Tag Archive for sovereignty of 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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For When You’re Spiraling Downward

I once had a problem so big that I let it suck the life out of me. At any given moment, just the thought of the problem could send what seemed to be a brick slamming down into my stomach, and my thoughts would slowly descend, spiraling downward like a bathtub when the drain is opened and the dirty water instinctively rushes down to some lower level until the vessel is left empty. Empty but all-consumed.

 

That is how I felt.

I was walking through life in a semi conscious state, in a fog. Doing life but not all there. I was fighting to find even the smallest spark of joy.

I am sure I missed things that I can never recover.

Memories with my kids, my husband, and life.

Life. I missed life at that moment, because problems were big and  I was living  a self imposed death.

When we let problems, real or perceived, become so big that all of life is small in comparison, we aren’t thinking straight.

We *think* we are fighting to hold on to our dreams, to right the wrongs, and to uphold justice, but

in reality are ruining our own lives.

We’re working overtime to fix our idea of what our lives should look like, how the people in our lives should act, how people should relate with us, how our husband should be more dedicated to justice and our brother in law should be less outspoken and more caring, how our finances should be steadier and our children, for heavens sake, should not ever be sick.

WE.ARE.TRYING.TO.BE.IN.CONTROL.OF.EVERYTHING.

Bottom line: We think life would be better if it went our way.

Our prayer is “My kingdom come.” (of course, it is an unspoken prayer, because, ya know, who would actually verbalize that? But that is how we act.)

We forget about God’s kingdom for a time, because we’re so busy working overtime on our own.

If we don’t let it go, the dream of our ideal world, life according to Sarah, we die inside and lose hope, and end up in despair.

Despair is the mental death of a dream that never materialized.

The simple solution: Relinquish your throne.

Acknowledge that God is actually in Control of All Life.

And He is your God, so you can trust Him.

Let go of being right. Let go of being wronged.

Because in the end, our only concern has to be for His kingdom.

Our goals have to be His goals.

We can’t advance our own kingdom and His at the same time.

What consumes your thoughts? Identify it.

Now picture yourself taking it into your hand and giving it to God. (really, it is in his hands already, but you are acknowledging his Lordship in this mental exercise, mKay?)

Give it back to God and don’t ever take it back. No backsies.  (and if you do find yourself with it “back”, which is highly unlikely, but let’s just say incase your sister does it or something crazy like that…do it over again. Give it back again.)

He is doing all His Holy will each day. Do you believe this? Can you believe Him?

Resting in God’s sovereignty is the way to resuscitate your weary heart, mind, and life.

Today is life. Today is real. Embrace it and thank God for it as you TRUST God’s goodness towards you.

**Please know that I realize that all depression is not related to “thinking wrong thoughts” or “not depending on God.” The fact is that some forms of depression require medication and thank God we have that available in modern days. This study is for women who are struggling with wrong thoughts and the negative effect it can have on our bodies.

 

Linked to Courtney

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.