Tag Archives: God’s will

Pain with a Purpose

Pain. We all have it in one form or another. For you it might be a chronic physical illness such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, or some other disease that leaves you feeling lousy all the time. For others, it could be the emotional and financial loss suffered when your company has downsized or outsourced your position. There are those who, because of their struggle with loss, depression, or simply the stress of everyday living, have turned to alcohol or drugs to medicate their pain.

Is it possible to find purpose in our pain? Is there something bigger than ourselves that can make our pain bearable, almost “worth it”? The Apostle Paul thought so. No stranger to the pain and imprisonment that accompanied his persecution as a follower of Christ, he penned these words:

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. — Philippians 1:12-14, NIV

I know a couple of women who have been battling cancer for years. I have watched them suffer the ravages of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, seen them lose and regrow their hair, and have been amazed at the radiance in their countenance as they have time and time again acknowledged the presence and power of God to comfort and heal them. Even though their faith has been tested because of their illness, the faith of countless others has been strengthened because of the way these faithful women of God have journeyed through the valley, giving testimony to God every step of the way.

God never said we would live without pain or loss. In fact, his Word tells that we will have trials in this life. But if we can allow God to work His purpose through our pain, then many will see and believe in the One who sustains and strengthens us in the midst of our suffering. Just when your pain becomes too much to bear, remember that Jesus suffered agonizing pain on the cross so that we might be forgiven from the sin that separated us from God and spend an eternity in heaven with him, where there is no pain.

The pain God has allowed to come into your life could be the very gift he uses to bring another soul into his kingdom.

 

Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

Place It in His Hands

Commit to the LORD whatever you do,

and your plans will succeed.

Proverbs 16:3

 

 

Commit to the Lord our works.

How easy it is to forget to do that. It’s easy to forget that we can pray with our kiddos over their schoolwork and commit that to the Lord in prayer.

It’s easy to forget that God cares about the things we care about. The housework that needs to get done, the groceries that need to be bought, and the time we want to invest in our marriage and our friendships.

We don’t even give it another thought when we plan a vacation or look to buy a new home. A new car purchase can be stressed over…but is it prayed over?

God cares about it all. He wants us to seek Him in it ALL.

I think sometimes the things in our life are harder than they ought to be. We stress over making the right decision when the only decision should be to lay it before the Lord and believe that He will guide us in the right direction.

We try to control too much – only giving Him the leftovers.

Commit to the Lord WHATEVER you do. That means the cupcakes you planned to make for your child’s class party, the table you are leading at Bible Study, or the new dress you are purchasing. Commit it all to Him.

And your plans will succeed. They will work out. Everything will fall into place – just as it should be. Because our priorities were placed in the right hands. With the right person. At the right time.

“Oh Lord, I’m so guilty of storming ahead on my own willpower with my own agenda. Never including you in my plans. Please forgive me. Help me be aware of your presence and caring in my life. Remind me that you’re ever-present and ever-watchful in my life, caring about even the tiniest of details. Help me consult you FIRST and commit everything I do – to you. Help me hand it over. The big, the small, the important and the not-so-important.

I love you. I live for you. I believe in you.

I want my plans to succeed. And I want to know that they only succeeded because I submitted my will – to Yours. Amen.”

 

Dionna Sanchez (http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com)

 

Crossroads

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21, NIV)

Overwhelmed and in need of some sense of direction, you are standing at a crossroads unsure of where to turn. The sun’s heat is merciless as it beats down on you. The dusty road beneath your feet can take you in a number of directions, but which way should you go? Do you choose the steep and rocky road that climbs toward the horizon, or do you amble down the long and winding road to the valley below? Although the latter may seem the easier road to travel, inevitably you will have to take the high road on the other side of the valley if you are to scale the mountains that beckon you. If only you could see what lies ahead on either path, the choice would be much easier to make.

Many of us are standing at a crossroads. We are overwhelmed by the challenges we face and wonder where in the world God is taking us as we journey through this life. As we face the uncertainty of what lies ahead, we struggle to gain a sense of direction from many sources – the encouragement and experiences of friends, our own failures and successes, and whatever might feel good at the moment. But are we truly seeking God’s direction for our lives?

As I write this, I find myself standing at a crossroads. Do I content myself with devoting my energies to caring for my family and serving others in a part-time job I truly enjoy, or do I press forward into writing and ministry with the hope that I will make a difference for God using the gifts He has given me? The upward path is difficult and uncomfortable for me. It would be much easier to let go of a dream and settle for what is familiar and comfortable, but is that God’s plan for my life?

Man has not invented a GPS that will make our decisions any easier, but God has given us His Word as a roadmap and is willing to navigate us through every treacherous turn if we are inclined to hear His voice. As long as we keep our eyes fixed on the Morning Star, we can travel with certainty that we will reach the destination He has mapped out for us. The journey won’t be easy. We will encounter many obstacles along the way. But God has promised that He will be with us always, “even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20, KJV).

Copyright © 2011 by Dee Dee Wike.  All rights reserved.
www.deedeewike.com

Is It God’s Will If It’s Hard?

It took me a long time to realize I had the wrong perspective on what God’s will for my life was. Somehow, as I was growing up, I came to believe that if something was hard for me; if things didn’t go as planned – that that must be a sign that it was not God’s will for my life.

I’ve since corrected that assumption.

As an adult, I’ve learned that the exact opposite is true. In fact, I think that sometimes things are the hardest when we are headed in the direction God wants for us. God says in Peter 4:12-13, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”

God told us that we would have troubles and trials.

In John 16:33 God tells us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

1 Peter 5:8-10 says, “Be controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

There are so many more verses in the Bible where God tries to prepare us for difficulties and spiritual trials. He tells us that facing tough times is pretty much a “given.” So why do we give up so easily? Why are we so easily deterred? Why do we quit when the going gets tough?

I believe that God raised us up to be warriors, not quitters. I think Satan knows that we are far too easy of a target. All it takes is some temptation, pushing of our buttons, some delayed outcomes, busyness, stress, and illness – and Satan knows he’s got us. You see, he doesn’t want us to fulfill God’s will! That would make us more powerful because we’d be growing in the Lord and thriving. God’s power would be unleashed in us! That’s the last thing Satan wants. So when things start to get extra hard….we just may be on the exact RIGHT path.

I do realize there are times where God tries to communicate that we are making poor choices in our life. There are times of correction. But I think when those times come; we’ve already been hearing God whisper (or yell, as the case may be) to our hearts for quite awhile first. The circumstances only solidify what the Holy Spirit has been trying to already tell us.

Life is hard. Oh man, is it hard! I’ve done some hard things. I can only imagine if I’d been allowed to flee and run away as I’d wanted. How I would have missed some deep blessings.

We are not runners. We are not quitters. We are warriors. And as much as we’d like to pretend that we don’t have any enemies – we have a very real, spiritual one who is out to hinder, provoke, discourage, and detour us any way he can. He’s out to make things HARD.

God tells me that my fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord are going through the same thing as I am. That encourages me. Together, we can all fight through the “hard stuff” and be determined to set out in the destination that God wants for us. Any other way is quicksand.

EQUIPPED TO DO GOD’S WILL

I have a friend who loves to ride a bike.  He doesn’t take a ride around the block.  No.  When he goes on a ride, it is for 25 to 50 miles.  Before he goes, he makes certain he has various items to fix his bike should something go wrong.  He makes sure he has plenty of water so he doesn’t get dehydrated.  When he leaves his home, he is equipped for most any need for the task before him.  He is prepared.  He feels confident.

Do you have that kind of confidence when it comes to following God?  Ever feel inadequate?  Far too many times we balk at doing what God asks us to do because we feel inept.  We don’t have enough knowledge of scripture.  We don’t know how to talk.  We are not sure of ourselves. We don’t think anyone would listen to us.  We cannot see beyond our weaknesses; so we do not act upon the call of God in our lives.  We do not follow Him wherever He leads.  We do not reach out to that neighbor, that group, that family member.  We do not accept God’s challenge.  We forego opportunity after opportunity.  We keep looking unto ourselves…and we falter; we procrastinate.  If this is you today, perhaps you will gain encouragement from the prayer from the writer of Hebrews.  Ask God to help you receive this as your own prayer. 

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21.

God gives us every single thing we need to accomplish the tasks He calls us to do.  God equips us.  We can do everything through the strength of Christ who dwells within us.  He knows our needs long before we know them.  He has the supply waiting.  He has the right person to aid us.  He has all the wisdom we need to discern what we cannot even imagine.  He has prepared the way for us.  All God wants is for us to be available, willing, and humbly yielded to His guiding Spirit. 

PRAYER:  Lord, let us turn to You and stop looking at ourselves.  How proud we are that we think we could do anything without You.  Thank You for allowing us to be part of building Your kingdom.  Forgive us when we fail to follow immediately when You call our name.  Amen.

© Hariette Petersen, SelahV Today, 2010

praising God for closed doors

I came across this journal entry today.  I was greatly encouraged to be reminded of what God did.   I pray that He uses this time from my life  to encourage you as well.

My job seems to be a continual pattern of closed doors. I suppose I should rejoice, for this is an answer, but it is difficult when 8x in a year, the answer is no. My boss did a good job explaining why and I do not take it personally (and now have some areas to work on improving) but nonetheless, “no” is difficult to hear so often. The reason has been different each time, therefore my only conclusion can be that this is God’s will for me right now and that whatever state I am in, I must learn to be content (not simply for  the sake of “doings” but because I know that no matter what state I’m in, He is with me).

“For I lead the blind in ways that they do not know, in paths that they have not gone, I guide them. I turn the rough places before them into level ground. These are the things I do; I do not forsake them.”

I’m not forsaken. Stuck behind the same door, stuck in the same room, stuck in limbo, I am not forsaken. Still wondering why and when, God is saying, “I’m here, I haven’t left you alone to figure this out on your own. I’m guiding. I’m leading. And I’m comforting.”

That must be and remain my comfort. If it is not then I start to question and accuse God. Job questioned God and was met by the all-powerful Creator. That all-powerful God is the same one holding back right now in my life. He’s the same one closing the doors in front of me. He’s the same one not opening other doors which I long to walk through.  But, keeping this in perspective, I don’t deserve a new job. I don’t deserve better pay. I deserve hell.

And God opened the greatest door in all of eternity – the door to eternal life, rest and complete fulfillment in Him. With that in mind, how can I complain? In light of eternity, how can I question Him?

God has been so kind to me – eternally, immensely kind. He’s right now preparing a place for me – who once was a filthy, vile sinner and now has been justified not by my own merit, but by the righteousness of His Son. That’s why our lives are commanded to be a sacrifice of praise. I don’t want to sacrifice that right now. I want to lament. I want to cry.

But He says – NO!!! Grab your soul – arrest your mind and focus it on me. Don’t give in to the devil’s lie that you deserved this and I’m unkind in withholding it from you. Focus on truth – I loved you so much (and continue to love you) that I gave ALL for you – I sacrificed with JOY for your good. Rest there. Rejoice in that truth.

Let your conduct be the same as mine – offering up sacrifices of praise to God when your circumstances deem the opposite. That’s how I receive glory here – through yet another closed door. That’s where the world will see your differences and glorify me. Trust me, my child. I know what I’m doing.”

[copyright, 2010, Emily Schankweiler; A Sacrifice of Praise]