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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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Boldly Live


 

Yesterday was the second candle lighting for Advent at our church.  My boys had been assigned that candle.  So, each member of the family contributed.  The baby boy (almost eleven) was excited.  An eager beaver.  He was going to sing, “Seek Ye First” with his dad.  As the day approached, anxiety set in.  By the eve of the service, he was scared silly.  I was sure he would back out.

He didn’t.   You could see the fear in his little eyes getting up there in front of others.  My older son and I joined them, just to help him get through it.  He braved it.  And made it.

And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers  here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.  — Phillippians 1:14

Last night, before bed, he shared with me about just how frightened he really was.  He said he had been sick at his stomach all week worrying over it.  But on Wednesday at church, the teacher had taught them about boldness.  How even when Paul was imprisoned he still spoke boldly for God.  And how he inspired others to do the same.  He told me he knew he had to do it.  So, he kept reading and re-reading this scripture from Phillippians.  He highlighted it in his Bible.  He prayed every night for the courage to follow through.  He even taped the scripture on the inside of his bedroom door to remind himself.  He said, “I don’t think I did too bad and I don’t think I did too good.  But I know God was proud of me for being bold for him.”

I was amazed.  He had not come to me or his dad until the night before to let us know he was shaky.   This ten year old little boy, just a babe in Christ, was growing in his relationship with the Savior.  He knew he could only draw strength from God.

As the night wore on, I couldn’t get this off my mind.  We all have things that shake us to our very core with fear.  Fear robs us of so many things in life.  Satan does his best to keep that cloud of the unknown, the fear hanging over our heads.  If he can keep us there, frozen in fear, we are of no use to God.

Often what we fear the most is following God in the plans He has for us.  Trusting Him completely.  Our plans, our ways, are much more comfortable.  We can control the plans we have for ourselves.  When we decide in our hearts and minds, God’s plans are too hard, too uncomfortable, too much for us to handle.  We are closing the door for Him to show His power in our lives.  We are closing the door on our ability to grow in our relationship with Him.

In my youth group, I see this all the time.  Kids are devoted to everything.  But God.  They can attend functions only if it doesn’t interferre with basketball, football, cheer, FFA, showing animals, band, rodeos, parties, hunting, boyfriends, girlfriends.  The list goes on.  And they think they are admirable for being devoted to those things.  They put their 100% into doing their best, being prepared to the best of their ability for all these things.  And they have nothing left for God.  They have no time for Him.  And they think that’s ok.  It’s easy to do.  It’s expected.  Their teachers, their friends, and even their parents do not expect or encourage them to live boldly for Christ.  Making a stand for God is scary.  It’s hard.  And it’s unexpected.

We adults are no different.   Our kids see us putting everything else before God so why shouldn’t they do the same?  Serving God, praising God, following God are afterthoughts.  Something to do when we have time or feel like it.  Do we actually live a life of boldness for Christ?  Do we actually face those fears satan plants in our hearts, step out of our comfort zone, and follow Him?  Oh, how our lives would be different if we did.  Every day.   We could change our world.

As I reflect on my own life, I don’t want to say, I chose to live in fear.  I chose to follow my own plans for my life.  I know better than God.

I want to choose to live boldly for God.  And that means putting Him first.  Following Him, no matter how scary the path.  As I reflect on my relationship with God, I hope to have the boldness of a ten year old boy who could have easily said NO to God.  No one would blame him.  But instead, he chose God.  To follow Him.  To be obedient to Him.   If you are a Christian, you must be bold.  You must step out and do something for God.  Stop making excuses.  Stop putting it off.  Stop putting everything else before God.  Stop letting the fear of following Him with all you have keep you stagnant.

It’s time to grow.

The time is now.

 

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Daily Devotions

 

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Do-Over, Please


But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.    —Romans 5:8

Have you ever felt unworthy?  Undeserving?  Have you ever been fearful that if only people found out about the REAL you…your innermost thoughts and desires, the hidden sins in your life, that you would be an outcast?  You would be unloved and uncared for?

When you look back on your past do you see all the mistakes, all the sin, all the messes you’ve made?  I know anytime I take a peek backwards, I pinpoint all the bad choices I made, many of them life-altering.  I can easily become angry and even disgusted with myself because in hindsight, those mistakes were so silly, so unnecessary. If only I could have a do-over.

It’s very easy to become burdened with past failures.  We become so burdened, so grieved over our failures, that we decide we are not good enough to serve God.  He could never use us.  We are too tarnished.  Too far gone.  We convince ourselves that we are unworthy and unusable.

Well, guess what?  We are ALL unworthy.  We are all unusable.  You and me.  You worry if people only knew?   Well, God does.  He sees all.  He knows each and every desire of our heart.  The thoughts running through our minds.  He hears every word that falls from our lips.  He sees every action, no matter how discreet……..and he knows the motivations of our hearts, too.

We ARE unworthy of His love.  We ARE unfit and unusable for His kingdom.

Until Christ enters our hearts and lives.

Christ is the game changer.

The most amazingly awesome thing about Christ is He knows all these bad things about me,  but He loves me anyway.  During the darkness of my worst sin, in the pit of my life, He loved me and loves me still.  And He paid the price for every sin in our life.  He paved the path to forgiveness and a lifelong relationship with our heavenly Father.

Through Him, we get that do-over.

Suddenly, through Him, His power, we can do ALL things.  Nothing He calls us to do is too big, too hard.  Not because we are suddenly worthy or fit for service, but because our strength comes from Him.  His power and glory will shine through those of us who yield to Him.  We are weak, but He is strong.   We are suddenly not only useful, but needed.  He wants and expects us to help further His kingdom.  He has a plan for you.  A plan to bring you hope.  A future. A plan for great things in your life.

When you take that walk down memory lane, don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the mire of your mistakes.  Seek Him, seek His forgiveness, and look toward the future.  Stay in the word and in prayer.  He will lead you down the path He has for you.  Grab a hold of that do-over and make the most of it.  Through Him, we have a clean slate.  A fresh start.  A new beginning.   You get a new story to write.  Make it something you are proud of.

Live for Him.

In every moment of every day.

Live for Him.

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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Daily Devotions

 

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Mission Possible



But those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.  —-Isaiah 40:31

For nothing is impossible with God.  —-Luke 1:37

As I sat this morning, drinking my coffee, looking over a massive To-Do List for the week ahead,  I began to panic.  Almost hyperventilate.  I was completely discouraged.  My To-Do List is perpetual.  It never ends.  Never sees completion.  No matter how hard I try, I never get to it all.  I am starting the week out with an impossible mission ahead.

Life can make us feel weary and full of dread.  Often before we even begin our day.  Our responsibilities can overwhelm and exasperate us.   Factor in problems, temptations,  and obstacles satan throws in our path to cause us failure, and it often seems hopeless.  I find it very easy to fall into negative thinking:   Why try?  I won’t get it all done anyway? ……I will never make it.  Maybe I should just give it up…..It’s just too hard.  I’m not strong enough…..I can’t face another failure.  I’m sick of trying.

Friends, don’t listen to satan’s lies.  What he wants is for you to give up.  So he can take over and reign in your life.  Yes, the tasks and problems ahead may be overwhelming.

They may be more than you can handle….alone.  But as Christians, we are never alone.

Our hope is found in God.  He is everlasting.  His power is infinite.  He is always there to provide the strength we need….not only to endure, but to soar like eagles.  The most majestic birds of creation.   The Bible tells us NOTHING is impossible for God.  He can handle what life throws at you.  Put your hope in Him.

When you seek Him ~ follow Him ~ stay in His word ~ pray to Him ~wait on Him ~  He will guide you.

He will give you strength for your journey.  He never gets tired!

Even in the small, day-to-day burdens of life, He is there ready and willing to hold you up when you are weary.

Today, set your eyes on Him.  Seek Him.

He will give you strength not only to survive, but to SOAR!!!

 

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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Daily Devotions

 

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Spilled, But Not Swept Away



 

Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away, instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from Him. ——–2 Samuel 14:14

Don’t cry over spilled milk.

I’ve heard this saying more times than I care to count. It’s easier said than done.Often times, the messes of our lives are worthy of tears. Often the tears are spilling themselves. The Bible tells us there is a season for all things. There is a season for sadness and mourning. We may be mourning the loss of a loved one to death, divorce, addictions, or even to pure selfishness. We may be mourning the consequences of bad decisions made in our lives. Often we are forced to live with the consequences of the bad choices someone else in our life has made. Sadly, those we love often hurt us the most.

The Bible compares our lives to spilled water on the ground. We cannot go back and change what has happened in the past. What’s done is done. If you need to mourn the loss of that season in your life, do so. If you have made mistakes, learn from them.

The awesome thing about God is no matter the mess we make of our lives, no matter the mess someone else makes of our life….He already has a plan to bring you back to Him. He always provides a way. Look for it. Reach for it. And hang on to HIM.

So, today, I’m going to tell you…if you need to cry over the mess of your life….do it. But don’t stop there. Don’t stay there. The future is not found in perpetually grieving over what you have lost or in past mistakes.

The future is found in Him.  Have faith.

Shed your tears and look to Him. Reach for Him. Lean on Him. Hang on to Him for dear life in your desperate moments.

He will hold you, heal you, and prepare you for the great things He has ahead for YOU!!

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2011 in Daily Devotions

 

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Don’t let your PAST determine your FUTURE!!


Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
    –1 Samuel 16:7

How often in life do we feel inadequate? The mistakes or trials we have been through can hang heavy on our heart and definitely affect the attitudes and actions of our lives. Often times the feelings and burdens on our heart prevent us from being useful for God’s purposes. We feel like if only we could ‘fix’ this area of our life. If only we could stop indulging in shameful behaviors. If only we could repair our relationships first.

We can spend our entire life living in the ‘If only’. Being useful to God is NOT about your ability. It’s about your heart. When God decides to use you for the glory of His kingdom, He can take your willing heart and do extraordinary things!

As a matter of fact, this is His area of expertise. David was an adulterer. Moses was a murderer. Peter denied Christ. Paul persecuted innocents and stood by watching while Stephen was stoned to death simply for his faith in God.

No matter what you have been through, God still wants you.

He still loves you.

And He still wants to use you.

The mess of our lives only gives God a greater opportunity to work through you.  Don’t allow the things man sees, the negative things in your life, things in your past, to determine your path God has an even greater path waiting for you.  But you have to trust Him.  No problem is too big for Him!

If you find yourself deep in sin, seek forgiveness with a sincere heart.

Pick yourself up.

And follow Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2011 in Daily Devotions

 

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Making time for Him…..


Be still and know that I am God.  —Psalm 46:10

Our culture is eat away with busy-ness.  We all move in fast forward and rarely get time to stop and smell the roses.  We have packed schedules, demanding families and friends who are in constant need of our help. Jobs and school devour what is left.

It is very easy to set aside God.  It’s not that we don’t want to do the right thing, but we are just so busy.  If we could only get some rest.  It’s easy for us to skip out on Him.  Quiet time….I would like to, but I have too many other things demanding my attention.  So I set it aside ‘for now’, I tell myself.  If we are honest, we know just how easy it is to turn ‘for now’ into ‘forever’.  Sundays and Wednesdays are given up to take care of ‘catching up’ or just to get some much needed rest.  I know…I’ve done it myself.  I am ashamed to admit how many times I have been guilty of this.

It took me a long time to figure out that until I put God first, I will not be content.  Real joy will elude me.  It’s not that I didn’t know what to do.  I just refused to do it.  What I failed to realize is spending time with God, reading His word, is fuel for my day.  It gives me the strength I need to attack the day.  Those problems that are tossed in your path, the endurance you need to handle them only comes from God.

Spend time with Him.  Your worries and problems….spill your heart out to Him in prayer.  He is ready and able to help you.  Finding time for Him is not nearly as hard as our sinful hearts tell us.  Satan tells us what WE need is more important than spending time with God.

This week, I challenge you to find time to spend with God.  MAKE TIME to read some scripture each day.  When you go to turn on the radio, flip to Christian radio.  Use that music to have your own little worship time for Him.  Pray….while your in the car, on the bus, waiting on someone.  Just do it.  When church time comes, don’t make excuses.  Get up and go.  Spend time with others who are also struggling to put God first.  You can find encouragement in church while being obedient to God.  He is waiting for you……always with arms open wide.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Daily Devotions

 

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