Monday, July 14, 2014

Life in a Bowl of Cherries - or Life in the Pits?

Dear Friends,

It was the late comedienne Erma Bombeck who wrote a book titled, If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?  There is a certain rhythm to life lived here, life after the Fall.  Sometimes it is a bowl of cherries, and sometimes it is the pits.  That’s life under the sun!

For some, it’s the pits at the moment.  Nothing is going right.  There is just one bad thing happening after another.  Perhaps you are in a pain pit, or a pressure pit.  Maybe you are in a parent pit, or a pity pit.  It could even be a poverty pit.  As far as you are concerned, life under the sun is “the pits”!

Life “In the Son,” on the other hand, can be like living in a bowl of cherries.  Life “under the sun” takes on a whole new meaning when you experience life “in the Son.”  If you get to know Christ, even if you are in the pits, the unacceptable becomes acceptable.  The thorn in the flesh, as the apostle Paul puts it, is tolerated and even welcomed.  Paul found himself as happy with it as without it – because Christ gave him strength.  I’m not saying you won’t have problems.  In fact you will probably have a whole new set!  But when you live in a deep and growing relationship with Christ, you live well with them.  You can live contentedly in your problems – and above them.

So what is it for you?  Are you living in a relationship with the living God, through Christ?  Life not simply “under the sun” but “in the Son”?  If you are, you will know.  He comes to our pits and offers us outrageous joy and a peace that passes understanding.  He gives us an inner settled assurance that tells us that one day, He will make everything beautiful in its time (see Eccl. 3:11).  Not today, perhaps not tomorrow, but one day!  Such God-given assurance and serenity comforts the mind!  This is indeed what it means to have a song in your heart.

Blessings,


Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine




Monday, July 7, 2014

Sometimes in the Dark - But Never at a Distance

Dear Friends,

Solomon had a few years left after returning to God to share with mankind his lessons of joy.  Having lived as if God was absent from His universe and experiencing the heartache and misery of that approach, he came to understand that the person who marginalizes God is a miserable person indeed.  No one wants to be around them – while the joyful person has friends galore.

What does life and death hold for a person with no use for the joyful God?  What joy can be found for the person who talks as if he knows God but ignores Him and does not invite Him into his problems and his pain – a person who has marginalized God?  Sometimes we speak noisily about God’s presence, while secretly believing He is in fact absent. If this is how we live, then life and death are miserable events – the sooner over, the better!

Do you secretly think of God as being absent?  I remember a particularly black time of my life when nothing made sense.  It seemed God had left my personal world to attend to more important things.  He was surely absent!  I had nothing to sing about though I continued preaching and teaching and telling people God was near.  But I wondered.

Then I came across an old missionary book from at least a century ago, and in it I read that God sometimes hides Himself, but that doesn’t mean He is absent.  He is sometimes hidden in the dark, but He is never at a distance.  He is always right here, whether we sense Him or not.

Did I believe He was present or absent?  Was He nearer than breathing, closer than hands and feet?  Or was He so busy organizing His stars into galaxies that He had no time to attend to my sad, sad heart?  I had a choice.

I chose to believe He never absented Himself from His people.  “Emmanuel” means God with us.  Since I was one of His people, that meant me!

Only when we have faith in what the Bible says about Him, and stop pushing Him out to the circumference of our lives, can we find peace of mind, joy of spirit, and answers to our deep heart cry.

Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine