Our world is changing fast. It reminds me of a World War II movie I saw. An SS man roughed up a citizen and told him to learn the new laws or else. That’s not far from our situation today, especially with the recent death of Antony Scalia. Regardless of how we vote, we feel as if we have no voice in our government, and we worry that we’ll be told what we believe isn’t legal anymore. It’s easy and even tempting to become victims, or simply to give in. I’ve heard people talk about going with the flow. In Scripture, however, we are called to make choices. Joshua lined up the Israelites as they readied themselves to enter Canaan. He said, “Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell…” That’s a powerful command. He didn’t want them to be passive.
We aren’t, however, the first generation to face hardships. In particular, World War II was a dark time in history. Nobody wanted another global conflict. Too many men died in the Great War, and peace at any price sounded good. (Remember that speech by Neville Chamberlin?) But when Hitler swallowed most of Europe, people began to realize the tyrants overseas wouldn’t go away. Today we face spiritual warfare that rivals that war. Conflict in the spiritual realm isn’t new either, but the intensity we see worries us.
We’d all welcome good news. Today I have Sarah Sundin. World War II is her favorite era, and she completed extensive research on the living conditions of that time. She wrote Through Waters Deep, regarding the opening of the war. Listen to her lessons from history. Enjoy!
I could win an award for worry. Years ago, when I attended nursing school, we studied various diseases while learning how to care for each type patient. As I read over the symptoms, I would swallow hard and remember having all those things happen to me. I’d decide I had that particular disease. After worrying over every malady we studied, I saw the pattern and tried to stop.
But I didn’t stop worrying, especially during those early years of marriage. If my husband was a little late coming home from work, I would imagine him in a smashed up car on the side of the road. He’d be dead every time. And then I’d envision the police coming to my door. At times when he was very late, I would think about what I might wear to his funeral. By that time, my emotions would be so intense, that I’d lose it when he walked in the door. The worry turned to fury, and I wouldn’t want to talk to him.
It took me a long time to understand how my thoughts produced anxiety, but I finally learned to pray about my fears and think about good things. It’s still hard, even today. Like a dog licks his wounds, I want to focus on the part of life that’s not right.
Philippians 4:6 says, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Further along in the chapter, it says, “…whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
I believe God put those verses there just for me. As I grow older, I’m learning more and more ways to handle stress the right way.
Today I have Debra Coty with me. She’s a delightfully funny lady who has written a book called Too Blessed to be Stressed. She’s going to share her heart with us so we can even chuckle a little as we let go of anxiety.
She has a cookbook, Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook. This month her readers are competing in a contest to lose weight. You can learn more about Debora here.
Love a Dying Friend? What a tough assignment! But let’s start at the beginning of the problem.
All of us, realize something is wrong. We live in a world of disappointment, sadness, sorrow, and misery. However, God designed us to live in perfect world, without pain. We can share times sorrow left us devastated, empty and alone. Even those of us who grew up in healthy families can share deep hurts. For instance, in ninth grade I took Spanish. To master the language, my friend and I wrote each other notes. Someone ridiculed me in front of an entire class for that. That’s nothing compared to what others have suffered, but it was pain. I was embarrassed and devastated.
My grandmother moved into our house when I was young, and I suffered verbal abuse at her hands. She made me feel worthless and useless. I could never please her. Even now at times I feel like I don’t measure up.
Ladies, I believe Satan finds a way to leave an ugly mark on us all.
Romans 8:22 – 23 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
I feel that groan, and I’m sure you do also.
What a blessing when someone comes alongside as a friend and shares that pain. I think about that passage in Hebrews three that says “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,”
Today I have Jill Buteyan. She just completed a book called Just Show Up. She walked alongside a dear friend suffering with cancer and she gives advice on how to do that.
Today I want you to put yourself in the shoes of Mary. Imagine with me. Picture the angel arriving. In many places in Scripture, people displayed symptoms of shock when an angel appeared, so it’s pretty incredible to see the supernatural. The angel started off by saying Mary was highly favored and said that she will be the mother of the promised Messiah. Wow! Imagine how that felt.
Think of all the frustration she faced when she informed her mother and father she was with child. Maybe they guessed when she got back from Cousin Elizabeth’s house. Either way it wasn’t fun. Imagine her concern about Joseph hearing the news and not understanding. Can you picture relatives rolling their eyes and saying they’d never heard that excuse.
Think about how she felt while riding to Bethlehem on a donkey when she was about the give birth. Nothing feels comfortable when you’re nine months pregnant.
Imagine how she felt giving birth in a stable and wrapping the child in whatever cloth she had and placing him in a manger. Remember that a manger was a feeding trough for animals. Not pretty and clean. Ugh!
Today I have Christy Fay with me, she wrote Reclaimed: uncovering your worth. It’s a Bible study about five women in the genealogy of Jesus.
What kinds of things had the Lord done to prepare her for this time?
How did he use these events in her life?
How does this impact our lives?
Learn more about Christy Fay and her ministry here.
Christmas is a time of joy, and it should be. As believers we celebrate because we understand the hope we have. Jesus died to give us eternal life. When we come to know him we have a reason to live for something bigger than ourselves.
But it also important to realize that because our world is messed up, not everyone will be happy.
For instance, men who serve in the military often struggle with PTSD, which is post traumatic stress. It’s so important for us to understand this disorder so we can offer help.
There’s also a disorder for children called Attachment disorder. A child who has this is fearful of bonding with an adult. They crave it, yet they fear it too. They don’t have appropriate social behavior with others.
Kathi Macias wrote about PTSD and Attachment Syndrome in her latest book. She shares more about both and how we can minister to our solders who struggle to adjust to life after the horrors of battle.
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Once I heard someone describe the song Amazing Grace as a white spiritual. After getting over my shock, I realized this man thought the song was written to express our disappointment over life’s hardships. Clearly he didn’t grasp redemption, but all of us realize things aren’t right. Let’s face it, our world is broken. God didn’t design us to live in a damaged world.
Romans chapter eight talks about this. My husband calls this passage groaning 101. Verse twenty-two and twenty-three say, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
Sometimes those groans blaze into a raging fire. What then?
Today I have Carol McLeod. Her ministry is all about suffering. Her latest book is Refined.