He walks with me

He walks with me

I was recently reminded, as I was about to walk into a difficult situation, that I am not walking alone. That no matter what I will face, or what is behind that closed door, I have somebody walking besides me. I do not have to fear.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

~ Psalm 23

This Psalm has been in the back of my mind since the beginning of the year. It brought comfort and peace to my heart in many situations. And though, as a child, I did not grasp the meaning of it, through the years I began to understand that God is my Shepherd and I am His sheep. And that the true Shepherd does not run away when trouble comes. He does not abandon when the path gets tough. That He provides and leads His sheep to places of rest and abundance.

And when the enemy attacks, He protects and fights for the sheep.

And when the sheep gets hurt, He carries it and bandages the wounds.

And even when the sheep disobeys and walks on a side path, the Shepherd searches it out and brings it safely to the fold.

And that, following the Shepherd does not mean the absence of trouble or difficulty. And, dark valleys are not the end, nor are they a place to set up camp. But, these are all opportunities for Him to reveal His power and His glory.

Trials are not a respecter of persons. And I might not know your most recent diagnosis, or the storms that rage around you, or the people that come against you, I do know that you can experience peace even in the middle of difficulty. That the Shepherd has not abandoned you and He walks with you through the valley. That He fights for you and will bring you out victorious. That He will restore you and carry you in the safety of His arms. That your situation is not a dead end. And that there is rest, goodness and mercy in the presence of God our Shepherd.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ~ Psalm 46:1

 

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Lessons from Mary

Lessons from Mary

The sun shines brightly outside, but there’s a chill in the air. A cold front has hit unexpectedly, and it will last a few days. The hope of an early spring has vanished quite rapidly. But, there is hope. Spring will come. Maybe not when we want, but it will come. There is an appointed time for each season, a beginning and an end. And with each season, there is a lesson to be learned, a step of faith to be taken, words to be spoken, and decisions to be made. And so also, these words have been waiting to make their mark. Here they are now. Maybe late for some, but right on time for others.

I’ve read the passage in Luke 1 over and over for some time now. How do I respond when the impossible is brought before me? Do I question it? Do I find excuses? Do I believe it and step out in faith?

Mary questioned it, and it’s no surprise. Nothing like that has been heard of before. And, her circumstances made the news sound hard to believe. Unmarried. Inexperienced. Living in a time and culture that condemned what was about to happen to her. This was not the most favorable of situations.

“How will this be” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” – Luke 1:34

And yet, she chose obedience. Complete surrender to God’s plan. Without any grumbling and with no complaints. Even though she could have…

“I am the Lord’s servant.” answered Mary. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. – Luke 1:38

Later in the passage, as Elizabeth confirms the angel’s message, Mary responds with a song of thanksgiving. Hope for the future and for what God will do fills her heart. She chooses to bring praise. And she does this before the plan even came to fruition. Believing the promise, Mary praises God for who He is, for what He has done and for what He will do.

The chapters that follow relate how the angel’s message came into being. How the impossible became possible. And how, choosing to obey and be faithful has brought about a bigger plan than one could imagine. Now, can I respond in the same way? Can you? As God’s servants, we will likely be called to things that look impossible from a human point of view. Things that are beyond our capabilities, beyond our schooling or strength. Things that might not make sense at times, but that are part of God’s greater plan. When that happens, choose to trust, to obey, to believe His promises. Don’t shy away from His calling. Do not let the fear of man stop you from living out God’s plan. People will talk. Roadblocks will come up. Situations will threaten to drown you, to stop you. But the One who has called you for this very thing is the One who will empower you, provide for you and clear the road for His plan to come to pass. He will also put the right people in your path to encourage you, support you and help guide you along the way. Wait upon His timing. And, as you wait, praise Him. Surrender completely to His will and obey His Word. For what He has said He will indeed bring to pass, in His time and in His way.

“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” – Luke 1:45

Strength for the Journey

Strength for the Journey

As the day transitions to night, my heart got stirred and did not have peace until these words were written down. I wrote it as a letter of encouragement for the reader that needs to know that God is still in control. So here it is…

Hey there soul. Know that you are not forgotten. In the midst of this season, of the joy or the sadness, of the trial or triumph, in the middle of today’s mundane tasks, lift up your head to the Father above. The One who created it all, also takes notice of you. He sees you. He is not too busy for you and your requests are not too hard for Him.

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of His might and because He is strong in power, not one is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. – Isaiah‬ ‭40:26-29‬

Trust, trust, trust, in Him, for every little thing and in every situation. Put your hope in God. The fog will not last forever and He will bring clarity to your situation. Lean on God for strength as you travel on this journey. Look to Him for guidance.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your steps. – Proverbs 3:5-6

And even though the journey has been long, you have never walked alone. He helped you climb the mountains, and held your hand as you walked through the valleys. Many times, things did not make sense until after that season was over. And it is the same today. One day you will look back and see that through it all He was always with you… your Light in the darkness and your Guidance during the day.

For I Am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you. – Isaiah 41:13

So, now, and in every moment, just keep on going… with your eyes fixed on Jesus, keep on going. He is your peace in the middle of this storm. And though things might be more than you can handle, His strength will carry you through.  For you are His. And you are much loved.

So do not fear, for I Am with you; do not be dismayed , for I Am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Peace be still – by Lauren Daigle

https://youtu.be/kwCSEsFN1q8

A Time for Everything 

A Time for Everything 

He has made EVERYTHING beautiful in its time. – Ecclesiastes 3:11

Over the years I’ve gotten impatient numerous times waiting on certain things to take place…things such as learning a certain skill, finding a job, finishing college, receiving healing when sick, getting into a relationship, and so on. I did not understand why God would delay, why did it take Him so long to answer me, to help me in a certain situation, to give me what I thought I deserved. I felt overlooked by God. I thought His delay meant He didn’t love me as much as He loved others to give me what I wanted when I wanted it. It’s been a journey of learning that’s for sure, and looking back I can’t help but acknowledge that God does have an appointed  time for everything and that His delay only shows how much He loves me in that He knows what I need and when I need it. And of course, He makes the most out of the delay to prepare me for what He is about to do. 

As I was reading the story of Lazarus tonight I was reminded once again that God’s delay in a situation does not mean He doesn’t care, but on the contrary…He is about to perform a miracle. 

Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was for two more days. – John 11:5-6

Jesus doesn’t prove His love for us by giving us what we want when we want it. His love is something we are already given. Shall trials or sicknesses or troubles come your way, they cannot separate you from the love God has for you in Christ Jesus ( see Romans 8:38-39). Don’t lose heart. The answer might be delayed but it’s coming for sure. 

So then He told them {the disciples} plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” – John 11:14-15

Jesus’ delay in your situation is not only affecting you…but it’s impacting the people around you. Many times God will use your delay to show others who He is, so that they might believe in Him when He comes through for you. 

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that You have heard me. I knew that You always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent Me.” – John 11:41-42

Look up. Yes, in the middle of your storm, or when facing a giant, or when you think you’re all alone, look up to the One who calls you by name, who numbers the hairs on your head, and gives you each breath you take. And bring thanks. Our thankful hearts pave the way for God’s miracle to take place (see Psalm 50:14-15, 23). The night might be longer than you thought, and the storm stronger than you expected, but the God who has held you so far will carry you now as well. 

When He has said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “take off the grave clothes and let him go.” – John 11:43-44

So don’t lose hope beloved. God has an appointed time for your deliverance. The season of waiting is but a season. God’s delay is but a period of molding and preparation for what He is about to bring to pass. And yes, God does work all things for the good of those that love Him (see Romans 8:28). Don’t force things. Don’t push things to happen. But let God be God. Let Him work in you His will, His way. And, as the journey continues, you will indeed see how God’s timing was the best timing, and His way the best way. 

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

In control – Hillsong

For such a time as this

For such a time as this

I know it’s been some time since I wrote something on here. Usually it takes me a while to finalize something, but tonight everything came together fast. I felt the urge to share what I read.

Growing up in a Christian family I was exposed to the stories of the Bible from a young age. I still remember my dad reading to my siblings and I a Bible story each night… the story of David and Goliath was my favorite. If your childhood was similar, then you’ve probably heard of the many heroes of the Bible; if not at home, then at Sunday school or at a church service. The stories of Joseph, Gideon, David, and of Esther are among the most popular, and their lives have encouraged many. 

Tonight I was reading 1 Kings 18. Even though the main story is about Elijah, there is another character mentioned in there that drew my attention. Have you heard of Obadiah? I’ve read this chapter multiple times, but this name never stuck out to me like it did tonight. Here are some things this chapter mentions about Obadiah:

– he was in charge of king Ahab’s palace

– he was a devout believer in the Lord

– he took 100 of the Lord’s prophets, hid them in caves and supplied food and water for them (this was when the queen was seeking to kill all the Lord’s prophets)

– and he had worshipped the Lord since his youth

Having listed these, I understood some things about Obadiah:

– he kept the faith he was taught in his youth, and was known as a believer in the place where he was

– he was fearful at times

 – he put his life in jeopardy for the sake of others

– and he respected authority, but did not deny his beliefs despite the people he worked for

As I was finishing the chapter, I realized I just read about another Joseph or Esther. It’s another hero story, that very few people talk about. It’s another life used by God to take care of His people. It’s what God wants to do with me, with you, as we surrender our entire lives to Him. The position you are in, the platform you find yourself on, is not necessarily to promote yourself. There is something bigger going on behind your success. God has put you in that position for a reason. He has prepared you all along for such a time as this…to be His voice and speak truth, to be His hands and feet that serve and sacrifice for others, to invest in His kingdom, to show Christ.

No, we are not all going to be in charge of a king’s palace, even though some might get there. It can be a simple job at the local grocery store…that place is your platform, the place from where God wants to use you. Your time, your resources, your attitude, can all be useful when placed in God’s hands. Wherever you find yourself, you can be used by God. Purpose is not found in a ministry. Purpose is found in Christ, who calls each one of us to a different ministry. Our part is to abide in Him and be available for His work, whatever that might be. 

God is preparing you to serve your generation…you have been created for such a time as this…

Some say a picture is worth a thousand words…

Some say a picture is worth a thousand words…

I really enjoy the outdoors, even though with this heat wave that does not seem to end, I dread going outside some days. I can’t say I am a nature fanatic though…a hike from time to time is enough for me. Recently though, I was on a trip in the mountains and I had to make myself stop and take it all in. There is just something about being surrounded by nature, by things not created by human hands. It gives me a sense of something greater, something beautiful…it makes me think of the Creator. And to think that He made it all for us…to behold the work of His hands and to enjoy it while here on this earth. The high mountains , the low valleys, the endless ocean, the painted skies, and every little thing in between…there is so much detail in it all. If, in His great majesty, He took time to shape a mountain, give beauty to a flower, how much more care then He took when He made you and me. The texture of your hair, the different colors in your eyes, the shape of your nose, the freckles on your skin, and all the other details that make you unique…it is the work of His hands. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, created for God’s glory, no matter how other people look at it. As you take in the breath you have received from above, stop and smell the flowers, look up to the painted sky, take a snapshot of that view, and enjoy who God made you to be.

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” – Psalm 143:8

 “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?. And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” – Matthew 6:27-29

 “He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” – Matthew 8:26

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.” – Psalm 19:1-3

Story time 

Story time 

I have a Christmas song stuck in my head…for almost a week now. I woke up with it one morning and since then I haven’t been able to get away from it.  I’ve had it on repeat some days and the chorus keeps resounding in my mind…it’s like the words are more real now than ever. The song tells a story, a real, actual story.

At the same time, especially lately, it seems like we only hear bad news. Tragedy after tragedy, hate, violence and we could keep going on… the world around us seems to be getting worse and worse. It’s the kind of story you don’t want to read…the kind you wish it was all make-believe.

Looking at it all…it almost seems like there is no hope, no remedy, no one to play the hero and restore all things. The truth is, no matter how much we would like to, hope cannot be found in people, or in governments for that matter. Hope cannot be found in power, or money, or any other things. Hope is found in a story, a story written a long time ago…and the story goes like this:

A child has been given,
The King of our freedom
Sing for the light has come
This is Christmas

Come and adore Him
And bring gifts before Him
Joy to the world
Worship the Son
This is Christmas

Jesus, Emmanuel here with us
Tell all the world
We have a Savior
We have a Savior
We are no longer lost
‘Cause He has come down for us
We have a Savior
We have a Savior

We have a Savior – Hillsong United

You see, hope for ourselves and for this world can only be found in the story of Jesus Christ. He is our hero…He is Emmanuel, God with us. He has conquered death and sin, and He has promised eternal life to all who believe in Him. That is our hope.

Today, no matter what circumstances you are facing, no matter what happens in this world…we have a Savior.