Pain, something for everyone.
Scripture likens believers to soldiers. Soldiers take orders and fulfill them, regardless of what is going on in their personal lives. The following is a great example of being a soldier of Christ Jesus.
This woman lost her husband, who was her high school sweetheart, to heart failure a little over a year ago. Now, her home was recently burned to the ground in the Carr fire. I share her response with permission.
“Ashes for thousands of years have been attributed to pain, loss, and suffering. After the death of a family member, natural disasters, or trying times, they were used to symbolize grief.
“This world can be wicked and we all go through periods of time where everything hurts. One blow after another, pain feels relentless and breaks down every part of the human heart and soul.
“As we sit with our ashes, there is a light shining towards us to release our pain. Our heavenly Father has seen all our deep sorrow and gives us hope that the mourning we feel will be gone. He will trade “beauty for ashes” when grief is replaced with pure joy (Isaiah 61:3).
“After everything I still believe there is so much good waiting in the world. I believe every day can bring joy through the deepest pain. To love hard and smile so bright it penetrates through the dense smoke.
“This life has brought so many ashes. I can’t wait to see the beauty that rises from these ashes.”
Pain is a known reality to soldiers. And yet, they must still focus on the commands of their commander. I hope you’re both challenged and encouraged by such an amazing example of someone striving to please “the one who enlisted” her despite what life brought her way.
“Always remember, laser focused!”
My wife and I were listening to a CD in the car. After a few minutes, it started to jump all over the place. At times, it couldn’t even read the CD.
We played that same CD in our home player. And guess what, it worked fine!
After putting in a cleaning CD, the car player now works great. The laser couldn’t focus and do its job. It apparently was clogged.
Life these days is filled with so much information that can clog our laser focus. This cascade of info can produce so many options leaving us tired and confused, even depressed.
I once received the following, “A business colleague of mine gave me this piece of advice, which God recently laid on my heart when dealing with my depression and confusion. ‘Be laser focused…and when you think you’re laser focused, laser focus again, and again if you have to. Always remember, laser focus!’”
Keep laser focused on and Spirit empowered practicing the truths Jesus gives you. Don’t let a moment go by to get His or other’s forgiveness. Both keep clear and beautiful colorful tunes, rather than the blues, coming your way.
Learn now or later, but hopefully you will learn!
Last summer I went surfing with my daughter when I get stung, not once, but twice by a stingray. I got stung both times on my right foot, once on the bottom and once across the top of the middle toe.
It was my fault. I was told they were out there. I simply got so engrossed in catching waves that I forgot to do the surfer shuffle. It’s where you move your feet through the sand rather than walking on top of it. This causes the stingrays to swim away. Instead, I kept stepping on them, which resulted in being stung.
I obvious was too thick headed to learn from my first mistake. It took two stings for it to sink in! And because I didn’t, that middle toe droops causing me to constantly stub it!
Scripture tells me that I’m an imperfect perfect person (Hebrews 10:14). God already sees me as perfect, but He also knows that I’m imperfect until I leave this planet. Thus, I can either learn from my mistakes or repeat them.
Our God is a God of grace, which means I will be forgiven for those mistakes. But if I fail to learn from those mistakes, there can be consequences like a droopy toe. If I had learned from the first sting and started shuffling my feet, my toe would not droop today.
Learn the lesson Jesus is trying to teach you now. It will save you stubbed toes later!
Looking up is sweeter than looking within.
Last time I talked about certain fruit trees producing zero fruit this past harvest season.
Among other reasons for being so frustrating was that I’d done everything the so-called experts said to do. I even used a few tips from fellow amateur fruit growers like myself. Armed with all this information, my fridge was still empty.
I’m at my wits end on what to do; and yet, it’s the perfect place to be – if I’m willing to look up, instead of within for the answer. Looking within myself, which also includes listening to the so-called experts, keeps me in control, which only leads to frustration.
This is also true of our walks with Jesus. We must let the Spirit of God bring us to the point where we’re ready to change what we’ve been doing or failing to do. We then must be willing to listen to and follow the only Person who can produce the sweet tasting fruit of life change – the Father.
My friends, realize that you don’t have the answers. Believe that He does. Then trust Him by actually doing what He says to do to make your life better. Our Father indeed knows best for us.
Hang in there with hope!
Only my orange, apple, peach (though not as prolific) and pear trees produced fruit this year. My two nectarine, apricot, and plum trees, however, gave me absolutely nothing but blossoms and green leaves.
All that work during the preceding months of watering, pruning, weeding and organically fertilizing them for zero fruit was more than disappointing. It was downright frustrating.
Why put all that work in for zero fruit? Should I pull out those unproductive trees and lessen my water bill and sweat equity? No. Why? Hope. I remember eating great tasting nectarines, plums and apricots the year before.
Yes, I was disappointed in their lack of production, but I just spent a couple of hours in dripping sweat heat pruning these trees. I did it because of hope. They produced before and they will again.
Life change takes time. I wish the reality were different, but it is not. Yes, we all want and pray for the miraculous change…yesterday. Yes, we’re tired of being hurt and hurting others. Yes, we’re tired of blowing it, even if those obedience lapses are getting further apart in certain areas.
Yet, when the Spirit doesn’t give us complete and total victory now, do we quit using our biblical FREEdom tools that produce life changing sweet Christlike character?
No. Why? Hope. Jesus changed our lives before and He will change them again. When it’s tough, hope and hope some more. Hang in there. Jesus promises to change your life now and for eternity.