Ending the Year Right

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Understanding “Not my will.”

I’ve pursued so many rabbit trails in my journey that they have brought me a clear understanding of how unproductive I can be.

Under the guise of “making a living,” or “becoming successful,” or simply to “try something new;” I’ve discovered that without asking God for direction and wisdom, I’ve failed miserably.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t bright enough to look at these failures as stepping stones like Thomas Edison did. I allowed each mistake to chip away at my self confidence, self worth and motivation.

Today, armed with my intense study of the Word of God and an intimate relationship with God, I’ve had a paradigm shift in my thinking.

I can now embrace the notion of my being beautifully and wonderfully made. I can allow myself to be imperfect, knowing that it is God Who is perfecting me. I can cease from striving as I’m getting a clearer picture of what Jesus meant when He said to enter into His rest.

The freedom and peace I am experiencing with this submission to God’s will rather than my own, knows no limit. The intensity of emotions that flood my very being are indications of a total reconstruction of my inner self. You see, these emotions are not based on circumstances or people. They are a result of abandoning my preconceived notions, experiences and feelings. These unproductive facets of my being have been replaced by accepting God’s love, grace and mercy.

I do know this well being comes from daily reinforcement. I will always need to pursue well being over complacency. I will always have to think positively even in the face of negativity. Most of all, I will always have to defer to God’s will over my own in order to achieve what I have so desired.

Proverbs 3:5-7 (Amplified), “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn [entirely] away from evil.”

Matthew 11:28 (Living Bible), “Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.”

Despair

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As seasons change, life cycles do too. We move from experience to experience, age to age and valley to mountain emotions.

Everything we touch; physically, emotionally and spiritually have far reaching consequences. Some we notice right away but others can haunt us for years, even decades. It is only through the light of revelation that some well hidden encumbrances can been seen, dealt with and discarded.

The bottom line in any situation be it positive or negative, is the attitude and posture we assume during the healing process, that matters. I’ve heard it said that adversity can either make us bitter or better. That also applies to successes in our lives. That is why the Bible so wisely tells us in Romans 12:3 (AMP), “For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.”

The definition of despair is the complete loss or absence of hope; loss of faith; discouragement and despondency. None of these definitions line up with God’s definition of our existence on this earth. In fact, our hope, our trust and tomorrows belong to Him and have been given us so we can have hope.

So, for those who have a relationship with the Creator of the Universe; when despair rears its ugly head it is time to dive into the Bible and live there until the cloud passes. It is through our intimate time with God that He engulfs us with His love and acceptance. These are the times His presence brings comfort and well being to our inner and outer person.

Never allow yourself to substitute things, people, drugs, food and anger for the pure love and peace of God!

The Power of a Mother’s Promise

“Twenty seven years ago my Mom made a promise that changed our lives forever”, says Stacy W. Now as a mother herself she sees the benefit of that promise unfold in her own life.

On May 30, 1975 Stacy’s sister Carey was born. This completed a trio of girls. A week after Carey’s birth her Mom knew something was terribly wrong. Her left leg suddenly stopped working. As soon as she arrived at the hospital it was diagnosed as blood clots – two hundred of them!

In her hospital bed her Mom had a conversation with God – something that had comforted her battered heart as a child. Life had been harsh during her earlier years. Now she turned to it again. “Oh God, I want to live to see my babies grow up and get married,” she prayed. “Please help me. I will do anything… I’ll… I’ll read the Bible…from cover to cover.” was her promise.

As she recovered she acted on her promise. Starting in Genesis, she plodded through, thinking it could be understood only by men who wore stiff collars. In the book of Acts the question came up, “What must I do to be saved?” The answer was clear, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” She understood that Jesus had taken the punishment for everything she had ever done wrong. She responded to his call. She later told Stacy the truth about Santa Claus and replaced it with the story of Mary and Jesus. “This story is real,” she said.

When Stacy was eight her Mom decided they needed to go to church. They did, but it felt like a foreign culture to them. Her mother had another prayer, “God, if you really want us to go to church, you’re going to have to send one to our back yard. Three weeks later a short Norwegian pastor invited them to a new church starting up in a barber/beauty shop near their house. They went, but tried to stay invisible, but were soon surrounded and embraced by caring people. Mom grew in her faith and Dad and the rest of the family decided to follow Jesus too. Her parent’s lives were drastically changed.

The time came when Stacy decided she wanted some freedom to “live it up a little”. She thought she’d come back after she’d had some time to do things her way. At 17 she indeed did decide to come back. God had protected her in spite of her bad decisions.

When Stacy and her sisters married, their Mom relished in the weddings. God answered her prayer that she would see them wed, and choose mates who loved God. Her joy ballooned with the arrival of grandchildren, and when Mike and Stacy were expecting a baby they flew home to share the news in person.

After some tests, a blood test came back indicating a genetic blood disorder that could cause clotting during pregnancy. Suddenly she was having a “high risk pregnancy”. Her Mom felt guilty: “How could I have passed this on to you?” she thought. But God intervened and prevented Stacy from suffering what her mother had. “Why was I singled out for so great a grace?” was Stacy’s response.

On March 30, 2001 Stacy’s Mom witnessed the birth of Mike and Stacy’s son, Liam. She would also see how Stacy and Mike would tell him about God’s plan for his life.

Stacy’s Mom saw the benefits of her earlier promise unfold before her eyes as her children and grandchildren chose to walk in the ways of the Lord.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 (MSG), “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree.”

 

 

Waiting

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Waiting for the answer to prayers, Ugh! Waiting for anticipated goals to be reached. Double Ugh! Waiting for others to fulfill their promises to us. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Yet, there is a scripture that specifically deals with waiting. In Romans 5:4, we are told, And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.”

The key to waiting is not to just sit there. I remember the saying that a watched pot never boils. Anticipation can debilitate us if we are dormant. That is why, no matter what we are waiting for; it is important to keep moving forward. And, while moving, we need to keep our eye on the prize we are looking towards.

A good example would be of a farmer who plants his crop and then continually digs up the seeds to see at what stage of growth they are. That not only can stunt the growth of his harvest, but more times than not, it kills the seed and he has to replant.

Once we learn to do all we can do to bring about whatever we are waiting for, it is our responsibility to stand. You may ask, “How long do I stand?” My answer is simple, till you don’t have to stand anymore.

Louise Redden, a poorly dressed lady with a look of defeat on her face, walked into a grocery store, deep in prayer as she approached the owner of the store in a most humble manner and asked if he would let her charge a few groceries. She softly explained that her husband was very ill and unable to work, they had seven children and they needed food. John Longhouse, the grocer, scoffed at her and requested that she leave his store.

Visualizing the family needs, she said, “Please, sir! I will bring you the money just as soon as I can.”

John told her he could not give her credit, as she did not have a charge account at his store. Standing beside the counter was a customer who overheard the conversation between the two. The customer walked forward and told the grocer that he would stand good for whatever she needed for her family.

The grocer reluctantly said, “Do you have a grocery list?”

Louise quickly replied, “Yes sir”

“OK,” he said. “Put your grocery list on the scales and whatever your grocery list weighs, I will give you that amount in groceries.”

Louise, hesitated a moment and with a bowed head reached into her purse, took out a piece of paper and scribbled something on it. She then laid the piece of paper on the scale carefully with her head still bowed.

The eyes of the grocer and the generous customer grew large with amazement when the scales went down and stayed down. The grocer, staring at the scales, turned slowly to Louise and said begrudgingly, “I can’t believe it.”

She simply smiled and the grocer started putting the groceries on the other side of the scales. The scale did not balance so he continued to put more and more groceries on them until the scales would hold no more.

The grocer stood there in utter disgust. Finally, he grabbed the piece of paper from the scales and looked at it with greater amazement. It was not a grocery list, it was a prayer which said Dear Lord, I’ve waited on you and now since you know my needs, I am leaving this in your hands.

The grocer gave her the groceries that he had gathered and stood in stunned silence. Louise thanked him and the stranger who had come forward and left the store. The generous customer handed a fifty-dollar bill to the grocer and said, “It was worth every penny of it.”

Daily Confession: Today I will stop worrying about my goals and desires. I will continue to do whatever I can to make my future brighter and will not strive but rather rest in the peace of knowing my future is secure.

Daily Meditation: Psalm 130:5 (Living Bible), “That is why I wait expectantly, trusting God to help, for he has promised.”

 

Healing

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The word denotes the closing of a wound, whether physical or emotional. That definition makes the word very personal because we all have physical scratches, diseases and hurts that need healing and through the means we are used to, they are. We have a plethora of resources for our physical healing which, for those who are “believers,” can and should include God’s promises that undeniably include healing.

The “inner” healing, the healing of our emotional hurts is totally different! These can include deep seated pain that for many has lain dormant and not obvious yet still lingering and therefore affecting us in some way.

I am convinced that in order to experience the freedom, peace and total abandon we were created to have, we cannot ignore things that leave telltale signs in our everyday lives. For instance, I’ve come to understand some of the words I often use have their origin in three events that I had during my early teenage years.

Each layer of who I am that is uncovered and open for my eyes and mind to see and acknowledge, brings me closer to my true destination since at that point I get to choose what I do with that information. I can suffer and allow myself to become victimized, I can face the events and blame others, or I can thank God for waiting for me to be able to handle the knowledge, forgive others or myself, or both,  if that is necessary and allow the healing to take place.

Even when my now healing requires opening some old wounds, the process just seems to make life a little sweeter with each day that passes!

Once there was a free bird. She floated in the sky, catching midges for lunch, swam in the summer rain trickles, and was like many other birds.
But she had a habit: every time some event occurred in her life, whether good or bad, the bird picked up a stone from the ground to remember. Every day she sorted out her stones, laughed remembering joyful events, and cried remembering the sad ones.
The bird always took the stones with her, whether she was flying in the sky or walking on the earth, she never forgot about them. The years passed, and the free bird got a lot of stones, but she still kept sorting them and remembering the past. It was becoming more and more difficult to fly, and one day the bird was unable to do this.
The bird that was once free, could no longer even walk on the earth; she was unable to make a move on her own. She could not catch midges anymore. And, only rare rain gave her the necessary moisture. But the bird bravely endured all the hardships while guarding her precious memories.
After some time the bird died of starvation and thirst. Only a pitiful bunch of worthless stones were left as a reminder of her life.

Daily Confession: Today, I will be still and enjoy the sunshine, the birds and the people around me, knowing this peace can enable me to face whatever comes my way.

Daily Meditation:  Psalm 91:14-16 (MSG), “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!”