Embracing Deeper Truths

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by Graham Mol

There is a psalm written by King David that seems at odds with itself. There seem to be two truths here. One, a feeling of abandonment by God on the one side and the other a trust in God’s unfailing love and goodness…

Psalm 13

Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
    How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
    with sorrow in my heart every day?
    How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
    Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
    Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.

But I trust in your unfailing love.
    I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the Lord
    because he is good to me.

This apparent paradox is explained really well by pastor Karl Vaters who has this to say about how many of us are feeling during this turbulent and traumatic time in our lives:

There are always two sets of truths running parallel in our lives – especially at a time like this.

Immediate truths: I feel confused, hurt, angry, or fearful right now.

Deeper truths: I know that God is greater than my current feelings and I have faith that he’ll get us through.

Both are true.

Although the immediate truths are more obvious and visceral, the deeper truths are more real. We need to acknowledge the immediate truths, but embrace the deeper truths.

“I’m feeling defeated right now, but I know God is able.”

“My mind is in confusion, but my heart will follow Jesus.”

“This feels scary, but greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world.”
 
I find Karl’s observation to be really helpful in navigating the uncertainty and widely ranging and changing emotions that many of us are experiencing. Although we know that God is with us and will never fail us, we still have times of doubt and fear. It’s not helpful to deny those feelings. They are real. But it is also not helpful to allow those more immediate feelings to make us forget the deeper truths of God’s love and faithfulness despite our circumstances. And so I am encouraging myself, and I would encourage you to embrace the deeper truths. To walk by faith and not by sight and to trust in the Lord, to find assurance in his unfailing love and faithfulness.
 
 
God Bless
Graham

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Live the life you love… Love the life you live

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When you’ve journeyed closely with enough people through life, the way I have, you soon come to realize that unexpected bumps in life, causing our plans to derail and our hopes to shatter, are really par for the course.

Maybe you had a dream crushed after years of pursuing it. Perhaps you stayed at a job for years building your retirement fund, only for the company to go bankrupt and take your life savings with it. Perhaps you’ve experienced the heartbreak of infertility when you planned on having a full house. Maybe you had a loved one die far too soon, leaving you feeling alone and lost. Maybe you were struck with an illness that limits your abilities and independence. Or by now, you thought you’d be married but are still single, or maybe you invested in a marriage that ended in divorce.

Maybe nothing earth-shattering has happened at all, and life is just the same as it has always been. But if you’re perfectly honest with yourself the life you’re living isn’t the one you expected, much less the one you wanted. Same ol’ circumstances, different day. And therein lies the problem: Have you ever thought that surely there has to be more to life than this? Maybe you think loving the life you have is impossible unless circumstances change.

Well here’s another way of looking at things. God can help us accept that although we can’t change the circumstances we sometimes find ourselves in, we can change how we react to them.

We have been given one life to live — this life — and we can either continue to allow adversities to have power over our happiness, or we can embrace God’s promise for abundant life and make it a reality. The choice is yours!

In the Gospel of John, Jesus explains that there’s a thief who seeks to steal, kill and destroy us. But He continues by declaring that He came to earth so we could not only live life but live it abundantly despite the thief’s intentions –

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10NLT)

Here we see the contrast between the destroyer of happiness and the Giver of joy.

Jesus was telling us that He is the answer to experiencing the best life possible despite what life throws at us. He is what gives our lives meaning and joy. Choosing to learn to love my life, even if it isn’t always the life I imagined, is the best choice I can make. Granted it isn’t always easy, but as we intentionally choose to let Jesus be the source of our joy, even in the midst of less-than-joyful circumstances, our perspective and feelings change for the better. You can live a rich and satisfying life based in Christ alone or let life pass you by as you allow problems, disappointments or drudgery to steal your zest for living.

Loving life is a choice, not a by-product of everything going your way. Our peace, joy, contentment, fulfillment and overall happiness depend on the choice we make.

Live the life you love, by loving the life you live.

 

Yours,

Calven

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Blessed

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Guest Post

Blessed

(based on Matt 5 v 3-16)

Humble men are truly blessed
The Kingdom of Heaven is theirs
Those who mourn are also blessed
Cause deep comfort will be theirs

The meek and lowly are fortunate
The whole world belongs to them
Those who seek justice and right
Satisfaction will be known by them

Blessed are the merciful and kind
They shall know great mercy
Blessed are those with hearts refined
God’s face they will surely see

Blessed are those who strive for peace
They’ll be called God’s children
And those persecuted on their knees
Will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven

When you’re slandered and maligned
Be delighted because I live in you
Your heavenly reward is being refined
Ancient prophets were persecuted too

You’re the seasoning of the earth
Which makes it tolerable to “eat”
But if you lose your spicy worth
You will be trampled under feet

You are the world’s light on a hill
Shining in the darkness for all to see
Don’t hide, let it shine strong and still
Let your goodness glow for all to see

O heavenly Father we praise you
Halleluyah.. we praise you

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Be Joyful!

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Today, while looking out the window I saw our one dog happily rolling around on the grass. He really seemed to be enjoying himself, getting a good scratch while he rolled in some smelly thing to mask his scent (this according to dog experts is instinctual behaviour). There have been other occasions, when he’s had a toy rope that he’s run around “throwing” the rope around for himself and having a great time.

What really stuck with me as I saw my dog rolling around was this sense of joy. He really seemed carefree and loving the moment. This got me thinking about how important joy is, in our lives. As Christians we should be people characterised by joy as we have the most reason to celebrate. This is not to say that being joyful means that you’re always smiling and laughing, there are times for being serious, for sorrow. Joy is not a facade of “happy all the time” that we need to put up. Yet, at the same time, joy does mean times of laughter, jollity and light-heartedness. Because of the joy in our hearts we should be quicker to laugh than to scowl, quicker to say a word of encouragement than a word of complaint.

Not my actual dog, but you get the idea...

The joy of the Lord’s people when they are gathered together is something I am really missing about New Harvest. Those jokes in the notices or in the service when something doesn’t quite go to plan, and yet no one minds as they have a good chuckle about it. It is really is a strength, as Nehemiah affirms in his words to God’s people:

“…This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength,” (Nehemiah 8:10)

It is strength to face the ups and downs of life with joy in our hearts. Joy that comes from our relationship with the Lord, joy that comes from knowing all that we have in Christ, salvation and a hope and a future. We can then understand why Paul urges the believers “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) and again in another one of his letters, Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

I too would urge you to not allow the negative situation we face during this time to steal your joy. Take comfort and encouragement in the Lord. Face the obstacles with joy and you’ll find it easier to laugh than to complain.

I look forward to the day when we can all be together and have a good laugh again!

 

God Bless

Graham

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