Working Out The Kinks By: Gwen Smith

June 30, 2015
Working Out The Kinks
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart… (Psalm 24:3-4a, ESV)

Friend to Friend

I became a watering girl last summer.

Not because my black thumb suddenly turned green, but because my husband had ordered a heap of mulch and I was determined to not have a lame bare patch in the landscaped section of the house. No sir-eee! Mulch should be the accessory, not the main feature. My opinion.

So, in response to the mulch mountain I drove my spontaneous little self to the gardening store and bought us some new bushes, a few flowers, and a tree. And I quickly learned that once all of said planty-purchases were in the ground, they required… gasp… maintaining so they could take root.

Totally cool. I thought as I strapped on my big girl panties. I can do this!

So now I’m a watering girl. My sunny days often begin with the garden hose in hand. And I love it. The birds sing melodies with all their chirpy cuteness and the plants respond with claps of gratitude. {I seriously think they clap… in their own way. Moving on…}

Early one morning I unwound the hose and watered our small cucumber garden. Then I headed toward a few thirsty plant-friends in the back of the lawn along the fence. As I began to water, the flow trickled to a stop.

I looked up and spied the water-stopping nemesis. A kink in the hose.

So frustrating.

There was plenty of water. It just couldn’t flow because the hose had flipped and kinked. I tried to flap it out from where I was across the yard, but this kink was a good bit down the line. It required that I drop everything and address it. Once the kink was fixed, the water flowed smoothly and the rest of my plants got their drinks.

What a picture of faith.

Just like a hose is connected to a water source, our souls are connected to the Living Water – Jesus. And though as believers we are always connected to Him and always have access to the refreshment and nourishment we need, there are times when kinks happen and the flow stops.

I can think of a few times when, just like the hose, I flipped and kinked up the flow. Can you relate?

Our kinks come in all shapes and sizes. We can get flipped over by disappointments, unmet expectations, other people, or simply by our own attitudes, unbelief, fears, behaviors, rebellion, or unhealthy emotions.

How can we work out the kinks of our circumstances and relationships? By depending on the strength of God instead of our own. By going to Him in prayer, spending time in the Word, and by yielding to His Spirit.

The biggest of all kinks, however, is our own sin.

Yep. I said the s-word.

Pastor Timothy Keller said it this way; “The sin that is most destructive in your life right now is the one you are most defensive about.”

Ouch. Big kink. Right?

How can we work out the kinks of our sin? By confession. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10, ESV)

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” (James 4:17)

Got a few sin kinks? Sure you do. We all do. Some might stem from blatant rebellion to God’s will, while others might be simply NOT doing something you know you ought to do. Regardless, if you want to have a right relationship with God, you must deal with sin honestly. Nothing can separate you from God’s love, but sin sure can stop the flow of you experiencing the power of His peace, grace, strength, and joy.

The Anglican theologian Richard Sibbes summed up the good news of Jesus beautifully when he said; “There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us.”

I. Am. So. Thankful.

Let the grace of God work out your kinks today, friend. Sometimes we just have to drop everything and address them. The Bible says that the Lord’s kindness leads us to repentance – which, in turn, unleashes the powerful flow of His peace, grace, strength, and joy.

Want MORE of God’s peace, grace, strength, and joy in your life?

The Living Water is waiting.

Drink up, friend. Drink up.

“Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”
(Psalm 24:3-5, ESV)

Let’s Pray

Lord, I am so thankful that your mercy is greater than my sin. Please forgive me for ____________________ . You know my heart and You know my ways. Cover me fresh with grace today so that I can experience Your joy, strength, and peace.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

The Strength of Weakness By: Michele Cushatt

JUNE 24, 2015

The Strength of Weakness MICHELE CUSHATT

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)

It was the opportunity of a lifetime, I knew.

For years I’d dreamed of being a writer. In between mothering a houseful of monkeys (a.k.a. children), I’d hunker down over my laptop and wrestle with words. But navigating the tension between dream and duty seemed impossible.

Until, one day, an email landed in my inbox.

“We’d like to invite you to be one of our speakers …”

A speaking invitation. To a national conference.

Hope rallied. I stared at the screen in disbelief. A break, finally! I couldn’t mess it up.

But soon after, the unthinkable happened. Three short months before the speaking date, with a single phone call from my doctor, my world collapsed.

Cancer. Of the tongue.

It made zero sense. I was a healthy 39-year-old mom. I ate right, exercised. Heck, I even flossed. That deserved bonus points.

But cancer is no respecter of persons, I’d learn soon enough. It plows through a life like an unmanned car, destroying individuals, families and dreams without the slightest hesitation.

What followed in the months after that unexpected phone call involved an upheaval that’s still hard to describe. Only those who have endured the unthinkable understand how quickly a life can change. Unending doctor appointments. Countless tests and scans. Major surgery to remove part of my tongue. Long, painful months of recovery.

But the physical trauma was only a fraction of my nightmare. The hardest part was the unanswerable questions:

God, why? Where are You in all of this? Will I ever eat or speak normally again?

Will I live?

By the first day of the conference, I’d shrunk to a fraction of myself. Cancer had zapped my strength. Fear and unknowns had claimed my confidence. I considered canceling. Who was I to talk about peace and faith? I had nothing to offer. Nothing except my broken and battered self.

Intent on keeping my promise, I made my way to the conference venue. But moments after arriving, pain gripped me again.

God, help me!

Grabbing ibuprofen, I headed for the water fountain. That’s when I heard my name.

“Michele, hold on,” a female voice whispered. It was Erika. One of the conference staff. Before I could answer, she grabbed my behind.

Yes. Erika’s hand. On my derrière.

“Excuse me?” I might’ve slapped her. We didn’t know each other that well.

“Hold on a minute.” She maintained her grip. “You lost your skirt.”

What?!

“Your skirt fell. I’m pulling it back up.”

Sure enough, the long chocolate brown skirt I’d meticulously ironed and donned an hour before had dropped well below the tree line. An unfortunate consequence of months of weight loss. In a room filled with conference staff and speakers I wanted to impress, I’d exposed the lesser version of myself.

Isn’t that nice.

Even so, something shifted. What began as my mortification became my salvation. For a lifetime, I’d exhausted myself trying to be “enough,” to deliver the polished and put-together me I believed God and the world demanded.

Then cancer. Fear. A shaken faith. And a skirt malfunction.

That’s when God delivered an unexpected healing. You see, there’s nothing wrong with doing my best. And excellence certainly has its place. But in all my trying I’d missed a beautiful truth: The strength of weakness.

As our key verse of 2 Corinthians 12:10 reminds us, when we are weak, we are strong. Yes, I’d been striving to be good enough, strong enough, pretty enough, faithful enough. But in the process, I’d forgotten Jesus’ offering of relief:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28, NIV).

Rest. Rest.

It’s what this cancer-fighting, failure-feeling mama needed. A grace-loving God big enough to take the pressure off her and put it squarely on Himself.

Turns out it’s what the women at the conference needed, too.

My friends, ministry — of the purest kind — isn’t about impressing others with a flawless life. It’s not about polished presentations, perfect families and always-put-together women.

It’s about daring to expose our hidden imperfections and giving others permission to do the same. Becoming a fellow struggler, faith wrestler and hand-holder who delivers zero judgment but instead offers oceans of presence and grace.

Why? Because we have a God who says we’re enough. Just as we are.

Even when our skirts fall to the floor.

God, heal me of my desperate striving! Help me to believe and rest in the truth that I am enough, because I am Yours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (NIV)

Heaven…My Real Home By: Mary Southerland

Heaven … My Real Home Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am(John 14:1-3, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I was flipping through television channels in a futile attempt to find something worth watching for a few minutes when the commercial for an upcoming movie grabbed my attention. A young man was trying to console his obviously upset friend. As he leaned across the table and took her hand, the young man quietly said, “God promised that everything will be okay in the end. So if everything is not okay, then this is not the end.” The profound and simple truth stopped me in my tracks.

It had been a hard day – for many reasons. I have to admit that several times during the day I had thought, “God, I don’t get it. Why is this happening?”

I have been a follower of Jesus Christ for many years, but my faith obviously still has a long way to grow. For a few minutes, I had forgotten that this world is not my eternal home, and its troubles and trials are only temporary. When I came to Christ, my citizenship was automatically and eternally changed from earth to heaven.

I read about an American tourist who paid a visit to a renowned Polish rabbi. The tourist was astonished to see that the rabbi’s home was just a simple room filled with books, a table, and a cot. “Rabbi, where is your furniture?” the tourist asked. The rabbi simply replied, “Where is yours?” The puzzled American asked, “Mine? But I am only a visitor here. I’m only passing through.” The rabbi smiled and replied, “So am I.”

The apostle John wrote, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

In this passage, Jesus calls heaven “topos.” In the Greek, the literal meaning of this word is “place.” In other words, heaven is described as a real place. In this same passage, Jesus also calls heaven “oikos” which means “a house or home, a dwelling.” Some people say heaven is “a state of mind, a dream or wishful thinking,” but the Bible is very clear about the fact that heaven is a real place. It is as real as the home and city in which you live.

  • Acts 1:11 “They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. And someday, just as you saw Him go, He will return!”’

Jesus did not go up into a state of mind, a dream or wishful thinking. He went to a real place and a real home.

  • Acts 10:9-11 “Peter was going up to the roof to pray. He was hungry and wanted to eat, but while the food was being prepared, he had a vision. He saw heaven opened.”
  • Stephen was martyred for Christ. While he was being stoned, he spoke these words:

“Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand” (Acts 7:56).

The Bible repeatedly refers to heaven as a real place … a very real and very beautiful place. Heaven is the workmanship of God. Think about that for a moment.

Jesus was a carpenter, a builder. He announced that He was going away to prepare a beautiful home in heaven for us. We know what kind of work He does. He created the universe in six days. Jesus loves detail. Look at the wings of a butterfly. He loves color. Look at a rainbow or a sunset. He loves beauty. Look into the face of a newborn baby. Jesus has been working on heaven for over 2,000 years. What a place it must be!

When I hold the troubles and trials of this world against the backdrop of heaven, peace floods my heart, mind and soul. I just need to remember that this world is not really my home. I am just passing through. How about you?

Let’s Pray

Father, I want to thank You for saving me and giving me eternal life. I cannot even imagine what my home in heaven is like. When the storms of life hit, help me remember that this world is not my home … I am just passing through.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

What To Do When Life Becomes Turbulent By: Leah Dipascal

JUNE 15, 2015

What To Do When Life Becomes Turbulent LEAH DIPASCAL

“Yes, he alone is my Rock, my rescuer, defense and fortress. Why then should I be tense with fear when troubles come?” Psalm 62:2 (TLB)

As I headed down the gateway toward the plane, I noticed something was different. My heart wasn’t racing and my palms weren’t damp with perspiration. To say it was a phenomenon is an understatement.

The fact that I wasn’t afraid was proof God was changing me from the inside out. Years prior, you couldn’t have paid me enough to step foot on a plane.

As I looked out the plane window, I marveled at the beautiful day God created. There’s not a cloud in the sky … It’s going to be great flying weather. No bumps or turbulence to worry about. I can just sit back, relax and enjoy.

One hour into the flight I was singing a different tune. Although the sky was still clear, the turbulence was anything but enjoyable. Even the flight attendants were asked to take their seats, and the cockpit was silent. Uh … hello? Can someone tell me what’s going on up there?!?!

What started out as a relaxing flight turned into a stressful experience. With three hours left in the flight, I didn’t want to feel anxious the entire time. I needed to shift my focus off the turbulence and on to God.

With all the bumping, shifting and rattling, it wouldn’t be easy, but it was necessary. I was determined to learn from this experience, not be terrified by it.

So after praying for God’s protection, I closed my eyes and whispered, “God, what are You trying to teach me? What am I supposed to learn?”

For the remainder of the flight I waited and watched for God to reveal some invaluable lesson. By the time we landed I walked off the plane with this in mind: Unexpected turbulence creates an opportunity to experience more of God.

It’s the perfect opportunity to …

Grow my faith. Rather than shrink back in fear or become discouraged, I can lean in and draw closer to God’s presence while looking for His activity in the midst of my circumstances. Patiently waiting for God to act on my behalf can be a catalyst for spiritual maturity and deeper faith in Him.

Remember Who is in control. Remembering God is in control helps lead my heart and mind to a place of peace. I may not always know exactly where I’m headed, but God does. Regardless of how turbulent the journey may be, He promises to get me safely from my present location to His eternal destination (Heaven). Therefore, I have nothing to fear.

Make a refining decision. Sometimes, turbulence is not an option. So I’m left with two questions: Am I going to worry and wonder if God will get me through this? Or, am I going to relax and trust that God will get me through this? Hebrews 11:6 give us the best answer: “… without faith, it is impossible to please God …” (NIV). I just need to apply it to my life. And when I do, God refines me in the process.

Watch for God’s goodness and glory. When turbulence comes I can easily miss God’s goodness. I need to look for His glory around me and set my thoughts on the impossible He can do for me.

Has life been tossing you around lately? The next time you experience a little turbulence … whether on a flight or at ground level … remember that you have full access to the One who will hold you steady and secure. Just like Psalm 62:2 states, “Yes, he alone is my Rock, my rescuer, defense and fortress. Why then should I be tense with fear when troubles come?”

Heavenly Father, as I face today’s challenges, help me not to shrink back in fear or discouragement. Instead, teach me how to see these challenges as an opportunity to grow my faith, to remember You are in control, to be refined, and to experience Your goodness and glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Acts 2:25, “I see that the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” (NLT)

Psalm 91:14-15, “The LORD says, ‘I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.’” (NLT)

God is Your Victory By: Sharon Jaynes

 God is Your Victory
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner [Yahweh Nissi]”
(Exodus 17: 15 NIV).

Friend to Friend
I’m going to be honest with you. If there was an Olympic event for feelings of insecurity, inferiority, and inadequacy, at some point my picture would have been on the Corn Flakes cereal box…the gold medal winner.

Now, you probably think I’m going to tell you, “But then I became a Christian and all that insecurity just went away!” But it didn’t. I did become a Christian when I was fourteen. That part is correct. However, I carried that insecurity into my Christian life like a ball and chain wrapped around my skinny ankle.

Don’t get me wrong, I could sing “Victory in Jesus” with the best of them. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that when I left this earth and crossed over the threshold into my heavenly home, I was going to be with Jesus forever. It was what I was supposed to do until I got there that had me stumped. It was victory in this life that left me confused.

Did you know that you can be a bona-fide born-again Christian and still live a life of defeat? Yes, you can. But if you do, ifI do, it’s not God’s fault. He has given us everything we need for a life of godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness (2 Peter 1:3).

He has equipped us with the power of the Holy Spirit (John 14:20), the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and the precious promises that never fail (2 Peter 1:4). But it’s up to us to walk in the truth of who He is and who we are in Him. It is up to us to walk in victory as “more than conquerors” in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37).

Moses had to deal with the same insecurities that you and I have to grapple with. He was a former Prince of Egypt who became a run-away felon. For the next forty years, Moses took care of his father-in-law’s sheep in the Midian desert. When he was eighty-years-old, God spoke to Moses through the burning bush.

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. SoI have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.” (Exodus 3:7-8 NIV)

This was all sounding good to Moses…until God mentioned how He was going to bring all that about.

“So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt,” (Exodus 3:10).

Hold the phone! You’re sending who?

Deliverance for his people! This was what Moses had always wanted! But when God said, “I am sending you,” Moses began backing up. The monster of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy wrapped its talons around Moses’ scruffy neck and began to squeeze.

Four times Moses told God why He had the wrong man for the job, and four times God reassured Moses that He was the Almighty God Who was sufficient to do the job through him. It was a hard lesson for Moses. It has been a hard lesson for me. I wonder if it has been a hard lesson for you.

Of course, we know how the story goes. After several weeks of very convincing plagues, the Pharaoh did let God’s people go. They crossed the Red Sea on dry land, ate manna that fell from heaven, drank water that sprang from a rock, and roasted quail that rained from the sky.

It wasn’t too long into their journey to the Promised Land, when they were attacked by the Amalekites, a godless people who had taunted God’s chosen people for centuries. But because of God’s intervention, the Israelites won the battle and Moses built an altar and called it “The Lord is my Banner [Yahweh Nissi]” (Exodus 17:10-13, 15).

The banner was a symbol of victory! It still is today. This is the only time in Scripture that God is referred to as God our Banner, but it was not the only time God won the victory for His people. Time and time again, God fought for His people and they waved the flag of victory in the face of apparent defeat (Joshua 10:10, 20, 33; 11:8, Judges 11:21; 20:35). He made the waters rise, the walls fall, and the earth stand still. Yes, God fought for His people, and friend, He will do the same for me and for you.

So raise high the banner! The victory is yours.

Let’s Pray

Lord, forgive me for feeling like I have to conquer the battles of life on my own. I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus. There is victory in Jesus! Help me to live, not as a cowering fugitive, but as a confident saint.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

“I’m a Brand New Girl” By Suzie Eller

I’m a Brand New Girl SUZIE ELLER

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

I listened as she shared about past hurts that still ached. They affected her every single day.

I wanted to fix it, but knew I was powerless to do so. I prayed silently for God to heal the damage that lingered from so long ago.

Years and years ago.

There’s no judgment here, because there is no timetable for healing. It’s not a race. Everybody’s journey looks different.

Yet what I heard this woman saying was she was tired of feeling the way she did. She was frustrated that her past continued to affect her current relationships and the way she viewed herself.

In today’s verse, Paul shares a powerful truth: Because Jesus died for you, you are free to die to your old life.

Your old self.

Your old past.

Your old way of thinking.

Your old entanglements.

Your anger over old events.

Your hurt over old words spoken over your life.

And new is free to emerge in its place.

I told my friend I couldn’t remember the day or the hour when I finally felt “new.” Instead, like one season passing into another, I began to shed the old as new ideas and behaviors pushed up through the soil.

Sometimes it surprised me. Like when the old stories were brought up and I didn’t need to engage in them anymore.

Or when I thought about an old memory, and it was just that — an old memory. Something I couldn’t change, but that could serve as a teaching marker — leading me to do better with my own children, or in my choices, or with people I love.

Sometimes I was amazed at how confidently and easily I connected with others. I’d bravely step out of my comfort zone — not realizing until later it was courageous.

I’d look around startled, and think: Was that me?

Yes, yes it was. It was the new me.

I love how one version of the Bible words the last part of our key verse: “The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!” (2 Corinthians 5:17b, MSG).

The word “burgeon” means to spill out or over with newness. To multiply. To flourish!

In verse 18, it says that this burgeoning newness is a gift from God as He reached to heal those who had been hurt by sin (whether their own sin or that of another), and brought them back to Himself through Christ.

That day I asked this woman if she’d consider receiving that gift of newness, and she wanted nothing more. What a beautiful first step.

This gift is for all of us. It’s for you.

You receive it as you walk closely with Jesus, following His lead. Letting go of the old as He gently shows you how.

You receive it as you remove your focus from the person who hurt your heart to a God who treasures you.

You receive it as your story expands to include the new chapters ahead.

You receive it as you begin to break the patterns of the past, no longer doing what you’ve always done, or thinking the way you’ve always thought.

And splish, splash, something begins to burgeon. You’re becoming a brand new girl.

With a new life.

With a new way of thinking.

Heading in a new direction.

With a newly mended heart.

Father, I am tired of the old. You are bigger than the past. You offer a gift of healing and I receive it. I won’t rush this, but allow You to heal layer by layer. Surprise me, God, with what You desire to do inside of me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: 2 Corinthians 5:14, “Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.” (NLT)

Why Did This Happen, God? By: Lysa Terkeurst

JUNE 4, 2015

Why Did This Happen, God? LYSA TERKEURST

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

Has God ever hurt your feelings? I’ll be honest, sometimes I’ll read those verses from Philippians listed above and think to myself: This is a tough pill to swallow.

Content in any and every situation?

Really?

A few years ago my middle daughter was a state champion gymnast. To see her do gymnastics was like looking at God smile. She was beautiful, graceful and captivating to watch.

Then one night while practicing for one of the largest tournaments she’d ever competed in, she fell. It was a move she’d done hundreds of times with the greatest of ease. But this time something went terribly wrong and that one mistake destroyed her gymnastic dreams.

We spent a year going from doctor to doctor only to be told she’d never be able to support the weight of her body on her injured shoulder again.

I’ll be honest … this was a tough pill to swallow. Watching a 14-year-old girl wrestle with the fact that her dreams were stripped from her doesn’t exactly lend itself to feelings of contentment. Now, I know in the grand scheme of life, people face much worse situations. But in her world, this was huge.

It was so tempting to want to wallow in the “why” questions and tell God He’d hurt our feelings.

Why did this happen?

Why didn’t You stop this, God?

Why weren’t my prayers answered?

Have you ever been there? Have you ever had a big situation in your life where you just couldn’t process why God would allow this to happen? Or maybe even a small annoyance like losing your keys or having a flat tire on a morning you really needed to be somewhere.

It’s so tempting to wallow in the “why.”

Asking why is perfectly normal. Asking why isn’t unspiritual. However, if asking this question pushes us farther from God rather than drawing us closer to Him, it is the wrong question.

If asking the why question doesn’t offer hope, what will?

The what question.

In other words: “Now that this is my reality, what am I supposed to do with it?”

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things”(NIV).

I like to call this verse, “Directions on Where to Park My Mind.”

And that’s exactly what Ashley had to do with her dashed gymnastics dreams. Instead of wallowing in why did this happen, I’ve had to help her say:

This is my reality, now what am I going to do with it?

What can I learn from this?

What part of this is for my protection?

What other opportunities could God be providing?

What maturity could God be building into me?

Switching from the why to the what questions paves the road to parking our minds in a much better place.

Is it always easy? No.

But is it a way to find a perspective beyond situations where we feel God has allowed something in our lives we don’t understand and we absolutely don’t like?

Yes it is, and I pray this helps you today.

Dear Lord, I want to process everything I face in life through the filter of Your love. I know You love me. But sometimes it’s just hard to understand the circumstances that come my way. I find myself consumed with trying to figure things out rather than looking for Your perspective and trusting You. Thank You for this new way to look at things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Isaiah 55:8-9, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’” (NIV)