Blessings

We pray for blessings 
We pray for peace 
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep 
We pray for healing, for prosperity 
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering 
All the while, You hear each spoken need 
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things 

Prayers

Funny how when life just seems crazy and full that a simple song will remind me to stop and get my priorities in order.  What is the best way to get my priorities in order than to find myself on my knees in prayer.  Prayer is one of those really personal times when I connect with my Father and share my life with Him.  I share both the blessings and the struggles.  I share my physical and emotional needs and for God to hear even the unspoken prayers in my heart.  As I listened to the song, I really began to think about my prayer life and my relationship with Him.  He promises to provide for all my needs, but sometimes I do not see my needs the way He does.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you

will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will

put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,

and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more

value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour

to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing?

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,

yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these…”

Matthew 6:  25-34

We pray for wisdom 
Your voice to hear 
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near 
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love 
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough 
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea 
And long that we’d have faith to believe 

Alone

I do pray for wisdom, but not just for me but those around me, for those leading me, and for those who are struggling to know and feel God in their lives.  Sometimes I feel like he is not near.  I feel abandoned and alone, yet I know that He is listening to my cries.  This is when my faith is tested.  I cling to the Word and its truths.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  John 1:1.  I read and remember the promises made in the Word.  I strengthen my faith, find my priorities, and feel his blessings by turning to prayer and His Word.  “But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops 
What if Your healing comes through tears 
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near 
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise 

Jesus, My Example

Remembering that he did not promise that our lives would be perfect and easy in this walk.  Jesus who is my example did not walk an easy road.  “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18.  As a Christian I have to look for the Lord in the trials, the tears, the raindrops, and even the sleepless nights. These are the times when I do need and feel him close to me.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

When friends betray us 
When darkness seems to win 
We know the pain reminds this heart 
That this is not, this is not our home 

Heaven

Even when the trials seem to be winning and the darkness in this world begins to cover my light, I long for my home resting in the arms of my Lord and Savior.  “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2.  I long for the peace that he will give me.  I long for the rest that will come when I walk along side him in heaven. ‘And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”’  Luke 23:43.

What if my greatest disappointments 
Or the aching of this life 
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy 
What if trials of this life 
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights 
Are your mercies in disguise

Blessings

The great reminder that this song, “Blessings” by Laura Story,  provides for me is found in Romans 8:28, ” And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  I believe that even the disappointments, the aches, and the hardest nights are providing me with a thirst for a life beyond this world by providing “mercies in disguise”.

Closing Verse:  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  2 Timothy 4:7.

Challenge:  Get your priorities straight and seek the Lord.

 

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Loss of Innocence

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Loss of Innocence: 

Today is Valentine’s Day and a day that should be filled with loving those you have been blessed to live life with,  but I sit and watch the sadness of another school shooting.  Deep down in my soul I ache and cry for the innocent lives lost and the innocent lives scarred once again.  As a public school educator, my heart is breaking.  I hold the tears back and just wish that I could make the world a better place for every child.  I look back on this year and the loss of two young lives in my community who chose to take their own life to end the pain deep in their soul that could not be filled.  I find myself once again praying hard for the students that I love each day who just need someone to say good morning, call their name, and make them feel important, put clothes on their back, and food in their bellies.  I pray as 1 Thessalonians 5:17 teaches, “Pray without ceasing,”  God has blessed me with  the privilege of watching children struggle and bloom, yet either way I walk in a world where children just have different lives.  I ask the questions Why?  But I already know the answers.

Loving thru the Darkness:

I watch the news coverage of the shooting, and again I ask Why?  Why God is there so much darkness in the world?  Then I remember that Man made the choice that brought sin into this world, and no one is immune from the darkness and pain that sin brings not even an innocent child.  Genesis 2:17 explains, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”  It is hard, so hard to watch the lives of so many children, and it is hard to accept the loss of young lives cut so short in their prime.  To know their dreams, their families dreams are shattered in one brief moment, yet I feel so blessed each day to go to work and serve children.  My prayer has always been that I am a catalyst that brings some hope, love, and joy to their lives.  I pray to God that I am an example of your love for these children you have placed in my life and that I am able to touch their lives each day, each month, each year.  As 1 John 2:6 reads, “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” May my walk show Christ.

Walking in the Light

“Walking in the light may sting a little, but it is far preferable to life in the dark.  And on top of that, it is the only way to healing.”   -Jared Wilson.  I read this quote at church on Sunday morning and it just resonated with me.  I have been searching the scriptures this week and seeking the light in the darkness of our world because scripture is clear in 1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”  To walk in the light is to walk with the Lord.  God’s light is the one true light that can bring healing into my life, my students lives, and our world.  A world that is hurting and in need of so much healing light.  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”Psalm 147:3.  I know that seeking the light will bring healing in the darkness.   2 Corinthians 4:6, ‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’

Following the Light.

When my heart is broken from the darkness of the world, I seek healing in the light and I find comfort in his word.  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Psalm 119:105.  These words of light written so long ago in such a different time, but yet so relevant today because God knew that the darkness would never leave and his people would need to continue to seek the light.  Comfort is what his word brings to my life.  I pray for a country that will heal in the words of 2 Corinthians  1:3-4 and bring comfort to others, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”  I pray that I can bring comfort into the world or at least the lives of the children I love each day.  Ephesians 5:8, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

Closing Verse:  ‘Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”‘ John 8:12

Challenge:  Do you find yourself in the darkness?  Does the pain of the world seem hard?  Seek the light of Christ for your life, so you can Be the Light for someone else who needs to find their way out of the darkness.

 

Odd Man Out

Feeling Excluded

Recently, I had that feeling that I was the odd man out.  That feeling that everything happened around you but you failed to see it and be included.  I admit that I felt a little pain in my heart, but I look to see what God is teaching me from this moment in my life, and what is to be learned. God has felt this isolation from his people.  Jeremiah 2: 1-5 tells this story,

” The word of the LORD came to me, saying,  “Go and proclaim in the

hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD, “I remember the devotion of your

youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land

not sown.  Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who

ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them, declares the LORD.” Hear the

word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel.

Thus says the LORD:  “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went

far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?”

I pray to seek the devotion of my Father and not the devotion that always let me down.  God will never let me down, and this is the lesson to be learned.  I return to my relationship with my Father where I am safe and find his full love and devotion because he loved me enough to save me from myself – my sin.  “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”, Romans 5:8.

Learning from Exclusion

The empty feeling that I had during and even after this experience eats at my heart.  Why?  I continue to ask myself why did I believe and trust in man over my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Deep down I know it was not intentional, so I have to stop myself and realize something even deeper.  When have I done this to others?  Have I made someone feel excluded?  Did I put myself before others so much that I overlooked someone around me and their feelings.  I remember the words in Philippians 2: 3-4, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  I know that my hurt is just a result of the hurt I have given others around me.  So as my own heart is aching, I realize that I must love others.  I must live the words of John 13: 34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

The Lesson

As I study his word and search for his lesson, I begin to wonder if this experience where I found hurt was really God showing me how to be a Christian.  How to separate myself?  How to be an example in a world that is different from me?  Sometimes standing alone is what Christians are called to do and that is ok.  “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”  1 Peter 4:16.  So even as I rise from this lesson stronger and I pray with eyes opened more to the world around me, may I know I have received the ultimate gift from God in a Savior, Jesus Christ.  ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16.

Closing Verse:  When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.  Psalm 34:17-20.

Challenge:  Cry out to the Lord when you are walking a path of troubles and the Lord will listen, teach, deliver, and love you.

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Seeing Sin Through Rose-Colored Glasses

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Life of Sin

I know I want to write this post but my mind and fingers just can’t find the words to type what I feel deep down inside.  Although, I know that I am born a sinner and will die a sinner, as a Christian, I do strive to be an example of Christ’s love to others.  This means not letting sin shine from me but allowing Christ to shine the brightest in my life. But, sometimes sin can really bring me down into the trenches of life.  I know that my flesh is sin as Galatians 5: 19-21 states, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  I want to shine, but I find myself buried in the guilt of sin, and in need of some time with my Father to seek myself again.  To know that I am loved and forgiven.  This is hard when I feel like unconditional love should not belong to me anymore.  I don’t want to deceive myself, but recognize my sins, cleanse myself, and as 1 John 1: 8-10 reads not believe that I am not a sinner, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

Rose-Colored Sin  

Knowing that I am a sinner and a Christian, my eyes are open to my sin.  I can not be a Christian who appears better than others, who does not understand others, and one who believes less of others.  Galatians 5:16 reminds me, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  I know that I am blessed to walk with my Lord and Savior through life and I pray that I am an example to others, but I can’t do that if I am looking at my sin through rose-colored glasses.  I can’t compare my sin and believe it is less than others.  Sin is sin.  My sin can not be sugar-coated or viewed differently than others.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”  Romans 3:23.  I know wearing rose-colored glasses to look at my life is easy to do.  I want to see how good I am and not the sin.  It is easy to compare myself to others and believe the lie that I am better, but I know deep inside that I am not.

God’s Word

So what does one do, dig and dig and dig into God’s Word and know that He is my Father.  Yes, He is a Father of wrath, but his is also a Father of forgiveness.  God provided me a gift through the sacrifice of his Son.  A gift of forgiveness that I can not even fathom.  Just thinking of this sacrifice makes my eyes water and tears fall.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23.  and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.  I search scripture to cleanse myself of unrighteousness and seek the comfort of His word for forgiveness.  I find myself on my knees with head bowed praying and begging for the forgiveness and love of my Father.  Thank you Lord for your gift, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17

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Sin Scriptures for Study

Closing Verse:  “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”  James 4:17

Challenge: Look closely at your life and ensure that you don’t perceive your sin differently from others.  Sin is Sin and the rose-colored glasses will not change it in God’s eyes.