Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

When Being Thankful Is Hard

As thanksgiving approaches, people all over are saying what they are thankful for. That is a good thing. 

But what if you are in a place that is really hard to be thankful for?  Yes, I know the verse, give thanks in ALL things. But sometimes we just can't see clearly enough to be thankful because “our reality” is blocking the view. 


If you could see my life right now, you would see an overabundance of blessings the Lord has given me: my house, my family, my friends, etc.  But it wasn't too long ago that I struggled with seeing what to be thankful for. 


We take for granted the "normal", "regular" things in life because God is so faithful to provide them. But I am not talking about forgetting to be thankful about the air I breathe but rather when you are so lost in your circumstances you "forget" what to be thankful for and it seems every day you lose one more thing that reminds you to be thankful, until you wake up one day with an ungrateful heart and you wonder how you got there. I'm not sure anyone during times like that can say what started the downward spiral but they could be able to say they can't see what to be thankful for. 


Of course, well-meaning people will tell you that you have lots to be thankful for and start listing them for you. I don't think people know what to say when someone has "lots" of things to be thankful for but just can't see it anymore because something in their life started the thoughts of " I can't see..." because they feel empty, sad, or even frustrated.

Some people might read this and say, I have no idea how anyone could get that way. I'm glad for that. But there are some people that seem to have so much and still lack the ability to see it.  I struggled with this for a long time and was told I just needed to be thankful and that I was just bitter. Maybe I was.  Maybe I wasn't. But having someone tell me my "problems" would go away if I just thought thankful things really didn't seem to help me as it just made me feel like there was one more thing I wasn’t doing right and what was the point???  If I can’t even be thankful for the good things I have I must be a horrible waste to God. It is a HARD process to live life day to day existing and getting by doing what needs to get done all the while becoming an empty shell of who you were or wanted to be. 

For me, it took letting go of what I wanted and accepting what I had before I could see anything as good. My situation hadn't changed but God worked on my heart. This was NOT a quick process and I don't exactly know when it changed. 
 


So what do we do when we feel like this? Talk to God and wait!

Only God knows where we need to get to in order to surrender something to Him.  And often times we just won’t move from our “position” and unfortunately God won’t work there.

I wish I could say I talked to God and He made it all better right away, but for me it took a long time for me to START to appreciate what I have. 

It seems that I finally started getting better when I let go of things I didn't have and held the things I didn't want. Yes, I wrote that the correct way.  

So, good for me, right? It still hasn’t changed YOU!

Maybe all you heard was blah, blah, blah and I got better.  And all you thought was yep, got it, you are good at this and have a great relationship with God…that’s why it worked.  I had mixed feelings when I read different blogs that say, here is the answer, do these steps.  I really felt discouraged sometimes more than encouraged.

So, what can you do?

Realize that God is still loving and kind even when you are being unthankful. 

What??? Can that be right???

Luke 6:35b for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Your circumstances, whether created by your doing, lack of doing, other people’s doing, God’s working, or whatever it is, are not going to change because of my words on a page.  But maybe if you just try to think this one thing: God STILL loves me and does care, then, you will start the process of not being stuck.  Your situation, your thoughts, your habits, and even evil spirits will tell you it will never be better, but that’s not true. 

John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

1John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Jesus has overcome already.  As a believer we reap unbelievable benefits!!  Sometime, our world just beats us down we don’t see anything good.  And as time goes on, we only see things as worse.  I have been guilty of that and really I just keep focusing and refocusing on Him.

So, what can someone do who isn’t feeling very thankful?  Thank God for Him being who he is.  If you have to get down to basics, thank Him for: the fact He is faithful to make the sun rise every morning and set every night, the seasons, the air, your sight, your health, that you are full, or that you are warm enough…

…but maybe just thank God for loving you even when you aren’t so loveable, and realize that He is SO incredible to care about YOU that much.

1 Chronicles 16:34
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.







Friday, November 22, 2013

Eli

1Samuel 3:18b It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good

The other day my daughter and I were working in her Bible workbook and we read many verses , but that one stood out to me.

What an incredible faith!  Eli had just heard, from a young boy named Samuel, the judgment of God upon his family because of his lack of leading!  And yet he said, “let him do what seemeth him good”.

 I would love to say that I follow God completely and that if I was told something was going to happen that I would just accept it willingly in the blink of an eye, even if it didn't sound good to me.

I think we all can have moments of faith that just knock the socks off of people (even ourselves), but I think that we often don’t give ourselves “enough credit” for just doing normal things.

You know it takes faith to stay married, train kids, go to church, tell people about Christ, and the list is endless.  What would take a huge amount of faith for one person might be pretty simple for another. 

I am sure Eli didn't like what he heard, but knowing what he knew about God  led him to believe that even hearing that news, he thought God still knew what was good.

Our faith will be tested, often.  Our faith will be tried by God.  Sometimes we will hear things we don’t want to hear.  But…
Luke 18:19b none is good, save one, that is, God.

Throughout all our days, we need to keep trying to lean on the Lord no matter what it looks like because He cares and knows what is coming next, something we will never be able to do.  This is the basic truth of fatih; trust He knows best.  Not always easy, not always done, but something we need to keep trying.

So, today is a simple reminder that no matter what things look like for us even during our difficult times, God is still watching over us, cares, and is doing something good.






Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sometimes I Understand and Sometimes I Am Mad

Sometimes, oftentimes, we can't see past our situation and we make decisions based on what people tell us. When those people let you down it is really hard to know how to process the "information" they gave you. 

I keep running over "things" in my mind and I wonder. Why did I have to do x, y, and z, and now it seems they didn't matter really?  I am confused by people's actions and reactions. Not confused like I don't understand why exactly (we all sin...that's the why) but more that I think why was I told what I was told? What was their purpose? I believe some leaders truly care about people and that's why they do what they do, others I think want to prove something about themselves, others, or even God, and still others, unfortunately, want I use the power for themselves; but  no matter the reason, I still come to the same conclusion that I didn't see, do, or hear something because it wasn't going to be good for me or the greater good. 

It's hard to picture but I am really trying to get a "grip" on something I can't. And I can't because it would involve reliving everything, knowing what I know at this point in my life.  People say hind sight is 20/20. But is it?

We think we know just how it would work out if we knew what we know now then. But if we could go back to a time or place and change something that we think would make things "better" or "right", we would ultimately screw something up in a whole new way. Quite possibly not end up anywhere that we are at now but somewhere completely different and not necessarily good much less better. 

I believe that if we are thinking about a situation and saying what we would do differently, we have just shown ourselves prideful. 

I don't know, still, what God has for me. I wonder a lot about the past and how it all fits together. I wonder what if things were different. Would I be missing the blessing that I have in my life that I take for granted? Would I be missing out on the positive changes I see in myself and others even through the trials?
Would I be in church at all?  Would I have homeschooled Would I still be married?  Would I be working full time wondering how I was going to make the next payment as a single mom? 

I read a book by Dr. Hyles called, "Science of the Christian Life". In that book he references the scripture in Matthew 6:8b for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.  It says he knows what we need before we ask.  If he knows before I ask, he already knew my need before I did.  I think I know what I need. I certainly know what I want, at least at the moment I want it. But if I did get everything I wanted, I would probably end up in a place that really didn't give me what I wanted. 


Learning to be content is always going to be a process for us but I don't think it always has to be a struggle. I may not like what has happened throughout my life but each event in life is a chance to show I am content with what the Lord has given me. I believe that God is watching over us even when we can't see him and gives us what we need at the moment and not before. Pride tells me I did or didn’t deserve something the way that it turned out; that I knew best.


Pride and contentment are two things that don't go together.

Proverbs 16:18
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

I Timothy 6:6
But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Doesn't really seem like a logical thing to pick between, destruction or great gain. I would always pick gain. 

The problem is that we see our surroundings and pick what will make us currently "gaining" rather than the destruction it could cause. Just like when I am scarfing down a bag of Dove chocolates I am NOT thinking about how my clothes will fit. I am thinking about the pleasure for right now.

People sin because that’s what is in us, and it is an unfortunate reality of living in a fallen world.  From little thoughts or decisions to life changing ones, we need to humble ourselves before the Lord and realize that He sees a bigger picture and truly knows what we need.  God isn’t off in the distance and leaving everything completely up to us.  Our God is loving and caring, even through things that aren’t loving...we always need to remember that people are just that and God, well HE IS GOD.  Relying on God will give us contentment because he has promised many things to His people, so many I can’t possibly list them all.  The one I will leave you with was said by David.

Psalm 37: 25-26 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.  He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Understanding

I am beginning to understand.

I get so frustrated with myself for failing over and over.  Today as I was listening and reading my Bible, or trying to, I had some thoughts go through my head… not good ones either!  I would like to say it was the list of “to do’s” I had, but in fact it just wasn't nice thoughts, period.  And it’s not just this one time, or this one thing…it’s the fact I do it over and over and shouldn't I be better?

I stopped my Bible reading program and thanked God.  Seems really silly to stop and thank Him at that time, doesn't it?  Yes, but really NO.  It is horrible I have thoughts other than God even while reading my Bible, but it certainly there isn't a bad time to stop and tell God thank you.

I am beginning to understand that I REALLY do need him ALL THE TIME.   I don’t want to admit I am THAT bad.  Truth is I will always fall short (way short) of where God is at.  That’s why Jesus had to die.  Simple enough…for us!  Remember when you are “beating yourself up again” that is exactly why we need Him.

In Revelation 12:10 Satan is referred to as the “accuser of our brethren”.  I don’t think we make it too hard for him to accuse us!  Even our own thoughts are against God, our thoughts lead to our actions… and well, we give Satan free reign to accuse us.

BUT…and here is the good part!! JESUS paid it all already knowing we are sinful creatures!!

1Peter 3: 18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

Colossians 1: 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Ephesians 2: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

What a wonderful truth!! Even when I fail with my thoughts, I don’t have to wonder if God cares because Jesus’ death made it possible for me to have a right relationship with God the Father.  So, though I fail, rather than condemn myself, I need to be thankful for Jesus.

 It all comes down to what I am looking at, my hopeless state or my “hopeless” state knowing what Jesus did for ME.


Thank you for being and doing what no one else can!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Daydreams

According to my Dove wrapping, “daydreaming is free”.  I love my Dove chocolates, but I am not sure about some of the sayings.  Again, I pick apart the phrase and sometimes, it just is completely different than the sweet little saying.  I guess one of the reasons I pick things apart so much is because I want to please God by what I do.  I know I do a lot of things wrong in my flesh, but I at least have a desire to try to do the right thing.  That fact in of itself is a good start.

Anyway, that phrase got me thinking that we can spend too much time daydreaming about what we want in our lives.  And it can be fun to imagine the ”what if’s” of life as long as we don’t live in that frame of mind.  Daydreaming is free,  it is a truthful statement;  daydreaming IS free.

What I started wondering about was how much time is wasted on daydreaming… I could spend lots of time thinking about other things: exotic vacations, being rich, having a perfect man, perfect children, the perfect body, and/or the right house.  (I certainly don’t dream myself into a shack, deep in debt, and dying a miserable life)  But really, how much time do people waste on daydreaming? I don’t know.  Some much more than others I’m sure.  Even though day dreaming is free, it can cost a lot if you are left in a state of wanting so much different in your life.  It’s not wrong to want nice things, or have nice things.  But it is not good if we put our daydream desires as our main goal above all else.

Have you ever had a time when things were going REALLY tough and whatever it was occupied all your thoughts?  Ever gone to sleep like that and wake up and think, “I am still here”?  I have.  Sometimes life can be a real struggle and running away seems like a good option.  But I for the “average” lady, I don’t think we really want to leave, some perhaps, but that’s not what I am talking about.  The daydream that takes a few minutes of “I wish I was on a beach, or mountain, or wherever”, is fun and makes you think, “that would be nice”.  But daydreams that take over your thoughts are no longer a quick, fun thought, but a reminder you don’t have what you want or you don’t want what you have.  Those “daydreams” are more of a hindrance than a help because we start seeing all we don’t have and seeing what we do have as something not worth having.

I certainly wouldn't need God too much if I had a mountain side view and “perfect” family, house, etc., So, I would rather leave daydreaming behind and focus on finding my fulfillment in God.  God has each one of us in a place of His choosing because He knows what we need to draw closer to Him.  I have wonderful things and people in my life, but I do need Him for my every day, real life, role as wife, mother, friend, daughter, or sister.  It may not be as easy as the daydream but it is far more rewarding!

Ecclesiastes 6:9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Waking up on the Wrong Side of the Bed

It seems to me when I have something bothering me or have had an "off" day that when I go to sleep with it still bothering me, I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. That just happened....

Rather than going to bed with a negative spirit, it would have been in my best interest to stay up a little longer and confess my sin and make sure my heart was right with God. But, truthfully, I said a quick prayer and "hoped for the best" for tomorrow.

Every time we don't confess to God that our hearts are not right, we give the Devil a little place to start planting a gardens worth of "struggles".

Ephesians 4:26-27
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.

1John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


I know that I don't confess enough to God. I think I haven't done "too bad" and it's okay, but really I shouldn't be looking at it any other way besides God's way.  I will always fall short of Him and that's what it is really about.  
I don't need to do anything for my salvation because Jesus paid it all. I take that for granted. I know it, I believe it, but really I take it for granted so much that I don't do the simplest I things, like tell God I have done something against him. 

How foolish and prideful to think that we can just get by and not have our spirits affected. Just as I felt it before going to sleep and since I didn't do anything with it (besides a flippant prayer) it was still there this morning.


Rather than start off a few steps behind, we should start off with some searching of our hearts and begin anew so yesterday's bad attitude or issue won't be in the front of our minds. The "wrong side of the bed attitude" I had, was forced out by the word of God and confession. Now I am ready to begin a new day with it's new challenges, struggles, and blessings.  

God is faithful and just to cleanse me and I won't even take the time to realize how much I need him? Well, I did just that this morning. Rather then spend the day in the cranky state I woke up in, I spent extra time with God. 

I'm a so glad that HE is faithful and just!!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Well

Recently, I have been feeling close to God even though there have been things going on around me that are unsettling. That is a wonderful feeling.  This past week has been different.  As you can tell I haven't posted. I kept asking God to let me know what he wanted said and I haven't "heard" anything. A friend told me I need to post, two friends actually. 

But I had nothing.


Even yesterday during my morning time with God I had such a hard time focusing on the words, it was distracting me from focusing on the Word…doesn't that sound ridiculous!  Then at church yesterday, I was a little distracted so I was only half listening.  And then the pastor said something which kicked my brain in gear and I was pondering where I am at spiritually.  That isn't a bad thing, but probably not the best thing during a sermon!!!

 I think I walk through the valley because I expect the time I have been with God to last longer and it will be "okay" to skip the schedule time because I sincerely plan to do it later. It just doesn't really happen for me

Today I woke up with the song, "He's Been Waiting by the Well" going through my head; it has been for about two days. And this morning it hit me. I haven't been with God enough to satisfy MY needs, let alone say anything to help another!  I noticed "the Well", I thought about Him, but I didn't put him first. 


So….
I am "off" and wondering what is wrong and thinking it to death…. but, this “valley” I am in doesn't need to be analyzed to death.

I need to remember:
-what I really need and get that done.  
-my flesh is saying it’s better for me to do anything rather than be with God. 
-I am not totally off track and nothing is wrong with me (a hard habit to break!). 
-the filling I get from God doesn't last as long as I think.

What I need is to get back to putting God first.   

I just need more time with God!

He is waiting for me to choose to be with Him... waiting at the well for me to be thirsty enough to choose Him.