BY DONNA CHURCHILL
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.”
(Psalm 32: 8, 9)
I have walked with the Lord for many years and I am still amazed and appreciative at how He gives us just the right rebuke or counsel from His Word when we need it.
About 2 weeks ago, I experienced a pretty bad day. Not bad in the sense that things were going badly, but bad in the sense that I did not respond to the Lord in the way I should have; in the way that would have marked me as His.
It was a day when I was experiencing a great deal of pain in my body, but I had errands to do and needed to push through the pain to get them done. I was at the grocery store and to make a long story short, I was quite snappy with the cashier. Right away, the Holy Spirit convicted me, but my stubborn flesh decided it was more satisfying to hang on to my anger than release it, as if I had a right to it. As a result, I walked out of the store angry, stubborn and fighting with the Holy Spirit.
Thankfully, that was my last stop of the day. As I drove home, I wrestled in my spirit all the way. There was a scowl on my face and I knew it. I was making excuse after excuse to the Holy Spirit, none of which could hold water. I was in pain; the cashier was no help; Lord, if you would just heal me, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah! I do not confess any of this proudly, but truthfully, to show how faithfully, lovingly and mercifully God dealt with me through this.
I had left my house that morning for an early appointment and errands and had not had my quiet time with the Lord. Maybe if I had, I would have acted differently? Anyway, I arrived home, put away my groceries and knew I had to face my Father for my very ungodly actions. As I sat before the Lord, I started sharing my anger and frustration at the pain I was dealing with. I was prompted to go to my daily devotional book and here is some of what I read,
Then through the devotional, I was led to Psalm 32. In His love and mercy, God directed me to the very thing I needed: confession and forgiveness.
“I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.” Vs 5
I was also faced with the fact that I acted like a mule before the Lord! I didn’t act out of pain. I was being ruled by my pain because I had broken fellowship with the Lord. When I decided to give in to the sinful desires of my flesh, I left Him behind.
I was amazed and thankful in that moment, as I always am, with how long-suffering and merciful God was with me as I experienced my very childish temper tantrum; how, with grace He spoke just the most perfect and timely word to me; how He loves me and reigns me in to teach me the hardships of going my own way; how He continues to lovingly and graciously deal with the things He knows will lead me away from Him; how much He is involved and invested in all the little and big details of my life and behavior.
I was also thankful for His forgiveness as I had to admit that I so desperately needed it.
The final quote from my devotional –
“When you seek forgiveness, you are confessing that you still forget why you were put on earth and granted the amazing gift of God’s grace. You are admitting that you forget that every gift you have been given is to be invested in his kingdom.”
BY JEFF DAUGHERTY
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”
I read a bible verse the other day and thought I would share it with you.
Psalm 32:8-9, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”
This told me many things. First, God will teach me what I need to know, he will show me the direction I need to take. Second, He warns me not to be like a mule that is stubborn and will not move without much prodding. I must be open and ready to God’s directions. All I need to say is “yes Lord”.
Have faith and the words will come. Be ready to say “Yes Lord” and He will take the lead. There is a lesson in this for all of us.
If God wants you to walk along a specific path will you stand, steadfast in one spot, until he tells you a direction? God will gladly give us direction. What he will not do, no matter how much we may plead with him to do so, give us a swift kick in the hind quarters to get us moving. That part is entirely up to us.
Taking that first step is usually a tough one to take. Why does God not give us a shove? Because that first step requires us to put our trust in him. It takes a great deal of faith to step out even when we do not know the direction we are going. It is like Peter stepping out of the boat and onto the water in Matthew 14:29. It didn’t take him long to sink, however. But he did take that first leap of faith. Stepping out in faith is not a single step victory. It merely starts with one step. Then you give praise to the Lord for helping you to take that step. Then you take another step. He will be there to guide us and protect us. Ever vigilant the Father is over his children.
A child will jump without a thought of fear because they know that their parent is there to catch them. Why is it that a leap of that kind gets tougher the older we get? Because we can reason and rationalize things. Because we hesitate long enough with the door open and let fear creep in and overtake us. Sort of like standing at the fridge with the door open trying to decide what you want to eat for a snack.
But how do you take that first step when simply getting out of bed is a monumental task? For those who are severely depressed gathering that will is beyond comprehension. Go ahead and take that first step. That is easy for me to say, right?
I am not some all-knowing Christian with a hotline direct to God. I am just a flawed sinner who once begged God to show him that He was real. I am just a person who learned how to trust and rely upon God. I am someone who learned the truth.
You are loved. You are important. Imagine that you are sitting in your living room watching the Super Bowl with a few friends. You sit and cheer for your favorite team. Things may have not been that cheerful in your life for quite some time, but I am sure that you can remember such an event. You can hear the cheers erupt as your favorite player makes a huge play.
You have such a cheering section. Imagine God sitting in front of a big screen TV with a few of his angels and saints. There share some popcorn and watch your life as it unfolds before them. Filled with drama and emotion, your story has their eyes glued to every moment. They see you about to take the first step in your personal leap of faith and they begin to cheer. But you hesitate and do not take that leap. God may be all-knowing, but the angels sitting with him are not. They let out a sigh of empathy for you. Tears flow down their cheeks as they watch you.
“You were so close”, they cry.
“Don’t give up!”, some shout.
But God, listening to their pleas, motions for them to settle down and keep quiet.
“This is my favorite part,” he says as he leans forward toward the edge of his seat.
All of the angels and saints lean forward as if it would help them to see it a little better.
Silence fills the room as your life continues to unfold across the screen.
But this time you, at your lowest point, give up trying to control what is uncontrollable. In a final act of broken surrender, you decide to take that step, no matter where it may lead. You tried to do it on your own and it didn’t work. You are a little unsure but you reach out with your foot as you take that small, but crucial first step.
That is when you realize you have been holding your breath for the past several moments. As your foot moved forward and you feel the steady earth below it, you let out a deep breath.
From God's TV room, the crowd erupts with a cheer that would topple most earthbound stadiums. As proud as a father watching his child take their first step, God watches on. He knew you could do it.
But for you, in the here and now, preparing to take that step is pretty terrifying. My question to you is this.
Why is it terrifying?
Is it the thought of giving up control? Maybe that is it. Right now, you are in control.
How is that working out for you so far? Not so good, huh?
Realizing that you cannot do it alone is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a sign of maturity and growth.
Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
You can do it.
I know you can.
Christ believes in you.
Believe in him. Trust that he will take your hand. Trust that he will protect you as you walk.
We are not talking about a Neal Armstrong type of leap.
Just one small step.
I promise, it will change your life.