The Success Formula

It was a dark grey day, the first rain storm after a hot parched summer. As I sipped my warm cup of coffee, curled up under a blanket on my comfy sofa, I didn’t feel like going on that planned run on that seemingly dreary dismal day. I just felt off my game. The neighborhood was unusually quiet as the gentle rain turned into a pelting downpour, and the thought of running down the canyon trails alone, in the wet slippery mud, was a sharp contrast to that of my snuggly spot on the sofa. Bottom line, I just didn’t feel like going. I knew, at the time, I was struggling with my flesh. I knew that not doing what I was supposed to do based on my feelings was, in fact, a poor choice.

Yet, I did it anyways. The desires of our flesh are strong and when our mind decides to partner with our feelings and it comes up with a great justification, we are in real trouble! Basing decisions off our feelings and emotion can have some pretty negative consequences. I admire those individuals who are able to hold steady day after day, doing the right things that are steeped in obedience to the Lord, which result in harvests of what is good and right. They make good choices. They seem to have the formula for success, as they strive in excellence in spite of difficult or challenging life situations. They are steadfast, even when they don’t feel like it.

How do we overcome our emotions and the temptation of our own self? BUT GOD. Matthew 26:41 tells us, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Often, we are called to do remedial tasks on a day to day basis and get no affirmation or thanks from those we are serving. When our flesh gets lazy, if we can keep our obedience and reverence to the Lord, it can make unrewarding tasks much more doable. I like the verse in Colossians 3:23 which states, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” There is comfort and strength in that verse. When doing a task that you are less than excited about, doing it unto the Lord with a good attitude can help you get through it. Just knowing we are seeking to please God, and not man, helps tremendously.

A common struggle is that of wanting affirmation and approval from our fellow man. People go to great lengths to please those around them. Often times, however, a person’s kind deeds or actions are taken for granted, or not noticed. When this happens, a sort of frustration and emptiness can set in, which can sway our attitude out of alignment with what the Lord has for us to do. What do we do with such feelings and thought patterns? It helps to put things in proper perspective. Who are we truly supposed to be pleasing? Not ourselves, or others, but… THE LORD! Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, “who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” When we seek to please the Lord first, above others, things have a way of turning out for the better. The Lord knows our heart and our desires. Matthew 6:33 reminds us, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” When we do what we are called to do, in obedience and reverence to God, there is a satisfaction in that. It’s like we skip right over the pain and disappointment that can come from trying to please man, and the Lord then showers us with His own affirmation and blessing. He provides great peace and contentment in such situations. Romans 8:6 tells us, “…to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

What about self-care? We each have certain things we should be doing to take good care of ourselves. Diet, exercise, down-time, sleep, balance and boundaries in our schedule, and much needed time with the Lord all need to be worked into our busy days. These are all incorporated into whatever daily tasks are required of you! It is easy to grab a donut, skip that run, stay up too late, over schedule, and rush through our quiet time with the Lord. But if we don’t make the effort of disciplining our own self-care, it will not only hurt us, but those whose lives we touch. In order to function properly, and well, obedience is necessary. If we can keep the Lord as our priority, seeking to please Him in all areas of our life, He will give us the direction and plan that best suites what we need to be doing to function properly. We are each different, so seeking direction from the Lord for His best for you is the secret formula for success! Being yoked with the Lord, daily, will give us the strength we need to do those things we should be doing, for ourselves, even when we don’t feel like it. And when you do those hard things throughout your day, and you are victorious, give praise to the Lord, for He is you Strength!

Look at this promise from the Lord found in Deuteronomy 30:9-10 “Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; if you obey the LORD your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.” Wow! What a promise! This verse is so encouraging. Think about it… the Lord rejoices over us!

Snuggling on the sofa on a grey raining morning felt nice at the time, but a short time later I was reminded why I needed that run. Without that run, that release, I was too tightly wound. When my cup was tipped, things spilled out that shouldn’t have. Had I been diffused, I would not have had such an emotional reaction. It is important that we understand God’s best for us. May we not give into our feelings and our flesh. May we have the strength to do the right thing. Seek the Lord’s will for your best and ask for His strength to be obedient to Him. Whatever your struggle may be, you can and will overcome it through obedience in Christ. “… for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”  (1 John 4:4) You and God got this!

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God’s Unseen Best

The sun had set and dusk had given way to darkness. Waiting for the light to turn green, I glanced over at the SUV in the lane next to me. The gal driving was engaged in conversation, and I thought it strange that her SUV was slowly rolling backward. And so, I kept my gaze, until my neck could turn my head no more. All the while, I was thinking to myself… “why in the world is that lady backing up?” As I turned back to check the status of my stoplight, I was shocked. It was my car that had been quietly rolling forward. This is a simple silly illustration but, I have found in this life, things are not always as they seem at face value. Often times what we think we see or understand isn’t really what’s happening at all!

There is a whole heavenly realm that we can’t see, or hardly fathom. Yet, it is there… it is true. Revelation Chapter 4 tells us about the Lord and His throne in heaven. What a magnificent picture! As believers, we have the promise that one day we will be there! However, the Lord is also with us here and now. In the book of Zephaniah 3:17 we are reminded, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”  Even though we cannot see into the spiritual realm, it is real. There is so much more going on around us than we can see. Proverbs 16:9 tells us, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Have you ever been running late, only to become even later because some crazy fluke thing happens to you, which delays you all the more? When such things happen, instead of getting frustrated (ya, rightyou are thinking), thank the Lord, for this could very well be in your best interest. Perhaps that delay caused you to miss being in a harmful situation. “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. ” (Psalm 34:7) If you are a believer and follower of Christ, the Bible tells us in Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Yes, we have the Lord’s favor wherever we may go!

What about when we need to make a big decision. The situation presents itself and we are perhaps, befuddled. We try to figure things out logically, and think “…this or that would be perfect,” pray about it, and commit it to the Lord. But then, something completely different presents itself. We pray about it and have a conviction from the Holy Spirit, and just know it is from the Lord. It might be totally different from what we were originally thinking would be great. BUT GOD. His ways are ALWAYS THE BEST. He thinks of things we never would. He plans for everything in our lives. We are limited in what we can see and plan in our finite existence, but God is infinite in all wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and power. He sees our entire picture. And, when we step out in faith, trusting in Him, He will surprise us with EVEN MORE than we ever expected. Because… HIS WAYS ARE PERFECT. He knows our hearts desire even better than ourselves! So, trust Him… He is always working on our behalf, even when we can’t see His plans, sometimes, until they actually come into fruition.

How about a day you have scripted out on your calendar. You have your plans, your to-do list, your agenda. But then, everything changes in that given day and nothing you had wanted to do gets done. Don’t fret. (I know… I’m doing it again!) It is best to roll with it. God has other plans for you. He is doing something in your life and if you can rest in Him, you will see, He has your best in mind. Some of my most peaceful down times are when the Lord decides to change things up for me, canceling commitments and deadlines. Someone once said, “write your plans in pencil, but give God the eraser!” Walking closely with the Lord enables us to be more fluid in the way we function, which frees us up, making us more readily available to serve the Lord in our daily walk with Him. I am thankful we don’t have to navigate through this life all on our own! Matthew 28:20 tells us, “…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Is there more to this life than what we can see? You betcha! Remember, the Lord is always working on our behalf, for our best. Trust in Him. Rest in Him. Believe and follow Him. And, “look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18) So, don’t stress. Don’t fret. Be content right where the Lord has you in this day and moment in time. Breathe. Embrace all that He is doing in your life. And if your day is a little off and you are thrown for a loop… praise the Lord.  God may be doing something unseen that is for your best good!

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The Lord is our Hope in Times of Despair

“As a drain that goes spiraling down into imminent darkness, so is the feeling of despair.” The worship leader’s words hung in the air. With a twinkle in her eye and a radiant smile, she continued on, sharing how her faith in the Lord and her focus on Jesus kept her from going down the tunnel of hopelessness, even though she has felt herself standing at its very edge. It is true. The Lord can save us from such anguish. However, for some, life happens and we do find ourselves in that dark and seemingly lonely place of pain and despair, spiraling down into that tunnel of darkness. We are all susceptible to our emotions, stress, and feeling overcome by life situations. BUT GOD. If we turn to the Lord, He will be our hope and strength. He will see us through the tough time. Our relationship with the Living God will grow in intimacy as we seek, rest, and trust in Him.

When we are in a place of brokenness before the Lord, His strength and provision become very real. When life feels like you are in a snow globe and you’ve been turned upside down and you are shaken and dizzy, not knowing which way is up, remember the words of Jesus. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 Jesus tells us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Being in a broken place before the Lord is an opportunity for us to truly surrender ourselves to Him. Sometimes life circumstances can be so overwhelming, we don’t know what to think, which way to turn, or how we are going to go on. It is then that we must truly trust the Lord in all situations, for His very best. For His ways are not our ways. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Have you ever been stuck in a loop of hardship that just doesn’t seem to let up? Sometimes it seems like trials of the same sort happen repeatedly. However, even in the worst of lives storms, the Lord has our very best in mind. Try asking the Lord, what are you trying to teach me? This puts us in a position of being proactive in our faith and learning what the Lord has for us. Embrace what the Lord is doing in faith, resting and trusting in Him. Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Paul, after having an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus was blinded for three days, but later radically healed by the Lord. He received his sight and was filled with the Holy Spirit. In Acts 9:15-16 the Lord, speaking to Ananias about Paul says: “… he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake. Paul went on to be a most faithful apostle of Christ, but suffered many hardships in life. He learned to be content wherever Christ had him, even in beatings, shipwrecks, weariness, sleeplessness, nakedness, hunger, and thirst. (2 Corinthians 11:22-28) In Philippians 4:12-13 Paul tells us, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”

As a Christ follower, He is with you, always. “And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”(Romans 8:27) He will never allow anything to come into your life that He will not equip you to handle, through His strength. The God of the Universe puts limits on what we experience, and if He allows something harsh and painful, He has a very good reason and plan. Jeremiah 29:11 promises us, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The pain and heartache we experience here on this earth are limited to just that. We are passing through this life, as sojourners for Christ. We have so much more to come! This life is certainly not the end all. Will we understand the why, on this side of heaven? Probably not. But, we must trust in the Living God who loves us more than any one person ever will. “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice. Righteous and upright is He.” (Deuteronomy 32:4.)

During hard times, focus in on the Lord and remain steadfast in Him. “… acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you;” (1 Chronicles 28:9). It is important to continue in obedience to the Lord even through confusion, sorrow, and anguish. Know that the Lord holds you in the palm of His hand. Be obedient to Him in the small things of daily life. He will see you through. Even in times of sadness or loss, rejoice in the Lord always. (Philippians 4:4) We are to praise the Lord and give Him reverence no matter what our present life situation, not just out of our gratefulness unto Him, or because we are having an emotional experience, but due to the fact that He is Almighty God, Creator of all things! Jesus tells us in Luke 19:40, “…if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

If you feel you are struggling, be encouraged. The Light of Christ will lead you up and out of the darkest of places in life. Did you know that if you light a match in the dark, the fire has no shadow? So it is, with Christ! The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5) If you feel you have spiraled down that drain, look up and grab hold of the Lord’s hand! He will pull you out. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) The Lord is SO Faithful. Keep your eyes fixed on Christ. And when you reach the top of that drain with the Lord, you will have an incredible testimony of what He alone took you through, or delivered you from. Then you, like the worship leader, will have a twinkle in your eye and a radiant smile ear to ear, as you praise the Lord for all He has done for you! As you traverse the path you are on with the Lord, remember the promise found in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

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God’s Promises

The fast moving white water was turbulent and appeared to be churning, as it poured into the forebay. A refreshing light mist, hanging over the stormy waters which stirred beneath, tingled my skin, and seemed to delicately kiss and refresh me. Jetting out from the most tumultuous parts of the water was a stunning rainbow. This scene brought to mind the many promises of God.

Rainbows are actually a sign to us of God’s solemn promise to never again flood the earth, as found in Genesis 9:12-17. As I stared deep into the tossing water, the Lord showed me a symbolic picture of how life’s troubles can be stormy, explosive, and even turbulent at times. However, right above that raging water, was a beautiful rainbow… a reminder of God’s promise that He will always be faithful to get us through the rough waters of this life. Psalm 91:4 tells us, “He will cover you with His pinions. And under His wings you may seek refuge. His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.”

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of God’s promises. Life can be hectic and unpredictable. Things happen that we don’t often anticipate or understand the “why.” When the waters feel as if they are raging all around you, remember these 15  promises from the Lord:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

“Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord, their hearts are secure, they will have no fear…” Psalm 112:6-8

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for you souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…” Jeremiah 29:11

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you.” Isaiah 41:10

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:7-8

“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“… I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do; Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

As I looked beyond the squally water, it became calm, peaceful, and serene as it was released and held in the forebay. That is a good picture of God’s faithfulness to us. When we hang onto the promises of God, He will deliver us out of our present turmoil into a peaceful place where the waters of life are once again calm, as we learn to rest and trust in Him.

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Divine Appointment

While at a public pool, a gal pulled up a chair and joined me poolside. She immediately reminded me of the Cyndi Lauper I remembered from the 1980’s, with her bright skirt, cutoff fishnet stockings, and hair of different colors piled atop her head. Her bright blue eyes danced wildly as she we watched our kids in the water and began to speak. Within minutes, she had spilled out the details of her life to me. She shared her broken marital status, a recent move to the area, her negative opinion of her religious in-laws, and how she refused to teach her children that being gay was wrong. Here was a gal who was being open and visibly transparent about the pain and hardship she was experiencing, along with her belief system.

In the Christian church, the catch phrase Live out Loud or Let Your Light Shine are often used to encourage us to share our faith with those around us, whether it be in word or deed. Billy Graham was also quoted as saying, “The world judges a Christian by his life, not by his belief.” Being socially aware and available, play a huge role in being used by the Lord to share your faith.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, exhorts… “And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil. 1:9-11.) As we draw from the Lord’s love, so will it flow from us out unto others.

Being socially aware, simply put, is first of all being aware of your environment and those that surround you. And then, being able to interpret and react in an empathetic manner to the emotions and feelings of those around you. It means being less self-absorbed, and being open to being used by the Lord wherever you may go.

John 14:16 promises us, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever.” Staying in communion with the Lord is key to being able to hear the prompting of the Holy Spirit. When you are in tune with the Lord and actively seeking ways to point people to Jesus, you will be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Joshua 1:9 tells you to be strong and courageous! The Holy Spirit will embolden the believer to speak out words of truth, hope, and encouragement. When you put your trust in the Lord, He will provide the words for you to speak out. “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving… that God would open to you a door for the word, so speak the mystery of Christ…” Colossians 4:2-3

Speaking about the Lord our Savior requires faith! Matthew 21:22 reassures us, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” If you ask the Lord to use you to share the good news of salvation and hope in Christ, and are willing to step out in faith, He will provide the message of truth for you to speak out. The Lord will provide the words of hope that person needs to hear at that exact moment in time when you surrender yourself to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit who works in and through you. He will never fail you. We must walk closely with the Lord and be willing to act upon what He tells us to do or say.

Colossians 4: 5-6 tells us to “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” When a person is hurting, often, they are open to receive a word of encouragement or even an offer of prayer, in spite of their own beliefs. Pain can open the door to the heart and allow one to receive hope from the Lord. Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

If you would like more opportunities to share your faith with others, be socially aware of the opportunities the Lord presents before you in your day-to-day walk with Him. 2 Corinthians 5:7 reminds us, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Each interaction you have with a stranger could be a window of time for you to share the word of truth and hope into a soul that desperately needs the Light and Life of Christ. Be prayerful in your day, communing with the Lord. Be watchful for situations to share the good news of Christ. Step out in faith as the Lord leads you. Surrender and trust in Him, and He will use you at a precise time. Colossians 4:17 exhorts us to, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.

”In closing, I leave you with ONE… MORE… THOUGHT… the Bible reminds us, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2 Imagine that!

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The Most Needed Fellowship of All

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The Most Needed Fellowship of All

by Annette

I had arrived a bit early, sinking deep into the soft leather chair. It was a beautiful spring-like day, and I had been looking forward to spending time with a friend. I patiently awaited her arrival at the local coffee shop. While sipping my chocolate sprinkled hot latte, I began to think…hmmm, where is she? It’s getting late.  Moments later, reality set in.  She wasn’t coming. As I pulled away from the coffee shop, disappointed, I couldn’t help but think about the Lord and how often He anticipates our sweet fellowship, only to be let down by us when we don’t show up.

How easy it is to be distracted in this life and rob ourselves of the most needed fellowship of all… that of our Savior. Most of us have good intentions but, often times, the distractions of life just get the best of us. Being rushed or busy can result in us pushing our time with the Lord off to the side.

             “… you left your first love.” Revelation 2:4

It can be difficult when something or someone becomes front and center in our life, but choosing to get back on track with the Lord is well worth it. It is important that we do not allow the demands and distractions of others to pull us away from our fellowship, study, and prayer time with the Lord.  2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

What about making decisions we are faced with throughout our day? When situations and stresses occur, we are to go to prayer prior to making important choices. Matthew 6:6 tells us, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. “This can seem unnatural at first, but thinking we have something figured out and making a snap decision often steeped in emotion can result in a negative consequence down the road and can affect our walk and relationship with the Lord, and even others. Life ebbs and flows much smoother when time is spent at the onset of a situation to consult with the Lord. Taking the time to commune with the Lord will also help us to have the peace we need to push forward when we are dealing with an issue in life. Often times the Lord will lead us to a Scripture to meditate upon as a promise from Him. Having the Lord’s wisdom and discernment brings us the peace of mind we need in order to cope with the challenges of life.  Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

The Bible tells us that we are to put Christ first in all things. Matthew 6:33 tells us “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” That means, setting aside time for Him FIRST when we start the day. That means, going to Him FIRST before making an important decision in life or seeking advice from another. That means putting Him FIRST and not giving in to the distractions of others or things during our time with Him. 1 Kings 2:3-4 says, “…and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go and that the Lord may keep his promise to me…”.

Matthew 11:30 tells us, “For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.” I have found this to be so true! When we are living out our life by walking closely with the Lord, communing with Him throughout the day, He truly does lighten our load. And, along with that, He gives us His perfect peace which surpasses all understanding. Philippians 4:7.

Life isn’t easy, and friends let us down, but the Lord’s love for us never fails. God said in Hebrews 13:5, “ I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I am so grateful the Lord is with us, always. As children of God, we have this assurance.

However… if you have never asked the Lord into your life, Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come into him and eat with him and he with me.” And from that moment on, life as you’ve known it will never be the same. You will have eternal security in the Lord. You will NEVER be alone, and will have the assurance of eternal life with our Lord and Savior. Can I get an amen to that?!

 

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Does God Care About the Details

The sealed box was difficult to open, so I cut into it with a sharp knife. Once opened, I emptied out the 500 pieces and began to separate out what would form the boarder. As I assembled the frame of the puzzle, I began talking to the Lord. I shared my thoughts on the puzzle and thanked Him for this piece and that piece. I was having a good time fellowshipping with the Lord, and the puzzle was coming together smoothly. But then, I had a separate thought. Why am I talking to the Lord about puzzle pieces?

Excusing my puzzle chit-chat as an unnecessary prayer, I quieted my mind and continued on with the puzzle. However, as I pieced together the remaining frame pieces I realized something very odd. There were two pieces that seemed to be missing. Mind you, this was a brand new puzzle, straight out of the unopened box.

For the next half-hour, my pursuit of puzzle pieces shifted to an all-out search and rescue mission. I sorted through all the pieces on the table numerous times. I doubled checked what I had already connected, making sure something wasn’t misconnected. I checked the chairs beneath the table. I crawled around on the floor scanning the carpet surface and spreading my hands out, hoping to find those pieces. I even extended my hunt to other rooms throughout the house just in case the pieces had mysteriously stuck to my cat’s foot and been carried off to a strange new location. There were no pieces to be found.

For me, the boarder of the puzzle is like putting in the foundation of a house. It must be completed first, as it is the framework for the a joining pieces. It was hard for me to move on without it, and so I continued on in a state of frustration and wonder… how could there be missing puzzle pieces when it was an unopened box? But, an even bigger question I was grappling with was, does God care about even the tiniest of details in life?

If we feel there are certain things in our life that are not worthy of mention to the Lord, we will only cheat ourselves in the end. Deuteronomy 10:12 tells us, “…what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul.” This would be impossible if we purposely hold back sharing certain areas of our lives with the Lord. Besides that, the Bible tells us that there is no hidden thing from the Lord. He already knows our innermost secrets! Psalm 139:3-6 tells us, “You know where I go and where I lie down. You know everything I do. Lord, even before I say a word, you already know it. You are all around me- in front and in back- and have put your hand on me.”

Our life is a beautiful picture, like that of a puzzle. We can try to figure out how the pieces of our life fit together on our own, or we can seek the Lord’s wisdom for our life, through a relationship with Him. Proverbs 3:13 tells us, “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding.” Either way, the puzzle will be built. However, if we walk closely with Jesus He will make sure all the pieces in our life come together as they should. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

As the boarder was the framework for the puzzle, so Christ is to be the foundation of our life. Without this foundation and relationship with the Lord, our life will be lacking and incomplete. Just as the puzzle had a hole, so too will our lives. God designed people to commune with Him. If we are not walking and talking with our Savior on a daily basis, we will really be missing out.

God used this visual illustration of the missing puzzle pieces to show me just how important it is for us to be continually communing with the Lord, no matter what we are doing. God does care about even the smallest details of our life. In Matthew 10:30 we are told, “And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” What amazing detail! Nothing is too minuscule to share with the Lord. The more open our communication with Jesus throughout the day, the better off we are. Micah 6:8 tells us we are to, “… walk humbly in the company of your God.” He wants us walking and talking with Him throughout our days. He desires that sweet continual fellowship with us in everything we do.

The puzzle, once completed, was of a stunning scene. It had a sparkling lake dotted with boats of varying primary colors, a pier with brightly painted houses, and a backdrop of majestic purple snow topped mountains. It was more than inviting, with the exception of the top left corner. In the place of the frame, was my old hardwood table. Those puzzle pieces…They never did turn up!

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