When A ‘Blah’ Day Comes

Animals, like people, sometimes just have a blah day. Our dog, Jack, was having a blah day earlier this week. I could tell he wasn’t sick; he was just tired and lacked a bit of motivation. He was enjoying extra nap times in the sun. When he hadn’t been out for awhile I got his leash and called him. Most often he happily awaits our outdoor excursions. This time, his tail was down, he yawned, looked at me with eyes that said, “Really?” I insisted.

He was slowly going to the door. I opened it and he stepped outside. The air was cold but the sun shone warm. A few seagulls called out overhead. Suddenly, like a coin dropped in a mechanical pony slot, Jack’s steps were quick. He was off. He sniffed here and there, trotted over to some some bushes in need of investigation. A sudden zip-zing was in his every step, his eyes shining with happiness. By the time we finished our walk he was so energized that he continued playtime at home by running up and down the hallway with his toy pig, egging me on to a game of chase.

I had known Jack would be his usual lively self once I got him going. He just needed a loving push from me and he was off! As we were back home, playing chase the pig, and having a bit of a wrestle, I thought of his positive response to a little encouragement. It’s the same with us humans. There is a wonderful verse in Hebrews 10:24, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” We all have blah days; days when nothing is wrong, but we lack simple motivation to get going. This is why we need each other within the family of God.

Another verse in Hebrews 10:25 gives this instruction: “Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return in drawing near.” Jesus told us that when just two or three meet together, He is there in the midst. (Matthew 18:20) Sometimes it’s just a phone call, an email, a knock on the door that spurs us on, motivates us to get out of the doldrums, to enjoy our moments.

We all need a little push once in a while, and sometimes we need to do the pushing. Then, like Jack, we’re energized, ready to go, filled with joy, thankful to be gently led out the door.

Living or Dying

Christians throughout the ages have various testimonies in challenging times. Some have stood strong even in the face of persecution, and God has delivered them. A Biblical example is Daniel when he was thrown into the lion’s den and came out unharmed. Other Christians were thrown into the same lion’s den and were torn to pieces. Christians, persecuted for their faith, have been imprisoned over the centuries. Some escaped, some lived through the ordeal, while others were tortured and killed.

The question may be asked: Why does God let some live while he allows others to die? It can be hard in times of great distress to understand Romans 8:28 that promises us, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” The author, Eugenia Price, summed it up beautifully when she wrote, “God makes redemptive use of — everything.”

It is absolutely true that while God’s plans may not be as we had hoped in a given situation, His ways remain the best. When a person goes through a difficulty or tearful sorrow, there is a part of God’s own heart, filled with the beauty of His peace, that comes to that person. His sweet presence in the moments of our greatest hurts is a beautiful experience. The Apostle Paul admitted to being caught between two thoughts, concerning living and dying, when he wrote in Philippians 1:21-24, “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.” What a wonderful attitude that is ours because of the Holy Spirit residing within us, being our everything to get us through anything.

To die a physical death is liberating for every Christian because it ushers us in to see Jesus face to face. Death for the Christian is a release from all earthly worries, living in another place where tears and fears do not exist. I love the words of that hymn, What A Day That Will Be. One of the stanzas is this: “What a day that will be, When my Jesus I shall see, And I look upon His face, The One who saved me by His grace; when He takes me by the hand, And leads me through that promised land, What a day, glorious day that will be.”

Whatever you’re going through today, may your focus stay on the One who loves you so much, who is able to be your strength, who loves filling you with His own peace and quite joy, in the midst of any sorrow.

Tears, Peace, and Joy

“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5

Anticipation of any New Year brings with it a sense of hope and happiness. We desire to close the door on the old, and open it to all things new and beautiful and possible. We do not anticipate great sorrow in its place, yet, it happens. New Year’s Day 2022 brought an unexpected and great sorrow to many as shocking news came of a horrific car crash, claiming the life of a dear brother in the Lord, and causing terrible injuries to his wife and two daughters. This dear brother was a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an uncle. A large extended family grieve for him as do those in his church, along with friends far and wide. There are so many of God’s children, lifting this dear family, whom we love so much, to the Lord, asking His comfort and healing for the three who have had to undergo multiple surgeries.

His family know the Lord. Some of them shared their thoughts on Facebook. I was so touched with their words that reveal their deep trust in their Heavenly Father. One of the family’s sons, who was not in the car, wrote this: “I find immense peace in knowing that Daddy is eternally with his Lord & Savior; the place he always lived to be.”

A sister wrote: “He was with me when I was born…He was my brother, my twin, my constant….Saturday night, God took him home.” Another sister wrote: “Pray for God to hold and help all of our broken hearts. We know without doubt that God’s ways are perfect and that He has a good plan, but it surely hurts on this side of forever.”

My mother and I have been joining in the many prayers for these dear friends, both of us waking often in the nights, lifting up and hugging these dear ones in prayer. As I witness their faith shining in the darkness of their grief, reflecting the goodness of God, tears come to my eyes – tears of mingled grief at the loss, with joy and peace our Father gives in the depths of turmoil.

Those who personally know Jesus Christ, know also, that His promises are true, not some of the time, but all of the time. Therefore, when He says that He holds our tears in a bottle, it is so. When He says to come to Him with our burdens and He will give rest, He does that very thing. Indeed, when His Word declares, “weeping may last through the night”, it is also true that “joy comes with the morning.” and one day — we will be together for eternity in the City of God where there is no more death or any sorrow. Oh, what a reunion that will be!

With the reading of this, please pray for the Forrester family.

Remember To Forget

I read an article this week by Dr. Rexella Van Impe which both blessed and challenged me. Therefore, I want to share some of those thoughts with you now. She was considering the things about God that we need to remember: His promises, His faithfulness, His love, His forgiveness, etc. Remembering those things are so encouraging and uplifting to our daily walk, but it was the need to forget that captured my attention.

Our arch enemy, Satan, doesn’t want us to be filled with peace and joy. He doesn’t like us to remember God’s faithfulness and love, but there is something most important to him that he loves us to dwell upon, to churn over in our thoughts, to remember always. Our enemy loves us to remember our failures and past sins. Doing so keeps us downcast rather than praising. Focusing on our failures keeps us centered on the negative past rather than the positive future. Our enemy endeavors to keep us looking at ourselves with all our shortcomings, rather than on our Father who says to us in Luke 1:37, “With God nothing shall be impossible.”

The Apostle Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, wrote something most significant in Philippians 3:13-14, “…I focus on one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the Heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” The writer of Hebrews, in 12:1, also said something vital to our victorious walk with God, “…let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Satan wants us to remember our ugly sin, to blame ourselves over and over, to beat ourselves up to the point all joy is lost. You probably agree, but you may understandably be asking, how can I achieve this level of joy and peace when I actually know how despicable I am? The answer lies in the next verse of Hebrews 12:2, “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith…”

You and I cannot easily forgive ourselves. Satan seeks to plague us on every turn, constantly reminding us of our failures at every opportunity. The only way to defeat his attack is to focus, instead, on all the things of God. One of my favorite verses is found in Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

How we live our days, in misery and sense of failure, or in heavenly peace and the joy of being made a new creation in Christ, is totally a matter of the heart. This new year, my prayer for myself and all of you reading this is:

Father, we thank you for Your forgiveness. Thank you for making us new. Old things are passed away. Help us to forget past sins and failures, focusing instead on the truth that, with you all things are possible. I ask the Holy Spirit to help us remember to guard our hearts, to focus on things that are true in Jesus Christ. In the power of the Holy Spirit, help us to remember to forget all that no longer matters, and to remember to focus, focus, focus on everything of God. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen

Have a Blessed New Year everyone!

When Our World Crumbles

I was doing some research this week into Jericho and found it most exciting. Many of you know the story of Rahab the prostitute who hid the Israeli spies, keeping them safe. In exchange for saving their lives, the spies promised that when Israel took the city, she and her family would be saved. Now imagine this: as the army of Israel marched around the city, with sounds of trumpets blowing, the city was overcome in great fear. The reputation of the God of Israel was well known. For six days the Israeli army marched around the city blowing trumpets. It must have been unnerving. Now imagine the seventh day. Once again the Israeli army marches around the city blowing trumpets, but then they also shout! At the sound of shouting the walls begin to shake. Why is that significant where Rahab is concerned? Her home was built in the city’s walls, and the walls were crumbling and falling!

What would you have done? Would you have run outside in fear, hoping to save your own lives? That would have made human sense, but Rahab chose something different; Rahab chose to believe the message of God’s representatives. She and her family stayed put. They chose, in the midst of everything more logical in the realm of human reasoning around them, to be still and trust God. We know they were saved. We also know that Rahab married into the the bloodline of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. Boaz was the son of Rahab who had a son named Obed who had a son named Jessie who was the father of King David. Oh, how she was blessed for her faith in God. Blessings await all who trust in Him.

How was Rahab and her family saved when the walls fell? This is where the research became exciting. In 1907, a German archeologist named Carl Watzinger excavated the city of Jericho. In 1950 a British archeologist named Kathleen Kenyon also excavated the site. They came up with the same findings. They believe it was an earthquake that destroyed the city. The wall in the north, although also destroyed, had an area that was intact. The area was a section of rooms about 8 feet in height. This north wall is known to have been inhabited by the poor and undesirable. Were these the rooms of Rahab, the undesirable prostitute? It is in total keeping with the Biblical account recorded in the book of Joshua.

While this archeological discovery is exciting, what thrills me more is the fact that Rahab didn’t leave. She didn’t run out of her home in terror. The walls were shaking around her, crumbling to the ground. She would have heard the screams of others in the city. It must have been horrific, but she did as the messengers of God told her; she stayed and waited for her salvation. She trusted God to save, even her, with her murky past. God receives all who come to Him, no matter the sin that has grabbed hold. When we come to Him, seeking His forgiveness, He wipes the slate clean, turning our tears into joy.

Today is Christmas Eve. Around the world there are crumbling walls of poor health, death, weather calamities, threats of war, and a list of other equally concerning matters. Even so, whatever is happening in your personal world, no matter that your walls of security seem to be crumbling, remember Rahab. Take her example to trust God in what seems impossible.

This Christmas and throughout the New Year, may we all remember Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Christmas Shepherds

Happiness This Christmas and Always

This past week, for so many in the the US, unprecedented tornadoes brought destruction, grief, and sorrow. Many of us watched the news reports with tears in our eyes, hurting for those who had lost loved ones, their homes, and their livelihoods. It was not hard to empathize with all those hurting because at some time or another in our lives, we’ve all known pain and loss.

During this holy season, contemplating the familiar Christmas story, we are reminded of another who suffered pain. Her pain came in the form of sorrow and shame. Mary had become pregnant. Naturally her fiancé wasn’t going to marry her. What did her parents think? The shame of the innocent, falsely accused, must be awful. Even so, we read something remarkable about Mary. First of all, when an angel from God told her she would conceive by the Holy Spirit and not a man — she believed! I find this fascinating. Mary responded to this news in Luke 1:38, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Mary had an encounter with God and she believed Him. Mary didn’t understand how this would happen, but she believed. Her faith is confirmed when she visits her cousin, Elizabeth, who was also pregnant with a boy who would grow up to be John the Baptist. Elizabeth says to Mary in Luke 1:45, “You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said.” God intervened in the midst of her shame, appearing to her fiancé in a dream and the marriage continued as planned. God loves to intervene in our sorrow, bringing hope and peace and joy in the most unlikely of circumstances.

The definition of blessed is to be holy and happy. Mary was holy and happy because she believed God’s message. It is not any different for us today. When we read God’s promises to us, and believe them, the result will always be holiness and happiness. For all those experiencing pain and sorrow today, God said to come to Him and He will give you rest in your hurting heart. (Matthew 11:28) God said He so loves us that He holds our tears in a bottle. (Psalm 56:8) God said if we call to Him, He will answer and show us great and mighty things that we never knew before. (Jeremiah 33:3) God said He has plans for each of us, plans for good and not evil, plans to give us both hope and a future. ( Jeremiah 29:11) There are several passages in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John that talk about the compassion Jesus had on the hurting. God said He will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) God says He will not leave us without comfort. (John 14:18)

The above are just a few of the numerous promises God makes to us. When we, like Mary, believe them, we are blessed in holiness and happiness.

I hope you have a Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

Never Gets Tired

Many of you who read my blog each week know that our dog, Jack, features in many of my writings. I am continually reminded, through Jack, of important truths that help me face my days. I’m blessed when I know that you are blessed, too, through stories of this silly, funny, sometimes naughty, adorable dog. The next story in the life of Jack took place just a few nights ago.

It had been a particularly busy day. I was tired. Suddenly I see something from the corner of my eye. It’s Jack, his smiling face appearing from behind the sofa, a ball in his mouth. If he could talk in human words he would be shouting, “Play time! Yahooey!”

“Jack,” I say, knowing he understands my every word, “I’m tired.” He’s still standing there with that goofy expectant look on his beaming face. His eyes speak loudly, hopefully, “Let’s play!” I am touched. I get up and take the ball. I roll it down the hallway. Jack takes off at lightening speed, covering the distance in a nano second. He’s back with the ball, that same smiling, tongue hanging out, merry anticipation of the next roll of the ball. This game goes on for 15 minutes before he needs a drink of water. Then it’s finally rest time for us both.

Watching Jack go to his big pillow of a bed on the floor, flopping down in delight, I too, am content. The verse Isaiah 40:28 pops into my mind. “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding.” As I was catching my breath from the rigorous ball playing, I was comforted in the fact that God in Heaven never tires. Jesus never tires. The Holy Spirit never tires. Whenever we come to Him, call out to Him, cry before Him, desire to share our enjoyments with Him, He is never tired. He will never suggest to wait for Him to catch His breath. He is simply always there, a tower of strength, a fount of perfect wisdom, a wellspring of love and peace.

Jack was so pleased I came to him. He didn’t know I was tired. He just knew we spent some great time together. God is pleased when we come to Him, too. He’s never tired, but He understands our weariness, our fears and worries, our successes and failures. As the Apostle Paul said in II Corinthians 12:9, His strength is made perfect in our weakness. What a comforting thought. When we need Him, when we just want to enjoy companionship with Him, He will never be too tired. He enjoys our company as much as we enjoy His. He enjoys our company? Now, that’s a happy thought indeed!

Days of Winter

I enjoy all the seasons, but something about winter I could do without, is the shorter days. When we begin closing the curtains at 4:00pm I feel like I need to go to bed soon. However, on a positive note, because the days are shorter, I find myself doing all I can in the daylight before night falls. Perhaps we all work a little harder and faster as we see the light being replaced by darkness. We want to accomplish as much as possible.

Is it any different in our spiritual worlds? The Light of God’s truth is being ignored. Therefore, we want to do all we can to share the Good News while there is still some light. Overall, people all over the world don’t want it anymore. Darkness has set in. The days of Light have grown short. The darkness of sin abounds and is even applauded while the Light of Jesus is slandered and hated. As days of the acknowledgment of God’s love diminishes, as we grow older in our physical years, we sense desire to work harder and faster. We want everyone to know the joy and peace that can only be found in a personal relationship with the living Christ.

We turn on the news at any time of day and it isn’t good. More murders, more abuse, more immorality, more robberies. Darkness abounds. The world shouts, “we need more education, we need more tolerance for each other’s differences, we need to take away the knives, take away the guns.” The world, whose eyesight has grown accustomed the the darkness, refuses to consider the Light. The Light of God’s truth blinds them and offends them because it makes them see themselves as they really are — naked in futile attempts to be their own gods, when only God’s righteousness is available to clothe us in righteousness for eternity.

The answer to the world’s darkness is not the absence of a weapon in the hand; it’s the presence of God in the heart. Jesus Himself said in Luke 5:31-32, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor — sick people do. I have come to call, not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” Jesus is the Light of this world, to guide us through the darkness, to give us hope in times of despair, to show us the way when paths seems dangerous, to be our lasting joy in a sea of humanity seeking happiness in temporal pleasures. The delights of this world pale in the Light of what Jesus has to offer.

Eternal bliss, forgiveness of everything wrong we have ever done, joy and peace immeasurable, are all ours for the taking. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) If you haven’t called out to Him, I hope today may be the first best day of the rest of your eternal life. We may now be in the winter of our discontent as the writer, John Steinbeck wrote, but eternal seasons of satisfaction and joy is fast on the way. The days of darkness will soon be over. The Light of the World is coming to sit on His throne.

When God Sits With Us

Although my mother and I live in England, we celebrated Thanksgiving Day with great joy. It was such fun being in the kitchen together preparing our special meal. For me, I love this holiday better than Christmas. It’s a time set aside to remember blessings and people for whom we are truly thankful. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year.

The fun of the day deepened as we contacted friends in America and many of them contacted us, too. Although an ocean separates us, the sound of their familiar voices, or receiving texts and messages brought us together. In our hearts the miles no longer kept us apart. We were with them in that moment, celebrating and sharing in that spirit of thankfulness.

This morning, for breakfast, I had leftover potato salad and cornbread dressing. Yes, for breakfast. I’ve done that since childhood. To me, cold potato salad and cornbread dressing is even more tasty when it’s been in the fridge over night. (I confess my breakfast plate was full!) Talking with friends on the day and eating those delicious leftovers the next makes Thanksgiving Day live on and on.

As I was reveling in these thoughts, Psalm 22:3 came to mind, “But You are holy, You who inhabit the praises of Israel.” The Hebrew word for inhabit is yashab which means to sit with, rest with, dwell with. Thinking of this on Thanksgiving Day was extra warm in my heart. Friends and family cannot always physically be with us, but God Himself is. As thoughts go toward my Heavenly Father, toward Jesus, toward the Holy Spirit, He is right there with me. He sits with me, rests with me, dwells with me. He is with each of His children who talk with Him, listen to him, and rest in His presence. Isn’t that a comforting reality.

God is with us always. His very presence indwells us. That is why His own peace is readily available to us at all times. His guidance is right there along with His courage. He never leaves us. I smile with the image of Him sitting with me, resting with me, dwelling with me. That reality makes everyday a day of Thanksgiving.

Language Translator »
%d bloggers like this: