Saturday, June 29, 2013

Suffering: God's Way of Getting Our Attention

     I look upon suffering as one of God’s ways of getting our attention. In fact, C.S. Lewis calls pain “God’s megaphone.” He said, “God whispers to us in our conscience, speaks to us in our joys, and shouts to us in our pain. Pain is God’s megaphone.”~ Elisabeth Elliot

Link to: Held in the Everlasting Arms: A Message From Elisabeth Elliot

This is a link to a short message from Elisabeth Elliot. If anyone knows about suffering, it's Mrs. Elliot. I have blogged a lot about suffering and enduring through tough times. When I ran across this message from Mrs. Elliot, I wanted to share it on this blog to preserve it for myself and to share with any followers who may need these words of encouragement. By clicking on the link above, you can listen to Mrs. Elliot as she delivers this message or read the transcript. I'll end this post with how she ends her message...

      Therefore sin and suffering entered into the world and now we’re saying, “Why doesn’t God do something about it?”

      And the Christian answer is, “He did. He became the victim, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.”

      As the Psalmist said in Psalm 46: “Though the earth shake and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, God is our refuge” (v. 1 paraphrase). I speak to you as one who has desperately needed a refuge. And in that same Psalm he says, “Be still” (v. 10). And I am told it’s legitimate to translate that, “Shut up and know that I am God.” That’s the message. ~ E. Elliot

I am reminded of this verse in 1 Peter 1:6

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordy Wednesday

I have fought the good fight, 
I have finished the race, 
I have kept the faith. 
Finally, there is laid up for me
the crown of righteousness, 
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, 
will give to me on that Day, 
and not to me only but also to 
all who have loved His appearing.  
~ 2 Timothy 4:7-9

I saw this quote and thought I'd do a little twist to my typical Wordy Wednesday post. While there's nothing religious about this quote, there is a lot of spiritual life application to be gleaned. It did make me think of several Bible verses.

Life does have a tendency to throw us curve balls. Anyone who has played or followed baseball knows that a good hitter will be patient and wait for the right pitch to come. That patience comes from maturity and carefully observing the pitcher as he throws to other batters. A good batter will also foul off the pitches in order to stay in that batter's box as long as he can. So the batter patiently endures, battling to stay in that batter's box as long as he can. When that right pitch does finally come along, an experienced batter will take his swing and be ready to run. 

As believers, we are often placed in that position of waiting patiently all the while battling those knuckle balls, the curve balls, and the 95 mile-per-hour hanging sliders that come our way. We battle away against things the enemy throws at us. We need to be dilligent to study the "pitcher" and to patiently endure until that "perfect pitch" comes along. When it does, we need to be ready to take that swing and run. We need to keep watch for those opportunities that God provides in our lives. If we have our eyes closed, we'll miss the pitch. And in the end we will find that crown of righteousness.

Let's fight that good fight of faith!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wordy Wednesday

I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, 
and in His Word I put my hope. - Ps 130:5

Monday, June 17, 2013

God Can Make a Way

Earlier this week as I was reading scripture for my quiet time, one verse really jumped out at me. Psalm 77:19 says,

Your road led through the sea, 
your pathway through the mighty waters—
a pathway no one knew was there! 

There’s always a quickening of my spirit whenever the Lord uses the Word to speak to me, so I had to stop and think on it a moment. What was it about this verse that caused me to stop? I had to look at the context of the scripture and look at it in context of my own life.

This particular Psalm is written by Asaph and it's all about comfort during troubled times and remembering how God came through for His people.  I felt as if the Lord was reminding me that His path is rarely ever the easiest path. In fact, they almost always are ones we would not choose, and often in a place where we might not see a path. There was something very encouraging about that thought. It was a simple reminder to me that God can make a way where my eyes can see no way

I'm not going through a particularly troubled time. In fact, this is a rather quiet season in comparison to recent months. But, the path to this point has been rough at times and when I look ahead, I do often feel as if the way is obscured or insurmountable. 

It takes me back to just trusting that God does have a plan for my life and He will accomplish what He wants to accomplish in me and through me. Life won't always be easy. In fact, God rarely does the predictable. If the waters need to part so that I can walk on dry land--God will do that. If He needs to divert my path to go around the mountain instead of over it--God will do it.

Ahhh, if only I had that pillar of fire by night and the cloud to guide me by day! (see Exodus 13:21-22)

What do you need to trust God to do this week?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wordy Wednesday

My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26 

What are you trusting in today? Flesh or God?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Where is Hope When You Need It?


How many times each day do we say this word (or think it)? Probably more often than we realize. Think about the situations in which we use this term:

I hope I make it to work on time.

I hope there's not too much traffic on the road.

I hope my friend will call.

I hope I don't get sick after eating that rich food.

I hope I don't have to stand in line too long.

Okay. You get the idea. In general, I think people are filled with hope. My best guess is that hope is there because we are made in God's image. He has given us that quality because God IS hope. Our souls search for hope--probably in more earthly things more often than not. Ultimately, God is the hope that our souls are longing for.

So, here's a question: If we are (in general) hopeful, why do we often feel so hopeless?  

Well, the obvious spiritual answer here is because of sin in the world. But, I'm interested in exploring the less obvious answers to this question.

Have you ever felt like a situation was hopeless? I have. From my limited perspective I only see dead ends. An impossible situation with no obvious solution requires nothing short of a miracle. Because I'm not in the miracle business and don't know anyone else who is, that leaves only God to do it.

God recently reminded me of this word HOPE. I was feeling a bit down about some circumstances. Then I started noticing this word popping up all over the place. I got the message. God was reminding me that He is hope, therefore I can have hope. My hope is in God who is able to do considerably and abundantly more than I can ever do (Ephesians 3:20). God has my back. He's powerful. And, hello: Even the verse I have at the top of this blog mentions the hope God is going to give me. The Bible is full of hope!

Why then do we actually feel hopeless? Well, it seems that sometimes we lose track of the Truth. Knowing the Word will help and understanding God's ways are not our ways. The Bible clearly tell us that we will have trouble in this world (John 16:33). When we're prepared for that eventuality and understand God's sovereignty (He is in control), then we can let faith take over. A very wise teacher recently said that confusion about circumstances are okay. Keep trusting and have confidence in God!

Emotion also has a huge part in this thing we call hope. When things are going well, we feel hopeful. (FYI: Hopeful is Full of Hope). Here's a practical example: Let's say you purchase a beautiful bush to plant in the yard. The weather is perfect--not too hot, not too cold, just enough rain and sun. The bush is starting to look beautiful. After a few weeks the rain stops and the temperatures soar. The lack of rain and heat begins to take its toll on the plant. There's no rain in the forecast and you have to go on vacation. If you're not there to water it every day, it's hopeless to think the bush will survive. The bush hasn't been in the ground long enough to put deep roots in the ground. So, when things stop going your way, you lose hope.

The things of this Earth will disappoint us. We can count on that. But, we don't have to believe everything our mind tell us. There are times we need to simply keep our eyes fixed on God and trust Him.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wordy Wednesday

Psalm 43:3-4

Send out your light and your truth;
let them guide me.
Let them lead me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you live.
There I will go to the altar of God,
to God—the source of all my joy.
I will praise you with my harp,
O God, my God!