Monthly Archives: April 2012

Making Friends With Your Problems

Standard

1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

It has been a while since I have been able to post.  Truthfully, I haven’t been motivated to; instead, I have allowed myself to be consumed with my daily problems.  You see,  almost two weeks ago, my father had to undergo emergency open heart surgery – a quadruple bypass, to be exact.  Praise, honor and glory to God, all went extremely well; then, the tough work began – my father realizing the repercussions of his previous lifestyle choices and recognizing recovery would require more than just healing – it would require change. 

Medications, diet (dad was diagnosed as a diabetic after surgery), and exercise have become the topics among my family concerning my father.  It’s been frustrating.  It’s been exhausting.  It’s been depressing.  Now, you would think, as someone who loves the Word of the Lord, I would have been camped out there for the past couple of weeks searching for His guidance in this situation.  But, sadly, no.  Instead, I’ve tried to solve things myself – so much so, I have physically worn myself out.  Today, God said, “enough was enough.”  

This afternoon, I finally took the time to sit down and read His Word – to really “be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10).  As a result, the faithfulness of His magnificent Presence began to show.  I started reading in the book of Psalms, meditating on the word’s David wrote thousands of years ago – “we wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.  In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.  May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You” (Psalm 33:20-22)  I kept telling God, yes, I know You are my strength.  Yes, I trust in You.  But God, I’m overwhelmed, and quite honestly,  I feel angry over these problems I am having to face.  That was when the gentleness of the Holy Spirit prompted me to pick up one of my favorite daily devotional books, Jesus Calling.   At first, I was headed to today’s date, but something stopped me as I was flipping through the pages.  The words written were “make friends with the problems in your life.”  I read that sentence over and over.  I kept reading as the author wrote “every problem can teach you something, transforming you little by little into the masterpiece I (God) created you to be.”   Make friends with my problems – but God, what does that look like?  He answered. 

Embrace your problems as you would your friends.  Know that I have allowed these problems to come into your life for a reason.  Don’t allow the problems to frustrate you.  Allow them to focus your eyes on me.  Also, don’t let the problems exhaust you.  Your friends don’t exhaust you, they rejuvenate you.  If you trust me, allow me to guide you through this.  I will get you to the other side, and you will experience My presence and the amazing exhilaration of walking alongside Me.  Remember, though, you must turn to Me alone.  Trust that I will lead you to where I want you to go.  Finally, I know the problems you face can be depressing – acknowledge the sadness that accompanies living in a fallen world, but don’t let it overcome you.  For I have overcome the world, and one day you will experience the joy that comes from resting in that hope. 

Peter, the rock in which Christ built His church (Matthew 16:18), knew first-hand the power that comes as a result of making friends with your problems.  He wrote, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7).  I don’t know what problems you are facing today – we all have them, and they certainly come in all kinds of trials – but, rest in knowing our Father desperately wants to hold your hand through them.  I have learned, sometimes, prayers aren’t enough when your problems seem insurmountable.  Sometimes, you must plant yourself at His feet and be transparent with what you are feeling – anger, resentment, bitterness, sadness – He can handle it.  Find peace, as I have today, in knowing once you allow Him to take over, the load will feel lighter, the end of the tunnel will be closer, and true transformation will take place.

Until next time, readjusting my eyes on Him… Katie

Advertisements

Past Perfect

Standard

1 Corinthians 5:7-8 “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast – as you really are.  For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.”

Over the past few months I have become fascinated with the feasts of the Old Testament.  Just a few years ago, this subject matter would have bored me to tears; however, lately, God has opened my eyes to the remarkable foreshadowing He gives us through these feasts in  the arrival of His One and Only Son, His subsequent death and resurrection, and finally the day when Jesus Christ will return.  Our great God has an incredible and intricate plan laid out specifically for us to recognize His Son, and the commandments of these celebrated feasts given to the Israelites in the Old Testament directly demonstrate His illustrious design to us in the 21st century. 

The feasts celebrated by His chosen people became and remain unique and unusual.  The term “feasts” in Hebrew literally means “appointed times.”  They are intended to be a time of meeting between God and man for “holy purposes,” and they certainly reveal a special story to us as Believers in Jesus Christ as our Messiah.  This week, as Easter approaches and we celebrate our risen Savior, I thought it would be the ideal time to revisit the symbolism in three of the seven feasts given in the pages of the Old Testament.

Friday, we celebrate the Passover.  As the Israelites were preparing to escape from their bondage in Egypt, God gave them their first festival – the Lord’s Passover.  It celebrated the protection the Lord gave His chosen people from the final destructive plague on the Egyptians before they set them free.  The Israelites were to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and put its blood on the sides and tops of the doorframes of their houses in order to be saved from the angel of death.  Then, they were to eat the meat of the lamb.  This is the Lord’s Passover (Exodus 12:4-14).  Today, we celebrate Jesus Christ as our Passover Lamb.  “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.  He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake” (1 Peter 1:18-20).  The celebration of the Passover began in the evening at dusk and continued until the next day at dusk.  Jesus Christ ate the Passover meal with His disciples, then, He was slaughtered as our Passover Lamb.

Saturday, we celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The day after the Lord’s Passover, God established the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  This particular feast was one that truly caught my attention this year. Leaven, also known as yeast, symbolizes sin in the scriptures.  “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast – as you really are.  For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth” 1 Corinthians 5:7-8.  Jesus’ time in the tomb fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  He clearly represented the sinless bread of Heaven that didn’t rise on this day (as bread made without yeast doesn’t rise).  Jesus also tied the past perfectly together with our future as He tells us in John 6:51 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.  This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Sunday, we celebrate the Feast of Firstfruits.  The resurrection of our sinless Savior is Biblically connected to the Feast of Firstfruits in its timing and spirit.  Jesus rose from the grave on this feast day which represented the beginning of the barley season.  Ceremonially at this feast, the first sheaf or firstfruits of the harvest is cut, and in a carefully prescribed and meticulous ceremony is presented to the Lord.  God’s subsequent acceptance of the firstfruits is a pledge on His part of a full harvest to come.   “Now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.  But each one in his own order:  Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming” 1 Corinthians 15:20-23.  We, as Believers, will be harvested at the appointed time of Christ’s second coming – it is what we are waiting in anticipation for!

Our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was crucified as our unblemished Lamb on the day of the Passover.  His sinless body lay unrisen in the tomb on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and He was resurrected from the dead on the day of the Firstfruits celebration – could God have made it more plain?!  His hands began this elaborate, yet simplistic design 3500 years ago, and through the gift of His Holy Spirit (appropriately given at the Jewish Festival, Feast of Weeks or Pentecost), He allows us to connect the dots today.  Praise our great God this week for giving the Israelites these great celebrations which point us, as Believers, to our ultimate destination.  “Oh, my Strength, I watch for you; you, Oh God, are my fortress” (Psalm 59:9).

Until next week, celebrating the risen King… Katie

Incidently, if you are in  the Birmingham area and would be interested in experiencing our Messiah’s last supper, rich with Jewish roots and heritage, you can go to www.shalombirmingham.com for tickets and details.  It is to be held at the Cahaba Grand April 7th.  I’m anticipating it to be a wonderful experience of unity in the body of Christ!