Category Archives: John 8

Lion in Waiting

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  (1 Peter 5:8)

 

Do you know how I know I am on the right track with God and He is working out something big?  My day is a mess and full of stress!

 

Yep, it’s true.  When I find myself harried by work – a slow system, a broken server, an update that causes more work.  When I find myself attacked by people – being proclaimed a troublemaker without any conversation or clarity, finding out I was lied to about blame for a chaotic situation, being around people who pretend pain never happened.  When I find myself delayed to a destination – by an accidental traffic violation, catching every red light, big trucks moving slowly and being unable to pass, an inaccurate GPS.  All this happened in one day, making me want to stand up and rage in frustration.

 

Sometimes I am smart enough to see the situation (day) for what it is and pause.  And in the stillness, I can remember God is working.  I can praise God for health and safety.  I can see God’s goodness in action.  And I can laugh in gratitude for God’s amazing grace.

 

For the devil tried to get me.

He tried to stop me from walking forward in God’s great purposes.

He tried to discourage me from knowing God’s goodness.

He tried to push me away from experiencing God’s grace.

 

He is a lion in the bush, crouched down and waiting to pounce.

Lion in Waiting.jpg

He keeps a careful and steady eye on me.  Watching my every move.  Looking for any opportunity to come after me.  Unblinking.  Unmoving.  Unflinching.  Waiting for me.  To open any door even a crack so he can come in.

 

Feeling good about myself?  Here is some anger, some offense, some pain.

Feeling confident about myself?  Here is some doubt, some fear, some shame.

Feeling content about myself?  Here is some confusion, some condemnation, some chaos.

 

Because whatever goodness I am experiencing, he wants to wipe that out, erase it completely, and refocus me on something else.

 

And so he waits, patiently and persistently, as a hungry lioness on the prowl.  Crouched low and poised to strike.  His bag of tricks and deceit ready to go at a moment’s notice.  A determined focus on my every action and reaction.

 

He is ready.

He is steady.

And he waits for me to not be either.

 

Because any chance I give him he is going to take.  At home.  At work.  In the car.  In the store.  With a group.  By myself.

 

Any chance is a good one for him.  So he waits.

 

And Jesus knew this.  That’s why He warned us to be constantly on guard with our actions, our words, and our thoughts.  To pay attention to everything we think, do, say, want, and react to.  “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

 

Because when we don’t, we could quickly and easily fall prey to the lion in waiting.

 

Because you might not be as ready as you think.

Because you might not be as strong as you think.

Because you might not be as sure as you think.

And you could be vulnerable to suggestion.

You could be available to persuasion.

You could be susceptible to deception.

 

And thus you are a target, easily spotted and then preyed upon.

 

And he will immediately throw things at you that cause you to question God’s love.  To overlook God’s goodness.  To dismiss God’s grace.

 

I don’t know about you, but I hate knowing there is a target on my back.  That I am always being watched.

 

But wait – NO!  No, I will not be effected this way.  Because I remember Whose I am.

 

Yes, the lion is waiting.  He wants to thwart me with his “wiles” (Ephesians 6:11) and “fiery darts” (Ephesians 6:16).  He wants to fill me with dissatisfaction, focus me on dissension, and fool me with deception.

 

But he is not the only one watching!

 

God is watching me, too.  The Good Shepherd (John 10:11) standing guard against lions.

 

And God is cheering me on.  He is encouraging me to choose love and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), especially when I don’t want to.  He is encouraging me to choose “kindness, humility, meekness” (Colossians 3:12), no matter what is happening around me.  He is encourage me to hold onto hope, for “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5), even when things don’t make sense to me.

 

So two beings watching me, knowing my eternity is at stake.  One watches me waiting to deceive and destroy, hoping to pounce on any weakness.  But God watches me with love and support with full encouragement and extraordinary grace.  One is called “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44) by Jesus.  Because all he can do is distract and unfocus.  But God reminds us over and over that He “predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself” (Ephesians 1:5).  Because we are cherished and chosen by the One in whom is no deceit (Numbers 23:19).

 

So I look at my day and shake my head.  It was full of nonsense.  The enemy pounced repeatedly.  But I am still standing, laughing at him.  Because I realize that though the lion charged, he didn’t destroy.  He couldn’t, because God was protecting me from severe damage (Psalm 91:11-12).

 

So the lion slinks off, his attempts to stop me thwarted.  We both go off to lick our wounds, though mine are quickly soothed by God’s healing grace.

 

And I climb into bed thankful for the power and victory of “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5), who helped me live to fight – and win – another day.  His roar of love over me empowers me to not focus on or be frustrated by the lion in the darkness.  Because just as Samson and David defeated a lion, so too will I.  Jesus has given us great power – resurrection, eternal, victorious power – through which “You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot” (Psalm 91:13).

 

And by His great grace the enemy’s mess will never overcome my Messiah!

 

Marie Fremin.  9/16, 9/17, and 9/23/17

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God’s Best

God keeps bringing my thinking back to His best.

 

When I at look at my choices, He nudges me to ask “what is My best for you?”

When I decide on my reactions to people, He nudges me to ask “what is My best for you?

When I consider my actions, He nudges me to ask “what is My best for you?”

 

Because God’s standards are high – but never impossibly unreachable.  They are perfectly complete to fulfill us, to fashion us, and to reform us.  He doesn’t want less than His best for us.  Because then we are less than the image of Jesus and off course from His perfect purpose for us.

 

God is the author of best.

God is the definer of best.

God is the maintainer of best.

 

And so He keeps bringing my thinking back to what He considers best.  Reminding me that He knows best.  That He plans best.  That He thinks best.  That he says best.  That He loves best.  That he does best.  That He forgives best.

 

That he knows best.  Oh, wait, I already said that one.  But it is so important that I need to repeat it.  Over and over and over to myself, until it starts to sink in as unshakable truth.

 

When God asks us to do, He means we need to move, to go, to do.  And He knows best.  When God asks us to forgive, He means we need to let go, to release, to move on.  And He knows best.  When God asks us to pray, He means for us to seek Him, to listen to Him, to choose His will (over our own).  And He knows best.  When God asks us to give, He is asking us to spend for His purposes, to give into His will, to donate toward His love.  And He knows best.  When God asks us to listen, He means to stop talking, stop formulating a response (lame reason), to actually hear the Word being spoken over us.  And He knows best.

 

Best.  Not justifying our (wrong) choices to Him.

Best.  Not rationalizing our (bad) behavior to Him.

Best.  Not denying the mistakes (will errors) we make to Him.

Best.  Not ignoring the tug of the Spirit within us.

Best.  Not hoping God isn’t paying attention or watching us do as we please.

Best.  Not reasoning God will be alright with our (selfish) choices.

 

Best is being on board with God.  Especially when you don’t want to because it is hard and requires sacrifice.

 

Because we all struggle with something outside of God’s best for us.  And that struggle is real and painful and hard.  But in letting go of what we want and reaching for His best instead we could experience the beginning of something amazing.  Going through the struggle – and overcoming – could open the door for us to know and experience His best.  And it always starts with a choice.  MY choice.

 

Ask the sinful woman in John 8.  “Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?’” (John 8:3-5)

God's Best

First, stop.  Stop judging her.  Stop criticizing her in your head.  Because we all have adultery in our lives.  We all have something wrong, to varying degrees, that we are choosing to do.  We are all this woman, standing in front of a judgmental crowd with little to nothing to cover our sins.  The only difference is this woman got caught – and shamed – in a public setting to trick Jesus into a corner.  So stop judging her this minute.

 

And find compassion on a woman who made a mistake.  Who was most likely set up to make this mistake.  And who had such a serious mistake brought into a very public arena.  Where she had to stand, possibly only in a bed sheet clutched tightly around her, and not flinch at the harsh gleam of judgment in people’s eyes.  With loud voices crying out for her demise all around her.  And probably trembling, with tears glistening in her eyes, she probably pondered her life.  How one wrong choice led to another in (rapid) succession – and trying to figure out how exactly it led her to this public square.  Deserving of contempt but secretly desperate for compassion.

 

And Jesus holds her life literally in His hands in this moment.  She assumes her end is near, and she probably tries to make peace with God.  When she is startled back to reality with a surprising statement – “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7).

 

What?  He will not condemn her?  He will not convict her?  Could that be a spark of hope renewed in her?

 

It was too much for her to believe God’s best could be for her.  Not after all her choices.  It was too impossible to believe God could forgive her.  Redeem her.  Release her.  But God’s best was present, and it was ready to do all this for her.

 

Because as she stood in amazement, the miracles kept coming.  One by one her accusers slink off, silently sullen and self-convicted.  And soon she is alone with Jesus.  The unbelievable man who refused to throw any stones at her.

 

She is still scantily clad.  She is still a broken woman.  She is still wrapped in the shame of her sinful choices.  So now, when there were no witnesses, would He pick up a stone?  Surely now the pretense would be over.

 

But God continues to pour His best over this woman.  Still more than she could have hoped for.  “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

 

Go in the flow of My best.  Which frees you from the shackles of your past and the shame of your choices.  Go in the freedom of My best.  Which has given you the opportunity to go back into the world a different woman who can and will make better choices.  Go in the force of My best.  Which includes a love unconditional and unshakable and undeniable.

 

And I choose to believe she stood up straight and made a few new life choices.  I think she realized the power of God’s love and let it bring out the best in her.

 

So what is your adultery?

Where are you stuck?

How far are you from God’s best?

 

Is it unforgiveness?  Is it criticism?  Is it revenge?  Is it selfishness?  Is it gossip?  Is it stinginess?  Is it coldness?  Is it harsh words?  Is it judgment?  Is it lust?  Is it impurity?  Is it impure thoughts?  Is it overspending?  Is it addiction?

 

It is never too late to start again or anew.  It is never too late to choose His best.

 

Maybe we can both start today.  By putting down our defenses and letting go of our excuses.

 

So we can be open and free to find and receive His best for us.  He is waiting eagerly to give it to us!

 

Marie Fremin.  6/3/17