“Where is Your God Now?”

October 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Articles, Kristine Mulholland

When They Say “Where is Your God Now?”

For a long time I had difficulty relying on God where money was concerned.  Outwardly I would say all the right things like “God will provide”, and “God will never leave me nor forsake me”, but to be honest, inside I was scared all the time. God would constantly put me in financial situations where I would see no way out; I would face one of the utilities being shut off or wonder how in the world we would pay for Christmas or a birthday. God did, and does, always provide, but he always did it at the last moment – you know right about the time that I would start to panic. Inside I was a mess. I knew what the Bible says about how God always provides, so I was constantly angry with myself that I had a difficult time relying on Him.  I really struggled with it!

Even though I would feel scared inside, it was important to me to let others see my faith, so I have to admit that I faked it till I made it. I believe just being able to say the right words to others are more important than how we feel inside. After all, our emotions are fickle. We feel one way one day, and another way the next. Our emotions cannot be trusted to be accurate or true. I often felt guilty that I was afraid inside, but it was pointed out to me that courage is not the absence of fear, it is doing it afraid, and so I guess that was what I was doing when I pretended not to be afraid.

One day, two of my closest family members said something that made me want to really stick up for God, and for myself. I felt a holy anger and I was determined to let them know my reasons for my faith. They said to me, “You pray, you go to church and you read the Bible everyday, but where is your God now?” I had just had a shock of another thing to go wrong in my life as far as money was concerned, and I was deeply afraid. When they said that to me, the look on their face was so full of, I want to almost say, hatred. I was taken aback by it. I mumbled something to the effect of, “God always makes a way out. Hasn’t God always taken care of us? Has He ever left us desolate?” When I walked away, I didn’t feel satisfied by my answer, and it didn’t sound very convincing to even my own ears. I felt that my answer should have been better and that I should have been ready to answer that question off of the top of my head with scriptures.

1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you.”

I was disappointed in myself. When someone says something to you and you leave the conversation and think of all the great responses you could of made, but didn’t, well that’s how it was for me in that situation.

I went off to go pray about it and it came to my heart to write them a letter. I believe that speaking face to face is always the best, but in this case I knew that they would have thrown me off track of what I wanted to say with arguments, and that I wouldn’t get to make my point. Also when you read something someone wrote to you, you are forced to hear their side of a situation in full before they can respond. I really wanted to be heard on this and so I pulled out my Bible and I looked in the back and found every scripture that I could on how God delivers His people and how we can trust in him, and so I wrote this letter to them.

“I love you both dearly. Yesterday, you said to me that, “I pray, I read my Bible, and I go to church, so where is my God now?” I understand that we are having money problems and you are fearful that God will not provide. Yesterday I did not have the best answers for you. I should always use the Bible to answer questions. It is important to be ready to quote scriptures because it says in 2 Tim 3:16,

“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

I want to be able to prove to you from the scriptures that we can indeed rely on God’s promises. Because Gods Word is inspired we can be confident in everything that we read in it.

Your question, “Where is your God now” is not an unusual one. Even the people from Jesus’ day came across this problem. In Psalms 79:7-10 it says,

“Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name! Deliver us, forgive us, and purge away our sins for Your name’s sake. Why should the Gentile nations say, Where is their God?”

When the situations in life become hard, people often assume that God has left them. It has been my experience that God is doing a work in us. He has a purpose for everything that He allows in our life. Whether it is to teach us patience, or to strengthen us for some challenge that will come in our future, God is in control. We do not have to completely understand why He is doing what He is doing all the time. God even allows hardship so that we can have understanding and empathy for others. We can’t successfully help people unless we have been through the same difficulties as the person that we are trying to help.

So there are many reasons that He allows us to suffer, so to speak. The Bible says,

“That all things He works for our good” Romans 8:28 “We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren.”

Our limited minds cannot even totally grasp, or understand what God is all about. We think with imperfect minds and they say that we only use a tenth of our brain, so how can we truly understand why God does what He does in our lives. Trying to constantly figure things out only frustrates us. This is why we have the inspired Word, the Bible. We can trust in Him to do what he says He will do. All we should know is that He has our best interest in mind. Some scriptures that talk about how we should trust Him are,

Psalms 91:2-4 “I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!  3For [then] He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. 4[Then] He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge; His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler.”

God is our constant help in times of need,

Psalms 42:11 says, “Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my countenance, and my God.”

Psalms 91:14  “he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness--trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never].”

Jeremiah 17:10 says that God tries the hearts of man. For Christians that means that we go through tests and trials. We do not become Christians so we can have the “good life.” We cannot expect that when we are born again that we will live stress free lives, completely void of any challenges in life. I like to say that we need to ask God to help us learn to come out of our trials and tribulation ready and positioned for God’s greatness, not to just ask God to remove the trial, but to ask God to help us go through the trial and come out the other end unscathed. God is doing a good work in our life. We do not grow into spiritual maturity in the easy times, the blessed times, we grow spiritually when our faith is tested and we are in those times of trails, when it is hard. During these times we are the most precious to God, because He is able to work in our lives, to change us and to mold us into what He wants us to be. We cannot expect to live only for our blessings.

Of course I believe that God does bring us many blessings and I have noticed in my own life that I would go through a time of testing, but when it was done, then God would always give me a season of blessings. He gives us a time to rest and enjoy the progress that we are making, so we are refreshed and ready for the next lesson He wants us to learn. I love the scripture found in 1 Peter 3:14 says,

“But even in case you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, [you are] blessed (happy, to be envied)”

When I was younger in Christ, I wondered how am I blessed when I suffer? I now understand this scriptural principle, that I am most like God when I can suffer and still have a good attitude and I now know, that I know, that God will never leave me nor forsake me Hebrews 13:5b says,

“for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]

There are many scripture that speak of Christen suffering.  1 Peter 2:19-21 says,

“For one is regarded favorably (is approved, acceptable, and thank worthy) if, as in the sight of God, he endures the pain of unjust suffering.  [After all] what kind of glory [is there in it] if, when you do wrong and are punished for it, you take it patiently? But if you bear patiently with suffering [which results] when you do right and that is undeserved, it is acceptable and pleasing to God. For even to this were you called [it is inseparable from your vocation]. For Christ also suffered for you, leaving you [His personal] example, so that you should follow in His footsteps.”

This scripture is one of the keys to becoming a mature Christian. God is reasoning with us. He is showing us that when we suffer because we have done something wrong that we can endure it, and sometimes, if we feel guilty enough, we even can welcome the discipline, but when we have done nothing wrong, and we suffer, and especially when we do not understand the why’s and how’s of it, and we continue to do what is right even when it feels wrong, that that is what is the most pleasing for God, and that is when our faith is being stretched and strengthened, and that is when we are growing into spiritual mature Christians.

So we can suffer not only because we follow Jesus and pick up our torture stakes, (see Matthew 16:24) we can also suffer because we are imperfect. We cannot forget to give Satan some credit for our suffering. God may permit our suffering but he also makes the way out. 1 Peter 1:6-7 Says,

“[You should] be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations, So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed.”

God’s Word is pure words, and God likens the testing of our faith to being purified by fire. When silver and gold is first taken from the ground, it has to be purified by fire to get rid of all impurity’s. In the same way God tests us by fire, or through tests and trials to purify our hearts and minds. (see Psalms 12:6) He uses our trials to bring out of us any wrong motives, and so we become aware of areas that we need to grow in. Once we are aware of an area where we need to change in, He then can help us to change into the image of Christ, little by little, from glory to glory. (see 2 Corinthians 3:18) Once we have been purified in an area, we come out of it a better person. We have grown and are that much closer to our goal of becoming Christ like. God loves us so intensely that He wants us to become whole in body, mind, and spirit.

My point is that I can be assured that God has not gone anywhere. He is in me always, and He is near me. Even in times of testing when I do not always feel like he is there, I am assured that He will never leave me nor forsake me. I love this scripture.  In Hebrews 13:5b

“for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]. “

Every time I read that scripture I feel very emotional, because I still cannot believe that He loves me so much, but He does.

Since I believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, I trust in what the scriptures say. The promises of God are not just for someone else, they are for me personally. No matter what I have done or what I will ever do, God is near to me holding me up and at times carrying me along the way.” The scripture in Isaiah 41:10 says that God “hardens us to difficulty’s.” The more we face a trial and are able to overcome it, the harder it is for Satan to knock us down in that area in the future.

These times of financial difficulties should not be viewed as God punishing us, no, it should be viewed as an opportunity for us to trust in Him and to give over our worry. To just say “I know God will take care of me.” We should be declaring every day, “I will come out of my trials and tribulations ready and positioned for God’s greatness.” So I say to you, I do not fear. You also said that I don’t care about our finances. I believe that you said this because I am not trembling in fear. It is not that I am living with blinders on or I am ignoring the difficulties. I do not worry about the difficulties of life, because I believe that God is bigger than my difficulties. So when you do not see me in a panic wondering how I am going to pay the rent, or pay the utilities, and buy food, it is because I trust God and I know that He will take care of us.

There are two tests God gives us where money is concerned. One, how we act when we don’t have any, and two, how we act when we have a lot. I am working on having the right attitude about my finances, so I can pass my tests. It’s funny, we never fail where God is concerned, but if we do not pass our tests, we just get to keep taking the test over and over again until we do. I want to be the type of person that learns my lessons quickly so I can grow in God and I can move to the next opportunity to grow in spiritual maturity.

So where is my God? He is right here, running the show, guiding me, loving me, waiting on me to get the revelation that I cannot live a successful life without Him.  I say to you, do not let your fear cloud your faith.

In the nature it makes sense to panic when we are desperate. Don’t do it. Pray through it. I have found that God is never late, but He does like to wait until the midnight hour. He waits to see if we will keep our faith strong even when don’t understand, but He makes the way out every time. When I say to God, “my times are in Your hand, I mean that I do not worry, and I can relax and that peace that excels all thought comes over me and I am at total peace, and I know that I am safe in Him. Philippians 4:7 says,

“And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Remember we grow spiritually in the hard times when we are forced to look to God for the answers. That is when we are most like God. He stretches us in every way so that we will be prepared to accomplish the good work He has planned for us to do, and so that we are useable to Him.

Is God being mean by doing this? Absolutely not! He loves us enough to spend the time sharpening us, and building our character. Think about this, if God did not love us He wouldn’t put any time into teaching us. As a matter of fact if He did not love us, He wouldn’t even give us the time of day. I am often humbled when God steps in and notices the little things in me. For Him to invest the amount of time He does in my life proves to me that, not only does He love me, but that He has not gone anywhere. Be courageous and fight the fear that the enemy is trying to place in your mind. Set your mind on the truths of the Bible and never doubt that God is not with you.

Where is God? He is alive and well, and right by my side, and He right by your side also.

Kristine Mulholland is a Christian writer of God’s Word. Her writing and ministry is one that every Christian, in every stage of their walk, can learn from and relate to. With 3 upcoming books, she resides in Madison Tennessee. Visit Kristine on her website at http://www.gatheringtogether.webs.com/ or contact her by email at mulhollandkristine@yahoo.com

 

Complaining

September 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Articles, Kristine Mulholland

We may know it by different names,–such as griping, grumbling, whining, belly-aching, or murmuring. But regardless of the word used to describe it, complaining always has the same symptoms. The dictionary defines it as “an expression of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, or discontent. Complaining is the outward expression of discontent from within.

Complaining is a bad attitude expressed in grumbling. Complaining keeps us constantly on our own minds. We become so engrossed in our own suffering that, in a sense, we become selfish and have an overly demanding concern for ourselves. This excessive concern for ourselves pushes out the time and energy that we should be using to help others. Not that we do not care about other people, but we are just so burdened with our own problems and concerns that it takes away from the time and efforts that we should be using to help others. Until we remember that we are here on the earth to love others, to share with others and to encourage one another we will remain where we are, stuck thinking all about us, and unable to support others to the degree that God wants us to.

For me, keeping myself on my mind constantly makes me feel frustrated. I feel sorry for myself and I go off and have a little pity party. Don’t get me wrong, life is hard. I used to say, “Well if no one will feel sorry for me, I will feel sorry for myself”. But that line of thinking is detrimental to our progress to becoming a mature Christian. Because we are waiting on God to change us and our circumstances, we feel frustrated when we try to do God’s job, trying to fix our own lives ourselves, instead of putting our focus on other people, friends and family. As Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-38

“And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets”.

Why am I going in this direction? When we are constantly on our own mind it causes us to neglect our second greatest commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself. And what does that have to do with complaining? What we think on turns into words. We think of ourselves and our problems, eventually we will express our distress in words and we will find ourselves complaining. It is dangerous to allow ourselves to constantly bring up problems and camp on top of them, allow one negative thought after negative thought to just burst out of our mouths. I know for me, I have to catch myself. I will start out just sharing a situation with a friend and then I start listening to my words and it feels and sounds like pure rottenness pouring out of my mouth. It’s so negative. I have to make myself shut up or redirect my conversation somewhere else.

When I notice that my sharing has turned into a complaining session, I have to ask myself, “What is the purpose of my conversation with this person?” Am I requiring some others point of view, or do I need some advice? When I see that there really is no reason I am talking about what’s bothering me, except for the fact that I just need to vent, I look out of myself and try to sympathize with what my friend or family member are going through sitting there listening to me complain. If I feel that strongly about my own negative words, I can just imagine how it makes the person I am speaking to feel. I do not want the people I love to dread talking to me because I am always negative.

Focusing on the negative is power draining. Negative words also cause us to be in a bad mood, anxious and fearful. I am a firm believer that the longer we are persistently complaining the longer we get to stay in the situation that we are in. The Israelites took 40 years to make an eleven day trip. Why? They murmured and complained about everything. They lost faith easily. God keep them in that situation for a very long time. As a matter of fact, out of all of the Israelites that left Egypt, only two men that originally left Egypt crossed over the Jordon River. God was very sadden and displeased by their attitude and there complaining.

“Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and his anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.”(Numbers 11:1)

God actually killed the complainers. I know I do not want God to be angry with me. So my point is that, like the Israelites who had to keep going around and around the same mountains, never making any progress toward the Promised Land, we too can get stuck going around our own stupid mountains.

Complaining is also evidence of unbelief. When we complain we are telling God “I do not trust you.” Until I started reading up on complaining, I did not realize how distasteful it is to God. That revelation caused me to repent, to turn around. Everyday Satan gives us something to gripe about. It is up to us not to succumb to the temptation. Of course we cannot be successful on our own. But if we pray about it and do our part, and do what we can do, then God will do what we cannot do. Eventually we will make progress.

Instead of opening my mouth to complain, I open my mouth and say words like, “I believe that I will come out of my trial and tribulations ready and positioned for God’s greatness.” Or I will say, “I cannot see the answer, but God not only sees the answer, but he has a good plan in my life and a way out.”

I want all of you to try something. Try to go a whole day without complaining. I did it, and it seemed to me that every time I went to open my mouth I wanted to complain. I did pretty well all day at work, but by the time I got back home, I let the entire days worth of built up negative feelings pour of my mouth to my husband. The entire time I was complaining to my husband, I tried to stop, because in the back of my mind, I was saying “stop it”. What was interesting was that I could not stop. I continued until I had said all I could. That was a strong testimony to me. God opened my eyes that day, and I realized that I complained a whole lot more that I was aware of. So I pray every day for God to help me not to complain, and if I start to, have the Holy Spirit give me a reminder and point it out to me, so I can shut me mouth.

Philippians 2:14 says “Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining…”

I just want to encourage you to take an inventory of yourself. Don’t say in your head, “well my friend or my spouse should really read this.” Let’s take a look at your own attitudes and you own behaviors. I know all of us can come up higher. Brothers and sisters let us set our minds and make it a habit to speak positively today.

Kristine Mulholland is a Christian writer of God’s Word. Her writing and ministry is one that every Christian, in every stage of their walk, can learn from and relate to. With 3 upcoming books, she resides in Madison Tennessee. Visit Kristine on her website at http://www.gatheringtogether.webs.com/ or contact her by email at mulhollandkristine@yahoo.com