Where Am I
When Others Hurt?

When a senseless tragedy hits the headlines it raises a question in many hearts : “where is God when it hurts?” Thankfully, Philip Yancey compassionately and powerfully answered that in his book, “Where is God When it Hurts,” and I highly recommend it. But there is another question I find myself asking, “Where am I when others hurt?” I ask, “what can I do? where can I be? who can I help?” In my summation, there are two things we can do when others hurt. One, pray intentionally, frequently and emotionally. Two weeks ago, when the hurricane was pummeling Texas, I prayed for people I didn’t know…but God knew. I wasn’t where they were, but God was. I didn’t understand their loss, but God did. So I prayed and asked God to help them and send mercies and angels to surround them. The other thing we can do is join the Church in what IT is doing for those who are hurting. Whether we gather for a vigil, send money, deploy volunteers…whatever our Church is doing, we join them in it. Our planet is not well. God is the Healer. The Church is the hospital. And I can be a part of what it is doing to help the hurt and heal the ailing. Wherever you are, if you find yourself asking “Where am I when others hurt?” I hope you are praying and joining the Church in what it is doing. God bless.

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When You Don’t Get Chosen

Today I read about a guy who didn’t get chosen. Before I continue, let me quickly delineate. If we are God’s kids, we are chosen by God! We are His on earth, and forever in Heaven!  This chosen-ness doesn’t change. However, circumstantially, we can be dealt the cards of un-chosen.  In Acts 1 it happened to a good guy named Joseph. Joseph was in contention with Matthias to be the disciple to replace Judas (the disciple who betrayed Jesus). The research I did said BOTH candidates were followers of Jesus and met the criteria to be a disciple. After praying, and casting lots, Matthias was chosen. Consequently, leaving Joseph un-chosen. I got to thinking about Joseph. I wonder how he felt, what he felt?  He was just as qualified. I let it spin on the rotisserie skewer in my head and two things dawned on me.  Joseph’s circumstantial un-chosen-ness didn’t TOUCH his eternal chosen-ness. He was still a kingdom-man, who at this very second is enjoying the eternal gains of Heaven. It’s comforting to know that circumstantial un-chosen-ness can come and go, but our God chosen-ness is here to stay. Also, maybe Joseph wasn’t chosen in the way he aspired, but God chose to choose him still. Two thousand years later, Joseph’s story is in the Greatest Book of all times, encouraging people like you and me today!  And if we’re breathing, He’s still writing our chosen-story too–and who knows what chosen-ness awaits us. I hope this encourages someone today.

 

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Mean Girls

If you’re a student and bummed because girls are mean, take heart!  We’re in this together, because adults can be mean too.  Recently I encountered a mean adult (at a checkout).  It wasn’t that this person cussed me out or beat me up (although both have happened!).  It wasn’t even in the words spoken, because no words were. It was the mean look, directed at me with laser–rude focus.  And it hurt. I think there is a distinction between bullying and mean. Today I just want to address mean. Admittedly and ashamedly, I tried to give this person a mean look back. God musta had a good laugh because it was never seen. The person never looked back at me. It hung in the air like a fart in a windstorm. But let me tell you what HAS worked: kindness. Not brown-nosing, not butt-kissing, just simple kindness.  Joyce Meyer said “smiling is a language you can use everywhere and it’s the language of God.” I think kindness is a two-part plan. One, let their mean look just brush past you. Who says it has the right to STICK to you, your heart, your mind? They gave you a mean look; but they don’t control where it lands. Let. It. Brush. Pass.  And if the window of opportunity presents itself, smile. Not a s.a. smile, not a fake smile, not a b.s. smile. A kind smile. No drama, no confrontation, no middle finger, no sin. Just smile. Remember, mean people are hurting people. If we can keep that in mind, it makes this 2-part kindness plan doable! I’ll stop rambling with my words and close with God’s: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with… kindness.
Colossians 3:12

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When the Bow On
Your Dream Breaks

“But that night the word of God came to Nathan, saying: ‘Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in.'”
1 Chronicles 17:3-4

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Is It Worth the Fight to be Right?

A few years ago, I read “Conflict-Free Living” by Joyce Meyer. It slapped me senseless with its reality-check!  There was one chapter that dealt with people who will stop at nothing to be right. Until I read this chapter, it hadn’t occurred to me that Jesus did not do this.   Jesus WAS always right YET he was OK with letting people think He was WRONG. Love does that. On the cross…and in life.  If digging my proverbial proud-feet in the ground means I’ll win, but at a loss of inciting a shouting-match, invoking relational-bleeds, inflating my pride, or being a bad witness, I must ask: was it worth it?  Some things are worth fighting for, and some things are worth letting go. Jesus flawlessly knew the difference. And if He lives in me, I can know the difference too.  I don’t want to elaborate too much on this, because I still stink at it. But I’ll leave all of us with this golden nugget to consider: “Stay away from stupid and senseless arguments. These only lead to trouble, and God’s servants must not be troublemakers. “2 Timothy 2:23-24

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You Can’t, But…


God can handle what you can’t handle.
God can carry what you can’t carry.
God can heal what you can’t heal.
God can forgive who you can’t forgive.
God can rest what you can’t rest.
God can raise who you can’t raise.
God can love who you can’t love.
God can manage what you can’t manage.
God can forget what you can’t forget.
God can move what you can’t move.
God can accept what you can’t accept.
God can deliver what you can’t deliver.
God can free what you can’t free.
God can resurrect what you can’t resurrect.
God can lift what you can’t lift.
God can mend what you can’t mend.
God can believe who you can’t believe.
God can save who you can’t save.
You can’t. I can’t. But God can.

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Maybe Rest Is Best

Good-bye weekend. Hello, new week…and all the inherent stress that goes with it. Before it goes further, let’s consider four ideas for rest. This isn’t a professional or exhaustive (no pun intended 😂) list. Just my list from personal experience…
1) Practice the Power of Saying No. Two books I recommend to acquire this skill is “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. John Townsend and “People Pleasing” by Lou Priolo.
2) Set a Bedtime Timer. Your kids have you as their bedtime timer. But who has you as YOUR bedtime timer? So make one! Set a timer to go off every night at your needed bedtime. At the sound of the alarm, turn off the TV, shut down the computer, power off the phone.
3) Pray For Understanding. If God didn’t think you could get done what HE needed you to get done in a 24-hour day, He would have made longer days. It’s not that we don’t have time to rest. It’s that we’re choosing to do things God hasn’t scheduled and those things are occupying the time we coulda have rested.
4) Take Advantage of Quiet Places. The bathroom, your car, a waiting room, church. These are “isolated” moments. Take advantage of them and use them to embrace the quiet and be at ease with your soul.

I hope this encourages someone today. And that you get some rest!

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Hard to be Humble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was 1991, my senior year in high school and the night of our Senior Banquet. A highly-anticipated night for the seniors, with lots of chatter and wonder as to who would be crowned Class of 91’s “best of,” “most likely,” “all-around” superlatives. Since my Dad’s family was generous enough to host the banquet at their restaurant, I was sure I’d get one of the more coveted superlatives. Especially since, for the last four years, I hadn’t been nominated, coroneted, elected or crowned for anything. As the president of our class emceed his way through the list of superlatives, he announced that a plastic pink telephone would be given to “Class-Gossip.” Then I heard my name, “Heather Funk,” echo across his mic, off the stage, to the ears and jeers of allllllll my peers. I’m pretty sure that night God also crowned me with, “Most Humbling Moment!” Segue please. It’s hard to be humble when you think you offer, have, deserve or are the best. It is hard, but it is right and not impossible. In the gospels, Jesus offered us the best–-eternal life–-but was humble enough to sacrifice himself for it. Jesus had the best–-Heaven–-but was humble enough to lower himself to Earth. Jesus was the best–-perfect–-but was humble enough to wash the imperfect feet of his friends. There are many hard-to-be-humble moments in my life, perhaps you have some too. Along comes something in our life that gives us a one-up on those around us. And it’s not that we take pride in it, it’s that we take pride too far. It was hard to be humble at that senior dinner; as I confess this, it’s hard to be proud! Proverbs 16:18 ❤️

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The 8 Most Restful Words

  1. It is said in only eight words.
  2. It requires only one course of action.
  3. It includes only two people.

The eight words? Psalm 46:10, BE-STILL-AND-KNOW-THAT-I-AM-GOD.  The course of action?  Be still. It literally means, “take your hands off, relax.”  In Hebrew, it means, “Enough!”  To be still and to know means: “Enough! Just acknowledge!”  Yet in the midst of trial, it is often the last thing we do (if at all).  Instead, we get panicky, impatient or depressed; become addicted to alcohol, caffeine, food or busyness; or take it out on our kids, our mate, our God.  It is only one course of action and we CAN start it today.  Stop right now and simply pray it if you mean it: “God, please help me be still and know that when life falls off the edge, YOU are still on your throne and I am still in your hands.”  Oh, and #3, the two people?  You and God.  In the midst of chaos, we often include everybody else and their opinions.  So amen for this verse, because it’s a command.  And the One commanding it is the One who loves us; and is plenty when our life is empty.  If God did not want us to be still and know Him, He would not have commanded it.  It is so important to Him because WE are so important to Him. Today, treasure these eight words in your heart, and have a great day being still in it!

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Looking Up, Not Down,
To The Hurting


Whether your a bible-reader or not, almost all of us have heard of Job. He was a righteous dude. I mostly study Job to understand a human’s worst suffering. Job was IN hell, ON Earth. There’s one thing that sticks out to me regarding Job’s “friends.” I use quotes because if you study their role in his life, you’re left wondering if they really were. In a good portion of Job, his friends are there to offer pithy opinions and wisdom. What I particularly gleaned was the position of Job’s friends. They picked the proverbial posture of looking down on Job. But The Message author Eugene Peterson offers an alternative posture for friends who are suffering, he says: “We need to quit feeling sorry for people who suffer and instead look up to them.” Fireworks went off in my brain. This is genius! What if, instead of looking down in pity on godly-good people suffering, we look UP…
1) We look UP to the sky to pray for them.
2) We look UP to show RESPECT that God has deemed them worthy of such suffering.
3) And we look UP because when Jesus was suffering on the cross, his good friends stood near and looked up to Him.
As you think of anyone you know suffering/struggling, I hope this encourages you to shift your gaze. Who knows, maybe God will use your upward gaze TO them, to HELP them get on their feet again!

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