Thursday, February 23, 2017

IT'S ONLY A CHAPTER, NOT THE END OF THE BOOK

 
Though I can't remember which devotional those words came from, they've stuck with me, reminding me, when things look particularly dark or discouraging, not to judge the end of a book by the chapter in its middle.  This amaryllis is a wonderful illustration why.

My friend gave it to me in a starter kit for Christmas, and after carefully following the instructions on how to plant the bulb, I put it on my windowsill in the same spot where the one she had given me the Christmas before had thrived and grown tall.

Before long, a single stalk emerged and started to grow, but unlike its predecessor, it did not shoot up or grow tall.  Nor did a second stalk appear.  I watched and waited with great anticipation, but it stopped growing at about half the height I expected it to reach, and it's top, where the buds should be, looked frayed and brown around the edges.  I continued watering it and turning it towards the sun, but as more and more days went by with no sign of change,  I gave up on it and declared it dead.

One evening, shortly after that declaration, I noticed that the stalk seemed a little taller, and its frayed top had opened slightly.  Was it my imagination? But no. A few days later, buds started to appear, and my heart sang a song of joy as I realized my "defunct" plant was not dead at all.  It was starting to bloom. Right on time. God's perfect time.

Before long, those buds turned into four stunning flowers.  and as if that weren't enough, when those four flowers faded and died, two more buds popped up to replace them.

How often have I been ready to give up on something because it seemed hopeless, walking away before it had a chance to come to fruition; or been convinced that I had reached a dead end and come face to face with something too impossible to be turned around.  And yet contrary to what my natural eyes or intellect may try to tell me, nothing is impossible with God. The story is never over until He finishes it.

                                         "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and
                                          lean not on your own understanding."
                                          (Proverb3:5)

Monday, January 9, 2017

OVERLOOKED BY OTHERS; HAND PICKED BY GOD

"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and 
wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your 
works,And that my soul knows very well."
(Psalm 139:14)

"Overlooked by others; hand picked by God," was a phrase, on the back cover of a book, that caught my eye. Though I no longer remember the name of the book, those words have stayed with me. They are a comforting reminder when I feel passed over or left out. 

For as long as I can remember, I've had a deep desire to make a difference, to feel significant, to leave my mark on the world, but instead, more often than not, I've felt rejected and "less than." Now, as a member of my church's prayer team, I'm seeing an increasing amount of prayer requests from or for people battling similar feelings, who have turned to destructive behavior patterns in a futile attempt to numb the pain.  I'm also seeing an alarming increase of drug overdose deaths and teen suicides in our community.

I know this is not a widely read blog, but it is my prayer that at least one lonely, hurting person will see this post and be uplifted by its words. I pray that it will convince you of your infinite worth, and lead you to the foot of the Cross where you can be healed and made whole.

No matter how things may be looking to your natural eyes and intellect, or what lies Satan has tried to flood your mind with, the truth is that your Father is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and your identity lies in Him alone--not in how you feel you measure up to others, or what others might think of you. You were not an accident. God knew you long before you were conceived, and created you for a special purpose no one else can fulfill (Psalm 139:15-16). You are a Divine original, a masterpiece, wired and gifted according to the strengths and weaknesses needed to fulfill His pre-ordained plan (Romans 12:4-6; 1 Corinthians 12:14-24). 

There is no sin so great it cannot be forgiven, or life so broken it cannot be restored. God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to die for you on the Cross, so you could be forgiven and set free (John 3:16). However, the gift of salvation is a free gift you can only receive by grace, through faith. It cannot be earned by good works (Ephesians 2:8-9). God will not impose His will on you or force you to accept it. The choice is yours.