Tag Archives: Frustration

God Knows Where You’re Going Even If You Don’t!

30 Aug

(This is a re-print from May of last year).

Ruth didn’t know the God of Abraham or that she needed Him. God was working on other situations in the background that would eventually involve Ruth. She was completely unaware that God even existed and certainly didn’t know of God’s plans for her future. She was born into a pagan family, raised to worship idols. Ruth was doomed to a life headed for eternal destruction – unknown to her. A man named Elimelech came into Ruth’s life, by God’s providential will.

Elimelech lived in the promised land of God. A drought caused him to mortgage his land, leave his kinsmen, his friends and his country and move with his wife, Naomi and their two sons from Bethlehem to Moab. He was trying to provide for and protect them, but shortly after Elimelech moved his family to Moab he died, leaving Naomi and her sons alone in a strange land.

Naomi should have taken her sons and gone back to their homeland at that time. Instead she stayed in Moab and eventually her sons disobeyed God’s commands and married pagan women named Ruth and Orpah, who served idols. After only a few years of marriage, both young men died, leaving their mother, Naomi, and their heathen wives, Ruth and Orpah alone.

Naomi had lost everything except her two daughters-in-law. Since she had nothing left and did not know what difficulties she might face when she returned to her homeland of Judah, she prepared to leave Moab. Naomi called Ruth and Orpah to her side and encouraged them to return to their families. She was trying to protect the young women, but neither of them wanted to leave her. It was evident that Naomi was very loving and kind and that Ruth and Orpah must have experienced and learned of the love of God through her and through their husbands.

It’s hard to imagine a daughter-in-law loving her mother-in-law so much that she would be willing to leave all she knew, including her own mother and other family members. Ruth was so drawn by God’s love through Naomi that she hungered for more. She knew that she would not find that same love from her people.

This is a beautiful portrayal about how the love of God draws men to Himself. The love of Jesus shines through God’s children and draws others to Him. Their hearts begin to yearn for Him. They want to give up everything else to follow Him.

Ruth had experienced a taste of God’s love through Naomi and did not want to go back to her old life. On the other hand, Orpah had the same opportunity. She loved Naomi. She struggled with letting go, but Orpah wasn’t willing to give up her old life or leave her idols and the sinful ways of her people. She could not let go. Her flesh had a strong hold on her.

We can identify with Orpah. She was not unlike us. She loved her family – Moab was all she knew. It was comfortable to Orpah. It was familiar. Although she was torn in her decision, she was unable to let go of her past. She couldn’t step into the unknown. Orpah made a wrong choice. It was a choice that more than likely condemned her. But the choice was hers. We can identify with why she did it. We face hard decisions every day. Will we go with God or go back to what is comfortable?

Letting go of all we are familiar with – stepping into the unknown – that is what faith is.

• Heb 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. NIV

This story is continued – Check back in a few days to see what God had in store for Ruth. Remember, she doesn’t yet know God – she doesn’t know she is actually right in the middle of His will for her life.

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My First E-Book Now Available On Amazon

8 Oct

Book CoverGrief, pain, hardship and tragedy happen to all of us equally. God gives us all the same opportunity to come to Him through Jesus, His Son. There is a misconception that Christians should be free from pain and suffering. They should have it better than everybody else, and that if they are having problems there must be some deep dark sin in their lives.

God is often judged by the circumstances that affect the lives of His followers. If something bad happens to them, it might appear that God failed or that He is punishing them or teaching them a lesson. The misconception is that Christians are loved by God more and therefore He treats them better and gives them more.

God is frequently viewed as a mere option in our world today. Even some Christians view God’s participation in their lives to be necessary only if they are unable to handle something on their own – especially a crisis.

This series of books will visit many of the hard questions asked about God and what it means to be a Christian. Step by Step guidance will help the reader understand how to become a Christian, how to live daily walking and talking with God, and how to understand His will for your life.

Walking with God is a deliberate action taken by those who want to be born again into life everlasting with Him – it requires only believing in Jesus Christ, asking for His forgiveness of our sins, and learning how to live and walk daily with Him in your heart and at your side.

God is very real. He isn’t a figment of our imagination. He isn’t spooky or strange. He is loving and kind. He is good and loves each and every one of us more than we can even understand.

God doesn’t just love Christians. He loves every single person in the world. He doesn’t favor Christians. Christians aren’t better than everyone else. Knowing and following Jesus Christ doesn’t mean a life with no sorrows or pain.
The difference is in our hearts. Walking daily with God and talking to Him at any time you want to is better than having your best earthly friend by your side all the time,and even better than any other person you believe to have everything you want and/or need.

God is the peace you need, and the protection you need, He has the provision you need, and the guidance you need. He can and will direct every step you take, if you let Him. It’s not always easy. That’s where faith and trust come in.

God is the one thing in this life that has never changed and will never change. But, it doesn’t mean He is old fashioned or out of date. There is nothing on this planet that wasn’t already arranged by Him long, long before time, as we know it, began.

The first book in this series is part of my testimony. It starts about the time I graduated from high school. I was raised in a Christian home, went to church because my mother made me, and all I knew of God was that I was supposed to love Him and be good.

As it is said, “Life Happens”. I went to church from the time I was a little girl and accepted Jesus at a Baptist Camp at the age of nine years old, I didn’t really come to know Him until life started invading my space. Those were the times I began to “consider” God – wondering if He was really there and wondering what He wanted from me.

I am now 68 years old. I can tell you it has taken a long life of mistakes, pain, hardship, suffering and grief – just like everyone else I know – Christian or not. The only thing I would change if I had a “do over” would be that I would have worked harder at getting serious about my relationship with God and I would not have worked so hard at doing things my way. I would have spent the necessary time getting to know my maker and letting Him guide me rather than having Him constantly have to bail me out of my troubles and set me back on my feet.That’s life. After this one there’s one in eternity. Where will you spend yours?

Contentment

2 May

Contentment is a feeling of calm satisfaction, according to Encarta Dictionary. How many of us can say we are content? Is there something in particular that gives you that feeling of calm satisfaction?

In today’s world there is so much stimulation around us at all times. Rarely do we enjoy the quiet. All of our senses are somehow ignited almost everywhere we go. Many of us can’t get away without taking along our phones, our tablets, or our gaming devices. I get frustrated with all those around me looking at their phones and engaging in something else at all times. To me, it’s kind of like talking to someone who isn’t really giving me their undivided attention. We call it “social media.” Call me old-fashioned, but, when I’m with my friends and family, I want their undivided attention.

The social media is a great way to stay in touch. It also keeps us from being so alone. On the other hand, it becomes more difficult to be content when we are not engaging in some sort of social interaction or being entertained by our electronic devices. Don’t get me wrong, I love having the ability to “reach out and touch someone” with an immediate response on Face Book, or get an instant reply from an email or text. Who wants to wait anymore for snail mail? Who wants to wait anymore for anything?

We can interpret “calm satisfaction” in many ways. To some, it may be difficult to be calm and/or satisfied if they aren’t constantly interacting, socially, in one way or another. To others, like me, calm satisfaction means not having a constant internal yearning for my cell phone, my tablet, my computer, or the television. Satisfaction is described in the Encarta Dictionary as “the feeling of pleasure when a need or desire is fulfilled; the fulfillment of a need, claim, or desire.”

Humans are definitely complex. As I am now a senior citizen (a new position in my long resume), I find myself looking back to the way things used to be. I suppose that is normal at my age. Actually, it is one of the ways I recognize I am, in fact, getting old. Anyway, interaction with others is still so important. It fills an empty spot inside that can’t be filled while trying to communicate in some other way.

Talking to God is the best wireless connection we have today! He isn’t outdated because of all the little devices that keep us occupied. Scripture tells us that there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecc. 1:9) Recognize that God created each one of us. He is the one who gave us the knowledge necessary to create all of the wonderful toys we have today. Psalms 139 tells us that no matter how high we go, or how low – we can’t get away from God.

Ps 139:7-12

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

NIV

 

Contentment, in my opinion, is more than satisfying ourselves with anything that will keep us occupied, just so we don’t have to deal with our emotions or be bothered with direct communication.  We need to examine what contentment means to us. Go deep. Determine whether or not there is something missing – a true inner peace that we can only find in one another and with God.

We were created to have fellowship – not just on social media. We all need one another. We need our friends who  have skin on! We need real fellowship with our Heavenly Father. We can’t send him a text message or an email. We can’t tweet Him. We have to take time out to spend true, uninterrupted time with our Lord. True contentment, peace, and joy come from our one on one relationship with Him. True contentment comes from Him. He’s still there when all the other devices, or even friends, aren’t. He is the only source of true contentment. He gives the calm satisfaction that we are all in search of. He is the only source of that true, calm satisfaction.

 

 

Should I Say “Yes” or “No”?

10 Jul

Discovering Our Spiritual Gifts (4)

Discovering our God-given spiritual gift will give help us become a better steward of the time we spend in God’s service. We have each been given a personalized gift from God. If we spend our time doing every project that comes along we won’t be able to focus on the major motivational gift God has designed us for. In fact, we will probably be doing someone else’s job, therefore keeping them from being a part of the body of believers in fulfilling their call.

God wants us to be available to say “yes” to opportunities that require our gifts, and not to feel guilty when we say “no”. In addition, we will be more enthusiastic about doing what God has prepared us for and are less likely to face “burnout” or dread in accomplishing our task.

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others . . . If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides . . .”
(I Peter 4:10-11)

The Scripture above tells us that God provides the strength we need in doing what He has called us to do. This is where we can most clearly understand the areas God has prepared us for. We will remain enthusiastic and give ourselves completely to the task without extra frustration and fatigue. On the other hand, when we volunteer for those things that God has prepared someone else for, not only are we keeping them from their part in God’s plan, but we face continual dread, frustration, and fatigue. We begin to question what we have gotten ourselves involved in and wonder why we did it. Many times we will even look for excuses to quit and quitting is much harder!

This is a good place to add an important note. There will be times when a need arises for which there is no one available due to time restraints or other causes. Also, we need to realize that even though God has created us with a major focus doesn’t mean we can excuse ourselves from coming together for the greater good. For example, I love to help others (serve) but serving is not my “spiritual gift”. When our church has “dinner on the grounds” I struggle – really struggle. I don’t like cooking, I’m not very good at it – it frustrates me, and so on, and so on. But – I need to do my part so we will have enough food for everyone. So, I do the best I can. Sometimes, I just buy a bunch of grapes, wash them and put them in a pretty dish. I know, I know – those of you who spend hours cooking have a problem with me. Which leads me to my next point.

We need to understand that not everyone is talented in the same areas we are. Instead of grumbling, complaining and gossiping, it is easier to accept if we do what we do because we are serving God – it is for Him we do what we do. If not, our hearts are in the wrong place. This is what is meant by gaining a better of understanding of others around you when you come to understand the spiritual (motivational) gifts.

There are many areas of need in our world. We can’t do it all by ourselves. We aren’t supposed to. God designed us as one body for a reason. There is only one head – Jesus Christ. He is the one who deserves the recognition – not us.

Crazy Thoughts

26 Jun

Do you ever have thoughts that surprise you? Do you ever feel a slight “nudge” inside the pit of your stomach when you are doing something and all of a sudden you get a “feeling” you shouldn’t? Or, maybe a nudge that you should do something and you don’t?

Thoughts run rampant in and out of our heads all the time. How can we know where it all comes from? I wish I had the ability to put into words how important it is for each of us to spend time getting to know God intimately. Just because we may be advanced in years, or really, really smart, doesn’t mean we are hearing God speak to us. Nor, does it mean we are hearing correctly from within.

Think about it. Meditate on it. So many different events in our lives have molded and shaped our attitudes and our beliefs. Whether we intend to or not, we have mind-sets and preconceived ideas. In other words, our minds are “made up” about certain things. We have no intention of listening to anyone tell us anything different. Besides, we don’t have time to slow down!

We are creatures of habit. We like having our own way. We certainly don’t like anyone else telling us anything that goes against what we already know and believe to be true. Seems like today that our patience wears thinner and thinner. Our world moves faster, time is of the essence. We have appointment books that tell us where we’re going next or what we’re going to do in the next hour. We just don’t want that messed with!

Frankly, not listening to what I call “that red flag” inside of us – in the pit of our stomach, can be really bad. I’ll give you an example. A few days ago I was on a trip in an area I was unfamiliar with. I was driving a car I was unfamiliar with. I was far away from home and having a great time. I was sight-seeing along the coast and happened to see a sign stating that there were no more gas stations for the next 30 miles. I looked at my gas gauge and saw that it appeared to be okay. But inside, I “had a feeling” that I should probably stop and get gas. (Wait for it . . .)

It was getting late, and based on the mileage I had gotten so far, I was really sure I would be okay in waiting to get gas. Oops! should have listened to that small voice inside. The dreaded warning light popped up on the gas gauge and I had more that 33 miles to go. Don’t know how that happened, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that I should have listened to that very still voice inside trying to warn me of danger ahead. Obviously, I couldn’t have a “do-over”.

I was on a virtual roller coaster along the mountains and coast of California. It was getting late – would be dark soon. The gauge was fine when I started the journey. What I didn’t count on (and wasn’t familiar with) were the mountains using more gas.

I’m normally calm and at peace. I’ve been down this path so many times you would think by now I would pay attention. It happens – I just didn’t want to take the time to stop if I didn’t have to and it appeared to me I didn’t have to. What frustrated me eventually was that I knew better. I had done it before – ignore the warnings, I mean. I didn’t really realize they were warnings at the time. But, we can always look back and see where we’ve been – think about it.

Anyway, I literally had a panic attack. I kept watching the gas gauge. I tried to read the manual to see how much gas I actually had left – no clue in the book. I wondered if a light would come on to warn me when the gas was getting lower. Got my answer right away – the warning light came on. At that time I had about 20 miles to go. At a red light in the middle of nowhere – don’t ask me – I jumped out of my car and ran to the car behind me. I told them my story and asked them to please keep an eye on us and told them why. I’m not sure what I expected them to do, I just felt like I had to do something. But, they didn’t even respond to me. They just looked at me like I was crazy. I guess I was at that stage.

I jumped back in the car and the light turned green – still don’t know why that light was there. Anyway, while I was stopped at the light I re-set my trip gauge so I could count down the 14 miles I had left to go. One mile down, now five – okay now we’ve gone nine – just maybe we’ll make it. By now it’s getting darker. I see transients along the road. The people I stunned when I jumped out of my car on the mountain top were still behind me. I coasted down the hills, hoping that would help.

My personal vehicle only has eight miles left after the light comes on – my book says so. So, I had no idea what await me. Alas, I began to see houses and lights and we had just about reached civilization. So, at least there was life close by if we did run out of gas. But, we didn’t. We actually made it to the gas station on time. I waved to the lady behind me as if to say “Thank you, I’m okay now”. I’m sure she really didn’t care at all. But, I felt as though I had imposed on her and should at least thank her for keeping an eye on me – even though she had no choice at all since I was in front of her. She was probably more concerned that I not run out of gas and cause her to run into me.

Can you see my point? Had I only listened to that small voice inside warning me. I could have actually enjoyed my sight-seeing trip. But, all I saw was that blazing yellow light calling me a dummy all the way. Just imagine what would have happened had I actually run out of gas – how much fear, frustration, time, trouble I would have had to endure, all because I did not listen to God’s Holy Spirit warn me.

You ask me how I know it was God’s Holy Spirit? Because I know God looks out after me and he warns me of things like that. Why didn’t I listen? The same reason you don’t. I thought I knew better based on what I already knew about the car. And, yes, even though I know God and listen for His voice all the time, I’m not perfect. I get in a hurry. I think it’s my own inner voice speaking and I ignore it. I was talking to my sister, we were laughing and having fun. The voice was small, I even considered it my own imagination because the car appeared to have plenty of gas.

Are you getting the picture? I’m no super human – I love God, I talk to Him and I listen to Him. I should know better because I’ve made enough mistakes in my life. So, why am I telling you all this if I don’t have the right answer? Because it takes a lifetime of training – you won’t “arrive” until you are in heaving at the feet of the Master. We must continually be aware of God – acknowledge Him – as the Scripture tells us. Keep our minds on Him and He will keep us in peace – again a quote from the Bible.

We always need God. We have to listen all the time. We can’t just assume we have all the right answers and we don’t need to stop and ask Him. When, in truth, many of our mistakes are made because we do just that. We are the ones to blame. God tries to warn us. We have to listen and then – yep, obey.

God Is Not Like Grandma, He’s Not Old Fashioned or Behind the Times!

7 Jun

Many of us don’t think much about the spiritual side of things. We believe we have our lives under control and we are ready for what comes our way. Conversely, we are experiencing more and more stress and frustration. We have been taught by the world around us that we need to be strong. We dare not let anyone see us as weak.

Perhaps our spiritual condition doesn’t seem like much of an issue. Some of us may even think that our spiritual lives are separate from our daily lives. Definitely not! We may try to keep it separate thinking it isn’t part of daily living. Besides, it’s not cool to be spiritual. Exactly the opposite is true. Our spiritual condition (our heart of hearts) is where our true character resides.

• Prov 16:9 “ In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” NIV

• Matt 15:18-20 “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart , and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.” NIV

The ways of God obviously are not the ways of man. If man had his way there would certainly be no suffering. It is imperative that we realize how much we need God every day with every step. We could not take another breath, or another step if He did not allow it. Whether we believe it to be true or not doesn’t matter. Our denial of God’s truth doesn’t invalidate it.

God is always with us, not just for our bedtime prayers, but as we get dressed, eat breakfast, drive to work, and in all else that we do. We can talk with Him at any time about any and every issue. It’s kind of like being at home with a loved one. We are busy in one room and they are busy in another. We know that we can call out to them at any time and they will answer. Only God is not in the other room, He is right with us – wherever we are.

Our conversations with God are not one way. He will speak to our hearts. He will take away our fears and direct us through our every concern, if we will allow Him to.

• John 10:26-27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” NIV

God has His own time-table. It most often does not agree with ours. He is not intimidated by our deadlines. Don’t think that just because He does not work like the high-speed internet that He is old-fashioned and out of date. To the contrary, His ways far exceed that. He created the universe out of nothing. He knew us before we were formed in our Mothers’ wombs. He can handle today’s technology. God is actually the one who gave knowledge to the creators of our technology. What? You think they did it on their own?

Scripture tells us that there is nothing new in the world. Technology was part of God’s plan from the beginning. Don’t think for a moment that we have moved on without Him. No, Friends, He is the one who made it all possible. He is not just our Grandma’s God. God’s miracles and ancient stories of the Bible didn’t stop when the Bible was made into a book with a cover. God is the reason we have progressed to where we are today.

• Eccl 1:9 “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” NIV

His ways are not outdated. He is the author and finisher or our faith and the reason that we are who we are. We need to recognize His authority. When we read the Scriptures we will find that events do not just happen on their own. God is the force behind them. He places people where He wants them and uses them according to His plan.

God’s Word, the Holy Bible, still operates in our lives as it did in the lives of those ancient men and women of the Bible. They are not fictional like Winnie the Pooh or Alice in Wonderland. Rest assured you will not meet those characters in heaven one day. However; you will meet many of those ancient men and women of the Bible there. You will hear from their own lips of their awesome adventures.

God is just as real today as He was when all the events of the Bible took place. He walks with us, covers us like a shield. He goes before us, behind us, beside us. We cannot go anywhere that He is not there.

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