Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Season of Uncertainty

This summer has been a season of uncertainty for my husband and me. At the beginning of the summer my husband was laid off from his job.

The night he came home after being let go, he walked in about thirty minutes early. I caught a glimpse of him as he walked to the kitchen. I knew. Not by his demeanor or anything, I just knew. The thought went through my mind "he lost his job". It was as if the Holy Spirit was forewarning me, preparing me.

That following day, a Saturday, I knew the response I should have. I knew all the things we are taught about God. He will take care of us; He is our sustainer, deliverer and provider. I knew I needed to trust that what ever happened we would be ok. I knew all these things in my mind, but my heart was not at rest. I had no peace about it.

That Saturday was a day of prayer. I honestly shared my unbelief with God and asked for help to believe. I prayed as I cleaned, as I folded laundry, as I sat and as I stood. Later in the day as I walked on the treadmill God posed this question to me. "What if everything goes away, what if all the material wealth is gone, then what will you do?"

As I pondered that question there was only one response that I could give. So I said to my redeemer, my savior, my love "I will praise you, because it is not what you do for me that is the reason I walk with you. I do it because I love you" With that answer, my heart made a decision that set a peace across my soul.

The rest of the summer was unstable at best when it came to finances but each month our bills were paid. Last month we thought the season had past. My husband accepted a job that paid what we needed to take care of our expenses. All was on the way to stability in this area and God had provided what we needed, when we needed it.

Yesterday, that great company that my husband went to work for went under. For financial reasons, the company dissolved. Once again, we are solely dependent on God to carry us through, to provide.

Once again, I had to take my fearful, unbelieving heart to my loving, merciful savior and ask for help with my unbelief. I know that no matter what, he has His best in mind for us. We are His children and He loves us. He knows our needs and will supply them all.

So I will do all that I know how to do in this kind of situation....

I praise you Lord. You are God alone and I lift up your name in praise. Holy is the Lord God Almighty. I praise you Jesus. No matter what comes our way, no matter what happens, I praise you. You are all I need.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Overcoming Discouragement

Have you ever been going along smoothly and then whoops....? A small thought seems to run a dialog through your head that just won't quit. Before you know it you’ve turned that thought around every which way in your mind. Now it’s snowballing. Its running 90 miles a minute down a slope picking up speed and snow as it goes. Before you know it, that small, single thought has instilled a great big feeling of discouragement that can linger and linger.

That seemed to be my mode of operation for the biggest part of my life. My thought life controlled my feelings which were up and down according to how far the barreling snowball went down the hill.

Discouragement is something that I have battled and still do. Yes, it's better than it has been in the past, but I still struggle with it.

Lately, God has shown me some things about my discouragement that I would like to pass on to you. I hope you get as much from it as I have.

Romans 12:2 - tells us "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

We are to be transformed, changed by renewing our mind. That means we take the old, bad stuff out and put the new Godly thoughts in. Often, we have built up thought patterns that are built on lies not God's truth. We do life out of the lie that we have accepted instead of the truth that God wants us to live out of.

Recently, I realized that no matter how hard I tried or how good I did, it was never good enough. I was working out of an ingrained thought pattern of "nothing is ever enough, so keep doing more, if you do more maybe it will eventually be enough" But it was never enough, never good enough. For other people and for God I did plenty. To me it was never enough. Because of this lie that I was living life out of, I would experience feelings of failure and discouragement.

The first thing that God showed me was that discouragement was not from Him. He would not be the one over my shoulder saying "see what you've done, you've failed". Instead His tender mercy is always there with kindness to pick me back up and urge me on.

Second, He gave me this verse to show his kindness and what His intent is when I fail my own standards and feelings of discouragement come over me.

Psalm 23:6 - Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

In Hebrew the word "follow" is radaph (raw-daf') and the meaning is quite different than what it seems. The Hebrew meaning is to run after or pursue. This gives this scripture a whole different meaning.

Goodness and mercy run after, they pursue me all the days of my life. When I fail, it is goodness and mercy that pursue me relentlessly not condemnation. I can rest in the assurance that it is mercy that God reaches out to me with. In Jesus there is no more condemnation.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Here's the truth, God does not condemn us, Satan condemns us and we condemn ourselves. God lifts us up with His goodness and mercy. He sends His goodness and mercy to pursue us until we accept it. This, you can count on.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Lost Get Found

Monday, August 10, 2009

At Your Feet

Today as I spent time exercising I was listening to praise music. A phrase from a song jumped out and attached itself right to my heart. It was this phrase "There is no better place in life then at your feet."

As I finished my workout I found myself right where this song stated at the fathers feet. And I have to say that its true there is no better place to be. Seems that the lower I bow the more I see His glory. And it is truly amazing.

There is nothing to change your day, your thoughts and your attitude like complete surrender to God and then to begin to praise. As I bow down and begin to lift Him up a release of the spirit comes over me and all else around me falls away. There is nothing like lifting up praise that can change the light of day, make darkness turn to light and fill the emptiness inside.

When the day seems dark and you can't find your way, bow down and praise.

When a gloom lingers over you that you just can't shake, lift up and praise.

When the trials of life don't seem to let up, praise, praise, praise.

It may not change your circumstance but it will change your heart in the midst of it.

In all things praise Him. At all times praise Him.

That’s why I say, "There is no better place in life than at my Fathers feet." I praise Him!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Climbing The Mountain

This summer has been somewhat of a hiatus from writing for me. As it turns out, it has been a good thing for me. I have spent time reevaluating my daily routine and where it is that God has me going. Sometimes we just need to spend some time alone in our walk with God figuring things out.

As the bible says, there is a time for everything. For me, this has been the case; there is a time to write and a time not to write. This summer was a time for me to begin to find the things of God to live out and not just write about them. Don't worry, I will keep writing. It’s just living out of service to others that gives me something to write about. This summer has been a time for God to show me all about how to approach the challenges in life.

In all our lives, we each are set before us challenges or as I like to call them, mountains to climb. What I have found is that it is not the mountain that we trip over in our climb but the pebbles on the way up the path. When a mountain is set before us and we are told to climb to the top we often do several things.

First, we stand and look at the mountain. We see how big it is and how high we will need to climb. Thoughts of discouragement come into our head and we let them enter into our heart. Next thing you know, we've turned around and walked away from the mountain, never to even set one foot on the trail to go up.

That mountain looms over our shoulder now. Instead of a challenge to be overcome, it is a remembrance of disappointment and sadness always sitting in the back of our mind. A constant reminder of our inability to overcome.

Other times we look at the mountain, start up the trail only to stumble a short way up. Maybe we get up once or twice after we stumble, but eventually, we come to the conclusion that the mountain just can not be climbed. It is too high, too hard. Maybe others have the strength to climb this mountain but not us. "Those that make it up the mountain are special. They have something we don't have. ”we tell ourselves. In the end we stand defeated by the mountain, refusing to get up and try again.

Sometimes, we start up the mountain with ease, trip a few times, picking ourselves back up when we fall. Then when we are almost to the top, we begin to doubt. "What does this mean for my life? Can I really overcome?" We tell ourselves. Then instead of pressing on we sit on the side of the mountain for a while looking for the courage to really reach for the top.

Here is what I have found in my journey this summer. If you don't keep climbing the top will always be out of your reach. In other words, stop looking only at the top of the mountain. Look instead to God to walk with you along the path.

As I take my mountains to Him, He tells me this. "This too Sherri, this too. I can give you what you need to climb this one too."

What mountain are you climbing today? God can give you what you need to make it to the top. You only have to ask.