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Three Ways to Cope with ‘Windy Days’

7 Mar

Two guys were standing inside a building of a local theme park. They were looking outside, and it was WomanOnWindyDay_croppedan extremely windy day.

The area’s custodian, the one who had the job of sweeping up debris, was a very small woman (4’10″& 90 lbs) and she was having a rough time trying not to be blown away. When she asked her park manager what she should do, he replied: “You have a warm down jacket don’t you? Well put rocks in all the pockets!”

Then a minister, who was standing nearby, suggested she say a little prayer to ask the Lord to help her cope with the wind.

Then the park clown suggested she could kill two birds with one stone by saying the prayer she said each night. He said, “You know, the one that goes:’ Now I weigh me down to sweep…‘”

LOL!

All of us have “windy days,” don’t we? Days that threaten to knock us off our feet. Days that cause debris to flurry around us. Days that feel like hurricanes. All we want to do is survive.

Here are three ways to cope with the strong winds that blow through your life.

1. Be sure you are “weighted” correctly. At the park manager’s suggestion, the woman placed rocks in her pockets to help weigh her down. The Rock that is our secure foundation on “windy” days is the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:4; Matthew 7:24-25). We are founded on Jesus Christ, and we continue to build our lives on Him. His Word will help us stand in the storm and in every circumstance, and we will find our faith strengthened in the process.

2. Call out to God. The pastor’s advice in the humorous story above is certainly good counsel. When the winds of adversity come, cry out to the Lord (Psalm 57:2). Either the Lord will make the winds subside, just as He calmed the storm in Mark 4:37-40 – replacing fear with faith and giving you peace – or He will help you go through the storm as He did for Paul in Acts 27:14-44. He will deliver you out of your troubles (Psalm 37:17).

3. Rest in the Lord. The clown’s advice, though silly, had a bit of truth in it. He mentioned her bedtime prayers, suggesting the idea of sleep. Instead of fretting, we can rest knowing that God never slumbers (Psalm 121:3-5). He’s always watching, always aware of what’s going on in His children’s lives (Psalm 91:1, 5). We can “lie down and sleep in peace” (Psalm 4:8). But that “rest” continues even when we are awake (Psalm 37:7); we can have God’s peace all day long (John 14:27).

The One who is our “Refuge and Strength” is a “very present help in trouble,” and the secret of abiding in His peace is to “Be still” and know that He is who He says He is – the God of the universe (Psalm 46:1, 10a); and if God is for us, who or what can be against us? (Romans 8:31, 35, 37-39)

Who then is this that even the wind obeys Him? (Mark 4:41) It is Jesus, the Mighty God, our Refuge and Peace. I don’t know about you, but it helps me to know that God is in control of all things, even my Windy Days. Have you found this to be true?

– Dawn

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Straight Thinking about Holiday Oxymorons

9 Dec

My husband and I often laugh at the covers of women’s magazines.  So often they offer high-calorie foods and gorgeous desserts (like the Molten Chocolate Cake shown here) right next to dieting articles (like this one ~ “We lost 230 lbs!”).  Have you noticed that?

Some other cover oxymorons (and it’s not just Woman’s Day):

  • “Your healthiest year ever”… next to a whole collection of muffins and pound cake
  • “Eat healthy fast-food cheat sheet”… next to Corny Cupcakes (cupcakes on a skewer made with brown butter frosting and jelly beans)
  • “Drop 10 lbs in 4 weeks”… next to Simple & Delicious Cheesecake Brownie Bars
  • “8 Reasons why your diet isn’t working”… next to Strawberry Shortcake Parfaits.
  • “Stop Gaining Weight!”… next to “Easy Holiday Baking: Delicious pies and cakes”

You get my point. Why is it we don’t think straight when it comes to food or other things we want?

I laughed at a recent post by Jeff Goins, a writer I follow. He suggested (in an email titled “Giving Thanks ~ for EVERYthing!”) some funny holiday oxymorons:

  1. Remember to be grateful for what you have… Don’t miss these great deals!
  2. Catch up on work before the end of the year… Don’t forget to rest.
  3. Try to get some “me” time… Don’t neglect spending time with family.

We need to think straight about those seeming inconsistencies, don’t we?

When we have that normal stress (“tension”) going on in our lives, it’s important that we listen to a voice outside of ourselves. We need to ask our Heavenly Father what He wants us to do, and search the scriptures for His wisdom. Right thinking can help us walk that fine line of tension this month (and every month).

You’ve felt it.

  • We want the 90″ flatscreen TV for our family for Christmas, but know our budget will only allow for one much smaller (if at all).
  • We want a new dress for the Christmas party when the truth is, we already have three or four outfits that will do just fine.
  • We want to spend hundreds of dollars more on gifts than last year, but we don’t want our family to fall over a financial cliff.
  • We want to sit down and read a Christmas novel like Unexpected Christmas Hero, but there are cookies to bake for Junior’s school party…  and the office party… and the Christmas Eve party.
  • We want to stuff our faces at the holiday office get-together, but a little voice says, “What were you saying to your friend yesterday about not wanting to gain more than two pounds over Christmas?”
  • We want to curl up by the fireplace and take a nap, but God’s Spirit nudges us to visit Sister So-and-So in the hospital.
  • We feel like we owe everyone a piece of our time, but God says, “come apart with Me before you come apart” in all this holiday rush.

It’s the tension of all those extra choices that adds to our stress at Christmas. We need God’s wisdom, don’t we?

The Bible gives us that wisdom. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” That is the protection we need ~ surrendering our will to God’s will.

We’re also instructed, “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). That is the source of godly priorities.

And we are told, “…seek those things which are above, where Christ is… Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). That is how we embrace an eternal perspective.

What we become and how we deal with circumstances is largely determined by our desires, thoughts and focus. Whether during the holidays or any day of the year, God wants us to make balanced, wise decisions. Seeking Him and responding with proper attitudes is a good start.

So … how are you dealing with the normal stress and challenging tension of these holidays?

– Dawn

Don’t Assume God’s Not Working

22 Jul

Kathi, holding a tiny baby, walked into a drug store and asked the clerk if she could use the store’s baby scale.

“Sorry, Ma’am,” the clerk said. “Our baby scale is broken. But we can figure the baby’s weight if we weigh mother and baby together on the adult scale.

“Then we can weigh the mother alone, and subtract the second number from the first.”

“Oh, that won’t work,” Kathi said.

The clerk, puzzled, said, “Why not?”

“Because I’m not the mother,” Kathi said. “I’m the aunt.” *

I laugh as I read that, because I’ve often assumed something wouldn’t work, but I had a skewed perspective … or a limited one.

Have you ever assumed that God’s not working in a situation, only to find out some time later that He was working behind the scenes, planning for something spectacular or even “impossible”?

Once, when I felt led away from one job to another, I couldn’t figure out why God didn’t give me the “release” to change jobs right away. A little frustrated, I determined to work hard and “finish well” for as long as God kept me in that job.

Then, months later, God opened an incredible opportunity for ministry and gave me the “go ahead;” but when I went into my boss’s office to tell him I was moving on, I was shocked that he seemed relieved!

A week or so later, I discovered why. I was one of his employees slated for layoff!

God had a greater plan that I could not see, and His timing was perfect.

M. Blaine Smith wrote about his experiences with God’s unseen activity in an article titled “Help from Behind the Scenes” (12-15-97). “If I could glimpse the unseen circumstances that are affecting my destiny,” Smith said, “I would often be encouraged by what I found.”

But then he said, “If I truly knew everything going on behind the scenes that’s affecting my life, I would be unsettled by plenty of it, for I wouldn’t automatically know how to put it all in right perspective.”

How does he resolve his feelings about this? “Yet I have an extraordinary basis for knowing ~ simply as a matter of faith ~ that Christ is working behind the scenes to bring about his best for my life,” he said. “Without knowing any of the details of what He is doing, I have profound reason to be hopeful.”

Over and over again in the Bible, we see that God worked behind the scenes for our good and His glory.

God gave Gideon a glimpse behind the scenes of how He was going to defeat the enemy Midianites (Judges 7:9-15). God opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant to see the powerful angelic army “behind the scenes,” ready to fight against the enemy (2 Kings 6:15-18) ~ one of my favorite Old Testament stories.

Smith notes that, at Jesus’ birth, “few realized that God was acting in a way which would forever alter the course of human history and the destiny of innumerable lives.”

But I’m thinking about the “behind the scenes” story of Jesus’ death! I am awed by this scripture: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:7-8).

Apparently, Satan and his evil cohorts had no idea of the scope of the incredible behind the scenes plan of God in Jesus’ death and resurrection!

Friend, our loving, sovereign God is always working behind the scenes. There’s no need to worry … no need to fear … no need to manipulate circumstances.

We can rest, knowing everything is under control. Let that truth give you hope today!

Comment opportunity:  Has God ever pulled back the curtain to let you see behind the scenes to what He is doing in your life? Or have you been surprised by God’s activity on your behalf? I’d love to hear your stories!

* adapted from Cybersalt Digest, Issue #3674

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