I am blessed and unreasonably excited for this coming year! My hope is that you are, too. I'm praying that you are encouraging yourself in the Lord and committing your ways to Him. When we do this, He will cause our plans to become established and succeed according to His will.
I know that for some, it has been a hard year. It has been a hard season for me!
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those are called according to His purpose. (Don't forget the next scripture!) "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." Romans 8:28,29
I was coming home from a friend's house last summer when the Lord spoke to me. A group of us had been meeting weekly for Bible study, fellowship and prayer and we had spent the morning in prayer, declaring the truth of God's Word. The Lord told me I had been in a "Job season", that it was ending now, and I had succeeded in this season. I was driving when the Lord spoke to me and I know I drove the rest of the way home in a daze.
I have always loved the story of Job. I know that sounds contrary. I have never loved all the tragedy that poor Job suffers~ obviously. What I do love is that the enemy has to ask God's permission to attack Job. We can always know that God keeps the enemy within a boundary that he cannot cross. And we can trust Romans 8:28, 29
So when God spoke this to me, I immediately understood that God had permitted this season to cause me to become more Christ-like. I also believe that God is good all the time. That all His ways are perfect. Psalm 18:30
There has been a theology taught in the Body of Christ that Jesus bore all the affliction so that we don't have to. But when we look at the lives of the men and women of the Bible, we see over and over again, that they suffered because of the gospel. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
Often time it's our weaknesses and sin that cause our afflictions. Remember Joseph and his pride as he shared his dreams with his brothers. But other times it's simply God's preparing us for what we are called to as He cleanses us from selfish ambition, pride, etc. and perfects our faith. Remember Joseph being thrown into prison even though he was innocent. Remember what God was preparing Joseph for.
Remember Moses living in the wilderness for years before he comes back to declare, "Let my people go!" Remember Saul/Paul being blinded by the Glory of God. Remember Noah building a boat for one hundred years in the middle of a desert while he was mocked and scorned.
I don't believe that God ever makes anyone sick. That was paid for by the Blood of Jesus on the cross. But I'll admit, I had to rethink several of my beliefs as I reconciled this to God. I'll also admit that I would like to think that Job was an isolated incident. lol
I think my Job season has lasted almost a decade. I wonder if I had done things differently if it would have been shortened. I honestly don't know. I certainly see my weaknesses and sin now. I see how I have reacted to adversity and see how much I need God in my life to change me and purify me.
I want to give glory to God that even through this hard season, the Lord spared me so much.
1 Corinthians 15:46 talks about the natural things coming before the spiritual things. Very often, examples we see in the Old Testament of physical happenings are to give us understanding of spiritual things. We see physical battles as examples of how to fight spiritually. I did not lose any family members or suffer physical loss. But the battle was very much against my mind and the things that God had called me to do. We all have to be cleansed of our fear of man to accomplish the things that God is requiring of us.
If you have been having a hard season, I want you to know that you're not alone. The hardest thing for me through this whole season was seeing others "doing well" and feeling alone. The truth is that from outward appearances, I looked like I was doing great. I have a confidence in the Lord and believe in speaking in faith and I was doing everything I knew to do.
It finally took me finding someone who I knew would understand for me to open up, confess my sin and wrong thinking, and ask for prayer. And I believe that God provided that in His timing. Sometimes we need to come to the end of ourselves before God can help us.
I want to add to this that God spoke the word "Rest" to me numerous times during 2017. I had to learn to rest again. Hebrews chapter 4 talks about the 'rest' that is Christ. I believe there was a time in my life that I was resting in the Lord but as I entered this season, I began to question and become unsettled. It took months before I was able to lay it all down and rest and trust God; tell Him that I was nothing without Him and simply ask for help with nothing to contribute.
I am a warrior. But I was a little like "Don Quixote" swinging my sword at windmills. I was tired. This lack of rest as I battled in my mind was my Job season.
There were times I wanted to blog, and knew eventually I would again, but I also kept feeling like God was telling me to cover myself, protect myself, and rest.
So, I think I'm back. I always want to make decisions day by day with the Lord, allowing Him to continually correct my voyage. I hope to share lots of things this coming year that I've learned about Godly health, decorating and everything else we face in this life of joy in Him.
My word for the new year is "Praise/Joy"~ because they're really the same thing!
love and blessings~
1Bless the Lord, O my soul,And all that is within me, bless His holy name.2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,And forget none of His benefits;3 Who pardons all your iniquities,Who heals all your diseases;4 Who redeems your life from the pit,Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;5 Who satisfies your years with good things,So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
6 The Lord performs righteous deedsAnd judgments for all who are oppressed.7 He made known His ways to Moses,His acts to the sons of Israel.8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.9 He will not always strive with us,Nor will He keep His anger forever.10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.12 As far as the east is from the west,So far has He removed our transgressions from us.13 Just as a father has compassion on his children,So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.14 For He Himself knows our frame;He is mindful that we are but dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,And its place acknowledges it no longer.17 But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,And His righteousness to children's children,18 To those who keep His covenantAnd remember His precepts to do them.
19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,And His sovereignty rules over all .20 Bless the Lord, you His angels,Mighty in strength, who perform His word,Obeying the voice of His word!21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,You who serve Him, doing His will.22 Bless the Lord, all you works of His,In all places of His dominion;Bless the Lord, O my soul!