“Today is a new day of GRACE!”

Friends, almost from the time I opened my eyes this morning, grace has been on my mind. As soon as I started my day, I really felt God telling me that today is a new day of GRACE. While we hear it often, I think we take it for granted what that really means. God has chosen to favor us with this fantastic gift. No matter what yesterday looked like, it could have been the best day ever or the worst day, but it isn’t today. Today, when we woke up, we woke up to something new, and wonderful, and fresh, and gifted to us directly from God. We woke up with grace. Isn’t it beautiful? Isn’t He lovely for smiling on us in such a way? Good and bad days will come and go, but it is God’s grace that will keep us through it all. May you all have a wonderfully, blessed Saturday filled with the grace of God.

“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.” (Psalms‬ ‭90:17‬).

It all happens through the beauty of His grace and favor at work in our lives.

“God Has the Power to Help!”

 

We quote it, sing songs about it, outwardly rejoice in it; but, how much do you really believe it or apply it to our lives, circumstances, and troubles?

If we were to review some of the marvels of God as we know it, we would see out of nothing a world being brought into existence.  We would see where there is no life, the dead have been raised to life.  We would see on the strength of nothing but His command, stars and planets being suspended in midair, hanging on absolutely nothing, as if an invisible hook were holding them in place.

All of these events testify to His power and strength to do what we readily admit is the impossible.  But, God’s power goes beyond Creation, performing miracles, and shocking us with the impossible that becomes very possible in His hands.  God’s power is also alive and very available to help each and every one of us in our lives today, as well.

And, here is the beauty in that.

His power to help is not contingent on anything we bring to the table.  It does not matter our skills or abilities, our wealth or the lack thereof.  It doesn’t even matter the number of this or that that we try to bring into the mix of everything He wants to do in our lives.

In 2 Chronicles 14:11, we see where it says, “And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee,” (emphasis mine).  This Scripture prayer has often been my own that I have personally prayed and incorporated in my requests to God when I felt totally overwhelmed.  For many of times I know I had nothing to offer.  I know I had no power to personally make a change in a certain circumstance.  I didn’t have the numbers that would chalk up to win on my behalf.  There were times when I know I didn’t have the experience that says I was qualified to do this or that.  I had absolutely nothing to add to the mix to benefit me for a positive outcome.  Yet, it is nothing for God to still step in and help and to show His power strong in my life and yours.

If you are struggling with the same feelings or dealing with a daunting situation, know that God’s power can and will still work for you today.  What we have is not as important as what God has, and what He can do in our lives today.  He is the one who has the power to help!

“Think of His Grace!”

It amazes me how quickly we, as humans, and operating in our human nature, want to write things in the story of others that God never intended, nor did it come to His mind.  We tend to write negative responses in the lives and the stories of others while forgetting that the very grace that was poured into our life, can be poured in another as well.

When we were in our messes; when we, as individuals, were outside of the will of God, God didn’t give up on us.  He didn’t give things in our story that were not going to work out for our own good.  Rather, in His grace, He made a way for our personal redemption.  In His grace, He wrote a better ending to our story than we could ever imagine.

Before you judge another or look down on someone because the season they are in right now doesn’t look right to you, remember the grace that was once shown to you, and freely extend that same grace to another.

God’s grace is a beautiful thing and without it, none of us would be here today, and none of us could make it.  None of us had the power to save ourselves.  None of us was capable of doing for us what Jesus did.  But God’s grace stepped in our lives and He raised us out of the muck and mire of our sins.  He lifted us out of our personal ruts and restored us to something wonderful and with purpose.

Think on God’s grace today.  Let it be that gentle reminder of what God has done for you, and let that motivate you to share this same grace toward another.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Ephesians 2:8.

“God, I need help.”

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

Do me a favor.  Right where you are, close your eyes and think of something you are dealing with, going through, or praying for.  Utter these words before God in prayer” “God, I need help.”  And then, proceed to tell Him what you need help with.

Sometimes we make things more complicated than they need to be.  So it is true when it comes to our prayer life.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I have times when I spend a great deal of time before the Lord in prayer.  But I have also learned that sometimes I need to stop over-spiritualizing my prayer, and simply ask God for help in doing or going through what I am involved in at that particular moment.

Those four words, prayed with a sincere heart before the Lord, can change the scope of everything.  Whatever is before you, don’t be afraid or hesitant to pray, “God, I need help.”  God is there as your “very present help in trouble.”  He’s there for you.  All you need to do is ask for help.

“May I help you?”

“After that He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet …” John 13:5

 I wonder if anyone in our day and age really understands the concept of service.  Does anyone really grasp the meaning of what it is to serve another?  If you’ve recently gone to a fast-food restaurant or a big box store or any consumer outlet where things are acquired, purchased or eaten, you know what I mean.  The lack of good customer service drives me away from some establishments regardless of how cheap their prices are.

I remember when one of my daughters, who was a teenager at the time, was working her first job in a national fast-food chain, and how much the idea of good customer service rang out to me by what I witnessed there.   At this establishment where she worked,  they would take servicing the customer very seriously.  If it was raining outside, some of the employees were on post at the front door, umbrellas in hand, waiting to assist patrons to and from their cars who didn’t have one.  This company did many small things and details that let people know that they mattered to them and they were important.

Although things like this are considered uncommon in our day, what those employees did really spoke to the fact that they were at that place of employment to work according to that company’s standards.  Every day they were urged to step outside of themselves to assist others.  Oh, if more would catch on to this concept!  But, the infectious, self-serving mentality, which permeates this world’s culture doesn’t allow people to see or even consider others over themselves.

That is far from the teaching Jesus laid out for those who would follow Him.  He has given us many examples to follow but the one that really sticks out to me  is Jesus stooping to the level of the lowliest servant in the house and performing duties that were detested by all in that day,  “He began to wash the disciples’ feet.”  Can you imagine what those feet must have looked like after walking many miles in sandals?   Can you imagine what they must have smelled like?  Yet, He took a towel and wrapped it around His waist, took feet in hand and began to carefully administer this duty to them.

We all know that Jesus always considered and worked for the betterment of those around Him.  He did this to the point of laying His life down on the cross for the sins of the world.  But, what Jesus showed them on this occasion, was a one on one lesson with those who would be responsible for carrying the gospel to the world.  He showed them that there are everyday occurrences where one can serve, where one can put another before themselves.

We are so thankful for the many areas of missionary work that go on throughout the world.  Those who render themselves to such service are able to reach the unreachable and set up foundations for Christ in far off lands. But every day, right where you are, there are opportunities to let the love of Christ shine in this dark world.  The world is already used to seeing the inconsiderate side of man, so now it’s time for the church to rise up and show them the loving side of God.  How?  Through our service to them.  Through everyday occurrences where you show somebody that you value them.  Oh, how would that make them feel?  I’ll tell you.  It would make them feel loved!

It makes people feel as if they matter also.  That someone cares enough to let them go first in line, or take your right-of-way in traffic.  These are little things – but, can I tell you, little things done in great numbers make a great impact.  If each of us would show the character of Christ’s service and stop placing so much focus on other things, I think we could make a tangible difference in this world.  It would still be an infectious cycle. Instead of the world’s disease permeating the church, the church could infect the world and really show them how much Christ loves them.

“Today I Believe I am Big Enough!”

“And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight,” Numbers 13:33

Feeling outsized in life?  The fact of the matter is that many of us feel too small for the task ahead.  Goals, dreams, and possibilities are alright to fantasize about, but when it actually comes down to implementing what needs to be done, we often feel inadequate, as if we don’t have enough in us to see it all the way through to the end.  We feel too small to go in and take hold of what we can be.

Too often we get stuck in a rut because of this line of thinking.  The pressure of what it actually takes to step out into something new, to believe there is a chance for you to be better and to have better, is a little overwhelming to most.  Dealing with the unusual and stepping into the unfamiliar takes a strong act of courage.  It involves one having enough strength and faith to look past what they view themselves as now and see something bigger.

For any area of life where we want to see improvement, there will always be barriers.  There will always be “giants,” whether real or imagined, that will say and make you believe that you are too little; that you don’t have enough in you to be big.

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world,” (1 John 4:4).  The world doesn’t want you to make it.  And, he that operates in the world wants your faith to diminish to the point that you feel like you’re a little “grasshopper.”  It is time for you to stop listening to the world and turn a deaf ear to the “giants.”  If God brought you to the edge of the promise, then, He is most certainly able to bring you all the way into it.  The main factor that can hinder you is you!  It is what you believe about yourself!   It is what you believe God can do in and through you!

“Greater is He that is in you!”  Our belief in ourselves and what God can do through us rises when we realize who it is on our side and what He can do.  That’s the beautiful thing about this.  Life may outsize us but it will never outsize God!  God dwarfs to nobody!  He is greater than all.  So much so, that when He was telling Abraham about his promises, “He could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,” (Hebrews 6:13).

God is the greatest there is.  The buck stops with Him.  He can’t be outdone.  He can’t be belittled.  He is king and will be king forever.  And, He is “in you!”  That means you are big enough!  You are nobody’s grasshopper!  You can do it because of who you have on the inside of you!  Your job is to wholeheartedly believe, understand and know His bigness, so that you can believe, understand and know that today, “I am big enough!”

Photo Credit: Pixabay

“I will be his God, and he shall be my son!”

 

Everything that we could ever need can be found in our relationship with God. The inheritance is in the relationship we have with You through our Lord Jesus Christ. When we are found in Him, He shall be found with us.

Father God, Help us to realize the awesomeness and the severity of the promises Your power of relationship holds in our lives. For those of us in You, remind us that You alone are the Sovereign end of all. You stand as the only true God in whom we can always trust and everything we need can be found in You. For those who don’t know You yet, Father God, we are praying for shackles to be loosed in their lives. We are praying for scales to fall from eyes that they might see You, and all of Your glory. That they might know that if they want a future of life eternal, they must come to You through Your dear Son, Jesus Christ, to secure that relationship. Help us all to keep our feet firmly planted in the promises, in the love, and in the relationship that You so willingly offer to those who seek You with their whole heart, mind, and soul. In Jesus’ mighty name, AMEN!

“The Truth about Self-Doubt”

Image by katya899 from Pixabay

One of our most famous struggles in life is with doubt.  We have faith in and for others.  We believe God to the fullest.  Yet, doubt seeks to rob us in another area.  It’s when we allow thoughts of inferiority to enter our space.  It’s when we let the insecurity we experience on the inside come to the surface and convince us we are not enough.

We know that God is good.  And,  we know He is awesome in everything He does.  But, when it comes to convincing ourselves of what He can do in and through us we have a hard time accepting that truth in our lives because something or someone has caused us to believe we don’t measure up; we don’t have what it takes to adequately pursue what God has placed on the inside of us.

One Bible verse that has helped me overcome that line of thinking; thinking that keeps your hopes and dreams submerged in the sea of doubt is this: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 1:6).  Meaning God will finish what He started in you and He will keep on working on you until that day of Jesus Christ.

A lot of people feel some type of way about where they are in life right now.  They are viewing their lives through the lens of the journey rather than the destination.  All that God wants to do through us and for us will always be a continuing and evolving work.  We, as long as we are on the face of this earth, can never say that we have arrived.  We will never fully meet our destination point until we are face to face with Jesus.

But, already knowing where our destination finishes should give us hope for the journey.  Rather, we tend to let the journey disappoint us; we let the journey decide for us what our future will turn out to be like, telling us what we are and what we’re worth.

Our journey shouldn’t be a measure of stress or discouragement causing seeds of doubt to be planted about what God has placed in you.  Your journey is the process that’s taking you in the direction of your destination.  And, I don’t care who’s doing this or that over there or here – God still has His hands on us.  God is still working on behalf of His children.  God is still perfecting and performing stuff in our lives.  God still has a glorious future up ahead for each one of us if we will just believe, hold on, and wait through the process of His performance in us.

So, the truth about self-doubt is this: God is not finished with you yet.  Your journey is still moving.  Your story is not over.  You are not in a race to live in comparison with others.  You are a follower of His lead until you become everything He has designed you to be.  As long as you are alive and kicking, His purpose in you is alive and kicking.  Don’t count yourself out.

Another truth about self-doubt is this: it’s not about whether we think we are good enough.  It’s about the good He is able to do in us (another God-inspired thought).  You are more than what your journey appears to be.  You are measured by your destination.  You are measured by Jesus Christ inside of you leading to your destination; drawing you to trust Him in everything He is calling you to be.  If He has placed something wonderful in you, He will bring it to pass.  Just believe and hope in Him.  For in Him is where your real self-worth is found.  Therefore, since your worth is in Him and He is the one perfecting and performing your process, don’t doubt yourself and what God is able to do in you and through you.  You are so much more!

“Power Source”

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

I have one of those little portable chargers for my phone or tablet that I always carry with me.  You know the kind.  You charge it overnight so that it’s ready in a pinch to recharge my technology when needed even if there is no plug in power source available.

I see it often, as I’m sure you do, when traveling with family, companions, or whoever – we go to restaurants and other places, and the first thing people look for is to see if there’s a plug close by to recharge their phones.  It’s almost a necessary evil if you want to call it that.  Phones are very important in our world.  I consider mine to be a little, portable handheld computer at times.

If I can’t reach a plug, then out comes my little portable friend to the rescue because most of us absolutely need a power source.

That’s why I love God’s Word so much.  There is no greater resource than having His holy breathed inspiration speaking directly to my life no matter what’s going on.  If I’m wrong, it tells me so.  If I need encouragement, it speaks hope.  If I need joy, it opens up psalms.  It shows me how to bless others, love others, and desire a deeper relationship with God.  Some chunks of the Word are hard to swallow, and some are sweet as honey.  But all are a power source to live by.

Don’t ignore the power source of God’s Word that has the answer to every problem and situation in life that arises.  Any solution the world has is of the flesh and it won’t profit.  But, Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,” (John 6:63).

In God’s Word, there is truth, revelation, and power!  Are you hooked up to the right power source? Where you plug in at; where you get your resources and information, your inspiration for life matters more than most people realize. Fill your life and thoughts with useless fillers and you remain on empty. But if you get connected to true power, you are able to run this race and fulfil the destiny God has ordered for you.

 

 

“When my spirit was overwhelmed…”

Text Free Photo by Tirza van Dijk on Unsplash

“When my spirit was overwhelmed…” those are the words David wrote at a very tumultuous time in his life.  He spent many days on the run, hiding, with his life hanging in the balance because the current king, Saul by name, had it in his mind to kill David without a second thought.  Therefore, David ran with many days running together into a blur of trying to stay out of Saul’s target range just to remain alive.

Some of those running experiences took him to a certain cave.  David was known for staying in a cave referred to as Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1).  This was a hiding place for him, but it was also a gathering place for his brothers and those of his father’s house to join him.  Some others who were also in “distress” and dealing with other issues of discontentment of the way things were joined forces with him as well in that place (1 Samuel 22:2).  There, David became a captain over this group of men, but also there, David prayed.

A life spent hiding in a cave and on the run is not a life anyone with a promise on him would deliberately sign up for.  But, this is where David found himself and it was overwhelming.  He has already been driven into the wilderness.  He had already escaped the throw of a javelin more than once that was purposed to end his life.  He had already dealt with a king whose anger, fear, and jealousy was eating him up and caused him to eye David with a suspicion that made his every step miserable.  He knew if he didn’t flee he would die and if he didn’t pray to the only God who could comfort and strengthen him through this whole situation, he would collapse because he was weak from it all.

That was one of the special things about David: he knew how to pray (Psalm 142:1-2).  He knew how to take everything he was facing to the Lord without hesitation.  It didn’t matter if he was dealing with enemies such as Saul, or if he was dealing with his own sin (Psalm 51) – David knew that there are times in this life that are just plain old overwhelming and rather than get crushed, he prayed to the true God who could redeem him from the crush; who could lift him above that trials and the storms, and strengthen and heal the brokenness he was dealing with.

In that, David knew all that he was going through has never escaped God’s notice.  Every heart-rending prayer, every night of dealing with the unease of another attack from Saul, every moment that caused him to be anxious over his situation, David confidently believed and stated, “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path,” (Psalm 142:3).  Trouble may have seemed like it was following him everywhere he was going, but so were the eyes of God.  There was never a time when he was off of God’s radar, and neither are we.

Listen, we may not be hiding in a cave, but there may be other things that we are dealing with that cause us concern, make us feel weak as if the world is crashing in us.  We may be in our own cave experience without a cave, but the same God who knew the path David was on, is the same God that knows the way you take also.  Psalm 139 assures us that God sees every part of us and He knows everything about us.  He knows our beginning from our end.  He sees.  He knows.  Our paths are not hidden from Him.  Everything is opened before Him!  Every trial, every test, every burden that you carry and every overwhelming thing you are facing, God is very much aware of it all.  As our Sovereign, Heavenly Father, you dear child of God, are on His mind, and He knows.

He knows how hard it is for you right now.  He knows when the paths they push you on is unfair.  He knows the tears that you have cried all night long.  He knows the heartbreak that you constantly face.  He knows when some are against you and try to tear you down.  He knows it all.

When overwhelmed, David found comfort in releasing the pressure of everything he was feeling into the only hands that could truly help.  He released all his worries and pent up frustrations into the hands of God.  He prayed and poured out every burden he was carrying at the throne of grace.  When nobody else stood with him, he prayed to the only God who would be there with him through the thick and thins of life, and he placed his confidence in Him.

Though situations may have tossed him about, it never tossed his faith.  David stayed planted with his hope steadfastly anchored in God.  Friend, whatever overwhelming situation you are facing today, I pray that you would mimic the steps David took in dealing with the hardships of life, and take it to the Lord in prayer.  And, not only take to Him in prayer but keep your hope anchored in Him as well.

At the end of David’s Psalm 142 prayer, he stated boldly and confidently, “For thou shall deal bountifully with me,” (vs. 7).  David knew, in the end, faithfulness always wins out.  We may not be able to personally do anything about some of the stuff we face, but God can.  If we don’t quit; if we handle our “overwhelming” moments by remaining secured in the God who can save, heal, and deliver – no matter what distress or hardship we currently face, in the end, God has the final say over it.  Believe as David believed and trust God through it all.

Life can feel overwhelming at times, but nothing we face will ever overwhelm God.  When everything seems to come crashing down all around you, God is the one that can raise you above it all.  Every dark night, He can turn into day.  In the times of mourning, He can bring comfort.  In the days when you see nothing but ashes, He can make it into something beautiful.  In the cave experiences of our life, we can find hope, because He knows and will be there with us through it all.  “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I,” (Psalm 61:2).