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Super-Sized Blessings.

March 15th, 2015 by stephanie

super-size meWe live in a culture, at least in 1st world countries, where you can pull your car up, order a super-sized option, and drive away with what you requested, immediately meeting your wants…(forget your needs). It’s all about gratification. We can upgrade (or trade-in) most anything these days at any time. And we’re used to that. We expect it and we’re, in all honesty, a bit cocky about it—getting our way on demand, that is.

But have you ever found yourself in a place where you weren’t getting what you want. Perhaps, you woke up one morning only to find that what you once loved, or cared for, had been stripped away. Never to be seen, or heard from, again?

That’s what happened to Job.

He was minding his own business, and then in one day, he lost everything. Gone. Without a trace. And no explanation, or “word” from the Lord on the matter. Just silence…and deep pain. Clueless as to the grand master plan that was going on in the super natural world behind the scenes, as beautifully played out, in Chapter 1 of the book that boasts his name.

Job’s “godly” friends sat around him, waxing eloquent, trying to explain to him why this had happened to him and what he’d done to bring it all upon himself.  And too, what he needed to do to fix it and how he needed to handle himself while going through this horrific ordeal. (So easy to tell someone how to feel or what to do when we aren’t the one hurting.)

Funny how those “words of wisdom” didn’t take away Job’s agony. They only made it worse.

One thing I hadn’t noticed before in the last chapter was a particular verse (Job 42:10). Not sure how I have missed that my whole life, but here it is…

When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes.

In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before.

Job 42:10

Did you catch that, when Job prayed for his “friends”…yep, the ones who criticized him while he was down and out, the ones who abandoned him in his time of need, who didn’t want to deal with his mess…those “friends.” I honestly don’t know how he did it. But yet, I do.

God and Job had just had a little…no big, “Come to Jesus meeting” as they say here in the South…and Job had nothing left. Remember, in fairness, God never let Job in on the “By the way, I threw you to the proverbial lion,” scenario. But, Job realized who God was after that chat, he saw his own humanness, and had one of those, “I got nuthin’ ” moments.

God also chewed out those “friends” of Job’s and let them have it as well.

Perhaps, when Job saw that, maybe that is when he prayed for them. Interesting. I guess at that moment, they were all on the same playing field. No one of them was any “better” or “godlier” than the other. They were on one side of God, and He was on His throne—staring back at all of them. A bit disconcerting I might add.

Anyway, after that, God super-sized Job’s blessings. I don’t recall Job even placing an order? But he got one. And it was a whopper (pun intended). Everything he’d ever once owned, or had, was doubled. If you look close, you’ll see that he even lived an extra 140 years after the fact so that he was given time to enjoy it all.

Now that’s a cool story.

If you’re in a tough spot in life and can’t figure out “why” (or know someone who is) perhaps take a moment to look at the first and last chapters of Job.  It might shed some light on the situation, or if even for a bit, bring some fresh perspective to the matter—to all parties involved. Jus’ sayin’.

🙂

Just my thoughts,

S.

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The Prayer of Hannah.

July 9th, 2014 by stephanie

hannah-praying

Asking God.

I really hadn’t noticed it before. And I, perhaps like you, have read the passage on numerous occasions. But this time, something caught me eye.

The story of Hannah in 1 Samuel is fascinating to me. And, I am blessed to have actually stood in the ruins of the exact location where this scene took place. Years ago while on a trip to Israel.

There’s more in that chapter than you’d think, if you take it slow and read between the lines.

So, what struck me this time?

1. Hannah was in deep pain over something she didn’t have: a child

2. Ironically, the person causing her pain (Penninah) had 6 children.

3. Hannah had the love of her husband, Elkannah. (He had two wives—Hannah was one, Penninah was the other.)

4. Penninah had the children, but she didn’t have the love of her husband. Hannah did.

The Problem?

Each wanted something of value to them that the other person had.

hmmmmmm

The Solution?

She prayed for God to answer her request and end her grief

If you notice, Hannah went before the Lord in bitter grief. What is amazing to me is that her husband says to her, “Am I not enough for you?”

He didn’t understand. That wasn’t the pain point. In her day, that child that she didn’t have was her validation as a woman. No one, but a woman, in Hannah’s situation would understand. And not just a child, but a son! A male child.

It may not make sense to you when someone else is hurting, and, in truth, your hurt may not make sense to someone else, but those situations, that pain—is real. Hannah literally, according to the translation The Message, said to God “If you’ll take a good hard look at my pain, if you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me.

Wow!

She didn’t say,

  • Help me handle this grief.
  • Make me more Godly.
  • Avenge my enemy.

Nope. She asked God to grant her request.

Eli the High Priest actually accused her of being drunk while she was praying and crying by the way. (If that wasn’t enough to add insult to injury.) Nice!

Here’s how she responded, “The only thing I have been pouring out is my heart, pouring it all out to God…it’s because I’m so desperately unhappy and in such pain..”

There are a lot of people in pain. It sometimes seems overwhelming when you hear all of the stories. And when I do, I think of Hannah.

Perhaps we need to see the next part of the story. In verse 19 we see that after she left the building ,”And God began making the necessary arrangements in response to what she had asked.”

I am no prophet, I can’t change the course of time, but I can pray. I believe we should see this example of Hannah’s prayer, and take our weaknesses, our requests to God, seriously, and allow Him to work on our behalf.

By the way, when she and her husband returned home from that journey, she became pregnant. Before the year was out, she had…a SON. Not just a child…a son.

I don’t know what you might be asking for in your life, but I would say to you, let’s pray and pray hard. Hannah didn’t say, “I have been a godly woman, I have obeyed you, so answer my prayer because I have been a good girl.” No, she wanted something she didn’t have that was crucial to her personal, intense happiness…and God responded.

I’d love to hear about something you have truly begged God for, and seen Him answer. If so, share you story here with me and all to see. Everyone loves a good ending. Maybe it will be yours…or mine!

Just my thoughts,

S.

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Bizarre God Moments.

May 19th, 2014 by stephanie

You know those moments where you think, “Did that just happen?” I get those a lot. And I know I can’t be the only one out there. But I have to admit, sometimes it feels like it.search

When the phone rang, I glanced at the number. It was not connected to a name, but I recognized the area code. I didn’t catch the call but I did catch the voicemail. It was a friend of my mother’s who was in town visiting.

Long story short, I offered for my mother and I to meet them for church then join them for lunch. When we met up with her in the church lobby, I noticed the daughter of this woman, who was with her, was not doing well. Let’s say something was very “off.” My mother noticed it too.

As the morning progressed, I could see this person was not doing well. At the end, as the congregation began to exit, the daughter slipped out for a moment. It was then the mother told us, “She was raped this past week.”

We were dumfounded. Suddenly, the oddness I felt earlier, changed to immense compassion and sadness.

It didn’t take long. As the food was being served, the girl began to pour out every detail of the horrid event, right there in the restaurant. I had a feeling she would get to that point, and pop, and she did. Awkward.

We just sat there. All listening. Letting her divulge and cry. The situation and what she endured in the park that day was beyond my comprehension. People are so evil. And this story was certainly unlike any other I had experienced.

Do you ever find yourself in situations that seem “above your pay grade?” If so, I fully understand. It’s moments like these when you realize you simply don’t have what it takes to fix the problem. You don’t have the required skills.

But you know what? You don’t have to have them. At those moments, people just want you to listen. To accept them. To hear their story, over, and over, and over again if need be. They just need you there. Physically present. To listen. To hug.

That girl will not be healed soon. This is a very long path and journey that she has been thrown on to and forced to take against her will. But she will always know there truly are people out there who care for her and that will be there for her. And listen.

Remember: it’s just about being there.

Thot for today:

You don’t have to be an expert. You can point them in that direction and get them the help that they need. Just know that your willingness to care, at that moment, that’s all they are really asking for. And needing.

Just my thoughts.

S.

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