Tag Archive | Bible

New Year, New Hope

Our devotions started with a classic hymn entitled, “It Is Well With My Soul” by Horatio Spafford. (click here to hear it sung by Chris Rice).

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well with my soul.”

Though Satan should buffet,
tho’ trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed His own blood for my soul.

horatio_spafford

picture credit Wikipedia

Those are the first two (of a total of four) verses written by a man who truly understood grief as well as the Lord’s ability to bring peace in the midst of suffering.  Horatio, an American lawyer and Presbyterian church elder in the mid to late 1800’s, wrote these words when the boat he was traveling on, in a trip to meet up with his wife Anna, reached the spot where his daughters lost their lives in the boat trip before him.  Two years after having lost their son, Horatio Jr, to scarlet fever at the tender age of 4 years, Horatio and Anna decided to take a trip to Great Britain with their 4 daughters; Annie (11 ), Maggie (9), Bessie (5), and Tanetta (2).  At the last minute, Horatio was called away to deal with business that couldn’t wait so he sent his family on ahead of him.

The trip was going well for his family until the boat carrying his wife and children collided with another boat off the coast of Ireland.  As the waters started to rise and the boat started to sink, his wife took their daughters to the deck, offered a prayer of trust to God, and then loaded the four precious girls onto a lifeboat.  The mom eventually made it back to land safely only to learn that the lifeboat her daughters were on ran into trouble and sank… She sent word to Horatio who still hadn’t been able to take the trip by way of a simple telegram that read, “Saved alone.”  Overwhelmed with grief he took the next boat available to go meet up with his wife and it was on that trip he penned the words to what would become such a classic and moving hymn.

“Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.”
– Matthew 5:4

After the tragedy, Horatio and Anna lived to have more children, another loss, more travel, and what turned into a life mission to help others in Jerusalem resulting in a God honoring legacy for the family.  (Go here and here to learn more about his story).  God didn’t leave Horatio and his wife drowning in grief; He didn’t let their story end in tragedy.  The beautiful part?  He will do the same for you as well.  God has promised that in all things He will work for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28) and that he will fill us with a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

peace-i-leave-with-you

pic credit Bing search

No matter what you may be struggling with, whether it be stress, loss, heartache, failed dreams, feeling stuck in a rut, death of a cherished family member, death of a friend, painful memories of a loved one lost in the past… God invites us through His son Jesus to rest in Him (Matthew 11:28), and to cast all our cares on His strong and loving shoulders (1 Peter 5:7).  Jesus’s promise to us in John 14:27 states, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  When we claim that peace and let Christ fill our hearts to overflowing, we then are able to find the courage to join Paul in saying,

“…we also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces
perseverance; perseverance character; and
character, hope. And hope does not disappoint
us, because God has poured out his love into
our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Whom He has given us.”
(Romans 5:3-5)

Let us move forward into this new year with the strength, confidence, and hope that comes from knowing and trusting in Christ.  Let us not allow the pain and trials we have endured to chain us to state of perpetual sadness but instead cling to Christ as we move forward, trusting Him Who can do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20,21) and keep our eyes and hearts open to how God will bless us as we use the comfort we have received to bless and comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3,4).

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Snakes and Fences

A friend of mine recently pointed me to a site where I could listen and watch church services on-line from a trusted church. With my memory and distractibility and everything going on, I ended up putting it off at first and then accidentally forgetting about it until I came across my note last night. I’ve watched a couple of the sermons through the night, and they both resonated deeply with me. One was simply encouraging. Powerful encouragement paired with helpful and wise advice. The second was encouraging and helpful too, but in a way that I feel requires more of a committed response out of me than just a prayer of thanks and a simple share telling others to watch. It really hit home on an issue that is so broad yet so personal at the same time; and so important for me and all of us.

One of my favorite parts comes towards the end. To get the full weight of it, you need the whole talk, but it really hit home for me when he chose to wrap it up by talking about Christ on the cross. Especially when he started talking about looking at Christ on the cross and remembering it was our sins that put him there. Not so we would feel guilty or ashamed, but so that we would be reminded that Christ was on that cross, with all our sins, so that He could pay the price for them and offer us freedom and forgiveness. But in order to see, remember, and embrace that message… we first have to admit it applies to us because we’ve screwed up. We have to admit we’re not perfect, that we don’t have it all under control, that we have messed up and have done so often.

We are fence breakers. We have poison in our life from all the snake bites. We even have poison from snake bites that were caused by someone else breaking a fence. But we also have hope and forgiveness. We have grace and healing and a fresh start in Christ. Let us never forget that part. Let us also never take advantage of it.

Please take the time to watch and listen to this sermon, “Snakes and Fences”. It’s pretty powerful truth. ❤

A Soothing Reminder

I found this in my news feed and it was really soothing for me. I am sharing it here in hopes it can help someone else as well. No matter what you may be going through right now, remember that you are not alone and that the struggles really wont last forever. ((hugs)) And please, always feel free to message me here or send me an e-mail (DogforDavid@rocketmail.com) if you could use a friend to talk to or a listening ear. ❤

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Trusting Him

These last few days I have been facing the hardest battle and fight that I have ever faced.  And that’s saying something for someone who has been forced to fight tough battles all her life.  After a couple of days to process through the shock and emotions though, I am starting to come around.  I do not know how this one will end.  It looks very grim still, but I am fighting as hard as I can and am doing everything I can to bring in professional support and advocacy as well to help me.

All in all though, I know my children and I will be okay someway, somehow.  We may not get the outcome we are fighting for, but I know I can trust my God to keep us safe and hold us up regardless of what happens to us.  That’s not to say I am not scared.  I would be flat out lying if I tried to claim I wasn’t scared.  I do trust Him though as best as I know how to do so. He has gotten me through many a nightmare in this life, and He has promised in His Word to never leave me or forsake me and to carry me through the fire.

Praying this “fire” doesn’t take away as much as it is threatening to, but if it does, ready or not, I will step out in the faith that my loving Father in Heaven has my back.

Below (at the end of this post) is a song that I heard on the radio while taking the kids out for a drive.  Something I tend to do when I can’t sleep and am overwhelmed with grief and/or stress as the kids tend to relax and quiet down while in the car and I am able to listen to my music and focus on the road instead of all my trials.  At first, I wasn’t really feeling like an overcomer.  The song that best described my state of mind and heart at the time was this one.  In a lot of ways it still does express my heart well too, but then I got the mail, and found a precious gift inside from a friend who wanted to encourage me.  She succeeded. ❤  Tears flowed freely from my eyes as I opened the package and took in the contents it held… but I also smiled the biggest I have in days.  It was a priceless gift that cost little but was made with so much heart.  My favorite kind. 🙂

gift from friend

Anti-Depression Kit1

"Anti-Depression Kit"  An ERASER so you can make all your mistakes disappear. A PENNY so you will never say, "I'm broke" A MARBLE in case someone says, "You've lost all your marbles" A RUBBER BAND to stretch yourself beyond your limits. A STRING to tie things together when everything falls apart. And a HUG and a KISS to remind you that someone, somewhere, cares about you.

“Anti-Depression Kit”
An ERASER so you can make all your mistakes disappear.
A PENNY so you will never say, “I’m broke”
A MARBLE in case someone says, “You’ve lost all your marbles”
A RUBBER BAND to stretch yourself beyond your limits.
A STRING to tie things together when everything falls apart.
And a HUG and a KISS to remind you that someone, somewhere, cares about you.

Reading that little card and holding all those little items in my hand, really did encourage me as I allowed myself to soak in the reminder that I am not alone even in my darkest hours.  Something everyone could use a tangible reminder of from time to time I am sure. : )

Some other encouragement came by the way of some verses that have always been a favorite source of comfort for me.  I have included two of them below.  I hope they and the song can offer some encouragement to some of you out there as well.

~~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~~
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” — Romans 8: 38, 39

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” — Isaiah 41: 10
~~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~~

“Overcomer” by Mandisa

Recycling my pain?

(found on google image search)I got to go back to my Celebrate Recovery group tonight after having missed two weeks due to the seizures and then us all getting sick over here. Tonight was a lesson night and I really liked the main analogy that was used at the begining.

We were told about an old, rusty, beat up coke can. It was covered in dirt, bent up beyond repair, and even had holes in it.  Not too incredibly long ago, this can would have been deemed worthless and thrown in the trash.  It had no value any more and it was dealt with accordingly.

Then recycling came along.  Over the years we have learned about how to see that beat up old can in a whole new light.  Where as it’s still true that in it’s current state it isn’t of much use, we now no longer see it as worthless or destined for the trash.  We see the hidden potential behind all the scruffs, scratches, and dents.  We see the new life waiting for it if someone only takes the time to invest in the can to help it get there.  We see possibilities, hope, new beginnings, brighter futures.

We also know though what it will take to get the can there.  Crushing, melting, purifying, molding.  The can has a hard journey ahead of it if it wants to be made into something new.

Why-Women-are-More-Likely-to-Develop-DepressionNow think of that can as you and me.  We’ve been hurt, damaged, broken, and bruised.  We have scars from unimaginable pains and some of us have so many holes that have been shot through our self esteem and self image, we can’t even stand up anymore, let alone stand tall.  We’re worn out, weary, and in need of rest.  We’ve known heartache, abuse, neglect, addiction, shame, and more.  We’re over burdened by life’s harsh reality.  We’re crippled and laying low from life’s repeated blows.  Society sees us and thinks we’re useless.  They use terms like “has been”, “yesterday’s news”, “worthless”, “reject”, and countless others.

Now some of us may be better than others at hiding the hurt and pain.  We might be better at keeping society in general, and sometimes even our friends and family, from seeing anything past the fake smile we plaster on our faces to help us get through the days.  It’s still there though, and we know it all to well.  And we still here the labels.  The name calling and rejection still rings loudly in our minds and hearts even though no one may say it out loud.

Then, we encounter Jesus.  The One Who loves us so much and so deeply that He reaches through all the muck and mire, through all the mud slinging and shame, through all the secrets and fake smiles, and He gently knocks on the doors of our hearts and offers an invitation.

“Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will
come in and eat with him, and he with Me.”
–Revelation 3:20

security_main2He’s offering to be our friend, our brother, our comrade.  He’s offering a listening ear, a caring heart, and warm fellowship.  But get this.  He’s not stopping there!  He also loves us so much that He’s holding out His hand to us, inviting us to allow Him to change us.  Just like the recycling process changes that old beat up can, Jesus is offering to take our battered, wounded, and beat up hearts and lives and turn us into something totally new.

The process isn’t easy and it has it’s painful moments to be sure.  Just like that can, we’ll have to allow our old selves and our old ways to be broken down, melted away, and purified.  We have to be willing to let all that pain and hardship be placed in the hands of our loving Savior so that He can push it through the fire of healing and purifying and then turn around and mold it into something more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.

myChild_main2Don’t worry, unlike the can who pretty much goes through the whole process without much thought from the recycle worker, you and I are not alone. Our Recycler (Jesus Christ) takes a very personal interest in us and walks along side us the entire way.  Holding our hand, carrying us through the rough patches that are too much for us to bear, encouraging us and keeping our hope and love alive by reminding us of His love and the future He has planned for us.

And the end result?  A whole new life.  A whole new creation. Endless possibilities. A brand new beginning.  A brighter future.  And a heart that has been hand delivered and molded by the master potter Himself with the greatest love mankind has ever known.

You see God never wastes a single hurt.  There is not a single tear that falls that He doesn’t want to heal and redeem.  Not a single broken heart He doesn’t long to hold in His hands and comfort and nourish back to wholeness and beauty.  He tells us that He is close to the broken hearted and that He gives strength to the weary.

The only catch is, He won’t force this on us.  Unlike that old and tattered can, we get to have a choice.  Will you answer His knocking?  Will you let Him in?  Will you trust Him to take your pain and scars, your dark closets and hidden memories?  I promise the end result will be nothing short of beautiful if you do.  God specializes in turning brokeness into stunning glory.  Will you let Him do it for you? : )

Thinking and reading (Updated) (aka: fixed the glitch)

A friend of mine came through for me today and helped me quite a bit.  I’ve been struggling emotionally lately with an issue related to having been abandoned that weighs heavily on my heart and mind more than I generally will admit.  I can’t thank her enough for her guidance and help today.  And I am even more grateful for her friendship and the compassion and listening ear she gave me today.

She also gave me some passages of scripture to read to help encourage me and guide me along this difficult point in my life.  It has helped quite a bit too I must admit.  I have several favorites that I have come across from reading the passages, but one I can share without having to explain what’s going on (which I am not ready to do yet in a public forum type setting) is this:

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  — Galatians 5:1

I just found that incredibly comforting with everything that’s been going on and my confusion as to what to do about it all.  I hope it can comfort some of you as well. : )