Archives for category: Uncategorized

“Hallelujah, we are free to struggle, we’re not struggling to be free.” –Tenth Avenue North

It’s time to admit that I struggle.  I have admitted it before, but I think most days I just get up, say my prayers, try to admit my worries and surrender them, read the allotted chapter out of my Bible, and call it good.  And I’ve done that long enough now that I’m due for a really good cry and a lot of journaling.  Admittedly, today is the last day of Christmas break and we took our tree down, which lends itself to a little post-holiday depression anyway.  But as I’m ironing the candle wax out of the runner I got advent wax on this year (along with the one that’s been sitting in my laundry room since advent wax got on it LAST year) I feel horribly inadequate and generally unhappy with myself.  I should have gotten that candle wax out last year.  Chad asks me if I’ve seen where a stack of DVDs are, and I have no idea.  Our storage space and extra bedroom are a complete mess.  My house is undecorated.  The list of domestic putterings and unfinished projects in my head races to the forefront.  Aren’t I supposed to be on top of this sort of thing?  And wasn’t I going to get more done today?  And oh yes, I need to get on top of planning for youth group, too.  It starts back up again Sunday.  As a ministry leader that should make me excited, right?  But why do I feel somewhat of a drudge and dread at that, down at the bottom of my heart?  Gosh, Katherine, you’re not supposed to feel that way.  Get a grip.

But Kat, you’re pregnant.  Remember just a month or two ago?  You couldn’t even make dinner after getting home from work you were so exhausted, much less iron off the candle wax.  You were letting go, remember?  Not worrying about the dust or the cobwebs or the mold in the toilet or the mess in the basement.  So now that you have energy, you’re just going to tear yourself to shreds with criticism?  That’s not fair.  You’re pregnant.

Or busy. Or working 40 hours a week.  Or whatever.  There will always be SOMETHING I can look to as an excuse.  But even doing that… an excuse says there’s still something lacking.  That the standard is still HERE, at a certain spot, and you’re missing it, but it’s okay because you have a valid excuse.  And the problem with THAT, is that I’m still trying to live up to some arbitrary standard I’ve set for myself, and fooling myself with an excuse.  Fooling myself thinking I’m okay, when I’m still measuring my worth and my value by a man-made standard.  Using a man-made measuring stick.  But the measuring stick is the wrong one, and I can’t let it go.  I keep picking it up.  And putting it down.  And picking it up again.  THIS is my struggle.  The measuring stick I use on myself.  Using my own, instead of using my Maker’s.

And yes, the Lord wants me to be a good steward of my resources.  Of my time.  To take care of the gifts he has given me, which include my home and the table runner my mother quilted me.  And yes, he has called me to be a youth leader.  And perhaps I have attitudes and issues he needs to deal with me in that regard.  But those are separate from the measuring stick he uses to determine my value.  My value has already been set.  It was determined way, way back, a long time ago.  Before I was born.  Before I was an ultrasound picture, or a heartbeat my parents were ecstatic to hear.  Before I was the precious miracle they held in their arms.  Before I was a beautiful little girl.  Before I grew up into a sexy wife of some sort.  Before the world attributed any value or worth to me at all….  I was loved.  I was a precious daughter.  A princess of the King.  And that’s a title I did NOTHING to deserve or own.  And so that means there’s nothing I can do to keep it, and nothing I can do to lose it either.  Whether that stupid candle wax comes off the table runner or not… that doesn’t change who I am, who my Father created me to be.  He made me with the intention I’d be perfect and we’d love each other.  By the nature of sin, I screwed that one up.  So he died instead of me and forgave me… which set me free from my chains.  So that I’m free to struggle, not struggling to be free.

Lord, help me to once again set down that silly measuring stick of mine and the world’s making.  Satan’s a poophead and keeps telling me I need to use it.  Well he’s wrong, isn’t he?  Remind me once again who I belong to.

“Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”   Psalm 103:1-5

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.  Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:1-10

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1 …  “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” 8:6  “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”  8:14-15

by Katherine Hatting

Have you ever seen a sun dog?  I hadn’t until we moved to Iowa, where the winters can be extremely cold.  The first time I saw one, probably eight or more years ago, I was driving home after dropping my daughter off at school.  Although I’d never seen one before, I immediately knew what it was!  Sometime in the past I must have read about them or seen photos, because the minute I saw this strange triple sun in the sky, I thought, “sun dog.”  Wow.

If you’ve never seen a sun dog, picture the winter sun, low in the sky.  Then imagine an arc half-encircling it, sort of like a rainbow but not really visible.  Now place another bright sun at each “end” of the arc, and you have a sun dog!  Also called a mock or phantom sun, this event is caused by light refracting off a certain shape of ice crystal in a particular kind of cloud, creating a prism effect (that’s why sometimes the “false suns” are multicolored, like a rainbow, but more muted).  When conditions are just right, you can even sort of see the arc or halo around the real sun, but the refractions also look a lot like the sun.

sun dog

I don’t think any of us would confuse a sun dog for the real sun, but if you’d never seen a sun dog before and woke up one winter morning to this strange sight, you might wonder whether something had changed overnight in our solar system (or you might wonder if you’d woken up in a science fiction movie).  But you would have known instinctively that the sun in the middle was the real sun, and the others were imposters.

Do you think you would ever confuse a false god for the real God?  I’ll bet all of us are pretty confident we can tell the difference.  But think about what you spend your time and money on, and ask yourself what holds the place of greatest honor in your life.  I like to think that I’m a pretty “good” Christian, yet sometimes when I’m lying in bed at night, and my brain is still percolating over ideas, I realize that I have given God hardly a thought all day.  How can that be?  I am certainly aware of who God is, and I don’t think I would ever confuse some imposter for the real God, but if that’s true then why do I so often give God so little of my time and attention?  Sometimes I treat Him more like a faraway friend than my sovereign Lord.

When we think about idols, maybe we picture statues or other physical objects.  There are lots of stories in the Bible about people worshipping false gods and keeping idols in their homes and temples.  But what is an idol, really?  When I look up the word on dictionary.com, I find these definitions:  “an image of a deity other than God” and “any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion.”  When I look around my home, I don’t see any images of deities other than God, but I do see a lot of other things that I might regard with devotion, for instance, my book collection.  Now, I’m not saying God frowns on recreational reading, but when I neglect His Word to read other books, that’s a problem.  When I compare the hours I spend watching TV or working on art projects to the time I spend in prayer and meditation, I start to feel convicted.  When my relationship with God gets out of balance, it’s time for me to work on my priorities.

God sent a rainbow after the Flood to remind us of His mercy and faithfulness.  Maybe He sends sun dogs to remind us of His sovereignty.

I’m not a big fan of shoes. Oh, I like them to protect my feet from splinters and rocks and keep my toes warm in winter snow. Sandals are my favorite, I think because my feet can still feel “free.”  But my all-time favorite thing to wear is cowboy(girl) boots.  They are absolutely the most comfortable thing on earth for your feet…but they have got to be sized just right.  When you slide your foot into a boot and it gets “sucked down” into the heel, it is an “Ahhhhh” moment!

However, when you have many miles on your old “hoofs,” the cowboy boots can be a thing of the past.  Foot surgery, tears in the achilles tendon, hours of physical therapy…plus the problem with shoulders and arms that just don’t have enough strength to get the stupid boots pulled back off!  Am I whining?

Well, at any rate, the whole shoe thing made think about my mom.  She had more shoes than any other person I’ve known.  A pair for every outfit almost!  And she loved to shop for shoes.  When we’d go shopping at the mall, she would invariably stop and try on shoes at two or three places.

When we had to clear out her house after she’d died, we had boxes and boxes of shoes.  I’m getting to the point, I promise!

Mom’s shoe boxes held every-day flat slip-ons–some were well worn and you could see smudges on the leather, the wear pattern on the heels–others were gently broken in.  And at the far back corner of her closet there were boxes of what I’d call “Dressy dress” heels.  Not the normal heels you’d have for Sunday.  They were fancy enough for a dinner party or wedding and hardly had a wear mark at all.  In fact, a couple pairs I am not sure she ever wore once.

But they were there in that closet with all the rest.  And they were just as important as all the well-worn shoes.  Even if they’d only been out of the box once…they’d done what they were supposed to do–made Mom happy with a little extra glow on her cheeks because they were her shoes and she felt proud to wear them.

shoes

Sometimes I’ve felt like a pair of shoes.  In a box.  In the back corner of a closet.  In the past I felt useful…when I was younger and got out a lot and did all sorts of walking and nothing stopped me or zapped my strength.  Now…not so much.  Will I ever do that again?  Will I ever be useful again?

Nothing you ever read or learn is wasted.  Your brain remembers absolutely everything, but often we can’t access it because of the overload of so many other things that crowd daily living.  And as women, we put ourselves last as we serve family and friends.  It’s okay to admit it, ladies, we DO put ourselves last.

One thing I remembered a few weeks ago was that years ago someone had mentioned being “put on a shelf” and waiting and waiting for God to use them.  It struck me then how similar it was to the boxes of Mom’s shoes.

We don’t get to choose when and how we will be active for God.  He is the one Who plans our gifts, talents and strengths.  Sometimes I will feel like I know exactly where I’m headed and what God is doing.  Other times, I’m that pair of pretty dress shoes, feeling I’ve been forgotten.

But God knows exactly where I am and what I am good for and when He will use me and how pretty I will look.  And He will be so happy and proud that I am His.  And He will say, “Ahhhhhh.”

by Cindy Best

Watchman, tell us of the night,
What its signs of promise are.
Traveler, over yon mountain’s height,
See that glory beaming star.
Watchman, does its beauteous ray
Aught of joy or hope foretell?
Traveler, yes – it brings the day,
Promised day of Israel.

Watchman, tell us of the night;
Higher yet that star ascends.
Traveler, blessedness and light,
Peace and truth its course portends.
Watchman, will its beams alone
Gild the spot that gave them birth?
Traveler, ages are its own;
See, it bursts over all the earth.

Watchman, tell us of the night,
For the morning seems to dawn.
Traveler, darkness takes its flight,
Doubt and terror are withdrawn.
Watchman, let thy wanderings cease;
Hasten to your quiet home
Traveler, lo! the Prince of Peace,
Lo! the Son of God is come!

Words: Sir John Bowring, Hymns: As a Sequel to Matins, 1825; public domain

With this cold weather blowing in, I must admit I’m thinking of sun-drenched places…a beach, or a visit to Arizona!  Or how about being drenched in the glow of flames from a fireplace?

Then there are thoughts of how rain-drenched I was a couple times this past year.

Being “drenched” is quite a word picture, don’t you think?  I immediately picture kids caught in a rainstorm running up to the door clamoring to get inside and out of soaked clothing, sloshing water on the kitchen floor with every step. Almost makes me shiver! Of course, being drenched in sunshine gives me feelings of warm sand on my toes. Warmth and the comfort that comes from that make me smile.

IMG_2151

photo by Kallie Yearick

So, the word drenched is simply descriptive of a state of being. Our circumstances determine how we feel about the word at a given time.

I’m thinking now of how it might feel to be “drenched in the Spirit of God.”

Have you ever felt that?  Do you know anyone you’d say exhibits that as their lifestyle?

In my 45+ years of understanding what it means to be a Christian, I’ve met only a few–maybe 5–people who have lived that kind of life “out loud.”  Know what I mean?

There are lots and lots of people I’ve known who are Christians and serve the Lord with gladness and joy and thanksgiving. But there’s something spectacular that shows up in the life of a person simply drenched in God’s love.

I’ve long thought that the reason we see so few miracles today is because there are not many who are willing to give. Up. Every. Thing.

The Apostle Peter was married (Jesus healed his mother-in-law). Yet, Peter gave up “that” life and followed Christ and proclaimed Him until he was killed for his faith. There are few willing to do that today. The Apostle Paul said it was better to be single and be able to preach and travel than be tied to a wife. I’m not saying marriage and family are not important…no way…children carry on the heritage of faith to the next generation!

What I mean is that it takes someone very, very special to be drenched–soaked to the skin–with the love of God. So thoroughly soaked that God just pours out all over when they are around.

I pray that God will reveal some of those people to you.  They are special.  I feel so blessed having known a handful.  And I have seen Jesus through them.  We need “Jesus with skin on” every now and then because we really are weak in faith so many times.  Can I get an “Amen” on that?   At least, I readily admit that I am weak.

Think of your life and who might have shown you a glimpse of Jesus….even if you didn’t know it at the time, or didn’t know them very long.  I don’t mean great preachers. Just think of Jesus and then put a face with that name. Most of those you think of will have had their own world of troubles, short-comings and strife. They will be the first to tell you they are far from perfect and struggle every day.

But that’s what makes them special…at least to me. I hope you think of someone. But if you don’t, now is the time to start looking. And when you see them, share with someone close to you!

by Cindy Best

No, not me.  This couldn’t be happening to me.  I was standing at the airport ticket counter, being told “the next flight available is on the 26th.”  That was not okay.  It was December 23rd.  And as my throat swelled and tears threatened to spill over, my mind rebelled at the possibility of being alone in Phoenix for Christmas.

Let me back up.  It was December 2006, and I was a 22 year-old graduate student at the University of Oregon.  A native Minnesotan, I was eagerly looking forward to Christmas in Mazatlan, Mexico, with my mother’s extended family – Grandpa and Grandma’s treat holiday vacation to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.  It was especially important for us to be together because we hadn’t seen each other since Mom and Dad dropped me off at grad school in July.  After finals, I flew home to Minnesota for a few days before we were all booked to fly to Mexico. Grandpa had arranged for everyone to fly together, except for me, as I needed to fly back to Minnesota a day early in order to be at a close friend’s wedding.  No problem, though, as I was used to traveling alone and relished my independence.  I was to depart Minneapolis just a few hours before my family, stop for a quick layover in Phoenix, and then rendezvous with them in Mazatlan.

Except Phoenix had severe fog.  (Who knew Phoenix ever had severe weather?!) And as the plane was literally touching down, it took off again.  Uh oh.  Not good.  We were re-routed to Tucson where we spent three hours grounded on the tarmac with a zillion other planes, trying to get by on a pack of peanuts and hopes that our delay wouldn’t ruin the holidays.  I was optimistic, though, as my flight out of Phoenix wouldn’t depart for a few more hours.  I had time.  No sweat.

When we finally landed in Phoenix, we were told that instructions regarding our connecting flight would be available inside the terminal.  As I exited the plane, the terminal was a zoo.  The line leading up to the airline’s information counter was literally several hundred people long.  And not moving.  No instructions.  I heard some people say the lines were shorter downstairs at the ticket counter.  So I gambled the extra time it would take to re-enter through security and left the line.  The ticket lines were crazy, but I finally made it up to the counter.  Only to find my flight had been cancelled and to hear those words:  “The next flight available is on the 26th.”  What?  No re-scheduled flights?  No plane waiting for me right now?  Not even today?  NO WAY.  Not okay with me.  I could NOT spend Christmas stranded in Phoenix by myself.  I said no thanks.

I frantically called my dad, trying to be a big girl and not cry.  He along with my uncle and Grandpa were about to depart Minneapolis, and were desperately scrambling to find out what they could to get me down to Mexico.  But I knew they couldn’t help me.  It was up to me.  Well, God, really.  I took a breath.

I got back in line for a ticket.  After seemingly a century of nervous waiting, a customer service lady–who I swear is an angel–spent 30 minutes finding me a flight with another airline.  She found me a flight on a Mexican airline that would leave the next day.  She transferred my ticket, gave me a hotel voucher, and told me to go to the Mexican airline counter.  I went.  Waited in line again.  Got my new tickets, which required a quick transfer in Hermosillo, a city in Mexico I had never heard of.  I found my way to the luggage counter.  Waited in line behind 100 other stressed-out customers wanting to be home for Christmas.  Showed them my ticket, and prayed to God that my luggage would find its way to Mexico.  I called the hotel, waited for a shuttle, and it drove me through the strange darkness of Phoenix to my bed for the evening.  I was issued coupons for breakfast, and crashed in my room.  I called my family briefly, with the remaining cell phone juice I had left.  (Don’t ever pack your charger in your luggage, by the way.)  Then I cried.

What if I didn’t make it tomorrow?  What if the flights got screwed up again?  My layover in Hermosillo was brief.  What if I got stranded in a strange Mexican city?  I was so close to not making it to be with my family for Christmas, I could hardly breathe.  And then I slowed down long enough to listen to the Holy Spirit.  And he asked me, “Katherine, why do you celebrate Christmas?”  And my answer, of course, was to celebrate Jesus’ birth.  And did I need my family to do that?  No.  I didn’t.

Jesus was with me.  He was my everything.  In a moment where I felt stripped, vulnerable, and alone, He was there.  And He challenged what I had grown to hold the dearest at Christmas time–my family.  In a culture of materialism and humanism, it is actually a good and noble thing to make family your priority at Christmas, instead of gifts, parties, social statuses and explosions of Pinterest projects.  But here I sat on my scratchy hotel bedspread, and God said, No, Katherine.  I am to be your Number One, especially at Christmas.  This Christmas is not about getting your beach tan or body surfing with your brothers.  It’s about Me.  Your life must be about Me, or else your life will be empty.  You can have all of these other things, but without Me you will not be living.  And I knew that even if I had to be alone at Christmas, it would still be Christmas.  Even if I spent it alone in a hotel room, reading the Christmas story and singing carols by myself, it would still be a celebration.  I could worship my God anywhere, and I didn’t need a tree, living room, or family to do it.  I resolved to have a good Christmas, and fell into a fitful sleep.

Well, on Christmas Eve I made it to Mazatlan.  And it was truly a miracle, because as I visited with other stranded passengers, NO ONE else got a free hotel voucher.  Hardly anyone else found a flight to their destination in time for Christmas.  On my flight to Hermosillo, the Lord sat me next to a kind man–also headed to Mazatlán–who was bilingual, which was awesome because I didn’t speak Spanish.  He guided me through the foreign airport. Our flight arrived late, but they held the plane in Hermosillo, let us budge in line through customs, just in time to make our flight to Mazatlan.  When I arrived, my family was there waiting for me.  And so was my luggage.

Mazatlan Christmas 2006 099

So that’s how I got my Christmas miracle – the gift of my Lord and Savior.  And that year, he gave me the extra blessing of spending it with my family.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Matthew 6:33

by Katherine Hatting

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times did’st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

(public domain)

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.

100_0630
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

Over the years I’ve tried a number of art and crafting projects.  One thing I’ve just dipped a toe into is making jewelry.  Until I took a beading class, I was not really aware of how big the world of jewelry making is:  wire, beads, resin, glass, precious metal clay, shrink plastic, paper, fabric, beads.  And that’s just scratching the surface!  Unless you’re into jewelry, you might be surprised at all the materials, techniques, and trends out there.

My last jewelry project involved wire and beads.  Now, wire is a great material, especially for beginners, because it is so easy to bend and manipulate.  Expert jewelry makers also like it because it can be formed into very intricate patterns and designs.  My friend Kat makes some unbelievably beautiful wire pieces.  But the very attributes that make wire such a great material also make it a challenge to use; because it is so flexible, it can be flimsy, especially when beads or stones or anything else with some weight is added to the mix.

IMG_2705

So how do you strengthen wire to make it sturdy?  You pound it flat with a hammer against a steel block.  No, seriously.  Jump rings, those little wire circles that hold charms and other pretty things on a necklace or bracelet?  Those you make stronger by repeatedly opening and closing them with pliers, twisting them back and forth, back and forth.  You might think that would weaken the wire and break it, but it doesn’t.  Working it in this way, called work-hardening, actually changes its molecular structure.  And if you accidently overwork the wire, making it too stiff to manipulate, you can restore it to its former malleability by heating it, called annealing.  See?  Lots to learn about making jewelry, and that’s only wire!

We can be just like that wire.  Subjected to adversity, to the equivalent of being hammered on a steel block, we can become stronger.  Our faith matures when we endure life’s challenges.  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:1-5).  God is completing us, perfecting us, through the trials we endure.  Matthew 5:48 tells us, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”    If you’ve always thought those words mean we have to do everything perfectly, this is good news!  Our perfection is a work God is doing in us, not something we can accomplish ourselves.

IMG_2696

Of course, being overworked by life can harden our hearts.  Perhaps you know someone, or perhaps you are someone, who has endured so much pain and suffering under the hammer of life that you felt you had to protect yourself.  Your heart might be locked in a fortress behind stone walls and a moat (with alligators).  But life in a fortress is lonely.  Yes, a tender, open heart is more easily hurt, but it can recover from that hurt because love comes in to repair and strengthen it.  A hardened heart might be able to resist pain, but eventually it becomes a rock, a weapon that hurts us and others.  And no amount of isolation can protect a person from life’s troubles—it just means that person has to face adversity alone.

A hardened heart is not a permanent condition.  Like the overworked wire, we can be returned to our living, growing, malleable selves by the annealing fire of God’s love.  No matter how hard and inflexible we become, love has the power to restore us to tenderness.  Love strengthens us and enables us to persevere, to continue growing toward maturity and wholeness.  As we allow God to do his perfecting work in us, we can more clearly and brightly reflect his glory to people who have been seriously overworked by the hammer and steel block of life and desperately need to experience the restorative power of God’s annealing love.

A couple things have bonked me on the head this past week…spiritual things, that is.  Does that ever happen to you?  You know, when the same thing/issue pops up in several different places or is mentioned by a couple people out of the blue?

This week, it’s been the idea of trusting God.

Several of my friends are facing rather tall mountains right now.  A couple of friends have mentioned being down in a valley.  All of them need to trust God, and they know it.

100_0731

BUT it is sooooo hard. Even when we KNOW God will never fail to honor His Word and promises to His children.

Lots of praise and worship songs are written around this concept, too.  Think about some of your favorite songs.  What do they talk about?  One of my favorites has the words, “I will praise You in this storm.”   And another, “Bring on the rain.”  No sunshine and roses in those words, huh?  Yet, those songs bring me comfort.

Whether we read scripture or listen to music, just hearing words of comfort and trusting God brings peace.

Why is it so hard to trust God?

Truth is, I don’t know.  And I wish I had the answer.  I wish there was a pill we could take that made us immediately TRUST GOD!

Once I read a quote which said basically, “If you could hear Christ praying for you in the next room, would you believe that He loves you and has plans for you?  Distance makes no difference. He IS praying for.”

Jesus Christ IS praying for ME in front of His FATHER GOD!

That has stuck with me for years and years. I find this week that I need to remind myself of it once again.   Distance makes no difference.

Sometimes I ask God for a special “sign” that He is doing something…that He is at work on a problem I’ve prayed about. Rarely, I get a sign.  Mostly, He reminds me of what has NOT happened.  And that is about the best thing He can do for me.

What if you think of your “answers to prayer” in that way?  Does it help?

What has NOT happened that could have…maybe could have made things worse?  Easiest answer is if you are healthy, walking, talking, and able to think, then you are way ahead of hundreds of thousands of people in this world.

God also tells me He HAS given me a “sign”….it’s in His WORD.  When I go to the Bible, His answers stare me right in the face.  No extra signs needed.

He’s already TOLD me His plans for me are for good and not evil; He is perfecting me until the Day of Christ; I can hide in the comfort of His Wings; I can go to the Rock of my Salvation; He has provided access directly to the Throne of God where I can go without fear; He will give me wisdom if I just ask it. He HAS written the last page of the book.

And Christ IS praying for me.

Distance Makes No Difference!

by Cindy Best

%d bloggers like this: