Sunday, February 19, 2012

Focus on the Kingdom

Today was a difficult day for many people at church. Many were hurting from the loss of a dear member.  Although we should all rejoice when a brother or sister in Christ goes home to be with our Lord, there is always a time of grief. This grief was etched on many hearts today. Not just because we lost a friend this week, but also because many of us have personal pains. Some of these pains are new; some have been carried for quite some time. While I sat in a pew listening to the opening song, God struck me with an important revelation. We must focus on the Kingdom – ALWAYS. 

What does it mean to focus on the Kingdom? 

It’s a simple concept, actually. Putting it into practice may take some work. It’s seeing the invisible. It’s looking toward His face, not our own reflection.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says:
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

What is the importance?

In a world filled with despair, pain, turmoil, and hate, it’s hard not to get dragged down into a pit. We must remember that we are not of the world. How can we remember this if we do not focus on Him? How can we not drown in a pit of sorrow daily if we cannot see the light of our Lord? It’s impossible. We must remember:

Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation…The Lord is the strength of my life.

What are the benefits?

The best way I can convey this is by quoting the lyrics of the worship music today. God knew so well what I needed to hear and He brought it to me in song. This is “In the Presence of Jehovah”

In and out of situations that “tug of war” at me,
All day long I struggle for answers that I need;
Then I come into His presence and all my questions become clear,
And for a sacred moment, no doubt can interfere.

In the presence of Jehovah, God Almighty, Prince of Peace;
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended, in the presence of the King.

Through His love the Lord provided a place for us to rest,
A place to find the answer in hours of distress;
There is never any reason to give up in despair,
Just look away and breathe His name, He will come and meet you there.

In the presence of Jehovah, God Almighty, Prince of Peace;
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended, in the presence of the King.
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended, in the presence of the King.

Did you read that correctly? Troubles vanish. Hearts are mended. In the presence of the King!
What better benefit can you ask for? Are you hurting today? Breathe His name, and He will come and meet you!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Encouraging words for a discouraged heart

I haven't been on here in ages. Life has just been busy, and I let too many things slide. I skimmed through my blog earlier, and I realize now that I really miss sitting here and blogging out my thoughts. I can't promise to be consistent, but I shall try going forward.

First...I must find my reading glasses (so I can actually see) and fix some coffee (it's been a rough one!)

Today has been a killer. It's one of those days where when everything is all said and done, I'm left feeling empty and defeated, guilty and failing, or in another word...discouraged.

I yelled today. A lot. If anyone has ever thought of me as a patient person with a gentle spirit...and that person just happened to stroll past my house this evening, then that person either thinks:

a) Shannon must be possessed
b) someone else must live there
c) boy howdy, was I wrong when I thought she was _____

I let my anger get the best of me today when what seems like the 10,000th disrespectful "thing" occurred tonight. Now that my children are in bed asleep, I sit here thinking, "What kind of mother am I?" 

Aren't I supposed to be the picture-perfect homeschooling mom? You know...the one who never raises her voice or loses her cool. Ha....hahahaha.

I have never convinced myself of that lie...but still. Here I sit - feeling a bit broken on the inside.

Then a piece of Scripture was handed to me from my Father.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me.

What sweet, perfect words I needed to hear! Christ's GRACE is sufficient. Period.

Yes, I have a temper problem. I always have. It's my thorn. I try hard to control my tongue, but I fail many times. I am reminded that I cannot do this alone, but

"I can do all this through Him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13)

I am a work in progress, and that's okay. I know my Lord is here with me eagerly waiting to walk me through the storm. I just need to be willing to give Him the steering wheel.

  Lord, I am willing!