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Winter Storms

coldwaves“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:2-8.

January is always tough for us. This January is even more so. They say when it rains it pours, that is so true. My husband and I own two small businesses. It’s wearing on you physically, spiritually, and emotionally when money trickles in and debt/income ratio is unbalanced. Adversity has reared its ugly head and it’s trying to make us falter. I’ll be honest; I just want to give up. But, I can’t. I’ve just got to push through and believe that God will make a way. When I’m stressed and at the end of my rope, only going to God will help sustain me. I thought of the above scripture in James. I always remember the first few verses, but decided to continue reading. First off, I will admit that I lack patience. I want my problems fixed immediately. I want answers right away. Problems and answers take time to be solved. I’m still learning and asking God to help me there. With the problems, I need to ask for wisdom. I need to in turn trust the wisdom that God has given me. Trust and not doubt! Oh doubt, how I hate you, yet I listen to your wretched voice. Doubt tosses me to and fro, making me not trust God. This is something I need to let God help me with. See in my impatience, I start doubting that God isn’t working. But, He is. Things look scary, I can only see the obvious but I’m supposed to have faith. I’m supposed to trust Him. I’m allowing doubt to toss me around; it’s causing me to be unstable. I know also that as bad as I feel and how huge I think my problems are that there are others in worse circumstances. But, I’m looking at what storm is over my head. God, help me to trust you. Help me to not be double minded. Help me to see that you are in the storm, walking on the sea. You are stretching your hand over me and my circumstance. You want me to trust you. Help me to trust and not doubt. Forgive me for doubting and allowing it to toss me along the waves.

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
― Haruki Murakami

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
― Maya Angelou

“Struggle is the food from which change is made, and the best time to make the most of a struggle is when it’s right in front of your face.
“Now, I know that might sound a bit simplistic. But, too often we’re led to believe that struggling is a bad thing, or that we struggle because we’re doing something wrong.
I disagree. I look at struggle as an opportunity to grow. True struggle happens when you can sense what is not working for you and you’re willing to take the appropriate action to correct the situation. Those who accomplish change are willing to engage the struggle.”
― Danny Dreyer

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.” Romans 8:18-21

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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Untied Giving

ImageOne of my favorite books I was introduced to in high school was “The Prophet,” by Kahlil Gibran.  I loved the style and flow of his words and the depth of wisdom in that little book is profound.  There are so many nuggets of wisdom you can pull from this book, but today I’m just focusing on one little piece. 

“You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.”  The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.  They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.  Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you.  And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.  And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity of receiving?  And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?  See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.”

To often I hear people say that they won’t give to someone  because they aren’t sure how that person will spend the funds. Or if it’s something intangible like time, they are afraid to give it to someone who won’t appreciate it, so therefore they won’t give it.  The point of giving is to release something of value to another without strings attached.  Giving with complete release is fulfilled living. How so?  Because you are planting seeds, even if you don’t see it.  Will every seed be fruitful?  No, but some will.  Why take the chance not planting any at all?

Something small to you may be everything to someone else who needs it.  A little time listening to someone may be enough to keep them from making an unwise decision.  A smile may change another persons day.  A simple prayer may be enough to show that you care and shine a glimpse of Gods love on the one receiving it.  A kind gesture can replace hard feelings.

God is the ultimate giver.  He gave his son, Jesus for each of us that we may live.  He gave so that we wouldn’t be held hostage to our sins.  He gave because He loved and He loves.  He gave to me, although I didn’t deserve it.  He gave although I spent that gift wrong for a long time before I realized the greatness of the gift.  It took me awhile to understand the value of the gift He gave me.  But, He also gave me patience, He gave me mercy, He gave me forgiveness, He gave me blessings.  He gave and He gives to me daily.  He is my example, if you follow Him, He is yours as well.  Don’t hold tight to what you are supposed to release, it is a resounding instrument of who you are.  You are a representative to His kingdom. 

 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’   Matthew 25:44–45

 

 
 

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