Man is born into trouble.

For hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward. “But if I were you, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. He provides in for the earth; he sends water on the countryside. The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. He catches the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are swept away. Darkness comes upon them in the daytime; at noon they grope as in the night. He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth;
he saves them from the clutches of the powerful. So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth. “Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up;he injures, but his hands also heal. From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will touch you. In famine he will deliver you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the sword. You will be protected from the lash of the tongue, and need not fear when destruction comes.
You will laugh at destruction and famine, and need not fear the wild animals. For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field, and the wild animals will be at peace with you. You will know that your tent is secure; you will take stock of your property and find nothing missing. You will know that your children will be many, and your descendants like the grass of the earth. You will come to the grave in full vigor, like sheaves gathered in season.

“We have examined this, and it is true. So hear it and apply it to yourself.”

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You can ask GOD many things, but he really knows what you need.

There are many prophets in the Bible, and if you ask around who’s the greatest prophet, there will surely be some who will answer Elijah. Most of the prophets from the Bible did not have good lives. They suffer and suffer and suffer in various ways, for the Lord. Yet even among all these stories Elijah stood out the most. Lets not even talk about the great things he had done for God – but just the fact that he was one of only two people stated in the Bible who didn’t die makes him a very unique character. Elijah was also the direct teacher of another well-known great prophet, Elisha; Elijah had already prophesied a Great Drought, revived the son of a widow, had a confrontation with the 450 prophets of Baal, called for fire from the heavens, killed Baal’s prophets by the sword, and brought about a heavy rain, ending the drought. The first two verses of 1 Kings 19 are essentially a death threat by Jezebel and that was the last straw. Something in Elijah snapped and he ran away in fear. In today’s terms we would probably call it a burnout – a major burnout bordering on depression. It was bad enough for him to want to die.

If Elijah prayed for God to take his life, and God listened to his prayer and took his life, would it be considered a suicide or what? Have you ever heard of people who prayed to God, “God, please kill me” ? If a person truly wanted to die – not that I’m advocating it – he’ll likely go ahead and take his own life already. Why pray for God to take your life when you can do it yourself? What kind of psychology is it for a person to pray for God to take his life? Is that really a sign of a person who truly wants to die?

In his misery and fear, in his discouraged and disillusioned state – or as we say today, burnout and depressed; the one he turned to was not the kings or other prophets on earth, but God. In essence, by telling God that he wanted to die, the hidden message was really, God, I can’t take this anymore, please do something to alleviate my sufferings!

But our God is not like that. Our God knows us best. After all, he created us. He knows our true feelings and desires, our deepest needs underneath all the superficial appearances that we keep up – even if our bodies put up an act to fool others, even if our hearts deceive ourselves in a moment of weakness, God can see through all that and understand what we truly need.

Elijah fell alsleep, and all at once an angel touched him and told him to get up and eat. An angel was sent – not to kill him, but to feed him and to restore his energy. Feeding him was a physical replenishment. He would soon have his spiritual replenishment. God personally promised him protection of several layers. On top of that, it was at this point that God told him to anoint Elisha to succeed him as prophet. For the rest of Elijah’s time on earth, Elisha acted as his attendant and disciple, learning from him and at the same time, sharing perhaps a little of his load. God knew what Elijah needed. God gave him what he needed. You can count all of Elijah’s deeds and acts – but perhaps the greatest of all would be his mentoring of Elisha. Elijah never died. Eventually, a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and brought Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind.

You can ask GOD for many things, but he truly knows what you need.

You are not alone. I am with you.

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Lord, thank You for Your encouragement through Your Word and Your Holy Spirit. Thank You too for friendships that lift me up when I’m overwhelmed and down. Amen

Someone to Pray with me

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

These verses linger in my mind as I pray every night. As I pray for my friends and family, I also pray for someone to be there to pray with me.

I met a couple once who were remarkably powerful and effective in their prayer life together. Like the disciples and other believers who joined together constantly in prayer, this couple brought all their needs, praises and requests to God, trusting that he would lead and guide them. They then patiently waited for God’s answers.
In time God blessed this couple with a powerful ministry and Mega- church. The work keeps growing. This couple trusted God for everything, and, in turn, God entrusted them with the important work of caring for the least, which they are doing with all of their hearts. This powerful man is now my mentor and teacher.

It’s one thing to say to your spouse, “I’ll pray for you. It’s another thing to grab your spouse by the hand and say, “Let me pray with you before you go.” Jesus promises us that whenever two or three come together in his name, he will also be there (see Matthew 18:20). Why not invite him into your marriage today through prayer?

Acts 1:14
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

More than conquerors

The Holy Spirit transformation is real. God’s Word tells us that we are “more than conquerors” through Christ who loves us (Romans 8:37). Our new “living” self conquers our old “dead” self. It’s the very same power that raised Lazarus from the dead and parted the Red Sea. That’s the power that lives in you and me!

So where we used to join in the gossip, now we turn the conversation around. Where we used to lie to get out of a commitment, now we just say, “No.” Where we used to lose our temper and speak unkind words, now we stop, listen and then speak truth in love. Where we, though married, used to harmlessly flirt with other people, we now set boundaries with others.
Psalm 139 tells us we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Sin corrupted that creation, but the good news is that Jesus’ work on the cross returns to us the power to live in the fullness of how we were originally made. Free from sin.
Walk confidently in the newness of Resurrection Life!

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

Time with GOD

Time with God is not confined to a prayer time or a few moments reading Scripture. Instead, we are invited to live and move and breathe in Him (Acts 17:28). That means that He is with us as we parent, as we go to work, as we reflect on a beautiful sunset, or as we comfort a friend. As believers, we don’t just have to live. We live in Him, and He lives in us.

Psalm 92:4, “You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.”

Simple thoughts for mismatched personalities

Mismatched personalities in marriage, parenting or in work or friendship situations, can cause frustration, anger and at times, wounded feelings.
Someone who is not wired as we are, does not think like we do and who makes decisions and carries out actions we would never dream of, can rub us the wrong way. It causes our feathers to ruffle and not-so-nice thoughts enter our brains.
Usually, if dealing with a non-family member, we manage to keep our composure and tame our tongues to avoid saying anything we might regret. With our children or spouses however, sometimes we open the floodgates and spew cutting comments, nasty words, criticisms and awful accusations.

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found…” Proverbs 10:12-13a

Love is key to wise responses in a relationship. Because we love God, and others, we should seek to understand when we clash. And ask God for wisdom when we don’t understand. We should love intentionally. Not necessarily in an “ushy-gushy, touchy-feely” way, but in an “I am going to choose to react gently and behave kindly because that is what God is asking me to do” sort of way.
Cementing this thinking in our minds will help us to respond with God’s love and biblical truth. Especially when faced with someone who thinks and acts differently than us.
Will you join me in purposing to stop stirring up strife when it comes to someone in your life? And to choose to love and understand them? Especially when they are oil while you are water.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16

Are you at home

My son just returned home for a quick visit from the Navy. As many service men and women learn, getting home seems like a dream that one day may happen as you move from one duty station to another. As he walked thru the door, he gave me a hug, as most kids and young people never do these days. I guess they know it all by the time they get their license and never look back. I welcomed him home as he replied “Glad to be home, dad” as he released his now manly hug from me. At that instant, deja vu hit me of my first visit back home. Although far from Texas on a pig farm in Oklahoma, I can still remember the look on my dad’s face as I strutted across that muddy field in my dress greens and highly shined shoes to greet him. You have to understand, Nothing matters or can stand in your way when you are coming home.

We can travel the world and run all our lives, but we’re never truly settled until we make a house into a home and keep a lifelong pledge to the One to whom our heart truly belongs. In God, we have all good things, including the gift of love—God’s love.

There really is no place like home. I’ve come to know this with great certainty as my love for You, Jesus, has grown. You’re my favorite place to be. That’s because You are where I am most at home … You are where my heart is settled, comforted and loved.

I vow to always keep You as my home base. To never stray emotionally, physically, or in my thoughts.

I vow to keep You as the center of my home. To seek You every day with all my heart, mind and soul, and to serve You with all that’s within me.

I vow to keep my home clean from doubt, strife and unnecessary cares, and will fill it with believing the best about You, humility, and prayerfulness.

I vow to willingly submit to You as head of my life, to lean on You, and not be stubborn. And to allow You to serve me.

I vow to stay healthy and keep active, inviting You into my everyday activities.

I vow to dream and plan and pray for my future with You.

I vow to love mercy, act justly, and to walk humbly with You.

I vow to let You know every day just how very much I love and honor You. And to thank You for all the wonderful things about You that make You … YOU!

If home is where the heart is, then my heart will always be with You.

I don’t know where you stand with God right now … how near or far you are. But I know from experience, the further away you are, the more lost you will feel. Today, let’s run to Christ—and make or renew our vows to Him.

“I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people” Psalm 116:14

Only God can fill our hearts with kind of love.

We spend years chasing things we think will make us feel loved. Chasing love outside the will of God invites so much into our lives that is the exact opposite of love. But everything this world offers is temporary, and will leave our souls dry, crying out to God, “I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land” (Psalm 143:6).
The kind of love our souls crave is lasting, eternal. And only God can fill up our hearts with that kind of love.
First Corinthians 13:4-8 is a picture of God’s perfect love. It is patient and kind. It does not envy … it is not self-seeking … it does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth … it always protects and perseveres. Love never fails.
This is not a description of what is inherently ours when we fall in love with a person. It’s a description of God’s love.
Because our souls were designed for God’s fulfilling love, if we aren’t staying closely connected to Him, our hearts will start to feel empty, Restless, Unfulfilled, and Parched.
Let us never think we are beyond being tempted. If we’re honest, we’re only a few bad decisions away from the same mess my friend is untangling herself from.
The kind of love our souls crave will never be found in the things of this world. Lasting, satisfying love will only be found when we stop chasing others or possessions, and thirst for the things of God.
Dear Lord, please help me see my relationship for the sacred gift that it is. Help me to remain faithful in a way that honors You and brings joy to my home. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

The LORD will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever

Psalm 138:8 says that God will work out His plans for my life. I don’t have to manipulate, plot and devise.
Regardless of my desperate circumstances, anxiety, or longing, there is a better way than my own. One popular Bible story encourages me to pray and then wait on the Lord.
Moses’ mother and his sister, Miriam, expected that God would protect baby Moses when they put him in a basket and sent it down the Nile River, hoping to hide him from a murderous ruler.
Miriam watched the baby float away, all the while waiting for God to take control of the desperate situation. His sister’s faith was rewarded by an amazing turn of events and his mother’s trust in God paved the way for a Hebrew slave to become an Egyptian ruler (Exodus 2:1-10). This would not have happened without Moses’ mother’s and sister’s patience and dependence on God.
It’s easy to rush to fix our own circumstances—contriving for the outcome we desire. But too often, in so doing, we tangle ourselves into ever-growing webs and create trouble or chaos. Let’s learn from Moses’ wise family by following their pattern:
• Expecting God to act.
• Waiting for God to deliver.
• Trusting that God’s timing is best.
I don’t know what spurs you on to contrive, manipulate or plot. If you are like me, any circumstance where you find yourself out of control, desperate or confused will tempt you to scheme.

Let’s determine today to believe this truth, “The LORD will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me” (Psalm 138:8). And rest in His promises, committing to trusting God whenever tempted to influence our uncomfortable conditions.

Lord God, I know You will work out Your plans for my life, but I need help to believe in the midst of desperate circumstances. In Jesus’ Name, I ask You to give me strength to accept Your timing and Your ways during this unsettling time in my life. Amen