The Best Way to Show Up for the Disappointed and Hurting By Lysa TerKeurst

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

Painting was the last thing I expected to be doing on my birthday. And yet there I was, holding a dripping, shaking paintbrush beside my mom and my sisters.

Year 48 was supposed to be a year filled with adventure and freedom. The last of my five kids was going to college, and Art and I were heading into our empty-nest years. I thought this new season would be as fun and predictable as one of those beautiful adult coloring books. Twenty-five years of marriage had helped life take shape, so all we had to do now was just add color.

But nothing looked like I thought it would on this 48th birthday. Instead of planning for the future with my husband, I was trying to figure out how we’d ever glue the shattered pieces of our marriage back together again. Instead of dreaming, I felt like I was stuck in a nightmare. One where I opened the coloring book, and someone had erased all the beautifully drawn lines.

There was nothing but white pages. Empty spaces. Endless possibilities of fear and failure.

Metaphorically speaking, my life was now a blank canvas.

And so, my mother suggested — no, actually she demanded — we get some blank canvases and paint on my birthday.

I painted a boat. They all painted angels. And while my mom was right — it was therapeutic in many ways — it was also a terrifyingly vulnerable experience.

The enemy of my soul didn’t want me painting that day. To create meant I would look a little bit like my Creator. To overcome the terrifying angst of the blank canvas meant I would forever have more compassion on other artists. You better believe as I placed the first blue and gray strokes onto the white emptiness before me, “not good enough” was pulsing through my head in almost deafening tones.

Perfection mocked my boat. The bow was too high, the details too elementary, the reflection on the water too abrupt, and the back of the boat too off-center. Disappointment demanded I hyper-focus on what didn’t look quite right.

I forced myself to send a picture of my boat to at least 20 friends. With each text I sent, I slowly made peace with my painting’s imperfections. Not for validation but rather confirmation that I could see the imperfections in my painting but not deem it worthless. I could see the imperfections in me and not deem myself worthless. It was an act of self-compassion.

We must get to this place of self-compassion if we ever hope to have true, deep compassion for others. Disappointment begs us to be secretly disgusted with everything and everyone who has gaps, everything and everyone who also wrestles with the “not good enough” script. But what if, instead of being so epically disappointed with everyone, we saw in them the need for compassion?

I like that word compassion. Compassion is being aware that all of us fear the imperfections deeply carved into our naked selves. We all cover up. And then we all get stripped bare when the wins become losses.

And who do we want standing near us in those moments, dripping with disappointment and saturated with sorrow? I can assure you it isn’t people who don’t know the whole story, draped in gold-plated pride with mouths eager to spill out commentary, “Here’s what you did wrong. I would never have allowed myself to get in this position. If only you would have …”

Nope. It’s those clothed with garments of understanding. They have personally experienced how excruciatingly painful it can sometimes be to simply be human. They keep in mind Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

We are to put on each of these every day, like a painter puts on color she knows will connect her creation with others. God wants us, His creation, to connect with others and bring them light and life with the brush strokes of compassion.

And the only way to gain more of this compassion is to pick up a paintbrush and sit in the seat of our own suffering. We find life-giving purpose and meaning when we allow God to take our painful experiences and comfort others.

Have you walked through an unexpected season of darkness and suffering? Those seasons aren’t for nothing, sweet friend.

Pick up the paintbrush. Put some paint on the emptiness. Color-correct your perspective. Forget the cravings for comfort zones. Trade your comfort for compassion. Get wet with paint. Put the brush to the canvas. Declare yourself a painter. And when someone steals all the lines from your coloring book, determine to color the world anyhow with the same generous compassion God offers every day.

You are walking the way of the artist. You are simply showing up with compassion. And I love you for that. I love whatever is about to come to life on your canvas to the glory of our Almighty Creator. God. The Redeemer of dust. The Redeemer of us.

Father God, no matter how much this life leaves me hurting, I always want to come out on the other side of pain loving. Help me be a woman of great compassion. A woman who wears her scars of suffering well — willingly sharing my survival story so others can know and believe survival is possible for them, too. And help me remember that no time showing up and bringing compassion to another human is ever a waste of time. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

We pray together as a community!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=Hk8BbhE0NnU
Let us Pray…January 2020

PRAYER FOR TRUST
O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness and
we feel our weakness and helplessness,
Give us the sense of your presence,
Your love and your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust in your
protecting love and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us.
For living close to you, we shall see your hand,
your purpose, your will through all things. Amen.
St. Ignatius of Loyola

Today’s Word with Joel & Victoria Osteen Ministries

https://www.joelosteen.com/Pages/Blog.aspx?blogid=14165

Today’s Scripture
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me…”
(Psalm 51:10, ESV)
Christ Makes Everything New
With the new year comes fresh starts, resolutions and new beginnings. It is a time for making plans, setting goals and writing visions. But the greatest “new start” of all comes through Jesus Christ. Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” If you need a new beginning this year in any area of your life, allow Christ to make you a new creation, and the old will pass away! He will put a new and right spirit within you when you call on His name!

This year, make your relationship with Him your number one priority. When you put God first place and make it your highest priority to please Him, you can expect to live a blessed, fulfilled life. Scripture states, “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Notice who God rewards. Not people who half-heartedly seek Him, only seek Him when they have a problem, or come to church only on special occasions. God rewards people who diligently seek Him. Psalm 34:10 adds: “Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” When you seek God daily with your whole heart in this new year, you won’t be able to outrun the good things of God!

A Prayer for Today
“Father, as we enter into a new year, I choose to put You first. Wipe the slate clean as I develop a deeper personal relationship with You. Thank You for new beginnings as I walk every day with You in Jesus’ name! Amen.”

Welcoming Wisdom By Bobby Schuller

Originally posted here: https://hourofpower.org/welcoming-wisdom/

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

– James 1:5

When I was younger, I prayed and asked God for wisdom, and then things got harder. A man who owned a number of T.V. stations asked me, a totally green and novice pastor’s kid, to go to Hamburg, Germany to be a news anchor and cover a big expo event. Excited about the opportunity to see Europe and to be on television, I gladly accepted the invitation. However, when I arrived, I discovered that something strange happened to me every time I got in front of the camera. Though I was usually quick with a word or a joke, I became totally intimidated and could not stop messing up. I would do take after take, and at one point, the whole crew got upset and went to lunch because I kept flubbing. As you can imagine, this was extremely humiliating, and I wanted to give up and go home. Nevertheless, I woke up day after day, gave it one more try, and although it never became effortless, it did get easier. However, after that experience, I figured television was definitely not for me.

Strangely, years later, I was asked to be on T.V. again, this time on TLC’s show “The Messengers,” in which I was to be a judge of other people’s speeches. Though I did better this time, the show did not do well overall, and once more, I was disappointed and felt like a failure. Little could I have imagined that only a few years later the Crystal Cathedral would face hard times and I would be asked to preach on Hour of Power. It wasn’t until that point that I understood why God had called me to previous television experience and why those opportunities had failed: He was preparing me for my bigger calling.

Friend, on this New Year’s Eve, I ask you to take a moment and pray for wisdom in the new year, then believe in faith you have received it. Thank God that He is using every circumstance in your life to prepare you for even greater things, and remember that sometimes you have to fail in the areas you will ultimately master. No matter how hard it gets, Jesus has your back, so rest in His sufficiency this year and you will go far!

Prayer
I pause today, Jesus, to ask you for wisdom as a new year unfolds before me.

Reflection
How have you seen God’s wisdom and goodness unfold in your life in 2019?

Tuesday Octave of The Nativity

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Psalm 96
Let heaven and earth exult in joy!

O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy.

Rejoice before the Lord; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.
WATCH TODAY’S MASS

Long after the Christmas wrap is gone, we continue to celebrate the coming of our Lord through prayer and action.

Perseverance By Bobby Schuller

Originally posted here: https://hourofpower.org/perseverance-2/

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

– James 1:2-4

I love the word perseverance. Defined as “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success,” I believe this powerful character trait is of utmost importance as we stand on the threshold of a new year. Though the verses above may be familiar to you, there’s something in them that Hannah pointed out to me that I think is very significant. Look at the phrase “let perseverance finish its work.” Did you notice that it’s passive? In other words, without interference, perseverance will have its way in your life and you will get to where you’re supposed to be. But why would you not let perseverance finish? I can think of one major reason — it’s uncomfortable, sometimes excruciatingly so.

Friend, the tendency when you are faced with obstacles and challenges in the coming year will be to shortcut to the finish line or simply stop moving forward. This may play out as compromising, giving up, dwelling on the past, turning from a hard thing, or refusing to admit it when you have a problem. Regardless of the form it takes, I can tell you one thing for certain — choosing any of these roads is relinquishing the abundant life you have in Jesus. When you encounter hills and mountains that look foreboding and you feel as if you can’t move forward, above all else, pray for wisdom and maturity. Keep looking at your Lord, cast your concerns fully on Him, and allow His strong and loving Hand to lead you over the rough roads one step at a time.

Prayer
Jesus, I pray for perseverance and I ask that it would finish its work in me through all that I encounter in the new year.

Reflection
How can you allow perseverance to complete its work in your life?

Today’s Word with Joel & Victoria Osteen Ministries

https://www.joelosteen.com/Pages/Blog.aspx?blogid=14149

Today’s Scripture
“Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested…”
(1 Chronicles 4:10, NASB)
Enlarge Your Territory
In 1 Chronicles 4, Jabez was a man that people said was supposed to have trouble and heartache and lived depressed and defeated, but he shook off the negative mentality. Despite how people labeled him, he had the boldness to ask big, that God would bless him and enlarge his territories. He was saying, “God, let me see abundance. Let me see more of Your favor.” And God blessed him indeed.

Like Jabez, you may have plenty of reasons to settle where you are—what you didn’t get, what people said, how impossible it looks. The odds may be against you, but the good news is that God is for you. He wants your new year, your life and everything about you to be successful and wonderful. He knows how to make up for what you didn’t get. He can thrust you further than you ever imagined, but you have to pray bold prayers. Ask in spite of what the circumstances look like and what people are telling you. Ask in spite of what the enemy keeps whispering in your ears. If you’re going to beat the odds, stand out in the crowd and reach your best life, you have to learn this principle of asking big.

A Prayer for Today
“Father in heaven, today I open my heart to You and ask You to bless me. I ask You to increase me in every area and teach me to be faithful to You always. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Monday Octave of The Nativity

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Luke 2.36-40

The parents of Jesus came to Jerusalem to present the child Jesus. In the Temple, there was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.

Right after Christmas is the perfect time to look back and examine our hearts. What is Jesus saying to me these days after Christmas? What is he asking me? What is he inviting me to do?