typorama (11)

How do you personally respond to the evil and injustice you see in this world? You have a choice. You can either be overcome with fear, despair, anger & bitterness, or you can choose hope. The Bible tells us to overcome evil with good. What does that look like in a practical sense? That’s what we are going to be talking about at Positive Woman Connection Bible Study as we finish up our study of Romans 12 on May 24. I hope you will join us. For more info click here.

 

 

When We Wonder Why

donna su panchina al tramonto

This past weekend, my husband attended the funeral of a young man who died in the prime of his life. Often tragedies like this can lead us to question why. Why would God allow someone to die when it seems like there is so much of his life yet to be lived? Perhaps you have had similar questions about circumstances in your life:

Why did this happen to me?

Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?

Why didn’t God rescue me out of my misery?

The problem of pain and suffering is an age-old philosophical question. In the Old Testament, we read about a man named Job who found himself in the midst of struggling to understand why. His vibrant, fruitful world came to a crashing halt when God allowed him to suffer the loss of his possessions, his children, and his health. He couldn’t understand why this would happen to him especially because he was a noble and upright man.

God lovingly responded to Job’s unsettled questions. Instead of explaining the reasons Job suffered, God kindly directed Job back to an authentic trust in a God he could not understand. God asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.” God led Job to a deeper understanding of His almighty power and omniscience, helping Job see that God’s ways are far beyond human comprehension. Job finally declared to God, “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.”

We must ask ourselves, are we willing to trust God even though we don’t understand His ways? It’s hard, I know. Direct answers would be much nicer. How do we grow to the point of trust? How can we rest in the arms of a loving God when we can’t understand why he allows certain difficulties in our life? Just as a child would rest in the arms of a loving parent, so we can come to a place of resting in God’s care as we grow to love Him as our Father. Certainly we cannot know all the answers, but as we begin to get to know who God is – that He is a good, kind and loving Father, we develop a trust for the God who loves us. In Job’s response, notice he said he had heard about God, but now he has seen Him with his eyes. Job moved from a point of knowing about God, to a place of truly experiencing Him.

Job was able to put his trust in a God who had become real to him, not just someone he had heard about.The same is true with us. We can find people’s opinions about God from books, commentaries, editorials, and even sermons on Sundays, but we must get to know Him for ourselves. A search for knowing the true God will lead us to see his faithfulness and love. It’s one thing to know about God in a distant sort of way; it is another thing to experience Him up close and personal.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux said, “If we begin to worship and come to God again and again by meditating, by reading, by prayer; and by obedience, little by little God becomes known to us through experience. We enter into a sweet familiarity with God, and by tasting how sweet the Lord is we pass into . . . loving God, not for our own sake, but for Himself.” We can fall into the arms of a God whom we know and love, but it is difficult to trust someone we do not know personally.

Where do we begin our journey of knowing Him? The Bible is God’s revelation to us about Himself. We read about His power, His goodness, His sovereignty and His unfailing Love in the pages of this magnificent book. Seek to know Him, not simply to know about Him. Draw close to Him. Open the Bible, and as you do, ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a very real way. He loves you and invites you to know Him personally.

To chat with someone about a relationship with Christ, go to: www.chataboutjesus.com

A portion of this blog is from Karol’s book, Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive.

 

The Wedding Rehearsal  

Grace and Jeremy's Rehearsal

Grace and Jeremy’s Rehearsal

Several weeks ago our daughter Grace got married in Pennsylvania. The wedding celebration was spectacular! The beautiful fall foliage and the relaxing ranch venue made for a perfectly memorable event and some great pictures too. Sadly, the day before the wedding wasn’t quite as glorious. Monsoon- style rains in Dallas prevented several of the girls in the bridal party (including our daughter Joy, who was maid-of-honor) from getting to the rehearsal the day before the wedding.

Grace felt both sad and disappointed. Her heart was set on having a special time with all her bridesmaids at the rehearsal dinner. Her perfect picture of what she always dreamed of for the rehearsal dinner had to be adjusted. We all needed to step back and look at the bigger picture, remembering that this weekend wasn’t about the rehearsal, it was about the wedding! Ultimately, it was the celebration of her marriage to Jeremy that really mattered.

Sometimes, we need that same perspective when it comes to the disappointments and difficulties in life. When our perfect picture of what we thought life should look like gets rearranged, it is important for us to view the bigger and broader picture, remembering that there is a better day coming. The apostle Paul put it best when he wrote:

We do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

 Perspective is everything! May we step back and view our circumstances in light of eternity and remember that this life is simply the rehearsal for the next. What really matters is yet to come as we look forward to the great and glorious day described in Revelation – the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Let’s choose to keep our eyes on that day as we face the challenges of this day.

Eyes Wide Open

Challenges in our lives often point us to spiritual truths if we are looking for them. Several weeks ago, I had an ulcer on my cornea – ouch! As I drove home from the eye doctor, I asked the Lord, “What do You want me to learn from this challenge?” My thoughts went to the psalmist words, “Open my eyes that I may see the wonderful truths in your instructions.” Throughout Scripture we find references to spiritual eyes which see beyond the physical.

Think about Elisha who prayed for God to open the eyes of his servant, so he could see the mighty army of God encamped around them (2 Kings 6:17). Isaiah wrote that God opens the eyes of the blind (Isaiah 42:7), and I believe that he was referring to both physical and spiritual eyes. Think about Jesus, who healed people from their physical blindness, but He also opened people’s eyes spiritually. He called the Pharisees “blind guides,” yet He opened the willing eyes of the two on the road to Emmaus.

When it comes to challenges in life, Paul reminded us to keep our eyes on the eternal. He wrote:

Our light and momentary afflictions are preparing us for

 an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

 as we look not to the things that are seen,

 but to the things that are unseen.

 For the things that are seen are transient,

but the things that are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:17,18

Let’s look at life with our spiritual eyes wide open. Spiritual eyes see hope when others see difficulties. Spiritual eyes see an opportunity to trust God, while others are focused on what is wrong in a challenging situation. Spiritual eyes see that God can use our present troubles for something far more eternal. May we step back and view our circumstances in light of eternity, seeing God in the midst of our struggles.

Father, open our eyes to see the beauty beyond the obstacles. Remind us of your presence, even in the darkest valleys. Strengthen us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

***You may enjoy my devotional, Pursuing God in the Quiet Places. It’s on sale for $5. Click Here to order.

Disappointment with God

typorama

You prayed and prayed, and no clear answer came. Or worse, you prayed fervently, passionately, ceaselessly . . . only to have the situation turn out exactly the opposite of what you asked. You thought God loved you and would take care of you, but your life fell apart.

When disappointments like these come into our lives, we find ourselves asking, “Where is God?” Maybe you have shaken your fist at God in anger or given up on him completely. Perhaps you just decided to slowly distance yourself in your relationship with him, because you haven’t seen him show up. Disappointment with God comes in many different forms. Usually it brings with it a fair amount of guilt as the enemy whispers in your ear, How could you give up on God? What kind of person are you anyway?

Actually, some of our greatest Christian leaders have had moments of doubts or disillusionment. Even in the Bible we see Job’s questioning and David’s hopeless feelings. John the Baptist sent a message to Jesus from his dark prison cell asking, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” Often disappointment with God results from not being able to understand God. We can’t comprehend that a loving, sovereign God would allow bad things to happen in our life, so we question if he is really there or if he is who he says he is.

Understanding why he allowed something in your life will not change the reality of who he is and what he can do through your circumstances. Whether we understand why God allowed something or not, we do know his comfort and care is available to us in the middle of our pain, for Scripture tells us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” So take your hurts, your pain, your questions, your doubts to Him. Don’t allow these things to turn you from Him, but rather to turn you to Him. He is bigger than your doubts, your fears or your disasters. He loves you with an ever-lasting love.

From: Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive  by Karol