I have developed a bad habit of picking up magazines that promise to show how to lose 10 pound in 7 days. I get the magazine home and open to a picture of Fruitcake, Apple Butter and Rockie Road Brownies. I turn the page to a big picture of Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins. The next page has a picture of Cinnamon Brioche with a recipe. At the bottom of the page is a picture of a Ricotta and Ham Quiche. I get fat just looking at the pictures. I need to find the article on how to lose 10 pounds in 7 days before my resistance breaks down and I make Rockie Road Brownies. I turn the page to find a picture of a Red Velvet Bliss. I am gaining weight just looking at it. And it is so easy to make. Just take two Red Velvet cake mixes and follow directions on box. Then make some cream cheese icing. Put cranberries around the outside of each cake. Now stack them into a beautiful master piece. I am getting weaker by the moment as I turn the page hoping to find out how to lose 10 pounds in 7 days. I have already gained 5 pounds looking at the pictures showing me how to make amazing foods. I almost lose my breath as I look at the next picture of Chocolate Glazed Marble Bundt Cake, Apple and Honey Bread and Garlic and Red Wine Braised Brisket.
I have found the answer to why so many people are overweight. It is the magazines fault. It’s like the snake that crawled up the forbidden apple tree to tempt Eve. The magazine promised I would lose 10 pound in 7 days. There are four pages of pictures showing the most amazing cookies I have ever seen; Almond Snowball Cookies, Lemon Cookie, Cranberry Nut Cookies and Raspberry Cookies. I don’t how I am going to get through this. I am a very visual person. I fear my mind will obsess on these wonderful deserts.
I know myself. Soon I will make up excuses as to why I have to make these recipes.
Satan doesn’t give up when he tempts you. The following page had a picture of Fudgy Peppermint Bark Brownies and Cranberry Biscuits. I have gained 20 pounds just looking at this magazine and I still can’t find the place where it tells me how to lose 10 pounds in 7 days. I give up. I don’t even care anymore if I lose 10 pounds. I just want to make those Fudgy Peppermint Bark Brownies. Maybe I could take some of them to church to share with my Sunday School class. That should ease some of the guilt. The front of the magazine should say, “How to Gain 20 Pounds in 2 Hours.”
How to Have Faith in Troubled Times
Some of you may be suffering today. Some of you may be in physical pain. Some of you may be in emotional pain. Yet all of us have something to be thankful for. Remember the Children of Israel as they walked out of Egypt to the Promised Land. The trials and suffering in that desert. The complaining.
They forgot at times what an awesome God they had. A God who parted the Red Sea. A God who heard their cries in Egypt. A God who delivered them from the death angel when they placed the blood on their door posts.
They forgot so quickly, the powerful God they served. You and I have been redeemed from the bondage of our Egypt. The blood of Jesus has been placed on our door posts protecting us from the death angel that we might live forever in heaven with our Lord. Yet today we are walking through the desert of this earth as ambassadors from Heaven. You may be attacked on all sides by the messengers of Satan, but our God is greater. The gates of hell shall not prevail against us. You may be in physical pain.
Trust HIM, Praise HIM. He is your deliverer…He is your God. If He doesn’t heal you of that pain, He will give you the power to rejoice in it. For it is in suffering that we become more like Christ and somehow love him more. And if the demons of fear, worry and discouragement attack you,,,,the power of praise will cast them away. I love you. Take courage today in your Lord and Savior and remember how much he loves you. He is the God that parted the Red Sea for you. He is the God that delivered you from Egypt… He loves you.
The words, “I am a failure” filled my mind this morning. I could give you all the reasons I am a failure, but that wouldn’t encourage either of us. Instead I will tell you what God said to my heart. “Let me live through you,” He said. “Let me empower you. Let me be your strength.”
If we are honest, we are all failures. But we have great power, strength and wisdom available to us with just a whispered prayer. “Father, I give you my thoughts and ask you to fill me with your wisdom. I give you my body and ask you to give me your strength. I give you my weakness and ask you to fill me with your power. My strength is made perfect in you. You are all wisdom, knowledge and understanding. If you leave me to myself, I will be like a lamb wondering in the wilderness of my own foolishness caught a thicket of the world’s voices seeking my destruction. You are my salvation. Hold me close to you as a Shepard holds an injured lamb. I love you as a child loves their daddy. I love you as a bride loves her husband to be. I love you more than words can express for you are the joy of my mornings, the hope of my tomorrows. Let me be a reflection of you. For you are magnificent glory.”
You are my salvation. Hold me close to you as a Shepard holds an injured lamb. I love you as a child loves their daddy. I love you as a bride loves her husband to be. I love you more than words can express for you are the joy of my mornings, the hope of my tomorrows. Let me be a reflection of you. For you are magnificent glory.”
I am no longer a failure.
We live in a throw away culture. When things get a little rusty, old, broken or out of
style we throw them away. For years, I enjoyed taking the throwaways of others and
making them into something beautiful. A piece of furniture with torn upholstery could
be reupholstered with material that made it look better than it did when it was new. I had a
long coffee table in my living room, made from a fire-damaged door. In my china
cabinet, I had old dishes, some chipped, that are priceless antiques. Some things become
more valuable and beautiful as time goes on.
In this throw away culture, can we throw away people?
People who have been broken by life’s hurts are like my priceless antiques. Each
chip reflects their character, uniqueness and value. While the world throws broken things
away, God is in the process of breaking His people in order to make them more usable.
The things we think are the greatest tragedies, are later found to be God’s way of bringing
us something better, or of making us into the beautiful people He intended for us to be.
Before I can plant my garden, I must break up the soil so that it will receive the
seeds. A house cannot be built until a tree has been broken down and remade into beams.
Before there can be life, there must be death; before there can be joy, there must be
weeping. The joy of a mother as she hears the first cries of her new baby is preceded by
the pain of childbirth.
The hurts, pains and losses in our lives are often God’s way of making something
new. A broken dream may be the birth of new hopes and dreams. A broken marriage
may be the birth of new relationships or a new life. Broken health may bring us new
insights and talents.
In my own life, it was during a time of having my health broken that I began
writing, discovering talents I didn’t realize I had. Later, it was after my hopes and dreams
had been broken that I went back to college. The coffee table that sat in my living room
today for many years would not have been there if it had not been fire- damaged and cast
away by others. Likewise, I would not be who I am today had I not been broken.
Even in times when we have failed God and ourselves, He uses our failures for
good making us into the humble, broken person He can use for His glory. Unless we are
emptied of ourselves, we cannot be filled with Christ. The Apostle Peter denied Jesus
three times. He experienced the depths of hopelessness after his denial of his Lord. For
several days he went into hiding broken with grief and fear. When Jesus came to the
disciples after he had risen from the dead he asked Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you
love me more than these others?” “Yes,” Peter replied, “you know I am your friend.”
“Then feed my lambs.” Jesus repeated the question: “Simon, son of John, do you really
love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I am your friend.” “Then take care of
my sheep,” Jesus said. Once more he asked him, “Simon, son of John, are you even my
friend?” Peter was grieved at the way Jesus asked the question this third time. “Lord,
you know my heart; you know I am,” he said. Jesus said, “Then feed my little sheep.
Jesus gave Peter the opportunity to acknowledge Him three times.
In Matthew 16:18 He called Peter the rock saying, “ And I tell you that you are Peter,
rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”
If your life is being torn and broken, it may be that God is giving birth to
something new. God can’t use a people that are full of themselves. It is when we are
broken that God can use us to fulfill His purpose here on earth. For it is only after a man
is broken that God’s strength can be revealed. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the
ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it dies, it bringth forth much fruit.” John 12:24
We must die to ourselves, our own hopes and dreams so that we can live for Christ
fulfilling His purpose.
When a seed goes into the ground, the ground must be broken before the seed ca
take root. During the broken times in my life, I have asked God to plant the seeds of His
desires in every broken, emptied place in my soul so His will is done in my life. We cannot think His thoughts or do His will until the seeds of His desire are planted in our hearts. His seeds cannot grow in a hardened soul. They can only grow in a broken heart that is open to Him.
May His love fill you today and always.