October Reading Plan: The Book of Acts
October Memory Verse: Isaiah 60:1-2
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That night the Lord stood near Paul and said,
The Lord spoke these words to Paul as he was imprisoned in Jerusalem. He had just been persecuted by a huge mob of people as he testified to them about Jesus Christ. They had shouted for his immediate death. The uproar was so great that the commander was afraid Paul would be "torn to pieces" by the crowd.
As Paul sat alone in his barrack the very next night, the words above were spoken to him. Not only were they spoken to him by the Lord, but they were spoken as "The Lord stood near him."
Paul was human. Flesh and blood just like you and I. He had feelings that must have been raging inside of him as he was persecuted, flogged, and wrongly imprisoned.
His feelings never got the best of him though. His feelings never took him away from his mission. His resolve to fulfill his mission in spreading the news of Jesus Christ counteracted any feelings that would veer him off of his path.
As women, we are very familiar with feelings. We have them daily. We feel a lot of things within the span of only a few minutes!
The problem with our feelings is that they lead us astray. We depend on them, we surrender to them, we give them way too much power.
How often do we hear from well-meaning friends, "How does that make you feel?" or "How are you feeling today?'
The problem with our feelings is that we were never meant to rely on them. We were created to rely on our Faith. We were created to rely on the Rock of Christ that never waivers. Not the sand of our feelings that are constantly shifting.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9
The world tells us to "follow your heart!"
How wrong this is.
Our hearts lead us astray. Our hearts, when not filtered through the Truth of God's unfailing Word, lead us down paths of destruction and despair. Our hearts are led by our feelings.
If you were to ask me on any given day how I "feel"about my marriage, I would say that I feel a lot of things depending on the hour! Sometimes I feel joyful, hopeful, happy! Yet, I can also feel burdened, heavy, and hopeless some days.
My feelings change more than this ever-changing Georgia weather.
My feelings are not consistent. They are very circumstantial. However, I have made a vow to God to love Lem, to serve Lem, to honor Lem, and to be his wife all the days of my life. Regardless of how I feel about him some days, I know that I must honor the Lord by respecting and loving my man well. My faith in the Love of the Lord sustains me when I feel like Lem is not listening to me or doesn't understand me. I have to deny my hurt feelings and depend on the Promises of God to get through hard times in my marriage. My feelings deceive my heart because they are based on circumstances, not Truth.
Faith is not circumstantial. Faith is solid as the Rock it is founded upon. Faith never waivers despite the storm swirling around it. Despite what our misguided hearts tell us, "faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1
As women, we must work on managing our feelings. We must no let them control our days. Yes, we will have emotions, yes we will feel things. However, we must not act on feelings that are contrary to God's Word.
Let's get to the nitty gritty of it all...
Feelings tell us that we should turn our backs on those that hurt us. Faith tells us to "bless those who curse you, and pray for those that mistreat you." Luke 6:28
Feelings tell us we are tired and don't feel like waking up a little earlier for some time alone with the Lord. Faith tells us, "seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness." Matthew 6:33.
Feelings tell us to do what we want to do. Be led by the desires of our hearts, and just go with the flow. Faith tells us to "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." Psalm 139:23-24
Feelings tell us to speak our minds. Say what we feel. Don't hold back. Faith tells us, "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips." Psalm 141:3
Feelings tell us we don't measure up. We are not enough and never will be. Faith tells us, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14
Friends, come close and listen up for a minute. I want us to get this.
When we are led by our feelings and our emotions, we are NOT being led by the Holy Spirit. Our feelings can be contrary to the Lord and His ways for us. A Spirit filled life is one with discipline and obedience over the flesh of our feelings.
Denying our feelings is uncomfortable. Who ever said following the Holy Spirit's path for us would be comfy?? There is not a disciple in the Bible that was not uncomfortable. They gave up their comfort to live for Christ. If we insist on molding our lives around our comfort level, we are denying the Lord and His purposes for our lives. We fail to recognize that Jesus Christ is our only Master, not our feelings of comfort.
The world tells us to go with how we feel. Listen to our hearts. Do what we desire.
Jesus says, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me" Matthew 16:24
"knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin..." Romans 6:6
"Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."Galatians 5:24
"Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry." Colossians 3:5
My feelings have gotten me into more messes than I care to recount. In order for my life to be directed by the Lord, I must follow His way. Do what He says. not what I feel.
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24
Let's not just "hear His Words", let's put them into practice. Beginning with denying the shifting sands of our feelings.
How can we practice this today? Each time our feelings want to take over, let's say this to the Lord, "Your Will be done, Lord. Not mine."
We may have to say it all day. Get in the Word and find Truths that counteract your feelings. They are in there. For every shifting feeling that lies to us, there is God's Truth beckoning us to the Rock. You can bet your last pretty little lipgloss on that one.
out of the sand and onto the rock,