Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Posts tagged ‘strengthen’

When Life Gives You Pickled Lemons…

lemons_smoorenburg

Photo by smoorenburg on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Remember that old adage that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade? There are some things that happen in our lives which cannot be sweetened up, no matter how much sugar is dumped over them. At times, the events of life cause deep grief and recovering from them takes time and patience. In the meantime, things can look pretty sour. And salty, if you were served pickled lemons. What can we do in the meantime to lift our spirits?

Today, I embarked on reading Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible by far with 176 verses. What caught my eye first was verse 11, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” When we are down in the dumps, the first thing we need to do is run for our Abba Father God, rather than the refrigerator. He knows our hurts, shares our grief and is always there to comfort us.

As I continued reading, I noticed a pattern of phrases that dealt directly with depression and grief. “My soul clings to the dust; Revive me with Your word.” (Psalm 119:25) Ever feel like that? How about this one in verse 28: “My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word.”

Read on to verse 50: “This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.” No matter what the circumstances, the Bible is here to bring us up out of the dumps and to encourage, strengthen and bring much needed comfort into our lives. The key is back in verse 11, to have God’s word in our heart. Nobody can take that away and God’s comfort is always there to shine in the darkest of times.

Are you still wondering what to do with the pickled lemons? They won’t make lemonade, but they do add zing to many Mediterranean recipes, so get cooking!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

When Disaster Strikes

Boston_Bombing

(Photo from Military Friends Foundation in news.yahoo.com)

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

No rational person wants bad things to happen, but if there is one thing to be sure of in this fallen world, catastrophes do occur. What do we do then? Do we get angry, do we fall apart, do we start pointing fingers before the smoke even clears? If you happen to find yourself in the middle of the event, hopefully you are one of the courageous people who drops everything to help those in need.

Those of us who witness the tragedy from afar may have a wider range of choices of how to respond to the news. In the closing chapters of I Samuel, David experienced a devastating trial and his response is worth studying. He and his exiled army were based with their families in the city of Ziklag. Upon returning from a mission, they found that their city had been sacked and burned and all their loved ones had been taken captive. The first response was to grieve. I Samuel 30:4 says that David and his men “lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. (NKJV)” So much for the stoic, burly he-man image; visualize an army of 600 warriors crying until there were no more tears to shed.

The next response was not unusual; the men turned on David and talked about killing him. David’s grief quickly turned to despair, but verse 6 says that “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” Here is where reading the Bible chronologically is so great. In Psalm 18, David records his prayer that strengthened him in the face of this adversity. David’s next reaction was to seek God’s guidance on the approach to be taken; go after the captors or not? God’s answer was clear: pursue them and you will get every person and everything back. David then went to the angry mob and rallied them to a more appropriate course of action.

I can hear you thinking, “Good for David, but I have asked God for guidance before and I never hear anything from Him.” True, we may not hear the voice of God clearly telling us what to do. Here is the key: as we develop a closer relationship with God by reading His word the Bible, as we spend time in prayer with Him every day, as we seek Him in all things, our path will become clearer every step of the way. It may not happen overnight, but remember that your journey with God is a lifelong one that stretches into eternity. Patience and faithfulness are required to develop a deeper trust in God; He will give you the wisdom to do the right thing in every situation you encounter in life.

For now, we can follow David’s example: grieve, strengthen yourself in the Lord, seek God’s guidance and then act accordingly.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

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