With thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Monday, January 20, 2014
With thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
In the bible there are a lot of verses about thanksgiving. I once read the book by Norman Vincent Peale "As A Man Thinketh". It changed the way I thought about a lot of things and by things I mean circumstances, attitude about events in life. I began to realize that instead of looking at a rough situation and being sad and upset about it I could look at the good in it.
Right after I read that book-we're talking way back in 2006,we went shopping. And at the time our grocery budget was so little I stressed every time we shopped as I had to count each penny exactly so as not to go over our budget. There were times where I had no idea how I managed to buy enough for a family of 5, but somehow God always provided.
Anyways, how I started looking at that differently...instead of grocery shopping and being frustrated because I can't buy very much-even if we needed it. I began to look at that situation and was grateful that I could shop! I could walk around the store in relatively good health. I could see and look at all the things on the shelf. I could lift a piece of fruit and put it in my basket.
I was grateful for the food I could buy! So many people can't afford to feed their families. They will make food for their children and go hungry. Or they will feed their children and not know if they'll be able to eat at the next meal, but God has always provided for us to the point where we've never gone hungry.
Then over the next few years I had to work on my attitude with my health. Some of you may know it's not the greatest and most days I have pain of some sort. But:
Even though my health has been rough over the last month I'm thankful for God's provision of foods that are good and healthy for me to eat. Everyone who eats healthy knows it isn't as cheap as eating canned and boxed food. To eat veggies, fruits and fresh meat can be expensevo-especially if you need certain things! But God has provided food every time I turn around for my particular health needs.
I'm thankful that while I may be in pain and struggle with not being able to do things I know it could be worse...but it isn't worse. God has given me the grace to get through it. I also have the support of my family. Whereas some people who suffer like I have are just told they are lazy and ridiculous.
I've also been changing the way I approach God in prayer. Instead of just asking him for what I need I have been thanking him for providing that need ahead of time. Now I'm not saying that I wasn't thankful before, I always have had a portion of my prayer set aside for thanking him. But I feel that by thanking him for the provision of the need I am praying for...it shows and helps me to trust that He will meet that need!
After all....God's Got This!
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
God Meant It For Good
God has everything figured out-right? Let’s say you come into the kitchen and you need a meal for ten people, but you’ve got one little problem. You have no idea how to cook beyond boiling water and making scrambled eggs.
Figuring out shopping is easy enough, but it’s kind of hard to shop for everything when you don’t know what you’re going to need for your meal prep. Sure you can follow instructions on a box, but you were kind of hoping to make a good hearty, healthy meal for you dinner party.
Now let’s say I’m standing in the kitchen. I can easily make a delicious, gourmet dinner for ten people from scratch. But I can’t help you until you come to me and say, “HELP!”
God is standing there with all the ingredients-better ones than we could come up with- the best recipes and he has the plan in place, the seating arrangements, decorations and everything you couldn’t think of all ready to go. We just need to go to him and ask for his help. Then trust him to step in and use his power to work everything out.
True, it doesn’t always work out the way we expect. I fully expected to be driving back from Florida in my sister’s truck, but instead we were in a compact car. But it still worked out for good! My sister originally was going to fly back home, but instead decided to drive the rental car with us. Once again, there was no need for me to drive at all the whole trip back!
As an added bonus, the truck that broke down…we expected to pay well over a thousand dollars to fix it, but the total cost including towing two hours north was only three hundred dollars. Does God still work when things don’t go according to plan? You tell me.
One of my heroes of the faith is Joseph. He grew up with every need, want and desire provided to him by his father. But his life turned terribly wrong quite unexpectedly. Little did he realize that his older brothers were very jealous of him and resented him. In fact they resented him so much that they actually hated him! The day finally came where they saw the perfect chance to get rid of their younger brother and they sold him into slavery.
Joseph ended up in the house of Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, who was the captain of the guard. Despite his troubling situation Joseph refused to allow it to get him down, in fact in his greatest moment of supposed defeat he actually prospered.
“And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.
And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.
And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.”
Wouldn’t it be great if during the difficult circumstances others could see Christ in us? Joseph’s testimony showed through so much that even his master could see that there was something different about him.
One would think that after going through such a heartbreaking circumstance that Joseph’s troubles would be over, but they were just starting.
“And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, lie with me.
But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;
There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.”
Even though the Lord was with Joseph and he prospered he was faced with a serious challenge on a daily basis. Temptation arose in the form of Potiphar’s wife. But Joseph remained strong in his convictions and refused to give into it. It all came to a head when Potiphar was gone.
“And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.
And she caught him by his garment, saying, lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.”
Joseph fled from the temptation but he paid dearly for doing what was right. When Potiphar arrived home his wife lied and told him that Joseph had tried to take advantage of her. He had no other recourse but to take action.
“And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, after this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled.
And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.
But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it.
The keeper of the prison looked not to anything that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.”
Once again Joseph’s life took an unexpected turn, but God was still with him. The keeper of the prison saw that God was with Joseph and once again Joseph found himself in a position of authority. Because of his testimony two men came to him seeking help, he was able to interpret their dreams and thought that he would be free from prison, but he was forgotten and left to rot.
Eventually, God worked it out in his time and brought Joseph out of prison and he became the second ruler in Egypt-just under Pharaoh. In his new position Joseph continued to prosper and actually was able to save not only his family but all of Egypt and many others from a severe famine.
Through all Joseph experienced, he was able to forgive his brothers and have a restored relationship with his family. He then spoke some very wise words:
“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”
Whenever I read Joseph’s story I am reminded that there is a greater purpose to all that happens in my life. And even if I can’t see the end result, God can. And all that “evil” that has happened and that others have created in my life can work out for good!
I love how Joseph comforted his brothers in saying, “God meant it for good.” Oh to keep that kind of faith in God to trust that it’s all good! As long as you are living you still have a God given purpose to fulfill. Whether it’s just by praying every day for those you know and love-and even those you don’t know or love-or serving overseas on some mission’s field you are here for a reason!
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
So keep doing what you are doing and in God’s time he will bring it about!
To be continued.....
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Thursday, January 9, 2014
The Power Of Christ Upon You
You know when I worked in the camp kitchen I made food for anywhere from twenty to over a hundred people. I had a lot of helpers over the years I worked there; and when I asked someone to cut fifteen tomatoes and they said they “got this", I expected that the job would be done.
My friend, God’s got this. He has your life, health, breath and strength in his hands. And he has given you the power of Christ to overcome everything you face. When I was discussing this with a friend, they pointed out something very interesting to me about the following verses.
2 Corinthians 12:7-12
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
We’ve all had thorns in the flesh that we’ve wanted to have removed, and perhaps you’ve even sought God, as Paul did, to have your thorn taken away from you. But for some reason that thorn in the flesh has been left there and sometimes it festers, aches and even becomes infected.
Paul states that his thorn in the flesh was given to him “lest I should be exalted above measure” and it is true that those thorns in the flesh can keep us grounded and allow us to not become prideful. But on the flip side the thorn in the flesh is sometimes a circumstance that happens where we truly need to seek God’s grace to make it through.
Everyone focuses on the words, “my grace is sufficient for thee” but we really shouldn’t just stop there. God has given us much more than just grace to meet these trials in life. Notice the following words:
“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Paul would rather glory in his infirmities than get dejected and depressed because in those moments he saw God’s power working. Whether your infirmities be health related, relationships, emotional, financial or spiritual. Every ‘infirmity’ you can think of God has given power that rests upon you that you can tap into and use. With that in mind we can glory in our infirmities because they can’t overcome us.
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
In your weakest moments you are strong because of the power you have been given through Christ. Just stay strong and faithful during those moments. Paul was one of the greatest men in the bible because of his ministry, but when you see what he went through in his life the appreciation of those verses he shared becomes more real.
Paul had to overcome his past - he pursued and killed Christians before he was finally blinded for three days and then saw the light again. He had many challenges during the present time when he wrote about glorying in infirmities:
2 Corinthians 11:24-28
“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”
His future - it is believed that he was eventually beheaded. And yet despite all that he went through on a daily basis and was going to go through - he still took pleasure in his infirmities because he rested in God’s power and trusted that God would take care of it.
After all Paul had seen heaven and knew what was in store for him after his death so he trusted God with his life completely. We also have been given a glimpse of heaven through God’s word.
1 Corinthians 2:9
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
The bottom line to remember is that God loves us so much that he sent his son to die for us. Can’t we trust him to take care of us in all our infirmities?
Romans 8:35, 37
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
The Lord has allowed us to be conquerors in the world not to be conquered. So step into the power that God has given to you and conquer your infirmities!
To be continued....
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
As I read through the bible and see the faith-or lack of faith- that is shown by the stories we read; I've come to realize that the time to believe God can work is NOW!
Don't wait...God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.
So seek God and believe...God's Got This!
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Happy New Year!!!
Welcome to 2014!
The beginning of the new year is when good intentions become the strongest. Desires that have been let go from time, circumstances, business and, let's be honest, just plain laziness come back in full strength. New resolutions begin to be made...but often they don't last much longer than a few weeks. With than in mind I wanted to offer my two cents worth.
Everyday is a new start, if your resolution is lost you can always reclaim it at anytime, you hold the key to your own happiness and desires!
When circumstances get tough and you're completely drained-make the next day the new-fresh start you need.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life-don't waste it! Use it the way God meant you to!
It may feel like life is overwhelming and you may begin to wonder: why am I here? You're here because you still have a purpose, go and do it! If you don't know what that purpose is, then just keep doing what you're doing. Clarity will come.
While I'm sure I could think of many more sayings and ideas to write I'll leave you with these last two:
It WILL be worth it all when see Jesus-so don't give up because...God's Got This!
And technically Paul gives this advice:
"And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago."
2 Corinthians 8:10
Keep on moving forward-you are making progress even if you don't see it!
Enjoy the start of your new year!