Tuesday, June 28, 2011

God's Comfort

If I let myself listen to multiple demands talking at once, I feel overwhelmed.  Despair joins the conversation, and they drown trust's voice.

In my small group I shared a complex situation for prayer. Instead of keeping me on the pedestal often reserved for pastors' spouses, the women responded with understanding and prayer. One new friend even stayed beyond the class, sharing her experience and the discoveries that helped her weather a similar season in her life.

Prayer, exercise, attending to her own needs, and cutting out activity that was good, but which overextended her energies: those were the lessons she shared.

Sometimes we need encouragement from sojourners who not only have survived the trenches but, there, have been transformed by the Lord. They can stand in the gap and minister God's comfort.

Thank you, Lord, for the dear people You provide to stand in the gap for me. Please continue to transform my life so my experiences will point to You.

For Your Consideration

"Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2, NLT).

"[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us" (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT).

Remember a time when God encouraged you directly through His Word, or indirectly through a friend. Ask yourself what helps you share or withhold your problems.

Give God praise for the ability to share your burdens and find comfort from our dear heavenly Father.

Celebrate God's amazing grace in using our suffering to encourage others with His comfort.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Thanksgiving in Suffering

While he suffered, bed-ridden from pulmonary thrombosis, Dr Bill Bright wrote his last book, The Journey Home: Finishing with Joy.

When his doctor announced the grave diagnosis, Dr Bright said, "Thank You, Lord." Thinking that his friend was either in denial, or didn't understand the gravity of his situation, the doctor got quite perturbed with him and explained again how he would suffocate to death.

Dr Bright explained that he was quite aware of the pronouncement, but was living out God's injunction to give thanks in all situations.

I marvelled at how the Word of God, deeply embedded in his psyche and spirit through years of reading, meditation, memorization, and practice, rose up to equip him to face that horrible news.

The last public record from this outstanding man of God makes me read carefully. I am observing how the Word of God shaped everything: his family life, his ability to dare great things for the Kingdom of God, maximize his gifts, and glorify His Master and Savior -- even in suffering.


How do you treat the Word of God? What influence does it exert in times of hardship/ suffering?

What influences you most, your senses, perceptions, or what God says in His word? How might those affect each other?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Power of Messiah's Resurrection

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My first encounter with Ron DiCiani's work was in a bookstore at Christmas. I spotted his painting of Simeon, eye's heavenward, tears streaming, holding the baby Jesus. I gazed at it and my own eyes pooled with fresh recognition of "Simeon'sMoment."

As you follow this link, perhaps Holy Spirit will give you fresh eyes so you can ponder the power of the resurrection.


With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:33, NIV)

Now, you might take time to read that verse in context and ask the resurrected Lord Jesus to reveal some new nugget.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lessons from a Four Year Old

                                                                 Image from http://www.free-stockphotos.com

On an early vacation morning, they walked along the Florida beach. Joyful discovery, fresh eyes, and happy simplicity gave her grandpa fresh lessons.

She saw beauty in broken things.

Pieces of shells that he would not have given a second glance drew Hannah's curious eyes and little fingers to study and appreciate.

How like our heavenly Father and unlike our quest for perfection. What joy that God's transforming eyes see us-- though broken -- and He affirms our beauty.

Just because you pick it up doesn't mean you have to carry it around.

Perhaps she inspected a clump of seaweed, intrigued by it's patterns. Maybe she put in in her bucket for a while, then decided it was time to dump it back on the beach.

Wisdom knows when to divest itself of baggage that is keeping us from exciting discoveries. We can ask God to help us empty our buckets: get rid of guilt, heal memories, close doors. The Holy Spirit helps us lighten the load. Then of course we sing!

If it's worth saying, it's worth singing.

I imagine Grandpa's delight in Hannah's desire to walk with him along the beach.  I expect he thoroughly enjoyed her melodies, her little voice translating conversation into song. Large and small footprints together, water lapping at their feet, joy spilling over into song, grandfather and granddaughter building memories in God's wide open space.

When we feel safe with someone big who loves us, we're free to sing. No fear of harm or criticism, no worry of being off key. Tuned in to Father's love and handiwork brings a wide horizon, a contented heart, and songs that bring joy.

Chip's and my friend, David Schramm, shared these marvelous insights with us. I pray that we all will take time to enjoy the children in our lives who can be huge conduits of God's joy. May the Holy Spirit give us eyes to see big lessons we can learn from God's little children.

For Your Consideration

I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. (Luke 18:17, NIV)

Meditate on this passage. Listen to what the Holy Spirit might be revealing about being child-like in following Christ.