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Listening to him...
Everything happens for a reason. Our Father is in control regardless of how or what we think (Ecclesiastes 3 NLT). Our Father knows us more than we do.
"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things." (Isaiah 45:7 NIV).
It doesn't matter who we are, we all go through trials. Christianity is not about avoiding conflict, but acknowledging and dealing with conflict in a Christian way.
There are a number of reasons why conflict happens in our lives.
To test us in our faithfulness. Just as Noah, Job, Jesus, Paul and others were (1 Peter 1:7, James 1:12-22 NIV). Our father is with us and carries us through unavoidable stuff that is done to us by others. Satan will come and deceive and rob us of our relationship with our Father as in the garden of Eden and Jesus in the desert. Our own desires give way to Sin. Our selfish pride and ego will consume us.
To strengthen us and allow us to learn from our experiences. The Mind, Body and Soul needs stress to function properly. Our bodies change as we get older, we explore the world around us, we make mistakes and learn that we are not the centre of the universe. It's how we adapt to life that makes the difference.
To have compassion for others and be able to support them in their time of need. We don't care until we have been there. It is only when we have been through the same experiences as others we then have a greater understanding of their needs and are less likely to judge them.
Our humanity takes over and we try to do things in our own strength. We may think we are doing our Fathers will, but are we?
There is unhealthy stuff happening in our lives that cause conflict that need to be removed. Where we work, our relationships with others, what we eat or drink all have an impact on our lives.
We may think the whole world is against us and use religion as an escape from our troubles.
We are all a work in progress, there is nobody who is perfect. Anybody that tells us differently is a liar. Jesus shows us how we should live our lives. The more we try to be perfect in our own strength the less likely it will happen. All that happens is that we judge ourselves and others by our own standards. We become proud, demanding, self righteous and self seeking, as Satan wants us to do. So just relax and let God's will be done in your own life and others. Don't aspire to be something you are not. Accept and Love your self for who you are and others as they are.
We all struggle with our relationship with our Father at one time or another. This is normal. Our day to day living can be very stressful and takes a heavy toll on us. We live in this world and the worldly things can take us away from our Fathers Love. We lose our Peace and Love for others. We need to let go of those unhealthy emotions in a positive way or they will destroy us.
Jesus was no different. He had human emotions and weaknesses. His ministry was very demanding. Jesus needed to spend a lot of time at the Mount of Olives and other places in Prayer with our Father. Jesus' solitude and silence allowed him to recharge his batteries, deal with troubling emotions like grief, anger and frustration and to make important decisions. It's how he taught his disciple, even they had their own struggles. They were not perfect, and they did not pretend to be.
Are we any different? There is a lot of negative energy in the world. The only way to get into that special place is to be away from the world with all of its demands. If you can't find that special place, don't stress. Just relax and think about all the things that you have been blessed with, with a thankful heart.
We all go through times when we feel unloved or rejected. We all have our own hopes and desires, our own misfortunes, our own ways of coping with our day to day lives, and to some extent our own beliefs about God change according to our needs at a particular time.
Unhealthy stress can sneak up on us without us realising it. Like the straw that broke the camels back stress can slowly build up until something happens and totally breaks our Spirit.
Some emotions that we may experience when we have been hurt...
Offense/Anger/Resentment. We may think
that it's their fault.
Remember, if we can't Love others for who they are, it's our problem
theirs. We need to forgive them
Sadness/Guilt/Depression. We may think that it's our own fault. Remember, if others can't Love us for who you are, it's their problem not ours. We need to forgive them and ourselves.
Overwhelmed. Feelings of being consumed, burdened, unable to find peace.
Denial. We may avoid the issue or problem and hope it just goes away. We may develop a strategy that allows you to live with the issue.
Rebuilding & Renewal. We may find that accepting the situation is spiritually and physically unhealthy and reach out to others we trust and to God in Prayer because we have nowhere else to go.
Acknowledgment, Forgiveness & Confidence. We acknowledge our sin. Father, please forgive me for I have sinned. We begin to have confidence to forgive ourself of our sin, and the sin of others against us, and reach out in Love. We pray for them and look for the good in others that have hurt us. Sometimes this may take months or even years to forgive them."14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV).
Restoration. We may feel that the burden has been removed.
Above all else, Don't persecute yourself or others, Jesus has already done that for you and them.
Our Father will communicate his Love for you in any number of ways. It takes time to learn and understand his ways. We need to be in a quiet place and remove our spiritual static to tune into him.
Scripture. Read the
You may feel in your heart his Love for you and what he wants you to do.
You may hear his voice that no one else can hear in your mind.
You may have a feeling or a premonition, good or bad, about something that is going to happen. Take notice of it. Think on it. Where is it coming from?
God will talk to you and encourage you through the world around you. He will talk to you through others, a dream, a Word of Knowledge or a Prophecy, a song on the radio, a book or anything else.
I have also experienced times when God is not happy about what I am doing in my own self- righteousness. He will set up a road block or put obstacles in my way to slow me down and make me think about what I'm doing. Has this ever happened to you?
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone, but our Father is there with you and shares your grief. Know one else knows your pain as you do. God is your Father and Protector. You have a personal relationship with our Father through Jesus Christ. You are nothing without him. He already knows your burdens and wants you to share them with him. He loves you unconditionally and he desires to be a part of your life.
When you are troubled and feel unloved you can tell him your troubles. You can write him a letter releasing your pain. Tell him everything. You can tell him what happened and how you felt, the anger pain and bitterness (Book of Job NIV). You can let it all out because he wants you to give him your burdens, and you can trust him. When you come into that special place you can ask him to forgive you for your sin AND most importantly ask forgiveness for those that have hurt you, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34 NLT).
This opens the door for forgiveness, healing and restoration in your own life and the lives of others. Once you are in that special place and have forgiveness in your heart you can then ask our Father to show you how you can Love others as you are Loved. He will tell you.
Just remember that God is always with you, even when you are not with him. He is always with you. And be careful in what you feel, hear or do. If it is full of self-righteousness, negativity, criticism, judgment, complaint, pride or ego etc. it is NOT of God. Throw it away and don't listen to the feelings or person. You can rebuke that feeling or person in Love as Jesus rebuked Peter (Mark 8:33 NIV).
"I am of God and the Holy Spirit lives within me."
"I am patient and kind. I am not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. I do not demand my own way. I am not irritable, and I keep no record of being wronged. I do not rejoice about injustice but rejoice whenever the truth wins out. I never give up, never lose faith, am always hopeful, and endure through every circumstance."
"8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9 KJV).
"You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time" (Poet John Lydgate as made famous by Abraham Lincoln).
It doesn't matter what we do in life there is always going to be The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. There will always be others around that are intent on destroying our lives. There are the vain, the bitter, the downright obnoxious and others that just don't Love themselves or others. Jesus never said that he will remove these people from us. But he did say he would protect us from them.
I remember I had a bumper sticker on my car, "Love your Enemies. It will scare the Hell out of them". I wish I still had it, it got lots of reactions.
To Love your enemy is show them grace and forgiveness. To pray for our enemy is to let go of the pain and suffering they have caused us. It gets us into the right state of heart and mind so we don't retaliate and act out of self-righteousness, revenge or retribution (Matthew 5:38-42 NIV). How can we curse someone when we pray for them. "36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6: 36 NIV).
It's easier to pray for people that we don't meet all the time. Its really hard to pray for people that we have to be with on a daily basis. At school, at work, the gym or any social gathering there will be someone you wish would just go away and leave you in peace. It can be difficult to Love them.
"9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
How do we know if God is not testing our faith just as he did with Job (Job 1:6-12 NIV). God will give us only what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV). Let us be a witness of God's Love to them (Matthew 5:16 NIV).
"Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer" (Machiavelli in 'The Prince').
It's only when we get close to our enemies that we have a chance to get to know them. We can find out what makes them tick. It's only then we have an opportunity to learn how to Love them for who they are. They may have stuff in the closet that they can't let go of, maybe we can help them let go.