Dealing With The Dread of Getting Through Another Day

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Matthew 6:34

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

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Many of you may think “how am I going to get through this one more day”?  Or possibly living in dread of an event coming up that you are pretty sure your N is going to spoil.  Or something similar.

There’s another way to look at it.  If you look at this through the lens of God’s goodness (i.e. – everything that happens to you is good – it is just a matter of HOW it is good), and if you believe that God’s grace is fully sufficient for every need and that He will provide it as needed – then you can view the impending possible difficulty as an opportunity for God to show Himself strong on your behalf – either through working to shield you, or to give you the measure of internal grace needed to experience joy in the midst of trouble.  In other words, rather than dreading it, you can  anticipate seeing God work on your behalf.

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2 Chronicles 16:9

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His……

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2 Corinthians 12:9

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

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But as Jesus taught His disciples to pray….

Matthew 6:11

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

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……He does not give us tomorrow’s provision today.  He will give that tomorrow’s provision tomorrow – and give today’s provision today, as it is needed.  This gives us the opportunity to rely on Him, to trust Him, to need Him just a little bit more.  And that daily need for Him further builds our relationship with Him.

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John Piper has a very helpful illustration in his book “Future Grace“.  Piper said to picture God’s promise that His provision of grace will be there when needed as a river flowing toward the edge of a waterfall.  The river illustrates the grace coming to us in the future, and the edge of the waterfall is “today” or “this minute”.  God promises the river of grace to continue to flow toward us, while we experience this moment’s grace at the edge of the waterfall.  The constant river of grace coming toward us gives us peace today that the grace needed tomorrow will be there tomorrow.  Therefore, we can simply focus on applying His grace at this moment, and trust Him for future moments.

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Moving-picture-Niagara-Fall-waterfall-animated-gif

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Part of our peace today that grace will be there tomorrow is the anticipation of the opportunity to learn and grow, and to see God act (in big or little ways) on our behalf.  While for some, the particular trial may not last very long, for others it may last a lifetime.  But we can trust that God has His loving purposes in either case, and that the lesson of trusting Him today for the grace needed tomorrow will carry us throughout our entire lives.

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Click here for initial steps on how to know God personally

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Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective

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True Intimacy

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Underlying much of our struggle with a narcissist is our deep-down quest for true intimacy.  That desire for intimacy is what often got us involved with them in the first place.  A narcissist fakes intimacy at the beginning, but their drive for dominance and self-absorption prevents it from truly taking place.  The failure of intimacy may tempt you to throw in the towel and try again, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for it will be futile.

True intimacy arises from someone who cares about you, who knows you deeply, and who is deeply interested in what you think about it – and with you in turn caring for them and what they think about.  Imagine sitting across from your soul mate, someone you love and who loves you, and being able to say, “you have complete insight into my soul”.

That would be wonderful if you could find it in the form of another person.  How many people do you know who have found that?   People are fallible in many ways, and self-centered, to the detriment of intimacy.  Putting an expectation  of intimacy on someone who is not up to it, puts extra stress on the relationship.  Of course, as with many things a measure of intimacy is possible, even if not to the degree you might hope.

God knows that we will never be completely fulfilled apart from Him.  That’s not a self-centered move on His part, but the reality that only He is completely satisfying, and His creations – even at their best – a dim reflection of His magnificence.

Ultimate intimacy comes from God and is reflected in what are the most intimate chapters of the Bible Psalm 139.

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O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it. 

Psalm 139:1-6

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Think of being so in love with someone that you watch their every move.  That’s what David is talking about here.  I originally of God’s awareness as an “accountability” thing.  That is true, as God does see everything we do from a moral perspective. But we can also simply take it for what it is – the God who cares for us knows us intimately.

The Bible phrases it in other ways.  For example, just think of taking your concerns, and handing them to someone who is able to carry them, and who cares enough to do so.

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“casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”  

I Peter 5:7

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And one of my favorites,

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Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 

Psalm 73:25-26

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Is this just a cop-out or rationalization for a bad situation?  No. The fact is that this intimacy with God is the ultimate goal for God’s creation of us.  Paul says,

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For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.  I Corinthians 13:12

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While God knows us perfectly now, and knows that He is our true soul-mate, we can partially understand that now, but will full understand it when we see Him face to face.  In the meantime, He uses the disappointments of our current relationships to gently encourage us toward the real goal of intimacy with Him – the One who can truly satisfy us.

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The Cornerstone of Trust

It is easy to be filled with doubts of all kinds.  If we trace those doubts to their roots, they are doubts of whether God really loves us, doubts on God’s knowledge of our situation, doubts on God’s wisdom in allowing our situations, or doubts on His power to control absolutely everything for our good (and His glory).

In these times, it is important to place our feet firmly on the ultimate solid ground, the Rock, Jesus.  His resurrection is the ultimate proof of God’s existence – through demonstration of His power to raise someone from the dead.  Man in all his haughtiness and self-achievement is absolutely unable to do what only God can do.

Because of this, acceptance of Jesus’ resurrection as a fact, and not merely a “belief”, is an important foundation stone of our ability to trust God.  The Desiring God website has a good article on the proof of the resurrection.

If in fact God went to the ultimate extreme to solve our biggest need – reconciliation with Him through the death and resurrection of Jesus – why would He not be “for us” in everything else?  It wouldn’t make sense.

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Romans 8:31-39

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,

For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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His death is the ultimate proof of His love, and His resurrection is the ultimate proof of His existence and power.  If He is with us in our biggest need, He will surely be with us in life’s daily needs.  Because of this, we can “overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us”.

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Psalm 10 – David’s Prayer Asking God To Act Against Proud, Wicked Men

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Psalm 10

Why do You stand afar off, O Lord?
Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?
In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted;
Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.

For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire,
And the greedy man curses and spurns the Lord.
The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance,does not seek Him.
All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

His ways prosper at all times;
Your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them.
He says to himself, “I will not be moved;
Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.”
His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression;

Continue reading

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The Proper Perspective Of God

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Psalm 8:3-5

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!

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When you think about it, both narcissists and their victims underestimate God.  Narcissists, in their overvaluation of themselves and undervaluation of God’s majesty, attempt to take His place.  Their victims underestimate the power and ability of God to act on their behalf and in their defense.

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Begin to gain perspective by getting outside to look up at God’s handiwork in the heavens.  I have been doing it frequently, and it has been very good.

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The following clip may also help.

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When Narcissists Ruin Our Plans

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Narcissists (aka those with insolent pride) in our lives may sometimes interfere with our plans.  It can be frustrating and maddening.  We must deal with N’s wisely.   However, it is also helpful to know that God is sovereign even over mangled plans – even if those plans were mangled to due to things beyond our control.  John Piper briefly discusses this in God’s Sovereign Plan Behind Your Most Unproductive Days.  It’s worth a quick look.

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Romans 8:28-29

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

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A blog update:  I am working on an extensive review on how Jesus dealt with the narcissists of His day (the Pharisees).  If you would like a sneak peek at my raw incomplete notes you can see them at How Jesus Dealt With The N’s.

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For an overview of what this blog is about, please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective.

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“The People Of The Lie”

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John 9:39-41

39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

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One of the primary traits of the narcissistic Pharisees was their attitude of moral superiority and refusal to acknowledge that they had any sin – even though their inward lives were full of sin.  In this they deceived and lied to both themselves and others.  This can also be seen in Luke 18:9-14, Matthew 23:25-28, and Matthew 9:10-13.

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M Scott Peck was a psychiatrist whose personal journey ultimately led him to commit to Christianity.  By observation and analysis, through the lens of Christianity, he reached the same conclusion that Jesus had already made clear above.

Following are excerpts from a book he wrote on the subject

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Narcissist Case Study – Uzziah

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When seemingly “normal” people become arrogant and abusive after they get a little power or success, we may reasonably wonder whether the seeds of that pride were latent in their heart prior to their success.  Uzziah, King of Judah is a case in point:

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2 Chronicles 26

26 And all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the place of his father Amaziah…….

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 He did right in the sight of the Lord according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding through the vision of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him…….

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……15 Hence his fame spread afar, for he was marvelously helped until he was strong.  16 But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God, for he entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. 

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Why Does God Allow Evil People To Remain?

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Why does God allow evil (including narcissistic) people to remain on the earth, and by implication, to continue to cause us trouble?  In this instance, we are referring to evil people as a group, and not an individual evil person.  The answer is found in Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares: Continue reading

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The Rivers Will Not Overflow You

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Isaiah 43:1-3

43 But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.

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This classic, beautiful statement by God to His beloved Israel is a clear reminder to us that when God allows us to go through deep waters He will be with us in it, and that He will not allow those deep waters to overcome us.

But we might say, “that applies to Israel, and not me”.  He repeats the same sentiment toward believers in Romans 8:28-39 when He says that nothing can separate us from His love.

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Your Narcissist Cannot Interfere With God’s Love For You

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Romans 8:28-39

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

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31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

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How Does Someone Become A Narcissist? Five Possible Ways

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I prefer to have blog entries “locked down” before publishing, but in this case I felt it best to go with my work in progress of analyzing the difficult question of how someone might become a narcissist.  This is an extra special case of “Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective“, where this post should be taken simply as a fellow searcher sharing some thoughts and analysis which you could possibly use as a starting point for your own study rather than looking to it for “the answer”.  Some of the following adds a bit of Biblical perspective to what is already discussed in secular literature.

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How does someone become a narcissist?  In It’s Not NPD, It’s A Heart Issue, narcissism is discussed as a heart issue, but how does this happen?  I am currently working through five possible reasons someone can become a narcissist.  The following has to be considered in light of God’s ultimate Sovereignty as described in Proverbs 16:4, as well as the sin nature and pride inherent in every man.  I want to emphasize again that this post is a work in progress, and should just be taken as food for thought.

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The five causes we’re considering are:

  1. Internal response to childhood wounding
  2. Internal response to childhood indulgence
  3. The result of the “Progression of Fools”
  4. A consequence of the “sins of the fathers”
  5. Cultural-driven narcissism

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These causes are likely interconnected in many cases.  Let’s look at each of the five in a bit more detail.

Continue reading

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How Much God Wants to Bless You – By John Piper

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“The Lord will again take delight in prospering you.” (Deuteronomy 30:9)

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“God does not bless us begrudgingly. There is a kind of eagerness about the beneficence of God. He does not wait for us to come to him. He seeks us out, because it is his pleasure to do us good. God is not waiting for us; he is pursuing us. That, in fact, is the literal translation of Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life.”

“God loves to show mercy. Let me say it again. God loves to show mercy. He is not hesitant or indecisive or tentative in his desires to do good to his people. His anger must be released by a stiff safety lock, but his mercy has a hair trigger. That’s what he meant when he came down on Mount Sinai and said to Moses, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love” (Exodus 34:6). It’s what he meant when he said in Jeremiah 9:24, “I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

“God is never irritable or edgy. His anger never has a short fuse. Instead he is infinitely energetic with absolutely unbounded and unending enthusiasm for the fulfillment of his delights.

“This is hard for us to comprehend, because we have to sleep every day just to cope, not to mention thrive. Our emotions go up and down. We get bored and discouraged one day and feel hopeful and excited another.

“We are like little geysers that gurgle and sputter and pop erratically. But God is like a great Niagara Falls — you look at 186,000 tons of water crashing over the precipice every minute, and think: Surely this can’t keep going at this force year after year after year. Yet it does.

“That’s the way God is about doing us good. He never grows weary of it. It never gets boring to him. The Niagara of his grace has no end.”

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Devotional excerpted from John Piper’s book, “The Pleasures of God”

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Why? A Series of In-Depth Studies On Suffering

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Having a solid theological foundation for God’s purposes for suffering (as well as a close relationship with Him) is key to successfully ultimately joyfully navigating the rough waters of life.  For those interested in digging more deeply into The Book on the subject of suffering, I call your attention to the following:

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Desiring God’s “Look At The Book” on “Suffering”

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(Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective)

 

 

 

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Foundations – Boundlessly Good

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Psalm 31:19

19 How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!

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We have discussed in previous posts the importance of viewing our circumstances through the lens of God’s goodness.  The most comprehensive discussion of God’s goodness ever written was by Stephen Charnock in his book on the Existence and Attributes of God.   It is a difficult read due to its length (1100 pages) and language style (17th century Elizabethan English).   A modern version of Charnock’s chapter on the goodness of God has just been released, called Boundlessly Good:  God’s Motive For All That He Does.  It is shorter (print version is 130 pages, Kindle version is 236 pages) and much more readable due to modern sentence structures, etc.

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boundlessly-good-book-cover

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If you truly want to begin to understand the “why’s”, I would encourage you to look at this book.  It has been a life-changer for me.

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