DAY 36

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“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

I learned this fact today and it grieved my heart:

“Approximately 1 billion people throughout the world go to bed hungry every night.”

This is a statistical FACT. However, for most of us stats are just numbers. Numbers used to quantify or classify a situation. Sadly, we DON”T pay attention to statistics. Today this statistic became real to me, as it took on human form. I had a conversation with someone today, that made me realize how much I take for granted, and how little I have to complain about. I, like many people, have had financial issues. But I have never had to take a drill and extract my own tooth…I have dental insurance. I have been hungry, but I have never had to rummage through garbage cans to find food…I have a Walmart card. I complain when my AC doesn’t work, but I have never had to sleep on the streets…I have NOTHING to complain about.

Food for thought. We have many more blessings than we think. Let’s stop looking at what we don’t have. Instead, let us be grateful for what we already have. Here’s a thought…instead of always getting, why not try giving?

So what am I thankful for today? I am thankful that someone (whom the world sees as a statistic) taught me that stats are NOT just numbers.

Random (hopefully inspired) Thought

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I have hidden Thy word in my heart. (Picture by Lisa R)

I have hidden Thy word in my heart.
(Picture by Lisa R)

1 Samuel 12. “Then Samuel said to the people, ‘It is the Lord who raised up Moses and Aaron, and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. Now therefore, stand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord which He did to you and your fathers:  When Jacob had gone into Egypt, and your fathers cried out to the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place.  And when they forgot the Lord their God, He sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of Hazor, into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab; and they fought against them.  Then they cried out to the Lord, and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have forsaken the Lord and served the Baals and Ashtoreths; but now deliver us from the hand of our enemies, and we will serve You.’  And the Lord sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you dwelt in safety.  And when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the Lord your God was your king” (Verses 6-12). The people had the REAL King ruling them, guiding their steps bringing them victory. Yet they were not satisfied, they wanted what everyone else had, a human king. Yesterday I watched this video (https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152418955430222&set=vb.13895090221&type=2&theater). In the video Lecrae brings up the topic of functional saviors, things we grab hold of that are NOT God. The people had the SAVIOR, God Almighty, but they chose a functional savior, Saul. We read these verses and are shaken at the illogical-ness of Israel, forgetting that we do the same thing Every. Single. Day. Don’t believe me? When trials come, is God, really the first thing that comes to mind? Or is it “what can I do to fix this?” If it is the latter, then guess what… functional savior. Israel is still paying the penalty for choosing a man over God. The lesson: Real Savior trumps functional savior everytime. 

DAY 296 (2014)

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A change in perspective, a change of view. (Picture by Lisa R.)

A change in perspective, a change of view.
(Picture by Lisa R.)

Been thinking a lot today about how I believe life should be, verses the reality of how life is. I have realized something. We (okay me) tend to live in “the how we think things should be”. The problem…There is rarely a time where fantasy and reality are the same. Moving here in many was has been the best thing that has happened  in a while, but in some ways it has been the most difficult too. Why? Because the picture in my head does not match the reality of what I am facing. Today as I drove through my picturesque city talking (okay technically complaining) to God, He impressed this on my heart… TRUST His reality. Trust the things I know to be true about God. I have been so busy thinking about how I thought things should be I had forsaken the most important thing. What God brought me here for. Today He reminded me that the ultimate problem is, where we put our focus. If we focus on the problem then all we see is the problem, oddly if we focus on our fantasy then once again all we see is the problem. But if we focus on God’s purpose, then we are privy to the big picture. Life doesn’t always fit our fantasy. Heck 99% of the time it doesn’t. That’s because the goal isn’t to live out our fantasy, but to find our true purpose, to unfold into what God created us to be. To be our “real” self. Today His still small voice told me my focus was on the wrong picture. Change your perspective, change view. Stop looking at the fantasy, look at the God who wants to lead us to the best versions of ourselves.

“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!” (1 Corinthian 13:12, The Message Bible).

The Lesson: Don’t focus on the situation focus on God who can fix the situation.

Random (hopefully inspired) Thought

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I have hidden Thy word in my heart. (Picture by Lisa R)

I have hidden Thy word in my heart.
(Picture by Lisa R)

1 Samuel 11. “Then Samuel said to the people, ‘Come, let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.’ So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they made sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly” (Veres 14-15). Ever heard the saying pride comes before the fall? Here’s a less known saying, “Humilty comes before victory” (okay, fine I made that up). I must confess I cheated, I know what will happen from this point on in the story. The verses above have nothing to do with pride and everything to do with humility. and with putting God first and letting Him be our guide. The pre-story. The men of Jabesh Gilead, send word to Israel that Nahash the Ammonite wants to bring reproach upon the people of God by making them their slaves. God’s righteous justice over takes Saul and he declares that they will fight with God. Saul goes up against the Ammonites and destroys them. Israel rejoices at the victory and Saul is officially made king. They finally have a king, and he has brought them victory. Today Saul’s heart is humble before God. He knows where the victory came from. When the king’s heart is for God, the people rejoice. Contrast this moment of praise with the world we inhabit. Our world feels uncertain, we don’t feel the peace to rejoice the way Israel rejoiced, knowing where the king’s heart laid. Knowing who their leader put his trust in, made it easy for Israel to praise. The thing though, is that their trust should never had been in the king, it should have been in the KING of their king. Yes, our world is uncertain, but God is always STABLE, He NEVER changes. We must put our trust in Him.  

DAY 295 (2014)

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Life is seasonal we change and we grow. We have to go through Winter to get to Spring. (Picture by Lisa R.)

Life is seasonal we change and we grow. We have to go through Winter to get to Spring.
(Picture by Lisa R.)

For all of those who read my DAY posts. I wanted to take this time to say I am sorry that I have not kept up with them. Someone very close to me recently said this, “you need to get back on that (meaning DAY posting) you don’t realize what a difference it makes and how encouraging it is.” The words touched me, but it they also made me realize something… That while, it is awesome that my posts encourages others, God uses them as a way to refresh and restore me as well. He uses them to remind me He has a plan, a purpose, a reason for the things that seem so unreasonable… so to all my readers 정말 죄송해요 (I sincerely apologize). Lately I have been feeling, meh. Nothing bad is happening, but things just feel, well, meh. Which explains the lack of writing. Because I have been so wrapped up in my “feelings”, I wasn’t really noticing the cause of my meh-ness (<–I think I may enter this word in the dictionary ;) ), which is (and was) trusting, but not accepting. Yup it is as ironic as it sounds. God brought me here, told me He had a plan, confirmed in many ways that this was His direction for my so life, so I trust. But things aren’t falling into place the way I imagined, the road is right, but there are multiple paths and the right one doesn’t always have neon signs. So I am struggling to accept God’s choices. Today God used the change in seasons to re-teach me something I had forgotten. I am going to share it with you:

before The first picture is what all the trees in Western New York looked like at the beginning of Autumn. The leaves are brightly colored, the air is brisked. You feel as though you are living in a dream world. It makes your heart feel happy and light. after This is what that same tree currently looks like. See the life picture? Is it the same tree? Yes. However, the tree is going through a different season, a different period of its life cycle. It went from brightly colored leaves, to NO leaves at all. The tree is the same, but the season it inhabits is NOT. This does not only happen to trees, it also happens to us. However, our changes are more subtle, they are often times not as easily detectable as those of a tree in Fall, not even to the ones going through the change. Today God whispered this, “I am changing you. Bringing you to a new season in your life. Your leaves need to fall off in order for you to get where I want you to be.” Ahhhh… Life is seasonal, we have our Fall and then our Winter. But we have to go through Winter to get to Spring. And who doesn’t love SPRING?

“The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8).

Today I am thankful for seasons and change.

 

Random (hopefully inspired) Thought

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I have hidden Thy word in my heart. (Picture by Lisa R)

I have hidden Thy word in my heart.
(Picture by Lisa R)

1 Samuel 10. “Then Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah, and said to the children of Israel, Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all kingdoms and from those who oppressed you.’  But you have today rejected your God, who Himself saved you from all your adversities and your tribulations; and you have said to Him, ‘No, set a king over us!’ Now therefore, present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your clans” (Verses 17-19). Israel completely missed it, the opportunity for repentance. God at this very moment is giving them an opportunity to realize their sin and return to Him. But, alas they did not see the door. They traded the infallibility of God for the limitations of man. I feel saddened for Israel and for humanity at large. Why? Because this is our M.O.  We want what we want and many times God gives it to us, but in the process He reminds us that the choice we are making means that we are rejecting Him. And right here is the moment of decision, do we continue to reject God or do we return and repent. The problem. We often miss the moment, because we are so focused on our wants we can’t hear God talk. Israel heard, the “here is you king” part, but missed the “you are rejecting God” part. History tells us which of the two really was the better choice. Here’s our lesson: don’t be so caught up in our wants, that we reject God. 

Random (hopefully inspired) Thought

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I have hidden Thy word in my heart. (Picture by Lisa R)

I have hidden Thy word in my heart.
(Picture by Lisa R)

1 Samuel 9. “There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power. And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people” (Verses 1-2). A choice and handsome son. I want you to remember this. Saul looked like a king, he was handsome and stately. He was every Disney prince come to life. This is the only character trait that is mentioned about Saul. He was good looking. Why of all the verses did this one stand out to me? Because many times our decisions are based on appearances. God allows Israel to have the king they wanted, not necessarily the king they needed (he comes later and God uses a very different set of standards to choose him… hint, hint).  Israel accepted Saul, because he LOOKED like a king. But as they learned, looks can be deceiving. I stand on the threshold of making a decision about a job. One job looks great because it is what I now what I understand, but there is a very steep price attached to it. The other job is not all that appealing because I am not use to the work I would be doing, it is outside my comfort zone. But it offers a lot of growth and change. One looks great, but comes with a price. The other looks scary, but comes with growth and change. Don’t equate physical appeal with good. One does not equal the other. 

Random (hopefully inspired) Thought

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I have hidden Thy word in my heart. (Picture by Lisa R)

I have hidden Thy word in my heart.
(Picture by Lisa R)

1 Samuel 8. “And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.’ So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, ‘This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work.  He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day'” (Verses 7, 10-18). Ever read the side affects of a prescription? Often times it makes you wonder if it isn’t better to just stay sick and let your body heal itself. These verses read to me like medicinal side affects. Israel cries out for a king, which seems silly since God was their ruler. Why would you forsake the maker of the earth, of you, for someone as limited as yourself? God surmises, that they had rejected Him. God relents, but then tells Samuel let the people know exactly what they are signing up for. He tells them this: basically the king will take the best of their things for himself, and not really give them anything on return. Uhmmm… that doesn’t sound like a fair exchange. Your are leaving, God, that gives you everything freely, for an earthly king that will take everything? Here’s the thing with medicinal products the side affects happens to less than one percent of the population that use the product, therefore the benefits outweigh the risks. However, when Samuel informed the people about the ways of the king, the behavior was not a one percent change, it was a FACT. The king WOULD do everything God prophesied. Here the risks outweighed the benefits by A LOT. Be careful what you ask for, anything over God is just not worth it. The side affect: “The Lord will NOT hear you.”