In The Trenches With The Lord

Healing

 

Now it came about when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war, and they return to Egypt” (Ex. 13:17).

If you are like me you are probably confronted with choices, of one type or another, each and every day.

This morning I had a choice of what coffee I wanted to drink. That was a simple one that really didn’t affect my life or that of those around me. But, some choices that we make change our lives in profound ways.

Sometimes we look back on life and realize that we made a bad choice. That choice may have affected not only our lives but also the lives of those around us for years and years.

Some of you know that my favorite secular quote is that of the poet Maya Angelo. I keep it on a “post it” note in my bible. It reads, “You did what you knew how to do, when you knew better you did better.” The Word says in Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

On Memorial Day one year there was a real tragedy in the little town we were living in, in Colorado, at the time. A life long resident, a known alcoholic in his middle fifties, shot and killed his wife and then did an overdose of prescription medications and killed himself. This couple had known each other since they went to school together and they had five children and several grandchildren.

A week or so later there was a letter to the editor of the newspaper. I am often shocked at life in a small town. The kinds of letters they printed there would not ever be printed in the newspaper of a large town, for fear of lawsuits. But a small town is another world, and I came to expect to see anything in print there and often did

The person writing the letter was one of the young sons of this couple. He was telling people to quit gossiping about his family. He was telling them his mom and dad were good people who had helped many other people in need. He was telling them that alcohol was not a good thing, and that it is what actually killed his mother and father. He then mentioned he was, himself, in jail and when he got out he didn’t want to hear anyone talking about his family.

I cried when I read that letter. My first instinct was to go down to the jail and ask to see that young man. I wanted to throw my arms around him and let him know that I knew how he felt. I wanted to tell him about Jesus and how Jesus was a man himself that was acquainted with unfair sorrow.

I know what’s its like to live in a small town and have a parent who is the town drunk. I grew up, in my grade school years, in a small town in Texas. My mother was the town drunk. I remember that, at that time, it snowed so much in that town we could have three and four-foot snow drifts. I distinctly remember the time my mother was drunk early in the morning and didn’t dress me properly to walk to school. I had no socks on with my little Mary Jane flat shoes, and was sent out the door to walk to school in those deep snowdrifts. My feet were red, swollen and numb by the time I got to school. Upon seeing that my teacher went to get another teacher and I can still see them in my mind as they stood there and whispered and pointed at me. Never once did they come and offer to help, never once did they get a towel and dry my feet. I remember that I felt shame. I felt as if it were somehow my fault. That shame led to years of low self-esteem and it also led me to rebel against authority figures, which I saw as those two gossipy teachers in my mind.

Now, you would have thought that seeing my mother drunk for years, until she found AA and remained sober for the next 25 years of her life, would have been enough for me to say to myself, “I will never take a drink, ever.” But like the young man above I too found myself in trouble with alcohol at one point in my life.

Satan meant my early life to destroy me. It didn’t because God had his hands on me. Sometimes we look back at our bad choices and say, “God why did you let me go through all of that?”

On the day I read that letter to the editor it became crystal clear to me “why.” Someone could go up to that young man and say, “I am so sorry for what you have been through!” and he might think, “That’s, nice but you don’t have a clue.”

On the other hand, all the hurt and all the shame I had gone through had prepared me for this one thing, this one time that I could go up to this young man, throw my arms around him and say, “I know what you are going through, brother. I have been there.”

All our hurts in life, all our wrong choices, can be used by God to help other people. I have noticed that when you minister to someone it is often useless if you cannot get past your pride and be “real” with him or her.

I hear people tell me, “I was raised in a Christian home, where the bible was preached on a daily basis, I have been saved my whole life.” Well, isn’t that wonderful. I am happy for you, but you don’t have a heart for hurting people. Unless you can drop the pride and admit that you aren’t perfect, no one is going to listen to you. Those types of people often make better teachers then counselors.

It’s only in the hard trenches experiences that we learn compassion for those who go though the same things.

So today, we know better. We make better choices. But we don’t hide the bad choices under a bush and hope the other “perfect” Christians don’t discover our pasts. Instead we use those things to rescue another person that God has sent us to, to tell our story. To let them see how God turned our lives around, and give them hope that He is able to do the same thing for them!
In His Never-Ending Love,

Cathie Miller

www.helpforgodshurtingpeople.com

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How Double-Mindedness Hinders Answers To Prayers

DoubleMinded

“Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” James 1:8

I was asked by someone recently what I thought was a major hindrance to prayers being answered.

Like everything else in my life it seems that I learned things the hard way. Sometimes I repeated doing things, that God was not pleased with me doing, over and over. I repeated lessons that God was trying to teach me because I was often rebellious and didn’t learn the first time.

If you are reading this God wants to use you in the Kingdom. After baptizing of the disciples, the next thing Jesus told them was that He wanted to make them fishers of men. He wants to use us to help lead others into the kingdom, and that means we have to be honest in our testimonies. In fact, the most successful ministers are those who use the testimony of their growth issues in ministering to others.

I believe that a lot of my prayers were delayed because God knew that I was not totally surrendered to Him. If I was in a position to minister to others and I still had a lot of garbage in my own life, sooner or later those things would come out and ruin my testimony.

Several years ago God began to speak to me about going into the “Holy of Holies,” with Him. In the Old Testament God speaks of the requirements for temple priests regarding entering the “Holy of Holies.”  He wanted these people to be set apart, different from the ones they would minister to. I believe He is asking the same of believers today. The time is too short to have people confused by the behavior of so-called believers that still love the world more then God. Look at the damage already done to the church by all the married ministers that have had affairs. Many fell because of these men. Yes, God forgives them, God always forgive, but damage was done to those who made the mistake of looking to “men” before God.

He wanted my ministry to grow, but first He wanted to make sure that I was no longer double minded with one foot in hell and the other foot in heaven. I needed to surrender some things that really didn’t belong in a Christians’ life.

Truthfully, I fought double mindedness for years. I loved to party at the clubs. I loved to dance and drink and have a good time. For years I told myself that it was okay for a Christian to participate in those things, because after all didn’t Jesus himself go into the bars to minister to the sinners? I thought I could still be a Christian and bring folks to Christ even in a bar. But the truth of it was that most of the time the sinners were bringing me to their level rather them me bringing them to Christ.

I can remember going home and the next day feeling so guilty. The Holy Spirit had convicted me often in these clubs that this wasn’t where I was to be. The last time I ever went into a club I remember on the way home the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, “What if this was the time Jesus came back for the church, would you be raptured while drinking and carousing in a club?” Honestly, that touched me in a way nothing else had.

So about sixteen years ago, I quit going to clubs. I still was doubled minded in a lot of other ways. As time went on God began to work on holiness in my life a little bit at a time.

I am not perfect, far from it, but as much as possible these days I try to keep my feet grounded in God’s Kingdom. I am not powerful enough to do that on my own. It takes soaking in prayer and asking God to cover me and my mind with the blood of Jesus daily.

God tests us. He wants to see if we are going to be true to Him and His word before He puts us in places of ministry. If we call ourselves Christians are we truly surrendering to Christ? Do we take up our cross and bear it each day like He did for us?

If you prayers go unanswered I would ask you, humbly, to take a look at your life. Things that might have felt fine before you were saved no longer should be in your life.

Some of these things are drugs, excessive drinking, telling dirty jokes, sex outside of marriage, dressing immodestly, gossiping, lying, and stealing. The list goes on and it is specific to each and ever person’s life.

When God can trust us with blessings, and when He knows we will use those blessings to benefit others, THEN AND ONLY THEN, does he give them to us. Like any other parent God wants His children happy. He knows though that giving us things when we are not ready to use them for the Kingdom will only hurt us and other Christians in the long run.

What we did yesterday, or even a minute ago, no longer matters. We ask God’s forgiveness and we repent and we move on. God never withholds forgiveness. NEVER.

The people who are without God are judging us on a daily basis. They look at us and if we are still steeped in some sin, just as they are, they see no need to come to Christ. They also believe us to be hypocrites and truly a lot of us are.

I have learned that nothing feels as good as totally surrendering your life to God. To give up things that we secretly find pleasurable in order to follow Christ offers us bigger rewards in the spiritual realm then we can ever begin to imagine.

Tomorrow could be too late. Give it all to Him NOW, and trust Him to keep you close to Him in total surrender.

Friendship with the world and the worldly things it offers is spiritual adultery. Give that a thought. Pray about it, and ask God to walk you out of the valley of double-minded behavior.

In His Unconditional Love,

Cathie

Ministering Wisdom Learned in the Crucible Of Fire to Christian Believers