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Grace Nuggets: Simple reminders of God’s great love for you.

*Grace Nuggets: Simple reminders of God’s great love for you.

[To my friends at OCC, the next couple days are review of points we talked about on Sunday for the benefit of my other Blog readers and those who weren’t able to be with us. Have a blessed week.]

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)

The Lie: My Distress signals God’s Disgust

In the battle for peace of mind, the enemy tries to get us to believe the lie that the struggles we go through in life are somehow the result of God’s hatred of us. Because of our sin and refusal to obey God sends all sorts of terrible things our way to punish us. Some have linked natural disasters, plagues and political upheaval to God’s anger and vengeance. Make no mistake about it sin has an effect on nature and the events of our lives. However, we often mistake God’s silence as God’s disgust or anger rather than the natural consequence of sin.

The rules God has put in place for us aren’t some unplanned system of meaningless rules. They are there for a reason. God hates sin, but not sinners. God doesn’t hate people living a gay lifestyle, but he is opposed to the activities involved in that lifestyle. God hates divorce, but he doesn’t hate people who are divorced. God hates abortion and murder, but he doesn’t hate the people who are involved in abortion or murder. God loves people unconditionally, but because of his holiness can’t allow sin to be any part of his relationship with us.

There is a thing we call conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit. When we as Christ-followers sin, the Holy Spirit guides us towards repentance so our relationship with God can be restored. True peace of mind comes when we change course by confessing our sin, asking forgiveness, and changing our mindset towards that sin (repentence).

When the enemy reminds us of sin he does so in order to cripple us, to keep us defeated and living in guilt. Once we have asked Christ to forgive us of our sin we no longer need to feel guilt. We are free. Forgiven!!

When we are going through tough stuff in life we must learn to trust God. We have to remember and live in the truth that God is, in essence, love. Even if we don’t agree or understand why he does what he does his actions are based on unconditional love for us. Secondly, we must believe we are forgiven. Satan loves to remind us of our faults long after God has forgiven them. Placing false guilt on the believer is one of his favorite weapons. Lastly, remember that God is sovereign. That means that absolutely nothing can happen without his knowing about it and allowing it to happen.

You may have done something terribly wrong. You may be feeling guilt right now for mistakes of your past. You may even be living with life-long consequences for what you did years ago. Remember that even though you may be living in the consequences of sin God has forgiven you. He promises to protect and comfort even during those times. Living in the consequences of sin doesn’t mean you aren’t forgiven. Notice the verse for today. The words are not “If you walk through deep waters, but when. You will suffer struggles. You will have things to endure. You will feel distant from God from time to time. That doesn’t change the fact that he is there for you.

Truth Statement: God forgives the penalty for our sin and strengthens us through the consequences.

PRAYER: Father God, I’m being constantly reminded of things in my past that I know you have forgiven. The enemy continues to trouble me with thoughts of my failure and rebellion towards your ways. I hereby claim the freedom and peace of mind that comes from your forgiveness. With the power of your Spirit I refuse to listen to Satan’s lies about this. Thank you for your love. Amen.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2

The fairy tales of old all have a familiar ring to them. They all start ‘once upon a time’. It doesn’t matter when they started or took place or where. They started. That’s all that needs to be known. The other thing that rings true is how they end. ‘They all lived happily ever after.’ The tyrant or big, bad wolf, or wicked witch all vanished. The flowers grew, the birds sang and life was good. Forever.

As children, perhaps one of the reasons we loved fairy tales so much was that they give us a glimpse of life that we know, as adults, will never really happen. Wolves win sometimes. Wickedness doesn’t just go away. Giants still roam the land and the walls of our unseen prisons seem inescapable. Fairy tales gave us hope that someday things will work out. Our dreams can be attained. Miracles will happen.

Isaiah 43:2 gives us a more realistic view of how life happens and what we can expect. There will be waters to pass through. The original languages describe this water as ‘deep water’ such as an ocean. There will be rivers to cross. Rushing, rock smashing rivers that threaten to tear our boats apart. There will be fire. Consuming fires that have no regard for the sanctity of life or the treasures we possess. Fire destroys everything.

But along with the horror Isaiah describes comes hope. When the Israelites were trapped at the edge of the Red Sea. And Pharaoh’s army was closing in. And there was no way out, no hope, nothing left to do but surrender and hope for the best. God made a way through the deep waters. He took a hopeless situation and brought His people through it.

When Israel needed to cross the mighty river Jordan to enter into the land promised them long ago. God parted those waters. The rushing torrents were silenced. He delivered His people safely through to dry ground.

When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace for refusing to give into an evil world system. Innocent as they were and following God’s law to the letter, their fate was sealed by an evil king bent on proving his power. Yet when the King looked into the furnace he saw the impossible. The men were walking around in the midst of the flames. When they were released, they didn’t even smell of smoke!

Three lessons. Three examples of life’s attacks. The open attack of an enemy. The barriers to our dreams. The attacks when we are innocent. They each come into our lives. We were never promised that we would not see adversity and calamity in our life time. We were promised that in the midst of the most violent circumstances our Heavenly Father will walk us through. He loves us. Even in the direst of circumstances He will see us through.

PRAYER: Father God. I thank you for the promise you made that my life is completely and totally in your hands. Today I have many worries and concerns. It seems like my enemies are surrounding me. Sometimes I think I’m my own worst enemy! Help me to trust you in the midst of the trials of life. Thank you for loving me. Amen.

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June 2022
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