Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Turning Sorrow Into Joy

                    "...Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength".  Nehemiah 8:10b

     I wonder sometimes how we can have joy in the midst of sorrow.  Have you wondered the same thing?  Questions abound when illness, terrorism, riots, emotional turmoil, and many other turmoils come.  Where is the joy?  And how do we get it?  Our joy comes only from Jesus, and His joy gives us strength.  When we are in the middle of turmoil, it can seem like joy is a million miles away.  The truth is, we become so consumed with our problem that we focus on it and we become a million miles away from Jesus.  Jesus is always with us.  When we focus on our problem, we are the ones that leave Him, and our joy is gone.

     Life happens.  Earthquakes devastate.  Planes crash.  Children die of cancer.  Suicides soar.  But God.  Two most powerful words in the Bible.  But God can bring joy in the midst of all the chaos.  How?  He sent His Son Jesus to die on the Cross of Calvary, for a sinful and dying world, so that it may have eternal life...and...joy even when trouble strikes.  Having Jesus in your life doesn't mean there won't be trouble, but trusting and relying on Him, gives you hope.  Our life on earth is temporary.  We are getting ready for eternity.  Earth is our training ground for what is yet to come.

     "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world".  John 16:33.  With all that goes on in this lost and dying world, we can find joy in Christ, and with that, His strength.  And as it says in John 16, we can also have peace.  In Philippians, Paul says, don't worry.  Friends, God's got this!  We just have to trust.  I have found myself wondering why all these things happen.  But God is always reassuring me of His joy and peace when I cry out, "Help"!  to Him. 

                       "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus".  Philippians 4:7

     His peace, as well as His joy is beyond what we can understand.  We cannot know God's plan, but He has it in place for us.  So, do not sorrow, His joy is your strength.  Let Him give it to you.

                                                     In peace and joy,

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pray Without Ceasing

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18~

     To be honest, I had something else in mind to blog today, but at my soon to be 53 years of age, my mind lost all the content of what I had previously thought.  Oh well, since today is the United States' National Day of Prayer, prayer will be the topic.  God has His ways, doesn't He?  On my Bible Gateway app, the word pray in the Bible is mentioned 392 times.  Prayer is mentioned 184 times.  Praying is mentioned 25 times.  Prayer is important and we must pray to keep communication going between us and our Lord.  With that, we must be thankful in everything, because despite good or bad circumstances, God has given us all we have.  

     How do we pray without ceasing?  It's not praying with our eyes closed on our knees 24/7.  It would be difficult to do the laundry, work at our job, or God forbid, drive with our eyes closed, on our knees.  No, it's an attitude of prayer.  It's always having our heart opened to God's leading and direction in our lives.  And yes we can pray in our mind while we do the laundry, work or drive, with our eyes opened.  Keeping in contact with Jesus at all times, in all situations means leaning on Him at those times.  Trusting Him.  Having faith.  Being strong and courageous in all of life's activities.  Pray without ceasing is having a heart for God.  A longing to hang out with Him all day.

     On our National Day of Prayer, remember those who need our prayers, from our government officials to the neighbor down the street.  Most importantly, open the communication between you and God all day, everyday.  Call upon Him in need and in praise.  He wants to hear from you.  His line is always open.  Remember as it says in these verses, it is the will of God to pray without ceasing.  God never ceases in His love for us.  Be a blessing to God and someone else.  Never stop having a heart of prayer.

Praying always in His Name

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Just Wait

Psalm 27
Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord.

     This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible.  I may have told this story before, but here I go again.

     I was in a hospital in 1987.  I had some neurological symptoms and they did an MRI on me and several other tests.  They came to the conclusion that I had a mass in my head that was inoperable and they gave me days to live.  My life just then turned upside down.  My family's lives turned upside down.  I was 25 years old, married, with a baby.  What would happen next?
     After the crying, and going on, a nurse, who happened to be a Christian, came in and recited this verse to me and prayed for me.  I felt uneasy and afraid, but yet I felt peace coming from this precious nurse.  The next day came with results again from the MRI.  It might have been a miracle, who knows?  It might have been a doctor's mistake, who knows?  Only God knows.  The mass in my head was scar tissue.  I was going to live!  What we have to know is we have to wait on God, with courage.  He will give us the strength we need.  A miracle did happen by the way.  God showed me that waiting on Him, in His timing meant I would see blessings.  And I did!
     Fast forward 28 years later...
     Worried God wasn't listening.  Worried God wasn't answering.  Wondering where He was when I messed up.  With tears in my eyes, He held me close, and said, "Wait".  So the next day comes around, very early, and I'm thinking of the verse, "...Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning".  And I thought again, still struggling, "Where is my joy"?  All of a sudden I felt peace and joy with the arms of Jesus holding me.
     The next thing I know, I get a text from a family member with some good news we were praying about, and I cried for joy this time.  I failed the day before to trust and have faith...and to wait.  The next day, God showed up.  Another verse that comes to mind as I conclude this is, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding".  Proverbs 3:5.
     God always shows up when you least expect it.  Are you waiting on Him?

Waiting on Him