Archive | March 2016

The waiting game

Psalm 27:14 – “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”

Who likes to wait? Who wants to sit around wondering what will happen? Isn’t that the reason we sneak a peak at the end of the book? Isn’t that when most people find trouble – while they are waiting?

We are a “I want it and I want it NOW” kind of people. We despise waiting. But it seems like our life is full of waiting – doctor’s offices, grocery store, traffic – you name it, and I have probably waited for it. 

Waiting can be a tricky thing. There are times that require us to wait and see what happens. There are other times when we think we know what’s going to happen, but we still have to wait. 

Waiting can teach us or waiting can harm us. It can teach us patience and trust. But when we ignore these lessons, we often find ourself in anxiety and trouble. 

Some people approach waiting with worry. They feel they have no control and therefore they become fearful and anxious. They dwell on what cannot be controlled and become concerned that horrible things are going to happen. 

But the other side of the coin is to trust and be patient. That is the hard part. While waiting, one can learn to turn it all over in prayer. Every last detail can be laid at the cross for Jesus to handle. That too is tough. We like to think that we need to carry just a little bit. We think that it is necessary to hold on to something just in case. This shows mistrust. This is an indicator that the trust factor isn’t fully there. 

Oh, it sounds easy – “Just pray about it and let God deal with it. He’s got it all under control.” And yes, that’s absolutely true. And that’s what our heart is telling us but our minds are spinning and churning out scenarios that can bring us into a stew. 

So, how do you make the two things work together- mind and heart? I have no idea. Let me know if you figure that one out. I think we all face this challenge of waiting, worrying and trusting. It’s tough. 

“Hurry up and wait!” That’s seems to be a common theme some days in my life. But you know what, there is a reason that I need that lesson. I’m waiting on a much bigger event than getting my teeth cleaned – I’m waiting on the return of my Savior. 

And as I wait on Him, I’m learning to trust Him in the little things. I’m  trying to learn that I don’t have to know all the answers right this second. I’m trying to learn that it’s okay to have uncertainty in some things (just not eternity). I’m trying to learn that there is a reason that I’m waiting. 

You will probably find yourself waiting sometime today, I can pretty much guarantee it. So what are you going to do while you wait? Will you sit there and wiggle and squirm and wonder and stress out? Or will you calm down a bit, pray and count your blessings? Maybe it will be a bit of both scenes, that’s probably my answer. I’m trying to learn more of an holy way to approach things, but it is a process. It takes time – more waiting. šŸ˜‰

Lest thou forget

Deuteronomy 4:9 – “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons”

If you are wondering where I have been and why I haven’t been posting, my family and I went to Washington DC for spring break. We had a great time, good laughs and really tired feet! I’m sure we walked an average of 8-10 miles per day. Lots to see and do in that great city. 

But our main focus, as is most who visit DC, was history. We went to several museums, monuments and buildings. We saw plaques proclaiming everything from George Washington’s gavel to lay the cornerstone for the Capitol to a box car used to carry people to concentration camps. It was all very moving. 

It called to rememberance great highs in our nations history and deep valleys in our world’s history. We were reminded of triumphs and challenges. We saw beautiful specticals of natural and great works of human hands. 

Just like so many of the others who walked beside us, we took our children to educate them. We want them to know and understand who we are as a nation, where we came from and why it is so important to preserve what our forefathers achieved. 

So many outside forces are working against our great nation. People want to tear down and destroy freedom and the pursuit of happiness. They think that the pursuit should be more of a handout. Some want to surpress freedom to keep from offending others. 

The founders of our country wanted nothing more than to live their lives apart from someone else’s control. They believed that only One should have control – God. They believed He founded and blessed this nation. I believe that as well. I believe that we must remember our past and honor our future by preserving and adhering to the principles set forth all those years ago. 

History is not just something to skim over and get through in school. It is the basis for everything that we do each and every day. And not only is our nation’s history important, but so is our spiritual history. His story is important. The founders of our country knew it and we would do well to take it to heart as well. 

Children and wrath

Ephesians 6:4 – “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

I know that everyone who reads this doesn’t necessarily have children. But we all have children in our life. And the same principles apply to them and to the adults in our life as well. It’s about living in peace. 

Yesterday as we were driving home from soccer practice, my son was concerned over a text he received from a friend, who happens to be a girl. She was having symptoms of a panic attack stemming from an argument that she had with her mother. 

When I heard this, it truly burdened my heart. It made me sad. What is going on in our homes? 

I am not naive enough to think that people are living peaceably with teens and preteens all the time.  I know that hormones and society and many other factors are and can be given the opportunity to wreak havoc on our children. But how do we follow the commands of the Lord and not provoke our children to wrath in this delicate time? How do we keep our teens following after Him instead of following after the world?

I don’t know. (I hate saying those words!)

I’m not the perfect parent by any stretch of the means. I just TRY to follow the commands of The Word and do the best I can with what God has given me. 

Before my children were born, I found a poem at an art show. I had to buy it because it exemplified exactly how I wanted to bring my children up in this world. It is titled “Children live what they learn”. It has made me think, over the years, about what and how I am teaching my children. 

  
So how do we live peaceably with those around us? One of my main attempts is through respect. I want to respect my children. I want to respect my husband. I want to respect my family, my church, my government, my work, my patients, the person at the grocery store who is tying up the cashier, the crazy person who cut me off in traffic, and I could go on and on! When people feel they are respected, their attitude, and mine, take on a whole new demeanor. 

So let me encourage you, whether you have children or not, to be respectful and do not promote others to wrath. Yep, it’s hard sometimes because people make us so mad, but how would Jesus handle the situation? Jesus dealt with teenagers too. You know there had to be some in His following. I’m sure they spoke with Him as well. We have no record of it but how could He not have interacted with them? But one thing Jesus did do, He respected everyone – from the highest official to the lowest beggar. And we should do the same. 

Praising my safety

Psalm 119:114-117 – “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God. Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.”

Yesterday, I did a lot of driving. It was one of those days. As I’m driving around, I saw the evidence of 3 accidents. Nothing major, mostly fender benders, but one did cause the airbags to go off. 

But it made me grateful. I was praising God. All the driving I do on any given day and He protects me. I KNOW that it has nothing to do with my skill. I know that only by the grace of God go I. 

I think we all have times in our life when we are sailing smooth. It’s almost like we are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. But if we take a closer look, we realize that things really aren’t that smooth, we are just choosing to trust God for all of it and praising Him for what He provides. For example, yes, I had the tremendous blessing of safety yesterday. BUT I get home and find that my crockpot refused to cook my dinner! Plan B – cook tomorrow night’s dinner. Ok, that problem is solved. Then I go to make lunch for today and the chicken is just finishing when the grill runs out of propane. Really??!! Well, praise God I had another dinner to cook and the chicken finished cooking before the propane ran out. See, not so smooth. 

David was usually into something. He was as crazy busy as I am. It seems he was always being pursued by someone about something (sound familiar?). But he chose, as his safety, the God of Heaven in whom is the Rock of Salvation. He chose to follow the commands of God and take the good with the bad. 

Emulating all aspects of David’s life may not be the best idea, but one thing that I know I need to do is take on his desire to follow and please God more and more every day. David owned his choices and his consequences all the while praising God for His mercy. 

Safety is well and good. But I need more of the trust and praising aspect in my life. I challenge you, and myself, to praise God today for whatever He brings your way. Pray for protection. Pray for acceptance of what you cannot control. Pray for leadership through it all. But remember to praise Him for every little thing, no matter how small you think it might be. An attitude of praise is exactly what we need. 

Challenging

Acts 1:8 – “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Last night, we went to hear a powerful speaker – Nick Vujicic. The guy was amazing! He held nothing back and really stepped on some toes, so to speak. He doesn’t have arms or legs. If you ever have the opportunity to hear him speak, please, take the time and make the effort. God WILL bless your heart. 

I know this because my heart was blessed last night. You see, Nick has every excuse in the book to be mad at God. Just think about life with no arms OR legs. The physical challenges alone seem overwhelming – and I’m an occupational therapist, for land’s sake! I’m trained to help people like him! 

Yet, Nick sought a reason for his condition. And he found it – in Christ. Now his life has meaning and purpose. He has turned everything over to God and God is making waves in his life that are all consuming. It is beautiful. 

It is Nick’s goal to have every person on the planet hear the Good News. He wants them to make a choice – yes or no to God. Not to Nick, but to God. You see, he knows that this life is not about his suffering and challenges, but rather it is about the love and forgiveness of the Almighty God. 

After we returned home and we’re discussing the night before bed, my husband said that the whole thing helped him to put things into perspective. Nick is out there looking to share the Gospel with the world. 

Does your commission seem insignificant compared to that? Shouldn’t we all be striving to reach the world? Yes. But at the same time, God has given us all a job to do. We aren’t supposed to compare our instructions. We are supposed to follow them, no matter how big or small. 

God has given us all something important to do. We are to reach those around us. We are to share His Word with others both in action and in word. Don’t see yourself as not important or insignificant. God’s plan for you is just as big as the next person’s plan – at least in His eyes, and His eyes are the only one’s that matter. 

So this week, be inspired. Be challenged and choose to be loved. God is ready to turn your world upside down. Are you?

Asking for the right thingĀ 

1 Kings 3:8-10 – “And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.”

These are the verses where Solomon asks for wisdom. And in doing so, he gets so much more. 

Have you ever been plugging away through your day and BAM! Brick wall out of nowhere! You get some news and all the plans that you had made are suddenly on the ground in shambles and your not sure how to pick them up and make sense of them. 

So you do the only thing you know to do – you pray. But what do you pray for? Do you pray for God to fix the situation or do you ask for Him to help you know what to do? Yes – on both accounts. 

I know that God is perfectly capable of making my problems disappear. I know that He can miraculously change minds and create situations that work things out. I’ve seen Him do that. 

But I also know that He is able to give me the understanding to figure things out in His will. I know that this path may take longer and require more prayer and more patience and more work, but this is often the path that changes my life and causes me to learn. It is the time when I am pruned and prepared for the next chapter of my life. It is never easy or fun but necessary and God-glorifying. 

What I wanted you to see in these verses is that Solomon did not ask for God to fix all the problems he was facing and would be facing. He didn’t ask God to slay all his enemies that he had or would have. He didn’t ask for a life of luxury and ease. He asked for “an understanding heart” to “discern between good and bad”. 

We don’t always need God to fix all our problems, but we do need God to give us the know-how to solve the problems we do have and will have. Sometimes we do need to God to make it all go away. But more often than not, we need God to give us wisdom and understanding to get through whatever problem we face. 

So, when that brick wall comes out of nowhere and you find yourself with a whole lot of yuck, remember Who you have on your side and what He is capable of – wisdom and understanding. For with these comes peace of heart and joy in knowing that you are following after Him. 

Keep on truckin’

2 Peter 2:5 – “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly”

Let’s talk about Noah for a bit. 

Noah was 500 years old when he began building the ark and preaching repentance. He was 600 years old when God told him to get on the ark with all the animals. For 100 years Noah preached and explained things to the people. I mean, it’s not like he could hide building a boat of that size nowhere near the water! One hundred years of preaching and pleading and instructing and only 8 people got on the boat. Eight. 

Can you imagine?! Can you wrap your brain around working that hard for that long only to have 8 people believe as you do? 

We get frustrated when the one person at work that we invite to church doesn’t show up when they say they will. We get upset that people are falling away from church services to do other things. We don’t understand how people can drive by our place of worship and see all those cars around the place and not want to stop in and be a part of what we are doing. 

We need to be faithful. We shouldn’t let the poor choices of others dictate our faith. Just because others are making bad choices doesn’t mean that God is any less powerful. It doesn’t mean that He cares for us or them any less. 

It means that we are not robots that He controls. We have a choice and the free will to make that choice. He wants us to serve and worship Him because we want to, not because we have to. 

That’s why just like the people of Noah’s time had a choice, we have a choice. We can let the world drag us down and rain on our parade or we can chose to dance in the rain. We must keep going. 

Noah could have given up. He could have thrown up his hands at year 50 and said, “That’s it! These people won’t listen and I look like a fool!” But he didn’t. He kept on following God and doing exactly what He said to do in spite of how crazy and weird he looked. 

What about you? Are you ready to give up? Are things going south in a hurry and you are holding on for dear life? Well, keep on holding. It may seem that your world is falling apart, but it’s actually falling together. (I heard that in a song the other day.)

I’m not saying anything you don’t already know – but life is tough. Things aren’t fair. People will let you down. 

But life is good when you are following Christ. When He is the reason you wake up in the morning and He is the reason that you keep going – well, life can’t get much better than that, can it? 

Let me encourage you today to keep on truckin’! Keep on keeping on. Dance in the rain and keep doing what He leads you to do.