Saturday, April 16, 2016

Are You Tired of Waiting for the Light at the End of the Tunnel? There is Hope!

"I think I am finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel!"  Have you ever spoken this phrase?

I have.  Many times.

Johnny got laid off from his job for 6 months.  It has taken him two years to catch back up from the loss after he returned to work.  He is finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Susie has suffered from major health issues for 5 years.  Last year she finally found a doctor who discovered what the problem was and is getting the medication she needs.  She is finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 
*Enter your stories here*

We all have times in our lives that seem like desert wastelands.  The trials seem to be never ending, going on for years! When will we see the light at the end of our tunnel?!
The reality of life though is that the vast majority of the time, that light at the end of our tunnel is actually A TRAIN heading straight for us!  We are living in a sin filled world, suffering the consequences of sin.  Sometimes it's our sin, sometimes it's others sin that we feel the effect of, and sometimes it's just the natural reality of sin in the world.  Death, sickness, decay, and suffering are all a part of this temporary world.  We shouldn't be surprised when the car breaks down.  It's man made, it's going to break.  We aren't shocked when there are plumbing issues at home.  It's man made, it's going to break. Why is there so much sickness and death in the world?  Sin.  God created us perfect, but we chose to sin thereby bringing death, sickness, and suffering into our world.

It would be real depressing if this is where I left you, so here's some GOOD NEWS:
Jesus Christ IS THE LIGHT!  If you have repented, believed, and put your faith in Jesus as your Savior, than you are ALREADY LIVING in the light at the end of the tunnel!  

God has shown me, and continues to show me that I don't need to wait for the light at the end of my financial struggles, my job situations, my health problems.  I am already walking in the light because I have Jesus Christ.  I can get through any struggle because of the power of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Is it hard?  YES!  Will it ever end?  One day.  Not on this Earth.

Choose to focus on the LIGHT instead of your struggle.  Yes, the struggle is real, but God is faithful!  If you are still looking for the light at the end of your tunnel, I found it 30 years ago!  It's JESUS!  He has been teaching me to walk in His light ever since and He wants to give you this same light!

John 8:12; 1 John 1:9 - Jesus IS the light
Ephesians 5:8 - "For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord.  So live as people of light!" 
Psalm 56:13 - "For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping.  So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light."
John 3:16 - "For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Pearls from Proverbs: The Weary Soul

I am weary, O God;  I am weary and worn out, O God.  I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense.  I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.
Who but God goes up to Heaven and comes back down?  Who holds the wind in His fists?  Who wraps up the oceans in His cloak?  Who has created the whole wide world?  What is His name - and His Son's name?  Tell me if you know! Every word of God proves true, He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection.
Proverbs 30:1b-5

Have you ever felt so weary, so defeated, so discouraged that you can barely stand it?  When one of my kids does something silly, another one will jokingly say "you fail at life".  It's in good humor, but what about those times that you really feel like you just fail at life?  What can you do when your so deep in failure on every side of your life that you don't even know where to begin to try and fix it?  How do you move past a burden so severe that you feel like you don't even know how to be a person anymore?

You remember how big your God is, that's what you do!  He is the one who holds heaven and earth in His hands.  He created you, He shaped you, He artfully designed every tiny part of your being.  You can't fail at being human, you are perfectly designed by a perfect creator.

This passage tells us that God's word proves true - that's why it's so important that we know what God's word says.  If we never read His love letter to us, we'll get swallowed up in our weariness and discouragement.  Get in the Bible every day.  Let it seep into the deepest corners and crevices of your heart.  There will still be times, a lot of times, when you're weary, but you will have the truth of God's words in your heart to remind you that "this too shall pass" and "joy comes in the morning."

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pearls from Proverbs: Gossip

When I was a teenager, my now father-in-law was my Sunday School teacher.  He was one of the many leaders in my life who taught me the importance of a daily quiet time.  He made sure that every week we shared what we learned from our quiet time that week, teaching us that God can speak to each one of us in a different way, giving us various application from the exact same passages.  During these years of his leadership, I developed a love for the book of Proverbs!  The entire Bible is valuable, relevant, and necessary for my life, but the book of Proverbs is still my favorite.  It is STUFFED FULL of wisdom, instruction, and truth that is very easy to apply to my life.  You can read the book of Proverbs over and over again, every day for the rest of your life and never stop learning vital truths for life.
This post is my first of many "Pearls from Proverbs".  Each "pearls" post will be a compilation of Proverbs that speak  to a specific topic.  The verses in this post speak to the topic of gossip.  Unfortunately, this is an area that is all to prevalent in most peoples life.  If honest, we can all say that we have been guilty of gossip at some point in our life.  While we may act like a little gossip is harmless, it has the power to completely destroy a person's life.   Let's pray for one another as sister's in Christ that we will remember these verses when we are tempted to gossip!
Proverbs 6:16-19 - These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him:  A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.
Proverbs 10:18 - Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.
Proverbs 10:19 - In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.
Proverbs 11:9 - The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.
Proverbs 11:13 - A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.
Proverbs 13:3 - He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.
Proverbs 15:2 - The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.
Proverbs 15:14 - The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.
Proverbs 16:27-28 - An ungodly man digs up evil, and it is on his lips like a burning fire.  A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends.
Proverbs 17:4 - An evildoer gives heed to false lips; a liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue.
Proverbs 17:9 - He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends. 
Proverbs 18:13 - He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.
Proverbs 18:21 - Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Proverbs 20:19 - He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.
Proverbs 21:23 - Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.
Proverbs 26:17 - He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears.
Proverbs 26:20-22 - Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.  As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.  The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Hit the Road, Anxiety!

As women, we are highly vulnerable to give in to anxiety.  It's no wonder Satan attacks us in this area.  It often seems like the demands on us are innumerable, leaving us exhausted and vulnerable.  The purpose of this post is to share a list of ideas that I have found over the years to be very helpful to me as I try to stay close to God, balance all the areas of my life, and stay away from anxiety.  Philippians 4:6-7 gives us the secret: prayer with a thankful heart.  These are ways that help me keep that in focus.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I would love for you to comment on this post to share things that have worked for you!
1.  Make daily Bible reading a priority.  It doesn't matter how you do it, just do it!  I like to skip all over the Bible and read a few books from the New Testament and then go read a few in the Old Testament.  I've seen lots of very good reading programs out there, but if I get too far behind on a scheduled reading program I get discouraged and quit.  So for my sanity, I just read on my own at my own pace and check off the books as I read them.  When I finish all 66, I start over.  I make tons of notes in my Bible and love to see what God is doing in my life from year to year as I pass over those notes and change or add to them as I grow.
2.  Start a prayer journal.  One of the things that drags me down is when I go through phases where I just don't feel God at work.  In my head I know He's always at work around me, but when I go through long trials and feel like I can't see daylight, I tend to give into anxiety.  By keeping prayer journals it allows me to go back and see the many answers to prayer and miracles God has done in my life to remind me of His faithfulness.
3.  Keep God's Word in front of you throughout the day.  Deuteronomy tells us to remember the things God has done, teach them to our children, bind them on our foreheads, talk about them when we wake up and when we go to sleep, put them up on your door and in your home so you never ever forget.  I take this quite literally and I use my walls to display His word.  I use 3x5 cards with scripture on them taped to my cupboards, mirrors, walls, kids rooms, etc.  Whenever I can afford it, I purchase artwork with scripture on it so that I can do the same thing and be a bit more decorative with it. :)
4.  Get involved in a Bible teaching church.  If your church does not teach from the Word of God then you need to find one that does.  Then, don't just go on Sunday morning and sit in a pew once a week.  Get involved!  Go to ladies events whenever you can, get on a ministry team and serve with others, and definitely be involved in small group Bible Studies.  These are the things that will help you grow, keep you grounded, and give you support and encouragement.
5.  Get away for some alone time on a regular basis.  When you read the gospels you will see time and time again where Jesus sneaks off to be by himself.  Sadly, the people chase after Him the way my kids do when I go into the bathroom.  Jesus knew that it is imperative that we spend time alone to talk to God and just simply be with Him without distraction.  Don't let Satan make you feel guilty about this!  Your kids and husband will survive without you for a day or two.  Go to a ladies conference, get a hotel room for a night, or simply go out to lunch by yourself while the kids are in school.
Those are just some of my most treasured practices. I would love to hear from you as to what things you do that keep your eyes on Christ and your heart free from anxiety!