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Untouched by Trouble

Finding Home“The fear of the Lord leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.”Proverbs 19:23

In a sense, no one lives untouched by trouble. Jesus himself promised, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). Each of us has problems to deal with and challenges to face. We will be misjudged, disappointed, and treated unfairly. Hardship hits those who live in palaces as well as those who live in hovels. Life is often tough to bear.

But having trouble as Jesus mentions and being touched by trouble as King Solomon describes are two different things. You’ve probably met people who’ve been touched by trouble. These people are bitter, resentful, angry, suspicious, tired, pitiful, and full of complaints. You can see the frustration on their faces before they even open their mouths. “Woe is me. Life has mistreated me and worn me down” is their motto–a banner written across the growing creases in their foreheads.

Those who fear the Lord, however, have true life. Please understand that Solomon didn’t mean fear as in dread or anticipation of punishment. He meant to respect or hold in awe. God is our Father! He gives us all we need, including discipline. He uses life’s hardships to accomplish His purposes on Earth and to prepare His children for Heaven. As He reigns over our lives, allowing in both good and bad, we’re wise to follow Jesus’ lead by praying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
Jesus was touched by trouble; we see this in the scars in His hands, feet, and side. But He didn’t become bitter. He persevered; He forgave. (See Luke 23:34.) He was content to serve the Father. Someday He will welcome us Home!

Father, Teach me to fear You as I should that I may rest content in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Braking for Squirrels

Wildflower ThoughtsThere are a lot of squirrels in our neighborhood. I like them. Family members know I think of the ones that visit my yard as pets. This, they don’t understand.

“They’re vermin,” they’ll tell me. “People exterminate them.”

Not if they live in my yard, they don’t!

Besides, I know all about Cinderella and Snow White. Sometimes, having furry rodents for friends can work in your favor.

One day, a few years back, I was driving out of our neighborhood with my youngest son riding in the passenger seat. Suddenly a baby squirrel darted in front of us. I gently stopped the truck to let the cute, little critter pass. (Seth says I slammed on the brakes, but he’s wrong. And Daddy, if you’re reading this, I know you’ll take his side, but really, I gently stopped the truck. This is true—this time.)

The squirrel hesitated, so I said, “Go ahead, Baby. Cross the road.” Seth’s eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped, and he looked at me like I’d absolutely . . . lost . . . my . . . mind.

The squirrel stood up to look at me, too. He cocked his head curiously. I think he was trying to decide if I was friend or foe. (Or maybe he had a little power complex and wanted to enjoy the thought of suddenly stopping such a big truck all by himself. No—he was too sweet. I’m sure that wasn’t it at all.)

“It’s okay,” I said, waving him across. “Go ahead.” He did; he safely crossed the road.

Seth looked at me incredulously and shook his head. “That was wrong, Mom. That was just wrong.”

I smiled and wondered, “Do they make bumper stickers that say, ‘I brake for squirrels.’?”

The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin has corrupted all people. It has turned us into vermin awaiting extermination (or, more accurately, eternal banishment from God’s Presence by our choice not to trust in Him).

But God loved us so much that He sent His Son, not to condemn the world, but to save it. (See John 3:16-17.) Through His own death, Jesus stops the extermination truck for all who trust in Him. When we look to Him in faith, He gives us a nod and waves us across, “It’s okay. Go ahead!” He invites us to safely join the Kingdom of God with assurance we will live eternally with Him.

I think I feel a power complex coming on. But it’s okay. It’s Christ—no power of my own. None at all. No, no. (Consider 1 Corinthians 1:18, 2 Corinthians 12:9, and Galatians 2:20.) I trust in the One Who can stop the great, big death truck for me—and for everyone else on this human life journey.

Thank You, Jesus! Amen.

Note: Clicking the highlighted Bible verse references will take you to Bible Gateway where you can read the verses for yourself, read them in context, and find study helps for learning more about God’s Word.

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Psalm 25:4-5 on My Mind

NewOMM“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” –Psalm 25:4-5

As we enter 2014, these verses are the perfect ones to have on our minds. Each day, we walk into the great unknown—even if we think we know what’s up ahead. Each day is full of surprises: some big, some little, some joyful, some sad. Some are completely life-changing; I’m thankful these are rare.

In any case, as we boldly step into our future, whether it’s the next second or the next year, let’s remember that God is our Guide and ask Him often to:

Show us His ways.

Teach us His paths.

Guide us in His Truth.

Teach us.

After all, He is our God—our Creator and King. He is our Savior—the One Who has rescued us from sin, Who does rescue us from trouble and temptation each day (insofar as we cooperate), and Who will rescue us from this world when He takes us to New Earth* some future day. This is what makes Him our Hope for every day, and the only One Who deserves to take the lead in our lives.

Jesus, please guide us step by step through every day of 2014 and for the rest of our lives. We’ll trust Your way as You reveal it. Amen.

*Randy Alcorn’s term for Heaven—I like it!