Bullies & Bus Drivers

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“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” Romans 8:31, NASB

Rudely he removed me from the seat–perhaps even pushed me to the floor. I was only five or six years old. The bully insisted I took his seat on the bus, so he made certain to retrieve his place. Unbeknownst to me, maybe that was his assigned seat. Either way, a mistake or an intentional offense didn’t warrant his ugly response. But you know what the worst thing was? I told the bus driver about the situation, and she told me I shouldn’t have sat there in the first place.

I’ve never forgotten that feeling–the loneliness of not being defended. Not having someone on my side. Made to feel as if I was in the wrong though I had been mistreated.

Can you relate? I believe all of us long to be understood and supported. Often we are, but sadly, many times we’re not. Occasionally we open our hearts and find criticism rather than support. Instead of feeling like at least one person remains in our corner, we feel alone.

But we’re not.

Although such scenarios can cause tears to weave down my face, I’m thankful for times like that because they drive me into Jesus’ arms. He loves me. He understands me. And He’s for me.

“But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me” (2 Tim. 4:17).

Dear friend, are you yearning for someone’s understanding and support?  The Lord is standing with you, strengthening you. He’s by your side … on your side.

What a comforting, beautiful truth.

“There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24).

Friendship comes in many varieties, and every single friend offers different blessings. We thank God for these precious people and the myriad of ways they positively impact our lives. Yet even when friends fail, the Lord never does.

So many years later, my struggle isn’t with forgiving the bullies of life–but the bus drivers. Today is a great day to start. Will you join me?

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Tidbits of Truth: Courage

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photo credit: 祈求 I Pray via photopin (license)

“Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.” Daniel 6:10, NASB

Courage is displayed in many forms, but it usually starts on our knees.

Prayer Partners: Not Enough … More Than Enough

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“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23, NASB

 

Loving Father in Heaven,

You are my Maker, Creator, Sustainer. I know that, but so often I don’t appreciate it.

When was the last time I thanked You for the breaths I breathe … the sights I see … the sounds I hear? They’re from You. Raindrops rippling the pond and frogs calling outside–signs of life Bursting. All. Around me.

When did I last recognize the value of feelings? Whether pleasant or painful, what a gift to feel instead of pining away in numbness.

And people, God–all the special individuals in my life–they overwhelm me. Created in Your image, their existence blesses me.

Breathing stills. Hearts stop. Just like that. We can’t control the number of our days any more than we can count the seashore’s grains of sand. While other lives have ended–lives of seeming much more worth than mine–here I sit, safe and warm … and not enough.

Not enough gratitude, not enough passion, not enough service.

But Christ.

You are enough to fill my thankless heart. Enough to ignite the embers therein. Enough to strengthen and motivate.

Lord, You’re more than enough to pour through me. Make my life a testimony to Your wonder-working abilities. Use me despite me, controlling me by Your Spirit and accomplishing Your purposes through my life.

I give You my life anew–this life that really isn’t mine … but Yours.

In Jesus’ Worthy name, Amen.

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Tidbits of Truth: Light

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photo credit: After the gardening via photopin (license)

“Thy word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.” Ps. 119:105, NASB

Confused or misguided? God’s Word keeps us out of the dark.

No. Matter. What.

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“And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Timothy 3:12, NASB

Strange dreams have entered my sleep the last few days. Some have been downright odd and amusing, but the one this morning greatly disturbed me. Though I can’t remember it exactly, I do recall waking in the dark with a tangible sense of dread. In my gut. The uncanny feeling that persecution is coming–that it will affect me personally–filled me with fear.

Perhaps this fear emerged into my sleep because I read a news headline containing strong words from Franklin Graham. He warned Christians in America that persecution is coming … here. Scaring me deep into my being, I fear for myself and even more for my children. Evil seems to increase with each passing day. Anxiety within grows as I consider the reality of suffering for Christ at others’  hands.

Scripture clearly pairs persecution with Christianity. I’ve pondered how 2 Tim. 3:12 applies to me because of all the freedoms and blessings I enjoy in America. God’s people throughout the world suffer immeasurably, but their experiences remain news I hear or read about. Honestly, I can’t say I’ve ever been persecuted.

But I’m not supposed to fear it. Maybe God is preparing me, however, so I’ll be ready when the time comes. Understanding the Greek word dioko, which is translated persecution in English, helps me. According to the Blue Letter Bible, it refers to the following:

  • to make to run or flee, put to flight,  drive away
  • to pursue (in a hostile manner)
  • in any way whatever to harass, trouble, molest one
  • to be mistreated, suffer persecution on account of something

All of those definitions sound horrible. But just now as I typed, the last four words clicked: “on account of something.” Of course, when God brings persecution my way, it will be on account of JESUS–my beloved Savior and Lord. Grasping this truth comforts me.

Dear friend, we won’t suffer without cause. Our pain won’t be worthless. Bearing the name of Christ is of inestimable value, and “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).

Thanks for joining me in sorting out my thoughts. Surely Christ will never leave or forsake us (see Heb. 13:5). Whatever form of persecution God brings our way–whether it involves ridicule, troubles, or physical harm–God is with us. As we trust in Him, He will enable us to stand firmly for His glory. And that’s my heart’s desire.

No. Matter. What.

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