Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's Never As Bad As It Seems! by George Whitten

This inspirational piece is by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

It's Never As Bad As It Seems!

Psalm 27:4-5 One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.

The world these days is full of bad news, with tensions growing in the Middle East, economies on the brink of collapse, and nature constantly adding to the chaos with one disaster after another. It's a time of trouble all right, and for us believers it may sometimes be hard to believe – but it never is as bad as it seems. Let me illustrate with a joke I like to share with my messages.

Way out west (in America, of course), a cowboy is driving down a road, his dog riding in the back of his pickup truck, his faithful horse in the trailer behind. As he takes a curve on the highway he suddenly loses control of the vehicle and has a terrible accident.

Sometime later, a State Police officer comes on the scene. A great lover of animals, the officer's attention is first drawn to the horse. Realizing the serious nature of its injuries, he draws his service revolver and puts the animal out of its misery. Then walking around the accident he finds the dog, also critically wounded, and whining miserably in pain. This grips his heart and he quickly ends the dog's suffering as well.

Finally the police officer locates the cowboy, who has suffered multiple fractures and can barely breathe. “Hey, are you okay?”, he says.

The cowboy takes one look at the smoking gun in the trooper's hand and quickly replies, with unexpected energy, “Never felt better!”

We are pilgrims in this dangerous world, which will wound us at times so badly it will seem unbearable – yet we have this promise from God, “in the time of trouble He will hide me”. It's because my real life, my true life is in Him and with Him no matter what happens to me here. So when the world approaches me with a smoking gun, ready to put me out of my misery, I can find a supernatural strength, and simply say, "I never felt better!"

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Contamination of Pain, Part 1

I know a young author by the name of Donald Quist. He wrote a short novel titled Let Me Make You A Sandwhich. In it is a 1 page short story of someone who experienced a hurt so deep that mentally they became detached from this earth. It caused me to ask what do you do with a pain so deep, so great, that reflecting on reality feels improbable? This is my response to those questions.

God is a healer. But in order to be made whole, you have to face and recognize your pain. You can no longer put it on a shelf in your mind hoping to forget that it's there. You can't hide it in the deep recesses or the darkest corners of your heart.

"Maybe if it doesn't see the light of day, maybe if I place it in the dark it will wither and die," you think to yourself. You hope that by not facing it, the pain--whether it was a superficial surface scratch or one that was so deep it felt as if your internal organs were trying to escape your body--will just go away. And if it doesn't maybe the ebbing and aching will subside to a place where it's bearable numbness that becomes a part of your life.

Sadly, ignoring or hiding the pain doesn't make it better. It makes it worse because things neglected on a shelf begin to deteriorate and stuff hidden in dark areas begins to either mold and mildew or to dry rot.

Then you have a bigger problem. When the pain was one mass, no matter if it was small or a tremendously huge brick of pain, it was a singular pain. The pain was a centralized whole. But now that you've tried to ignore it or you've hidden it away in dark corners, the pain has begun to spread.

A definition of deteriotion is the act or process of disintegrating. The same can be said if your pain is dry rotting. If your pain has been hidden in a dark corner and is molding or mildewy, it's spreading as well. So in your effort to contain the pain, it has begun to slowly seep and spread into other areas of your life.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). (John 10:10 Amplified Bible Version)

Monday, September 3, 2012

'Loud and Clear' by Lauren Hill

This is another blog post by Lauren Hill, blogger of Champion Your Dreams. (She's a personal favorite blogger of mine.) You can see the post in its original format by clicking here.
Loud and Clear

Well my dear blog friends, for those of you faithfully dropping by here to see if I have gotten going on my intention to make things "loud and clear" here at FAITH FUEL, the answer is No, I am not yet at the point of broadcasting live or vlogging, but I haven't been silenced either. Sometimes when you're trying to break through into doing something new and you haven't completely succeeded, you can at least say you haven't stopped trying.

And you know why I'm trying to make a change in how I get my messages to you? Because certain people in my life are prodding me to do this and I have been resisting as though they were asking me to jump into a pool of alligators. I like writing down my thoughts and my struggles and my "lightbulb moments" of sudden illumination that I share with you all here; and I love speaking at Retreats and Conferences and Bible Studies. But to speak out into the blog world and try bringing you some words of encouragement in that manner- well, I would; I mean I'm not against doing that; but really, is that what I should be doing? (Can you hear the resistance?!)

My husband, Safety Bill, has been telling me that Change is in the Air. He says he can almost smell change coming, that it smells like something fresh and new. I don't smell anything. Well, other than Harry, who is in desperate need of a bath and total mowing- I mean, grooming. The only thing I sense is that I'm used to writing my thoughts and I'm used to posting them quietly. The only way you'd hear my posts is if you read them out loud. And now I've got a bit of prodding to change things, change the way I do things. Change the way I come across to you, how I come across to you.

But the key thing is that we do cross over- from resistance to cooperation, from fear to faith, from old ways of doing things to new ways of doing things. I don't even think you have to know exactly what you are doing when you start to make concrete changes in your life. Nobody would make changes if they waited till they were exactly sure of what they were doing!

I'm never exactly sure of what I'm doing- it's more like I'm sure of what- or Who- is motivating me to make the changes that I will eventually not be sure of. Does that make sense? I'm sure that God is behind the prodding for these changes. And actually, I'm sure God is behind not so much the changes themselves, but the willingness I need to have to make these adjustments and turning points.

God looks for bendable people. Flexible, bendable people are not willy nilly in their convictions- they're just open to how their convictions will be carried out. They know that when all is said and done, things just might look completely different than when they first started out on their new journey to Change.

Maybe you feel impressed to take a certain path, pursue a certain job, and you're just about to reach out and lay hold of it when- poof- it almost seems to evaporate. The offer is withdrawn; someone else gets the job. Maybe a serious relationship that you thought for sure was going to lead to a proposal of Happily Ever After is now a relationship crumbling into the dust. Maybe the Answer that you fasted and prayed for is now turning out to not exactly be the answer you were looking for. But, hold on! Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (1 Cor. 13:12) Sometimes we only get part of the picture; sometimes we get a partial revelation of what God is doing but then we add to that partial our idea of what's happening. We need to get used to saying "I only know in part, but I can fully obey God." God is after our willingness to pursue Him and His will in all things. He knows we only see in part, but He's got the full picture. He will lead, and keep leading you, into the fullness of His will and His abundance.

Stumble about, if you have to- but at least stumble forward. Stumble into change. Thrash and flail about it, but do it anyway. That's what I'm doing. My techno-son is helping me make this transition with changes coming to my blog and website. My husband is prodding me. My friend Scott who has a ministry going through changes is encouraging me to get going. And most of all, God is calling me to enter into the Transition Time with gusto and excitement for the new things He has ahead. I don't really know what the changes I make now will lead to in the future. But I do know that my willingness to change- to move with God- will definitely keep me hearing Him calling me onward- and I will hear Him loud and clear.