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For Better or Worse

Imagine leaving home, never to return, without knowing where we are going… except that our destination has been promised to be “far better”…

In some ways that’s what Abraham and Sara did. God asked them to leave an ancient home in modern Iraq– without telling them for where (Gen 12:1; Hebrews 11:8).

Is it different for us? Hasn’t our God asked us to trust him through places we’ve never been before? The day ahead, together with the “good” and “evil” we expect may seem familiar to us. But, even now, the calendar suggests we are at a place we’ve never been before.

We may be more like the father and mother of our faith than we thought. Isn’t our only real confidence also in the One who offers to lead us, by his own presence, in ways he alone understands—toward a city and home… he has built and designed for us (Heb 11:10)?

If this sounds like a bad plan, does it make more sense to think we can find our own way without a map, on roads to we don’t know where, to places we’ve never been, turns we’ve never made, and unplanned breakdowns we don’t understand…

…And he shall direct your paths (Prov 3:5-7)

PS Our friend Steve sent another pic… this one of the path to his West Virginia weather station and bird feeder…


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49 Responses to “For Better or Worse”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Mart, I love this topic. As I reach the end of my earthly walk I find myself looking more and more ahead to that promised place.

    The person I am the knowledge I possess, all as a result of lifes journey. The Happy, the sad, the good and the bad. All formed who I have become.

    When I look back accross my life, how clearly I see where God directed my pathway, especialy when I strayed.

    I have told of a dream I had when I was only about 13 or so. I was strugling to make my way up a steep pathway. The way strewn with boulders and rocks and thory bushes. I was walking along with a group of other adult people. There was an older man leading us.

    The way was lighted by a warm light, as a fire may give off. It was pitch black around us and overhead I could see a stay sky. Above us I could hear the flapping and whoshing of what sounded like wings.

    I ask the leader what they could be. He said to me thoes were the sounds of Angels flying back and forth from the throne of God to the earth.

    Right away I said hey, I want wings too so I can fly on up this mountain instead of this tough walk.

    A voice far above us came out of the darkness and said, “No Steve this is the way you have to go, but do not worry, You will make it.”

    I have had other dreams, that have been a fortaste of things to come, for me. But All of my life, I have held on to the promise that I heard that night. Not to worry I would make it.

    Now as life moved along I added to my desires that others might make it also. So my prayers reflect that.

    I turned over to God my now and my future. In His hands and under His wings I have placed all that is dear to me. To take us to that far distant shore and the home He has prepared for us.

    Steve

  2. Lively says:

    As a child, I disliked change. As a teen I had an opportunity to go live in England with my family over there, I said, No, because it scared me to be away from my home.

    Now, as an adult – I’ve the faith to walk into the unknown without fear.

  3. Lively says:

    Steve – what a wonderful dream.

  4. Lively says:

    FYI – there seems to be an uptick in virus/malware hits on the web – please be careful – even “safe” sites are not immune!

  5. SFDBWV says:

    When I first read this mornings Topic heading, I thought it may be about marriage.

    As I have thought about it, It is just like marriage. The arrangement between Abram and God just as the arrangement between God and I, is a marriage.

    For better or worse… we travel together.

    Like the story of Ruth and Naomi…Where you go I go.

    I trust God, even when the waters are high, and the night is darkest. I believe Him, even if I must rest in the grave, I will always trust Him and believe Him….

    Steve

  6. poohpity says:

    In the reading for today from Mark 8 states if we want to follow Jesus, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”. To me that means whatever we have planned for the future it must be written in pencil and give God the eraser, whatever good or bad we are going through that is our Cross so pick it up and then go after/behind Jesus our leader. It does not say stop and complain, beg or plead but to walk through it with the Lord. Determining that His ways are best not just for us but for everyone.

    God sees the whole picture we only see a little path like in Steve’s picture but what if we are asked to turn to the right or the left it would be a good choice to have a shovel in hand to clear the way or is Jesus asking us to give Him the shovel to clear the path that He would have us take?

    There have been so many times when I have determined the next step to take in my life when out pops another plan. We are creatures of habit and to do something different is hard for anyone but I do not believe the Lord would have us continue without having us be ready to do something different because growth only happens when we travel out of our comfort zone. We do not grow if we do the same things everyday, day in and day out we get stuck in a rut and cause those around us to get stuck to. What a sad life that would be.

  7. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    All this week everything for me has been about faith and stepping out into the unknown.
    It was mentioned at church on Sunday and again in a reading I had yesterday.

    Genisis 28: 11-16

    10And Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran.

    11And he came to a certain place and stayed there overnight, because the sun was set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down there to sleep.

    12And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!

    13And behold, the Lord stood over and beside him and said, I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father [forefather] and the God of Isaac; I will give to you and to your descendants the land on which you are lying.

    14And your offspring shall be as [countless as] the dust or sand of the ground, and you shall spread abroad to the west and the east and the north and the south; and by you and your Offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed and bless themselves.(A)

    15And behold, I am with you and will keep (watch over you with care, take notice of) you wherever you may go, and I will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done all of which I have told you.

    16And Jacob awoke from his sleep and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.

    A little bit like Steves dream.
    The verse that was emphasised was:

    “and by you and your Offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed”

    The devotional was about having good ideas that change peoples lives and asking God to give us something that will benefit others.
    Then I listened to the story about Elisha and the woman who only had oil in her house and was deeply in debt. Elisha told her to fill all the pots she could find. She did and sold the oil, paid off her debts and lived on the rest.
    Now if you new my situation you would know how much I need to find or have an idea that would pay off my debts, so I am asking God to show me where or what my “oil” is.
    Also Yesterday I was offered full time seasonal work, which will start at Easter. Can you believe I will be in charge of hiring boats on a boating lake. That is not hard work is it? God is so good!

    When Abraham & Sarah set out they had no Idea what lay ahead, yet during the journey, God made promises to them and told them exactly how there journey would end.
    “and by you and your Offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed” Jesus Messiah!

    Bob

  8. pegramsdell says:

    My sister asked me the other day if it was allright to start all over again? I said I do it all the time, lol….

  9. poohpity says:

    lol, peg, I do it every morning.

  10. SFDBWV says:

    Peg, You can tell your sister, that it is a consensus, We all start new every day.

    Each and every morning after I lay all my petitions before the Lord, I surrender my will to His.

    2 Corinthians 4:16, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

    Steve

  11. rokdude5 says:

    Wow Steve. All that shoveling for a bird feeder? But it does look quite picturesque.

    One of the first thing that comes to my mind is that we as believers, should know that we are not “at home” yet in Psalm 37:3 we are asked to trust in God and dwell in the land.

    Second thing, in John 21:18, Jesus warned us “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”

    Sounds like instead of me controlling the wheel so much, I should listen to where God wants me to go. Of course, my wife gets mad at me if I get lost along the way to a place we never been before but isnt that part of the journey? RJ

  12. pegramsdell says:

    Amen Steve! lol…thanks Deb. God’s mercies are new everyday aren’t they? Sweet! :)

  13. poohpity says:

    RJ, Yes if we never step out in faith we become stagnant. Have you seen when we help our children so much that they never experience pain because we enable them to stay safe by what we may consider helping them. I do not think that God does that to us because it is debilitating. My son tells me let me find out on my own you can not always save me or I will not grow. I have to pull back so that he can learn to function on his own and depend on God not me.

    Even in our faith walk when we are not stretched our faith does not grow. I think it is so important to see if I am in the same place I was last year or have I grown in my faith. Growth is not easy and it hurts to step out and we may not like it while it is happening but the results are wonderful.

    I see a lot of people that want someone to be totally dependent on them for everything and they are really not considering the best interest of that person. It is different with God because He wants us to be dependent on Him alone but He will push us to trust more and more. You know like Peter to walk out on that water and keep your eyes on the Master but to never get out of the boat now that is stuck.

  14. bubbles says:

    Have you read the old illustration about struggling in life? It’s been used to the point it’s almost trite.

    A man caught a caterpillar, fed it, and watched it spin its chrysallis. Days went by. When it was time for the butterfly to emerge, he watched it struggle to break free. He began to feel sorry for the butterfly’s struggle, so he used tweezers to help the butterfly emerge. The butterfly’s wings did not spread out like they should have. It eventually died. After research, the man learned that the struggle the butterfly endures actually helps push a fluid through the wings. Without this fluid, the wings cannot fill out and become strong, and flight cannot occur.

    The story concludes by saying we all need struggles/harships in our life in order to grow. Lessons learned by the struggle are long remembered, and make our faith grow stronger. James tells us that the trying of our faith works patience. :) But, let patience haver her perfect work that ye may be perfect (mature) and entire wanting nothing. My apologizes for using this illustration if it has been overused. . .

  15. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
    or, whine, Israel, saying,
    “God has lost track of me.
    He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
    Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
    God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
    He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
    He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
    And he knows everything, inside and out.
    He energizes those who get tired,
    gives fresh strength to dropouts.
    For even young people tire and drop out,
    young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
    But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
    They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
    They run and don’t get tired,
    they walk and don’t lag behind.
    Isaiah 40:27-31(The Message)

  16. Lively says:

    Bubbles, I’d never heard it before. I’m glad you shared.

  17. SFDBWV says:

    Life has so many stepping off points, it is sometimes hard to know where one leaves off and another begins.

    I think sometimes of our American ancesters who left home and family, all that was familiar to them, for the promise of a new life in a far away place.

    Filled with both fear and anticipation, they stepped out in faith. Believing and trusting in many different things.

    What do we really know of our future?

    I also think of many pioneers who went west for the promise of a new better life.

    Many realizing their dreams, many died along the way. Yet all had hope, in a better life.

    That old spiritual says it well, we are but wayfaring strangers traveling through a world of woe….

    Also like Abraham, God sent him to a land already occupied by people, and told him it all belonged to his desendants. Our pioneers and early settelers came to a land already occupied….Trusting in God, to build a new life for themselves and their decendants.

    Seems there is always an equal and opposite to every thing.

    Steve

  18. SFDBWV says:

    Bright blue skies today……finaly

    I realy think I can hear the Halleluiah Choir singing.

    Steve

  19. pegramsdell says:

    Yes Bubbles, like the palm trees on Daytona Beach. They are so strong and healthy because they are constantly in the wind and weather. Yet they survive year after year.

  20. poohpity says:

    Perfect analogy, bubbles.

    Peg, isn’t it amazing how those palms look so thin and tall like they would fall in a breathe yet they stay strong?

    There is so many places in scripture where folks are pushed hard in every direction yet have remained strong in the Lord. I always amazes me how the storms of life can effect some by hardening their hearts and getting angry while others have a soft, pliable manor that hold tight and trust in the Lord. Some become resentful and snap at every turn. It seems that those who walk closely with the Lord have a whole different attitude of trust and dependence like a child being carefree knowing that ALL is in God’s unfathomable care. I can not wait to get to that point.

  21. pegramsdell says:

    I’m so glad for you Steve. :)

  22. xrgarza says:

    “For better or for worst?” You got me thinking this morning. The Bible tells us that “my sheep hear my voice and they follow me”

    I once heard an audible voice speak to me, and several times while in a deep sleep I’ve heard my name whispered out loud, and in my heart and thoughts I’ve heard things that only God could possibly place there.

    In the late nineties, I really believed that God had called me to be a father to the fatherless. After this back and forth conversation not audibly I was able to understand that I had just experienced a concept that only God could have shared with me.

    Within that year DADInternational was born. As time went on I was relocated to Colorado Springs from Sacramento with my employer. I really believed that I heard that same familiar voice say to me that if I ever returned to California that I would be in absolute disobedience.

    Well three years later after my entire world came crashing down, I relocated back to Sacramento. And went into hiding for about a year and a half, it was the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life trying to migrate back to Sacramento.

    Well it’s been seven years now, I am still serving my Lord, I also know that his word is never returned void, and Walking by faith is no longer rhetorical. But I am always on the alert for opportunities where our Lord can still use me. Hoping that He will and that I won’t let Him down again.

    I would love to one day complete the book that I have started of the things a father to the fatherless ought to teach to the fatherless, as well as what my experience as a fatherless teen and adult. Not to mention how all of the good, bad, and the ugly has shape the relationship with my heavenly father to a point I no longer feel fatherless.

    Sorry for sharing so much,

    Bubbles As Johnny Carson would say “I, I did not know that” :)

    Xavier

  23. Lively says:

    O/T – I need prayer. I need to hold my temper, sit on my hands – to shut up the angry voice in my mind and strain to hear what He’d have me do.

    Thank you!

    Stacy

    p.s. Mart – longing for somewhere “safe” to vent… anything on a forum?

  24. pegramsdell says:

    Xavier thanks for sharing so much. You know you have come a long way in those 7 years. And I would like to read that book when you are done with it. Peg :)

  25. pegramsdell says:

    Praying for you Stacy. I am on facebook and also on yahoo.com.

  26. xrgarza says:

    Thanks Peg,
    And sorry for the long post, as far as the book goes, if I could only get myself to write as much as write here on a daily basis I may get somewhere. I am actually thinking of using part of my time off to take advantage of such a task. Especially since I really don’t have to return to work until worst case April 12th.

    Xavier

  27. Anna777 says:

    Stacy – Praying for you for strength, clarity and control in the midst of the “storm”, which is what it seems to feel like when anger rises it’s ugly head!

    Anna

  28. Lively says:

    Thanks everyone – it’s going to be a rough time for my temper until next Sunday. I’m in one of those most frustrating situations where I’m right and I’m certian I’m not the only one who is upset (and rightfully so) yet to defend myself (and others) would put innocent (kids) in the line of fire from a bad tempered adult.

    It’s one of those – one of us has to be the adult – situations and I “don wanna be!” *Stomping foot* I think God gave us humor to help quash anger :-) Humor and fellowship is exactly what I needed.

  29. Mart De Haan says:

    You guys are something else. Such a good discussion. Hope you’ll continue on here or else carry your issues over to the next post.

    I’m torn between wanting to just let the conversation go… but also know that some lose interest if we don’t keep posting other “starters”…

    I haven’t done anything yet in checking out a “Forum” option. Need to do that. Hope you all have a good day.

  30. pegramsdell says:

    Thank Mart.
    Stacy…..is being right worth hurting a relationship??? That’s what we need to know. Forgiveness for an innocent child is worth it. Not easy though I know, but worth it.

  31. Lively says:

    Peg – that’s why I was asking for prayer! If the “attack” had just been to me, personally I could have brushed it off so much easier, but it wasn’t. I’m not comfortable with posting the whole issue – first because it’s seriously OT and secondly because I’m not a big fan of airing dirty laundry in public :-) One of my frustrations was I had nowhere to go to sound off – and get reasonable advice…hubby was just as upset (maybe more) about it as I was, usually he’s my voice of reason.

    Basically the saying, “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine” sums up what happened. The one situation that forgiveness doesn’t work well is when you’re dealing with a bully personality – and that is the situation I’m dealing with.

  32. pegramsdell says:

    Sorry Stacy. I will be praying for you. :)

  33. poohpity says:

    You know who loves to hear ALL of our frustrations, anger, disappointments and can even handle yelling, screaming and irrational stuff? Guess who?

  34. Lively says:

    ummm… could you be talkin’ about the Big Guy in the Sky? He heard me… I fumed to Him all day, and fell asleep asking Him for help. lol As usual, He did more than that. Problem better than solved, resolved and I’ve an understanding that I didn’t have yesterday, you just have to Praise Him!

  35. poohpity says:

    Yea! And the good part is nobody gets hurt when we blow up and out to Him. :-) We could call it an UP BOMB! LOL

  36. bubbles says:

    Should we really be calling our Heavenly Father the ‘Big Guy in the sky’? :(

    Please know that I’m not attempting to be snarky here.
    But, isn’t it so very important to reverence Him and His name? I know the sun FINALLY came out here, and it does make us feel giddy and it’s great to have fun and talk with others here.

    Stacy, I’m really sorry about the problem you are having. I always enjoy what you say. . . you are like sunshine yourself ♥ Know I’ll pray for you.

  37. bubbles says:

    Stacy,
    The last thing I want to do is cause problems on this site or come across as being unking towards anyone.
    Hope you have a nice evening. Hope things are better for you soon.

  38. poohpity says:

    Actually bubbles I am not sure if God has a gender aside from coming in the form of Jesus and as far as being in the sky I would tend to believe in the omnipresence. :-)

  39. xrgarza says:

    Big guy is it really disrespectful? Well for one I don’t see that anywhere in scripture.

    Similarly, when my children came to live with for the firs three years they and at times still do, call me Rocky. My mother for one and several close acquaintances from would continuously remind me of how disrespectful that behavior was.

    I had to remind them that it would only be disrespectful if I insisted that they call me dad. The important thing was that they learn what I needed for to learn.

    Xavier

  40. Lively says:

    I certianly didn’t intend to disrespect Him! And, I understand your motive behind your comment, it actually reminded me of something I’ve been mulling around in my head for the past couple of days.

    Yes, I was a bit giddy when I wrote it – mainly because He offered me an opportunity to do something good in the face of a messy situation. Truly, the outcome was His work and I got to be a tool and witness it.

    What’s lost on the screen was the tone of my voice, had you been able to hear me you would have had heard all my love and respect I have for Him. There was the laughter of love and joy in my heart when I wrote those words. Sometimes I forget that – and I am sorry. Normally I take more care to make sure my emotions are “heard” in my written word.

    And thank you – right now I do feel a lot like sunshine :-) I wonder if you can explode with joy?

  41. Deborah68 says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I have read a lot of your comments and opinions. I need a sounding board for my situation. I have been praying to the Lord to show me what he needs me to do with the rest of my life. I want to do what he has shaped me to do but I do not know where he would like me to start. I have several spiritual gifts, but people say you shouldn’t rely solely on those. Some say you have others things to consider; like what you’re good at and what you’ve always excelled at. I would like some feedback on this. Thank you and God Bless

  42. Lively says:

    Oh Deborah! I know what an aboslute frustrating place that can be. Been there, like right now… I could probably write a long post but, I won’t.

    Just keep praying! I pray for wisdom and discernment. But, I think the most important prayer is that whatever door(s) He opens for you that He ensures that all other doors are barred, where He would not have you go. I’ve even asked that He give me a push, or even a good shove if I don’t notice the door!

    There is one other thing, don’t be surprised if He asks you to do something that you feel you’re totally wrong for, it’s in *your* weakness that He has strength.

    I’ve finally made peace with where I am today – it’s not where *I* want to be, but I take heart that it’s where He wants me to be.

  43. poohpity says:

    Deborah68, if there is a dream that as a child you really wanted to be when you grew up then that is probably what the Lord had intended for you. Sometimes we say to ourselves but I am to old or I can’t do that but in Christ we will be given the strength to accomplish. Ask the Lord to show you what your passion is and he will show you, it may be something you never imagined. Be receptive to His leading.

    I always tell my children to try lots of different things and you will know when you have found the right thing. My one son wanted to be a police officer for so long and now he works with children that have disabilities, talk about night and day. Sometimes our passions change. My other son wanted to be a youth pastor and he is going to school for that but he still tries lots of other things along the way and it is OK to change your mind.

    I really believe the Lord would have us enjoy whatever we want to pursue and do it with all our heart. I do not believe He would have us do something we do not enjoy. Just my opinion and they are like noses everyone has one. lol

  44. foreverblessed says:

    Hello everyone, just back after a week. ANd read only this topic and posts. So Lively had her problems solved? And now sings praises to her God and our God. I can sing too, and realising that I often do not have enough faith and reliance in our God. He has everything so well planned, so in His Hands. Why do I not rest in that faith more and more, yes each day new.
    My mothernlaw is buried on her birthday. It was a beautifull day, and a beautifull week together with all the borthers and sisters planning the funeral. The cathlic services are full of rituals, and I am beginning to appreciate them. But a lot of work to plan it. Yet it brings the family together, day after day.

    We can rely our God, that He will direct our steps day by day, we are His sheep and we can hear His voice.
    Thanks be to our GOd, through Jesus.

  45. foreverblessed says:

    I cannot post in the next topic, but do we remember Kingsdaughter today, March 6, a year ago she lost her son.
    Let God be mercifull to her and her family, Kyrie Eleison

  46. bubbles says:

    So were some of you saying that you don’t see anything disrespectful with referring to God as the ‘Big Guy in the sky’? Maybe I’m being slow on the uptake and misunderstood you. :)

    No, the Bible doesn’t command Thou shalt not refer to God in this manner. And, yes, I have referred to my parent/grandparents/sundry elder relatives by their first names, what does that have to do with God? They are people, not a Holy God.

    Psalm 18:6-11 “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.”

    Uzzah: He was struck dead by God for touching the ark. . . it appears he was too familiar with it, forgetting who he was in relation to God.

    When we stand one day before the Almighty, Holy God, I don’t believe the words “Big Guy in the Sky” will run through my mind.

  47. poohpity says:

    bubbles, no I wasn’t saying that that wasn’t disrespectful. Have you ever noticed that the name of God and Jesus are both used disrespectfully in cussing and other forms but I have never heard the name of the Holy Spirit used inappropriately or as a cuss word. I think that is something we have to just be careful about for ourselves.

  48. bubbles says:

    Dear pooh,
    My last entry wasn’t directed towards you :) didn’t think you thought that it was not not disrespectful.
    Thank you ♥

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