Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Praise and Pain

Did you know that praise and pain are connected? Maybe not in the way you think, though. Usually when I am in pain, Praise is not the first thing that springs up in my mind. Spasming muscles, numb legs and aching shoulders don't immediately birth thoughts like "Thank You Lord for giving me these health issues", "Father God, I so appreciate Your inflicting me with this spasming body', or "May tomorrow be a day as full of pain as today has been." Nope, those words are not my first choice. I don't think that is what God means at all when He tells us in His word to praise Him in the middle of our circumstances. I can't find it in my deepest heart of hearts to even THINK about praising God if I am focused on how bad my body hurts. I bet you can't either. Physical pain is not the only pain we experience. It hurts to be in financial lack. It hurts to be hungry. It hurts to lose a loved one or to see a beloved child go astray. It hurts to be lonely or to feel rejected by a close friend. It hurts to be homeless or cold or sad. It hurts to be misunderstood by a spouse. I would even go so far as to say it might even hurt to form words of praise from within a wounded spirit. But, it can be done. Sometimes we just have to take the first step in SPITE of our struggles. How about the next time pain invades your space, you just open your mouth and say, "God, I know this pain I am feeling is not Your best for me and I know that You have compassion that never fails. It is in knowing that, that I can rest in the hope that You have this all under control. Better days are in my future because I am promised that in Your Word. I praise You for holding me up when I am weak. I praise You for waking me up to a new day every morning. I praise You for the people in my life who love me in spite of this disability and the limits it forces on me. I praise You for giving me life and love and breath and hope. I praise You for Your divine provision and peace. Father God, I so appreciate your willingness to carry me. May tomorrow be a day as full of blessings as today has been. Amen." Walk forward even when it hurts. God is waiting ahead as well as walking beside you all the way. Love and Blessings to you friends, Starr LaPradd

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What is Eternal

Lying in bed this morning, even before my eyes popped open, I was pierced with pain from head to toe. That's just life when you live with fibromyalgia and all the ills that accompany it. Yes, I try not to focus on it. Yes, I take medicine and go to the doctor regularly. Yes, I keep positive thoughts in my mind and stay in God's Word. People who haven't experienced this kind of chronic pain just do not understand that all the typical "remedies" just plain out do not work for fibromyalgia. There is no magic pill or lifestyle. No matter how hard I try to keep my mind off the searing pain, it forces it's way into every fiber of my being. It just plain hurts. You know what? I think it is ok to admit that it hurts. It's ok to rest when my body cries out in agony. It's ok to stay in my pjs when the energy to get dressed is no where in sight. It's ok to feel the pain instead of trying to pretend that it isn't there. God knows it's there. God feels it right along with me. God understands completely and He does not judge me for hurting. I won't give up. I won't stop fighting it every single day. But, some days, the Fibromyalgia wins. I think it's those days that God whispers to my soul. "It's ok daughter. Rest in my arms. I will hold you in your pain. It's not my will that you suffer, but you live in a fallen world. It's part of reality. I will carry you through it and someday bring you home to the place I have prepared for you. A place void of pain. Void of suffering. Void of hopelessness. Void of discouragement." Faith is believeing in what is not seen. Hoping for better days. Believing the best is yet to come. Trusting that God has it all under control. Faith is NOT ignoring reality, but walking through it's realness knowing that I am not alone. My friend, if you are like me and are hurting today...physically or's ok to feel the pain. It's ok to recognize that circumstances are less than perfect in your life. What's not ok is trying to do it alone, loosing hope and giving up altogether. There can be joy even in the pain, though. I experience it every day. I can smile when I'm hurting. I can love when I'm hurting. I can hope, expect, live, and even be diligent when I am suffering. You can too. The pain is real. The lethargy is real. The fogginess of mind is real. But, God is eternal and our pain is not. Hallelujah! "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things that are seen, but at the things which are unseen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things whish are unseen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV) In His restful service, Starr LaPradd

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Perpetually Third Place?

I can't help it. I love silly crazy movies! Yes. Even Will Ferrell movies. Something about useless humor makes me smile. I guess when reality seems too "real", "stupid" becomes somewhat appealing. The things that I don't have to think about...just watch and laugh...No pondering...Those things draw me in on any given day that I want to escape reality. One of my favorites is "Talladega Nights". Being that I am a good ol' southern girl who loves NASCAR, that one just stole my heart. My favorite useless line in the entire movie is "If you ain't first, you're last." In general, I feel like I usually come in last. I was telling a friend the other day about how my two cats fight over who can sleep the closest to the heating pad I put in bed with me every night. Even in that game, I usually come in third. Which is technically last being that there are two cats and yours truly competing for the perfect spot. I was always picked last in school when choosing teams for kickball. Notoriously, I am the last to speak up because I don't want to be misunderstood for interrupting a conversation. I falsely believe my opinion is the LAST one anyone wants to hear in the big scheme of things. It just seems natural for me to take a back seat. You probably feel like you come in last sometimes too. We all do. It is part of being a human being. Another huge part of being a human being is maturing. We all do that too. At least we are supposed to. Maturity in Christ is the main goal of any believer's lifestyle. It is something we strive for every single day if we are committed Christians. It is a goal we will never grasp tightly while here in this secular realm, but the effort we put forth, with the Holy Spirit's help, can get us closer and closer until the day we enter eternity and grab that "maturity" reward! FINALLY! So many of God's ways seem backwards to the ways that roll around in our minds. For instance, God's Word completely blows the "If you ain't first, you're last" sentiment out of the water altogether. No matter what our feelings tell us about always coming in last (or third in the case of my cats and I),our Creator says we always come in FIRST.Believing that is a good start to becoming spiritually mature. Mark 10:31 reassures us. "But, those who are first will be last, and the last first." There is often an amount of pride involved when we come in first place. We enjoy those pats on the back and the "way to go" comments from our observers. Of course we do. We are flesh and blood beings with an ego that longs to be stroked every now and then. But, what is even better is when GOD HIMSELF is by our side cheering us on even when we come in last! He is proud of us and will give us first place in his heart and in eternal life! That is pretty exciting for those of us who tend to be "third placers". Pretty enlightening for us who long to be spiritually mature. "For My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day." (John 6:40) AWESOME newsflash!!! Be it a clumsy athlete, an overweight young girl, a financially deprived husband and father, a shy young boy, a struggling artist, a bullied teenager, or any other person who feels "last" in the game of life, God has saved the first place in His plan for you!! Nothing can destroy the life that Jesus died to give you. Nothing can push you to the ground defeated and hollow unless you allow it to. Don't allow it to. Every time you start to feel defeat attacking, hold onto and receive this truth from the Word of God: "May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us, establish the work of our hands for us- yes,establish the works of our hands." (Psalm 90:17) You are established in His Name! You are victorious in His Name! You are First! Amen. Love and Blessings, Starr

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Let's Do Some Spiritual Screamin'!

It is my thought that the things we allow into our life determine its “volume”. With that in mind, let’s live loud for God’s glory! Be careful not to allow the enemy to “silence” your influence. Have you ever noticed that a car can’t make any noise unless you put the key into the ignition? Well, in your life today, Jesus holds the key, the Holy Spirit is the GPS and God provides all the fuel! With that combination, you can have a loud influential life! If you put in the wrong fuel, such as wasted time, anger, depression, confusion, criticism, etc., your transmission is going to conk out on you. Your power will deteriorate and your positive influence will be silenced. Wrong fuel stops loud living for God’s glory. That’s not what you want as a daughter of the Most High. As you head into the rest of this week, the temperatures might be freezing outside, but your heart can still be warm and calm by adding the right fuel. What fuel is that? Lots of Jesus. Everything else is just wasted energy. Do everything you do for Him and you will make a mark! What goes through your mind is what influences the world. Let it be good stuff. Weed out the negative. When life gets noisy, and it always does, don’t be tempted to loose your voice in the mix. God wants the secular to fade and the spiritual to scream!! Be louder than the noise of this world! Turn up your volume for Jesus! “Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us and we are His; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His holy name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations!” (Psalm 100) · What do you feel like shouting today? Love and Blessings! Starr

Saturday, July 24, 2010

God Is So Good!!!!!

I just love it when I can feel God working all around me! It is exciting, refreshing and keeps me full of anticipation! Makes me look forward to waking up in the mornings to see what He is gonna do next!!

How about you? Do you feel Him working in your life today? I certainly hope you do. I do know, though that there are scores of people who wonder where God is right now because they definitely don't feel Him working in their lives at this moment in time.

I have experienced times like that too. We all have. Last year at this time, I had just endured the loss of my precious Daddy after a battle with cancer. I did NOT exactly feel God working right then, but I knew He was. I had seen miracles and blessings all around me, but I was too numb to actually feel them. Looking back, I can see even more blessings than I did at the time, but the pain still stings my soul. It always will. But God, in His awesomeness has used That pain for His Glory and my healing! The thing I want to get across to you today, friend, is that GOD IS ALWAYS at work behind the scenes, even when you don't FEEL Him.

Have you ever read Exodus 33:18-23? It goes like this. Moses was on the side of the mountain and he so badly wanted to see the Glory of God. He was actually having a conversation with God Himself and asked ever so humbly to see Him face to face. God replied by telling Moses that His Glory was so powerful and incomprehensible that no person could see Him face to face and live. But, God loved Moses so much He made a way to honor his request. Here is what He did; He allowed Moses to stand behside Him on a rock and God covered Moses with His mighty hand while He passed right by him. Then the coolest thing ever happened, God removed the covering of His hand from Moses and allowed Moses to see His back after He had passed!

You see, friends, God is there beside you. You may not see Him or even feel His presence right now, but know that He has got you covered!! And, one thing is for might not see His face, but you will sure know when He has been there!!

Lay your pains, fears and concerns at His feet and let Him work on your behalf. He loves you just as much as He loved Moses and wants to honor your requests for experiencing His Glory. Close your eyes, imagine Him covering you with His hand and be ready to see the results He leaves behind!! May God Bless You Today!