Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Always a Blessing in the Burden...

I came across this writing from a few years back... my heart was prodded to share it today. I needed the reminder, but maybe someone else needed it too:

How do you look at burdens, disappointments, illness? Do you ever feel sometimes that as a believer you should not ever see yourself as being burdened?  Can you see the good in burdens that we may face?  I know I started with a lot of questions… where do I find the answers? 

When I started thinking and praying about writing this devotional, I had no idea where God was going to take me.  The words “burden” and “blessing” kept coming to my mind.  In fact I had previously posted something on my other blog titled “Burden or Blessing” not realizing that this was the place God wanted me to go for this devotional.  The first verse that comes to my mind when I think of burden is:

“Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; 
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved." ~ Psalms 55:22 
         
No matter what we may be going through God is always there to carry our load if we will just give it to Him.  How can a burden be turned into a blessing or better yet how do I let God turn a burden into a blessing in my heart and life?  When the dreams and plans we may have for our lives just don’t go the way we think they should… how do we take that burden, that disappointment, that hurt and let God work His miracle to turn it into a blessing.  It just amazes me to see how God can take ashes and make something new out of them. (Isaiah 61:3)

Everyone has a story and this is mine... For years I carried a burden with me.  It was so personal and I “suffered” in silence most of the time, but anyone that really knew me knew it was always there.  I felt at times it became my identity… the burden of never being able to have a baby.  Many, many tests were done, but still no real reason for the infertility… no reason for the emptiness… no reason for the loss… no reason why I couldn’t give my husband a child.   For a long time I kept asking why God would allow such a thing to be a part of MY life… I always have done my best to live for Him… why did I have to carry this burden when I wanted to be a mom so badly?  I got plenty of unsolicited answers from so many people, but I never really got the answer I was looking for from God.   

I would often think of Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

I know I was born with the desire in my heart to be a mother.  I also know God gave me that desire.  Then why when I was “delighting myself in the Lord” was He not giving me the desires of my heart?

I never did receive an answer to that exact question, but what I did receive was that if I had a willing heart to trust that God knows best, He can change the desires of my heart. He can relieve the burden of the loss of my dreams.  And yes, He can even turn this burden into a blessing

You might ask where is the blessing.  The blessing comes from me surrendering my desires to His way in my life.  Psalm 37:5 goes on to say, Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” 

That is a promise from God… a God who never changes (Hebrews 13:8)… a God who never lies (Hebrews 6:18)… a God who will never let me go. (Isaiah 41:13)  It may not be my plan but it is God’s plan.  This is a favorite quote that relates to this, “It is dangerous to mistake my wishes for God’s will.”

Satan hates it when we can find the blessing in the burden. One of our enemy’s greatest weapons is discouragement… if I allow him to take that burden and add his lies and deception, then he has got me right where he wants me. He will use discouragement and discontentment to turn my heart away from God and all the blessings God has for me.

How do I combat when Satan wants to bring up that hurt and try to turn it back into a burden?  I praise & worship God.  I am not saying it is always easy, but I do know that God has already won the victory and I am so thankful I am on the winning side.

These are a few verses that help me praise God in those difficult moments.  I pray you will meditate on them and that you find comfort for whatever burden you may be carrying today.

"I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.  He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the LORD.” - Psalm 40:1-3 

“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” - Psalm 31:24

“The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.” - Psalm 29:11 

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.” - Psalm 28:7 

I pray that through God’s leading I will be used to be a blessing to someone today. Giving God all the glory, in Jesus’ Name. Share this with someone that may need to read this today too.

Questions to ask yourself:

Has there been a time in your life when you thanked God for a burden?

Share how God has turned a burden into a blessing in your life.


What do you do to get through those difficult moments?

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Focus Not Fog...

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.   ~ 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Do you ever have those times when anxiety seems to creep up on you for no real reason? I find that the busier I am the less anxious I tend to get. There is always cleaning, decluttering and organizing to do, but… I love it when it’s done, but I have to be in the mood to do it! 

I joined a group once for decluttering and putting perfectionism out of my life, called FlyLady. One of her articles was talking about driving in the fog and how if I get antsy and overwhelmed while trying to clean and organize my home it is like driving in the fog. 

I was thinking about how it is the same when I let my thoughts and emotions overwhelm me and cause me to be frustrated in my life spiritually! I take my focus off God and put it on the junk going on around me or the thoughts and questions I have going through my head.  I am guilty of using distraction to keep me from staying on task! Anyone else have that problem too??? I listen more to the enemy’s voice in my ear than the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart.  

There is no good way to get through my day in a fog… maybe fog stands for Free Of God??? WOW! Why would I want to live a life in FOG?  I don’t!  Waiting… being still… trusting is soooo hard for me to do so many times.  I have always been a doer and I know God has spoken to my heart about that so many times in the past.  Maybe this time I will actually learn something.  

The anxiety can so easily build up in me because my flesh says God is not moving quickly enough… He is not showing me the next step… He is causing my frustration and loneliness.  But in my spirit I know none of those things are true.  In these times I have to take a deep breath, confess my unbelief, and remember it is not about me anyway!  It is my fault for taking my eyes off Him! Don’t be like Peter when he stepped out of the boat. He was walking on water while he kept his focus on Jesus, but what happened as soon as he looked away? (Matthew14:22-33) God’s timing is perfect!  How many times does the Bible say to be patient?

Remember… if you are standing firm in your faith… then courage, strength and love should come more easily... it’s a good way to see what you are really standing on. Focus on Him!

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Friday, May 19, 2017

No Fretting Allowed...

I pray quite often about trusting in God for the plans He has for me... how that
even though I do not know what in the world He is doing in our life situation His plan is to prosper me, not to cause me harm, to give me hope for a wonderful future.  How about you? Once again, I need to remind myself of the things I do know so I don’t let myself get frustrated about the things I don’t know.  I was thinking how not knowing is a really hard part for me, but if I did not trust the One who knows it all, that would be the hardest part and my biggest mistake!


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. Jeremiah 29:11

Psalms 37 has come up a lot this week… today verse 7 especially jumps out at me, Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.”  

I have to rest in the Lord and His promises! I get to wait patiently for Him! No fretting! I must keep my eyes focused on Him and not on what others maybe doing around me!  Fret… one of the definitions is “to wear away or corrode the surface of something, or become worn away or corroded.”  When I fret it does start to wear away my joy… it does cause my “shininess” to become dull.  And after awhile I will be all pitted and corroded, like when you use coarse sandpaper on shiny metal.  Fret is just a different word for plain old worry!  I don’t want to be a fretter or a worrier!

Praying for each one of you that have come across my blog today... may God open up your heart to all that He has for you... and most importantly to trust Him! Remember... NO FRETTING!

Rejoicing in Truth, 
Carin

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Shining in the Dark...

I was reminded this morning of a very dark time in my life. It was 7 years ago, my mom was very sick, and I was not able to physically be near to her. There really was nothing I could do anyway, expect pray of course. It is so scary when darkness comes in the form of sickness… it feels like it will swallow you up. I was also reminded that on this same day my heart was prodded to thankfulness! Thankful that no matter the circumstances of life… I am loved by a great God who never leaves me alone… not even when the darkness surrounds me.

When you walk into a dark room, what do you do? Do you cry and complain about the darkness or do you take action? Do you search out the light-switch or light a candle? And where is that flashlight when you need it??? You could sit in that dark room with the source of light right there waiting for you to connect the power to light, or you could reach out to the light and let it illuminate the room!

What a picture this is! As followers of Christ we have the source of light always with us… not just the source, but the actual Light! When the world around us seems to get darker and darker… that is the time to let His light shine the brightest! How do we connect the light in our lives?
                ~ Abide in Him! Stay close to the Son and the warmth of His love! “I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” ~ John 15:5
                ~ Be in the Word! The best place to connect to the source of light is in the living Words of God! “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” ~ John 1:14
                ~ Identify yourself by what God calls you! Christ proclaimed that His followers are the light of the world because we have Him living in us! “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see you good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:14-16
                ~ Declare God’s Truths over the dark situation! In those times when I do not understand what is going on in my life… I always know I can claim God’s promises and what I do know to be true! Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” ~ Mark 10:27
                ~ Experience calmness and peace even in the dark. Even when the light is not shining as brightly as you might hope… redirecting your thoughts to praise and thankfulness to the Father can help to make the darkness not seem so dark. “Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” ~ Psalms 30:4-5

Life is not easy! Good news… the darkness will not swallow you up! Even on those days when you feel like you barely have a spark left… that is enough to light up the darkness! Just ABIDE… Abide, Be, Identify, Declare, Experience! And watch the light grow brighter in you… bringing Him glory!

“On this mountain He will remove the veil of grief covering all nations. He will swallow up death forever. The Almighty Lord will wipe away tears from every face, and He will remove the disgrace of His people from the whole earth. The Lord has spoken.” ~ Isaiah 25:7-8

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Monday, April 17, 2017

Never Been…

It was another Friday morning, but not just any Friday morning… it was “Good Friday”. Reading in Matthew 26:36-56… the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane praying to His Father
for strength to get through what He knew would be a horrible experience. Jesus was fully man, but also fully God… cannot even imagine how much anguish He was in with what He was to face.

This led me to think about the times in my life where I anticipated what was to come, but of course not really knowing what was going to actually happen. Although, my imagination can give me a very screwed-up representation of what might take place. You know the “what-if” game! I knew some of you are champions at this game too!

A few years ago, when I was going through some very hard, uncertain times I wrote this and it came back to my mind as I contemplated the above scripture:

I’ve Never Been This Way Before
It seems so unclear… the path I am asked to tread.
Finding comfort in the details would be a great help.
No facts are revealed.
All I know is… I’ve never been this way before.

I see all that is impossible.
Your Spirit within opens my eyes to all things possible.
You show me You are doing a new thing.
So that is why… I’ve never been this way before.

I will blindly follow You, Lord.
Each expectant step I take led only by Your Light.
Can I plan? No!
I must trust You because… I’ve never been this way before.

One day rolls into another.
Earthly time can be unkind.
Answer Lord! Do I stay or go?
I don’t know, cuz… I’ve never been this way before.

The frustration sets in so many times.
Uncontrollable tears flood down my face.
Fear, worry, anxiety… oh my wretched flesh! Why is this so hard?
Because… I’ve never been this way before.

Faith of a child sounds so simple.
You hold the best plans for my life in the palm of Your hand.
Trusting You should be easy too!
Even tho… I’ve never been this way before.

In Your arms I find comfort.
In Your Words there is peace.
You are my hope.
No matter that… I’ve never been this way before.

Crying out to God to know more, to understand more.
In a sweet whisper I hear You say, “I know.”
He knows… that is all that matters!
He knows… I’ve never been this way before, but He has.

I don’t think I have ever shared this publicly, but I believe now is the time! It is very personal for me, but I hope it helps someone else that may be struggling today!

At the Good Friday service at church, we were asked to write down the truth against a lie you believe about yourself and to nail it to the cross at the front of the church. My truth was, “I am complete to accomplish all God has called me to do through Christ Jesus.” I will not let my feelings of inadequacy hold me back!

Remember… You are not alone!

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Shhhh...

I need a word of encouragement today… and just maybe you do too! So many times you have heard, “God is Love!” Which of course that is true, but I have a little secret to share with you… God is Peace too!

Life can be so chaotic! Family, work, bills, health, and the list goes on and on! Just living life, trying to get through another day… we all get it! Each of our circumstances maybe different, but the chaos is there, none the less! You might just want to crawl back in bed and pull the covers up over your head… but face it… that really is probably not an option! (Although??? Hmmm… Nope not an option!)

I know… just let “life” or “adulting” stop just for a little while! The thought of just retreating into that place of your own personal paradise… shut the noise off, close your eyes, sleep till the sun comes up (the next day), or a massage??? Yep, a massage that might be the answer! No, wait, I got it… a big, warm chocolate chip cookie… that would hit the spot! Wouldn’t it?

In Philippians 4:5-7 it says: Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

Ok… so now is not the time to retreat! Now is the time to march forward! God is the God of your past… He is the God of your future… let Him be the God of your present too! It is in grabbing a hold of Him, now in life’s chaos, that we can find that He is Peace!

Like it says in 1 Corinthians 2:16b: But we have the mind of Christ. (ESV) Transforming our “stinkin thinkin” to renewing our minds in Christ Jesus. Will you join with me? Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or dread the day for the Lord, the God of your present, goes with you. He will never leave you or reject you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

One more thing… changing our mindset must start with this… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if there is any excellence, or anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned, received, heard, and seen… practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

Rejoicing in Truth!

Carin

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trade-In...

I find myself taking my life for granted too often... it is not a pretty picture of the women I know I was created to be. I do have the best husband in the world (for me)! I don't say that to brag or cause envy... I say it because it always hasn't been this way, or rather I didn't
always see it this way.

For the first few years of our marriage… it was a different story. Oh, we were happy! We got along good, but there was always something in me that wanted more… wanted him to change to suit how I thought things should be! Little did I know back then… it wasn’t him that needed to change it was me!

I was reminded of a conversation (wrestling match) I had with the Lord about trading my expectations for who I wanted my husband to be for me, to live with trust in God for who He would bring Luke to be for Him! Trading my expectations in for a life of expectancy in God!

Things did change… radically change… the change was in me, in my heart! When I surrendered my expectations it freed me up to pray for my husband in a whole different way. To be perfectly blunt… God had shown me that He (God) did not need me to butt my nose into His business… He was more than qualified to handle anything that needed handling with my hubby!

So let me ask you, do you pray for your husband? Do you have a long list of things you want God to change in him… a “shopping list” of sorts? What would happen if you started to pray for your husband from a point of expectancy and not a point of expectation??? Wonder what the difference is… “expectation” is having a certain outcome in mind; while “expectancy” is from a heart of hope, releasing the outcome from any expectation.

You know Father God sees your husband in a total different light than you! He sees him for who He (God) created him to be. We all have flaws and sin… we are all human after all, but no matter what God has a plan!  Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.” This verse is speaking to you, but it is also speaking to your husband.

Maybe life isn’t where you want it to be. Maybe your husband isn’t even a Believer yet. Don’t give up! Give in! Give in to let God do the work on your heart and his! Ladies, we need to treat our husbands and pray for them from a point of where God knows they can be and not where we think they should be. Isn’t that what praying and believing is about? Praying over your man with faith!

Now go to Psalms 1:1-3, in your quiet time begin to pray these words over your husband or future husband if you are not yet married. Blessed is (your husband) who walks not the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the path of sinners, not sits in the seat of the scornful; but (your husband) delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law (your husband) meditates day and night. (your husband) shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever (your husband) does shall prosper.

The change can start in your heart immediately, but be patient… keep trusting the Lord! There are great things in store! Believe it!

Dear Lord, I lift up every person reading this to You… may they find the joy that comes from trusting You completely! I pray against the attacks on marriages, fill them up with Your grace and Your power. Help them to show the grace and mercy to each other as You have shown to us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Rejoicing in Truth!
Carin