Monday, May 6, 2013
“When you are happy, so happy you have no sense of needing
Him, so happy that you are tempted to feel His claims
upon you as an interruption, if you remember yourself and
turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be—or so
it feels—welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when
your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and
what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a
sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After
that, silence” (18).
We might conclude that we aren’t the ones with the
problem. We might neglect to remember that we do live in
a sin-filled world where, often, things are not as we believe
they should be. We believe we are entitled to the happiness
others feel and since our present turmoil keeps us from
happiness, something is therefore wrong with God.
Even Jesus asked His Father why He had been forsaken.
I think we can assume that Jesus felt abandoned.
Yet we know the outcome of the Crucifixion story. God
was working in the midst of the agony and pain Jesus suffered.
Can we trust that God works even when He seems
silent? Can we believe that He sees each tear, perhaps even
numbers them as He has the hair on our heads?
Reflections to Ponder
The fear of being left out in the cold grips us. Spend some
time focusing on the promises we are given.
Excerpt from Getting Out of Bed in the Morning
Friday, May 3, 2013
It was a myth to believe that we would be protected from life’s sadness. We live in a broken world and just as others go through seasons of anguish, so shall we. There are signs of suffering all around us if we open our eyes to them. I used to think bad things only happened to other people. Then one day my son died. Up until his cancer diagnosis he’d been a healthy boy. What caused the tumor? Doctors had no clue. As a mother, I wondered if I’d done something wrong during pregnancy. Was it because I got food poisoning during my sixth month? It must be my fault, something I could have controlled.Sorrow happens. How will we handle it? Will we ask God to come alongside and walk with us through it? Or will we continue to blame ourselves until we can barely hold our head up?
The sheer vastness and devastation of sorrow is summed up in this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Sorrow makes us all children again—destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing.”
Allow yourself to ask the tough questions. Many of these hold no understandable earthly answer. Can you live with not knowing why?
God, I pray for a respite from my tears and questions today. Meet me in my struggles.
~ Excerpt from Getting Out of Bed in the Morning
To order your copy of Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache, click here.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Chances are, you are spending time in tears and questioning.
Something I’ve found helpful is writing your questions
on a sheet of paper or in a journal. Don’t judge them
or yourself, just freely write. Unleash them, release them
from your heart and mind onto the page. Think of this as
a service you are doing yourself—letting the pent-up emotions
flow onto the paper through your hand. Let the paper
share some of your woes for a while so that you don’t have
to carry everything inside your heart. Bottled up grief can
make our hearts heavy; sharing it with a friend, even the
friend of a journal, can alleviate some of our confusion,
frustration, or loneliness.
Next, open your Bible to the book of Psalms and read
a few of the ones that pertain to sorrow. Read them aloud.
Read the verses that speak to your heart over and over.
Mark the verbs that you can relate to. Some that deal with
tears and crying out are Psalm 18, 61, and 40.
God, meet me. Meet me in my tears. Bring others
to walk with me. Sustain me. Lift me up. I want
to believe that you are close to the brokenhearted
(Ps. 34). Help me in this time of need when it’s
hard to see straight and even more difficult to have
~Excerpt from Getting Out of Bed in the Morning by Alice J. Wisler
To order your copy, click here.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Take a moment to read both Psalm 121 and Psalm 123.
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 13:40 (NIV)
In a kindergarten class a little boy was eager to tattletale on his classmates for their behavior.
His wise teacher confronted him with the words: “Jimmy, just worry about yourself and you’ll be busy all day.”
Right about the time that we think we’ve put jealousy and envy behind us, we realize, even as adults, that we have not lost the capacity to be petty. Our childish ways are still operating as though on the kindergarten playground.
The Bible is in tune with our human frailty. Countless passages encourage us to put on the mind of Christ and to renew our methods of thinking. Look up! Our hope comes from looking in the direction of Heaven where our help comes from. By lowering our eyes to view the pits in the ground, we forget that God cares for us and provides for our needs. When we seek God, the focus turns from our weakness to His provision, to His mercy. He is eager to equip us so that we can do wonderful things to bless others. It is in the reaching out to others—not in the envying of them—that we are at peace.
May I be a cheerful giver, a compassionate listener, a faithful friend. Let me be the one who shows others that I know of your great love for them and for me. Teach me your ways, O Lord. Amen.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
In my new devotional, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning, I offer a challenge. I ask my readers to get to know God better than they know their own troubles.
The tendency might at first be to think, Oh, yeah, I already know God well.
But how well do you know about the following:
* Your bills
* Your finances
* Your coworkers who drive you crazy
* Your neighbor who runs over your lawn with her car
* Your spouse's irritating habits
* The new house your friend just had built
* The sound of your children complaining
* The sound of your own voice complaining
Do these things---some of which might lead you to worry or become depressed----consume your thoughts? Do you get wrapped up in them?
Do you know how God loves you? Do you understand how much you mean and matter to him? Can His love and attributes come to mind and renew your mind over all your despair and confusion? Can you let that happen?
In Getting Out of Bed in the Morning, I also ask readers to "Push aside all the jargon you might have grown up with—“christianese”—certain phrases you’ve repeated that you aren’t even sure how to explain to a nonbeliever. Read the Bible, perhaps pondering on one passage over and over so that you can fully grasp its meaning for you. Discover ways to express both God and faith in your own words."
For example, can you tell the Resurrection Story in your own words? Can you explain the meaning of Jesus' death on a cross and coming out from the tomb in a fresh way?
Start with one word. Crucified. What are others words you can use in its place? Think: What does it mean to be crucified?
Continue on with other words and phrases we use excessively at Easter-----salvation, died on a cross, rose again, died for my sins, was buried in a tomb.
This Easter spend some time finding new and fresh ways to express how excited you are to know this Jesus Christ who loves you. Read your favorite Easter passage from a new translation like The Message.
Consider how you might tell the story of Jesus' death to someone who has never heard it, or to someone who is not a native speaker of your language, or to a child.
"Discover both God and faith in your own words!"
I challenge you!
To order a copy of Getting Out of Bed in the Morning, click here.
[This post can also be found at Alice's Patchwork Blog.]
Friday, March 29, 2013
Today I'm posting all of chapter thirty-seven from my devotional, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning.
I am not saying this because I am in need,
for I have learned to be content
whatever the circumstances.
If it were easy, there wouldn’t be so much written
about how to do it. Paul doesn’t talk about the
pursuit of happiness. He’s focused on a higher accomplishment.
Being content is the ability to be satisfied with
what one has, whether it is a little or a lot. Once we have
reached the ability to be content, we have reached a high
goal. There is a peace that comes with being satisfied. It
causes one to refrain from looking over his or her shoulder
at others, desiring what they have. By no means does the
ability to be content mean that a life is trouble-free; rather,
in spite of those pesky circumstances, the heart can say,
“I am at rest.”
How do we go about obtaining this goal? I think it
comes from knowing and loving Jesus more. Those who
have gone through turmoil often have a high level of contentment.
They’ve experienced the worst fires and storms.
They’ve seen God’s provision, His grace, His mercy. These
blessings are rooted in their core. They aren’t rattled
because they look back and see what God has done in their
history. They trust He will again act. They sing, “It is well
with my soul.”
They also look for ways to be sustained along the way.
Their answers may not come immediately; but as they
wait, they know that God will give them His comfort, His
love, His presence.
Reflections to Ponder
Read Psalm 145. Take some time to write your own
response to it.
You are faithful to Your promises; You are loving
toward all You have made. You uphold all those
who fall, and lift up all who are bowed down. I
thank you, Lord, for Your faithfulness to me.
When You Walk
Commit this to memory as you walk:
The Lord sustains the humble. . . . (Ps. 147:6)
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Our human frailty creeps in when we are most vulnerable.
We feel inadequate and unprepared for tomorrow.
Finances are low. Bills pile up. People have betrayed us. Decisions need to be made and we don't know how to handle the situation.
What will I do?
How am I suppposed to live?
Jesus asked why we worry. He asked us to look at the wild flowers and their beauty.
He asked us to look at the birds of the air and note how they don't worry.
"Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Matthew 6, NIV)
"And you count far more to him than birds." (Matthew 6, The Message)
Can you make your life a dance unto God, showing others how much you trust him?
Bask in who he is instead of worrying about what you aren't.
He is more than enough for today.
Don't let worry wedge its way between you and God's capable hands.
Look up! You are not a plastic bag blown by the wind! You are valued! (Getting Out of Bed in the Morning)
You are in good hands.
"Oh, how he loves you and me."