I have a friend who is dealing with great hurt.  I’ve been there.  I know the emptiness, the pain, the disappointment and the sorrow.  I know the questions we throw at God in hopes of some form of relief or answer.  I know the doubts that form in regards to our worth.  I know.

This is for you….


I was regretting the past
And fearing the future…
Suddenly the Lord was speaking:
“MY NAME IS I AM.” He paused.
I waited.  He continued.

“When you live in the past,
with its mistakes and regrets,
 it is hard.
I am not there.
My name is not I was.”

When you live in the future,
its problems and fears,
it is hard.  I am not there.
My name is not I will be.”

When you live in this moment,
it is not hard.
I am here.

Helen Mallicoat

It is so hard to stay in this moment.  When we are hurting we search our past in hopes of an answer.  We look to the future in hopes of a resolution.  Christ said that we cannot do that. He told us not to worry about tomorrow.  He told us not to worry about things that are out of our control. He is our provider.  He supplies our every need out of His unconditional love for us.  There is nothing that we lack.  We may not always see it that way but once our eyes are opened and we walk in faith, we recognize that we have all that we truly need and so much more.

Our hearts deceive.  Our hearts long for things that we may not necessarily need at this moment in time.  When we allow our hearts to long for “things” (whatever that may be for you at the moment) we become “sick”. (Proverbs 13:12)

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Proverbs 13:12

Every woman is familiar with unfulfilled longings that can come in the form of material possessions, attention, another child, etc. We wait and  hope for something that will fill that desire or empitness. No matter how long we wait, we will end up being disappointed, heart sick and in deep despair. When we hit rock bottom, we can even reach a place where we  limit God or settle for less than what He has planned for our life. Either way, we lose. 

How much better off would we be if we chose to trust in God alone to fulfill our every dream? What if we learned to wait patiently on Him and trust His timing instead of demanding our way or giving up? Only God can see the big picture, and only He has the power to fulfill what the heart desires. He is so gracious and longs to show us compassion. His Word says that we are blessed when we wait on Him.

“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him!”
Isaiah 30:18

No matter how bleak the situation may feel or truly be, God knows the path. He knows the outcome. He does not always answer our prayers immediately. Sometimes He answers by making us wait so that His plan will spring forth in His perfect time.  We makes us wait in order to grow our faith and allow us to see with our eyes how awesome He truly is.  When we have hope in the Lord, we can trust in His promises and His timing and soar above the feelings of emptiness. This hope can renew our strength, we will be able to run and not grow weary, walk and not feel faint, and we can soar on wings like eagles.

I am praying for you my friend.  God has you on a great journey.  Though it may not feel like it right now, seek Him and one day you will look back and see how His hand moved your life in miraculous ways!  Love you!

“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


“When I look beside me, I see that there is no one to help me, no one to protect me…Lord, I cry to you for help; you, Lord, are my protector; you are all I want in this life.”
Psalm 142:4-5
Tonight I planned to go to bed early.  I had all the kids in bed and by 8:30, I was ready to head that way myself.  I walked in my room, saw clothes everywhere, and knew there was no way I was going to sleep until my room was clean. 
This is usually how it begins when God wants to work on my heart.  He puts me to work.  You see, when I am cleaning or cooking, I am the most focused and my mind and heart are still.  I know that probably sounds crazy but sure enough, as soon as I started cleaning, my heart started stirring.
I was cleaning the bathroom and had a sponge in my hand.  God started showing me how that sponge soaks up all that water and once full, it becomes heavy and a decision has to be made The decision whether to squeeze out that water and then choose whether you will fill it up again or set it to the side.  I found this interesting as I thought about my own life.  I go through seasons where He fills me full of His truth and promises and it is as if I am in overdrive soaking it all in and learning.  Those times are exciting and full of hope because I know that there is so much more to come.  The time comes though that I realize that I’m full and need time to put those things into practice and live them out.  Here is where I often fail.
 For several months, I was growing and learning and learning and growing.  I was so excited and full of hope but then something went wrong and instead of relying on those truths and looking up, I looked ahead and turned to people instead of God. 
It came time to squeeze out that sponge and put all that new material to use but then I became scared and held on too tight thinking “people” would make it all better when things got hard. I lost my focus and became Peter, walking on the water.  I lost sight of the only One who can keep me above the waves and I sank and sank fast.  He has been trying to teach me to stop looking toward people for security and hope and instead turn to Him.  He has repeatedly taught me that people will only disappoint, not because they are bad but because they are human and sinful.  Until I finally allow that sink into my head, I will end up drowning in those waves every time.   
Tonight the lesson begins again.  It is such a wonder that He has not given up on me yet but I guess He sees more promise in me than I do.

Be a doer of the Word

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
James 1:22


We are going through a series at church right now that has been quite eye opening to me. For a while, I have been fighting this feeling that we as Christians trivialize what being a Christ follower truly means. I have watched people who claim to follow Christ live a life that reflects something very different. Being a Christ follower is not about saying a prayer. Being a Christ follower is not about believing in Jesus. The demons believe in Jesus.
I have spent my entire life in church but on only a few occasions have actually heard it preached or taught that following Christ is a sacrifice. That it is about denying one’s self, taking up your own cross and following Christ. It is living a life of obedience. Somehow, along the way, churches have lost that teaching.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Matthew 16:24


We were created solely for the purpose of bringing honor and glory to God. That’s it. It is not about us. It is not about our happiness, our wealth, and our needs or wants but instead the growth of His kingdom. This is not a difficult concept to understand but because we are such self centered and sinful people, we struggle daily to achieve the goal set before us.
The goal I am referring to is the one that Jesus left with us before ascending into heaven. We are to go out and spread the gospel. Pure and simple. No matter the cost, we are to spread the gospel. Here is what is happening though. We set out to teach people truth but somehow end up helping them to say a prayer, that may or may not be sincere and that does not transform their life. Now I am not saying that this is always the case but I can vouch to the fact that there are many out there walking around professing Christ as their Lord and Savior but living for themselves. Nothing in their life reflects a life where Christ sits on the throne but instead reflects a self-centered love for themselves. In addition, we wonder why people do not want anything to do with our God. Can you blame them?
So what do we do? We set out determined to live a life of sacrifice and devotion to the One who saved us from our sins. We begin a journey where our love for the lost overwhelms us and we are compelled to share the gospel. There are those who would claim that Christ came to save us from hell but that is not true. If He came to save us from hell, then the moment we accepted Him into our lives, we would join Him in heaven because there would be no purpose left for us here. We do have a purpose. He has a plan for every one of us and it begins with Him. It begins with us setting out to share His love, His grace and His mercy with those who need it.
We need to go out looking for those that live in a constant state of conflict not only in their heart but also in their mind. They are lost and cannot gain any understanding for the things of God because the Holy Spirit is not present in their lives. To them, Christianity is just a religion and they are totally unaware of God and His presence. These are the unsaved, the lost. These are the ones we should seek out.
“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
1 Corinthians 2:14


Maybe you are one of those feeling conflicted. If you feel like you have no peace or purpose in your life or like something is missing, chances are you don’t know Him. If you do know Him but your life if filled with regret and guilt, you may need to reintroduce yourself to Him. Even if you have fallen away, He is waiting with open arms for you to return no matter what you’ve done (much like the story of the prodigal son)
The Lost Son


The following verses say it perfectly. These are the words of Christ and He clearly says that we will be known by our fruit. When I hear that, I immediately begin to name the fruit of the Spirit, which is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control. From what I’ve read in scripture a born again Christian clearly reflects these fruits. I believe this. People should know us and see Jesus in us as we go about our everyday life. It doesn’t mean we won’t ever do anything wrong but when life happens, our reaction should reflect something different in us.
“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
Matthew 7:16-20
So here is what you do. This is straight from scripture and nothing I’ve made up on my own.
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”
2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine your heart. All you have to do is ask the Holy Spirit for direction and He will give it to you. The Holy Spirit of God is so powerful. Some people will say that Satan has made them doubt their salvation but I don’t know that I believe that. Why would Satan make you doubt something that you would investigate further which would be considered a loss to him if you chose God? Just saying…






Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I have spent months in a place so deep and dark that I did not think I would ever find my way out. It has been cold and lonely and there has been the sound of silence echoing all around me over and over. I had finally found myself at the very end of my rope and had totally lost hope in everything.

How does this happen? How do you get to such a dark place and not even realize you are headed there? For me, it was a slow process but I clearly remember waking up one morning and being surrounded by darkness. Of course, it was not actual darkness but was the darkness that comes with loneliness and complete emptiness. I have spent months feeling my way around in the dark looking for some way out but have had no success. Now let me clarify and say that in my complete loss of hope, I did not lose hope in Christ but instead lost sight of Him. This feeling of being lost made me realize that I looked to people for direction and support instead of the One who truly knows me and knows my every need. This is how it all happens. This is how we lose our direction. We make people into gods, which in turn take our eyes off the One who should be our direction.

This can be a scary place to be in when you feel like you have nowhere to turn and you have yet to realize what has actually happened. You truly find yourself standing in a room filled with people who love you and you are standing in the center screaming at the top of your lungs for help but they all look at you and smile as if nothing is happening.

As Christians I feel that we have this tendency to get lost in our own agendas and we sometimes forget to love and minister to those who are in need of it. We tend to focus on the unsaved and embrace them where they are but forget that even those fellow believers around us have times of pain and hurt and true turmoil but we can miss it. When this happens, and you are the person needing help, you can often times find your world turned upside down because suddenly nothing makes sense anymore. Things you once thought were true no longer seem true anymore. It is a painful and lonely place but there is hope and I have finally found that faint light at the end of the tunnel that is leading me out.

The exciting part is that now that I can see a faint light, there are also shadows, shadows of those who have been there all along that I was unable to see before but are there now who are pointing me in the direction of the light ahead. Suddenly things do not feel as cold and there is a warmth to the light ahead that is pulling me outward to where I need to be again. It is surreal and comforting and I know that once I finally get to the end there will be a peace like I have never known.

Right now, my life is not perfect. It is a huge mess all over the floor, shattered into a million different pieces but I have this most amazing Artist who is waiting for me to hand Him every piece so that He can put it all back together and create what He knows my life can and will be when my eyes are set back on Him. He is waiting for me to lift every one of those pieces back up to Him so that He can create a spectacular masterpiece through His mercy, grace, forgiveness and love. Only then, will my life be turned back into something that makes sense and is useable and only then will I be renewed and complete and His fingerprint on my life will be truly evident.


“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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD”
Jeremiah 29:11-14

I think we can all honestly say that there are days when we just do not feel like worshipping God. There are those days when life seems so exceedingly challenging and the world around us seems to be falling apart that it is hard to find the joy in life. It would be so much easier to just turn and run the other way.
Sometimes it is difficult to believe that heartbreak is part of God’s plan for our lives. We forget that He uses the hurt in our life to draw us closer to Him. He wants us to embrace our hurts instead of choosing to run from it so that we will turn to Him and give Him the opportunity to grow us and show us how faithful He is in our lives.
God has promised always to be there and to provide for our every need and He knows every detail, every plan of our life and so when we choose to run from those circumstances that are painful or hurtful, we are acting faithlessly in the God who knows all about our life. God has given us Jesus who shows us the way for our lives and who IS the way. He endured the cross in full faith because He knew that His Father had a plan to bring a “hope and a future” to each of our lives. Jesus was so sure of His Father’s plan that it radiated throughout His whole being.
We too can have that same certainty when we claim His faithfulness in our lives and declare that He has a plan and purpose for each one of us. The cross was not Christ’s punishment but instead it was His glory and it is the same with each of our circumstances, whether good or bad, that are laid out before us in our own lives.
We have to choose to praise and worship God no matter what the circumstance and we have to trust in His faithful character. How we worship God in our times of hurt and trouble speaks volumes to our faith in Him. When we face those difficult times in our lives, they become the chance for us to radiate His faithful plan for our life and the opportunity for us to witness His provision of hope and healing.
“Father, I praise You for Your faithfulness in my life. I am thankful that you know every detail and every turn my life will take and that You have already prepared with way for me. Keep my heart and mind set upon you so that I may praise you no matter what storm I encounter in my life.”

Letting go

“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,

and he saved them from their distress.

He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom

and broke away their chains.

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love

and his wonderful deeds for men.”

Psalm 107:13-15

How can the lack of forgiveness and hurt affect our walk with the Lord? So many of us walk around bound in the chains of the past and become stuck in a place of unhappiness. Everyone at one time or another experiences the pain of betrayal by someone we love and care deeply for whether it be a spouse, a friend, a child or a parent and we all also carry the experiences of our own sins and hurts that we have caused to others. It can literally destroy our lives if we let it and severely hinder our walk with the Lord if we do not let it go because we can become bound up and miss the opportunity of fully living in the present.

Once we have made Jesus Christ Lord of our life, we hand over the reins, giving Him the control of our lives able to lead us in the direction that He wants us to go. It means that we are no longer our own and have been brought back to God by the shedding of His Son’s blood for us. When we allow Him to lead, we have to let go of the things in our past that are controlling us and hindering us from being able to walk in God’s perfect plan for us. Jesus said that not anyone who is trying to move forward in his walk for God the Father – but keeps looking back – is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62) When we are walking with the Lord, we are to let go of the past and press forward because if we do not, we become stuck right where we are unable fully to accomplish all that God had planned for our lives. We cannot walk with Him if we are carrying loads of baggage because we are choosing the bondage of our past instead of the future He has for us. This then mean either we choose to throw ourselves pity parties, blaming everyone else for our misery or we can choose to rise up and be a brand new creation in Christ, choosing fully to surrender our lives to Him. Once we do that, He cleans out those closets and begins to heal our hearts making us usable for the plan that He had laid out for us even before we were born.

Now it is important that we learn from our past and realize where God has brought us but it cannot consume us to the point of becoming our focus. God is our healer and He is able to break away those chains and heal our hearts IF we fully believe that He can do it. For me, this came with the forgiveness of someone who betrayed my trust and hurt me deeply. I lived with anger towards this person for quite some time and every time I saw them, it would rage within me. Here is what I have learned. When someone hurts you, that person moves on with his or her life. If they have sinned and repented of this sin, for them it is over, God has forgiven them. They have moved on and God has redeemed them, giving them a new song to sing and a new life to live for Him. For those of us left in the wake of their sin, we must deal with the pain and hurt of the turbulence they caused in our lives. We are the ones who must deal with the resentment, bitterness and anger while they go about feeling freed of their past. Does not seem quite fair? Well here is what I have learned. It is totally fair because we too have sinned against someone in our own lives just like they have and we too have had to seek forgiveness from God for the hurt we’ve caused someone else and we too have moved on. So, why then do we dwell in self-pity and allow resentment to rage within our hearts? This is called human nature and happens when we are not willing to let go of the baggage we cling to so tightly instead of grabbing a hold of and clinging to God. You see, you cannot hold on to both things together because you cannot worship and follow God when you are clinging to the past, which has become your idol. He has to be your focus and He should be your focus because He is worth it all!

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:12-14

We have to put into practice not focusing on what is behind us but instead pressing ahead toward the goal, the life God has planned. We must reach ahead and surrender every part of our lives to Him so that He can accomplish all that His plans entail for us. If not, we are allowing the past to steal our joy and happiness and distort our thinking. We must offer true forgiveness that can only come from the Holy Spirit living within us and turn it over to the hands of God and His justice. He is the One who will right every wrong ever done to us and because of this; we are able to relinquish even our worst enemy over to Him. It all comes down to us reaching out and grabbing His hand and allowing the Holy Spirit to clean up the wounds in our life so that we can live out the life that God has for us. It is our choice as to whether we will continue to allow it to strangle and paralyze our lives or say enough is enough and give God that control and move forward.

Being a Conqueror

“We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

Romans 8:37

Life can be so difficult and most people choose to get through simply by coping. We can find ourselves unhappy in our marriages, in our friendships, being a parent and our jobs and so we settle with doing the best we can to get through. We look at it as if “oh well, this is the card I was dealt and so I’ll just settle for this life/this circumstance”. Do you really believe that this is how God wants us to live?

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul talks about life as a race and that the goal is not just to finish this race but also to win. Our goal in life should not be to just simply sit back and cope with the circumstances that are before us but to conquer and overcome them. When we choose to overcome the difficulties that we face in this life, not only does our faith grow but also our walk with the Lord becomes stronger. Romans 8:37 says,We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”. We are to be conquerors in this life and not just settle for getting by. When we choose the attitude “of just getting by”, we are choosing self-pity and focusing totally on ourselves and not the One who gave His life to save us so that we could live a life that is abundant and full of His blessings. How do you choose to handle life? Have you chosen to cope with what life has thrown at you or are you choosing to be a conqueror, to overcome your circumstances? What is required of us in order to overcome the difficulties of this life?

Jesus told us to
“take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33) and so
we must remind ourselves that Jesus has already had the victory over the world and over Satan. He has already gone before us and prepared the way. He knows our every circumstance and He has already had the victory over every one of them whether we are willing to accept this or not because He is
“greater than the one who is in the world.” (1John 4:4)
It is imperative that we find the joy in knowing that He has had the victory over the world. As believers, we are continually struggling with sin, Satan, doubt, and fear but we are running towards the finish line ahead and Jesus is at the end with His arms outstretched waiting for us to win, to recognize the hope that He offers to us no matter how hard we think our life is. There are spiritual battles that are being fought around us all the time and it is possible for us to stand against the enemy but we have to remain focused at all times on the prize. Spiritual deception is all around us and if we stay focused on the prize of Christ then we can stand against that deception and overcome it with His strength.

If we find ourselves choosing only to cope, we become apathetic in our Christian walk. We still believe the Truth but we make the choice to forfeit the abundance of it. When trials and hurts, persecution and attacks and troubles and disasters come our way, we must not give into fear or self-pity. We must rely on God alone to give us the strength we need to overcome in our adversity. You see, He does not usually deliver us out of the circumstance but He provides us with the strength that we need to get through it. God promises to supply our every need (Php 4:19) no matter where life has taken us but we can choose to be separated from Him by our own rebellion or by refusing to trust Him completely. If we are choosing to run the race that is life, we must practice spiritual discipline and turn over everything to Him allowing Him to move within us giving us the strength to overcome. When we are weak, we must ask Him for strength. We must allow His love and His power to fill our lives so that we can do more than just cope, we can overcome.

“Father, I praise You that you have overcome this world! You have had victory over the enemy and the trials before me and so I take joy in knowing that I can conquer all circumstances with Your strength and love. Make my heart yearn for more than just coping so that I may honor You with my life.”




Living in North Carolina, we have had issues with drought this past year. It was actually pretty severe and water restrictions were taken very seriously. It led to the pastors at our church praying together specifically for rain. Like all things, you do not always realize the importance of things until you are without it. Days, weeks, then months went by and there was still no rain, rain that was needed to keep our lakes full so that we would be able to sustain the water needs of the people in the community. People were looking to the skies hoping that when they saw clouds, the rain would come but when it did not, people began to lose hope. Now, God is not in the business of granting our every request but He does know that we cannot live without hope. The question we must ask ourselves is; where does our hope come from?

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.

Psalms 62:5

Just as faith is a gift from God to us, so is hope. It is this wonderfully sweet blessing from God that is given to us when we enter into His family. Our hope is found in His unfailing love for each one of us and the fact that our full redemption is guaranteed. God Himself protects this precious gift for us in heaven.

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love.

Psalms 33:18

Droughts are bound to come into our lives and when they come, where do we find ourselves? Do we find ourselves surrounded by doubt or are we hopeful and our faith strong because we know God is faithful? When those droughts come, we must be prepared to sustain them by being filled with His word and His spirit in our lives. Our nature requires that we need something tangible when troubles come our way and so God has provided His word as a way to show us that there is hope.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Romans 15:4

The bible is God’s promise to us and all of His promises were made to us through Jesus. Jesus Christ is our living hope, our promise, the source of all Truth, our Anchor. Hope is what allows God’s grace and kindness to pour into us and it is our link to strength and courage. If our hope is not found in Christ alone then we will surely flounder when times of despair and trouble come our way because there is no other hope for our rescue.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 1:20

The story of Abraham is another perfect example of Gods kept promises to us. There are times we may have to wait for His promises which can be hard, but we can be sure that when our hope is found in Christ, we will receive what is promised. (Hebrews 6:15) God’s promises that were fulfilled in the past are our assurance that He will fulfill those promises in the future.

And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

Hebrews 6:15

When you experience a lack of hope, you have to believe that God “will make the Valley of Anchor a door of hope”. (Hosea 2:15) God takes our troubles and turns them into a doorway that leads to Hope, to Him. When we enter into a time of distress and worry, we do not have to be afraid to walk through the doorway where Jesus is standing on the other side ready to take our troubles. When we turn them over to Him and allow the Holy Spirit to fill us and become our living hope, His faithfulness and love will give us the hope we need and we will not be let down.

“Father, may my soul find rest in You and may You be my source, my living hope when the droughts of this life come my way. May Your Word and Christ be my sustenance, strength and my Anchor.”

Do we trust when tested?

“I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.”

1 Chronicles 29:17

“Yet you know me, O Lord; You see me and test my thoughts about You.”

Jeremiah 12:3

“Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says:

“See, I will refine and test them,

For what else can I do because of the sin of my people?”

Jeremiah 9:7

If you watch the news, you probably heard this morning about the five year old daughter of Steven Curtis Chapman(contemporary Christian music artist) being killed by one of her older brothers in a tragic accident. This story brought me to tears realizing the heartache and pain that this family is dealing with right now but praise the Lord we know where they will find their hope. I thought about how God will cover them with His love, peace and comfort and how they will experience His strength in a way that none of us will ever understand because they have chosen to trust Him with their lives. This led me to thinking about those in my own life right now who are dealing with some hard stuff, none that could ever compare to the death of a child, but still stuff that causes hurt and pain in our lives. We think that when we are in the middle of a storm, that there could be no worse place than where we are at that precise moment. We become consumed with our emotions and our own selfish hurts that we lose focus of what truth looks like and why the actual storm appeared. It led me to look at the prophet Habakkuk who lived in such a time of distress. He was surrounded by wickedness and became frustrated questioning God with “Where are you in all of this?”. Where do we find ourselves when we’re in the midst of a storm? Do we find ourselves questioning where God has gone? Have you ever thought that the storm you are in may be a testing of your faith or perhaps it is discipline for disobedience? I thought about the three verses I listed above and the areas in which God will test us.

  1. He will test our heart and the attitude of our heart in order to instruct us to be honest, teachable, generous and joyful just as He designed us to be. He wants us to have an attitude and behavior that demonstrates integrity and truthfulness. (1 Chronicles 29:17)
  2. He will test our thoughts to see what our attitude is toward Him. Do we really trust Him to be faithful in all our circumstances? (Jeremiah 12:3)
  3. He will test us because of our sin. When we rebel against Him, we are refusing to obey and trust Him and so in order to bring us back into His grace because of our sin, we must experience His discipline. (Jeremiah 9:7)

When we enter into a time of testing, it is imperative that we seek after the truth of our circumstances. We must evaluate the attitudes of our heart and the choices we are making. Are we walking along side of Him or are we choosing to go our own way. The Israelites wandered for 40 years because they chose to put their trust in themselves instead of God. They chose disobedience instead of putting their faith in Him. They felt they could do it on their own and do it better than what God had planned. When those trials come into our life, we have to make a choice. We have to choose whether we will rely on ourselves or turn to God for His strength. All we have to do is ask for His guidance and He will begin to reveal those issues in our lives that are leading us right into the middle of a storm, a storm that we have created all on our own due to our lack of faith, trust and obedience. God provides for our every need and it may not always be what we planned but He has already been down that road and prepared the way for us and so He knows exactly what we need.
If you have found yourself in the middle of being tested, you must be aware of the choices that are laid out before you. Whether it is wealth, friends, family, neighbors or your own understanding, you will always come up disappointed with the result. When we find ourselves in the thick of the storm, our only refuge is the Lord. He cares for those who trust in Him (Na 1:7) and those that trust in Him will be filled with joy, peace and hope (Ro 15:13). He is the only True Way to find our way out of the storm.
“To become tenderhearted, insightful and responsive to the Lord and others, we must first wade through out [own] losses. That means a willingness to feel the effects of our loss, to examine our hearts under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, to release tears and to relinquish our rights to understand. In doing so, we will feel the pain, but we’ll learn appropriate ways to express it. Sometimes it will be through the healing release of tears, prayer, some form of art, or words (spoken or written).”
Patsy Clairmont

Which Road?

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

To expand on the issue of people pleasing a little more we are going to look at how it can affect the decisions we make for Christ. Have you ever been afraid to take a step forward because of how others may view you? Afraid of how they may take what it is you are about to do? So many times in life, we come to a crossroads in which we must make a decision that can influence our life and the lives of others in tremendous ways. It may mean going against the grain, ruffling some feathers and walking alone enduring some obstacles along the way. It means traveling down a road that others may not have journeyed. It means that we may displease those around us and this may be disheartening for many including myself.

When we choose to obey God, that road is not always easy. Sometimes it means giving up the things we love or love doing. It means that we no longer focus on what it is that may bring us pleasure or happiness because at the time those things may be merely a distraction from what our one true focus should be, God. Taking that first step down this road can be scary and extremely lonely. Now, at first, you may have those that say, I will go with you but as the journey begins and the road gets rocky, it may not be long before they abandon you. This then leads us to question if we even headed in the right direction to begin with and we find ourselves questioning God. Now, the questioning begins because you have headed down a road that Satan does not want you on because you are being obedient to God. Suddenly, there are things in this road that begin attacking you, your family, your finances, your ministries, your relationships and the list goes because Satan wants you to give up and run the other way. Instead of getting discouraged, we should be encouraged because when Satan attacks we know we have entered into a battle and have become warriors for our King. You see, when we begin fighting for the Lord, Satan is going to be there with opposing forces trying to end the battle you have begun. We can be encouraged knowing that God has already been down this road. In fact, He prepared the way and He has already had the victory over every circumstance in which we will encounter. If we are relying on Him and His strength then He makes it possible for us to endure the journey ahead. The road may seem scary but He is a big God who can defeat all those who long to tear us down and destroy the work He began in us. God is mighty to save and He is right there to lift us out of whatever danger we may encounter along that path and He promises to protect us not just from THE enemy but from the enemies who surround us in our everyday lives. Because of His great love for us, we have no need to fear anything that crosses our path because God’s love is perfect and He IS our Mighty Conqueror.

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation

Whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the Stronghold of my life

Of whom shall I be afraid?

When evil men advance against me

To devour my flesh,

When my enemies and my foes attack me,

They will stumble and fall.

Psalms 27:1-3

Satan wants to see us defeated but with God, the victory can and will be ours if we trust Him in ALL our circumstances and in this He takes great delight. In the end, when we have made it past these obstacles, He rejoices over us with singing because we were faithful in our following of Him. When we choose to please Him and Him alone, He blesses us beyond measure and offers to us His unending grace.

“Father thank you for preparing the way as I travel down the road you laid out for me. Remind me that you always there to protect me because You know what lies ahead and You have already won the victory of it all. To You alone, may I always be found faithful and obedient to Your will for my life. May I not get caught in the trap of trying to satisfy those around me but instead live to honor and satisfy You. Thank You for blessing my life and extending Your grace to me.”