Tag Archives: Afflictions

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

My pastor recently introduced me to the S.O.A.P. Bible study method and, as I’m enjoying it quite a bit, I thought I’d share some of what the Lord’s been teaching me. Hope you enjoy!

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Scripture

Philemon 6

‘…and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective though the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.’

Observe

There are good things in me which have been placed there for me to use in the service of the King. In order to use them, I need to know about them, what they are and how they work. These are gifts that the Lord has placed in me that I can then turn back into praise by using them for Him. The more I know about them, the more effective they are. They come into effect when I am fellowshipping with other believers or when I am witnessing through my testimony.

Application

I know my heart; the only thing that’s good in me is Jesus. Whatever gifts, talents, skills, etc. I have the privilege of utilizing for His kingdom are actually His works being done through me. And since the only good thing in me is Jesus, and since I need knowledge of every good thing which is in me, then to effectively serve Him, I need to know Him. The deeper I go in my understanding of Christ, the more I can recognize His works in me and get out of the way so He can shine. But how do I gain greater knowledge of Him?

Here’s my thought: they say that going through trials – the really rough stuff – shows you what you’re made of. Adversity gets to the heart of who I am as a person and shows me the good, the bad, and the ugly. So when I’m in the storm, I get to see how much of me is made of Jesus, basically, how much of my heart I’ve given over to Him. The good. I also get to see the bad, how much of my heart I’m keeping for myself. Then there’s the ugly, which is tricky because life is messy, but beautifully so. And the more ashes I have, the more God can turn into beauty. So that ugly can be either category; I can hand it over to the Lord or try to beautify it myself.

Trials – the ugly – are the perfect opportunities to learn more about my Savior and how to be more like Him, because they bring everything home to my core and I get to see what makes my own heart tick. The more I learn, the more I know God, the more effectively He can use me for His Kingdom.

Prayer

Father, thank you so much for faithfully afflicting me. Thank you for loving me as I am, messy as I am. Please don’t let me stay here. Please search me and know my heart, show me my sins and help me to overcome them. Please show me the areas where You are at work in me and fill me with even more grace to let you have more control. And thank you for all the ugly and for the plans You have to give beauty for ashes. In your precious name I pray, Amen.

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Faithfully Afflicted

My pastor recently introduced me to the S.O.A.P. Bible study method and, as I’m enjoying it quite a bit, I thought I’d share some of what the Lord’s been teaching me. Hope you enjoy!

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Scripture

Psalm 119:75

“I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.”

Observe

The word ‘judgments,’ as it’s used here, doesn’t mean ‘punishments’ but rather ‘decisions.’ God makes the right – and the righteous – decisions every time. He is God. He knows the beginning from the end and He sees the whole picture. He is in Heaven, outside of time, looking out across all eternity. He sees all the little details and He knows how to make them work together for His glory and our good. He makes the right call. Every. Time. And when that call hurts us, or doesn’t protect us from getting hurt, it’s still the right call. What’s more, those calls, even the ones that bring about afflictions, are all made in perfect faithfulness to us. He is kind, wise, merciful, and loving, even when it hurts. Even when He hurts. These afflictions are sent from a merciful and kind heart.

Application

I don’t agree with or approve of several, several, of the decisions God has made in my life over the last… well, over my whole life, actually. If I was holding the pen, I would have written a very different story. Furthermore, I don’t agree with the decisions He’s made in the lives of those around me either. They don’t feel righteous or just or faithful to me. Not at all. Biggest case in point is my infertility. I don’t agree with the Lord’s decision to withhold children from me. And I have a heart full of judgment when I look at women whom He has chosen to bless in that way. I don’t at all like the afflictions He’s placed in my husband’s life, in my best friend’s life, in the lives of other people I know and love… none of it feels like it’s been done in faithfulness.

But it has. The Bible says it has. And we can’t go by ‘the feels,’ we have to stand on the truth. So if I can’t get the truth to reconcile with what I’m feeling, I have to work on my feelings, and the root cause behind them, to get them to align with the truth. And the truth is that God is good. He is a good, good Father. He loves us, and He cares about us, and He knows what He’s doing. Even when it hurts. God. Is. Good.

Prayer

I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. Therefore, I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.  Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You; therefore, I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes. Amen


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