Studies, Lessons and Devotionals
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstance; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." -- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Finding joy in all circumstances is our way to experience God's blessings. We can have faith through the storms when we are able to focus on God's blessings and not on the negative aspects of life. Sometimes, in the major storms of life we are forced to trust in God's blessing, yet through the daily, minor trials, we find it easy to doubt God --resulting in negative thoughts and feelings. In my first gratitude article, I talked about how God desires to help turn our trials into times of thanksgiving. This second article is about God's will for our lives as it pertains to gratitude.
When I was five and one-half-years old, my father was committed to a psychiatric hospital 50 miles away from my home. Mom was left alone to care for five little children; my oldest brother was 7, I was the oldest girl, and the youngest three were in diapers (3, 2 and 8 months old).
Mom did not know how to drive. Although she was a Registered Nurse, there was no place to work within twenty to thirty miles of our little town of 900. In later years I asked Mom how she got through those chaotic times. Half-jokingly she said, "I was planning to have a nervous breakdown, but he beat me to it."
The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, "Follow me." Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote--Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
Before Scripture was canonized, a woman named Huldah proclaimed God’s judgment on Judah, inspired King Josiah’s reforms, and became the first person to formally verify a written book as being the divinely inspired word of God.
“Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…..rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28-30
Soak that in, mediate on those words.
Imagine spiritual rest. What does it looks like for you? Spiritual rest is what Christ desires for us.
The first part of this new year has been overflowing with reflections, learning, practicing, and understanding victory through surrender. I've read some great books and spent time in deep conversations about spiritual warfare, victory, and surrender.
I still get those jitters. I have had them since taking my first plane ride with my twin sister since when were sixteen years old. There's nothing between the plane's wheels and the ground but thin, invisible, air. Butterflies move around in my stomach. I say a prayer, and then....take off! Flying in an airplane is awe-inspiring. God has actually given us the capability to take a machine and manipulate it to move through the earthly heavens to get from one destination to another.
"But God saves those who suffer through their suffering: he gets them to listen through their pain." --Job 36:15 (NCV)
I told God the other day, "OK. I hear you. I will listen. And I don't need migraine pain anymore. Father you have my attention." I don't actually believe God was giving me the migraine, it's just that I deeply believe He can take it away right then and there. But I also believe there is something to be gained by this suffering – by this pain.
Those of us who are physically challenged go through trials and emotional turbulence. God is with us every minute, working to bring us closer to him—while Satan is scheming to wrench us away. Being chronically ill is one of the greatest challenges a disciple can face. Sometimes we wish our illnesses were of an acute nature so we could go through them, die and go be with God. Living in constant pain or sickness without knowing when it will end, yet trusting that God truly loves us, summons every bit of faith we have...one day at a time.