“Remember this when you doubt …”

On my MacBook, I have a little program called Stickies. I keep various notes, reminders, and Scripture verses there as a reminder. Today I was perusing the notes I’ve left myself there, and I opened up the pink sticky that is titled “Remember this when you doubt.”

There is only one verse typed underneath. 1 Timothy 3:16:

“All scripture is inspired by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”


All Scripture.

That means not one word was spoken without God’s Spirit behind it.

That means that every word is inscribed with His fingertip and carries life because He is the author. Every word.


And the enormity of this verse weighs upon my heart because these past two years I have clung to God’s Words with every fibre of my being, even though they have caused me division and have forced me to choose between making people feel good or choosing the Words I believe to be true. I have been told that I am foolish to cling to Words which carry little meaning to the culture we live in. I have been told I am judgmental, religious, un-loving because I believe every Word Christ inscribed in Scripture. I have clung to those words when the world around me has told me that they are outdated, or that they leave too many “gray areas” for us to ever take them literally.

Believing that ‘all Scripture is inspired by God’ has been a hard statement for me to stand by. But I have chosen to believe it, and because it is truth every word I read in Scripture breathes life into my soul. Because it is truth, it is worth every hurtful word thrown at me. It is worth being considered foolish, because in reality, the Words inspired by God speak Wisdom into my heart.

They are inspired.


And they contain life.

Finding Little Gems

Sometimes when I read the Bible I fall across a verse that glistens and shines like a little gem. It’s hidden in between a mountain of other verses, but for some reason on that day, my eyes and heart will fall upon its words, and it’s as if the words scream, “Listen to me! Here is wisdom! Take it, drink it in, impress it upon your heart!”

And today I found one of those gems in Proverbs (which, really is a book FULL of gems, it’s like a crystal clear brook that you reach deep into and come out with shining, glistening stones!):

“The wisest of women builds her house,
but folly with her own hands tears it down.”
(Proverbs 14:1)


These words mean a lot to me, for I have seen what happens when a house is torn down. I have seen what folly – both by man and woman – done by their own hands can do in allowing a house to crumble down, the house which was built with the very same hands with which it was torn down.

The same hands which tear a house down can build it up.

The same mouth with which we can bless one another can also curse and destroy.

“From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. 
My brothers, these things ought not to be so!” 
(James 3:10)

The same feet with which we can follow Christ can also turn and run away from Him.

“If we live by the Spirit, 
let us also keep in step with Spirit.” 
(Galatians 5:25)


And my heart echoes the cry of James, my brothers, these things ought not to be so! May our hands build up instead of tear down; may our mouth bless instead of curse; may our feet follow Him instead of turning away.

A Little Lesson from Nehemiah

I hate waking up with the feeling that something is wrong. I had waking up being reminded of the brokenness in my life. I hate that weight on my shoulders as I climb out of bed, the punch-in-your-stomach kind of feeling that something is just not quite right.


But this morning, as I woke up to those feelings once again, my mind wandered to the prophet of Nehemiah. I love that guy. If you’ve never read that small book in the Bible, do it: right now. He is a man of God who carried a great burden to see the walls of Jerusalem rebuilt. And this burden he cried over for forty days. Forty days! Day and night he wept for the burden that had been placed upon his shoulders. Day and night he interceded, and woke up every day with the same reminder: something is just not quite right.


And he reminded me: maybe I’ve been hating this feeling for so long I’ve failed to appreciate it.

Maybe what I should be doing instead of praying to be rid of these feelings is to pray a prayer of thanks instead. Because it is good to be reminded when something is not right. It is good to be reminded of the pain that surrounds us. It is good to be reminded, like Nehemiah was, to intercede.  Charles Spurgeon wrote, “When God puts a burden upon you, He puts His own arms underneath.”

Nehemiah was never once alone carrying that burden. Every morning he awoke to the reminder that something was wrong, God met with Him there. Nehemiah wrestled with that burden, interceded for that burden, and as He did, God put His own arms underneath.

He put His arms underneath.

Forgiven

Yesterday in church, I heard a message that resonated deeply within my heart.

Painfully so, however. It clanged and echoed and pushed its way inside the depths of my heart. It pushed up pain, hurt, anxiety, until tears trickled slowly down my cheeks.
The message was about forgiveness. I have always thought of myself as someone who forgives easily, who easily confesses to God above that I have forgiven someone who has wronged me.
But I have come to learn I tend to put restrictions on my forgiveness.
I say, “I will forgive you, but I can never forget what you’ve done.”
I say, “I will forgive you, but I will never trust you again.”
And still I say, “I’ll forgive, but I can’t ever let you close to me again after how you’ve hurt me.”
But is this how we are called to forgive? Always adding a “but” clause?
The pastor used an illustration yesterday. He spoke of a woman who’s husband had cheated on her, and she told him, “I’ll forgive you, but I can’t ever be close to you again.” And in my mind, I agree. It’s justifiable. How could she, after what he had done to her? But after a pause, the pastor added, “What if God said that to us?”
What if God said to me, “I will forgive you – but I can’t ever be close to you again”?
We are called to forgive as He has forgiven. And putting those restrictions on our forgiveness is not how we are called to forgive. And that is a hard realization – allbeit a good one – but definitely a hard lesson to take to heart. I can’t put restrictions on my forgiveness. I need to keep no record of wrong. It certainly isn’t an excuse for the other person – and I struggle with this – but I cannot keep record of wrong if I have forgiven them. How hard that is, though!

For He First Loved Me

They broke me.


I will never forget what the pain of selfishness causes.

They can tell me over and over again how proud they are of me, what a wonderful woman I have become, but in the end, part of me desires to spite them. To be a horrible person. To yell instead of speak softly. To fail in every one of my classes. To show them in every way that they broke me to the very core of my being. To show them that they stole what meant the most to me in this world, and I will never forget it.

I want them to know what it feels like to know the people in your life who are here to protect you, to give you security, to give you shelter in this turmoil of life, weren’t there. I want them to know what it is like to see the people you love with all your heart harden their hearts and become different people.

I want them to know that missing them, who they were, missing what was stolen from me causes me to weep at night. I want them to know it. I want to break them as they have broken me, for maybe in doing so they will finally realize what they’ve done.

I just want them to feel. I want them to act. I want them to see. I want them to hear.

Can’t they see how this mistake, how this sin, how this selfishness, how this pride has broken their very own flesh? Has destroyed my heart in pieces? Has taken my security, my hope, my family?

Yet they sit silently. They act as if nothing has changed, when the very world we live in has shattered.

Are they so foolish as to not hear the cry of the broken? Their own child, weeping alone at night? How can they turn a deaf ear, a blind ear, to their own flesh and blood that was created out of their love?

But yet, there is a whisper that softly says, “Grace.”

And I turn my ear away.

It whispers still. “Forgiveness.”

And I resist.

It urgently insists, “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”
And I cry, “But of course it does – they need to know. They need to know what they’ve done to me.”

But still the voice replies, “Forgive as I have forgiven you.”
And I shake and tremble, for the Voice is true. He calls me to a higher place, but the road to that place is so hard. But I will walk it, I will stumble to the place that He has called me to. I will persevere to the place of forgiveness, the place where grace will permeate every word I speak to them. I will love, no matter how hard, not matter the tears I will cry, for He first loved me.