faith

What Do I Need?

In times of want and need we tend to focus on that particular desire. It becomes our primary focus and occupies our thoughts.

For myself, I found myself reestablishing myself as a single woman, selling and moving homes and finding a new career.

Do I leave my home church or stay? Do I move back to Australia or to a location close to my children?

Such concerns are a normal part of life but the stress of these things can find us pushing God to the periphery.

At such times we can neglect to seek God for help and become obsessed with our dilemma.

What do we do?

I believe that we start with repentance. Do what we usually do when we've neglected some one that we love.

After repentance, let the conversation with God flow.

The more we focus on God, the more access to His unfailing love.

His never ending love is empowering and fuels us as does nothing else. 

Jael

The work of Jael in Judges 4 astounds me.

War comes into her personal life and home uninvited where she should have felt safe.

She is alone and has to face an experienced warrior. 

Her emotions are not described and yet it seems that rather than panicking, she dealt with the situation and succeeded. 

She invited the general Sisera into her home, gave him a blanket and cup of milk. When he asked her to guard the door she obeyed his command until he fell asleep. She then takes a tent peg and drives it through his head, killing him.

This fulfills the prophecy by the judge, Deborah. Victory would come by the hands of a woman.

There will be times when the enemy wreaks havoc in our world and we had no idea that it would occur. We feel ill equipped and vulnerable.

And yet God prevails. We see it in this story.

Jael, a woman, overcame Sisera, an experienced man of war, with wisdom, a blanket, a cup of milk and a tent peg. 

We should not forget God's omnipresence nor power. in all of our situations.

 

Firsts

We celebrate many firsts and lasts in life. The word "celebrate" has a variety of meanings. Some times it's effortless while some times it's work.

We are coming to a time of year, Thanksgiving and Christmas, that can evoke difficult emotions. It's a time of year when many seek and need support.

Those whom are happy should not merely shelter in their happiness but look out for those who hurt. We will always be surrounded by others whom are less fortunate.

I write this for those that find the coming days of celebration tough.

While loneliness is difficult, self-pity is a bottomless pit. Therefore allow yourself to hurt and cry but then determine to stop.

My priority every morning, is to read my Bible and a devotional. These things are like a good glass of wine. They are not just informative but empowering. Write down, underline, recite a verse that penetrates your despair and determine that God designed you to overcome the obstacles of your life.

Shower and get dressed. One's bed is so inviting - to just keep your head under the covers and hope that this life would disappear. Showering and dressing seem to wash away negative emotions. Determine that this day will be better than anticipated.

Lastly, a list gives direction for difficult days. While this list might contain "must dos" that seem impossible, place easier tasks on it too. These easy things will provide a sense of accomplishment.

Make sure that you go out of your home at least once so that you are in the company of other people.

Include those to whom you owe thanks. It costs little or nothing to send a text, email or card of appreciation.

Determine to do life well. These difficult celebratory days will pass and once again you can be one whom enjoys such, rather than being one whom dreads these times. This in itself is empowering. As much as the good times are nice, faith and strength are learnt and exercised in the tough times.

God - Good or Bad?

It's so easy to give standard answers regarding God. "He's good, loving, powerful, ever present...."

Some times we need to step back and be honest with ourselves regarding our true thoughts. We feel as if He's blessing others but some how we got left behind. 

In Matthew 25, a servant was given a sum of money to invest for his master. He buried it and his excuse was that his master was a hard man. The servant was afraid of opportunity and his master.

Where did the servant get this knowledge regarding "hardness"? Certainly he didn't get this from observing his master as the other two servants invested wisely and were blessed. The master was not hard but was just and loving. He represents God.

The only way that he could have developed this view was by the observation of others who were hard and then the servant projected this view onto his master.

How do we see God? Are we willing to look behind our Sunday School answers and admit that we fall short in a few areas? Perhaps we view God through a lens tainted by a distant dad, mean brother or harsh teacher. Perhaps we view God as uncaring because we were inadequately nurtured as a child. (As we all were). 

When we are honest with ourselves, we can confess our shortfall to God and God's true love for us breaks through. We start to comprehend why life is not performing our way and we can walk with an ease that was not formerly present. (Matthew 25)

The Unknown

I dislike uncertainty and not knowing what life will bring. Particularly when times are tough, the future seems daunting, 

These times are opportunities to focus on God, the one constant companion in life, as looking behind or to the future, may only increase anxiety. We need to trust that God will fully equip us for our journey.

Time, too, can be our protection. To view our lives all at once would be frightening.

God, unlimited by time, meets us in our present moment.

We need to find our secret place with God and breathe His presence deeply. (Psalm 143:8)

Sundays

I wake and there's always distractions. I'm tempted to miss church as there's so much to be done.

Our trust in God though is demonstrated by sitting in His presence in the company of other believers.

This special time together strengthens us and prepares us for what the day and week will bring.

The act of faith, of waiting before working, is not just a physical thing but is spiritual also. In our discipline and obedience to practice worship together, we weaken the attacks of the enemy whom is against us.

Drawing near to God, in the company of other believers, empowers us for the days and weeks ahead.