Friday, September 10, 2010

When We Seek God

“You will seek me and find me when you

seek me with your whole heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

When I was a girl, the kids in my neighborhood used to play “Hide and Go Seek”. One person was chosen as “it”. He or she would hide their eyes and count to 100 by ones. The rest of the group would run and hide wherever they could. When the counter would get to 100, he or she would yell, “Here I come ready or not.” While “it” searched for the others, they would try to get to base without getting caught. Sometimes the searcher would yell out, “Olli, Olli, Oxen Free,” and then something about those still out can come in without getting caught,

The seeker in the game had to have sharp eyesight and had to run fast in order to catch the other players.

When we seek God or his guidance, we have to involve our whole hearts. What does this mean?

Does it mean we come humbly? We have to come knowing God has the answer we search for. We have nothing to help us except Him.

Does it mean we come honestly? We have to come before Him without pretense. We may even have to acknowledge that we are sinners.

Does it mean we come repentantly? Once we tell the Lord of our sinful state we should express our sorrow and ask His forgiveness.

Does it mean we come expecting an answer? We come to God. We lay our pleas before Him. We wait for His answer. We accept His answer, even though the outcome maybe tough. We accept His answer because He is God and He knows best.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Laughter, A Gift

You turned my wailing into dancing;

You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy;

That my heart may sing to you and not be silent.

Oh Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.

Psalm 30:11-12 NIV)

I went through a prolonged time of sadness. I almost forgot how to laugh. A friend invited me to fill in for one of her relatives at a three-day Christian event. The relative found out she couldn’t go and had paid for her ticket and her part of the hotel room.

Some of the speakers at this meeting were Christian comedians. I found myself laughing right along with the rest of the audience. On the second night, my friend came to me and said, “It’s good to hear you laugh again.” The strange thing was I didn’t realize how long it had been since I had laughed.

About six weeks later, we were at church and taking part in a Thanksgiving Eve service. Each of us had to state five things we were thankful for. One of mine was the gift of laughter. I told those present that night about the experience of realizing that I had practically forgotten how to laugh.

Nowadays, I look for things that make me laugh. In Proverbs, it says: “Laughter makes a merry heart.”

With the Internet jokes, some of my close friends, and the newspaper comic strips, I find ways to make my heart sing when I laugh.

I still give God thanks for the gift of laughter these fourteen years later. Have you had your laugh today?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Trials and Travails

We are hard pressed on every side

but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down,

but not destroyed. 2 Corinthian 4:89

The scripture describes how a lot of people feel these days. The unemployment rate is in double digits. Those needing to support families are doing hauling jobs and parking cars at sporting events in order to feed their kids.

People face illnesses they haven’t had to deal with before. Every day we hear of more families dealing with a loved one’s health issues. They struggle to understand what they need to do to help the patients through the ordeal.

Believers find it more difficult to express their faith in the world. In certain settings, in the season we celebrate our Savior’s birth the workers can’t wish a customer a merry Christmas unless the customer initiates it. In my last job, I had to remake a calendar listing the dates we would be closed in December and January because I had included an image of a Christmas tree and the words, “Merry Christmas” on it. It seems that the year before one of our patrons had gotten offended. To her, Christianity was a cult.

In spite of all these seemingly harsh times and they way they appear to us, we can overcome them. God will show us a way to conquer these times of financial uncertainty. Our Lord will lead those of us through uncharted territories of family or personal illness. He will help us express our faith and will reward us when we do.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...