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Archive for May, 2012

Lately, God has brought to mind areas where I find I’m really discontent; my appearance, organization, and especially in the areas of writing. I want to lose the weight, I want to write eight hours a day and publish more. I want my house to be neat twenty – four seven.

I looked up what discontentment is and Webster’s puts it this way: it is dissatisfaction with ones situation. Some of the synonyms gave me a better understanding: unease, restlessness, disgruntled and unhappy were the ones that stood out the most.

One afternoon a tragic accident happened in which one of my husband’s co-workers was killed on the job. I looked back on my wants and realized all the above are frivolous. In truth, many times the discontentment comes from comparing myself with others. But God says in His word:

“We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

If my most important ministry, my family, is neglected then everything else is meaningless.  If I get all that I want and desire, yet miss making an impact for God in others lives or doing what He has planned for me, my focus is in the wrong place.

God impressed on my heart that those things I am discontent about, many times become all consuming, which then turn into idols. Does it mean those things aren’t good? Not at all. I need to lose the weight for health reasons. Writing is what God has called me to do but is it still a ministry or has it become more than that?   Have these desires become obsessions?

I need to be content in all circumstances. For discontentment reaps misery. Contentment reaps joy.

Are there areas in your life where you are discontent?

Take them to the Lord. Let Him replace the discontentment with His peace and contentment. For His word encourages us:

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” I Timothy 6:6-8

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I have heard many pastors say scripture is simple enough that a child could understand it but so complex that you can read it for a life time and never get everything out of it.

Hebrews 4:12 says that “The word of God is living and active…” For years I thought it just meant that it is relevant no matter the date on the calendar, which it is. However; recently God impressed on my heart a deeper understanding.   One verse can be applied to many different situations not just the one specifically mentioned.

For instance, take the verse in James that says “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”  The context is talking about our anger, and before we lose it we need to process what was said and not react.

My oldest daughter has been struggling with a relationship.  For months now I have been telling her to talk it over with her friend, to express what she is seeing and how she feels. She chose not to.  Now months later everything came to a head and she was forced to work through it.  On top of that, the situation affected another friend. I continued to remind her, what I had been saying for months, then walked out of her room.

When I expressed my frustration to my husband his response was, “She just wants you to listen.”

I’m a fixer; she wanted a listening ear. “Everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak…”.  That includes a mother who wants to fix things. I went to apologize.

“Honey, you wanted me to only listen, didn’t you?”

“Yeah.”

She continued to look at the book she had been reading.

“I’m sorry.  I should have just listened.  I tell you what.  When you want to talk about something, tell me you just want me to listen.  I promise I won’t be angry.  Deal?”

“Sure,” she answered in typical teenager fashion.

The Bible is truly amazing.

Have you disregarded reading a passage of scripture because you have read it before?

I encourage you to go back and read it again, asking God to remind you of a principle you have forgotten or to show you a new way to apply it.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

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Lesson From Pain

Recently, my fourteen year old daughter sliced her finger at church. The pain was not too bad but the next morning she shook in agony. We went to the walk- in clinic where she was told stitches were needed. I hated seeing her in so much anguish hurt me.

As we waited for her finger to numb, I squeezed the other hand and prayed with her.

“Father,” I said, “please give Laurel the ability to calm down. Wrap Your arms around her and allow her to feel Your presence. Show her that You see the pain and that it matters to You because you made her. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

A few hours later when I got home and alone, my emotions let loose. I cried and talked to the Lord. The vision of her lying there, shaking in pain overwhelmed me. I would have gladly taken her place.

Then God gently reminded me of His pain when His Son hung on the cross. The physical agony was intense no doubt, but what was worse was the separation between Father and Son. Where I could hold my daughter’s hand through it all, the Father turned His back because He could not look on the sin Christ bore for us. His Son felt the separation we would have felt, had He not died for our sins.

The pain of my daughter not only gave me the opportunity to tell her God sees and cares about her, but it reminded me that the greatest agony anyone can experience is total separation from the One who created us (Matthew 13:42). It was a wonderful lesson for me, impressing on me when God gives me the opportunity to share His love, I need to do it.

Are you in pain today?

Whether it is physical or emotional, know that He sees it and cares about it because you matter to Him. Go to Him. He will bear it with you.

We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering
produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV 1984)

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Our Future Hope

As a child, death was a scary thought.  As a teenager I told Jesus please don’t come back until I experience marriage and have children of my own.

Now?  I don’t know about you but for me, Christ could come back any time.  Sure I would like to see my grandchildren.   There are things I would like to do while I’m here on this earth.  However, as I see this world turning from God, struggle with my sin, see my children struggle in areas of their lives, I get tired of it.

My quiet time was in the book of Romans chapter eight verses 18-39 and what struck me was that in times of suffering, we need to focus on the hope that is to come.  The time we will be home with the Father.

Paul says in verse 18 that he even considered that sufferings weren’t even worthwhile to complain about when compared to what we would experience in Heaven.

Close your eyes for a few moments and try to picture what Heaven would be like.

For me I see lush emerald green grass, gardens of every type rose (my favorite) and flower.  There is light all the time (no need for sunscreen), huge forests. The lakes and rivers are so clear you can see the bottom, and to taste them would be like sweet honey.  Waterfalls are cascading into cool clear pools. Every one of the five senses would be experienced in the ultimate High Definition.

There is relief in knowing that I couldn’t make a wrong decision, or lose my temper.  But most  of all I imagine that I will walk with Jesus without shame for the wrong I had done. He tells me how much He loves me and gives me a big bear hug.

Oh, my friend, my description doesn’t even come close to reality, I’m sure, yet what comfort it brings.  To know that this life is not all there is, priceless. That is our hope.

Are you tired of the bad news on TV, your struggle with sin, your work situation or even the physical and emotional pain you may be experiencing?

Hear precious one, His promise to you,

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.  They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelations 21:3,4     (NIV1984)

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