Category Archives: trust

You Will Find Me

Jeremiah 29:10-14 NIV – 10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity [restore your fortunes]. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

 

I once heard a preacher tell a story about a woman who was about to marry for the 8th time – yes, the 8th time. And she came to him during an event to ask him to pray for her, that this time she would marry a man who would appreciate and respect her. Because she had managed to marry 7 men who did not treat her like the queen that she was. And he stood there, trying to find grace to wrap over the truth on the tip of his tongue. He missed grace entirely as he said plainly yet firmly “ma’am, have you considered that the only common factor in all of your relationships is YOU?” She did not appreciate his answer and the implication that she was the problem, so she stormed off, refusing to accept the truth God was trying to offer her.

 

And I’ve been thinking about this woman and her story as I ruminate over the jobs I have had over the last few years. It has been a bumpy road, as I have had 3 different jobs in the last 2 years. The first job I did not leave in my timing or planning, but it was definitely by the grace of God that that door closed. And just as the Israelites plundered the Egyptians when their exodus started, God too blessed me with provision at my exit from that world of judgment and condemnation. The second job I did leave by choice, because the toxic atmosphere just became life-draining in its escalating hostility. That season was short, but it showed me how much I had grown and matured as a result of the previous season (there were a lot of repeating temptations and trials).

 

So, as I tend to do, I began to think about these things in light of each other. I began to think about this woman, so discontent in her marriages yet so oblivious to her part in creating and sustaining the problem. And I have to wonder – have I become her? In my experiences, I am the common denominator. I am the only person in all the stories. The situations may be similar and the personalities eerily identical, but the names and environments changed … and I was the only thing the same in all situations. So, did I, without realizing it, become the problem I have been accused of being? Did I not adapt and change and bend as I thought I did? Was I so caught up in trying to survive in a hostile environment that I missed any red flags about myself?

 

And then this heart-mending truth popped up in my spirit – girl, take heart. God was working on you to work off a few more rough edges and help you move into a new season of maturity. Yes, you were the common denominator … but you were also the one who grew and blossomed and changed as you embraced My grace and enveloped yourself in My love. Those experiences were hard, and those words hurled at you were harsh … but they were a test to see if you would truly lean into Me, thereby willingly stepping into the change I wanted to work in you and do the hard work it required. I watched you struggle with the “truth” of the world and how it measured up to the real truth of My Word … and I smiled when you realized what was good and pure and right and planted it deep into your spirit.

 

I know it was hard. I know it felt soul crushing. I know there were moments of complete devastation.

 

But you made it. Multiple times.

You kept going.

You kept believing.

You kept trusting.

 

You Will Find Me

 

You realized that My promise in Isaiah 29:13 is always true – “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

 

And with every incident, every infraction, and every inconvenience, I watched you give Me another little piece of your heart as you trusted Me a little more with your life. And with each piece you gave Me, I ran it through My loving fingers and touched you with the extraordinary grace you needed to keep going with a little more hope, a little more love, and a little more determination. And as you accepted My grace, it was pure joy to Me to see you apply it liberally to your life and trust that I was with you every day … to walk through and thrive against every harsh word, every criticism, every hopeless moment, and every ungiven apology.

 

And I took every piece of your heart and cherished your growing faith and abiding hope. And I immediately began working to help you mend the torn, worn, and broken pieces into something new and beautiful that speaks of your strength and boasts of My glory.

 

And believing this to be the truth of my experiences, that God used them to help me instead of hinder me, I am grateful … because He loves me enough to want me to be better, do better, act better, and think better. He wants more for me than what I see, feel, and experience today.

 

So, looking back and talking through the experiences actually brings a smile to my face. Because I can see the pain and strain and drain were all for my good and my growth, and God is getting the glory as a result.

 

And yes, I was the common denominator – by God’s design, for God’s purposes. Because He has “plans to give you hope” for a better and brighter tomorrow.

 

What a great reminder that God does not want me to surrender my hope by submitting to the “captivity” of the ways and opinions of the world, which warp the mind, break the heart, and destroy the spirit. That God does not want me to give into the seduction of “Babylon”, which can only give empty promises and hopeless tomorrows. That God wants me to beware of self-destructive and self-righteous behavior that will “exile” me from His love and His grace.

 

So, thank goodness for being the common denominator, because it has helped me find such destructive things and deal with them … to honestly acknowledge where I have gone wrong, to humbly repent for following my feelings, and to hopefully embrace the grace to move forward. To see that though I may be in Babylon, I do not have to adapt to the wiles and ways of Babylon. To ultimately believe that what God says about me is more important than anything else I am told.

 

I pray I keep seeing the good, the grace, and the growth of my experiences. Because it is through them that “I [God] will be found by you.” That I will be more compelled to “seek Me [God] with all your heart.” That God “will bring you back from captivity.

 

And I will open my hands, my heart, and my head to all the possibilities of God’s purposes … common denominator or not.

 

Marie Fremin.  5/15/20, 5/16/20.

 

 

She Who ___

10 At this, [Ruth] bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?” 11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” (Ruth 2:10-12)

 

I am sure as Ruth stood speaking to Boaz that she wondered what she had done to garner his attention. Perhaps she was worried about having done something to offend him or anger him, which meant she would have to find another field to glean in. She thought she knew the answer when she asked him why she had warranted his attention. She was not asking for or expecting Boaz to compliment her.

 

Because instead of judgment or condemnation, he offered her grace and compassion … and respect. She possibly saw a little astonishment as he recited her reputation in their small community and heard his prayer of blessing over her.

 

For her, it was nothing worthy of such praises. She was a simple woman, taking care of someone who had loved her well during their time together. It was the least she could do for Naomi, who had taken care of her and shown her how big and amazing God’s love was. To her, it was the easy choice to make. It didn’t matter what people thought, though she probably wondered if they would see her as anything more than a foreigner. Maybe she wondered what people were saying about her. Maybe she wasn’t.

 

Maybe you wonder what people are saying about you.

 

How would you hope people think about and talk about you?

How would you hope people finish this sentence about you: she is the one who ___?

 

I recently asked this question, and someone responded with “she is the one who tried.” And as I read the words, my heart broke.

 

Why? Isn’t trying good?

 

Because I read that statement as a testament of defeat.

She tried, believing she would probably fail.

She tried, having little to no faith in a good outcome.

She tried, without hope of God’s goodness and grace toward her.

She tried, believing more in herself than in God.

She tried, limiting herself and the possible outcomes.

 

And a warrior spirit rose up in me against this defeatist attitude, wanting to battle try with something more powerful – trust!

 

She Who ___

 

She is the one who trusted, knowing God would give her strength to keep going.

She is the one who trusted, never giving up hope that God would bring good.

She is the one who trusted, knowing God would provide.

She is the one who trusted, knowing God has always proven Himself trustworthy and good.

She is the one who trusted, knowing the impossible is always possible with God.

 

Don’t you want people to see the faith in you to trust … and keep trusting, no matter what?

 

Here’s how I would want people to finish that sentence about me:

She is the one who trusted God.

She is the one who always went after God’s best.

She is the one who loved her family well.

She is the one who never gave up – on herself, on God, on grace.

She is the one who trusted God more than anything else.

She is the one who was intentional about her relationship with God.

She is the one who refused to be limited to try.

 

Do you want to be limited to trying?

Or do you want to thrive because you trusted?

 

Be a Ruth, whose reputation of faith preceded her into favor and family. Be a person who chooses to trust through all circumstances and situations, knowing God will come through.

 

Marie Fremin.  1/16/20, 3/15/20.

Gethsemane Moment

Adulting is not for the faint of heart.

 

It can often feel like dancing with a partner who is constantly stepping on your toes. You move left or right, and so does life, landing on top of your foot … and smashing your toes. You zig, and life refuses to zag; instead, life zigs right in front of you, forcing you off balance and off your rhythm. You move forward, and life does not move at all, causing you to stumble and fall to avoid crashing into it.

 

Yesterday, I danced with life. Yesterday I faced the possibility of having something – possibly minor, concernedly major – medically named, which would give it the ability to change the cadence of my steps and the direction of my feet as I move through daily life.

 

It was a dance that started with a possibility.

Which became conversations … and the frustration of being unheard.

Then the coordination into scheduling … and trying to get documentation into the right hands.

 

Then the waiting begins for the day of testing to come. The confusion.

Then the testing itself. The questions.

Then the waiting for the results. The unknown.

 

So much time from the beginning of the possibilities until the end of the testing. So many hours and days and weeks to waver between fear and faith, surety and scared, and assurance and anger.

 

And it was a masterful plan by the enemy. Pure genius. Because it was just subtle enough to create disillusionment yet pointed enough to build desperation – one thought at a time. All in an effort to distract me, to disturb me, and to disquiet me so I would become disengaged from my faith, disconnected from God, and disenchanted from hope.

 

In the possibilities of the unknown the enemy works best.

To fill me with fear … and question God’s goodness.

To overwhelm me with anxiety … and tune out God’s comfort.

To sidetrack me with stress … and reject God’s endurance.

To cause me to be concerned … and turn away from prayer.

 

Ultimately, his great hope was to confuse me into believing this one dangerous thought: “If God allows this, then He is not good.” But that is SO NOT true!

 

Because hard things do not disprove God’s love for us. In fact, they show us the exact opposite. It is going through such things – these Gethsemane moments God has purposed for our lives – that we become absolutely convinced of God’s love and care. And even though they usually the hardest things we go through, they will show us the faith we are made of and the grace all around us.

 

What is a Gethsemane moment? Jesus shows us when He goes to the garden of Gethsemane the night of His arrest to spend His last hours as a free man – “37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” 39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” 40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” 43 And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words” (Matthew 26:37-44).

 

Jesus is feeling the human side of Himself. He knows what will happen to Him once the morning approaches, and it is going to be filled with pain and anguish and torture … and eventually death. And the human side of Him wants to abort God’s plan and find another way. It will be too hard.

 

And He is feeling every human emotion you and I would. “He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed” (37). He is mentally anguished. He is full of heaviness in His spirit. He is adēmonéō (ad-ay-mon-eh’-o). Because He knew how deeply each of those 39 lashes (if given by Jewish custom) He would receive in the morning would cut, and He knew His skin would be torn to shreds. Because He knew how long and hard that walk from the temple to Golgotha would be, with a broken and bleeding body trying to carry that heavy cross. Because He knew how much more pain would radiate through Him once they pounded the nails into His wrists and feet. Because He knew the torture of trying to breathe while hanging on the cross as a public spectacle of shame. Because He knew how it would feel to His human soul to be completely separated from God’s love, grace, and comfort as He lovingly and willingly took on every one of our sins – from the petty to the perverse – to make us right with God.

 

Gethsemane Moment

 

And in Gethsemane, the human part of Jesus is wrestling hard against the horrors of all this against the divine Spirit with Him, who is reminding Him this is the best plan. God’s hand is on this, and the rewards will be innumerable and eternal. The suffering is a temporary moment or two before He will conquer death and reclaim the world and all man for God.

 

But feeling every ounce of His humanity, Jesus spends the night praying. Notice – not once, not twice, but three times Jesus prayed the same prayer – “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (39, 42, 44). Father, I know this is definitely not going to be easy. This is not going to be remotely pleasant. This is not going to be any sort of beautiful on this side of the cross. Things are not going to go the way anyone expects. People will abandon Me. People will deny they know Me. People will hide to keep from being associated with Me. And the physical pain is going to be excruciating! So, if there is any other way, please Father, now is the time to let Me know. Because in just a few hours, it is going to be too late.

 

But….” Father, if this is the best way, I am in. I am all in. I know You know best, and I know You are working out of Your love for the world You have created. So, I choose to lay down My will to follow You. Completely. I will not follow My human mind, emotions, and will that want Me to end this now by walking away and staying safe. I know today will be the hardest day, and I know I will walk through it unable to defend Myself as I find Myself abandoned by almost everyone who claimed to love Me. So, please help Me. Help Me to keep going. Help Me to hold on to what You are doing. Help Me to remember the ultimate purpose. Give Me the strength I need to walk out each moment of this phase of Your plan.

 

If Jesus, divine and perfect in His own right yet with the help of His brother the Holy Spirit, wrestled this hard … knowing how things would turn out … how much more do we need God?

 

With every breath we breathe! Because unlike Jesus, we are far from divine. We are stuck in our humanity, which means we have a limited perspective and understanding of what God is trying to do and what is at stake for us to fully obey.

 

And what God wants us to come to in our faith is the same point of determination and endurance Jesus did – “not as I will, but as You will” (39).

 

Not what I think the outcome should be … but God, I defer to the outcome that will promote Your purposes.

 

Not how I see the situation in this moment … but God, I adjust my vision to focus on You and You alone, trusting that You see all and will guide me where I need to go.

 

Not how my emotions are leading me … but God, I choose to tune Your whisper up high and all other voices out, so I can hear the truth You need me to hear.

 

Not what I want but what You have planned for me, because it will be better than anything I would have expected anyway.

 

And often we do just as Jesus did and wrestle to get to this point of faith, where we know that no matter what, we are going to do our best to hold onto hope and trust God.

 

And this is where I have been since January 23rd, when my doctor called me to report an abnormality on a test. It could be nothing … but it could be something serious. And it amazed me that a community of medical professionals tried to guilt and shame and scare me into doing the “right” thing without hearing my concerns about the cost coming directly out of my pocket. I should just set up payment terms and not worry about paying the equivalent of two to three car payments to find out if I had a medical issue to navigate or not.

 

And that was when I walked into Gethsemane and started wondering. God, how is this going to turn out? God, what is Your purpose if I have to walk through the unimaginable? God, is this really necessary? God, I trust You but isn’t there another way? God, do You really think I am strong enough to walk through something that big? God, why would You do this to my family?

 

Let me point out that I wondered more than wrestled. No, I did not want to do any additional testing. No, I did not want to find out there was something potentially deadly in my body. No, I did not want to think about the conversations I would have to have with my family and the torment it would put them through.

 

But, even with this big possibility, I did not have to wrestle to the point of faith. Because I have seen God’s goodness over and over and over again in my life that I know it to be true in all circumstances. Because I am absolutely convinced that Romans 8:35-39 is true and nothing can separate me from God’s love and protection. Because I know that if God calls me to it, God will strengthen me to get me through it.

 

And maybe God was positioning me to meet someone who needed to hear that God is good, even in the middle of the treatment. Maybe God needed my family to see that I refuse to give up on God, even when things aren’t easy. Maybe God was intervening to help me before something worse could take over and prematurely take my life.

 

And I wondered what was going to happen and if my life was going to change. Holding tightly to my faith while the enemy subtly … and then not so subtly … came at me with doubt, fear, anxiety, and stress. While he tried to convince me that I could not be strong enough to go through anything bad and did not really deserve anything good.

 

But I chose to use my time in Gethsemane wisely. Every time the enemy came for me, I leaned completely into God. I did just as Jesus did – God, if there is any other way, let’s do it, but otherwise, “not as I will, but as You will.” I won’t promise to like it, and I won’t promise to always have a joyful attitude. But I will promise to trust You, with everything I am. I will promise to know that with You I can get through anything I have to to be healed. I will promise to share my story with and show my faith to whomever You put in my path.

 

And praise God, the testing came back with good news. There was nothing to worry about. Nothing that required additional testing. Nothing to bring radical life change. And Iam humbly thankful that my Gethsemane had a happy ending this time.

 

No, we don’t want Gethsemane. But we need Gethsemane. We need to know that God is OK with our questions and fears and doubts … He will never love us any less. And He encourages our questions, because they help to develop our faith … especially when we have to dig deep down and wrestle for it. We need to be reminded that God is in control and has already purposed everything ahead of us … and the choice to surrender to His plans is entirely and always ours. We need to be assured that even though grace doesn’t always take the easy path there is always something good waiting for us on the other side.

 

And though I never want to repeat this particular Gethsemane moment, I can’t deny its value. Because I was able to see that my heart is secure in faith and the enemy was unable to sway me away. I trust God completely, and I was able to speak this into any doubts and fears that came up.

 

What has your Gethsemane experience taught you?

 

Marie Fremin.  2/25/20, 2/27/20, 2/29/29.

God, What Are You Doing?

I have been thinking a lot about Joseph this week as I consider my current season.

 

I wonder what Joseph was thinking as his brothers grabbed him, stripped him, picked him up, and threw him into the pit (Genesis 37:23-24).

 

I wonder what Joseph was thinking as he gazed up, helpless to help himself and at the complete mercy of his brothers’ anger.

 

God, What Are You Doing

 

I wonder what Joseph was thinking when they lifted him out of the pit … only to sell him to slave traders (Genesis 37:28).

 

And in thinking of this beginning of his story, I think I know what Joseph was thinking, feeling, and wondering.

 

God, what are You doing?

 

Hey God. It’s me, Joseph. You realize that I am Jacob’s son, right? The child You finally blessed his beloved Rachel with. I am the son of Jacob’s heart and the source of Jacob’s pride.

 

So … why am I standing here in this pit?

Defenseless.

Helpless.

Friendless.

 

Am I going to die here, scared and alone? Am I never going to see my father again? How long will I be down here before someone finds me? Will they find me alive … or not?

 

God, why am I here?

God, what are You doing?

 

I know You are there. My father talks about You all the time. How You have been with him through his villainous youth, where he tricked his brother and wound up running for his life. How You helped him learn to trust You and be a man of faith while he was living under his deceitful father-in-law. How You honored his progress by helping him reconcile with his brother. How all of this taught him to be faithful to and always believe in You.

 

Are You trying to teach me something?

Are You trying to change something about me?

Are You mad at me about something?

 

Because I think we could have had a conversation about me without this pit. I (probably) would have listened to You. So, God, why the pit?

 

I get it, Joseph. Totally. I hear your confusion and consternation. I understand your pain and perplexity. I see your betrayal and bullying by those you thought cared about you.

 

I get it, Joseph, because I too am in the pit. Asking the same questions. Facing the same confusion. Wondering what I could have done differently.

 

I recently had a relationship that did not work out. It ended just as well as yours with your brothers. Everyone was content to push me into the pit and walk away. No salvation. No forgiveness. No redemption. No hope.

 

And despite the relationship they all claimed we had, they all threw their hands up and walked away. Blaming me for all the problems they said were all in my vivid – and completely vain – imagination. And I looked up and found myself alone.

 

No “are you OK?”

No “I am sorry.”

No “I am still your friend.”

 

Silence. Shunning. Stranded.

Alone. And wondering – just as you, Joseph – God, what are You doing?

 

Why did it implode?

How did it come to this dramatic end?

Who is ultimately to blame … if we have to assign blame?

When did my heart start to question?

What was the real problem?

Where did things start to fall off the rails?

 

Was I wrong in my perspective that it wasn’t quite right?

 

Or … was I right? Was I right in feeling that what looked good and was convenient was not Your best for us – and we were robbing ourselves of the chance to experience Your best?

 

Joseph, I too keep asking myself questions. Just like I know you were as you stared up from the pit. I believe you were praying, asking what you needed to do to get through this difficult time and desperate moment … to stay calm and hope for the best while preparing yourself for the worst. I believe you were wondering what you could have done differently, even if it wasn’t true to who you were, to have a better outcome (even if it meant you would not be happy). I believe you questioned whether you should have been so vocal about your dreams and your gifts and instead just kept your doubts and ideas to yourself (to keep the peace).

 

I know, Joseph. Because I am asking myself the same questions.

 

And I hope that you did the same thing I am doing – trusting God. Sure, you asked “God, what are You doing?” and so am I. But I hope you trusted the answer was “something good for you”.

 

Something necessary to separate you from bad influences of favoritism and pride.

Something necessary to teach you that you need to trust Me completely.

Something necessary to prepare you for the big future I have planned.

 

And the pit is the beginning of a hard season, where things will not be easy and you will probably question My purposes daily. But there is going to be an amazing climax to your story, and I need the pit and what comes after it to prepare you for it.

 

And Joseph, God had an amazing story – and an incredible miracle – to do through you. Because it seems you never lost faith. Through all the years, which started with the pit, you trusted God to get you through today and into tomorrow. And you hoped with everything in you for a better tomorrow. Eventually, God honored your faith by allowing you to see – and save – your family again. And you were able to forgive them, completely, because you knew I had been with you and had a big purpose for your life.

 

Joseph, I want the same story. I want to look back on this season and say I trusted God so completely that I knew He was going to redeem the bad moments and remind me of the good ones. I want to say that though things seemed dark and dire and distressing I knew God was with me and for me and was setting me up for something amazing in the future. And I want the incredible testimony that comes on the other side of asking “God, what are You doing?” when we refuse to let go of our faith.

 

Loving Father, please help me remember the pit can be the beginning of something incredible that You are doing. Help me to hold onto my faith and keep my focus on You while things feel painful, perplexing, and without purpose. Help me to remember that You are good and You always have a good plan for my life. Thank You for loving me so much that You never give up on me … and for Your faith that I can survive – and eventually thrive – because of the pit. In Jesus’ almighty name. AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin.  2/22/20

11 Days

It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea. Now it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month …” (Deuteronomy 1:2-3a).

 

It should have taken the children of Israel less than two weeks to go from the hopelessness of Egypt to the unlimited potential of the Promised Land.

 

11 days. 264 hours. 15,840 minutes. That is all that stood between Israel and the new life God had been promising them for generations.

 

But 11 days turned into 40 years.

Their 264 hours turned into 1,753,164 hours.

Their 15,840 minutes turned into 21,037,968 minutes.

 

Their 11 days turned into missed opportunity and lost blessing.

Their 11 days turned into a lifetime of wandering and waiting.

Their 11 days turned into God hoping for the best and then dealing with the worst.

 

Because Israel would not soften their hearts and change their attitudes.

 

Despite seeing miracle after miracle and receiving daily provision and protection, they refused to trust God.

 

Instead, they decided trusting in their former slavery in Egypt was easier than trusting in God.

 

But how quickly they forgot the costs when they complained about the “comforts” and “benefits” of slavery they gave up to follow God.

 

Trusting in slavery meant the death of their newborn sons: “15 Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah; 16 and he said, ‘When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live’” (Exodus 1:15-16).

 

Trusting in slavery meant rigorous workloads to meet impossible quotas: “17 But he said, ‘You are idle! Idle! Therefore you say, “Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.” 18 Therefore go now and work; for no straw shall be given you, yet you shall deliver the quota of bricks’” (Exodus 5:17-18).

 

Trusting in slavery meant a life of oppression and anguish: “I [God] have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows [pain]” (Exodus 3:7).

 

Egypt never did anything for Israel’s benefit. So, why would Israel choose to look back to their slavery in Egypt as the better choice? Especially when God showed them He was for them and with them.

 

God brought the immediate and profitable exodus they made from Egypt in one night: “35 Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. 36 And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians” (Exodus 12:35-26).

 

God brought their miraculous salvation at the Red Sea: “27 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained. 29 But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left” (Exodus 14:27-29).

 

God provided manna from heaven each day to sustain them: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily’” (Exodus 16:4-5).

 

Yet, despite all they saw and experienced, they chose to focus on what they thought they were missing. And missed out on getting what they really wanted.

 

They missed being settled.

They missed being stationary.

They missed being secure.

 

And as a result, they turned their 11 days and waiting blessing into 40 years of wandering around the same mountain, in the same desert, in the same clothes, eating the same food. They could have been settled instead of packing up their tents each morning. They could have established their homes on a designated piece of land, given to them by God to enjoy the good life He had planned for them.

 

But they missed it.

They never laid eyes on it.

They never experienced it.

They never enjoyed it.

 

But the sadder part of the story is that their choice also affected their children, who could have lived their lives in the promised land experiencing God’s goodness from a home. Instead, they were forced to wander with their parents for 40 years, waiting for someone to finally understand they needed to do something DIFFERENT.

 

And because their parents were too stubborn to change, the kids spent 40 years reaping the consequences of those selfish and self-absorbed choices.

 

It’s a sad story. But it can lead to a happy ending.

 

Do you want to be like Israel?

Do you want to miss out on the good things God has for you?

Do you want others to miss out on the good things God has for them?

 

Because you are stubborn?

Because you are scared?

Because you are selfish?

 

Ultimately, because you won’t trust Him?

 

Now is a good chance to ask yourself several questions and evaluate.

 

What mountain are you marching around – again?

** Think about that coworker who always bothers you into reacting, that traffic that always sets you off, that family member who always steals your peace.

 

What “year” are you on?

** How long ago did you given up hope because things got complicated? How long has your faith wavered because things aren’t going according to your expectations? How long did your confidence fade because of pain or pressure?

 

Are you tired yet of the monotony of the life-sucking scenery and routine?

** How much of God’s goodness have you forgotten about?

 

Then stop walking.

Evaluate what is keeping you in the desert.

Decide to change your choices.

Then believe in God … with everything you are!

 

Adopt a new posture, a new attitude, a new confidence, a new mindset, a new language, and a new hope.

 

Don’t let your 11 days become 40 years.

Don’t miss out on what God has waiting for you.

 

Marie Fremin.  12/30-31/19, 1/2/20.

2020 Prayer 2

Luke 1:45 (NIV) – Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!

Loving Father,

Let 2020 be the year we become fully invested in relationship with You.

 

As we walk through the new year, I pray You give us the wisdom to make good decisions that lead us into the testimony of she who “believed and confidently trusted” (AMP) You with her life.

  • Help us to have faith in You for our future – our relationships, our jobs, and our possessions.
  • Help us to be committed to You with our finances – being generous, saving, and spending wisely.
  • Help us to entrust You with our families – both biological and adopted, to not get in the way of Your purposes and plans.

 

Help us to work toward a complete life.

Putting our faith in You completely.

Believing in Your grace completely.

Trusting in Your provision completely.

 

Whether for the first time, in a return state, or in a new way …

Help us to trust You with our words.

Help us to trust You with our thoughts.

Help us to trust You with our attitudes.

Help us to trust You with our motivations and intentions.

 

Help us to believe …

That You are a faithful God who longs to bless us.

That You want to see the perfection (maturing) of our faith.

That You want to see the completion of our understanding.

That You want to see the performance of our love.

 

And in living for You, with You, and by Your Spirit, we will find ourselves more joyful and more well-off than we could ever expect otherwise. For “how happy is the woman who believes in God” (Phillips) and trusts that You, a God of immeasurable possibilities and “wonderful blessing” (TLB), will “do what he said” (TLB).

 

May 2020 be the year we more fully become the “blessed woman” (MSG) who has the boldness to believe that our contentment, our joy, our peace, our security – and everything we need – are found in You!

 

Marie Fremin.

Lot’s Wife

When was the last time you had a big life change?

 

They can be tough.  Especially when they are unexpected.  When the solid ground beneath you suddenly opens up and swallows your security.

 

And you have to decide.

Trust God or freak out.

Settle into peace or pass out in fear.

Believe in something better or try to hang on to something not good for you.

 

And I believe God hopes we will settle into His grace and trust the unknown plans He is orchestrating.

 

Just like He hoped with Lot and his family.  When the city of Sodom and Gomorrah became too far gone with no remorse, God decided to destroy the city.  Except for one righteous man, Lot.  God asks that in exchange for their lives that they “Don’t look back …” (Genesis 19:17).

 

While I am drawing you away from danger and destruction, don’t wish to be back in your home or talking to your friends.  Don’t long to be part of that world anymore.  It has nothing of value, of substance, or of faith.  I am saving you from its destruction, so look ahead to the possibilities of the future.

 

But Lot’s wife could not let go.  That life had become more important to her than God.  So she “… looked back …” (Genesis 19:26), unable to believe the desert in front of her held any possibility.

 

And God saw where her heart was set.   So “… she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26).

Lot's Wife

It seems harsh and somewhat cruel.  I cannot begin to understand God’s purpose.

 

But I can see a valuable lesson – by grace she was saved, but she refused it.  She rejected all God offered her in the moment, believing He was stealing her from something better.

 

Even Jesus used her as an example – “32 Remember Lot’s wife! 33 Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it” (Luke 17:32-33).

 

Remember that wanting something outside of God’s best will eventually destroy you.

It will never bring lasting goodness or sustaining grace.

 

Don’t look back and long to be where you were scared, proud, insecure, or overly secure.

Don’t look back and want to stay in a rut that was keeping you from growing and changing.

Don’t look back and wish that you had the stress and joylessness that were destroying you piece by piece.

 

Trust God when He pulls you out of a job a relationship, a church, a house, or a city.  Believe with absolute confidence that He is going to take care of you as He brings you to something better.  Let your faith be grounded in His continuing goodness.

 

So consider where you are today.

Then consider where you were.

Now choose to believe God is at work for your good.

 

And you won’t want to look (go) back – except to thank Him for how far He’s brought you.

 

Marie Fremin.  4/29/18