Not Lost or Forgotton

A cold front is blowing in, clouds are gathering and there is an instinctive knowing that we are getting ready for a long and colder than normal winter. Who knows, it may also be wetter than normal too! Sometimes my life is a lot like weather, constantly changing all around me and I sometimes feel like I am just spinning around trying to keep up. In those times, I feel like I must look like Cinnamon, my Pom, spinning in circles chasing her tail as if there is some great prize or treat is waiting when she catches it! …Or as if catching it will make everything suddenly  better.  There’s not, she is just caught up in a crazy cycle reacting to something that has either excited her or upset her.  Maybe it is the same for us at times. You know every once in a while we have one of ‘those’ days. Sometimes they stretch into one of ‘those’ weeks, months, seasons, or years. On the one hand, many times we have little or no control over our outside extenuating circumstances; but we always have a say in how we respond to them. We always have a choice in whether we thoughtlessly react and start spinning circles; withdraw and run away fast; or with patience, thought and calmness respond. Our choice can make all the difference in our outcome.

I have also noticed it is not the occasional unexpected hard blow that sends me into the ‘spin cycle’. No sir! I know where to run when those things enter upon the scene. I am wise enough to know that I am not able handle them on my own and run swiftly and directly into the arms of my merciful and loving Heavenly Father seeking His guidance, protection and comfort.  I also seek out people of like faith; mentors, friends, family who encourage and advise me.  Nope, it usually not the big things that throw me for a loop.  It is the little things…one here, another there; it isn’t too bad. Then sometimes little things just keep coming one right after another; after another; until they wear you down.  That’s when if I’m not careful and if I am overextended, not getting proper rest and nutrition; the spin begins!

  • Little things are magnified
  • Simple requests seem like demands
  • What would normally be a joy to do become drudgery
  • Before long you wonder if the little struggles are the new normal, they’re not!
     I imagine early Christians may have felt this way at times. In the early years, things were going pretty well. They were growing by leaps and bounds, living together in unity and sharing all things. Rulers and governments change; persecution comes to them and they are forced to scatter in every direction; exercising great faith and depending on God’s provision and protection. The good news-Christianity spread far and wide. The reality-it was at great cost to many people. Families separated, friends separated and many lives lost. The blessing-they grew in faith, dependence on God, and obedience. The result-their lives became a testimony to person after person; generation after generation. Many have come to faith because of their faithfulness.
     Today, I read the following passage and it greatly touched me. I am sure I’ve read it before, probably many times. Today I read it in The Message…slowly…
I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds. Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours! (‭1 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭1-2‬ MSG)
(Underlining and italics added for emphasis)
     Many letters like this one written by Peter were circulated among the scattered churches. I love how he points out to them that God in His sovereignty sees each of them, watches over them. They are not forgotten! Not even one has He forgotten! Not one is missing! He reminds them that through their faith in Jesus they have been given the Holy Spirit who helps them remain obedient even in perilous times and then blesses them with these words, “may everything good from God be yours!”
      Since the time of the fall of mankind in the garden when Adam and Eve disobeyed, our world has been broken. Man gave over his dominion and authority.  Through the life of His Son Jesus, His obedience, sinless life and His death and resurrection the way back to God was completed. He desires a relationship with everyone. He sees our every struggle, pain, sorrow. His desire is for our good!
For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the LORD. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11-13‬ NET)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not a shepherd and does not own sheep, sees the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and runs away. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. (‭John‬ ‭10‬:‭10-12‬ NET)
“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?…Matthew 18:11-12
      God is for us and desires what is best for us, still we live in a broken world where trials, pain, loss and troubles exist. May we find peace in knowing when they take their toll in our lives, whether they be large or small; individual or clustered together; He sees! We are not missing or forgotten. God the Father has His eye on each of us. He has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep us obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus.
                                                      May everything good from God be yours! (‭1 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭1-2‬ MSG)
His grace and peace to you, in the name of Jesus!

A Lesson Learned…Again

Can I just say, God is amazing!

Yesterday was one of those days, you know the kind I am betting because we all have them from time to time. One of the days where some things seem to get turned upside down. Something is said or done with the best in mind but comes out wrong and ends up misunderstood and in spite of correcting the problem…the kind that seems to have a cloud that just hangs over the remainder of the day-basically a Murphy’s law kind of day. The kind you get through moment by moment and when the day is over your not entirely sure how you made it through but you did!

So this morning is a new day, things look brighter. The sun is shinning, no rain, snow, or ice. It is time to get the day started… Good Morning Lord. I will spare you the details of the prayer that followed. It contained some heartfelt repentance for my allowing my words to be spoken hastily and leaving room for misunderstanding and the hurt that it caused, and if I can be honest a bit of complaining about how difficult balancing relationships and keeping them as healthy can be at times. Again, I will spare you the details because in every relationship there are times when one person bears more of the responsibility for the relationship than the other. This is usually when one of the two is going through a strained and difficult time in their life. This is true in families, in marriages and in friendships. Relationships are rarely if ever a 50/50 or 100/100 percent proposition and sometimes I find that when there are problems, even a small one it is just better to pray about them. Trying to fix them without praying first can be disastrous. When I pray first it tends to reveal anything that I might need to address in myself, like the plank in my eye…when I get that straight and only then, I might can help with their splinter. In this case, if I want someone to understand my heart on a matter the responsibility of communicating it in a loving way that can be easily understood is completely on me. If I am hasty or fail communicate it well, it is on me. If I communicate well and clearly, but they are not fully engaged and miss what I have communicated, that responsibility may just fall on them. It can also fall on my if I have chosen an inconvenient time.

This is where my lesson came into play. There arose a question in my spirit, maybe it was posed by God’s Spirit. The question was, “Is this how You feel God?” You created us for relationship with You. You long for us to spend time with You, in Your Word, in prayer, talking to You, singing over You, Your Spirit connecting with our spirit.  Is this how You feel when I am distracted during prayer and start a grocery list, or think of the bill I forgot to pay? When the phone rings and it can’t wait until after quiet time to be answered? How about when I set aside time to thank You for answered prayer and it is interrupted by a distraction or an unexpected care or worry? You have told us to bring all our cares to You, to be anxious for nothing and to pray about everything; yet have we not heard or have we misunderstood thinking that only means the big cares and worries? Have we the mistaken impression that we are to only bring the things beyond our ability to handle to You and handle the rest ourselves? Did I miss the scriptures true meaning? Be anxious about nothing, pray about everything!  Your Word says You have given us everything we need for life and godliness, 2 Peter 1:3-4, yet like a rebel do I try to do it on my own power and strength?  Like a student with an attention disorder, am I distracted from my teacher, the Holy Spirit? Do I find I am tempted by mirages? Yes, by those things that look pretty, inviting, satisfying. They look like just what I am looking for until they are right in front of me and I see they are only an illusion of that which I am deeply longing. When I realize this, will I be off chasing the next mirage or will I finally see You for Who You are and realize that true satisfaction and every other thing we need is only found in a relationship with You and in turn every other relationship in our life will be richer because we put You in first place in our lives!  How is it I get easily distracted and forget a lesson that I have already learned over and over again?

Oh how patient and merciful You are Lord! Please remind me, teach me again to choose moment by moment encounters with You throughout my day! Just as we may enjoy an unexpected text message or phone call from a loved one letting us know they are thinking about us;  You enjoy Your sons and daughters  reaching out to You. Even more importantly, those little momentary encounters will change not only our day but they will also change our lives by gradually drawing us deeper into a more intimate and satisfying relationship with the ultimate lover of our souls. No one loves us like You love us!

2 Peter 1:2-4  “May grace and peace be lavished on you as you grow in the rich knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord!  I can pray this because His divine power has bestowed on us everything that is necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the One who has called us by His own glory and excellence.  Through these things has He bestowed on us His precious and most magnificent promises, so by means of what was promised you may become par takers of the divine nature, after escaping the worldly corruption that is produced by evil desire.” (NET)

Philippians 4:5-7  “Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (HSCB ).


Categories: Perspective