Tag Archives: Trust

Like Everyone Else

1st Samuel 8:5:  “and said to him, “Look you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways.  Now appoint us a king to judge us [and rule over us] like all the other nations.””

While driving around town or sometimes talking to old friends, I listen to all their accomplishments and see the fruits of their lives of labour.  Their material possessions speak highly of what they’ve done with their lives. Then I think of mine.  I compare myself to others and what I see and sometimes feel I have nothing to show for my life.  I so want to be like everyone else.  Can you relate?

The Israelites had the same problem.  They compared themselves to other nations and wanted to be just like them forgetting and not realizing the Lord was their King Himself without a go-between.  His intention for His people was to lead them personally but the Israelites wanted to be just like everyone else.  They missed the blessing and significance of what they had and Who they had so granting their wishes Saul was anointed king.

Why can’t we just be satisfied and content with where we are and what we have?  What is it about us that we constantly compare ourselves to everyone else and worse, work so hard to become like everyone else then when we do, find ourselves discontented with trying to be something we’re not and have what may not be ours to have?

Here’s the thing. God didn’t intend for Israel to be just like everyone else (Deuteronomy 14:2)! He didn’t intend for us to be either!

If your life doesn’t look like anyone else’s maybe it was never intended to be. What if everything you’ve gone through – all the hurt, loss, devastation, trials, etc., were all custom designed so you could learn to depend on God and know Him more intimately?  Look back, do you see it?  Do you see His hand in everything and see that what you have had to come solely from His hands?  He helped us survive when there was no one else.  He put food on our tables when there was no other way to have it.   He supplied the clothes on our backs, the shoes on our feet, the cars we drive because looking back, we see there was NO OTHER explanation for it!

I don’t want to be like everyone else.  Although my life looks significantly different than most everyone I know, I know this.  Had it not been for Lord on my side.

Choose to be thankful for where you are and what you have, be it little or much.  Truth is as we’ve seen a lot lately, in the blink of an eye it can all be gone; health can change rapidly and circumstances can, too.  Thank God for His hand in your life and keep walking with Him, regardless of where you are. With Him, little is much.  Believe in the you God created you to be, His child, trusting Him regardless.  He wants you to be who He created you to be – His child, unlike anyone else.

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Is It Bad Enough Yet?

Some doctors wait to treat an ailment when the pain becomes so severe the patient can’t tolerate it anymore. If a patient comes in knowing something’s wrong but can carry out their normal activities of daily living, sleep uninterrupted they’re told to come back when they can’t bear the discomfort any more.  The tests prove there’s a problem but sometimes that’s not enough.  Some doctors choose no treatment until the pain literally changes a person’s life.

You would think the opposite would be true.  You go to a professional because you know something’s not right and you want something done to prevent the problem from disrupting your normal life and leave frustrated because you’re told your pain – your inability to function – is what will bring relief.  “Come back when you can’t stand it anymore.”  Wait.  Isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid?

Some doctors want to jump right in and fix a problem before it gets to the point of altering our lives and we’re hesitant to move forward.  We talk ourselves into living with it.  “It’s not that bad; I’ve had it this long, I can stand it until, well, I can’t stand it anymore”, and we leave in the same condition we came in.

We deal with something as long as we can then we ask for help (from God, friends, etc), sometimes wanting someone (or something) to relinquish us from what we know is going to happen – yet we find ourselves, sometimes for years, dealing with the same thing, day after day, year after year and nothing changes.  It’s manageable; it’s not perfect but it hasn’t killed me…yet.  So we muddle on sometimes grabbing for spontaneous relief for the moment until the next time…and the next…

Do things have to be ‘that bad’ before we deal with them?  No. More often than not, we try everything (and everyone) leaving God as our last resort.  Need produces necessary action; that alone is often the “why” of why it’s happening.

Is ‘it’ bad enough yet?  Are you sick of the pain, frustration, depression, inaction, nothing ever changing?  Situations beg the question – “is it bad enough to turn to God”? Like doctors, sometimes He allows us to get to that unbearable place of no relief before we turn to him.  Why?  Because He knows sometimes we’ll only look to Him when our feet are inches from the cliff.  We can submit any time – way sooner than we do – and relinquish our pain and burden to Him.  Is it bad enough yet to give it to God?  It doesn’t have to be.  Let’s do it.  Now.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Ultimate Makeover

IMAG0720A friend brought me a box full of vases his mother was going to throw away. Before the storm (as I like to call it), I loved to paint glassware and decided it was time to get back in to doing what I really enjoyed. From what they considered as trash – although not perfect – I created some things I think are quite beautiful. Of course, I’m the creator of these pieces and although I can look and see every single mess-up and flaw, every imperfection, I’m proud of my accomplishment.  I think they’re beautiful.

Wow.

If that isn’t a picture of God and what He does for us, I don’t know what is.  As I look at these vases, I’m reduced to tears.  Isn’t that what God has done for us?

He takes “vessels” – plain, ordinary, used up perhaps and considered of no use and not only rescues us from being completely trashed and shattered, He makes something brand new out of us.  If we allow Him to create in and through us, as He “paints” we become new; our hearts and minds are mended to the point that we sometimes don’t resemble at all what (and who) we started out to be!  What He creates, heals, restores and blesses, He cherishes and takes great pride in.  Why wouldn’t He?  As he intricately works at mixing, healing, restoring and creating us from the inside out, He begins to see who He created us to be:  His Son’s image.

He knows every imperfection yet He loves us.  He doesn’t discard us, just the opposite. He insists every bit of who we are what we’ve been through is working for both our good and His glory.  Only the Master Painter can do that.  Because of those truths if we choose to believe, we’ll give Him “creative freedom” and ask Him to touch everything of who we are.  Somehow what was so bland and broken becomes His masterpiece.

I painted those old vases because I imagined what they could look like. I wanted to make them into something beautiful that could be used to brighten and bless someone.  That’s what God wants to do with us.  Will we let Him?

“But now O LORD, You are our Father, we are the clay and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your Hand.”  Isaiah 64:8

The Place of In Between

Saturday.  Friday had happened and they saw the One whom they had based everything on, left their lives for believing He was Messiah…tortured, nails drive through His hands and feet, hung on a cross and take His last breath.  So many thoughts and doubts must have raced through their confused minds.  How could the Son of God – the Promise – die?  I feel sure they watched from afar as His lifeless body was taken down.

Do you know what hopeless feels like?  To have everything you believed in…believed for die right in front of you? I imagine what the disciples, Jesus’ mother and the other followers were feeling was the epitome of that word.  I wonder if they even remembered the many conversations He had with them, telling them that exactly what had happened would and that it wasn’t what it appeared to be or felt like it was. I imagine they were so grieved and perhaps scared that they had forgotten.

Can you relate?  You just experienced a devastating blow and after what you’ve been through you may feel it’s over, that there is no point in even hoping, let alone trying to go from here.  This is where everything changes and you’re not sure if you have the courage to believe, one more time, enough to go on.  That’s the place of in between where feelings and faith collide.  On one hand, you want to trust and believe enough to take the next step, but you feel like your world as you knew it has just ended and there is really no point.

That’s the place where dreams die and bitterness and depression creep in…if we let them.  If we’re not careful, we can find the courage to walk on from that place and allow our faith to die.  Don’t let that happen.

Hang on, just a bit longer.  Remember and recite every single promise God has made to YOU.  If He is allowing you to endure devastation, it’s part of a greater destiny.  Sure, it hurts, and absolutely, you’ll be changed forever because of it – perhaps that’s grief’s intent.  We can choose to go from here and be changed for the better or be infected by bitter.

In that place of in between, God is the same as He was yesterday.  Still in control, still loving and still all-knowing.  Just like the disciples on that dark Saturday, although they were devastated they made it through it.  You will too.  “Be not afraid, only believe”.  Mark 5:36

T-R-U-S-T

T – Take your feelings and what you think out of it. (Matthew 36:39)

R – Remember Who God is and Whose you are.  (Psalm 91:2)

U – Understand it may not be easy; it may not even be close to what you think it should be. (Isaiah 55:8)

S – Stand firm on God’s word especially when there’s nothing else to stand on. 1st Corinthians 15:58)

T – Totally rely on His power and strength and not your own. (2nd Corinthians 12:9).

Fear Will Fail You.

There’s a lost dog in my neighborhood and the other day I saw her.  When I approached her she ran into the woods.  She didn’t know me so afraid, she ran.  The remainder of the week I went back to that spot time and time again, sometimes staying and calling her name for hours to no avail.  She’s a house dog, she hasn’t been outside very much so I imagine she is terrified, in addition to being hungry and totally out of her comfort zone.  Yet even when her owners come for her she won’t come to them.

It doesn’t make any sense!  She hears the voices, especially the familiar ones, she’s hot, hungry, and knows she would be safe with those who love her, yet she still refuses to come!  Fear has gripped her and instead of doing what she knows she should do she does completely the opposite.  I’m afraid she will die of starvation and the elements to which she is unaccustomed all because she is scared. It seems she would rather stay where she is than take a chance to come out and be loved and cared for.

That’s precisely what fear does.  I know.  I’ve lived with it all my life.

When fear grips it changes the ability to think rationally and we find ourselves reacting instead of acting.  We do things and say things we would never do with a clear mind. Sometimes we freeze, deciding to stay in the mess we’re in because we are just too afraid to take a chance on trying to change things.

Perhaps we’ve been hurt – or really hurt someone else – when we’ve conjured up the courage go attempt to go beyond ourselves and we’re just too afraid to take the chance again.  Although legitimate, living that way robs us of the experience of trusting God (and ourselves) and perhaps the countless blessings He had for us.

So we stay…even knowing it’s not right, it’s painful, yet, we stay.  At least we’re familiar with how it is, there are no surprises, there is nothing expected.  We surrender to fear and decide to survive.

Fear takes our faith.  When we live based on what we are afraid of, we can’t function in faith.  They simply cannot coexist.  We must choose one or the other.  If we choose fear before long, our hearts and minds are infiltrated and we’ve convinced ourselves it is the way we think it is, and hope fades.  We someday will realize that living in fear has totally failed us and robbed us.  Soon we’ll find ourselves in an ocean of regret, pruning and nourishing our bitterness and despair.

Let’s decide today that we’ll no longer be our own prisoner.  Let’s take a tiny step forward to the safe hands and presence of the One who loves us the most.  The first step is the hardest, the next will be a little easier.  Let’s trust as we walk straight into His arms.  He will never fail us.  He’ll comfort us and help us through whatever we’re afraid of.

Unlike that little dog (who is still in the woods by the way), when you hear His voice, take a chance and step out.  You’ll be glad you did.

Luke 21:34:  “Be on guard so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;”

Whatchamacallit

Go look in the mirror – well, wait until after you read this.  😉 You are stunning.  So beautiful and strong.  Look at that smile.  Never mind the creases and wrinkles.  Actually, take them in as well. They’re signs of the things you’ve weathered.  Cancer.  Death of loved ones.  Loss of material things, jobs, raising kids.  Whatever.   Think about all you’ve been through; all God has brought you through.  You’re still on your feet.  You still have the ability and more importantly the want to, to smile.  You still are good and do good things.  You’re still capable of love and blessing other people.  You still dole out compassion generously. You still believe.  You obviously still have hope because you’re doing today what you did yesterday:  living!

Whatever you’ve been through – your whatchamacallit – hasn’t killed you.  Has it changed you?  Are you living or just existing?  Are you deeply wounded from it all?  If you are, now that you’ve survived it, God can heal you.  Are you bitter? He can heal you.  Are you physically and emotionally distorted?  He can heal you.

Sometimes we choose after something life-changing to not remember but I’d encourage you to take a brief look back.  Recall the things you were absolutely terrified and/or brokenhearted about; the things you couldn’t see any way out of and yet, here you are.  Amazing.

Don’t believe God is still in the miracle business?  Look in the mirror.  There it is, His greatest accomplishment. Physical proof He is still very much in the miracle business.  You can still smile, love and most important of all, believe.  If you can do nothing but cry, your tears are evidence that He’s working on you, creating His masterpiece miracle because, after all of it, you still feel.

Whatchamacallits will always be until we’re in heaven.  As long as you keep seeking Him, trusting Him that’s He’s with you through it all, no matter what, anything is possible.  Rock on mighty and beautiful warrior.  You got this, He’s got you and you’ve got Him.

Hebrews 11:1…GENESIS 50:20!!!!