Readings for Those In Fear…

Psalm 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
Phl 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

God’s Promise Made in Love…

Today’s Scripture Focus – Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

There are many promises God makes in the Old Testament scriptures that are fulfilled in the New Testament.  We also find that promises made to people in Biblical times apply to us today as well.  In this, the last chapter in Jeremiah, God gives those in captivity a light of hope for the future.

We also can find hope in these words that God gave to Jeremiah.  Many of us find ourselves in desperate straits from time-to-time, perhaps it seems most of the time.  But by keeping our focus on God and not our circumstances, we too can have hope for the future.  Our lives aren’t random patterns of unconnected activities.  Each part of our lives is designed with God’s purposes’s in mind.   If we will allow ourselves to search God’s Word and apply its principles, each part of our existence will work together for good, regardless of what our perceptions are of those situations we find ourselves in during our walk on Earth.

A good friend found himself in the throws of an addiction to cigarette smoking.  He had started as a teen and continued the habit for thirty-some years.  The desire for nicotine and the convenience of a “good smoke” had taken over his desire to live a healthy lifestyle.

It wasn’t until he admitted his powerlessness over the drug that he was able to make his headway in breaking the habit.  After several false starts in an attempt to quit smoking, he was finally able to put them down for good.  God had done for him what he couldn’t do for himself.  Constant prayers and reading in God’s Word as well as counseling from someone that had had a similar addiction had led him out of the woods.  He can now offer this hope to others caught in addictive behavior patterns, having been there himself.

The key to this scripture for me is the emphasis that God has great plans for each of us,,, if we are willing to follow the lead.  He is the grand architect and has drawn up a blueprint that will lead us to fulfillment of our earthly goals, as well as the ultimate reward of having a heavenly home.  No, it doesn’t always seem to fit the circumstances we find ourselves in, but if we stay the course, God will guide us into completion of His intended purpose for our lives.

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A New Beginning…

The first day of the Lenten season has ended and yet another day has begun.  In reflecting on what I’ve read and contemplated on today, one series of verses in particular seems to strike home:

2Cr 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
2Cr 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

2Cr 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
2Cr 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I am reminded in these readings I was led to today that many times we are living in darkness, yet don’t fully understand its depth.  Only studying in God’s Word and meditating on it can we begin to shed light on those darkened areas of our lives.

There are going to be days where we find ourselves burdened with the care and concerns of this world.  There will be those times when we feel like giving up and throwing in the towel.  There are times when what we see before us offers few promises of getting any better.

But our God is the great “I am.”  He is by our side even during the darkest of hours to lead us to where He would have us to be in His name.

Our transformation is something that takes time,,, something that doesn’t come easily and may involve much pain… But the end result of what God is working within us is that we fill in those darkened areas of our lives with God’s love and light.  He knows where we go and what we do and understands that we are human and therefore imperfect.

That’s a part of what the Lenten season is all about for me… Finding those areas of my life that I need to work on and attempting to apply what I read each day to illuminate my thoughts to what God would have them to be.  I have a long way to go and I realized that today as I moved along the hours of the day.

Patient progress, not perfection as they say.

Until tomorrow, may we all rest in the peace of God, which passes all human understanding…
David Lee

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Doing without during the time of Lent…

As a Christian, I am often given an opportunity to learn more about myself through various seasons of the church year.  I know the Sundays of Advent before Christmas have always been a special time in anticipation of the celebration of the Christ Child.  Such is also the case as we approach the Lenten season in reflection of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  The Lenten season officially begins on February 17th with Ash Wednesday and ends on March 31st.  Easter Sunday is on April 4th.

As a tradition in many Christians’ lives, we agree to give up something that’s important to us during the season of Lent.  A website that I’ll be using during the season says it best:   Lent offers us all a very special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to a way of life, rooted in our baptism.  In our busy world, Lent provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon our patterns, to pray more deeply, experience sorrow for what we’ve done and failed to do, and to be generous to those in need.

It is in the spirit of this opportunity that I will give up any use of the Facebook website for the entirety of the Lenten season and Holy Week as well.  I will return to the site on Easter Sunday.   Many might would say, “Is that really that much of a sacrifice?”  I would have to say, just speaking for myself, that it definitely is something that I will very much miss being without.  I have used FB as a way to catch up with former classmates and students and get to know new people as well.  I love sharing pictures that I’ve taken and most of all like posting my “Spin of the Day” sharing music that is close to my heart.  As a single guy, living on his own, let me assure you that participation in the social network is a valued part of my life.

I will be posting blogs on this site from time-to-time and you can certainly feel free to leave comments on this page.  I will look forward to meeting up with you all again on the other side and hopefully have some wisdom to share with you as well.

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The Days that are Darkest…

In the process of going through some difficult times in life, I’ve learned that you have to keep a balance between what’s going on around you and your emotions.  There are times when, for no apparent reason, a darkness descends on your day, much like a black cloud that suddenly appears and follows your every move.

In situations such as this, I’ve learned that it’s not wise to ignore these depressive thoughts, but instead keep them in a proper perspective.  It’s so very easy to get carried away with the darkness that you lose sight of the fact that they’re just a part of your existence and not something that is going to be with you on a permanent basis.

When I find myself in the midst of one of those “dark cloud days,”  I find that visual imagery helps soften the blow of the depressive thoughts.  I picture myself standing top of a bridge that overlooks a flowing river.  The river contains all those dark, negative thoughts that are rummaging about in my mind.  I can see the feelings and emotions and understand they are there, which means I’m not ignoring them.  But by the same token, I’m not jumping into the river either.  I’m not going to allow myself to get mired in the murky flow and drown myself in depressive thoughts.

Yes, sometimes the stand on the bridge lasts a long while,,, but at the same time I know that my best defense against a dark cloud day is to put myself above it all.

David Lee[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=river+under+bridge&iid=7333805″ src=”8/8/7/6/The_Barker_Crossing_b269.jpg?adImageId=8747747&imageId=7333805″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]

Thankful for Much…

Thanksgiving Day is upon us once again.  A day to express our gratitude for the many blessings we have received in our lives.  While this may be more difficult to do some years than others, there are always things that we have present in our lives that have made them more meaningful.

I am thankful for loving parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren… There are so many situations in life where friends can be here one day and gone the next.  But when it comes to the long haul, I have found that family is there when it means the most.  I am fortunate to be able to spend Thanksgiving with both of my parents.  For the past fifty years they have seen to it that a bountiful meal is prepared and a warm home available to spend the day.  While the number of family members has decreased over the years, it’s still a special time.

I’ll see my sister and her family and perhaps send an email to my brother, who lives in Georgia.  I’m not sure if my children, Patrick and Heather, and their families will be sharing dinner with us or eating with their mother and her family.   I’ve been so blessed that they have continued to be there for me during both the good days and bad.  It means a lot to have a family that stands beside you regardless of the mistakes you’ve made and been there to help you get back on your feet again.

I’m also thankful for the fact I’m still gainfully employed with a full-time job.  I’m 99% sure that this will be my last year in teaching, but for the past 29 years a teaching position has enabled me to support a family, put food on the table, buy vehicles and take care of life’s basic needs.  With so many out of work with the current economy, I’m thankful that I have always had work to earn a salary.  There are a lot of options for the post retirement years.  I’ve learned to take it one day at a time and to examine all the choices  and to consider new and exciting avenues I haven’t considered before.

Above all else, I am thankful God has done for me what I could not have done for myself.  God continues each and every day to do for me what I cannot accomplish on my own.  If you would have told me nine years ago that the events of the past years were going to have happened, I would have questioned your sanity.  But the fact of the matter was, at that time I didn’t have much of any type of relationship with God.  It was during the darkest days of my life eight years ago that I came to realization that God is really what it’s all about.  It’s not just going to church and doing those things to help others that “good God-fearing people do.”  It’s all about relationship,,, my daily walk with Him.

I have been blessed with a small, but loving church family that meets my worship needs in so many ways.  I have been given the resources to attend seminars that help me to better understand what being in close communication with God is all about.  But most importantly, I have been given the gift of faith that has helped me to become more like the person God intended me to be.  I only hope that I am able to share with others what He has done for me and perhaps help them in their time of deepest need.  I know that despite of what my emotions might be telling me, despite the outward circumstances I may be facing, that there is a God that will never leave me nor forsake me and that,  my friends, has made all the difference in the world to me.  For that I am most thankful.

David Lee

Not especially easy…

This entry I’m about to make isn’t one that I’m sure I should post.  I am dealing with a situation in which  someone decided to take his own life.  Given the fact that a family member did the same, I have lots of mixed feelings about what to think about such an act.

No one knows how much pain some one else is feeling in his/her life.  Those people that we think we know the best are the ones that many times are hiding the most.  We all have ways to deal with the difficulties we face and in some cases, those issues can become more than a person is able to handle.

There are many places and people we can turn to for help, but when one is mired in the midst of depressive thoughts, sometimes reaching out for help is the last thing that we’d consider.  The spiral down can go deeper and deeper and if no assistance is sought or given, the results can be devastating.

I won’t attempt to get inside the head of a person that had decided to take his/her life, but I do know that the death has a profound effect on that person’s families for the rest of their lives.  Nothing is quite as horrendous than knowing that someone else we knew didn’t feel like they could turn to us or anyone else for help.

That’s all I have to say about that… Just something it helps to share with others…. I guess the key is to not hesitate asking for help during those times we feel spiraling down in thoughts and feelings,,, Help could be as close as a phone call away.

David Lee