What Do I Do With This Trial?

1022427_30637656Having been through my share of trials, I know it can feel overwhelming when you’re in the midst of a trying situation. I’m here to tell you to hold on and remain steadfast in your faith. Cling to God with all your might and keep claiming the promises of His word. The promise that he will never leave you or forsake you, and the promise that if you’ve asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, all things will work together for good. Things have a way of working out in the long run.

1108723_76812844You will feel joy, hope and peace again. Not only will you experience those good things, your relationship with God will grow as you’ve been through the valley with Him and you learn that He has been by your side the whole time. Trials only strengthen the walk we have with God or show us something in ourselves that we didn’t know. Something that God knew we needed to see. The trial you’re in right now will help you feel true compassion that you can share with other people who you encounter in your life. Other people who are walking in a similar valley that you have walked or are continuing to walk in. You will become a minister of grace to others when you truly understand, pardon and cry with them in their situation. You can comfort them from a heart that is non-judgmental, because you’ve been in their shoes. God will use your particular situation for His kingdom work. Just keep on trusting in Him.

 

Light of Jesus

I so enjoyed this blog post from Spirit Ministries that I wanted to share it with you my readers. Enjoy!

S.P.I.R.I.T Ministries

A friend of mine sent me this devotion the other day while I was at work. I thought to myself, God knows exactly what we need before we do. It was hot, my spirit was yearning for a drink of water. Just as I sat down to take a ten minute break, my phone began to go off. I jumped up, grabbed the phone which revealed this message to me.

“While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Jesus in John 9:5. Jesus Christ was the Truth which illuminated the darkness of the misunderstanding of the world. As the disciples lived with Jesus, the light of the world cast His brightness and dispelled the doubts and fears and confusion of their minds. The light of Jesus’ love infused their emotions. His light brought brightness to their relationships with others. As long as the apostles…

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Are You Feeling Unlucky? Consider This

834640_88057651Are you feeling unlucky? I touched on the topic of luck and its role in the life of a believer in my post “Good Luck, No God Bless.” As I wrote that post I reflected on what lucky means for Christians. I’d written that post before I’d started reading a wonderful book that really got me thinking deeper about luck and how we view those that are considered lucky in our society. Given the trials I’ve endured over the past two years, some people would probably say that I’m unlucky. Heck, if I were on the outside looking in at my own life I’d most likely surmise that I’d been unlucky as well. It easy to feel that way, when you get one blow after another you can come to the conclusion that you’re gonna be knocked out of the fight. Not a lucky feeling. Not only that, you may feel like the last person or the most unlikely person that God would ever use. But we of the faith need to redefine what luck really is, in light of eternity. Even as I type this, I’m well aware that it’s easy for me to say this because I’m enjoying my life. I’ve had a lot of trials true and I still have some residing issues, but I’m able to do all I want. I have a very good life. If the residual vertigo problems I have continue, even throughout the rest of my life, I am fortunate as compared to some. Fortunate in this lifetime. So what makes someone unlucky? Am I unlucky?1013752_95503215 If I were confined to a wheelchair it would be much harder than to simply deal with feeling bad on occasion. So am I luckier than someone with greater limitations? Maybe in this life I am, but our luck is found in what’s to come and the comfort that has already come. The comfort of Christ living in us, is a reminder of that which will be, when the kingdom of God will rule on the earth in its fullness. Even if our lives are not what we had anticipated, we that have put our hope in Jesus are lucky. For it’s we who will inherit eternal life and that far surpasses any temporary earthly pleasures this life can offer. We also have comfort that comes from God. Those that feel lucky in this life are the ones that are really unlucky, because they haven’t felt their need of a Savior. Therefore they do not have what Christ has given us. They only have their self sufficiency.1176741_68006109.Revelation 3:17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. The people who feel self-sufficient and not in need are the unlucky ones. Radical huh? The book I’m reading challenged me to think differently about those that are considered lucky and unlucky in our society.

“Lucky: How the Kingdom Comes To Unlikely People” by Glenn Packiam. Highly recommended. As a side note Mr. Packiam is the writer of a well-known praise and worship song titled “Your Name”.

Here’s an excerpt from his book.

Victory has started to unfold. Comfort is coming. Indeed it has come. Imagine that a man takes you to a junkyard covered with rusted metal and decomposing parts, littered with paper bags and used up cups. Imagine that he tells you that this very ground will be a beautiful garden. “No way,” you say. “This place is covered with trash and refuse. This is a junkyard, not a garden.” “True,” the man says. “it is a junkyard now. But I just bought it and will make it a garden. In fact, I’ve already started my work.”

“What?” you say. “It looks the same as it did last week. How is anything different?” The many gently replies, “I have already planted some flowers.” “Where>” you ask. “I don’t see anything.” But its work is beneath the soil. Suddenly he points to a green shoot breaking through the earth. “Look! There it is. I planted that recently. There is a small sign of what is coming.”

Sacrifice: What Does it Mean?

1285084_29015581In honor of Memorial Day and those that have sacrificed so much, I wanted to look at the word “sacrifice” in greater detail. Using an online dictionary, the closest definition of the word sacrifice as related to those that have served our country is this:

“Destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else.”

Our men and women of the Armed Forces agreed to surrender their lives for the freedom we have here in the U.S.A, and those that have lost their lives paid the ultimate price. I’m so thankful for all that have served and are serving today. It’s truly not without cost. The cost is very high- you may die in battle or you may suffer in your relationships. Destruction of the family unit, alcoholism or other addictions are frequent with those that have served. Many are emotionally scared and physically disabled for the freedom that we enjoy.1411635_57097477

Jesus know’s about sacrifice. He died for all of mankind. He laid down his life willingly. He was beaten beyond recognition. He ended life at the age of 33. Jesus knows about dying for freedom, because that’s why He died, for our freedom, to free us from sins grasp. He overcame the grave and defeated our foe, Satan. We are called to sacrifice as He did. Not necessarily by dying, although many have, but we to be a living sacrifices for the Lord. Look at this passage from Romans 12:1-2. 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Paul is addressing the Roman Church and it is also a message to present day believers as well. Paul uses the word sacrifice. We are to be living sacrifices. In this way we are worshiping the Lord. Sacrifice in this passage is translated in Strong’s Lexicon #G2378 thysia: it’s primary mean is “to offer up to the Lord”..

Am I offering up to the Lord my life? All my desires, my goals and my plans? I hope you asked yourself that along with me. It’s not easy to be a living sacrifice. It’s never easy to release our goals, plans and desires, but it’s worth it. Just as we thank those that honored our country, if we live for the Lord He will one day say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”. And I say to those that have served, “I thank you for what you’ve given and all that entails. Happy Memorial Day.”

God the Great Recycler

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Have you ever been to a yard sale and it seemed like everything being sold was junk? As you turn to leave, you wonder “Who would want any of this trash? As you’re walking away, you hear someone saying they’ve found the perfect picture frame. Turning to see, you notice an old, beat-up wooden frame.The person holding the poor looking thing is so excited that they’re beaming from ear to ear.

Credited to Margret Ralev at stockxching. Thanks!

“I know exactly where I’m gonna put this, it’ll take time, but I can make it something more beautiful than it was originally,” they exclaim! You cringe at the thought of even hanging that frame on your wall! “Must be an artist,” you say to yourself as you continue to leave.”No one except an artist or really crafty type would see any potential in that old frame, why bother restoring it anyway? I can just buy a new one!”

God’s an artist and a very creative one! Everything we see came from His imagination; the beauty of a sunset, splendor of the mountains, power of the oceans, and tranquility of green grass, all imagined before they were formed by God. Anything and everything beautiful are from the creative expression of God himself. God’s also a restorer. He sees where we need fixing and is willing to transform us into something new if we’ll let him1232103_18554289. He re-purposes our sin-filled lives, creating a new life with a new purpose of bringing Him glory. With God’s creative touch, we become a masterpiece that He hangs with great joy on His wall of art. All that are broken and in need of a new purpose can have hope. With God, all things are possible. You don’t have to fear that you’ll be tossed into a dumpster, because God wants you! He sees your potential and desires to use you. You may have started out as an old picture frame, but when God is finished with His restorative work, who knows what you’ll be! You’ll never be discarded or put in a junk pile, if you surrender to the transforming work that God wants to do in your life. It may hurt as you’re scrubbed clean and put back together,but just hang on! Once the Creator is done with you, He’ll smile and say “It is good.”God The Great Recycler

Here’s a moving testimony I stumbled upon. It testifies to God’s transforming work in this young women’s life.

A reposted and recycled blog post.

The Power of Prayer

646227_29155629We serve and awesome God! He can do more than we can ever think or imagine. He is powerful! We however are not. We can only do what God allows. Before you become troubled by the fact that you’re not in control of your own life. Think again! How many wrong decisions and mistakes have you made in your life up until this point?  A lot? Same here! So instead of thinking you can run your life better than God, just hand it over to Him willingly and pray about your concerns

  • Pray with confidence

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.(1John 5:13–15)

  • Know God hears you if you’re in right relationship with Him (see more) 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

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Hope – According to Romans 5:1-5

709534_90199233Romans 5:1-5  Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Let’s look at this passage closer. I want to know more about the word hope. I need hope, don’t you?

Hope is a word used extensively by most people. We use the word to express what we want to happen. We use it very frequently, or at least I do, but what does it really mean to hope? After gleaning new insight from studying the word “praise” the other day, I decided to look deeper into the meaning of the word “hope” in reference to Romans 5:2-5

So I’ll start with an online dictionary: Merriam Websters

Here’s what I found: verb

  • Intransitive verb- To cherish a desire with anticipation
  • transitive verb -To desire with expectation of obtainment – to expect with confidence, trust.
Hope is a verb. Not surprising to me. I also notice it can be intransitive or transitive. The intransitive form of hope is the closest definition of how I use the word in my day to day speech. For example when I say, “I hope I can travel to the Mediterranean one day.” Most likely I don’t have actual plans to go, but I desire to.
The transitive form of hope is exciting!
To desire with expectation of obtainment or to expect with confidence or trust.967875_41580221
According to Strong’s Lexicon the original Greek meaning of hope in this scripture reference is #1680 elpis- elpizo to expect- to trust. That’s what Romans 5:1-5 is saying.
We are to hope with expectation and trust. It’s not wishful thinking. It’s with confidence and trust that we serve

Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Keep Him Away From Us

1414570_98744553Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell really scored when they recorded “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” They sang it so well! I love the positive, determined message of the song. These are people in love and they’d do anything for each other! They’d climb any mountain, no matter how high or cross any river no matter how wide, just to get to get to one another.  Nothing was gonna keep them away from what they desired. You can call on them anytime and they will come running. Sounds like a committed relationship to me.1368860_99219722

God’s commitment to us is even greater. He didn’t just claim he’d do something. He did it: giving us His only begotten son Jesus, to make atonement for our sins at Calvary. You can’t get anymore romantic than that. That is romance with a capital R!  All other romantic notions pale in comparison to the pure love God has given us.

Happy Easter! You ARE loved!

How Do You Spell Sin? U-G-L-Y

1395377_33688986Last night our family attended a showing of “The Passion of The Christ.” You’ve probably seen it. The movie originally came out in 2004; that’s when I first saw it. Last night was my second viewing and my son’s (who’s 15) first. My husband and I were somewhat undecided about letting him see this graphic portrayal. We came to the conclusion that he was old enough. We warned him ahead of time that it’s a gory and disturbing movie. So we went to church and prepared to watch it. Once the flogging scene began, I started questioning our decision. Maybe this is too much for him? Knowing that my son doesn’t care for scary or bloody movies, I questioned myself as to if he’d be alright after watching this movie  Am I a bad mom? I should protect him from these types of things. What parent wants their child to see ugly, hideous things? Don’t we want them to only see that which is good and beautiful? After all, what we let our child take into their mind stays there, doesn’t it? After questioning myself a bit, I eventually let myself get back into the movie, keeping my tissues nearby. Finally Jesus spoke His final words, saying “It is accomplished.” I was relieved! I didn’t want him to suffer anymore. I felt uncomfortable with the beating and cruelty continuing on and on for what seemed like forever. The movie concluded and we got up to go. I had a headache from swollen sinuses, but still couldn’t wait to get in the car to talk about what we’d just witnessed. My husband and I started off the conversation bringing up all the different scenes and the symbolism portrayed. Our son joined in and said “I noticed the man that carried Jesus’s cross, how he said he was an innocent man carrying the cross for a guilty man. The guilty man represents us.” I was beaming inside  My son was indeed ready to see the movie  He understood the main point of the crucifixion and understood it in depth. It was good that he went. Very, very good.

The truth is, although I want to shield my son from the ugly stuff in the world, he needs to see it sometimes, so that he can fully appreciate the gift that Jesus gave us. Jesus not only subjected himself willingly to die on the cross, He was tortured beyond belief. He being made sin for us was cursed on the cross, so we wouldn’t have to experience it. Sin is ugly and so is human behavior a lot of times. Jesus showed us what true beauty is.