Beach time!

Beach time!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Way in the Wilderness

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
Isaiah 43:18-19

     How many of us fear that our past decisions will impair our ability to serve God or block God's willingness to show us favor? We fear that our mistakes are bigger than anyone else's or that God will continue to hold us back even after we've asked for forgiveness. Isn't that exactly where the enemy wants us? He will watch us sin, gloat over our mess, and then convince us that we are not worthy to serve God or worth His blessings on our lives. That is a win-win for the enemy. He can't have a believer's heart but he sure can whisper lies of insufficiency and unworthiness to us.
     How do you and I avoid the cycle of sin and self-condemnation? Sometimes my desire is to look to others for acceptance to compensate for my disconnect from God. It will always backfire, however, because another person can never fulfill the sometimes un-named desire for connection with God. Have you ever felt, even as a child of God, that longing for more? The longing for connection? When I feel that sense I know that I have stepped away from God and have moved towards other sources of connections. For example, when I am struggling with a decision I tend to talk to my husband or pick up the phone and talk to a friend and then I start praying and looking for guidance in the bible. I have done that so many times without even thinking about the fact that I am working in the wrong order. First should come prayer and seeking answers in the bible and then looking to Godly counsel.
     What am I getting at? When I am feeling a cycle of the "I'm not good enoughs" hitting, I typically tend to seek others who will make me feel better. Then, when that doesn't work, I go to God in prayer. My desire is to discipline myself to go to God first for acceptance and guidance. When I learn to seek Him first, I will never again cycle through the self-condemnation. If the enemy can get us to condemn ourselves, then his job is done!
     What is your fear right now? You may feel like you are in a wilderness without a GPS. I know that is where we are right now. My lack of understanding can be frustrating. I don't know why God leads us through the wilderness but I do know that He doesn't send us out to the wilderness with a backpack and well wishes. He walks that wasteland with us. All I can do is put my hope in God and rely on His promises. He will make a path and He will provide the stream. Now, I may feel lost and thirsty before He gives me provisions but He will not fail me.
     Rely on His promises: He has redeemed you and will call you by name. You may pass through the waters but you will not drown. You may walk through the fires but you will not be burned. (Isaiah 43:1). He loves you (John 3:16).  Seek Him first and He will provide for you (Matthew 6:33). You are never condemned or defined for the past or present (Romans 8:1). He will work all things for your good if you love him and are called for His purpose (Romans 8:28).
     Life isn't easy sometimes but we can rely on the One who knows that better than anyone.

Thank you, Lord, for always accepting us. Thank you that you love us, correct us, and guide us but never condemn us. Thank you for wanting us. 

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