Sunday, February 8, 2009

Comfort During Troubling Times

Often when we feel down, we pull into our shells, and we forget to go to God’s Word. We remember Him and cry out to Him, but often we simply don’t grab our Bibles and let God’s Living Word renew us. Here’s a psalm to bring you comfort.

Psalm 77

1 I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands
and my soul refused to be comforted.

3 I remembered you, O God, and I groaned;
I mused, and my spirit grew faint. Selah

4 You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.

5 I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;

6 I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart mused and my spirit inquired:

7 "Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?

8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?

9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?" Selah

10 Then I thought, "To this I will appeal:
the years of the right hand of the Most High."

11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.

12 I will meditate on all your works
and consider all your mighty deeds.

13 Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?

14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.

15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah

16 The waters saw you, O God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.

17 The clouds poured down water,
the skies resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.

18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.

19 Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.

20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Just as this psalmist remembers what God has done, we need to remember the numerous times that God was faithful in our past and hold onto the truth that He is faithful now, and we will be able to see it down the road.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Death of a Parent

The death of a parent can unleash so many memories that we have long since forgotten. When we think of the times we wronged our parent, the times that he wronged us, and all the numerous times forgiveness was not granted, we can feel like we are falling into a pit of utter despair, with no way of every correcting the situation.

Yet, with God’s love and guidance, we can climb out of that pit and realize that although we cannot tell our parent any longer that we forgive them or ask forgiveness from them, we can forgive their memory and ourselves. Forgiveness allows us to be free from the burden of unresolved hurts. The Lord does not want us to be buried with our passing parent, buried under the relentless pain and frustration of unforgiveness. He wants us to honor our parent’s memory by clinging to Him and the hope that these past situations can be used for our good. They can help us value our own children more, they can help us cherish every moment that we have with those around us, and they can help see the unspoken pain in another’s eyes and reach out in love and hope and acceptance.

My dear friend, hold tight to God’s TRUTH, not what your flesh is telling you in times of despair or what Satan would want you to believe. You are a precious child of God who is of infinite worth – no one could ever replace you in the lives of your spouse, your children, your family, and your friends. The grieving process is hard, and you must allow yourself time to feel your loss and your emotions; God says that there is a time for that (Ecc 3:4). But, remember… Fight, with God, to stay out of the pit. Live life on purpose!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Winning and Losing

We watched the Super Bowl last night. Lots of fun screaming, laughing, and eating. The team I wanted to win, didn’t. Kurt Warner’s life story is so inspirational to me that I really wanted him to have another Super Bowl victory. Yet, I know that God cares even for a football game, not so much the overall score but for each of the players, coaches, staff members, and spectators, so I trust that the reason for the outcome was in God’s plan.

Have you, too, suffered a loss like the losing team? Of your job? Of a friendship? Of a dream you have dreamed for a long time? Are you wondering why on earth God would allow such dejection in your life? You gave it your all, yet you came up short. Maybe you feel that God should have granted this win. You were faithful to Him, you played it out His way, and what did it get you?

Remember that God did not promise us that He would make life a bed of roses for His followers. We may now have the Holy Spirit living inside us, but we still dwell in this sinful, fallen world. People are sinning all around us, and we ourselves fall short of even our own best intentions. God did promise that He would get us through the times on this earth—the wins and the losses. When we choose to keep our minds and our hearts focused on the Lord, we choose to work together with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is always thriving, always flourishing. If we turn away from the Lord, even temporarily, we choose to live life without control, without guidance; that’s the difference from being “filled with the Holy Spirit” or not. As soon as we turn back to the Lord and realize that His control brings the ultimate best, ever, we can see His Holy Spirit leaping for joy, as He has been all along, and delivering peace to our weary hearts.

Keep loving the people around you. Keep getting up each day and praising God for a new day to serve Him. One moment, one step at a time… giving God the glory as He sees you through this time of defeat. That is our victory—our victory in Christ.