Monday, July 15, 2019

Purpose in The Pain

"Experience is not what happens to you.  It is what you do with what happens to you.  Don't waste your pain; use it to help others." -Rick Warren

Some of the most painful experiences that we go through God can use to help others that are going through similar circumstances.  The pain is not in vain.  The most complete form of healing is when we are able to turn our misery into our ministry.  May we not just pray that God would heal us so that we could carry on as normal (and a normalcy may not be possible depending on what brought the pain), but rather that He would heal us so much so that we could use whatever we have gone through to comfort others so that they too could place their hope in a God that heals and saves.  

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT).

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Judge Not

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” – Mother Teresa

What if instead of judging people for the way that they choose to live, or to change them for that matter, we simply loved those people for exactly who they are and where they’re at on their spiritual journeys?  As Jesus stated, we might be judging someone for the speck in their eye when we have a plank in ours (Matthew 7:3).  In other words, what we do not like about them—the self-promoting attention seeking or whatever—we may be looking over as it pertains to our own faults.  Other times, maybe we are actually further along than them in particular areas that we have strengths and they have obvious weaknesses, but so what!  God is their judge, not us.   It’s our duty as Christians to love people that are difficult to love by treating them with kindness, generosity, and patience so that God can begin to work on their hearts in His timing, and in the meantime, He’s interested in curving the self-righteousness in ours. 

Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment (Matthew 7:1, The Message). 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Enjoyment Versus Achievement

"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing."  -Dale Carnegie

If we measure success solely by achievement, we might find that we are constantly under pressure to meet demands that we place or others place on us.  When we achieve, we are happy for a short amount of time before we set another goal and thus our lives can feel like rat races; when we do not achieve, we may feel as if all of our efforts were for nothing and we then are therefore unhappy.   If we measure success by enjoyment however, then we decipher whether we are truly happy achieving our objectives.  Granted, some things that that we do are not meant to be fun but rather necessary and difficult in the short-term so that we enjoy life in the long-term.  In general, we must strive to enjoy our journeys along the way to reaching the destinations because it is this that will make for a life well-lived. 

So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.  And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, NLT). 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Opportunity in Adversity

“Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.”  –Billy Graham

Adversity can be exactly what we need to grow because we may never dig deeper within ourselves to explore new ideas, opportunities, or relationships unless the status quo is stagnating us or we simply do not have any other choice but to make a change.  Just as a mother bird will move further away from the nest to beckon the baby bird forward or even push the baby bird out of the nest so that it spreads its wings to fly, God sometimes moves ahead of us to call us to follow Him or He even allows for uncomfortable circumstances to prick us a little so that we step out of comfort zones to gain new ground.  Accepting change and taking risks can be extremely difficult, but just as the mother bird knows the baby will die in the nest if it doesn’t eventually leave, the consequences of inaction can often go much worse for us than taking leaps of faith.  Sometimes the adversity we face is just that and not anything more, but other times God has a message in the midst of it.  May we draw closer to God to hear His still, small voice so that we are able to discern the difference.  

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17, ESV).

Monday, June 24, 2019

Rejoicing in Today

"Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today.  Let us begin."  -Mother Teresa 

Regret and worry are useless emotions because they neither change the past nor help us in the future but only hinder us from enjoying our present.  God wants us fully engaged today.  We must not miss opportunities to be a light to others because our minds are clouded with despair.  Let us reflect on how God has provided for us in the past so that we trust that He is working out all things for our good to give us a hope and a future even when it does not feel like it; and may we be a force for God’s goodness to others in the present.  By doing this, we may not change our circumstances right away or ever, but God begins to change our hearts to be molded more in His likeness.  In spite of the setbacks and disappointments of life, the mark of a Christian is that we persist to become more like Jesus.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24, ESV). 

Friday, April 19, 2019

It's Not Over

"We see his smile of love even when others see nothing but the black hand of Death smiting our best beloved.” -Charles Spurgeon

It must have felt like the very end for Christ's followers as they saw His badly beaten and bloodied body on the cross.  After all, they had just watched the man that they knew as the Son of God and Messiah be mocked, spat on, and tortured by the Roman Officers.  Any hopes for a Savior seemed to be over.  I can only imagine Christ looking down with love on His creation that had persecuted Him, as He said, “It is finished.”  Little did everyone know that what He really meant was that it was not over and only just the beginning.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8, NIV).

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Power in His Name

"How sweet the name of Jesus sounds, in a believer's ear!  It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, and drives away his fear." -John Newton

Did you know that there’s power in the Name of Jesus?  Scripture says that there is healing in His name (Malachi 4:2), that demons tremble at the sound of His name (James 2:19), and that we can ask for anything in His name and he will do it (John 14:14).   We can pray in the Name of Jesus and the chains of sorrow, sin, and addiction can be instantly broken.  May we change the way we pray, trusting that there’s power in His Name and He is truly our Savior and Deliverer.

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14:13, ESV).