Facing Our Problems

We’ve all got problems. Who doesn’t? It’s a part of life. Where it becomes a BIG problem is when it’s not taken care of. The roots of the problem grow deeper, and it becomes a lot more to deal with…more than we can deal with on our own.

Identify
Before a problem can be worked out, we have to know that it’s there, and what exactly the problem is. We can usually tell when something isn’t right, though sometimes if we’ve been ignoring it for a long time or have put our hands over our ears to God it becomes as though it isn’t even there. Sometimes it takes some digging to find out what exactly it is, but with the power of the Holy Spirit, God will help us see what needs healed or removed from our lives. Until we find out what it is, we can hardly do anything about it.

God is Bigger
Thankfully, our God is able to handle ANY problem, no matter how big. But in order for that to happen we have to lay it down at His feet and give Him control.

The Roots
Once God reveals to us what it is that needs healing or removed, we need to find the ROOT of the problem—what has caused it, where it is from, and what can be done to prevent it from happening/being there again. Sometimes there are things that we need taken away or something we are used to doing that needs to stop. It’s not always easy to do, but without being willing to remove the root of the problem, the problem will likely grow back.

Healing and Restoration
As children of God, He is our Protector, our Healer, our Guide, and so much more. It is in Him that our trust should be found. No matter how much it may hurt to take away things that need taken away, God is able to heal, restore, and bring things into our lives that are MUCH better. He brings a satisfaction that nothing and no one else can bring.

So let’s not ignore our problems any longer, but rather face up to them allowing God to heal and restore. We’ll be glad we did.

Our Fullest Potential: God’s Will

Everyone is in a different situation, but no matter what country you grew up in, culture, religion, wealthy or poor, there’s something we can all have, and that is potential.

What is your potential? Our potential is often much more than we realize because we’re often determining by our own mind what our potential is, rather than allowing God to do the determining. Without a doubt, God’s will for us is our fullest potential. He has created each of us with unique gifts, knows our every need, our every strength, our every weakness, and how we can best live our lives in a way that glorifies Him and spreads the gospel of His love. So, really, this question falls back on asking God: “What is Your will for my life?”

Asking this question like you mean it is a daring question; accepting the response even more so as it is not always what we want or on our own timeframe. A lot of times we’re going to wish we could have a complete layout of what God’s will is for the rest of our lives—it sometimes seems like it’d be easier that way. But why would we want that? Most likely because it would make us feel like we’re in control and give us confidence in both ourselves and in what we are doing…and that could be a problem. It would lessen our confidence in Christ, faith, patience, trust, reliance on Him, and would very quickly make us feel like we no longer need to stay in constant tune with Him, which would be very dangerous.

There are many reasons—many of which we don’t know—that God doesn’t reveal everything in great detail for the next several decades of our lives. We just need to remember that if we are in close communion with God we will know what we need to know when we need to know it. God knows our fullest potential, and if we are willing to accept it, we can be sure He is going to one-by-one open and close every door as necessary to reach that point.

So, if we are seeking with sincerity God’s will for our life, even when we hardly know what the next day is going to bring we can take each step with confidence in Christ—knowing that we are living our lives to the fullest potential.

A Lasting Strength

Through the crashing waves our Lord speaks;
By the rolling thunder His voice is known.
He calls us out to step in faith,
to follow where He leads.
He reaches down and guides us on to where we’re meant to be.
His Spirit in our hearts is placed;
He makes His presence known.
His love for us can’t be erased;
His magnificence is shown.
Everywhere is seen His mighty hand and a quite intricate art;
A lasting strength that doesn’t fade–it can’t be torn apart.

“Just keep swimming!”

As I’m doing all the learning I can from books, lectures, and studying to hopefully one day be able to help special needs orphans, there are many times it feels like I’m getting nowhere, as there is no fruit to be seen, I have soooo much more to learn, and really, always will.

It’s easy to be discouraged and quit when there is no fruit seen of our efforts. But we shouldn’t be discouraged. What is happening is our roots are becoming stronger and deeper. Our branches are thickening and spreading further, preparing to be able to hold the weight of the fruit. This part of the process of fruit-bearing is so very important to a good, healthy harvest!

It takes determination, motivation, discipline, and many other things to keep going, but if we choose to, we CAN keep going. (And this is where I picture a cheerful Dory saying, “Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”)

I think we all have different ways/things that help us keep going, and it’s important we find what those things are. Something I’d say we all need is accountability: people that ask us regularly how it’s going, what we’ve been working on, encourage us to keep going, and are caring enough to tell us when we’re slacking or overdoing it. Something that helps me is reminding myself of what in the world I’m preparing for, and what needs are out there that I hope to help with one day.

So, if you don’t have that accountability, get some. If you don’t even know what your goals are, make some, but get the accountability first. Sometimes others can see what we are capable of better than we can see ourselves, can help us set goals, and then help us reach them.

And remember: it’s a process. Sometimes it’s long and hard, but it’s worth it. 

 

 

Is God Our Focus?

What should our life be like if we are keeping our focus on God?

1. Praising Him
You may wonder why I began with praising Him. Well, it is easy to praise God in the rare situations that everything is perfect and things just seem to be falling into place…but what about when we’ve lost a loved one, we feel like we’re failing, or just have no idea what in the world we should be doing? It is these times that it can be the hardest to praise God—but it’s these times where it is most needed, for our own sake.

By praising Him anyway, it helps us remind ourselves of our priceless blessings of eternal life, God’s love, mercy, and grace that are way more than anyone else can give. It helps us shift from regret, fear, anxiety, and sadness, to contentment, faith, peace, and joy.

“My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.”
Psalm 71:23

2. Following Him
Especially since I lost my license, (due to my epilepsy) I can TOTALLY be a backseat driver. I probably don’t have to get into too much detail to say that it’s not typically something that brings good results, and neither does trying to tell God where we need to go. There’s many times I need God to tell me something like, “Will you just let me drive?”

He can see far down the road while we can only see what’s right in front of us. We need to give Him control. If our focus is on God, then He is in front of us doing the steering.

3. Listen, talk, listen, talk…
Obviously, if we are a Christ-follower we need to have good communication with Him, commonly known as prayer. It’s easy to put our communication with God in a box–a certain timeframe of the day only, giving Him no attention the rest of the day. But what kind of relationship is that? He’s always with you, and doesn’t only speak through words.

Watch out for situations where there is someone in front of you in need and listen to see if God is asking you to help that person. When someone gives you encouraging words, don’t only thank them, but thank God who likely was speaking through them. Look for situations where He may do the same through you.

5. Relying on Him
We should be desperately seeking God for help, not placing our trust in the world or ourselves. While He many times helps us through others, we need to understand that it is still from Him. He alone should be our source of strength, wisdom, love, patience, and many other attributes that are critical to living our lives as a true follower.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

I started to add a sixth thing on sharing the gospel but then stopped myself as I thought of something. (It’s amazing what you can learn from blogging! 😉) I felt like that would indicate it being something we should take the lead in when it’s not. If we are in constant communication with God, relying on Him, letting Him take the lead with a desire for His will, then His will will come about, including the spreading of the gospel. We need to focus on following Him, and let Him take care of the rest.

(Okay, just curious who noticed I skipped four? 😜)

 

Despite the Clouds

1499576730603Taking trash out after a shower, in my pj’s with wet hair, stepping outside into the dark—beautiful picture, right? 😉 Well, putting that aside, there was something about the cool breeze and the beautiful stars that caught my attention and I was soon sitting on the porch steps stargazing in deep thought.

As my family will soon be moving out-of-state, one of my first thoughts was that it is getting closer to the last times of sitting out on the porch looking at the stars while living in this home, in this town, and in this state. Looking around at the many different constellations, I soon thought of how they never change. When we move and I’m out stargazing again, each star will be the same as before.

I began to think of how God never changes. We go through different chapters of our lives on earth as time passes by, where many things can be drastically different, but still, God is the same as He ever was and always will be. If we allow Him to be our foundation, we can be a part of a house that will never fall and a home where death itself has no effect.

One last thought I want to share, is as when clouds keep us from seeing the stars, when there are things that make it difficult to see God it shouldn’t affect our understanding that God is still there. Despite the clouds, He is ALWAYS there.

Instant Gratification

The desire for instant gratification in this country has grown astronomically over the years. When we want something, we want it NOW…and this doesn’t just apply to physical things such as a car, a house, a movie right when it comes out, or an awesome cell phone upgrade with all the new features. There are other things we desire to have without too much effort such as achievement, respect, honor, healthy relationships, and the fruit or reward of our hard work.

As we’ve become more and more impatient, we’ve been trying to satisfy ourselves with things we can easily access or achieve. We’ve been satisfying ourselves with all the times people accept or send friend requests on Facebook instead of truly bonding with others as Jesus did with His disciples. We choose our occupation based on what pays the best and isn’t too difficult of a goal to reach. We accept what only gives us satisfaction for the moment rather than a lasting memory. We do kind things for others just to make ourselves feel good, though deep down we know we are capable of doing even more.

We need to stop settling for the instant and fight for the authentic. It takes time, discipline, faith, love, grace, trust, and a whole lot more but that’s a part of the journey and it’s worth it.

Don’t give up. Keep pressing on.

 

 

Don’t Lose Hope—But Check It.

Whether it is in our job, our family, our friends, or things we own, it is so easy to put our hope in all the wrong places.

“And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.”
Job 19:26

There is a special kind of hope that nothing can take away. This is something I’ve been learning more and more as I’ve lost my job, my car, my license, and am getting closer to surgery. I should still have a positive mind and be thankful for what I have, (like my family who loves me, the roof over my head, and the food on my plate) but not put my hope in those things. We should be able to go through the unthinkable—losing every tangible thing on earth but still not lose hope when it is firmly placed in Christ.

“And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. Deliver me from my transgressions…”
(Psalms 39:7-8a)

So often we forget how we have been saved from eternal death, and not only that, but that we have the gift of eternal life! We take it for granted. It sometimes has little to no effect on how we live our lives.

Why?

Well, as humans, we tend to be very self-minded. We tend to think about the here-and-now, not really taking the future outside the boundaries of time for ourselves or others into consideration.

It is so easy to get distracted. If we want to truly live for Christ we have to continually ask ourselves who and what we are living for, then watch what we are doing and how we are spending our time to see if they go together. Often times they don’t and we simply don’t realize it.

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Colossians 3:2

We need to be setting our minds on things above, not on things on earth, or we are bound to be disappointed and discouraged—to lose hope.

“Instead we ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.'”
James 4:15

This verse has stuck out to me a lot over the years. There are things I would like to do one day. I love helping children with special needs. I’ve been working towards it and would like to one day be able to do it in some way if the Lord wills. For quite awhile, I was saying, “I hope to do that one day.” (and still catch myself saying that when I’m not giving it much thought) But ultimately, I’ve learned I need to hope for what God wants. I’ve learned what I think is best isn’t always what is best.

This has caused me (in a good way, I think) to refocus; to not only try to set goals that will glorify God and reflect Him in my life, but doing it with the mindset that if the Lord wills, it will happen. Knowing that if somehow it doesn’t happen, then it simply wasn’t God’s will for my life.

So, my point is: Though hard it may sometimes be, we need to be thanking Him for what He blesses us with and accepting what is taken away. We need to continue to strive to honor God with our hope in Him, knowing that no matter what happens, He loves us, He is with us, and we have eternity with Him.

This is a hope that will never be let down and cannot be broken.

——————–

“My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.”