Do You Trust Me?

Sheep tiffany gobert

Tiffany Gobert Art

Part 1

Jeanne here.  You might be familiar with that scene from the end of John’s gospel, where Jesus asks Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?”  The third time, it goes down like this:

Jesus asked a third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?” Peter was deeply hurt that Jesus had asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” “Lord, you know all things,” he replied. “You know I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.” (John 21: 15-17)

I feel like I’m living through something similar these days, but instead of asking if I love him, Jesus keeps asking me if I trust him.  I keep avoiding the question because I know he’s going to tell me to feed his sheep.

I know I’m not here on this earth to have a Jesus-and-me love fest.  There is a whole flock of people that he wants someone to take care of, and that someone is me.  I don’t know all the sheep I’m supposed to feed, but Jesus does, and he loves them, and he wants me to feed them.

Jesus has been working on me for a while to get out of my comfort zone and start walking the path he had laid out for me since before I was born.  My life is supposed to be a showcase for God’s love and power.  The Lord has provided everything I need to do this, but I’m still the one who has to do the work.  And to be honest, sheep scare me.

If left to myself, I could happily spend the rest of my life sitting on my couch, reading my Bible, and sending money off to support people who are doing the real work. But the Spirit won’t let me.  As an example, God has been telling me since at least 2018 that I’m supposed to write a book.  Recently this leading came with a bunch of details about what’s supposed to be in it, and how to approach it, and who to collaborate with. It all seemed possible in the moment, while I was hearing from the Spirit.

But within a few hours, I was incapable of even imagining myself writing this book.  All the unknowns overwhelmed me. Who do I think I am? I don’t know anything about this topic!  What if I never finish it? What if people judge me? What if no one believes me?  And the dream died a quick death.

Have you ever gone through something like this? I’m pretty sure it’s a fairly universal experience… God lights your fire and the devil does his darnedest to put it out. So then it’s back to me and Jesus, on the beach, early in the morning. He’s got the coals going and the fish sizzling, and he’s saying, “Jeanne, do you trust me?”

Lord, you know everything.  You know I trust you.  It’s myself I don’t trust. I just can’t.

Part 2

Love is patient, love is kind. The next morning, Holy Spirit gets back to work on me, bringing to mind the words of our good Lord. 

“For you are My workmanship, created for good works, which I prepared beforehand for you to walk in.”

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

And finally,

“My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.”

I don’t like being weak and dependent on someone else to help me.  I’m not comfortable starting something without a solid plan of how I’ll be able to finish it.  But I am learning that the place in my journey where my ability comes to a dead stop, and I’m incapable of taking another step – that’s where God shows up and does more than I could have ever asked or imagined.

A good friend told me that the book is already written in Heaven, and I just need to yield to the Spirit and let him put the words on paper in this realm, through me.  That takes the pressure off!  This whole thing is his idea, and I can trust him to make it happen. My worries and limitations don’t matter at all because it’s not up to me. 

What about you?  Who are your sheep and how does God want you to feed them? 


"I Am Who I Am; Don't Try to Change Me!"

By Martha Bush Four-temperament

Recently, my friend approached me and in a frustrated voice said, “My husband thinks it’s hilarious to watch me squirm. I’m not saying I can’t ever take a joke or have fun. Overall, I’m just not a joker or prankster. I have a very serious personality. The serious aspect of my personality has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I haven’t changed.”

Growing even more frustrated, she blurted out, “Why do I need to act a different way to be the way everyone else thinks I should be? Why do I have to change my personality completely to suit anyone else?” I am who I am. Don’t Try to Change Me. You either accept me the way I am or you don’t.”

Honestly, it took all I could do to hold in my laughter as I listened to her tell me about her reactions to her husband. You see, I, too, am a jokester and like to pull pranks - my husband does not!  For years, I had “suppressed laughter,” because my husband didn’t think my joking and pranks were funny either. I walked on egg shells suppressing my true personality to have peace and harmony.

Then came the day I took a course on Temperaments that changed my life. It is defined as: 

Our own uniqueness, which we each are born with

that sets us apart as an individual.

I finally gained my composure, and told my friend, “That serious side, non-joking personality is a part of your uniqueness, and you shouldn’t try to change it. At the same time, I said very gently, “You shouldn’t try to change your husband’s joking personality either – that’s what makes him unique.”

But, we got a problem if adults are crying out--- “that’s just the way I am; don’t try to change me.” While that is a partially true statement, “There are times that just the way I am, may need to be changed.”  Ummm!

The question is, “where and how should the changes be made in our personality?” 

Most educators of human behavior classify temperaments into 4 categories. Phlegmatic, CholericSanguine, Melancholy. When I first heard those words in a Bible study, it didn’t sound very Biblical to me.

However, my ears perked up when I was able to associate temperament with Psalm 139:13-14: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  (NKJV)

 Though we are uniquely designed with many strengths, each temperament also has its own weaknesses, thanks to Adam. Adam’s sin was like an infectious disease - it spread to every human being born thereafter. Because of this, we also are born with inherited weakness in our temperament.

My friends, I cannot do justice to a study on temperaments in a short blog, so I want to try to impress upon you the importance of having knowledge about one of the most unique aspects of human behavior. 

1.Knowledge helps us to judge our own conduct.

Very interesting that the same Psalm that tells us we are uniquely made, also tells us to search our hearts for wicked ways. Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps. 139:23-24 NKJV))   

2.Knowledge helps us is to understand other people.

The key to having different personalities is understanding one another, and making a detour around those things that are causing friction. It is not wrong that my husband is more serious minded than I am; neither is it wrong I have a joking personality. I didn’t stop being silly, I am just silly with my girlfriends.   

3.Knowledge helps us to understand and use the gift God has given us.

The gifts of the spirit, as found in Romans 12, 1 Cor 12, and Ephesians, make it plain how different we are in the way we help others. The gifts God placed within us, flow from us according to our own unique temperament. Don’t try to be like someone else when using your gift---use your gift according to the way God designed you.

4.Knowledge helps us to walk out our calling and purpose.

We each have a call on our lives. Don’t let a weak characteristic of your temperament prevent you from heeding to that call. About 25 years ago, I knew God was calling me to pursue a specific direction. I also knew it would cause a lot of conflict at home. One of the major weaknesses of the Phlegmatic temperament is avoiding conflict at all extremes. But, God helped me to face the conflict, and the strengths of my temperament began to come alive that had lain dormant all my life.

So, as the old saying goes, “that’s just the way I am," may need to change. Change may well begin with knowing the weaknesses of your temperament.  When you see how God has uniquely designed your strengths, I promise you that you can’t wait to give the old devil a black eye by accenting your strengths, and walk out of those weak areas.

(Resource: Personality Plus by Florence Littauer)

***** 

Your thoughts?

 

 


A LIVE Bible Study. What Are Your Thoughts?

Want Your Feedback (1)Hi Everyone,

Lynn Donovan here. I'm considering offering a 10-week, LIVE Bible study through Zoom. We would study together the book of James. Everything in the book of James leads us to live the Christian life with success. 

My questions are below. Please respond in the comments. Please, please take a minute and share your thoughts. They are important to me. 

  1. I know you are likely tired of Zoom meetings, but would you tune in to Zoom for about an hour to an hour and a half?
  2. Would you be willing to commit a meeting once a week for ten weeks? 
  3. What areas of learning would help you? For example, finances, relationships, physical healing, prayer life, life balance. Please think about what you need and list as many as come to mind in the comments. There is NO condemnation. Let's study what we really need. 
  4. Should this study begin in August or September?

This study will be live only, no recordings. To get the good stuff you have to show up. Faith takes a commitment, but I promise you this. IT WILL BE GOOD STUFF. Training and info you won't get in church. Wisdom from heaven that will grow your faith and lead you into a better life.

Okay, See you in the comments. Thank you for taking time to share with me. Hugs, Lynn Donovan


Go With the Flow

By Martha Bush Go-with-flow

After much soul searching, my daughter and son-in-law decided it was time for their two little girls to change schools in the fall. So, they sat the girls down for a talk, and as gently as they could, told them their reasons, hoping they would understand they were doing it for their future.

Immediately Hadly, ten-years-old and the drama queen of the family, started crying big crocodile tears, and re-created her famous feet stomping “It’s not fair scene!” The drama continued on into the next day.

Up to this point, Hope, seven-years-old, had not said anything, just watching the shenanigans of her older sister.  Finally, my daughter said, “Hope, what do you think about this change of schools?”  Without looking up from what she was playing with said, “Well, Mom, sometimes in life, you just have to go with the flow.”

Say what??  What does a seven-year-old know about going with the flow?

I've heard that phrase all my life, as I am sure you have, too, but I thought I would look up the meaning of it, just so we will all be on the same page as we talk about it.

Go with the flow defined:

Be relaxed and accept a situation, rather than trying to alter or control it.

(Oxford online dictionary)

Relaxed, accept, don’t alter or control it - ugh!!  I don’t like those words. I admit, I don't readily adapt to life's changes as well as my seven-year-old-granddaughter. My immediate response is more like Hadley: “It’s just not fair!” And then I try to find ways to fix it!

But, Hope’s carefree analogy of her current situation made me realize that she knew she couldn’t fix it; she might as well go ahead and accept it, and trust her parents’ leading.

It brought me back to a teaching on this form of acceptance a few years back as I listened to my pastor’s wife, the late Melba Berkheimer, teach on Acceptance vs. Approval.

See what you think of this analogy and see if it helps you to go with the flow.

There is a big difference between ACCEPTANCE and APPROVAL. We sometimes think that we have to approve something or someone in order to accept the situation, but that is not true. We have to accept a lot of things in life, but we don’t have to approve them.

Think of it like this: If your body gets a transplant of a particular organ and your body accepts the transplant, you have a new life. But if your body rejects it, you don’t have a new life.

So, it is with some situations in our lives; acceptance is what we have to do in order to have a new life. Otherwise, there is a portion of you going this way and another portion going the other way. When things go opposite one another, it produces friction. And that’s exactly what is going on inside - friction and turmoil when we're saying, “I can’t accept it.”

Begin to go the same direction by accepting it, even though you don’t approve it. Sometimes you will even feel like you are a traitor because, after all, the situation is wrong. You are not a traitor. You are just accepting the facts of reality for your peace.

I admit, it took me awhile, but I finally learned how to work my way into the acceptance stage when situations arose in my life that I had no control over. “How did I know when I had reached the acceptance stage?"

1, When I could talk about the situation freely, and it just didn’t sting or tear my insides out like it once did, I knew I had walked through forgiveness. Accepting one another and forgiving one another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.  (Colossians 3:13 HCSB)

2, When I began to learn who I was in Christ, and He had a plan and purpose for my life, regardless of my situation. "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."   (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

3. When I started receiving joy by helping others who were going through trying situations in their life. Out of the comfort God has comforted you, go forth and comfort others. (Paraphrased from 11 Corinthians 1:3-4)

4. When I learned to set boundaries and make adjustments to live with the situation in a healthy way.

5. When I realized that some things in life are seasonal, and in God's perfect timing, He will put things back together again when the season is over.

***** 

What about you?  Share in the comments what you feel you can now accept, even though you don't approve of it, and do as Hope said, "Just go with the flow."