Responding to trials · trials

What To Do When You Feel Helpless

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During the Coronavirus time, did you feel helpless?  You may have looked at your own abilities or your influence and wondered what you could do. 

During this time of violence and hatred in our country, do you wonder how you could make a difference?

God gives us a beautiful picture of someone in the Bible who could have felt unqualified to do anything about the hard circumstances in which he found himself. That person was Elijah. 

Elijah was living at a time when King Ahab ruled.  Let me remind you that Ahab’s wife was Jezebel.  They made a wicked team.  I Kings 16: 33 And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.

Why didn’t someone just go let King Ahab have it?  It seems much of the nation of Israel had turned from God to Baal. Ahab might have been thinking he was doing pretty good running things the way he liked them.  This went on for 22 years!  Then we turn to Chapter 17 and everything begins to change! Continue reading “What To Do When You Feel Helpless”

Christian Life · trials

Behind the Clouds

I remember the drive as I headed out early to purchase the last items I needed for my Easter dinner.  I was filled with excitement as I anticipated Easter Sunday and the joy of worshiping and remembering the empty tomb! The sky was kind of gray and cloudy as I headed out, but I needed to get this done.

As I drove into town, my mind went to the first Easter Saturday – that very day after Continue reading “Behind the Clouds”

Responding to trials · trials

Keep Looking Up!

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Last week I was doing my weekly errands of grocery shopping  and Target run with the typical flurry of moving quickly from one place to the next.  While walking up the parking lot towards Target, I had my head down, towards the pavement, while also reaching for my shopping list.  Then in my peripheral I caught a glimpse of

PINK 

lots of pink! 

I turned my gaze away from my frenzied walk to look up towards the sky.  There in my view was this lovely sight –

spring tree

Of course I had to snap a picture!  I didn’t want to waste the gorgeous view of these pink blooms against the crystal blue sky.  It literally took my breath away.

After I finished my shopping and walked again under its beauty, I heard the Lord whisper in my heart ~

You need to keep your eyes upward.  That’s where the joy is!

Oh, that is so true!  Hebrews 12:2,3 tells us:

 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself,
lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

It’s really difficult to stop and consider Jesus when I have my head down, dwelling on my concreted  problems.  It’s hard to see the beauty of His presence and remember His promises if I focus on my list of troubles.

I must lift my gaze into His lovely face.  It doesn’t take the problems away, but it reminds me of the truth that He endured mistreatment from sinners, but He is now in heaven, victorious!  Because of that, I don’t have to be weary and faint! I can have victory, too!

That’s a beauty even spring blooms can’t come close to! One day all those that know Christ as their Savior will be gathered with Him where troubles and trials will be over forever.  Until then, friend, let’s

Keep Looking Up!!

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Encouragement · Responding to trials

Read This Only If You’re Discouraged

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If there has been one request that has been repeated in my prayers it has been, “God use my life!”  I truly desire that my days and years count for Christ.  I want treasures to lay at His feet. I want to make a difference in others’ lives for the sake of eternity. But the means in which God will accomplish that request has not been part of my request.  You see, God’s school is often through hardship, trials and difficulties.  Who wants that?

Did Jonah enjoy the fish’s belly?

Was the widow woman excited about having only one more portion of food left for her and her son?

Did Moses relish being berated by his own people?

Did Elijah’s bucket list include being chased by a wicked queen?

Was Paul looking for people to persecute him?

The answer to all of these situations is, “Of course not!” But the result of every one of those trials was that God used them in mighty ways!  It came after.  After what?

After a mess.

After being frighteningly low on daily provision.

After ugly threats.

After pain.

Then blessing came.  Then provision.  Then nearness to God.  Then usefulness.  Then their stories were written in Scripture for our encouragement. Then they became our examples, our heroes!

If you’re in a difficult time right now, let me share a truth with you that I heard Sunday night from one of our dear missionaries –

 

The most important thing that God wants to accomplish
through you might still be in your future!

What if our Bible heroes had quit during their hardship?  We wouldn’t have their example, and God couldn’t have used them to encourage us and bring glory to Himself.  What if you and I quit in the midst of our trial?  We, too, could miss out on the most important thing God wants to do in our lives.

So…

DON’T QUIT!

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God's character · Responding to trials

How We Turn Our Treasures Into Curses

Treasures and Curses

When I was a 7 year-old girl, I really, really wanted a bike.  The children in our neighborhood rode their bikes on the sidewalks, and had such fun.  I knew I was missing out not being able to do the same!  So, for Christmas I asked, begged and prayed for a bike.  What a special surprise to find my longing fulfilled on Christmas Eve!  It was a purple/pink Schwinn with a bell and streamers.  I could hardly wait to join my friends, once the Michigan snow cleared.

Finally spring came, but there was just one problem – I hadn’t learned to ride a two-wheel bike yet!  My dad came to the rescue, doing what dad’s do best – holding onto my wobbly bike’s seat and running along side, yelling out instructions –

Keep your eyes in front – not on me.

Keep pedaling.

Keep your body in the center of the bike.

It was much harder than I imagined it would be! The afternoon when my bike met the tree trunk, and my lip the met the dirt, I was sure this bike wasn’t such a great idea!  Who thought of trying to stay upright on two wheels, anyway?! From that day on, when my dad would try to get me out to try to learn to ride, I’d run!  That bike wasn’t a special gift; it was a curse!

Yesterday’s post  showed us how Joseph’s brother’s assumed God was cursing them when they found the money for the food they’d gotten in Egypt was still in their sacks.  They assumed they would be severely punished for this.  When they told Joseph’s servant, he answered that God had given them treasure in their sacks. It was a gift of kindness, put into Joseph’s heart by their God! If only they could have seen the gift for what it was they wouldn’t have had to take that Pepto Bismol for their upset stomachs (okay, the Scripture doesn’t say that, but you know their stomach’s were churning in fear!).

What a difference a biblical perspective gives us!  Joseph’s brothers jumped to the same conclusions we do!  Consider how we respond in these kind of situations:

  • Those children for whom we prayed, begin a pattern of poor behavior and defiance, and suddenly the gift of motherhood has become a curse!
  • We moved into the house of our dreams.  It was roomy and big enough for our family AND for guests.  But we look at all the that hardwood and see so many floors to mop, and suddenly that gift of a house is a curse!
  • We prayed to be married, and he was the man of our dreams at the altar.  But over time we see his sinfulness and are disappointed.  He’s no longer a treasure; now he’s a curse!
  • We watched God give the perfect job and we were grateful.  But when we meet up with a difficult fellow-employee or two, that job becomes a curse!
  • To have a computer at home to work with eases so much – we can pay bills, shop or connect with friends, but on the day there is no Internet service that thing turns into a curse!
  • When we found our church we were thankful for its teaching, it’s congregation and it ministries, but when we see that not everything is done the way we think it should be done, those blessings are now a curse!
  • …You add whatever difficulty has touched your life recently.

All along, those things were all “treasures in our sacks,” only we didn’t have eyes to see it!  Instead we’re staring down in the deep well of the bag  and we become consumed with our own self-focused thoughts instead of what God could do in that darkness. 

If something seems to be a drudgery, a source of sighing and heaviness, or not what you wanted, take that need to the Giver of that blessing.  Ask Him to allow you to see with new eyes the joy of this gift, and what He can do in the midst of this time. A right perspective on the “hard things” in life can help us see that God is not against us, as a matter of fact, He just might be up to something really, really good!

When you have eyes of faith to look for the treasure, you’ll have peace while you wait.  You’ll have hope in your heart.  You’ll realize that that “thing,” whatever it is, truly is a TREASURE in your sack!

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