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Monday, March 17, 2014

UMBRELLA

Spring is in the air; you know what that means? Rainstorms! Time to take your umbrella out, because the storms will come. When I was younger and a storm started I would brace myself, plug my ears when thunderbolts sounded, and close my eyes tight when the lightning flashed. Scary!

When a personal storm arises in your life, do you get tense and brace yourself? The Bible tells the story of a storm that arose and frightened the disciples. “Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, and the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm” (Matthew 8:24-26 NIV). They ran to Jesus scared not knowing what to do. After Jesus calmed the storm they asked “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him: (Matthew 8:27 NIV).

The apostles were learning firsthand who Jesus is. We have the Bible to explain to us exactly who He is. By reading the Bible it builds our faith and helps us to remember who Jesus is and that He walks us through the storms in life. Picture yourself with an umbrella open over your head. Written all over the umbrella with permanent marker are Jesus’ names: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Jesus and umbrellas are a lot alike. They both cover us from storms.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 NIV).

PRAYER: Thank you God for protecting and guiding me through life. Help me to stay calm during the storms. Amen.

Monday, March 3, 2014

LOVING GRIP

Dear Friend:

My husband knew that I was disappointed. He also knew that I really needed that walk on the beach. He began to find playful ways to keep from letting go of my hand. Thankfully, I started to enjoy the game and even found myself laughing. I am thankful my husband did not let my frustration bother him. He was determined to somehow help me to enjoy myself despite the obstacles. It was hard for me not to let my negative emotions get the best of me at first, but his special attention caught my eye.

Often, I find myself trying to hold on to God’s hand and stay on His path. Challenging circumstances in life vie for my attention leaving me frustrated and feeling like giving up – just like that walk on the beach began. Fortunately, like my husband, God doesn’t loosen His grip.

The Bible says, “For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:9 NKJV). At times we are tempted to call things that turn around for good a coincidence. But this verse helps us to recognize it is not a coincidence. It’s God’s goodness which gives us reason to celebrate with hearts of gratitude.

Maybe you can relate. You feel at times like giving up. Just like my husband caught my attention and helped me to enjoy a walk hand-in-hand, God’s loving grip can catch our attention as He walks with us filling our hearts with joy.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your loving grip that keeps hold of me as I continue to walk and talk with You and find satisfaction in life to carry on. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DO THE HAPPY DANCE

Dear Friend:

“If someone prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience, or does He give them the opportunity to find patience?” That’s a line from the movie, Evan Almighty. I feel like the wife in that movie at times. When life gets uncomfortable, I can become controlling and perfectionistic to a fault. Sometimes I don’t see eye to eye with my spouse, one of my children or a co-worker. When I realize that they aren’t going to respond the way I want them to, frustration wells up in me. Fortunately, I’m not always this uptight. This usually only occurs when life is moving too fast and I have a lot on my plate. I want peace, and I want it now! Why can’t everyone just cooperate with me?

Do you ever feel like that? Do you catch yourself asking the same question?
The Bible teaches us to “glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4 NIV).
This reminds me of the saying, “God cares more about our character than our comfort.” We are all on a path full of trials. Those trials sometimes lead us to a fork in the road where we can either choose to make a stink, insisting on our own way, or we can adjust our expectations and pray about the next step. From there we can walk in God’s way and maybe, just like the ending of Evan Almighty, we can celebrate by doing… the happy dance!

PRAYER: God, what do You want me to do? How should I react? Guide me and help me with Your wisdom so that I can truly celebrate as I walk in Your way. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen