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When we focus on the past we tend to resist change. When we focus on what we see (the present) we tend to lose hope. When we focus on the future and what God can do we live in expectation.


I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. Psalm 34:1

Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old
Sometimes I’d like to quit
Nothing ever seems to fit
Hangin’ around
Nothing to do but frown
Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down.

The song “Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down” by The Carpenters can become our own theme song if we aren’t careful. For some of us everyday seems to fall into the category of a rainy day or a Monday, even in the Christian walk. Why is it that the ‘rainy day’ attitude seems to follow us? There may be several reasons.

An improper view of God’s ability to handle the situation can bring in the clouds in a hurry. It’s easy, when trouble comes, to forget that God has the solution already in place. Our only ‘job’ is to seek his leading and guidance. Not easy to do when the voices of our soul scream for us to act.

We can also be so focused on the present and our own abilities that we lose sight of the bigger picture. The Father brings people and events into our lives to help us grow stronger. The abusive person is there to help us to trust God and help us grow in wisdom to know his plan. Bullies of all ages come into our lives so that we will learn to trust God to give us the wisdom on how to act.

It’s been said that ‘defense is the best offense’. In daily life that means we lash out quickly when cornered or attacked in hopes to catch the enemy off guard. In God’s Kingdom, the best defense is often to sit and wait, ponder the situation and act in a calm, decisive manner. May not work on the sporting field, but life isn’t a game.

Fear can be a great praise stealer as well. Closely tied to our failure to see God for who he is, fear turns the focus of the solution to our own abilities, and not God’s power. Our fear can be self-inflicted, such as when the natural consequences of procrastination strangle us. Our fear can paralyze us as well when we put our own fleshly desires before our relationship with Jesus and others.

So how can we ditch the ‘Rainy Day and Monday’ attitude? That old Carpenter song has the answer to that as well:

“Funny but it seems that it’s the only thing to do; Run and find the one who loves me.”

Ironically, the best way to ditch the ‘Rainy Day’ mindset is to do the very thing we are being kept from doing…PRAISE. When you are feeling blue, when life makes you afraid, confused or its pain seems too much to bear, go to the one who already has the solutions to your problem, whatever that is.

PRAYER: Father, the struggles of my life have kept me from the ultimate purpose of my life, which is praising you. Empower me to rest in your love, especially during those times when fear, worry and people and events scare me. Amen.


Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. Galatians 4:7 (NLT)

A slave has no decisions to make about daily schedules, what food to eat or where they will live. A child is given new choices every day.

A slave has no future other than that decided by the master. A child is groomed every day to believe that they can be anything they want to be.

A slave lives every day with the fear that they may be ripped up from where they are and taken from their family. A child is secure in the knowledge that they are loved and that they can always come home. 

A slave lives knowing that all relationships are temporary, that those closest to him may be gone tomorrow. A child lives with the assurance that those who love him will always be at their side.

A slave lives with the presupposition that love is based on performance, that he is loved for what he does. A child lives with the foundational truth that he is loved for who he is, not for what he does.

A slave lives for today because tomorrow there is no hope for tomorrow. A child endures the struggles of growing up because he knows that his future is full of hope because someday he will receive the inheritance.

A slave knows that if he leaves, death is certain. A child knows that if he wanders he can always come home. Always.

A slave, even if he were to become ‘legally free’ still holds the DNA of slavery. A child will always bear the genetic marks of son-ship.

A slave sees a master. A child sees a loving father.

Brothers and sisters, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are a child of the living God. You no longer need to live as slaves. You are a child of the King. Regardless of where you are, or where you have been. You have hope based on the person of Jesus Christ, not of yourself.

PRAYER: Father God. Daddy. I’m in awe as I’m reminded once again of who I am. It’s so easy with life circumstances to be deceived into seeing myself as a failure rather than your child. Forgive me for my doubt. Empower me with your spirit to live as your child. Thank you again for Jesus. Amen.


However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him— 1 Corinthians 2:9

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to win the lottery? I think about that every time the lottery gets to be up in the hundreds of millions. Even the thought of that is astronomical. Can’t even fathom what that would be like.

We have many reasons for wanting to win the ‘big one’. For some it may be to get out of debt and be able to provide comfortably for our families now and in the future. Some may have more noble aspirations. To build a hospital for example, or to give money towards medical research or solving some social issue that we are passionate about, or to missions. All very good reasons and worthwhile causes to be sure.

Whatever reason we have for winning the lottery, there is one glaring problem we each must admit too. No matter how much we win, or what we spend it on, the results will be temporary. The words of King Solomon ring loudly. There he was, the great King of Israel. He was wealthy, wise and powerful. Anything he wanted was at his fingertips. Yet in all his glory, this great man of God wrote (and I paraphrase) “I could have anything I wanted but soon found out everything in life is really useless. I gave myself everything a man could possibly want. Women, palaces, vacations. You name it. If I wanted it, I went and got it. And what I learned is this. The really important thing is to love and obey God. Nothing else will bring us joy.”

The truth is, it’s not what we have on earth that really counts but what we are building in eternity. Paul writes, (again, my paraphrase) “God loves you so much that the things he’s prepared for you will blow your mind. You can’t even imagine the great things he has for you. It’s astounding!”

Our finite minds can only understand and fathom what we see here and now. We can’t see even one second into the future. Each of us should live to build our treasures in heaven. Treasures that are eternal. Imagine what it will be like in heaven when we see how our lives have affected people. I want to be surrounded by lives that have been touched by my love, my mercy and God’s grace. Those are the things I want to strive for so that someday, I’ll see Jesus and He’ll say, ‘Well done thou good and faithful servant. Look at the crowds of people that are here because of your kindness.’ Sound outlandish? I don’t think so. With God’s help that is my desire.

I know I’ll fail some and hurt others unintentionally. But my failures will not allow me to give up. I’m off to win eternal rewards!

PRAYER: Father God. My mind is spinning as I try to comprehend the things you have in store for me. It’s so easy to get bogged down here on earth with worries and concerns. Help me to remember that you have awesome things I can’t even imagine waiting for me. Help me to build my wealth in heaven by living for you here on earth. In Jesus name, Amen.

 


Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NLT)

During the Prophet Habakkuk’s ministry to Israel ominous times loomed on the horizon. A new enemy was arising, the Babylonian Empire, and threatened its borders. The Babylonians were a ruthless enemy. They didn’t believe in God, they didn’t care about the people they killed. They had no conscience whatsoever.

In the meantime, the people of Israel completely disregarded their covenant with God. They continued to live Godless lives in the face of imminent danger. Habakkuk’s message of repentance fell on deaf ears.

Habakkuk was a frustrated man. He prayed and prayed to the God of Heaven but got no results. At one point he says, “If you are a God that hates evil then why don’t you do something to change all of this?” Another time he says, “Why won’t you listen to me? Why do you make me look at all this sin and filth and do absolutely nothing about it?”

The tiny book of Habakkuk ends with a prayer in Chapter 3. Habakkuk once more begs God to look at his situation and change it. He reminds God of all the great things He has done in the past. He worships God for the many times He has rescued Israel and for His love.

As He continues to think of all that God has done something interesting happens near the end of his prayer in verses 17 & 18. Habakkuk states that no matter what happens he will rejoice in God’s salvation. For example, if fig trees don’t blossom, not only will year’s crop fail, but next years as well. This is not only present tragedy but future crisis as well.

When you look around you and see the danger of a lurking enemy or you get frustrated by the way you are treated or the way people have turned from God. When the shadows of your past or the weight of your present pull you down, take a lesson from the pages of Habakkuk. Focus your attention on what God has done in your past and what He has done for other people and at other times.

God has never gone back on a promise. He has never forgotten His people. Even though He seems silent at times, His will is accomplished. We can trust Him even when hidden enemies loom on the horizon and our society rejects Him. He never changes.

PRAYER: Father God, I have to confess to you that I get really angry when I see the injustice around me. It seems like people who are completely against you flourish while I struggle as I try to live for you. I’m ashamed of my past, worry about my present, and fear for my. Help me to remember all you have done in the past. Help me to praise you in the midst of my struggle. Amen.

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