Monday, December 21, 2009

Harnessing Holiday Lonliness

Christmas is a time of year that many people feel lonely, sad, depressed and stressed. This may be you, or someone you love. There are several reasons why this may happen such as the loss of a loved one, financial troubles that won't allow for the purchasing of gifts or holiday treats for family, job layoffs or heavier than normal work loads, loss of homes and separated families. All of these events may cause numerous feelings of sorrow, anger, depression and overall loss and grief.

Experiencing such feelings as these can influence our beliefs, ideas, goals and dreams. While focusing on ourselves it is easy to be overcome and totally carried away, overwhelmed and sucked into life's traps. But this is not the answer to life's issues nor is it the way of escape.

God offers a much more reliable, steady and secure resolution to life's troubles.
As long as we are consumed with our own lives, we will not be as concerned with those around us as we should. We re told in II Timothy 4:17, "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it." Our purpose on earth is not to care for ourselves alone, but to attend to the affairs of others, thinking of others as more important than ourselves. Our purpose should be to share the love of Jesus with those in our circle of life.

Through our own pain, brokenness, grief and sorrow we can reach out to others who are also experiencing the same depressive emotions we are, yet we can offer them hope. Hope in Jesus, since all things are possible through Him, Philippians 4:13 there is hope beyond the pain. The love of Jesus which brings peace like a river is ours for the taking and once we look outward, rather than inward, life as we know it will begin to change and we will be able to count it all joy when we go through tribulation because the testing of our faith produces perseverance which in turn strengthens us for future affliction.

So basically we have two choices. We can remain in our present calamity and wish to survive the hopelessness or we can rise above our current situations and shift our concerns to those around us. Being eternally minded does have its advantages so the choice is ours.

The holiday season can motivate us to isolate ourselves and pretend no one else exists. Or it can cause us to face our fears, purge our pain and distinguish our depression so that we may be a blessing to others. Through Jesus Christ and with His strength, we can do all things. We can harness this holiday loneliness and create a more encouraging, less stressful life of purpose. Loneliness need not have its way in our lives anymore.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saving us from Ourselves

Sitting in church this morning I was listening to my pastor share one of the most amazing facts with the congregation I had ever heard. Mark spoke of how we all needed to be saved from ourselves as in Matthew 1:21, "And she (Mary) will bring forth a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Saved from sins, yep, I totally agree with this, but save me from myself? I needed saved from me? Wow! I had not thought of this before but as I did, I realized how true this statement really was.

Allow me to shed some light on this revelation. Think about it, we are mere, fragile humans, born incapable of helping ourselves and we leave normally in this same manner. Yet, as we develop into toddlers we think the world is all about us and we can do as we please. The word 'share' is more like a cuss word to us that must be avoided at all costs and when we move into adolescence we don't think the world is all about us, we know it is and wonder why everyone else does not agree with us. The tweens hit and we still are firm believer's that the world revolves around us, but now we can't understand why grown ups don't gravel at our feet begging to do favors for us. As teenagers, we're sure parents want to make our lives miserable and frustrating right along with our teachers, except we are convinced they all know absolutely nothing and we are self sufficient so have no need for either one of them. We celebrate our magical 18th birthday and run off waving hastily to mom and dad knowing full well we can take care of ourselves and our parents will apologize for their ignorance of our abilities to sustain ourselves without their help. As young adults, life is all about work and play. YA's don't need anyone for the most part and have no trouble making decisions for themselves without a second thought about the after effects of their actions ...but by the time we humans reach 30 years of age, enough natural and self-inflicted consequences have occurred to prove we need the help from others at one point or another. We really do need a Savior as well; a Savior to save us from ourselves. In Romans 3:10, we are told "there is none righteous, no, not one." "We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" is written in Romans 3:23 to remind us we are not the perfect human beings we had always thought we were.

The God of this universe set up a plan for humanity to be saved so we would not destroy ourselves through lack of knowledge, Hosea 4:6. That plan of salvation came to us and still does this very day, through a tiny baby born in a manger over 2,000 years ago, Luke 2:8-20. Jesus saves us from ourselves. John 3:16-17 confirms our eternal destiny aside from receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior.Won't you acknowledge you are a sinner in need of a Savior today?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Trusting God in Uncertainty

This morning my hubby told me he had an interview with an employer in Arizona. It went well and he was offered a job with good pay, good insurance, nice place to work and a pleasant boss at that. I was excited but heard a sense of hesitancy in my husband's voice. He was not so sure we could find a place to live after having been through this year's trials. The outcome has not been pretty.

Uncertainty visits us all, especially in these times of economic trouble.
God reminds us to "Trust in the Lord always and lean not on our own understanding", Proverbs 3:5 God's ways are so much higher than mine so why should I lean on whatever understanding I have of any situation? Trusting in God leads to peace, God's will, assurance and security. Leaning on my own understanding usually gets me nowhere.

My family has had to trust God so much this past year and I must admit it has stretched us in so many different directions, but always closer to Him. We have not understand why my husband lost his job in January, our home at this present time, and our grown children have been scattered throughout three different states. We still don't know what His plans are for us, but we have chosen to lean not on our understanding because it is vain. Trusting God is the most logical, obedient and safest thing to do right now.

His plans for us are good, not to harm us but to give us a hope and a future, Jeremiah 29:11. Why should we worry when God is for us? Who then could possibly be against us? Trusting God is the right thing to do no matter how things look.