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Let. It. Go.


As I was reading my Bible this morning, I came across a scripture I have read many times.  In fact, I went back through four different Bibles and I had highlighted this scripture in each one.  Although I have obviously read the scripture and it apparently stood out to me, this morning….on this day, it was as if I read it for the first time.

 

You see, I’ve had a rough year.  So much has happened this year.  Heartbreaking, life-changing things have happened.  It would be easy for me to look back on all I’ve been through and allow myself to get stuck in the trials.  To throw a big ole pity party.  Nurse those wounds just enough to function, yet keeping them open to the pain, hurt, and anger.

The problem with nursing those wounds, hanging on to hurtful words, clinging for dear life to each and every instance you feel you have been mistreated……….is that it takes over your life.  Your problems and trials aren’t something you are dealing with for a moment.  They become who you are.  They claim your joy and can rob you of peace.  When your spirit is filled with bitterness, anger, and malice, there is no room for love.

And it’s not just the actions and hurts of others that can gain this victory over us.  Often, we inflict these feelings on ourselves.  Maybe we have made poor choices.  In recognizing them, we inflict a punishment of self-loathing and self-condemnation.  We can with-hold forgiveness from ourselves for our poor choices and sin in our life.

No matter the source of your struggle, it’s important to recognize this is not all there is.  Life is about so much more than holding on to hurt.  This verse I stumbled across by chance (I was reading in Psalm and came across it in Isaiah as I was flipping through pages.) tells us not to dwell on the past.  To forget the former things.  I see this as explicit permission, even a command to let it go.  Why?  Because freedom is found in forgiveness.  Freedom for your soul.  It frees you up to move on with your life.  To look forward to a positive, hopeful future.

The scripture then goes on to say that God is doing a NEW thing.  He has something NEW for us waiting.  And I assure you, when God has something for you, it’s something good.  No, something AMAZING.    The key is looking forward, taking a step away from the hurts of the past, and finding hope.  God has something better for you.  Are you ready to receive it?

I urge you to search your heart for those old hurts that hold you back.  Pray for freedom and forgiveness so that you will be ready for the new things God has waiting for you.  Pray for me as I set out on the same endeavor.  Victory is found in following Him.  And I’m ready for it!

 

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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Daily Devotions

 

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It’s not Burger King….. Have it ‘His Way’, not ‘Your Way’!


Even when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He still stayed two days longer in the same place where He was.   —John 11:6, AMP

So many things about God are a complete mystery.  The choices He makes…. in His time, not ours.  His will and plan oft times confuse us to our very core because it simply makes little sense to us.  After all, if He would just listen to us, let us tell Him what we need, when we need it, everything would be a bed of roses, right?!

God is like a breeze that blows in.  You may not see where He comes from, but there is no mistaking He is there.  His timing IS always perfect.  So why, is this perfect timing often so frustrating?

When times are hard and you feel like you cannot endure, the knowledge that just one word from Him could completely turn your circumstances around and solve all your troubles……..yet He doesn’t move??  Frustrating!  God is completely unpredictable.  He is not a fast food restaurant where you can order what you want and have it ‘your way’.  You can’t just say a prayer, ordering your needs or desires, and He delivers in less than thirty minutes.

This is so hard for us to accept and embrace when we are in the midst of trying times, heartache, and sorrow.  We cry out to Him for help, to fix our problems.  To rush in and rescue us.  When He is silent, our hearts wonder, “Why?”.  When we want so desperately to trust Him, but He seems to be quiet in the midst of our problems, it’s easy for feelings of betrayal to creep in.

During these times, it’s important for us to remember the greatness and majesty of our God.  As challenging as it is to wait on Him and His timetable for our life, do we have the right to expect Him to be at our beck and call? Who are we to question His ways and His timing?  The trials and problems we are faced with just might be part of His plan to teach us a lesson along the way.  Maybe it’s patience.  Faith.  Trusting in Him completely.  If He jumped in and fixed every situation for us immediately, we might miss out on the big plan He has for us.  As much as it hurts in the moment, hardships and trials are opportunities for exponential growth in our relationship with Him.  But it begins with trust.

We cannot anticipate what God will do next in our lives.  We cannot see all He sees.  But we know we can rely on His heart.  Even in those times we aren’t getting our prayer ‘orders’ filled as quickly as we would like, He is there to comfort us and calm our anxious thoughts.

His character is unchanging.

His love is un-moving.

His goodness is ever-present.

His mercies are new each day.

Even when you can’t see His hand at work, keep trusting His heart.  Have faith in His timing.  Because it will never fall short of what is best for your life.  It’s not over yet!

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Daily Devotions

 

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Just Keep Swimming!


When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.  When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.  When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end.     –Isaiah 43:2, MSG

In over your head.

An analogy of an inexpert swimmer who has encountered water that is too deep.

Oh, how often I have found myself ‘in over my head’!!  It’s a common problem for all of us.  Even the Bible had some troubled swimmers.  Eve never expected talking to the serpent would lead to the fall of man.  Joseph never imagined he would be thrown into a pit when he shared his dream with his brothers.

Sometimes we get ourselves into these situations.  You volunteer to help the coaches with the team, but you end up being THE coach.  You make a bad financial decision and now financially, you’re sinking.

Often times, we can look back on the situation and see a decision we could have made differently.  We see how we should have known better.  Others, we are completely blind-sided.

Even with the best of intentions, we can find ourselves drowning in the burdens, cares, and disasters of life. Circumstances can quickly spiral out of control and although we feel our self quickly sinking, we can’t muster the energy, even the breath to call out for help.   It’s easy to feel alone.  Frozen in fear.  Hopeless.  Abandoned.

During these times, these trials, it’s so important for us to remember the word of God.  His promises to His children.  

When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there.  You are not alone.  No matter how far you fall.

When you are in rough waters, you will not go down.  You will not be given more than you can bear.

When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end.  There is light at the end of the tunnel, be it ever so faint!  He will always give you a way out!

During the past week.  I HAVE felt like I was drowning.  The waters of my life have been so rough, that each time I managed a small breath, I was once again overcome by rough waters…. too deep for me to find a foothold.  My rock and a hard place was more like a huge boulder and a brick wall…. so large I could not see a hint of daylight.  My circumstances and situation have not changed.  In fact, as each day passes, I can feel the situation becoming more hopeless.

But then, I randomly opened my Bible, and this scripture is what I found.  God speaking to me.

I am not alone. I will not drown.  He is my foothold. He will be my light to find my way out.  No dead ends!  Satan can take his hopelessness and flee because God is at my side.  And He never fails!!

Today, I urge you to memorize this scripture.  I surely am.  What a wonderful promise of God to claim in times of despair!   And in the famous words of my friend, Nemo…………..

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Daily Devotions

 

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Hiding Places


So they asked the LORD, “Where is he?”    And the LORD replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.”     1 Samuel 10:22 NLT

In our scripture verse today, Saul was doing his best to hide from being chosen as king.  The lots were cast, he was chosen, yet he was hiding among the baggage.  When the people could not find him, they asked God.  Of course, He knew Saul was hiding and He knew right where he was at.  What Saul didn’t know, didn’t realize, is that you can’t hide from God.

Have you ever been guilty of doing something, saying something, or even thinking something you were so ashamed of, that you hoped no one would ever find out?  We would rather forget these things ever happened.  We wish we could take back those words, or erase the thoughts from our mind.  Many have had things happen to them that they don’t want to remember.  Sometimes we can be so hurt, so mistreated, it would be easier to forget it than to deal with the guilt, shame, and even the scars left behind.

Often times, when faced with these circumstances, we hide.  We allow the shame, the guilt, and the fear of exposure to drive our actions, so we hide.  From each other.  From ourselves.  And from God.  After all, if we can keep it hidden, we can pretend it’s not there, right?  We do everything we can to bury the feelings, bury the guilt, bury the pain.

But God knows all our hiding places.  God knows all our faults.  Every thought, word, and deed.  He knows.  No matter how hard we struggle to keep them hidden.  He knows about the most embarrassing thing we have ever done.  He knows our shame.  He also knows our pain.

The good news is that even after we have come to Him.  Given our life to Him.  Put our faith in Him.  He is still knocking on the door of our soul.  He longs for us to come out of our hiding places and bear our deepest, darkest, and most painful secrets.  He already knows them anyway.  He longs for us to share with Him, not to humiliate us, but to offer healing and comfort.

When we share our hearts with Him, our WHOLE heart, we open ourselves up to the fullness of His power in our lives.  The power of His presence.  The power of love, mercy, and forgiveness.  The power of grace. It’s a mighty, healing power found only in Him.

We can choose to live our life hiding.  Trying desperately to hide the pain, the shame, and the guilt.  But we will be so busy keeping hidden, that we are exhausted.  And ultimately miss out on God’s best for our life.  Invite Him in. Even into your hiding places in your soul.  He is waiting.

 

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Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Daily Devotions

 

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I WANT it, and I WANT it NOW!!!


 

We live in an instant society.  We want everything in a hurry.

We log onto the internet and can open multiple pages at a time.  While you wait for a YouTube video to load, you can read the news, catch up on the latest gossip via Facebook, and even shop on Amazon.  No waiting.  We expect to drive through and pick up a quick dinner in less than five minutes.  We rarely use the stove to warm food…after all, the microwave produces heated food in a minute or two.  Don’t have the money saved to buy a new TV?  No worries.  You can run down and sign up for no payments and no interest for 6 months.  Take the TV home today and pay later.  No waiting.

Waiting is not something Americans are comfortable with.  So it’s no wonder, that when it comes to life choices, we don’t want to wait.  We want that perfect spouse NOW.  We want that new house NOW.  We want to be successful NOW.

But sometimes God answers our prayers by saying, “Not now.  Wait.”

This answer to prayer is a very hard one to accept.  We don’t understand why God would make us wait….and wait….and wait.  Often waiting is followed by giving up.  We become frustrated and decide for ourselves that we know better than Him.  If He won’t give us the answer now, we will do it ourselves.  It’s during those times that we often make life choices we later regret.

So why does God force us to wait on answers?  Why do we have to wait for what He has for us?

My pastor has been preaching on finding the will of God.  And this past Sunday, he brought something up I had never really thought of before.  We are constantly asking God to show us what He wants of us.  What to do.  We are constantly asking Him for the desires of our heart.  Yet, we often don’t do what He tells us.  The Bible is full of His instruction on how to live our life.  How often do we ignore what the Bible says because it’s not something we want to do?  It’s hard.  Being obedient to His word is uncomfortable, so we ignore His instruction that is clearly in black and white and pray and ask Him to send us a sign, a direction. Have you ever thought that He just may be making you wait because He is waiting for you to be obedient?

God wants us to be faithful and obedient to Him.  He wants us to use the Bible to help guide us and govern our life choices. When we choose our timing instead of His, we can miss the blessings He has in store for us.  When we refuse to wait on God, we will always be settling for second best.  His will is always better than anything we can do for ourselves. His will for our life includes following His commandments.

Even when it’s hard.

Even when it’s not what we want.

Even when we have to wait.

Follow Him.

Be obedient to Him.

Wait on Him.

 

You must be willing to wait without giving up.  After you have done what God wants you to do, God will give you what He promised you.                    –Hebrews 10:36

 

 

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Posted by on February 1, 2012 in Daily Devotions

 

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He is There!


Stressed.

Frightened.

Anxious.

Overwhelmed.

Worried.

Discouraged.

Down-hearted.

Defeated.

Have you ever had a time in your life, even just a day in your life, where all these negative emotions were bombarding you all at once?  Have you ever felt that everything was against you?  No matter how hard you try, something always knocks your legs out from under you?

At times I feel like these things are my forever companions.

Everyday chaos of life.  Bad news.  Tragedy.  Trials.

There are so many things in life just waiting to give you a good punch in the gut.  To grab you by the ankles and pull you under just when you get your head above water.  You are fine one minute, the next you are drowning in the burdens of life.

Often times these feelings, these emotions are screaming so loudly in my ear, they almost drown out God’s voice of comfort and peace.  If I allow the problems of life to take over, it’s very easy to think God isn’t there.  After all, I can’t hear Him with all in my life that’s pulling me in every direction, screaming…

WORRY!

YOU’LL NEVER MAKE IT!

YOU CAN’T TAKE ANYMORE!

HOW WILL YOU EVER SURVIVE THIS?

YOU HAVE TO FIX THIS!

THINGS WILL NEVER GET BETTER.

YOU ARE DEFEATED.

The Bible tells us…..Be still and know that I am God.  (Psalm 46:10)

Be still.

Stop thinking about your problems.

Stop letting anxiety overtake you.

Just be still.

Meditate on Him.

He is God.  Nothing you face in life is too big, too hard for Him.  And He will carry you through it.  When life threatens to overtake you, consume you with pain and worry, seek Him.  The Bible is full of promises.  Promises of love, comfort, and peace.  Even amidst the trials.

Take your fear, your worry, your problems….and lay them at His feet.

Take those promises and claim them.

Stop listening to the screams. 

He is there.  To love you when you feel unloved.

He is there.  With the strength you need to overcome.

He is there.  To help you in your time of need.

He is there.   When your heart is breaking.

He is there.  Whispering…..

I love you.  You CAN do this.  You WILL get through this.  There is hope.  I will give you peace. 

Be still.  And hear His voice.

 

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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Daily Devotions

 

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Judge Not!


 

**This post comes from a devotional book one of my boys has, “Discovering Purpose.” I just picked it up for the first time in a couple of months and it spoke to me so strongly, I thought I would share. Christians can easily turn their backs on others because they stand in judgment and somehow believe they are better than the non-churched or the lost.  EVERYONE needs Jesus.  It’s only by grace you are saved.  Not who you are.  Not where you come from.  His grace is free to ANYONE who seeks.  It’s important for us to remember we are called to BRING OTHERS TO HIM and LOVE OTHERS!  Not just those we deem worthy.  Let us rejoice when someone seeks Him, for whatever reason.  I’ve seen many, many walk in the church doors because they were forced to come by a family member, to impress a boyfriend/girlfriend, or just because they want to hang-out with a friend…..and God changed their life!  God can do ANYTHING for ANYONE. When you make someone feel unwelcome or unwanted or simply uncomfortable when they come to church, you just might be responsible for running them off from God.  We should always be careful not to stand in the way of God’s plan!  Instead, let’s devote ourselves to being apart of it!

Stop judging others, and you will not be judged.  Stop criticizing others, or it will all come back on you.  If you forgive others, you will be forgiven.     —Luke 6:37

Here’s something worth thinking about:  If you judge other people harshly, God will judge you in the same fashion.  But that’s not all (thank goodness!).  The Bible also promises that if you forgive others, you, too, will be forgiven.  Have you developed the bad habit of behaving yourself like an amateur judge and jury, assigning blame and condemnation wherever you go?  If so it’s time to grow up and obey God. 

When it comes to judging everything and everybody, God doesn’t need your help… and He doesn’t want it.  So the next time you’re beset by the temptation to judge another human being’s motives, catch yourself before you make that mistake.  Don’t be a judge, be a witness.

You’re ability to judge others requires a divine insight that you simply don’t have.  So do everybody (including yourself) a favor:  don’t judge.

 

 

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Posted by on January 18, 2012 in Daily Devotions

 

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