Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Slow To Speak"

You know we are all quick to think that when a person is dealing with pain whether it be physical or emotional, that they somehow deserve it.  We read in Job that his friends treated him the same way. Can we say they jumped the gun? They assumed Job deserved the pain and loss he was experiencing. There was a point where Job was wallowing in self-pity ( as we sometimes do). His friend's were judging him unfairly based on what he was going through at the time (Job 6:14-"A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty"). Job began to recognize as only a person in pain can do, that simple answers not only fail to relieve pain, they can literally drive a person further from God. If we are not careful, we can find ourselves doing the same thing to people we might not agree with. Is this a good enough reason to treat them unfairly? I think not!  Could we possibly be driving a deeper wedge between them and God? How will anyone experience the True Love of Jesus if we are not showing it? They won't! I believe if we were to be honest with ourselves. We could say we've all done it.  Let me turn your attention to the other side of things for moment. The truth of the matter is, Job's trial was not the pain or loss; it was not being able to understand why God allowed him to suffer at no fault of his. There is a danger if we stay focused on life's injustices and say look what happened to me; how unfair it is!  We may eventually turn to blaming God if we are not careful. We need to remember that life's trials, whether allowed by God or sent by God can be the means for a closer relationship with Him. When facing trials, try asking "What can I learn and how can I grow" rather than "Who did this to me and how can I get out of it"? You see we all become impatient with our sufferings ( I know I do) just like Job did. But, I have good news, Job was eventually restored, as you will be. He finally learned that when nothing else was left, he had God, and that was enough. Through suffering, we learn that God is enough for us in our lives. We must love Him regardless of the blessings or suffering that come to us. Although we may not be able to fully understand the pain we are experiencing at the time, it can truly lead us to rediscovering God! We should show love and compassion by getting on our knees and praying instead of shaking our fist and pointing fingers at those we might not agree with. Not one time in the Word when dealing with those who did not know Him did Jesus react in this manner. He always responded in love! Just as His Father in Heaven instructed Him too (1 Corinthians 13:4-13- "Love is patient and is kind; love doesn't envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, 5 doesn't behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; 6 doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; 10 but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love"). By the way, we as Christ-Followers (Philippians 4:9-"Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you") are also called to love one another regardless of circumstance. So I leave you with one final thought: The next time we find ourselves focusing on someone else's issues, maybe we should be quick to recall issues we've faced in our own lives. We may resign to the realization that everyone goes through difficulties and that God will see us through it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"The Master's Art"

I think we can all say life is brief and full of trouble. Sickness, loneliness, disappointment and death can cause us all to think life is not fair. Truth be known, life isn't fair most of the time. I have experienced this in my own life dealing with a physical disability. As I'm sure all of you have too. But, I also know, that lots of times God uses trials for our own spiritual growth. You know, He wants us to totally rely on Him. It's during these trials that we have the opportunity to become closer to knowing the true face of God and how much He really loves us. We can also be given direction for our lives at this time. God's character goes into the creation of every person. When we start feeling worthless or even begin to hate ourselves, we need to remember that God's Spirit is ready and willing to work within us. There are times when we feel so beaten down that we have nothing left to give. Let me bring something to light for you. Before a sculptor begins chiseling out his foreseen masterpiece it is just an ordinary piece of clay.  However, it doesn't stay that way. The sculptor begins by taking off the rough edges, then proceeds to mold the clay into art unrecognizable to when he first began. You see much like a sculptor God does something similar to us when we choose to follow Him. He wants us to be more like Him. And the only way for this transformation to take place is if we choose to allow Him to work in us. We all have trouble seeing us the way God does. If we are not careful, this kind of thinking could allow the devil to rent space in our heads. And that's not good! Our Father God created us (Psalm 139:13-16-(13) "For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. (14) I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (15) My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.(16) Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them")  the way He wants us. So I leave you with one thought; don't let anyone or anything hinder the work God is trying to do in you. Because He does KNOW what's best for you! He knew you before you knew yourself! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"Struggling with Feelings"

Bear with me while I share a momentary feeling, here goes:

Words To God
I'm tired of sitting here in these four walls,
the anger inside me brings out the claws,
Mentally I feel like I'm going insane,
I wake up each morning with my brain feeling drained,
I know Holy Spirit you are here,
the Word says you are near,
You always turn me in the right direction,
and when I'm not I receive your correction,
At times I feel so lonely,
But I know You are changing me slowly,
I'm looking for the light at the end of the tunnel,
at the same time dealing with all my struggles,
I'm clear to what you say,
In the Word You will always stay.

I wrote this poem about a week ago. I was feeling lots of physical pain and somewhat depressed. So, I took out a piece of paper and jotted down the words that I was feeling. The reason I'm going into so much detail in sharing my inner thoughts with all of you is because we all struggle with different types of feelings. Some good, some not so good. But the point is we all struggle.  Did you know a feeling is a mood?  We can't always go based on our feelings at the time. Feelings are temporary! I could feel one way one minute and another way the next. Have you struggled with the feeling "Am I good enough?" I think it safe to say, we all have. Some more than others. I believe I'm in the "more" category. Let's think about this. Is it really that I'm not "good enough" or should we ask ourselves "Do I have what it takes?" Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7- "For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  We live in a world that is constantly telling us we can never measure up. But I know different. We need not be afraid to open up to our Father in Heaven. Remember, he created us and knows us better than we know ourselves (Psalms 139:13-16- "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." (14)"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."(15)"My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,(16) your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.")  Because we are followers of Jesus, we have a direct communication with our Father God. When we feel we are drowning in troubles, we can ask God to help us, hold us steady, and protect us.
So, I leave you with one thought: Is it going to be worth it all? I think so based on James 1:12-"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him."