Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Water Lilies and You

"So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith." 1 Thessalonians 3:7

How much do you know about the beautiful water lilies? They are one of the flowers that are so breathtaking, that not a single one is ever the same. They vary in color, shape and size. The Lord has made each lily his perfect creation. Most water lilies are hardy and withstand most conditions. The flowers bloom on the surface of the water. The blossoms are fragrant. There is a water lily that grows only in the swamps. The most unique thing about the water lily is that the root of the lily is located in the mud at the bottom of the pond. 
As I meditate on these characteristics, I think, that is just like people! I reflect upon how God can take each one of us, and have us be uniquely and wonderfully different. He has us bloom in the most difficult of situations and helps us withstand the difficult circumstances in which we find ourselves. I know of how God can take a person that has had so much suffering in their lives, and yet be like that water lily and still bloom. We too can bloom with our roots in the mud, and we can do that by being like the aquatic plant, the water lily. We can arise from the mud at the bottom of our experiences in life and float upon the living water of God. We don't have to have our circumstances define our hearts, and we can bloom right where the Lord has us planted, even though it may be in a swamp. Seek the Word of God to hold onto those promises he has for you.
Question: Can you relate to the water lily and some of the elements the flower has to overcome to bloom? Are you in a swamp and think you cannot bloom there? Seek God's Word and He will speak to you today.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Dawn of Our Lives

"Your name will no longer be Jacob," the man told him. "From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won." Genesis 32:28
Have you ever wrestled with God? Sometimes in our lives, we may be faced with circumstances that are so challenging, that it may seem that we are in a wrestling match. We may be up most of the night, thinking and trying to process information to make the right choices. It may be wrestling with emotions and feelings that seem so overwhelming. Jacob was going through the same situation in his life with the estrangement between he and his brother Essau. Jacob goes out to the desert by himself at night and there he gets into a wrestling match, which lasted all night long. This story is significant for us because it is an example of how Jacob overcame the emotions that faced him and  we may find ourselves in the same kind of situation. It is significant to me, that the struggle was all night long. How often the struggles are in dark times but there is a period of time when the struggle will end and this is always at the dawn of a new day. That is the beginning of a new day filled with hope.  No matter what we face, there is always a new day on the horizon. Notice in this story, there had to be a struggle, a struggle between the human will and with the will of God. Don't you think that at any time during the night, the Angel of the Lord could have overpowered Jacob? Of course he could, but it is like when you play checkers with a child, you give the child just enough challenge during the game to get them thinking but at the end, you let them win. I think that this struggle had to take place and it had to be challenging for Jacob, to the point where he had to put out his maximum effort, just to realize that there is no possible way he could have won on his own earthly strength. So at dawn, he asked for a blessing, he wanted to finally let go of the struggle and to let the Angel of the Lord to take control. We may need to struggle, and to wrestle with situations in our lives, but in the end, we need to give it all to God and let Him take control. During this fleshly wrestling match, many issues came up to Jacob, and I believe that he finally realized the error in his ways, for what he did to his brother. In those emotional struggles, God may take you to a place where you begin to take the focus off the other person and what they have done to you, and begin to look inside yourself to what YOU have done wrong. That is the wrestling or shift that needs to be done. Then God will show us what is not right within ourselves and we can finally get to the place of repentance and surrender. We have a loving and compassionate God and He will allow us to wrestle in order to get us to the place where He wants us to be, and that is at the Dawn of our Lives.