Hold On!

God never ceases to amaze me.  While looking for a verse to use for the blog post I was going to write today, God led me to another verse which began to speak volumes to me.  So, what I am about to share is not what I originally had planned.  My prayer is that whoever needs to hear this will be blessed and encouraged.

Numbers 23:19 says:

“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man that He should repent.  Has He said, and will He not do?  Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?  Behold, I have received a command to bless; HE HAS BLESSED AND I CANNOT REVERSE IT.”  

As I read this verse I began to think, My God, how many times do I pray and believe a verse only to give up when the answer or miracle is not performed within my time-table?  How many times have I doubted God’s blessings for my own life because I didn’t think He cared about what I was going through because the trial was lasting so long?  And yet this verse says; “Has He said, and will He not do?  Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

There are seasons in our lives we go through that are so difficult for us that it is sometimes hard for us to stand on the promises of God.  When the storm is greatest, and the waves are crashing down, and you just don’t understand what on earth is going on, just remember that what God says, He will do.

I know in my own life there have been times when I have prayed years for something and not seen the answer to my prayer manifest. If I am not careful, I can easily allow fear and doubt to rise up within me to the point that I begin to doubt what God has said.  I begin to believe the lies that say He just doesn’t care about me.  Maybe there is something wrong with me.  So-and-so got their prayer answered and I am still waiting.  But Acts 10:34 says:

“God is no respector of persons.”

What God has done for one, He will do for you.  Every miracle in the Bible, every promise spoken in the Bible is for you and me today.  Hebrews 13:8 says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

God hasn’t forgotten you. He will do whatever  He says He will do.  I know when the battle is raging, it is hard to believe and hold on to God’s promises.  Don’t feel guilty if this is how you feel.  We all battle this when the battle is the greatest.  Tenth Avenue North wrote a song named “Worn” that I want to share with you.  I am going to just share different parts of the song, but you will get the idea:

I’m tired, I’m worn.  My heart is heavy, from the work it takes to keep on breathing.  I’ve made mistakes, I’ve let my hope fail. My soul feels crushed by the weight of this world.  I know I need to lift my eyes up, but I’m too weak, life just won’t let up. I’m worn and my prayers are wearing thin, I’m worn even before the day begins, I’m worn, I’ve lost my will to fight.  I’m worn so heaven come and flood my eyes.

I know every one of us have been in this kind of mental despair at some point in or lives.  It’s lonely and dark in this pit of despair. However, it is in the darkest moments of our lives that we have to remember the promises of God.  There are times when we may have nothing left to do BUT stand on God’s promises.

We must begin to believe what God has spoken.  Romans 8:28 says:

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

We must believe that God has good things in store for us.  He wants to bless us more than we want blessed.  Just as we love to give good gifts to our children, God wants to bless us with His good gifts. The last part of our verse in Numbers 23 says that, “He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.”  Praise God!  You cannot stop God’s blessings from coming to you!    When your prayer is finally answered, and the blessings begin to flow, you will have no room to contain them. Nothing can stop your blessing from coming.  Just hold on and don’t give up because your blessing is on its way!

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Help! I Think I Am Losing My Mind!

When was the last time you sat down and received God’s rest?  Or beter yet, when was the last time your mind was at rest?

For me, it has been a very long time since I had a rested mind and peace in general.  My stress symptoms are letting me know that my mind has been in overdrive for quite awhile actively stealing my peace.  I am all too familiar with the symptoms of stress overload:  anxiety, heart palpitaions, loss of sleep, fatigue, short tempered, emotional, over-eating, or in my case under-eating.  And if we have been stressed out for a long period of time we may have panic attacks, depression or health issues that have risen from the stress.

I can remember a time in my life when I was so stressed out, that I broke out in shingles on the left side of my face and in my left eye.  We were going through a very hard time in our ministry and a lot of false accusations were being made against us.  We were also going through the whirlwind of emotions connected to not being able to conceive another child.  And then add health issues on top of all of that and you have a classic case of stress overload.

It’s hard to control your thought-patterns when life seems to be falling apart all around you.  I would cry out to God, but my mind was in such an overdrive that I was not able to find rest for my soul.  I was desperate for freedom from the turmoil that was attacking my mind.  Notice I didn’t say freedom from the physical symptoms.  Those were bad enough, but I wanted freedom from the detrimental thought pattern that was manifesting itself as physical symptoms.  I knew if I could conquer the war raging in my mind, I could conquer the physical symptoms.  When you are dealing with stress, or anxiety, or fear, the arena of the mind becomes the arena where victory or defeat will take place.  Isaiah 26:3 AMP says:

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [ both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You and hopes confidently in You.”

How do you fix your mind on God?  By meditating on His Word night day and night.  Even in your lowest state you can find scriptures that deal with your situation that will cause the heart to mend and your mind to begin to find rest.

A lot of times finding the scriptures are easy, but staying focused on those scriptures may be a little harder. Sometimes it is hard to break free from our thought patterns.  We need to learn to cast our cares onto God and believe that He will take care of everything that has us so stressed out.  I Peter 5:7 AMP says:

“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”

In order to cast the whole of your care upon the Lord, there are a few things we must reject: Those are the thoughts of fear, worry, doubt, and unbelief.  I don’t know about you, but I’ll give my cares to God and then a thought will enter my mind and before I know it, I have taken back my cares.  This is where the scriptures we find for our circumstances come in handy.  As soon as the negative thoughts come back in, we need to verbally quote our scriptures over our circumstances.  Then we need to roll our burden back onto God so that we can find rest for our minds.

David wrote in Psalm 23:1-3 that:

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul”

David knew something about finding rest for his mind.  He penned that God restores his soul. The soul is your mind, your will, and your emotions.  Only God can give you rest for your weary mind.  Let Him lead you to the quiet places.  Let Him give you rest.  Throw your cares upon Him and find peace.  He cares for you too much to see you battle-scarred from your own thought pattern. Fall back into the loving arms of the Father, and allow Him to give you peace.

You Are Being Pursued…

You Are Being Pursued...

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

I just finished reading a book titled, “God’s At War: Defeating the Idols That Battle for Your Heart,” by Kyle Idleman, and he talks about God’s pursuing love for us. He says that, “This is a God who, when turned down, ignored, rejected – even violently, even blasphemously – finds a new way to express His love and issue the invitation. This is a God who has never given up on winning your heart.”

Those are powerful words. He is a God that in spite of all my weaknesses, in spite of all my sin, in spite of all my ugliness, still pursues me and wants a relationship with me. This love is so hard to comprehend. And yet, there are times in my life when I have doubted His love for me. It’s hard to believe that God loves you when your whole world seems to be falling apart. I think as humans we are so programmed with the worldly system of love, that our minds are warped with carnal thinking and believing instead of God thinking and believing. God’s love is not like our human love which is based on fickle feelings. His love is a love that we cannot even comprehend.

I think many times we have taken our earthly relationships and hurts and just assumed God’s love is like ours. There are many times when I think that the hurt and pain we experience in our earthly relationships is carried to how we relate with our relationship with God. We need to realize that we are human and our love is going to fail and not meet everybody’s needs. So many times I look to my husband to meet my needs, only for it to end up in disappointment when he falls short of my expectations. Only God can meet our evey need. His love is perfect and not lacking in any area. He loves us so much that Isaiah 49:11 says:

“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.”

We are inscribed on God’s hand. He can never forget us. During the times when it feels like God doesn’t care, we need to remember that He literally has us in the palm of His hand. He loves us and is there for us.

In spite of our past mistakes, in spite of our sin, in spite of all our flaws, we are loved by a God who NEVER gives up on us. Romans 8:38-39 says:

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to seperate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It is so encouraging to know that we are being pursued relentlessly by a God who has an all-consuming love for us. If we could grasp this love, many of our fears would be erased because there would be no reason to fear. God is holding us and whispering our name and telling us how much we are loved.

For you who are doubting God’s love, just call out to Him. I have been in your shoes so many times and it hurts. But I also had to come to a point to allow myself to receive God’s love. There will come a time in your life when you have nothing left to do BUT receive the Father’s love. Call on Him. He is right by your side waiting to embrace you in His arms. He loves you unconditionally.

Chosen; In Spite Of Yourself

“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”  Judges 6:12.

I would love to have seen Gideon’s face when the Angel of the Lord told this to him.  After all, when the Angel visited him, he was in the middle of threshing wheat in a winepress in order to hide it from the Midianites.  The Angel of the Lord then turns to Gideon and says:  “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites.  Have I not sent you?”  And what was Gideon’s reply?  “O my Lord, how can I save Israel?  Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

It looks like Gideon had a very low opinion about himself.  God is wanting to do something great through Gideon, and yet there is so much fear and low self esteem in him that he is blinded by the fact that God wants to use him. So Gideon does what so many of us do when we want proof that this is really God:  He asks for a sign.  I have asked this question many times in my life.  God if this is really what you want me to do, then you’re going to have to show me a sign.  How foolish I was to ask God for this.  If I would be spending time with God everyday, shouldn’t I already know what His will is for my life?  And yet, fear and doubt begin to envelop me and I begin to ask God for proof that He is really speaking to me.  I mean, who am I that God would choose me to do something great for Him?  And yet the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:27 that:

“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.”

Have you ever felt like Gideon?  Has God called you to do something so big, that you don’t think you are equipped for the job?  You look around and see so many other people who would be better candidates, and yet you wonder why on earth God has chosen you. After all, you may feel like you are the last person God would want to use.  You look at yourself and see all of the flaws, but God looks at you and sees His finished product.  God sees you completely different than the way you see yourself.

I know I have questioned God many times why He chose me to become a Pastor’s Wife and a Worship Leader.  I feel so inadequate most of the time. And to tell you the truth, I have probably failed many times.   And yet, despite my low opinion about myself and all of my flaws, God moves mightly.  I think the reason God calls the ones who feel the least qualified for the job is because, one, He will receive all of the glory, and two, He can trust us with whatever it is He is calling us to do. God will always give you the ability for the work He has for you to do.

Gideon laid out two more fleeces just to make sure he was hearing from God.  You have to understand something, Gideon was full of fear and he was so used to being a nobody that he could not comprehend why God was choosing him.  Like Gideon, you may feel like everyone has forgotten you.  You may feel abandoned and been told that you were crazy for thinking God would want to use you. But you are in the right position for God to raise you up and call you to be a mighty man or woman of valor.  Don’t allow people to dictate to you whether or not you are good enough.  God made you and He thinks you are perfect.  He has given you dreams and desires for a reason.  And you can either trust him to perfect what He has given you, or you can succomb to fear and say to yourself, “this isn’t from God.”

“I want to help you decide that, by the power of God, you will not be ordinary.”  -Smith Wigglesworth

You have a purpose and because of the grace that God showers upon us, He has chosen you in spite of all of your flaws.

 

Strength For The Weary Soul

I have to admit, I am feeling very weary today.  My youngest son has been sick with the flu and strep for two weeks.  We thought he was getting better, but he came home again from school sick and tired.  I took him back to the doctors office where more tests were being run, and now we are just waiting for the results.

Waiting……it’s something God asks us to do so many times, and yet something I am horrible at doing.  It seems like the longer I wait, the more anxious I become.  My mind begins to think up the worse case scenario possible for every situation.  Even now, I am thinking about some of the things I have been asked to wait for and I have to admit, I think I have failed God in the waiting process.  Psalm 37:7 says:

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.”

I look at this verse wonder how do you find rest when everything around you looks so uncertain?  Is the answer in having complete trust in the Lord and knowing that He will take care of you no matter what?  I don’t know about you, but I tend to be the type of person who doesn’t handle uncertainty very well.  I like stability and I like to have a certain level of control in my circumstances.  (which of course is wrong)  When things tend to get out of my control, anxiety and fear increases and I usually end up crying to my husband and crying out to God.  Many times, I feel like I come to a complete place of brokenness.  How many times could I have spared myself all of this drama by just giving everything to God and resting in Him?  Would things have turned out differently?  Do I still continue to go around this same mountain because I have a very hard time letting go and God is trying to teach me that my peace is only through Him?

Webster’s Dictionary defines rest as:  a state or period of inactivity, relaxation, or sleep.  To lie down.  To be at peace or ease.  To depend; rely.

Looking at this definition really brings this verse into a different light for me.  God doesn’t want us to be all worried and anxious about what tomorrow holds.  He wants us to rest and be confident in Him knowing that He will work everything out for our good.

I think about a game we played when I was younger.  I’m sure most of you have played the same game.  We would have someone stand in front of us and we would tell that person to fall back.  The person falling had to make a quick decision:  am I going to trust my friends enough to catch me, or am I going to forget it and let someone else play?  Most of the time, we would trust our friends to catch us.  If we can place this much trust in our earthly friends, why do we find it difficult to place trust in our Heavenly Father?  After all, He is the One who created us.  He knows our every weakness, our every pain, the reason behind every tear we cry, and yet we have a hard time trusting and resting in Him.

Isaiah 40:31 says:

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

Maybe the whole reason that God wants us to wait and rest in Him is because it is the only way our strength is renewed.  He knows how we were created, and He also knows that He did not create our bodies to hold on to stress the way we do.  How many physical problems could I avoid by just learning to rest in God?

Matthew 11:28-30 says:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Jesus is the answer for everything we are going through.  We are to come and take His yoke and find rest in Him.  When we try to control our circumstances, we labor in vain.  We begin to to struggle with the heavy weight we have just placed on ourselves because we have failed to rest in Jesus.  A person who labors is struggling, and one with a heavy burden is overloaded.  Jesus is telling us to come to Him, find rest in Him.  He wants to take our burdens and struggles from us and give us peace.  But the only way for us to receive His peace is to stop trying to control our own circumstances.   We need to learn to fully rely on Him and place our complete trust in Him.