How We Can Be Happy Anywhere

6481715361_5595056efc_zDo you ever long to be somewhere other than where you are right now? Maybe live in a different locale or a different home? Work a different job? Maybe even be in a different stage of life or out from under certain family obligations? If you haven’t felt this way in your life yet, chances are you will at some point. I think we all do.

The good news is we don’t have to let our current circumstances dictate our happiness. God can give us a different outlook if we take our eyes off the things we are unhappy about and instead look to him and his Word for peace and joy.

Here are a few things to remember directly from the Word of God that show us how and why we can be happy anywhere, in whatever situation we find ourselves. May we all be blessed, encouraged, and strengthened by the reading of God’s Word today!

“Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.” Psalm 119:54 NIV

“‘. . . Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’” Joshua 1:9 NIV

“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:7-10 NIV

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5 NIV

 “. . . for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11b-13 NIV

*Which of these speaks to you most powerfully today? Can you think of any other scriptures to add?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a Starbucks gift card and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by mike hamerton, Creative Commons License

The Lifeline

5433549942_a8c4cea1fd_zWhat do our Bibles say about us? Are they placed in handy spots or put away on bookshelves? Are they worn with use or are the pages still in pristine condition? Have we made personal notes in them or could they belong to anyone?

The poem below, which I wrote well over a decade ago, describes what I hope my daughters will one day think about me and my Bible. Does it express your heart’s desire as well?

The Lifeline

Who would have guessed that a mundane chore
Could lead to such precious discovery,
A familiar book seen in new light
Became a gem, a treasure to me.
Lifting the Bible to dust all around
I noticed its cover, worn with use,
And automatically thought of my mother.
This was her Bible—
Her Lifeline, she lovingly called it,
It told of God’s love and sustaining grace
On which she daily relied.
And as I glanced through its well-marked pages
Another lifeline came into view,
The life of my mother scattered throughout
In handwritten notes and underlined verses,
In special dates to remember.
Her spiritual journey could also be traced
Through verses of praise and anguish,
Her walk with God stamped o’er its pages,
A remembrance of what she lived.
What a gift God gave me that day—
Mom’s life, tucked inside her Lifeline.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105

*Is there a particular verse from the Bible that has served as a lifeline for you during a difficult time?

*Flickr photo by Lel4nd, Creative Commons License

One Perfect Way to Pray for Those in Crisis

img_7208“‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” Luke 22:42-43

When Jesus came face to face with the greatest crisis of his earthly life—his impending crucifixion—God showed him his love.  The scripture above allows us to be witness to that tender display.

As Jesus plead with the Father to take his cup of suffering away, yet submitted to God’s will at the same time, we see the Father reach out to Jesus in love by sending one of the very angels of heaven to minister to him. And when God did this, when God showed Jesus his love, it strengthened him.

So when we watch others go through times of great difficulty or crisis—whether physical, emotional, or spiritual—one perfect way we can pray for them is by asking God to show them his love. And as God tenderly finds personally tailored ways to do just that, those hurting and struggling will experience God’s loving touch. Those in crisis will be strengthened.

Do you long to help loved ones and others in crisis today? Get down on your knees in prayer and cry out, “Lord, show them your love!”

“When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’” Luke 7:13

*How has God shown you his love in a time of crisis?

*My photo

Guest Blogger Jane M. Tucker: A Part of God’s Mosaic

Bowl Plaza mosaic*Today’s post is written by my friend Jane M. Tucker. She is the author of Lottie’s Gift.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1)

Hebrews chapter eleven describes many people who accomplished great things by faith in God. I have sometimes heard this chapter called the “Hall of Heroes,” or the “Faith Hall of Fame.” These titles conjure images of a museum where the portraits of Bible heroes like Abraham, Moses and Rahab hang on the walls. Gold name plates nailed to the picture frames tell who they were, and what they did.

The idea feeds my pride. Someday, I’ll be as great as they were. Someday, I’ll deserve to hang in that hall, too. It isn’t a healthy way to approach my faith walk.

Because the Hall of Fame idea is a trap for me, long ago God gave me a different visual: A mosaic, made of millions of different stones, each one reflecting His light with infinite beauty. In the Master’s hands I am a stone, tumbled to a high polish by time and trial, until I am fit to take my place among all the other precious and unique stones in His timeless design. The idea of a mosaic is reflected in Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (emphasis mine).

The mosaic image holds three advantages for me:

  • I measure myself rightly. I’m not so much a portrait, grandly set apart in a gallery for all to see. I’m a stone, precious to my maker, but not more so than His other precious stones.
  • I see myself in relationship with other believers. Our triune God is all about relationship. One lovely stone is admirable, but it gains even more beauty when placed with all the others to form a greater whole.
  • I remember that God wants everyone to join his family. A missing mosaic tile is instantly noticeable. God needs all his precious stones if his artwork is to be complete.

Now, let me be clear: The portrait painter and the mosaic artist are only metaphors for a God we cannot fully describe. Metaphors clothe the intangible with concrete images, but they are limited. Martin Luther called God a mighty fortress, and David called Him a rock, and those metaphors also have their limitations.

What metaphor for God speaks to you today?

When she’s not gallivanting around New York, Jane M. Tucker works and plays in Overland Park, Kansas, with her husband and three nearly grown kids. She writes about the people and places of the Midwest on her blog, Postcards from the Heartland. Jane’s novel, Lottie’s Gift, about an Iowa farm girl with a big gift for music and the sister she loves with all her heart, is available on Amazon.com and at CrossRiverMedia.

*Photo by Jane M. Tucker

Midweek Morsel: Our Powerful God

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Do you need a reminder today of God’s great power?

Sometimes if we’re not staying in close communion with our heavenly Father, we can begin feeling like everything is up to us. And that can be a very heavy burden to bear. Instead, we need to remember that we have the all-powerful God of the universe in our corner. We can let him carry the load.

The Word of God is filled with descriptions of the power of God, but today let’s look at just a few verses about the power of the Lord’s voice. After reading these verses, we’ll never want to rely on our own power again!

“The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

. . . The voice of the Lord strikes
with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.

And in his temple all cry, ‘Glory!’” Psalm 29:3-5; 7-9

Awe-inspiring, huh? And this is just one aspect of God’s power! I wonder if any of us are standing in need of God’s power today. Let’s call on him without delay!

*When has God shown himself all-powerful to you?

*Flickr photo by chris chabot, Creative Commons License