Doing Life: Okay Lord, Now I Need … a Piece of Chocolate

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Eating_and_drinking_g369-Girl_Eating_Chocolate_p54941.html

“Now it came about that when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious and very angry and mocked the Jews … But we prayed to our God … So we carried on the work…” Nehemiah 4:1, 9, & 21, NASB

I walked into my kitchen and totally forgot what I was aiming to get. (Can this be happening to me already? Sure is … so frustrating!) As my mind scrambled to recall why I stood there, I good-naturedly spoke, saying, “Okay Lord, now I need …” And since I couldn’t recall the item, I filled in the blank with–you guessed it– “a piece of chocolate.” After eating said piece of chocolate, I’m trying now to focus.

Life gets crazy sometimes, and responsibilities bulge like an expectant mom ready to give birth. While God provides the strength and diligence required, I’ve been known to wander in circles before buckling down to work. Distractions, unexpected situations, procrastination–all of these can sidetrack me in my attempts to do what needs doing. Thankfully, God brings me around to the place where I accomplish the necessary. Despite me or life’s circumstances, He always finishes what He begins.

We might face opposition and obstacles on the way, but as long as we press forward with God’s will, we Will. Make. Progress.

Take Nehemiah for example. God called him to rebuild the wall, and he faithfully set about the task. Regardless of others’ anger, belittling, and threats, Nehemiah resolutely carried on his work. He knew what the Lord desired, and he didn’t allow anything to stop him. I’m so encouraged by his example: He prayed … and worked. Prayed some more … worked some more.

Now, I’m not facing anything as daunting as rebuilding a wall. Yet honestly, writing today’s devotion feels like a wall. I’ve struggled for a topic and delayed writing for that very reason. Dishes, laundry, and unpacking have claimed my attention. Then, after finally settling on this passage from Nehemiah, something unexpected–but very worthwhile–arose.

Dear friend, can you relate? What “wall” has God called you to rebuild? Does it stress and overwhelm you? Are others attempting to prevent your progress? We can combat our enemies the same way Nehemiah did: Pray and work. Pray some more … work some more.

And hey–a piece of chocolate doesn’t hurt either :) .

Love to you in Christ as you labor for His glory,

Emily

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tidbits of Truth: Go

ID-100195643

“But you will not go out in haste, Nor will you go as fugitives; For the LORD will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 52:12, NASB

God is moving before and behind us … may we go with Him.

Image courtesy of usamedeniz at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Doing Life: Someone God Can Work With. And Through.

ID-10075996

“For how can I endure to see the calamity which shall befall my people, and how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?” Esther 8:6, NASB

Her heart for her people transcends time. Queen Esther’s sacrificial concern for fellow Jews still stands out, beckoning us to care that much. Or at least some. Any depth of concern for our neighbors, acquaintances, and loved ones is something God can work with.

Recently my husband preached about the Great White Throne, and the truth of this coming day sobers me:

“And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:15

After the service, I thought about a dear man we see regularly. He’s kind and talented, professional and generous. But he doesn’t know Christ. If we as the church witness Judgment Day, I can’t imagine looking our friend in the eye at that time, knowing I didn’t share Christ with him on earth. I can’t imagine the horror of seeing him thrown into the Lake of Fire. Forever…

Because that’s what awaits those who don’t trust Christ as Savior.

Remember Queen Esther? She risked her life to save her people from annihilation. Their existence meant a tremendous deal to her, so she took her feelings and put them into action. Willingly, she spoke on their behalf–to the king. Seeking his help, she pleaded for Jewish lives.

Esther’s desperate request changed everything. Though she appeared uninvited before the king, he responded favorably and allowed defensive measures to be instituted for God’s people. When destruction day arrived, the Jews fought back and protected themselves. Sovereignly, God used an orphan girl turned queen to deliver a nation.

Unlike Queen Esther, we possess a standing invitation to enter our King’s presence. Will we take advantage of this incredible opportunity to plead for those He’s placed in our lives? Do we really care? Are we willing to sacrifice?

I don’t know about yours, but my life feels like an accelerator stuck on 120 mph. Noticing individuals who need Christ and praying faithfully for them–let alone sharing the Good News with them personally–requires time and effort. But if God strengthened Queen Esther to overcome the obstacles she faced, surely He can strengthen us to reach others with the Gospel.

Because Judgment Day is coming.

I want to be someone God can work with. And through. I long to care deeply for others and Do. Something. About it. God will use us just as He used Esther if we yield to His will.

Loving Father in heaven, we bow before Your throne and acknowledge You as the one true God. You are holy, righteous, and just, as well as gracious and compassionate. We lift up the non-Christians You’ve put in our lives, boldly asking You to draw them to Your Son, Jesus Christ. Please save them. Remind us to pray faithfully for these dear ones with Godly care and Christlike love. Speak truth through us, and build Your kingdom as we reach out to others. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Tidbits of Truth: Relief

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/quiet-and-peaceful-white-sand-beach-of-koh-samed-rayong-province-photo-p225259

“The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand.” Psalm 121:5, NASB

When circumstances beat down on us like harsh sun rays, we can find relief in the shade of God’s presence.

Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Doing Life: Pressed

Image courtesy of lemonade at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17, NASB

You never know how good you have it until something’s gone…

Last Friday, my family and I sat smiling around the table at my parent’s home. Friday night dinner at their place has become a tradition this past year, and we thoroughly enjoy it. I was running low on time, so we took frozen pizza and leftover baked ziti. Happily, my parents were pleased with this menu, which also included cake for dessert. Everyone interacted in good spirits, and our time together quickly progressed into a fond memory.

Then my mom fell. This past Sunday, she broke her hip. Our days since then have been filled with hospital visits and today’s relocation to the Rehab Center.

I knew these special Friday dinners were limited. But I didn’t realize until now how it would feel to go from eating together to missing the opportunity to do so. Tomorrow’s Friday … and instead of visiting at my parent’s home, we’ll spend time with Mom at Rehab. I already miss our regular plans.

We’re pressed. Mom can’t care for herself like before, and Dad’s routine has been overloaded with new experiences. My sister and I have been keeping in touch, making sure someone is with Mom as much as possible. Mark and my kids have been troopers, and they’ve given of themselves to cheer Mom in person.

God is SO good. This thought strikes me–if I can re-word my opening statement a bit:

We never know how good GOD is until we’re pressed into desperate need for Him.

I haven’t been able to read the Word much this week or pray like usual. Often while I’m en route I utter sentence prayers, asking God to meet specific needs of the moment. And friends, I cannot tell you how absolutely, perfectly, and wonderfully He has come through Every. Moment.

God’s love and His presence fill us up when we’re empty of all else. He never fails us, and the enormity of His supply is overwhelming. Whether we’re pressed by life’s circumstances or walking in joy, we can’t exhaust the resources God possesses. An awesome God and faithful Father, HE takes tender care of His own.

Much love to each of you in Christ,

Emily

Image courtesy of lemonade at FreeDigitalPhotos.net