Monday, February 29, 2016

Praise the Lord!

(Disclaimer: If this is stepping on toes or being a Buttinsky, I am truly sorry as I hope this helps without being pushy or holier-than-thou or accusatory. I have many, many failings and am far from perfect on any scale known to God or man.)

From the desk of the Tiger Lily.

When first I came back to Christ, it was truly amazing in the things that I experienced, the visions I saw, the new abilities that God saw fit to Bless me with. It was like the beginning of a new relationship, complete with ecstatic highs in being truly in direct communication with my Savior for the first time, spending hours in the Word asking and receiving answers to so many questions along with revelations about things I had wondered about but never known before now, and the lows of having infected wounds of the soul ripped open so the Holy Ghost could Tend to and Heal them. (This process is still on-going at times, but not nearly as painful as when it first began.) I learned it is a hard thing to go through after the first excitement begins to fade, because this is the time satan attacks and God steps back to Allow us to grow closer to Him and for us to become stronger in Faith no matter how things look in our temporal view.

It is an unfortunate necessary evil, as even though we are given the Victory in Christ, there is still a ceaseless battle every day. We are given a choice to resist the devil in looking to Jesus as our Hope and Joy even when the situation is bad and we are wronged, or allowing the devil to frame the situation in terms of despair without an end.

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. Philippians 1:29

Having come out of a horrible work situation myself, I cannot speak as to how I got through it in almost having my health completely ruined. I can only tell you that were it not for LC, for the benefit of leniency in my workplace letting me listen to uplifting music (with one earphone on as the headphones were plugged into my cell), for quick prayers in the bathroom when the arrant conceit, incompetence and laziness from my vastly underqualified managers ground my last nerve to a pulp, for constantly reminding myself that this is temporary and everything I do is for His Honor and Glory, even for home workouts where I was cardiovascularly punching and kicking the air to relieve frustration, and most of all were it not for Christ's uplifting arms Carrying me through as I leaned on Him almost minute to minute, I couldn't have made it.

One thing that also helped me in the work situation was praying for the people who I hated the most, Blessing them that they would come to repent of their behavior. Somehow, they ended up either being humiliated as God Gave me favor in the eyes of my superiors' superiors and Raised me up (like the time I was invited to lunch with the president of our branch and the manager of my department after spending an exhausting 24+ hours at work over the weekend trying to finish a product on time), or they were nicer to me as God Piled on the coals and Made them feel guilty for being asses.

It is SO easy to fall into the pit of despair in situations and times when life sucks and everything is hopelessly and completely out of our control. God doesn't Blame us for feeling the way we do. He knows. He even goes through it with us in the Holy Ghost Feeling everything we feel and Interceding for us when words fail (Rom 8:26). This is also why it is so crucial to focus on Christ and on the higher things that will last (Col. 3:1-4), so that we are not trapped or chained by the things that happen in this life.

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 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. 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 4:4-9

God Gives us the freedom to let go of the bad and let Him Handle it so that we have room in our lives for the eternal things, the Love we take with us, the Spiritual gifts He Gives so generously. He Exhorts us to meditate on the good things in this life, because it literally is a Spiritual, emotional, mental and physical protection from the many ways we are attacked by satan.

I have found that when I make the choice to praise God no matter what happens, including little things like knocking something on the floor or getting sprayed with muddy slop by excited goatie hooves, the "accidents" tend to stop. Once satan knows it cannot get you down or defeat you by conventional methods, no matter if it is discourteous co-workers or manipulative relatives, those attacks will cease. Just remember, things either escalate for awhile in increased attempts to knock you out of your mindset, or new methods are probed to upset and distract you. It is all intended to interfere with your relationship with God. Once you make the choice to stick with God, even (and ESPECIALLY) if you don't feel like it, you're exhausted, you're discouraged, you're ready to give up, just the first baby step in praising God when bad things happen is like a gigantic knock on the head to the enemy with a million tons of steel.

It sounds crazy, but it works. Praising God in the midst of your suffering, even when you want to scream and cry and punch people in the face, is the absolute most devastating thing you can do to those who oppose you, in both the spiritual and physical realm. Meditating on Him, on all the Blessings he has Given you, on the beautiful and good things He has Created for you to enjoy, is healthful and healing to you as He Renews you every day in His Word. Suffering is a part of this life, but it is not meant to be the focus. It is a tool that makes you more dependent on Christ as your relationship with Him grows stronger.

For whatever reason, things also get harder (just like in video games that I was never good at) right before you "level up". God is Refining you to be the glorious creation that He always Intended for you to be. So don't give up! Press on! It will always be worth it in the end.