Tag Archive for desiring God

Advice from Elisabeth Elliot

We all have them. Bad days. Unexpected problems. Things we didn’t sign up for. Things that are totally out of our control.

Maybe it is financial hardship or a loss of a job. Maybe someone who should be doing good to you is doing you harm.

A friend betrays you or a parent hurts you deeply. A child becomes terminally ill. A church member betrays you. A spouse walks out for good.

In all these things our hearts rise up in opposition to the crisis. We wonder if God sees, knows, or even cares.

advice

I love this quote by Elisabeth Elliot who had her life turned upside down by the murder of her husband, missionary Jim Elliot, by the very people he was on mission to help. Speared through by the Auca Indians.

In an instant, her world changed. Her husband was gone and she found herself a widow. Her children were fatherless. She was in a strange land, and she had two choices:

to see God as a loving, wise Father who always does what is best for her  or

to chose the path of bitterness and resentment toward God.

Hear what Elisabeth says:

“Lord, You have assigned my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure’ (Ps16:5). I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are cancelled. Decisions become much easier,directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter.”

We need the same mindset when things seem all wrong. A life of faith is a life of trust.

The Bible shows us many examples of sisters in Christ who faced hard times and chose to walk in faith, knowing that God would do what was right for them: Sarah, Abigail, Hannah and Mary to name a few. They welcomed and walked the hard path through faith. The surrendered their life to His plans.

  • Sarah packed up her life and followed her husband Abraham to their “new home.”  Problem was,  Abraham had no idea where he was taking her.  Only God knew where that would be.
  • Abigail lived with a drunken fool, but was godly enough to protect her household from King David’s anger at Nabal’s rudeness and insolence.
  • Hannah felt the pain of barrenness. She longed and prayed for children while living under the provoking taunting of her husband’s “other wife” who had no problem having children.
  • Mary  risked her reputation and many misunderstandings when she agreed to be the mother of the Savior, Jesus.

“It is in our acceptance of what is given that God gives Himself.”  ~Elisabeth Elliot, These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?

When trials come, they open wide the dark corners of our hearts and reveal the true us. Our words and actions show what is really reigning: the “fruit” of the spirit of the “fruit” of the flesh.

The spirit filled life will produce the same works and attitudes of the Lord Jesus Christ. His life is flowing through our life, enabling us to walk as He walked. We will respond to life’s problems with trust and obedience. Our lives and testimonies will be characterized by loving others, joyful countenances, the peace of God, gentleness and kindness to all people.

When sin reigns, we will exhibit the characteristics of the fallen nature: anger, bitterness, unforgiving spirit, desire to rule others, jealousy, envy, manipulation and the list goes on and on.

We are living under the gracious hand of our Heavenly Father. How can we doubt Him? In child-like faith, we accept whatever He chooses to give knowing that though it looks bad and sometimes is hard, it’s for our own good and His glory.

If you are discouraged today and fearful, remember the God who loves you and is in control, and pray for faith to trust Him.

MORE FROM ELISABETH ELLIOT:

Keep a Quiet Heart

A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael

 

 

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Why Cultivating Your Soul is Essential for Every Woman

This is a busy season of life for me, and I realize the blog has been quieter than normal. Life is lived in seasons. Some busy, some slower, some exciting and some mundane. Time is measured for a mother by meal making, laundry days, children’s birthdays and family traditions.

Sometimes actual days are a blur, but the big moments on the calendar seem to ground me: Church on Sundays, violin lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays, gymnastics on Wednesdays with prayer meeting to follow, Fridays are daddy’s day off.

Tree-with-roots-planted-in-the-water

Thriving, well placed, not withered, prosperous, fruitful. That’s the picture in Psalm 1 of the blessed life.

Seasons of life can be troublesome, financially worrisome, full of people problems or family crisis. Other seasons come and go in a carefree, orderly way, free of problems and full of blessing.

Despite the season, cultivating our own soul is an aspect that needs to be consistent. God tells us that the way to be “blessed” (Ps. 1) is not a mystery. In fact, it is pretty easily mapped out for us.

Psalm 1: 1-3

1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners, or sits in the seat of scoffers;

but his delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree

planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he does, he prospers.

God gives us this picture of a green tree, lush and full of seasonal fruit, with leaves that don’t wither. Why? It is planted in the right place (beside the water) and the constant source of water supplies its innermost thirst.

Notice, the man/woman in Psalm 1 who wants to be blessed first starts with a negative. She separates herself (vs 1) from the counsel, advice, mindset, philosophies and agendas of those who walk in opposition to God’s word.  She doesn’t have close friendships with the ungodly or scorners. Not only does she not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, she doesn’t stand or sit in their company looking for their wisdom either.

Next, after evaluating negative influences in her life, she saturates her soul with God’s word. She delights in knowing what God has to say to her: she seeks it out, she desires it above all other things, she loves it wholeheartedly. And after she finds out what God says by saturating her mind, she meditates on it, recalling it throughout the day and night.

What is the outcome of all this delighting in God and meditating on his word? God’s word changes her by degrees, from glory to glory. She isn’t the woman she used to be.

She then becomes steadfast, like a tree with deep roots. She has fruit to offer others, supernatural fruit as a result of her deep connection with the living water. She offers shade and refreshment to those who are weary. She can be a blessing to others and her own soul is sound and steadfast.

Have you ever met a woman who is double-minded? They change their opinions with the wind, and their behavior is controlled by whomever they are around at that particular moment? She looks for value and approval from those around her and it affects how she acts outwardly. This is the total opposite of a steadfast woman. What is the problem?

“If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”  John Piper, Hunger for God

A steadfast woman knows “her roots”–knows the source. Her “inner man” (ahem, woman) is peaceful and satisfied in Christ.

We’ve all had days when we are not stable– perhaps those days when everything and everybody seems to be against you in your own mind, or your head is spinning with problems and worries, or you simply don’t desire God as you should. (BTW, if you just read that previous sentence and cannot relate, you are, most definitely, a MAN. (MALE) Every red-blooded hormonal woman reading this knows exactly what I am talking about! Mkay.)

I know the Lord has prompted me over and over again with this admonition: “Sarah, trust me and treasure my word!” Maybe you are having a hard time getting into God’s word, not really valuing God as you know you should, but you want to change that.

The big secret: tell the Lord your desire and open His word. It’s not jumping through hoops. No penance. He knows our frames are weak, and He is the God of the second and third chance. :)

His Holy Spirit gives you the desire to seek spiritual things in His word, and to draw you closer to Him, so on days when you feel weak, but you are still feeling the draw to get to know God more intimately, know that this is His grace and be encouraged that He is drawing you back where you belong: close to Him.

 

Your Heart in Hard Times

We all have them. Bad days. Unexpected problems. Things we didn’t sign up for. Things that are totally out of our control.

Maybe it is financial hardship or a loss of a job. Or maybe someone who should be doing you good is doing you harm. A friend betrays you or a parent  hurts you deeply. Maybe you have a child who is terminally ill. In all these things our hearts  rise up in opposition to the crisis. We wonder if God sees, knows or even cares.

I love this quote by Elisabeth Elliot who had her life turned upside down by the murder of her husband, missionary Jim Elliot, by people he was trying to help. He was trying to befriend the Auca Indians and they killed him. Her husband was gone in an instant. She found herself a widow; her children fatherless. She was in a strange land, and she had two choices. To see God as a loving and wise Father who always  does what is best for her  or to chose the path of bitterness and resentment toward God. Hear what Elisabeth says:

“Lord, You have assigned my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure’ (Ps16:5). I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are cancelled. Decisions become much easier,directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter.”

We need the same mindset when things seem all wrong. We can chose to trust, or we can choose to sin.

The Bible shows us many examples of sisters in Christ who faced hard times and chose to walk in faith, knowing that God would do what was right for them: Sarah, Abigail, Hannah and Mary to name a few. They chose faith and obedience even though things would be hard.

  • Sarah packed up her life and followed her husband Abraham to their “new home.”  Problem was,  Abraham had no idea where he was taking her.  Only God knew where that would be.
  • Abigail lived with a drunken fool, but was godly enough to protect her household from King David’s anger at Nabal’s rudeness and insolence.
  • Hannah felt the pain of barrenness and longed and prayed for children while living with the taunts of  her husband’s “other wife” who had no problem having children.
  • Mary  risked her reputation and many misunderstandings when she agreed to be the mother of the Savior, Jesus.

When trials come, they open wide the dark corners of our hearts and reveal the true us. Our words and actions show what is really reigning.  The “fruit” of the spirit will be evident or the “fruit” of the flesh, aka sin.

The spirit filled life will produce the same works and attitudes of the Lord Jesus Christ. His life is flowing through our life, enabling us to walk as He walked. We will respond to life’s problems with trust and obedience. Our lives and testimonies will be characterized by loving others, joyful countenances, the peace of God, gentleness and kindness to all people.

When sin reigns, we will exhibit the characteristics of the fallen nature: anger, bitterness, unforgiving spirit, desire to rule others, jealousy, envy, manipulation and the list goes on and on.

Our desire has to be for God alone, His glory and our growth in Christlikeness. Then our desire will be an awareness of His control in our lives, glad submission to His good will and a desire to please Him with our actions and reactions.