Thursday, January 31, 2008

How Adversity Reveals Our Level of Faith

"When hardships come our way, do we respond, "God, I trust You to bring me through this"? Or do we tend to say, I'm doomed, and there's nothing anybody can do"?

God once sent a storm on the Sea of Galilee to teach Jesus' desciples a lesson on faith. Jesus had said to His men, "Let us cross over to the other side." (Mark 4:35), and they should have taken His statement as a sure sign that He expected a safe trip. But when a terrible wind storm threatened the boat, they panicked. The terrified desciples asked Jesus, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?"

How many times have we said the same thing? "Don't You care, Lord that this is happening to me? Don't You love me enough, Lord to do something about this hardship?"

Jesus rebuked the wind, and immediately a great calm settled on the lake. Then He turned to His desciples and said, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" (Mark 4:40)

God has given to each one of us a measure of faith (see Rom 12:3), and He expects us to use it to overcome our fear.Fear always accompanies adversity; in fact, a degree of fear is what makes something an adversity instead of just another experience. Fear causes us to project the very worst that can happen-that we will never recover, that all hope is lost, that we will never again enjoy some treasured thing.

Faith tells the opposite story. Faith says that God is in control and that all things work together for our good (see Rom.8:28).Faith says that we will recover and that our final state will be better than anything we have experienced so far.

Allow adversity to call your faith to action rather than into question. Adversity reveals areas in which you need to act in faith and not fear. When hard times come, say to yourself, "Now is the time to use my faith in a new way." The more you use your faith, the greater it grows. "


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Excitement Is Contagious

Are you familiar with Mary Kay Cosmetics? It was named after Mary Kay Ash.

In the year 1963 and she was in her mid-forties. She took her savings, started her own business selling cosmetics the hard way-door to door, one customer at a time. The business grew because of her ability to enlist the enthusiastic support of an energetic sales force. Today, that business still ranks among the leaders in the cosmetics industry. Her advice? "A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one."

So, the next time opportunity knocks on your door, open it with enthusiasm. Excitement is contagious. But if you want to change the world, the first person you must inspire is yourself.

Ephesians 6:7 (NCV)Photobucket
"Do your work with enthusiasm. Work as if you were serving the Lord, not as if you were serving only men and women."


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Trusting His Guidance


God promises to guide us if we will let Him. Our job is to let Him. But sometimes, we're tempted to do otherwise. We're tempted to go along with the crowd; other times, we're tempted to do things our way, not God's way. When we feel those temptations, we need to resist them. We need to ask ourselves what we will allow to guide is through the coming day. Or will we allow God to lead the way?
The answer should be obvious. We should let God be our guide. When we entrust the future to Him, God gives us the strength to meet any challenges and the courage to face any trial.
Isaiah 50:4-5 (NCV)
"Every morning He wakes me. He teaches me to listen like a student. The Lord God helps me learn."
Walk in the daylight of God's will because then you will be safe; you will not stumble.

-Anne Graham Lotz-

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease.
During this Thanksgiving week, she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren't enough, her husband's companythreatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What's worse, Sandra's friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer.
"She has no idea what I'm feeling," thought Sandra with a shudder. Thanksgiving? Thankful for what? She wondered. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?"
Good afternoon, can I help you?" The shop clerk's approach startled her.
"I....I need an arrangement," stammered Sandra.
"For Thanksgiving? Do you want beautiful but ordinary," asked the shop clerk, "or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the Thanksgiving 'Special?'. Are you looking for something that conveys 'gratitude' this Thanksgiving?"
"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted out. "In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong." Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the shop clerk said, "I have the perfect arrangement foryou.
"Then the door's small bell rang, and the shop clerk said, "Hi, Barbara...let me get your order." She politely excused herself and walked toward a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped; there were no flowers.
"Want this in a box?" asked the clerk.
Sandra watched for the customer's response. Was this a joke?
Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.
"Yes, please," Barbara replied with an appreciative smile.
"You'd think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again." She said as she gently tapped her chest.
"Uh," stammered Sandra, "that lady just left with, uh....she just left with no flowers!"
"Right, said the clerk, "I cut off the flowers. That's the Special. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet."
"Oh, come on, you can't tell me someone is willing to pay for that!", exclaimed Sandra.
"Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling much like you feel today," explained the clerk. "She thought she had very little to bethankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she was facing major surgery.
"That same year I had lost my husband," continued the clerk, "and for the first time in my life, had just spent the holidays alone. I had nochildren, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel."
"So what did you do?" asked Sandra.
"I learned to be thankful for thorns," answered the clerk quietly. "I've always thanked God for good things in life and never to ask Him why those good things happened to me, but when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time for me to learn that dark times are important. I have always enjoyed the 'flowers' of life, but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort.
"You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.
"Sandra sucked in her breath as she thought about the very thing her friend had tried to tell her. "I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God.
"Just then someone else walked in the shop. "Hey, Phil!" shouted the clerk to the balding, rotund man.
"My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement...twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!" laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.
"Those are for your wife?" asked Sandra incredulously. "Do you mind me asking why she wants something that looks like that?"
"No...I'm glad you asked," Phil replied. "Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we slogged through problem after problem. He rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she learned from "thorny" times, andthat was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific "problem" and givethanks for what that problem taught us.
"As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special!"
"I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life." Sandra said to the clerk. "It's all too...fresh."
"Well," the clerk replied carefully, "my experience has shown me that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don't resent the thorns.
"Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment. "I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please," she managed to choke out.
"I hoped you would," said the clerk gently. "I'll have them ready in a minute."
"Thank you. What do I owe you?"
"Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year's arrangement is always on me." The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. "I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first.
"It read: My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant.
"Praise Him for your roses, thank Him for your thorns

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

True Peace of Mind



When you feel like "walking in the dark" where do you look to discover which way to go? What do you trust? Whom do you trust?

Here are some scriptures we can turn to:

Proverbs 3:5
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your on understanding."
John 14:1
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me."

Romans 15:13
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Trust doesn't depend on our sensory perceptions for validation. Trust isn't about positive feelings - it's about childlike faith.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Faith or Fear?


Being a busy person, you know from experience that life is not always easy. But even when you don't understand why the world unfolds as it does, never lose faith in God's ability through you to make a difference in that little corner of the world you call home.

Faith can and should be the hallmark of a well-lived life. Take it from Helen Keller's advice which says: "Faith is a spiritual spotlight that illuminates the path."


So, the next time you find yourself facing a fear-provoking situation, ask yourself which is stronger: your faith or your fear. Whatever your challenges, whatever your questions, whatever mountain you climb, God is there. He will help you work things out. Your job is to keep the faith until He does.

Psalms 121:8 (NIV)
"The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in, from this forth and forever."


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hugs of Encouragement

Will you be hugging people today? Will you be giving smiles, a kind word, or a pat in the back? How many times today will you demonstrate - by your words and your actions - that you are caring person?

You might find it easier to share kind words and heartfelt hugs when you feel happy and secure. But when you are discouraged or tired, it may seem dificult to encourage someone (including yourself.)

According to Anna Quindlen, "Love is not leisure, it is work." So, those days when the dog bites or the bee stings, you should be quick to do the "work" rquired to give-and receive-love. After all, the world still needs the hugs it can get...especially yours.

Hebrews 10:24
...and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Peace To Those Far And Near


Let's begin the day with a beautiful scripture from Acts 4:32. "All the believers were in one heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had." This is the message of sharing among believers.

A one great and true fellowship is becoming one regardless of race, color, status, background and possessions. There are no differences or barriers.

Peace comes in us when we have that spiritual companionship and shared passion for the same Savior. Whether we are on the other side of the globe, sharing God's words and inspirations, we would feel at home...and at peace.

Meditations on Bringing Peace To Those Far and Near:

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace. who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" - ISAIAH 52:7

"Peace, peace, to those far and near," says the Lord. - ISAIAH 57:19

"Stand firm, then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." - EPHESIANS 6:14-15

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Victory In Jesus


When trials, troubles, persecutions, disaster or attacks come, don't give in to fear. God will supply the strength you need to overcome in your adversity.

We are an overcomer because of Jesus Christ. "Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Sone of God" ( 1 John 5:5); and, "The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

"As the Holy Spirit leads us into a deepening awareness of Jesus' lordship over all of life's experiences-no matter how confusing, difficult, or painful our circumstances may become-our thoughts and feelings find a reliable shelter under the covering of Christ's unfailing love and protective authority." - Debra Evans

Praise God!