14-17

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ. Ephesians 1:7-9

5.     Often we are very short-sighted.

Our near-sightedness does not enable us to see the whole picture. We lose sight of the reason that we were created. We forget what our true purpose is. We fail to see eternity, in the light of our current disaster or calamity. Sometimes it is so hard to take a step back and remember our calling. We were created to bring glory to God, and to become like His Son. This world is merely a training-ground for eternity. We cannot let ourselves become so involved or wrapped up in the cares of this life that we miss God’s ultimate will for our lives. Remember, the best is yet to come! Live for the eternal!

All things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16b

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

6.     We are double-minded.

We say one thing and think another. We tell one person one thing and another something else. We say that we believe and trust in All-mighty God, but we live in fear and frustration. Our minds and hearts need to be filled to the brim with truth. Do not leave room for doubt and lies. Let the things that you say you believe go from your head to your heart. You serve the God of the universe, the God of things we cannot imagine, and the God of all power and glory, Who delights in the impossible. Live like it!

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:6-8

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. James 3:10

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. Psalm 49:3

Original material by Holly M. Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission.

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The Unseen

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)

The world of macro is a fascinating and glorious one. Such beauty lies in that which is naturally difficult to see and is revealed only with lenses, created to take it in.

Taking some of these macro shots one day, I discovered a tool called, a “color picker”, in which you can hover this icon at any spot on the photo and suddenly the color is revealed on a screen to the side. Suddenly this macro world expanded even more, as colors I had not even known existed revealed themselves. Hues and saturations from one end of the spectrum to the other. And all of it on a color palette that even the most gifted master painter could not create.

Getting into this little side hobby caused me think of all which remains unseen within our circumstances and yet, is beauty, waiting to be revealed.

The unseen growth.
The unseen purpose.
The unseen beauty.
The unseen glory.
The unseen redemption.
The unseen blessings.

Unbeknownst to us, every circumstance, especially the most painful, can bring either a regression or a progression. We are never standing still in our Christian walk. For those who are constantly seeking to live a surrendered life, it is the latter, not the former. However, just as we are often completely unaware of the digestion process of our food, we are often quite unaware of our own spiritual and emotional growth for a period of time. But then, we look back through a journal or a blog or just in remembrance and we see huge steps in our faith level or our self-control or our joy and peace and we stop with humble thanks, because we remember what it once was.

line

This double-arrowed line represents all time – past, present, and future. Your life here on earth is the tiny red dot, and your life in eternity is the purple line. In reality, the dot would be so small, in contrast with eternity, that you wouldn’t even see it. Our life is merely a vapor. ( <input type=”submit” value=”Update” />  What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14b) It is gone before we know it. Eternity is not a place you go after you die. Eternity starts at your birth, and heaven is simply a new place to continue to live out the life that God preordained for you. Right now, we are immortal beings with finite minds. When we make the switch into heavenly realms, we will be changed. We will possess the infinite mind to comprehend how everything in this earthly part of our lives fit together.

The children that we have lost had such small dots that many would not even consider their existence. Somehow, this can make us feel additional sadness and negativity toward our circumstances. We often feel that we “deserved” to have that child in our lives for longer. However, when our parents, or another senior in our lives, live a “long and full” life, do we not feel that it was simply “their time to go?” What is the difference? Human perspective. In God’s eyes, both lives were lived in their fullness and were complete and perfect. Not one day too long or one day too short. When we finally have infinite minds, we will be able to see this clearly, and our sorrow will be wiped away in a revelation of absolute truth.

The resounding refrain of Perfect Joy: This is not all there is! So much here on this earth impacts so much “there” in eternity. It might simply be the roles our babies were created to play in eternity, without experiencing earth at all. Earth is a sort of preparatory course for the rest of our lives. It often seems so senseless – so pointless here, but once we cross over there, we will look at what we went through, and how it worked together to make us into who we were meant to be in God’s “forever plan.”

Every pain that ever tore our hearts into jagged little pieces will be held up in light of His astounding, brilliant glory. Every tear shed, which is collected in His bottles, will reflect the sovereign purpose He had ordained for our lives before time. Every grief, every heartache, will be another worship cast at His feet, as we cry, “holy, holy, holy,” and like the beauty of a sunset after a terrifying storm, those heartbreaks will shine with a beauty we cannot comprehend here on this earth.

ALL things will be restored, redeemed, and completed to the glory of God.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

In order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11b

Sin, heartache, pain, sorrow, death, etc. were certainly not in the Creator’s initial design for mankind. However, at the same time, God knew that we would choose sin, at which point “bad” things would enter the world – multiplying and destroying. Could God have chosen to force His creation into obedience? Of course. Would He still be fair and just? Of course. Is it also fair and just that He allows difficulties, trials, and seeming “bad” things to happen to us? Of course. Why? Because we were created by Him and He owns us. The Scriptures say that God even uses sinners to accomplish His will. He can do whatever He desires. Here is an excerpt of Romans 9. I would encourage you to read the entire chapter.

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory. Romans 9:14-23

This is not an easy concept for us to accept at times. We feel “wronged” or “slighted,” if we do not receive exactly what we feel we need. We often believe that we somehow “deserve” things to be a certain way, or that we somehow have wisdom beyond God to know what “should” happen. We seriously need to consider our perspective. I often use Legos as an example. If we created a huge Lego world, and our little Lego people raised their funny little hands at us in anger, how would we react? Of course, we would smash them, or at the very least, disassemble them. What right do they have to tell us how things should be done? This is the same lesson that Job had to learn. Job 38-39 is God asking Job what right He had to question His Creator. Then, we see a summary at the beginning of chapter 40:

And the Lord said to Job: “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.”

Then Job answered the Lord and said: “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.” Job 40:1-5

In conclusion, we have said it before, and we will say it again, God’s sovereignty will bring either bondage or freedom in your life. The choice is entirely up to you.

For more on this subject:

https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/?s=mine+or+his
https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/gods-sovereignty/
https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/our-wounder-our-healer/
https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/his-reward/

Original material by Melissa J. Carswell, MA, BCCC, Holly M. Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp42p02-23-14

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