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WHEN LIFE HAS NOT TURNED OUT AS YOU PLANNED

LIFEDo you believe that whenever God closes a door, He opens a window?

That is, do you believe that when we come upon a dead end in life, that it’s because there’s always a better opportunity around the corner?

I wish it was that simple, but we all know that there have been many times when crawling out of the only open window meant being caught outside in the cold, harsh world. You want to kick that slammed door back open, or at least crawl back through the window where it’s warm and cozy and just start over.

But to no fault of your own, you can’t. The door is shut, that ship has sailed.

It could be a job loss, a break-up, a misunderstanding, a disappointment, anything.

It could be losing something that you cherished and thanked God for every day, something that you knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that He gave you. So you cry out:

Lord, why did you take it away?

What if you knew from an early age that God set a purpose for you, only to find yourself on a roller coaster ride of extreme ups and downs, none of which made any sense?

Think you have problems? Take a look at the life of Joseph, the son of Jacob, as told in Genesis 37, 39 – 47. Here’s how all the highs and lows of his life played out:

  • As a boy, he was his father’s favorite (high)
  • He was hated by his brothers for it, and sold into slavery (low)
  • After being delivered from slavery, (high)
  • He rose to prominence in Potiphar’s (an officer of Pharaoh) palace (high)
  • Then, he was wrongfully accused of rape (low)
  • As a result, he was thrown into prison for years (low)
  • In prison, he interpreted a fellow prisoner’s dream. After getting out of prison, this prisoner (a butler), promised to speak well of Joseph to get him out, too. (high)
  • Yet Joseph was forgotten, and left in jail (low)
  • Years later, the butler finally remembered Joseph. Joseph was taken out of prison to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. (high)
  • From there, Joseph was elevated in rank right next to Pharaoh himself.  (high)
  • This put him in a position to forgive his brothers and save them from a famine in their land. (high)

If you ask me, that doesn’t look like an easy life of one progressive step of success to another, and for such a godly guy, you’d think life would be easier. Yet in the end, Joseph life came full circle. He looked back on it and the pieces finally made sense. It must have been such a soothing balm to his heart as he realized God’s hand in everything the whole time.

So back to that slammed door.  Do I believe that God can open a window of greater opportunity?

Yes, He certainly can.

And He can use that slammed door, (that one that feels like it’s slammed right on our heart till we can’t breathe, yeah that one), as a blessing to immediately bring us to a bigger, better circumstance.

Or…He can bring about the good in your life through a series of shut and open doors. Either way, His love is cast upon His children to the point of no denial in the end.

If you know Jesus as your Savior, if you are His child, know this. He is FOR you and not against you. I’m glad to know that, so I hang on for what’s ahead. Sure, I pray for blessing. Who doesn’t? Yet in hope, there must be submission to His authority in this not-so-perfect world.  We can make our plans, but it is the Lord’s purpose that presides.

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 Have you had a circumstance happen that left you absolutely baffled? Has someone handed you a raw deal? Have you come through it to see God’s ultimate purpose? I look forward to hearing your stories!

 

 

 

WHEN THE JOB WEARS YOU DOWN: A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE ON WORK

work

Why is it that sleep never seems sweeter than it is the moment I have to get up?

Once that alarm goes off and I hit the snooze button, it’s just not the same. *sigh*

I drift off again, only to dream of lying on a faraway beach with just sunshine, an umbrella drink, and books to surround me.  Ahhh…bliss…

Then the alarm rings again and I remember…oh yeah. Work. The thought jolts my eyes open. No job means no roof over your head, girl, Get up! Well, that’ll do it! So I throw the covers back, stumble out of bed, and join the ranks of civilized society.

Now, I love what I do and the people I work with, but I think it is safe to say that there’s difficulty in any job on some level. There’s deadlines and demands, and…well, personalities to face. *smile*

By the end of the day, sometimes I just feel shredded, like I’ve been put through one of those machines that make pasta.

pasta machine 2

Work can be draining

No one said it would be easy. In fact, as Christians, we already know from the beginning that it is part of the curse of mankind. After Adam sinned against God, (Genesis 3), he was told that everything he would gain would come from hard work. Even if we are retired or have money to spare, every meal, every luxury, every material benefit we have is a result of someone’s work.

To Adam He said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground…(Genesis 3:18-19)

God created Adam with the capacity to work. He was given the task of cultivating the garden and naming the animals, (Gen.2:15, 19), which could not have been a burden in the perfect world in which Adam lived. Following his sin against God, Adam and Even went from the lush and thriving Garden of Eden to a world that would only yield food by his hard labor. He now came to know the anguish of work and the frustration of fighting thorns and thistles that would produce scratches on his hands and choke his crops.

Now when we deal with the day to day imperfections of our own jobs, whatever they may be….they are reminders of our present-day thorns and thistles.

Work is a blessing

Even so, don’t we have a certain satisfaction in a job well done? Work is also a blessing in that it is part of what it means to be made in the image of God. When He completed creation, God was satisfied with the outcome and said it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31).We reflect Him when we work productively, and use the abilities and potential He has given us. Through work, He gives us a means to make a living, connect with others, and contribute to society.

One final thought: I believe we must never stop doing our best just because someone isn’t looking over our shoulder, or a circumstance or two doesn’t seem fair. As believers our one grounding perspective is to work as unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:23-24 ).

Are you grateful for your job? Express that gratitude with eagerness to take on extra work when you’re asked.  Feeling overlooked? He always sees the effort you put in and your heart in the matter. Feeling overwhelmed? See it as an opportunity for God to see you through.

He will give us His joy to look PASTA the strain!

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What are some specific ways you can work as unto the Lord in your workplace?

Why will there always be difficulties at work? How do you think anticipating the “thorns and thistles” of work change our attitude about it?

Do you think that God’s own productivity in creation tell s us something about how we should work?