Rejection Hurts, God!

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Have you ever been rejected? Maybe you have been told you aren’t the perfect fit for something. How does it feel when you put your best foot forward to obtain something and the door closes quickly? Have you ever been replaced by someone else? Maybe you are truly needing a window of opportunity because everything else has come to a close. It hurts!

The LORD knows our struggles and He definitely comprehends rejection-to the point of death! Our worldly trials are nothing compared to what He faced. Yet, somehow rejection pain stings like the strike of a scorpion. Why? Possibly because of fear of the future and the mental unknown—maybe caused from us planning our own future and seeing our life the way we want it to go. (Guilty. I often want some kind of input in the equation and I truly dislike doing things I don’t enjoy. ME! ME! ME!)

God has an answer for every rejection we face. However, there are times we don’t understand it nor do we love the situation. It is very easy to go down the pity party pathway and feel like everyone else in the world experiences success except you. That is a lie from the enemy. He is a jerk!

Recently, I have had to face rejection. I truly went to the LORD and asked for His perspective. (He knew I couldn’t rely on my own!) As I sat reading the first chapter of Jeremiah, I found myself captivated by what the LORD was revealing to me.

God laid out His plans for Jeremiah but Jeremiah was afraid of his future. Fear of the unknown. He knew rejection would be his and the world would claim “good reasons” not to listen to him as he claimed God’s prophecy. He went to the LORD with his concerns. Jeremiah noted his weaknesses. He felt unqualified and too unexperienced for the task God had directed. Doubt and fear began to rise.

As I read through chapter one, I found myself in the Scripture. Rejected by the world and feeling as though I can’t meet set standards. Feeling as though the next decade is a career path I don’t want to travel, yet I can’t wait to see where God takes the Refining ministry.

So, I pause…laid my heart open to the Father and said, “Rejection Hurts, God!”. And He gently responded through Scripture in chapter one of Jeremiah:

  1. I have your back! verse 8: “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
  2. My plans will happen! verse 12: The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”
  3. I will provide & protect you! Verse 19: They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

If you are dealing with rejection, go to God. Dig deep into His Word and ask for His discernment to shine through Scripture. Give yourself a chance to see your story through biblical characters and read several chapters of their experience.

Remember, Psalm 23 and 91 are great starting points to reject the lies of the enemy and to help you see your circumstance through the LORD’s eyes.

Rejection hurts but GOD IS. . .

(May you find the rest of this statement through God’s Word in the days ahead.)

Until we meet again my friend.

YIKES! Change Found Me

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Romans 12:1-2: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Happy HOT summer my friends. Boy, the change in weather occurred recently-it was 109 degrees this past weekend. I wasn’t ready for it nor the fact that it came with 20-30 mph wind gusts. It made me want to skip over the next three months and go straight to fall.

But this isn’t the only change that found me over the past week. I went from a headache to a full-blown sinus infection in less than 24 hours. Having a fever during the intensive heat was draining and once again I found myself wanting to skip over the next few days and go straight to feeling better!

And then…a change I knew would come sooner or later yet, for some reason I didn’t think it would heavily impact me. In less than a week, I have a new direction in my employment along with several others in my department. Change-I normally like it! Can I just skip to September 1st and know the end results of all of this?

Yes, I like change and I am an advocate for change. I find freshness and excitement in learning and experiencing new things. However, I want to be the agent of change and I would prefer it be on my terms! My first reaction when change finds me—well, let’s just say over time it seems to get better.

As I sit here mentally preparing for a job interview, God’s wisdom washes over me. He reminds me that none of this surprises Him. He allowed some overnight changes for a reason. The LORD gently reminds me that He is in control and my future is secure in His hands. No change on earth will alter His great love for me nor the overwhelming attributes of His character. I have a steadfast Father who has my back!

What about you? How do you handle change? When you journey from mountain top to valley low to long straight plains and repeat again and again, do you ever want to skip over the waiting, healing, unknowns, transitioning, etc.? Do you have a hope outlook or a doom and gloom perspective when unwanted change comes?

God really shared His perspective for me in all of this.

Change found Jesus Christ. He went from a perfect man to a shredded form of life in a matter of a few days. The weight of the world was placed on His shoulders. His earthly life was taken in the most painful manner and given a resting place in a tomb. Life on earth was turned upside down and a new covenant was established. Yet, it came with brokenness and blood. A change that made a way for all of humanity to be saved if they would only believe. Change found him because God loved us.

Through it all, God stayed steadfast. The LORD kept His promises, and He gave the world a Savior, the Messiah, a fulfillment of prophesy and full depth of love. Where would we all be if it wasn’t for the change? And Christ submitted to the call of change.

Romans 8:6: The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Perspective of God towards me – Relax! Change has found you for a reason. Don’t skip the experience and take each step in full confidence that I have worked out your pathway. You don’t need to be afraid, upset, or nervous in the days ahead. Live each moment with hope in ME. I will not change, and I will be beside you always. Now, go face that interview!

Dots and Dashes by: Robin Gonzales

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Hello friends. Mine is a voice you don’t hear too often unless you join us weekly for Refining’s bible studies online.

I have recently retired from the job I had for what I like to call the second act of life. The first act was my childhood, young adult life, and motherhood. As I begin the third act, I have had a chance to sit back, relax, think, and adjust to the new normal. It is a bit strange, but also very exciting as God moves me in a new direction.

I have realized all of the things prior to now have been my training ground for things to come. . .

Have you ever identified with a Bible character? Refining recently finished the book of Amos. He was an ordinary person who loved God and wanted to share what he had learned. I really identified with him. He was an ordinary guy (farmer of fig trees and goat herder). God called him to go and speak to his people.

Amos was much like people we know: our pastor and his wife, a great prayer warrior, the spiritually gifted song leader or friend. Some of them even fortunate enough to receive specialized training; yet all of them, including you and me, are in the school of the Holy Ghost. A specialized training for God.

As we each receive our training under the Holy Spirit’s authority, He has been given several tasks to ensure our instruction. His job is to purify, consecrate, and set us apart to bring honor to Christ and empower us to witness to others.

You may be asking-so exactly how does He go about this? The Holy Spirit works within you and changes you by the dots and dashes of ordinary life-every situation, circumstance, and relationship.

__ __ * ___ ___ ___ __ ** ** *** * ___ ** ___ ___ ___ ***_ *

The small dots are everyday life. How you react to people and circumstances: putting the grocery cart back where it belongs, stopping when the light turns yellow instead of running it, not interrupting people when they are talking. And maybe changing the things you like to listen to, read, watch, who you hang out with, or the places you want to go.

The larger dashes are challenges in life. Maybe not enough money to pay the rent this month so you have to lean into faith that God will direct and make a way. Or it could be life has gotten really busy, you are feeling stretched, and you are having to lean into God’s peace to help you sort out, prioritize and eliminate what is not essential. Maybe you are wanting a spouse, family, new car, house, or job and God is making you sit in the waiting room because He has not released you to move forward.

Those dashes even include times when we have flat line seasons filled with suffering. You know, those times when it is hard to see more than a few inches in front of you and usually filled with loss and hardship. Death of a loved one, divorce, loss of job, or serious illness. These are the times when we seem to recognize God really showing up and even seeing ourselves grow in faith by leaps and bounds.

Yes, the dots and dashes of life. The training ground for the Holy Spirit. It is these areas in life where we learn to listen, be still, discover perseverance, and grow in relationship with the LORD. But, why does it seem as though the most growth occurs during times of struggle and hardship?

God would love for us to lean into him and grow without the hurt and pain. So, what keeps us from doing so? Maybe the problem is we become “too busy” living life when things are good. We don’t look for God or spend time in His Word. We forget to pray or thank him for all of the blessings we are enjoying. We become complacent and prideful thinking we have everything under control.  

But when God pulls away just a little, and allows us go our own way, we fall very short and things go wrong. It is then we begin to look around and realize we have forgotten our first love, the one who cares for us, and our need for him in all things. THEN…we look up and call out!

And being the good Father that he is, God steps in…

now we are back on the pathway of learning and growing in faith.

As we continue to walk with the LORD and follow God’s leading, our relationship begins to mature. We learn to be good students of a master teacher, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works within us (and does it quite well I might add) and over time we become people the Holy Spirit can use to draw others to Christ.

When we become aligned with God’s will, we become plugged into the Holy Spirit’s mighty power to turn our dots and dashes into a glorious testimony for God’s kingdom.

Yes, we are all enrolled in the Spirit’s training when we accept Jesus Christ as our savior. There is no doubt, the Holy Spirit is working! When we tap into His power there are NO LIMITS to where God can take us and who we can reach for His kingdom. Every dot and dash along with all the gifts and abilities we have been gifted and the Holy Spirit within us, we can truly do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us (Phil 4:13).

So, during this Pentecost season, let us remember God sent His Spirit to empower us to do even greater things than He himself did while he was in human form on the earth (John 14:12).

Just imagine the possibilities because of our dots and dashes!

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Wisdom when you hear yourself say, “OH NO! I have Bible study tonight!”

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Have you ever attended a Bible study feeling unprepared? Have you skipped out because you were not able to get everything read? How about those Bible study groups where you just quit showing up because the workbook was never cracked open or a big life crisis reared its ugly head? Or maybe you had to miss one, so you used this as an excuse to miss the rest. “Sorry, I’m Busy!” (This is probably only the beginning to the ones I have used over the years!)

Whatever the case, let’s be honest, the enemy wants you to NOT participate! Did you hear me? He doesn’t even want you thinking about it nor remembering you were even a part of a Bible study. Why else would you have all these outs or excuses?

If you want to be very intentional about seeking the LORD, there will be roadblocks. AND, some good wisdom must be coming from the discussions in your Bible study group or the enemy would not try so hard to keep you from attending. God is there and He desires for you to be there too!

Relax-we all have excuses & outs. However, we must address the source. SO, when you feel behind or less of a participant STOP YOURSELF and claim these five truths over your situation:

  • God loves me PERIOD!
  • God sees my efforts when I just show up to class
  • My pace of learning and reading is my own
  • Every step I take in seeking the LORD is valuable
  • The LORD is always with me regardless of where I find myself in the progression of a Bible study

Then take ownership of you:

  • Keep showing up to class
  • Read at your pace
  • Ask God to help you stay committed & moving forward in His Word

Remember, those excuses and roadblocks are not from God.

If you are in a Bible study currently or beginning one, pray! Pray for focused, intentional time. Ask the LORD to clear your calendar for those meeting times (even if you didn’t finish the weekly work or readings). Pray for a hedge of protection over your entire participation in the study. If you can, call someone else in the study group and ask them to be your accountability partner. Prepare ahead of time for the obstacles because they will come!

Then-commit. Pray for the leaders of your Bible study. Make an action plan and get started. Remember, you can succeed, and you are never behind if you are showing up and making small steps every day by staying in His Word and building relationship with HIM!

Change it & Claim it-

“OH YES! I have Bible study tonight. I cannot wait for the wisdom God will reveal.”

Is TRUE GRIT in the spiritual growth equation?

What do you think of when you hear the words “True Grit”? Your mind might go directly to the movie or possibly a particular person. Regardless, I think we can all agree it is defined as passionate perseverance committed for the long haul and at all costs. True grit has its ups and downs, difficulties, celebrations, failures, and even stagnation, yet somehow success comes in the end.   

Take the human body. How physically evident can true grit be seen when someone changes their eating habits and begins an intensive workout plan. Over time the sweat, dedication, and effort become a reward. The body starts to reflect the hard work and success is seen.

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.” Proverbs 4:25-26

Well, what about our spiritual growth? Does God require true grit? Can we have a close walk with the LORD without it?

As I have been studying the minor prophet books, I am seeing over and over that a walk with the LORD takes work and dedication. It is difficult at best to stay committed to the LORD. Being in God’s remnant goes beyond faith. It requires us to find ourselves in His plan and dig deep within to stay committed and steadfast when everyone around is doing the opposite. Let’s be honest, worldly ways are appealing and have been through human existence.   

Personally, I have found studying the Word of God requires sincere true grit. I haven’t always felt this way though.

It took a deep valley to make me evaluate my core and what made me tick! Yep-getting honest and asking myself, “Are you going to keep living for you or get serious about following the LORD’s road map?” It took some major humility, surrender, and many years of getting it wrong before I realized the importance of living life under the authority of God’s Word.

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.'” Lamentations 3:22-24

SO, when I was finally ready, I realized I could not carry out my spiritual journey without truly knowing God’s Word. Now I don’t mean just reading, being exposed, and listening. I mean having true grit to find God in the pages. It took me placing value on this incredible gift-the Bible and realizing I needed help simply studying God’s Word on my own!

Bit by bit, I am learning. I am not by far a scholar!  As I gain knowledge, I am slowly realizing this fact: Scripture is supplying the breath in my spiritual walk and God doesn’t want me living without it.   

You and I are on a pathway of life my friends. No matter the distance we have come or still must go, our sanctification requires commitment, dedication, work, time, perseverance, encouragement, community, sweat, tears, a humble heart, and so much more. It all starts within…a word of faith in Christ’s saving grace and then…TRUE GRIT!

“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.” Philippians 1:6

How committed are you to studying Scripture? Do you crave it more than the air you breathe? If you knew for a fact it was the only supply of oxygen for your spiritual life, would you learn how to tap into it more?

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

Success begins with doing-and yes failing too. Don’t be discouraged my friend. Go ahead-take the next step on the pathway. Keep moving forward. Seek ways to stay motivated, keep learning, and continually growing in relationship with the LORD. And above all-REMEMBER, God loves you far beyond your wildest imagination. He even left His love story written in a book for you to know Him more.

Embrace His Word with TRUE GRIT!

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

WHY ONLINE BIBLE STUDY?

Our online Bible studies are created for women JUST LIKE YOU! Why? Because we know the struggle of staying motivated and actively engaged with God and His Word.

Refining provides you simple and practical ways to not only interact with the LORD and His written voice, but to also grow in relationship with Him. If you are ready to spiral deeper into God’s Word and discover creative elements to getting to know the LORD, then come give us a try!

We invite you to find community with women just like you. This is a safe & confidential place to thrive with a group of like-minded friends and the added plus is it does not matter where you live! You are invited to corporately study with us as we spend one hour a week in Scripture on Zoom sharing and learning together. Bonus feature-It is FREE! Even our snapshot sheets like the one above! No charge.

Ladies, you have many options when it comes to online Bible study and many choices are cost associated. Refining Ministry simply exists as a service to you. The online Bible studies are strictly here to assist you. Let us show you how to design your own Scripture plan and develop your skills with proven tips, tools, and methods we have found beneficial on many levels.

Our next study begins June 6th! Come give it a try. Email us at refiningjourney@gmail.com for the link, handout, and details.

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