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Posts Tagged ‘Jealousy’

Well, I survived the baby shower and I think without 1 jealous, envious or self pitying thought. But I must add with the help of the Lord. For the last few days I prayed about it constantly, asking God to help me. I knew if it was left up to me alone I would have failed the test again. I hope I passed the test though…

Why am I not sure? Because I didn’t stay all the way through. It started at 12h00 and I made plans for something else from 14h00. I thought almost 2 hours would be enough for a baby shower. Well it turns out the expecting mother’s own mother was late. By the time I left at 13h45, she was not there yet. They were waiting for her and didn’t want to start opening the presents until the other granny was there. So I missed out on that, and I’m not really sorry I did…

It was still not easy though, because there were little toddlers of about 1-2 years old and they were so cute! Also the mommies all loved to chat about pregnancy and having babies, etc, and off course the other pregnant neighbour was there too (her baby shower was last week and I was not invited to that one, so I dodged a bullet there!) Most of the ladies I did know however wanted to chat about other stuff, so I think it went well. There was a lot of joking and laughing going on and I must say I enjoyed it thoroughly! Laughter is definitely the best medicine…

It turned out that because it was this neighbour’s second baby, they decided to make the baby shower a family affair. Children and husbands were also invited and they planned to party until late at night. I think that was also a reason they did not really worry about opening the presents early. I wouldn’t say that we are really friends, more friendly neighbours and I thought initially that it would be OK to plan something for later.

I hope my effort was good enough in the eyes of God. I hope my attitude was acceptable and that He found me obedient to His will…

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Once a month we have a street outreach in our town centre.  It’s a few people from different churches that come together and we go out and hand out Bibles and tracts.  I try to join them every month, but I manage to go about 10 times a year.  We went again this past Saturday.

One lady had a meaningful discussion with a young man who was hurt by “Christians” in the past.  This young man is exploring different religions at the moment, but not Christianity, so I get the feeling he is looking for some meaning in his life.  But he also admits that there are certain things he doesn’t want to give up, to become a Christian.  So he spoke to this lady, but he refused any tracts and a Bible.  That made me think back to certain times in my life.

I have said before that I grew up going to church and Sunday school.  We were also taught about Jesus Christ in School, and Bible study was one of our subjects.  It was one of the easy ones, one or 2 classes a week and it didn’t count for much on our report cards and it was also not compulsory (I remember some of my class mates were excused when their parents didn’t want them to attend).  So I had a strong Christian background and I certainly believed in God and Jesus Christ, but at best I think I was religious.  I certainly didn’t have a personal relationship with God. 

There were times when we went to church and there were times when we didn’t bother for years.  There was also a time where I almost never read my Bible or prayed.  In the really tough times I would go on my knees and pray to God, but as soon as things got better I would backslide again.  There was a time when I think I was mad at God.  I didn’t conciously think:  “I’m mad at God”, but I avoided praying, going to church and reading my Bible and I think I blamed God for the fact that I didn’t get pregnant.  I was also very bitter and jealous, especially when I heard stories of other people who got pregnant so easily, and sometimes I felt like they didn’t deserve it.  And off course that I deserved it more… 

After meeting some people who were Born again Christians with a personal relationship with God, and who were obviously Spirit filled, I decided that I also wanted whatever it was that they had.  So I started to seek God again.  I started to listen to church services on the radio, I started to read my Bible again and look for messages elsewhere.  But there was still something that held me back.  There was something that prevented me to surrender it all to God.  And I didn’t know what it was or why…

Eventually after our first IVF failed I had a total emotional breakdown.  I decided to start watching Christian programmes on TV.  I didn’t know who to watch so I just picked out programs where the name spoke to me.  That is where I started watching the programmes of Joy.ce Mey.er.  Eventually I felt that I was so “broken” that I had to surrender it all to God.  I could not go on without God, I just didn’t have any other options anymore.  I don’t know what it was that prevented me from giving my whole heart to God, maybe it was the thought of giving up sin in my life.  Not that I had any really bad habits that I had to give up.  Nothing like drugs or an affair or porn or anything like that, but more things like the thought that I was not allowed to lie anymore.  I wasn’t even such a terrible liar – but like most people I prefered the occasional “white lie”  in certain situations.  Other issues that bothered me were unforgiveness, and selfishness, I was very reluctant to let that go.  I think I thought that I could never sin again, and as soon as I did, I would be in big trouble.   And I didn’t think I would be able to go through life without sin, which is off course right, we can never do that! 

When I think back I know it was ignorance that prevented me – I didn’t know Who God is, I just thought I would be punished the moment I sinned again, as I was supposed to know better.  Today I’m so glad that I did surrender to God – it is so worth while and I cannot understand why I hesitated.  It is impossible to describe fully what God did for me.  He healed me emotionally, He gave me hope, He helped me, He gave me strength when I needed it and comfort when I needed it.  I was so depressed at one stage that I felt that I couldn’t go on living.  I was in a dark hole of despair and I saw no way out, yet God healed me of that depression completely!  Without any help from any doctors or any medication!  My quality of life is so much better, because I am a happier person, even through all the difficult times, or should I say especially in the difficult times. 

So when I heard this young man didn’t want to surrender his life to God, but that he was indeed searching for some divine guidance, it made me want to shake him and tell him what happened in my life.  But I didn’t speak to him, I only saw him from afar and today I’m sad that I missed the oppurtunity to speak to him…

After writing the above I saw this clip on God Tube – it’s about a man who died in a plane crash and what happened to him after he died and how he was miraculously brought back to life.  At the end Mick.ey Robin.son tells us his theory about why we don’t want to surrender it all to God.  He says he thinks it is fear and the fact that we feel we are not good enough…  So even though most of this clip is not about surrendering it all to God, it ends on that note, and that’s why I want to include it in this post.

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=DDDYLPNX

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Yesterday I touched on the subject of attitude.  I mentioned that the attitude of Paul and Silas helped them out of their difficult circumstances.  That reminded me of a message I’ve heard quite a few times from Joy.ce Mey.er about when the Israelites left Egypt and had to travel to the Promised Land.  She says it was normally an 11 day journey, but it took the Israelites 40 years.  Why did it take them so long to take such a short journey?

Numbers 13:25-31 (NIV):  25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.  Report on the Exploration:  26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land.   27 They gave Moses this account: We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.  28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.  29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.  30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.  31 But the men who had gone up with him said, We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 
Numbers 14:1-11 (NIV):  “The People Rebel:  1 That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud.  2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert!  3 Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?  4 And they said to each other, We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.  5 Then Moses and Aaron fell face down in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there.  6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good.  8 If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.  9 Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.  10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the LORD appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites.  11 The LORD said to Moses, How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?”
Numbers 14:20-34 (NIV):  20 The LORD replied, I have forgiven them, as you asked.  21 Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, 22 not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times—23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No-one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.  24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.  25 Since the Amalekites and Canaanites are living in the valleys, turn back tomorrow and set out towards the desert along the route to the Red Sea.  26 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:  27 How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites.  28 So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say:  29 In this desert your bodies will fall— every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me.  30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.  31 As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected.  32 But you— your bodies will fall in this desert.  33 Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert.  34 For forty years— one year for each of the forty days you explored the land— you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’”

From the moment the Israelites left Egypt the Lord did some mighty miracles for them.  He parted the Red Sea for them, and destroyed the Egyptian army that was following them (Exodus 14:15-31).  He turned bitter water into sweet water at Marah (Exodus 15:23-25).  He provided them with meat at night (quail) and manna in the morning (Exodus 16:13-18).   They got water out of a rock when Moses struck the rock with his staff (Exodus 17:5-6). The Lord’s presence was visible with a cloud column during the day and a fire column during the night (Numbers 9:15-16). 

Yet in spite of all this the Israelites complained and murmured all the time.  They wanted to turn back to Egypt and return to slavery numerous times.  They did not trust God.  Their faith was not strong enough.  When Moses was on the mountain receiving the 10 commandments they made a golden calf and worshipped it!  They had a serious attitude problem, and eventually God decided to punish them for it.  Their punishment was 1 year in the desert for every day they waited for the explorers to come back from the Promised Land.  All the people 20 years old and older that did not trust in God would not see the Promised Land – they would die in the desert. 

Joy.ce Mey.er often says:  “they had to go around and around the same mountain” time and again, until they learnt their lesson before they could move on.  How is that relevant to us? 

What is your attitude like?  What do you have issues with and how are you dealing with it?  I had a real problem with forgiveness – my husband says that I could carry a grudge for years, and that I never forget anything.  I would bring up issues years after it happened that he had completely forgotten about! When I became aware of this problem in my life I had to go and forgive everything and everybody that I could think of and let it go.  Now that was not easy at all – I asked God to help me of course – and there were times that I suddenly realized that I was thinking or talking of things that I supposedly had forgiven.  I think it took me at least 2 years to work through and I must still keep myself in check at times. I was tested time and time again with basically the same issues until I could recognize that I needed to forgive someone, and the quicker I did it the better it was for me…  

Forgiveness was not the only problem I had to deal with, there were several other problems, but another big one was jealousy.  I have mentioned jealousy before in this post.  The other day I heard Joy.ce Mey.er say about jealousy:  “I believe God will not let you have what you desire until you learn to deal with your jealousy on that subject”.  For me that was a baby, pregnancy etc.  Believe me I still had the temptation of jealousy about 2 months ago when I found out someone I knew was pregnant.  But I immediately and quietly asked God to help me with it, I just confessed that sin, as there was no sense in denying it.  I had peace with her pregnancy immediately after I stopped praying – it didn’t bother me anymore.

Every time I notice that my attitude is not what it is supposed to be I remind myself of Joy.ce’s saying:  “Marion, there is no use going around the same mountain again and again…”  So how long do you have to go through the same problems, before you are going to learn your lesson and how long before you can move on with your life?

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I must confess:  I have had problems dealing with jealousy especially regarding my infertility, ever since we realized there was a problem.  I was jealous when my younger sister got pregnant in her first month of trying.  I was jealous of a couple who have had much worse fertility problems that us, but got pregnant after 2 IUI’s.  I was jealous of a 19 year old (I think unmarried) girl who was pregnant.  I was jealous of somebody that does not believe in God, but got pregnant with her first IVF.  These are just a few examples, but there were many other incidents over the past 10 years.  I want to share the following passages that helped me recently:

Matthew 20:1-16 (NIV):  1 For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard.    2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.    3 About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the market-place doing nothing.    4 He told them: ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’    5 So they went. He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing.    6 About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’   7 ‘Because no-one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them: ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’    

8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’    9 The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius.    10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius.    11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner.    12 ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

    13 But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?    14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you.    15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’    16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

In this parable the workers who were hired first were jealous of those who worked a shorter time than they did, but still got paid the same amount.   The important thing that they forgot about is that they agreed on that wage before they started to work.  The landowner did not owe them anymore than what they got.  It was none of their business what he wanted to do with his money.  It was his prerogative to pay those that worked for only 1 hour a full day’s pay. 

It was the same with me – I kept comparing other people’s lives with mine.  I got upset when somebody else I know who also has fertility problems gets pregnant in a relatively short time, and I am still not pregnant.  I am always happy for somebody else that also suffers from infertility when they get pregnant, but my first reaction is usually jealousy, and only when I’m used to the idea then I can be happy for them.  I realized that I was the one having a problem – I was jealous, and that is a sin.  I need to confess the sin as soon as I’m aware of it.  Nowadays I ask God to help me with it, to change my jealous heart.

John 21: 19-22 (NIV):  19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, Follow me!   20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, Lord, who is going to betray you?)   21 When Peter saw him, he asked, Lord, what about him?    22 Jesus answered, If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

It is clear from this text that Peter is jealous of John, who was also known as the beloved disciple.  Jesus had just told Peter what kind of death he would have and his first reaction was: “But what about John?” Jesus immediately put Peter in his place and basically told him that it had nothing to do with him. 

Have you ever felt this way about somebody else?  I certainly have.  There were many times where I’ve wondered why I had to be infertile and somebody else, who might not even believe in God, who in my opinion is not a good person, can have kids easily. One day I was praying and asking the same question and afterwards I opened up my Bible to do Bible study and read this passage.  I got the message loud and clear: “It’s none of your business and you just do what I ask you to do!”

 Psalm 73:1-28 (NIV):  A psalm of Asaph.1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.  But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.    3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  

 4They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.    5 They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.   6 Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.    7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.    8 They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression.    9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.    10 Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.    11 They say: How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?   12This is what the wicked are like— always carefree, they increase in wealth.   

13Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.    14 All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.   

15If I had said, I will speak thus, I would have betrayed your children.    16 When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me    17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. 18 Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.    19 How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!    20 As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies. 

21When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,    22 I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. 23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.    24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterwards you will take me into glory.    25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.    28 But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”

Sometimes it seems that people who don’t believe in God or Jesus Christ have it easier than us.  Have you ever wondered why it seems to be that way? Have you ever wondered if it is even worth it to believe in God?  We are jealous of their prosperity, we are unhappy because they have something that we also want.

If you read verses 17-20, you will see that Asaph suddenly realises that he doesn’t have to be jealous of the non-believers.  They are destined for a horrible end, but he will not endure the same punishment. He realizes that it is better to endure the hardships now, but end up in heaven than to have everything he wants now, but end up in hell.

I know I should not be jealous of other people.  My infertility certainly brought me closer to God.  It’s due to my infertility that I now have a personal relationship with Him.  I am thankful for my infertility; I just wish it could end now.

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