Tag Archives: Critical Illness

Be a Rainbow in Someone’s Cloud

Standard

IMG_9287

“What a wonderful God we have—He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy,and the One who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does He do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us.”

2 Corinthians 1:3 – 4 (TLB)

God is the Father of Compassion and the God of all Comfort. When we go through trials and heartache, He comforts and strengthens us. But that’s not where it ends.

Like one-the-job-training, when we experience difficult circumstances, we become uniquely equipped to help others who might be experiencing similar hardships. While some might see failure and loss, God sees divine qualifications to be used mightily for blessing others. Our painful struggles give us a vocabulary to encourage and support other people who are going through the same things, and our despair allows us to empathize with their difficulties. When you view life’s anguish through God’s perspective, your miseries can be turned into your ministry.

Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud today!

“Think of the kindness you wish others would show you; do the same for them.”

Luke 6:31 (VOICE)

The Bridge to Your Brightest Tomorrow

Standard

Bridge to the brightest tomorrow

 


“The deepest pains may linger through the night,
    but joy greets the soul with the smile of morning.”
Psalm 30:5b (VOICE)
 

When you’re in the clutches of an agonizingly painful situation, it’s easy to focus on your suffering and lose sight of the bright ray of hope emerging on your horizon.  If your world is falling apart the difficulties you are experiencing can be overwhelming. Every thought is filtered through a sieve of pain, pressure and misery. Jeremiah was going through a tough time, too, and here he gives a vivid description of how he was feeling ~ including the One thing that pulled him through:

“Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wandering makes me miserable.
That’s all I ever think about, and I am depressed.
Then I remember something that fills me with hope.
 The Lord’s kindness never fails!
If He had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed.
The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.
Deep in my heart I say, “The Lord is all I need; I can depend on Him!”

Lamentations 3: 19-24 (CEB)

It’s understandable that you might be depressed if you continually think about your troubles. But if you turn your attention to the God of Hope and reach down deep into the depths of your heart to say, “The Lord is all I need; I can depend on Him!” ~ your pain will be displaced with seeds of heavenly hope, which will grow into His divine joy, the kind which greets your soul with a smile. Remind yourself that God can use everything in your life for something good…even the darkest nights and the deepest pains.

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18(MSG)

When There Are No Words

Standard
 
 
photo 
 
 
Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights.
No one said a word to Job,
for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.
Job 2:13 (NLT)
 
 

Have you ever seen a friend or loved one suffering so greatly that the situation was too difficult for words?  You wish you could do something to help, but there’s noting you can do or say that will make things different or take the terrible pain away?  Often when the trouble is so extreme, we don’t know what to do, so we simply do nothing.  Yet in the book of Job we find a great example of what to do for a friend who is suffering like this:

 Three of Job’s friends heard of all the trouble that had fallen on him. Each traveled from his own country—Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuhah, Zophar from Naamath—and went together to Job to keep him company and comfort him. When they first caught sight of him, they couldn’t believe what they saw—they hardly recognized him! They cried out in lament, ripped their robes, and dumped dirt on their heads as a sign of their grief. Then they sat with him on the ground. Seven days and nights they sat there without saying a word. They could see how rotten he felt, how deeply he was suffering.  Job 2:11-13 (MSG) 
 

When Job’s friends heard of the tragedy that had occurred in his life, they all came together to be with their friend.  The distance didn’t matter to them.  What mattered was the fact that their dear friend was hurting, and they gathered to keep him company and comfort him.  When they finally got to their friend’s side and saw his terrible condition, they were overcome with grief for him, and they wept with him.  And even though there was absolutely nothing they could do or say to take away Job’s pain or remove the torment he felt, they simply sat by his side for seven days and nights without saying a word.  This was one of those times in life when no words were necessary…just the silent, comforting presence of precious friends.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

who comforts us in all our troubles,

so that we can comfort those in any trouble

with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1: 3  – 4

A New Perspective

Standard

IMG_4440

The Lord helps the fallen

and lifts up those bent beneath their loads.

Psalm 145:14 (NLT)

As I awaited departure for my flight home, I worried that my trip would be delayed or cancelled due to the ominous appearance of the brewing winter storm.  The dark, billowing clouds matched my dreary mood.  Thankfully, the flight took off as scheduled, and we ascended through the turbulent mass of clouds.  For a while, I saw nothing out of my window seat view except gray wisps of thick foggy vapor mixed with icy rain droplets streaking across my window.  As the plane punched through the cloud ceiling and reached its cruising altitude, I was blinded by the glorious light of the setting sun.  My spirit instantly brightened, and it amazed me to think about the stark contrast of this majestic site above the cloud canopy, compared to the gloomy conditions below.

This experience reminded me of how often we allow burdensome circumstances in life to weigh us down and make us feel that we are “bent beneath our loads.”   Our outlook is gloomy because we only focus on the worrisome details of our lives, and we lose sight of the fact that the Son is up above us watching over every moment of our day.  He cares about our burdens and wants to lift us up and give us a new perspective.

“In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came to His ears.  He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under His feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness His canopy around Him— the dark rain clouds of the sky.  Out of the brightness of His presence bolts of lightning blazed forth. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters.”  2 Samuel 22:7,10-13,17

Your distress might be in the form of financial struggles, a health crisis, career concerns, parenting issues, addiction battles or relationship strife.  But regardless of what load you are carrying, it can be overwhelming.  God listens to each whispered prayer, and your cry for help reaches His ears –He loves you and He wants to help.  He will lift up those bent beneath their load.  He doesn’t always completely remove the burden, but by lifting your focus from doom and gloom to His majestic glory, your soul is strengthened, and you will have renewed stamina to keep moving forward.

“…the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.”

Psalm 146:8 (NIV)

Do Not Fear…God Is Here

Standard

Image

“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.

For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;”
I will help you.

Isaiah 41:11;13

My Precious Child,

No matter what you are facing, don’t be afraid or intimidated.  Don’t be discouraged or dismayed.  As you walk through the “wilderness” of the world, there’s no need to fear because I’m your God, your Heavenly Father, and I’m always watching over you.  Don’t panic.

I’m the Friend who will never leave you alone or forget about you.  I’m right here by your side.  When you feel too weak to go on, I will give you the strength you need to endure.  I will help you through this. I will hold you up and support you.  I won’t let you fall. I will hold your hand with My firm grip.  I’m not letting go!

Believe in My promises to you. You have nothing to fear.

Love, your Heavenly Father

Trust that God is big enough to supply anything you need:  comfort when you’re in pain or grieving, healing when you are sick, safety when you face danger, compassion when are heart-broken, friendship when you are lonely, support when you are weak, courage when you are fearful, provision when you are in need, and never-ending, limitless love and grace to all.

Soul Fuel

Standard

photo (37)

“You may never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have.”

~Corrie ten Boom

Do you ever feel like your life is running on empty?  It’s as though you don’t have the strength to face the next responsibility, or the next crisis, or even the next moment.  This is especially true in certain seasons of life where the overwhelming trials and difficulties seem to be rolling in as constant as waves in the ocean.  Your strength is zapped, and you feel so weak that you can’t imagine moving forward on your own power.

The great news is that God’s children have a constant and limitless power source.  We can refuel our lives each moment of each day with God’s divine power.  When we are totally empty of our own strength, we can become wholly filled and flooded full with God Himself!!  He wants to fill your life to the brim with His grace and love.  When we are strengthened with His Spirit in our inner being, we can do anything!  (“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13)  So if you feel empty and weak, pull into God’s “refueling station” and ask Him to fill you full of His heavenly “soul fuel.”  There’s never a shortage, and it’s always free!

“But the Lord said, ‘My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power.'”  2 Corinthians 12:9a (ERV)

“For this reason I kneel before the Father…I pray that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  Ephesians 3:14 – 19 (NIV)

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”   John 3:30 (KJV)

Walking Unfamiliar Paths

Standard

dry falls picture

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,

 Along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;

 I will turn darkness into light before them

 And make the rough places smooth.

 These are the things I will do;

 I will not forsake them.”

Isaiah 42:16 NIV

I recently participated in a team building activity in which I had to wear a blindfold and allow a member of my team to guide me through a difficult maze. The goals of the activity were to build trust among team members and to emphasize the importance of good communication in a situation where one member is totally dependent on another for guidance.  At first the ground under my feet was flat and grassy, but as the exercise progressed I had to navigate through a “mine field” of obstacles and rough terrain, where one misstep could have meant disaster.

I remember the feeling of total helplessness when I first placed the blindfold over my eyes.  Even though I was in the middle of an expansive, grassy field, I felt unsure of my surroundings, and my balance was compromised.  I was frozen in my tracks until I heard the voice of my teammate instructing me about which direction to move.  At first I was very tentative with each step I took.  Even though my guide was right next to me, telling me to move forward, I would carefully slide my feet from one spot to the next, ensuring that my footings were sound, still relying on my own senses. 

By the time we advanced into the maze of obstacles, I had become accustomed to the voice of my teammate and felt the bond of trust build between us.  I trusted that he would not allow me to move in the wrong direction, and I realized the importance of carefully listening to his commands telling me exactly where to place each step.  I noticed that my balance was improving, even though the terrain had become more difficult to traverse and the blindfold was still in place.  I could tell that I was no longer in a grassy field, and there was a mix of earth and rocks under my feet, but I felt more confident with each step I took.  My attention focused completely on his commands and not on my own senses.

Upon successfully navigating through the maze, I took my blindfold off and looked back at the course we had just completed.  I couldn’t believe that I had made it through such a difficult set of obstacles without one misstep.  Throughout the exercise, my trust had grown in my teammate, but it grew even more when I was able to visualize what he had just accomplished with me. 

Lately in life, I feel like I’m blindly navigating through difficult and unfamiliar situations.  I have been praying for God’s guidance, but I have also been trying to rely on my own senses to traverse this rough territory.  I feel off-balance and unsure about the path I’m traveling.  I am fearful about the future because of the uncertainty associated with this journey.  When I read Isaiah 42:16, I remembered the lessons I learned from the blindfold activity, and I realized that I needed to completely TRUST my Heavenly Guide and listen for His voice to instruct me along the way.  I especially love the MSG translation of this verse:

“I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way, who can’t see where they are going.  I’ll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country.  I’ll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don’t fall into the ditch.  These are the things I will be doing for them – sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute.” 

Isaiah 42:6 MSG

How awesome it is to know that my Heavenly Father is taking me by the hand and leading me through this unknown territory.  He is my personal guide who promises to turn darkness into light before me and make the rough places smooth.  Just like the teambuilding exercise, my confidence will grow as I place my trust in the voice of my Divine Leader.  Even though I am blindly walking through unknown situations in life, by listening to His commands, I will confidently move in the direction of his guidance.  By reading his Word and communicating with Him in prayer, the bond of trust will strengthen between us, and I will be able to discern His voice and instruction.  I will not doubt the direction in which I am heading, and fear and worry will fade.

While He does not promise to remove the difficult situations from our lives, He does promise to be our personal guide through the rough terrain.  If you are traveling a similar path in life, imagine yourself wearing a blindfold and listening to your Heavenly Father’s commands concerning each step you take on this journey.  He will take you by the hand and lead you along this path, and He promises that He will never leave you alone. 

Listen carefully to His voice and follow His commands.  TRUST HIM!