Bitterness: What do I do with it?

Have you ever been hurt , attacked, misused, offended, abused or falsely accused by another person?  Many of us have.  Maybe the other person has wronged us greatly, sometimes unknowingly, but many times knowingly and viciously.

What do we do?

We do not forget, do we?  It is always there.  We can train our minds not to think about it or dwell on it.  That is very much like suppressing it, pushing it down.  But does it go away? No.  It keeps surfacing.  Why?  If we had truly forgiven that person, it would not keep surfacing and coming to mind with that “hurt” feeling.

That is bitterness. It has a deep root, and we think we have it all under control and suppressed out of our mind, but then it pops up its ugly head.  In the Hebrews 12, it talks about this root of bitterness: “Looking diligently…lest a root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and by it many be defiled.”  We have to watch for this and recognize it as bitterness against another person.  Bitterness that first defiles the one holding the bitterness, and then defiles many around that person.

How does it defile?  It makes us so we cannot forgive.  It does not allow us to forgive the offense and let it go.  We get to thinking that we are justified in the feelings of hurt.  It keeps us in bondage.  Forgiveness never means that what the other person did or said  was right or acceptable.  But we have no right not to forgive.  We have been forgiven by God of all our sins and trespasses. Forgiveness means that we are willing to give up our right to hold the other person accountable, and we relinquish our right to revenge.  God says, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.”  It is our work of faith to offer this offence up to the Lord, give it up, give it away.  It is no longer ours to own.  Then we have no right to revenge, and best of all, it cannot hurt us or keep us in bondage any longer.  The Lord takes it all.

This is surrender.  It is surrendering our will to Him, allowing Him to take care of it. Sometimes we like to feel the victim complex.  That make us feel justified that they wronged us.  Maybe they did, but forgiveness surrenders all of that.

Elizabeth Elliot said, “Anything offered up to God is a Gateway to Joy.”  Can the Lord take the “sacrifice of praise” offered up to Him, and turn it to good for us?  (Hebrews 13:15 says…”By Him (by Christ, by His forgiveness extended to us for our sin, by His grace), therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.”

Do I believe the sovereignty of God? Do all things work together for good?  Is it not true that the Lord allows these things in our lives to purify us, to draw us to Himself, and to make us more Christ-like?

Would I go so far to say that the Lord purposely had that person to offend us, so that we could learn what it means to forgive, to offer the offense to God, so He can deal with that person (if it was a purposefully vicious attack)?  Is his ultimate goal for us to be more like Christ?

What did Christ do?

He said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Remember the Lord knows and hears ALL.  Go to Him, and release all of it on Him.  Guard your heart against bitterness.  Bitterness blinds us.  It blinds our minds and our thinking.
Revenge holds us captive to internal torture, and keeps us in bondage.
It will affect how we think, how we act, what we do and say, and it will affect our health.
Literally, it will destroy us.

Surrender to the Lord all bitterness. The sovereign God knows all things, and He will deal with that person. Forgiveness releases us from bondage.  If we do not forgive, that person has a vicious hold over us, and we are in bondage. Bitterness keeps us in bondage to the person who has already hurt us.

Many times that person does not even know that we have bitterness toward them, or maybe subconsciously we want revenge (want them to hurt like we hurt), when in reality, it is only hurting us.  If we do not release the bitterness to the Lord, we are saying that we want to deal with that person, and the Lord cannot/will not deal with them “the way they need to be dealt with”.  This is a lack of faith, and in reality rebellion. We must offer that hurt up to the Lord, and He can repay to that person their due better than we ever could.  He will chose His time and place to deal with them.  Our path is to surrender to Him, and be free from bondage.

Remember also…no man lives to himself.  Our bitterness will affect others around us.  Moms …our children will be affected.  It will cloud their minds and hearts to the sweetness and grace of God in their lives.  Sometimes they will take on our bitterness, but if not it will cause anxiety and emotional distress for them.  This is evident in divorce situations that are “nasty”.

Can we ever think that our suffering is for our good and for His glory?  II Corinthians 4:17, says “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”.

What is this “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”?  Becoming more Christ-like in our responses to the “light afflictions” in our life.  It is reflection the glory of the Lord to a greater degree through our suffering.  This is worth any hurt that He allows/brings into our life.  He is our “vision”.

The hymn says,

“Be Thou my Vision O Lord of my heart;

Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;

Thou my best thought, by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, Thy Presence my light.”

Then later lines say…

“Thou and Thou only, first in my heart;

High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.”

We sing this hymn, but do we truly mean “whatever befall”?  “Whatever befall” until someone says something that hurts my feelings?  This is not the response of a mature Christian.  Sometimes pride is the underlying sin.  I think I have a right not to be treated that way.  Christ had a right not to be crucified because He was righteous, but He surrendered it to the Father…”Nevertheless, not My will but Thine”.

Hebrews 12:2 says…. “Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  We can endure anything if we keep our eyes on “the Joy that is set before us”.  Endure does not mean grudgingly, or “white knuckling” it. Endure is recognizing that He is with us, always present, carrying the “easy yoke” (Matt. 11:28-29) and walking in the fiery furnace and lions den with us always.  Endure has our gaze on the face of our Savior. Endure with faith in his sovereignty, that He has His perfect will working in us, to work His will and reflect His glory.

Elisabeth Elliot put it this way… (referring to Jan 8th 1956):

“When I sat by my short wave radio and learned that my husband was missing, the Lord brought to mind what the prophet Isaiah said …

‘when thou passest through the waters I will be with thee’ “.  This thrust me, forced me, hurried me to God, my only Refuge.”

“Suffering is the irreplaceable medium

through which I learned the indispensable truth that

He is LORD.”  (E. Elliot)

Elisabeth Elliot says…”Think of your pain, trial, troubles as a challis, to be held up and offered up to the Lord, even in the midst of your suffering…stop what you are doing and offer it up as an act of worship……..anything offered up to God  becomes a gateway to joy.”

The results of all this will be:

(1) When you think of the person that hurt you, you will pity them and pray for them (Matt. 5:44), because you have truly forgiven them.  Hopefully you will come to love them.

(2) You will become numb to the “hurt” of the offense, because the bondage is gone.  You released it to the Lord. (Hebr. 13:15)

(3) You can begin to ask the Lord to bring “blessing” into that person’s life (I Peter 3:9b) every time it comes to mind.

(4) Ultimately, you will thank the Lord for the person, the hurt, and the result of that offense, bringing you closer to the Lord in your walk with Him, and the more Christ-like you have become.  You now reflect Him and His glory more than you ever could have without what the LORD brought into your life.  (II Cor. 3:18)

Congratulations, the Lord has just prepared you for your next trial and your next step of faith.  Praise Him.

Plow Deep In Me, Great Lord

 

“That I May Know Him….”

“Plow deep in me, Great Lord,    

  Heavenly Husbandman…

     That my being may be a tilled field,     

the roots of grace spreading far and wide,     

until Thou alone are seen in me,    

  thy beauty golden like summer harvest,     

thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.

I have no Master but Thee,

No law but Thy will,

No delight but Thyself,

No wealth but that Thou givest,

No good but that Thou blessest,

No peace but that Thou bestowest.

I am nothing but that Thou makest me,

I have nothing but that I receive from Thee

I can do nothing but that grace adorns me.

Quarry me deep, Dear Lord,

and then fill me to overflowing

with Your Living Water.

AMEN.”

 

Phil. 3:10a “That I may know Him…”. 

Acts 20:24b   …”that I might finish my course with joy,

and the ministry

which I have received of the Lord Jesus,

to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.”

Psalm 23 : Our Jehovah

Psalm 23

 

Seven of the times the name Jehovah is combined with another word

in scripture, they are either used directly or exemplified in the

23rd Psalm to further display Who Jehovah is.

 

(Psalm 23:1-6)

 

“The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Jehovah (Exod. 6:3 “Yahovah”) means: the self-existent One; the Eternal One.

Meditate on that fact for a moment:

This Jehovah, not only has always existed and will always exist in the future, but He is dependent on nothing else (no one else) for His existence.

He has always been self-sustaining, and always will.

He does not need anything…air, food, the right environment …nothing.

He does not need us.

We, on the other hand, need Him. Job 12:10 reminds us,

“in Whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.”


1. “Jehovah-Rohi – The LORD our Shepherd


2. Jehovah-Jireh (Gen. 22:14) The LORD provides;

 “I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.” Trusting /resting in the Jehovah that provides for us, for our soul and spirit means that “I want nothing else. He is all I need and provides all I want”, as a shepherd does for his sheep. We have the Good shepherd who knows all that we need in our soul and spirit, as well as physically. The still waters signify peace/rest.  A sheep will not drink out of rushing waters. It always looks for a calm pool from which to drink. The shepherd provides that. Do you have the calm, quiet “pools” in your life provided by the Good Shepherd?

This also signifies a satisfaction, a satisfied soul. Are you always longing for something that you do not have? Is there some kind of “unrest” or “a searching for something that you cannot find or grasp” in your life? If we come to the Good Shepherd, yielded to Him completely, we shall not want. It is He who satisfies our soul. Not just in what He gives, but it is He who fulfills.

He says that He “will satiate (fill to the full) the soul…, and my people shall be satisfied with my Goodness. For I have satiated (filled full) the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.” (Jeremiah 31:13, 25) Are we only looking for the physical to be satisfied? This Shepherd is the Shepherd of our soul. Don’t be satisfied to only have your physical needs met. Go to the Shepherd for the satisfying of the soul. We are complete in Him.(Colossians 2:10a) Look no farther. He is the “completer of your soul” emotionally and spiritually, as well as physically.

3. Jehovah-Rapha (Exod. 15:26) The LORD who healeth.

 “He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Jehovah is the healer. He is the One who restores our soul. Restores our soul to what? He restores our soul to Himself. He restores it from the ravages of sin through the redemption on the cross. But He restores it for Himself through sanctification (a present setting apart to holiness, and a future sanctification/perfection in Heaven). The Lord is the healer. He does not always promise to heal us physically in this life. At times He chooses to do that, but only promises total physical healing in Heaven. In the path of righteousness here in this life, we are restored to Him so that we can reflect the righteousness of Christ in our life now. For His name sake we bring glory to God.

4. Jehovah-Shalom (Judges 6:24) The LORD our peace.

 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies;” We are walking in a world that is the domain of Satan. He is the prince of the power of the air. Death and evil are all about us. But our Jehovah God is our peace, because He is present with us; His perfect love casts out fear. He is our comfort. He literally prepares for us what we need in the presence of all that could hurt us and the evil that is around us. Peace in the midst of the enemies of our soul.

 5. Jehovah-Tsidkenu (Jere.23:6) The LORD our righteousness.

 “Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” The picture of anointing in scripture is a picture of God’s acceptance and blessing. It is a picture of the Lord setting apart someone to Himself. This picture is of Jehovah the self-existent God blessing us so much that we are satisfied to overflowing with His abundant blessings (John 10:10b).  He gives us His righteousness (11Cor. 5:21), which is all we need, totally sufficient for eternal life in Heaven, but also the fullness of His righteousness is extended to us now.

 6. El-Shammah (Ezek.48:35) The LORD is present;

“Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;”

Ever-present, the LORD is there; the Presence of the LORD is always there, an abiding presence with His own. His Goodness is beyond measure and His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:23-25) to His own. David knew the abiding presence of the Jehovah God. We too can know and sense through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit the Lord’s abiding presence in our lives. He never takes His eyes off us. (Job 36:7)

7. Jehovah-Nissi (Exod. 17:8-15) The LORD my banner;

 “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

The Lord my banner: literally our standard, where we stand; “an altar in the wilderness”….an altar showing ownership and protection. David knew he would one day be with the One who had set His banner over him. The self-existing Jehovah was his, and he was the Lord’s. The promise of eternal life through the Savior to come was extended to Old Testament believers, and many expressed their knowledge of that fact.

Born-again Believers Security

As Secure as God Is Faithful

Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)

Between eternity past in God’s predestination, and eternity future in God’s glorification, none is lost.

No one who is predestined in the foreknowledge of God for sonship fails to be called. And no one who is called fails to be justified. And no one who is justified fails to be glorified. This is an unbreakable steel chain of divine covenant faithfulness.

And so Paul says,

Being confident of this very thing, that He who hath began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

“…Our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:8–9)

These are the promises of our God who cannot lie. Those who are born again believers in Jesus Christ are as secure as God is faithful.

(copied)

The Gospel Explained

A Summary of the Gospel

Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. (1 Peter 3:18)

Here’s a summary of the gospel to help you understand it and enjoy it!

1) God created us for his glory.

“Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory” (Isaiah 43:6–7). God made all of us in his own image so that we would image forth, or reflect, his character and moral beauty.

2) Every human should live for God’s glory.

“Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The way to live for the glory of God is to love him (Matthew 22:37), trust him (Romans 4:20), be thankful to him (Psalm 50:23), and obey him (Matthew 5:16). When we do these things, we image forth God’s glory.

3) We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him . . . and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images” (Romans 1:21, 23). None of us has loved or trusted or thanked or obeyed God as we ought.

4) We all deserve eternal punishment.

“The wages of sin (the payment for our sin)  is (eternal) death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Those who do not trust the Lord Jesus Christ “will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46).

5) In his great mercy, God sent forth his only Son Jesus Christ to provide for sinners the payment for our sin, in our place when Jesus died on the cross.

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

6) Eternal life is a free gift to all who will trust in Christ as Savior.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9).

7) Once we accept Christ as our own personal Savior, He will holds onto us.

John 10: 28 “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”  I Peter 1:5 says that we have an inheritance “reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God…”

8) As we choose to walk with Him in our daily lives out of love and gratitude to Him for who He is, He becomes Lord of our life, and we have a personal walk with the living God.

“I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

May this be a blessing to you.

Five Ways Afflictions Help

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.” (Psalm 119:67)

This verse shows that God sends affliction to help us learn His Word. How does that work? How does affliction help us learn and obey the word of God?

There are innumerable answers, as there are innumerable experiences of this great mercy. But here are five:

  1. Affliction takes away the glibness of life and makes us more serious, so that our mindset is more in tune with the seriousness of God’s word. And mark this: There is not a single glib page in the book of God.
  2. Affliction knocks worldly props out from under us and forces us to rely more on God, which brings us more in tune with the aim of the Word.  For the aim of the Word is that we hope in God and trust him. “Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). “These [things] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31).
  3. Affliction makes us search the Scriptures with greater desperation for help, rather than treating it as marginal to life. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
  4. Affliction brings us into the partnership of Christ’s sufferings, so that we fellowship more closely with him and see the world more readily through His eyes. Paul’s great heart longing was “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship (may share) of His sufferings, being made conformable (becoming more like Him) in his death” (Philippians 3:10).
  5. Affliction mortifies deceitful and distracting fleshly desires, and so brings us into a more spiritual frame and makes us receptive to the spiritual Word of God. “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” (1 Peter 4:1). Suffering has a great sin-killing effect. And the more pure we are, the more clearly we see God (Matthew 5:8). {copied in part}

May the Holy Spirit give us grace to not begrudge the teaching of God through pain, affliction and suffering.  His grace is sufficient. (11 Corinthians 12:9) He is faithful…always. (1 Thess. 5:24; 11 Thes. 3:3;  Phil. 1:6)  He says in Jeremiah 31:13b, 14, and 25 that He will saturate the soul of the weary and sorrowful with His Goodness.  Truly, having the Awesome Lord that we serve saturate our soul …literally with Himself in His Goodness…is an amazing experience.  That means for us who have suffered in life’s trials…maybe through no fault of our own, but just as life brings them to us, we can know in our soul the everlasting, awesome Goodness of God. (This is assuming that we know Him as personal Savior, and accepted Him as the payment for our sins on the cross.  If you need to understand that Bible truth, go to the home page, and click on “Where will I spend Eternity?” God not only wants to be your Father and Savior, but He will walk with you through your afflictions. May He Bless you.)

A Walk In His Presence….

A Walk In His Presence

Our Goals:

To seek the Lord, and search for Him

with all our heart, mind, soul, and spirit (Luke 11:9; Jeremiah 29:11-13);

To honor and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by “treasuring Christ”

and to get to know Him more intimately;

To experience the joy of walking in His Presence

in our daily lives…. “the JOY of the Lord is your strength”

To learn more fully to live by faith, trusting His character…His goodness,

            His sovereign presence,  His love and grace.

Questions:  Do I consciously seek and search for the Lord each day? How?

  1.   What does it mean to search for the Lord each day? (Romans 12:1&2; Acts 20 :24)
  2.  Do I know Christ intimately? (John 20:31; I John 5:13)
  3.   Do I have joy in Him each day? (I John 1:3&4; Phil. 4:4-9)  Does my life show it? (Ephes. 5:19-21)
  4.  Do I know His presence in my daily walk? (John 15:1-17)
  5.  Does my walk of faith show that I know His character?  How do I see Him in my daily walk? (Phil. 3:9 & 10)
  6.  Do I trust His sovereign work in my life? (Phil. 2:13)
  7. What is it that I really treasure in my life? (Matt. 6:21)
  8.   If I do not see the Lord working and answering prayer in my life,  do I get discouraged or depressed?  Or can I look to Him in faith trusting the Goodness of God in my life? (Hebrews 121 & 2;  Jere. 31:13b,14,25)

 Assignment:

Write down the verses that best help you in your personal walk with Him.  These verses should help to give you a greater view of who He is and His character.

 Try to put into words who Christ really is to you.  Are you trusting Him and His presence in your life because you know Him…by experience?

Step out by faith…act upon His word and promises…accept His way and His power….thank Him for His goodness to you….rest in Him, yielded to His leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Some suggested Verses:

Hebrews 13:5 ….He will never leave us or forsake us.

I Thes. 5:24 ….He is faithful; if He calls us to it, He will do it through us. Also II Thes. 3:3 …He is faithful to establish us, and keep us from evil.

II Corinthians 12:9 …His grace is sufficient for everything the Lord allows, and brings into our lives. His strength is perfected (made perfect) in our weaknesses, as we yield to what His hand and work in our life.

Step out in faith enjoying the One who died for you, and treasures you.  Give Praise to Him…He is worthy.

A Tribute to Elisabeth Elliot

Elisabeth Elliot – (1926-2015)  “You are loved with an everlasting love and underneath are the everlasting arms.”  She lived a life of self-sacrifice, surrender, and abandon to Jesus Christ.  Her passion was Jesus Christ. Her pervasive advice was “about surrendering my desires to God, abandoning myself to His will, and sacrificing my present and my future to His plan; accept the portion and cup that the Lord has assigned to me….because in acceptance lieth peace.”

This was her prayer: (and the prayer of the martyred missionary Betty Scott Stam)

Loving Lord and Heavenly Father,

I offer up today all that I am, all that I have, all that I do, and all that I suffer, to be Yours today and Yours forever.

Give me grace, Lord, to do all that I know of Your holy will.

Purify my heart, sanctify my thinking, correct my desires.

Teach me, in all of today’s work and trouble and joy, to respond with honest praise, simple trust, and instant obedience, that my life may be in truth a living sacrifice, by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ, my Master and my all.