Let Love Be My Motive

Reflecting The Heart Of Jesus

Book Information:

Title: Grieving With Hope: Finding Comfort As You Journey Through Loss

Author: Samuel J. Hodges IV

Publisher: Baker Books

ISBN: 0801014239

Price: Free on Kindle Unlimited|Paperback $12.41

Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/2WJTmCI

Book Review

After the loss of our first baby through miscarriage and the loss of my Grandmother I was in desperate need of biblical based help. That is when Grieving With Hope ended up in my lap. I cannot rave enough about this book and they way that they intricately composed the contents to make you understand that grief is not a race nor are you alone during the midst of the loss you are enduring.

The pages are filled with real life examples and testimonies of people who have endured loss. Whether you have lost a child, spouse, family member, or close friend Grieving With Hope gives you example of other people that have been through the same type of loss. One of the most beneficial testimonies in this book for me personally was about a woman who had loss friends due to her not being ready to hang out yet. For me, over the past several months it has been hard to get out of the house. Hearing that it was hard for others, made me realize that what I was feeling was normal.

(Thankfully I have friends that understand)

The main reason I love this book so much is because of the biblical application to help you heal throughout. Loss/Grief tests every bit of your faith, hope, and trust in God. They talk about how there are times anger can build up over the “why” questions. They discuss in Grieving With Hope that God can handle you asking questions. What is important is that you seek God to heal because that is where healing ultimately takes place.

Grieving With Hope is a 5/5 stars for me. The contents of the pages were like sitting in a counseling session with God and others, giving me support when I needed it most but did not know how to talk. This book gave me help I needed to press into God and make healthy decisions for myself in the midst of grief. If you or someone you know has endured a recent loss Grieving With Hope is a great tool to help heal. I recommend Grieving With Hope to those have endured any type of loss, whether it happened yesterday or 30 years ago. The way this book is laid out draws you closer to the heart of God and helps answer hard questions you may have in the midst of ongoing grief.

This book is not sponsored for a review. However, an Affiliate Link is provided above to help provide more book reviews like these. It does not cost you anything but does help a fellow author continue to provide content like this!

Last night I was overwhelmed with a deep sense of guilt. It was so heavy that my chest felt like it was caving in. The tightness began in my chest and soon my mind flooded with racing thoughts. I could barley breathe, I was crying, and to be frank with you even though what I felt in that moment seemed real. Looking back, what I was feeling was quite irrational. Anxiety is no joke. But ,anxiety is certainly NOT what God has intended for us. I eventually calmed down by sending my husband out of the room and praying to the Lord, meditating on scripture would have to say about my present circumstance. What Holy Spirit revealed this morning, however, would be another piece of the puzzle that would set me free.

Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. -1 John 3:20 NLT

Holy Spirit revealed that the anxiety attack I had yesterday was rooted in guilt. It was rooted in how I was feeling. The thoughts I was having soon became overwhelming to the point of a complete breakdown. There was no reason for this guilt. That is what did not make sense to me. Why did I feel the weight of guilt when I had not done anything to feel guilty about? I was surprised when Holy Spirit revealed what was in the next verse.

Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. -1 John 3:21 NLT

As I said, there is no reason I should have felt an ounce of guilt yesterday. The feeling of guilt was sudden and soon became overwhelming. The feelings brought me to a FULL blown anxiety attack (key word here, ATTACK). Holy Spirit revealed the reason why the devil wanted to entrap us in guilt whether there is a reason for it or not. The devil does not want you or I to come with God in confidence. Our feelings should not be dictators of our life. When they are, we believe the attacks of satan rather than standing in faith against them. God has given us the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and not even the devil himself can hurt us (Luke 10:9)! The guilt I felt yesterday were to stop me from coming to God with confidence and bold requests through prayer. It was a direct attack from the spiritual realm. The enemy knows that when we come before God with unwavering faith and our expectation upon him, we can bring heaven to earth through what Holy Spirit leads us to pray.

In moments when you feel overwhelmed with emotions, remember 1 John 3:20.

God is GREATER than your feelings and HE KNOWS EVERYTHING. There is nothing that is hidden from God. He is the beginning and the end and everything in between. When your feelings start to overwhelm you, interrogate the thoughts you have been having. Do your thoughts line up with the truth of God’s Word? Are your feelings leading you closer to God or further away? Our feelings can cause us to increase in zeal spreading the good news like wildfire, help others understand they are not alone through weeping with those who weep, and even give us a deeper understanding of love. However, God designed us with feelings to bring us closer to him, not further apart. The guilt I felt was a liar and straight from hell itself. After all, even if I did do something wrong, Jesus died on the cross to say I am forgiven and justified.

Whatever you may be going through right now, understand God is with you, he hears you, and he understands the feeling you do not even understand. He desires you to be raw with him especially in times you do not understand what is going on. If I would have never asked where the guilt came from or it’s purpose, it would have not been revealed to me it was to stop me from coming boldly before God. I encourage you to be real about what you are feeling so Holy Spirit can give you his truth to hold onto.

Remember, God is greater than what you are feeling. Do not let you feelings dictate your path. God knows everything, he see’s everything, and in him all things were made. He is the perfect one to go to when you are unsure of what is going on. He not only gives you truth but his perspective. Be encouraged, even if things have been rough lately, God is your ever present help in time of trouble. Despite what things may feel hold onto what God is saying, speak what he is saying, and never forget to be real about what is really going on in that heart of yours. God will meet you there.

My day started much earlier than expected and I am not usually a morning person. Usually I get up around 8am but am not fully functioning till at least 10 or 11am. Just ask my husband. I didn’t anticipate to be up so early and have very important things to attend to, so I stayed up pretty late. God knew I would need some extra time today to do all he has called me to do. Like the quiet time I so desperately needed this morning to be able to write this post, the dishes in the sink, the homework I have procrastinating on, and the doctor’s appointment I have later.

You may be reading this thinking, man my morning did not go as planned. Or maybe you are reading this anticipating the events of the day, like a doctor appointment, a job interview, or a test for school. Wherever you are at this morning, I want you to rest in this profound truth.

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them.” -Psalm 139:16 AMPC

Even before your mother knew you were in your womb, God had his attention on you. He has today planned that all plays into the eternal purposes he has for your life that cannot be stopped. He knew I would need to wake up at 4am to answer my phone because a friend needed help. He knew that we would have a miscarriage in March. God knows what you and I will face today. After all, today is a day HE has made (Psalm 118:24). I am not sure what today hold’s for you. But I know that God is not surprised at what today holds.

Be at rest. God has written your day today.

Life frequently feels like we are on hold on the other line with the annoying “we will be with you shortly” playing over and over again. We are waiting on healing, salvation of lost loved ones, a new job, a promotion, to be published, or the child God has promised. We know the promises, we believe them, and we even speak them. “What is taking so long?”, “Why am I on hold?”, and “Help me Jesus” are all things I have personally said while waiting. Along the path the enemy will try and come in and plant seeds of doubt about who you are, who God is, and what he has spoken.

God tenderly reminded me of these important truth’s this morning and wants me to share them with you!

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” -Revelation 22:13 NLT

God is the beginning and the end, and we are apart of his creation somewhere in between. So much of what we go through does not make sense with an earthly, humanistic perspective. If we saw things from the grand view of things, God’s perspective, we would understand that he is a God of order and has an appointed time for everything. That appointed time is perfect for his grand plan for us and everyone around us.

Have you ever been on hold on the phone and almost hung up because you had things to do and could not wait (not knowing you were the next caller)? When you finally reach someone to help they cannot help you? After holding for so long on the other line you wonder if you’ll ever get this problem solved? Or when you were waiting the long winded message goes silent? I believe the Holy Spirit gave me these examples because we act like we were forgotten. In reality, the truth is God could never forget us and has heard our every prayer. There are times when we mistakenly “hang up the phone” or abort the promises of God because we believe they will never come to pass rather than understanding that God loves us so much he cannot possibly give us something early that would not be good. When we pray sometimes, we act like God can’t help us. This problem is too big, we aren’t praying right, or he doesn’t want to help us with out problems. In the middle it even feels like he is silent.

The truth of the matter is that all things were created through him and for him. All things begin and end with him. We must trust him in the middle. We must have patient endurance in the process. It is not that God does not care. There is no love that is greater or purer than his. Love is who God is. It is not that God does not desire for you to see those things come to pass. If he gave us Jesus, his only Son, what won’t he do for us? Amidst waiting, having the perspective that God is after developing our hearts rather than maintaining our comfort is essential. We need to put into practice not focusing on what we can see and believe what he has said.

How do we put this into practice?

The utmost important thing for you and I to do is to sit at his feet. God desires for you to cast your cares upon him because he cares (1 Peter 5:7). He wants to exchange your worries for his peace (Philippians 4:6-7). The God who loves us pulls up a chair, lays on the floor, and even meets you in the bathroom where no one can hear you. In the middle is the perfect time to grow closer and develop more intimacy with God. All things begin and end with him. In the middle right where we are, we are to trust that he is working everything out for our good. It is necessary to seek his face, the truth of his word, and what he wants to speak to us every single day. When satan tries to come in and plant seeds of doubt so eventually we will speak doubt, we are prepared and ready for battle. We can pull out our sword (the word of God) and speak the truth that will never fade away. In the middle God wants us to know him. When we know the truth about him, the middle does not seem so bad. We begin to understand that we are apart of something so much larger than us. We begin to realize that receiving what he has promised early could effect generations after us and all he does is out of his love and what is best for us. The middle at times may not feel good, in fact, at times it feels like suffering. In Ecclesiastes 7:8 the Message version puts our circumstance into these words, “Endings are better than beginnings. Sticking to it is better than standing out.” The confidence in God that we desperately need is found through seeking his face. That confidence is what we need to stand in faith. The time we have right now with him is to be embraced rather than endured.

There are two reminders I want to leave you with:

What God has promised to do he will finish.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Phillippians 1:6 ESV

You are no longer a slave to fear or unmet expectations. He who promised is faithful. You will receive what he has promised in full!

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. Romans 8:15-18 NLT

So don’t lose your bold, courageous faith, for you are destined for a great reward! You need the strength of endurance to reveal the poetry of God’s will and then you receive the promise in full. For soon and very soon, “The One who is appearing will come without delay!” And he also says, “My righteous ones will live from my faith. But if fear holds them back, my soul is not content with them!” But we are certainly not those who are held back by fear and perish; we are among those who have faith and experience true life! -Hebrews 10:35-39 TPT

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“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.” -Romans 1:16 CSB

If there has been one common question in the family of God, it is what is my purpose? Or phrased a little bit differently, what is God’s Will? Throughout scripture we see regular people like you and I healing the sick, setting people free from demon’s, multitudes being set free through the blood of Jesus, and fire dropping down from heaven and huge crowds speaking in tongues. God’s will and desire for us to be apart of the miraculous power found through the Holy Spirit has never changed. However, I have seen over and over and even dealt with myself a few of these common denominators of why people do not live in fulfillment of the power of the Holy Spirit.

The biggest reason why I have seen people not living out the true will of God is because of their fear of man rather than obedience to God. When you are a follower of Jesus Christ you are faced with an abundance of rejection and even hatred for fulfilling the will of the father. If we hold onto the rejection of man rather than the acceptance of God, we are filled with grief, sorrow, and guilt we were never meant to carry. In fact, there is a common phrase that Jesus speaks to the disciples as he charges them to spread the Good News. You can find this phrase throughout Acts, Matthew 10:14-22, Mark 6:7-13, and Luke 9:5.

If they do not accept you, shake the dust off your feet.

Specifically, in Acts 13, we are shown Paul and Barnabas spreading the gospel through the region. As they were leaving, the people were urging them to stay and talk more about the Good News of Jesus Christ. Huge crowds were coming to hear the good news and experience the salvation and love found through Jesus Christ. However, there was one problem, the Jews were jealous. I could write a whole different  post on jealousy and envy and how it demonic, but I will save that for another time. These Jews were so jealous of Paul and Barnabas that they banned them from coming back! I know what you are thinking, “you mean to tell me that they were fulfilling the will of God and sharing the love of Jesus and they were being expelled from areas because of people’s jealously?”. Yes, that is exactly what the bible says.

So many people, including myself in the past, have their expectation in the wrong place. We oftentimes try to please man and say it is fulfilling the will of God. When our motives of our heart are to please people, when people hurt us, we stop doing what God asked us to do. We think that just because we are rejected, it could not possibly be fulfilling the will of God. This could not be further from the truth. Jesus himself did not even accept man’s glory,

“I do not accept glory from people, but I know you—that you have no love for God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and yet you don’t accept me. If someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, since you accept glory from one another but don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God? -John 5:41-44 CSB

The truth is, as Jesus spoke, the only acceptance and glory we should truly be after is what God so freely wants to share with us. You and I while fulfilling the purpose God has for us are going to be faced with many challenges and maybe even some pruning of people pleasing. When people do not accept what you have to say about Jesus, understand it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with their heart. Maybe like the Jews they are dealing with jealousy and envy or maybe they are not ready to hear the message but you have planted a seed that God will give growth to later.

What is important is that when you are rejected that you do not let it dull your roar or harden your heart. You are I are to shake the dust off just as Paul and Barnabas display in Acts 13.

“When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and honored the word of the Lord, and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed.  The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. But the Jews incited the prominent God-fearing women and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their district. But Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.” Acts 13:48-52

Paul and Barnabas set their attention on those who were appointed to believe in eternal life, they were not focused on the Jews that did not accept them and eventually kicked them out of the town. So how do we shake the dust off? Shaking the dust off simply means understanding that those people’s reactions were not based upon you doing or not doing something. It is understanding that their reaction was based upon them not knowing Jesus and rejecting what Holy Spirit was speaking through you. I would strongly suggest to fervently pray for those who reject or show hatred toward you. The saying I is true that the people that hurt us the most are the people who are in desperate need of our prayers. Even though they did not accept what we had to say, does not mean a seed was not planted. And it certainly does not mean we cannot pray for their hearts to be softened. God does not give up on his kids and neither should we! Shaking the dust off means rejecting the responsibility of guilt for the rejection of the message. God knows when we shake the dust off and does not take it lightly.

If we focus on rejection and do not shake the dust off we miss the joy of the progress this far and the appointed time for others. You are not held responsible for other people’s reactions. But you are going to be held accountable for your boldness and continuance of the Gospel. God desires us to be unashamed of the Gospel. He desires us to share the good news and if people do not accept what we have to say to pray for their hearts to be softened. Like Paul and Barnabas, if we are rejected or shown hatred we should not take it personally and understand that this is a spiritual war, it is not us being rejected it is the Holy Spirit in us that they do not like. Remember there was a time in both our lives that the scales did not fall off yet but we were so desperately searching for Jesus. Thank God for the people who prayed for us and planted seeds along the way. Thank God for the forgiveness that we have for hurting those people unintentionally because we were lost. We must be those people who shake the dust off and are unashamed of the Gospel. While there may be people who are not ready to receive the gospel, there is a field ready to be harvested. It is as simple as shaking the dust off of the past and sharing what God has done in your life. Are you willing to be bold and unashamed of the Gospel?

“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work,” Jesus told them.  “Don’t you say, ‘There are still four more months, and then comes the harvest’? Listen to what I’m telling you: Open your eyes and look at the fields, because they are ready for harvest. -John 4:34-35 CSB

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