PAIN

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Pain is the fuel of passion – it energizes us with an intensity to change that we don’t normally possess. C.S. Lewis said, “Pain is God’s megaphone.”  It is God’s way of arousing us from spiritual lethargy.  Your problems are not punishment; they are wake-up calls from a loving God.  God is not mad at you; He’s mad about you, and He will do whatever it takes to bring you back into fellowship with Him.  But there is an easier way to reignite your passion for God:  Start asking God to give it to you, and keep on asking until you have it. ~Rick Warren

When There’s No One To Depend On… You Can Depend On God

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In a children’s story called “The Little Red Hen”, the hen found a grain of wheat and decided to indulge in her God given ability to bake, so she planted the grain.  She asked her friend the duck for assistance in the planting process but the duck said, “Not I” and went for a swim.  She went on to ask the goose, the goose said, “Not I, I’m on my way to tell goose stories to the baby goslings.”  Then she asked her friends the cat and the pig, who gave the same response, “Not I, we’re going out for beignets and tea”.  And so it was as time went by, the wheat grew tall and it became time to reap.  So once again the little red hen asked her friends, ‘Who will help me reap the wheat?”  They all said, “Not I.”  So the hen said, “I’ll reap it myself.”

Next it was time to take the wheat to the mill to be  made into flour, so she solicited the help of her friends again, but they were all way too busy.  Finally, it was time for the last step; she asked her friends to help make the dough and place it in the oven to bake.  Again they refused, so the little red hen said, “I’ll mix and bake it myself” and she did.  After the bread completed baking, the little red hen took it from the oven, placed it on the window sill to cool, then asked her friends, “Who will help me eat the bread?”  The duck spoke right up, “I will”, the goose spoke with excitement, “I will”, the cat and the pig both spoke with glee, “I will”…  The little red hen said, “No, I will eat it myself” and she did.

Even though it’s a comical fiction, isn’t life quite a bit like this…  God gives us a dream, a vision or a great idea that we become passionate about.  We burst at the seams with excitement.  We so badly want to include others at the time of inception and to our dismay, we just can’t get anyone on board or genuinely interested.  God gave Joseph a dream…. and when he shared it, he was hated, thrown into prison, left in solitude, even falsely accused…  Through it all, he held on to his conviction, he held on to what God placed in his heart.  In the end, God didn’t disappoint!  Joseph was brought to a great place in his life; he went from being a slave to a prime minister, from “rags to riches”.  God choose him to save his family as well as Egypt.

Unlike the little red hen, Joseph shared what he had.  He could very well have chosen a selfish path, focusing on his hurts and his times of isolation and discomfort.  He could have  aborted or buried the dream not even making an attempt at it…  When Joseph had no one else to depend on, he knew he could depend on God.  He went to God for instructions, for strategy and executing his plans.  He went to God for strength and endurance when he felt like giving up and giving in.  He went to God when he experienced despair and depression crept in.  Joseph learned how to turn negatives into positives trusting in God.

Like Joseph, as we learn more of how to lean on God, He will help us through the entire process of everything He’s committed to our hands.  He will not say, “Not I”, He will say, “I am”… He is the great “I am”!!

Jer. 32:17 –  Ah, Lord God! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.  There is nothing too hard for you.

God Brings Good Out Of Bad Situations

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The bible states in Genesis 50:24 that Joseph knew he was dying; he told his brothers that God would take them to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, overall making them a great nation.  The promised land was described in various places in the bible as being prosperous, filled with milk and honey (good ground, fertile and plentiful).  However, what he didn’t tell them was that it wouldn’t be easy to obtain this land.  He didn’t tell them they were going to suffer hard bondage at the hand of Pharaoh, and that the escape route from Egypt would entail running from their enemy, crossing a sea that appeared impossible to cross, waiting in a desert for their daily provision to fall from the sky and then ridding the land of the current inhabitants… I can’t think of anything in my life experiences that compares to this however, my battle with sweets is very REAL … 

In my early teen years I developed a “sweet tooth” that I had hoped would subside as I grew older.  To say the least, it has increased!  Constantly I have to monitor the situation otherwise, I would wake up to sweets for breakfast then go to bed with sweets as my late night snack.  I’ve had to learn how to do battle… so over the years I have mapped out a plan.  # 1, I’ve educated myself regarding the health issues caused by the abuse of sugar, by reading and taking courses.  Good health is very important to me; I love feeling naturally energized and ready to perform whatever I need or desire to do (I’m not a health nut:).  #2, I focus on the end result, not only will I feel better, my clothes will fit better and I won’t have to buy additional sizes.  #3, When difficult times come, I chew a piece of gum or eat a sweet potato, which usually suffices my sweet tooth quite well.  And lastly, sometimes I just have to give in and enjoy a small amount of candy, cookies, pie or cake:)  Then there’s times when I completely “fall off the wagon”.  Is it easy… No!  Absolutely not!  I have not mastered it.  But I am willing to continue the journey because the end result is not only desired but necessary for me to live abundantly in my promised land God has so graciously given to me.

Ex. 3:8  –  Gen. 50:19-21  –  Ps. 119:71