When chaos thrives

It seems that almost everyone I know, including myself, currently faces difficult situations in our lives.  From illnesses, loss of jobs, stressful family situations, and other sources of discouragement and pain, it seems that nothing is turning out right and blessings are few and far between.

Humanly speaking, we have every reason to rush to judgments, panic, bitterness, unforgiveness, and anger. We quickly look at our circumstances and wonder why these situations continue to come.  It is easy to look at all the chaos around us and become discouraged.  But discouragement, when allowed to fester, can have detrmintal results in our lives. God may seem distant, uncaring, or perhaps even absent. We forget that we are fearfully & wonderfully made and created with a purpose.

However, the truth is that, as Children of God, we are to “Walk by Faith, Not by Sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7)  And we walk by faith by trusting God – remembering that He is our Sovereign Lord.  He knows what is happening in our lives – he allowed these things to happen!  God is in all our life’s circumstances (the good and the bad), working for us, not against us.  God is at work, despite the difficulty of your situation and even when you can’t see or understand what He’s doing.

And beyond that…He gives us Wisdom and strength to face our circumstances with victory. When we take our eyes off our situations, place our focus on Him, and strive to Know Him, we become full of His truth.  Psalm 119:105 says that “His Word is a lamp to [our] feet and a light to [our] path.” By meditating on His Word and then applying it to our lives, we will lead us through these times of trials and straight into where He wants us to be. He is Faithful to show us what we need to do!

But it’s all a choice.  A choice to meditate on Truth or listen to the lies that bring us down.  A choice to praise & thank God during the hard times.  A choice in our attitudes, actions, and thoughts.  Choose today to engulf yourself with the Promises of God and meditate upon his many blessings!

This morning on the radio, I heard a devotional that speaks directly on this topic.  The following paragraph is from God to you.

Draw Near To Me with a thankful heart, aware that your cup is overflowing with blessings.  Gratitude enables you to perceive Me more clearly and to rejoice in our love-relationship.  Nothing can separate you from My loving Presence!  That is the basis of your security.  Whenever you start to feel anxious, remind yourself that your security rests in Me alone, and I am totally trustworthy.

You will never be in control of your circumstances, but you can relax and trust in My control.  Instead of striving for a predictable, safe lifestyle, seek to know Me in greater depth and breadth.  I long to make your life a glorious adventure, but you must stop clinging to old ways.  I am always doing something new within My beloved ones.  Be on the lookout for all that I have prepared for you.

2008 “Resolution”

road tripNew Year’s Resolutions don’t work because people expect immediate perfection. Then, the first moment they slip, they throw their hands in the air & say, “Well, I just blew it!”, abandoning their cause and continuing back into old habits.

One synonym of “resolution” is determination. Resolutions are about determination to change, not perfection – and the only way to succeed is to understand that change is a progress…a journey with bumps in the road, set-backs, and slip-ups. In fact, resolutions are much like the journey of a road trip. We have a goal in mind – a final destination. We’ve planned out our route, gathered all the materials needed for our journey, and pumped ourselves up for a fabulous trip. The ride starts out smooth – no traffic, the car’s full of gas, our favorite tunes blare through the speakers. The weather’s nice and so are other drivers, who graciously let you pass by, waving hello as you speed ahead.

Then, about halfway into the journey, it happens. The wind blows a little stronger, the clouds darken, and little drifts of snow begin to fall on the windshield. By the time you reach Flagstaff, the snow flurries have turned into a full-blown blizzard. This sudden change in weather forces an early stop. Hopefully, it will be clear by morning. But upon waking, you see that the snow fell all night long and now piles half way up your car tires, trapping you in. You never expected this…mainly because you forgot to check the weather ahead of time, therefore you didn’t plan for it. You have no heavy jacket…only t-shirts and a light wind coat (which is all that is required for your sunny stay in San Francisco). The car is not equipped with tire chains, or ice scapers. Do you give up and head back home? Do you just throw your hands up and say, “Well, I blew it – no vacation for us!” NO! Because you’re DETERMINED to make it to your destination, you problem solve…such as using the hotel room’s plastic flyer stand as an ice scraper!  (true story by the way)

The trip wasn’t perfection. You forgot to plan accordingly and problems arose (some in your control, some not). Either way, you persevered! You didn’t make it to your destination at the anticipated time, but you still made it.

One of the problems that I’ve had is that I give up too early. I’ve been that person I described above who throws their hands up quickly. So this year, my resolution is slightly different. Instead of making specific resolutions like “lose weight” or “quit procrastinating”, I’ve resolved to be more disciplinedin all area of my life: health, relationships, Bible intake, prayer, meditation, work.

I started thinking about this last Sunday when our Pastor read 1 Corinthians 9:23-25 :

marathonI do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

I pictured the Christian life as a race, and myself as an athlete, then asked myself…Am I running is such a way as to get the prize? If I was to compete, would I win?”

Honestly, I’m not doing bad…I’m now pursuing His will more than I have in a long while. I know that God is pleased with me…but I know I could be doing more….Training more for His work and what He has planned for me. I’m not as disciplined in my life as an athlete is disciplined for his race. If I was…WOW…imagine the things God could do in and through me! Everything would change…gradually. The more I discipline myself daily to seek the Lord and His ways, the more I will see God work.

Josh headed to China

Josh left this morning for Beijing, China at 11:30. He has a 24 hour layover in Chicago where he will meet up with another SOS missionary, and then together head to China . His final destination time will be about 4:00 pm on Saturday.

As I hear from him, I will be posting updates on His trip, so keep checking back here daily to see what’s going on.  If you would like to know why He is going  check out the previous blog that he wrote by clicking HERE.

Please pray for safe travels…it’s a long 14 hour flight.  Also pray that there is no problems as they go through customs.

On another similar note, there has been rumors circulating that China has banned the Bible from the 2008 Olympics. Apparently, that is untrue. I found a FOX news article posted today that explains the misunderstanding. You can read about it HERE.

Meditating on the Word

Joshua 1:8-9 (New International Version)8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Psalm 1:2-3 (New International Version) 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

James 1:25 (New International Version)25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

The Creator of the universe has interest in us and desires to reveal Himself to us. He has given us the words of life through the pages of the Bible. Not only do we have this great treasure but also the promises in it are for us. The Father loves us so much that through Christ we can have hope for the future. God promises that those who earnestly seek Him in His word will be blessed. Oh what a privilege to have this book in so many translations and styles today.

I want to be the tree planted by the water that is yielding fruit. Clearly to do this I must read the Word and do what it says. By soaking my mind in the scriptures His thoughts become mine and I begin to decrease. To truly live we must die to self and let Christ reign on the throne of our lives.