It’s (Not) Going to Get Better

I’m not a pessimist. In fact, I tend far too much toward optimism. However, I’ve learned that belligerent optimism isn’t helpful when equally stubborn hardship prevails.

The reality is that we should expect suffering as a result of sin. Believers should expect the added difficulties of persecution and living apart from the pattern of the world. Whether we’re facing chronic illnesses with no cure or the persistent battle of loving others well, the truth is life often hurts.

Short of heaven “better” is always going to be a relative term.

Putting our hope and faith in optimism, or changing circumstances, or the next self-help fad, will leave us frustrated and disillusioned over and over again.

Yet we do have hope.

The Gospel is good news for the lost, suffering, weary sinners of this world. That means it’s good news for you and for me.

In Hope When It Hurts, by Kristen Wetherell and Sarah Walton, the good news of Jesus Christ is precisely and pointedly applied as balm to our suffering. From the very first chapter, their thesis is clear:

What I need, and you need, is the truth about Jesus Christ, because our suffering only makes sense and we only retain any hope when we look at ourselves through a gospel lens.”

Never offering pat answers or platitudes, Hope When It Hurts proceeds to offer the framework of a gospel perspective on suffering. A reality check on pride’s role in our response to suffering stretches readers to shift their eyes to the only real hope we have -and the only real purpose we live for (hint: it’s not our comfort or convenience.)

Several chapters address the opportunities afforded to us by our suffering.

Unlike messages staking our hope in optimism for changing circumstances or everything working out for the better, Hope When It Hurts stakes everything on God. In short, easy-to-read, but in-depth chapters, the authors highlight practically why we:

  • Have hope
  • Don’t have to be shaken
  • Can persevere
  • Take heart in suffering
  • Are freed from agonizing over making sense of pain
  • Worship God in everything and anything

Straight-shooting, personal messages treat the ache from the inside out with words like these:

“…when you are in the darkness…and you begin to question God’s love for you, remember what it true: Jesus Christ was sent into the world because God loves you. There is not greater demonstration of his affection for you, and there is no clearer proof that he intends to make good of what you are enduring right now. The who was struck down on the cross is the One who could not be destroyed and, because He is for you, neither will you be. He is your light. Draw near to Him.”

It’s true. Paul, while enduring final imprisonment and reaching out to his loved ones as his earthly days dwindled, proclaimed hope when it hurts: “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:18.)

Even if it never gets better in this lifetime. Even if a gruesome, painful death is how we’re safely delivered into His heavenly kingdom, the Lord will rescue us and bring us to Him.

temporary

Paul follows these words with praise- “To him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

This book follows suit. Although atypical and unexpected for a book on suffering, this message carries the broken to worship and eases the hurting into praise.

As much a devotional as a book of reflections on suffering and Gospel hope, Hope When It Hurts renews and refreshes believers. Instead of saying “it’ll get better,” readers are reminded of what already is better: the true, joyous, incredible hope we have despite our often-unchanging, hopeless suffering.


<This review was provided in exchange for a free preview copy of Hope When It Hurts from the Good Book Company.>

This post may also be shared on: #MomentsofHope, #DreamTogetherLinkup, #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #Heart Ecnouragement, #LiveFreeThursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

 

Knowledge Bloats (1/6)

This post is the 1st in a 6-part series on Idolizing Knowledge. Read the rest of the posts here. Guest directory info is available here.

“But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.

1 Cor 8:1-3

I’m a freelance writer. I’ve written about topics like car parts and techniques for surgery. However, I’m no mechanic and would heartily refuse to assist if anyone handed me a scalpel.

You, likewise, know some lingo and plenty of trivia about certain topics. Maybe you’ve memorized sports statistics. Perhaps a loved one has told you about the day to day tasks they complete at work. Chances are, you aren’t qualified to be a famous athlete or even a sports commentator. Your loved one’s boss probably wouldn’t be pleased if you showed up instead one day.


Much of the knowledge we possess doesn’t lead us to anything actionable. Still, many of us are obsessed with learning all we can know.

Set up as an idol, we worship knowledge because of what we believe it gives us: control. Power. Security. Influence. Prestige. Ability. Option.

The trouble is knowledge, all by itself, puffs up. It’s hot air. Knowledge can look and sound impressive but have no substance. Even when tall and intimidating, it may be flimsy when it’s leaned on.

Often all knowledge for the sake of knowledge gives us is a headache. <Tweet this>

Want-to-know-it-alls like myself must be wary of making too much of knowledge alone. When we let knowledge puff us up, all we’re doing is trying to misuse it for our own glory. We want to be so smart that God and all His creation praise us and bend to our wills.

but-knowledge-puffs-up-while-love-builds-up

Grand as it might appear and authoritative as it may sound, knowledge:

  • Isn’t unchanging
  • Isn’t complete
  • Isn’t all-powerful
  • Isn’t fulfilling on its own
  • Isn’t everything

God, on the other hand, is all of these things and so much more.

God is self-existent and sufficient, He is also omniscient. He knows everything.

Knowledge, as we know it, has limits, boundaries, and frustrations. Yet our finite knowledge is something God uses for His good purposes. (Hint: God’s good purposes don’t involve us taking control or bloating our egos.)

God gives knowledge, withholds it, reveals it, explains it, multiplies it, and wields it for His glory.

According to God’s Word, knowledge paired with grace, love, peace, wisdom, goodness, and the like can glorify Him. Fitted in the frame of righteousness and powered by the zeal of the Spirit, knowledge can propel the sharing of the Gospel.

Knowledge revealing God’s glory is certainly more substantial, lasting, and righteous than knowledge puffing up our egos.

Does knowledge need to have less of a bloating effect and more of a godly effect in your life too?

Join me for the next 5 weeks to delve deeper into shattering the idol of knowledge to take hold of knowledge as God intends it to be.

This post may also be shared on: #MomentsofHope, #DreamTogetherLinkup, #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #Heart Ecnouragement, #LiveFreeThursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

I would love to have you guest post on First and Second. Now accepting submissions for a guest directory on Idolizing Knowledge! More info on guest posting here.

Motivation for Long Days at Work

When I’m exhausted by the thought of putting one more second of time into producing something for someone else, to someone else’s standards, according to someone else’s timeline, I find encouragement in these verses.

I hope you do too.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

“Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”

The boring parts of work don’t always leave us feeling fulfilled. The Lord calls us to un-glamorous, unexciting work.  Whether the bland parts of jobs, like shuffling through paperwork, or the blah parts of working through life like doing the dishes, quietly tending to our affairs is part of our testimony.

Work is an expression of creating and stewarding what the Lord has given us. It is part of sustaining and supporting the affairs that the Lord has made us responsible for. When we quietly mind our lives and care for what He’s given through work and ordinary tasks, we evidence how we value all the Lord has provided.

whatever-you-do-work-at-it-with-all-your-heart-as-working-for-the-lord-not-for-human-masters

Colossians 3:23

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”

In your heart, your work can be unto the Lord. It needn’t be for your boss that you do your work honestly and to the best of your ability. Rather, reflect the character of the Lord. God made man, and He is sovereign over the systems we live in. That includes the workplace.

1 Corinthians 15:58

“Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Even work that seems in no way related to the Gospel can be used by the Lord for His good purpose. Sticking stamps on a stack of envelopes might just be a part of the work of the Lord today –and His work is never in vain.

stamps

Psalm 90:17

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.”

You don’t have to figure out how refilling the copier’s ink can be made into a spiritual act. Your life’s work, surrendered to God and completed to glorify Him, is up to God to use as He will. Keep in mind that the work of your hands is part of God’s plans. He will establish it, He will cause it to bear fruit. He is faithful to us even in the little things, just as He calls us to be.

1 Corinthians 3:12-13

“…their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.”

Doing work lazily or half-heartedly without concern for doing it well catches up to you. God knows your heart, your ambitions, your motivations, and your true efforts. Do quality work. It will be tested, it will be shown for what it is. Let it be through and through “our utmost for His glory.”

{Originally posted on My Faith Radio}

This post may also be shared on: #MomentsofHope, #DreamTogetherLinkup, #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #Heart Ecnouragement, #LiveFreeThursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

I’d love for you to guest post on First and Second! Especially for an upcoming series…more here.

When Your Manna Tastes Bland

Last year, I had my wisdom teeth removed *gag.* The surgery went well, but there were complications during my recovery. I’ll spare you the gory details. Suffice it to say, I ate the same bland soft foods for about a month. Let me tell you: diversity of diet is a spiritual need.

Maybe that’s an exaggeration.

But I’m not the only one who finds my heart getting heavy when God’s provision is the same old ordinary stuff day after day.

Recently set free from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites were roaming the wilderness when they cried out to God for food. He graciously provided, dropping down manna from heaven.  Just bits of bread tasting like coriander and honey, the manna was spread across the transient camp daily for 40 years (Exodus 16.)

Though the idea of bread raining down from heaven is extraordinary, the Israelites quickly grew bored with God’s unfailing but monotonous meal choice.

They always had enough.

But the people had enough of just enough.

Bored, they complained against the Lord. The people got sick of manna. It was bland, it was wearisome, and really- how long can anyone live with the same old same old?

Like the Israelites, we are often grateful the Lord always provides. But sometimes we wish God’s provision was just a little more exciting.

Take note of God’s response to the Israelites when they felt much the same. He was faithful. That’s who He is.

If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is” (2 Timothy 2:13 NLT.)

Throughout the wilderness routine, God surprised the Israelites with quail and likely livestock from their battle victories.

At the end of those forty years, those manna-fed people crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land. They had homes of their own, freedom to live for His glory, and even gardens and pastures for raising all sorts of foods.

When entering the Promised Land, the Israelites also had forty years’ worth of reminders of His faithfulness. The ordinary, too-familiar taste of His extraordinary provision lingered on their lips.

What a sweet treat -one we’re blessed by too.

give-us-today-our-daily-bread

The excitement we yearn for has less to do with our present life and more to do with daily taking in what He provides. When we’re willing to believe it, our joy is found because:

His promises are true every day.

His provision, even when it seems monotonous, sustains us.

God is who He is- and that’s exciting, even day by (regular old) day.

Remaining fresh and delighted in faith often blossoms through ordinary ways of witnessing His extraordinary faithfulness.

As you and I take our next big bites of ordinary, let’s chew on the bland in delighted faith. Our provision is from the perfect One. He’s providing us with tastes of His constant presence day by day, nourishing us to grow in Him along the way.

This post may also be shared on: #MomentsofHope #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #Heart Ecnouragement, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

I would love to have you guest post on First and Second! More info on an upcoming series with guest posting here.

God’s Reliability: Updating to 5.0

{This post originally appeared on My Faith Radio}

We know all too well the adrenaline rush of a beloved phone fizzling out or breaking. Updates to social media page layouts and software give us pause.

We get used to doing things a certain way and using particular tools. It’s normal to feel vulnerable, tired, lost, and frustrated when the things we have come to rely on change.

What a blessing the Lord we rely on does not change.

Just like we find to be the case with cell phones and media layouts, we know the more we rely on something, the harder it is to be apart from it.

This is tenfold with God. More than a schedule or a tool, the Lord is the ultimate helper. Relying on Him makes us more reliant on Him- and that’s a wonderful thing.

relyonthelordquote

There is nowhere like His presence. We can find no peace, no joy, nor comfort or certainty comparable to that provided by our Lord.

So it’s especially difficult and disorienting when we reach “spiritual highs”…and then wander away.

We’re prone to it. It’s in our nature. Paul laments in Romans 7:19 that “I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”

Paul’s words are about more than getting convicted about the sins we clearly commit, like lying or gossiping.  Sin is also what we don’t do –like when we don’t rely on the Lord.

Jesus tells us, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

Remember when you last laid down your burdens and gratefully stepped into the freedom He gives? Do you remember the rest that you felt when you relied on the yoke of the Lord?

  • There’s no need to stumble around in the dark, even in spaces you feel you know and can navigate yourself. His Word is the light unto our paths. (Psalm 119:105)

 

  • Feeling vulnerable, as if you are without your usual sense of kindness and compassion? We’re never left exposed. He gladly clothes us with His presence. (Romans 13:14)
  • When you’re weary at work and nothing seems refreshing or worthwhile, remember that all things are for His glory. Work can be exhausting –but He renews us day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)
  • Our constantly changing gadgets are no replacement for the equipping Jesus does. How simple and strong are the lasting tools given by the Lord, like the armor of God and the Word that pierces the soul. (Ephesians 6; Hebrews 4:12)

Unlike our phones and the other things we’re dependent on, God doesn’t expect us to catch up on His latest model. We can wander on back to His presence, knowing He is who He is and He’ll love and work on us as we are.

He is ever patient, always faithful, and wonderfully reliable.  

This post may also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

In Lists We Trust

{The sixth installment in the In ____We Trust Series}

Glad to welcome Dana from Living in My Freedom to the blog today. She says: "I am a mother of four teenagers and married to an incredible man for 19 years. Life up to this point has been an adventure with so many stories to tell. I hope God can use my life's story to reach others and make an impact for the Kingdom."
dana

I used to pride myself on the lists I could make and accomplish. Did you see that “pride myself” part? Yea… how many times have we all said that phrase? I’ll give you a little insight into my prideful list making. Consider if this hits a nerve with you.

In the morning, I’d get my handy little note pad, with lines of course, and make my list of duties for the day. These were things I wanted to accomplish and would feel good if everything was crossed off, especially if I could do it by 3pm because then I could enter into the super-mom realm.  I would list them, sometimes alphabetically, in order of importance and by category… control-freak anyone?

In case you are wondering, my grocery lists were in categories, by isle of the store. I had a separate list of dinners for the week.

Here’s the kicker though, when I crossed things off the list, my “worthy meter” would go up a little. My worthy meter determined my worthiness of love, acceptance and ability to contribute to life.  Achievement based, conditional love.

So the major issue and fear I faced at the end of the day was if there were things I could not accomplish, I felt like the day was a failure…. actually that I was, in fact, a failure. If my list was completed I’d wave it around like an Olympian gold medal, shaking my little imaginary empty cup for others to fill it full of love and worthiness. If I didn’t finish the whole list, no one saw the list, even the things I’d done, I’d sulk and be surly to my family, which was an expression of how worthless I felt inside.

My worthy-meter determined my worthiness of love, acceptance, and ability to contribute to life.

I am so excited to report that Christ didn’t let me sink in that pit of feeling unworthy!!

worthy complete

He came to my rescue and I learned about my true worth in Christ. I have known for years in my head, it just hadn’t translated to my perfectionist, overachieving heart.

God’s Word says the following about me, oh and by the way…I can do nothing to earn it!

  • I am the apple of His eye- Zechariah 2:8
  • I am a Saint- Ephesians 2:19
  • I am redeemed and forgiven (Hallelujah!)- Ephesians 1:7
  • I am free from condemnation- Romans 8:1
  • I am established, anointed and sealed by God- 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
  • and most of all I am complete in Christ! – Colossians 2:10

Before you head into a place where you feel sorry for my feelings of worthlessness or identify and maybe think it’s not that bad…it was sin, plain and simple.

My inflated pride of thinking I was something and could earn God’s love fueled my clear unbelief of who God says I am through Christ. The fact that I called myself worthless when Christ called me worthy of dying for (and not believing that I am complete in Him) altered my view of my identity.

I had idolized the list! Placing the list above God.

god is god

What broke me free from worthlessness, list making, and achievement-based love was confession and then choosing to believe God.

Once I chose to believe what God says in His Word, He then did the work of sanctifying me through and through.

I have made a reference of scriptures identifying who I am as a new creation in Christ. I try to read them every day to ingrain into my heart so I have a new go-to thought for when Satan tries to tempt me to think the old thoughts.

When it creeps up on me I have a little statement I say-

God is God and the list is not!

By God’s power I overcame this! Now I find that when I fall, my reaction time to recognizing the drifting away from having God on the throne is much quicker. It’s so much easier to turn around and change directions now that I have confessed, repented and asked God to change my heart and mind.

I still love an organized spreadsheet or an organized list, that’s how God created me and I have learned to love it! However, it no longer has power over me. Christ broke the power of sin and shame and gave me the Holy Spirit to empower me to resist the devil!

Romans 6:14~  For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace.

Are you idolizing something over God? Are you struggling to believe what God says about you? Seek God’s face, search Him out in His Word, it was written for you. It has every answer you need for your life today!

For the next few weeks, guests will be writing each Monday on something (or someone) we tend to trust in besides God. 

What about you? How do you fill in the blank: In ______ I Trust?

This post will also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

Word of the Week: Understanding

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding

 –Proverbs 3:5

The verse is easy to memorize, but it’s so hard to live. I often feel that I’m good at the trusting, and even the leaning. Where I fail most (and the trust and the leaning aren’t real) is that last part: understanding.

I’m a wanna-know-it-all.

I’m really grateful God gives us brains and I use mine constantly. Too much.

As a result, I tend to think myself and other people have a lot of that word: understanding. But even if we were all ultra-smart and extra-logical, God’s Word would still be true on this matter.

It’s risky to lean on our own understanding to the exclusion of trusting in the Lord.

Just a few examples of why:

  1. Understanding as a Human is Interpretative

For all our love of logic, the truth is this: our understanding is coupled with our own interpretation. Part of being human is having a perspective that isn’t perfect. All things we take in, we see from a human point of view. Our filters are tainted by sin, even when it comes to how we remember and apply facts.

  1. We Never Have All the Facts

Since we’re not omniscient and all-knowing, we never have all of the facts like God does. Our understanding is, consequently, always limited. To fill in what’s missing in our knowledge gaps, we have to use interpretation, assumptions, and conjecture.

  1. Understanding Isn’t Wisdom

What we do with our understanding (the way we lean on it) isn’t necessarily wise. We can have all of the facts and make poor judgement calls. Many matters are not purely logical, as Mr. Spock can attest.

  1. The Heart and the Brain Both Matter

Head knowledge is typically associated with understanding. Heart knowledge is another matter, and whether we see it or not, the two are connected inextricably. When we rely on just one or the other consistently, we’re setting ourselves up to fail.

  1. Our Own Understanding Never Seems to See God Correctly

Take the verse as a whole: we shouldn’t lean on our own understanding because we should trust in the Lord with all our hearts. Leaning is a version of trust. Our own understanding doesn’t lean on God the way it would if it was correct. After all, perfect understanding would have us relying on the one who knows all, wouldn’t it?

This post will also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

In {Google} We Trust

{The second installment in the In ____We Trust Series}

I like to stop by Christ on my way to Google. I wave hello, say “thanks” or “please.” Even “so glad you’re still here, I love you and trust you!” and then get along on my merry way to wherever I’m ultimately headed. It’s often to Google.

See, I like Google. I’m convinced there are no ends to the rabbit trails found to every answer I can conceivably ask it. There’s always something more to know, which, in my doubting heart, means there always a glimmer of hope that there is a way and it will work out….I just have to keep figuring it out.

If you want to know what I’m concerned about or doubting the Lord about, check my Google browsing history.

<ClickToTweet>

At times you’ll find an absurd number of articles, web listings, and advertisements for first time homebuyers.

During other months, lengthy detailed research can be found about the health issues of loved ones and chronic problems that remain unsolved. The research extends to whole articles about big words I can’t pronounce.

I approach this in a Godly manner, of course. Because I pray first…

Do you know the prayer?

It’s that “I trust you, help me” prayer that comes before jumping off the narrow way of faith into the pit of forging my own way.

google we trust

I’ve got plenty of company there…that’s how Google ratings are determined, you know. The more people there are like me turning to Google for the answers the Lord isn’t giving as we want and when we want it, the more information there is on Google and the easier it is to find.

It seems that like me, many people believe that if we just check every rabbit hole, follow each trail to its end, and then tunnel a little deeper down on our own, the whole path will just open up. We’ll get where we’re going.

But oh, amidst all the sin of my doubt and my trust in Google, there’s another big issue:

Christ is not just the launching point, but the destination. And….the way.

When I trust Him with any one of these but not with all of them, I miss out. I do all this extra work and have all this added stress and anxiety. Because I’m trying to get to the one I trust, but not trusting Him to give me the information I need to get there.

My Google habit isn’t a sin. Being well-informed is even wise.

BUT, trusting in knowledge from Google instead of wholly in Christ leaves me with a head full of stuff and a heart full of…stuff. Not peace. Not hope. Not rest and joy in the Lord.

This is just another form of “leaning on my own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5.)

Google can mislead me. Information can change. All that I might learn in my seeking and searching online can fail me, betray me, disappoint me, and ultimately leave me hurt. God cannot and will not.

Before I whip my Google fingers out, I need to pray and ask if seeking information in that instance is a part of following Him. And I need to be willing to stop and listen.

If what I’m looking for isn’t information Google has, I need to look elsewhere. Namely, to Him.

If what I’m looking for is intended to placate me, fuel my doubts, or tempt me to sin, I need to go to Him who has all I need.

If I know that my Google search is just a tool God is using to teach me, inform me, and lead me…then I can click away.

Because when my Google search is something I trust the Lord with, I’m trusting the Lord…not a search engine.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be writing each Monday on something (or someone) I tend to trust in besides God. 

What about you? How do you fill in the blank: In ______ I Trust?

Writers and non-writers are welcome to submit guest posts. Contact me here by June 5th telling me what you trust in besides God and how He helps you trust Him more.

This post will also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

WordoftheWeek: Strengthen

“Be strong and of good courage… do not cower.

Do not heed your fears. Take the land I have given you to possess.”

Joshua 1:6, 7

Joshua is one of my favorite books of the Bible. The third chapter in particular grips me every time. So thankful Christine shared about the Lord using Joshua to encourage her to worship Him during battles of all kinds.

Genuinely praising God amidst the crazy and chaotic takes strength.

That’s the word this week, pulled from Joshua 1: Be Strong.

4 Facts:

  1. “Be Strong” is a Verb

I’m referring to the word strengthen because in this verse, in context, “be strong” means “grow strong” or, simply “strengthen.” It’s an action word.

Strength is not something we just possess. To be strong is to exert power.  It’s to use what you have been given with might.

  1. Strengthening is Multi-Faceted

Sometimes being strong means grasping something tightly. That might involve seizing hold of it…or it may mean clinging with force to what is already in your grip.

When you exert strength, it takes effort and sustenance. You must firm up your muscles- even your Spiritual muscles.

  1. Strength Derives from Something Given

“Adopt” and “apply” are some of the first words listed in the definition of strengthen. The potential of the power and might have been given. The Lord’s promises have been made and His call has been issued.

To be strong is to apply what has been given. Flex the faith-muscle God has been growing.

  1. Being Strong Means Relying on the Lord

Another aspect of “be strong” is “be encouraged,” or, “fasten.” What is it that the Israelites were called to be strong in? What is it we’re to fasten ourselves to, take hold of, and grip with all our strength?

God’s promises. Be strong in taking hold of God’s promises.

Securely and resolutely take hold of the one who is growing you.

That’s what it is to be strong: to flex our God-given muscles in the battles we face.

<ClickToTweet>

We take hold and flex in praise, in faithful following, and, as the verses that follow state, in obedience.

Will you stretch and flex from the soul with me today?

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #LifeGivingLinkup.

In The Midst of Trials- The Word Works Series

 

It always seems that Ifeoma has a timely lesson on her blog, Purposeful and Meaningful. Sharing practical tips on relevant topics, Ifeoma keeps Christ at the center of her writing. Grateful to have her sharing a challenge to grow in prayer based on God’s Word.


ifeoma

One fateful night, after I had spent a splendid time studying and praying, I prepared to ease into my writing by checking my messages.

You wouldn’t believe the message I got. My eyes literally widened in shock. I read the message over and over again. It is not possible, I said to myself. This can’t be true!

It was far from being good news, friend.

I was in the midst of a mess. Someone had set me up. Now I was called to my own defense.

I lost my balance. Lord, what is this? At 2 am I couldn’t bear it any more, I woke Obi up and briefed him. He began to pray about it too.

It was time for a divine intervention. I had less than 24 hours to prove I was innocent of this senseless accusation. At about 8:30 am, I let a few sisters know about what was going on and we prayed. The Word was declared over the situation. Sometimes we need other sister friends in our lives to pray along with us. We need true friends who would stand by us in faith. Remember Ruth and Naomi?

Every Christian Woman needs praying Sisters.

God’s Word works. There is tremendous power in the Name of Jesus.

<ClickToTweet>

My heart found peace and quiet and I went about my routine activities believing that the Lord would vindicate me.

Friend, God did it! Amen!

By 8:30pm that same day, I received a follow-up email confirming that the perpetrators had confessed and my name was cleared. Thank God for His faithfulness.

Are you been falsely accused?

Is there a situation threatening to swallow you up?

Does it seem like everything is contending with your peace?

My prayer for you:

In the Jesus Name, there is deliverance. In the Name of Jesus, there is divine help for you. The Lord will quiet every raging storm blowing over your life in Jesus Name. The Lord will fight every battle over your life and set you free from the trap you are caught in. He alone will deliver His people and take the glory in Jesus Name.

The Word of God works in every situation.

As a believer, strengthen your faith by feeding on His Word.

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost…”

Jude 1:20 (KJV)

Believe and act in faith.

God’s Word is a powerful weapon in the hands of those who have faith and understand the potency of His Word.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds”

 2 Corinthians 10:4 (KJV)

You my friend, are not of this world. You operate differently because the mystery of the God’s kingdom is given to you not to the world. Therefore, the world cannot understand it. To them it is foolishness to call on the Name of Jesus and to speak the Word. To us, the Word of God is everything.  For more reading… (1 Corinthians 2:4-7 and 1 John 4:4)

We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory (1 Corinthians 2:7.)

In the midst of trials don’t give up your faith. Hold on to His promise over your life and He will come through for you. In whatever situation you find yourself, lift up your voice with all your heart and call upon the name of Jesus. Wait for Him and be not discouraged. 

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #LifeGivingLinkup.