Friday, December 23, 2016

The Truth A Picture Paints

A BIG welcome to my guests from the Encouragement Cafe...I pray my devotional, "The Thing We Must Always Do" blessed you and will impact your prayer life! Blessings to my regular blog reading friends! I don't say it too often, but I regularly thank God for you and always appreciate your shared comments, encouragement and insight. 

The other day I was driving home and I stopped to snap this picture...I've always been one to enjoy the beauty of the sunsets and this one captured my attention. I thought it was worthy of a share, so I posted it on Facebook along with these words - "I'm not a fan of the cold, but grateful for the beauty of God's creation." 

Instantly, I was notified of likes and comments. I got to thinking about how Facebook works...I share a picture and the likes grow rapidly, while a blog post or Bible verse have a few likes over the course of a day. As I thought about this, the old saying came to mind - "A picture is worth a thousand words." 

Then I found myself wondering, "What does this picture say?" Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we each see things quite uniquely I started to think about what it said to me...

This amazing scene came on the end of a real cold stretch here in Iowa. Sunday our actual air temperature was -24 and windchills were close to -50. Needless to say ball games were postponed, church was cancelled and the Sunday School program didn't take place. The weather changed and so did plans. People weren't just feeling frozen some were a bit discouraged and maybe even depressed. 

I've never liked snow and I tend to always be cold. I don't appreciate winter, but yet as I looked at this picture a new thought came to mind - God is still working even when I don't like the season. He's still creating beauty when the conditions aren't something I enjoy. He's providing when things of man are closed and He's fulfilling promises no matter how low the temperature goes. 

His work isn't limited to the sunset on a frigid, winter day, but He can work in a heart that is cold, with feelings that are frozen with fear or doubt. When we're in a season we don't appreciate or a situation we would never choose, God can and will work. Our feelings don't change His Truth and our doubts about self don't alter the faithfulness of God. 

In this cold spell I was feeling bad for and appreciative of my husband. Though nearly everything was cancelled on Sunday and people were advised not to be outside, he had a job to do. He couldn't avoid chores because he didn't feel like it. No matter how miserable it was in the great outdoors cattle had to be fed, snow had to be moved and equipment had to be checked. 

As believers the same is true for you and me. There may be days we feel like staying in bed and avoiding reality, but we must remember God is always working and we too have to walk thru hard seasons and difficult days. We must feed our soul by reading His Word, we must move our feet and follow the Lord. Rain or shine, physically or spiritually, we must trust and obey. 

Friend, a big piece of this puzzle is something I touched on in my devotional - 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to "pray without ceasing." Again a command that is much easier said than done, but what if we attempted to focus on progress instead of perfection? How would your day look if you prayed more today than yesterday? Would your next hard season be different if you prayed more than you did the last time? 

Like normal, God never gives me these thoughts without challenging me with them. The other morning I woke up grateful for all God was doing, how He was leading, confirming and giving me a passion for what He's called me to do. He'd also been providing me time and showing me progress, I was thankful and experiencing some holy confidence...truly something that doesn't come natural.

By the time evening came, things had changed. I said to my husband, "How can I go from believing God to thinking this will never happen so fast?" He responded with one little word - "Feelings". I didn't say much, but thought about it a bit before drifting off to sleep. 

I awoke the next morning in a bigger pit of doubt. Thankfully, I recognized this and a verse I've been studying again came to mind. 1 Peter 1:14 says, "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance." Friend, remember an evil desire is anything that leads you into sin. (James 1:13-15) This verse immediately prompted me to check my heart and think about the lies I was believing, the doubts I was wrestling with and the road I was walking. In my walk of faith I've had a tendency to turn back when things get tough or my wrong thinking overwhelms and I didn't want to do that again.

Like God promises, this Truth started to transform my thinking and renew my mind. I want to the Lord in prayer and He brought some peace to my heart. I realized Satan was on the attack and the Holy Spirit prompted me to ask for prayer while reminding me others were praying. I was tempted to regress as I battled the pride that told me not to share the request and the insecurity that had me not wanting to bother another. 

Friend, I don't know if you ever experience these same thoughts or feelings, but can I encourage you if God puts it on your heart to reach out for prayer, you can trust Him with it. My worrying and wondering mind took the thinking a bit further as I thought about explaining the request. I again went to prayer and asked God for direction. I then followed His lead and sent a simple text, "Could use your prayers. Trying not to listen to Satan and turn back." 

My husband's words about feelings along with the picture I had shared came to mind and I was reminded of Truth that never changes. God was working, He was making me aware of His presence and reminding me of His faithfulness. My feelings may have changed, but my God was still the same. My situation may have been difficult, but God's way will always be best. 

Friend, I don't know what your life looks like or how you feel, but I pray you know no matter how difficult it seems or how strong Satan fights, God is God, He is good and He's going somewhere. I hope your Christmas prep list is growing shorter, but I pray we remember there's one thing we'll never check off - PRAYER. 

I'd love to share the gift of prayer with you today, just leave a comment or send me a message. I'd be honored to lift you up. Remember you don't have to share all the details, God knows the situation and He will direct my heart. 

Blessings to you! May you enjoy a wonderful Christmas with your friends and family! I'm asking God to bless you with precious times of prayer as well!

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