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Jan
21

walking in faith

IMG_0382He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed. Proverbs 13:20 nkjv

It began with an unexpected change in circumstance, then the inkling of a dream appeared, the goodness of a heart emerged.

For the first time in a marriage, God has placed a husband and wife on the same path.  Excitement has replaced fear. Anticipation has replaced discontent. Joy has replaced anger. Sacrifices and commitments hold firm even on the days they are least likely to be kept.

It has been a year fraught with disaster and drenched in beauty.

Few understand we are opening more than a business.  In the center of it all is God and a ministry. It is about the building of faith and the saving of a soul.

The delays and stumbles along the way have just been attacks of the devil, his worthless attempt to thwart the plans before us.  The devil does not like it when we follow God.  He will attack from every angle because he wants to see our demise.  He will attack at unexpected times even when everything we do is right.  He will bury the truth no matter how loud or how many times we speak it in our defense.  He will use those around us including friends and even family.  He will twist and turn us and wring us through.  And when we think there is not one person left that can hurt us, not one person who could do any more damage to the situation, he will turn around and use us too.

But in the devil’s use and abuse of us, God faithfully refines us.

The truth I know is those who sit back and attack my character, spread lies and slander me, they lack the ability to see their own imperfectness.  It is never fun to hold a mirror up to our own soul because it can be a dark and scary place even if we are not bad people.  We are not going to like what we see there. So we must be brave and trust God’s goodness. It is so much easier to find someone else’s faults, someone else’s sins because it distracts us from our own so in this we must refrain.

But for the last eight years, that is exactly what I have done.  I have held that mirror daily and asked God to fix my broken places. Few have bothered to notice because most see only what they want to see, often because it suits their self-centered wants.

IMG_0372Yet in the wake of arrogance and hatred of others, I am refined by God.  In the turmoil and chaos, I learned I do not have to defend myself because God will fight for me, I am becoming a wiser person who is able to discern God’s voice and a bolder person who can still praise Jesus for all His goodness and grace even though so many fight against me, and a stronger person because God has taken away anyone from whom I can seek approval in lieu if His own.

In it all, He has taught me to focus on Him and Him alone. This doesn’t make me perfect, however it does make me more receptive to hear God.  And no other person can tell me what God wants from me.  They can offer unsolicited advice and opinions, but God speaks to us individually, discreetly and uniquely.

And He whispers to my heart every moment of every day….

I know the truth.

I know your heart.

So hang on because I am here.

Do not fear.

I will not leave you nor forsake you.

I have a plan for you to prosper you and give you hope.

So be obedient.

The bad, misguided things people do to us are gifts.  We can not understand God’s ways or motives, but you can be sure He understands ours.  If we have love in our hearts, are willing to give others the benefit of doubt even when past history dictates we ought not to, are willing to give when we have little so someone who has less can have something, if we are willing to pray to God and listen for a response, if in that moment we are tempted to gossip or slander or believe lies and do not, if in a moment of being pushed beyond our limit even though for months we have been respectful can control ourselves in a moment of anger and rash behavior, then we have the beginnings of change. Even if we stumble in the midst and make a mistake.

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When no one will hear truth, when you feel alone and abandoned, just remember God will fight for you and He alone will remove every obstacle that stands in the way of His plans. And you won’t have to do but one thing: when God reveals the truth and opens the eyes of those around you, to those who have believed lies about you, extend forgiveness to those people because that is the entire reason Jesus died for us – to save us because He loved us.

And above all, we are called to love.

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