Have "you" gone silent?
Communication is "essential" in a healthy relationship. Sadly, when communication breaks down it leads to frustration, anger and then eventually "silence". We think, why even speak at all if they aren't even going to listen to me, we feel like we are being told we are wrong (even if we think we are right), or there's just no intimacy in our conversations (ie., we are just going through the motions)? Better to just be quiet and say nothing, right? WRONG!
By going "silent", you are allowing satan to get what he's been after all along. No communication. How can a relationship function without it? It can't. When all there is IS silence, the parties in the relationship fall further and further away, until one day, they don't know eachother any longer.
I bet you think I am talking about a marital relationship. Well, while I would say that ALL of this is true in a marriage, it is even MORE important in your relationship with Christ. Sometimes when we pray we may feel like we aren't being listened to, feel like we aren't getting what we want (so feel "wronged"), or we are just saying the exact same words each and every night (like a doll who's string has been pulled).
It's at times like these that we are tempted to just withdraw from God and become "silent". I recommend the COMPLETE opposite of that. PRAY more fervently than ever (not just for what you'd like to see happen, but praise Him for all the ways you HAVE been blessed). POUR yourself into scripture, song, and interactions with other Christians (church, small groups, breakfasts/lunches). And finally, PUT your faith in your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that He knows what He's doing (even though you can't see it right now).
End your silence if you've become quiet. God is ALWAYS with you, is ALWAYS listening to you, and will NEVER abandon you. So, "trust" in His current answer, "seek" His continued guidance, and "know" that His timing will be perfect in the end.
When we are in the midst of despair, worry and anger, it really is hard to see how any good is going to come from it. But just as a lump of coal can become a beautiful diamond through great pressure being put on it, so can God use the current "pressure" being put on you to change your life into something more wonderful than you could have ever dreamed of. Don't lose hope. Keep, or "find", your faith. God is with you at all times and is faithful to those who seek Him.
"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
What would the world look like if we all organized and marched on our schools, governments and communities, not for a political agenda or cause, but for "Jesus"? Maybe someday, as through God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)
There is one "sure" road...
One of my favorite sayings has always been, "if you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."
At some point in your life you'll find yourself with no idea of what's going on, where you are going, or how you'll even make it to the next day. It's at these times we can either 1. Start heading down various roads searching for a solution, but not even knowing where our final destination will be or 2. We turn over the navigation to someone who ALREADY KNOWS where we are supposed to end up. I highly recommend option "2" as I've tried both!
That said, just because you put your faith in God doesn't always mean you get "answers" and "solutions" to our life struggles at the snap of a prayer. I don't know how and where many things in my life are going to go, but I "do" know who's guiding my path now and I know "He" knows what He's doing. ♥🕆♥
Do you "do" or just "say" you do?
I think we see this far too often in the world. People who say they are Christian, but then their actions would seem to indicate otherwise. Look, nobody is perfect. There may be times when a car cuts us off, a co-worker or spouse lashes out at us in anger, or we are hearing about a Hawaiin trip a buddy of ours is taking. Without thinking we "lash" back out at the co-worker or spouse, we let fly a choice word or two for the driver that cut us off, and we can't help but turn green with envy as "we've" never been to Hawaii. We're human. Sometimes we'll react emotionally, but therein lies God's forgiveness when we ask for it.
The larger problem is when these "reactions" aren't reactions at all, but in fact are standard operating procedures for you. You often go into fits of road rage when somebody is driving too slow or is taking a little too much time to get going after the light turns green. You often get into heated arguments with friends and strangers about politics or a divisive social issue. You often gossip, are jealous of, and even put down colleagues or friends in front of others. And your vocabulary (whether spoken or on social media)? Well, let's just say it would make a rapper blush.
It's one thing to say you "know" Jesus, but it's another thing to make sure you're LIVING like you know Him as well. In all circumstances in your lives we need to ask what would Jesus do? How would Jesus respond in this situation? Would Jesus use these kinds of words I'm about to use whether in anger or even in fun? Would Jesus seek out a flirtatious relationship with someone who is not your spouse? Would Jesus get into a drunken stuper because "I'll just have one more"? Believers, and especially "non" believers, are watching your every move. You are a son or daughter of God. The Holy Spirit is living in you and knows your every action AND thought, so remember that when a difficult or tempting situatuon comes along.
If you say you know God, then live a life where your actions and words are a "magnet", not a repellant, to ALL those around you, so you can then share about the goodness of our Lord and the story of salvation that can only come through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
God is ALWAYS with you.
From Warrior Within Awake:
I want to share a few verses with you that really struck a chord with me. Paul is talking to the Corinthian Church in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. It says, “All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.”
We are not alone. God shows us his heart, if we allow him, when we go through different times. God then allows that pain and hurt to be transformed into an understanding and love for those that are going through the same thing that we’ve gone through. God chooses to take what was meant for evil and turn it to good.
The word transformation means to remake, overhaul, revamp or a renewal. The word renewal is very powerful as well, the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken. This paints an image of a loving father, God, taking us, worn out and run-down and wrapping his loving arms around us.
Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
You are not alone! Run to your loving Father!
Never underestimate the enemy...
"For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)
Satan and his demons are always looking for ways to either keep us in darkness or turn us from the Light. Never underestimate their "craftiness". As our life progresses, we'll begin to understand the tools of their trade better, and be able to fend off many of their attacks early on. Whether it's money, lust, addiction, etc., we'll generally recognize the temptation being put in front of us, and be able to "flee" from it (if we know what's good for us). But unfortunately, it's not ALWAYS that easy.
When the enemy knows you're too strong a Christian to be swayed by those more "ordinary tools", he'll look for other ways to attack you. The devil knows your "sore spots". He knows your past. He knows all about your wounds (perhaps some fresh yet), your grudges, grievences and horrible mistakes. He'll create very elaborate and very specific situations to "pick, pick, pick" away at those sores. He'll even enlist the help of your friends, family members and spouses (willing participants or not)! Once this type of plan is put into motion, it can be very difficult to detect. Many times you won't sense it until you're smack dab in the middle of it, because your emotions are running sky high!
When you "feel" yourself being drawn into a situation that could cause conflict, or result in a sin being committed, try to hit the breaks if you still can. Think about how Jesus would handle it from there. Are you responding in love (best you can) or with anger, vengence and any other emotion that's all stoked up now? Remember your sore spots and think, "is this what satan is up to, picking at a sore spot that hasn't healed or I haven't let go of yet"? The stronger you become as a Christian, the more diabolical the enemy must become to get you to stumble.
The good news (pun intended) is that no matter what "scheme" the devil comes up with, we too have tools at our disposal. I personally begin with prayer. Not only for God's guidance in the situation, but also for discernment if He wants me to learn something from this. Next, I'll go to the Bible and begin reading right where I've left off (as it's amazing how often it speaks to what's going on). Lastly, I'll seek out various devotions for that day, and maybe even listen to a recent online message I haven't gotten around to yet. These are all very powerful weapons in your battle against the snake (and don't be shy about using them ALL when the time comes)!
Sometimes, a solution will become apparent right away. Sometimes, you'll have have to look back and study what developed, how it all went down, and how YOU personally responded. In the end, you may say, "ok Lord, I understand what you needed me to LEARN from this. Thank you!" And then sometimes, even after unleashing our full arsenal at the enemy, the situation refuses to resolve itself. It's at these times that we need to reach out to other Christians for their support, prayers and thoughts about what's going on. "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17) There is no shame in seeking others input and help, as NOBODY is immune from satan's attacks.
"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)
Don't try to fight these battles all on your own (especially when the enemy refuses to relent). Ask for God's guidance and then call on your brothers and sisters in Christ for support. And lastly, no matter how ferocious the attack may become, never forget that "if God is for us, who can possibly stand against us."
No matter what satan does or tries to do to us "now", ultimately he loses BIG TIME in the end!
How did you do today?
Each day we have a "choice". We can choose activities (and even thoughts) that will lead us closer to God or move us further away from Him. We will "stumble" from time to time (therein lies God's grace), but each day we should be striving to move just a little bit closer to Him than we were the day before.
How did you do today? ♥🕆♥
Will you take His call?
“If you had the power to change yourself without God’s help, Jesus wouldn’t have had to come. The whole story of the gospel in Scripture is a story of people who are desperately trapped in sin and have no hope except the rescuing grace of the Redeemer.”
Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies #devotions
Quick Bible study...
Read the middle of this card and then take a few minutes to think about what that means for your life.
Next, look up the Bible verses in this order: upper left (Matthew 6:33), upper right (Jeremiah 29:13) and then lower left (John 3:16). Stop here. Feel free to write them down as you go along. Again, take a few minutes to think about what all these verses mean for (and in) your life.
Do you see a progression from the first to the last verse? Do you think that these verses have affected your life yet? If not (or you aren't sure), then look up the last verse on the card (Romans 10:9-10).
No matter where you are in your journey of faith, I pray that you end up right there.
Pray it "and" believe it! No matter what you've done so far in life, or what the world has in store for you moving foward, this is the ONE verse that will make all the difference in your life now "and' forever!
Start, or keep, seeking a relationship with Jesus. He's the one who will never leave you, will always love you, and is in fact, pursuing "you"! Stop running, invite Him into your life and believe in the salvation that only He can provide.
One last verse (and I won't make you look this one up), Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
I believe most of us are guilty of this (I know I am #grace). Why do we think small when our God is so BIG!
Is it that hard to believe a God who created the heavens and earth can't fix the seemingly unfixable, heal the seemingly unhealable, or even redeem someone who seems to us beyond redemption?
Let's pray big in our prayers, while honestly seeking God's face, and then let His will be done through our joyful acceptance of the answer. ♥🕆♥
Good question we should be asking ourselves each and every day. ♥🕆♥
"By your thoughts and your actions, are you moving closer, or further away from God?" 🤔
Suffering and Sanctification:
When struggles seem overwhelming, we need to remind ourselves that these struggles serve a purpose in making us stronger, wiser, and in the perfect image that God has intended for each and everyone of His children.
THE TEACUP STORY
There was a couple who used to go to England to shop in the beautiful stores. They both liked antiques and pottery and especially teacups. This was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. One day in this beautiful shop they saw a beautiful teacup.
They said, "May we see that? We've never seen one quite so beautiful." As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke. "You don't understand," it said. "I haven't always been a teacup. There was a time when I was red and I was clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over and I yelled out, 'Let me alone', but he only smiled, 'No, Not yet.'
"Then I was placed on a spinning wheel," the teacup said, "and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. Stop it ! I'm getting dizzy!!! I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, 'No, Not yet.'
Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat! I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and I yelled and knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head, 'No, Not yet.'
Finally the door opened, he put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. 'There, that's better', I said. And he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible! I thought I would gag. 'Stop it, stop it!' I cried. He only nodded, 'No, Not yet.'
Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I knew I would suffocate. I begged! I pleaded! I screamed! I cried! All the time I could see him through the opening nodding his head saying, 'No, Not yet.'
Then I knew there wasn't any hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up. But the door opened and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour later he handed me a mirror and I couldn't believe it was me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful!!!'
'I want you to remember, then,' he said, 'I know it hurts to be rolled and patted, but if I had left you alone, you would have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I knew it hurt and was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked.
I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened; you would not have had any color in your life. And if I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you wouldn't survive for very long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.
No matter what...
ALL of us have done things in our lives we are not proud of. Maybe we continue to do much of that "stuff" and then go to bed each night (or wake up in the morning) discouraged and depressed. How can anyone possibly love us? Maybe some people in our lives say they no longer love us. Maybe we don't even love oursleves any longer.
How do we recover from ALL this? Well, the first thing to remember is you are NOT alone. You are "truly" never alone. I'm not saying there won't be times when it'll feel like that, but you aren't. Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” The bottom line is God loves you. God will never foresake you nor leave you. "Other" people in your life may decide they don't love you any longer, and perhaps even leave you (in spite of your efforts), but God will NEVER be one of those people. There is nothing you have ever done in your past to "change" God's mind for His love for you. There is nothing you are CURRENTLY doing to change God's mind for His love for you.
Make God THE priority in your life, starting "today", if you haven't yet. You can try to do everything else under the sun to "improve" yourself or "fix" what is broken, BUT if you haven't made God your priority in your life, all these other "fixes" will inevitably fail.
"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." Matthew 6:33
Where is your focus?
1Corinthians 14:33 “God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”
Do you ever feel confused or overwhelmed? We all do at times. How can you know peace when nothing in life is meeting your expectations. Maybe you experience a loss or are dealing with a ton of change. I have had nights where I couldn’t fall asleep because I felt so overwhelmed by what was happening in my life.
It reminds me of the times when the disciples were crossing the lake in the boat and the storm rose up and tossed them around. Now these were experienced fisherman so they were used to handling rough waters, but these storms such as in Mark 4 were beyond what they would normally face. The storm is crashing all around them. The boat is taking on water. The disciples are scrambling trying to stay afloat as they are fearing for their very lives! They are on their own right? Jesus left them? No! -Jesus is fast asleep. The disciples wake him up in astonishment that he is sleeping. Doesn’t he care that they are taking on water and that it seems like all hope is lost? Have you ever been there?
Our storms may look different, but aren’t there times when we feel like we are going to drown from the waves of life that are crashing around us? We may wonder, God how can you let this happen? Or as the disciples were probably yelling at him- How in the world can you be sleeping at a time like this! Then what does Jesus say to the storm? “Peace, be still”. The storm calms down and Jesus asks them why they are afraid, why is their faith weak? A short time later in Mark 6 Jesus sends the disciples out across the sea and a storm arises, and Jesus walks on the water. Peter was brave enough to get out of the boat and even walk on the water. He did great as long as he kept his focus on Jesus; however when he started to lose perspective and focus on the storm that was crashing around him he sank.
We wish having the Prince of Peace would mean having no troubles. What gets me in these stories is that the disciples were going exactly where Jesus wanted them to go. Following Jesus lead them into the storm. Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.”
Where is your focus? If it’s not on him you will sink. To fully trust will require times to “Be still, and know that He is God.”-Psalm 46:10
Excerpt from "Be Lifted High"
Don't rush it ...
Not only do we need to trust God's path for us (Jeremiah 29:11), but also His timing as we go along through life.
When we find ourselves spinning our wheels or running in place, there's a reason. It could be God is working on another part of our life right now (maybe He's trying to reach a family member or wants to "deepen" our relationship with Him). He could also be seeing how we we handle a "wait" when it comes to trusting Him. Or maybe, it just isn't safe to proceed at the moment and God is letting certain "things" fall into place (or get out of the way) before giving the GREEN light.
Be grateful for these "stalls" in life. Use that time to draw yourself ever closer to God, and wait paitently WITH Him until He decides the time is right to move forward.
Do you know?
What's your purpose in life? If you're not sure yet, ask Him! You may not get an immediate answer, but I promise that if you keep asking God to guide your path, that you WILL find out.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
You are never alone...
and, takes your soul because it's "keeping" you from Christ, so stop listening to the enemy's lies.
No matter what satan has gotten you into (alcohol, sex , drugs, "selfishness" in general), Jesus is on the ready to intercede on your behalf. It's never too late. God loves you and wants to help.
All you have to do is "ask". ♥🕆♥
April 18th, 2018
God is not a "genie" folks.
We shouldn't just pray when we have a wish to make.
Why do we many times only seek Him when we need something, while the rest of the time we don't (or rarely) acknowledge all that He's ALREADY blessed us with?
I know I've been guilty of this.
How about you? Are you praying to God only when you need something, or are you diligently seeking His face each and every day?
Don't get me wrong, God is ALWAYS happy to hear from you! But maybe we shouldn't use God as some kind of arcade game, where we drop in a quarter or two from time to time and then "expect" a miracle over the next 24 hours. Not saying it can't happen, as with God ALL things are possible, but why not start, or perhaps deepen, your relationship with Jesus well before you are in "need"?
God is always in pursuit of you, so make just a "little" room for Him in your life and then watch Him work .♥🕆♥
Which way do "you" run?
We all make mistakes. Of course, some are bigger than others, but the fact is they are going to happen (in spite of our best efforts). What we do when we make a mistake is what's important. Do we acknowledge the mistake, repent and attempt to fix it or do we ignore it and hope that it goes away?
We may be able to get away with the second option if the mistake is small enough, say we ate a pizza during our diet, we ran out of gas when we noticed the needle was on "E", or maybe we show up at class one morning and forgot to study for a scheduled test! In each circumstance, though may be troubling at the moment, are most likely recoverable on our own. The scale will tell us the pizza was a mistake so we'll head to the gym. We had the forsight to renew our AAA coverage the prior month, so even though we'll have to wait a bit, gas is on the way. And, though we had forgotten to study for the test, we have been aceing the quizzes leading up to it, and have been paying attention in class, so we aren't completely unprepared. Mistakes of this magnitude usually turn out to be good life "lessons" more than life "changing" events.
But what happens when our mistakes are more significant. What if we get addicted to drugs or alcohol? What if we can't stop looking at online "images" that we know we shouldn't be looking at? What if, after a long love affair with our spouse, the marriage ends? Suffice it to say these are MUCH bigger mistakes. How did you deal with them? Or, should I say "have" you dealt with them? Or are you going to hope they somehow disappear?
When these (or a similarily serious mistake) arises DO NOT, under any circumstances, "run" from God. Our natural instinct is to hide ourselves in shame, probably continue the behavior, and attempt to remedy the mistake all on our own. We may have short term success but ultimately that'll fail and we'll end up feeling even worse because of the failed effort to recover. Now more than ever is the time to run towards God, as fast as you can. The best part is, because He's been pursuing you all along, you won't have far to run! Confess and then "release" this mistake onto God. There's nothing you could have done that will change His love for you. Draw Him into your fight against your addiction or to help recover from a failed relationship. God knows you're in pain, and He also knows how to start fixing things, but YOU need to trust Him. YOU need to ask Him for the help. And, most importantly, YOU need to commit your life and time to Him so He can begin His work.
Are you ready?