“Restored!”

When my computer shuts down unexpectedly while I’m online, when I sign back on, in the corner of my screen there appears a button that says “restore.”  This button is designed to take you back to the tabs and sites you were visiting or working on before the crash or shut down occurred.  It is there to bring you back to the place where you once were.

Have you ever experienced a shut down moment in life?  A time when is seems that the walls came crashing in and you lost sight of where you were?  Has there ever been a time when you just need a refreshing?  You needed to step back, evaluate everything presently before you, and start again?  I’m pretty sure we can all raise our hand to attest to being in similar situations at one time or another.  A time when you just felt depleted and needed to be restored.

Restoration is right up God’s alley.  Everything in the Bible points mankind to His holy desire to see people restored.  God cares about us.  Not only the spiritual us, but He cares about all of us.  Every tidbit in life, He is well aware of.  Many people only look to God in the big and dramatic areas of life, but God is concerned about your well-being in the whole of your life.

John once wrote, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth,” (3 John 2).  I believe that John wanted us to walk out the restored life in our daily living.  Not just claiming it for our salvation (which, needless to say, is very important), but to have it as an active mindset that goes before us and prospers us in every part of our daily living.

Slumps are all around us, but we are not called to be slump dwellers.  We have a choice how to handle the strains and afflictions we face in this life.  Peter gives us this advice:

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (1 Peter 5:6-10)

In these few verses, Peter doesn’t hide the adversities one faces, but he highlights what to do with them.  First, he states to humble yourself before God and let Him exalt you (vs. 6).  When God is the one exalting you, you are restored!  Next, in verse 7, he tells his readers what to do with all those cares that are weighing you down, all those things that are making you feel like you are in a shut down mode.  He says to get rid of them.  And, we are not to dispose of them any kind of way.  We are to give these burdens to God because He is the One who truly cares for you.  Once again, if God is caring for you and helping you to deal with your burdens, you are in a restored position.

There are things that can try to hinder and rob you of the restored life.  Following the above two verses, we see some of the afflictions and dealing with the enemy that people face and how we are to be on guard against the advances of it and be steadfast in our faith through it all. We have a responsibility to protect our restored status while pushing forth in the faith.

And lastly, in verse 10, Peter lets us know that though there may be suffering at times, it will never compare to the glory that we inherit by our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is He that will see us through.  It is He that will make us perfect.  It is He that will “stablish, strengthen, settle you.”  It is through Him you can be restored!

In our everyday life, as well as in the time to come after we pass from here, in Christ, we live a restored life.  Once in a while we may feel that we have been knocked off our rocker, but remember who you are and whose you are.  In Him, we don’t have to stay in that “knocked off” state.  Follow Peter’s advice and give what you are dealing with to God and ask Him to hit the restore button in your life.

God wants you to be blessed in Him.  He wants you, more than anyone else, to live a successful Christian life.  Let Him in your world, your circumstances, and your situations and lean on Him for complete restoration and healing.  He will pick you up, polish you off, and make you like new again.

Photo by Michael Dam on Unsplash

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“Troubles Won’t Last Always. Don’t Give Up!”

We don’t know why we often seem to be in a
holding pattern but we can be assured
that during the process, God is working
out His purpose in the midst of it all. In the end,
whatever He designed for that appointed
time, place, etc will take its rightful place in the
grand scheme of things.

Troubles won’t last always. There will come a
shift of seasons. The wintry blows that may tear
at the heart of life will eventually give way to
the blossoming of something new and better on
the horizon. The holding pattern will break and
the days of crying will give way to rejoicing.
The times of mourning must move that we
may dance. Some seasons may be harder than
others to endure, but trust God’s perfect timing
through it all and don’t give up (Gal. 6:9).

Confident in God!

There is always something about the stories where the underdog comes out on top, where the least of all becomes the greatest that sends chills of inspiration up the spine.

The story of David and Goliath has long evoked a sense awe at the victory won and the hope of possibility in the soul still in the fight facing his/her own giants. The fact of the matter is that many things in this life which we face day to day can at times seem too much to bear.  Our worries don’t necessarily have to be against the biggest guy around.  Just the struggle of making it one more day, another try at giving it your best shot, can make it really hard for some people.

That’s why this article is not going to focus on the beast Goliath was or how David brought him down with just a stone and slingshot.

Nope. I want us to focus on the confidence that David had in God.

To me, it doesn’t matter if what you face is big or small. Sometimes the hardest stuff is the routine, small stuff that gets on your nerves every single day and makes you want to throw in the towel and quit.

Yes, David did the impossible in the name of the Lord. But, what I have found out in my own life is when we evoke that same confidence in God in every area of our lives, big or small, God tends to step in and work it out for us.  And, you know it was Him because that very area in life that used to be a source of hardship and frustration now becomes a place of peace and productivity.

David, before confronting Goliath, declared, “The LORD delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine,” (1 Samuel 17:37, NKJV. emphasis mine).  I want us to focus on “He will” of that statement.  David expressed in those two little words the amount of confidence he had in the God he served.

Confidence in God the key no matter what. Many of times we misplace our confidences in the things and the people we see around us, allowing them to become our focus and control, when God should be at the forefront of the battle with us.  Over and over again we are told in His Word, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man,” (Psalm 118:8, NKJV); yet, man seems to always get more of our attention and we wonder why we falter in the battle and don’t end up standing as victor over the giants and circumstances we face.

We have to rely more on God than anything else in this world. He truly is the only one who can get in there and fight with us and for us and bring us to a victorious end on the other side.

Below are some reminders to trust God and have confidence in Him no matter the size of anything we face. Knowing this will improve our day to day struggles in life and turn them into day to day victories.

  • “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5
  • “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” – Isaiah 26:4
  • “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” – Psalm 37:3
  • “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:17
  • “Never be afraid to trust in unknown future to a known God.” – Corrie Ten Boom
  • “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” – Martin Luther
  • “So many of us limit our praying because we are not reckless in our confidence in God. In the eyes of those who do not know God, it is madness to trust Him, but when we pray in the Holy Spirit we begin to realize the resources of God, that He is our perfect heavenly Father, and we are His children.” – Oswald Chambers

“GOD CARRIES HIS PEOPLE!”

 

Times of wilderness wandering can be hard,
and at times quite dismal. There is dryness in the
wilderness. It’s a place where one travels
where no fruit seems to grow and everything
around us seems sparse and without life.

Look up, dear child of God, because even in
these times, God is carrying the heart that
trusts in Him through their wilderness traveling.
In times of barrenness, when we may not see
or understand the whole picture, God is never
far from His children. As a man carries his
child to safety, so too does God for those
who hold on to His will and His way, and He
will see them safely to the other side of any
desert that may be before us.

“Embracing the Promises of God!”

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

Are you just saying, “AMEN!” to the preacher and the message or are you really getting into an agreement with the words coming forth from the mouthpiece of God?  Do you think the songs that are sung, which carry His good word and lifts your soul, do you think they are just to make you feel good for a moment, or are they truths binding themselves on your heart because you can see with eyes of faith what God really wants to do in your life?  Do you think the words written in that Holy Bible are just a collection of tales to temporarily inspire you or are they moments in the lives of others God is using to show you that He can do the same thing for you?

It’s one thing to hear messages, read the Word, and listen to the songs about the promises of God, and it’s another thing to grab hold of them for yourself and believe with a fervent grip that they are for you, too.  Embracing God’s promises is saying, “I may not have it now, but my faith is tied to what God already spoke over my life.  With my physical eyes, it may not currently be before me, but with my spirituals eyes, I am persuaded that God will do what He said He would do, and I embrace that truth!  I choose to hold on to what God said over all else!”

Embracing is active participation in claiming the promises of God for your life.  God gave mankind a will and He won’t force you to believe His promises, but oh how sweet it is if you do.  He puts it out there, and many times He gives evidence that it will happen (and sometimes He doesn’t), but it is up to each individual heart to not only accept it but to hold on to what He spoke for dear life.  That’s why Hebrews declares, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” (Hebrews 10:23; emphasis mine).   The word “us” in that verse lets us know that it is our personal responsibility to lay hold of everything concerning our faith God speaks, including His promises.  If you believe that God is faithful, then believe that He will faithfully follow through with all that He spoke concerning you!

God will do His part without fail.  Our job, when the unwelcomed interruptions of life come, is to keep on embracing that truth when facing whatever is before us.  Today, get a hold of the promises of God for your life and refuse to let them go.

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13

“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).

“God Made a Way!”

 

Dear Friends, God made a way for you and He made a way for me.  A pathway that was once littered with sin and debris from our human nature and wrong choices has become clear and access has been opened for every heart that truly seeks and longs for Him.

Imagine, before His holy throne, God made a way for there to be a space just for you to come to pray and worship.  There is no longer a need for you to carry burdens alone.  There is no longer a need to second guess the this or that’s of life.  He gave us an offer of Himself to approach Him and to come before His presence with it all: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:16).  

God made a way through the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.  To the life that will turn their heart and soul over to Him, He made a way.  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” (John 14:6).  He is our access key.  He is the one who paved the pathway for us in righteousness and through His blood provided a space for us in His heavenly realm.  If we are His and have turned to Him, there is a place with your name on it in heaven.  A place waiting and wanting to be filled by you, but you must come through Jesus Christ only.

He made a way for us to experience His presence even while still on this old earth we call our current home.  To those who are His, they are supplied with His Spirit.  “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you,” (John 14:16-17; emphasis mine).  His Spirit leads us and guides into all truth (John 16:13).  His Spirit is our Comforter through this life we walk (John 14:18; 15:26).  He is with us today because Jesus made a way!

Friends, through it all, God made a way for us to be approach Him and to be close to Him in our daily walk and life.  Don’t neglect the chance to draw near and to know Him as your own.  He promised when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).  There are no excuses for not being where He is today.  God already made a way!

A Message of Peace:

Dear Friends, if you are trying to push through your day to day with a troubled heart, I pray that God’s peace would overshadow all the trouble you are feeling. Jesus often spoke of peace; when He calmed the storms and when He appeared after His resurrection. Peace is something that many search for, but it can only truly be found in Him. Peace is something God wants us to experience, so I pray that your sorrows will melt away and dissolve in His peace today. That all your hurts of a troubled heart will disappear into His grace.  I pray for God’s mercy to fill the gaps each of us need filling.  I pray for peace in your home and out.  I pray for peace in your coming and your going.  I pray that in the midst of everything, God would send a revelation of peace just for you.  In the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

“The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” – Numbers 6:26

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” – Ephesians 2:14

“Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:16

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” – Isaiah 26:3

 

 

“Getting a Closer Look”

 

Photo by Roberto Delgado Webb on Unsplash

Once, I was traveling out of town and the hotel we were staying in had one of those beauty magnifying mirrors that swing out on an arm.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  They get up close and really personal in your face.  What you thought you looked like in a normal mirror became something totally different in this magnifying truth teller.

I often avoid those mirrors because there’s only so much truth about my face I want to see.  But, looking into these things a whole world of pores and things that seem to come out of nowhere all of sudden can’t be ignored.  The eyebrows need more manicuring than once thought.  Things need to be plucked, covered, or taken care of to present this face to the world before I left out that day.

As I said, I always avoided these mirrors but I must admit when I stepped back to see the final results I was more than pleased and fully intend on having one installed in my bathroom at home.

How often are we afraid to take a closer look at ourselves?  Not our face per se but at things like the inner man, our life, and our relationship with God.  Are we too afraid of what we’ll find when we look too closely?  Do we not want things revealed to us that may have gone by without a closer inspection?

God wants the best for His people but sometimes the best means we have some stuff that needs to be plucked and dealt with first.  We have to seek the beautifying of His Spirit in order to step back and see the glorious final results He has for us up ahead.

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. . .” 2 Corinthians 13:5

 

“STRENGTH IN THE TIME OF NEED!”

 

No matter who you are in life there will be a
time when you need help outside of yourself.
When all your inner capacities are drained and
strained and we feel like we can’t press
through anymore, we need Him to refill and
strengthen us in this journey.

The good news is God is here for His people
to give them what they need to make it
through even the hardest times of life. Where
we lack, He will supply. Where we come up
short, He can meet us there and provide the
means to keep us, deliver us, and set us free.

Turn to Him today. “The LORD will give strength
unto his people; the LORD will bless his
people with peace.” Psalm 29:11.