Psalms 119:71 – It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn from your decrees. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – We do not think of affliction as good, but there are so many things we learn from it that we could not learn any other way. Much more of our character comes from rough waters than it does from smooth sailing. We must try very hard to learn from these situations. How sad to think that we might go through them and learn nothing.
My Advice – Learn from adversity. In every hardship, there is something that God can and will teach you if you look for it. So whenever the going is rough, ask God what He is trying to teach you – and He will.
Psalms 103:2-5 – Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. He forgives…heals…redeems…crowns…satisfies…renews…. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – But we do forget. In the midst of pain or sorrow or stress or misfortune, we lose focus of the benefits and refocus on the problem. We forget how many times in the past He has delivered us. If we remembered it would be so much easier for us to endure.
My Advice – Recall to mind, on a regular basis, how much God has done for you. Be specific. This will make it so much easier to recall them when you go through similar difficulties. Then it be less likely that you will say “how am I going to get through this” and more likely to say “I remember when God helped me through something just like this.”
Ezra 9:9 – “God has not deserted us in our bondage.” (NIV 1978)
My Musing – When we are in “bondage,” it is natural for us to conclude that God has deserted us. But He will not take us where He will not sustain us.
My Advice – Whenever you feel oppressed or in “bondage,” look diligently for the Lord. He is right there with you. He has not deserted you. If you cannot find Him, perhaps it is time to consider whether it is you that have abandoned Him. All the more reason to seek Him out.
My Musing – I suppose we all had a destination in mind when we began adulthood. But less frequently do we consider what kind of journey might be required to get us there. Take marriage for instance. When we say for better or worse we think only of the better, giving little thought of the worse parts of the journey that may be required to get us to the better. Or for richer or poorer, of course we may have to go through some lean times in the beginning of the journey, but we have our eyes fixed on the ultimate richer. And don’t even get me started on in sickness or in health.
But marriage is just one example of many life’s journeys. Continue reading “Destinations Require a Journey”
Fade To Black (And White)
Eileen and I have now been married nearly forty-two years and have known each other forty-four. This coming January, Joshua will have been gone twenty-five years. Joel has been out of college ten years and is nearly thirty-three. And now, Eileen and I are back to where it all began – empty nesters.
There has been a “whole lot of living” in all of those years. And as promised at the beginning, we trust that we have given you a glimpse into how God has brought about good and how He has blessed us with joy and peace in the midst of affliction and sorrow. Continue reading “Fade To Black (And White)”
Step 9: Be Prepared To Suffer With Christ
I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering. (Philippians 3:10)
A: Discovering the Truth
B. Exploring the Truth
Trials and suffering should not catch us off guard. Nor should we consider it strange when we do encounter them. For Jesus very clearly told us we would encounter persecution in this world, simply because we were His followers. Continue reading “Be Prepared To Suffer With Christ”
Gathering Manna When You Wander
Joshua 5:12 – The manna stopped the day after they ate the food from the land. (NIV 1978)
My Musing – God makes provision for us in our “wilderness wanderings” to help sustain us. But not just “in,” He sustains us “through.” The wandering may seem very long to us at times, but He will fully provide what is needed to see us through.
My Advice – When you are “wandering in the wilderness” of a difficult time or circumstance, do not forget to gather the manna. God is providing for you somehow, but too often we overlook it or do not look in the right place. But you can be sure that the provision is there and that it will be sufficient to carry you through.