Fathers VS Dads

fathersIn light of the recent celebration of Father’s Day, I thought it would be interesting to discuss what I consider the difference between fathers and dads.

Hopefully, we’ve had good experiences with the patriarchs of our families.  However, I know too well that this is not the case for many.  It’s such a disappointment that all children don’t have loving, caring, and kind parents who teach them the right path to travel and give them guidance throughout the journey.  Unfortunately, this is just the way of the world.

I was lucky enough to have a wonderful man who was a father and dad to me throughout my life.  I am also fortunate to have married a man who does the same for our two boys.  Both are respectable people who put their family above their own wants/needs and have led dependable and integrity-filled lives.  I feel very blessed to call them Dad and Husband.

The sad part is that even the greatest dads on earth are human and make mistakes.  I know, I know…it’s hard to believe when there are some awesome ones out there!!!

This is why knowing our Heavenly Father is such a blessing. 

Thankfully, God can fill that God-shaped hole in our hearts that only gets bigger if we don’t have loving parents to care for us.  God, above all, is the one parent we can always count on!

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. Psalm 68:5

So, let’s think about the differences of a Father and a Dad….

Fathers are:

  • ·        Disciplinarians
  • ·        Leaders
  • ·        Models and examples to live by
  • ·        Honorable and trustworthy
  • ·        Guides
  • ·        Mentors
  • ·        Dependable
  • ·        Responsible
  • ·        Providers
  • ·        Loving men

Dads are:

  • ·        Listeners
  • ·        Compassionate
  • ·        Encouraging
  • ·        Instructors
  • ·        Righteous
  • ·        Gentle
  • ·        Caring
  • ·        Forgiving
  • ·        Supporting
  • ·        Loving men

A parent can be both, have a few qualities of each, or they can lean towards one or the other.  As children, we need both.  One shows us the righteous way to live and the other truly loves us through it.

Thankfully, God is all of these and much, much more.  Most importantly, He truly loves us and wants the best for us…more than any human is capable of doing.  We can only strive to be like Him by using His Son, Jesus Christ, as our example.

I hope you have had someone in your life who has been both. Regardless of whether you have or haven’t, our Heavenly Father wants to be this in our lives.

I pray that you will learn to lean on Him and trust His guidance in all aspects of your life.

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 23:24 – The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.

Battles

battlesI was saddened to hear of the impending divorce between Lysa TerKeurst and her husband.  Is no one safe?  I guess not

In case you don’t know who Lysa is, she is the founder and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries.  Additionally, she is an author, blog writer, speaker and teacher.  Her mission is to lead women in the adventure of faith and she has done just that for millions of women around the world. 

If you haven’t used her devotionals or read her books, I highly recommend it!  She truly has a gift and I’m so glad she uses it for God’s Glory.

The reason I know about her personal battle is because she wrote a heart-wrenching blog post that detailed what she is currently going through.  It is a story of infidelity, addiction, two years of trying to make her marriage work and lastly, a hope that can only come through God.

If you would like to read the blog in its entirety, please go to http://www.lysaterkeurst.com/2017-06-rejection-heartache-and-a-faithful-god.html.

I think it is really important to realize that even people who are Christians and trying to live their God purpose on Earth are still affected by life’s challenges, sin and struggles that are common to every one of us.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

It’s easy to look at the lives of others (especially those in high places) and think they live in a bubble where the evil of the world doesn’t touch them.  This is simply not true.  In fact, the devil is probably working overtime to drag those people through the wringer to add one more minion to his ever-growing group of followers.

The discouraging reality is that none of us are untouched by the woes of humankind.

As depressing as this sounds…there is a Hope like no other in a God who loves us so much that He gave us a Savior in His Son, Jesus Christ.

But remember, even Jesus went through trials and tribulations.

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, …  Luke 4:1-13

Then what makes us think we are any different?

We each have our own battles to fight.  Maybe for you it is divorce, infidelity, pornography, addiction, depression, or a wealth of other difficulties.

The real question is how are we going to respond to these sufferings. 

Are we going to give up or are we going to rely on God to lead us through, carry us beyond our troubles and give us a peace that is beyond human understanding?

We each have these choices and it is easier to give in to the temptation of turning from God and blaming Him for our hideous situations.  Instead we should trust in His divine plan – easier said than done.

The most effective way to get through anything challenging in our lives is to pray. 

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7

Take heart.  God is there even in our battles.  He will not leave us, nor forsake us.  Most importantly, we are not alone.  Others have battled the same things and survived, thrived and moved forward towards the light that can only come from Jesus Christ.

I hope you will take your battles to God and let Him transform them into learning experiences and lessons for you and others so that God’s name will be glorified.

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 3:26 – For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.

Point of View

6of9Clearly, this cartoon is a depiction of different perspectives, but it truly is the best I’ve ever seen.  It illustrates how every person can see the exact same thing and have a different take on how they view it.

Plus, the first part of the caption hits the nail on the head!!!  “Just because you are right does not mean I am wrong.”

How many times do we actually practice this philosophy? I bet it’s not much.

Most often we argue our point until we are blue in the face, write someone off, or these days unfriend them on Facebook because we think they are wrong…all with the intention to prove that we are right.

Where’s the empathy, tolerance and consideration? 

It’s sad that we don’t keep our mouths shut and keep our ears open more frequently.  We’d probably have a better understanding of why others believe what they do…and just maybe recognize that another opinion isn’t always completely wrong.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1John 1:8

None of us are perfect and it’s time that we start perceiving ourselves as such.  Our opinions are just that…opinions.  We see the world through eyes that have walked a certain path, but we have not walked all paths, so how can we accuse others of inferior points of view when we haven’t walked in their shoes?

Don’t get me wrong, we all have opinions and that is obviously okay.  However, we need to stop judging others if their opinions are unlike ours.

Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven…. Luke 6:37

So, how can we be better at not immediately assuming someone is wrong because they don’t agree with us?

1.       Pray for compassion and tolerance of another’s opinion.

2.       LISTEN without thinking of our rebuttal.

3.       Empathize instead of judging.

4.       Consider the path the other person has travelled.

5.       Seek understanding of other views.

6.       Research other viewpoints to appreciate where others are coming from.

7.       Love instead of arguing.

8.       Find a lesson in all situations.

9.       Agree to disagree.

10.   Pray for God’s Grace, Hope, Joy, and Peace.

We don’t always have to agree with each other and not agreeing does not mean condemnation for the other person.  It just means we have different points of view and that is okay.  In fact, that is what makes the world an interesting place.

Maybe we should start thinking before we speak.  It just stands to reason that we would live more peacefully in our world if we loved instead of judged.  Plus, without placing condemnation on others for their opinions we would spread more joy and compassion instead of self-righteousness.

What can you do to change the world you live in?

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 18:13 – If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.

Marriage

perfect marriageTomorrow marks my twenty-second wedding anniversary!  Woohoo!!  I know, it’s crazy that we haven’t killed each other yet…although, there is still time!!  HAHA!

For us, we usually just go to a nice dinner and exchange cards.  So, as I was browsing the card isle the other day looking for the perfect message to give to my special man I couldn’t find one that said exactly how I feel.  So, I glanced over at the lady next to me who was doing the same thing and asked her, “Why don’t they have an anniversary card that says…Sometimes you can be a jerk, but I love you a lot anyway…?” 

Of course, the same could be said about me.  Just ask Lee!!

I’m obviously kidding because I truly couldn’t ask for a more honest, loving, caring and hardworking human being to share my life with.  He is amazing and we continue to grow in our love every year.  I am very blessed and can only thank God for giving me this wonderful gift.

On the flip side, marriage is not always a bed of roses.  In fact, I would say that it is one of the toughest relationships to manage because we are all so different and we must compromise and work towards peaceful resolutions in many circumstances.

I’ve been told that slamming doors isn’t really a peaceful gesture, but it sure makes me feel better!!!  Guess after all these years, I still have things to work on!

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1Corinthians 13:4-7

The above scripture isn’t just for husbands and wives.  The truth is that we can all be jerks sometimes and most of us can do it on multiple occasions.

What we should remember is that love isn’t really something we feel, but it is a decision that we have to make on a regular basis for most of the people in our lives. These people include husbands, wives, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, the guy cutting you off at the intersection and any other person we encounter.

Unfortunately, the world tells us that if marriage, or any relationship for that matter, gets too hard we can just throw it away and start over. 

Forgiveness is the key to any lasting relationship no matter who it is with.  God intends for us to forgive others and often.

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22

Forgiveness is the glue in all relationships. It offers love in the midst of anger, resentment, unmet expectations, feelings of betrayal, and many more feelings that eat away at our peace.

Plus, it is like the old adage that says, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

We can all use an extra dose of love in any relationship we are in.  For me, I hope and pray that God continues to help me love my husband at all times and helps us forgive each other even when we don’t deserve it!

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 18:22 – He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.

Living in An Anxious World

nothing-diminishes-anxiety-faster-than-action-quote-1Recently, I saw a video on Facebook where Max Lucado was touting his new book Anxious for Nothing that comes out September 12th of this year…love me some Max Lucado and can’t wait to pick up what I’m sure will be a page turner!!! 

Enough about my love for all things written by Mr. Lucado….

The information he divulged that grabbed my attention was that he said the U.S. has now become the most anxious country in the world…eek.

Just so you know, I’ve looked everywhere on the internet to find something that supports this data to no avail.  However, I do think that Mr. Lucado has done his own research and probably has some more resources than just Google

These new statistics make me wonder what in the world is going on and what is making us so anxious?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental illness and affect over 40 million people in the U.S. – which ends up being 18% of the population.  Also, anxiety disorders are more frequent in women than men.

It’s no wonder that God tells us not to be anxious or fearful so much in the Bible!!!  Jeez!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

So, what in the world are we worried about?

Reasons for anxiety are obviously different for everyone, but a few of the culprits might be as follows:

1.       Trying to keep up with the Jones’s

2.       Technology, internet…too much information

3.       Work stress

4.       Too much daily stimulation from outside sources

5.       Traumatic events

6.       Heredity

7.       Chemical, hormonal or physical changes in the body

8.       World events

9.       Achievement motivation

10.   Lack of one-on-one contact due to texting, social media, etc.

What’s interesting about our current cultural anxiety problem is that we are probably safer right now from danger than we have ever been historically.  For example, when was the last time a bear tried to chase you down and eat you? 

It’s been a while for me!!! Hee, hee!

As a fellow fretful American, I can’t tell you how much better I feel knowing that I’m not alone in my anxiety-ridden bubble.  However, the above statistics make me terribly sad that so many people are having similar issues.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. … Matthew 6:25-34

Lack of trust in God is probably one of the main reasons we face an anxious present and future.  We are so busy trying to live life on our own that we forget about what our true mission in life is and Who we belong to…at least I think this is my problem.

I sound like a broken record, but I struggle with self-worth, guilt, shame, trust and faith that are all connected with my Almighty Father – who I should be trusting to take care of my days, needs, and anxiety.  Instead, I try to deal with life by myself and get upset when God doesn’t automatically take my tribulation away.  UGH!

For me, the issue is anxiety, but I would dare say that we all have something that is keeping us from leading the life that God has intended.  Instead of all of this worrying about it…we should be doing something about it!!!!

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 3:1-4 – My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.

 

The Perils of Facebook

FacebookSocial media, and most specifically Facebook (because that’s the one I use), can be the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I mean who doesn’t want to post pictures of their families, cool vacation places, awesome pet videos and funny memes?!?!?!? 

A favorite of mine are the videos of people falling down…my guilty pleasure!!!!

However, besides the fact that Facebook can be a huge time sucker and become addictive – yes, I should be going to the grocery store, washing clothes or writing a GEM, but instead I’m scrolling down my newsfeed – the truth is that the Facebook posts can become a nightmare.

It’s no secret that our kids have issues these days that we didn’t have to deal with in our childhood.  However, today I’m not talking about how our children are using Facebook…I want to discuss how we, the adults, are behaving on it.

Lately, I’ve been very disappointed in and a little horrified by what has been posted and then the subsequent comments by those who profess to be a Christian.

Now don’t get me wrong…you can definitely scroll down my personal page since I’ve been on Facebook and you would find my own negativity, salaciousness or ugliness.  UGH!  So, I’m not at all surprised that it continues today by myself and others.

However, shouldn’t we be promoting positivity, love, kindness and peace in all that we do…even on Facebook? 

The unfortunate truth is the we find ourselves reacting to comments and opinions of others that we disagree with and fall into the dangerous path of conforming to the world around us by arguing, belittling, and offending.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

What happened to turn the other cheek?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matthew 5:38-39

Sadly, we live in a culture where we think and are told on a regular basis that we need to be heard if we think we are right.  In the world we live in today, this doesn’t stop with telling our friends and family our opinions, but now it entails the world.

What do you think Jesus’s posts and comments would look like?  Hmmm….

I would dare say that Jesus would not become addicted to Facebook or anything for that matter…I mean, He was perfect!

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

He might use social media to disseminate God’s Will, but I doubt He would use it when He should be doing something else or pummel people in His posts or His comments for their beliefs, opinions, thoughts, ideas or feelings.

So, the next time you are on social media…please think before you post or comment.  More importantly, consider what Jesus would say (or in this case write) and try to emulate our Lord and Savior!

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 12:22 – Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

 

We Are What We Think

thoughtsHere I am again.  Jeez!  You’d think I was the most inconsistent person in the world by the way I’ve written GEM in the last year…and, honestly, you’d be right!!  I don’t have any excuse, but I am genuinely sorry.  And please know I’ve missed it, too.

I’ve been contemplating much over my lack of writing and I really have not been very kind to myself.  These thoughts about myself have ranged from laziness, disappointment to others and wasteful of my gifts to what’s wrong with me, I’m washed up and I’m squandering my life. 

The mind is a powerful thing.

Unfortunately, with all of this beating myself up in my head…I’ve really started to believe these things about myself.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right” – Henry Ford

Mr. Ford’s quote is the truth.  The way we think can literally change our lives. So, why do we persist on thinking bad thoughts about ourselves, others and life?

One of the main reasons I am caught in this unrelenting circle is because I find some delusional comfort in knowing I’ve let myself off the hook.  Basically, this means that if my expectations are so low of myself, others and life then I won’t be disappointed by anything that happens along the way.

Clearly, this is not a good place to be, nor should others follow suit!

The question is how do we open our heads and make some crucial changes?  Man, don’t you wish it was as easy as turning on a light switch?  I sure do.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication…. Ephesians 6: 11-18

The bottom line is that any changes worth making take effort and time.  None of us get into this these unhealthy thought patterns overnight and it’s unrealistic to think that we will make such a remarkable transformation in an instant. Although, miracles have been known to happen!! 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

For obvious reasons, I’ve been working on breaking this mold of negative notions and I hope that some of these ideas will help you, too. 

First, I’ve said many prayers asking for healing so that I can make these changes. Secondly, I’ve asked others to pray for me.  And third, I’ve began reading about meditation so that I can be more proactive in learning how to take captive every thought that enters my mind and to dispel the negativity and focus on the positive. 

I’ve also found a few things that are helping me make immediate modifications in the moment I realize I’m going down the path of mindless mayhem.  Every time I catch myself having a negative thought, I:

1.       Stop and breathe.

2.       Say a quick prayer asking the Lord to protect my mind, heart and spirit.

3.       Conjure up the exact opposite of the offending idea.

4.       Take a minute to review what is happening in the moment that might have caused the destructive concept.

5.       Remind myself that I’m a work in progress.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6

Beware of what you are thinking!  You might just become exactly what you think you will!

Hope to see you soon!!

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 4:23 – Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

 

Hope

hopeIt’s the beginning of November and there are lots of things to look forward to – i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas, more football, comfort food, fun gatherings, cooler weather, Hallmark movies (my favorite) and much more!!!  I love this time of year!!

But what if you didn’t feel the hope of tomorrow?  What if you lived in a dim, dark hole without anything to look forward to?  What if every breath felt like a chore instead of a gift?  What if you woke up feeling hopeless and went to bed feeling the exact same way?  EEK!!!

If you’ve never experienced depression, you might not be able to relate to the above questions.  However, I would dare say that many of us have felt like this on some level at least once in our lives.  The circumstances might be different, but the hopeless feelings are about the same…and they stink!!

Hopelessness can happen to the best of us.  It can sink its teeth into the core of our being and suck out the joy and peace that help us endure the toughest of days.  Hopelessness trades living in the light for living in the dark and it’s a very scary, lonely place.

I doubt any of us jump into feeling this way on purpose or even consciously, but sometimes we just find ourselves there. UGH!!!

I think it’s more of a byproduct of our hectic lives where we place more value on things rather than on what really counts.  We get overwhelmed with the daily tasks and forget to be aware of the moments that make our lives matter.

It doesn’t help that the way of world brings hopelessness into view because it’s all about what we don’t have and not about what we do have.

However, when we place our hope in Jesus Christ instead of worldly possessions, we are promised an eternity with Him and that gives us the hope we all long for…even if it’s not an instantaneous fix. (Sure wish it was!!)

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. … Romans 5:1-21

The best way we can combat hopelessness is to remember the many blessings we have been bestowed.  That’s why I think the month of November is a great time to write down something that we are thankful for each day so that we will be reminded of what we have instead of dwelling on what we don’t or what’s wrong.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

Don’t let hopelessness overtake you!  Remember your blessings and ask Jesus for His peace, joy and hope!!

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 23:18 – Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

Loving Others

love-like-jesusI recently read a prayer that I thought hit the nail on the head for what we should be praying as often as possible.  (Lord knows I need all the help I can get!!!)

It said, “Dear God, help me to love you and love others today.”

Simple, yet sooooo hard!  And I love how this prayer is based on the two commandments that Jesus gave us that all other commands from God are hinged on.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39

Loving God means we are worshipping Him, trusting Him and obeying Him.  Sounds easy enough, right?

It’s the loving others that I think is the most problematic!!!  I mean, come on, there are a lot of hard to love people out there!!!

However, once again, God doesn’t say “love the people that are easy to love.”  He says, “…love your neighbor as yourself.”  EEK!!!

I think the best guidance we get on how to love our neighbor is from 1Corinthians, Chapter 13.

  1. Love is patient.
  2. Love is kind.
  3. Love does not envy.
  4. Love does not boast.
  5. Love is not arrogant.
  6. Love is not rude.
  7. Love does not insist on its own way.
  8. Love is not irritable.
  9. Love is not resentful.
  10. Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing.
  11. Love rejoices with the truth.
  12. Love bears all things.
  13. Love believes all things.
  14. Love hopes all things.
  15. Love endures all things.

Don’t you find it interesting that this scripture tells us more about what love isn’t than what it should be?!?!?

I think it’s because God knows that our own egos and agendas get in the way of love more often than not.  As humans, we want to be right, rather than loving and that is just not what God wants from us.

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18

God wants us to put ourselves in the backseat and place others above ourselves regardless of the circumstances and that isn’t easy at all because, well, we’re downright selfish most of the time!!

We are number one, right?!?!?!  Nope!

Jesus is the example we are supposed to live by and His best illustration of love is that He died for us while we were still sinners.  He loved us even while we nailed him to the cross.

So, shouldn’t we work a little harder to love others??

I encourage you to try this prayer and watch what happens.  Loving our neighbor can only be done with God’s help!!!

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Where Is God?

gods-testDo you ever wonder where God is?

He promises never to leave or forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5), so why can’t we feel His presence sometimes in the midst of hardship, tragedy or strife?

If you’ve ever felt this way, you are not alone!!!

Rick Warren says in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, that this is a normal part of the testing and maturing of our relationship with God.

Yikes!! That kinda stinks!

He goes on to relate many times in the Bible where God’s people (i.e. Job, David, and more) asked where God was and why they couldn’t feel His presence.  (Well, at least we are in good company if we’ve ever felt this way ourselves!!!)

To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? Psalms 22:1

The truth is that we all will face this test once or more times in our lives.  The question is whether we will continue to love, trust, obey and worship God when it does happen.

To have faith in God isn’t necessarily about experiencing peace, joy or something magnificent.  It means we have faith even when we feel like there is nothing to have faith in.

Easier said than done.

God doesn’t promise we will always FEEL His presence or feel right about a situation or even feel good, but He does promise to NEVER LEAVE OR FORSAKE US.

Taking our emotions out of the equation and keeping our faith will help us remember these promises even when times are hard and the devil is gloating in our misery.

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 2Corinthians 1:20

We must also remember that God is to be praised no matter what our circumstances are.

Rick Warren gives six reasons to praise God in the midst of painful situations that help me when things aren’t going my way:

  1. God is good and loving.
  2. God is all-powerful.
  3. God notices every detail of our lives.
  4. God is in control.
  5. God has a plan for my life.
  6. God will save us.

Number six gives me the most hope because it tells me that even though I am not worthy of saving, He does it anyway!!!  How awesome is that?!?!?!

So, the next time you don’t have a clue where God is, remember that He is right there in the midst of your pain and that He loves you more than you can imagine.

Praise His Name and don’t lose faith.  God is good, all of the time!

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.