Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Difficult or More Difficult

Acts 14:22 (Message) ...urging them to stick with what they had begun to believe and not quit, making it clear to them that it wouldn't be easy: "Anyone signing up for the kingdom of God has to go through plenty of hard times."

Earlier this month, some friends and I went on an Art Walk in the woods up north MI. We came to a fork in the trail with a sign stating "difficult" and "more difficult".

I smiled as I realized how much this signifies most of life. It does not matter which way you go, it's a challenge. According to the verse above, as Christians, we are probably on the "more difficult" path.

There was the option of turning back (which we did at the time), but I wonder what we missed. We did make the effort to climb the steps of a stockade maze. More difficult? Yes, but we were rewarded with the beautiful colors of the autumn trees filling the landscape. It was worth the effort. On the ground, we were unable to see that distance. Even though there was some rain that day, the umbrella of trees protected us from getting too wet.

I have to thank my husband for the time away with my friends. Sometimes we need a break to refresh ourselves along the way.

God promises that He will share in our burdens along the more difficult path. He also offers us rest for the times we get beat down by the circumstances we find along the path, whichever one we choose or find ourselves on. A yoke divides the work and doubles the effort.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) 28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Under the heading Rest for the Weary)

Not trying to rewrite the Bible, but thinking how the above translates for me:

Make an effort to find me. You know you're tired. Allow me to join you and make this easier. I will help you relax. You will find rest. You will not work alone.

Take a few moments to consider what path you're on. Are you walking it alone? Struggling? God's yoke is beside the path. Will you pick it up? It does not mean the path will get easier. It does mean that you can share the load. Are you up to the challenge of the more difficult?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Noble Peace

I usually try to stay away from being too political....especially on here. There is usually a wide gap between left and right without a lot of meeting in the middle. The big issues that the two sides can't agree on do not have a lot of gray area.

The recent news of the Nobel Peace prize awarded to the president was interesting. I do not really know a lot about his career before becoming president to know if it is deserved or not. Do I think he's riding the fame of the now generation? More than likely. For interest sake, a list of previous winners is available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nobel_Peace_Prize_laureates I did not know the award had been around since 1901. There were also some years the award was not given out. My information learned for the day.

Then I saw today's verse on BibleGateway:
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”- Romans 12:2 (NIV)

I started playing around with the idea of the spelling. Rearranged Nobel Peace becomes Noble which made me think of God. I tend to get bogged down by details and where the world seems to be heading. So I'm thinking a renewing of my mind is in order. Then I looked up the verse about peace that passes understanding. The verses before and after are good too.

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.

The verses above are an excellent reminder to guard our hearts and our minds. Find our way to NOBLE PEACE and it won't matter what the world does.

I'll move past doubt in the events of this world and think on true, noble (didn't even know that was in the verse at 1st! - guess that ties it all together!), right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy things.

How about you? Ready to be a transform-er?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Lions' Den? Same God. Provided and Protected.

We have had some ongoing issues and frustrations. Last night and this AM things have kind of bubbled over and started to taint the rest of life. Ugh. We need to make some really difficult decisions that will not just affect us.

Recently, I had written in my journal that I was trying to handle things on my own again and not including God in our decisions.

Usually, when I eat breakfast I read through the local paper, a magazine or a novel. This AM I got the feeling I should read THE Book. So I got out my favorite Bible. I know that it is not a good idea to just flip open the Bible and read where you land. There's wisdom in Proverbs and comfort in the Psalms. I've been reading in Genesis. So I could have started in any of those places. BUT, I stuck my finger in and looked where it landed.

Daniel 6.....Daniel and the Lions' Den. A pretty well known story, but a quick recap. Some of the people serving with Daniel get jealous because he seems to be getting special treatment. The king likes him. Daniel follows God. The jealous folks get the king to pass a law that can not be repealed. For 30 days people can only pray to the king....or be thrown into the lions' den. Daniel is found, as usual, during one of his daily 3 times of prayer thanking God and asking for his help. The king tries everything, but the law stands. Daniel is thrown to the lions. The king does not sleep and goes to the lions' den early the next day. He calls out to Daniel....who replies! The people who framed Daniel (and their families) are thrown into the pit and the lions did what lions do. The king then orders everyone to follow Daniel's God.

Good story, but the VERY cool part is what else I found. I had read through this passage before and highlighted the following verses:

Daniel 6:26&27 (NIV)

26 "I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.
"For he is the living God
and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
his dominion will never end.

27 He rescues and he saves;
he performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions."

Part of the reason I love The Journey Bible I have is the boxes of info along the side. The one for this section? The God Who Is There. Summarized, it stated: This story is one of the most popular and well known and provides another example of God's provision and protection. It shows that God can rescue those who seek him in prayer, no matter how hopeless life appears. And then: "Did you turn to the pages of this book because of some painful or desperate personal situation? If so, realize that the same God who rescued Daniel is ready to work in you as well. He can enter your experience despite the adverse circumstances in your life-you are not beyond his reach. All you need to do is turn to God, trusting that he will never abandon you once you've placed your life in his hands."

The God that was with Daniel in the lions' den is available to us. How frustrating it must be for God (the ultimate father) to know that he can assist us, but we won't ask him for his help. I'm going to do better, how about you?

Hearing, but no longer fearing, the roars.