Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Take Time Tuesdays...

Chapter Four ~ Unshakable Simplicity

"I've told you all this so that trusting Me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world." John 16:33 The Message

"Nothing influences the quality of our life more than how we respond to trouble." Erwin G. Tieman

Thank you for your patience over these past few weeks, as I've worked through some difficulties in my life and also traveled out-of-town. I'm back and even though the holidays are approaching ~ I'm ready to take time out of my weekly schedule to focus on becoming a Woman of Simplicity!

I had no idea what the topic of this week's study was until I sat down to work on it - finally... I was shocked! God continually amazes me as He teaches me exactly what I need to be learning on this incredible journey with Him! I shouldn't be surprised, should I? I'm pretty sure I've been living this chapter ~ most of 2009...

Cynthia Heald shares her insight regarding the most pressing problem women face:

"The greatest challenge women face is life - life that not only brings joy, but also pain and uncertainty."

And I like what she said to follow this, "I think it is important to understand that choosing to live life simply devoted to the Lord does equip and enable us to remain unshakable in the midst of stressful and trying circumstances."

I've had my share of pain and uncertainty in the past, but this year took it to a whole new level. I cannot imagine getting through it without my faith and devotion to Christ. It would have been completely unbearable. And yet, I have a long way to go still to be a woman of unshakable simplicity...

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

"For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:35-39

There is such comfort and security in knowing that NO MATTER WHAT, we shall NOT be separated from God. That said, human emotions are still my greatest challenge and obstacle in living in His peace each day; especially during great trials and sorrows. During our great trial this year, I drew closer and closer to Him, to His promises, to the assurances in His Word ~ yet I struggled with my human emotions and having to let go of someone I dearly loved; who has been a part of our family for so many years ~ who still is, but has chosen to live a life away from us. While the wounds are still raw and we pray are slowly beginning to heal, I am holding to His Word and His peace much more than ever before. I try to help others do the same, but I'm learning that while I can share or encourage others to move in that direction ~ I cannot make them choose the same path I am following. This brings more trials and more pain, but I am learning to trust Him at an even greater level than ever before and continually pray for everyone involved... He is so able to heal and restore and set people free! I keep trying. When will I learn that it's not my job? He has already overcome the world ~ how can I do any more? I can't, but He can!

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us." Romans 5:1-5

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave on the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." James 1:2-8

"...though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy." 1 Peter 1:6b-8

It's verses like these that have been my anchor and have given me great strength when I have felt at my weakest. There is great joy in knowing that God is shaping my life; my character; my faith and He doesn't give me more than I can handle. Yet, I know I fall so short of what He desires for me in each trial. But looking back over the many trials in my life, I can see how my faith is growing stronger and hope is nearly always present. This gives me the courage to go forward knowing there will be more trials to face while I am here on earth - yet I am also aware that my faith and trust in Him grows with each storm that is faced and I am delivered through for His glory... What great importance there is for each of His children to meditate upon His Word so we have our daily food which causes us to grow and His Word hidden in our hearts when the next 'crisis' in this life arises! Just typing His Word to share with you fills me with a great joy!

"All people - believers as well as unbelievers - experience anxiety, frustration, heartache and disappointment. Some suffer intense physical pain and catastrophic tragedies. But that which should distinguish the suffering of believers from unbelievers is the confidence that our suffering is under the control of an all-powerful and all-loving God; our suffering has meaning and purpose in God's eternal plan, and He brings or allows to come into our lives only that which is for His glory and our good." Jerry Bridges

If you agree with this quote above, when we suffer, we shall remain people of hope. Yes, even in our family situation we know that God can use it for His glory and our good. Blaine and I are believing that He has a purpose and a plan ~ and we pray He will one day bring restoration and reconciliation. And, in the midst of it all ~ we pray He brings joy, hope and His amazing love continually to our boys that they are able to overcome and be strong, God-fearing men as they continue along their journey. We believe He will do just that. And, we believe He will transform Blaine and I for the next phase of our journey with Him ~ using our pain and suffering that we may, hopefully, one day minister to others who are facing their own trials.

"Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

These words mean a great deal to me right now. I continue to hope. I'm not willing to give up. Yes, there are times when I feel that my physical body is slowly wasting away, but my spirit grows stronger within me. This fills me with a wonderful and great joy! The more I focus on Jesus, the more this strength grows. It does not mean I don't continue to suffer, but I trust my life more and more into His hands for my wisdom does not match His ~ and there is much that happens in this life that I could never comprehend. I am learning to fully trust Him more and more.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him." Lamentations 3:22-24

When I looked up this scripture for the study, I was surprised to find it underlined in my Bible. Some time along my journey, these verses were brought to my attention and I considered them important. And reading them again, I am overwhelmed with how much God loves me and cares for me anew each morning... It is because of His amazing love that I have not been overwhelmed in this life. He has never failed me - not once.

A final scripture to share:

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." Matthew 6:34 The Message

Okay. Guilty as charged. This is a big obstacle that trips me often. I'm always thinking of the future; planning and preparing for what I'd like to have happen or hope will happen or what might happen... And yet, I'm realizing more and more that I'm missing on being fully here today. This will be one of my resolutions for 2010 ~ learning to live in today and let tomorrow worry about itself for God will be in the midst of that day too, but I have plenty to take care of today...

A final quote to meditate upon:

"We can be sure that the development of a beautiful Christ-like character will not occur in our lives without adversity... We may think we have true Christian love until someone offends us or treats us unjustly. Then we begin to see anger and resentment well up within us. We may conclude we have learned about genuine Christian joy until our lives are shattered by an unexpected calamity or grievous disappointment. Adversities spoil our peace and sorely try our patience. God uses those difficulties to reveal to us our need to grow, so that we will reach out to Him to change us more and more into the likeness of His Son." Jerry Bridges

I've still got a long road ahead of me and so much to learn still. I am so thankful that He is continually transforming my life ~ and how I pray I will hear those words one day, "Welcome home good and faithful servant."

Abundant blessings as you simply devote yourself to Christ...


  1. Boy, I agree. Life is something that we need to accept and let God control, but, and there is always a but in there isn't there?! I too am learning...it's a process, life is a process and with each new trial we are reminded to again, give it to Him. When we choose to hang on to that trial and end up nurseing it, we are missing out on the grace and love Christ has for us, not to mention being there for those who may be going through the same trial and empathizing and walking through it w/them because we too have been there.
    It's hard, God never said it would be easy. All we can do is cling to His promises and hang on and put on foot in front of the other and press on while trusting in Him.

  2. I 'm reminded that all I have is today and that Christ is sufficient in all situtations. This chapter was perfect for me this week, because I continue to struggle with my responses to other people's actions and decisions. I now realize I'm depending on my own judgments and opinions. I also am finding in all areas of my life, I only need God's view, I hate to admit it but mine is somewhat flawed. I'm thankful daily for His amazing mercy and forgiveness.

  3. Great insights and words shared, Laurie and Denise. It's amazing, but I can relate to everything both of you said... ;) People are different in some ways, but really we're mostly alike as we journey through this life.

    I'm so thankful for both of you wonderful, Jesus-loving women!


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Abundant blessings on your day... Joanie