Friday, February 21, 2014

Life Puzzle

Have you ever wondered what God's will is for you?  If you have been a follower of Christ for any length of time, more than likely you have heard Jeremiah 29:11 quoted: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." That is a beautiful verse, and it is true.  Some people point out that this verse was given specifically to the Jewish people, therefore, it is not one that Gentiles (non-Jews) can Biblically claim today.  I agree that the verse was written directly to the Jewish people, but I do think that it is applicable to ALL believers still to this day. After all, God does not change.  God does know the plans He has for us, and He confirms throughout His Word that His plans are for our good.  However, this verse is not what this post is about.

As I read my Bible, I mark key words and passages so that when I come back to find something, it is easily recognized due to the specific markings I use.  One key thing that I look for as I read are places where it is clear what God's will is for me. I simply outline the passage in purple and color it in with orange.  It's amazing how often God tells us what His will is!  Take the book of Ephesians for example. This book has multiple places where the writer, Paul, clearly tells us what God wants us to do and how He wants us to do it.  In chapter four, verses 1-3, he says:

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."  (emphasis mine)

Then in verses 25-27, he instructs:

"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.  'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." (emphasis mine)

There is more in chapter four that I highlighted, and practically the entirety of chapters five and six!  And this is only one book of the Bible!  Christian, we truly are without excuse when it comes to knowing God's will for us! 

Now I know that you might be thinking, "Sure, it's easy to know God's will generally speaking, but what about specifically? How am I supposed to know what God wants for me to do and how to do it?"  Let me just say that the more I read the Bible, and the more consistently I follow the general will of God, the more He reveals the specifics to me. 

Just this morning as I finished reading through Ephesians, I went back and re-read all that I had highlighted. I began to talk to God about it and He gave me a mental picture.  I saw myself putting a puzzle together.  God showed me that the highlighted passages in my Bible are the same as the border pieces of a puzzle.  As I complete the outer edges, it is easier to begin on the rest.  Each time I read God's word and obey the passages that I understand and know are His will for me, another piece of the puzzle is put into place.  This picture made me smile, as I pictured Jesus sitting there with me, helping me to put the puzzle together.  It was a pleasant and enjoyable thing, not one where I got frustrated and scooped all the pieces back into the box.  I thanked the Lord for helping me with the pieces, and I prayed that once the puzzle is finished, that anyone who is standing around to see the final product will see a picture of Jesus Christ Himself!

Dear Friend, I pray that you will ask God to help you with your life puzzle.  He truly desires to work with you one-on-one.  He has given you His Word to let you know the what and the how.  Take time each day to search His Word.  Make a point to find those passages that will give you another piece to add to the border of your life puzzle, and enjoy the process of Christ filling in the rest alongside you.

Ephesians 5:10, "find out what pleases the Lord." 


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Yesterday's Regrets

Toiling within,
Feeling inadequate,
Tied up in knots.

No one to blame.
Yesterday is gone.
Regrets remain.

Knowing, yet not believing
Things don't really matter.
Internal struggles rage war,
Mind and spirit wrestling within.

Light ahead, 
Legs dead weight.
Hope calling out, 
Body resists.
Not wanting to be left,
Too tired to try again.

This started out as a simple vent of mild frustration with my not excelling in certain areas of my life. However, it took a darker turn.  I kept it just because I thought it was something that others could relate to because I have been in a dark place before. 

I thought about trying to make it end on a happier note, but there are times in our lives when we simply need to express those unhappy thoughts.  We just need to let it out there, and in doing so, most often than not, what we're really doing is fishing to see if someone, anyone else has an inkling of our despair.  Well, I do!  BUT, I also know that there truly is hope.  There really is a way out.  There is Someone Who not only knows, but has come out of the other side and offers LIFE - abundant life! (see John 10:10) Jesus Christ is my Redeemer.  He is my Healer.  He is my best Friend!  I am so thankful that He didn't allow me to stay in that dark place, but pulled me out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock! (see Psalm 40:1-3)

If you can relate to the poem I shared, I pray that you will eventually call out for Jesus, if you haven't already.  If you ever need a listening ear, I am available.  I might not have all the answers, but I'll be glad to listen, and if you like, share my journey. 

There is Victory Over the DarknessJesus is  The Bondage Breaker.  There is freedom in Christ