Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thankful in Times of Drudgery – Part 1 of 5

Mother's Day 2008
Do you often feel weighed down, even overwhelmed, by the nitty-gritty of daily life? Does it sometimes seem as if there is nothing you can do to make the job of motherhood any better? Maybe you’re even ready to throw in the towel?

For those of you who are new to this blog, I’ve been following the lives of the Israelites in the time of Moses, mainly their time in the desert as they journeyed to the Promised Land. Life out in the desert wasn’t much fun. There were no shopping malls, no TVs, and no books or magazines to read. Life went on, and there were daily chores to be done. Of course, a few miracles and a few curses broke the monotony every now and again.

Forty years was a long time to be wandering. It was, of course, meant to be a punishment for the unbelief of the parents. Their children, however, had to go with them through this experience. There must have been hundreds of days that felt like drudgery to them. My few years spent stuck at home caring for a family felt something like that to me. Minutes dragged into hours and hours into days.

I spent most of my time trying to make the kids happy, preparing the meals, and cleaning the house. The down-side was that it was never-ending. It was a constant cycle of kids, meals, house, kids, meals, house, kids, meals, house, and on it went. There was little variety and a lot of work.

On my poetry blog Consider the Lilies, I have posted a poem for Mother's Day called "Gifted, Talented Woman." Here is one stanza from the poem: Without women there would be no children to see - There would be no you and also no me - No different cultures, no different faces, - No different colors and no different races...
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poem - Gardens of Joy

Once I was destitute, a captive of sin,
But then You gave me life and dwelled within.
You took my waste places, You took my tears,
You took my heartaches, and all my fears.

You took that pot, which was made of clay,
You took all of my darkness and made it day.
Then gave me wings, made me into a silver dove
With yellow-gold feathers, covered in Your love.

You gave me rivers and gardens of joy;
Things more precious than some material toy.
You gave me gladness and also thanksgiving
And filled my heart with continual singing.

In light of all this, what can I give in return?
Worship and obedience from a love that is firm.

by Christina Morley
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thankful in Times of Difficulty – Part 4 of 4

Besides saving the Israelites from slavery, God had another plan of salvation for His people, salvation from the slavery of sin to the freedom of righteousness; a plan that would include not only Jews, but Gentiles also. God began with the Israelites through Abraham, and later, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, made it possible for all who believe in the Son to have access to God.

What God began in the wilderness, He is perfecting through all who place their faith in Jesus. We have access to all the blessings given to the Israelites, who were set free from Egypt. Also, the curse that was theirs because of sin was dealt with on the cross. Not only are we free from the curse, but we’re also adopted as children of God.

We’ve got lots to be thankful for. So, the next time we can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, it’s a good time to start praising God. Our praises will turn the darkness of fear and despair into the bright assurance of God’s love and hope. Praise reminds us of the truth that we’re on the winning side!
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Thankful in Times of Difficulty – Part 3 of 4

The Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land wasn’t as happy a one as God had intended it to be. They were supposed to travel only a few days in the wilderness, but it turned into forty years. Their stubborn and unthankful hearts caused them lots of misery along the way. The more they resisted God, the more He resisted them.
While they lived under the dictatorship of Pharaoh, they had to obey no matter what. Pharaoh cared only about building his empire on the backs of the Hebrew people. Unlike Pharaoh, God wasn’t a dictator. He also wasn’t running a democracy. He couldn’t be voted in one day and out the next, although the people certainly tried to do this. He refused to be just a passing fancy. They were stuck with Him whether they liked it or not.
You see, God had a plan for them - a plan meant for good and not for evil. That plan was to establish a new nation under Him, a theocracy. They were to experience His protection, demonstrate His love, and carry His name to the nations. What He wanted was their full devotion and loyalty as He was fully devoted and loyal to them. They would then be granted victory after victory over their enemies.
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Thankful in Times of Difficulty – Part 2 of 4

Not very long afterwards, while standing on the outskirts of the Promised Land, the Israelites were faced with another test. Now God had previously promised them that the land that they were going to inherit would already be well established. They would live in houses that they hadn’t built with their own hands and enjoy vineyards that they hadn’t planted. Their scouts confirmed that the land was well inhabited and tremendously fruitful. They’d never seen anything like it in all their lives. However, when they saw the strength of the peoples in the land that God had promised them, they lost courage, and they lost hope.

The Israelites lost their courage and hope, because they hadn’t been practicing a grateful attitude. When things didn’t go their way, they would give Moses a piece of their mind. They even threatened to stone him. If they had taken the time to thank God for past breakthroughs, then they would have been more inclined to recognize His protection, His favor, and His power in their lives.

Have your eyes been focused on problems rather than on God’s blessings? Just as eating right and exercising protect your physical health, taking time to thank God for what He’s done in your life will protect your spiritual health. As you practice a thankful attitude on a daily basis, it’ll be easier to notice the silver lining in the dark clouds of difficulty. You might be surprised to find that your difficulties aren’t as bad as you had previously imagined.
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thankful in Times of Difficulty – Part 1 of 4

How do you handle life when it’s not going your way? Every time in the Old Testament when the Israelites faced new difficulties, they would throw up their arms in fear or despair. Instead of staying focused on God, their problems would cause them to lose peace of mind.  

Soon after crossing the Red Sea, Moses went up the mountain to speak to God. When a few days had passed and he hadn’t yet returned, the people gave up waiting for him and decided to take matters into their own hands. They created a golden calf to be their god. It was the same gold that God had made available through the Egyptians, who gave it willingly to the Israelites when they left Egypt.

They chose to replace the living God with idolatry. What do you turn to in difficult times? Do you turn to things like food, shopping, unwholesome relationships, or anywhere else other than to God, for that matter? Or, is God your only source when you are faced with the storms of life?

Fear is often the root of incorrect thinking and drives people to incorrect behavior. We can learn from the Israelites’ mistakes not to soothe our fears with created things, but to place our faith in the Creator who made everything. God wants to bless us because He’s a loving, merciful Father, but He’s also just. Therefore, we have much to gain or lose by the choices we make. 
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Monday, April 9, 2012

Poem - There Once Was a Girl

There once was a girl on a sunny day
She was having fun in a carefree way
In a field of flowers with the honey bee
This is how life should always be

But growing up brought many hardships
As she jumped in and out of relationships
The flowers were exchanged for stolen kisses
Followed by the sting and shame she now nurses

She let life bounce like a ball at its own will
Each bounce a piece of heart would kill
Looking for love, but in the end she found none
Life without rules brought pain instead of fun

This is not how life should be
She was created with purpose and a destiny
Not to be left without direction or only to fate
For her to turn around now is not too late

Her heart may be torn into tiny shreds
And hope hanging merely by threads
But as she opens her heart to God’s ways
He’ll bring her back to sunshiny days

He is the Great Creator and Master Restorer
He can put anyone’s life back in order
Each person must follow His leading and call
And by Christ’s Spirit He’ll not let us fall

By Christina Morley

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thankful in Times of Sacrifice – Part 5 of 5

The topic in this series has been thankfulness. Another aspect of giving thanks is offering praise. To praise God when things are going well is easy and necessary. When things aren’t going well, it becomes a sacrifice of praise. In other words, it’s praise that’s offered during difficult times. Those times you don’t feel like praising Him are probably the times you need it most. Praising God is like making an investment, the kind of investment that always brings greater returns.

Praise is dynamic and active, not passive. It brings God’s presence into any situation. Whatever you are facing, God has a plan and a purpose. There is nothing that is uncertain to God. Praising Him allows His glory to shine through the darkness of uncertainty. It also brings freedom from emotional and spiritual bondage.

Praise God even before you see results and in every season of life. You’ll be glad you did!
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Monday, April 2, 2012

Thankful in Times of Sacrifice – Part 4 of 5

If we want the love of God to be real in our lives, then we can’t love material things and comforts more than we love God. Just as He did with the Israelites, God uses the tough things in our lives to test us. He wants to see how much we truly love Him, and He wants to strengthen our spiritual muscles. Therefore, we must be willing to obey and follow God at any cost. Obedience in the littlest of things guarantees a victorious life.

Many Israelites missed out on entering the Promised Land because they weren’t willing to make strategic sacrifices. They wanted good returns without depositing anything. They were on the winning team, but because of their unbelief they did not partner with God, their coach. They did not commit to His ways, nor did they maintain a good attitude.

This is not how a Christian on the winning team should behave. If we sacrifice the right things at the right time, the outcome will benefit us instead of harm us. We actually gain more in the long term when we choose to be obedient instead of giving in to short-term desires.

I took the above photo in 2001 of my husband, Rob, with our baby, Samantha, and Jeremiah and Jessica while on a missions trip to Zambia. It was one of my toughest experiences as a mother, but it was also one of my best. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to check out both my photography blog and my parenting blog. God bless!
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