Thursday, April 23, 2015

Be Still So I Can Help You!

This morning I took my dogs for a walk.  Sadie, my bichon poodle, had a loose collar which wedged its way into her mouth like a bridle, as I gently tugged on her leash.  She reminded me of a wild horse kicking profusely.  I picked her up to take her collar off, but she was flailing around so much I couldn’t even get to the release button.  I found myself telling her repeatedly to be still.    

This situation made me wonder, how often do we overreact when something difficult comes our way?  If Sadie had cooperated, she would have been set free a lot faster.   She really prolonged the process by resisting my efforts to help her.

God is always with us in good times and in bad.  We should look to Him when we don’t understand the things that feel like traps to us.   

Here’s some suggestions on how to get through difficult things:

1.             Be physically still.  Go to a quiet place. It says in Psalms 46:10, “Be still and know He is God."

2.             With paper and pen in hand (or an electronic device), write out what is going on.  Let go of the things you can’t change and ask God to help you.  I like to do it in the form of a letter to God.

3.             If there are people to forgive, do so on paper first.  Later if painful thoughts arise, stop the video in your head and forgive verbally to yourself.  Then play another movie instead. Repeat the process as needed. 

4.             Ask God to show you what it is you are supposed to do.  Often “Be still” is followed by an instruction. 

5.             Follow God’s instructions. 

I find often if I let things go on paper, I hear God’s voice much more clearly.  Scriptures start going through my mind, and I find the answers I need.  As a friend put it, “It’s as if the answer comes at the tip of your pen.” 

Some trials are easy fixes like releasing Sadie from her collar, but other times things are more involved and take time.  If you are facing things right now that are complicated, God is still with you.  He wants to release you and set you free.    

Just rest assured, God is working on your behalf whether you can see it or not.  Trust him.  Do the things you know to do and leave the rest to Him.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Joyful in Spite of Trials

James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

Let’s just face it, friends.  The last thing most people consider is joy when going through trials.  They are not fun.  Having our faith tested is the last thing any of us want to do.  

However, I find that focus is everything.  Will I focus on the trial itself or on God, who is much bigger than the trial?  Do I blame God for what is happening or do I just embrace what is happening and make a decision to trust God?

These last few weeks, my husband and I have had an opportunity to have our faith tested.   I know we are not the only ones.  Many in this day and time are enduring trials.

When you are going through tough seasons, what are some things you do to help you through?

Here are a few things that have helped me:

1.              Spend time with God, asking Him to reveal anything that I have done to cause the situation I am currently in.  If He shows me things, repent.

2.              Surrender my life and plans to God, expecting Him to direct my paths.

3.              Ask God to show me what I need to learn and help me embrace any changes I need to make. 

4.              Don’t look back at the way things used to be or be envious of anyone else who seems to be doing well. 

5.          Don't play the "if only" game.  It will not help.  What's done is done.  Concentrate on a solution instead.   

6.              Pray the Word of God out loud.   I have 3x5 cards everywhere and also scriptures in documents on my computer.  Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”  Hearing the Word causes me to feel stronger spiritually. 

7.              Control my thought life.  Philippians 4:8 says to think on good things.  If I am constantly thinking about my trial, I will be depressed.  If I think on good things, I may come up with a creative solution to help me through.

8.              Make a decision to worship and praise God through it all.  Worship music helps.  God is worthy to be praised regardless of circumstances.   
9.              Ask God what and who is on His heart and reach out to others with words of encouragement. 

I was told once that we may not be able to shorten our trials, but we can probably lengthen them by our attitudes.  I do want to be mature and complete, lacking in nothing, so I make a decision today to press on, knowing that God will complete the work He has begun in my life until the day of Jesus Christ.