Monday, April 13, 2015

Hope for Hard Days – Jesus Alive in Me

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:11).

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.  No, I’m not referring to A Tale of Two Cities. I’m referring to the season of spring as it affects me.

Spring is a beautiful time of the year and a vivid reminder of the new life that God brings to all of creation.  The grass is greening, the trees are budding, the flowers are blooming, and the birds are singing.

Spring is also my most painful time of the year and a vivid reminder of my chronic health issues.  My bones are hurting, my pain is escalating, my exhaustion is overwhelming, and my depression is debilitating.

My mobility is challenged by increased stiffness and back pain.  Regardless of what I do or don’t do, I am tired all the time.  And the spring rains are a reminder of the depression that showers me with discouragement, discontent, insecurity, and self-absorption.

One of my favorite songs is “Bones” by Hillsong United:  “You can take my dry bones.  Breathe life into this skin.  You call me by name.  Raised me to life again.  Oh Jesus, alive in me.”

If Jesus is alive in me, despite the morning stiffness and pain, I can sing words of praise (Psalm 34:1). When exhaustion and discouragement come, I can find strength in the Lord my God as David did (I Samuel 30:6).  When depression tries to rob me of my joy, I can think on what is true (Philippians 4:8).

Yes, there are hard days, weeks, months, seasons, years.  But just as Jesus was raised to life, He raises me to life, not only eternally but daily. That is my hope, my strength, my joy, and my victory.  Jesus – alive in me – now and always. 

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, as Your child, I praise You and thank You that Your Spirit lives within me. Breathe new life into me today, filling me with hope and power, so that I can face whatever challenges may come.  Amen.
(You can listen to "Bones" here -


Thursday, April 2, 2015

God Brings New Life Out of Ruins

“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (I Corinthians 15:22).

When you think of ruins, what comes to mind?  The crumbling foundation of an historical site or buildings devastated by a natural disaster?  Ruins are the remains of something that has been destroyed, collapsed, or decayed, and our lives may seem to be in ruins due to chronic health problems.

I have had times over the years when I felt my life was in ruins:  back problems that forced me to give up many physical activities; a post-cancer mental and emotional breakdown; fibromyalgia that caused me to give up my job; eye problems that began limiting my reading and writing. 

But God has brought new life out of my ruins.  A weak back has strengthened my self-discipline, priorities, and adaptability.  Prayer, Scripture, and Christian books continue to teach me the healing power of a Holy Spirit-controlled mind, which I can share with others.  Not working has allowed me more time for other God-given ministries.  Eye issues have caused me to divide my time more evenly between activities, which has actually helped my overall pain.

With Christ’s death on the cross, the disciples must have felt that their lives were in ruins.  Jesus appeared to be dead and gone.  And from a spiritual standpoint, it seemed that Satan had triumphed.  But out of the ruins of Christ’s death God brought resurrection victory and eternal life. 

Because of Easter, we are new creations.  That means new ways of looking at things.  The same power of God that brought life out of death can bring new attitudes and adjustments in us, and our ruins are the perfect opportunity for Him to do it.  So let’s expect to see new life come from those ruins as we claim the victory of Easter.
Prayer:  O Lord, You know how health problems seem to ruin my life.  Yet You bring good out of all things.  Let me see my ruins as opportunities for You to do a new work in me, and let me never lose sight of the victory that is mine because of Easter.  Amen.