Friday, July 29, 2011

Where is God?

Where is God when bad things happen?

So many tragedies have gone on around me, and I'm sure in your own life, over the last few weeks, and so often I've heard people comment about where is God when these things happen? Or why does God allow this in the life of His children - the very ones who have given their hearts to Jesus and trust in Him for salvation?

It's so hard sometimes. Especially when we are taken off guard. I read so many accounts of children dying over the last few days. A little girl was killed in a car accident - no doubt only one of many. Another family of children were murdered. Soldier sons died overseas. A friend lost her youngest son to an unexpected heart attack. Where was God in all of this?

Then you have the horror of what happened in Norway. More earthquakes for so many places around the world. Every time I turned on the news there was something horrific and full of sorrow. It was enough to leave me longing for the day when Jesus would return and set things right. And that got me to thinking about where God was in all of this and why bad things have to happen.

Jesus told us there would be problems. He said in John, "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I've overcome the world." He also said that He would be with us always, and in the night before being led to face His own death - Jesus prayed for us. After praying for His disciples, Jesus said,

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

How precious to think that Jesus prayed for us before we were even born. He knew there would be hard times and that the world would be against us. He knew we'd face sorrow and trials of every sort. He knew we'd feel unloved, lonely and overwhelmed at times, so He prayed for us. Just imagine it. This was the first prayer ever prayed for you, and it came from Jesus Himself.

Sometimes God seems distance in times of trial, and sometimes He seems quite near. The truth is, He is always there, even when we cannot "feel" or "see". That's where faith comes in. We can be assured in faith that God will never leave us. Sometimes it's hard to rest in that, but I want to encourage you to do just that. I also want to remind you again of what Jesus said when He prayed for us.

22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

You are loved and you are never alone. We are one in the Lord.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back for a little while

Hello from sunny, but not too hot, Montana.

I took a couple of weeks off to tend to homefires, but now I'm back.  At least for a little while.

Montana is enjoying warm weather, but low humidity, unlike most of the rest of the country. I've decided to invite you all to come up and enjoy our wonderful summer. First I will take you to a lovely view of the Gallatin River where you can rest your feet in the cool water. This was actually taken during spring melt a few weeks ago so the waters aren't the crystal blue they are now.

Then we'll watch some of the wildlife

and enjoy a beautiful sunset.

Maybe we'll camp out and have a campfire and enjoy the chill of 50 degree mountain air. You'll need a jacket! Me and some friends from church went camping last week in the mountains. This is my friend Dineen trying to stay warm.

Tomorrow we can enjoy a mountain drive.

We can even head down to a rodeo or two. Here's my friend Merrill getting ready to sell cotton candy at one of the biggest rodeos in Montana on 4th of July weekend. I helped for two nights at the rodeo in Three Forks last week and we had so much fun.

I wish I could just have you all over for a nice break from the heat and humidity. My husband Jim and I grew up in Kansas and we know very well how bad it can be. Jim always says, "If you live a good life in Kansas, God rewards you with Montana." I think he may be right.

God Bless You!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Battles to be Fought

This morning I awoke from a dream in which the Lord was saying to me, "Stop trying to fight battles that have already been won."

Talk about something to chew on all day.

Today, amidst finishing the final touches on my latest manuscript and getting it turned into the publisher; I thought long and hard about what the Lord was telling me. What battles was He talking about? My children's ups and downs? Finances and booksales? Weight loss and health? My grandchildren's needs? The women at my church? My friends and their problems? Maybe all the above?

Weeks ago, Jim and I visited Gettysburg National Park and marveled at the beauty of the landscape. We stood as the sun was setting and imagined the great battles that took place there. The loss of life was staggering and I thought of the blood that watered those now peaceful fields.

This is very nearly the anniversary of that battle in 1863. If you've not seen the movie Gettysburg, I highly recommend it. They seemed to have done a very good job with the history and the accuracy of the time period, emotions and characters.

Perhaps the most pivotal moment of this battle came at the Battle of Little Roundtop. In a moment of desperation Colonel Chamberlain led his men in a bayonet charge that saved the day. He did the seemingly impossible fueled by pure guts and the knowledge that if his men failed--the war might well be lost.

I stood looking down at the grounds where the Confederates charged the Union soldiers over and over, and where Chamberlain's men finally turned the tide with their attack and had tears in my eyes. So many good men died and others endured wounds in order to fight that battle.

Today, thinking about what I felt God was telling me, I imagined someone saying that the Battle of Little Roundtop needed to be fought again--that the original battle while successful, was somehow inadequate to accomplish the needed victory. After all, that's pretty much what I've been doing with some of my battles. Battles already won by having been nailed to the cross. Battles that were fought in times of spiritual warfare where the Sword of the Spirit (God's Word) and the Shield of Faith were all that were available. Battles where I knew there was no possible way I could win, but still knew I must.

I love the way God uses such simple things to set my prospective back to rights. I need to remember that my battles were won at Calvary--they don't need to be refought. The victory was complete. Now it's time to rest.
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