Bible · Calm · Chaos · christian · Christian Devotion · faith · peace · purpose · Spirit · Uncategorized · worry

The Calm in Chaos

Calm in Chaos

Have you ever had one problem and made an effort to resolve the problem, only to find a bigger one develop?

That happened to us. Our dishwasher broke. We bought a new one. I woke up to puddles all around the dishwasher, but I hadn’t even run the new dishwasher yet. It didn’t seem to be a big deal until we went to the first level and noticed that water was pouring onto the carpet from the ceiling, and the wall and carpet were destroyed. ServPro has been here daily to remove our hardwood floors, sink and drywall. It’s a real mess. To make matters worse, nobody wants to take responsibility for the mistake. The installation people say it’s a defective dishwasher, and the dishwasher company says it’s the installation company’s fault.

My husband and I have been on the phone and sent numerous emails, trying to get the issue resolved. Of course, I just want our home restored back to the condition it was in before we got the new dishwasher. Sometimes, life is just like that. We have a problem, and on the journey to resolve the issue, other problems and challenges arise. What do we do in these situations?

One major thing that I’ve noticed is that patience is very important. We want things resolved quickly, but the truth is, some things just take time—sometimes, a lot of time. We just have to go through the process. If we rush to try to fix it, we aren’t allowing God to fix it. When He does a thing, He does it well.

I was at the point of almost wanting to yell at an impolite customer service representative. It may have been very justifiable to get angry, but my lack of self-control and patience could’ve had a bad outcome for us. Remember in Numbers when Moses was in the wilderness with the Israelites? God told him to speak to the rock and water would spring forth. However, Moses got angry with the people and struck the rock (and water rushed out).

God gave Moses clear instructions, and he disobeyed them. God also gives us clear instructions as to how to conduct our lives in His Word. In the midst of our issue or problem, we can’t justify our behavior based on someone else’s bad conduct or actions. In Moses’ case, he was frustrated by the people’s complaining. I’ve been frustrated with the dishwasher and service people. Think about it. What are you angry or frustrated about? It doesn’t matter what it is. There is still no excuse. God’s Word calls us to be patient and longsuffering.

Moses also took credit for water coming out of the rock. God is the one who provided the miracle. We have to think about it? Our way out of problems and issues in life is Him. When there is a solution provided, He deserves the credit.

When we have problems, we have an opportunity to show others the love of Christ. Instead of me angrily going off about the problem, I should’ve been peaceful and patient.

Moses and His people never saw the Promised Land in Moses’ time because of his disobedience, pride and anger. We have to be careful not to make mistakes in the midst of problems that can put us in a much worse situation.

I’m resolved to work through this dishwasher fiasco with the love of Christ anchoring my feelings in the right place. As a side note, it looks like some repairs and remodeling that we’ve been putting off can finally be resolved. If we stop to meditate on His Word and His will in the midst of chaos, He will show us the good that can come out of any seemingly bad situation. Chaos can catapult us into greater. Don’t trust me on it; trust Him!

Trusting Him with you,

MaRita

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Bible · christian · Christian Devotion · faith · peace · purpose · Spirit · worry

Higher Heights, Deeper Depths

 

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 3:17-19

 

I admit it. I’m challenged by the mere thought of heights (I’m trying not to use the word afraid as a woman of faithJ), which is why I didn’t like the idea of stopping off for a little mini-vacation on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  There are certain areas where I haven’t allowed my faith to reach maturation, and this is one.  In a household of all males, I’d never be outvoted on this one. I sucked it up, grabbed a latte and a dose of courage as we traveled up the mountain in the dreary weather.

While we followed the trail, I wasn’t fearful at all.  We passed markers along the way giving us historical information about this location and that while we laughed and took pictures. I forgot that we were going up the mountain. It didn’t feel like we were ascending, but when we came off of the trail, I realized that we’d reached the pinnacle. I hadn’t even felt the incline. My guys all remarked at how breathtaking the view was, and I agreed, but in a much different way. My stomach dropped when I realized that we were so high up.

It got me thinking though. What would our problems, challenges and fears look like if our focus stayed on the right things?  While we hiked up the trail, I was focused on the nature around me and just enjoying time with my family, not my fear of heights. For those reasons, I made it up the mountain without worry. In that same way, we are all bombarded with problems, great and small, but we should take the time to consider what our focus should be.

It’s only natural for a trial to have our attention. Sometimes life’s trials are so consuming, we can’t turn a blind eye to them.  The reality of the problem seems overwhelming. We may try to figure out why it’s happened and strategize for a way out. If we can’t come up with an immediate solution, we can feel distraught, depressed, and either make a decision out of impulse or become stagnant out of fear.

Most of us know that we should turn to God, cast our cares on Him, and pray about everything, including problems and obstacles. However, how do we focus on God in the midst of trying to make a difficult decision? How can we keep our eyes fixed on God’s promises when there seems to be no way of escape? And how can we be at peace when unrest is all around us?

Initially, grappling with these questions have brought me plenty of sleepless nights. The what ifs have made me feel like a dog chasing its tail. I would have a day of peace and the next day be right back wrestling with the same problem. Sometimes life throws us situations that can shake our faith if we allow it. We don’t see God intervening the way that we expect–even after we’ve prayed, fasted, and meditated on His Word.

I’m convinced that during these times, we have to keep doing all that we know to do is right. We must keep praying, fasting, meditating–in the midst of the doubt. We have keep doing these things until our spirit, soul, mind and body is in alignment with God’s will and timing. We have to refuse to allow our feelings to dictate our behavior!

We have to remember that when we get through the test, we will be at another place in our faith if we keep pressing forward in Him. We will reach a higher height and deeper depth in our faith, which will bring us to another level of peace and joy in Him.

In Ephesians 3:17, Paul instructs,

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.

We have power when we are anchored in His love and even more so when we fellowship with other believers. This power equips us, even in the most difficult times, to grasp the height and depth of His love us. He loves us. His love sustains us and elevates us above life’s many problems. We have to silence the noise of our issues, and hear His voice. We are His children, and He has not left us. The peace in the valley that we have access to is ours, but we must know that He loves us. His divine purpose for our lives will not be altered as a result of the test. In fact, we are catapulted to our purpose when we go through the test. He told us that if we seek Him, we will find Him.

Knowing that God’s “love surpasses knowledge” is something that has kept my faith in check.  He allows things to happen that don’t always make sense to us, but accepting that He knows and loves us can give us the assurance to quell the anxiety, questions, and fear. When we come up the mountain and through the test, we will find ourselves in a higher place in Him and His love.

Trusting Him with you,

MaRita

 

Bible · christian · Christian Devotion · Employment · purpose · Uncategorized

Working with Purpose

 

“90% of adults spend half their waking lives doing things they would rather not be doing at places they would rather not be.”

Why We Work, September 2015 (Simon & Schuster/TED)

I ran across this article about the reasons why we work, and overall, the statistics are daunting.  Many people aren’t spending most of their time on earth doing things that they find meaningful, fulfilling, and engaging.  However, the reality of the situation is that if we don’t work, we don’t eat, right? (2 Thessalonians 3:10)  While a small percentage of us have jobs that we find meaningful, most don’t. How can we navigate through life when, out of necessity, we have to do things that we don’t want or like to do? How can we push through everyday tasks when we don’t feel like they’re part of our purpose?

When I was young, I remember my father having us help him to take large stones from one side of our pond to the other.  We carried heavy stones, loaded them into a row boat, and unloaded them, only to carry them up a hill to their final destination.  I had no idea what my father intended, but when the task was over, the landscaping looked beautiful. We all felt like the effort had been worth it, but we didn’t have the vision or insight to see what our father saw.  I’m convinced that sometimes life can be like this very simple illustration.

We have to trust that God knows our desire to please Him and to fulfill His purpose in us.  When we have a heart for Him, regardless of what our immediate placement is, He can use us and fulfill His purpose in us. It’s always toughest when we can’t see what’s up the road and we don’t understand the whys.  I know that I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and push the panic button more than a time or two when things just didn’t make sense. However, we can’t cave in to what we see. When we do this, we have the inclination to sin. We want relief so we gravitate towards what we think is gratifying. For example, gossiping, sexual sin, alcohol or drug abuse, negative attitudes, bitterness, resentment, etc. can be a result of us caving to our feelings and not clinging to His Word.

One verse that I live my life by is found in John 15:2. Jesus says, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes so that it may bear more fruit.” Many times we might think about bearing fruit by simply imagining all that we can and will do for others, but I think it’s more.  We have to mediate and reflect about ourselves first. I’ve had to ask myself, what is your relationship with Christ bearing in you? We must ask ourselves daily if we are being obedient to His Word. Are we loving another? Do we have peace and joy? Are we patient, forgiving, kind, gentle, good? Do we have self-control? And, if we don’t have love, how can we have any of the other fruit?

Fulfilling our purpose doesn’t always mean leaving our jobs to do something else. Sometimes we have to stay right where we are, and it can feel wrong but be right in the Lord’s plan for our lives. Part of our pruning process may involve doing things that we don’t understand, but if we always keep our hearts and minds in sync with God’s plan, we will have peace and find purpose in any place in our lives.

Our fulfillment and joy has to be found in relationship with the Lord first. Period. Any other order is out of order. We don’t do God a favor when we go to church, read our Bibles, or give service to others. We do these things out of our love for him and our desire to please Him, but God is pleased when we trust Him and obey His Word. This seems simple but can be very challenging. There is always the temptation to put other things before Him, but worship has be a lifestyle. We have to lift Him up and seek to please Him. When we commune with Him, the evidence of what’s within us will flow outward to others.

People can feel the authenticity of those who are in fellowship with Christ. They light up their jobs. They brighten gloomy situations. They are positive but real. They are quick to listen and slow to speak. They are compassion, but stand for injustice and avoid cliques. They don’t brag about the good they do, but they do good. When we have a heart for Christ and a Christ-like attitude, we are working with purpose and on the mission that God has given us, regardless of our station in life.

I pray that today God will supernaturally reveal His purpose in where He has you right now. Psalm 119:105 lets us know that His Word is light to our path and a lamp to our feet. In the dark places, He will show us how to proceed and help us to work toward our divine calling.

Praying with you now and always,

MaRita