Sometimes you need a crew to help you get through life’s challenges.
Doing life alone can leave you feeling helpless. Comparing it to the process it takes to get my house cleaned up, it reminds me of how God works in our lives to get us aligned with His will. Sometimes, it only takes a little spritz of cleaner here (e.g. more prayer) and a vacuum there (devotions). But, when the hard stuff settles in – like the walls need painting and the shingles are falling off – it’s going to take a crew to get things in shape. Be open to others that God uses to help you reach your purpose. Remember though – you must be in a relationship with Him to discern who they are or what you need to do.
Pray with Thanksgiving, Always
Philippians 4:6 says-
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
This verse is a reminder for us as believers to shelve our anxieties in life and to be in the posture of prayer always. Because we tend to focus on our own needs, we sometimes gloss over the last part about presenting our requests to God ‘with thanksgiving’. I’m sure God listens intently to our needs when we pray – maybe to the extent that sometimes He would like to tell us to stop talking for a minute so He can answer – but let’s not lose sight of the context our requests should be made in. Adding ‘thanksgiving’ to our perspective when we run down our list of wants/needs reframes the request.
For example, when asking God to help you financially – if you add ‘thanksgiving’ to the context you are almost forced to think about the things He is already doing in your life. As you ask God to fix a person you are in a relationship with – adding ‘thanksgiving’ forces you to look at the areas of your life that he has changed or is transforming so you can better minister to them. Being thankful forces us to be content while God is working things out in our lives.
Next time you pray – tell God what you want but tell Him with Thanksgiving! 🌻
The following passage paints a simple picture of our lives when we choose to trust in the Lord.
From Jeremiah 17:5-8 –
This is what the LORD says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
who rely on human strength
and turn their hearts away from the LORD.
6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
in an uninhabited salty land.
7 “But blessed are those who trust in the LORD
and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.
What a great picture of our lives walking in step with God. And what a Promise!
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
and who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry from which you were hewn; – Isaiah 51:1
I love this verse because it reminds me of a saying my mother used to always say to my brother and me when we were growing up, which was “hold your head high because you come from good stock”. It wasn’t because we were different or had anything more than others. No, contrary to that, my family on both sides grew up poor and had to work for every opportunity that came their way – many times through doors that were slammed in their faces. It was her reminder that we should be proud because our identity was rooted deep in our family’s identity, morals, and ethics. We were a family that worked hard, believed in the Lord and were created for a purpose.
Isaiah 51:1 is a reminder to all in the family of Jesus Christ that you are intimately tied to The Rock, Jesus Christ. The quarry you come from is not a dumping ground, trash pit or junkyard – No, it is a mighty and powerful kingdom, filled with love and possibility. The Bible says you are wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and because of that some people are going to hate but keep on walking – head high.
But don’t forget this one important point – remind your haters they are wonderfully made too. They have a purpose. Maybe if they knew this then they wouldn’t hate so much.
“Love Never Fails…” 1 Corinthians 13:8
That is what we need to keep in mind when tragedy or extreme change hits – Love Never Fails. In life, things come suddenly, unexpectedly and leave us speechless trying to understand literally ‘what just happened’ but the one thing we know that we know – Love Never Fails. Praying for cover, wisdom, love, and strength across our nation today.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I am reminded of how much stress a day, that was created to honor love, can also make people crazy as they feel pressured to celebrate it appropriately. It doesn’t matter if you are married, dating or single – it all sometimes makes us wish the day passed by quickly. I have known my husband for over 25 years and I, frankly, ran out of good ideas beyond dinner a while ago. And when did dinner reservations get so hard to make? While it is great to lift up our relationships on Valentine’s Day I believe, to keep them enduring, it should be something we do every day!
I am so glad that we have a Lord that loves us in a way that we don’t have to feel pressured to perform or create the perfect date or event. The Bible tells us in John 15:13:
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Or, as Romans 5:8 says:
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
We were imperfect and still finding ourselves and Jesus died for us to give us life. No reservations needed. Just a simple “Yes, Lord” and a new life begins. No stress or pressure at all.
Silence the Haters. Song of Solomon 4:7 says “You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you”. It bears repeating “there is no flaw in you”. No matter where you are in life “there is no flaw in you”. No matter what others say about you “there is no flaw in you”. That is how God sees you – “there is no flaw in you”. God meets you right where you are and can (and will) do wondrous things!
When I hear this phrase it gives me a wonderful sense of peace – not just because it reiterates the promises of God on how He loves us through our hurts but also what that little word in the middle represents to all of us who go through life’s challenges. That little word ‘but’. That little, three letter word represents so much because it negates whatever was said right before it.
The words after ‘but’ have the power. So – we may be feel broken BUT the power is in the blessings on my life. We may feel unloved BUT God rejoices in our existence. We may feel alone BUT God said He would never leave or forsake us. Believe in the ‘But’ power of God to turn your brokenness into blessings!
What do you do when extreme change visits your existence? I’m not talking about the unexpected change of schedules or even a goal that you have set being sidelined (well maybe that could apply but it depends). I am talking about those things that redefine your future – slowly or in an instant. They can leave you helpless and wondering – what do I next? I have come to understand that it is during these times God asks you to look to Him. The Bible tells us all the time that life is going to be filled with U-turns, sideswipes, and breakdowns. Stuff is going to happen. But He also reminds us that we can weather extreme change because our identity is not rooted in the thing that changed but in His plan for our lives. Don’t get me wrong…I cried like a baby when the two big changes I mention in my book came into my life but I count myself a survivor – not because of me but because God reminded me throughout ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5).
It is a promise God offers to all of us – Believe it!
From my book, “What Just Happened? Living the Redeemed Life (When All Hell Breaks Loose)” – Give your pain, worry, hurt and hope to the Lord. God is your safe place – always. We spend too much time ‘out in the wilderness’ trying to figure out what to do with our pain and hurt. He is our safe place. To hold us, to love us and to guide us. You can trust God with your uncertainty and disappointment. He loves you.
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) says “ Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” What a wonderful promise!