Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Eeyore Syndrome

Our family has always loved the Winnie the Pooh series. 

I like all the mix of characters, and how different they are:

Winnie the Pooh: an innocent, naive but trusting (and "silly") bear;
Piglet: the anxious, scared and insecure pig; 
Rabbit: the controlling, opinionated and precise gardener bunny;
Owl, the Wise expert in everything (at least in his own mind)
Eeyore: the depressing, negative, pessimistic, lowly donkey.

My favorite character is Tigger, with his bouncy, positive, bubbly personality. He almost never gets 'down'.

I sure wish I was more like him!

Unfortunately, I am sometimes more like Eeyore...and I think most of our culture is too.

Here's a radical idea for you to chew on: Christians should not be like Eeyore!

Think about it for a minute:

We are blessed people, by the grace of God!

We are adopted  by faith into the Family of God, and have the assurance of security within that family. 

We are heirs to all the promises of God, and have promises by God Himself that we are safe, secure, and loved. 

The God of the universe has moved heaven and earth to reach out to US, and He has blessed us with every good and perfect gift.

In fact, the Word says just that "Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession." (James 1:17-18)

Make no mistake about it: God loves us and actually loves us and treasures us! 

A God like that, who loves us like that, is not going to abandon us. He is not going to let us experience problems and difficulties that we don't need. He doesn't simply turn a blind eye or deaf ear to our needs and our trials...He wants what's good for us, and He knows how to bring it about.

What does that mean for us?

It means we can trust Him.

It means that, if we're going through tough times, He knows it. He does not let us suffer needlessly.

It may be for our growth, it may be to prepare us for blessing, it may be to help us to learn to really 'worship' Him at a deeper level, it may be so that we can have an influence over someone's else's eternal future...or any one of a thousand other reasons. But God has us there, and He is there in the midst of it with us!

Remember, He is working from an eternal perspective, and He is is working for our good!

If you are struggling with circumstances and you wonder why God has you in them, and why He's not intervening, don't despair! Don't give up! Don't assume that He is not the loving, caring, wise and powerful God that you thought He was! 

Instead, reaffirm your faith and trust. Pray your heart out. Let Him know your struggles and your needs...but don't turn your back on Him! He is still there and is still the great God who loves you.

Don't become an 'Eeyore', looking at your circumstances negatively. Rather, by faith, be more like Tigger--knowing He is going to care for you and help you to grow--'Bounce' on it. 

He is working--in your circumstances, on your behalf. He loves you and NOTHING can separate you from that love.

"Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? 
Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?...
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love." (Romans 8:35-38)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Where Do YOU Run?

We all have those days...

It seems like 'everything' is going wrong, it seems that we're facing hostility from others. In fact, it bay be actually true that you and I face days in which we are literally being attacked!

Where do you run to?

On days like that, we have a tendency to resort to trying to 'fix' things by ourselves. We may breathe a quick 'help!' prayer, but we tend to try to 'figure it out'. If we know that we can't we'll call some friends who can.

On far too many occasions, if nothing else works and we are at the end of our rope, then we'll really pray...when we've got no options left.

Is God gracious enough to come through even then?


...but wouldn't it be great if we could learn from past experience of His wisdom, love and power so that, in future situations, we'd go to Him first...and stay there?!

Take King Asa, for example. In 2 Chronicles 16, we find him and his kingdom (Judah) being attacked by Baasha and his kingdom (Israel). 

It was looking pretty bad for Judah and its king. 

So what did the king do? How did he handle this crisis? 

Did he call on the God of his ancestors?
Did he petition the God who had recently saved him from a much greater threat?


Instead he took silver and gold out of the Lord's treasury, and sent it to Ben-Hadad, king of Aram. He made a treaty with Ben-Hadad to protect him from Baasha and his army, and he used the silver and gold belonging to the Lord and the temple treasury to do it.

He robbed God and took what was His, and then he slapped God in the face by going to another person, instead of going back to Him (after He had already rescued Asa once). 

God sent the prophet Hanani to confront Asa about it.

Hanani said,

“Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. 

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” (2 Chronicles 16:7-9) 

What was his reaction? 

Repentance? Sorrow? Brokenness and regret? 

No. Instead he threw Hanani in prison. 

Unfortunately, Asa's life from that point forward was filled with war, and he died that way. All of the good things he had done before, and all of the great things he'd experienced from God were out the window. 

Asa instead decided to 'figure things out' his own way, instead of relying on, and glorifying, God.

What is the message to us?

When we are facing tough circumstances, or attacks from others, don't wait to go to the Lord as a 'last resort', rather, go to Him FIRST--and remain there! Make the decision to fully follow Him, to fully lean on Him, and to fully trust Him, and HE WILL STRENGTHEN YOU!

He is searching for those who are fully committed to Him, and He wants to support us.

Let's make sure when His eyes see us, they see one who is HIM!