Trusting His Character ~ Grace and Truth Week 42

Some of you are aware that my husband recently left a pastorate where we had served for 4 years, and it didn’t end well. It was one of the most difficult decisions of our married life, and a very unpopular decision in some ways,  yet since then I’ve rested in the peace of knowing we made the right decision.

When this first happened, God did some amazing things for us!He provided for us in inexplicable ways – as only God’s people can do as the body of Christ.

And when we made the leap to church-planting (who? us?!), we were filled with encouragement, excited, and rearing to go.

But then some disappointments came, and church-planting ended up being a lot more difficult than we imagined. We thought we had a solid plan for how this whole thing was going to work out, but as He so often does, God quickly showed us that our ways are not His ways.

Since then we’ve been in a season of waiting.

If you follow this blog or Being Confident of This’s facebook page, then you know that discouragement hounded us for a couple of weeks. We were no longer seeing quite as much physical evidence of God’s blessing or direction.

And like so many humans, we began to doubt.  An Israelite at heart, I began to complain to the Lord about our circumstances.  Daily bread wasn’t enough for me; I wanted more. Thus, a spirit of discontentment invaded my soul.

Wouldn’t you know that during this time, I ran across Christi’s post three separate times?! Three! And even after reading it several times, I found new things to like about it, not just because Christi’s an excellent writer, but because the message of her post is so very true.

We hear and read a lot these days about our BIG God who encourages big “dreams” because He’s the God of the impossible.

While all of those things are true about our God, He remains true to His character and His Word even in the times when dreams don’t come true, when He doesn’t show off.

Please take a few minutes to read Christi’s post. I know you won’t be disappointed!

And for those who might be curious, we’re coming out of our little cubby of discouragement and embracing the truth that God IS who He says He is. So, we press on knowing the path He has laid before us and trusting Him to guide us each step of the way.

We’d appreciate your prayers for Montpelier Bible Church!

Thank you, friends.

Jen :)

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The 5th Cookie ~ a Lesson in Boundaries

As my friend tells it, the whole ruckus started over the fifth cookie. We were at Mom’s Group, a small gathering of moms with young children, when her daughter begged for just one more cookie.

Unfortunately, she’d already eaten four others, and my friend was afraid that the preschooler might become physically ill if she ate any more. So, my friend said no like a good mom who is always looking out for her child’s well-being.

However, her daughter saw the “no” as coming from a mean mommy who wanted to limit her fun and pleasure. She wanted that fifth cookie, and she wanted it bad!  How could her mommy deny her such a good thing?

A loud power struggle ensued as my embarrassed friend removed her daughter from the room for some discipline.

When my friend recounted the incident later that day during our parenting class, I realized something important – sometimes I’m like the preschooler who wants the fifth cookie! 

We’ve talked before here in this space about how God creates boundaries for us because He loves us, not to keep us from experiencing pleasure or to deny all our wants.  He creates boundaries simply for our own protection, much like my friend, the loving mother.  She said no in order to protect her child, to keep her child from pain of a belly-ache, the harm of the consequence of over-indulging.

It's human nature to buck boundaries, test the limits,  but what if God's boundaries are really for our own benefit?  A look at why God's no is good for  us. Saying no to sin, God's boundaries for our benefit, christian women, christian living, weight loss journey, weight loss struggles, obeying God, the benefits of obeying God, devotional thought

In the same way, our Heavenly Father lays out boundaries in His word in order to protect us, to keep us from harmful consequences. I’d like to pretend that those boundaries are for really “serious” sins like murder, stealing, sexual immorality, idolatry, blasphemy, and so forth. But the truth is that the boundaries are for so-called “little” sins, too.

Even sins like over-eating.

Yes, sometimes I’m the preschooler who wants the fifth cookie, but the Holy Spirit tells me no. Then it’s my choice whether or not to heed that boundaries that the Father has put into place for my own protection.

You see, He knows the ultimate consequences of the fifth cookie – not just the extra weight, but the potential health risks that go along with it.  Even more, He knows what that lack of self-control says about the condition of my heart!

When I’m just dying for the fifth cookie, or the slice of pizza, or the brownie, or the glass of cherry coke, I’m allowing myself to be ruled by food, by pleasure. Our Father isn’t content that I should be a slave to food, nor to any other earthly thing (or person). He sent His one and only Son just for this – to set us free!

I long for this freedom, don’t you, my sisters in Christ?

I shared earlier this year about my one word – persevere. When I chose this word (or when it was chosen for me), I knew that one area in which I needed to persevere most was in this area of healthy eating and healthy living. I’ve bought into the lie that I cannot change these habits for too long now.

1 Cor. 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful;he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

The Father is setting new boundaries for me, and sometimes I don’t like it. Like the preschooler, I fight it.

I fight Him.

I justify that one more bite won’t hurt. One more cookie will be okay. Surely my Father wouldn’t deny me this simple pleasure, right?  After all, I have freedom in Christ for all things, yes?

Don’t fall for those lies, sister.

Don’t be Eve in the garden, taking just one bite of juicy, forbidden fruit!

That fifth cookie, that movie you're dying to see, that strong word bursting forth from your mouth, that stray thought, that questionable relationship, that extra sleep - whatever it is that keeps us from the abundant good God has planned for our lives quickly becomes slavery. His boundaries are better, friends. God's boundaries, sin, obeying God, why God's rules matter, christian living, christian women, abundant life, living God's way, the good life, devotional thought

 

If I’m crossing the boundary in having that fifth cookie (or third, or maybe even the very first one!), then I’m opening myself up to all of those consequences that He so desperately wants to keep me from. 

Maybe you don’t struggle with food, my sisters in Christ, but I’m sure you struggle with His boundaries in another area – loving others? obedience? abiding in Him? keeping your thoughts pure? respecting your husband? being patient with your children?  honoring Christ every day (not just on Sundays)?

That fifth cookie, that movie you’re dying to see, that strong word bursting forth from your mouth, that stray thought, that questionable relationship, that extra sleep – whatever it is that keeps us from the abundant good God has planned for our lives quickly becomes slavery. His boundaries are better, friends.

1 Cor. 10:23  “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial.“I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.

Whatever your struggle might be, recognize that our Father lays out your boundaries because He loves you, because He wishes to protect you from harm!  Remember that you have the power of Christ in you – the ability to overcome!

It's human nature to buck boundaries, test the limits,  but what if God's boundaries are really for our own benefit?  A look at why God's no is good for  us. Saying no to sin, God's boundaries for our benefit, christian women, christian living, weight loss journey, weight loss struggles, obeying God, the benefits of obeying God, devotional thought

I’m learning that this food battle is going to be just that – a real war. I need His strength to persevere. I need His will-power to say no to the fifth cookie, even if My Fitness Pal says I have still have calories left in the day. ;)

I must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and rely on His leading moment by moment. One day at a time. That’s how I’ll persevere in this area of healthy living.

By His strength and grace alone!

Jen :)

Related articles:

Fat Girl Insecurities

Fighting Weight-loss Failure

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, Tell His Story, The Mommy Club, Wedded Wednesday, Fellowship Friday