A few days ago I woke up feeling weak, worn, and weary. If that wasn’t enough, I discovered that while I was sleeping, a spider had bitten me on my right wrist.
It was one of those days where I had felt beaten even before I had climbed out of bed. I knew I couldn’t just lay there allowing a dark cloud of depression to settle over me, so I got up and grabbed my Bible and turned to the book of Ephesians.
This was actually one of two letters written to the church of Ephesus. One, the Book of Ephesians was written by Paul and the other by Jesus, is recorded in Rev. 2:1-7.
I didn’t have to read any further than verse 3 of Ephesians 1 to start getting my deflated, depressed spirit pumped back up again…
As we get older, if we are going to get better and not bitter, we need to daily be aware of the presence and promises of God. Determine now that next time you encounter a crisis instead of panicking, you will pray and remember Is. 43: 2-3. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your God.”
We are promised throughout the scriptures that if we pass through the hot flames or the hot waters of life’s trials and tribulations, like the tea bag that is not destroyed by the hot water, we will come to see that our purpose for being in such hot water is to change the water through the power of God.
If we are going to not only survive, but actually change the hot waters and flames of life, we must see ourselves not as free floating spiritual tea leaves, but as members of God’s community tea bag of love. With His loving presence flowing through His community of compassion, the homeless are given homes, the hopeless are given hope, and the helpless provided help. Those immersed in the hot water of trials and tribulation are able to confidently declare, “God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and Godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).
Living victorious lives involves guarding the spirit or the heart…
We know there is so much hurt and pain in this world and it is not only just out there somewhere, it can easily be found in our minds and hearts. Jesus promised that “in this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world” (John 16:33, The Message) It’s typical, when we encounter hurt, to want to blame, shame, or problem-solve. But as followers of Jesus Christ, we have to continually remember 1) the change He made in our lives, 2) who we belong to, 3) what kind of persons to be, and 4) what sort of work to do. Without keeping first things first, we’ll get spun around and lost.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the victory in Christ that overcomes the devil, the world, and our flesh. We thank you for your words of life that bring healing and light. We ask you today to show us your will in the midst of all that concerns us. We cast all of our cares upon you, knowing that you care for us. Have your way in us completely, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
It’s so easy to forget about where we truly belong. When I was my middle daughter’s age I visited my grandfather at his home in southern Texas. During that trip it seemed like every time I turned around I was breaking something or had my nose into something I shouldn’t. I broke his garage door by playing with the door open switch. For days after that I just couldn’t catch a break from his teasing. He just seemed so irritated or had some comment about everything I did. And I felt at the time like I just couldn’t understand him.
Now, as I’m turning forty in a few weeks, I think I’m finally coming to understand him a little bit better. There’s this thing called….