Category Archives: Life
It’s been awhile but today I’d like to share with you another special devotional written by my friend and mentor, Patricia Knight. This is another of the devotionals in her book, REJOICE!
Victory Over Circumstances
Elijah was God’s prophet. The Old Testament tells us that Elijah alone challenged 450 prophets of the false god Baal. God’s people refused to help so Elijah faced the formidable adversaries with only his God on his side. Each opposing team of believers was to offer a sacrifice on an altar but not set fire to it. Baal’s prophets were to call on their god and Elijah called on the Lord. The one who answered by fire would be declared the true God. Baal, of course, was unresponsive in spite of shouting and pleading by his prophets. Elijah then prayed that God would let it be known that He was the only living and true God. “Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench” (1 Kings 18:38).
Elijah had just been triumphant against 450 prophets of a false god. He had believed in God and God was triumphant. One would think Elijah would be praising God and rejoicing after the victory. But, he had just received a message from wicked Queen Jezebel, saying she would kill him. God’s Word tells us Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. Other than being overtaken by fear Elijah was tired—just plain worn out. Imagine the energy he expended in the intense fighting against the vastly out-numbered prophets of Baal.
We cannot forget the all-powerful Jezebel, who was at that time threatening to do to Elijah what he had just done to the prophets of the false gods. 1 Kings 19:4 tells us, “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.” With God’s help he had just defeated all those men against all odds. Now we hear him pleading with God to take his life. “Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep” (1 Kings 19:5). Observe how God ministered to him. It appears that the cause of Elijah’s depression was lack of proper rest (vs. 5), improper eating habits (vs. 6), physical exhaustion (vs. 6), and loneliness (vs. 16). In the scene that is created for us of Elijah, God has sent an angel to minister to his needs. God healed Elijah by allowing him to rest, gave him food, and sent a friend for earthly companionship.
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. —1 Kings 19:4-9
Interestingly, God didn’t condemn Elijah and tell him to stop his foolishness and get on with life. God, in His wisdom knew that Elijah needed comfort and understanding. God knew that what He had asked Elijah had not been easy for him to do. With his multiple needs in mind, God ministered to Elijah to refresh him mentally and physically. God still had more work for Elijah to do; He needed a rested and nourished man for the days ahead. God even demonstrated to Elijah His presence in a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12).
There is nothing that we experience that God has not been through.
That is why He so readily understands our needs.
There was a time when God allowed Satan to test Jesus in the wilderness for forty days. Though Jesus did not sin, He knew the energy it took to resist constant temptation. That is why He can minister to us and completely meet our needs when we are worn out, over-worked, or have a long list of demands facing us.
Like Elijah, our typical response may be a desire to crawl into a corner and tell God and the world to go on without us.
“And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
God does not expect us to be super heroes.
Nowhere does He even hint at that. He only tells us to obey. A concise way to remember the importance of obedience when we can see neither the purpose nor the outcome is to recall this quote:
God takes full responsibility for the consequences of our obedience. —Anon
There will be a day, soon, when you will feel like smiling inwardly and outwardly. For now you need to rest and restore and renew. Only God can accomplish healing and in His precise time. It is not comfortable to be in a dry area. Look at all the great men of the Bible. They had their wilderness wanderings when God took them away from the crowd to teach and refine them. Moses was out in the fields where he escaped to Midian after murdering a man. He lived there for forty years until God called him to do his life’s work. Or, visualize Joseph in prison, wondering why God took him so far, to then have him forgotten by family and those to whom he was devoted. Job teaches us about physical and emotional suffering; he learned that he had no right to question God. In His time, God restored Job’s health and showered him with many more possessions than he had before. Even God’s own Son spent those forty days resisting Satan in the wilderness.
I have been in dry spiritual times and I have resisted greatly. It is neither fun nor a comfortable place to be. “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going… These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won’t last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessing upon us forever and ever. So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever” (2 Corinthians, 4:8, 9, 17, 18, TLB).
The Psalmist David was named “a man after God’s own heart.” What a distinction and honor! Yet this is what he admitted, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1, 2). It is wonderful that God chose to write examples of very real and flawed people in His Word so that we can relate to those about whom we read and apply the lessons to our own lives.
When God sees us in the “pits,” He reaches down and lovingly rescues us, lifting us up to higher ground. Through Him, we are triumphant, like Elijah of centuries ago. Trust Him because He has already won the victory!
Pat, once again I thank you for allowing me to share your writing with my readers. You’re the best and once again, your writing has blessed us all! If anyone is interested in purchasing a copy of REJOICE! please let me know by commenting in the section below this post.
As part of my ongoing “Joy” theme, I’d like to share a story I wrote a few years ago. It is pure fiction except for one thing: millions of people live with physical pain—or emotional pain or financial difficulties or _______ (fill in the blank)—every single day…
JOY TO MY SOUL
When I said, “My foot is slipping,” Your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul. —Psalm 94:18-19
“Good morning!” Sherri smiled and waved, then hurried to help Macy up the ramp.
“What’s so good about it?” grumbled Macy. She stopped and leaned hard on her cane as she struggled with her shoulder bag.
“Here, let me.” Sherri slid Macy’s purse strap up higher, then gave her friend a hug. “Can I help you with your shopping?”
Macy’s eyes filled with tears. “I’d be so grateful. Today has been a pile of things gone wrong.”
Sherri helped Macy into the store’s motorized cart and then pulled a shopping cart out for herself. They moved from one aisle to the next as Sherri tried to keep the conversation light. Macy just responded with grumbles or shrugs.
At the checkout, Sherri unloaded Macy’s items onto the checkout counter before unloading her own cart. In the parking lot, she stashed Macy’s grocery bags in her trunk and then turned to help Macy out of the cart.
“There you go! Do you need any help getting this stuff put away at home?”
Macy’s eyes widened. “How can you be so nice when I’ve been so rotten to you?”
“I figured this wasn’t a great day for you when you couldn’t even appreciate the beautiful blue sky,” Sherri replied. She lightly touched Macy’s shoulder. The pain is pretty bad today, isn’t it?”
Macy nodded. “Yeah, but I had no choice. I needed so many things and I’ve been putting this off for days.” She struggled into the driver’s seat and looked at Sherri. “How do you do it?”
“You know. You look and sound so joyful when you must be feeling so bad yourself,” Macy said as she gestured to Sherri’s leg brace and the splint encasing her right wrist.
Sherri smiled. “I just picture God’s comforting arms around me, holding me close. Just the thought of that brings joy to my soul.”
Macy regarded Sherri for several moments. “You know, I should probably try that too.”
Beloved, life is not easy! But you already knew that, I’m sure. Please understand that I am not saying that thinking differently will change your circumstances. What I am saying is that changing our thinking can affect how we perceive our circumstances.
Trying to find joy in our circumstances is not easy, but I can attest to the fact that it can be done. I fail at this a lot but I’m thankful that most times I remember to reach out to the only One Who can bring true joy into my life: my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
May I pray for you about this? Please reply in the comment section below this post or shoot me an email: faithlhj777 at gmail dot com.
This is the coolest card I have ever seen and it hangs on our refrigerator. If you hold it one way, it says “The Wages of Sin is Death.” Flipping the card (same side) shows how the same printing reveals “The Gift of God is Eternal Life” phrase.
On this Thankful Thursday, I’d like to say that I shall ever be thankful for Jesus Christ’s precious gift of salvation: that eternal gift from God that allows us to live with Him forever in heaven.
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 6:22-23
If you’d like to know more about how to receive this precious gift, read this, or write to me at annap51 (at) msn (dot) com.
Today is another Wonderful Wednesday and I’m enjoying the Christmas decorations I finally put out yesterday. It didn’t take long because I’ve pared down the process a lot over the last few years, but I still needed some recovery time afterwards. I spent the afternoon dozing in my recliner, happy with what I had been able to accomplish that morning.
Life for me these days is lived in bytes, small bits of time in which I break tasks up into manageable pieces. Gone are the days when I could accomplish five or six things at almost the same time, all while compiling a grocery list in my head. But I’m not complaining. I truly appreciate the days when I can do more than just live through a migraine.
It’s funny how used to things one can get, given enough time and thought. Last year, one of the darkest years of my life, a good day for me meant not sleeping most of the day away. Earlier this year, I felt thankful when I no longer needed insulin injections. Now… well, let’s just say that I plan the night before the one or two tasks I want to accomplish the next day and hope for the best.
Christmas preparation for me used to involve days and days of making and freezing cookies and other delectable treats. I would crank up the Christmas music on the stereo and sing along during hours of decorating. If it was snowing outside during any of these activities (I’ve lived in snow country most of my life), then all the better.
Now life is slower but not by choice. Still, having had to slow down is not a completely bad thing. In a few minutes I’m going to slide into my recliner and gaze around the living room at our few decorations. Although we no longer put up a traditional tree, the sight of the small ceramic Christmas tree with its tiny colored lights always brings a smile. My mother-in-law made it especially for me as a gift many years ago and I cherish it still.
So, do any of you have treasured Christmas traditions or keepsakes? If you do, please share them in the comment section below.
I woke up with my usual migraine plus allover aches because of the weather, so I have to admit I’ve been struggling with this today. I’ve designated Thursdays as “thankful” days but I woke up feeling so yucky it was almost impossible to think clearly, let alone come up with something to be thankful for today. But… God is always faithful and because I asked, He brought these to mind (in no particular order):
- a warm home
- my loving and lovable hubby
- C O F F E E !
- close friends who will be coming over for coffee a little later
- my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ
- my two grown children
- a good hair day
- Christmas music
Now to try to make this day count for something…
Today’s bit of Wednesday wonderfulness for me is that I get to have a manicure and a haircut. It sounds trivial, I know, especially in the grand scheme of things. But for someone who is not able to get out often, this kind of girly day is really appreciated.
My fingernails have a tendency to split and break so I went back to acrylics a few months ago. Now I absolutely love the way my nails look after they’re fixed up again.
As for my hair, it only needs a bit of trimming today. Since it is naturally curly and fine and cut in layers, it needs to be trimmed every couple of months to maintain the style. I made the big decision earlier this year to cut off quite a lot of length but it’s easier for me to maintain in the smooth style I prefer. You know how it is: those of us born with curly hair long for straight hair; if we have straight hair, we yearn for those curls. I guess we’re just never satisfied!
So, from me to you, enjoy this Wonderful Wednesday as much as you can, no matter what your circumstances. And may this day be a bright spot in your week!
Okaaay, I can hear most of you saying to yourselves right now. The rest are thinking, say what?
Yes, you read it correctly. I thank God for things I don’t have, things He has not allowed in my life. I’m not just talking about more serious illnesses than those I live with every day or cataclysmic events such as tornadoes and hurricanes. I’m talking about other stuff: more money, maybe more (and more stylish) clothes or a bigger house. How about straight hair instead of the naturally curly mop I was born with? Or writing talent so spectactular that publishers come after me instead of the other way around.
It seems to me that the more we want, well… the more we want, like some vicious cycle. Contentment with what we have now is admittedly difficult to be thankful for. And yet, I’m wondering if allowing ourselves to feel such contentment will result in that inner peace that is so illusive.
“Peace, mercy and love be yours in abundance.” –Jude 1:2
These are what can be ours. And from personal experience, reminding myself that I have these things usually leads to my feeling happy and contented with what I have in the here and now.
How about you?
“Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.”
–Psalm 95:1-3, ESV
This year has been one of ups and downs for me, but the ups far outweigh the downs. The best thing that happened in my life this year concerns my son. After praying diligently for him for many years, he came back to the Lord and was baptized in September. And the day after that, he was on a plane to Albania where he was part of a medical mission team. To say that this mother’s heart was full of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord is a gross understatement!
All around us things are happening that make life a challenge. My daily battle with migraines continues but the pattern has changed somewhat. I still wake up with a migraine every morning and go to bed with one every night. The difference now is that on many days I am migraine-free for about four hours so I can at least feel somewhat human and get a few things done around the house.
The other day a close friend who has been estranged from her son for several years received the sweetest note from him as the first step in a joyful reconciliation. In this note, he asked for forgiveness and told her that God had been doing a work in his heart.
My husband and I were saddened to hear of the recent sudden death of a dear friend we knew when we lived in California. We shared many a Saturday morning over coffee, discussing many things including Biblical matters. We don’t know if he ever came to know the healing power of Jesus Christ, but our heavy hearts are comforted by the fact that God knows, and that is enough for us.
Read or watch the news and it is easy to see that all over the country people are struggling with health and financial issues, family and personal relationships, extreme weather devastation, and job problems. Our cost of living is constantly on the rise in direct contrast to most people’s income staying the same or going down.
And yet, in spite of all this, God is always with us and ever in control.
Is life getting you down? Are you wondering when — or if — your suffering will ever end? Why not do something completely different than what our normal human tendency dictates? I’m talking about a radical approach to everyday life, a way of lifting ourselves up before we get mired down in the muck of life as we know it. Here it is: thank God for each and every thing in your life, the bad as well as the good.
Wow… really? Yes, really! It is understandably difficult to thank God for illness, questionable finances, family problems…and on and on. But — and here it comes — how we will be blessed!
This is more than the power of positive thinking. It is an inner calm and a peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), not in spite of your circumstances but because of them. See what I mean? Radical, right?
Beloved, our thanks to God ought to be because of who He is, not for what He does or does not do for us. We need to be thankful for every single thing in our lives, whether good or bad, because these are what He uses to shape us into who He wants us to be. And the first and best thing we should thank Him for is the ultimate gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, Who died in our place, for our sins. How awesome is that?
I wonder if changing our thought process this way would change our outlook on life. I mean, if we remember to thank God first for everything in our lives, wouldn’t that change our view of our circumstances?
Since I am a visual person, I like to picture this: place your arms out wide — this is how much we think we need; now place your hands about six to eight inches apart — this is how much we actually need.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please forgive us for not always acknowledging who You are and how much You have given us. Thank You for sending Your Son to die on our behalf so that we can spend eternity loving and worshipping You on Your throne. Help us to always remember that You want the best for us, even when we can’t see or understand it. We love You, Lord, thank You for being our All in All!
“I thank God for my handicaps, for through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.” –Helen Keller
“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” –Henry Ward Beecher
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” –1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
I had quite a nice surprise in my email box this morning when I found out my blog was awarded the Liebster Award. To quote my friend’s blog, “liebster” means “favorite,” so this comes as a wonderful surprise, especially since my blog is so new and has very few followers so far.
The really fun part of this award is that I now get to nominate five of my favorite blogs that have fewer than 200 followers! I’ll be working on that this week, but for now I need to rest this weary bod. Blessings till next time…