Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why Not Me?

Philippians 4 : 12 (MSG) I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Did you ever notice that we are quick to ask "Why me?" when things are not going well or we feel overwhelmed? Our family has had a lot of junk going on lately....I will refer to them as joy-stealers, and tomorrow I go in for surgery on my neck. Fear is fighting hard to take over....but.... as the above verse states I will be content (happy) in my circumstances....not for them, but IN them I will choose joy because I am not walking alone.

When things are going wonderfully without the bumps of joy stealers, I rarely ask why me.

So whether perceived good or bad, I will begin to ask myself "why not me?" Sometimes we are asked to walk through things we would not choose, but God trusts us enough and/or has a bigger picture in mind of what He wants accomplished. May people see how we handle our circumstances and see God through us.

As someone mentioned to me recently, sometimes we need to be laying down to look up. Very profound!

Matthew 5: 14, 16 (NIV) “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

I saw this a few days ago and it made quite an impact on me. Thought I'd share. If you have a few minutes, definitely worth a watch.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Peace Stealers - Guard Your Heart

The last couple of days have gone by in a blur. I feel like I'm on some sort of countdown to get everything I can done before the end of the month...but really not feeling like doing anything! I feel tired and stressed out...letting little things bother me and turn me into a not so nice person to live with. It seems when one or two things happen, we can manage. When those little things start to pile up, our feeling of peace can get stolen away.

There are different kinds of peace stealers. Things we can control and those we can't. I think my lesson for myself right now is to limit the things I know are stealing my peace. If we don't guard our hearts, no one else will. Stay alert, find peace where you can and keep God in the picture. He's there to help, but we need to reach back.

Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV) 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Focus....where's yours? Push through and look up.

Sunday I had another right time right place moment.

I have been feeling REALLY stressed out. At my Friday appt. we scheduled surgery for the end of the month. Transportation issues. Lack of/poor use of time. Son has not been feeling well and trying to figure out why. Tonight, the toilet overflowed for no apparent reason and is bubbling up when I run the washer....ahhh life! I'm sure your list could compare or even top mine.

The van acted up on the way to church. I was already running late (suprise, not!). I was bound and determined to get there as I feel like I'm running on empty....and not just the gas tank! I drove slower and through parking lots, but I finally got there.

The sermon? How to Listen to a Spirit. The Holy Spirit rarely screams to get our attention. It's more like a constant hum that's there if we listen, but it's easily overcome and drowned out by the tune of everyday life issues. Sometimes it is through the counsel of a trusted person.

After the service, there was a "healing service". Hmmm...just wrote about that I believe. I usually do not seek out assistance (ie: ask for help). I am working on it, but normally I am really bad at it. I felt kind of guilty as I had my little laundry list of stuff going on. I was prayed for: peace for upcoming surgery and watching son feel bad and not knowing what to do, blessings for the drs, we even prayed for the van! I wasn't instantly healed (and neither was the van...should be covered by warranty), but that big bag of worries felt a little lighter and I had a more peaceful feeling. For a few moments, I focused on the fix instead of the problem.

Now I'm thinking about focus and where mine has been. I have been focusing on the problems/mountains. I also believe the devil works overtime on keeping our focus ON the problem/circumstances so we are less effective in God's kingdom.

Psalm 121 (NIV) 1 I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! 3 He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. 4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. 5 The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. 6 The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. 7 The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. 8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

I need to look higher than the mountains. My help will come from God. My focus needs to be where my help will come from....not looking and worrying about how big the problems seem. God is bigger than all of them! BUT I need to be willing to get quiet and focus.

Psalm 46 : 10 (NIV) "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Push through, look up and keep listening and watching for answers. Often, the answers will come in ways you never anticipated.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Thorn (s) ....

I knew time was flying by, but it's been over a month since I posted here! We've been enjoying the summer and dealing with weather in all it's glory....good and bad. During the last big storm, our power went out for a few days. I forget how thankful I need to be when I flip a switch and the light goes on! :)

I've also been going to therapy for my neck issue. This has taken more time than I thought it would. I am blessed that the therapy place is close by my work. Therapy so far has not helped as much as it was hoped (in my opinion). I have a dr. appt. on Friday to see where we go from here....which brings me to my topic of thorn(s).

I have struggled for a long time with the issue of healing. If God CAN heal any of us at any time, how come He doesn't? How come there are still people dealing with chronic pain, diabetes, MS, cancer, ADHD, etc? I have heard people say that while they've fought the battle they have learned lessons they would not have learned any other way.

I got to thinking about Paul in the Bible. He was a very Godly person (after a round about conversion!). He talks about a "thorn" that he asked to be removed. Not just once, but three times.

2 Corinthians 12 : 7-10 7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I don't pretend to know what Paul's thorn was or why it was given to him. I haven't read further to see if it is taken care of and removed. However, I really like verses 9 and 10. God wasn't away from him. God reminded Paul of his grace and his power. Maybe half of the "fix" is realizing that whatever thorns we deal with, we are not dealing with them alone.

For myself, pain and my realization that I can't control everything that happens to me has made me rely on God more than I have been. I had been drifting again....not taking time to BE with God through reading the Bible, prayer, worship, etc. And I have also realized that God's way of removing the thorn may not be my ideal solution. Sometimes we are provided with doctors and/or medicines that become part of the solution.

I don't know if I will ever be able to say I "delight" in the thorns, but I will do my best to remember that when I am weak, then I am strong because I'm not leaning on my own power. I hope and pray the same for you whatever thorns you're dealing with now.

Once we get past the thorns, we'll enjoy the rose! ;)