29 July 2010

The Gift in Tribulation

So many friends and family are facing the most challenging situations of their lives -- illness, financial hardship, relationship challenges, the passing of loved ones and failing faith. It is easy to become overwhelmed with the sheer number of prayer requests. But there is hope ... God has given us a gift in the midst of tribulation.

As many of you can attest, God will not always deliver us from a hardship as much as He will grant us the grace to walk through the situation - maintaining and even increasing our faith, enabling us to catch a new glimpse of His glory and deepening our commitment to His plans.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, 'The wise man in a storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear.' I like that quote because, often, our greatest enemy in the midst of the storm can be the fears that we allow to intimidate and control us. But we know from scripture that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.

We must understand that the greatest blessing may not be in God delivering us from the grasp of adversity. The greatest blessing may be His allowing us to remain in the storm so that we come out with a renewed trust in Him and the understanding that He is all that truly matters.

James 1:2-4 in the Message Bible tells us to, 'Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. ‘

Romans 5:3-5 echoes that sentiment by reminding us that, 'We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.'

Over the past two-and-a-half years, and especially during the past few weeks, I have been privileged with the ability to obtain a renewed compassion for hurting people, an increased understanding of what are true priorities in this life, revitalized strength and faith roots that have dug deeper with every wind of trial that has blown - not in spite of the challenges but because of them.

We often pray to God and express our desire to see and experience the miraculous. But we must understand that in order to have a true miracle manifestation of the power and presence of God - we must first find ourselves in a situation that is beyond human comprehension, consolation and correction. And, while this place can be extremely daunting, it ever so rewarding.

Therefore, I encourage you dear friends,
Keep pressing forward, in faith, with God!

For we know that He will never leave us nor [utterly] forsake us and that He causes all things to work together for good, to them that love Him, who are the called -- according to His purpose.

Be Blessed!

05 July 2010

Hazy, Hot & Humid School of Humility

Wow! When I wrote about FAITH which 'Follows Adonai In The Heat’ back on the first of June, I had no idea just how challenging and hot things were about to become. Here are just a few things I’ve learned or been reminded of ... maybe they'll bless you too:
• God will make your enemies to be at peace with you (Proverbs 16:7)
• God will use some of the most unexpected individuals to bless you with the resources you need
• God is not only a shelter from the wind and the rain … He is shelter from the HEAT!
• Other than the obvious need for food and shelter, homeless people need sunscreen and TONS of prayer
• There are a million stories out there … don’t assume you know someone’s story without talking to them
• When one does not know what to say, it is a time to be silent (The King and I)
• Not everyone who wants to know what’s going on wants to help
• The people who truly want to help don’t need to know everything that’s going on
• There is nothing like family – naturally and spiritually
• Some of the kindest actions can come from strangers, while some of the most injurious words can ooze from the lips of friends
• The same way God tells you to randomly bless people, He tells others to randomly bless you
• Obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit makes all the difference in the world
• Temperatures will often reach an all time high – right when you have no a/c or electricity
• While you may hate raking the leaves in the fall, those trees sure do keep things cool in the summer
• God is turning the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the hearts of the children back to the fathers
• How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1)
• There really is no place like home
• God is still a miracle-working God!
• My kids are my world
• The love for your children will cause you to do things you never thought you would
• There is no place for pride when it comes to your family
• I do not have to attend every argument I am invited to
• I learned a valuable lesson from the little old-lady who used to live next door … sometimes you just have to tell folks, ‘I’m not hearing you’
• There are stormy weather friends and fair weather friends … it’s good to find out which is which before the weather changes
• There are many great people in the world … doing great things, in quiet ways … everyday
• Your dog will stick by your side … no matter what
• I have some of the greatest nieces in the world
• You really have no idea what is going on behind someone else’s door
• Sometimes you reap what you sow … sometimes someone else reaps what you’ve sown … SOW ANYWAY!
• When God closes a door … it cannot be opened … no matter how hard you try
• When God opens a door … no devil in hell can close it … or keep you from walking through it
• God truly does work all things together for the good of them that love God, who are the called … ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE [and timing!] (Romans 8:28)
• Always ask God for HIS interpretation behind any prophetic word you receive … it might not mean what you think it means
• God does not require that we understand His instruction … only that we obey
• If everything looks like it is going in the exact opposite direction of what God said … you might be closer than you think
• Believe the LORD, and His prophets
• Trust in the LORD always … His purpose will manifest in your life (Psalm 37:5)
• Walk by faith and not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7)
• There is a peace which passes understanding (Philippians 4:7)
• There is an inexpressible joy you can experience … right in the midst of the fire (I Peter 1:8-9)
• No weapon formed against us shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17)
• In all things we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37)
• If God be for us who can stand against us? (Romans 8:31)
• The LORD is great, and greatly to be praised!!! (Psalm 145:3)

I love the LORD more than anything ... and He loves me ... and that makes everything alright!