Is it a Good Thing?


When it comes to the idea or thought of what is good for us opinions and beliefs vary. Usually, the differences are based upon personal preferences, experiences, and environments.  Oftentimes many are persuaded by the opinions and beliefs of others for various reasons—relationships, shared experiences, similar backgrounds, etc.  Regardless of beliefs or how opinions are formed, in many instances, we know, to a certain extent, if something is good for us or not. Unfortunately, our human nature gravitates to the “not good” more often than the good although we are fully aware of the risks. For example, take a look at the picture.  I am sure you can agree that as good as it looks, too much fast food in our diet is definitely not a good thing. However, the decision is personal.  If I know eating too much fast food is not a good thing, will I change my eating habits and discipline myself for my own benefit—a healthy lifestyle?  

This same illustration can apply to our spiritual life. When it comes to our personal relationship with Christ, we have an innate problem with discerning if it’s a good thing. We are in a constant struggle with our carnal nature.  For example, in our carnal mindset, we agree that being afflicted is not a good thing.   However, this is what the psalmist concludes in Psalm 119:71: 

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.”

The word afflicted in this passage does not necessarily mean physical sickness or disease.  Instead, it means various troubles, unfavorable circumstances and conditions that put you in a lowly place, a humbling position, which is against our human nature.  In essence, when our back is against the wall, we are in a good place to learn something from God that will change us as well as our spiritual perception.

“It is a good thing that I was humbled
    because it helped me learn Your limits.

Psalm 119:71 (The Voice)

 Let’s consider the psalmist’s perspective and what we can learn that can possibly change our view.  First of all, it is a personal declaration…good for me…, that I was humbled…, it helped me… As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, each of us must have personal experiences and encounters on our faith walk that transform us from the inside out so that we grow in the knowledge of God.  God in His wisdom deals with each of us differently just as parents do with their children.  Hopefully, we can all agree that in His sovereignty He desires good for all of us regardless of what it takes for us to realize that goodness is the essence of God’s character.

“No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11b)

Secondly, the psalmist states the reason for his conclusive statement.  He says that having been afflicted (humbled) was good so he could learn God’s statutes (decrees)—established laws that govern; God’s boundaries (limits). Truth is, we become so consumed with our troubles that we complain, whine and beg God to get us out even though we ignored boundaries and pushed the limits. We are a generation that rebel against limitations and set boundaries. Unfortunately, without boundaries and limits, we risk harming ourselves and others. Hence, laws and regulations were established for our good.

Here is the good news!  God’s ultimate plan is to bring us to an expected end—a good outcome.  However, we don’t always see this from a spiritual perspective.  Our sin nature opposes God’s way of doing things.  Therefore, we constantly seek to do things our way.  Unfortunately, we fail to recognize what is good for us until our way has landed us into “no way out.”  It is at the point of “no way out” that we finally get it, sometimes the first time—God’s way is the best because He is good and His mercy endures forever.

 Conclusively, when it comes to the idea or thought of what is good for us opinions and beliefs vary from our carnal nature. Thankfully, from a spiritual perspective, like the psalmist, we mature spiritually and realize that our troubles, bad situations, lowly places, hardships and disappointments were working for our good. (Romans 8:28) Why? God was teaching us!  We learned something about God.  We learned that God’s judgments are right. We learned that God is faithful and can be trusted.  We learned that God loves us unconditionally, and knows and wants what is best for us.  Above all, we learned that God’s Word is true.  Teach me O LORD! I hope in Your Word!

(Suggested reading: Psalms 119:65-72)

Journal Reflections

Journals.NotesOccasionally I review old journal entries to assess where I am mentally and spiritually compared to where I was when I penned the entry.

Why am I sharing this? Because chances are, you are in the same place now that I was then.

If you are, I am in a place now to encourage you! That’s really what it is all about.

It gets better!

God is always working for our good…so that we are better; so that we can get to a place of “rest” in Him.  Our wilderness experiences should change our perspective and teach us to trust a faithful and loving Father who loves us unconditionally and only wants what is best for all mankind.  Note: (Deuteronomy 8:2-5) God’s plan for leading the Israelites in 40 years in the wilderness was to humble them and for them to trust Him completely. It was their unbelief, constant murmuring and complaining that resulted in many of them not entering the Promised Land.

Journal entry on December 12, 2011…

At this moment, I’m really trying to grasp the purpose of this place. For so long I’ve been haunted by this struggle.  So, I ask, is it my fault? What did I do to cause this cycle?  I can imagine how Job felt to some extent.  However, I must pause and say, Thank you.  It’s not as bad as his ordeal of suffering.  Yet, the weight of this can be so frustrating.  I’m trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I know You said you’d never leave or forsake your children.  All I have at this point is Your word…Your promise.  Will You fail me now?  I know without a doubt that You are in control of my life.  I know now that You own everything! I understand that You will and can provide for all my needs.  So then what’s my issue?  My question is when?

IT IS ABOUT YOUR TIMING! You know the needs I have.  I also know that for so, so long I’ve always tried to handle things myself. I know I can’t, so will You please come quickly to my rescue?

Does my crying make You come before Your time? I think not. Is it the pity that pushes these tears through so forcefully? Probably.  I admit, I feel so alone; that I really don’t have another person on earth to help me since my mother went home to be with You.  I know You do not cater to pity parties, but You do understand tears of sorrow.  So what do I do? Have faith. That’s what moves You to respond to my need. So, Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief!  My soul clings to You!

Needless to say, my Father kept His promise! If you belong to Him, He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). HE MAKES ALL THINGS BETTER! Trust Him!

When there’s no light at the end of the tunnel

How long is a little while?

The struggles in life has a way of making you feel there is no end to the tunnel.  Darkness seems to cover you like a blanket with no sign of a light.


Unashamedly I admit, over the last fifteen years I asked consistently, “Lord, how long is the pain of betrayal, broken relationships, grief from the loss of loved ones and possessions going to last?  When will the struggles end?” Needless to say, He did not give me a specific timeframe.  Instead, He always reminded me of His Word.   After a while, I stop asking how long and started rehearsing the promises He had given me.  My attitude changed. The more I meditated and spoke aloud His Word over my life and situations, the more my anxiety was replaced by God’s peace.  Still there were nights I cried myself to sleep, but I never stopped rehearsing the promises. I held on to them regardless of what I felt, saw and experienced. I believed God!

Like me, have you looked for the light at the end of the tunnel and wondered how long your troubles would last?

Just know you are not alone while traveling through your tunnel a little while longer.

I posted the following status to my Facebook page earlier this week.   Reading it again the next day or so was like getting a burst of energy from an energy drink.

Your suffering is temporary. Go through the “making” process.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10 NIV.

During the time Peter wrote to the Christians, persecution was not just confined to the churches in Asia Minor. Christians were suffering from intense persecution almost everywhere in the known world of that day because they were preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. Peter wrote to remind and console them and us too.  He was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write and encourage them to emulate those who had successfully gone through the test of suffering.  It is important and beneficial to surround yourself with people who have successfully endured some dark days of suffering and can offer you the encouragement you need to stand firm and not give up.

Suffering on this earth—although it appears to be endless—is temporary.  It is much easier to focus on the uncertainty of the length of time we will suffer.  Only God knows the duration of our sufferings.  He sovereignly defines the ‘little while’.  No one’s time of suffering is the same.  Remember Job? He suffered the loss of all things, including his health.  Through it all, he held on even enduring the criticisms and misunderstandings of his friends.

Your suffering is temporary. God through the “making” process.

The duration of your pain will be different from others, but the focal point should not be the time frame.  Focus on the promised outcome after the set time (little while) of suffering is completed.  After you have suffered a little while, here are four (4) things the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself do:

  •  Restore you.  Whatever is broken or missing, He will mend and repair so that you are complete. However long you suffered, afterwards you will be restored.  Your restoration may be physically or spiritually.
  •  Establish you. Suffering affects our mental health; our thoughts are usually focused on our condition and circumstances.  It’s easy for spirits of depression and oppression to control our thinking. God will make you stable in your mind; you will need mental stability. He will make you strong in mind. A strong and stable mindset is essential to your well-being physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  • Strengthen you.  Suffering affects you emotionally; therefore, God will make you firm in your emotions. Where you are emotionally weak and unsteady, He will strengthen your soul.
  • Settle you. Because your whole being has been shaken by your suffering, God will settle (establish) you.  He will lay again a firm foundation to uphold you so that you are stable in all your ways, not wavering, but confident in the God of your salvation.

Why would God do all this after you have suffered for a while?  Because it was never God’s intention for us live in a place of darkness, defeat, disappointment and discouragement .  Again I ask, remember Job?  At the end of Job’s suffering, however long it was, God restored him and all he lost with double.  God’s desire from the beginning has always been for our good. His will is for all mankind to live victoriously through faith in Jesus Christ (John 10:10). His desire is that we be ‘whole’ human beings in a loving relationship with Him.  All that He allows to happen in the life of His children is scripted with purpose. It is usually in times of suffering and adversity that we draw closer to Him through prayer and supplication.  Moreover, He draws closer to us. During suffering is not the time to become bitter; look to God for the better.

Yes, the struggles in life has a way of making you feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and darkness covers you like a blanket with no sign of a light.  But, we must remember the promises while traveling through the tunnel of darkness. Get in the Word of God because the entrance of His Words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130). May you be enlightened and encouraged by this post.


Your turn..

What will you do when it seems like a ‘little while’ has turned into a long while in a tunnel of darkness?

Will you admit that you focus more on ‘how long’ rather than promised outcome after the suffering?  If you admit yes, what will you do differently after reading this post?

Meditate on this Word: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  -Romans 8:28

My Hope is Secure

033013_2144_Bittersweet1.jpgHow do you define hopeless?  Hopeless is having no expectation of good or change for the better. I admit, there has been some “seemingly” hopeless situations since accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord.  However, that was before I really grasped the magnitude of His finished works on the Cross and His resurrection after three (3) days.

Watching the last episode of the video, “The Easter Experience” made me realize that as a Christian I should never conclude that I am in a hopeless situation or condition.

Hopelessness made the disciples abandon Jesus in fear and to hide after His death. The external circumstances (Jesus’ arrest) gave the appearance that there was no hope of being free from Roman rule.  They did not expect any good or change for the better; therefore they did not trust Him based on His promise to rise from the dead, although He warned them of His impending death and assured them of His resurrection.  Their focus was on the natural; therefore they just didn’t get it until after a personal encounter with the risen Savior and the spiritual transformation that changed the course of their life on the day of Pentecost. Then hope sprang forth like the branches and leaves on a “seemingly” dead tree11090882_798945466850515_4922663398283889637_o in spring.

So it is with us. Our personal experience or encounter with the risen Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit changes our bleak outlook and we have hope.  Like the disciples, we often feel hopeless because we focus more on the external circumstances, but if Christ is our personal Savior and Lord, we have hope in spite of the externals.  We find hope in His Word regardless of what is naturally visible, or the external circumstances that are unpleasant for a season.  God always causes us to triumph in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14).

What situation have you been in that you did not expect any good to come out of it, or things to get better for you? Are things so bad that you have concluded that there is no hope? If so, I want to encourage you!  Keep believing and trusting God to keep His promises. There is always hope as long as you are breathing.

Jesus Christ is the source of our hope. He will fill us with joy and peace in the midst of difficulty if we trust in Him.

Romans 15:4 declares, “…the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.”

We know that the promise of the Savior has been fulfilled (Luke 2:1-7). We know that the promise of the Comforter (Holy Spirit) has been fulfilled (John 15:26; Acts 2:1-4). What has God promised you that has already been fulfilled?  What promises are you patiently waiting for fulfillment?  Keep expecting! Don’t give up hope; God is faithful.

I pray that Easter Sunday (Resurrection Day) will remind you that our hope is eternally secure in Christ. His resurrection gives us the assurance that what God promise is revealed either in this life or thereafter.

Always hopeful,

It’s a Love Thing

LoveThingWell, tomorrow is the big day! My local church has been announcing plans for an annual event sponsored by the Marriage Ministry, which I am not a part of.  I admit, I have not been fond of Valentine’s Day for a long time. I’m sure you can guess why.

Thankfully, my attitude toward it has changed drastically, although my situation remains the same. Since I let go of my painful past and no longer host pity parties and engage in low self esteem hangout, my perspective is different.  Still, I must be careful not to allow negative reflections of my past or present to be the focus of my thoughts.  If I allow my mind to go back 20 years or dwell on one day, I open myself up for an emotional takeover, and hence, be convinced that I am a victim because of my singleness.  Thank God, I know now that that is a BIG lie from the father of lies (Satan) to deceive many women, young and old. As a result of being deceived, many women make unwise and foolish decisions that put them on a wrong path to living destructive lives.

By the amazing grace of God, I choose to believe my life is complete in Christ! I am convinced that God’s plan and purpose for my life is much bigger and better than I can even imagine. Furthermore, I am persuaded that my singleness is His will for me at this phase in my life. Therefore, I am content.  Rather than allow special events for married couples, seeing aisles filled with candy and carts of roses and TV commercials stifle my spirit and excitement about life, love, joy, peace and happiness, I am able to celebrate them. I can honestly thank God for them and pray God’s continuous blessings in their marriage and relationship.

I choose to celebrate my own “Love thing!”  It’s a relationship that gets better each day. Just to let you know how much my Jesus loves me, today I received an unexpected check in the mail! And no, I am not going to buy myself any roses or MP900440960candy.

Praying that you all have a Happy Valentine’s Day celebrating and enjoying it with the one you truly love.

It’s a LOVE Thing!

Holiday Season Pain

Since my past experience with holiday season pain, I am sensitive to the emotional and spiritual needs of people during the HopeforHolidaysholiday season.

I believe “holiday season pain” can be the worst. I also believe this time of the year strikes a chord of caring and great concern because I understand the heartbreak caused by the death of a loved one during the holiday season.  For me, it was the death of my mother the day after Christmas. Although the holiday pain is not so piercing now, I still remember it as if it was last night, although it has been 11 years since I experienced the “first” worst day of life, December 26, 2003, 12:01 a.m.
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When you don’t understand the “why”

cryingwomanseyesFor Christians, what matters most is learning to trust God regardless of whatever we face in this life even when we don’t like or understand it. Like me, you have probably thought I don’t understand what God is doing. Or perhaps, you have asked, “Why God allowed this to happen?” Whether you thought or actually voiced your issue with God, it’s really not significant.

Truth is, it is impossible for our finite minds to comprehend God’s sovereignty.

Holy Scriptures makes it clear: Romans 11:33-34: “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice?” Also in Isaiah 55:8-9, God spoke through the prophet, saying, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways… For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

In essence, our limitations keep us from grasping things that happen in our personal life and in the world. Therefore, God does not tell us everything nor does He owe us an explanation. Because He is sovereign, all-knowing and all-powerful, He only reveals what He wants us to know as it relates to His purpose and for His glory. Think of it like this: If He told us or reveals everything to us concerning His plan, we would have no reason to believe, have faith in, rely on and trust Him. He wants us to trust Him! He reveals Himself to us on an as needed basis and by our faith. For example, if we need peace and have faith, He reveals Himself as Jehovah Shalom; if we need healing and have faith, He reveals Himself as Jehovah Rapha.

I have learned this: As painful as challenges and events may be in my life and family life, I must trust God and believe His word. I stand firmly on Romans 8:28.

In the words of Babbie Mason’s song, “Trust His Heart”:

He alone is faithful and true

He alone knows what is best for you

When you don’t understand

When you don’t see His plan

When you can’t trace His hand

Trust His Heart

I have concluded that I may never know or understand the why, but what I am learning to do through life’s challenges is trust Him completely; knowing that if I belong to Him and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, He will never leave me nor forsake me. I am confident that He will care for and comfort anyone who turns to Him in faith to be their loving Father. It is easy to blame God for the negative and painful things that happen in this life. But it does not change anything—God is still God; He is still good, faithful and true, and if we look closely at the situation, chances are we will find a reason to be thankful.

Recently, I watched Myles Munroe, Jr. make a public statement just three days after his parents’ death in the plane crash; he said with conviction, “Although God may never explain himself, He will reveal himself.”

For Christians, what matters most is learning to trust God regardless of whatever we face in this life even when we don’t like or understand it. However, the tough question is, will we be in a position see Him when He reveals Himself and then gladly receive what He offers to meet us at the point of our need?