The Big Picture

Faithfulness Matters

Photo by IB Wira Dyatmika on Unsplash

“As for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are this day.” Genesis 50:20 (Amplified Bible)

For months I’ve lost track of life mourning the fact that some situations can’t be redeemed this side of heaven.

Some pain can never be reversed can it?

Like the death of loved ones … a way of life … relationships.

I’ve spent days in bed with my bible just trying to get a word from the Lord that would pull me out of this funk.

The enemy has used the pain and my introverted tendencies …  to tempt me in walking away from the church and community in general.

The Devil loves using pain and loss to persuade us that faithfulness doesn’t matter in light of our circumstances.

But the story of Joseph has been a great encouragement these last few months.

This story has it all – betrayal, loss, oppression, dysfunction, jealously, rejection, false accusations and bondage … the list goes on and on.

And every time Joseph was oppressed … falsely accused … rejected … the scripture reminds us that God was with him.

I recently read a story about Andrew Murray who was a beloved pastor and writer in England in the late 1800’s. He suffered from debilitating back pain as a result of an injury. As he was eating breakfast one morning, his maid came to tell him that a woman was downstairs in great distress and was seeking advice or encouragement. Murray handed his maid the piece of paper he had been writing on and said, “Give her this advice that I’m writing down for myself. It may be helpful to her too.”

The paper read:

“In time of trouble, say, ‘First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest.’ Next, ‘He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.’ Then say, ‘He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.’ And last, say, ‘In His good time He can bring me out again. How and when, He knows.’ Therefore, say ‘I am here (1) by God’s appointment, (2) in His keeping, (3) under His training, (4) for His time.”

When I read this story, I realized that Mr. Murray’s advice is the exact model that God used in Joseph’s life … over and over.

Amazingly … Joseph remained faithful in all things … good or bad.

As a result, God used him to save many lives … including the lives of the brothers who hated him … yet Joseph held no bitterness in his heart for his oppressors.

Trusting God with our pain and learning to walk in the fullness of His sovereignty … just like Joseph did … can lead us to our purpose in life … if we remain faithful.

Faithfulness matters … especially when our world has turned upside down.

So, let this truth seep into every crevice of your heart …

You are here by God’s appointment … kept under the shelter of his loving wings … for His instruction to grow … within His timing.

Oh, sweet friend with the broken heart …

God has a purpose for your pain … so trust Him and remain faithful.

And that’s the Big Picture that Joseph so wisely understood.

love mel

An Uncommon Thanksgiving

1 thess 5 18

If you were given only one chance to tell God what you are thankful for … what would it be?

Sometimes we can pick and choose our thankfulness … depending on the circumstances, but the Bible tells us to be thankful in ALL things.

It’s difficult to thank God for areas of life that aren’t easy … but it’s in the hard places that we can find an uncommon blessing waiting … if we open our eyes to see.

This thanksgiving I want to thank God for turning my world upside down in 2015. This place thrills and terrifies me all at the same time.

So Lord … here are the uncommon blessings you’ve opened my eyes to see. My how you’ve changed this old girl’s view.”

For the burdens that keep me spiritually alert … teaching me how to pray … and how to trust … Thank you Lord.

For the revelation of truth revealed in your word that challenges yet enlightens me … I am so thankful Lord.

For the peace that leaps with joy on the unknown path … oh the hope that’s growing in my heart. Thank you Lord.

For the surprise breakthrough that hovered over the impossible for too long; yet arrived in the nick of time … increasing my faith. Thank you Lord.

For the tears you collect when heartaches overwhelm and man lets me down, thank you for comforting me Lord.

For the bone breaking truth and conviction you speak into my life … thank you Lord.

For the cares that no longer hold me in bondage … Oh Praise you Lord for freedom.

For the boldness of honesty … and the call to stand … thank you God for filling me with courage.

For the deliverance from man’s greed and envy … Hallelujah for clarity to see oppression.

For the negative judgement and opinions of man … let them rail Lord, because you are for me.  Thank you for being my strong tower Lord.

For healing hurts the enemy tries to use against me … Oh thank you sweet Jesus.

And Lord … because you always give joy to balance the pain … thank you for the sweet places too.

For the spirit of urgency that’s teaching me to number my days … thank you for making me productive.

For the laughter of little children who bring life to weariness … thank you Lord.

For the new kindred souls that dance to the rhythm of my heart, embracing my hand in friendship … how good you are O God.

For the love of words … thank you Lord. Help me to use them for your glory, the rest of my days.

This year …  don’t pick and choose your thankfulness based on your circumstances. I challenge you … find the places that hurt and thank God for “ALL THINGS” He is doing in your life.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.  

1 Thessalonians 5:18

love mel

 

 

 

 

We have a “GOOD, GOOD, FATHER. Spend some time worshiping HIM for all things.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBwXHpKVS5I

 

Do Mondays Get You Down?

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Who doesn’t dread Monday mornings? When the alarm sadistically halts the weekend refuge, dragging oneself out of bed is like trying to separate your toes glued together with super glue.

Sometimes the dread of going back to reality is as debilitating as the actual reality.

Before we even get out of bed….we are defeated.

Sweet friend, I so understand all about the places in life that are not fair.  The workplace drama, the power struggles, greedy and jealous people, health issues, financial deficiencies, the sick child, the loneliness, the prodigal loved ones, difficult relationships, and the staggering grief that won’t subside.

At times we wonder how we will get through the day right? We live in a fallen world; therefore, life just stinks sometimes.

But when our focus is saturated in our situation, we are automatically catapulted into defeat.

Can I encourage you today?

Whatever you are facing that rains down dread like a monsoon….take it to Jesus in a drop to the knees, can’t handle it prayer. Today, ask God to take over your mindset and help you focus on His faithfulness and the good things in your life.

For as much as we think is wrong in our lives, there is good to balance the heartache on….we just have to choose to see the good.

Do you have a home? A family or people who love you? Good health? Are there children in your life to make you smile? Is there a little money in your pocket? What about a beloved pet eager to greet you every day? Do you have a true friend, a praying momma or a caring spouse?

The fact that you woke up breathing is a miracle that God orchestrates every day.  He wants us to acknowledge the good in our lives even when we are walking through the valley. When the focus is on our problems, He can’t grow us to trust Him in the hard seasons.

The creator God who put the stars, sun and moon in place, faithfully oversees His children’s lives, giving us good things; revisiting His previous faithfulness, gives us hope.

Hope my friends…. is what will carry us through the dread of Monday mornings.

Never forget about the good he has given in the midst of your trial.

My challenge for you today…..

1 ~ Ask God to carry the burden of your oppression today…and actually let Him have it. Giving Him the burden means you don’t dwell on it, worry about it or walk around in gloom. Instead you choose faith, believing God will bring you through this trial in his time.

2 ~ Make a list of all the good things in your life and thank the creator for that good.

3 ~ Take each moment…and enjoy the moment for what it is……A beautiful sunset, a brief rest from the noise, a game of catch with the puppy, a 15 minute walk in the evening, an unexpected phone call from a friend, a lazy night at home, a bible story read to a child, prayer time with your family or a friend.  Whatever the gift is for the moment….bask in it and thank God.

Choosing to not focus on the things we dread is a discipline of obedience to God. Life is never going to be perfect even when the house is clean, the bills are paid and the kids behave.

Life is never going to ever arrive at perfection.

Don’t let the dread of facing the hard things in life push you off the slope of hope.

Choose faith and enjoy the moments of perfection God gives in the little blessings that come your way every day. Just focus on Jesus and pour your heart out to him.

When no one understands…..Jesus does.

“The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”     Proverbs 13:12

Hang your hat on hope today friend.

Rape field in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

“When The World Beats You Up”

Today has been one of those messy days of grace for me.

My mindset has been fractured all day….. cracks were exposed in places of faith I previously thought were strong.

My emotions were fragile just enough to let me drift off to the abyss of pessimism.

Hindering oppressive thoughts drained into my soul….taking me back to long ago when I felt no grace.

I thought I was beyond the point of wandering back to the valley.

Somehow I stumbled right into a thicket of obscure dejection. I let man’s actions make me think I was less….unimportant….invisible.

Funny how the enemy knows what days the physical body ails….making it hard for the spiritual consciousness to keep up.

Today I felt as though I was a middle school girl being bullied all over again….bullied by life….bullied by another’s sin.

I am a child of the King…… why do I let the world hamstring my heart at times?
I know better!

How can we be on the spiritual mountain top for months only to be pushed off by the enemy in one short span of time?

There is shame in this weakness for me.

After all…I thought I had passed the faith test….bought the t-shirt…..walking bow legged from so much truth poured into my soul.

How did I let this happen?

I turned off the light way earlier than usual to sleep this melancholy hangover off. Tossing and turning side to side…. trying to get comfortable in my slumber.

I started to pray…..wrestling with words…as well as my comfort…..but I couldn’t find physical comfort…for my spirit was in battle.

Then I clearly hear HIM say…..

“Work it out in words child….tell me exactly what haunts your heart tonight.”

So I turn on the lamp…I reach for my lab top…and tell HIM just what a rotten day I had.

I tell HIM I am mad at myself for listening to the enemy’s lies.

I tell HIM I’m sorry I didn’t filter my mind….I didn’t fall back on the truth.

I tell HIM the pain I feel by hurtful actions and attitudes.

Immediately….I start to feel peace…slowly soaking up the bitter spew of GOD-less thoughts.

I literally can feel strength seeping back into my aching frame.

Truth is pulsating through my spiritual veins again!

I am an overcomer!

Regardless of what emotional lava that has spread over my mind today.

No matter what suppression man may fling my way….

No matter the landmines of doubt the enemy made no attempt to disguise….

HE has reminded me…..

“Greater is HE that is in me….than he that is in the world!”

The Living GOD is in me!

THE LIVING GOD IS IN ME!

And HE will fight my battles!

And soothe my wounds!

The Living God will go before me in all my steps….and tomorrow?

Well tomorrow will be another day…a new day….to take my stand in the truth of HIS faithful righteousness.

A new day to be “HIS” love…..even when I am unloved.

A new day to experience his mercies….for they are new every day.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:22

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Don’t let the world consume and beat you up my friend….

Don’t let the enemy exploit the fragile places of your heart.

Remember who you are….and whose you are!

For you are a child of the one true King…..JESUS CHRIST!

And you are an OVERCOMER!

Press on OVERCOMER!

Press on!

“Getting Past Life’s Mistakes”

Do you ever wish there were “do overs” in life?

Like the stupid decisions that led to shame…or pain…or loss?

Or the lost opportunities we couldn’t see the value in when we had the chance to be something different….do something important?

How about the conversations or remarks you wish you could take back?

And the regrets of ungodly actions?

The older I get….the more I think about the “do overs” I wish I had.

If only we had the wisdom and discipline to make all the right choices….our lives would go a lot smoother for sure.

But there is hope….

Even when we make the wrong decision….GOD is there…..

If we trust him.

In Lysa Terkehurst’s new book “The Best Yes,” she shares we can’t let our mistakes make us think our life is ruined or forever soiled.

Lysa says…..

“An error is an unintentional mistake; an end is a termination. When considering the potential outcome of a difficult decision, its important to distinguish the errors from the ends in our thinking.”

 

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Even when we mess up…it’s not an end….it’s a mistake we did not intend to happen.

We CAN recover from poor decisions…if we let GOD have control of the situation.

Yes we may have to face some uncomfortable consequences but GOD doesn’t mark us off as disappointments.

In fact …. here is the kicker…..my favorite quote of the whole book……

“My imperfections will never override GOD’S promises. GOD’S promises are not dependent on my ability to always choose well, but rather on HIS ability to use well.”

I don’t know about you…..but this truth just pierces me deep down and makes me want to cry like a baby.

What comfort it is to know my mess ups will never disqualify me from….

HIS love….

HIS mercy…..

HIS kingdom purposes….

or….

HIS ultimate will for my life.

There is so much anointed wisdom from this new book….and I want to leave you with one more quote from Lysa to think about…….

It’s not the activities or accomplishments we string together that make lives well lived as much as it is the hearts of wisdom we gain and use along the way.”

We are going to mess up on this winding….rocky path of life, but if we will let the mess ups (errors)…teach us wisdom ……we will learn to make wiser decisions in the future.

Friend if you are mourning a poor decision and your stuck in the mire of consequences……

Don’t get discouraged……

Don’t hang your head in shame……

Don’t think your life is in a dead end……

Remember…..you are in the redeeming process…..

And what GOD redeems……

HE always uses for HIS GLORY!

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“We have to slow the rhythm of rush in our lives so the best of who we are can emerge. What has “rushing” stolen from you?”

Taken from Chapter 2: The Way of the Best Yes

http://thebestyes.com/

“When Life Brings Unexpected Change”

Nothing stays the same.

Everything changes in this vacuum of time called life.

The babies grow up, the loved one passes away, the job ends, the divorce becomes final,  the friends come and go.

Resistance is the human reaction we all grapple with.

The seasons of life can bring great joy as well as great pain.

The good changes are easier to deal with, the scary changes with consequences not so easy.

With every change the uncertainty of life as we know it becomes a distance memory and if we’re not careful…..it can cloud or stall our future…..but be cautious because our faith is our future.

Don’t get stuck living in the past…….it can be a miserable place to exist …I know….I’ve wasted too much time living in the past.

GOD allows change for good….even though we don’t like how it comes sometimes.

We may face life events that seem catastrophic or heartbreaking….but if we are abiding in JESUS….HE will work it all for our good.

The fact that HE allows change….regardless of how it comes….. shows HE doesn’t want us to stay as we are….HE knows change can bring us closer to HIM if we will let it.

Its when we resist HIS change that we stumble and stray….getting lost in the foggy circumstances.

We can choose to stay the way we are….. where we are at……or we can embrace the change….and become more.

More like HIM is the change HE wants.

I know many are wrestling with big changes in your lives……but instead of dreading and fearing them….let GOD’S peace rest in your heart.

Take time to grieve or regroup…..but …don’t linger too long in the pain because that’s the place Satan uses to trip us up……the pain can cause us to become bitter, hardened….hopeless.

The bible says there is an appointed time for everything….for every event under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1

If change wasn’t part of life there would be no long summer evenings on the porch….we wouldn’t have the splendor of fall to look forward to…..there would be no winter for the earth to rest…and without the rest….the spring wouldn’t bring new life.

The same is true in our spiritual life.

Fervently trusting JESUS will change the shades of our faith, making them more brilliant…..no matter what season…. be it the hurts and the joys…. seasons of change spin abundance from GOD’S heart.

Change hurts…. but somewhere along the path….the evolution of the heart finds a harvest of mercy, healing, joy and new life.

Hold on tight to JESUS… embrace the change….and see what HE does next.

Streams in the wasteland scripture picture

 

Longing for my Daddy

Nothing good happens after midnight…..

So my daddy told me a million times.  I must confess I tell my kids the same thing even though they’re now adults.

Be sure your sins will find you
out….was another one of his favorites.  He would be proud I actually listened to a few things he taught me.

He was the fun daddy, always willing to do something silly to make us laugh. The first with the quick comeback, the practical joker, and the ever amusing story teller.

He passed away unexpectedly two years ago.

The landscape of our family dynamic just isn’t the same anymore.

His passing left an incredible void in our lives collectively and individually.

His pictures are around us yet they bring little comfort. 

We find ourselves saying…”Oh daddy would have liked that….or daddy would get a kick out of this or that.”

Death leaves a major hole in our hearts.

I’ve realized there is nothing in this world to fill it.

We’ve gone on with life….the family gatherings consisting of many firsts without him. 

Grandchildren graduations.

Marriages.

Birthdays.

Holidays.

The longing in my heart will never go away as long as I live on this earth…..but knowing my daddy is in heaven is comforting to a certain degree.

One day…..after I enter heaven’s gates and run into the arms of my JESUS……

I’m going to have a good laugh with my daddy.  He’s going to tell me how peculiar Noah is…..what a good singer King David is…..and he will probably make fun of Moses’s speech impediment….if he still has one.

I am sure he is spending time with Johnny Cash and perhaps the king of rock and roll, Elvis…if Elvis is there? Surely he is…..a girl can hope can’t she?

One thing for sure….I know my daddy is having a good time…..and I wouldn’t dare bring him back…..because he wouldn’t want to live on this old earth again after living in perfection.

While I cannot wait to see my daddy…..

JESUS is going to be the main attraction folks.

Do you realize when we finally come into HIS presence we will be complete…..and completely fulfilled?

All the longings of earth…..

the heartaches…..

the disappointments…..

the wrongs….

the sickness….

the life altering events…..

the handicaps….

the financial losses…..

the oppression of man……

the deaths……

all the holes in our heart will finally be filled….complete…..perfect.

“He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelations 21:4

Man …..that’s something to look forward to isn’t it?

My heart swells just thinking about that day…..makes me homesick for my final home.

If this Father’s day has you longing for someone….or something….take heart…this too shall pass away.

One day the longings of this old life will be no more and if we know JESUS as our SAVIOR…..our broken hearts will be made complete.

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