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Comfort Hope Christian Blog

God is God, Wherever You Are

Photo by Farrel Nobel on Unsplash

For many of us, these times we’re living through have brought forceful emotions to the surface. For me, this has been particularly visible through mood swings and dreams.

I’ve always been susceptible to up and down emotions, but COVID 19, and now racial tensions on a national level, have taken things up a notch. The hills, drops, and loops of my life roller coaster are larger and occur more frequently.

Hyper-vigilance is the new norm. An unexpected loud sound–FedEx guy rings the doorbell and the dogs go nuts–sends my adrenaline soaring. A typically low-grade frustration takes me from sea level to death valley in a microsecond. It’s like I’m sailing on an even keel one moment, and slipping on a banana peel the next.

Uncertainty impacts the mind.

My pre-covid emotions were driving a Toyota Prius. Currently, I’m cruising in something more like this:


Dreams: they reveal our subconscious desires, and lately mine have been most enchanting. Two nights in a row, I’ve dreamed of intense platonic interactions with others.

Dream number one involves a heart-to-heart conversation with a former colleague I haven’t seen in years. In the second dream, I’m bear-hugging a childhood friend. I’ve also dreamed I’m at some sort of adult summer camp with a bunch of strangers, hiking through the wilderness and making smores by the fire.

Obviously, I’m craving connection with others.

Isolation impacts the mind.

Uncertainty and isolation pack a one-two punch that can put you on the canvas in a heartbeat.

For me, it’s always comforting to look in the Bible for someone who faced a similar situation. Evidently, the psalmist was going through a bit of a dry spell when he wrote this:

As the deer pants for the streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God, when can I go and meet with God? (Psalm 42:1-2 NIV)

Clearly, here’s a person craving connection, but with God, not man. Maybe this is the secret.

In another psalm, there’s a different deer:

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights. (Psalm 18:32-33 NIV)

Thirsty for a drink, or standing on the heights, God is the one who sustains.

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 everything through Him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12-13

God is God, wherever you are,

follows your heart–no matter how far.

Sees every turn. Knows every scar.

He’s still God–wherever you are.

Categories
Christian Blog patience

Right Now, It’s Like This, Part 2

Recently I shared, Right Now, It’s Like This, about our long wait for a new roof after a hail storm.

The roofers finally arrived that morning and began to work. They were here all that day and the next, and the roof was two-thirds finished. But the following morning they did not show up.

I called our contractor. He said the crew leader told him they were getting caught up on other jobs and would return the next morning. They didn’t. The contractor contacted them again, and they promised to return that afternoon at 4PM. Again, they didn’t.

My wife and I were beginning to think they weren’t coming back.

Two hours later,the crew finally returned and finished the roof. Well, almost. After they left, I went up to take a look. The ridge was not complete–they ran out of those type of shingles! And no one said anything about coming back. So I sent an urgent message to our contractor, along with a picture, but got no response.

At 8:45 the next morning, the roofers AND the contractor showed up with the needed materials and completed the ridge.

The 72 hours saga was over. During that time we had gone through a range of emotions, but by the time the roof was finished, the soap opera level reactions we experienced had given way to elation.

With the project behind us, our earlier worries seemed overblown. A friend who worked for years in the trades told me that sub-contractors who have plenty of work don’t always get in a hurry–“they know they will eat,” he said. Our contractor assured me as well that he wouldn’t have left us with a partial roof.

I guess we watch to much HGTV.

Later that evening, I turned to the scriptures for wisdom.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

James 1:2,3

That first day I saw the roofer’s ladder against the house, after weeks of delay, I thought the endurance part was over. In reality, it was only half-time. James said the testing of faith develops perseverance. I was thinking instamatic camera, but got 35MM. Oh, and I wasn’t too joyful about it.

Can you relate?

Photo by Sharon Snider on Pexels.com

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Christian Blog courage

Sitting Back on Our ‘Buts’

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, He said, “the Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:12-13a NIV)

It was a bad childhood habit of mine–sitting back on my ‘but’ when I didn’t want to do something. The word was one of my favorites, “But mom, I can’t clean my room. I have soccer practice.”

Another young man in the Bible had the same problem. God sent an angel with a message for Gideon, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14)

But Lord…

This makes the second time Gideon sat back on his ‘but” in just three verses of scripture! Thankfully, the extremely patient angel gives it another go: “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” (Judges 6:16)

Finally, our reluctant hero accepts the mission. Apparently, Gideon doesn’t realize, until after the second but, that God will do the delivering–not him.

If God tells you to do something, don’t sit back on your ‘but.’ Get off you BUTT and do it!

Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. (Psalm 50:14-15 NIV)

We get the deliverance, but God get’s the glory.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV)

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/06/28/sitting-back-on-our-buts/

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Christian Blog devotional

Right Now, It’s Like This

Photo by Kyle Head on Unsplash

On April 22, 2020 my house got pounded by tennis ball size hail. Inside, it sounded and felt like artillery shells were hitting the roof. At daylight the next morning, I went out to survey the damage. Parts of our siding looked like swiss cheese, and the roof had more divots than a golf course fairway!

Severe weather is common here–our home has been damaged by wind and hail twice before, but never like this. I contacted my insurance company, and the slow cakewalk began. Why are they so quick to take premiums, but slow to pay claims?

Getting paid for damages is just the beginning of a larger pain in the next. That’s not a typo. I meant to say pain in the NEXT; construction delays are REAL. It’s easier to find a live leprechaun, than an experienced roofer after a hail storm!

As I type, it two months after the storm, and still no new roof. However, there are pallets of shingles on my front lawn and a contractor’s trailer parked in the driveway. The timeline for job completion has been adjusted and readjusted and re-readjusted. Cue sound of breaking glass.

Three days later…

I went for a run this morning, fussing and fuming the whole time about our hopelessly stalled project. By the time I finished and walked in the door, I was ready to call our contractor and say, “Enough is enough.” But my wife stopped me as I walked through the living room, “Sweetheart, listen to the verse of the day.”

Yet those who wait upon the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

Isaiah 40:31 NASB

“Ok God, message received,” I thought to myself, “I’ll at least wait until I’m not angry before I decide to do anything.” I went out back to cool off–physically and emotionally–and sat for a few minutes with a towel over my head: “God I can’t take much more of this.”

Back inside, I realized it was trash day, so I opened the garage door to take out the garbage. And that’s when I noticed the ladder leaning against the house. The roofers were here!

I hear stories like this sometimes, and I think, “Yeah right.”
But then it happens to me.

Thank God.

Categories
Christian Blog forgiveness Hope

There’s Something ALL Over the Floor!

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)

The other day I was hungry, so I went into the kitchen and made a sandwich. I also poured myself a tall, cold glass of lemonade. But the pitcher was pretty full and a tiny amount sloshed out on the floor. So I got a paper towel and wiped it up. Mission accomplished. I thought.

My wife comes into the kitchen while I’m eating, and as she passes the fridge she freezes in her tracks, looks down and says, “There’s something ALL over the floor!” I say, “Where?! I cleaned it up!” “Can’t you see it? Right there,” she says, pointing at an invisible spot in front of the Frigidaire. I’m crouching down like a golfer reading a line for a putt, but I don’t see it. “It’s sticky,” she says. “Did you spill some lemonade?”

BUSTED.

Isn’t this how we are with God sometimes?

God: “There’s something ALL over your life.”
Me: “Where?! I cleaned it up!”
God: “Can’t you see it? Right there.” (He points to my heart.)

Question: What’s a passing grade with God? My son asked me that once. I hated to break it to him, but I told him it’s a 100 A+. He looked at me with huge eyes. Even at nine years old, he knew getting a 100 all the time is next to impossible.

There is no one righteous, not even one; (Romans 3:11 NIV)

There is good news, as you probably know. God may not grade on the curve, but He DOES show mercy.

If you , O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. (Psalm 130:3-4 NIV)

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you that we can be reunited with you through the blood of Christ. Without Him, we could never make the grade. AMEN

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/06/20/theres-something-all-over-the-floor/

Categories
Christian Blog honesty

Just a Little Off Course

Photo by Kristopher Allison on Unsplash

I read a story recently about a plane that crashed into a mountain because the pilot, while on approach to an airport, unknowingly followed the wrong navigational beacon. The cockpit instruments told him his true position, but he kept flying off course for over a minute–until it was too late. Post crash analysis confirmed: the pilot had not noticed a one-degree-per-second turn to the right. The autopilot was dialed to the wrong navigational aid.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

Proverbs 14:12

The story above brings to mind the error of the Pharisees and Sadducees in the New Testament. They took God’s law and added their own rules to it. And just like the story of the pilot, following the wrong navigational beacon led to disaster.

For a fresh look at how this is still happening today, please read, Christian-Social identity or Spiritual reality? by Perth Girl.

Now, to my own story of getting off course from Christ. For most of my adult life I’ve struggled with social anxiety; last year, after suffering two panic attacks in as many weeks, I sought relief through mindfulness meditation.

Sitting quietly, one chooses a focal point–like the breath–and keeps coming back to it when distracted. The idea is to let your thoughts (good or bad) float by like clouds while you observe with curiosity. The result is like pushing a pause button on life, and it really helped with my anxiety.

I downloaded a couple of meditation apps, read some great books by mindfulness experts, and participated in live-streamed offerings. But the more I delved into mindfulness, which is rooted in Buddhism, the more I realized the navigational beacon of my teachers was Buddha, not Jesus Christ.

It dawned on me, I was taking a one-degree-per-second turn away from the Living God, inadvertently setting my auto pilot on the wrong flight path. Thankfully, I listened to the Holy Spirit and got back on course with Christ.

Jesus answered, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6

I still meditate occasionally, but now I keep in mind where the true airport is!

Photo by Patricia McCarty on Pexels.com

For a different look at this same subject, please see my post, What Time is It?

Categories
Christian Blog

Measure Once, Cuss Twice

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV)

“Measure once, cuss twice,” it’s a favorite saying of Ben Napier, from the HGTV show Home Town. On the show, Ben and his wife Erin renovate properties in Laurel, Mississippi. One of the latest episodes features the Napier’s taking their old Airstream to Sunny Campers, a business that restores vintage travel trailers. It was fascinating to watch, as they described the process to Ben and Erin.

Two Airstream trailers awaiting restoration.

First, they completely clear out the inside of the trailer–all the way back to the shiny aluminum skin. As it turns out, many older Airstreams have moisture issues. They leak. A ‘full gut’ makes these clearly visible. The company then moves to the outside of the trailer, where they pull EVERY rivet, clean out seams, reseal and re-revit to make the trailer better than new.

Once everything is replaced and triple checked, it’s time for the ultimate test– the water chamber. The chamber resembles a car wash, with high press jets soaking the trailer from every direction. Everything must be leak-proof. Only after passing the water test, can the empty shell become a camper again.

Sunny Campers says the biggest mistake people make is to take an older Airstream and fix it up on the inside, without considering that it probably leaks.

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7b NIV)

When it comes to dealing with the old David, I’d be satisfied with a surface remodel. God, on the other hand, prefers a frame-up restoration.

This was the story in the third chapter of John, when Nicodemus came to Jesus. He was a respected religious leader (undoubtedly a good man) but Jesus told him, “You must be born again.” (John 3:3)

Nic wanted a superficial remodel, but Christ called for a complete re-do.

Today, and everyday, may we allow the Holy Spirit to restore and test our hearts. He’ll go farther than we ever could on our own.

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart. (Proverbs 17:3 NIV)

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/06/13/measure-once-cuss-twice/

Categories
Christian Blog honesty

The Night Watch

I broke the crystal on my Apple Watch the other day. I was super-sweaty after a bike ride and took it off to clean it. Walking into the kitchen, as I reached for a towel, the slippery watch fell out of my hand and onto the tile floor below. Murphy’s law was in full effect, as my go-to gadget landed flat on its face with an audible crunch. Thankfully, the watch still works, but oh what a sad face!

☹️😢😳

When I woke up early the next morning, my broken gadget was sitting on the dresser next to the bed. I picked it up and put it on, but then I noticed something unusual: in the dimness, the face looked pristine–like it had never been broken. However, once I made it into the bathroom and turned on the light, the damage was clearly visible.

Sin is like that. I don’t notice cracks in my relationship with God until His light makes them visible.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.

John 3:19-21

I recently started following a high quality blog by Anna Sofia called Purpose Not Perfection. It was her post, Finding Identity in Jesus Christ, that prompted me to let the light of God shine on my heart’s condition. You can read it here.

These are some of the powerful things she said:

“Our identity cannot be found in ourselves. We cannot rely simply on feelings, because we are sinful. When we become Christians, we no longer search for identity, because Christ defines us. We no longer search, because we have been found.”

Anna Sofia

Thank you, Anna, for reminding me that the only place to find my true identity is in God’s light—Jesus Christ.

Photo by Wallace Chuck on Pexels.com

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?”

2 Corinthians 13:5
Categories
Christian Blog

The Delightful Danger of Distraction

When I was a boy, I spent two weeks every summer on my grandparents southwest Oklahoma farm. It was 160 acres of cotton fields, mesquite trees and sand. There was also a large garden, a tree house and a coop full of chickens.

A favorite night time activity of my cousins and mine was to collect June bugs to feed those chickens. Here’s how it worked:

  • Turn on the porch light.
  • Wait for the June bugs to get stuck on the window screens.
  • Grab them and put them in a jar until the next morning.

Now, to a chicken, a live June bug is like ice cream on the 4th of July to you and me. My grandmother’s hens were used to eating scraps from the table and scratching at the ground for whatever else. So when we started dropping juicy bugs the GIRLS went WILD–losing their natural wariness.

Cue mischievous little boy.

I enjoyed sneaking up behind a preoccupied hen and giving her the boot. That’s right, I gave the girl a gentle kick with the side of my foot, sending her flapping with a “BA-BAAK!”

Oh what fun!

Until grandmother caught me.


So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows you need them. (Matthew 6:31-32 NIV)

Have you ever become preoccupied with the stresses of life and not trusted God like you should? Me too. Sometimes I get distracted by the ‘June bugs’, and don’t see the devil sneaking up from behind.

I realize comparing our unwanted worries to the chickens’ delicious June bugs is a weak analogy. Or is it? Spinning my worry wheels (and getting nowhere) is like eating whipped cream straight out of the can, compared to waiting on God to feed me. But Jesus says go to the Father first.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 NIV)

*No live chickens were harmed while writing this post.


https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/06/06/kick-a-chicken-for-the-kingdom-of-god/

Categories
Christian Blog

The New Status Quo -2.0

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One of my favorite blogs is Beauty Beyond Bones, where an effervescent woman named Caralyn tells about her struggle with anorexia and the journey to wholeness. But she writes about so much more! BBB is actually a view through the eyes of a Christian Millennial living in NYC.

Around two weeks ago, Caralyn posted about the new status quo (after COVID) and asked the question, “What do you hope sticks going forward?” Read her post here.

I answered with a comment about exercising greater financial responsiblity.

I hope going forward that more of us will live within our means; some can’t help living paycheck to paycheck, but many of us can. My grandmother, who lived through the Great Depression used to say, “Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.” This attitude can be helpful once again.

Regular David–me

Many others chimed in about the new normal going forward. BBB has over 46K followers, but Caralyn makes all of them feel welcome.


To piggy back on the question, what do you hope sticks going forward after the difficult times we’re living through?