Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Contentment vs Peace

In Philippians, Paul said that he had learned to be content in whatever state he found himself in - whether that was in a state of abundance, or a state of lacking. Faithers tend to ignore this verse unless they are misquoting it to make a point. How does it interpret into our daily lives, especially for the caregiver? Are we supposed to be content with the fact that our loved one is hurting? Or should we be content that they can no longer care for themselves? What does it mean to be content?

First of all, Paul wasn't giving a command to be content. It was not meant as "instruction." He was making a statement about his own life and how he had found that he was content - or at peace with himself and God no matter what life threw his way. It seems in this part of this short book he is expressing gratitude to the Philippian church for once again having compassion on his needs and offering help. He said it nicely but in verse 10 he basically ( in my loose interpretation) says - you ignored me for awhile but found a way to help me once again. How easy it can be for the caregiver to feel ignored.

We do not fit into society's perfect mold and therefore the world around us goes on as we sit watching. Paul is like - you cared for me for awhile, didn't help me at all, and now you are once again offering help. He is grateful - not bitter. How easy it can be to become bitter at life if we are not careful. Contentment is not the enemy. We have to find a peace in God in order to deal with the dealings of daily life. We don't look or live like the rest of the world and they do not know what to do with us...we must find our contentment and our peace  in Him regardless of whether there is anyone around to help us or not.

I think this is what Paul is saying. He states that he had learned to just be content with what he had each day whether that was much or little. He said  I have found the secret of living in each situation... That's what can be such a struggle for the caregiver - learning to live in the situation.

This is my meditation for today - that I will live in Him - and in the situation I will find life no matter what struggles or difficulties may present themselves today. I'll live in Him today! Will you join me?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Can You Hear Me Now?

Have you ever just reached the point of desperation? As a caregiver it seems I live on the edge of desperation a lot! lol. These are times when my life and my faith seem to conflict the most. I can pray and pray until I run out of words and it seems like God just isn't listening. My Bible thumping background haunts me because I know scriptures like 1 John 5:15 - And this is the boldness which we have toward him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us: and if we know that he hears us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of him.

When I was taught that scripture it was by what I call the faith-ers. It was in the context of believing that God hears us and jumps at our command. Over the years I have found that concept to be in error. My next thought today is this So is healing not in His will today? I don't suppose I will ever really know why He chooses to do as He does; He is God of course and can see the whole picture while I can see only part - and not very clearly. 

My trouble is that if I am totally honest with myself - I don't know that He hears me. I trust that He hears me when my heart cries out - but how do I know that He hears my heart's cry? don't suppose there is any way to know...

But I can turn to another scripture for some help. Psalm 61:1-2 says this O God listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth I will cry to You for help, for my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. (NLT) I have sung this scripture for years but today it really rings from my heart as I ask God to hear my prayers; hear my cries. I know He has been my shelter for all these years and I have no plans of running to anyone or anything else! He is my rock - my strength - my song. Today my heart cries to Him to hear me and rescue my heart from the enemy's snare.

My meditation today will be a cry to Him for help. I will remind myself of His faithfulness and strength. And I will trust Him to carry me today.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Can he say that?

This morning I picked up My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. He used a verse out of Joshua that I thought was very interesting. In chapter 24 verse 19 Joshua makes a statement that I guess I have totally overlooked all these years: You cannot serve the Lord. I  looked it up myself because I didn't think anyone could make such a bold statement. How could an individual, leader or not, tell someone that they were not able to serve God?

We are all too familiar with verse 15 where Joshua boldly proclaims that his house is going to serve God. But then he turns around and tells the people that they can't? Can he do that?

The people got serious about God when Joshua told them that God wasn't going to forgive them of their adulterous and idolatrous ways. (v.19) And in verse 21 they are adamant: we are determined to serve the Lord! At this point, Joshua tells them they are accountable for this decision and they must destroy all their idols and turn their hearts back to God.

We do not always recognize our idols because they are not made out of precious medals; but we have them. Maybe it's healing - we seek it more than we seek Him. Or for some perhaps it's prosperity - and we give our money to the white-washed preacher who says we'll be blessed for giving. Sadly, for many Western Christians - it's the church. Everything we know about God fits inside those four walls. And for those of us who do not fit the pattern -- they just shake their heads.  

What idol do you need to get rid of today? What takes your focus off of Him? Is it the fiery situation?  Service to the church? the basic pains of life?

Joshua 24:25 - So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day at Shechem committing them to a permanent and binding contract between themselves and the Lord. Who is your "contract" with? Is it with a church? a friend? a mentor or a minister? Break it.

Today I will refocus on Him. I will diligently search my heart and my life to see if anything has stolen my focus. Then I will give it back to Him. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Who Sees Me?

I've been thinking about Hagar all day today; there's something stuck in my mind about the situation she found herself in. Genesis 16 tells us about how Sarah gave Hagar, her maid to Abram to bring forth a child. But when Hagar found out that she was indeed with child, she treated Sarah with "contempt" and found herself looking for a place to live! There are many details to this story - just like each one of us has our own unique details about how we ended up in the wilderness of life trying to survive. For Hagar, she made some obvious mistakes - for many of us who live in the furnace it was not mistakes that ended us up in the furnace. The furnace is hot no matter how we ended up there!

Verse 11 may be the verse that sticks out to some of us as it says: for the Lord has heard about your misery. I suppose that it can be a good thing for the Lord to be aware of what is going on in our lives. But what stood out to me today is in verse 14: the God who sees me.There just seems to be something a little more personal about Him seeing me than just hearing about  me. It means He is attentive and watching; it's more active and not so much passive. He sees me.

No matter how hot the furnace, how difficult the struggle gets, or how long or dark the night...He sees me. For some reason today I just feel like I need God to see me; to walk with me and hold me. It is comforting to know that He does not look away just because the picture gets ugly.

It is interesting to me that Hagar called the place, "well of the living One who sees me;" and God called the name of her child Ishmael which means, "God hears." Today I will meditate on the truth that God is first the living God; and secondly on the truth that He does indeed see and hear my heart. As furnace walkers, let us take comfort in these truths today.