Revealing Truth Today

Standing for the truth and sharing Jesus with others!

4 Things You Should Stop Doing Right Now//Guest Blogger: Emily Huff

From time to time on this blog, I will be featuring guest bloggers. This is a great way to hear from other Christian writers on a whole host of topics. Today, I am welcoming a friend I met through Facebook. Her name is Emily Huff and you can find her blog, Beyond the Noise, by clicking HERE. She and I are both chronic health warriors – but more importantly, we are both Christians. Please enjoy her post below and be blessed!!


ehb

4 Things You Should Stop Doing Right Now

by Emily Huff

emilyhuff

Christian Blogger: Emily Huff

As a chronic illness warrior, there is a lot on my plate. Normal life responsibilities, additional medical struggles that most don’t have to worry about and the desire to enjoy life and all that it offers. The last thing I need is to do more than what is absolutely necessary and to do things that don’t really carry any weight in improving my life.

With that said, I recently sat down and thought about what needs to go, and I want to share those with you today!


WORRYING

I know I fall prey to this often, and I’m sure you do too! Worrying has become a common mindset and we are daily replacing faith with fear. I heard it said that F.E.A.R. is False Evidence Appearing Real. We are afraid of things that haven’t even happened, and worry about the outcome. I do this with my health, finances, future and so much more.

 Let’s adopt Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

fear-pin

COMPARING

Ooh! This is a big one! How often do we look at other people’s picture-perfect Instagram marriage, life, family, health etc. and wish we had it like they do? We see their best and compare it to our worst; believing still that they have it better than we do.

STOP!!! This is a horrible trap that the devil puts in front of us! (Instagram is not the trap, how we decide to process what we see, is!) The only person we should compare ourselves to is God. We should strive to model our lives after His and use Him as a measuring tape for our spiritual growth. Galatians 6:4 says “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.”

measuring-tape-pin

TRYING TO DO IT ALL

Here’s a little PSA for you—You are not going to be able to do it all! There are 24 hours in a day and with sleep and work taking up most of those hours, you’re not left with many more. So, stop trying to do it all! You’re probably driving yourself crazy which makes you, even more so, less efficient!

As someone with a substantial amount of physical limitations, I have found that there are certain tasks or responsibilities that I must be okay with letting go for a day or two until I have the time or energy. Let’s be realistic and identify what we are truly capable of completing in a day and give those tasks our best—just like Ecclesiastes 9:10 instructs; “Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.”

Feeling guilty for situations you can’t control

This is the hardest one for me. I frequently, maybe even daily, struggle with the feeling of guilt. Guilt for the financial strain my inability to work full-time (or even at all) brings. Guilt for the restrictions my health puts on the activities I’m able to participate in whether with friends of family. Guilt for “holding my husband back” from the dreams he has/had. I could honestly go on and on with reasons I feel guilty, and I’m sure you can add to the list as well.

Here’s what I have to remember, and so do you:

  1. We didn’t choose these illnesses—we were hand-picked by God to carry them because He trusts us to remain faithful amidst the trial and ultimately give Him the glory.

  2. Our lives are not over, they just look a little different.

  3. Most of our friends and families are understanding of our situations and don’t blame us for the “inconveniences” we feel like we cause.

This type of guilt is not from God. He doesn’t want us to dwell on the negatives before us, He wants us to see the blessings amidst the storm and focus our minds on that.

Phil 4:6 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

I am working on myself to remove these things from my life—will you join me?

4-things-you-should-stop-doing-pin

2 Comments »

He Can Relate…

Have you ever felt alone? Have you struggled alone? Have you been betrayed by someone you trusted? Have you ever felt like no one understands or can relate to your grief? Well – you know what? You are in good company because Jesus can relate. He understands.

Hebrews 4:15 states: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

Let’s recall a few examples of how much Jesus can relate to our griefs:

heb*Jesus’ Unfulfilled Longings – In Luke 13:34, we read of the deep yearning Jesus has for Jerusalem. He cries, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!”

*Jesus’ Sorrows – sadness, wept. Man of sorrows acquainted with grief.

*Jesus’ Unpopularity – Although Jesus was well-known, he was very unpopular and hated. Isaiah 53:3 says that he was despised and rejected of men simply for teaching the truth. We also see this hatred in action when Pilate offered to release Jesus Christ or Barabbas – the robber. Not only was their cries to release Barabbas, but there were further cries to crucify Jesus Christ (see John 18 & 19). He was hated then as he is hated now – and for what? For telling the truth. But, it’s okay to be hated for the right reason.

*Jesus’ Poverty – As the old Dottie Rambo song says, “He left the splendor of Heaven, knowing his destiny was the lonely hill of Golgotha; there, to lay down his life for me.” He gave up his riches and became poor (see 2nd Cor. 8:9). He came down to our level – and sometimes he lived even lower than most. Jesus was also homeless. In Matthew 8:20, Jesus said: “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Jesus’ lack of outward “regalness” or “majesty” is also defined in Isaiah 53:2: “…he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” 

*Jesus’ Unreliable Friends – Jesus had many followers while on earth; but the ones who knew him best were his twelve disciples. He spent a lot of time with them. Nonetheless, we find that Peter denied him, Thomas doubted him, and Judas betrayed him. But before we cast any stones, let’s ask ourselves – aren’t there so many times that we fail him too? Still, he is willing to forgive as we strive to please him.

*Jesus Is Falsely Accused – Jesus was often misunderstood and falsely accused. Once, he was even accused by the scribes of being demon-possessed (see Mark 3:22). Nonetheless, God still showed love toward us in that while we were still sinners, he sent his only son to die for us (see Rom. 5:8).

*Jesus’ Deepest Griefs – “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful…” These were the words of Jesus as he prayed in the garden before his crucifixion (see Matt. 26:38). The travail of his soul so deep that he was sweating drops of blood. We have a Savior who identifies with suffering, sorrow, and grief.

But wait – there’s hope!!

Isn’t it a comfort to know that we have a Savior who can relate to our heartaches and griefs? Yet, we also know that we have an amazing source of hope and joy in Christ. In John 16:33, Jesus said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Jesus was triumphant over death, hell, and the grave and promises eternal life for all Christians! An eternity of  pure bliss in such heavenly beauty. A place where, Revelation 21:4 says, “…God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Yes, Jesus cares.

I will close with an amazing thought by A.B. Simpson (1843-1919). He once said, “Beloved, have you ever thought that someday you will not have anything to try you, or anyone to vex you again? There will be no opportunity in heaven to show the spirit of patience, forbearance, and longsuffering. If you are to practice these things, it must be now.”

 

Sources: bible.com, biblehub.com, youtube.com

2 Comments »

Dear Prodigal…

Dear Prodigal…

By: Maranda M.

The story of the Prodigal son

He leaves what is good to go sin

He finds himself lost and undone

When he comes to his senses, he returns home again

 

So many of us grieve for a “prodigal” that is away

Be it a husband, daughter, son, or wife

We’d gladly welcome them back home to stay

Safe from their sinful and wretched life

 

Dear prodigal, you are not too far-gone for God’s grace

Spreading your wings has led you to a very unholy place

You cannot fly with the weight of the world on your back

With broken wings, broken dreams – under the enemy’s attack

 

Dear prodigal, dear prodigal

 

When you come back home the Lord waits with open arms

Under His wings, you’ll finally be safe from all of sin’s harm

With Him you can fly as an eagle in the sky

No more aimless drifting, no more wondering why

 

Dear prodigal, dear prodigal

 

You once knew the life, the truth, and the way

You have tasted and seen that the Lord was good

I don’t condemn you but wonder why you strayed

Not following Him or doing as you should

 

Dear prodigal, dear prodigal

 

Now all I can say with tears in my eyes

Is that we’ve saved you a place at the table

Your worth is more than money could buy

And oh, our God is well able

 

To forgive your sins and cleanse your heart

To give you freedom and a fresh start

Dear prodigal, please come home to stay

Until then, I love you and pray for that day

 

Note: The full account of the Prodigal son may be read in Luke 15:11-31.

 

4 Comments »

The Significance of Animals in Scripture

Enter for your chance to win a $15.00 e-Gift Certificate

“A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast…” ~Proverbs 12:10 

Allow me to preface by saying that I hope this study brings valuable insight, as we find animals mentioned throughout the entire Bible. Although it is not a major topic of concern in regards to our salvation, I still believe that it will help us to better understand why God created animals and their significance in our lives. We will also briefly look at how animals were used for God’s purposes, and how they benefit mankind.

I’ve never really had occasion to give much thought to the significance of animals mentioned in the Bible… until recently. Sadly, a few of my aged pets have passed away in recent years. It can be very difficult to lose a family pet. Amidst my losses, my curious mind wondered if our pets go to Heaven when they die. As I began thinking about animals mentioned in scripture – a whole plethora of various animals mentioned came to mind. There are dozens and dozens of animals mentioned by name in the Bible! This led me to believe that there must be some significance to this. This blog entry is my attempt to organize my many cluttered thoughts into concise, easy-to-read sections. But really – I could write a novel on this topic alone!

Do Animals Have a Purpose?

“And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” ~Genesis 1:25

elephantDid God create animals for a purpose? Yes, most definitely! There are so many reasons beyond what I may even be able to convey. He saved the animals on Noah’s ark for a reason. Animals, indeed, point to God’s amazing creativity – just look at the variety of species in the animal kingdom; their various attributes, behaviors, and abilities! They also point to God’s unfathomable kindness in providing us with companions and helpers. For centuries, farmers worldwide have benefitted from hard-working animals which help them with their chores. Scripture also says that God provided animals, fish, birds, and even the vegetation for us to have a source of food (see Gen. 9:2-3). Additionally, we find that pets bring companionship and comfort to the lonely and sick (Luke 16:21). Animals can be a source of much happiness and laughter.

But, let’s go a bit further – Did God create animals for spiritual purposes? Absolutely! They were (and still are) utilized in ways too numerous to mention. Animals can be used by God to carry out his divine purposes. They are God’s creation so he can use them as he wills. Romans 9:21 says, “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” In like manner, we see in times past and in the future, certain creatures utilized by God. In the past (Exo. chapters 7-10), he used locusts, lice, flies, and frogs as a plague upon Egypt – and for good reason. Such oppressive plagues upon Egypt facilitated the release of Israelite slaves who were in bondage to the Egyptians. Even amidst the plagues, we also see a display of God’s supernatural powers and Godhead as he puts to shame the false gods.

At this point in history, we do not know whether or not the locust, scorpion, worm, or horse-like creatures, etc. spoke of in prophecy are literal creatures or used symbolically. Nonetheless, we find them mentioned even into the future. We also see animals, either literally or figuratively, mentioned in the prophecy of Isaiah. “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them(Is. 11:6).

It seems that animals can also see into the spiritual realm. We find this to be scripturally true when Balaam’s donkey saw the angel that Balaam could not see. When the donkey saw the angel he turned away, thus, saving Balaam’s life. (see full account in Num. 22:21-33).

On a personal note, after my Great-Grandmother’s death, my sister told me of something she experienced. My Great-Grandmother was ailing and we knew her death was imminent. As the family was sitting in the living room, just a few feet away from my Great-Grandmother’s bedroom, she passed away. At the exact time of death, my sister was sitting in the living room with her dog on her lap. She sensed an angel or a spirit pass by her but could not see anything. However, when my sister sensed this, her dog began to bark all of a sudden. He seemed to have seen something in the same direction in which my sister sensed this presence passing by. Now, I’m not insinuating that we build a doctrine upon someone else’s experience alone – but my sister’s experience seems to align with the account mentioned above; where an animal (Balaam’s donkey) could indeed see into the spiritual realm.

donkeyMuch like the donkey, in essence, saved Balaam’s life – the whale/large fish did so for Jonah. In the Book of Jonah, we read about his disobedience to God. He was running from God’s instructions for him to go to Nineveh and warn the people of their sins. As he was aboard a ship to escape, there came a terrible storm because of Jonah’s disobedience. In order to save the other people on the ship, Jonah instructed them to throw him overboard since he was the reason for the turbulent storm which was causing their ship to be tossed to and fro. Reluctantly, they did as he asked. Jonah found himself at the bottom of the sea with water churning all around him. Seaweed had wrapped around his head and he almost drowned. When his life was slipping away, he prayed and God rescued him. A whale/large fish swallowed Jonah and later spit him up on the safe shore. Of course, we know the rest of this account… how Jonah was then obedient, thus, God had mercy upon Nineveh and it was not destroyed (see Jonah chapters 1-4). But we can see how God used the creature of the sea to fulfill a divine plan.

And really, what an amazing thought that all of God’s creation, including animals, are designed to praise the Lord! We see this validated in scripture (see Ps. 148: 7, 10). “Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD” (Ps. 150:6).

What is God’s View of Animals?

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. ~Luke 12:6

God has compassion toward animals and has made provisions for them. Before he ever created animals, he created the herbs, grass, and trees so the animals would have food in place once they were created. He even established a Sabbath day of rest for animals (Exo. 20:10), food for them (Gen. 1:30, Matt. 6:26), and directions as to how to treat them fairly (Deut. 25:4, Matt. 12:11, Pro. 12:10). The Lord is even likened to a loving Shepherd who cares for the sheep of his fold (see Ps. 23:1, Matt. 18:12-14).

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” ~Matthew 6:26

As we see in the above-cited scripture, God cares for the needs of the animals. By this, we can know that he will also care for our needs – for he asks, “Are ye not much better than they?” This also teaches us that God sees man as even more precious than the animals. We also see in scripture that we have dominion over the animals (see Gen. 1:26). This scripture is not an allowance for animal abuse, but simply to show the order of importance. We are made lower than the angels (see Heb. 2), yet we are more valuable than the animals.

lamb1One may ask, “But what about animal sacrifices which took place in Biblical times? Does this mean that God did not care about animals?” In order to answer these questions, we must know a little bit about the Old Testament practice of animal sacrifices. Without going into an exhaustive study, I would direct my readers to learn more at the link provided HERE. Bloody animal sacrifices were a picture of how sin utterly destroys – and how it hurts the innocent (animal, in this case). Also, we see that even God did not delight in animal sacrifices (Heb. 10:8, Hos. 6:6, Matt. 9:13) – yet such sacrifices were put into place as a temporary covering for sin until Jesus Christ came. Just as the innocent animal was killed for the sins of others, so Jesus, the innocent and spotless Lamb of God, was crucified for our sins. Jesus Christ put an end to all animal sacrifices once and for all (see Heb. 9:12, Heb. 10:4-8). He made a way for our sins to be eternally forgiven and washed away by his precious blood.

We could safely state that God’s view of animals is that of compassion, provision, and care. He also sees that they are good (see Gen. 1:25). They definitely have a purpose for being created.

Animals in Heaven?

“Who knoweth the spirit of man whether it goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast whether it goeth downward to the earth?” ~Ecclesiastes 3:19

In this section, we will cover two subtopics:

1.) Do our pets go to Heaven when they die?

2.) Will animals, in general, still exist eternally in the New Heaven and New Earth?

Let’s begin with the first subtopic, do our pets go to Heaven when they die? There are various schools of thought regarding this question. Some Bible scholars say yes, others say no. Of course, we’d like to believe that our pets go to Heaven when they die, as a source of comfort to our hearts; but are we only fooling ourselves or is it true? We know for a fact that humans who are followers of Christ will be with the Lord at death; for 2nd Corinthians 5:8 states: “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” But, what about animals??

Scripture does not emphatically state whether or not our animals/pets will go to Heaven when they die; therefore, I can not emphatically state one way or the other. However, I will provide some valuable “food for thought” and let you decide for yourself.

Bible teacher, John Piper, made the following statement:

1jpq

In Old Testament times, before mankind could be sure of their eternal destination in Christ, we see Solomon asking the question in Ecclesiastes 3:19… “Who knoweth the spirit of man whether it goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast whether it goeth downward to the earth?” Does the beast simply perish at the point of death? In regards to this scripture, the Matthew Henry Commentary states, in part:

1mhq

Let us also take into account Romans 8:19-23. This scripture says, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” 

For we see that humans, animals, the earth, and even inanimate objects of creation – the whole creation – suffers and groans in this present age. Commentator, Matthew Henry, writes: “Sin has been, and is, the guilty cause of all the suffering that exists in the creation of God.” If we hate suffering, then we should hate sin. There would be no suffering had mankind not sinned. But, we have hope – God will set all things right in the end and put an end to all suffering! Revelation 21:4 says so… “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

Now, let’s briefly cover our second subtopic question… Will animals, in general, still exist eternally in the New Heaven and New Earth?

In prophecy, we read of different creatures used for a variety of purposes. There is some debate as to whether animals spoken of in prophetic terms are literal animals or simply symbolically used – or a mixture of both; nonetheless, there is no denying that animals are mentioned. I have provided only a few examples in the following scriptures below:

horse“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” ~Rev. 19:11

“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.” ~Isaiah 65:25

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” ~Isaiah 11:6

In the end, the most important question to ask is not whether there will be animals in heaven or not; most importantly – will WE be in Heaven? As much as we long for our animals (or animals, in general) to be there, let us long for others and ourselves to be there all the more!

Lessons From Animals in Scripture

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise… ”

~Proverbs 6:6

Throughout scripture – the Bible mentions numerous animals. The animals may be used as symbols, for divine purposes, or to teach us life lessons (ex. Matt. 6.26, Ps. 32:9). We read about the Spirit of God descending from Heaven as a dove at Jesus’ baptism (see Matt. 3:16); we see the godly compared to eagles in Isaiah 40:31; we also see the Psalmist longing for God, much like the deer who longs and pants for water (see Ps. 42:1). There are many other examples we all could think of, but one truth remains – animals are used by God to teach us very important lessons.

We see Biblical examples of Believers being likened to sheep (Matt. 10:16, John 10:14, Ps. 23:1); of God being likened, in various instances, to a lion, leopard, bear, and eagle (see Hos. 13:7-8, Deut. 32:11). And we see Jesus described as a lion and a lamb (see Rev. 5:5, John 1:29).

1abq

To summarize in basic terms, the animals were made by God and for God. He also made them for us – whether for practical use or to teach us spiritual lessons. We have learned that God cares for the animals and provides for them (ex. Ps. 147:9, Matt. 6:26) – so we can trust that he will also provide our needs. We have also seen scripture confirm God as the Creator (ex. Ps. 104:24, Job 12:7-10, Gen. 1); and we see God’s nature in that he is so gracious and caring toward his creation.

I hope this was insightful and that you have learned a bit more about our amazing God and his compassions on all of his creation. “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not” Lamentatins 3:22. God bless you all.

source

2 Comments »

A Wounded Spirit

aws

Have you or someone you know been deeply wounded, spiritually-speaking? Did the wounding come about from a particular situation you encountered? Or was the wound inflicted by family, an acquaintance, a church member, or by someone that you thought you could trust? If so, you’re not alone.

Sustaining a physical wound on the body can be very painful, and sometimes, result in a physical death. But, to sustain a spiritual wound is far worse, according to scripture. Proverbs 18:14 states: “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” In other words, a physical infirmity or physical wound will not destroy our spirit which is of utmost eternal importance. Furthermore, our resilience of spirit will carry us through such an infirmity of body or various troubles which may be encountered in life. As the Pulpit Commentary so aptly states: “The body can, as it were, fall back upon the support of the spirit, when it is distressed and weakened…” The infirmities that we endure in life are unpleasant and undesirable, still, the strength of our spirit-man within can help us to endure such hardships. However, a wounded spirit is so severe that the writer of Proverbs wonders who could even bear such a thing!

Causes of a Wounded Spirit

There are many causes for a wounded spirit; most of which will be listed in this section. There are countless scenarios that could cause such a deep wound on the soul-level; but we will briefly cover the most common:

Slander: The Psalmist writes an entire song of the slandered in Psalm 109. In the Psalm, he mentions a few reasons why his heart is wounded within him. In his prayer/song to God, he mentions that the wicked and deceitful have spoken against him with a lying tongue. They have also spoken words of hatred toward him and have fought against him without a cause. Even though he tries to show them love, in exchange, they only become his enemies. Even though he tries to show them good, in exchange, they only reward him with evil. He is a reproach to them and when they look at him, they just shake their heads.

1jDoesn’t this particular account sound very much like what we would term as verbal “bullying”? Sure, it is on an intense level; nonetheless, it seems as though their constant bullying and slander began to take its toll on his inward man. He was poor, needy, and becoming weak from fasting; then to have all of his adversaries bully him without a cause – well, his heart became wounded.

Have you ever felt bullied or slandered? Have you been lied on? Have you been hated for no reason at all? Does it seem like the more good you do for certain people, the more they hate you? This is exactly how the Psalmist felt. It hurt him so deeply. Jesus was also treated this way but far, far beyond slanderous talk only. He was hated to the point of death. Scripture says that he was hated without a cause. In John 15:18, Jesus forewarns us, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” By this, we share in the fellowship of his sufferings. But take comfort… “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ” (2nd Cor. 1:5).

Persecution: “A faith that can be destroyed by suffering is not faith.” These were the words of a man that knew suffering, persecution, and torture. Richard Wurmbrand was a Godly soul-winner who was imprisoned by the Communists for his faith in Christ. He was in prison and tortured (physically, mentally, and spiritually) for a total of almost 14 years. Nonetheless, he was not destroyed and was not bitter toward his persecutors; in fact, he tried to win them to Christ!

Remember, we can endure persecution and even a wounded spirit without it destroying us. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…” (2nd Cor. 4:8-9). You see, persecution is slightly different from slander alone in that persecution, oftentimes, also includes physical suffering inflicted by others. However, persecution needn’t be physical in order to cause us great pain.

But first, let’s clarify something. When we bring shame and punishment upon ourselves due to sin, well, we deserve to feel hurt when we are in the wrong. Such shame and hurt is definitely not considered “persecution” if we are being held responsible for wrong actions. Actually, to be held accountable for sin is right and just. But what about when we are serving God to the best of our ability and still endure being wounded, slandered, or persecuted? The Bible states that if we are Godly, we will be persecuted. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2nd Tim. 3:12). This may come as unwelcomed news to some; but we can take heart; for when we are persecuted, we know that we are living a good life that is pleasing to God.

1wSuch persecution may come in various forms and various degrees of severity. One common form of being wounded is enduring persecution at the hands of a family member, a Pastor, a church congregation, or a friend. The Revivalist, Leonard Ravenhill, put it like this: “All you have to do is get in a closer walk with God and you’ll find your enemies are in your own church.” Yes, this can happen – and it wounds. It shouldn’t be this way, but sadly, many find that it is.

Nonetheless, we must realize that it’s humans wounding us – and that humans are all capable of sinning. This does not excuse the deep wounds they inflict upon us, but it helps us to see that we serve God and not humans. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “God save you from a religion that depends upon other people!” When all else is stripped away, can we stand before Christ on our own two feet? Is it truly Christ that we follow? Or are we idolizing a pastor, a Christian book author, or some other figure in our lives? Remember, we serve God – not man. We can’t let the wounds inflicted by mere mankind cause us to hold a grudge against God. This is misdirected anger and it is a dangerous trick of Satan.

Being Lost: Another possible cause of a wounded spirit is living our lives without Christ. Sure, we may believe in him, but do we serve him? “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” James 2:19. It’s not enough to believe only; we must surrender our lives to the Lord.

When we live without knowing the weight of what Christ’s death on the cross means for us, we live shallow lives. Of course, many a sinner may eventually feel that their spirit is wounded – no, even worse – utterly lost and hopeless without God. In this sense, it is actually a righteous, healthy wound; for it drives us to Christ for salvation and to feel his healing administered to our tattered spirit.

Life without Christ may seem pleasurable for a season… but as Hebrews 11:25 teaches, the pleasures of sin are fleeting; there’s no true and lasting joy or stability living in such a way. This is precisely why millionaires who seem to have it all feel that they need drugs and alcohol to “numb the pain” within. This void in the spirit is why those who are “successful” by the world’s standards can so easily commit suicide. They feel hopeless and empty, and yes, their spirit feels wounded beyond repair due to the blows that sin has delivered. But fear not, Christ’s grace is greater than our sin!! (See Rom. 5:15).

Trauma: I would venture to say that many people feel spiritual implications after enduring immense trauma. We are made in the likeness of God (see Gen. 1:26) therefore, in essence, we are triune beings. Triune simply means that we are three parts making up one whole person. Our three parts are mind, body, and spirit; whereas God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (see Matt. 28:19). By this, we can see that the mind affects the body, the body affects the mind, the spirit affects the mind, etc. So, it stands to reason that when we are exceedingly sorrowful over a traumatic event, it may cause our spirit to feel downcast and/or wounded (see Ps. 42:5).

Trauma comes in many, many forms. We never know when/if trauma will strike. Of course, we always hope and pray that it doesn’t; but when/if it does, we have to heavily rely on our God and the strength he has placed into our spirit to pull us through. We must be diligent to seek God in order to keep the spirit within us strong at all times. In the good times, we cannot afford to forget about God or to leave him out of the equation. We must build ourselves up on the most holy faith (see Jude 1:20). We must guard our hearts/minds against that which would weaken our spirit (see Prov.4:23). This will help us survive should we have to endure an unforeseen trauma.

Even still, there are going to be times when we don’t feel strong. There are going to be times that we don’t even sense God’s presence. It may seem that he is a million miles away and that he doesn’t hear us. We may weep much, like the Prophet Jeremiah. We may despair of life, like the Apostle Paul. It may seem that our soul refuses to be comforted and that it is overwhelmed, like the Psalmist Asaph. We may even get so low that we wish that we were never born, like Job. Despite all of these very normal feelings that may occur in life, as long as we keep holding to God’s outstretched hand and keep trusting him; keep crying out to him – then we will not be defeated. We can’t give up – for who else do we have as mighty as God to set all things right in the end?

A Faithful Wound of a Friend: All of the causes of a wounded spirit (listed above) reference something that feels very negative to us; things that are hard to endure such as slander, persecution, being in sin, trauma, or being hated without a cause. Most of these wounds (such as slander and persecution) are inflicted upon us by those who would consider themselves our enemy. However, there is a wound which is a faithful wound of a friend. Let me explain…

You see, when someone finds themselves in such a miserable state of sin or in a state of feeling very lukewarm in their spirit, they have two choices: They can forfeit the eternal well-being of their soul and stay miserable (which, in this life, can lead to substance abuse, other harmful behaviors, or suicide). Or, they can surrender to God and cry out for mercy and forgiveness. In this latter case, God must sanctify them so that they don’t self-destruct and land up in Hell. By this, it oftentimes may feel like it’s God himself inflicting the wounds in order to purge them of their sin or something in their life that is not good in his sight. As Job 5:18 says, “For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.” But what does this mean?

Again, let me reference the Pulpit Commentary which states it far better than I. It states:

111

It is a good surgeon who successfully removes that which causes his patient great harm. Sure, the surgeon must cut and wound his patient during surgery – but it is for the purpose of health. Furthermore, he also bandages his patient and does what he can to help him/her heal. This is exactly what the scripture in Job 5:18 is referring to.

When we become as clay in the Potter’s hands (God’s hands), we may feel kneaded and stretched at times. But in the end, we trust that he is making us into a vessel fit for his use and for his glory… and that he is preparing us to spend all eternity with him. He is such a faithful friend to us and he is our Great Physician – the only one who can do a supernatural work to bring about healing to our spirit and eternal security.

Healing for the Bruised and Brokenhearted

Perhaps, the exact situation you are encountering was not specifically mentioned in the previous section. However, we can summarize all hurt and wounds of the spirit by likening them to bruised and broken heart. The Bible has much to say about those who feel bruised and broken. Take comfort in the scriptures listed below:

“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” ~Psalm 34:18

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” ~Psalm 51:17

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised…” ~Luke 4:18

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” ~Isaiah 53:5

“A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.” ~Matthew 12:20

1jpBefore closing, let’s explore a bit further on the topic of healing from a wounded spirit. As I’ve already mentioned and want to proclaim, the most important thing we can do is to keep our relationship with God alive amidst the harsh blows that we encounter in life. We must see to it that we stay close to the Shepherd! Our eternity is at stake and we can’t turn back or give up!

As the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth, once said: “The tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart. Anyone who has tended a fireplace fire knows that it needs to be stirred up occasionally.”

Mourn. It’s okay to take some time to mourn. There is no sin in tears. There is a time and a season for everything… “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecc. 3:4).

Pray. Ask God to restore your joy and to uphold you. “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit” (Ps. 55:12). Believe in his restorative power.

Ask Questions. In the event your spiritual wound was inflicted by something someone said about you in a slanderous way, ask yourself if what they said was, indeed, true; and if it was scriptural. If not – then don’t let a lie torment you any longer, dear Christian! I speak this from experience as one who has been the victim of slander and of falsehoods being spoken about me; as one who was hated without a cause.

Be Still. In Psalm 46:10, scripture beautifully states: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Don’t worry about getting revenge. Let God fight your battles and put them into his capable hands. Don’t reward evil for evil. I have had to learn this lesson over the years. Micah 7:8 says, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” Be still and know that there will be justice – whether in this life or in the one to come (see Rom. 12:19). As Charles Spurgeon put it… “Every blow aimed against the godly will recoil on the persecutor; he who smites a believer drives a nail in his own coffin.”

Readjust Your Focus. Don’t stew over fears, injustices, or wounds sustained. That’s easier said than done, but try this: Try readjusting your focus. Philippians 4:8 teaches, “… whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Likewise, focus on eternity and the weight of the glory that is to come (see 2nd Cor. 4:17). I like to read the book of Revelation to infuse my spirit with hope of better things in my future. Also, it’s good to readjust our focus onto someone other than ourselves. Nazi Concentration Camp survivor, Corrie Ten Boom, learned the power of readjusting her focus. She once said:

1ctb

Psalms, Hymns & Songs. Ephesians 5:19 helps us along our journey by instructing us with wise words. It says, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” There have been many Christians who have found peace in either singing praises to him or listening to praises. Something about making a joyful noise with the music and the voice (as referenced all throughout the book of Psalms and in Psalm 98:4) is very healing to the soul. Don’t focus on the melody, don’t focus on the singer… focus on God. Welcome his presence with your song, whether sung by you or another.

Remain Hopeful. I’ll be honest, it’s not always easy to hold out a lot of hope for things to be “peachy keen” in this life; but we have amazing hope for eternity, where our best days are ahead of us. Such hope can spill over and give us joy for the journey we are still on here. Much like the Prophet Isaiah wrote… one day, we (as Christians) will have beauty for ashes, gladness instead of mourning, and praise instead of a spirit of heaviness. It’s true! Hold on, wounded soldier… help is on the way!

I close with this thought… Leonard Ravenhill and his Assistant Pastor used to sit in the church office at the end of the day and talk about the Lord. Oftentimes, the Assistant would put his feet up on the desk, lean back in his chair, smile, and say, “Well Len, another day’s march nearer home.” Never forget the hope that lies ahead, beyond all the wounds and heartache of this life.

Sources:  revival-library.com   biblehub.com   sermonindex.net   polyvore.com   thehumbledhomemaker.com
2 Comments »

Comments?

comments

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a blessed 2018 so far. I have some blog posts planned for 2018 but would also like to hear from my readers in the comments section below this blog.

Is there a particular topic that you would like for me to post about in this upcoming year? Do you have questions about something in scripture that you’d like to ask? I’d love to hear your input – or if you don’t have any questions or topics you’d like for me to cover, I’d love it if you’d just stop by with a “hello”. 🙂

Please note that I may not cover every topic mentioned in the comments if I do not feel that it would be beneficial, proper, or that I could do the question justice. Please don’t be offended if I don’t use your topic suggestion OR if I don’t use it right away. As I stated, I already have some posts planned, but did want to open up the opportunity for my readers to comment. I am just your average 30-something housewife, so if I feel that a topic is beyond my scope of knowledge, I will refrain from giving out any information that is not 100% biblically-based. I hope you can understand, as I am very careful when dealing with the Word of God and yielding to proper authority.

Again, if you wish, I’d love to hear from you below in the comments section. I am so thankful for all of my readers and would like to extend a warm greeting for this upcoming new year.

God’s Blessings,

Maranda M.

Blog Author of Revealing Truth Today

Sources: polyvore.com
4 Comments »

FREE Nativity Graphics

Around this time of year, many of us reflect upon the birth of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. We are even more focused on the amazing gift of Jesus which God so graciously gave us. John 3:16-17 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world, through him, might be saved.” 

Below, I have a couple of Christmas graphics for you. I would like to share these royalty-free, non-watermarked images (for your personal use only) as we celebrate our Lord’s birth. You may take a screenshot of them and repost or e-mail to others… or you may right click and “Save Image As” depending upon the type of device you are using. Also, please consider reading the scripture list posted HERE.

Let’s spread the GOOD NEWS of our Savior!

RTT cmas nativity 2017

“Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.” ~Luke 2:14


rttpp

“…and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseler, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” ~Isaiah 9:6


Sources: biblehub.com, polyvore.com, fotki.yandex.ru
4 Comments »

Soapbox Christianity

“…speaking the truth in love, we will, in all things grow up into Christ Himself, who is the head. ~Ephesians 4:15

sbc1The truth… it can be a bitter pill to swallow or it can be sweet as honey. Sometimes, the truth hurts since it brings conviction of sin; nonetheless, in the end, it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness. But, how are we, as Christians, conveying the truth?  Are we doing so out of concern or are we doing so out of a sense of self-righteousness?

The delivery of our Christian message is very important. How are we delivering our message? What is our motive? Do we do so because we get a self-esteem boost out of “winning the argument” or do we instruct others and point out biblical truths in order to be helpful?

You may have heard the phrase of someone “getting on their soapbox”. What exactly does this mean? To put it concisely, the online dictionaries describe it as someone getting on a soapbox (box) in order to elevate themselves above others – as one would step up on a podium to speak. Once on the soapbox, the speaker conveys a message that he/she feels very passionate about. It’s a way the individual would express their feelings in a forceful manner.

The reason this blog entry is titled, “Soapbox Christianity” is because of the negative connotation that comes with someone being on a soapbox. Are we witnessing in such a manner? I wish to clarify that this is, in no way, directed towards pastors or those in leadership positions who stand before a crowd to speak. It is simply a slang way to draw our attention to the way in which we deliver the message of the Bible to others. Do we, in essence, get on a soapbox and show no mercy or compassion to the lost?

 

Life-Giving Truth

“Great saints have always been dogmatic. We need to return to a gentle dogmatism that smiles while it stands stubborn and firm on the Word of God.” ~A.W. Tozer

In 2nd Corinthians 3:5-6, scripture states: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” In other words, the cold, hard truth (though it is truth) killeth withouth the spirit of our Lord bringing life into the words of truth and bringing hope for forgiveness of sin. This is why it is so important that when we try to guide a wandering soul, we must do so with the right motives and we must be fully yielded to the Holy Spirit. In reference to the aforementioned scripture, the Barnes’ Notes on the Bible so aptly states:

sbc2

Although there is forgiveness, there are also biblical standards which we must adhere to dogmatically. It is a fine balance.

“Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation, but confrontation nevertheless. If our reflex action is always accommodation, regardless of the centrality of the truth involved, there is something wrong. A false spirit of accommodation is sweeping the world as well as the Church, including those who claim the label of evangelical” (Quote by: Francis A. Schaeffer).

When we bring instruction to those in spiritual need, we must do so with the end result in sight – the hope that they will turn from their sin. The motive should never be for us to get a rush of pride or a boost in self-esteem for “being right” or feeling more righteous than others. Remember, we were all once lost. How can we boast? It was Christ that saved us and revealed truth to us… again I ask, how can we possibly have the audacity to boast or become prideful about our salvation, as to look down upon others?

 

When the Truth Hurts

“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” ~Galatians 4:16

sbc4Realistically, there are those instances when we speak biblical truths in love, yet, the person we are desiring to help still becomes offended. That does not mean that we didn’t try to speak the truth accurately or lovingly – sometimes, it just hurts for people to hear it. Even though the individual may lash out at us, it’s important to remain Christ-like. We must realize that Christ and his followers were/are often hated because we do speak truth. With tears in our eyes, still, we must speak hard truths with a heart of love.

For consider him that endured such hostility of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds. You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin” (Hebrews 12:3-4).

 

We Must Speak Up

“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.” ~John Calvin

Sometimes, we must speak loving words of truth which may feel unpleasant to the listener. Hebrews 12:11 echoes this thought… Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are trained by it.

Scripture instructs those in spiritual leadership thusly, “Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to refute the opposition” Titus 1:9. Likewise, 2nd Timothy 4:2-5 states: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (Also see Titus 2:11-15 and 1st Thessalonians 5:14). Notice how the instruction is to “exhort”, but to do so with “longsuffering”. Again, we find the common theme of speaking the truth in love.

Proverbs 12:1 is very clear: “Whosoever loves instruction loves knowledge: but he that hates reproof is senseless.” Nonetheless, there will be those who hate us for speaking truth. Many of the early Believers were persecuted and killed for their beliefs in the Messiah. Even still, we find Christian persecution worldwide. However, we must remember what Jesus said in Matthew 10:32… “Whoever, then, acknowledges me before people, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” Will we speak up for Jesus? Or will be cowardly hide for fear of backlash? As Martin Luther King, Jr. so truthfully spoke… “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Are we willing to speak up for the sake of the Gospel?

When we boldly speak truth, it must be spoken with no hint of self-righteousness or haughtiness. Remember, that a haughty/prideful spirit goes before a fall (see Proverbs 16:18). There is a vast difference between being judgmental and honestly correcting someone out of love and concern (see link HERE for more on this). The entire intent of this blog, Revealing Truth Today, is to accomplish the Great Commission by speaking loving truths assertively. It is my prayer that this message has been conveyed adequately.

We must never confuse love and meekness for lack of zeal. A.W. Tozer once said, “Humble yourself and cease to care what men think. A meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather, he has stopped being fooled about himself. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He has obtained a place of soul rest. The old struggle to defend himself is over.” Don’t defend yourself… defend the Gospel. Be assertive and keep your standards, yet remain tender-hearted and compassionate towards those in deep sin. Again, there is a fine balance.

Love does not tolerate sin – it warns of sin. “Tolerance is the virtue of those who don’t believe anything”, as G.K. Chesterton put it. We must not tolerate what God abominates. It’s called “tough love” for a reason. Even still, tough love from the Believer is due to a passion for truth and a love for the souls of others. This kind of love is pleasing to God. So when you witness, always remember to examine your motives and ask yourself, “Am I merely on my soapbox defending myself or wanting to appear superior in knowledge? or am I deeply concerned for a wayward soul?” And remember the words of wisdom in Proverbs 11:30… “he that winneth souls is wise.”

 

Sources: biblehub.com,urbandictionary.com, wikipedia.org, dictionary.cambridge.org
4 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: