Friday, February 28, 2014

Beyond Our Wits

They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, And were at their wits' end. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, And He brought them out of their distresses. (Psalm 107:27-28 NAS)

Beyond Our Wits
Working in a job that is not exactly our idea of enjoyment can be exasperating. At some point of time, we are bound to reach our wits’ end to consider how we are to live on in the days ahead and attempt to make sense out of our labor. Too often, however, we are left without a choice because of the scarcity of jobs and the limited opportunities to make ends meet.

Not every one of us will get to do what we like for a living. Sometimes we might need to live above our wits to do things beyond our own knowledge, expertise, skills or ability. At times, we might need to lower ourselves to understand the struggles of those in need and live humbly. That is when reliance on ourselves ends, and God's help is all we can depend on. Thankfully, we can rest assured where God places us He will bless and grant us the strength (Psalm 128:2; Isaiah 40:29).

Where and who should we turn to when we are at our wits’ end? The psalmist beseeches us to turn to God when we stagger, and cry to the Lord in our troubles. Our Lord is the One who stills the storm to a whisper and puts the waves to a hush. He is enthroned in the heavens, the maker of heaven and earth, who will bring us out of our distresses (Psalm 107:27-29; 121:1-2; 123:1).

So when we lift up our eyes to the mountains or look up to the skies the next time around, remember, we are not alone in our struggles, for our help comes from the Lord.

Thank You dear Lord that we can count on You and cry out to You in our troubles and distresses. We stagger in our struggles at times Lord, yet You would not leave us without Your blessing and strength. You O Lord are the calmer of the storms in our lives and You are always present to help. Remind us Lord to depend on You when we are at our wits’ end, especially when unsure how to live on in the days ahead. In You we depend and put our trust Lord, for You are our refuge and our strength.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Death is a Reminder

It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. (Ephesians 1:11-12 MSG)

Death is a Reminder
Suddenly she was gone. We'd known for months this was coming. The cancer was slowly eating away her life. Every day for weeks the doctor had warned us that she could die at any moment. And though she was unconscious, she lingered ... lingered beyond all expectations. The days went by so slowly as we sat with her wondering if today would be the day. And then, suddenly, my mother was gone—one final breath and her new life had begun.

I thought I was prepared, yet, no one is quite prepared for a moment like that, the overwhelming sense of loss. We had been so close. The separation was like a tearing of my very soul, yet, in the next second, I experienced peace. Only God's Spirit could provide that kind of comfort. And there was the awareness that her suffering had ended and she was beginning a new life with her Savior free of hardships and tears. A world where we will one day be together again.

Death serves as a reminder that our lives here are temporary. We live as if there is nothing else, consumed by the preoccupations of living. Caught up with obtaining, attaining, and maintaining, there is no energy left to pursue the spiritual qualities and commitments which last an eternity. We become insulated from the needs of others, wasting our lives on the trivial. We fail to show others His love and withhold from them the hope that is theirs in Christ. We will one day be held accountable for our selfish preoccupations—all because our minds are centered on our short existence here. Yet each second we are a breath away from eternity.

Each life represents a piece of God's eternal puzzle. We look at our lives and see the irregularities, the sharp edges, and the gouges. With no defined pattern on the puzzle piece of our lives, we fail to see how this piece is essential to the completion of God's entire puzzle. The indistinct colors run together representing all we have gone through—not very pretty and, certainly, not understandable—yet one day God will unveil the whole puzzle and we will see that His plan is indeed perfect. In the hands of the Expert our piece fits perfectly in place. Fulfilling its function, it adds to the finished beauty of the whole. But only in the hands of the Expert.

As we handle our life, our puzzle piece, we turn it every which way trying to determine how it fits into His plans, but that's not our job. He determines the experiences necessary to create our piece. We must only allow the Divine puzzle maker to fashion us according to His design and purpose.

One day when we breathe our last and our life with Him begins, we will view the beauty of His divine puzzle. Each piece, each life, perfectly formed and placed within the whole.

Death is a reminder. Carol Penhorwood

Friday, February 14, 2014

Desert Blooms

Desert Blooms
Have you ever felt dried up and parched? In my time walking with the Lord I have found that in that desert, in that heat that sometimes seems intolerable, in that place where there just is not any rain there can be growth.

Imagine that still, small voice is whispering to you even in that place, or should I say especially in that place? 
Child, it is a glorious day even though you don't SEE the sunshine yet because it is still early.
Bask in my presence, soak up my love and reach out to those around you. I will deliver captives.
Deserts bloom when watered by my Spirit and my Word. Enjoy. Rejoice. Selah.
Isaiah tells us much about opening blind eyes, setting captives free and releasing those who sit in dungeon darkness. Such descriptions, have you been in places like that recently? Take hope then for HE is able to release you and use all that apparently 'undesirable' to work His best in your life. (Isaiah 42:7)

Can you trust Him even in the dungeon? You most certainly can. It is in the desert and dungeon that we can see His most incredible faithfulness the best, even in that darkness.
to say to the captives, 'Come out,' and to those in darkness, 'Be free!' "They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. (Isaiah 49:9 NIV)
[The Year of the LORD's Favor] The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners ... (Isaiah 61:1 NIV)
Thank you, Lord, that you help us to bloom in dry places and that you have set us free (and continue to set us free) AND enable us to reach out to help others to see freedom in You. What an incredible calling, what an incredible blessing. May we get to the place where we can even thank you in the darkness. AMEN. Marijo Phelps

Friday, February 7, 2014

Light at the End

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. (Galatians 6:9 NAS)

Light at the End
When I was working in a startup some time ago, I was assigned the task of overseeing a project to conceptualize, strategize, implement, and regularly update the contents of an online service portal. After several months of planning, preparing, and laying the groundwork, the marketing campaign was ready to roll, but something happened that left the startup wondering whether it would ever see light at the end of the tunnel. Nearing the day of the launch, a sudden influx of competitor companies came into the market and offered similar services that had been planned by the startup. All of a sudden the concept of a one-and-only company providing such a service in the region evaporated into nothingness, and a soft launch was sought in place. By and by, the business fell into question of its viability to sustain, and cutting costs, resources and staff became inevitable.

Thankfully, unlike the way the commercial world works, our service in the Lord never falls into question of its worth or viability. We need not be afraid we might not get to see light at the end because Christ Jesus is the Light of the world and of life (John 8:12; 12:46). Since Jesus dwells in us and we sow to the Spirit, we will from the Spirit reap eternal life and a harvest in due time if we do not lose heart or grow weary (Galatians 6:8-9). For behold, the Lord’s return is coming quickly, and His reward is with Him to repay to us according to what we have done (Revelation 22:12).

Be steadfast, immovable and always abounding in the work of the Lord, therefore, knowing that our toil is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58). We are God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus for good works which God had prepared beforehand, so let us shine in our works that God might be glorified before men (Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 5:16).

Dear Lord, thank You for the assurance of Your light and presence at the end of the tunnel. In You O Lord we know we have our inheritance and reward. You O God are the everlasting God, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. In Your Spirit, we will sow and reap bountifully, be steadfast, immovable and abounding in good works. You alone are worthy to receive all the glory and we put our complete trust in You.