Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Are You In Hot Water?

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft and mushy. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hardened egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee.

The daughter smiled as she tasted its deep flavor and inhaled its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What's the point, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity - boiling water - but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin, outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

"Which are you?", she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong? But with pain and adversity, do I wilt and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit but, after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water - the very circumstance that brings the adversity, the pain, and the hardship – into something quite wonderful. When the water gets hot, it releases its fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better, and change the situation around you for the better.

When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity?


-Author Unknown

I heard this story told almost ten years ago when one of my daughters graduated from Junior High. I was able to find it on the internet and I thought about the story when I was reading about King Asa in 2 Chronicles. For the first thirty-six years of his reign, Asa relied on the LORD and he was blessed mightily. But in spite of the apparent success of Asa’s thirty-six years of reign,in his later years, he stopped relying on God and started handling things his way. A prophet named Hanani came to Asa with a rebuke from the LORD. This was his reaction to God’s rebuke in 2 Chronicles 16:10, “Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at that time.” 

Unfortunately, in the last five years of Asa reign, his heart became hardened and he did not rely on the LORD as he did earlier. Five years later, Asa died with a hardened heart.

Now let’s compare King David’s reaction to God’s Word when a prophet from the LORD comes to rebuke him for sins that he had committed. 

“So David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD.” 2 Samuel 12:13

Immediately after being confronted and convicted by the prophet's words from God, David's heart becomes tender and humble! God accepted David's confession and extended divine forgiveness!

What a big difference between King Asa and King David! One heart becomes hardened, angry and bitter and the other heart becomes more beautiful!

"The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him." 2 Chronicles 16:9

Friday, January 23, 2015

Don't Seek To Be "King" - Seek To Be His Servant!

At my Bible study today, I was inspired to continue to pursue God and I would love to share this inspiration with you!

Question: How do you prepare your heart to seek God?

We were asked this question because of this scripture in 2 Chronicles 12:14: “And he, (Rehoboam, King of Judah), did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD.”

Preparation is important in life. But did you know that it is crucial that we prepare our hearts to seek God?

I think you will be blessed by the three bullet points our Bible teacher, Cheryl Brodersen, shared with us today! 

How can we prepare our hearts to seek God?

1) RESOLVE – We must resolve in our hearts to seek the LORD.

RESOLVE means to have a firm determination to do something.  If we do not resolve to seek God in 2015, for example, by reading God’s Word every day, other “good” and “important” things will compete for our attention and we will succumb to being busy and justify why we have not sought the LORD by being in His Word.

“Being busy doesn’t always mean we’re being productive. What is God calling you to in this season? What is God asking you to give up in this season?” Daily Audio Bible Women

We need to determine to plant ourselves in the LORD.

2) DEDICATION – We must dedicate ourselves to God!

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1

In other words, we should use our bodies, whatever little or much strength we have, to serve and obey God! EVERYTHING we have and EVERYTHING we are - belongs to Him!

One of the statements our Bible teacher shared with us today was the fact that God always referred to King David not as "King" but as “My servant”. Many of the kings of Israel tried to be Kings – that was their main objective - but David, concerned himself with being a servant of God! David's heart pleased God like no other and as a result God placed a blessing upon his kingship like no other!

Let’s try not to waste any more time, let's dedicate ourselves to be servants of God not only because life is fragile, but because He is worthy!

3) DILIGENCE – We need to strengthen our resolve and dedication!

“It will always take effort to grow in our faith!”

“Never say you have gone far enough in your knowledge of God.”

“We must be diligent in prayer and diligent in fellowship.”

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as it is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24

“We need to know that we are not the only one who is going through a rough time. Gathering as a body of believers reminds us that many are going through rough times too and sometimes even tougher times than us!”

“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

“When we pray to God, we are not just telling God what we desire for Him to do for us, instead we are surrendering our will to His will.”

The month of January is almost over. How is your New Year's Resolutions doing so far? I hope that the year 2015 will be a year for us to Resolve, Dedicate and seek God with all Diligence!

"But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:5-8

Monday, January 5, 2015

What Mountain?

How big is that mountain that you see in front of you? Sometimes, the mountain can seem so high that we feel we will never be able to climb it! Problems appear that way sometimes. Whether it be bills that need to be paid, our health that is being challenged or just the multitude of little tasks that needs to be accomplished each and every day. But God does not want us to focus on the mountain in front of us and become discouraged – NO – He wants us to see Him and be encouraged!

“In Jeremiah 32, God told the prophet Jeremiah to buy a field outside of Jerusalem. The city had been under siege for a year, and Jeremiah bought land that soldiers occupied – certainly a poor investment.  In addition, Jeremiah was a prisoner in the palace. But Jeremiah was demonstrating his faith in God’s promises to bring His people back and to rebuild Jerusalem.” Commentary

Even though Jeremiah demonstrating faith in God by buying the field, he began to wonder if such a move was wise. The LORD reassured him by saying this to him in Jeremiah 32:26-27, “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too difficult for me?”

Sometimes we can begin to wonder too but God wants us to keep our focus on Him and trust Him in spite of the mountain in front of us!

“Trust doesn’t come easy. It wasn’t easy for Jeremiah to publicly buy land already captured by the enemy. But he trusted God. It wasn’t easy for David to believe that he would become king, even after he was anointed. But he trusted God (1 Samuel 16-31). It wasn’t’ easy for Moses to believe that he and his people would escape Egypt, even after God spoke to him from a burning bush. But he trusted God (Exodus 3:1-4:20). It isn’t easy for us to believe that God can fulfill his “impossible” promises either, but we must trust Him. God, who worked in the lives of Biblical heroes, will work in our lives too, if we will let Him.” Commentary

Today as we plan out our day and we see our mountain, let’s remember God! Let’s trust Him to guide us! Let’s demonstrate our faith in God’s promises in His Word! Soon, before we know it, we will be on top of that mountain looking back and asking ourselves, “Why did I ever doubt!”

He is the God of all mankind and nothing is too difficult for Him!