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Archive for the tag “perspective”

What Could Have Been

On Tuesday I heard two messages with the same theme. Pain and suffering with the right perspective. One story was shared with Andy Andrews on his latest podcast. The other story was shared with Louie Giglio at Passion City Church. This woman had a stroke with complications. Her and her husband shared the difficulties as they found a new normal. Their story was inspiring and hopeful. Her attitude was one of pure joy. The first lady was looking for a new perspective in the midst of her pain and suffering from her past. She couldn’t get past the hurt of her past. She wanted “what could have been” instead of what she got.

Sometimes it’s hard to move past the past. We play the “what if” game thinking that the other choice would have been better than the one that was made. We don’t know what the “other” decision would have led to; we assume everything would have been better if the other path had been chosen. But we will never know “what could have been” if the choice was different. God allows our struggles. He chose us for this unique opportunity to do the hard thing. He even equips us to endure it.

In the book of James, we are told to count our pain and suffering as pure joy. He wrote that it is a test of our faith. This is where we get honest with God. We admit our part of the problem. We give ourselves over to God for healing and restoration. We are supposed to draw nearer to Him in these hard places. He has seen to it that we need this hard place for our growth and development. We have been counted worthy of this time to learn endurance for God’s glory through it all.

There were a couple of crossroads in my life that were pretty significant. One was made for me; the other was a bad decision on my part. But God allowed both. The first choice was made by my parents to move a few hours away from my sisters at a critical time in my life at the age of thirteen. I had a hard time dealing with and took me a great deal to overcome.

It was a joke in my family for many years that I would never forgive my parents for making the move. Many years after the fact, I asked my Mom if they had prayed about the decision to move. The answer was yes. At that point, I knew I had to be okay with the past because this was the will of God. I don’t know why we had to move – whether it was for my good or for someone else’s good. But God brought good out of it for me.

“What could have been” if I hadn’t moved seems to be a long list of opportunities I would not have had. I would have never experienced everything that I experienced, traveled where I traveled, met the people I met; things would have been totally different. I would have never gone to college where I went or experienced one of the highlights of my life – winning a national championship in women’s basketball at that college.

Mom asked me before she died if I had forgiven them, the answer was yes. The joke was not really a joke for her. She wanted to know before she left this earth that we were truly okay. It was all good.

The other decision that I made was at a bad time in my life. I made a lot of stupid decisions that led to a lot of heartache for me and my parents. It was not one of my stellar moments. I was in a relationship that was not a good one for me. The one I was seeing had a bit of a control problem. I realized one morning that I needed to get out of the relationship when I woke up with a shotgun close to the bed.

I don’t know if it was a scare tactic or what was explained as safety precaution for hearing something outside that night. The scare worked if that’s what it was. I knew in my heart that I needed to get out but I was deceived into thinking this was a good relationship. But God set me up; my parents were made aware of what was going on. To make a long story short, with the help of my parents I moved on to a new place.

We all face difficulties and have to face the hard times. But God will help us through it. He promises He will never leave us alone. Our part is to lean upon Him. He will give us the endurance to sustain us in those hard times. Pain and suffering is the way we become more like Jesus. God gets the glory win we shine the light on His working through it. Others get the benefit from the wisdom we gained in it. We get the blessing of helping others through their pain and suffering as only we can do as ones who have experienced what we’ve experienced. Yes, we can count it as joy because we have endured the worst and made better for it. It just takes the right perspective to see God at work in it. Lean on Him and watch Him work through it!

Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
Psalm 23:4 (NLT)

What are you doing?

Several weeks ago, I read a couple of Andy Andrew’s books. I love his writings. He has great insight. He said in one of his earlier books that his mentor, Jones, gave him biographies to read. Jones said biographies give perspective. Andy went on to write in the Traveler’s Gift about what he discovered in those biographies.

In the book The Noticer, Andy writes about Jones. In one of his meetings with Jones, they were sharing a meal on a beach. Jones asked Andy what he was doing right then. Andy responded eating fish and chips on the beach. Jones said that was the problem with people today, they lacked perspective. Andy asked what he meant. Jones replied – “you’re eating fish and chips on a beach; I am eating surf and turf with an ocean view!” It’s all about perspective. We all need a new perspective.

Several years ago, I mentioned to my aunt I would love to quit my job and just write. Guess what I am doing today? I quit my job five years ago; and I write blogs, I write a monthly newsletter on health and wellness, and I wrote two books. I never told my aunt how I could afford to do it because there was no way I saw myself doing it. It was insane to even contemplate such a thing. But somehow, I took that step of faith; and God has sustained me throughout this time. Sometimes I get down and out because I can’t afford to do the things I want to do – like travel or buy things I want instead of things I need. I see the things I lack instead of the things I can do. I have a very flexible schedule. I love to be able to talk with my neighbors in the yard on a sunny afternoon. I go to the gym when I want. I can sleep in when I have had a bad night, etc.

Before I left my job in 2011, I had a dream or a vision. The only thing I remember about this dream was a sliding glass door that I tried to close. The door popped back open when I attempted to close it. When the door popped open, I immediately woke up and was very afraid that someone was in the room with me. But God gave me peace, and I went right back to sleep. So, what was that vision all about? Was it about leaving the job? I hadn’t thought about it for years until this week when Christine Caine spoke about the “moving past the past.” She also spoke about perspective.

In her talk, she said we all have a gate (or door) of opportunity right before us. The past is on one side, and the future is on the other. Many times we are stuck at the gate. The gate is not to keep us in but to let us out. If there was no gate, then it would be a prison. But Jesus gave us a gate. He said He is the gate (John 10:7, 9). He is the one who opens the door of the opportunity to go out and help other prisoners be set free. With freedom comes responsibility. Our current circumstance is not a prison. It’s just a training ground for what we need in the future. The season we’re in currently will pass one day. It’s what we learn in the current circumstances that can bring a blessing from it and benefit someone else.

Christine said (commenting on 2 Kings 7:1-6) there’s power in the question “Why stay here until we die?” We sit at the gate waiting on something to fall from the sky – like the supernatural manna from heaven. The gate is not the end point. God could provide manna from heaven while we wait at the gate, but what if the best thing lay just beyond the door? It may take a risky step or three to get out of the comfortable, complacency where we sit today. When God says move, it’s time to move. We can go forward in the confidence that God goes with us. We might be afraid, but we still need to move forward. The future is out there, not behind our prison walls. It just takes a new perspective to see the possibilities. So, what are you doing? Are you eating fish and chips or surf and turf with an ocean view?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. You, my brothers (and sisters), were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. Galatians 5: 1-2, 13

Perspective

I started reading a biography of Winston Churchill a few weeks ago (it’s a hefty book!). This book is a history book of the World War II. I might have studied these things in high school, but I don’t remember too much of what those times. Also, I am reading in the Old Testament. When I see both of these histories together, I see God’s hand in everything. My eyes are being opened to a different perspective. We might think of insignificant things going on in our day and time. However, God is setting the stage in a major way for the ultimate climax that is prophesied in the Bible. From my understanding, everything that needs to happen in order for Jesus to return has taken place. We are just waiting now for His return.

A couple of days ago, I listened to a conference on the end times. Now, I know we don’t know the day or hour of Jesus’ return, but we are told to be watchful. A couple of the speakers mentioned several places in Scripture that tell us to watch for the signs in the heavens. Even in Genesis 1:14 we are told that the lights in the sky serve as signs (signals) to mark seasons (feasts or divine appointments in Hebrew). This year is one of those times we need to look to the heavens. I have been fascinated to learn about the Blood Moons that will occur over the next year. It began on Passover this year and will continue until the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall of 2015.

What’s significant about this? There have been seven Blood Moons that occurred on the Jewish Feasts in the last 2000 years. One hundred percent of the time, these events have been a sign after something significant pertaining to Israel. After World War II, Israel had one brief moment where they had the sympathy of the world, and the nation was reformed in a day. That was 1948. In 1949, the Blood Moons took place on the four Feasts. In 1967, there was a six-day war in Israel where Israel took the significant holy places in east Jerusalem. In 1968, the four Blood Moons again took place on the Feasts. But what about this time? I don’t think anything of significance has happened this past year.

I was reading yesterday morning in Acts 2 about the Holy Spirit being poured out on the disciples at Pentecost. Peter addresses the crowd and delivers his first sermon. He points to Joel for his reference of what was occurring. In that passage there is a mention of the Blood Moons and a solar eclipse that will happen before the glorious day of the Lord. Over this next year, not only will there be the four Blood Moons, but there will be a solar eclipse right in the middle of this time. The moon is considered the signal for Israel and the Sun represents the world. The trouble with prophecy – we don’t know the significance until after the event then we know God has spoken through the prophet.

What does this have to do with perspective? When we look at the events happening right now in the world we need to look at the events with a different perspective. God is setting the stage for the great tribulation that will take place according to the Book of Revelation. This gives us a different perspective on the urgency we need as the Body of Christ to be ready. We still have a lot of work to do with those around us who need the gift of salvation. Time is closer now than ever before. We need to be watchful to the times we live in and look at them with a different perspective. Jesus’ feet are on the threshold of heaven. Are you ready to meet Him? Are your family and friends ready?

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:37-39

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