“Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
All the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” (Psalm 139:16 The Message Bible)
I love history. I love reading about what life was like centuries ago and wonder what I would have been had I lived in another time and place. I imagine myself on a sailing ship crossing the ocean from my ancestors’ home in Wales to the new country. It’s easy to romanticize another time and place, forgetting the hardship they endured then. God put me here and now for a reason.
Today’s society has its own hardships. There are cures and treatments for diseases that once killed people, but medical care is expensive and without insurance, it is out of reach for too many people. Our food is safer than ever but the grocery shelves are lined with junk foods to temp us and we destroy our bodies by eating the wrong kinds of foods. One hundred years ago more households had live-in help than in-door bathrooms with running water. Today Americans consider bathrooms and proper plumbing a necessity, not the luxury it still is in parts of the world today.
God knew what our lives would be like even before we were born. He knew the generation we would be part of. He knew what would be required of us to live in this age. Our lives were planned by God before we were born and He equipped us for this time. He planned for us to be here, now, for a divine purpose and part of His plan.
Teach me Your way, Father. Let my life fulfill Your purpose. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Peace and blessings.
It seems like that every time you hear the news on television or the radio, or see a newspaper or business magazine, all they talk about is how bad the economy is and how many people are losing their jobs. “We’re in a recession” says one. “We’re in a depression” says another. “We’ve got inflation and prices are going up.” “This company is laying of 100’s of people.” “This company is closing.” It’s no wonder people are so worried and fearful – all they’re being fed is bad news.
All this bad news is making people sick. It’s adding stress upon stress and stress contributes to heart disease, arthritis, migraines, stomach disorders and weight gain just to list a few. Stress over financial problems can contribute to marital problems that lead to divorce. Well, here is the good news for today.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4, NIV)
God is not short on supply and there is no economic crisis in heaven. He uses gold for pavement, remember? God is the source of creativity. He created the heavens and the earth and everything in it. He is wisdom. If you are a child of God, His spirit is in you and will give you the creativity, the wisdom you need for any situation. Not only that, He also promises to meet our material needs if only we will trust Him and put Him first in our lives.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6: 25-34, NIV)
These are the words of Jesus. You are more important to Him than the birds. You are more important to Him than the grass or the flowers. He’s promised to take care of you. When the talking heads on TV start preaching doom and gloom and spreading their bad news, you can replace the thoughts of fear with God’s Word and His promises to provide. Jesus didn’t say He would take care of you “If the economy is good” or “as long as you have a job”. No, the only condition to His promises is that you trust Him and seek Him first.
Psalms 112 describes the person who trusts God and delights in His Word. Verses 7-8 says: “He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear…”
Lord God, today I will serve you first and I put my trust in You. Thank you for promising to provide all my needs. Amen
Peace and blessings
I only have one blood sister who grew up in the same household as I did and I have two sisters by marriage. I have a few sisters who God brought into my life at a time when I needed them most and bonded our hearts together in the love of the Lord. I have sisters that I go to church with and that run in the same social circles I’m in. But I also have thousands of sisters that I’ll probably never meet face to face in this life, but will only get to know when we meet in heaven someday.
To all of you, I want to say “God loves you!” It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’re in, He wants me to tell you that He loves you beyond anything you can ever imagine. He loved you even before you were born and He has called you by name.
So, here’s to you all “God loves you!”
Peace and blessings.
Have you ever felt what was being asked of you was just too much? The responsibility put upon you is more than you think you can bear. People are demanding so much of you that you feel you have nothing left to give. You ask yourself “What am I doing here? Is this what God called me to? Why doesn’t He help me?”
Here’s the good news: God does not intend us to be alone. He’s given us first his Son Jesus to die for us and then sent the Holy Spirit to dwell inside us. He’s given us his written word, the Bible to guide us. He’s given us brothers and sisters to help and encourage.
God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land. It took them 40 years to make an eleven day trip. Over and over again God would show Himself as their deliverer only to have them doubt again and again; questioning Moses and his ability to get them to the Promised Land. Their constant complaining and demanding wore Moses out to the point he despaired of his own life.
“I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. If you treat me like this, please kill me here and now – if I have found favor in Your sight – and do not let me see my wretchedness!” (Numbers 11:14-15, NKJV)
Did God let Moses die or relieve him from his assignment? No. God’s response was to have Moses appoint 70 elders of the people to assist him. God anointed them with the same spirit He had put upon Moses. God called Moses to lead the people and He provided him with the help he needed to accomplish the task.
Elijah was a great prophet of God who defeated a wicked king and his heathen priests. He prayed and a drought came in the land. He prayed again and it rained. But even he became overloaded. He cried that “I’m the only one serving you God.” God assured him that there were yet seven thousand in the land who had not worshiped Baal. Then God sent Elisha to him to be his servant and when God took Elijah up to heaven, his mantel fell on Elijah. (Read 1 Kings 19 and 20, 2 Kings 2:1-18.)
God promised to never leave us alone. We have his Spirit within us, we have His Written Word, and we have one another to bear one another’s burdens. We are exhorted to “pray for one another” (James 5:16).
God never gives us a task without also equipping us for that task. When we start feeling overburdened it is usually because we’re trying to do it all on our own and God never intended for it to be that way. We only have to ask and God will show us the tools, people and abilities He’s given us.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)
Peace and blessings.
Have you ever tried to share something you were excited about with a close friend or family member only to be disappointed or even hurt by their response? We all have at one time or another. There could be a number of reasons they reacted the way they did, mostly nothing to do with you. But however innocent they may be, it still hurts.
I experienced this recently with my husband. He didn’t intend to be insensitive, but it still stung. Until I thought about it and realized “He just didn’t get it.” He was clueless that what I was telling him was as important to me as it was.
How do we handle these situations? Walk around with our hurt feelings hanging out, pouting like a child? Of course not. Pretend it didn’t happen? Not a good option either. Let the tears fall if need be, but be quick to forgive. Then you can let it go and your joy in the Lord and enthusiasm will stay with you.
In the Old Testament, when the Ark of the Covenant was brought up to the City of David, the Bible says David danced before the Lord because he was so overcome with joy. (Read 2 Samuel 6) In his enthusiasm he worshiped the Lord in total abandon, dancing and leaping. There were trumpets and music, singing and shouts of praise. But Michal, David’s wife, the daughter of King Saul, looked out her window at the spectacle and the Bible says “she despised him in her heart.” She just didn’t get it.
The last evening before Jesus was to be put on trial and crucified, after the last Passover meal with his disciples, He went to the Mount of Olives to pray as He frequently did. The disciples went with Him and He asked them to pray with Him, but as He was praying in agony, they fell asleep. He woke them, saying “Pray that you may not fall into temptation.” Again He withdrew a short distance from them, praying in deep agony until His sweat became like drops of blood. And again He turned to His disciples only to find them all asleep. They just didn’t get it. Only a few hours before Peter had sworn he’d never leave or betray his Teacher and then a few hours later he swore he’d never known the Man. Peter just didn’t get it.
The story doesn’t end there for Peter. After Jesus was resurrected, He asked him, “Peter, do you love me?” and Peter replied “Lord, You know I love you,” then Jesus told him, “Feed My sheep.” Three times this happened, exactly the number of time Peter had denied Jesus. At last, Peter got it.
What is God telling us today that we’re not getting? Is there something exciting He’s trying to show us and we’re too absorbed in our own thing to get? Is there someone He’s put in our life to minister to that we’re too busy to notice?
As we move into 2009, let us be open to people and things around us that may need our encouragement, a kind word or a helping hand. And let us always be listening for God’s voice as He speaks to our hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me, though they had seen what I did”. Psalms 95:6-9 (New International Version)
Peace and blessing,
January 2. The holidays are over. Some of us have today off work for an extended holiday week-end, but on the whole life goes back to normal. We go back to work and we happily go back to our normal routine.
If you are one of the thousands who suffer from post-holiday blues then the normal routine may not be so happy at the moment. Part of the feeling may come from unrealistic expectations that were not realized. Or perhaps someone was missing from your Christmas celebration that had been a part of you in the past; I still miss my parents on holidays and Mother’s been with the Lord for 7 years now. Or it could be after such a busy and happy period that now we feel a let-down. It’s time to take down the beautiful Christmas decorations we worked so hard on and the house looks a little glum. Whatever the cause, the feelings are there and need to be dealt with.
The most frequent suggestions I found all involved getting out of the house and doing something. Bundle up and take a walk. Go visit a friend you haven’t seen in a while or if that’s not possible send them a letter or email and tell them how much they’ve meant in your life. Plant a tree or volunteer at a shelter. Be active and get your mind off yourself.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
When you’re active, you mind is on what you are doing. And when you’re involved in someone else, you can’t feel sorry for yourself.
God tells us to look forward, not to always be looking back. Paul said “forgetting the past, I press forward” (my paraphrase).
And of course, count your blessings. Everyone has something to be thankful for but too often we just overlook the good in our life because we’re so focused on the negative. Sometimes the hardest thing to do when we’re depressed is to rejoice and give thanks, but as believers in Jesus Christ, we are commanded to give thanks even in the hard times.
‘Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (Amp. Version
Then Psalms 95 tells us: