Just Not Feeling It

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

Over the years I have come to learn a great deal about myself from the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the most perplexing discovery is trusting the truth of my feelings … or at least I always thought they were true.

God designed each of us with feelings and with them we are able to express the love, joy and happiness in our relationships. But what happens when someone or something upsets the “applecart?” When what once was joy turns to pain and sadness? When smooth waters turn to fear and anxiety? Is this what the lord had in mind? Did He really expect me to hurt in grief to the edge of despair or experience the pain of loss to the edge of hopelessness? No, no He didn’t. In fact, Satan, with all of his same tricks from all generations has confused us to trust our feelings as Truth. But here is the problem with that … trusting in anything for redemption places those things in front of our Savior. It says that God is not able to save me, comfort me, redeem me, love me, change me, protect me or provide for me.

You see, our feelings are often times out of sync with the truth. Our feelings respond to impulses from our minds and our minds draw conclusions through correspondence with our will. Together, the three of these in a split second construct a belief in which our behavior is birthed. But what is right? It “feels” like it is right many of the times, but this is Satan’s crafty way of making that which is untrue appear true. This, in turn produces sin.

It’s important to remember that my feelings are not Truth. God is Truth! So, when I am feeling anxious in a relationship or disgruntled over a circumstance, what is Truth? God is! It is imperative that we seek God in the midst of our feelings and ask Him to reveal His truth so that I do not bend truth in my mind to match my feelings. What I may perceive as true and what actually is Truth are two different things.
So, the next time I feel out of control, the next time I feel anxious, the next time I feel unworthy I’m turning my heart towards the Truth to seek The reality of who I am in Christ not because of what I’ve done, but because of what He’s done in me!

by:  Mark Cruver

A Life on the Rocks

“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

When I stepped out on this bed of rocks today to take this picture I thought certain it was going to be rather uneventful.  These rocks had been there for some time now and I figured they had settled into the ground pretty securely.  Boy, was I wrong!!  Despite my confidence in what appeared to be a wise and stable moment quickly turned into a very weebly and wobbly near death experience!  O.K., maybe not near death, but I almost fell flat on my bum!

How often do we find our lives much like this very thing?  We know the cliche already of “not building our house on the sand.”  That, we know, is a bad idea!  So instead of sand we choose rocks!  After all, they look a lot more stable!

How many rocks do you have lining the bed of your life?  Is your life on the rocks?  You may be asking what rocks am I talking about?  Well, let’s look at this for just a moment.  What are some things in your life where you place your trust, your dependence, your time, your hope, your confidence, your future, your success or maybe even your career?  And maybe, just maybe a few of those have found you great reward, satisfaction or worth.  So, in those victories you have placed your feet — stood there, confidently stable.  But that position gets old eventually and you will grow weary.  Those rocks will fail you every time because they were placed there by you!

God, through Christ’s parable of the wise man, showed us what happens to the man who places his trust in a sandy foundation.  His house grew weary and “fell with a great crash.”  But the man who placed his trust in a firm foundation built on The Rock never grew weary!  God has encouraged us to place our trust, our dependence, our time, our hope, our confidence, our futures, our success and even our careers upon the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ!  When we are living a life through the life of Christ all these things flow from a bedrock of love and grace!  It’s a Life on THE ROCK!

“For who is God besides the Lord?  And who is the Rock except our God?”  II Samuel 22:32

by: Mark Cruver

All Rights Reserved

The only right a Christian has is the right to give up his rights.  -Oswald Chambers

My nephew is 3 years old.  Lunch for his brothers and sister were being prepared for the day and they were being carefully assembled on the kitchen counter.  His mom grabbed the block of cheese from the refrigerator and began slicing pieces off for each of their lunch boxes.  No one was eating the cheese at the moment, it was for later.  But this little guy was ready, right now, to get his cheesy prize.  His logic was clearly, “if there’s cheese, then I get some.”  Unclear to him this was false logic, because once he found out he wasn’t getting any cheese, his happy, sweet and innocent self turned into a thrashing, loud and tearful torment.  What in the world just happened?

He felt he had a right to get cheese.  All the pieces were in place for this to be true . . . he was there, cheese was there, mommy was there, his mouth was there!  Cha-ching!

I have been challenged lately in my life in much the same way.  There are circumstances where I have felt all the right pieces were present for a very specific outcome.  On more than one occasion these moments have never turned out as I had imagined they would . . . or should.  So, upon departure I would find my anxiety to be high, my criticism to be sharp and despair to be looming near in the shadows.  What in the world just happened?

It’s all about my rights!  In those moments, much like my nephew, I thought I deserved something.  A pat on the back or a certain comment, maybe just a positive look to assure myself things are just fine.  The fact is I don’t NEED any of those things.  Sure, I’d like them and it would be added coolness to get them, but all of those things are already being met in and through Christ in me.  I just need to learn, and trust, in living in that truth.  My worth, my identity is found through Christ.

“I am the vine, you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

by: Mark Cruver

Hope In Crisis

In the midst of my crisis (or anyone’s crisis) hope is something we cling to tightly.  It, at best, appears to be the last string of relief to our grief.  Hope is the emotional state which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life. We all want a positive outcome — more than life itself!  But often, our limited minds, deceitful hearts and what the Scripture calls “flesh” somehow turns the tide on hope and ushers our minds, our hearts and eventually belief to despair; the opposite of hope.

My friend just texted me on how I was doing in the midst of my personal crisis.  Yesterday I found myself hopeless, full of despair — sinning!  I completely neglected the fact that Christ’s blood covered that for me already and brought us hope in Him!

My hope is flawed, it has holes and withers as the wind blows.  But the hope found in the life of Christ is never changing!  It’s firm as a rock — in fact, it IS the rock!

So, my answer to my friend was this.  As long as I continue to hope in the outcome of my future through me and my own abilities, I will continue to doubt because I can do nothing without Christ who strengthens me.  That being said, my hope is not my hope at all, it is the Hope of the One Eternal, the Hope of God Almighty, the Hope of Glory . . . that’s the Hope I can trust!  That’s my Hope in crisis!

by: Mark Cruver

What’s In The Title

For me, this blog represents a place where I can express things in my mind that often make more sense to me if I get them on paper — or at least the computer screen.  Sealed & Seated came about because of my own lack of understanding the truth of who I am in Christ.

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.”      Ephesians 1:13-14

Key to this verse in my life was the two words “Having believed.”  The truth of having been sealed with Christ was good for me to know.  In fact, I can say I probably heard it a thousand times before.  But faith comes through believing it — that’s what drives behavior.  If I don’t believe it to be true, then I won’t live like I believe it!  So I know and believe that I am sealed within Christ  —  my life IS Christ!

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”    Ephesians 2:6-7

It was always a special day on Thanksgiving to circle around the family dinner table and find the place where my name was written.  It was MY place!  Chosen for me, designated for me, prepared for me!  God has gone before us and prepared that seat!  Through His resurrection I too have been raised and placed in a seat with Him!  It is MY place!

by:  Mark Cruver