Vacation Lessons

Hello world….ok well at least the few of you who do read the blog, yes I am back. My husband and I were on a short vacation and I felt that it was more important to focus on our time together, since this was the first real vacation we have had now that our children are grown, than on making sure I had a blog post ready to go. I have to say that we learned or were reminded of several lessons and of God’s greatness while on our vacation.

Our trip took us about 4 1/2 hours away from home so we drove to save money. We left late on Tuesday and stopped when we got tired. The first lesson I learned is that when I am tired I do not exactly exhibit the fruits of the spirit. I use a popular app to book our hotel rooms, so I was utilizing it after midnight to see where we could find a place to lay our heads and get the sleep our bodies were beginning to seriously crave. I booked the room, but was having a hard time because it would not allow me to book for the exact night since it was after midnight. Anyway, we get to the hotel and walk in. It had gotten a descent review from travelers, but it did not look or smell the cleanest. The gentleman at the desk was less than accommodating (did you see what I did there?) and indeed was rude and nasty. Instead of calmly explaining the workings of the app that I had used, having me cancel the present reservation and taking us as a walk in, he decided that it was his duty to tell me how ignorant and stupid I was for not understanding that the app had made the reservation for the following night. My husband and I decided that it was our time to leave. I was angry and had increasingly lost the ability to “love my neighbor as myself”. We traveled a little further down the road to the next city, found a hotel that was in the same chain and a nice older gentleman displayed, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control all while finding us a room. He helped me regain my ability to have patience when dealing with other humans.

We arrived at our destination on Wednesday, after a few stops along the way just because we could. We settled in to a very nice room that had a little kitchenette that aided in our ability to save more money by purchasing food at a local grocery store. We were then able to either return to the room for all our meals or pack a lunch and snack for our adventures further out. We had decided to visit West Virginia. We reside in Pennsylvania and I love to explore the United States rather than traveling abroad. I had been through West Virginia and stayed overnight, but never explored any part of it. We stayed in Morgantown which is the home of West Virginia University and some of the hilliest roads I have ever seen! Even the university is built around this hillock filled hamlet. The first two days we explored all around where we were staying. We fed giraffes at Hovatter’s Zoo, we saw glass that had been created and fired many years ago there and went to the West Virginia Botanic Garden where we walked around the reservoir and were warned about sightings of bears and then checked out some of the buildings of the university.

On the third day we drove to Seneca Rocks which left us in awe and wonder and pondering how anyone could deny the majesty of God when looking at this beauty as is stated in Psalm 65:6-8, “6 Who establishes the mountains by His strength, Being girded with might; 7 Who stills the roaring of the seas, The roaring of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples. 8 They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.” We also visited and toured a cavern in a resort called Smokehole which can be found in the depths of the mountains surrounding Seneca Rocks, and then to Blackwater Falls where we walked up and down over 400 stairs.

If you needed to disappear this would be the place to do it; no cell service, wide open spaces and a depressed economy, but beauty that takes your breath away. While the rock formations and the mountain air were wonderful and a complete demonstration of God’s ability to create something out of nothing the lesson that came on this day was while we were in the car, not admiring the grandeur. Traveling out to Pendleton County we found ourselves on windy mountain roads that had us hoping the brakes would not overheat or we would meet our demise rolling down the mountain. We also were amazed that there were no highways as we know them to be, and there are very few straight roads and if they are straight it’s only because they are going up or downhill. We stopped at a very nice park and had a lovely picnic lunch before coming upon Seneca Rocks, maybe that is why we hadn’t paid much attention to the time we spent traveling there. On the way home was another story; we were tired, and in need of rest, so we started back “home”. It felt like we had been traveling for days, the GPS never seemed to move and the roads all began to look the same. I looked down at my phone which we were using for directions and we had only 33 miles to go yet it was going to take us an hour to drive that distance; twice the time it would take us if we were at home!FullSizeRender

THAT is when I was stupefied by the thought that no matter how fast I would like the time to go to be able to get to the hotel, take a nice hot shower and rest while watching “Fixer Upper” we were not going to get there until we had completed the drive necessary in the place that we were. In other words; all in God’s timing.  I am not good at waiting for God’s timing to come about, but in the car 33 miles away from our destination and no faster way to get there I was forced to comply. It was quite eye opening to realize that if I could be patient enough (ok not really patient, but close) to not start crying over the distance and time required to meet our goal while trapped in a car, then I could do it when I was not at the mercy of West Virginia roads. Quite a revelation for me.

Who knew that God could teach even the simplest of lessons to understand, but hardest to comply to on a windy road in West Virginia, on vacation with the love of my life.

Woebegone

I began thinking yesterday after I wrote the blog, and then a friend mentioned something to me that made me really delve a little deeper into it. Even though for some in the Christian faith depression can be a taboo subject there are examples of many in the Bible who suffered great despair and I would venture to say even depression.

David a man after God’s heart showed his despair in many  of the Psalms. Crying out to God in Psalm 13:1-2

How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?

How long will You hide Your face from me?

2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,

Having sorrow in my heart all the day?

How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

David asks a question that I have been known to ask myself, “How long?” How long is this feeling of __________________(insert feeling here) going to last and why am I feeling it? God never left David, but David felt like He had.

Moses grieved of his people when he came down from the mountain top and the Israelites had lost their minds (really who thought a golden calf would be a good idea?). Moses had come down after speaking with the Lord to find his people in complete chaos and sin, who wouldn’t be depressed?

Jeremiah who was known as the weeping prophet was constantly rejected by his people and left alone to his own devices which could most assuredly leave a person feeling defeated and despondent.

Paul when speaking in 2 Corinthians 1:8 said, “For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; ”

Jesus even showed his anguish in Mark 14:34-38

34 And He said to them, My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch. 35 And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. 36 And He was saying, Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will. 37 And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Job whom we know to have suffered great things even asked in Job 3:11

11 Why did I not die at birth,

Come forth from the womb and expire?

Now if anyone had a right to despair, other than Jesus, it was Job…geeze the dude never caught a break. He suffered more affliction than I ever want to see in 10 lifetimes. In Job 3 verses 20-26 his misery is evident, “20 Why is light given to him who suffers, and life to the bitter of soul, 21 Who long for death, but there is none, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures, 22 Who rejoice greatly, and exult when they find the grave? 23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, and whom God has hedged in? 24 For my groaning comes at the sight of my food, and my cries pour out like water. 25 For what I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. 26 I am not at ease, nor am I quiet, and I am not at rest, but turmoil comes.

These were not people to be scorned, they weren’t people God stopped loving in their distress, nor did He leave them by the wayside because they could not see, for those moments, that life had a meaning or a purpose or even that there was a life to be lived. God does not leave us in our affliction so why should those in our home churches or brothers and sisters in the faith? That does not mean that we cannot, as brothers and sisters in Christ, help point to the worth in life, that we cannot emphasize that this too shall pass, or that things will get better. That the depression that some experience is situational and will change as the pressure lifts and the realization that we are not  forsaken sinks in.

Paul in 2 Corinthians when he despaired of life continued on and said in verses 9 & 10, “9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us.” He knew that even unto death God was not going to leave him, even though you can imagine the anguish that had brought him to despair of life. We can hear the emotion in Job. He couldn’t keep the “stiff upper lip” amid his pain and to expect that kind of emotionless Christian life is not a biblical ideal.

We as Christians need to stop stigmatizing the word depression and be available for others who need to cry out in anguish so that they can move on from the hard place that they are in. G. Campbell Morgan said in his book, Searchlights From The Word, “Yet, such outpouring is a far more healthy thing for the soul than dark and silent brooding.” In Psalm 34:17-19 we are told,

17 The righteous cry, and the Lord hears

And delivers them out of all their troubles.

18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted

And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,

But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

 

 

 

Buzz Word

Yesterday I was grumpy, today I am feeling discouraged. I know we all have our own talents that God has bestowed on us by manipulating our genetics and I am grateful that I have even a little bit of anything, but some days it seems that my talent is to be a jack of trades master of none. I see in my head how things should go or what to create, but to be able to make it travel from head to hand is a more difficult task. I can’t even draw it out so that someone else can execute it and that makes me more melancholy than I would like.

Uh oh now I have gone and done it, I have opened the door to the word “depressed”. In the Christian faith that is like pulling the pin on a grenade and telling someone else to hold it, you don’t know quite what to do with it, but you know if you throw the grenade the whole place could go up. Depression and stating that you feel depressed seems to be a buzz word in the church. I haven’t quite figured why that is. Some say it’s because depression comes form a state of not believing that God can work all things for His good. Ok well that seems reasonable, but then some call it sin and that just doesn’t sit well with me. I am not talking about those who have a clinical brain imbalance that need medication to sometimes even be able to get out of bed, I am talking about thoughts of sadness, or melancholy.

The argument could be, and has been, made that those kinds of feelings are a sin because we aren’t trusting God with all that we have. Ok those of you who leave ALL things to God at ALL times raise your hand. If you even thought about raising your hand you just sinned…because you lied. I am not condemning you, but I am bringing to light the simple fact that because we live in a meat suit we have to, at times deliberately bring our thoughts to Him and ask Him to take them captive. For many of us it doesn’t come naturally and we struggle against the flesh. We live in a fallen world and therefore we are going to have feelings of being inadequate, depressed (uh oh there’s that word again), helpless and even hopeless. What differentiates us from the world is that we do have a way out of those feelings or at least a comfort from and during those feelings. It doesn’t mean we will do it perfectly each time, but it does mean that we can “Do all things through Christ who strengthens us.” Philippians 4:13.

 

Curmudgeon Christian

I think it just might be my day to be grumpy. I haven’t been getting enough sleep and people are beginning to bother me. Ok who am I kidding people bother me regularly I just don’t always voice it. Yes, I know that is the time I need to pray for patience and understanding and on most days I do, but on other days I am more like Jesus overturning tables and being angry that the money changers are defiling MY temple.

One thing that is a constant bother to me, and this is strictly my opinion, are the comments (and those like it), “They just need Jesus” and “Instead, we should be praying for them.” First of all yes, those who are lost DO just need Jesus, but there are times that someone else is needed to help guide them to the love and comfort of Jesus. For instance an addict/alcoholic….this person may have even known Jesus, but slipped away from Him. This person is lost and right now couldn’t find their way to the bathroom let alone back to Jesus. This is when another saint is required to come alongside of them and gently guide them back home all the while giving them tools to help them on their journey. Secondly, I pray for many many people, from those that I know personally, to those that I don’t know, but can see their actions and they do need prayer. However, there are times that even Jesus made a person(s) painfully aware of their behavior. As I mentioned before, the money changers, and even the woman at the well was made aware of her previous behavior. Heck even Peter in Matthew 16:23 was told, “But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

Jesus didn’t mince words. I will grudgingly admit His words were probably much better than some of the words I come up with, however it still does not mean that Jesus gave people a free pass on bad behavior. I think at times that this is some of what is wrong with this world and why as Christians we are seen as judgmental. We are not consistent with how we handle situations. Too many times we give some things a pass and then others we go in Bible verses blazing, because we are more confident on the rock which we stand.

Who knows maybe I just need another cup of coffee and some time on the shelf to get my act together…..nah it can’t be just me.

 

Missed It

Three years ago I went on a mission trip and it was a moving experience. I am not sure that I would do it again. Don’t get me wrong, I have thought about it and even made some moves to possibly go, but the door was shut firmly on that, so maybe it’s not time or it’s not for me to do again.

That’s not what has been on my mind today. What has been rattling around in my brain is the one time I was made glaringly aware of missed opportunities to share the gospel, and one happened while on that mission trip. We were all gathered together and being instructed on how to greet the people native to this country and we were role playing on what to do when we made home visits. There were interpreters present and we needed to know how to speak so that our thoughts could be conveyed, but we were also practicing sharing the gospel with others that were not like us.

We weren’t prepared that is for sure. We did not have our Bibles that day and we were thrown into a situation and expected to respond. The teachers were asking questions that might be asked and this one is the one that leveled me, “Who is this Jesus?” I heard the opening and I didn’t take it. Even though we were role playing it was a missed opportunity for me and I have never forgotten it.

Let’s face it we don’t usually face a question so perfect as the one I did, but how many times do we let cold feet or tied tongues get in our way of sharing the gospel with someone. or how many times have we given a watered down answer to a question because we just “didn’t want to get into it”? I was hit with the proverbial 2×4 when I came across what Paul says in Acts 20:26 “Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.” He is telling the Ephesian elders that if a person refused to come to know Jesus and His death and resurrection it wasn’t for hi (Paul’s) lack of trying. Could I say that? No, not really. I know that I have not only had one missed moment that happened while role playing. How convicting is that?

I am trying to make a conscious effort to not have any more missed opportunities…are you?

Serving Two Masters

I didn’t post a blog yesterday. I am not sure it was writers block or intentional rebellion on my part. I sometimes have trouble reconciling that things that bother me and the  discussions I have in my head need to remain there and most especially shouldn’t be posted in a blog like this. I think it’s because I struggle to be in this world and not of it.

In the book of Matthew 6:24 we are told “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” I am not chasing wealth. I will admit that more funds in the bank would certainly help make life easier, but to chase wealth tends to leave you empty and hollow. My issue lies with how to live my life as a Christian and not sin.

I know I know you are probably saying just don’t give into the temptation and more often than not I can accomplish that, but then there are the times where my tongue can run away with me and I say something that its totally not loving and not even reproving in nature, but just plain mean or sarcastic.  In James 3 it speaks of how the tongue can be like a fire and consume even a forest. I think I could manage to wipe out a few forested areas with my fiery tongue. But in the world that kind of speech is ok. To speak to someone in fluent sarcasm is almost expected in some situations. To my shame I can easily fit in.

I have other foibles that could stumble ME not my brother, maybe I will discuss them in the coming days…..come along on my “world tour”.

Forgiveness

Matthew West a contemporary Christian singer puts my thoughts today in perfect perspective.

It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve
It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word… Forgiveness

For a very long time I didn’t know what forgiveness looked like. I knew what it was to hear someone say they were sorry, but to acknowledge that their sorry meant something was a foreign entity to me. I had a hard time saying I was sorry when I had wronged someone, but to forgive another person when I had a good head of righteous anger going on? You have got to be kidding. Then I was hit with an even bigger task, forgive someone even when they haven’t apologized, apologized poorly, don’t care they have wronged you or have even left this world before the issue can be addressed. Why would I ever want to do that?

I don’t think there is a one size fits all for what forgiveness looks like. Each person has to decide how far to take it and what it will look like to be able to set them free. Yes, I said set them free because lets face it rarely does forgiveness effect the other person as deeply as it can us. Not forgiving someone can rot away at our very soul and give us a root of bitterness in our gut. We relive the situation or season over and over again in our heads with different scenarios, sometimes hoping that the other person would understand how deep the hurt goes.

It tells us in the book of Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” I know, I know it’s hard for me too and I want to become that 4-year-old again that sticks out their lower lip, stamps their foot and says, “NO!”  But then I imagine Jesus giving me the look and I have to do it even if I don’t want to. I want to make God understand that the other person broke my heart or made me angry, but guess what He is God and already knows that.

Forgiveness is not forgetting, we don’t automatically get a case of amnesia about the situation that got us to this place. Forgiveness is also not an elimination of all consequences,  Proverbs 6:27-28; “Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can a man walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?”  Forgiveness isn’t really even a feeling it’s a commitment to forgive our debtors. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that the situation is over with and everything will go back to the way it was or better, but it does place you firmly on a road to inner peace and contentment.

I really think Matthew West’s song got it right;
It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge Say you’ve got a right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying set it free.

Prayer

Prayer; it’s something that we as Christians are encouraged to do and it seems that many people pray for everything which would be a good thing, IF we learn to also listen and accept the answer that He gives us.

In 1 John 5:14-15 we are told “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” This passage is talking about asking for and praying for everything. Not just the big stuff but the little stuff too. However, where I think a lot of people fail is we don’t ask in His will, we ask in ours.

God gave us free will so that we would come to Him willingly and of our own accord. I know that is a hard concept to understand since we are taught that God has sovereignty over all. He does, but He also allows us to make decisions, He just knows the outcome of each decision. He knows what will happen when we pray and when we ask for things too. I think where we fail as humans is to understand that when we pray we need to align our will with His and learn that sometimes the answer to a prayer is, “NO.”

I am sure we would all like our relative to have perfect healing, or that baby to be born perfect, or that job offer to come through, or that house to become ours and sometimes all those things happen, but sometimes none of those things happen. It stinks at times and it can be very painful, but our God is awesome even in the worst moments when we don’t understand why.

I also think we miss the mark when we pray and the prayers become more about the words than the thought behind it. The most simple and honest prayer is, “Lord please help me!” I don’t believe that God gives more help to those whose prayers go on for 5 or more minutes or who use flowery words, or whose every other word is Lord or Father. He knows our hearts and He knows when we are being insincere, or it is truly the cry of our heart. We as humans make it so much more complicated than it needs to be. Little children when saying their prayers at night have been known to bless the carpet on the floor, but maybe it was because their feet didn’t get cold climbing into bed, or for the juice that they had today because it was their favorite. As adults, we begin to complicate prayer and make it more about the way it sounds to others than the heart behind it.

It’s hard to listen for that still small voice in the whirlwind of the world. It’s hard to stop long enough to hear God’s answer and it’s easy to become busy enough to ignore the no or the not yet. God is the best Father there is and sometimes a great father must say not now or no, but our great Father also gets to tell us yes more times than I think we are even aware of.

I need to learn to pray more prayers of Thanksgiving. Not all my days are rotten and not all of them find me calling out for help. Some days are simply wonderful and other are just fine. It’s in those times that I need to be mindful and thank God for even just a peaceful day sans drama.

Father thank you for getting me through today. It has been shall we say, a day and yet I find myself wanting another one. Help me to be mindful of your presence… oh and by the way could you maybe do something to help the scale move a bit faster in the lose column? Thanks!

Is Ignorance Bliss

Have you ever heard the saying, “Ignorance is bliss”? I think there are times that the saying is very true. Case in point, having not been raised in a house where theology was a big part when people start throwing around Christian theological terms I rarely have any idea what they are talking about.

For instance; baptismal regeneration, or the belief that baptism is necessary for salvation, or even more precisely, that regeneration does not occur until a person is water baptized. I had no idea for quite a while that this thought process even existed in the Christian church. I had been taught that salvation came because of grace through faith and accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It appears that this belief comes from taking scripture and not applying it with its surrounding context and historical background. I know one of the big passages that is used to support this thought process is Acts 2:38 when Peter is speaking to the Jews at Pentecost. The Jews ask how they can correct the fact that they were the ones who put Jesus to death and he says, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Jews did not baptize at all, so Peter was telling them to repent of their sins and then show their repentance by an outward sign…baptism.

One of the ones that puzzles me the most is the difference camps as to when the Rapture will happen. I didn’t even know what the rapture was till I read and was fortunate enough to attend a Bible study on the book of Revelation. There is the Pre-Trib (tribulation-the 7 year period before the return of Christ for his 1,000 reign) camp, the Mid-Trib camp and then the Post-Trib camp. I am firmly in the former most camp and don’t exactly get how people could justify being in the others, but the real issue is do you know that you WILL be raptured.

Then there are the Calvinists versus the Arminiusts. This one still confuses me in the most confounding way. I know the acronym TULIP, is involved along with predestination and election sure, but to me a tulip is a pretty flower and I in a sense elected to follow Jesus, He sure as heck would not have wanted to follow me, because that would have required a very large shovel to clean up my mess.

I think my favorite is when I am around believers who have been in the church for years or almost since birth and they start to name drop. Suddenly I am that friend that becomes a bobble head doll that nods with a stupid grin on my face like I have a clue who you are talking about. Make no mistake I know the TV evangelist’s names, most especially the ones that have taken Christianity and made it a business instead of a deep abiding faith and using a spiritual gift of teaching. But ask me who Spurgeon was or Jim Rayburn and I would only be able to tell you one is a name I have seen in commentaries, other than if you don’t know you have come to the wrong place, in other words, “Who you talking bout?”

The good part about all the ambiguity and personal spin is, if we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior in our hearts all the rest is pretty much window dressing and won’t matter when we stand before God and we hopefully hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

 

 

 

I’m Not Stressed, Why Do You Ask?

3a7d9b81596abfd272fad52df0a85e6e

Stress is defined in the dictionary as “a specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.” In other words outside and inside forces that cause you to be anxious or worried sometimes to the point of physical pain or distress.

No one likes to feel like that. It gives you headaches, stomach issues and can make a body ache. We do it to ourselves all the time, we stress about everything from money to “does he/she like me”. There are people who if stress or being anxious was an Olympic sport they could certainly bring home the gold and then there are others for whom very little raises their blood pressure, yeah those are the people that I am not usually fond of. I can’t quite call myself a gold medalist, but there are days I could easily bring home a bronze.

In Philippians 4:6 it tells us “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” In verse 7 we are told why, “ And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Finally, in verses 8 and 9 we are told how, “8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything, worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Those are great verses, but it’s the second half of verse 11 that really speaks to me, “for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”

It’s hard to be happy all the time, but it is quite another thing to learn to be content.  To be content means, “satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.” Satisfaction is something that I have had to work hard at to obtain. For me being happy all the time is not something that I can achieve, because there are just times that happy doesn’t cut it and there are times that real sorrow encroaches on life and happy and sorrow do not go together. However, satisfaction and sorrow can coexist.

I think that satisfaction comes from believing that someone else has “got this”. That the enormity of a situation does not rest solely on our shoulders. John 14:1 tells us ““Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” Jesus is talking about our eternal salvation in chapter 14 and the many mansions in His father’s house, but He is also speaking to the fear that resides in a person’s heart when they do not easily recognize what to do or more importantly what to expect.

In 2013 the movie Frozen came out and you could hardly go anywhere and not hear the song the Let It Go (I prefer Do You Want Build A Snowman…..stuck in your head now huh?). Sometimes you wished that the song would just GO AWAY, but the words do speak to us being able to let things go and standing firm while the storm rages on. The one thing it doesn’t talk about is letting God.

In 1 Peter 4:12-13 we are told, “12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” I got the do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal thing down. I KNOW that there are going to be trials. I am not too happy about the testing part and I am especially resentful at times when I am being tested so that someone else gets to learn a lesson, but the rejoicing thing is an area that I am in serious need of grace and mercy. So, if you have the rejoicing thing down pat could you email me your secret? I can use all the help I can get, heavenly and earthly.