Sunday, March 22, 2009

March Devotional from Susan

In these stressful economic times of job loss and foreclosures, and the loss of homes through natural disasters of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and fires, movers are faced with tremendous physical hardships, emotional pain, and spiritual challenges. When everything is stripped away, when you've been blind-sided by devastating circumstances--what do you do, and who do you turn to in your darkest hour?

When faced with a moving crisis, or any kind of life-changing situation, we sometimes see ourselves as victims of tough times, rather than claiming victory over our circumstances. It's easy for any of us to lose focus and become consumed with the trauma of events. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake...the Lord is with us; God is our stronghold." (Psalm 46 1-3;7)

Run, don't walk, to God. Take your burdens, and your circumstances, to the Lord in prayer. Open your heart; tell God the way you feel. The psalmist David puts it this way in Psalm 142: "I cry aloud with my voice to the Lord...I pour out my complaint before him; I declare my trouble before Him. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Thou knew my path...Give heed to my cry, for I am brought very low. Bring my soul out of prison, so that I may give thanks to Thy name."

When life seems the darkest, then God's dawn is about to break. "For I know the plans I have for you," the Lord says in Jeremiah 29:11, "plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope." When tough times come our way, it is an opportunity to refocus from our changing circumstances to an unchanging God.

God does not always change our situation, but He does put new strength and hope within us so that we can face our circumstances courageously and keep on going. What life does to us depends on what life finds in us. If we are filled with defeat and despair, then life will crush us. If we are filled with faith and hope, then life can never overcome us. "...we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed..." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

Rest in His promises. Spend time in your Bible, and claim the promises of God's word. "When the night is the darkest we see the stars the clearest; and when life is dark, the promises of God shine like stars." (Warren Wiersbe) You will discover that God's word will guide you each step of the way. "Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105) His word brings healing to our brokenness, comfort for our hurts, and hope for our despair.

Rely on His faithfulness. Surviving tough times is not the result of a great faith, so much as faith in a great God. If we depend on God minute by minute and day by day, He will see us through. Sometimes we may wonder whether God knows, or even cares, about what's happened in our life. We even struggle in our own strength, rather than trusting the faithfulness of God. "His compassions fail not; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23) Regardless of what we are going through, we can be sure of God's faithfulness to us. "...He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear, or be dismayed." (Deuteronomy 31:8)

Three little, but powerful words: Run...Rest...Rely. Tuck them in your pocket and carry them with you always!

Scripture to Remember:
Choose one from above that ministers to you.
Question to Consider: Have I been running from God, or running to God during these tough times?

Oh God, I am desperate for you! Help me get through today. Calm my spirit. Soothe my soul. Refocus my thoughts on you. Let me feel your presence. Amen

Thought for the Day:
Today I will run to God, rest in His promises, and rely on His faithfulness!

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