Friday, September 18, 2015

Preparing Ourselves for the Day

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:13 NASB).

Awhile back, I made a list of certain things that I struggle with on a daily basis and ways to deal with them.  My goal is to prepare for each day by giving these requests to God. 

To see my life with a heavenly vision rather than an earthly one.  I can become so consumed with my earthly limitations that I lose sight of what awaits me in eternity.  Remembering my eternal future keeps things in perspective here.

To notice signs of God’s presence.  Every day God reveals Himself to me if I only take time to see Him.  Whether it’s through nature, an activity, a person, a Scripture, or a song, God is with me.

To love those in my path.  My personal problems can cause me to ignore the needs of others. I interact with someone every day, and they all need God’s love.

To not feel inferior to others.  I have always struggled with self-confidence, and health problems exacerbate this weakness.  I need to remember who I am in Christ – a person of worth and value with specific gifts given to me by Him.

To use my time wisely.  I don’t want to use my pain as an excuse for not serving where God is calling, but I also don’t want to unwisely over-extend myself.  I need God’s direction each day.

To be content with God’s decisions.  I don’t always understand why God allows what He does in my life, but I do know that trusting and surrendering to His plan is the only way to lasting peace and contentment.

To put on the armor.  Whether I’m fighting pain, the world, or my own sinfulness, each day is a battle.  I can’t fight without the proper protection. 

As I lift these requests to God in humility and faith, the day may still be difficult, but I’ll be much better prepared for whatever comes. 

Prayer:  “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:3).  Thank you Lord, for hearing, and answering.  Amen.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Your Biggest Problem Can Be Your Greatest Potential

“Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen” (Psalm 77:19).

The history of the Israelites is one that I continually refer to for hope and comfort. With their struggles and cycles of belief and unbelief, they remind me of myself.  Their biggest problems provided the greatest potentials for God to work miracles.

We can imagine how hopeless and overwhelming it must have seemed to face an impassable sea on one side and a life-threatening army on the other.  Sometimes the magnitude of our health problems and the difficulties and challenges of life can leave us feeling trapped and panicky, wondering how we can possibly survive.

In one of his sermons on the power of God in our lives, my pastor made the statement, “Your biggest problem is your greatest potential”.  I have remembered that.

Getting across the Red Sea and away from their enemies was definitely a big problem for the Israelites.  Yet it provided potential for them to see God’s amazing power and a reference point for trusting Him on their new life journey.  Although they could not see Him, God brought them through those challenges.  And with each new difficulty they encountered, He continued to do so.

Currently I am trying to escape an army of depressive thoughts waiting to take me captive, along with feeling trapped by seas of discomfort, weariness, and discouragement.  But these seemingly inescapable problems provide the potential for me to grow in faith, see God’s miraculous power in my life, and provide a testimony of that power to share with others.

Yes, our pain and problems may be great.  But let’s not waste the potential for them to grow us in faith and action.  We have a God who still parts and walks on water.  He’s calling us to step out and go with Him, and the potentials in doing so are miraculous.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, today I choose to see the pain and problems that surround me as potentials for You to show more of Your power in my life.  Give me the courage to follow You in faith, even when there seems no place to go. Amen.

This is one of my favorite songs that goes well with this writing.  Perhaps it will encourage you.