“Ghost of the Future, I fear you more than any specter I have seen. But as I know your purpose is to do me good and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was, I am prepared to bear you company and do it with a thankful heart.”—Ebenezer Scrooge - A Christmas Carol
Since I can remember, I have preferred cloudy days over sunny ones. I can’t really pinpoint the exact reason I love clouds so much, but I do know that a cloudless, bright blue sky seems very lifeless and boring to me. Maybe it’s because my dad and I used to stare at clouds and figure out what animals they resembled. Maybe it’s the influence of my grandma (more like my second mom) who loves rainy days. Or maybe it’s because I watched Mary Poppins sit in the clouds every Saturday for a great deal of my childhood.
Whatever the reason is, I was reminded of my admiration for the fluffy things today as I looked out the window and saw an army of them zooming across the sky and thought to myself how it made it appear as if our neighborhood was flying through the air…
So in this month where we are encouraged more than usual to be thankful, I say “thanks” to the things that make sunsets even more beautiful, add texture and intrigue to our skies and give the young (at heart) something to stare at when we lie in the grass.
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30
Tonight, my prayer is for God’s children to take a break from the craziness that is life and find rest in their Lord and Savior. Jesus knew the importance of resting; I hope that we can begin to grasp the significance of taking time to recharge… May all my friends and family sleep especially well tonight and may your tomorrow be a day of little or no stress.
Birdie:Closing the store is the brave thing to do.
Kathleen:You are such a liar, but thank you.
Birdie:You are daring to imagine that you could have a different life! Oh, I know it doesn't feel like that...you feel like a big fat failure right now. But you're not. You are marching into the unknown armed with...nothing. Have a sandwich.
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
We are currently studying the book of James in church, and it doesn’t surprise me at all that as we begin to study this book as a church, I know so many friends who are going through especially tough times right now. Our faith family leader shared with us that the original Greek for “troubles” in verse two literally means something more like temptation. That makes sense if you continue to read through first chapter. This has made me think…so many times when we are troubled, temptation isn’t far away, if it isn’t right in our faces. Sometimes, our giving in to temptation brings the trouble, and other times, the troubles we face seem to weaken our ability to turn away when we are tempted. For me, the biggest temptation when facing adversity is to let worry and fear in.
James writes, “But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver…Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” And that makes perfect sense to me. I am so guilty of worrying about a situation, rather than trusting God’s heart, and at the same time asking him to give me wisdom and guidance…asking him to take care of me or someone I love. If anyone deserves my complete trust, it’s the Almighty, so why can’t I go to him when things aren’t perfect with an unwavering belief in him and his plan for my life? I know the broad, sweeping answer is I am human, but I also know I have the Holy Spirit to comfort and lead me, I have God’s Word to remind me of his love, grace, power and glory, and I know he would not ask anything of me without giving me what I need to respond properly.
So my goal is to grow in my faith when things are difficult and to learn to rejoice when I am afflicted, because the troubles of this world are temporary, and it means my Father is perfecting and completing me.
“There are times in our lives when our peace is based simply on our own ignorance. But when we are awakened to the realities of life, true inner peace is impossible unless it is received from Jesus.”—Oswald Chambers