Deb Gerard’s Blog

November 23, 2007

Dealing with Trials

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 4:04 pm and

It has been sooo long since I have written in this space! I am very technologically ignorant and have been attempting some website updates without knowing what I am doing! In the meantime, I have neglected this blog! However, there is so much God is teaching me I must share it today! For example, I was reading in both Jonah and James just today and they spoke such truths to my heart that I want to share them with you!!

I have a great number of friends and family who are struggling right now with issues-tough issues that are difficult to deal with. I do quite a bit of Biblical counseling and every session I meet gals who are wading through deep waters of anguish, sadness and confusion. Two verses in my reading just today give answers-not just trite platitudes, but real answers for all of these precious people!

In James 5:11, the last part of the verse, it says “You have heard of the perseverance of Job and see the end intended by the LORD- that the LORD is very compassionate and merciful.” Job went through horrendous trials-all allowed by God! We look at that on the surface and we can’t help but wonder why a good and loving God would allow such to happen. He is all-knowing and all-powerful so He could have stopped it, BUT because He knows the end from the beginning, He knew Job’s faith would remain and grow (recall how Job said, “Though He slay me yet will I serve Him!”). Job’s trials and his resulting perseverance had an intended end by the LORD-that end was to see the Lord’s compassion and mercy. Job’s end was better than anything he had experienced prior to the trials and that was evidence of God’s mercy and compassion. Job’s story is proof that perseverance in trials will end with our seeing even more clearly God’s mercy and compassion.

In Jonah 2:7, Jonah gave testimony of his experience while in a difficult situation. He gave evidence of more comforting truth when he said, “When my soul fainted within me (I can imagine being in the belly of a big fish would cause anyone’s soul to faint!), I remembered the LORD!” This is such a reminder of WHERE to turn when in difficult times and situations! Remember the LORD-remember His character-He is compassionate and merciful and He does not change-He is the same, yesterday, today and forever! Take comfort in that truth today! As we are now in the holiday season, may you see God real in the midst of whatever you are facing.

August 24, 2007

The Best Place

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 11:02 pm and

In a boat in the storm with Jesus is a safe place. Anywhere with Jesus is the best place. A year ago, our youngest son was deployed to the Middle East. Fear rose up in the heart of this mother as I thought of all the “what ifs”. As we said our goodbyes, John-David said to me, “Mom, when I am in the center of God’s will, I am in the best place-it may not be the safest, but it is the best place. And Mom, I must be in the center of God’s will-right where He wants me- or else I wouldn’t be here!”

As recorded in Luke 8, the disciples were in a boat intending to cross over a lake. Jesus was in the boat with them. He was very tired after a full day of healing and ministering to crowds of people so He fell asleep. Awhile later, a storm came up suddenly as often happened on that lake. The disciples became very frightened as the boat began filling with water. They ran and woke Jesus crying “Master, Master, we are perishing”! It says in this part of Scripture, “Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water and they ceased and there was calm. But He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’” In other words, Jesus, God in human form, was asking the disciples why they would fear when He was with them. Later, the disciples marveled and said to one another “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and the water and they obey Him?”

Who, indeed?? None other than GOD Himself!! There is a lesson here for those of us who know Jesus as our personal Savior. In a boat in the storm with Jesus is a safe place. Anywhere with Jesus is the best place. It is the best place because, whether we live or die, we belong to the LORD and He cares about us. Now, the journey through this life will not always be safe and gentle. There may be storms along the way, but He has said clearly that He will never leave us nor forsake and one day we will be together with Him for all eternity.

So, John-David was right-even if he were to be in the middle of a gunfight in Central Baghdad (he never ended up in one for which we are so grateful!), he was in the best place because, as a believer in the LORD Jesus Christ, as a born again child of God, anywhere with Jesus is the best place!

June 30, 2007

Thoughts on Jeremiah 29:11

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 3:18 am and

 Jeremiah 29:11“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD; plans to prosper and not to harm; plans for a future and a hope”

I have been working with a group of precious gals who have struggled with broken marriages for numbers of reasons.  At our last meeting I shared these thoughts with them and felt they were good for you, my readers, too!  It doesn’t matter what situation any of us find ourselves in, this is God’s ultimate plan for each of us in Christ.  We all need to remember this as we face the trials that have and will come up! Let’s look at the pieces of this verse:

GOD has plans for you- The sovereign- in –charge- of -everything God, the God who created you and sent Jesus to pay the price for your sins, the God who cares for you and wants to take care of you and promises to do that–this is the GOD who has plans for you

God HAS plans for you-This is a “given”, a fact, a foregone conclusion-a done deal! 

God already has set this all in motion before ever there was a breath in you!  He already HAS plans.  Nothing has been a surprise to God as He has known the end from the beginning and is in both of them!  You can make book on it!

God has PLANS for you-There are definite ways of proceeding, specific methods and actions, a particular diagram of events that God has laid out for you! You are not tossing about, to and fro, without rhyme or reason, without someone in control!  God has PLANS

God has plans for YOU!! Each one of you is the object of His efforts and He is at work on YOUR behalf! You are each, individually, the object of His affection and His care and His efforts!

Plans to prosper and not to harm-And you ask, how can this be true?  This trial, this pain, this suffering, this difficult place has definitely NOT felt like prospering and it definitely HAS felt like harm!!  Yup, that’s just the way it looks if you ONLY SEE IT from human eyes and not from the bigger plan GOD has.  Let me ask you each some questions:  Have you grown closer to the LORD through this trial?  Have you found yourself more dependent on Him?  Have you found Him THERE when you needed Him?  Have you known He was your comfort and sensed that He was awake with you in the lonely nights?  Have you found Him good even in the midst of pain?  Have you found comfort from His Word like never before? Have you seen His grace when you have ranted and raved and yelled and hollered and even shook your fist at Him and asked for the 1000th time WHY GOD, WHY???  I would venture to say that, from GOD’S perspective, you HAVE “prospered” in that you have found Him faithful and true to His Word; you have been able to glorify Him in the tough times and, in the process, you have become more like His Son and that is what He has wanted all along! You will never know God is enough until God is all you have and I am convinced that you have found that true in a hundred ways through this valley.  “Harm”would be something that does not bring you benefit or is not in your best interest.   God is making you like His Son to prepare you for an eternity in heaven with Him.  That’s looking out for your best interest-that’s prospering, not harming.

Plans for a future-Yup, some of you have already found this to be true. There is life beyond an adulterous husband. There is life beyond divorce. There is life beyond being a single parent. There is life beyond this trial and even if the trial ends in physical death, there is heaven next for the believer!!!  For those just beginning this journey, you can trust this—God has a plan for your future!  He is in charge of it all, so stand on Matthew 6:31-34:  “Do not worry and say, ‘What shall I eat?  What shall I drink?  What shall I wear?? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek.  For your heavenly Father KNOWS you have need of these things!  But seek ye first thekingdom of
God and HIS righteousness and ALL these things will be added unto you.  DO NOT WORRY about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things!  Sufficient for the day is the trouble therein”!

Plans for a hope-Do you sometimes feel hopeless?  Do you sometimes think nothing will ever be good again, nothing will ever be like it was, nothing will ever change? Do you sometimes think it will always be painful and you will always be sad and mad and depressed?  This is the truth—-GOD is the GOD of all hope and comfort and He will reveal this all to you in His time.  The important thing is to realize is that HE IS FAITHFUL and HE WILL BRING HOPE BECAUSE THAT IS HIS PROMISE and HE does NOT lie!!  

There are truths in GOD’s Word that stand out for all people for all time.  Jeremiah 29:11 is one of them.  Go ahead, my hurting friend, stand on this one!  HE will hold you close and HE will hold you up. He promised and He can not lie!

June 3, 2007

Cleaning the inside

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 5:00 am and

It had been one of those very busy days.  I was heading for my job out of town early the next morning and was making some spaghetti for my hubby to have available while I was gone.  I was distracted from that project as I worked on others when suddenly I noticed smoke coming from the burner below the pot of nearly boiling noodles.  There were now actual flames below the pot resulting in scorching the outside and base of the pot.  Apparently, unnoticed by me, when my husband and son were making granola earlier in the week-end, some of the sticky granola had spilled out of the pan and into the burner well and was now on fire!   The situation was quickly brought under control, however, and I finished the spaghetti project without further incident. 

Later, as I washed the pot, I was particularly concerned to get all the soot off the exterior.  As I was rinsing the pot, I realized I had been so concerned about the pot’s outside that I had totally neglected to wash the inside where noodles had left starchy residue!  A spiritual application and lesson popped immediately into my head! 

Jesus had told a story about this very same kind of thing-of being concerned about the outside of a cup but paying little attention to the inside of a cup!  He was accusing the Pharisees of being hypocrites in their spiritual lives.  They made a great show of doing what they deemed as “godly” things outwardly (the outside of the cup) so that people could see how holy and good they were when, in actuality, their inward life-their thoughts, their motives, their heart condition (the inside of the cup)-was full of wickedness! 

How often do I find myself acting like the Pharisees, concentrating on looking good on the outside-doing those “religious” things that make me appear righteous to those watching- while my inner heart is filled with sinful thoughts and motives!  I am willing to bet you have had this experience too!  Jesus had instructions for the Pharisees and they are just as true for me and for you today.  He said to first clean the inside of the cup; make sure our heart is right and good and pure before the LORD and then the outside will be taken care of.  He could say that because He knew out of the heart come things that defile, out of the heart come the issues of life.  He knew that right living on the outside starts from the inside.

Who would have thought such reminders would come from a scorched spaghetti pot?

May 15, 2007

On the Funny Side of Life

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 1:13 am and

 

On Seeing the Funny Side of Life

Let me say this loud and clear.  It is healthy to laugh!   We need to laugh more!!!  Even the “Good Book” indicates that a “merry heart does good like medicine”!  I once read a quote that said, “Everyone without a sense of humor is at the mercy of everyone else”. 

 

There will be times when you have to laugh at yourself.   You will have opportunity to laugh with others about yourself.  You won’t have a clue how to do that without a sense of humor.  So, cultivate one! 

 

Make it a goal to laugh more.  Life is much too short in many ways, but it is certainly too short to fail to see the humor in the events of your day, to see the laughable moment, the “you had to have been there” kind of moment! 

 

You can’t take your life, your job, your situation so seriously-to do so causes you to miss some of the best of your life, your job, your situation!  Lighten up!  Enjoy the moment!  Look for the humor!

 

My former boss lived out his life looking for the funny pieces in it.  He would get that “look” on his face and come out with some of the quickest and wittiest responses.  He loved a good practical joke and could take them as well as dish them out (a true mark of a sense of humor!).  He loved good jokes and his laugh covered all of him.  This aspect of his character went a long way in making some difficult situations more than palatable and some uncomfortable situations just plain funny. 

 

Start making a point of looking at life through the lens of humor.  Read more jokes and cartoons.  Make it a habit to read the cartoon pages in the paper.  Watch old comedy shows (when things other than sexual issues were thought funny!).  My husband and I watched a commercial program (you know the kind of stuff that comes on Saturday afternoons when there are no football games).  It dealt with a special offer on the old TV Roasts done by Dean Martin many years ago.  Old-time comics like Lucille Ball, George Burns, Red Skeleton, Carol Burnett and others participated in the roasts of entertainment personalities.  These folks were really funny because their humor came from looking for the humorous in every day life. 

 

I collect clowns and have them sitting all over my office and  give them away at presentations.  They remind me to not take life too seriously, to lighten up and laugh.  I even laughed at the response from my son and his wife to the clowns in my office-they insist that clowns in groups and close proximity are scary!!!  How funny is that!!

 

Look for the humorous!  It is out there all around you in your day if you just look for it.  You will find what you look for!   When you find it, laugh, enjoy, rejoice in the light moment!  You will end up being different and may just make a difference in the lives of others, one person at a time!

April 22, 2007

Who Is this One?

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 3:21 am and

Matt 8:27 “So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be that even the winds and the seas obey Him?”.  Even today, at this special time of the year, having just celebrated Easter, many ask that same question, though, more often with scorn and ridicule.  Who, indeed, is this One whom the storms and winds obey!? 

The disciples were in a boat and Jesus was there too, though He was sleeping.  A storm came up.  The disciples feared for their lives, but Jesus kept sleeping!  They finally went to Jesus and woke Him up.  He responded, “Why are you afraid?” and then spoke to the wind and the storm and all became calm.  This action on the part of Jesus prompted the question set out at the start of this blog.  Who is this who can calm the storm?  Who is this who has such power?  The unasked questions are “Who is this if not God?  Who can calms storms but God?

 

The reality of the situation is that it was Jesus, God in man form, who calmed the sea.  It was this same God-man who hung on the cross to pay the debt of my sin.  It was this same One who was resurrected- brought back to life- and because He was so can I one day be!  The One who calmed the storm for the disciples has become the Rescuer for me.  He wants to rescue you too.  Aren’t you glad?

I AM the LORD!

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 3:03 am and

Reading through the book of Leviticus, I was impressed by the number of times God reminds the reader (in this case, ME!) that He IS THE LORD!  God must have known how often I would forget this-how many times I would need to be reminded of this fact-HE IS THE LORD!

 

I go through so many of my days as if it was all about me, as if there was no One high and lifted up to whom I am ultimately and always, moment by moment, accountable to.  “I AM the LORD” He calls out to me from the pages of His Book.  “I am the LORD” He shouts to me from all creation.  “I AM the LORD” He whispers to me during trial and trouble and in the anxious places deep in my heart.  “I AM the LORD” He proclaims when joy floods my whole soul in the midst of miraculous times.

 

This is truth-HE IS THE LORD and it is so good to be reminded!

April 3, 2007

Paths into the Land of the Lost

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 1:56 am and

 

My husband and I spent last summer working out in our woods.  We were cutting in a road along our boundary line.  Now, this particular line happened to run through a very swampy area.  It was dense and overgrown and required much effort to clean out.  My hubby was the tree cutter and I was the “brusher”.  My job was to haul the limbs and brush into the woods and off the newly made road.  One day, as I was reflecting back on last summer’s work, I thought about the hard work the pioneers had when they first cleared this land that I had recently brushed.  I was sure that I had sweat as much as they did back in the day!!  I thought of those pioneers making such effort to initially clear this land and our efforts this past summer to make this road.  I then made this kind of spiritual leap that often happens in my thought processes!  I thought about the effort it takes to make roads into the land of the lost-paths into the lives of those precious people who don’t know Jesus as their personal Savior.  There are obstacles, much like the trees we had cut, that stand in the way of getting into the land of the lost.  There are rough spots that we must get through to make inroads into this land.  Yet, just like our efforts to make a road through the swamp have results, so do our efforts to make paths to Jesus in the lives of the lost.  I now get to look down into our woods and see a trail through what was once just a dense swamp.  Sunlight now floods that area and will dry up some of that swampland.  In the land of the lost, however, the rewards of showing the way to Jesus are much greater.  They now have Light where once was only darkness and that Light shines in the darkness and makes the way clear; they are now on the road to heaven instead of hell.  My sweat and effort to brush and make that road last summer left me tired to the bone but with a sense of accomplishment.  My efforts at showing a lost person the road to Jesus has also left me tired to the bone, but with joy and praise for God who makes such a thing possible.  Making roads into swamps and making paths to Jesus for a lost person take a great deal of effort, yet the end results are so different!  One simply ends in another part of our woods-the other can change eternal destiny !!  It caused me to wonder where I ought to be expending the most energy!

March 5, 2007

Oops!

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 4:27 am and

Dear Readers,  I must apologize for the typos in my last blog!  I HAD made the corrections, but when I sent it, for some reason, it sent my first draft rather than the revisions!!  Sorry!  God bless, deb

Nevertheless, I will

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 4:18 am and

I was reading in Luke 5:4-6 the other day.  Jesus had been speaking to crowds from in a boat belonging to Simon Peter.  When He stopped addressing the crowds, He said to Simon Peter, “Launch out in the deep and let down your nets for a catch”.  Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; Nevertheless, at Your Word, I will let down the net”.  The passage goes on to say, “And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their net was breaking”.

 

Note what took place here.  Jesus tells Simon to go out in the lake and drop his nets for a catch.  Simon explains that they had fished all night and caught nothing.  Yet, he then speaks the operative words “nevertheless, at Your Word, I will let down the net!”  Simon offered logic, but CHOSE to obey even when the request seemed illogical.  He acted out of the belief that Jesus knew what he didn’t and Jesus could be trusted even when it didn’t seem reasonable to do so!  You don’t see hesitation to obey; you don’t hear arguments; Simon Peter simply does what he is directed to do!

 

I am NOT often like Simon Peter.  I hesitate to obey; I argue for or from my persepctive; I loudly exclaim when things applear illogical or unreasonable in the face of godly directives.  Yet, note also, the result ofSimon Peter’s obedience-a catch of fish so large the nets were threatening to break! (Question:  What were the chances those nets would really break and the fish escape?  Answer:  No chance at all with Jesus calling the shots!).  His obedience brought reward.  GOD promises reward for obedience.  The Book of Joshua is all about that truth; the Book of Job is all about that; The Books of James and Peter contain much of the same truth.

 

Why do I revert so often to human logic, to human nature (I can do it my way, GOD!) in the face of directives from the Word of God?  Why can’t I be like Simon Peter and obey immediately choosing, even in the face of what deosn’t seem even possible, to say “nevertheless, at Your Word, I will (fill in the blank)!

 

So, today, I make a choice to strive, by Holy Spirit power, by choice of my will, to obey at his Word and trust Him for the oucome.  After all, with men it is ipossible, but with GOD, all things are possible.  Let’s take Him at His Word!

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