The Complaining Challenge Day 3

Tuesday, November 14

Was yesterday an eye-opener for you? Did you realize how much God detests complaining?

The verse that gripped me most was Numbers 14:27 (NLT) “How long must I put up with this wicked community and its complaints about Me? Yes, I have heard the complaints the Israelites are making against Me.

Every complaint was really a criticism of God. Whether they were griping about food, leaders or the future, (or anything else they moaned about in the book of Numbers – the book is full of their protests) all of it was really about God and His provision and plan for them. Despite the fact that He had heard their cries for freedom and miraculously intervened in their situation. Despite the fact that He supernaturally protected them from the plagues of Egypt and led them out of bondage with the wealth of Egypt in their pockets. Despite the fact that He astonishingly prevented them from ever being enslaved by the Egyptians again – they could not see His heart to provide, protect and care for them. They could not see His hand powerfully supplying every need. Their complaints kept them from trusting His goodness and seeing His faithfulness. After all He had done, they could not believe.

That is sobering. And lest we look at the Israelites and declare them foolish, we need to realize we do the exact same thing. As ones who are in relationship with Father God through Jesus, every time we complain about anything, we are expressing a lack of confidence in God’s ability or desire to provide what we need.

Think about that. If I complain about my marriage, I’m really saying God does not have the ability to help us work through issues. If I complain about my paycheck or finances, I am saying that God does not have the ability to meet my needs. If I complain about a relationship, I am saying that God won’t give me wisdom to work through conflict and show love. If I complain about a person, I am saying God doesn’t have the desire or ability to help and change them. If I complain about snarly traffic, long lines at the grocery store or ridiculous hold times on the phone, that God does not have the ability to redeem my time. If I complain about trivial, insignificant details, I’m saying that God doesn’t care about those things and doesn’t want to get involved.

Whatever I complain about, I am removing God from the equation, thereby removing hope. The promise of good things to come, the assurance of His supernatural ability to meet any need I have. The confidence that He really does care about me and every single aspect of my life.

Complaining throws up walls and puts blinders on, keeping me from actually seeing God’s heart toward me. It prevents me from seeing how much He loves me and how passionate He is about providing for my every need. That’s why He detests it. It keeps me from seeing who He really is.

And if I can’t see Him, then I won’t engage with Him. If I don’t engage with Him and experience the reality of Who He is for myself, then I will believe any lie the enemy tells me about Him.

Today, let’s look at some verses that declare God’s passionate love and care for us. Let’s soak in these so deeply that this is what surfaces anytime we are tempted to complain about anything.  Meditate on Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 43:1-2, Romans 8:31-32, Psalm 16, Jeremiah 31:3, Jeremiah 29:11

 

*Remember to ask yourself the Reflection Questions and record your answers when you end the day!  AND connect with your accountability partner!

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August 29, 2017

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Thought to share: when you’re in a season of difficulty and wave after wave of problems assault you, know that you are not alone. I AM Immanuel – I AM with you. I go before you. I AM behind you. I AM beside you. I AM Immanuel. So relax and become aware of ME surrounding you.
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NLT) Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Psalm 139:5 (NLT) You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head.
Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
 

July 26, 2016

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Thought to share: MY Name is Immanuel, meaning “God with us”. I reveal this Name to you so that you would know I AM with you. You are not alone. I AM your constant companion. I AM closer to you than a brother. I AM your steadfast friend. I will never leave you. This is MY promise to you.

Matthew 1:23 (NLT) “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”
Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) Don’t be afraid, for I am with you…….
Hebrews 13:5 (NLT) …..For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

April 19, 2016

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Thought to share: Lean in to ME. I’ve got you. You’re safe with ME. Nothing can penetrate MY arms. Nothing can find you here. I AM your safe haven. I AM your place of rest. You don’t need to strive. Just relax and draw your strength from ME.

Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.
Psalm 28:7 (NLT) The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

He’s stretching me!

I don’t like to be uncomfortable in any area of my life. I like things to be simple, smooth and easy. Uncomplicated. Painless. I like to be comfortable.

So you can imagine my unhappiness when I recently experienced some muscle issues that caused me to be uncomfortable. I felt very tight and sore – for no apparent reason. Not only was I uncomfortable, but my movement was limited in various ways.

So my friend Ali has been helping me work all this out. One of the things she instructed me to do was to stretch. I reported that I already stretch regularly and showed her what I was doing. I have to admit, I do those stretches quite well. I’ve been doing them a long time and am very good at them. She kindly pointed out that those stretches are not benefiting me – they were not stretching the muscles that need to be stretch. (insert big sigh here)

So she gave me some very specific stretches to do. They are stretching different muscles. And I don’t like it. I don’t want to do them. They are uncomfortable. They pull muscles that I didn’t know I had.

So I mentioned this to Ali and she confirmed that it will be uncomfortable but it’s needed. She said stretching these muscles would increase my range of motion and ability.  Stretching these muscles would enable me to do what I was currently unable to do.

And that’s when it hit me. I do the same thing spiritually. Because I don’t like to be uncomfortable, I stick with what I know. I stick with what I can do. I stick with what is easy. I stick to what is comfortable.  I don’t want to get outside my comfort zone because I don’t know what’s out there. I don’t know if I am able to do whatever it is outside my comfort zone.

But Abba started to show me that when He leads me outside my comfort zone it’s for the purpose of stretching me. He is increasing my capacity. He is making more space in me to encounter more of Him.  He is making room for more of His Presence.

He is creating more opportunities for me to rely on Him. He is deepening our relationship, showing me aspects of His faithfulness, love and grace that I have not seen before.  He is leading me to a deeper place where I can encounter more of His glory.

He is revealing to me those gifts and talents that I have yet to discover. He is showing me a new dimension to the gifts and talents I currently operate in. He is allowing me to experience Him in ways that are new to me.

And yes, He said it would be uncomfortable. It would be difficult. It may even be painful. He said I would need to listen more closely and learn how to become more sensitive to His Presence because this is new territory for me. But He promised that He would enable and empower me. He said “Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” (Isaiah 41:10) And He guaranteed me that it would be worth it. To experience more of Him would be more than worth any discomfort I experience.

So – gulp – I’m stepping out of my comfort zone into the great unknown. I’m going to let Him stretch me by leading me to places I’ve never been. I’m going to say yes to wherever He takes me. I’m going to trust that He is faithful to take care of me. While I don’t know what’s ahead, I am sure it’s good – because He is good. (Jeremiah 29:11)For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

ps – if you need a good physical therapist, call my friend Ali at Healing Hands Health and Wellness. She’s GREAT at this whole stretching thing. 810-387-2225 or 810-531-2096

My Box

I’ve often heard the phrase “Don’t put God in a box”. And recently I’ve been mulling that idea over and asking questions. Can I really put God in a box? Is that even possible? I understand the intent of the phrase: Don’t limit God. But is it actually possible to limit the limitless God?

As I’ve turned these thoughts over in my mind, I’ve developed a myriad of opinions. (yes, I’m known to have multiple opinions on the same subject) But this is the thought that is most prominent: by trying to put God in a box, I am really putting myself in the box. By trying to limit God, I am only limiting myself.

My attempts to put God in a box are based on my need for comfort, security and stability. In other words – I’m afraid. I fear stepping out into the unknown. I fear rejection. I fear uncertainty. I fear disappointment. I fear failure. I fear lack.

I feel the need to protect myself, so I create a safety zone. I set up boundaries that allow me to operate in what I am comfortable in. And within these boundaries I know how to live comfortably. I know what I am able to do. I know what I am able to handle. I know what works for me. I know what I can be successful in. And those are the things I stick with. I think I’ve made a pretty nice box.

As a result, I try to make God operate within the confines of my safety zone in hopes of staying comfortable. I set limits and declare that I will not go past that point because otherwise I may get uncomfortable. I don’t want to get out of my established boundaries because I may be hurt. Or embarrassed.

And as hard as I’ve tried, I just can’t get God to come into my box. I’ve explained my fears. I’ve conveyed my need for comfort, security and stability. I’ve told Him how I would like to keep everything status quo. But He refuses to climb in with me.

It’s not as though He isn’t listening, doesn’t care or doesn’t understand me. He totally gets me. And I think that’s why He is working to get me out of the box. He refuses to work within my boundaries because He wants to stretch me.

I think He purposely asks me to go places I haven’t been before in order to create dependence upon Him. I think He wants me to do things I have not done before so that I will lean on Him more. I think He leads me to things I am unequipped and untrained for so that I will have to draw totally from Him.

In other words – He’s stretching me in order to increase my capacity. He’s stretching me in order to make more room in my life for Him. When I step out of my box and walk with Him, I experience more of Him. I encounter Him in ways I never would have otherwise. I see aspects of Him that I would have missed had I stayed in the box.

My box limits my experience with God. My box limits my growth. My box limits my supernatural encounters. My box limits me.

I confess, it’s really uncomfortable. As I exit my box, fear is there to remind me of my inadequacies. My insecurities rise to the surface and threaten emotional chaos. But this is when I see Jesus, as He calms my fears and gently reassures me that I can do all things through Him because He is my strength. (Philippians 4:13) As He holds my hand and leads me into the great unknown, He whispers Don’t be afraid, for I AM with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I AM your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

And as I trust in His promises, I experience His peace and I see things happen in and through me that I know could never have come from me.

I’m starting to feel cramped. So as comfy as my box is – I’m climbing out.

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