"Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." ~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Don't Mind Waiting

How many of you would consider yourself a patient person? You can wait easily for what you want, including the desires of your heart that you share with your heavenly Father. I'm sure your patience has really paid off in your life. There are others, like myself, in which God has had to grow patience. Having the character of little patience makes waiting a difficult and tedious task. Those with little faith often give up on waiting, and result in settling for something that is "as good as we can get" to the real thing.

I think back to the fond memories of my childhood. I would have a certain amount of money, and the excitement of spending it would consume my every thought. I would continuously ask when we were going to the store, what store we were going to, and if it was time to go yet. My lack of patience, and excitement mixed with eagerness would cause frustration that would sometimes land me in trouble in these situations. Think about your life as a child. Some events that were hard to wait for include Christmas morning, the first day of school, and maybe even your birthday. We knew that these days would come, but waiting for them was difficult because we knew that exciting things were going to happen for us. Does this sound familiar in your life today?

God has His own way of doing things. He listens to our prayers, and we tell Him the desires of our heart, and we expect Him to answer instantly. We want to pray microwave prayers. We want to pray for something for a short time, and have a quick product of our prayer. We want God to do what we want Him to do when we want Him to do it. We often forget that God is not operating on our time, yet, we are operating on His. God has marvelous things for us, if only we would wait.

Once again, I think back to having that money that used to burn a hole in my hand as a child. Before we would leave for the store, my mother would tell me what stores we would be shopping in that day. I would be so excited to get something new, anything new. I would always find something to buy at the first store. My mother would question me. I can vividly hear her asking, "Are you sure you want that? I told you we were going other places. You may see something you want somewhere else, and then you will not have any money to spend. Have you really thought about it?" The majority of the time, my eagerness and lack of patience would consume me and I would succumb to buying the first item that I saw that appealed to me without thinking twice, even though I would tell her that I had really thought deeply about it. We would continue on our shopping trip, and sure enough, I would see something else that I wanted before the day was over. I would so desperately want it, but I would have already spent my money. Suddenly, the item that I had purchased earlier would not look so interesting and necessary any longer. At times, I would end up in tears. Thank God for growth!

How many times in our lives do we create a mess because we can't wait when God has promised us something? He tells us that it is in His will for us to do something, but we can't wait and work according to His time. The things that we do without His guidance always end up in a mess. And, we go crawling back to God begging and crying out for Him to fix it! It is our lack of patience that makes us settle for less than what God has prepared for us, and results in the mess.

Waiting is a difficult and tedious task. I don't think this can be said enough. If we know this fact, we should be able to have more patience when waiting upon the Lord. We know that God will not leave or forsake us, and if the desires of our heart are in His will for us to have, we must wait until it is He who provides them for us.

Waiting has NEVER been an easy task for me. I have, however, learned that when waiting gets difficult and tiresome, and I feel like I am losing my patience and strength to wait, God will intervene for me and give me more strength and patience to wait if only I would ask.

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

This scripture gives me strength in knowing that if I wait on the Lord, everything that should be; will be, if it is in His will. I thank God that I have come a long way from that little girl whose excitement would overtake her actions. Even though it is tough, tedious, and even mind-boggling at times, I don't mind waiting on the Lord, for only His blessings will last and prosper in my life! "He may not come when you want Him, but He's always right on time."

Lord, I want to thank you for making me wait! I realize that You know Your will for my life, and if the desires of my heart are in Your will, it shall come to pass. I thank You for past times in my life that You have made me wait upon You, for I realize that this strengthened my dependence on You. You are an awesome God. Lord, help me to understand that I operate on Your time, and not You on mine. Help me to appreciate the privilege of waiting on You, for the things that You bless me with are long lasting and prosperous. Lord, I ask that you forgive me for times that I allowed impatience to overtake my actions and I chose not to wait on You. I pray that in future times of waiting; you will strengthen my impatience and help me to not succumb to my desires, but to Your will for my life. I love you and thank You for knowing exactly how to love and grow me, so that I am prepared to enter Your kingdom when this life is over.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Desperate for Deliverance

Imagine, you have a serious problem. You have spent twelve years focusing all of your efforts on getting rid of your problem. You are considered unclean, and are out casted from society. You are used to being alone, because you have been alone for so very long. Not a friend in the world, and many will not touch you or allow you to touch them for fear of becoming like you. You can't even bribe people to be around you because you have spent everything you have on hopeless remedies that fail to cure you. Your life is lonely, and you are desperate! You only want to feel good again physically, and mentally. Along comes Jesus!

You have heard about Jesus, and you believe in His power. You think about it deeply. If the regular people in society will not allow you to interact with them, what would Jesus do if you came close to Him? That thought quickly escapes your mind, as your disparity overtakes your actions. You begin to walk toward that place where you heard Jesus will be. You stay low to the ground, careful not to make notice of yourself. You can't yell His name, for fear that everyone will once again outcast you; but rather, you reach out and grasp just a small piece of His garment, the piece that is found at the bottom; the piece that is probably dirty from His travels. You touch the hem of His garment, and instantly, you feel the problem drift out of your body! But, Jesus felt you touch Him! You become nervous and embarrassed because you know that you are out of place. You fall to your knees, and He can hear the disparity and pain in your voice as you fearfully explain why you pressed your way though the madness just to touch Him. Rather than scold you for being out of order, He explains to you that it is your faith that has healed you. You are the woman with the issue of blood!
(Mark 5:25-34)

I LOVE the story of the woman with the issue of blood. It may be my favorite event that occurred in the Bible next to Jesus' birth and resurrection. I love the fact that this woman had tried everything there was to try, and knew that all that was left for her to do was to touch Jesus. I love that she was not going to let anyone stop her! I love that fact that she touched Him indiscreetly. I love that she defied what others commanded and expected her to do to get her deliverance. I love her determination and disparity to become better. And, I love how she so boldly took a risk of being turned away by Jesus, just as others had done her. I love that He didn't turn her away. Rather than turn her away, He referred to her lovingly as "Daughter". I can only imagine how this felt for her to be called daughter when being exiled and out casted for so long. This term shows that Jesus truly loved and cared for her.

Her deliverance all narrows down to one simple fact. She was a woman of faith! Her disparity had led her to Jesus, as ours does as well. Have you ever been so desperate that you knew it was only Jesus that could heal you or fix your issue?

Many successful people are just that because of disparity. People are born every day in poverty, abuse, neglect, and other emotional and physical issues. Many of these people become desperate and defy the odds! They are desperate to become a better person than those that are in charge of them in their adolescence. They put all of their efforts into their talents and abilities, and use this as a method to reach what they consider to be a successful status. Others like them, do the opposite and allow their disparity to overtake their thoughts and actions which may lead to a painful and miserable life. They may simply accept their current situation, and never become desperate enough to take risks to make it better. What if the woman with the issue of blood never became desperate? What if she would have simply accepted her exile and continued to live miserably? What would have come of her?

Disparity leads to faith. When Christian believers are desperate, they believe that something has to change in or around them, and they begin to work for the change. When we need a change, sometimes we may need to be delivered from someone, some thing, or some place. We become desperate for deliverance. When you truly believe in Christ, you know that it is only God's power that can deliver you from your issue. And, isn't it lovely that despite what the issue is, and who has out casted or exiled us, that Jesus will accept our plea for deliverance?

How desperate do we really get with our issues? We complain about them. We cry about them. We may even curse about them, but how long do we have to be chained down before we become desperate for God's deliverance? How bold are we to take our chains to God and place them at His feet? Can we really leave them there? Sometimes we deal with issues for so long, that the issue actually begins to define our daily living and becomes embedded within us. Do we really trust God to deliver us? The woman with the issue of blood must have known that she would be made whole to make such an appearance in public! What strong faith! I admire the faith in this woman for being so desperate for her deliverance!

Lord, I thank You for every work You have done in my life, large or small. Lord, I thank You for the story of the woman with the issue of blood. I thank You for her bold example to press though madness in order to just touch you. I thank You for the desperate times in my life when you have delivered me. I thank You for Your grace, mercy, and forgiveness that You have upon me. Lord, I realize that You are the only source of my strength and help. Thank You for touching me and accepting me when no one else did. Thank You for loving me and seeing the good in me when no one else could, including myself. No one can love me and treat me like You can. You are the only one worthy of my praise and I will forever praise You. Thank you Father for understanding the plight of living life. Forgive me for times when I have had little faith in you. I pray that in future desperate times, I come to You as my only source of deliverance where I know I will be made whole again! I Love You Father.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dare to be Different!

Living for God is hard work! I have not found anywhere in the Bible that states that being called out and set apart from the world would be. As a matter of fact, we as Christians must bear a cross just as Jesus did in order to arrive at our final destination, heaven. In my opinion, the characteristic of Christians being double sided is what makes living life for God such hard work! We have our flesh, and our spirit. When I think about the way we were created, I think of the commercials that have the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. This illustrates perfectly the composition of a Christian.

Once we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts and confess that we believe in Him and His Father, we receive the Holy Spirit. I would say this represents the angel. However, our flesh still exists, which represents the devil in the commercial. I was under the impression when I got saved that it would make me a "good girl". At the tender age of nine, I thought that I would never have any problems in life, and everything was going to be perfect. I didn't expect living for my Father to be such hard work!

I have always been a person who kind of does her own thing. I can't necessarily say that in school I really "fit in" anywhere. There have been times in my life where I have felt a little, well, different. At times, I have felt that no one really understood me or knew who I really was. There were sides to me and my personality that went unexplored by those around me. These are the sides that God knows and uses for His glory the most. Have you ever known someone for a long time, but discovered that maybe you really didn't know them after all? You didn't know what they were really "good" at, which we call hidden talents. You may not have known what they really like or dislike. There may even be character traits that they have that you didn't know about, such as being compassionate or generous. Sometimes we hide our best qualities in order to find our place in society. After hidden so long, our passions and best qualities become so lost that even we forget what they are.

I was talking to a friend yesterday, who is really ready for a relationship. She was sharing with me her frustrations about dating in today's society. She shared that she felt she would meet really nice guys, but felt that they always wanted something in return from her. The things they wanted went against her beliefs, and the growth she has made in her personal relationship with God. How frustrating for her! All of these guys communicated to her about how different she was. When they figured out that the difference involved them not getting what they wanted from her, they became uninterested. I am so glad she chose what God placed within her and her growth over a guy!
How many times have we felt like we had to change the person that we were just to befriend someone or to be accepted by society? How many times have we conformed, and felt shame and regret later because we let someone or something influence our life and thoughts so greatly? When I reflect upon my life, I could have saved myself from a lot of heartache and pain if I would have decided to just be me; love it, or leave it. The Bible speaks against conformity in the book of Romans.

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (KJV)

When God wants to use your life for His glory, sometimes it calls for you to be set apart from those around you. Loneliness may arise because you began to talk different, walk different, and even look different. Everyone around you will not understand what God is doing within you. You may feel different. And, as much as you love the fact that you have forsaken all others and decided to live for Christ, you may feel isolated and lonely. You may have to walk alone on your journey, but as long as you are walking for God, He will provide all the companionship that you need.

Matthew 5:13 and Mark 9:50 refer to believers as "Salt of the Earth." When I think about the taste of salt, different is a word I would use to describe it. There is no other flavor that tastes even close to salt. Salt has its own unique flavor that stands out in any dish. The taste of salt does not conform when other flavors are added. If we are to live for Christ, we must stand out in the world. This may even include our own places of worship and our Christian family. Sometimes the things God are calling us to, other believers of Christ will not even understand.

The beautiful thing about God's instructions is that He doesn't always intend for everyone else to understand what He is doing within you! What God has for you is for you. When we conform, we may miss what God has for us.

This day, I dare you to be different! It will not be easy, and it does not mean that we will be perfect, but it expresses to God our seriousness in trusting Him to supply all of our needs and fulfilling the major purpose and mission He has for our lives! What a difference in our relationship with God it makes when we express and display the uniqueness that He placed within us! Dare to be different!

Lord, thank you for the uniqueness that you have placed within each of Your children. Lord, thank You for creating us for Your special purpose. Help us, Lord to acknowledge and display what You have placed within us to help build Your kingdom, and forgive us allowing others to influence our thoughts, actions, and behaviors. Lord, I have decided to live for You and realize that this may be a difficult and lonely task, but I thank You because I know that You are with me every step of the way. I ask that You order my steps in Your word. Help me stay strong and dedicated to You when the temptation arises for me to conform to the ways of this world. Please continue to show me what You see when You look at me. Thank you for being my Father and my best friend.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crazy Faith!!!

Have you ever had a dream or goal that looked and seemed impossible? Or, do you still have one? Have you ever asked God what He wanted you to do, and when He replied, you felt ill-equipped to do what He instructed you to do, even though you knew it was God speaking to you? Do you have passions and talents that you know you are blessed to have, but feel that you may live in the wrong area, are the wrong age, or are just not "good enough" to share a small piece of your passion?

Passions and talents are placed within us by God. When He molded each of us, He decided what He wanted each of us to fulfill and accomplish in our lives. Some of us were created for small things that are behind the scenes of kingdom building, and others may have been created for what we think are starring roles. Despite what others view as the size of your spiritual gift, know that they come from our Father, whose every work is marvelous!

When the passion of our gift runs so very deep, there are times when we must have what I like to call crazy faith. Crazy faith is when we step out and do something that God has ordered our steps in, but those around us think that we are crazy for doing it! They don't understand our transformation and the changes we must make in order to fully live for our Lord and turn our talents and passions over to Him. Despite what your spiritual gift is, it was given to you to help build the kingdom. Sometimes in order to position ourselves to use the gift that God has provided to us, we have to do some "crazy" things. The characteristic of God asking His children to do things that looked and sounded "crazy" is nothing new.

In Matthew 19, a young man asked Jesus what he must do to have eternal life. Jesus responded that he must keep the commandments. The young man then stated that he had done that since his youth. Jesus then responded in Matthew 19: 21, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. This troubled the young man. This is not what he was expecting Jesus to instruct him to do! This young man was troubled because he had many possessions and he had NO INTENTIONS of letting go of them. (Matthew 19:22)

Many of us have prayed on our purpose and asked God what it is that He will have us to do. We have prayed and asked God to make our will for our lives His will. But sometimes when God responds, we don't like what we hear. Sometimes when God responds, WE THINK what He instructs us to do is impossible! Oh ye of little faith! (Matthew 6:30 KJV) Or, should I say, "Oh, us of little faith!"

When God provides you with a vision and a purpose, He will provide the route that you must take to get there. Last year, I resigned from my job without having had even an interview from another employer. How crazy is this, seen with physical eyes! I had already been praying and even fasted for the first time about some needed changes in my life. Well, this was one of God's responses. I came up with numerous excuses for why I need not do what God told me to do. I told Him I had two children to feed and asked how I would feed them. I told Him that I had friends at my job, and I didn't think I would grow closer to new people. I told Him that I just didn't feel like picking up and moving again even though I really wanted to. I told Him that I just couldn't afford to do what He wanted me to do! He told me that I couldn't afford not to! So, I resigned. CRAZY Faith! Many people asked me questions that I really could not answer, and looked at me crazy after I couldn't answer them. I was unable to answer them because I had no answers. God told me what to do and that was it. He revealed nothing else at that time. I was terrified! I had never made such a bold move in my life. I had always been a person of definite security and no surprises. God was challenging me to have faith in Him.

Now, knowing that it is God who is speaking to you is the key. It took me a while to figure out my feelings from what God was speaking to me. Even though I prayed and fasted, I still had too many distractions to hear God. He was speaking, but I just couldn't hear Him. I was actually afraid up until the point that I turned in my letter of resignation. Then, everything seemed okay. It was almost as if God said, "Phase one, complete." It was not up until this point that He began to reveal the purpose and larger picture for this test of faith.

You see, we think so small, while our Father is thinking so big. And, our human nature wants to know everything that is going to happen, when it is going to happen, where it is going to happen, and even what benefits we will receive for being obedient unto our Father. Traveling into the unknown is what makes having faith a difficult task.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

I dare to say that God is offended when we don't have faith in Him. When we are disobedient to his instructions and visions because of fear, low self-esteem, not wanting to be discomforted, or even because of our concern of what people will say or think of us, God is not pleased. What we really communicate is that we do not believe in the promises of God. Do you really believe that He will take care of you and supply all of your needs? Do you really believe that He will open doors of opportunity for you? Do you really believe that God holds the power to do ALL things?

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Hebrews chapter 11 continues on giving several examples of God calling His people to exercise their faith, such as Noah and Abraham.

It was my crazy faith that helped me see glimpses of what God has for my future. God has not revealed all, but He reveals slowly as I continue to seek His face. And right now, He is really working on me. Dr. Tara Jenkins stated once, "Your talents can get you to a place where your character can't keep you." I can't get where God wants me to be until my character is the way God wants it to be. Stepping out of faith can help build our character. It may humble us and even break us down so God can build us back up again with a renewed and refreshed spirit and attitude.

I have realized that when God instructs me to do something, I don't have the right to refuse after all that He has already done for me. I have learned that obeying God's instructions, even when it does move me out of my comfort zone, will strengthen my relationship with Him and reveal my life's purpose. This doesn't mean that I don't question God, or even avoid doing what He has told me to do for a little while. This doesn't mean that in the midst of my storms, I won't wonder where God is or if He still cares. We are flesh and sometimes allow our flesh to rise above our spirit. What this does mean, however, is that I am stronger in Christ because I exercised my faith. It means that my faith on my next test may be a little stronger because I will be able to look back upon other times in my life that I had crazy faith and saw its purpose!

God, right now, I want to thank You for Your grace and mercy in my life. I realize that the day I accepted Your son Jesus Christ as my savior, I found faith in You. I know that You will provide all of my needs even when things are dark and I am unable to see the road ahead. Lord, I thank You for what You have revealed unto me and ask You to forgive me when I am disobedient to Your instructions. I understand that there are some uncomfortable things that I must endure on this life journey, but I thank You that it is in those times when I can see that you are always there for me. Help me to be still and quiet enough to recognize You when You make yourself plain before my eyes. Thank You Lord for your agape love. Even when I was disobedient and didn't show that I trusted You, You loved me anyway. Lord I thank You for my past, I thank You for my present, and I praise You in advance for my future.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chasing After You

There comes a point and time within our lives that we outgrow things. We grow apart from people, places get boring, and we long for more. The people, places, things, and even responsibilities that once satisfied us on a day to day basis become monotonous and we become bored with life. Every day, the same old thing, looking at the same people, places, and things! We stop growing SPIRITUALLY. We become dissatisfied with life, and we begin to ask God if this is all there is. "Will I be this forever? Will I always have to deal with these people? Why does my life seem so pointless?"

It was at one of these points in my life that I began to question God. I asked God why. "Where did I go wrong? Why do I feel this way even though outsiders looking in would see a blessed life? Although I am unable to pinpoint one particular cause for these feelings, why am I unsatisfied with my life?"

I can remember vividly the day God moved me to ask for prayer from my church family. At this point, I was just in survival mode, going though the daily motions. I would put my happy face on just long enough for me to get away from people. I became a master at fighting back the depression that cut so deeply into my soul. My heart hurt, literally! When I was alone, I would cry until I had drained my eyes of every drop of any tear that was available. I really think I reached a point where I actually cried dry tears. I'm so glad that when I'm hurting so bad and I don't know the words to say, that God accepts my tears as a cry for help; because I had literally quit talking to Him. HOW DANGEROUS!

On that unforgettable Sunday morning, my pastor at the time, prayed for me during services with all of the mothers and ladies of the church surrounding me. I wish I could say that at that point, I felt better, but I didn't. My soul still hurt, my eyes still burned, and heart still ached. I wanted more. I was thirsty for the next level in Christ. Imagine the woman who had the issue of blood; reaching and stretching to touch the hem of His garment, but she is just about a half-inch away and no matter how much she stretches and reaches, she is just unable to grab a hold of Jesus. That is exactly the way that I felt. I felt so close to Him, yet so very far away from where I desired to be.

After our morning worship services, the pastor called me into his office. He looked me square in my eyes. It was almost as if he could read my pain. Then he said plainly, "OK. What's really up?" I released everything that I truly felt. Still reading my pain, he said, "God has something for you to do!" This was no news to me, but I didn't feel that I could do what God wanted me to do. I was torn between what I wanted and what God wanted for me. This fight caused my emotions to spin into overdrive. I didn't know who I was now. I had created my own identity, and God was attempting to recreate me. I was dying to myself, and quite honestly, I didn't want to.

The person that I had created was being removed from me. I was, in God’s way, transforming. I was unable to see it at the time, but each time I cried, I became closer to God. There comes a point in our spiritual lives when we must move higher! As we grow spiritually, God requires more of us. I had stopped chasing after God. I felt like I was stuck in a puddle of quicksand and I was sinking quickly with no one around to help pull me out; no one around to even yell to. God wanted me closer and our relationship to go deeper. He knew what He had to do in order to break me, humble me, and have me long for His spirit and closeness in the next level. I finally began to talk to God again. In other words, I went into fervent prayer! I prayed listlessly. I had no idea what I was going to say until I opened my mouth and sometimes I did not know what I had said after I had finished.

My prayers paid off, and I knew that God was listening to me. I was going to church. I was trying to live right. I was even reading and studying my Bible faithfully, but I was not working on my relationship with God. I always prayed when I wanted or needed something. I never spent time in His presence just glorifying His name. He had revealed this to me. This is what I needed to do to quench my spiritual thirst.

When we want something bad enough, we go after it. We can focus on saving money for an item that we so desperately want. We spend time just thinking about it. We think about what we are going to look like when we get it, and who we want to see us with it. We chase after it! If we can find ourselves doing this for things, why is it that our human nature keeps us form chasing after God? We say that we want Him, but we don't chase after Him! God wants us to draw near to Him. When we do not chase after God, first we get complacent, then unsatisfied, and eventually, depressed. I did not feel secure that there was more that my life had to offer me. I did not feel secure because I did not chase after God and could not see His purpose for my life.

Many women have talked with me since the start of this project. They have shared with me that they have hopes and dreams in life, and that they are really unsatisfied with their current situations. The same way the pain was read on my face in my pastor's office that day; I could read the pain that cut them just as deeply if not deeper than it cut me. I saw hidden pain under the masked happy faces. Some have worn that fake face for many years now. When we are not following God's will for our lives, we lose our joy that He has given us, and very little in life makes us happy.

I encourage you to chase after God today. Work on building your relationship with Him. It is within Christ that all of our joy resides. You can live in the trendiest city, have the family of the year, be your own boss, and even have the looks of a beauty queen, but joy will not be found in any of these. The only joy that lasts is the joy of Jesus Christ. I will forever be chasing after God because I know that I can always grow closer to Him. It feels good to be close! It gives joy unspeakable! We are never too saved to chase after God! I will seek His face. Let's not forget that it is He who has saved us in the first place. I am so glad that my Father is the only one that I can go to who will never forsake me. I'm so glad that He will always lend his ear to hear my voice and will be glad to hear from me every time. And, He's the only one that can take my pain away.

Psalm 34:18 says, The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (KJV)

Psalm 34:22 says, The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants; and none of them that trust in him shall he desolate.

Lord, I thank You now for making me die to myself so that I could live for You. I ask that You continue to give Your knowledge and wisdom so I may recognize when You are working in my life. I thank You for listening to me and comforting me like no one else can. Lord, I love You, and I appreciate the royal privilege to live for You. Even though this journey is rocky and there are times that I get stuck, I am so glad that You father me and take me through what I must endure in order to grow closer to You. Lord I will chase after You, as I continue to seek Your face, for I know that no one can love me like you do. I ask that You touch the life of anyone that is currently in the dying process. Make Your will for their life plain before their eyes. Please reveal unto Your children the purpose for storms in our lives. Lord, I ask that You continue to allow me to grow closer to you, for I realize that I am unworthy of touching even the hem of your garment. Thank You Lord for loving a sinner like me!

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Won't Complain!

Troubles......Troubles....Troubles. I don't know a single honest person who can say that they have absolutely, positively no troubles in their life. Think about it for just a moment, what kinds of troubles have you had in your life? And, if you answer none, just keep living, I can assure you they will come; and they will probably arrive in packs. Trouble seldom travels alone. Usually when one shows up, there are several wagging behind, just hustling to catch up.

Here you are, a worshiper of Christ, and it seems as if you have a trouble magnet implanted in your body because everywhere you go, trouble seems to be present. Upon baptism, many Christians had the misconception that once I accept Christ into my life, everything would be glorious. I will enjoy living, and I will love everyone. But, let's be honest here, there are days that we, Christians, don't want to get out of bed because of the trouble that awaits us, and may despise our neighbors, and even sometimes our own family members, because of the trouble that they may have caused us in our lives. There are some things in life that we just can't seem to swallow and keep moving. And so, we pray about it; or do we?

When problems bother us, we go to God and ask for instant removal. We ask that He will make everything alright. We admit to God what we can and cannot take and deal with. I've been asking God to show me who I really am, and He has shown me that I am a complainer! Wow, what news! God blesses me with something, and I complain because it may be what I asked for, but did not come in the form of what I expected it to be in, and then I began to ask for more.

Have you ever looked at your troubles and compared them to someone else's? My son has food allergies, and I find myself complaining about it all the time. I feel like this is trouble in my life, something else that I feel is unfair that I have to deal with. However, when I think about all of the children that are in St. Jude's Children's Hospital with terminal illnesses, I can praise God that ALL I have to deal with is food allergies. What a change in attitude! I am working on changing how I view the situations and circumstances in my life that LOOK LIKE trouble to me. God is revealing to me that it is MY ATTITUDE that determines the outcome of a situation or circumstance, even when it is something or someone that has stepped on my feelings and crushed my heart. What I pray to Christ will help me to change my outlook on situations.

When we thank God for what we have, and how far we have come, He will bless us with more, and move us farther.

Psalm 34:19 reads, Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. (KJV)

I don't know why I thought that my life should be so easy, when God's only son, Jesus walked this very earth and dealt with troubles daily. Who am I to think that I should have no trouble in my life? Jesus had a mission to carry out for His Father, people who wouldn't accept Him, people who acted as if they loved Him, places that He was not wanted, those that talked about and scandalized His name, disciples to lead, messages to send, proverbs to teach, miracles to perform, and a mass of people who wanted Him dead because of this. Wow, talk about a stressed, troublesome life. And, He lived it just for all of us! This puts my complaints in perspective. Should I really have a complainer's heart? (I found complaining buried deep in my spiritual closet. I had to do some digging to find it.)

Complaining is negative. The devil rejoices when we complain. Please don't misinterpret what I am saying, there are some things that we must go to God about because we really can't handle them and we may have suffered through all we can tolerate. There are other small things, that we really need to be grateful for, yet we complain about it.

Now, when I look at trouble with my spiritual eyes, I want to rejoice. I want to thank God for making me stronger, wiser, and more like Christ. But, most importantly of all, troubles bring us closer to Christ. We lean and depend on Christ more when we are in a storm. We talk to Him constantly when things just aren't going our way. We spend more time in His word and in His presence. We are not able to see the big picture of what God is preparing us for. Sometimes we must go though troubled times. In the midst of our problems, we feel like we can't make it, but with God all things are possible. We do, however, need to look at the issues, situations, and circumstances with our spiritual eyes, and search for God's purpose in them.

One ever so popular gospel song states: "So, when I look around, and I think things over; all of my good days, outweigh my bad days, and I won't complain!"

Father, I ask that you help me to release this complainer's heart. God, help me to learn to thank you for my troubles and praise you in the midst of my storms. When I look at the things in my life that are breaking me down, I know that You are preparing to build me up again. Lord, I love you for treating me like your child and teaching me along this journey. Continue to give me knowledge and wisdom so that I may know the purpose of the storms in my life. I realize God, that without rain, I would never experience a rainbow. I give you glory for the small things in my life that may seem like troubles to me. Help me to glorify you no matter what I may go though. I realize that I am on display for your people to see. Please continue to lead and guide me all the days of my life. I love you Lord, today!