Great is His Faithfulness, Even in Grief and Mourning

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Photo and artwork belong to ComparisonTrap.org

This is the continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.


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

The Comparison Trap:  Week Four, Day Seven… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

It’s been an insightful day. My takeaways are from the Scripture verses and from some of Sandra Stanley’s shared thoughts, but not too much from today’s devotional content. This has just been one of those days, but the Scripture still applies to the day.

I spent the afternoon and evening serving at church for the visitation of a friend’s husband who passed away suddenly on Monday morning. That friend has been a part of this Comparison Trap group study. Tomorrow is the funeral (on the day you’ll probably be reading this).

When I walked her to the restroom today on a break from greeting hundreds upon hundreds of people who had come to pay their respects and to honor her husband, she told me a story about the amazing love she’s seen poured out over her family.

Her husband was a state trooper, and the fellowship given to her by his brotherhood has overwhelmed her. Her coworkers took her car and had new brakes, rotors and other needed maintenance done on it when she had to leave it at work after hearing the news of her husband’s death. Her table-mates from the study and many of the women from the group and church stepped forward to bring food and serve in the kitchen with whatever needed to be done today.

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail,”  the verse above reads. The body of Christ has surrounded her through this tragedy, and it’s through His compassion she’s been able to see it in others.

“God is compassionate. It breaks his heart to see us struggle,”  Sandra tells us in this final devotional. It does, and His way of showing us His compassion is often by using others to display it.

“Great is your faithfulness…” 

The book of Lamentations is full of lamenting, wailing and grief. It covers pain, judgment, mourning and suffering. The book paints a picture of suffering so great that it is often difficult to see hope and to remember the promises of God.

But tucked away within the mourning of Lamentations, there are promises of hope to come. Within the heart of the message of this book, we can see that the writer expresses his confident assurance that God does not turn away from those who turn toward Him for help.

Tomorrow is the funeral for my friend’s husband.

In her grief, I want her to know that the Lord weeps with her, and it breaks His heart to see her struggling. His compassions never do fail, and His love for her will not allow her to be consumed by her grief. His mercies are new every morning, and His faithfulness in her life is truly great. The Lord is her portion, and her faith in Him will get her through the challenges to come.

There will be thousands of troopers who will stand in honor of this fallen police officer; there will be hundreds of friends and family members who will come to grieve with her; there are dozens of small group members who are praying for her; but, there is one Christ Jesus who will be there to comfort her and to bring her His hope in the days, weeks, months and years to come.

Great is His faithfulness. Friend, you are loved.


 

The Quest for Life’s Purpose & Meaning

CT.4-5
Photo and artwork belong to ComparisonTrap.org

This is the continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.


Jesus replied:  “Love the Lord your God with
all your heart and with all your soul and with
all your mind.” This is the first and greatest
commandment. And the second is like it:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
All the Law and the Prophets hang
on these two commandments.
~ Matthew 22:37-40

The Comparison Trap:  Week Four, Day Five… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

As Christians, we often wonder what our purpose in life is meant to be. We wonder where God might be leading us… how He might be calling us… what He would want us to be doing with our life on this side of eternity.

Seeking and searching for those answers can lead us toward love, peace, joy, and hope, and they can lead us into darkness, depression, addiction or hopelessness. There is often a great struggle to find our purpose.

The Bible is the powerful Word of God.
It full of His words to us.
It is full of instruction.

Authors have made millions speaking at seminars, workshops, writing self-help books, and promoting their latest and greatest methods for figuring out our lives. Truly, the answer to finding our purpose can be summed up in these four Scripture verses.

The answer is:  Love God and love others.

Sandra reminds us that, “when we choose to honor and celebrate one another, we are honoring and celebrating someone precious to God.”  She goes on to say that, “Doing so serves us well by cleaning out envy and jealousy, but Jesus reminds us that it also serves God well.”

Jesus is the one who spoke the words of the Scripture above. He calls us to love God and to love others. This is His purpose for our life, and when we are willing to embrace it, we will be filled with the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Not only will we be filled, but we will also be a part of filling others.

It is a beautiful thing to “love others well by applauding their accomplishments and celebrating their skills.”

It is a beautiful thing to be loved by God, to love Him, and to love others.


 

What He Sees When He Looks at Me

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Photo and artwork belong to ComparisonTrap.org

This is a continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.


But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

In him we have redemption through his blood,
the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
Ephesians 1:7-8

Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.
John 6:47

The Comparison Trap:  Week Two, Day One… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

Week One of the study concluded with the weekly gathering of the women to discuss our discoveries and takeaways and to jump into the Week 2 video lesson. It was a good one. Watch it, it’s only 20 minutes long! You can get an app for your phone at the web link above to watch the video for free. The video is powerful.

The video got serious pretty quickly as Sandra wrapped up the first week of helping us to zero in on our tendency to compare, and Andy jumped right into letting us know what God really thinks of us. Some of the video content may have opened old wounds for some women, but for me, it was a reminder of how His presence can heal all of those wounds if we will only embrace His opinion of us.

So, “where do we look to determine how we’re doing in life?”  There’s a voice in our head that tells us to look around at others, and it convinces us that we need more of what others have in order to be acceptable, respectable and lovable.

Andy Stanley took us to the Scriptures into Galatians 4:4-5 to talk about the law, rules, and the mirror which reflects that something is wrong. We all struggle to keep “God’s law,” but we struggle to also keep the standards we set for ourselves. On our own, we aren’t ok, and we never will be… there’s plenty around us to remind us of that. It’s yet another trap of comparison.

But we’ve been redeemed for a price. We’ve been purchased by means of a trade. The value of any specific thing is the price that someone will pay for it.

The images of the lesson made me really wonder what someone would “pay” to know me and have me in their life. What price would I bring? The only way to understand my true value would be to auction myself off to the highest bidder.

This is the Gospel.

That auction DID take place. I was redeemed for a very specific price, in a very specific way, by a very specific person.
God sent His Son into this world to buy me back and to purchase me.
He was the highest bidder
.
He did that for me.
He did that for you.

My faith placed in Him gives me the status as a daughter of God.
I am the daughter of the living God.

When God sees me, He sees a woman of great worth.

Oh, how I struggle to believe and embrace this at times in my life, but renewing my mind to this truth—to His truth—and to how important I was to Him that He would purchase me with the price of His death on a cross… it is just overwhelming to think about.

He loves ME that much. Wow…

He loves YOU that much. Wow…

Instead of taking cues from those around me to determine how I am doing in life and to determine how valuable I am, I need to take my cues from the One who made me, loves me and redeemed me.

I’m excited about the impact of the week to come during this study. The verses above from Day One of Week Two mean everything to moving forward toward more understanding. In the Devotional Book, Sandra suggested that we read them slowly to let their truths settle into our heart.

Do that.
Do it again.
Let them settle.
Let yourself smile.
Let His peace overwhelm you.
Let His love wrap around you.

He wants you to know that, in essence, He says to you, “You are fine, because you are mine.”


 

 

Love Does Not Envy

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Photo and artwork belong to ComparisonTrap.org

This is a continuation of a previous post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating. 


 

Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4

The Comparison Trap: Week One, Day One…

…”does not,” “does not,” “is not”…

I read it again, this time emphasizing the “is” and “is” before following it up with an emphasis on the educationally-effective, negative commands.

In the devotional book, Sandra Stanley writes:

“When I compare myself to someone who seems to have more, I lean into envy. When I compare myself to someone who has less, I open myself to the temptation of boastfulness and pride.”

My reminders and my takeaways for today include:

…I can be patient
…I can be kind
…I do not need to envy others
…nor, do I need to boast to them
…I do not have to allow pride to puff me up
…stop comparing my perceptions of having more or having less
…I need to focus more on genuinely loving others as He desires me to do so
…real love = real growth in me through Him.

In the Challenge for today, Sandra reminds me that it’s easy to allow thoughts to drift in the direction of envy and pride. She also says that “it’s so much more difficult to intentionally speak words of kindness and patience.”

Intentionally speak…

Not only do I want to intentionally speak words in this way, I want to be able to naturally think this way. Wow, I have a lot of work to do on the inside, so that what flows outward is true and genuine.

The Challenge helped me to take the words from the verse, and it made them real and action-oriented in relation to getting me to think about how I will embrace them as I grow my walk with God and with others.

I want to move toward being more of who it is He is calling me to be.


 

 

Monday’s Musings — It Ain’t Over

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How many of us woke up this morning to proclaim, “HE IS RISEN, INDEED!”?

A lot of us DID do that yesterday, but did we do it today?

Yesterday was a day where, upon waking, I’m sure we thought about the sacrifice He made and the glory of His resurrection. We went to church and thought about it some more. We took the time to celebrate that He is no longer on the cross, and He’s no longer in the tomb.

The story of His redeeming love is absolutely awesome and awe-inspiring.

The thing is…it wasn’t just awe-inspiring yesterday on Resurrection Sunday;
it is awe-inspiring EVERY SINGLE DAY.

For over 2000 years, it’s been awe-inspiring, and that won’t end.

What He did then was just as amazing as it is today. Yesterday’s proclamation is today’s proclamation, and it will also be tomorrow’s proclamation.

His redeeming love is worthy of our awe-filled thoughts every day, not just on the “holy day.”

Before your feet hit the floor tomorrow morning, take a moment to revel in His love.
Think about what His resurrection means to your eternity.
Think about what His resurrection means to your life.

When your feet hit the floor, allow the awe of redemption to make a path for your day.

 

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