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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Trusting God In Difficult Times

Can you trust God when everything seems to be falling apart in your life? You are trying your best to
serve Him and yet sickness comes, your spouse divorces you, your child rebels, your dog runs away. No, I'm not making light of suffering. Some people really seem to go through some horrendous difficulties in their lives that make us wonder how that person keeps on going.

Joyce Meyer, popular evangelist, author and speaker, tells about being diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, she had surgery and it was successful so she didn't have to go through chemo and radiation. Some years ago, I was diagnosed with cervical precancerous cells. My doctor advised me to have surgery, and I agreed. The strange thing about that whole situation was that I never felt a tinge of fear or worry. Looking back, I still marvel at that, because I am a worrier by nature. I remember my daughter accompanying me to the hospital and all I felt was calm. I knew God was with me.

I think that's the secret to trusting God  in difficult times - knowing that He is with you. Psalm 23: 4 says, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." 

But trusting God does not come easily. You have to build a relationship with Him and observe how He operates in your life. We all know the story of Job. He had such a strong relationship with God that when the devil approached God for permission to test Job, God said, "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" (Job 1: 8)

God knew that Job was capable of passing the test. And he did! When, through his suffering, Job's wife told him to curse God and die ( Job 2: 9), Job responded, "Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh . What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil" (v 10)?

We may not curse God when trouble comes, but many of us may be tempted to turn our backs on Him. We may think He has abandoned us, but nothing is further from the truth. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13: 5) and He is faithful to His promises. See my blog post Footprints In The Sand

So, if you are going through difficult times and you don't know Jesus as your Savior, why not invite Him into your life today? Then build a relationship with Him through prayer, Bible reading and fellowship with other Christians, and He will take you through the valley of the shadow of death. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Leave Your Children Alone

Man thinking on a train journey.
Many times when I write a post, I'm talking to myself as much as to my audience. I am the mother of four grown children, and I still worry about them at times. Whether I'm with them or not, I worry if they are out late, I worry about their safety, who they are with, are they getting enough rest, and all sorts of things. Sometimes I call them just to assure myself they are all right.

This week I found myself thinking more than usual about one of my sons. You might translate thinking into worrying, and as I thought about calling him, I came across a devotional that talked about letting go of our children. The article stated that when we know we have done the best we could for our children, all we can do is just let go. Only God can protect them. If they are making wrong choices, only the Holy Spirit can speak to them and bring them back on the right path.

Recently, I saw a mother on one of the talk shows who was probably more of a worrier than I am. Her daughter had just started college and this mother was having a difficult time adjusting to her daughter being away from home. She called her several times a day, called all her professors, inquired about her schedules, and was even thinking of moving to be near her daughter. This lady is not alone. I've heard of mothers who not only call their married children to check up on them, but visit them frequently to see if everything is okay.

Parents, there comes a time when we must let our children have their wings. Give them a chance to practice the values that you have instilled in them. They may make mistakes, some of them costly, but if you trained them properly, they will learn from their mistakes and turn themselves around. The father of the prodigal son did not stop his son when he wanted to leave home. He allowed him to go. Later, the boy experienced regret and disillusionment, and decided to return home. And his father was right there waiting to receive him.

That father is God. We, his children, went astray, but God pardoned us and took us back. The Bible says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (Proverbs 22: 6). So, parents, once your children reach the age to leave home, entrust them to God's care, pray for them every day, and leave them alone! 


Sunday, July 12, 2015

You Can Be A Blessing

One of the most frequent requests we make in our prayers is, "Lord, bless me." We pray God's blessing over our homes, our families, our job, or something important that we are working on. And that's fine. We need to ask God for His blessing, otherwise it may be impossible for us to accomplish anything. But how often do we pray for God to make us a blessing? Do we want to bless others the way God has blessed us?

A very common Christian response when someone cries to us for help is, "I will pray for you." Prayer is always good, but sometimes a person's immediate need might not be prayer, but for some tangible help. Notice the number of times Jesus fed the people and healed them before teaching them about the kingdom. We don't have to be rich to be a blessing. In fact, the Bible gives many examples of people who blessed others when they themselves had no material wealth to speak of.

Peter said to the crippled beggar, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk" (Acts 3: 6). What Peter gave that man was ultimately worth more than silver or gold.

Ruth, the Moabitess, had no material goods to give to Naomi, her mother-in-law. Naomi had lost her husband and her two sons, and she was understandably bitter. In those days a widow who had no sons was truly destitute. Naomi had no choice but to return to her hometown, Bethlehem, in the hope of finding the help that she needed. 

Against Naomi's advice, Ruth decides to go with her. As soon as they settle in in their new home, Ruth goes out to look for work. Not only does she find work, but she also finds favor in the eyes of Boaz, the owner of the field, who later marries her. Ruth and Boaz have a son who is the ancestor of our Lord Jesus Christ. Naomi, who was a bitter old woman, now has the pleasure of caring for this baby and is comfortably settled in life. Ruth's faithfulness has turned out to be a blessing to Naomi.

When you pray today, why not ask God to make you a blessing to others? Maybe all you need to do is visit someone in the hospital, hold the hand of someone who is going through a difficult time, prepare a dish and take it to someone, help in the nursery at church, volunteer your time somewhere. The list is endless. Jesus said,  'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'(Matthew 25: 40).

You can learn more about Ruth by downloading a copy here.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

Two hundred and thirty-nine years ago, America declared its independence from Great Britain.  The move
came as a result of grievances over the Empire's taxation and trade policies. The colonies felt they were being unfairly treated and so they rebelled. America now stands proud as a sovereign nation. Over the years, many countries have followed America's example, and today there are close to 200 independent countries.

As I think about this powerful nation, my thoughts go back to the book of Judges. This book  deals with a period in Israel's history when there was no king. Under Joshua's leadership, the people had finally entered the promised land, and they served the Lord well. But then Joshua and his generation died, and  "The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs" (Judges 3 : 7). 

We know the consequences of their actions. Israel went through a terrible time of  defeat and captivity at the hands of its enemies. Eventually, they cried out to God and He took pity on them. He appointed judges over them and they did well, but each time the judge died, they returned to their sinful ways. Then they would cry out to God again, He would appoint another judge, and the process would be repeated.

There's a line in the book of Judges that is repeated over and over:  "In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17: 6).

Today in America, we have leaders over us, but we are doing what is right in our own eyes. The will of the people has usurped the will of God. Church attendance hovers around 40% while an average 60% of Americans support same-sex marriage. An overall "anything goes" is the pervading lifestyle in America. Policemen kill unarmed civilians and go free. "Every man does that which is right in his own eyes." 

But God is a good God. He is not like man. He does not punish us as our sins deserve. Isaiah 55: 7 says,     "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Happy Independence!

Here are two of my older posts on Independence: