Monday, July 19, 2010

Handling The Storms Of Life

Dear Friends,

How do you handle the storms of life? How do I? Do we stride over them like Jesus did, or do we sink under them like Peter (Matthew 14:30)? There’s the conflict of church splits, or elders not supporting you. There’s the conflict in the ministry home when children act up and don’t follow the Lord.

There’s the inner conflict as we battle through spiritual issues, often without a trusted confidante. The winds of adversity can buffet us pretty badly, just as they buffeted the disciple’s little boat (vs. 24).

But then Jesus comes to us, just when we’re swamped and going down and says cheerfully, “take courage, it is I, don’t be afraid.” Then we have a choice to walk over it all in triumph with Jesus or look at the storm instead of the savior and drown.

As soon as we cry for help, we’ll feel His hand holding us. He’ll catch us – you’ll see – and then He’ll ask us, “Why did you doubt?” Conflict gives us a chance to know “His hand is not too shortened that it cannot save.”

I pray you remember, despite the winds and waves of panic within you, to obey Him.

Trusting Him,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fruitful Affliction

Dear Friends,

I recalled that when Joseph’s second son was born, he named him Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering” (Genesis 41:52). God can make us fruitful when He carries us into a place of affliction, but how?

He can surely use the pain, if we cooperate, to grow some of the fruit of the spirit in us – love, joy, peace, patience, and self control. I think it begins when we accept trouble with a why not? instead of why me? attitude, and when we submit to His timing, not with a why now but a thy will be done. As we learn to grow through suffering we will begin to know God, ourselves, and others better through it all, and might even develop hidden gifts of mercy and grace that will only flower in the land of our suffering.

It’s easier said than done, of course, but for those of us who seek to serve the Lord, we will discover that at such painful times, like Joseph, we have a choice. We can become fruitful or barren, become overcomers or overcome. We can allow pain to drive us to God, letting the prison show us His face. While Joseph was in the pit, God showed him His mercy – in the prison of His kindness (Genesis 39:21) and in the palace of His grace.

Sometimes we can preach the most effective sermons of our lives from the prison or the pit, simply by responding rightly to people who are responsible for bringing us into the “land of suffering.”

When our turn comes, may He help all of us to be fruitful – for His sake.

In His Joy,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine