Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Riddle in the Mirror


For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face;
now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12

Ever feel like life is a riddle? Wish you understood what God is doing in your life?  
Join us at CMADDICT.COM for this Wednesday's devotional.  

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Friday, January 25, 2013

It's All Good - the Whole Bible, That Is

The Bible is God's story.

A Guest Post by Susanne Maynes

Ever had one of those mornings when you woke up just not quite ready to face life? That was me recently. It had been a hectic week with too quick of a pace and too many challenges, and I was on the verge of a melt-down - maybe not Three Mile Island, but still.

So I grabbed my trusty Bible, hoping for some inspiring words and a tasty personal tidbit to get me through the day. Perhaps a lovely promise, or comforting verse to soothe and uplift me.

I got wrath and woes.

I started in Psalms, often a great place to find solace, and landed on Psalm 78. That particular one happens to be a litany of God's complaints against His wayward children (in this case, Ephraim, a tribe of Israel). It's clear that He's mad. He's really mad.

Yikes, I thought, let's try the New Testament. You know, the covenant that is full of grace and mercy. I flipped to Matthew, which I had been reading, and landed in the middle of Jesus' "woes" to the Pharisees. And Jesus is mad. Really mad.

So I didn't end up with the kind of verses you would inscribe in calligraphy on a nice plaque to look at on a rainy day. But that morning's foray into the Word of God was just as valuable.

The Bible is God's story. It tells me about what He is like, including what causes His anger, grief, compassion, or joy. It shows me how to respond to Him. It's not meant to be just a nice little collections of pithy sayings and fluffy sentiments.

I am very thankful for the days when I do receive a wonderful nugget that fits my personal situation. But I am equally thankful for days like today, because I know a little bit more about God's heart and what He really cares about.

His story reveals His character. All of it is worth reading regularly.

Do you find yourself hunting for tasty nuggets in the Scriptures while avoiding certain books or chapters? What unique benefits might you gain from a difficult passage?

About the Author: Susanne Maynes

Susanne's poetry has found its way into several publications, including the literary journal  Talking River. For two years, she wrote a weekly column for the Bonners Ferry Herald, and in 2004, she won an Award of Outstanding Merit from the Amy Foundation for one of the columns. Susanne is thankful for her meaningful job at Life Choices Clinic, a pregnancy resource center. She also enjoys her family, nature, and writing words that heal.

You can learn more about Life Choices Clinic by clicking these links:
Life Choices Clinic
Life Choices Partners

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Be Still and Know

Photo courtesy Erik Thorson copyright 2013

Be still, and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10 NIV

Cease striving and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10 NASB

Someone remembered seeing the young woman walking on the roof of a two-story building in Portland, Oregon. But how she managed to fall into the small space between it and an adjoining cinder block wall was still a mystery as firefighters worked to release her. She was caught in about one foot of space, suspended about four feet above the ground. Completely trapped.

Rescuers first had to bring in a heater to keep her warm in the cold temperatures. They used an air bag to spread the wall a bit. They cut a window-sized hole in the wall close to her and applied a soapy substance to her to help her wiggle toward the hole.

Lt. Rich Chatman of the Portland fire department said as they worked, they tried to reassure her that they weren't going home without her.

When she finally emerged to freedom, she raised her face to the sky and shouted, "Oh, my God!"

Her predicament reminds me of some of the places I get myself into at times. I'm just walking along, engrossed in my life, not watching my steps, and suddenly I fall into a place between a wall and a hard place. Overcome with fear, I struggle with all my might to free myself. Like with this young woman, resistance is futile, and my frantic efforts to escape just wear me out. 

What's left to do? I have to call for help. 

Thankfully, someone heard this woman's cries and called in emergency crews. If no one had heard her, she would eventually have succumbed to the frigid winter cold. 

When I'm caught in a jam, I have to remember to quit striving. Be still. Call for help. Remember He is God. The God who made everything, who is all-powerful, and who promised never to leave or forsake me. 

He's the God who is always listening, who hears my cries of despair and sends help on the way. Sometimes the rescue takes a while if I've really gotten myself stuck. Sometimes God has to employ several techniques to help me toward freedom. But like this young lady, I can relax once I know my rescuer has arrived. He will stay by my side and comfort me as He works on my behalf. I trust Him to take good care of me. In the many years I known Him, He's never let me down.

And when I once again step into that place of freedom, I raise my face toward heaven and shout this heartfelt prayer of thanks:

Oh, my God! You are amazing. You will be exalted among the nations. You will be exalted in the earth.