How to Gain Your Sight?

 

Can I just say that I love Wednesday nights! I look forward each week to meeting with this group of individuals who love God and love to get into His Word and study together and challenge each other. “As iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens [and influences] another [through discussion].” Proverbs 27:17 (NASB) We begin with a pre-assigned topic, portion of the Word or portion of a book about God’s Word. Several days in advance, thanks to some very dedicated individuals, we are emailed some great thought provoking questions about the assigned topic. On Wednesdays, we all come together in one large group for a few minutes for an overview. Then we break out into smaller groups based on personality tendencies where we have exciting and challenging discussions about the proposed questions. Finally, we come back together as a large group and share the insights that stood out inside the small group discussions.

Did I mention the degree of depth of the questions presented for our consideration? It is so interesting to interact with a small group over the proposed questions and even more so to hear the variety and depth of each person’s response! one of our questions last night was about the story found in 2 Kings 6: 15-20. The king of Aram (Syria) was plotting war against Israel, the prophet Elisha warned Israel, which made the Syrian king angry. Realizing that someone was helping Israel, this king became enraged and determined to have retribution. How did this man Elisha reveal to his enemy the things he’d spoken in private in his bedroom? Determined, the king of Aram sent out a mighty army with horses and chariots against Elisha.

“The servant of the man of God got up early and went out, and behold, there was an army with horses and chariots encircling the city. Elisha’s servant said to him, “Oh no, my master! What are we to do?” Elisha answered, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “Lord, please, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servants eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha. When the Arameans came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, ‘Please strike this people (nation) with blindness.” And God struck them with blindness, in accordance with Elisha’s request. Then Elisha said to the Arameans, “This is not the way, nor is this the city. Follow me and I will lead you to the man whom you are seeking.” And he led them to Samaria. When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men, so that they may see.” And the Lord opened their eyes and they saw. Behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. When the king of Israel (Jehoram) saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?” Elisha answered, “You shall not kill them. Would you kill those you have taken captive with your sword and bow? Serve them bread and water, so that they may eat and drink, and go back to their master [King Ben-hadad].” So the king prepared a great feast for them; and when they had eaten and drunk he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the marauding bands of Aram did not come into the land of Israel again.” (2 Kings 6:15-23 AMP)

Our question was: We often are guilty of having the “Gehazi Syndrome”. Why is this sometimes intentional? How do you gain your sight? As I considered Gehazi’s observation about their situation and Elisha’s response, I first noticed Gehazi’s exclamation. “Oh no, master!” He was apparently taken aback by the encampment of the enemy on every side. Appearances clearly show that they are both outnumbered and under-equipped for the potential events that seemed destined to unfold. This is not an uncommon reaction when our circumstances overwhelm us as many in our group attested to last night. So how do we gain our sight in such situations? How do we make sure we do not panic and become overwhelmed when our circumstances seem ready to crash over us and drown us in their wake. As the room quieted and we pondered our responses, this rose up in my heart and spirit:

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthian 5:7 NKJV)

When we are focused solely on our circumstances, we are walking by sight, and it is easy to be overwhelmed and defeated. Faith is also absent when we are focused on our circumstances alone and for those of us who are believers, this is not okay. Appearances do not have the final say. However, since we are not entirely using this scripture in it actual context, the resurrection of the body; we need other scripture also to agree with the principle to take a stand.

“Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For our ancestors won God’s approval by it. By faith, we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible.” (Hebrews 11:1-3 HSCB)

“Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6 HSCB)

Elisha’s response to his servant’s observation was a foreshadowing of these very scriptures that were later taught in the New Testament. Elisha, being a prophet, a man of prayer, and one with whom God shared mysteries to come; he did not walk by sight and was not deterred by what he saw. He prayed first for Gehazi to be able to see that God had provided help of which he was not aware, and secondly to blind their enemies so they could be led away and taken captive. Lastly, Elisha did not harm them but prayed once again and did as the Lord told him. God told Elisha to feed them and let them return to their master. It is a clear and excellent example of walking by faith. Elisha wasn’t a stranger to the many times God had acted in impossible situations on behalf of His people. He had been handed down generations of stories of God’s character, provision, and protection. We can also experience this kind of faith. Each time we exercise our faith based on what God has done for us in the past, our faith grows stronger. Each time we open His Word and read the examples found there we find the strength to exercise our faith a bit more. Hebrews 11, known as the hall of faith gives some excellent snippets of the faith of the patriarchs in the Old Testaments.

One of the greatest gifts we can ever give ourselves is exercising our faith rather that letting our fear overcome us. One of the most memorable gifts we can give our children, grandchildren and friends is to share our experiences of God’s faithfulness when they struggle; helping to bring comfort build their faith.

“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 HSCB)

Lord, please give us the grace to share our stories!

Trusting God

Today, actually yesterday now, has been a gloriously challenging day! Why? My husband and I had to say goodbye to our furry friend of almost fifteen years from 444 miles away. Now as the day has closed and I prepare to close my eyes, I find my mind running at warp speed as my body begs for rest.
I find myself tracing God’s hand through our experience and realizing now more than ever that when I can not understand the reason things happen the way they do that God is still in control, and He always works things out for our good and His glory. I also find myself wondering why this lesson is one that it seems to keep coming back around.
Just a brief backstory, Cinnamon (our Pomeranian) came to live with us as a wee puppy in September 2001. She was quite precocious and lovable at the same time! Eighteen months later, a quieter more sedate Abby joined our family and Cinnamon adopted her as her baby. This past fall we had to limit Cinnamon’s use of our deck and stairs due to failing eyesight. Being a creature of habit, she, however, decided to sneak away and go up the stairs. She misstepped which resulted in a very long fall for such a small dog. We were surprised and pleased when she recovered as well as she did.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago. We were invited to participate in a powerful leadership conference along with a group from our church. As we began to make plans to attend, Cinnamon’s health deteriorated. The vet exam determined she had an infection, but her heart was strong, and she had a lot of life in her. Again, she seemed to rally. We knew she would need more personal care than a kennel would be able to give if we were to go out of town for the conference; so we prayed “Lord if you want us to go, help make provision for Cinnamon’s special care needs.” If He opened a door, we’d go; if not we would go another time.  He opened a door, and we knew she and Abby would receive wonderful care.
Yesterday (Thursday) the conference began and back home, Cinnamon began a battle for every breath. Our sweet friend called about an hour before it began telling us Cinnamon had taken a turn for the worse during the night. She compassionately took care of Cinnamon for us for the next three hours. Sadly, we have to say goodbye to our long-time companion.  We find peace from knowing our friends were lovingly caring for her. Even so, I wonder about the timing and wish we had been there for Cinnamon; not that it would have changed the outcome. In fact, God in His wisdom may very well have orchestrated the timing. Perhaps it was to help ease the blow of the loss a beloved pet or to teach us to be gracious and accept the help of others to carry our burdens. Is it possible it is just life, and it was not part of His plan? I suppose that is possible as well.
Whatever the case, I am reminded that God is faithful, and He is good even when circumstances would challenge that in our human understanding! He redeems our lives and our circumstances when we allow Him to. There will be no more questioning or blame here. If or when regret at not being there tries to creep in, I will rest in Him and not in my understanding. I resolve to trust Him and His timing beyond my understanding and in knowing this, I will find peace as my heart grieves. I will choose to remember that He is faithful and He is my peace and my joy even in the midst of troubling or hard circumstances.  His grace is always sufficient!!

May you also find in Him grace, peace, and joy! Blessings to you this day!

Dry Places

Have you ever found yourself right smack-dab in the middle of a dry place? That place where you feel a bit out of place or out of touch? In a spot where answers evade you to the questions pressing on your mind or heart? Have you ever felt distanced and far from all that seems normal and feels right in your life? I know I have during seasons of my life!

I am willing to bet that is exactly how the Hebrew slaves felt walking in the wilderness after being freed. Likely it is also how Moses felt during and after his experience with God at the burning bush in Exodus 3. Consider for a moment, if you will: seeing that bush on fire yet not consumed; a voice from nowhere calling out for you by name; asking you to stop and remove your shoes because the ground you are standing on is holy; followed by an encounter Most High God. Can you just imagine, not only being called out by name in the desert but being commissioned to return to the town you grew up (where they know you killed a man while defending another) to exact freedom your people enslaved there?

God had heard His people’s cries. After four hundred years of slavery increasing in workload and pressure, this group was suffering more than ever. God commissioned Moses for the job and allowed Aaron as his side-kick. Interestingly, after this encounter when Moses entered Egypt and approached the Pharoah, he approached with the request to be allowed a three-day retreat into the desert to worship and sacrifice to God. Notice Moses initially mentioned nothing about freeing the people or the Promised Land.

If you know the story, you also realize it was a long, arduous process but in the end leads to the release their people. Time after time Moses approached Pharoah each instance Pharoah either answered no or changed his mind. Ten plagues later, Pharoah released them and sent the people away with many riches only to chase after the Hebrews and be swallowed up by the Red Sea.

Two Choices in the Wilderness

It only took a short time in the wilderness for the people to begin complaining and grumbling about their circumstances. God purpose was to get His people to the promised land via the desert. There was a shorter way, but it would lead them to the land of the Philistines, and they were not yet prepared to face this enemy. Here the people had two choices: trust, obey and worship the God of their fathers that had freed them from oppression; or we can grumble and complain. As we observed, they choose the latter.

When faced with a dry place, desert experiences or simply times that God seems quiet in our lives we have a choice of how we respond. Will we choose to turn inward and if we do will we focus more on ourselves or seek to change and grow? Will we grumble and complain fighting against whatever God may be trying to bring forth in our life? Will we choose to press into the things of God and accept that He has a purpose or plan for the things we encounter? Will we continue in faith to trust His heart and His goodness? Will we worship Him in these times?

Many times we can not control our circumstances, but we can control our response. Our response can mean the difference between a more direct route and a long winding journey. The Hebrew response resulted in a forty-year journey; ours does not have to! Our response to our circumstances can make all the difference!

 

Welcoming 2016!

The last day of 2015 has been an interesting and challenging day. I’ve had the opportunity to be in God’s Word several times. Challenged by Proverbs 31 and Philemon as I drove to lunch and my husband read his portion for today. Both were inspiring and Proverbs 31 is always challenging.

Next, I had the opportunity to watch the first lesson of Beth Moore’s Inheritance Bible Study; a great reminder of who we are in Christ and that In Him we are sons (daughters) of God and co-heirs with Christ. Also, that as co-heirs we share equally with Jesus in His inheritance of the first born Son and not just the leftovers! In fact, she challenged us to allow our life to be a “wild ride”followed up by:  “it can’t be a wild ride if you are in the drivers seat”. ( A challenge to let go of control issues and allow God to be in the drivers seat of our life.)

Next came our New Year’s Eve service with great music and another challenging message to ponder from Daniel. Challenging us to begin this year with fasting and prayer like Daniel did during his three year training period under the King of Babylon. Because of his faith and commitment to keep to the tenants of his beliefs and to the dietary guidelines, Daniel and his friends rose in favor with the king. When all the ‘wisemen’ could not interpret the kings dream, Daniel asked for a reprieve from their death sentence; he prayed and that night received both the dream and the interpretation from God. Because of this lives were saved!

Finally, I was able to have a quiet celebration at home with my beloved. As I ponder the events of the day and getting ready to say goodnight, my mind is still whirling! Today we begin a new year full of possibilities and opportunities. We don’t know what it will bring, but as for me, I plan to hand the wheel over to my Heavenly Father, my Savior and the Holy Spirit. Enough of trying to control things that are out of my hands, none of my business and outside my expertise. Does that mean I am going to be passive? Absolutely not! But let’s look at some scripture…

Romans 8:5-8 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what He is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.           9-11 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of Him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome Him, in whom He dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, He’ll do the same thing in you that He did in Jesus, bringing you alive to Himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and He does, as surely as He did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With His Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!                                                                                                                       12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!                                                                                              15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”  God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with Him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with Him!  -Message Translation (emphasis mine)

Wow, this gets my heart pumping! My prayer for 2016 is to let go of the past, forgive others and myself and start fresh with a clean slate. I pray I’ll have the courage and strength to depend less on myself and my own understanding but go deeper in my trust that God has a better plan for me and it is a good plan. Lord, help me take my hands off the stirring wheel of my life and let you take me on the ride of my life; trusting you every step of the way!

Like most people, I pray that a better year is here and that the struggles of the last few years do not follow us into this new one; acknowledging that our God can do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond anything we can ask or imagine according to His power that is at work in us! Because of this promise, no matter what this year holds, we can find our way through as long as we seek Him and trust Him to work things out with our cooperation. My prayer is that no matter what this year holds, in the end we can declare boldly that this was my best year ever! May His Grace and Peace surround us and the Fruit of the Spirit be abundant in each of our lives as we seek to trust God completely each step of this year! In the mighty and powerful name of Jesus Christ, Amen!!

Happy New Year!!

 

To Soar Like An Eagle

For some reason this morning, a treasured memory has flooded my mind and heart. Last April on the 23rd., Kevin and I were blessed to spend several hours with some great friends just before they returned to minister in Europe and in Israel. Our first stop was a quaint coffee shop with a great view of the Chattahoochee River. We purchased our coffee and made our way outside to enjoy the beautiful scenery from the bank of the river. As we chatted and caught up a bit on each other’s lives, something grabbed all our attention. Right in front of our eyes, up in a perfectly blue sky, soaring over the river right in front of us were five beautiful bald eagles circling around in front of us. After circling a few times they began to fly away. Kevin and I have been to this very spot a number of times, never have we seen even one eagle and this day there were five! It was an amazing sight to behold, sitting in quietness with special friends who we don’t get to see near enough, listening to the rushing of the waters and seeing that majestic sight. What a great way to start off our visit; what a great memory!

Eagles are Beautiful and interesting creatures. Here are just a few facts about them…

  • Eagles are powerful birds of prey.
  • They have hooked beaks and powerful talons to hunt prey.
  • There are over 60 species.
  • They build their nests on high cliffs or in tall trees. Bald eagle nests can weigh as much as a ton.
  • Some eagles hunt animals as large as a young deer.

Credit to:  Science kids.co.nz

  • They have very sharp eye sight, perhaps among the best of all other species.
  • Bald eagles are known for spectacular aerial shows.
  • Considered symbols of power, transcendence, and freedom.

Credit to: Onekind.org

  • Mate for life; Once pared together, bald eagles remain together until one of them dies. Life span-20-30 years
  • Most are approximately 3 feet long with wings spans of 6-7 feet and weigh 10 to 14 pounds.

Credit to:  defenders.org

Eagles are mentioned in scripture between 31 to 34 times depending on which translation you may be reading. Some scriptures compare God to a mighty eagle, others may refer to His enemy as an eagle. Perhaps one of the most quoted verses about eagles is Isaiah 41:30-31 “Youths may faint and grow weary,and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.”

What a beautiful picture that paints for us! It is truly a beautiful sight to watch an eagle soar up high, whether it is one or five! Just think…His Word tells us that we can soar on wings like eagles when we trust in Him; when we wait upon Him. He promises to renew our strength, that we will soar; run and not grow weary; walk and not faint… What a promise! We exchange our worry and doubt for trusting God and the benefits are beyond most of our expectations! We can be refreshed, renewed, and we can soar above our circumstances just by trusting God with our lives and our circumstances.

This is my hope and prayer for us for 2015: to trust God more; make Isaiah 40:31 more of a reality in our lives; to dig deeper and go deeper with God; to leave our cares with Him and trust Him to even turn the tough things in life into something beautiful and that He will cause us to be able to soar!  Don’ s words from that afternoon, as best I remember were… “May you soar above any turbulent waters and may you be found standing on a rock in the middle of the river holding a cup to catch the blessings when the blessings are flowing all around.” What a blessing to speak over your friends, and may it be so for each of us as we enter this brand new year! May God take us to a place of deeper relationship and deeper trust.  May we both give and receive mercy and may we be overwhelmed by His grace and peace.

Days of Grace-Day 32

Our stop along the grace walk today will give some glimpses into God’s love and His kindness toward us following up on our look at Psalm 139. In Ephesians 2:10, we are told “For we are His workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.”(Ephesians 2:10 NET)  This goes right along with the psalm. We each have been specially designed by the Creator of the universe on purpose and for a purpose. It is no coincidence when, where, how and why we come into the world, yet because we have freedom of choice, we may or may not fulfill our originally intended destiny.  The Message puts it this way…

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose His temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, He embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on His own, with no help from us! Then He picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. Now God has us where He wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. (Ephesians 2:1-10 MSG)

What a great message. In Ephesians 1 we were told in verse three that we were blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. We have seen that we have been designed masterfully for a purpose and that God has gone to great lengths to do all that is necessary for us to have right standing with Him. Our job is to trust Him. One of the best gift’s we can give ourselves is to get to know this God we believe in. How? Studying His character throughout the Word, looking at how He interacts with His people. Looking at His character by how He interacts with the patriarchs, Israelites and people in the New Testament can be very eye-opening! Throughout history, God has used ordinary, normal, common, and flawed people to accomplish extraordinary feats. Timid Gideon becomes a mighty warrior. Young David becomes a giant killer, then a mighty warrior and King. Orphan Hadassah becomes the courageous Queen Esther and sabotages evil Haman’s plot. Rejected, Joseph enters as a slave into Egypt and in time becomes second in command and is able to take in the brothers who rejected him during the famine in their homeland. Moses who fled to the desert, goes back to Egypt 40 years later to lead around two million of his people to freedom. The list could go on. When we take a deeper look at the stories, we see they were all flawed people who messed up at times just as we do. Many of them questioned God, asked for signs; some lied. God knows better than anyone that we’re human and we fail. In fact that is why He made provision through Jesus. If we look carefully, we will see God is not just a just God waiting to dole out punishment; but we will see He is holy, extraordinarily patient, kind, merciful, forgiving, impartial, generous, compassionate and so much more. Psalm 113:13-15 says:

Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.  For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.”

God knows our weaknesses, strengths, and our humanity. Nothing about us is a surprise and not only that; no circumstance we ever find ourselves a part of takes Him by surprise. He has an answer for every question and a solution for every problem. Because He loves us immensely, He wants us to trust Him, seek Him, surrender our lives in exchange for the best life we could imagine. He has done all the work for us; now, He asks for our trust. Our problem is we shy away from trusting someone we do know.  We have to choose to get to know Him through His Word and then for some of us, one baby step at a time. For others, one giant leap of faith. Either way, it is worth more than we can ever imagine!

 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]– To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it). (Ephesians 3:20, 21 AMP)

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 ).

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Categories: Perspective

Struggles…

This morning as I begin my day, I looked to see what my s.o.a.p chapter for the day would be. (Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer).  It would be Deuteronomy 34, the last chapter and one of my favorite stories of the Old Testament. Next, I opened You Version, an electronic app for Bible. Up on the screen popped their verse of the day. My thought was alright I will read this real quick and move on to my s.o.a.p, reading. I was stunned by what I read next:

Proverbs 3:7,8 Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.

Don’t assume that you know it all! Run to God! Run from evil!  Your body will glow with health, your very

bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own;

give Him the first and the best.

I am just going to be completely transparent as I begin. I have been wrestling with somethings for a while. this last week it intensified and it has consumed larger chunks of my days. After trying to reason things out and get answers mostly on my own, I finally wised up and sought council with the Only One that could actually give me both insight and wisdom on the matter. I can’t say that my prayers got a quick and fix all answer, but gently and lovingly over the last few days God has been guiding me in His Word and leading me to answers. I will share a bit of that today in hope that it might help someone else who is struggling…

To get back on track, I was stunned by this verse because first of all in the struggles I had been pondering two or three directly affected me (one was health related) and the rest affected some of my loved ones and this verse quickly and concisely addressed what I had been doing…trying to figure out things on my own. Oh yes, I had prayed about them on the surface but until Wednesday, I had not truly prayed over them asking and seeking real answers and furthermore never left them at the feet of Jesus. Instead, even though I should know better, I would pick them right back up in a few minutes or a few hours. Now I have to admit I had a mixed response at first: “Oh wow, this verse popped up just for me”; then, “no, they have a verse everyday, it is a coincidence it speaks to me on these specific issues in my life”; lastly, ” no, not a coincidence, it is too personal to what is going on in my life,  it addresses both my trying to figure things out, seeking God out instead of reasoning  that these both lead to health which in my case is suffering a little right now.” Yes, I was reasoning and over-thinking again already! As I told myself, stop; I felt a nudge to go and read the full chapter. Amazing… would you believe it was just what I needed to hear?

Do I have all the answers to the questions that I have been struggling with? No, some are more clear and others, not so clear.  There was not instantaneous answer to everything, but there was aclear-cut mandate: God has this, “don’t loose a grip on Love and Loyalty”, trust Him from the bottom of your heart and DO NOT try to figure this out on your own, seek Him!! Listen for His voice in everything you do and where ever you go. These will bring health and a viberant life. Seek wisdom and insight for these are the tree of life to those who embrace them, holding onto them bring blessing! Clear thinking and common sense are where we need to live; worry, wondering, speculating on what may or may not be are not helpful and do not add but detract from our lives.

My take away today is to recommit myself to these principles, quit trying to figure out things on my own and seek God for wisdom and for understanding on these things, lay them down and trust in Him to bring the right answers, direction and guidance. When we wait on God and His timing, He will answer.  I fully believe that God was able to speak to David through Nathan; Balaam through his donkey; to the people of Israel through the prophets; and to us today  by any means He chooses. After all, the Word of God says He is the same yesterday, today and forever!! Our job is to trust, believe, hope in Him; read His Word; seek Him and His guidance; and listen and act on what He says as long as it agrees with His Word.

As for Deuteronomy 34, I made it there but that is a story for another time!  Be Blessed!!