Turkeys by the millions have been bought along with cranberry sauce by this time. The holidays have begun and cooking all over the United States is being done at a frenzied pace! Time is short and every family is getting ready to put in place another year of traditions from Aunt Harriet‘s “Green Bean Casserole” to Momma‘s special dressing, or if you are from the north, stuffing!
For the holidays, we go to my mother and dad’s for DAYS of celebrating. The house is full of people! There are thirteen of us and four of those thirteen are children, so it is an energized environment! There is a constant buzz of chatter, laughter, and fun. But, not all people are as blessed as I am during this time. This year many will have nothing, literally nothing to eat for Thanksgiving. Thank God for places like the Salvation Army, and in our area, Golden Corral who feeds people for free. These organizations literally gift our homeless or less fortunate in our community and what a huge thank you I would love to give!
I am not talking about the homeless nor the less financially fortunate in this article. I am talking about those who will literally have no one to spend the holidays with. These are just a few things you can do to make it through a season that could have been unbearably lonely and I hope it helps.
1. Bring the holidays to you! There is a lady in our church. Her children live several hours away and her husband died two years ago. Sister Jones (not her real name) decided since she had no place to go and no one to spend the holiday with, she would reach out to others who were in the same situation. Sister Jones had our pastor announce there was a sign up sheet in our foyer for those who needed a place for Thanksgiving. Sister Jones LOVES to serve. To feed 20-50 people and cook it all by herself is heaven for her! She is well into her 80s and never misses a beat. It is so beautiful! Mothers who have no husband but have children, widows, and widowers alike signed the sheet. Sister Jones is thrilled. Her home, where she lives all alone, will be hustling and bustling with church family and she will not only be able to give, but in her own way receive the greatest blessing of the holiday…a home filled with love!
2. See it as time for yourself! During these economic times in our lives, work can be overwhelming. How many of us long for a day just to sleep in and relax all day in our pajamas! Oh to sleep late, wake up to coffee and ball games without ever having to clean our house to pristine condition and being able to lounge all day is just the ticket!! Maybe there is a good book you have wanted to get to and have not had the time…here is your chance! Instead of the trouble of cooking a traditional feast, you may try a new recipe you saw ( I saw one for cheese dip I can’t wait to try!) or an old one that is a favorite. Doesn’t football and nachos sound yummy?? Make it YOUR day and pamper yourself. Take the quiet as being a blessing! Spend time with the Lord! He is always with you! No matter how alone we can feel, the reality is, God NEVER leaves us or forsakes us. We are never by ourselves! Make it your special day and enjoy some things you haven’t had a chance to do!
3. Volunteer to help those who are alone in your community and spend the holiday blessing them! Beat the blues by turning the tables on them! Be a blessing to others. Find a ‘soup kitchen’ or a community help center and ask what you can do. Believe me, they will welcome the help with open arms and an apron! You will find such great joy in serving others! Listen to their stories, how their lives used to be, and what happened to them that caused them to be alone or in the place they are finding themselves in now. Many times we find someone else has had it much harder than we. Encourage them, pray for them if they will let you, and spread the love of God to them. Bring dominoes or other games and set up tables of “fun” when the dinner is over! Soon you will forget you WERE alone and will have the hustle and fun bustle everyone else is having!
I hope this helps you, precious reader! I pray your holiday is full of joy and blessings however you may wish to spend it! Know you are never alone and you are loved! God bless you!! Juliana
No, you did not get that memo, because God is FULLY in control and I have wonderful news, sweet friend!! God ALWAYS will be in control! When I wake up the first thing I do every morning is turn over, unplug my phone that is on my nightstand and go through my emails. I am signed up for all kinds of news posts to be sent to my email, and I don’t have to tell you, the news seems to get worse daily!
I began to notice not long ago, first thing in the morning, I would feel a sinking feeling on the inside. I then would roll out of bed half mad and half disappointed and my feet had not even touched the floor for the day! Before I began the habit of reading the news first, I would get out of bed thanking God, and now I seem to be asking, “God, what is happening??” and feeling utter dread and despair. Before I can even get a cup of coffee, my day seems to be starting out anything but joyous. This is NOT me, nor does it reflect my personality.
I have ALWAYS lived my life centered around God and His word. I have found myself living my life centered around the news of the next imbecile thing our government does that only reflects the interest of about 13 per cent of America’s population! Can you feel me getting frustrated again? Why? Because my focus has become more “man” ward than God ward!
I thought getting off of Facebook for a couple of weeks would help me, but of course, the emails kept coming. I spent more time in prayer, but my prayer time seemed frenzied instead of peaceful and confident. Have you ever watched the fights on television? Hubby and Kate love them. I can’t stand them! But, for this occasion in life I can relate something from them.
Before a big fight, they get both opponents on camera and they talk all kinds of silly mess. How one is going to pummel the other one, they aren’t the champion they are, how they have more fights under their belt, etc.. It just goes on and on like that. But I have noticed there is always one that doesn’t do all of that trash talking. They talk about what is necessary to focus, train, and to be ready when the time comes. Rarely, does the one who talked all the garbage wins! It always seems to be the one who kept their mind focused on the positive and necessary things, instead of all the smack talk that walks away with the prize!
It is just like that with the devil. The devil will ALWAYS show you how bad things are! The headlines will be negative. The statistics of the economy and all that is happening to weaken the country more and more will follow. One story after the other of utter negativity and hopelessness from one news agency to the next seems to be all too available!
Your emotions become involved…I have never seen anybody happy to hear bad news! You begin to feel sullen and whipped! You see no way of it changing. Then the Holy Spirit begins to speak. “What about Me? What about all of the places in the word that promises you, you are the victor no matter what you see around you? What about all the examples of when I sent My Word and performed mighty acts on behalf of those who put their confidence in Me instead of circumstances?” Oh, thank God for the Holy Spirit!!!
I don’t deny our country is in a mess! I don’t deny that even hopelessness, anger, and a spirit of offense has tried to trickle into the body of Christ due to it! BUT I DO DENY ITS POWER TO ADVERSELY EFFECT ME AND MINE!! God is my stronghold!! On Him I CAN depend!! My enemies may come at me one way, BUT THEY SHALL FLEE SEVEN DIFFERENT WAYS! What does that mean? When they see you armed with the Word of God, joy is overflowing, and you know the FIGHT IS WON BY JESUS AND HIS VICTORY OVER THE CROSS WAS YOUR VICTORY, TOO THEY CAN’T “SPLIT” FAST ENOUGH!!
I am going to post a Psalm for you and for me! It is the guarantee of what I have told you! I am putting it before my eyes several times daily!! Here is the memo! YOU ARE VICTORIOUS! NOTHING THE DEVIL PLANS WILL PREVAIL AGAINST YOU! STOP BEING AFRAID AND CONFUSED! DON’T BE OFFENDED (you forfeit power and the ability to be used of God as He wants to use you when you do!) AND YOU WILL SEE YOUR LIFE FLOURISH AND THRIVE IN THE WORST OF TIMES! GOD LOVES YOU, AND NOTHING CAN CHANGE THAT FACT!!!
[A Psalm] of David.
1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be envious against those who work unrighteousness (that which is not upright or in right standing with God).
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
3 Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed.
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass.
6 And He will make your uprightness and right standing with God go forth as the light, and your justice and right as [the shining sun of] the noonday.
7 Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.
8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; fret not yourself—it tends only to evildoing.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait and hope and look for the Lord [in the end] shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while, and the evildoers will be no more; though you look with care where they used to be, they will not be found.
11 But the meek [in the end] shall inherit the earth and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
12 The wicked plot against the [uncompromisingly] righteous (the upright in right standing with God); they gnash at them with their teeth.
13 The Lord laughs at [the wicked], for He sees that their own day [of defeat] is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to cast down the poor and needy, to slay those who walk uprightly (blameless in conduct and in conversation).
15 The swords [of the wicked] shall enter their own hearts, and their bows shall be broken.
16 Better is the little that the [uncompromisingly] righteous have than the abundance [of possessions] of many who are wrong and wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the [consistently] righteous.
18 The Lord knows the days of the upright and blameless, and their heritage will abide forever.
19 They shall not be put to shame in the time of evil; and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs [that is consumed in smoke] and as the glory of the pastures. They shall vanish; like smoke shall they consume away.
21 The wicked borrow and pay not again [for they may be unable], but the [uncompromisingly] righteous deal kindly and give [for they are able].
22 For such as are blessed of God shall [in the end] inherit the earth, but they that are cursed of Him shall be cut off.
23 The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step].
24 Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him.
25 I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the [uncompromisingly] righteous forsaken or their seed begging bread.
26 All day long they are merciful and deal graciously; they lend, and their offspring are blessed.
27 Depart from evil and do good; and you will dwell forever [securely].
28 For the Lord delights in justice and forsakes not His saints; they are preserved forever, but the offspring of the wicked [in time] shall be cut off.
29 [Then] the [consistently] righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.
30 The mouth of the [uncompromisingly] righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks with justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
32 The wicked lie in wait for the [uncompromisingly] righteous and seek to put them to death.
33 The Lord will not leave them in their hands, or [suffer them to] condemn them when they are judged.
34 Wait for and expect the Lord and keep and heed His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land; [in the end] when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
35 I have seen a wicked man in great power and spreading himself like a green tree in its native soil,
36 Yet he passed away, and behold, he was not; yes, I sought and inquired for him, but he could not be found.
37 Mark the blameless man and behold the upright, for there is a happy end for the man of peace.
38 As for transgressors, they shall be destroyed together; in the end the wicked shall be cut off.
39 But the salvation of the [consistently] righteous is of the Lord; He is their Refuge and secure Stronghold in the time of trouble.
40 And the Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they trust and take refuge in Him.
Now that is a memo!! Blessings, precious reader!! I will see you soon!
We all want good things to happen in our lives, but too often we want it now…not later. When it doesn’t happen that way, we are tempted to ask, “When, God, when?” Most of us need to grow in the area of trusting God instead of focusing on the “when” question. If you’re missing joy and peace, you’re not trusting God. If your mind feels worn out all the time, you’re not trusting God.
The tendency to want to know about everything that’s going on can be detrimental to your Christian walk. Sometimes knowing everything can be uncomfortable and can even hurt you. I spent a large part of my life being impatient, frustrated and disappointed because there were things I didn’t know. God had to teach me to leave things alone and quit feeling that I needed to know everything. I finally learned to trust the One who knows all things and accept that some questions may never be answered. We prove that we trust God when we refuse to worry.
God wants us to live by discernment—revelation knowledge, not head knowledge. It’s difficult to exercise discernment if you’re always trying to figure out everything. But when you’re willing to say, “God, I can’t figure this out, so I’m going to trust You to give me revelation that will set me free,” then you can be comfortable in spite of not knowing. Trusting God often requires not knowing how God is going to accomplish what needs to be done and not knowing when He will do it. We often say God is never late, but generally He isn’t early either. Why? Because He uses times of waiting to stretch our faith in Him and to bring about change and growth in our lives.
We spend a lot of time in our lives waiting because change is a process. Many people want change, but they don’t want to go through the waiting process. But the truth is, waiting is a given—we are going to wait. The question is, are we going to wait the wrong or right way? If we wait the wrong way, we’ll be miserable; but if we decide to wait God’s way, we can become patient and enjoy the wait. It takes practice, but as we let God help us in each situation, we develop patience, which is one of the most important Christian virtues. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22). It’s developed only under trial, so we must not run from difficult situations. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing (James 1:4).
As we develop patience, the Bible says we finally feel completely satisfied—lacking nothing. Even our relationship with God involves progressive changes. My relationship with God is so much different now than it was in the early days of my Christian experience. It is not nearly as emotionally exciting…and yet it is better. Every change I’ve gone through has made me more mature, solid and well-grounded. We learn to trust God by going through many experiences that require trust. By seeing God’s faithfulness over and over, we let go of trusting ourselves, and gradually we place our trust in Him. Looking at it like this, it is easy to see how timing plays an important part in learning to trust God. If He did everything we asked for immediately, we would never grow and develop. Timing and trust work side by side.
Accept God’s Timing
God gives us hopes and dreams for certain things to happen in our lives, but He doesn’t always allow us to see the exact timing of His plan. Although frustrating, not knowing the exact timing is often what keeps us in the program. There are times when we might give up if we knew how long it was going to take, but when we accept God’s timing, we can learn to live in hope and enjoy our lives while God is working on our problems. We know that God’s plan for our lives is good, and when we entrust ourselves to Him, we can experience total peace and happiness.
The book of Genesis tells the story of Joseph, who waited many years for the fulfillment of the dream God had given him. He was falsely accused and imprisoned before the time came for him to do what God had shown him he was to do. Exodus 13:17-18 tells us that God led the Israelites the longer, harder way on their journey to the Promised Land because He knew they were not yet ready to go in. There had to be time for their training, and they had to go through some very trying situations. They wasted a lot of time wondering about God’s timing, but God never failed to take care of them and show them what He wanted them to do. The same is true in our lives. It was many years after I received my call from God in February of 1976 before I finally began to see major fulfillment of what God had called me to do. God’s training period simply requires us to do what He tells us to do when He tells us to do it…without questioning or trying to figure everything out.
Learn to Rely on God
Proverbs 16:9 says, A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure. Proverbs 20:24 says,Man’s steps are ordered by the Lord. How then can a man understand his way? When God directs our paths, He sometimes leads us in ways that don’t make sense to us so we’re not always going to understand everything. If we try to reason out everything, we will experience struggle, confusion and misery—but there is a better way. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. This sounds so simple, yet too many people make the mistake of trying to figure everything out themselves. Most of us have spent our lives trying to take care of ourselves, but when we accept Christ as our Savior, we must learn to trust our lives to His care. When we do, we can say with the psalmist, …I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord; I said, You are my God. My times are in Your hands…(Psalm 31:14-15).
First Peter 5:5 tells us that …God sets Himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful)—[and He opposes, frustrates, and defeats them], but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble. Anyone who thinks they’re a self-made man or woman has a rude awakening coming because Jesus said, …apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing (John 15:5). Humility is a covering that draws the help of God into our lives to protect us. When we humble ourselves by saying, “God, I don’t know what to do, but I’m trusting You,” God gets in gear to help us. God won’t allow us to succeed at anything unless we’re leaning and relying on Him. But when we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, in due time, He will exalt us (see 1 Peter 5:6). “Due time” is God’s time, when God knows we’re ready, not when we think we’re ready. The sooner we understand and accept that, the sooner God can work His plan in our lives.
From Seed Time to Harvest
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us: To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven. This lets us know that we all don’t live in the same season at the same time. You should never be jealous of someone who is enjoying harvest while you’re still in the planting season. Remember, they had to go through a season of planting just as you are. Seeing the results they are enjoying should be an encouragement to you. Understand and trust that God is doing the very best for you in your present season. Seed time represents learning the will of God. Each time I choose God’s will instead of my own, I’m planting a good seed that will eventually bring a harvest in my life. If you want to be victorious, you cannot afford to get pulled into the world’s system, doing what you feel like doing. James 1:21 tells us what we should do: …get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls.
Your soul is your mind, your will and your emotions. When the Word gets rooted in there and begins to change your mind, it begins to heal your emotions and turn your will away from self-will and onto doing the will of God. Living out of one’s own soul is equivalent to staying in the wilderness. When my flesh is finally crucified and I get out of my soul and into doing the will of God, that’s when I enter the promised land. The promised land is knowing who you are in Christ, knowing how to fellowship with Him, enjoying His presence, and having peace, contentment and joy. Between seed time and harvest comes a time of waiting. After a seed is planted, the heat, moisture and pressure of the ground finally cause the outer hull to crack open. Then roots shoot down, digging their way through the ground. It takes time for this to happen, and it takes place underground. Above the ground, you can’t tell anything is happening. That’s the way our lives are. After we plant seeds of obedience, we feel like nothing is happening, but all kinds of things are happening inside where we can’t see. And like the seed that finally bursts through the ground with a beautiful green shoot, our seeds of obedience finally break forth into a beautiful manifestation of God in our lives.
When harvest time comes, the desires of your heart begin to manifest—bondages fall off of you and you see your dreams come to pass. You see your kids changing and your family getting saved. Prosperity, favor, promotion, honor, and all kinds of good things come out in the open where they can be seen. In harvest time, more than ever before, you hear from God, you enjoy His presence, and you’re led by the Spirit. Blessings begin to chase you down the street, and joy and calm delight become your normal mood. Are you tired of waiting for harvest time in your life? Are you frustrated, crying out, “When, God, when?” Then you need to understand that God’s timing is often a mystery. He doesn’t do things on our timetable. Yet His Word promises that He will not be late, not one single day. But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day! (Habakkuk 2:3 TLB).
God causes things to happen at exactly the right time! Your job is not to figure out when, but to make up your mind that you won’t give up until you cross the finish line and are living in the radical, outrageous blessings of God! The more you trust Jesus and keep your eyes focused on Him, the more life you’ll have. Trusting God brings life. Believing brings rest. So stop trying to figure everything out, and let God be God in your life.
This article is taken from Joyce’s DVD teaching, I’m In a Hurry and God’s Not.