How many times my thoughts stray from focus during the day! I find myself going over and over conversations or actions, thinking about what I should or shouldn’t have said or done. Or sometimes I’m planning what I’ll do if such and such happens or if so and so does this or that.
But I have hope. Since I’m in Christ, old things have passed away (died), and new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17). I have received the Holy Spirit who gives me power to put off the old and put on the new. When I catch myself thinking the old way, I can say to myself,
“No, self. Focus on the task at hand. If it doesn’t take much thought (comb hair, vacuum), think about the Scripture you meditated on this morning or heaven or Jesus or God’s attributes or other wonderful things.”
Then as I begin to focus on the good things and let go of the scattered thoughts, I will be obeying God’s Word by renewing my mind. (See Romans 12:2 and James 1:22.)
(Photo by Paula Satijn, “Mirror.” Found in Flickr Creative Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulasatijn/79850464800/)
Pearls develop in an oyster or mussel as a substance called nacre coats an irritant in layers. A grain of sand or bit of shell can act as a pearl starter. As I receive God’s grace in the troubles of life, it can become like the nacre to coat the sorrow and hurt, one layer at a time, creating pearls.
Making pains into pearls in my life takes both Jesus and me. Jesus’ part is to lead, guide, and give grace (wisdom and power) for dealing with life His way. My part is to follow Him step by step, day by day, living for Him and not for myself.
I could choose to go back to my old ways—running from difficulties, wallowing in self-pity, or blaming others. Those and similar actions lead to more trouble, not pearl creation. Or I can determine to humble myself and pray to God, believing the truth that He will hear and help. He will give me more and more grace (James 4:6).
One reason I can count it all joy when I encounter various trials (James 1:2) is that they may be pearl “seeds.” The patience they work in me may be the first layer of “nacre” (grace). The very problem I’m facing may be the irritant that begins a beautiful and valuable pearl.
Psalm 42:11 says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” (New King James Version)
This is what I need to tell myself when I get disappointed or discouraged: “Self, hope in God. Let the disappointment go and trust God to work it for my good and His glory. O my soul, don’t look to others nor hope in satisfactory solutions. Let God satisfy you. Trust His wisdom, not your own. Remember, soul, that you find rest in God alone (Psalm 62:1). Hope and trust in Jesus our Lord.
“Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.” (from the hymn “I must tell Jesus”)
O Lord our God, the God who hears,
The only God who loves and cares,
The holy One who answers prayers,
You hear our cries, for You are near.
Omniscient God, God all wise
Your love extends beyond the skies.
Let us see truth with open eyes,
Believe Your Word, reject the lies.
We praise You, Lord. In You we hope.
We trust in You because we know
You deliver us from every foe
And comfort, heal, and make us whole.
I just finished reading another excellent sermon by Pastor Tom: ARE THERE “EXTRA” REWARD IN HEAVEN? (https://revth.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/are-there-extra-rewards-in-heaven/) I highly recommend the sermon.
It reminded me of a book I read a few years ago–LIVING AS IF HEAVEN MATTERS by David Shibley. The subtitle of the book is “Preparing Now for Eternity. It helped me start living more purposefully for Jesus. I got the book from the author’s website (http://davidshibley.com/), but it is probably available from Amazon or other book dealers.
http://www.sermoncloud.com/grace-bible-church/glorious-abundance/ This sermon by our pastor Randy Huddleston was especially meaningful to me. One thing he points out is that God is so generous and kind that He invites everyone to share His eternal kingdom–anyone who desires may come and drink of the living water He offers. But we come and drink on God’s terms, not our own. We “wash our robes” in the blood of the Lamb. Again, it’s God’s way not our own way.
That invitation reminds me of a song I’ve heard Carroll Roberson sing: “Without Him.” Here are the lyrics:
Without Him I could do nothing
Without Him I’d surely fail
Without Him I would be drifting
Like a ship without a sail
Without Him I would be dying
Without Him I’d be enslaved
Without Him life would be worthless
But with Jesus thank God I’m saved
Oh Jesus, oh Jesus
Do you know Him today
Please don’t turn Him away
Oh Jesus, my Jesus
Without Him how lost I would be
Without Him how lost I would be
LE FEVRE, MYLON RAE
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Excellent blog post by Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr.! Very helpful. I especially liked the part about HOW we are to wait.
Joe Quatrone, Jr.
“Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart. Wait for the Lord” (
I am in a period of waiting right now. I believe God has a specific reason for telling me to wait. My responsibility is to trust Him. I need to slow down and wait on God to clearly reveal His will to me. A lack of trust is perhaps the root cause behind my decisions to jump ahead. I believe God will give me clear direction, but I must wait until He is ready to give guidance.
In this hurry-up world, waiting for anything can cause us to lose our tempers, tongues, and good senses more frequently than we care to admit. I don’t know anyone who enjoys waiting in line. We don’t like waiting at stoplights. We don’t like waiting for dinner. We don’t even like waiting for good things – like…
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This is serious reading in that it expresses very sobering truth. Be sure to read the entire post so you will get the “Good News” of hope as well as the terrifying bad news.
Why is Good Friday so good?.