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2 years ago I needed glasses.  It’s that thing that happens when you turn 40.  I couldn’t read the Netflix suggestions and if someone waved to me across church I’d be completely unable to tell you who it was.

When I went to pick my glasses up the optometrist got me to stand near the back of the shop and look out across the road.  I could see there was a café… some people…. Parked cars… then I had to put my glasses on.

Well.  The song I can see clearly now was sooooo true.  The café had words on it, signs.  The people had faces.  The faces had freckles!  It felt like a miracle.  Everything was in high definition!

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“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”

I believe that God is good all the time.

He is not the author of suffering and pain.

But life involves life and pain and problems and stretching.

This is normal, natural.

We live in a fallen world and are targets to a ruthless enemy.

But in that, even in that, God is good and is always at work to restore and bring goodness out of the difficult seasons.

He has a solution for every problem (but, how many times do we not like His suggested solutions!)

He does not abandon us to the darkness but walks with us, in every moment.

What the enemy means for our destruction, God uses for our growth.

If you are walking through a difficult season here are 3 things to encourage you:

1. Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

This is good news for us.  When we walk through trial, God is with us.  When we walk through darkness, God is with us.  When we walk through pain, God is with us.  When we walk through flood, God is with us.  When we walk through fire, God is with us.

His presence protects us so we are not overwhelmed or scorched.

But yes, we have to walk through those waters and the fire.

2.  Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

This is good news and good truth.  This is real truth.  Often when in the dark spaces of our life we can think that some of the Word of God is just nice cliche or lovely platitudes, but it is real truth.  You can stake your life on it.  You can count on it.

 

3.  Psalm 121 – I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Sometimes in the dark seasons we have to CHOOSE to look up and see the stars.  We have to CHOOSE to have faith.  We have to CHOOSE to trust God and believe His promises.

 

I can tell you from experience that I isnt easy.  But worth it.

 

How do you see the stars in the dark times?

 

 

 

 

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*** church notes from The River – Pastor Peter Morton speaking

 

2 kings 6

Elisha can hear the enemy because of Gods power

The prophet and his servant were surrounded

His eyes were opened and he saw the angel armies

The facts had not changed but the servants perspective did

The servants heart was filled with fear until he opened his eyes to what God was doing

Analogy of music speakers and music mixing

perspective is more about how you interpret the facts vs the facts themselves

 

 

1 Turn up the testimonies
Eg david, God delivered me from the lion and the bear

Mix your life with faith

Sometimes we can doubt God because of one experience or one day

Keep a testimony list do that you remember who God is and what He does

Build your faith

Psalm 103 forget not His benefits

Remembering His faithfulness stirs faith and changes our perspective

2 Reframe your loses
Joseph, sold off by his brothers into slavery, put in prison, then dreamed and became prime minister

What you meant for evil God intended out for good

Reframe your losses
All things romans 8:28

There are times when following jesus means we will walk through the fire, daniel 3

Jesus is in the fire with you
the fire burned off all the chains, sometimes freedom comes in the fire

They didnt even smell like fire

You get a sense of what people smell like
You can have peace in the fire
Sometimes though people stink of the fire because they haven’t walked with jesus and have wrong perspective

but I want to be defined by the jesus who walked through the fire

isaiah 6 holy holy holy
The four living creatures saw the whole earth filled with the glory of God

Get a God perspective

3 remind yourself that the best is yet to come
judges 6 gideon
Mighty warrior
Hiding scared
Gideon had lost perspective, he was talking to an ANGEL!!!
God was about to move and bring change

The truth is the best is yet to come

dont let the devil kill, steal and destroy
Mute the testimonies, amplifying the loses, saying its all bad

But jesus came to give us life

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What do you tell yourself to keep going?

What motivates you on a Tuesday?

Where is my purpose?

How can i refocus to be more persistent?

What readjusts your perspective?

 

in a way we talked about this at The Best Housegroup In The World last night… how do you become a  YES person – no matter the circumstance you find yourself in.  YES at work.  YES in ministry.  YES in good times and YES when its hard.  YES when we’re feeling it and YES when we’re not.

 

i loved the answers:

  • gratitude and thankfulness – keep a journal or list so that you have a record of God’s faithfulness and answers
  • talk honestly to God – {yelling is okay!}
  • talk honestly with people – find big people who can speak into your life – and find family to be real around
  • prayer / worship – carve out time to encounter God and be refreshed by His love
  • be faithful in the small steps – live it out in our real lives
  • know the promises of God – that when we step out we know that God steps with us

 

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:11-13

 

i love that promise – i can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength

you know, when the bible says ALL it means ALL.  everyone.  everything.  ALL.

no buts, no excuses, no exceptions, no maybes or sometimes.  ALL.

His strength is available in all situations and at all times.

 

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

 

 

i can say YES because Jesus empowers me to say YES and to live YES.

i can stick with it even in the storm because He gives me strength, all the time.

 

 

 

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from Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study

 

 

 

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"When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it solves a great deal of anxiety." ~ AW Tozer”

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"This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see."
Corrie Ten Boom

 

 

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I’m a big believer in *positive thinking*… though i see it more as seeing the obstacle as an opportunity for a miracle, an opportunity for God to move, and an opportunity for us to learn. Learning is good. Transformation is good.  so i guess it isnt really *positive thinking* in the way most people would think of it… i embrace hard times and obstacles as they are opportunities for God to move in my life to shape me and change me and grow me and to move.  i trust in him and hope in him and because of that hope and faith in God who is always with me i am not deterred by obstacles…

no matter what the circumstance is there is “a silver lining” – the something good that God is at work in.

We can totally be totally confident (yip two totallys!) that God is a) aware of the situation and b) working good for His glory in it. The Bible says so. Not only in Romans 8:28 but in every life story. Joseph. Job. Paul. Peter. Ruth. Naomi. Mordacai. God was at work in each obstacle to bring changes – changes in attitude, changes in circumstances. Some were to set things up long term – to save Israel, to birth a lineage, to change the world.

If we look on the bright side we’ll be brighter people. Brighter people, people that are optimistic and favour-thinking (not thinking the world is against me and woe is me) are attractive people. People want to be around them, especailly non christians who are drawn to HOPE!

People that make every day worth living and make opportunties out of obstacles are people who are responding with faith to the challenges of living. They are trusting in God and His ability to protect us and nurture us and work through everything.

Even the worst of the worst can be used for the glory of God. It can be used to bring comfort to someone else going through the same thing (that is if we allow God to heal and restore us…). It gives hope to someone that if we can get through it till tomorrow then they can too. It gives someone hope that there is sunshine and roses and bunny rabbits, smiles and joy. I’ve been through some stuff myself to KNOW that this is the truth.

Those are my thoughts…. Following is a wonderful devotional by Max Lucado whose simple words and life stories make the point so much better than my words can….

GRATITUDE FOR UNGRATEFUL DAYS by Max Lucado

“Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NCV

Look at the totality of those terms. Always be joyful. Pray continually. Give thanks whatever happens. Learn a lesson from Sidney Connell. When her brand-new bicycle was stolen, she called her dad with the bad news. He expected his daughter to be upset. But Sidney wasn’t crying. She was honored. “Dad,” she boasted, “out of all the bikes they could have taken, they took mine.”

Make gratitude your default emotion, and you’ll find yourself giving thanks for the problems of life. Need spice in your day? Thank God for every problem that comes down the pike. Is any situation so dire that gratitude is eliminated? Some of the ladies at the Women of Faith Conference thought it was. This great organization fills arenas with women, and women with hope. The president, Mary Graham, told me about one particular weekend in which a shortage of space tested everyone’s patience.

The floor had 150 fewer seats than needed. The arena staff tried to solve the problem by using narrow chairs. As a result, every woman had a place to sit, but everyone was crowded. Complaints contaminated like feedlot fragrance. Mary asked Joni Eareckson Tada, a speaker for the evening, if she could calm the crowd. Joni was perfectly qualified to do so. A childhood diving accident has left her wheelchair-bound. The attendants rolled her onto the platform, and Joni addressed the unhappy crowd. “I understand some of you don’t like the chair in which you are sitting. Neither do I. But I have about a thousand handicapped friends who would gladly trade places with you in an instant.”

The grumbling ceased.

Yours can too.

Impossible, you say? How do you know? How do you know until you give every day a chance?

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