Finding God in a Very Bad Day

By Heidi McLaughlin:

God is with you . . . even when you are having a very bad day.

After my own very bad day — many, in fact — God encouraged me with a surprise vineyard moment. Later as I prayed and thanked my Lord, I felt moved to write my own doxology to Him.

Image by krosseel

Image by krosseel

Heartbreak seems to come in clusters. When one door is slammed shut, I courageously get over it, get on with life because I know there is something better up ahead. The eternal optimist and believer of good things–that’s me.

But when I continually encounter lost dreams, divorce and sickness in the family, an ailing mother, shut down plans and the occasional vertigo; the energy and zest starts to evaporate. I need something powerful to hang on to when I experience a very bad day.

On Labour Day weekend (2010) in Canada, I was walking through the vineyards with my son when we encountered the most gorgeous, unusual hidden treasure. Tucked away in one of the rows of grapes was a banquet table; complete with fine china, wine glasses, fresh fruit, gorgeous colored napkins and table runners and beautiful orange shawls thrown over the backs of the chairs.

I blinked twice to grasp the enormity of this picturesque scene, and my son and I stopped and stared. It was magnificent. Puzzled and yet with smiles on our faces, we continued our walk.

A few days later I got more bad news. Now I was desperately searching for my long-lost zest and hope for better days. The next day I happened to be reading about the Apostle Paul while he was in prison in Ephesus. Now this man was not only having a bad day. He was having a hard life. Yet at the end of Ephesians Chapter 3 the man bursts into a doxology:

“Now glory be to God who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of-infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.”

I needed God to do something BEYOND my present horrible, no good, very bad day.  I prayed and asked God to give me a doxology. Here is what He whispered to me.

Yea, though I walk through Your glorious vineyards,

My soul is heavy and dark from disrupted plans and an unknown future.

Yet you prepare an orange banqueting table in the presence of my sadness.

You feast my eyes with delight and fill me with surprise.

Though the dark waves of doubt and lies hasten to engulf me,

You place treasures on my path to remind me:

THAT:

You are the ONE and ONLY true God–nothing is too hard for YOU.

You are omnipotent; yet intimate

You are mysterious; yet full of promises.

You are invisible; yet reachable.

You are unpredictable; yet always faithful.

You are far, but always near.

You surprise me; but you are always able;

You point out my selfishness; then fill my cup.

You break me down; then build me up.

You give me desires, but nothing fulfills me like Your love.

You say I am your delight; yet You are the One who brings me delight.

You woo me, love me, put up with me; listen to me, hurt me and then transform me.

You are 3 in 1; yet you are the ONLY ONE.

You are the door to my future

YOU ARE ABLE

Nothing is too hard for You.

I CHOOSE TO TRUST YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE GOD,

As I was writing this doxology, the tears kept soaking my keyboard. The release of pain was so freeing, and it changed my perspective of my very bad day. I shifted my focus and attention to the ONE whose plans for my life are BEYOND my present troubles. There is always a new season BEYOND what I am experiencing right now.

I am hanging on, trusting, praying and hoping.

 © Heidi McLaughlin. For over two decades Heidi has taught women how to become “beautiful from the inside out”, applying God’s powerful truths via bible studies, mentoring, and Heidi’s own poignant stories.  Visit Heidi at www.heartconnection.ca, or  her blog. Follow Heidi on Twitter: @heidiheart

Enjoy this inspiring praise music by Gateway Worship- New Doxology, led by Thomas Miller:

 Also,  you can hear more of this music, including New Doxology, via amazon.com, iTunes, or Google Play.

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Find God and Get a Second Birthday (Born Again!)

By Dianne Neal Matthews:

When born again as children of God, we become part of his family.

 

Image by tiverylucky / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by tiverylucky / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Recently I celebrated my birthday. I’m certainly not the only one to celebrate that. It’s estimated that approximately eleven thousand babies are born each day in the United States alone. Estimates of the birthrate for the entire world go as high as 370,000 daily. On any given day of the year, there are thousands of people receiving cards and gifts, enjoying dinners and parties with friends, and blowing out candles on cakes.

While I annually celebrate my physical birth, I also acknowledge a much more important anniversary—my spiritual birthday. Jesus told a teacher of the law that in order to be part of God’s Kingdom, we must go through a second birth. Confused, Nicodemus asked how an old man could be born again, since he was unable to enter his mother’s womb (John 3:4). Jesus replied,

“I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3 (NLT)

Jesus explained that this second birth is of the Spirit, not another physical birth. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, God places his Spirit within us. We are then born again as children of God, and we become part of his family. That moment in time marks the beginning of our new, eternal life and transforms us into a brand-new creation.

Everyone who has ever lived has a birthday on which he or she received the gift of life. Believers have a second, greater birthday—the day they chose to receive the gift of eternal life. So when I’m spending time with family or friends and enjoying the blessings of the day on my birthday, I’m most grateful for the gift I received on the day I was reborn!

© Dianne Neal Matthews. Dianne is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books. This material is adapted from On This Day: 365 Meditations on Holidays and Historical Events. Visit Dianne at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Enjoy the beautiful imagery and song “Born Again” in this video from Third Day:

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Finding God by Faith and Not by Sight

By  Karen O’Connor:

walk by faith and not by sight

As I look back on my life, I did just the opposite of what the apostle Paul taught in the Bible.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7 New Testament.)

Finding God by faith and not by sight, took me by surprise when I committed my life to Christ at age 42, because I had lived by sight for so long. All my choices and decisions had been based on what I felt, what I noticed, what I heard and saw in the world. And I held my own point of view in high regard.

That is, until the crisis of an unwanted divorced knocked me down. I lay there as still as a stone. I had no resources, no help, no answers–until a counselor friend asked me a disturbing question. “How are you and God getting along?”

What kind of a question is that? I wondered. I hadn’t even thought about God except when I said a mere ‘thank you’ before a meal. But that question would not let go of me. It started a journey that led me to Jesus Christ––his teachings, his promises, his friendship––and to the knowledge that to walk with Christ, is to live by faith, not by sight, in marriage, in parenting, in relating to everyone I encounter, and to ask for His grace when I fail.

I started attending church, enrolled in a Bible study, and made friends with people whose faith-walk I admired. The sermons of Charles Spurgeon, one of the great Christian preachers and writers of the 19th century, led me to a deep and personal relationship with God. Check out his Sermon #677: Faith Versus Sight one of many he preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.

According to the history of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Spurgeon (19 June 1834 – 31 January 1892) began preaching in 1853, before he was 20 years old.

“Charles H. Spurgeon pastored the church for 38 years, founding a pastors’ college, an orphanage, a Christian literature society and The Sword and the Trowel magazine. Over 200 new churches were started in the Home Counties alone, and pastored by his students. His printed sermons (still published) fill 62 volumes.”

“During Charles Spurgeon’s ministry tens of thousands were converted to God under the preaching of the Word.”

He once preached to 23,654 people at once– at The Crystal Palace in London.

I hope you will take time to read his Faith Versus Sight message with so many interesting insights.

I also like this quote from author Peter De Vries:

“It takes a lot more faith to live this life without faith than with it.”

Finding God by faith, not by sight is a journey you won’t regret.

©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com, on Facebook or follow on Twitter: @karenoconnor

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