Good Times Or Bad?

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!

 

romans-8-28

Everything works for our good?  Really?

So many times when this verse is quoted, it is when something bad has happened to a believer.  Does all of the bad things that happen to believers really happen for good?

The times when we are enjoying the presence of our Abba, Father – those are good times.  When we are serving God and seeing results of truly trusting and following Him, that’s what I call good.

So why do we have to endure the bad things and then be told to trust that God will use it for our good?

R. I. P.

tomb

I have to say that I don’t really like the scary displays that are seen around Halloween.  The ghosts and zombies, headless bodies and tomb stones.   As I drove past one yard I saw a tombstone with “R.I.P.” written in big black letters.  That is seen a lot around Halloween but it is also used at other times when someone passes away.  I suppose it is meant as a tribute to the deceased person.  But when I saw it on that fake tombstone, I thought about the meaning of those letters in a different way.

Rest In Peace.

Do you know we can Rest In Peace now?  As a child of God, we can be filled with His peace on a continual basis.  After all, the Bible tells us that Christ came into this world as the Prince of Peace.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

So how do we get access to that peace?  We gain peace when we:

1.  Abide in Christ.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 5:1 (KJV)

God is a holy and just God.  He judges sin.  Those who have not accepted Christ as their personal Savior are separated from God, warring against Him.  But when we come in faith and repentance, accepting Christ as our Savior, we are cleansed from all unrighteousness and are then at peace with God.

2.  Abide in God’s Word.

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”  Romans 8:6 (KJV)

As believers, we are to allow God complete control of our lives.  As we study His Word and crucify ourselves daily, His Spirit that lives within us will be evident in our outward behavior.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.”  Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV

3.  Abide in His Promise

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27 (KJV)

It’s not easy to live a Christian life in this world.   But Christ promised that we are never alone.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 (KJV)

4.  Abide Within His Commission

“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”  John 20:21 (KJV)

Jesus told the disciples that we are to go into the world and share with others the good news of salvation.  But we don’t have to go in our own strength.  He will equip us to do everything He asks us to do.  He didn’t promise it would be easy, but He did say that His peace would go with us.

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7 (KJV)

5.  Abide in the Ultimate R.I.P.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”  Revelation 21:4-6 (KJV)

I think this verse sums it all up.  We can rest in peace for all eternity.

I have never really liked saying, “RIP,” like many people do when a person has passed if I don’t know their spiritual condition.  The condition of a person’s heart, whether or not they have been saved, determines where the person will spend eternity when they die.

If they are a Christian, then they are immediately in the presence of Christ.  However, if a person is lost, they are immediately separated from God forever.  We can call that person’s name out and say, “RIP,” a million times, but if they were not saved, they will be forever in torment with absolutely no possibility of ever experiencing peace again.  In their case, it is completely useless for us to wish for them to rest in peace.

But for the Christian, it’s a totally different story.  We get to experience God’s peace even in the midst of this sinful world and then we get to be at rest in peace throughout eternity when we die.

So, are you resting in God’s peace every day?

But an even bigger question is – When you die, can R.I.P. be written on your tombstone?

Just Like Her Daddy

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today (June 20, 2016) over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!

Who Do You Resemble?

“He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”   John 14:9b-10 (NASB)

I remember once when my first born daughter was around 8 months old.  I went to the grocery store and she was riding in the buggy.  A lady came up to me that I didn’t know and said, “She has to be a Hahn!”

Of course, I was a little taken aback, but smiled and said, “Yes.”

She began laughing and told me she knew my husband and his family and that when she saw my daughter, her red hair, fair skin and facial features, that she had to be a part of that family.  She was right.  Many of the grandchildren in the family look so much alike that people would say they are siblings or that they look just like one of their aunts or uncle more than the parent that is not of that family.

Then you have resemblances that are based on characteristics or mannerisms more than physical features.  When our children were small, if one of them did something they needed to be corrected for, I would tell my husband they were acting just like him!  Of course he would say they were acting like me.

Our Dwelling Place

Tree

We had a tree to fall on our house last Friday.  Just saying that sentence still causes my heart to race.  We are filled with so many different emotions.  We are thankful we were not at home when the tree fell.  We are thankful that, despite the damage and possibly having to move out temporarily when the repair work starts, we still have a home to live in.

But even in the midst of everything, there were some things that happened that definitely proved God was in control.

The massive tree split in two sections.  The first, smaller half (as in approximately 2.5 feet in diameter) fell on our carport.  Our neighbor called my Dad, who lives just five minutes away.  By the time my Dad got there, the other, much larger half (5 to 5.5 feet in diameter) of the tree fell on our house.  As my dad began to walk up to see the damage, the tree was still moving, settling down from the fall, and it was just at that point our alarm system went off.  Had my Dad been there just a couple of minutes sooner, he would have come all the way up our driveway to view the first half that had fallen.  He would have been right in the path of the second part of the fallen tree.  God fully protected him from all harm.

The second thing that happened sounds simple, but still we are giving God the praise for it.  Several years ago, our daughter had a miscarriage.  We bought a small bird bath to sit outside our kitchen window as a memorial for the baby.  We have so enjoyed seeing numerous birds come to enjoy the bird bath.  In fact, there were so many birds that used it that it had to be filled back up with water every day.

Saying It Right

I will Say Pic

Do you have specific memories that have stayed with you of a specific person so that when you hear that person’s name, that one memory comes to mind?

I have a neighbor who recently passed away.  Her name was Mrs. Mary Jane Chestnut.  She was an elementary school teacher and I had her for math.  The main memory that comes to mind about her was a specific exercise she had our math class to do.  She was a stickler for properly speaking numbers orally.  She would call on a student and write a number of more than 3 digits on the overhead (if you remember overhead projectors and writing on transparencies, as I do, rejoice in your old age!)  The student would then have to say aloud what the number was without saying “and” within their words.

For example, if she wrote the number 10,486, you would have to say, “Ten thousand, four hundred eighty-six.”  The tendency of most was to say, “Ten thousand, four hundred AND eighty-six.”

It seems like a simple exercise, but it fooled us all of how hard it was.  The funny thing was that you could see the concentration on the student’s face as they tried to speak the number.  Most of the time, they would think they had spoken correctly when in fact they had inserted the word, “and.”  We had to continue doing the exercise until everyone avoided that simple word successfully.

Expectantly Waiting

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today (May 4, 2016) over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!

Jeremiah

Endure The Waiting

This verse in Jeremiah 29:11 is one many people, including myself, have claimed as a promise from God.  We hold onto that promise to get us through whatever situation in which we find ourselves.  But what about Jeremiah 29:1-10?  If you were told that you had to wait 70 years before that promised hope and a future occurred, would you still be filled with excited expectation?

Waiting is not one of my strong characteristics.  I’m guilty of always looking to the future instead of just living in the moment.  I’m either anticipating something good that I know is coming or I’m going through a rough time that I’m hoping will soon end.  The waiting for that exciting thing to happen or waiting for the present trouble to end isn’t easy.

The Book of Jeremiah isn’t exactly a real uplifting part of the Bible.  The people of Israel were exiled from their homeland because of their continual sin.  God had warned them repeatedly to repent, but they didn’t.

The End Of The Rainbow

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today (April 18, 2016) over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!

Rainbow

After The Storm

“Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.”   Genesis 9:14-15 NIV

 

I vividly remember a time when my family was in our car and we drove through a very heavy rain.  When the downpour ended, we saw a beautiful rainbow.  It was right in front of us and then we drove right through the end of the rainbow!  A prism of color appeared all around us and even the inside of the car had a majestic glow.  Then just as quickly, we drove out of that cloud of color and continued down the road.  However, I hate to inform you that we did not find a pot of gold!

The amazing feeling of being enveloped in the rainbow’s glory has never been forgotten.  I would like to think that when Noah and his family first saw the rainbow God placed in the sky, they were also filled with awe.

However, before they were blessed with the sight of that rainbow, Noah and his family had to endure a great storm.

Love Is The Reason

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today (April 1, 2016) over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!

 

Experience The Love

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.   2 Timothy 4 7-8 (NIV)

I’ve never been good at sports, but I am looking forward to watching the Olympics this summer.  I enjoy hearing the personal stories of the athletes.  It is easy to tell they love their sport with a passion to have to endure the hours and hours of work.  They look forward to the end result of their work by striving to win their competition.

I enjoy quilting.  It takes hours selecting the pattern and fabric, cutting the fabric, sewing the pieces together, then quilting the top to the back, which I do by hand.  The reason I spend so many hours working on a quilt is because I anticipate seeing the joy on the faces of the people I give the quilt to.  That goal gives me the incentive to do the work.

The reason most people work so hard at a particular activity is for the end result.  Yes, there is joy to be had along the way.  I enjoy the creative process of quilting.  Athletes enjoy the thrill of their sport.  But the ultimate goal is to finish, and finish well.

Who Has Time To Rest?

He Will Meet our Needs

“Getting Away From It All”

And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)  They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves.”   Mark 6:31-32 (NASB)

Do you ever wish you could just take a time out from life?  Life is so busy and every moment is filled with work, errands, home and family responsibilities.  Moments for rest seem to be few and far between.  And it’s not just the busyness, but it’s also the people we have to deal with.  As Christians, we need to be an example to others when facing challenging situations, but that can lead to stress, too.

We often just want to get away from it all.  Even the Psalmist said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest.”  (Psalm 55:6 NASB)

Here are some things we can do to help us face all the madness. 

That’s Life!

Being broken can be a good thing… if it draws us closer to the Healer

God Sees Our Brokenness

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.  Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.  Psalm 147:3-5 NKJV

One day when my daughter was younger, we were discussing some disappointments we had.  Those things were not really big issues, but to a teenager, everything seems to fall into the “major events” column.  I made the comment, “That’s life.”  Neither of us really liked that statement of reality.  After that though, when we found ourselves complaining over things that were not all that important, we began to tell each other, “That’s life, Jack!”  It would help us laugh, and put things in perspective.

But sometimes there are major events we have to face.