Living Through the Muck and Mire of Life

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Over the past week or so, we have been talking about our dependence upon the Lord and how he works wonders in our lives, not because of anything we do, but because of his unconditional love for us. Just think how life would be if we did not interject our own wants and desires that derail us. Our Free Will causes problems when not in alignment with the Word. Our Free Will hears the voice of the Holy Spirit telling us what to do but ignores it, it falls on deaf ears. Free Will carries consequences. We head off blindly down a trail, not a clearly defined road, and when we look up, we find ourselves in the muck and mire, or according to the King James Version of the Bible, mud and mire.

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He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2 NIV 

Think of muck and mire being something like quicksand, or a horrible muddy pit at the worst and a muddy hole in the road, at the least. The Lord plucks us out of the pits we fall into – the muck and mire of destruction. While we’re in the pit wallowing in the mud, we often feel that our situation is beyond hope, beyond help, beyond recovery. We find ourselves slipping off the rock we are attempting to perch ourselves on to stop the slippage, still trying to be in control of our destiny; and in a ruinous state of sin and guilt, unable to save ourselves.

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And, while we are slipping and sliding, seeking solid ground and exhausted, ‘in steps God’. Christ is our rock, and he takes us by the hand and plants us back on solid ground. He re-establishes our steps and leads us to safety. Whenever we find ourselves caught in the muck and mire of life, remember Psalm 40:2. Like a parent, he picks us up, cleans us off and stands us back up.

 

As Christians, we continue to grow in a relationship with our Lord, and we will continue to follow Free Will that diverts us from our path. We will continue to find ourselves in situations that nudge us to become more and more dependent on our Lord and Savior. Our experiences are lessons that cause our ears to become more inclined to hear the quiet voice that says do not turn to the left or the right; keep your foot from evil. Proverbs 4:27 NIV.  Branches on the Canyon

The direction we take is of our choosing. We choose to follow the Lords’ voice, and we also choose the way of the muck and the mire. As Christian Warriors we must learn not to depart from the prescribed path but listen to the quiet voice behind us saying, this is the way. We must learn to tame our Free Will to stay out of the muck and mire,  however, when we find ourselves there, call out to the Lord. He is patiently waiting for us.

Our Lord is a Lord of multiple chances. As long as we are in a relationship with him, he will never turn away from us.

 

 

 

 

 

Images – Google Images
Scripture – Biblehub.com

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Alienated from Man and God

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God did not create us to live in a bubble or vacuum, he created us to be part of the body of Christ and have fellowship with one another. He created us to interact with other human beings. He created Adam and realized that one being was not sufficient for growth, hence the creation of Eve. He created an immaculate relationship between himself and man. Their sin of not listening to God (conversations about the Does and Don’ts) led to the fall and their estrangement from the Garden of Eden. This is the moment man became alienated from God.

“I have become estranged from my brothers and an alien to my mother’s brothers.”
Psalm 69:8

In swept the 21st century and the advent of social media as a norm. Not all norms support personal or spiritual growth. As we become more addicted to life online, we begin to (only) find satisfaction in cursory relationships, human interaction becomes secondary. Verbal communication becomes infrequent unless we are in forced social settings such as school or work where interaction, teamwork, and meetings require you to hold a conversation. We are quickly becoming estranged from other people and going down the wormhole of alienation from everything, other people, family, and Christ. Once you are locked into your addiction, nothing else matters.

Verbal communication creates a dynamic environment where people practice the characteristics of Christ; kindness, honesty, faithfulness, trustworthiness, compassion, forgiveness, commitment, patience, gentleness, self-control, humility, loving and prayerful. Verbal communications create a form of harmony between neighbors. True reconciliation can only be accomplished when we acknowledge our sin and repent asking God’s forgiveness.

“ Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

When we move away from real human interaction and into the world of a limited number of characters and meme’s, we find that we create versions of ourselves that are often ruthless, arrogant, diabolical, self-obsessed, and dangerous. We create alternate self-images. Bullying becomes comfortable, there is no guilt in this setting, life, and death are reset and/or erased. At some point, we lose the ability to comfortably interact with people on a daily basis and begin to ease into an estranged and self-imposed isolation and alienation from others.

We find that the people on the other end of the smart chat, the game, and the community groups are pretending to be someone they aren’t. Their world becomes a fake world, much like fake news. It is created in Petri dishes, which leads to depression and often suicidal tendencies.

BF67BA5E-8FAC-4EAA-B5CA-1AA0F9AE27D8The most deadly trait we lose is that of being prayerful. We neglect our relationship with our Lord and soon become estranged. Not because he does not want to communicate with us, but because we shut him out. We reject our relationship with him, it is not the reverse. We begin to live in a world of isolation.

Alienation is the mother that gives birth to other alienation’s: the alienation between God and man, man and God. (Ferguson)

Isolation opens us up to spiritual attack. Sin, depression, selfishness, anger, and hate become comforting.

“Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.”
Romans 7:21.

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Christians should never isolate themselves from other believers. The church is built on community. Through community, we establish corporate prayer. Through corporate prayer, we establish a relationship with other members of the community and God. Our world becomes more welcoming when we support one another and establish a norm we lost when society changed from small-town life to city life. We lost a sense of connectedness that some think is reignited in online social and gaming communities. The truth remains that they are alienated from the World, isolated from their family members and estranged from God.

“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
Thessalonians 5:14

Let us encourage the disheartened and lost to re-enter life and reconcile with our Lord, the guardian of our souls. ‘Alienation from God is not only real but dangerous-and the depth of the alienation is evidenced by the fact that we think we are in no danger at all.’  (Ferguson, Ligonier Ministries)

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Images from Google Images

Visit: youngchristianwarriors.com for more from Lisa Blair

People Pleasers

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Seeking the Approval of Man or God

How many of us get trapped trying to please the people around us, to our detriment? While this is a human trait, the Lord speaks to us in Galatians 1:10, about our allegiance to man.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

The two are mutually exclusive. You can attempt to please the people around you or you can please God. The old saying, you can please some of the people some of the time, but cannot please all of the people all of the time is moot. You cannot focus on pleasing people if it does not align with the Word of God. Being a people pleaser affects your relationship with God. It also affects your ability to make good decisions and it will wear you out.

People will not love you more if you bend over backward attempting to prove yourself to them. People pleasing is often our attempt at covering up past mistakes, failures, missteps, wrongdoings, and embarrassments. People pleasing is our attempt at trying to convince others to recognize us, to view us differently, to approve who we are and to love us.

The truth is that only God has the power to free us from our sins. Only God’s love can make us whole, not man. When we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior we were transformed. Through the transformation, we were freed from trying to please people and instead become obedient to the Word and please God. Our goal moving forward is to stop attempting to please others, our spouses, friends, relatives, employers, and associates. People pleasing requires going overboard, often being personally afflicted by the decisions we make to please others. The transformation focuses our lives on God, not on people.

When we seek to please people, we must do so as Christ did. This type of people pleasing is very different than the carnality of becoming a whipping post. Our efforts to please others often causes friction between you and the people you are trying to please, eventually, the efforts go unnoticed and unappreciated and at the same time, there is the expectation that you will continue bending over backward. The relationship is abusive.

Only pleasing God will provide the results you are looking for, unconditional love. Your relationship frees you of guilt. It strengthens you and teaches you that you are his child and you can love yourself in a healthy way, not to become haughty, self-serving, pompous and prideful, but to grow and become a humble servant. Carnal people pleasing is a selfish and self-serving dependency. People pleasing is an act of desperation attempting to gain approval from people.

There is an adage, but for the grace of God, there go I. As Christians, God freed us of our sins. We no longer have to attempt to please others and to seek their approval. We no longer have to seek love. God loves us and is the only one that can quell our insatiable desire to be loved. In God, we have redemption through his blood, the riches of his grace, and the wisdom and understanding that our purpose in life is not to be a people pleaser living in self-deprivation, but as a child of God seeking to please him.

There are two scriptures that will help you shift your thinking.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness ”. Matthew 6:33, and “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding”. Proverbs 3:5.

You cannot be a people pleaser and please the Lord. One is the result of co-dependency, the other is dependency upon our Lord and Savior.

Images from, Google Images

Bible Quotes from, YouVersion. Bible.com

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Strength in Brokenness

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Proverbs 18:14 states that if our inner spirit is injured, the whole person will struggle.

‘The Spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who will heal a broken spirit?’

We cannot cure our broken spirit by ourselves, no matter how we try. It is impossible. Only God can heal us, but we must shed our pride, stubbornness, self-will and sinful habits first. We must repent and acknowledge we are broken and dysfunctional and need His help. It is through God’s grace that our sinful nature, our sinful humanity can be reconciled. Jesus was crucified to take away our sin. Through God’s love and sacrifice, we are able to repent and be redeemed. Through His grace and mercy, we can be made whole.

The dichotomy between the spirit man and the carnal man is that we see brokenness as ‘failure’ but our Lord sees brokenness as the beginning of healing. To God, brokenness is the beginning of our relationship with Him. When we are broken, we become completely dependent upon Him and in turn, He will begin to rebuild us in His image. Only when we surrender and cry out for help, can we be restored and transformed.

‘The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ Psalm 3:18

 

Power In The Name Of Jesus

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The Name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10

There is power in the name of Jesus. He breaks every chain.

“Jesus is a consecrated place; a place of refuge; a place of protection. With Jesus we find sacredness and peace and calmness, protection and refuge from a world that has hurt us and abused us. Coming to God is like coming home where we know we are safe, we are accepted, we are loved. And, there is nothing we have to do to earn it.”

Sometimes it is enough to simply call out his Name in times of need or praise, JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, other times use His Name in the opening, ‘Jesus’ and the close of prayer, ‘In Jesus Name, Amen’.

Put this in your spirit.

Repeat this throughout the day and change the atmosphere in your life. This is my meditation for the day. Join me in changing your atmosphere and your life. This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice in it and nestle in His love for you.

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Quote from: There Really Is Power in the Name of Jesus. Charisma news.com, last lines paraphrased.

Pictures: Google Images