The Strength And Hope Of Your Soul

“The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. (Lamentations 3:24)”.

We are finite beings. We are created to run out of energy. We eat just to eat again. We drink and are soon thirsty. Well, you get the point. That’s how God made us.

It is the same with our spiritual walk. God created us to need Him and His strength. However, one time of feasting is not enough. We need a continual source for our souls to thrive.

When was the last time you rested in God, and where consumed with His new mercy and His goodness.

That kind of renewal does not come from one church service or one good revival. That life-giving nourishment comes from a continual diet of drawing near to God and thinking about His Word. New strength comes from quiet daily correspondence with your Father.

We need fresh energy to run our spiritual race. Look toward heaven and remind yourself of God’s great faithfulness. He is your portion. The strength and hope of your soul.

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:22-26)”.

A Challenge To Trust God Because Life Can Be Discouraging

Imagine how radically different our life’s would be, if we were responsive to God in every bad situation instead of allowing our minds to go straight to discouragement.

Today I challenge you to take your problem to God and discuss it openly. Be completely honest and blunt, pouring everything out before God. When you get to the end of your rant, tell God you don’t understand what’s going on, and you do not know what to do, however, you are going to trust Him.

Then put your words into practice and trust God with your whole heart. Lean on Him as you think about and deal with your problem. As the discouraging thoughts come to your mind, keep reminding yourself to trust God and not lean back on your own understanding or your natural reactions.

Trust God! Be strong and have courage. Your God is with you!

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9)”.

God’s Comfort In The Middle Of Life’s Problems

“Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people (Psalm 3:8)”.

God is good! He is our salvation! From Him, we receive all blessing and strength. We can rejoice in who He is, that He is constant and unchanging. He gives the same salvation today that he gave in the days of the Bible.

If you are like me, you sometimes forget God’s goodness and become discouraged. Life weighs on your mind, and your problems become your main focus. It is difficult to look past your needs and see the God who gives salvation.

If only these problems would go away!

I have often wished for an easier life. If did not have problems I would be able to praise Him and feel His goodness.

A problem-free life is not a sign of a spirit filled life.

God works to show His goodness in the middle of life’s problems. Notice the first of Psalms 3, “Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah (Psalm 3:1-2)”. In these verses, the magnitude of King David’s problems is revealed. The difficulties he is experiencing are not being hidden or diminished. His problems are real just like our problems.

Let’s read further.

But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah. (Psalm 3:3-8)

With problems on all sides, God is the one who gives the blessing of comfort and rest.

Problems come and go. Sometimes they are small irritants and other times they are unbearable storms. But, God never changes. The same God, who lifted King David’s spirit, is the same God who gives rest and blessing today.

Whether you are facing small irritants or smothering problems, God wants to bless you with His comfort. Your problems may not go away. However, you can experience the peace and joy of God’s presence. Look to God with confident faith.

Want A Life Of Faith And Beauty Like The Women Of The Bible

The women in the Bible were beautiful and courageous women. They lived lives of beauty and importance filled with victory. Next to them, I feel small and inadequate.

Sarah followed her husband into unknown lands and rocked a baby given by God in her old age.

Abigail boldly took food to David, when her foolish husband refused.

Ruth followed hard after God, even in the face of poverty and won the love of a good man who took her out of poverty and gave her a future.

Mary trusted God and brought the Son of God into the world.

All of these women lived beautiful lives and were favored by God.

But, were they really that different than me and you?

I grew up in religion. I loved God deeply, but I still felt oppressed and condemned by religion, as if everything I did was a huge blunder. I could never do this Christian woman thing. There must be something inherently wrong with me. I could not be good enough.

How about you. Have you tried and tried and somehow feel like a failure as a woman when you look at women around you or women from the Bible. Maybe like me you read Proverbs 31 and feel totally inadequate beside such a creative, industrious, hardworking and God-fearing woman.

I have lived much of my adult life wondering what it means to be a woman.

What can I do?

How should I dress?

What about my secret dreams and desires?

What and where is this abundant life that Jesus offered and why can’t I find it?

Should I stay quiet or speak out?

What is submission?

Where is the beautiful life that the women of the Bible experienced?

That beautiful life is in Christ!

It does not come from being or doing what you should?

It does not come from how one looks or dresses.

It does not come in quietism or submissiveness.

It is not in a clean house or obedient children.

It is not in the act of doing what is right.

Living in the Beauty of Christ is…

A lifestyle of faith.

The lifestyle of faith in Christ is…

Finding your worth in Christ.

Accepting Christ’s forgiveness and living guilt free from a past full of mistakes and sins.

Looking to Christ for daily living.

Living in freedom from perfection.

Resolving to stand on God’s word.

Boldly looking to the future with hope.

Not living to be right, but living to be close to God.

I still look to God to answer my questions about womanhood and life.

Daily, I rely on Christ for help when life is hard.

However, just as the women in the Bible, I live a beautiful life, not because I have it all together or do everything right but because of Christ.

Living in the beauty of Christ is a lifestyle! A lifestyle of faith.

3 Ways To Overcome The Defeat Of The World

We live in a world that teaches power comes through knowledge. The world constantly bombards us with ideas and philosophies aimed to help us succeed. The philosophy is we can do and be anything we want to be. Money is poured into schools and colleges, to help train the minds of tomorrow. Grasping for knowledge, we fight our way to the top. Only a few make it. The world’s knowledge has grand offers, with very little value of return. In 2 Timothy 3:7 we see man in his search for knowledge, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

The world will give you just enough, without giving you the truth you seek. The world wants you defeated and powerless.

1 John 4:5-6 “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”

We see two ways of thinking in these verses, the spirit of error and the spirit of truth. We are all aware of the spirit of error. We were born into this corrupted way of thinking. We have become familiar with its lies. It is a worldview. It controls how we think, how we feel, and how we act.

Trusting Jesus Christ for salvation gives us the spirit of truth. Once we start listening to this truth, our worldview begins to change. We begin to desire a different knowledge. Something the world never offered us, and something it can never provide.

If you have salvation and this spirit of truth, why live powerlessly?

When you live defeated you are reverting back to your old way of thinking, the world’s way.

Jesus Christ is the truth you need. It is easy to take your eyes off Christ and return to your old way of thinking. If you are going to fight this battle in your mind, you need Christ.

Here are 3 ways to overcome the defeat of the world.

1. Think on Christ in your daily life. Remember His goodness to you. Think on all He provided in salvation. Study Gods word and look for truths about Christ.

2. Speak of Christ. Talk about Him in conversations. Bring Him up in the midst of problems. Express His love to others as you go about your day. This concept will encourage you as you encourage others.

3. Pray in Jesus name. Remember why you can come before God. Remember in whose power you pray. Take advantage of this gift. God knew it was good therapy and a lot cheaper than counseling.

These are concepts you know to do, but overlook. Rest in Christ, He is the truth you need to live.

Question: How do you combat defeat and discouragement in your life? Please comment below. I look forward to hearing your answer.

The Year Of A Thousand Laughs

“I have never heard a baby cry like this.” This was my second thought about my new son. The first being, “He looks so big” and he was.

What an introduction he made into this world. He cried and did not stop crying all night.

I thought for sure it was my fault. I struggled with the idea of pregnancy at first. My emotions were a wreck. I cried, at the drop of a hat, until the fourth month of the pregnancy.

I wanted God to make everything right. Why did I have to act this way? Why couldn’t I just be right? Why did I have to be so messed up?

God brought me to the point, and it seemed like he asked, “Can you trust me, even if you never get better.” Could I trust God even if I was depressed and emotionally out of balance?

I have never felt so close to God as I felt as I began to trust Him not to fix me or my situation, but just to trust him for who he was.

My emotions eased over the next months as I trusted God, changed my eating habits and grew healthier physically and mentally as my waistline became nonexistence.

Back to the crying baby.

He calmed and began to sleep mid-morning. Just in time for his brothers and sister to visit. He seemed like a perfect little angel, in front of all his guests. This lasted for a while.

He had his days and nights mixed up, and he would let you know loudly he did not appreciate being moved.

When the doctor visited, I asked her to check and see if anything was wrong. Maybe the foot bands where to tight. She said he was fine.

The crying continued through the second night. I knew none of my other children had cried like this when they were babies. The sound was not right. It sounded like he was mad.  Something was wrong!

A new doctor came the second day to check him out before we left the hospital, and she justified my thoughts. This big baby boy broke his collar bone during birth!

As soon as we knew, his mad crying practically stopped. Everyone held him different. Wrapped him tighter. We pinned his sleeve down and made our own version of a baby sling. This helped immensely.

The mad little boy became the happiest, most content baby I have ever known.IMG_9675b

Thru all his early crying, God weaved love in my heart for this surprise child.

IMG_9846BMy baby boys first year of life started out desperate and turned into something amazingly beautiful. The year of a thousand laughs.

 

In trusting God alone, He worked out all the things I was trying to force and figure out. He wanted to help the whole time, but I was more interested in my way and being right.

What do you need to let go of fixing and just trust God?

Can you trust God for who He is, even if your problem never goes away? Even if you are never healed? Even if your situation never changes?

We have a mighty God, and he requires us to give up our way and look to Him. You might be surprised how he will work if you rest in Him and quit struggling on your own.

God Tell Me What To Do

“I need to know what to do”! A friend cried over the phone line. “Where can I go to find help in the Bible? I need to know what God wants me to do!” My mind searched for an answer as my heart ached for her. I thought of times I had called out to God in similar ways, searching, praying, and needing to know Gods way. I hurt for her, knowing the struggles she faced.

I smiled, thinking about the sweetness of searching for God, the way it feels the moment when you find rest even before he has answered. As he tenderly and lovingly draws his child near him.

I did not give her an answer about where to go in the Bible for guidance because there is no such place. It is all a dance of love between God and his child. It is about a relationship, getting to know each other. God does not tell us specifics because he deals with each person differently.

Look at the story of the woman with the issue of blood. She had a problem and she could not get help. She heard of Jesus and thought this might work. She was desperate. There was no specific set of things to do from God that would solve her problem. She sought Jesus out. She looked for him, drew close to him and reached out to touch him. She found healing. (Matthew 9:20-22)

God gave Joshua a promise as they were going into Canaan. “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest (Joshua 1:9).” Why could Joshua and the children of Israel be courageous, strong, and unafraid, even when they faced great battles ahead? They were trusting in God, who had promised to go with them.

God has given us his Word to allow us to know him, so we can come in close and snuggle on his shoulder. He does help and answer questions, just not always the way we think he should answer.

If you are desperate and need a touch from God look in his Word. He is there on the pages and in your heart. He will speak to you and help. If you quiet yourself, come close to him and listen.

 

Here is a suggested reading plan.
1.Once a day read Psalm 1, for a month.
2.Read the daily Proverb. (One chapter from Proverbs. whatever day it is, read that chapter)
3.Get a small spiral bound notebook and write a prayer journal to God
4. Listen to Psalm 119 out loud while you relax. It is less than twenty minutes long.

Here are tips to keep you from becoming discouraged.
1.If you cannot read both Psalm and Proverbs daily start with reading Psalm 1 daily. It is just 6 short, but powerful verses.
2.If you miss a day or two do not try to catch up. Read the Proverbs for that new day only.
3.Read the chapters in different ways. Read it quietly to yourself. Find a Bible app for your phone (YouVersion) or www.BibleGateway.com and listen to the chapter. Read it out loud to yourself or to another person.
4.Look up commentaries and read about the chapters you have been reading. The website www.BibleGateway.com has a button above the passage that says, “show resources” click it, and there are a few commentaries there that are good helps.
5.Ask God to speak to you as you read, it is his words he knows what he meant, and he can help you understand.
6.The journal is just a small written prayer from you to God. It does not have to be fancy or formal.
7.Write in journal form, like you are talking to God. Take a minute to tell him what you are doing that day, what you did the day before, or how you feel right now.
8.Keep the journal prayer easy, one to three paragraphs is enough.

What verses do you read when you are seeking help from God?

Do you have a plan that has helped you?

Comment below or send me an email. I would love to hear your ideas!

 

 

3 Signs of Personal And Spiritual Growth

“Is that you, wow, I don’t remember you looking that big,” said my very considerate husband as we looked at some of my pregnancy pictures. Picture capture our appearance. We know our appearance changes with time. We age and get wrinkles. Hair and clothes style change, but what about personal and spiritual growth. Pictures do not capture these forms of growth. How do we see personal and spiritual growth, or lack thereof?

 

3 signs of personal growth

1. An understanding of one’s self

Personal growth is evident in the understanding of one’s self. It is in knowing that you are made in the image of God and you have worth. It is in viewing your intellect and your body as gifts from God that He personally gave you for his glory and service.

 

2. Acceptance of strengths and weaknesses

Personal growth is portrayed in accepting your strengths and weaknesses. In the ability to say that it is ok that you are not good at certain things that that is not how God designed you. You have distinct strengths that he expects you to use. You were also given weaknesses from birth and training. You may never be coordinated or get rid of cellulite, however, you may increase your weak cooking abilities or poor listening skills. It is in the acceptance that we can grow to maturity in our person.

 

3. A challenged mind

Personal growth is manifest in one’s ability to challenge their self. It takes forcing yourself out of your comfort zone and challenging your spirit to learn new things. In this challenging, your person is matured as you enlarge the borders of your mind. Stepping outside of your comfort zone takes a complacent heart and starts a flame.

 

3 signs of spiritual growth

 

1. A sense of purpose

A sign of spiritual growth is having a sense of purpose. As we grow spiritual we become more like Christ. When Christ was on this earth he knew who he was and knew his purpose. As we grow spiritually and become like Christ our purpose will show with greater clarity.

 

2. Acknowledgement that God is in Control and I do not have to understand

Our response to suffering and circumstances is a way to pin point spiritual growth. When things go wrong are we still fighting God and accusing Him of wrong. Spiritual growth is acknowledging He is in control and I do not have to understand what he is doing.

 

3. Increased love and compassion for others

Are we looking to the needs of others with love and care. Our eyes of condemnation will turn to eyes filled with the love of Christ as we spiritually grow. The same bad thoughts will not be evident as we become more Christ like. Our compassion will increase as we grow in grace.

 

3 signs of a stagnated spirit.

 

1. Preoccupied with control

A soul that is stagnate is a person who is preoccupied with maintaining control of their circumstances. As long as you continue to control your circumstances personal or spiritual growth will not happen. This atmosphere is not conducive for growth. It is suffocation and brings deterioration.

 

2. Guilt driven

A person who is driven by guilt is stuck and unable to move into growth. Guilt over the past is the main focus for today’s problems and events. This guilt-driven mind game damages growth as it hinders us from trusting God with our past and our future. Keeping us tied to the past and old ways of thinking.

 

3. Manipulative of others

A person who manipulates others to get their way is trapped in a state of no growth their obsession on keeping others righteous is a number one priority in their mind. An individual will not experience personal or spiritual growth as long as their focus is on other people.

 

How have you grown personally and spiritually? Is there a difference or are you stuck in a place of stagnation?

As we look back there should be signs of growth that cry out as evidence of change

 

Question: How are you different in your personal life or spiritual life and what caused your growth? Comment below. I look forward to reading part of your story!

If I Am Trusting God Why Am I Sad?

I pulled the comforter up around my face and tried to block the noise. While the baby slept, my older children watched a movie while I hid from the world, on the couch, in my cocoon of blankets. “Oh God, I just want to stay here. I do not ever want to get up again.” I stayed there for two hours until the baby cried and God said, “Mary, you have responsibilities.”

That morning my Papaw on my Dads side, had passed away. I did not think it would be so hard. I did not realize the crushing feeling my heart would feel. Two weeks earlier my Papaw on my Moms side had died. I made it through that funeral unscathed, but how could I do this again. How could I face death with all of its finality, all again so soon. My heart felt crushed. I could not breath. I wanted to stay in my hidden environment and never again face the world.

Over the next few weeks, I fought off the sadness. It was a deep sadness that seemed to engulf my entire being. I was trusting God and talking to Him about everything. I felt so close to Him. Why, then was my heart overwhelmed in sadness.

Surely, a Christian woman who has God, His Son, and the hope of heaven should be happy.

Is that what God wants from us, good happy women who never cause trouble or need His power to take the next breath.

Do you know that deep sadness? When your soul is crushed under the weight of sadness it carries.

Have you ever heard…

…you need to come into the doctor’s office to hear the test results

…they will not make it through the night

…the baby no longer has a heartbeat

…the pain cannot be helped

…there is no hope

…it is drugs and they have been using for quite some time

…there is no cure

…I do not love you

When life hits us in the face and takes our breath God wants to be the one to hold us.

He never expected us to be strong Christians who are never fazed by the hurts in life.

There is a time to weep and a time to mourn.

Each season is right and proper in its time.

As we embrace the pain, allowing the sadness to pour through our being, we can rest securely in the arms of a compassionate God who longs to hold us through our hurt.

We have a comforter. He cares. He has the strength to hold us when we cannot stand on our own.

Sadness and heartbreak is a season in life.

It is natural.

It will turn.

It may be winter, but spring will come in time.

“1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up

 that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace,

and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1:8)”.

 

 

Question: What has God carried you through when you did not think you would survive? Comment below

Can I Have An Abundant life

What is life in Christ? How can it be abundant and beautiful? These are questions I have struggled with in my adult life. As I have walked through the joys of life and the troubles of life. When I was a young girl, I always thought life as an adult would be great especially if Christ were on my side. Boy was I blindsided, when I began to try and live an abundant life like I had always dreamed.

In the book of John, Jesus tells us that he came not only to give us life, but more abundant life (John 10:10). I know he came to give us eternal life, life that took away the curse and punishment of death. However, as he speaks of a more abundant life, what does he have in mind? What about the other verses that tell us about persecution and trouble (John 15:18-25). How can we live a live that is full of problems and pain and experience this abundant life? How do you accept this truth without joining the ranks of the health, wealth and prosperity Christians?

Here are 4 truths to embrace about Christ and His Promise of an abundant life.

1. He gave his life for our life. (John 15:11, 17-18)

We can believe His claim because He gave his life. He willingly laid his life down to take our place. We can clearly see his loving care in His actions towards His own.

 

2. He will not abandon. (John 15:12-13)

He promised not to leave us. He told us, there are those whose intentions were to kill and destroy, but that was not His intent. He proclaimed that he cared for us and would take care of us.

 

3. He knows his own. (John 15:3, 14)

We can rest and rejoice in the fact that Christ knows us by name (vs.3) and that He knows all about who we are and our needs. We are also given the promise that we can know Him intimately (vs.14).

 

4. He is enough for life. (John 15:3,9)

 

As Jesus is portraying a relationship between a Shepard and sheep, he tells us in verse 3 He leads us, that we can trust him to be there and lead us faithfully. Verse 9 is a bit more puzzling. What does it mean that we can go in and out to find pasture (vs.9)? How does that apply to us, since we are not sheep? A sheep would need to have safety and good pastures to thrive in its existence. In Christ, he is saying he is giving us safety and nourishment to thrive in our existence. Basically, we can live our life in Him and find everything we need, from protection, comfort, rest, nourishment, and shelter. He is enough for Life!

 

There will be problems in life. We were not promised health, wealth and prosperity. In these verses we read that He loving knows us and cares for us. We can have and abundant life full of peace, rest, and fulfillment in Christ. Trust in His care for you and live a truly abundant, beautiful life!

Are you living abundantly in Christ? Are you trusting in His care and provision? Are you resting in the fact that he knows you personally?

If you are not you can. He is the good Shepard that lay down His life for the sheep. In addition, he wants to be reunited with you. Come to Him today and find rest.

Question: What are you trusting God for today? Comment below.

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).”