Month: February 2018
So many people are finding themselves adjusting to new situations. Those situations, if I were to label them are endless… (Meaning, some of you are adjusting to having a loved one going into prison or coming out of prison. Adjusting to being a single parent, financial issues, new job or job loss, addiction, health issues, a new child in the home or possibly the loss of a child. A new relationship or coming to terms with a failed relationship. Losing your home or moving to a new area. A new friendship or the loss of a great friendship. Etc.) Regardless what situation you are in, that adjustment period can feel daunting or unbearable. For every struggle, there is a purpose behind it. The Bible reminds us in John 16:33 that we will encounter situations that cause pain or suffering. So many of us get wrapped up in daily life that we are caught off guard when something suddenly changes in our normal routines. We find we were unprepared for what was up ahead…
1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” ( This in simple terms means don’t be surprised by the struggle you find yourself in as the struggle is meant to test you.) If we are being truthful with ourselves, then we must admit we do tend to be surprised. Some of us encounter a situation that throws us off emotionally and even physically. Meaning we react with panic and anxiety which has us disabled by fear of the unknown. (We don’t know what to expect but we fear the unexpected.)
The experience is so difficult that no matter what we do, we can’t find relief or resolution. Our eyes become fixated on what’s right in front of us, instead of on things above as the Lord tells us to. This causes us to be consumed by the unpleasant feelings associated with the struggle itself… We fail to remember that every struggle we encounter passed through the hands of God first. This means he either sent the struggle or allowed it. Remember, 1 Peter 4:12 ? (It’s a test.)
Some of you may assume that the Lord abandoned you during the moment you needed him most. That couldn’t be further from the truth. When we are consumed by something that affected us emotionally it is because our heart was invested somehow in that struggle. It could be that the struggle we are dealing with is attached to someone we love. Someone we invested time and feelings into. The struggle can hold such a tight grip on our hearts that we actually take it on as an emotional stronghold. (An emotional stronghold is something that consumes your every thought…) This stronghold is meant to take our eyes off the Lord and onto ourselves. This leads us to think the Lord left our side but the truth is we allowed our struggle to take us away from Him. This means our focus shifted from being on the Lord to being on the situation at hand.
How many of us remember during a crisis to pray for ourselves? (We can remember to pray for others during their struggles but when it comes to us we react first then pray. That’s the wrong order.) Did you know that when we are faced with a crisis that is an open invitation to pray? When we don’t pray for ourselves it only proves our trust is stronger in ourselves at the moment than in the one who can deliver us from the situation we are faced with… Should you forget like many of us do, Hebrews 7:25 reminds us that when we are not praying for ourselves, Jesus is.
Sometimes our situations can feel like a raging storm on an open sea. We are tossed and thrown all over the place and keep trying to come up for air; but exhaustion and fear is causing us to drown… Isaiah 43:2 reminds us when we pass through waters the Lord is with us. If you are expecting the Lord to calm your storm, you must first ask yourself… did this storm produce greater faith and trust in the Lord? If it didn’t, then your testing of faith will only continue. Instead of asking the Lord to calm your storm ask him to calm his child during the storms..
My friends, every struggle is intended to test our faith. It is needed so the Lord can develop our trust in him further. He is leading us to higher places but without strengthening us first; we won’t possibly be able to stand once we get there. This means if we can’t handle hurt feelings, mistreatment, rejection or turbulent conditions in our comfort zone; how on earth will we handle them outside of our comfort zone when we end up at the place he is taking us too? Your struggles were not meant to be met with resistance but rather with acceptance and trust in the one who will see you through them. Remind yourself that if the Lord is allowing the struggle he also will see you through it… Now believe it… Hebrews 12:2 Hebrews 11:6.
Blessings to each of you,
We all come into this world with nothing, but we all leave something behind. (Some of us more so than others.)
Society measures success by chasing the the dollar, owning property, how many buildings are built with your name on it, and who you know… Money represents power. The more money you hold the greater the power and influence you hold over others. It is expected that you leave a huge inheritance to the next family member in line, so they will continue on with what you started. (To tell you the truth, society won’t remember me when I’m gone. I just don’t measure up to those standards.)
The Lord measures success quite differently. He’s not interested in the most qualified, he is interested in the most committed. He’s not looking for perfect people, he is looking for imperfect people he can work perfectly through. He’s not calling people to fail, but rather qualifying them to succeed. He’s not looking for the physically strong but rather the spiritually mature. He’s not looking for the most educated person but rather looking for the person who will edify the most. He’s not looking for the selfish but rather the selfless. He’s looking for those who will surrender all of them over to all of him. No holding back, no reservations. He seeks the imperfect to be fully committed to the perfecter.
There’s nothing wrong with holding money and power. The way you use them both should be for God’s glory not your own. There’s nothing wrong with owning land. What you do on that land needs to reflect or mirror the Lord not yourself. This life is is not our own, we are simply here for a time but our time holds purpose. There are many people who think they will leave nothing behind because they don’t have money, land or many material items . Everyone of us leave something behind and it is is called “character”. To those who held a good character people will remember them in wonderful ways; but those who’s character was less than worth mentioning, will leave pain and hurt in the thoughts and hearts of those they leave behind. Some will continue in the footsteps you began and others would never consider walking on the road you traveled…
Questions to ponder on over the weekend: #1 Did my character mirror the Lord or the world? #2 Will I be remembered as kind, gentle, loving and hospitable; or as hot tempered, throwing tantrums and being critical of those around me? #3 The road I traveled, would I want my family to follow in my footsteps? #4 Have I made right on all my wrongs or am I waiting to do that after those who hurt me, make right with me first?
None of us know how long we have left. Anything can happen at any moment… If this were my last moment, I would want my character to be one that brought smiles, left truth and hope to those who I leave behind…
Blessings to each of you,