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Sunday, November 23 2014

Dear Friends...

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” James 1:2

As we ease into Holiday planning, are you counting it PURE joy?

It is the time of the year when families make extra effort to gather together. Most of the time it is out of desire, but it can be an obligation as well. This is also the time of year that all of our different personalities can ‘rub’ on each other. Difficult relationships might be highlighted or tested, and herein lies the reason why many folks dread the holidays all together. So how can we “consider it pure joy” as Paul exhorts us and be grateful in the midst of difficult relationships? 

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

We can give thanks and count the difficult relationships pure joy because:

1. It Develops Our Perseverance... It gives us an opportunity to lean on God for the patience and compassion we need to deal with the person. It gives us opportunity to lean on His strength and to usher in something new into the relationship. We get to practice His ways no matter how the other person acts, which grows us spiritually.
2. It Matures Our Faith... The perseverance we need to maintain and navigate difficult relationships in our life compels us to seek God in a deeper way. If we desire to handle things in a Godly manner we must seek His heart for the person involved; rely on His wisdom and use His power to follow through.
3. It Allows Us to Know Ourselves Better... A powerful concept in psychology is that the person we tend to have difficulties with is often a reflected image of ourselves. Often this person is reflecting back to us something about ourselves and we don’t even know it! Stop and ask the Lord, “Is there anything in my heart that is similar to this person or situation?”
4. It Allows Us To Love Like Christ... Boy, if Jesus only choose to love us when we ‘acted right’, ‘didn’t hurt His feelings’, or ‘treated Him like He deserves’ we would ALL be in serious trouble. He loves us unconditionally and He directs us to do the same. In difficult relationships, the ONLY way we can do this is to allow His love to flow through us.
5. It Allows Us To Live In The Freedom Of Forgiveness... Forgiveness cost God a lot…His Son on the Cross. When we forgive as God directs us, then we stay out of bondage. In a difficult relationship we GET to practice forgiveness and experience the freedom and peace it brings. We never really appreciate something unless it costs!
6. We Get To Experience The Joy Of Dying To Self... HUH? Joy? Yes, joy. When we deny what our flesh desires to do or say in the difficulties then we become more alive in Him. And then we exude more of God into the situation. We have the power to speak life or death into these difficult situations. Choose life. Do it God’s way, not your own! 

Think about how different these relationships might be if you practice God’s directions in the tough stuff? Family gatherings could be peaceful and more loving. And it’s spiritual exercise! You can become healthier and lead other’s into the same! 

Now it’s time I practice what I preach. Thanks for letting me share. It helps me stay accountable too! 

What are ways you “count it pure joy” and “give thanks in all things” regarding difficult relationships? Share and let’s spur each other on to good deeds…

Blessings~ Angel

Posted by: Angel H Davis AT 12:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

Benefits of Weariness


WOW! How weary I am. And so are many of you. I know because I hear your cries: in my office, on the phone, online, in church, at the grocery store, you name it! So much of what I hear from people today is about how tired, weary, and worn-out they feel.

Then again, you may not feel weary;  instead you may feel anxious, depressed, scared, lonely, angry, or any mixture of these emotions. Perhaps these are more your prominent feelings.


However you may feel, it’s too easy to look for the source or to find blame: social media; busy schedules; technology; work/family demands; the causes are endless. Of course, these have validity, and we can certainly manage them in more appropriate and successful ways.


Yet, as I sit with God today, in my quiet time, and look over my journals, what I see is the benefit of weariness—the benefit of our broken feelings and situations.

 I see, time and time again, over the years (yes, I am rebellious and slow-learning, and God is very, very patient), God working in me and through me, enabling me to receive His antidote to this tough life and all of its problems. 


It is so simple; and yet it is so hard.


It is HIM: Jesus; always more of Him.


“But,” you say, “Angel, I have to know what to do with my children,” or, “Angel, these bills are piling up,” or, “Angel, you don’t have a CLUE of how bad it really is.”


And I will say, “You are right, I don’t. And you are correct, these things need to be taken care of.” 


BUT FIRST, we have a larger need. Oh, the catch is it doesn’t appear like the larger need. Our core need, before bills, children, purpose in life, change in our feelings, is to be convinced, truly convinced and accepting of God’s love for us and our identity as His children.


And your heart and head may rebel like mine did.


“BUT, I need to know the answer to my problem.” 

And Jesus says:

“I am the answer.”

“I am so tired.”

And Jesus says:

“I know. Let me restore you.”

“I am afraid.”

And Jesus says:

“I know, and my love will take care of that.”


That just doesn’t seem like much; doesn’t seem like enough, when we are about to be evicted or our kids are in harm’s way. That support just doesn’t seem practical enough for our human brains to rest on.


Perhaps then we’ve hit on the real source or problem of our weariness: ourselves. You and me believing that if we work hard enough, try enough, worry enough, take enough time to figure it out, talk enough to that person, ignore it long enough—whatever your “enough” is—WE can fix it. The true problem is that it’s all about US!


We want to stay in the driver’s seat and be our own savior. Or we look to other humans to be that for us. If we believe our answer lies in us or other humans, we are likely to stay in that “out of control” anxious space, and the weariness or depression or addictions are bound to take over. There can only be one driver in our car of life.


The benefit of our struggle is to be wooed into the true solution. Life’s struggles are an invitation to know God more intimately. As we allow Jesus, who is ALIVE, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, to become more real for us, more tangible, as we take Him at His word (Hebrews 13:5), as we choose to focus on Him and His promises, instead of the problems or feelings we are having, then we start to experience the reality of His presence with us.  With this, we begin to experience the peace He promises.

Why? Because our problems have been solved? The bills have all been paid? The feelings change?

NO…  peace comes from HIS presence. And in that place of peace we can see clearer, hear more accurately, and receive wisdom and direction.


As we “bend our knee” to Jesus’ love, dare to take Him at His word (John 3:16), choose to look to Him and depend on Him, and keep (John 17) depending on Him, then His life-blood starts to flow through us. It revives us, directs us, and transforms our thinking and feelings. Then life and all of its troubles, which are many (John 16:33), become manageable, doable.


Breath comes; rest comes; peace comes.


In this place new life springs forth. New ideas emerge and joy is eventually restored.


Struggling today? Rejoice in it, because it is calling you back home. Home to His heart of love (Romans 8:38-39), the place of true peace and rest. 

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