Saturday, January 31, 2015

Keeping a Young Attitude Despite Our Pain

“Praise the Lord, O my soul. . . who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalm 103:1,5).

Does pain seem to age you?  I feel it does.  I once took a test in a magazine to determine whether I seemed older than my chronological age, and I scored ten years ahead of my current age.  That was somewhat depressing! 

In Charles Stanley’s January devotional booklet, he gave three suggestions for maintaining a youthful attitude – laughing, longing, and leaning.

My husband is very good at laughing about his essential tremor.  He jokes about some of the problems it causes and doesn’t let it rob him of his sense of humor.  Scripture even says that a cheerful heart is a good medicine (Proverbs 17:22).

We should keep longing – having goals and dreams that we continue to work toward as much as possible, rather than just watching the world go by.  Right now I am pursuing starting a pain support group in our new town.  Part of me is afraid to try because of my health issues, but if this is God’s will, He will give me the strength and ability to do it.

Finally, we are to keep leaning on God.  We can do nothing on our own, even if we are healthy.  All that we are and do is a gift from God.  When we continually maintain our trust in Him, we can live our lives as fully as we were meant to live them, despite our weaknesses and limitations.

I know my body is ageing, and in one sense I don’t mind that, because it means I’m getting closer to my heavenly home.  But as long as I’m here, laughing, longing, and leaning are great suggestions for feeling younger and brighter and cost nothing but a willing attitude.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, You know how my pain can rob me of a bright and youthful outlook on life.  It is so easy for me to feel old in heart and spirit as well as body.  Teach me to laugh more, to long and look for ways to serve You in my current condition, and to lean on You at all times.  And as I do, please use me to brighten the lives of others.  Amen.

Friday, January 16, 2015

What Paul Taught Me About Pain and Perseverance

“They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.  But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city.  The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe” (Acts 14:19, 20).

I am currently going through a particularly difficult time physically.  Continual migraines, pain, nervousness, and sleeplessness sometimes bring me to the point of feeling I can’t handle things anymore. 

I am very familiar with Paul - his struggle with a thorn in the flesh and his admonitions to give thanks in all circumstances, to not be anxious for anything, and many other encouragements that apply to any kind of suffering or hardship.  But as I read Acts 14, I noticed something.

Paul was beaten to the point of being considered dead.  What happened then?  His friends surrounded him and probably gave him needed physical attention, but he then proceeded to get up and continue on his journey ministering to others.

In a figurative sense, I sometimes feel beaten almost to the point of death. I don’t want to get up and keep going.  Paul was beaten many times, along with countless other physical sufferings (II Corinthians 11).  But each time he got up and kept going.  He must have felt pain – after all, he was human.  At one point he even despaired of life (II Corinthians 1:8).  But he still got up and kept going.  He trusted God and God sustained Him.

I am not the spiritual giant Paul was, but I have the same power of God within me that Paul did.  The Lord will keep me going.  I can get up.  I will get up.  And I will keep getting up until I have finished what God has put me on this earth to do.  He who is called me is faithful, and he will do it (I Thessalonians 5:24).  And whatever you are struggling with right now, He will do the same for you.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of Paul and others who show that it is in my weakest and most desperate moments that You do the greatest work of empowering and strengthening me. Thank you for equipping and enabling me to endure when I feel I can’t go on, and help me to continue persevering through my pain and not lose heart. Amen.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Recharging Our Life Batteries for New Challenges

“I know that through your prayers and the help given me by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my good”
 (Philippians 1:19).

Two thousand fifteen is a new year, but our health problems may not be, and we may face some new ones as well.  Have you ever lost power in your home and discovered that your flashlight batteries were dead?  As this year begins, we may feel our “life batteries” have died.  We have no strength for the challenges that lie ahead.  We need to be recharged.

The King James Version of Philippians 1:19 says our help will come through “the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ”.  In Rick Renner’s book, Sparkling Gems from the Greek, he explains that “supply” refers to the abundant and excessive contribution of the Spirit’s grace and power through Jesus, which is readily available to all believers all the time.

My new year began with shoulder pain, sleeplessness, fibro pain, depression, and nausea.  I struggled with how I would survive the day, let alone another year.  My life battery seemed dead.  But I kept going and will continue to do so because of Christ’s power source in me.  

This verse also mentions that the prayers of others help sustain us, so let us not forget to lift up others who are struggling.  God’s power supply flows through us to not only strengthen us but to help us strengthen others.  

Someone posted this quote from GodFruits on Facebook:  “Instead of saying, ‘Lord I don’t know how I am going to do this,’ say, ‘Lord, I can’t wait to see how you do this.’ ” Whatever the new year brings, thank God His ever-ready battery of power supply in our lives keeps on going and will never die.

Prayer:  All-Powerful God,Your Word says my strength will equal my days (Deuteronomy 33:15).  As I begin this new year, I know I will have the mental, physical, and emotional energy to keep going, because your grace and power will sustain me through whatever each day brings.