Our Post-Pit Life, [Choosing Well]

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“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
 3who forgives all your iniquity,
   who heals all your diseases,
  4who redeems your life from the pit.”

Psalm 103:2-4, ESV

You can’t help but respond to His deliverance of your soul.  Stop and think.

You have been lifted to a place of safety.  He has poured on you extraordinary blessings.  Complete forgiveness, total healing, and a secure redemption–you’ve been purchased off “the slave block.”  So much has happened to you since you met Jesus. Plus he loves you, present-tense. He has gifted you with the premium salvation package!

Our deliverance wasn’t just “once upon a time,” way back then. I suggest that it is for now, in this present moment. Do you remember when you first understood Jesus’ sacrifice for you? Can you recall the joy and peace when he “broke you out” of your miserable cell?

Dear one, a pit was dug to trap you.  If you’ve fallen into it, you won’t be able to escape on your own. It will do its work, grimly and completely.  Falling into it should not be part of your plan, it is a dark place. But there are many living who reside in this pit.  It most evil and desperate place, and fully destructive to the souls of men.

In the light of this “atrocity of the pit,” deliverance is monumental.  When we are lifted out of the darkness, we start for the first time living a life of worth and meaning.  This alone should generate an overflowing heart. If you will only start to walk in understanding, you will start to find victory!

Forgiveness, healing and redemption: This triumvirate bores into our heart.  These three words create salvation deep inside us.  Each concept shapes us into ways that could never happen unless the Father wanted it. And He delights in delivering people from their darkness.

He lifts us out of that wicked trap. Look! He is coming to free us!

Our simple response must only be to worship.  For many of us, it will take time and practice.  Worship needs to be learned, we simply don’t do it naturally.  But, thats ok.  Simply put, we just need to start, and not forget all that He has done.  Please, don’t forget.  But remember all that He has done for you!  Psalm 103 will teach you, and bring you to a special place.

Whom should we love, if not Him who loved us, and gave himself for us?

Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

 

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The Test of a Profound Silence, [Extreme Faith]

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But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”

Matthew 15:23, NLT

This is exceptional.  Jesus is always engaging people around him.  He teaches and preaches, fully energized by the Holy Spirit.  He is a veritable hurricane of goodness and love.  He heard every request, and healed every disease.  But yet.  On this occasion he is completely silent.

The woman’s piteous crying, and begging was seemingly ignored.  “If Jesus won’t respond to me, I will go to his followers.”  She presses, and cajoles.  She falls on her knees.  Have you ever seen a person truly beg?  It is a very disconcerting experience.  Yet, Jesus does nothing, in spite of being able to do all things.

She is a Canaanite; a pagan widow, and her daughter was demonized.  Curiously, there was a large heathen temple to Eshmun, the Canaanite god of healing, was just three miles down the road.  But her desperate cry was for something real.  Something authentic and real that would heal her daughter’s affliction.  Only Jesus has what she needs.

Jesus is astonishingly silent.  He stands and sees, he hears her cries.  She is sobbing, clutching at the disciples robes, disheveled and distressed.  It was a desperate scene. Very ugly and very sad.

Jesus responds to his disciple’s plea.  Then there is something that seems like a negotiation.  A protracted conversation with a ‘seemingly’ reluctant Messiah.  It is somewhat disturbing as we listen.  Jesus seems to treat her callously.  I have always been mystified by this, troubled by his behavior. I can only conclude that what he did was necessary in some way.

But the Son of God sees through this. 

And then she makes an incredible statement.  Jesus is suddenly amazed at her faith in him.  This faith is what he has been waiting to see. She may have known despair, but that isn’t enough. Jesus leads her from the edge. Until she moved to a position of belief, nothing will change. Faith seems to change everything.  This is key.  It isn’t her words that alters things– it is her heart!  At that moment, Jesus declares a healing for her daughter.  She is now free from the demon’s grip.

So often I have also felt the pressure from the darkness.  I am often embattled and driven into a despair that seems to cripple me.  But Jesus is waiting for me, to come to him through an unflinching faith.  My good works can never, ever be enough.  I’m just like a dog, waiting for food under the table.  I have little, if any, decorum or sophistication.  There is nothing at all, to commend me to him. Nothing at all.

“Our Lord sometimes yet seems to be silent to His people when they cry to Him. To all their earnest supplications He answers not a word. Is His silence a refusal? By no means. Ofttimes, at least, it is meant only to make the suppliants more earnest, and to prepare their hearts to receive richer and greater blessings. So when Christ is silent to our prayers, it is that we may be brought down in deeper humility at His feet, and that our hearts may be made more fit to receive heaven’s gifts and blessings.”

–J.R. Miller

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When Anxiety Becomes An Issue

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 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

Matthew 6:27, NLT

“And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life?”

Matthew 6:27, AMP

Anxiety can be described as “misplaced concern.”  Many are over-wrought and disturbed by the way life is developing for them.  They can’t make it work, and find themselves in a place they regard as perilous.  They are stressed and then try to imagine themselves to a place of success.  But a year from now, they will not have improved and find themselves in pretty much in the same place.

The evil of anxiety is that we become overly concerned with the future— today. 

Under a great deal of worry, we develop a deep tendency for fear.  Soon doubt filters in and we work ourselves up into a significant problem.  Seeking success we find ourselves in the chains of anxiety and worry.

Jesus declared that we should never ever be anxious.  He suggests that anxiety will never pay-off.  Our fear over our future can bring us nothing but spiritual poverty, and emotional crisis  We find a bag and we try to collect some security and certainty, but little do we know that our bag has holes.  It holds nothing, and leaks everything.

No matter what we think, we change a single thing.  Concentrating on wealth and success will in the long run, is futile and empty.  We can’t make an iota of a difference.

6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7, NLT

Security for us is not what we can scrape up, but it is found in coming under the control of Jesus Christ.  We have an awareness that life is cruel, capricious and demanding.  We sift through our life, our eyes eager to find something, anything that will help us.  And, we find nothing. But faith in God will push the anxious thoughts out.

“An unpeaceful mind cannot operate normally. Hence the Apostle teaches us to “have no anxiety about anything” (Phil. 4:6). Deliver all anxious thoughts to God as soon as they arise. Let the peace of God maintain your heart and mind (v. 7).”

Watchman Nee

Anxiety seems to be a disturbing companion to those of us with a mental illness.  (We definitely don’t like his company.)  Anxiety shapes us and victimizes us, and we often find ourselves in a confusing place. But understanding the presence of anxiety is just a half-step towards freedom. We must shake ourselves of the fear and doubt that accompanies this sin.

We must trust our Father, and completely lean on his grace. We must learn to pray again.

Important to Know:

General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a seperate category of mental illness, and although similar to the anxiety experienced by many, requires the help of medical professionals.  We should not confuse the two. GAD is an illness and not just basic anxiety. Panic attacks can often accompany GAD. Get help if you think this might be an issue for you. 

Visit http://www.medicinenet.com/panic_disorder/article.htm for more information.

 

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