Posts Tagged ‘struggles’

Life Is… HARD!

Posted: April 16, 2015 in Life Is...
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After three weeks the number one answer by far is Life Is… HARD!

So how about you? Is life hard for you? Do you struggle all the time? Do you wish things were easier? If so, that puts you in exactly the same boat as most others.

People don’t realize it because we trick ourselves. We think, “If i had ‘X,’ everything would be fantastic! If i could just achieve ‘Y,’ then everything would be wonderful!”

Thing is, that’s not true. Guess what happens when we get our heart’s desire? We walk on a cloud for a few hours, weeks or maybe a month and then, we adjust. We think, if i were rich, life would be easy! If i were famous, life would be grand! If i could just looking like that person, i’d never have anything to complain about.

Everyone knows that rich people, famous people, successful people, extraordinarily beautiful people have just as many problems as everyone else. It’s just a different set of problems.

Matthew 6:34 (MSG) says, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Here’s what i have found… my life is hard when i take my attention off Him. AND… the farther away from Him i get the harder life is. This is one of those experiential things. i can share till i’m blue in the face but you won’t get it until you experience it for yourself. Perhaps the picture can at least bring us some perspective.

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Today is the greatest day i’ve ever known because i will not give in to the struggles!

internal_struggles_by_valentin947-d4ojg9xDon’t confuse your path with your destination. Just because it’s stormy now doesn’t mean it won’t be sunny later. Let me say it another way, Do not confuse your circumstances with your day being the greatest you’ve ever known.

Strugglesto contend with an adversary or opposing force. Man webster’s got this definition absolutely right.

God designs every single day of mine to be the greatest day i will even know. Then the adversary or the opposing force comes to kill, steal and absolutely destroy that very same day. Struggles come in all shapes, sizes, colors and any time of the day or night.

Today being the greatest day of my life has nothing to do with my circumstances, my disappointments, my hurts, my fears or any of those types of things. Today being the greatest day of my life is dependent on one simple truth. God is God and i am not. i am turning my attention on Him and His heart and not my struggles or even His plans.

For every thing God has done or does the enemy comes up with a counterfeit. I wake up with great faith and trust in God but many days the enemy convinces me to fear. i am intentional about knowing who i am in Him and yet the enemy fills me with doubts about myself.

Ginny Owens taught me the true meaning of struggles and about Today being the greatest day i’ve ever known through her song “If You Want Me To.” This is where i live every day. Every word ministers to me overtime i hear it.

The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear. And I don’t know the reason why You brought me here. But just because You love me the way that You do. I’m gonna walk through the valley if You want me to

‘Cause I’m not who I was when I took my first step. And I’m clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet. So if all of these trials bring me closer to You. Then I will go through the fire if You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen. When You lead me through a world that’s not my home. But You never said it would be easy. You only said I’d never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me and I’m all by myself. And I can’t hear You answer my cries for help. I’ll remember the suffering Your love put You through. And I will go through the darkness if You want me to

When I cross over Jordan, I’m gonna sing, gonna shout. I’m gonna look into Your eyes and see, You never let me down. So take me on the pathway that will lead me home to You. And I will walk through the valley if You want me to. Yes, I will walk through the valley if You want me to.

images-1i really felt that it was important to share just a small portion of her story as well as the song.

Owens was born in Jackson, Mississippi, with poor eyesight and has been blind since the age of two. She earned her bachelor of music education in 1997 from Belmont University, but found that most people were skeptical about hiring a blind music teacher. She entered the music business by writing songs for Michael Puryear’s Final Four Publishing, which led to a number of labels competing for her, before she chose Rocketown Records. She concentrated in singing and songwriting and began making CDs, and has been producing them since 1999 with Rocketown Records, a label under Michael W. Smith. Owens won the Nashville “Lilith Fair ’99 Talent Search”, which earned her a spot singing at that year’s festival, and the following year performed at the Sundance Film Festival.

Her music has been featured on television shows, such as Roswell and Felicity. Owens has also received three Dove awards, including New Artist of the Year (2000) and Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year (2001) for “Blessed” with Rachael Lampa and Cindy Morgan.

In 2005, Owens started a non-profit organization called the Fingerprint Initiative. The organization has worked in conjunction with other groups, such as Compassion International, International Justice Mission, and Habitat for Humanity. Owens was featured on national television, including NBC’s Today Show and CNN, for her contribution to help rebuild New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

In closing, i choose to present the greatest day God intends for me verses the perverted day that the adversary or opposing force would like me to buy into. No i’m not faking, i’m practicing!

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strugglingWhen God says “No” it’s most likely going to be a struggle. Romans 5:3-5 (AMP) says, “Moreover [ed be full of joy now!] ed, exult and triumph in your troubles and rejoice in your sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.” And if i’m looking for results verse 5 details them saying, Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames ed, for God’s love has been poured out in ed’s heart through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to ed.”

I feel it’s important to note that in verses 6,7 and 8 there comes a great truth that i need to understand and hold dear to my heart. For me these verses are like a shield of protection. “While ed was yet in weakness [powerless to help himself], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) ed the ungodly. Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for ed by the fact that while he was still a sinner, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for ed.”

After all these years and looking back on the events i shared in Part 1, i can’t recall ever asking why. What i do remember is that when all was said and done there was a peace in the midst of sadness. i think on these events once in a while, wondering what if? What if the end result was according to my choice? Then i move on, knowing that those loved ones… and i, are right where God decided. While there is a time and a need for grieving, there is a greater need for me to trust and rejoice. That may sound cold and uncaring but i assure it is not. It is me surrendering my will and my understanding, to one who is greater. i cared deeply about these events, these people. That’s exactly why i’m okay with how things turned out… trusting God with knowing what was best.

The essence of trust is not asking why. In each of these situations within a few days, we said our good-byes for the last time. It’s probably the hardest thing i have ever had to do. But my trust in God is not shaken as i found hope in the words from 2 Corinthians 15:54: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

DietingIn this series i focused on death but these thoughts, principles, applications, apply to every situation whether its, fore-closure of a home, declaring bankruptcy, eviction from a home, financial need, a bad marriage, divorce and even dieting. You name it there is Word to cover it. i want to close by going back to Paul’s words as a summary for this series and as i often do make it personal to me.

There was given me a thorn (a circumstance) in my flesh (my mind, will and emotions), a trial, a tribulation, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted, to teach me, to lead me, to guide me, to prepare me. Multiple times i prayed to God about this and begged that it might depart from me; But He (God) said “no” to me. He then said, “My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you ed [sufficient against any danger and enables you ed to bear the trouble manfully]; ed My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. ed, I want you to gladly glory in your weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Me your God may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon you! So for My sake ed, be well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when ed is weak in [human strength], then and only then is he [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).

ed, I gave you a promise in Isaiah 43:2 (AMP) I AM the God of My word. I promise you ed that when you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. ed, when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you.

Thank you so much for joining me. My hope is that by sharing my experiences you will be able to glean something that will stir your heart to intentionally search for more. So until next time “BE BLESSED AND LIVE LIFE INTENTIONALLY.”

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Welcome to the me and I AM post and podcast. i’m your host Dr. ed peterson. Today we’re in Part 3 of our series, “When God Says “No”…?

paulWhile it may seem random there is always a purpose to when God says “No.” Paul said this about what he thought God’s purpose was for saying no. “And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted. I’m not saying that’s the only reason. It’s just one of many. Each of us can and probably will experience a different reason.

So let’s look at lesson number one. i must not… i repeat i must not, let the presence of the storm, indicate the absence of God. i have and will continue to face storms: financial, emotional, health, relationships. But Isaiah 43:2 (AMP) promises, “ed, when you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. ed, when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you.” i am not alone, despite what i feel!

Lesson number two. i must intentionally search for the light of God which can and will shine into the darkness of my pain, shine into my fear, my despair, my hopelessness, my loneliness, my emptiness, my times when God says no. “Am I not a God near at hand”—God’s Decree— “and not a God far off? Can anyone hide out in a corner where I can’t see him?” God’s Decree. “Am I not present everywhere, whether seen or unseen?” God’s Decree.

So what are my options, what am i to do when God says “no?” i can get self-help books… but there are times when self doesn’t cut it. my need is God. my need is His grace. Psalm 46 starts out, “God is ed’s Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble.” If i let Him, God “exchanges, beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3). And Ephesians 6:13 encourages by instructing me that “having done all, then stand.”

In the end it may all boil down to this. What is the will of God for my life? 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” The will of God for my life is to give thanks… “IN” everything, not for everything. Anyone can be thankful for good things and i can always find an excuse to be bitter. The enemy will try to push my buttons so that i lose my joy. Trust says, “God, You know what’s best for me.” and thus in a single word comes lesson number three. Trust…, Proverbs 3:5 (MSG) “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; but in these times when God says “No” my heart is often broken or at least hurting? To that God replies, don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God!”

tight ropeThere’s a story i read about a daredevil who was about to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls. He turned to the crowd and said, “Do you believe I can do this?” “YES” they screamed back. “To make it more difficult, I am going to push a wheelbarrow across with me. Do you still believe I can do it?” “YES” “OK, who wants to ride in the wheelbarrow? Silence.

God asks, “ed, do you trust me?” “YES” “To make it more difficult, I am going to allow situations to come into your life that will challenge you. Do you still trust me?” “YES” “OK, then will you rejoice in those situations?”

Thanks for joining me today. I hope you’ll come back for more on the topic of “When God Says “No.”

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Welcome to me and I AM! i’m your host Dr. ed peterson and we’re in a series titled “When God Says “No.” Thanks for joining us.

There are those who believe that if i live righteously, i will never be attacked by the enemy. Others believe that if i don’t see an answer, i must be praying wrong, i must have opened the door to the devil, or there is sin in my life which hasn’t been confessed and repented for. Personally, i reject both those conclusions. There will be times when there is an unexplainable “no.” Ecclesiastes 9:11 (AMP) says “I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, neither is bread to the wise nor riches to men of intelligence and understanding nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.” Sometimes my life is just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Verse 12 goes on to say, “For man also knows not his time [of death]: as the fishes are taken in an evil net, and as the birds are caught in the snare, so are the sons of men snared in an evil time when [calamity] falls suddenly upon them.”

Examples of when God has said “no:”

  • One day life is grand for Job… then in that very same day Job lost all of his property, family and his health. Through 30 some chapters i read how his friends accuse him of lack of faith and un-repented sin. Finally God puts an end to it and asks, “Who are you to question what I do?”
  • Abraham, at 70, was promised he would be the “Father of Many Nations” which by the way is what his name meant. Then for 25 years it seemed as though God said “no.” Think about it, for 25 years introducing himself as “Father of Many Nations”. “How many children do you have?” “Well…, i have no children.”
  • Moses asked God to heal his sister, Miriam, of leprosy. God said “no,” she had to live outside the camp for a week before she was healed.
  • David prayed and fasted for seven days for the life of his son by Bathsheba, still the baby died, God said “no.”
  • 2 Corinthians 12 (Amp), Paul shares, Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.” God said “no.”
  • And what about Jesus? Was He exempt? In Mark, Jesus faced the agony of the cross, taking on the sin of mankind and what must have felt like abandonment by His Father. Three times He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” God said “no.”

In every case, God heard the prayers but they were overruled. i have the right to object but He has the right to overrule. When God says no, what do i do? What am i supposed to do? i say yes to grace. His empowerment and my choice to surrender. It sounds simple but it’s much easier to sing about surrender than it is to live it, especially when His answer is no?

money,time,future,godIn another case the prophet Habakkuk shares his wisdom when experiencing a time when God said no. In Habakkuk 3:17&18, he said, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” When death, destruction, hurt, abandonment, etc., etc. comes to me what will i do? “Yet i will rejoice in the Lord, i will joy in the God of my salvation.”

Again thank you for joining me today. Tomorrow i’ll continue sharing my experience and the lessons learned regarding times “When God Says “No.”

Until then be blessed and live life intentionally!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for joining me. i’m Dr. ed Peterson and i’m the host for this 5 part series of posts regarding “When God Says No.” Often I’m in a struggle asking, praying, pleading for God to intervene or move on my behalf and He says “no.” Other times i struggle after and because God says, “no.” Either way the struggle can be painful or overwhelming.

StruggleThere are times when, no matter how hard i pray or how strongly i believe, loved ones die, friends go to prison, marriages end and seemingly bad things happen. What do i do when God says no? Do people 20 years in a wheel chair get up and walk? Are dead raised to life? Are prison sentences suddenly commuted? Yes! Yet there are times when God says no. When it happens, what happens to my  faith? Is it destroyed? Do i walk away in a temper tantrum saying, “i’m through with You, God.”? What exactly am i supposed to do when God says no?

Again, i’m not discounting the reality, of divine interventions. For me there are no coincidences and if i’m living life intentionally it is almost impossible to not see the hand of God at work in His entire creation and in every situation.

i’ll share a personal example of one the most difficult struggles i encountered when God said no. Many years a go we went to visit my sister in-law only to find her lying on the bed unconscious. She was rushed to the hospital where she remained in that state on life support. The hours and days seemed to linger on endlessly as we sat, praying and believing. Hundreds did the same. The hour came when the doctors told us that we had to make “THE” decision. Take her off life support or leave her on and wait. If you’ve never had to make that decision… let’s just hope you never have to. i watched as family struggled with the realities, regardless of which decision they made. Finally there was a consensus to remove her from life support. The calls went out for more prayer. Not just any prayer, but that she would return to life, that she would be whole. The next decision was, who would be in the room with her as they removed the breathing tubes? i don’t remember all the details, only that i was in that room. i  remember praying profusely while the nurses prepared for the moment to come. And then… they asked if i was ready, to which i responded “yes.” i knew nothing about what it was to be ready. i just knew what i was praying and believing for. i could feel the power of the hundreds who were praying at that moment.

The time came and the tubes were removed. It gets a little fuzzy here but what i do remember very clearly were her eyes opening and her body taking a deep breath… i thought the power of all those prayers had been answered, and then, just as quickly, she closed her eyes and that was it. United we had sought God and within less than a minute, God said…no. i’ve always thought that it wasn’t God saying no, but that my sister-in-law said no. That she, in that brief moment when her eyes opened made a choice that she did not want to come back. The why is not important. Today i’m not as solid in my belief because in another situation involving my daughter, there appeared what seemed like a miraculous intervention and then again a month down the road God said “no.” This unborn child had no ability to determine if she wanted to be born or not. This was God’s decision. Then in another scenario with my mother-in-law, confrontation (illness) came, prayer went out, a divine intervention seemed to appear, (you’ll be able to take her home) but ultimately God said no. i know that God’s ways are not my ways because in these situations, if it were up to me, the out-come would have been quite different.

And we’re out of time so i ask you to come back tomorrow for more of me and I AM as i continue to share my experiences with “When God Says “no.”

 

Much like my life, The Odd Life of Timothy Green falls somewhere between fable and dream, and people who insist that films make some sort of sense might walk out with too many questions: How did Timothy learn English? Why does everyone just accept this new but already half-grown Green so readily? But for those who are comfortable in answering those questions with he just did and they just do, there is truth, beauty and simplicity and all three in abundance. i could bury all that by adding chapter and verse to these posts. What a shame that would be, so i won’t.

Jim and Cindy, naturally, love their garden’s little gift to them. Cynics might say that Timothy would be an easy kid to love, what with his parents essentially crafting their ideal child and planting it like a seed. But that misses the point, because Jim and Cindy didn’t ask for, or get, a perfect kid. He’s too trusting, for one thing, and (as they asked for) honest to a fault. He’s the sort of boy who gets bullied in school, a boy destined to always be picked last in kickball and called to the principal’s office for daydreaming. Timothy’s different, and even as Jim and Cindy embrace his uniqueness, they struggle to come to terms with it.

I relate to this story on so many levels. i try so often to craft my ideal life and plant it like a seed. But, i, like Jim and Cindy didn’t ask for, or get, a perfect child/life. Sometimes life requires so much trusting that i don’t trust it. i have been made fun of for my beliefs. i have experienced the feelings of always being picked last. Yes, i get that my life has been and is different and i too struggle in coming to terms with that. That’s not always by my intention. Some of it must have come from a stray seed. Learning how to embrace God’s uniqueness being expressed through my words and actions is… a struggle.