Here we are in not only a new year but a new decade. I honestly did not think I would see 2020. I also did not see me still in a state of transition. I get down and feel like I have lost vision because “it has taken too long” to move into the work of love God had fired up in our hearts or painful events have distracted me.

But God…. Has a plan and a purpose for everything that comes. God can use anyone or anything to remind us that He is faithful and has not given up on us no matter how hurt and distracted we become.

As Christians, we hear the question “Why do we have trials or troubles?”. “Why does God allow bad things to happen to me?”

Even as Servants, teachers, leaders and pastors we all experience trials that we don’t understand the why.

Today, God dropped into my Facebook, a video teaching from Joyce Meyer regarding this very topic of trials in our lives and 4 purposes of these trials.

Joyce laid out points of thought for this topic that has given me an attitude adjustment and exposed my own distraction from the faith that God knows what He is doing and what it will take for me to be effective for His purpose and kingdom. We would like to share this with you, may it touch your heart and mind to persevere in the process. 

Paraphrasing the list:

1. Keep us humble – When all always goes well, we build the attitude of pride or judgement of others and forget our need of God, our provider, healer, comforter and so much more. (2 Corinthians 12:7)

2. It is not about what God should do for us but who He is.
(2 Corinthians 1:8, 9)

3. To test and strengthen our faith, even remind us that faith is essential.
(1 Peter 1:7)

4. To equip us to help others. (2 Corinthians 1: 3, 4)

As I listened to her words it brought to my mind the story of Joseph in Genesis.

Genesis 50:20, here Joseph’s brothers showed up in great need and found Joseph in charge of that which could save them. The brother they had sold into slavery, they were afraid to face him for what he might do to them. 

I recommend reading from verse 15 -21. Joseph had experienced great trials and yet persevered in faith and understanding that God is faithful and will use the trials for good and showed forgiveness and mercy to his brothers.

Satan would rather Joseph sent the brothers away to starve and die. But God used Joseph’s trials to bring him to his destiny, for He knew what was to come and that Joseph would meet their need.

Glory to God that He still uses our trials to perfect us for His glorious purpose that we would not have accomplished any other way.

As for “trials are a punishment”… Even though we may experience consequences by our own decisions or someone else’s, what the enemy determines for evil and destruction, God makes for good.

God can and will use our trials and if we take advantage of those opportunities. Those trials will build within us strength, perseverance and compassion that one day we will help others. 

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Painful Relationships

I grew up in a time where we had very limited TV programing. We had 4 channels, ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS. Each were off the air around midnight and on at 6am. Signing off and on with the national anthem. One station in particular, during the 10pm news would ask “Parents, where are your children?” Now a days, it could be, “Children, where are your parents?”

Anyway, much of the programming was family oriented, where families were loyal, supportive and usually in agreement. Helping each other without grumbling.
I see many friends with their near perfect families, hanging out together, communicating well, always respecting each other.

As I have grown older, my children have also grown now with families of their own, and my parents are aging and need more help. Over the last many years my husband and I would spend a good amount of time making sure things were getting done.

Come to find out I am not an only child, but was acting like it. I felt things were not happening so I did them. When I started making some bigger decisions or encouraging bigger decisions I needed to include the other members of my family. Just because they were silent did not mean they did not have input. Unfortunately I brought a large old wound to the surface that I did not realize existed in my family member.

Wow….They were very angry and as a result I felt excruciating pain that created knots in my heart and stomach.

It took a bit for me to be still and listen to my Father God. He let me know He loves me, that I am special and He has me. He reminded me that things happen to people, even those we love, that effect the way they think and act. Things I had no idea about. Things that may not have been shared, until now. I have to realize that when others lash out at me, it may not have anything to do with me, I may be just a convenient target but that does not mean that I should be a punching bag. Even though I may never know the root of their pain, I am to love them, apologize for my part, set boundaries and may need to keep my distance, out of target range, until things cool off. I need to  work through and release the hurt I have felt in the process. All meanwhile, because life goes on, do the things that I need to do.

A precious friend shared with me that all families have some level of dysfunction. Even those who seem to have it all together. It is all in how to get past the situation.

Our current circumstances are just that. They are temporary, and may not be what they seem. Here are a few great passages to refer to when things go sideways.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:7, how he and his lived by faith not by sight.  This was not just when they felt like they needed it, but as a way of life.

We are also told not to lean unto our own worldly understanding. Read Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Thirdly “we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world.” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT) We are not fighting our friend or family member but against the evil that is using them, their hurts and or fears or even our own hurts and fears.

I cannot change anyone but myself. So to change the pain I feel I must change how I think. What God says of us is more important than what anyone else thinks or says. I have been the queen of “people pleasing” and when someone was angry with me or did not like me, I was crushed. I have found that to please everyone all the time is an unrealistic expectation of myself or others that will only lead to disappointment and pain.

Most importantly I need to be focused on pleasing God. Be ready, this may not be popular with some people.

Now I look at those family programs I watched as a kid compared to the reality shows we see on TV now-a-days. They tended not show the reality of family dynamics in an attempt to let people feel good, maybe as much as the reality shows now over-exaggerate relationship dynamics for a whole other feeling of anger, aggression, lust and judgement, whatever sells.

When we hurt or have anxiety about a situation, we are to first seek God as our provider and our fortress and give our worries and fears to Him. Also remember we have the Authority, through Christ Jesus, to give notice to satan and his minions, he cannot have our family or friend and to leave them alone in Jesus name. AMEN!

A fitting Prayer could be…. With a little twist….

Grant me the peace to accept the things I cannot change
Patience for the things that need time
To take action to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Let Them See You

It is really easy to go along in our day not thinking about how our attitude, words and actions effect those around us.

What do they see when they look at us and see us in action?

I hear music frequently throughout my day at work and today I walked into another department playing a popular national Christian music station. Mind you I work in a secular health care facility. On the radio a song by JJ Weeks was playing…. Let Them See You.

Please make the opportunity to find it and listen.

I stopped and sang along quietly. As I sang and listened to the words my heart broke. I asked myself, in my actions and words today, are people able to see God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit in me? Was I walking in the Love of God or was I grumbling? Was I blessing or was I cursing? Was I seeing the good or only the bad? I cried in the elevator on my way back to my own department.

We need to stop and evaluate ourselves, our thoughts, words and actions. At work or at home is God visible in our lives or are we walking by the world’s standards. Are we pointing people toward God or away from Him, especially those who are closest to us, our families?

My prayer: “Let them see You in me…”

Daddy’s Little Girl

All children need a daddy or solid father figure. Daddies with daughters have a special responsibility.

I was talking with a friend at work recently about the importance of both parents in a family. She made a statement to the young dad in the room, how she said it, was so profound I asked her if I could post her comment.

She said, “As a Daddy you need to dance with your daughter, tell her she is beautiful, treat her like a princess because she will one day drag home a boy just like you.” Wow…. This is a truth that too often dads don’t understand in their own youth and ignorance regarding their daughters.

Because girls, as they grow up, need to know what qualities to look for in a man and in turn what to avoid. Be the example that they see and experience, so they can recognize the good and right for themselves as adults. This not only applies to girls but to our young men. They need to know how to treat a woman, how to be a gentleman, and find a woman that will allow them to be a gentleman.

Manners, etiquette and respectfulness is something that our culture is convincing our young people is outdated, passé and unnecessary. Wow is all I can say to that.

We want our children to have strong and safe relationships. They need to know what that looks like. The example we set in their childhood will make a deeper impact than anything we tell them later. Now we also need to understand that we can only do what we can do. As adults, it is up to our children to make good decisions using the training and wisdom they got as a child.