Tag: joy

  By Sarah Callen

Have you ever met one of those people who is the epitome of freedom? They don’t care what other people think and don’t seem to be phased by what happens to them, but continue to go forward with almost reckless abandon? I’m not one of those people. I would like to be, but I am far from their level of freedom. I have a comfort zone, a routine, to which I have grown accustomed and like to maintain. Interestingly enough, the most free people I know are those who are very close to God, intimately tuned into his voice, and actively seeking his face. The most free people I know have trusted God through good and bad, displaying an awe-inspiring amount of faith. Trusting God is great in theory, until he asks you to do something that makes you uncomfortable. So, what do you do when his direction or instruction flies in the face of your instincts?

 

All of our favorite Bible characters navigated through this same internal struggle. Let’s look at Moses. God told him that he would be used to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. What a ridiculous notion! Then, after they had been rescued from their oppressors, God sustained his people through miracles as they wandered about in the desert. God’s instructions to Moses were ridiculous, but he obeyed, why? It wasn’t because he was being forced or coerced into submission. Moses obeyed because he knew God. He knew His voice and character, making obedience a no-brainer. So why do we struggle so often with following God’s instructions?

 

I want you to think about a time when God has told you to do something. It could be going and speaking to someone, forgiving someone who hurt you, quitting something or starting something new, or a thousand other things. Do you have yours in mind? I have mine. Now, how does that instruction or direction make you feel? Now, that’s a strange question coming from me, I’m not one to talk about feelings often, but I’m learning that there’s value to this type of self-assessment. I think two of the main responses can be: fear or freedom. I think your reaction depends wholly on your perspective. Let me say it another way, your response to obedience reveals your view of God.

 

The Bible says that God is love, it’s not that he can love or he loves well, but he is the very definition of love. The Bible also says that perfect Love casts out all fear, meaning that fear cannot exist in the same space as perfect love. When a frightening directive is given by God and your focus is on the directive and yourself (i.e. a selfish perspective), the natural result is fear. But when you focus on the one giving the command, it can be a freeing experience.

 

Most of the time, I take the selfish road, as I am a very selfish individual. But the interesting thing is that this perspective always leads to my detriment. By focusing on myself and how God’s word effects me it causes me to operate in a place of fear. But, when I change my perspective and focus on God, my response changes. When I know that God loves me and is always looking out for me I can trust that his directions are indeed good. I can know that He wants good things for me and will work things together for my benefit and not to my destruction.

 

I don’t know what you’re facing right now, but I know that God is good. Every time I have entered into a period of transition or stepped into something scary, God has pulled through and, despite all the bumps in the road, I’ve come out better on the other side. And I believe he will do the same for you. If you’re frighted by that next step He’s telling you to take, know that you’re not alone. It’s okay to react with fear, but you can’t stay there. When fear begins to creep in, whispering in your ear to run away or hide, change your perspective and focus on the One who is speaking to you and leading you.

 

I’m not writing this because I have mastered this or because I have this all figured out. I’m writing this because I’m in the middle of it right now. What God is telling me to do scares me and I have to daily, sometimes hourly, shift my focus to the Lord and off my situation. I’m asking you to join me on this faith walk as we continue to move toward God and away from ourselves.

 

A simple shift in perspective can change everything. I’m willing to humble myself and change my thinking, are you?

 

 

Sarah was raised in Tucson, Arizona, but now lives in Dallas, Texas. She currently works a 9-5 job, but in her spare time she loves to write, paint, draw, and sing. More importantly, she wants to help people receive hope when they feel like they have none.
Sarah:  “I believe every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story is worthy of being shared.”

Sarah’s Blog: workinprogressblog.co

Deb Blue 5x7 tighter cropBy Dr. Deb Waterbury

 

jesus_picture_400x4001 On the first day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, One Perfect Loving Savior.

-And He is perfect. He perfectly lived and perfectly gave Himself as a sacrifice so that we might live forever. (Romans 3:21-26)

mary-and-joseph2 On the second day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, two trusted servants, and One Perfect Loving Savior.

-Mary and Joseph believed the angel when he told them of what this pregnancy would mean. Aren’t you grateful that their faith began our path? (Matthew 2:18-25; Luke 1:26-38)

we-three-kings3 On the third day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, three wise men, two trusted servants, and One Perfect Loving Savior.

-What an amazing gift to be given so many witnesses of our Savior’s birth, even to three men who  were also told about the coming of the great Messiah. (Matthew 2:1-12)

dividing-jesus-clothes4 On the fourth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, four pieces of clothing, three wise men, two trusted servants, and One Perfect Loving Savior.

-When Jesus died, the soldiers divided His belongings up among themselves, one for each of the four soldiers. God used these Roman soldiers, who were unaware of Holy Scripture, to fulfill the prophecy in Psalm 22:18. (John 19:23-24)

kids-bible-jesus-feeding-the-50005 On the fifth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, five thousand men, four pieces of clothing, three wise men, two trusted servants, and One Perfect Loving Savior.

-Jesus fed 5000 men, not counting women and children, with only five barley loaves and two fish. How much more can He do in our lives with what we may see as only a little? (John 6:1-13)

water-to-wine6 On the sixth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, six jugs of water, five thousand men, four pieces of clothing, three wise men, two trusted servants, and One Perfect Loving Savior.

-Our Savior’s first miracle began with six jugs of water at a wedding feast. Jesus turned that water into wine, and this was His first recorded miracle, miracles that continue with our salvation today. (John 2:1-11)

fbcover_70x7matt18227 On the seventh day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, seventy times seven, six jugs of water, five thousand men, four pieces of clothing, three wise men, two trusted servants, and One Perfect Loving Savior.

-Jesus gave us the perfect example of forgiveness, but He also gave us practical advice. When Peter asked how many times we should forgive someone who wrongs us, Jesus said not only seven times, but seventy times seven. In other words, always. And do you know what is most wonderful about that? We all need unlimited forgiveness, and Jesus promises that we will get it! (Matthew 18:21-22)

naming-jesus8 On the eighth day of Christmas, my True Love gave tome, eight days to naming, seventy times seven, six jugs of water, five thousand men, four pieces of clothing, three wise men, two trusted servants, and One Perfect Loving Savior.

-Jesus kept the Law perfectly on our behalf, even in that he wasn’t officially named “Jesus” until eight days after His earthly birth, the time of purification according to the Law of Moses. He did for us what we could never do, and in that substitutionary sacrifice, we are now made perfect in Him. (Luke 2:22)

9 On the ninth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, ninety-nine left washeepndering, eight days to naming, seventy times seven, six jugs of water, five thousand men, four pieces of clothing, three wise men, two trusted servants, and One Perfect Loving Savior.

-In the Parable of the Lost Sheep, Jesus explains that just as the shepherd will leave the ninety-nine safe sheep and go after the one that is lost, so He will continually seek those of us who have lost our way. What a Savior!! (Matthew 18:10-14)

ten-minas10 On the tenth day of Christmas, my True Love Gave to me, ten times the inheritance, ninety-nine left wondering, eight days to naming, seventy times seven, six jugs of water, five thousand men, four pieces of clothing, three wise men, two trusted servants, and One Perfect Loving Savior.

-Likewise, in the Parable of the Ten Minas, Jesus explains that those of us who use our gifts wisely to the advancement of His kingdom will receive ten times our inheritance. Though an earthly example, Jesus was assuring us that He will reward us in the hereafter, and His promises are sure! (Luke 19:11-18)

jesus-sends-out11 On the eleventh day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, eleven apostles sent, ten times the inheritance, ninety-nine left wondering, eight days to naming, seventy times seven, six jugs of water, five thousand men, four pieces of clothing, three wise men, two trusted servants, and One Perfect Loving Savior.

-After rebuking their unbelief that He had indeed been resurrected, Jesus sent the eleven rejoicing apostles out into the world, telling them to proclaim the Gospel to every living person. Because of this commission, all of us who accept Him as our loving Savior will live in eternity with Him. Hallelujah! (Mark 16:14-16)

12-disciples12 On the twelfth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, twelve obedient men, eleven apostles sent, ten times the inheritance, ninety-nine left wondering, eight days to naming, seventy times seven, six jugs of water, five thousand men, four pieces of clothing, three wise men, two trusted servants, and One Perfect Loving Savior.

-Jesus started with these twelve men, men of low standing and often even low character, men who would never have been chosen by human standards. But He chose them, just as He has chosen us, to be His and to work in His kingdom. Jesus began with these twelve men, and 2000+ years later, millions now join them. (Matthew 10:2)

savior-image

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me:

Twelve obedient men,

Eleven apostles sent,

Ten times the inheritance,

Ninety-nine left wondering,

Eight days to naming,

Seventy times seven,

Six jugs of water,

Five thousand men,

Four pieces of clothing,

Three wise men,

Two trusted servants,

And One Perfect Loving Savior!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deb Blue 5x7 tighter cropBy Dr. Deb Waterbury

Do you sometimes find yourself saying things that your parents used to say to you, only to grimace and think, “Was that me?” I know I do—a lot. One of the things I used to tell my boys all of the time was that they just needed to be patient, that whatever was happening to them at the time wasn’t the end of the world. It’s just a season. It will all work out. It’s not as bad as you think. You’re being too dramatic.

Don’t miss the forest while you’re looking at the trees.

It’s a wonder they didn’t murder me in my sleep.

And now that I’m older and my boys have left the nest, I find myself in circumstances often where I remember saying those words to them, and even to others, and then find myself thinking that things ARE that bad. There’s NO WAY this is going to work out. This ABSOLUTELY IS as bad as I think. And I’M NOT BEING DRAMATIC!!

I certainly do not intend to write another article on being patient in the midst of trials, knowing that God is at work in all of them. Christians, by and large, know that Romans 8:28 is in every one of their bibles. They know and they’ve heard that God has a plan, just as He promised in Jeremiah 29:11, and that His plan is for their good. The problem arises when that plan doesn’t feel good. The confusion manifests when that plan makes utterly no sense.

What is God thinking? He has to see that this is not good! Why would He hurt me this way?

The issue becomes almost incredulous when we live in the middle of circumstances where seeing the love of God reconciled in the things He allows to happen is just about impossible. When our marriage ends, or a loved one dies, or we lose our houses or our jobs or our children—how do we see the forest of God’s love in the middle of rotten, stinking, dark trees?

I don’t have an answer, but what I do have is the same thing that all of us have, and that’s the bible. The stories and words of God are purposeful, and at the expense of beating this bush again, let me just remind you, and me, of the story of Job.

You remember Job, right? This guy did it all correctly. He was a righteous man, and by Old Testament standards, his riches and many children and great life were a direct result of this righteous life. God had blessed him above and beyond his fellow man. Job was living large, but he did so while humbly serving his God.

Can you imagine how he felt that day when he lost everything? In one fell swoop, Job lost his fortune, his livelihood, all of his children, and finally, his health. He had no friends who sympathized or offered him compassion. His friends assumed these horrible disasters happened because of some hidden sin that needed to be confessed. Even Job’s wife turned on him.

Can you imagine how this man of God felt?

I know that most of you have probably studied, or at least read the book of Job on occasion, and you’ve also most likely labored through it.

It’s depressing.

And yet, God put it in His Word, and we know that He did so because Job demonstrated for us the endurance of a believer’s faith, even when the entire world falls down around his ankles. Mind you, Job didn’t take it quietly. He yelled—a lot. He screamed at God and at his friends, asking why and what was going on?

The trees were falling, and Job was lost in a cataclysm of endless pain, but he never denied that God was God.

Now, cut to the forest that Job didn’t see, the forest that God showed you and me at the very beginning of this story. This is the forest we would all do well to remember when our own trees block our view.

When Satan came to God and told Him that he had been traveling around the earth, what was God’s first response?  Job 1:8 records the Lord as saying to Satan,

“Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” (ESV)

In essence, God looked at Satan, and His very first thought was, “Have you seen My Job? I love My Job! Did you see how awesome Job is? Look upon My son, Job!”

I don’t know about you, but the idea that God would single me out while addressing the angels and say something like, “Have you seen My Deb? I love My Deb!” is a thought I would treasure above all else.

And when Satan asked to test Job, God allowed all of those horrible things to occur because He trusted Job. God looked down upon his child, and He trusted Job so much that He allowed Satan to take everything from him but his life, and God did this because He knew that His servant, Job, would stand in his faith. God knew that He would then use the testimony of Job for all time as a witness of unswerving faith in God’s very “God-ness.”

God looked upon this man and said, “Have you seen My Job? I trust My Job so much that I will allow him to be tested so that I might use him.”

This was the forest of reality in the heavenly realm that Job didn’t see because he was surrounded by the trees of this mortal existence. However, this beautiful forest was always there, even when Job didn’t see it.

My sisters and brothers, there is a heavenly reality occurring every millisecond of every day beyond our human sight. The trees of our lives may be falling and rotting all around us, but the essence of our faith is to emulate Job’s. The essence of our faith is in knowing that God is God, and though we don’t understand His ways, we know that they are ultimately good and right. Our faith comes from knowing the forest is there, even though we only see trees.

Most especially, though, we must remember that when God chooses to bring or allow horrible things in the lives of His children, it’s not because He doesn’t love them or is punishing them. It’s because He is choosing to use them. He’s building our stories, much like He built Job’s story, so that when He has delivered us, He will use us.

I know that when tragedy hits my life, God is in heaven saying, “Do you see my Deb? I trust my Deb so much that I choose to use her. I will deliver her, and once I do, she will be a vessel used to My glory.”

That, my friends, is a forest upon which we should focus, even in the midst of these sometimes very ugly trees.

 

headshotBy Ricki Allen

Back in the year 2000, a movie came out staring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg called The Perfect Storm. It was an adaptation of a book written in the late 90’s, about a crew of fishermen who went from not catching any fish, to catching way more than they bargained for. Spoiler alert: it didn’t end well for the captain and his crew. The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed, if not for the courage of the fearless crew… Hang on, different story entirely – but did you sing that last bit? You’re welcome. The theme song from Gilligan’s Island will likely be stuck on mental repeat for the rest of the day. As soon as you think it’s gone, I’m betting you’ll start wondering how it was that Ginger always remained so well put together. I mean really, her make-up was flawless and her hair was seemingly immune to humidity. When I think back to how I looked on the last camping trip with my husband, I gotta tell you, there’s a reason this girl’s no movie star. Let’s get back on point: fisherman, boat, hurricane…the perfect storm.

While I’m not an avid fisherwoman, lately my life has mirrored that movie a bit more than I would like. As 2015 came to a close, my husband got promoted at work and I took a new job which promised to be great. While in the midst of us both learning our new roles professionally, we rang in the new year. Yippee. Cue the streamers. Shortly after tossing out the old calendar and finally remembering to type 2016, I got a call from my husband that he and my 16-year-old son had been in a car accident. Arriving at the scene and seeing all the emergency lights flashing was surreal and more than a little scary. Thankfully they were okay, but our car was totaled. But the hits just kept coming – like they literally kept coming – as in a total of four car accidents in a three-month period. How is that even possible? I have no idea. A better question might be: how are we still insured?

What a tremendously inconvenient and crazy stretch! After the second accident, I found myself thinking, “Wow. Surely this is the end of it.” After the next one, a friend reminded me that bad things come in three’s, so our luck should be turning. Yeah…I’m here to tell you that as well-meaning as she may have been, the old wife that told that tale wasn’t being entirely honest. After the fourth accident, my husband and I just looked at each other speechless. Ever a fan of silver linings, I had definitely been on the lookout for something shiny that wasn’t car parts and broken glass strewn across the street. Sure enough, there was a bright side to be found! Along with my new job came a pay increase. Boom – silver lining. We had a little more income to help offset the expenses and the addition of a car payment…not to mention our new and improved insurance premium. Sigh of relief: the storm was finally calming.

If you are an avid reader like me, or you enjoy watching movies, you will likely agree that any good story has its fair share of twists and turns. Let’s be honest, in real life things would be a bit boring if entirely predictable. However, there can come a point where one waves the white flag of surrender. That moment came for me when I received word that my company lost a big account and that I was being laid off. You know when it’s really hot out and you can see what looks like a shimmering stream of water running across the road ahead? Yeah, it was like that: my silver lining turned out to be a mirage.

Are you beginning to wonder if I was clear about how things normally go, in that guest bloggers are generally expected to write something encouraging? Believe me, I am on the same page. In the midst of a world turned upside down, I debated bowing out and waiting for a time when life was moving more smoothly, making it easier to write something lighthearted and fun. But you know what? Sometimes life isn’t fun. The truth is that life is often messy and at times can be downright frustrating! So why is it that I felt I had to put off writing for another day? Probably for the same reason so many of us feel like we have to smile and give the standard, “I’m great!” during times when our insides are in knots, our hearts are broken, and the smile on our faces is painfully forced.

There’s a line in a song that says, “Everybody hurts sometimes.” I find that simple, yet profound and oh, so very true! In the Christian world, I think many of us feel that we are not allowed to have a bad day. In the midst of that rough day (or week) that something is horribly wrong if we find ourselves feeling like we can’t take one more thing; if the storm appears to be getting the better of us. If it’s true that we all hurt, as R.E.M. so eloquently proposed, then why are so many of us under the impression that we must keep our masks firmly in place? Psalm 103:14 assures us that the Lord knows our frame, that we are but dust. That tells me that while we may be able to fool our classmates or that gal at the office, the One who knows us best isn’t buying it. He knew that we were going to have struggles and that this life would bring troubled waters and during those times, His expectation isn’t for us to pretend all is well. Frankly, it’s exhausting. Furthermore, when we attempt to keep up that charade, I believe that we rob ourselves of something far greater. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that we walk around dejected, bemoaning every challenge that comes our way, but rather that we reach out to others and lean on one another when we are overwhelmed.

The Bible is full of examples of how people deal with the storms that crash in on them. When Jonah disobeys, hops a boat to Tarshish and eventually winds up getting tossed overboard to calm the tempestuous sea, God saves him via the belly of the whale. When the disciples are caught in a storm with waves threatening to capsize their boat and they are overcome with fear, the Lord spoke and caused the winds to die down and the sea to calm. Jonah definitely got the messier deal there, but in both instances the Lord rescued his people when they called out to him. But what happens when we don’t get the miraculous solution to life’s dilemmas?

In Exodus, we watch Moses grow into a remarkable leader. I mean seriously, that guy did everything from receiving the ten commandments to dealing with a rather testy Pharaoh who was none too happy with what had become a substandard water supply, along with an infestation of unsightly critters, skin conditions…those plagues were no joke. Fast forward past manna from heaven and a rock springing forth with enough water to quench everyone’s thirst, and we find the people of Israel facing off against one of their greatest enemies, the Amalekites. Moses sends Joshua and his men off to battle while he stands on a hill holding the staff of God. When he held it high, the Israelites prevailed, but when he lowered his hands, the tables turned. Sheesh, no pressure there. If you’ve ever had to hold a position for any length of time, then you can imagine the feeling as the weariness set in. Did Moses pretend he was fine and just push through alone? Nope. A sage guy like Moses knew he needed to rely on the Lord and on others. Aaron and Hur got him a rock to sit on and they each took a side and held his arms up, sharing the burden until sunset.

It would be fantastic if as you read this today you find yourself perplexed, thinking: wow, I have no idea what she’s talking about – my life is an amazing anxiety-free utopia. However, in the event that you find yourself in the midst of a gale, I implore you to let your guard down and allow someone else to help shoulder the load. I’ll leave you with this: “Two are better than one…for if they fall, one will lift up his companion: but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has no one to help him up…a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

 

 

CALLEN_PHOTOS-21By Sarah Callen

Have you ever met one of those people who is the epitome of freedom? They don’t care what other people think and don’t seem to be phased by what happens to them, but continue to go forward with almost reckless abandon? I’m not one of those people. I would like to be, but I am far from their level of freedom. I have a comfort zone, a routine, to which I have grown accustomed and like to maintain. Interestingly enough, the most free people I know are those who are very close to God, intimately tuned into his voice, and actively seeking his face. The most free people I know have trusted God through good and bad, displaying an awe-inspiring amount of faith. Trusting God is great in theory, until he asks you to do something that makes you uncomfortable. So, what do you do when his direction or instruction flies in the face of your instincts?

 

All of our favorite Bible characters navigated through this same internal struggle. Let’s look at Moses. God told him that he would be used to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. What a ridiculous notion! Then, after they had been rescued from their oppressors, God sustained his people through miracles as they wandered about in the desert. God’s instructions to Moses were ridiculous, but he obeyed, why? It wasn’t because he was being forced or coerced into submission. Moses obeyed because he knew God. He knew His voice and character, making obedience a no-brainer. So why do we struggle so often with following God’s instructions?

 

I want you to think about a time when God has told you to do something. It could be going and speaking to someone, forgiving someone who hurt you, quitting something or starting something new, or a thousand other things. Do you have yours in mind? I have mine. Now, how does that instruction or direction make you feel? Now, that’s a strange question coming from me, I’m not one to talk about feelings often, but I’m learning that there’s value to this type of self-assessment. I think two of the main responses can be: fear or freedom. I think your reaction depends wholly on your perspective. Let me say it another way, your response to obedience reveals your view of God.

 

The Bible says that God is love, it’s not that he can love or he loves well, but he is the very definition of love. The Bible also says that perfect Love casts out all fear, meaning that fear cannot exist in the same space as perfect love. When a frightening directive is given by God and your focus is on the directive and yourself (i.e. a selfish perspective), the natural result is fear. But when you focus on the one giving the command, it can be a freeing experience.

 

Most of the time, I take the selfish road, as I am a very selfish individual. But the interesting thing is that this perspective always leads to my detriment. By focusing on myself and how God’s word effects me it causes me to operate in a place of fear. But, when I change my perspective and focus on God, my response changes. When I know that God loves me and is always looking out for me I can trust that his directions are indeed good. I can know that He wants good things for me and will work things together for my benefit and not to my destruction.

 

I don’t know what you’re facing right now, but I know that God is good. Every time I have entered into a period of transition or stepped into something scary, God has pulled through and, despite all the bumps in the road, I’ve come out better on the other side. And I believe he will do the same for you. If you’re frighted by that next step He’s telling you to take, know that you’re not alone. It’s okay to react with fear, but you can’t stay there. When fear begins to creep in, whispering in your ear to run away or hide, change your perspective and focus on the One who is speaking to you and leading you.

 

I’m not writing this because I have mastered this or because I have this all figured out. I’m writing this because I’m in the middle of it right now. What God is telling me to do scares me and I have to daily, sometimes hourly, shift my focus to the Lord and off my situation. I’m asking you to join me on this faith walk as we continue to move toward God and away from ourselves.

 

A simple shift in perspective can change everything. I’m willing to humble myself and change my thinking, are you?

 

 

Sarah was raised in Tucson, Arizona, but now lives in Dallas, Texas. She currently works a 9-5 job, but in her spare time she loves to write, paint, draw, and sing. More importantly, she wants to help people receive hope when they feel like they have none.
Sarah:  “I believe every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story is worthy of being shared.”

 

Sarah’s Blog: workinprogressblog.co

headshotBy Heidi Trask

Comfort; we all need it, we all long for it, and we all look for it. We look to all sorts of things such as food, people, and wealth hoping to find comfort. We think that these different revenues will offer and give us what we seek, but in reality, no matter how hard we try, none of these will give us the true comfort we need, the comfort only Jesus Christ our savior is able to give us.

God has been teaching me what His comfort is and how much better it is to any other source I could try to find it in. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 Paul talks about the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction so that we might comfort others. The Lord is really using this passage as an example in my life. He is teaching me what it means to be comforted by Him through physical pain and suffering so that I may then share that comfort with others who really need it. Sometimes, I feel as though I have to be strong, and “prove” that I am okay because of Christ and what He has done. I’ve gone through so much pain and suffering that when others ask me how I am, out of habit I usually say “I’m doing great” or “Yeah I’m wonderful” when the majority of the time I’m barely hanging on. The work that Christ is doing in my heart and how He is drawing me closer to Him is amazing, yet, too much of the time my pride sneaks up and says, ‘hey, I’m alright, I’ve got this, I can handle it, I don’t need help.’ I disregard my weakness and try to do it (whatever ‘it’ is) on my own.

I know that this is not what Christ wants, nor how I should feel, yet too often I find myself going through the motions. I often feel drained and like there is no point. I’m learning that without Christ, I can do NOTHING on my own. Sure, I may be able to get by for awhile, but eventually I’ll be unable to continue, hit a wall, or get lost or confused. When this happens, and when trials, sins, emotions, or attacks from Satan bombard me, God is teaching me to run to Him in prayer and to go straight to His Word for comfort, guidance, and peace. In the past, I would have sought out friends, other things or people to get comfort. I’d run everywhere trying to find an ‘answer’ or solution to ‘fix’ the problem and continue on with my life. I went everywhere but Christ.

True comfort in God is found through His Word and in communion with Him. The Bible has so many promises, more than I could ever imagine, and all of them He promises to us who have been adopted into His family through the blood of Christ; they are the best source of comfort to a hurting heart. His promises, such as “I will never leave nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5b, Joshua 1:9)”, “Nothing in all creation can separate you from my love (Romans 8:38-39)”, “Come to me you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)”, “I keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on me because he trusts in me (Isaiah 26:3)”, “I am your strength when you are weak, my grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)”, “I began a good work in you and will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6)”, “I have perfect plans for you for your good and not for evil (Jeremiah 29:ll)”, and “I will work together all things for good for you whom I love (Romans 8:28)” are all for me because Christ is in me.

I am His child, His daughter, His Bride. And because of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, God is and always will be faithful to me. The more I seek and meditate on Him, the more I am able to have joy, find joy, and be joyful in the midst of so much pain and suffering. Even if my body always fails and even if I never find answers or healing, it doesn’t matter. Why? Because I HAVE Christ!

I know that I am human, that I will have days when I fall into the fear and anxiety, times that I will struggle to fight for joy, and days when I will want to give up (and do) on the fight against sin. Sin is something I will deal with and experience until the day Lord brings me home. For this life here on earth is temporary, this isn’t my home. But even when I fail, and when I fall down, Christ is always right beside me, picking me up, helping me, and upholding me with his righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10), loving me and forgiving me. What shall I fear? When I have God for me, who can be against me? What can man do (Hebrews 13:6)?

Will you open yourself up to the God of all comforts, who comforts us in ALL our afflictions? It truly is the sweetest, most precious comfort you will ever receive.

Oh Lord, my Lord, help me to continue to seek you through the Word which you have given to me, guide me where you will have me go. Give me the comfort and peace that you and only you can give. During those days and times when all seems hopeless and like there is no reason to go on, show me your Son and what He suffered for me, give me comfort in knowing that you are right beside me, holding me when I cry, and in knowing that you will never leave me nor forsake me. Thank you!

                                                                                                            Amen

 

Heidi is a single woman who has been dealing with chronic health problems and pain for several years and feels lead to share with others the comfort and hope she has received from Christ through it. Heidi wishes to reach out to not only those struggling with their own health, but to everyone that struggles with daily things like faith, hope, peace, etc. She has her own blog where she shares her heart and what Christ is doing in her life, and if you would like to know more or know of someone who would be encouraged by her writing, please visit her blog at https://comforted2comfort.wordpress.com/