The One Thing You Can Change

If you could change one thing about your life right now what would it be?  If you could change that, do you think it would really alter your life?  Would it make everything better?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

Recently I was out and I saw a quote hung on the wall of the establishment.  The truth of it struck a chord in my heart.  I know it will encourage someone today as it did me then and as it does every time I remind myself of its message.  There is only one thing that we’re all really in charge of and able to change.  What is it?  Read on:

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Now think back to that thing you would change if you could.  What about if you simply changed your attitude about that instead? That alone could make the difference you’re really desiring.

Today try to be intentional about what kind of attitude you have, and ask the Lord to show you if you need to make a change. Only you are in charge of that!

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Former Things

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Flu, sinus infection, broken limb, pneumonia, gall bladder attacks, migraines, fever, back ache, joint pain, cataracts, heart attack and a million other maladies are all a part of people’s lives every day.  Some people live with chronic pain for years.  Others deal with periodic illness.  Most all of us surely have had our share of sickness.  Even when you read the Scriptures you read about leprosy, fever, blindness, blood issues, lame legs, and so on.

During a recent recurrence of a migraine, I was awakened after midnight with the nausea it caused.  I rose to fix myself a cup of hot peppermint tea to ease the discomfort in my stomach.  While sipping the steaming liquid in the dim nightlight I’d turned on, I reached for my pad of paper and pen and wrote down some thoughts I’d been thinking during the night.  I wrote: Why God allows us to be sick:

  1. It reminds us how weak our flesh is.
  2. It makes us run to the Lord.  (Remember the woman with the issue of blood who came to find Jesus and touch the hem of his robe?)
  3. It enables us to sympathize and be compassionate with others.
  4. It makes us thankful for days when we feel well.
  5. It reminds us we’re not home yet.

We may not enjoy being sick, but, as funny as it sounds, it is good for us.

Revelation 21:4 says,

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  

What a wonderful promise this verse is; I remind myself of it whenever I have a migraine.

Whatever discomfort you or someone you care about is dealing with today, remind yourself of the truth – One Day all these illnesses will be “former things!”

With love (and a cup of peppermint tea),

This Trial Is Killing Me!

Not long ago I had the blessing of a lovely summer afternoon in the swimming pool. I grabbed a pool noodle, sat on top of it and floated and drifted a couple of hours away. Had I worn a device to track my exercise, it would have only marked my steps into the water. There was little effort or difficulty in my afternoon. It was leisure that I loved, though it had little bodily profit!

A day later I saw a You Tube video of a woman showing how to make the pool a place of exercise. With the guidance of a coach, she did several kinds of swimming strokes, making long, difficult laps the length of the pool. She kicked, bobbed, and pushed her way through a regime that literally took her breath away. She did everything the coach was telling her to do. At one point she said to him, “You’re killing me!” It was hard work but it was truly profitable to her!

The contrast of those two pool adventures reminds me of how life is for the believer. There are times when we float along, enjoying the refreshment of God’s grace, yet we aren’t stretched or changed by those careless hours. It’s in the time of trial when we find ourselves kicking, bobbing and pushing; clinging to God’s instruction and listening to His voice that change really comes. When the bodily movements are not resisting the Lord and what He wants to do, it will truly benefit our Christian life!

Proverbs 12:28 says,

In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.

God knows that we need seasons of difficulty to strengthen our prayer muscles. Our heart muscles of faith in His Word may need to be greater. The very breathing in of our knowledge of His character may require stretching, so He brings resistance and difficulty. We may cry out, “You’re killing me!” because we’re tired. We want the straining and hardship to be over. We would rather be floating on a raft, gazing up at the clear sky, than being splashed in the face of our own weakness. But when we call out to the one in charge, our sovereign God, who loves us and wants us to grow and change, He comforts. He marks out a pathway of life – deep, strong, eternal life that is far better than the weak one we would choose if we might.

If you’re in the midst of the hard laps of trial right now, look beyond the poolside and see the change that will result if you listen to the One who is guiding you. He’ll know when it’s time to allow you to float again. And when you see your reflection shining back at you in the water, you can be sure that it will look so much more like Christ!

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When God Seems Far Off

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When my husband and I were dating, we had many miles between us. We missed one another desperately, so we did whatever was necessary to eliminate the distance!

One summer I was in Kentucky and he was in South Carolina – not exactly next door! Then to make matters even more difficult, I had planned to travel with my family to Michigan. Knowing that even more miles were getting ready to separate us was an unpleasant thought, so he found a way to make the trip north with us! Being separated from one you love is rough business!

Have you ever felt that the Lord was very far away? That’s worse than feeling distant from any human being. In Psalm 13:1 the psalmist said,

“How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? forever?
how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?” 

 He was wondering if God had just plain forgotten him, and he wondered why he couldn’t see His face. However, an omniscient God can never forget and an omnipresent God can never be removed from us!

In verse two he said that he has sorrow in his heart daily. Do you feel that way right now? Does it seem like every day you wake up and that sorrow is staring you in the face? Have you discovered the happy device by which you can escape trouble? The answer is in verses five and six.

“But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” 

 The mercy seat refreshes the weeper. Remembering that fact that God took care of the greatest trouble a soul can face – eternal damnation in hell, reminds me that He is able to take care of every other need that comes into my life. He has truly dealt bountifully with us!

Joys remembered sweeten present sorrows.

Remember what the Lord has done for you.
Has he saved you?
What prayers has He answered in the past?
Has He comforted you in other trials?
Has He worked in the hearts of those you’ve prayed for?
What special blessings has He allowed you to enjoy?

Let those joys sweeten your present sorrow and encourage your heart!

God hasn’t forgotten you; He is very near.

When do you feel most removed from God?

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Stayed On Christ

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If someone asked you where you were staying, what do you think they’re asking? You might be away on vacation and you assume they want to know what motel you’re staying in. Those “stays” are  usually short-lived. You can’t live at a resort after your week’s reservation is over (sad, huh?). As much I always hate leaving a place of rest and vacation, I eventually must go home. My stay is over.

One morning his week I studied Isaiah 26:3 –

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.

I thought on the verse all day and then that night I heard a message from a godly pastor from this same verse. He had shared with the congregation that his adult son has cancer. Then he said, “Where are you staying? Right now, I know where I’m staying – I’m staying on Jesus!” He shared that he was having to rest on the Lord heavily and think upon Him while going through this trial. He was keeping his mind, his thoughts stayed on the Lord. Only then can peace saturate our hearts.

The trial won’t last forever, and even after it’s over, we can keep on staying on Jesus, keep on thinking on Him, keep on trusting in Him. As a matter of a fact, when it’s all said and done, you’ll find it easier to “stay” on Him because you’ve seen the benefits and the joy of remaining with Him!

So, today – right at this moment, where are you staying? Are you fretting and worried, or are you staying on Jesus and enjoying the peace that only comes when you trust in Him?

Your reservation is never over! Stay!

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The Storm Will Pass

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An hour before I took the picture above, a real spring storm blew through our area. It blew in from a completely different direction than most storms. The winds were really whipping, causing debris, porch pillows and vegetation to blow and bow down.  Earlier in the day I had heard we were in for storms, but it seemed unlikely at the time, because it was lovely in the morning.  But sure to the prediction, they came in just as they said.  I was glad I had secured things outside, and I was especially glad that I was inside where it was safe and dry!

I went about the work I was doing, and kept an ear and eye on the outside, for safety sake.  It wasn’t long, though until I looked through the window and saw the clouds clearing.  Then I saw the sun hitting the backyard.  I stepped onto the back porch and everything was cool, refreshed, and though dripping with the drops of the precipitation, it was evident that the storm was over.

I know many people who are going through storms in their personal lives.  I would have to add, that the storm is in their personal Christian life.  It’s a storm sent by the Lord for His purposes.  As I watch, I see the pressures of the trial causing them to bow, just like the trees in my front yard bent as the wind pushed against its branches.  They are bowing with the ache and the pain of the trial, but they are not broken.  They are trusting the God of their life to do His work, and they are firmly planted on His Word, even when their hearts may want to waver or ask why.

We’ve all been warned that trials will come to us.  Maybe you’re one who is experiencing one right now. Perhaps your trial is just around the corner. It’s easy to get caught off guard because the “sun is shining” today and we can’t imagine that dark clouds may be ahead.  We must prepare now for the storm that will come.  Like my friends, we must anchor our hearts in the Scriptures.  We have to know God’s character because we know His Word.  His Truth will keep us from breaking.  Knowing the Sender of the storm will remind us that He is there with us. And though we may never know why God sends or allows difficulties to come our way,  we can be sure that they went through His sovereign hands before they touched our lives.

When we find ourselves in the storm, we need to also remember that they won’t last forever.  There will be an end.  If not here, for all eternity, there will only be peace.  We may feel like quitting and throwing in the towel, but we must endure so we can see the joy of the blessings of the storm. When I was waiting out the storm yesterday, it didn’t last for long, really.  I’ve been through worse spring tempests.  We need to remind ourselves of the truth that though it seems that this trial is going on forever, there is a day when it will be over.

Hopefully when the storm is over, we won’t forget the things we’ve learned.  The lessons will be like the water droplets on my roses – little reminders that the storm was there.  There will be a freshness, a newness, and even sunshine in our hearts afterwards if we prepare for the storm, endure the storm and remember the storm.  

It’s time to go sit outside and enjoy the sunshine.  The storm is over.  To my friends who are experiencing difficulties today, I say, your storm will pass and the sun will shine again and God’s presence will refresh your spirit through it all.  

This won’t last forever.

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Are you going through a storm?  I’d love to pray for you.  Just leave a note asking for prayer – no need to share about the trial – God knows.

Lovingly,

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Recently while making my bed, I sighed and thought what a blessing to have a comfy bed and lovely bedroom in which to rest each night.  I thanked the Lord for His gift of rest and even of this bed that had once again, given us the sleep needed for the day’s activities that were ahead.

But you know, sometimes that same bed finds me holding my pounding head when I’m dealing with a migraine.  Other times the sheets have been twisted and strewn all over the place, due to a stomach bug.  On those days and nights, as well as the days when we jump up feeling rested, we can (and should) have praise on our lips to our God.  On a sickbed, we can remember:

~He has our days in His hands.

~He has grace sufficient for each trial.

~He will be with me.

~He will perfect that which concerns me.

~He will comfort me.

~He desires to use this time to conform me to His likeness.

It’s good on the days of health to think ahead and get a jump on praise for the sick days.  Store up praise in your heart by rehearsing these truths.  God never changes, and these Truths won’t either!  Whether we’re rising from a good night, from a fitful night, or even a very sick night, in our inner most being, let’s resolve to give God the praise that is always due His name.  Here’s what David said in Psalm 149:5

Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.

Well-bed, sickbed or deathbed, God is always worthy of praise!

With praise,

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