If we study the progression of Romans 5:4, (trials then perseverance then character then hope), we begin to understand the real issues. Threshold wars are waged when the heat of trials gets our character to a red-hot blaze, like the point when metal can be changed and re-shaped. That is the point when the heat makes it tempting to quit and run to the nearest place of relief rather than complete the process by submitting to the Blacksmith’s hammer. So these wars are screaming the question while we’re in the heat of battle: “Will you do the right thing, let God change your heart and mind where necessary? Will you choose to respond to trials with wisdom and develop godly character; or will you remain the same person, refusing to be conformed to His image?” And our answer at this point will either propel us on to hope and toward promise, or cause us to fall short of hope and promise.
The Holy Spirit can divide soul and spirit so that the issues of the heart-mind can become obvious (see Heb.4:12). Honest confrontation of one’s own heart is the starting place for emotional healing and deliverance. Trials and tribulations are common to all and are ideally supposed to come to good results that bring us to maturity in the image of Christ. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character. (Rom 5:3,4) However, we can refuse to persevere, refuse to submit to change and refuse to mature in character by simply being offended by trouble. I believe this type of offense is common to many: either we are angry at inequity or injustice or disappointments, or we fear those things. We can choose to let go of the anger and fear and walk away trusting God with the big picture, knowing that today’s circumstances are just one scene; or we can buy into the short-term blitz and use a mood as a force to try to change the conditions and the people around us. (The fourth excerpt from Kathy’s article “Investing in Relationships” published in SEEC Magazine.)
While writing this article, I was interrupted by the insurance lady. When I went back to the computer, this article file would not open again! Finally, after many attempts and maneuvers, it opened. Then, in broad daylight, a roach ran up the slick metal tube leg of my TV tray and on to my computer screen! You have to know me to fully appreciate the adrenaline implosion and the level of harassment that bodacious devil represented! (At that point I figured I must be on the verge of divulging one of hell’s favorite operations with this threshold interference ploy!) Of course, I had to stop writing to vacuum under everything that could be moved and then exterminate the house to build up enough nerve to go back to the computer. It was frustrating and the thought actually passed through my mind to put the whole subject down and walk away, but I suddenly realized the timing of this personal-harassment-roach was not a random coincidence! When I could breathe normally and was over my terror, I realized personal harassment and interference are like a double-barrel shot gun. Interference works on circumstances and harassment works on us. Both are fighting dirty in an attempt to condition our thinking and attitudes and opinions and conclusions with the ultimate goal of taking advantage of our superpower which is agreement.
(This is the sixth excerpt from Kathy Gabler’s article “Hands Off!“. More excerpts will be posted Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.)
(Kathy G.) The toughest wilderness experience on record for me stretched out over five years of confusion and anger and ulcers. Before our daughter Melissa was born, I had prayed two specific things, that she would never have asthma or kidney trouble because both were bloodline issues. By the time she was eighteen months old, we were in Texas Children’s Hospital Houston because she’d had a bronchial asthmatic attack due to a severe kidney infection. After two weeks in two hospitals, we were facing kidney surgery.
Each night after I’d get her to sleep, I’d look out that tenth floor window. There were lights and noises and people filling the city, but I had never felt so alone. Marty was in Missouri in seminary and for the first time since I was nine, God was not there for me. I couldn’t figure out why He had abandoned me. I wanted to scream what David prayed in Psa 83:1, “God be not silent and be not still”, but I just stood there, hurting, angry and confused.
The day before surgery I sat on the twenty-third floor waiting for Melissa to come out of nuclear X-ray when a sudden headache hit me between the eyes. I barely got her back to the room in time to throw up my toenails. I then laid down on the cot by her bed and closed my eyes. I felt a little hand on my head and heard a little voice say, “Jesus, heal my momma.” As her hand lifted, the headache left. I should have been grateful but that made me angrier.
My identity was gone because I felt abandoned, orphaned. My self-worth was shattered because there was no backing, no affirmation, no inheritance of healing within reach. I was disappointed enough to be angry and disregarded boundaries and self-government to be rebellious. Why follow the rules when you are no longer even in the game? My silent reaction to the sudden relief from the headache was far from grateful. Jaw locked, I demanded, “Why would You answer her prayer but not mine?”
It took five years for me to hear and acknowledge Father’s response to my question. “Kathy, Melissa prayed in faith, but you prayed in fear. You can’t take that fear where you are going. I had to let you confront and defeat what threatened you.” The thing most important to me was what God could do but didn’t. The most important thing to Him was His Original Intent for our lives. If that fear remained, it would cause road blocks to where both Melissa and I were born to go. Fear would be a contradiction to both our assignments. I was intent upon surviving the experience. Father was intent upon bringing us to glory. If we focus on self, glory is a problem. If we focus on Father, glory is a certainty.
Our Father’s Original Intent is Relationship with Mature Sons that reflect the image of Christ as they fulfill their life assignment and thereby share His Glory in their generation. Please be encouraged. Our faithful and patient Father will keep working with us and through us until we get this!
(This is the last excerpt from Kathy Gabler’s article “Bringing Sons to Glory“. More excerpts will be posted Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.)
May God enhance our abilities, talents and skills for His Kingdom, for income, for ministry—to be more effective. Ex 36:2 “Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab along with all whom GOD had gifted with the ability to work skillfully with their hands. The MEN WERE EAGER to get started and ENGAGE IN THE WORK.” The success of these men was not the simple fact that God had given them skills but that they were available and willing to apply them.
Do you ever have a day when you think, “If faith were teeth . . . right now I’d be gummin’ it”? I don’t know about you, but I don’t wake up every day looking for new battles and greater challenges. In fact, many mornings I wake up tired, tired of waiting on promises that still haven’t manifested; tired of praying for healing, but seeing only a little; tired of believing for miracles, but only feeling the heat get hotter; tired of looking for change, but seeing sameness; tired of watching people go two steps forward and three steps back; tired of asking for a refreshing rain, but ending up in a puddle of disappointment. When the storms of life wear your faith down to the gums and contrary winds layer grit and grime on your windows, it can change the way you see things. But don’t give up. We are on the threshold of seeing more of the presence and plan of God manifest in our lives than ever before.
(This is the first excerpt from Kathy’s article “Rebuilding Our Temple“ which was published in SEEC Magazine [Marty and Kathy’s ministry magazine]. More excerpts will be posted Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.)