Tag Archives: perseverance

Joy in the Storm

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A friend recently asked how I was managing with some challenges and all I could muster was that I was relying on God’s strength.  I said, “All I have is God … and He is more than enough!”  I also said that sometimes you simply keep placing one foot in front of the other.

Of course, my daily devotions spent in the Word of God and prayer are what sustain this weary heart on the difficult days.  Despite the storm clouds that surround, “My anchor holds within the vale.”  I have a deep, wellspring of joy on the inside that is not conditional on my circumstances but is a true gift from God.

It is possible to have peace and joy regardless of the dark clouds that rage.  This world is not our final destination.  During times of struggle, I especially love to listen to some praise and worship music and praise the Lord.  When we worship God, we are inviting His presence into our lives and our situation.  I firmly believe that.  And, how I need Him.

John 16:33 says, “In this world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”

Life continually has its valleys and mountain tops.  We cannot prevent either from happening but we can control our responses to each.  We can determine in our hearts that no matter what happens, we will dig deep in His Word for wisdom, instruction, and comfort.  No matter what, we will pray and praise God for Who He is, not just for what He does for us.

When we focus on our blessings more than our problems, there is a shift in our attitude and perspective.  Whatever we focus on becomes bigger.  What would happen if we focused on God more than our difficulties?

What if we recall the countless times in the past that God has delivered us and answered prayer?  What if we praised Him in advance for all that He has planned for our lives?

What if, even through our storm, others could witness God’s strength and power demonstrated in our lives?

Joy is possible in the darkest of nights.

Peace is available too.

Faith is the seed that makes these a reality in our hearts.

…Instead of searching for the nearest exit during your storm, why not praise God for what He will teach you through the challenging circumstances?  Why not ask Him to shine through your darkness to be a blessing to others around you that they may glorify God?

When we are able to change our perspective, we are able to change our reality.

Trust God.  Pray.  Praise.  Watch Him work in your life as only He can.

Rinse.  Repeat.

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Never Give Up!

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Winston Churchill gave a famous speech where he uttered:

“Never, never, never give up!”

He also said, “If you’re going through hell – keep going.”

I want to urge you today that if you seem to be facing insurmountable odds and life is just too difficult to go on … Keep placing one foot in front of the other!  Baby steps.

One step leads to another and before you know it, you are in a new season of life.  Life is ever changing and things won’t always remain the same.

Sometimes it’s easy for our emotions to get the best of us and we can readily succumb to the devil’s lies that we should just throw in the towel, that life is just too hard.

Life is hard sometimes and its load can seem overwhelming, but you and I are here for a purpose.  God created each one of us and has placed unique gifts and talents inside each of us.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”  ~ John 16:33

If we have placed our faith, hope and trust in God, then we know that He is able to carry us through seasons that are too difficult to handle alone.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

~ II Corinthians 12:9-11

I pray that if you find the pain of your life unbearable today, my friend, that Jesus would hold you close and reveal His love to you as only He can.  You are loved by an Almighty God, who knows everything about you and still chooses to love.  That’s love, friend.  He loves with an unfailing, never ending kind of love.  I pray that God’s peace, the peace that surpasses all human understanding would so envelope your soul that you will find rest and comfort like you’ve never known.  Lastly, I pray for God’s grace to be with you during this trying time, that God will provide for your every need and that you will have renewed hope in Christ.

This world is not our home.  We are pilgrims passing through until that day when God calls us home.  Until then, this world needs you.  This world needs to see God’s love demonstrated through your life.

May we all be strengthened in His might and His power to be a blessing to a lost and dying world.   Never give up, my friend.

Greater things are in store for you!  Your miracle and breakthrough could be just around the corner.  Don’t quit now!  Keep walking this faith walk.  God will give you the strength.  Trust Him today.

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Does the Rain Have a Father?

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Job was a blameless and upright man, who feared God and shunned evil. (Job 1)  And then the test came.  Ever feel like that?  You’re trudging along and everything is just fine…when, all of a sudden, life smacks you in the face and you find yourself in the midst of a test!  A raging test.  And that’s where we find Job.  He had wealth, a great family, friends…He had everything a man could want.  And the devil took notice of God’s servant.

God gave the devil permission to test Job and strike everything he had, but not his very life.  Boils covered Job’s body and his wife offered the brilliant idea to curse God and die.  “Go ahead, give up”, she suggested.  How’s that for a “help mete” or an encourager?  Fortunately, Job had greater wisdom than to do that or the book of Job would have ended there and we wouldn’t have the richness of his dialogue with the Creator of the Universe!

Job suffers tremendous loss and we pick up the story in chapter 38 when God replies to Job’s careless comments:

“Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no man lives, a desert with no one in it, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass?  Does the rain have a father?  Who fathers the drops of dew?  From whose womb comes the ice?  Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?”  ~ Job 38:25-30

I love the conversation between God and Job contained in chapters 38-42!  I strongly encourage you to read the book of Job as it highlights the character of God and builds our faith in the process.  People tend to think of “Poor Job” and perhaps shy away from reading the book altogether, but it really is worth delving into.

“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its door and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?  Have you ever given orders to the morning or shown the dawn its place?”  ~ Job 38:8-11

Job 42:10 says that after Job prayed for his friends, the Lord gave him twice as much as he had before.  Verse 12 says that God blessed the “Latter part of Job’s life more than the first.”

Lessons from Job:

  • Everyone goes through storms in life.
  • It matters who your friends are and the message they speak into your life.
  • It matters who you marry.
  • Build your faith up in the good times, for it will be called upon in the difficult ones.
  • Remain humble before God.  He will honor you in due time.
  • Don’t put God in a tiny, mental box according to our human standards.  God is so much more Majestic, Awesome, Huge, Powerful, Glorious, Grand and Breathtaking than our finite, little minds can fathom!  (The English language is completely and utterly deficit in descriptive words to even attempt to portray the attributes of the All Mighty God.)
  • God will bring you through every test & trial and you will be stronger and blessed because of the experience.
  • The rain has a father.

I’d like to challenge you to read the book of Job during the coming days.  It is truly fascinating and I know that you will glean something from it!  Who is with me?

 

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When God Says Wait

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Do you have an unanswered prayer?  Is there a situation or issue on your heart that if you had the power to change within yourself, it would have been done yesterday?  Is there an ache in your soul for a reply from heaven?

I have prayed long and hard concerning several situations and the answer seems to be “wait”, not “never”, but “wait on my timing”.  Sometimes the most difficult thing to do is wait.

Allow me to illustrate by using a mundane household task such as washing dishes.  The other day I was attempting to quickly clean up the kitchen and came across a baking dish that clearly would require some soaking time.  Time.  I didn’t really want to wait, but was reminded of the power of time.  I let the baking dish soak in hot, sudsy water and went about wiping down the counters and stove.   When I returned to the baking dish, it came clean very easily; whereas, had I attempted to deal with it immediately, it would have been a real struggle.  The Lord whispered to me, “See, if you just wait, good things will happen.”  Oh, how my soul wrestles with the word wait!

We live in an instant culture, don’t we?  A microwave, “I want it now” culture.  Sometimes we try to force the issue in our own strength, and that’s usually when things go awry.  Experience speaking here.  Our flesh does not like to submit to God’s timing, especially when it’s an issue close to the heart.

We tend to operate in the here and the now; however, this is where faith enters the scene.

 “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” ~ Psalm 27:14

If you are in a holding pattern today, I just want to encourage you to offer your heart to the Lord in prayer once more and fully surrender your will to His.  Ultimately, God knows what is best for us. Even when our faith is tested, our assurance is:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:2

When our spirits are restless, we must be reminded to:

“Be still, and know that I am God.”  ~ Psalm 46:10a

During times of waiting, it is vital to focus on God and praise Him in advance for His will for our lives and the answer to our heartfelt prayers, whatever the reply from heaven may be.

“Rejoice evermore.

 Pray without ceasing.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” ~ I Thessalonians 5:16-18

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