24 Jul

Take heart!

A lack of blessing is not a sign of disapproval any more than prosperity is a sign of approval.

It rains on the just and unjust alike.

The secret is to trust the Lord regardless of the circumstances.

Be careful not to equate God’s love, acceptance and blessing with ease, comfort and abundance.

There is no guarantee of comfort in a calling.

God is often more evident during challenging times than times of ease.

Don’t allow the blessings you observe in the lives of others to cause you to doubt your value, calling or obedience to God.

He often calls the strongest to the hardest assignments. If it were easy, anyone could do it.

You were hand picked to demonstrate what your daddy can do through a kid committed to his training program.

Stay the course.

His coaching is to be desired more than applause from the crowd.

Seek the blesser not the blessing. His presence not the present.

Enjoy the good times. Cherish the blessings. Express gratitude for abundance and prosperity but also recognize hard times bring refinement, experience and strength.

Be careful not to associate challenging times, rejection, setbacks or a lack of blessing with his absence. He is more present now than ever!

God works all things together for good. We do well not to limit the means by which he nurtures, grows and matures his kids.

He is more interested in building our character, developing our trust and deepening our dependence on him than calming the waters, softening our seats and lifting our loads.

He desires to make us stronger, more confident and more like him. Such is often accomplished through adversity, struggle and hard work.

Take heart. He is with you and will see you through.

What a blessing!

(Inspired by Habakkuk 3:2,17,18 and Matthew 5:45)

“I have heard all about you, LORD. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by.”Habakkuk 3:2

“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” Habakkuk 3:17-18

“… he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” Matthew 5:45

23 Jul

Here it comes.

It seems some days are just smoother than others.

A great day is one that is healthy, wealthy, happy, peaceful, fun and without concern.

A good day is making it through another 24 hours without setbacks, put downs or threats.

A poor day is surviving but not without having to overcome a few nags and drags, being a bit discouraged or even somewhat depressed with it all.

A bad day includes feeling hopeless, desperate, sad, mad, hurt, pain, suffering, defeat or incurring a significant loss.

If I have learned anything, it is to cherish the great days, appreciate the good days, learn from the poor days and remember the better days when things are bad.

It never hurts to count my blessings. It always seems to make things better, no matter what type of day it is.

Whenever I find something to be grateful for, it is not always easy, but it is usually there somewhere, things seem a little bit brighter and better. An attitude of gratitude helps me navigate the platitudes.

Everyday is better when faced with a loyal, caring, fun and listening friend.

Life is meant to be shared, no matter what kind of day it is.

 

 

19 Jul

Longing for home

Vacations are great. Business travel makes work fun but nobody likes to be unwillingly displaced and stuck on the road.

Living in exile, away from all that makes life normal, can suck the life out of you.

You aren’t where you want to be. Where you want to be is home. Truly, there is no place like home, especially if you want to be there and some unforeseen circumstance keeps you at bay.

Ask anyone who has suffered countless flight delays, following a long trip, and they are certain to agree, home is where they want to be.

The Hebrews were exiled and, yet again, they found themselves in captivity. They were stuck with no tow truck in sight.

They were homesick, discouraged and disappointed with where life had taken them.

Being displaced was depressing and dreadful. Yet, hope was given as a word was gained from the Lord.

One of their leaders had gained insight from the Lord and it assured them God was aware of their situation and that their current predicament was only a season.

The word was simple yet encouraging. Hang in there. Hold on. Get on with your life and don’t dwindle away. Make the most of it. You are still breathing and there is still hope.

Thanks for the pep talk, God, but why the delay? Our bags are packed and we are ready to roll. Where is the flight crew? The engines are fired up. If we leave now, we will be home in time for dinner.

God was not silent. He assured them he heard their prayers and they would be home again but on his time not theirs.

God is never in a hurry but he is never late. His timing is perfect.

We may not understand what is holding things up but we can have confidence he has a plan and it is good!

Rest assured, when God is our travel agent, we have a future and we have hope! He will bring us home and he will restore our fortunes!

In the meantime, what are we to do?

1. Work for peace and prosperity. Don’t sit around hosting a pity party. Get busy and get on with your life. It is easier to start if you are already moving. Make the most of it and be ready to fly.

2. Pray. Keep the lines of communication open. Listen for your boarding call. Stay close to the gate. Stay close to God.

3. Keep your eyes open. Look for the open door and expect things to happen when you are seeking direction from the Lord with all your heart. This is not a casual hunt. This is a hunt for survival.

Be ready. Keep a bag packed and your boarding pass in hand. But in the meantime, stay after it, stay active, go about your day and look for the Lord to call for your ticket.

He has a plan for good, and not for disaster, a plan for your future that is full of hope. You will be restored. He will bring you home again!

All aboard!

(Inspired by Jeremiah 29:11-14)

 

 

16 Jul

A wrong turn in the right direction?

Do you ever feel like you took a wrong turn in the right direction?

Initially, you regret the path you have chosen but ultimately you realize the redirection was protection that led to deep satisfaction.

Life can throw us a lot of curve balls but when we lean in and swing through, the grand slam lands in the stands.

The children of Israel had just left the field of victory and found themselves wondering what was next.

They soon realized they were under attack and were facing one remaining giant that needed to be slayed.

Their formidable foe, King Og, slept in a 13 foot long iron bed. He lived in a fortified city complete with high walls and barred gates.

Talk about obstacles to overcome.  A little overwhelming?

What is the likelihood of taking over a giant’s kingdom? Not very likely unless you are confident your wrong turn was actually directed by the Lord.

The instructions were clear:

  1. Don’t be afraid
  2. Remember, victory is yours.

All righty! Here goes!

The result?

Not a single town escaped their conquest. Victory was theirs. They were more than survivors, they were conquerors.

Have you made any wrong turns lately? Worried you might be on the wrong path?

Here is the good news. You can get there from here.

Yup, wherever you are, wherever you have been and no matter what you have done, you have a God that can take your wrong turns and make them right.

You may have lost a job or a limb. Life may have slapped you in the face with yet another setback, but be not dismayed or discouraged. You may not get out of jail anytime soon, but your cell can become a platform for good.

You are still in the game. There is a purpose for the days that remain. Hang in there, hold on, push through and look for your life to be used in ways you may not have chosen or ever imagined.

When you wonder what is next, don’t be afraid, feel defeated or be overwhelmed by the giant that lingers.

Remember, you are a survivor. You are a conqueror! You may be beat up, bruised, broken and bottomed out but you are still standing!

Don’t write yourself off yet! Your life matters. Your life has purpose beyond your current circumstances.

Your life is right on track for victory.

(Inspired by Deuteronomy 3:1-11)