Moving through tough times

Scared child

Scared child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

Yesterday was one of those days for me. Nothing seemed to be going the way I wanted (control issues?) and my discouragement affected my attitude. My negativity caused a lack of gumption to get work done. It was basically fear of failure that was holding me back. It’s not what God wanted for me.

It’s God’s promises that help us through tough times in life as we remember how he cares for us. He tells us over and over again that we need not fear for he has it all under control. Remembering who God is makes all the difference in the world.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for carrying me through the tough times when my courage runs thin. I pray that I look to you and embrace the refreshment of who you are to me. Amen

Faith Tip: Is this a day of discouragement for you? It doesn’t need to be. Turn to God and remember who he is to you.

Share your experience

sunrise

sunrise (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

At that time you will say,
Our Lord, we are thankful,
and we worship only you.
We will tell the nations
how glorious you are
and what you have done.” – Isaiah 12:4

I remember going to a conference that had so many wonderful dynamics that I couldn’t wait to tell people about it. The worship was awesome, speakers informative and inspiring, workshops helpful, and the networking priceless. Spreading the news about this conference will encourage others to attend and enjoy what I have.

God has done so many miraculous things in our lives that we need to tell others about him. Especially those who are looking for hope and haven’t had a refreshing drink for their soul for a long time. They need to hear about God who loves them and cares about what they are going through. Throw them a rope of hope by telling of the power of the One who created them and will never let them go.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the great things you have done in my life. I pray that I can spread the news about all you do and encourage others to experience your wonder. Amen

Faith Tip: Has God done something for you today? Share it with another.

 

Don’t Miss the Feast

hugs

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” – Luke 12:16-21

I am so good at talking myself out of doing something I should. I have a young friend who recently lost a close relative. I hadn’t seen her in about a year and wondered if it would matter if I was there. The visitation was quite a distance, my schedule was full, my gas tank low, my dog would be waiting in the kennel and so on. There was also a traffic jam from an accident along the way which added a good chunk of time to the commute. But I was determined to follow God’s leading no matter how misguided I thought it was.

I am so glad I went. I can now see why God wanted me to go. She needed to hear and experience God’s love for her. As we hugged, I thanked God for the opportunity to express love in a real way and feel I would have missed something huge if I had listened to my negative thoughts and didn’t go.

It’s all about focus. If we look at only the peanut butter and jelly of our own circumstances and try to make things better for us, we will miss the feast God has planned for us.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the opportunities you give me each day to express your love in a real way. I pray that I follow your leading and feast at your table. Amen

Faith Tip: Today when opportunities come up to show God’s love to someone, turn off the negative thoughts of why you shouldn’t and go forth in faith knowing God has set a special place just for you at the table.

Waking up to worship

Photo courtesy of thetimefinder.com

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.

Today, if only you would hear his voice, – Psalm 95:6-7

Many times I wake up in the morning with a “to do” list running through my mind. After going through that list, I wonder if I really want to get up or stayed in the perceived safeness under the covers. Focusing on the list brings a yoke on me that is heavy to carry. I try to schedule my day around the list in hopes that I accomplish a lot.

The number one thing that I need to accomplish on those days is to refocus on God. Waking up with the words of the psalmist not only frees me from the yoke, but actually invigorates me to get up and start my day with the Lord. Beginning and ending the day with a heart of worship will allow for the Holy Spirit to do wonderful things in between.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the promise of this day that you are in control of it and that you have great things planned. I pray that I can see what you are doing so that I may join you in your kingdom purpose.

Faith Tip: Wake up with a focus on worshiping the Lord. Ask God now where he is working and listen carefully for what he would like you to do.

Yes, listen, but….

Fingers in ears

Image via Wikipedia

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). 

On Sunday, we celebrated some ministries at our church. There was cake, coffee and punch. The people that were involved in the ministries came forward for a time of recognition and appreciation. They are examples of hearing God’s Word and applying it to their lives.

It’s sad to think that some are missing this important message. They listen to God’s Word each Sunday and think that it says very good things that we should do, but then it stops there for them. The world steps in and says they are too busy to do ministry. Sometimes we listen to those lies and miss out on the best which is what God gives to us as we follow him.

The call of God is the most important call we can take. His plan for us is perfectly mapped out, but we must make the choice to listen and obey.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that your call has come into my life. This is not a one time opportunity, but you continually call your people. I pray that I can always listen and obey for your best is yet to come. Amen

Faith Tip: As you read God’s Word today, is there a message that is nudging your heart? Listen carefully.

Hearts set on pilgrimage

the journey

Image by AlicePopkorn via Flickr

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. – Psalm 84:5

My morning is running a little slow as I catch up on a bit of sleep from a wonderful weekend in Newaygo. This was the Michigan Presbyterian Pilgrimage #17 and as always, is worth doing. With the great team that God put together and the guests that were called to experience the journey, there was no question who was in charge. The rector did a wonderful job in leading, but God was at the controls.

Life can make us feel drained. Whether it is everyday responsibilities or certain challenges that we experience, we get tired. Those on the pilgrimage experienced the life giving Spirit of God as we all focused on what God was doing in us all. We drank in the reflections of God’s love as we served one another and gave gifts of encouragement. Together we were strengthened.

God gives the refreshment, wisdom, stamina, vision, encouragement, love, joy and anything else we are willing to accept from him. It is our choice.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for this past weekend where I can join other sisters and brothers in a journey that brings us to you. It is so refreshing! I pray that I can carry that refreshment will me always to give a drink or a splash of your love and grace to those who are parched by life. Amen.

Faith Tip: Take the time to experience a pilgrimage of faith in whatever manner that may look like.

 

Shine Like Stars!

Tried to do a night Sky shot, harder than anti...

Image via Wikipedia

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe… (Philippians 2:14-15)

At night when we put our dog, Charlie, out before going to bed, we have an opportunity to look up on a clear night and see the stars. Some nights are truly breathtaking at the multitude of sparkly lights decorating the night sky. The lights stand out in all the darkness. They are lovely to look at.

In our world, there is plenty of darkness. What does that look like? We normally consider the headlines in the news as troubled times, but do we consider our choice to complain or argue as part of that darkness? What happens when we complain or argue especially over the things of God? The body of believers gets torn down. Nobody wants to look at it. However, by humbling ourselves and following God’s direction in loving one another, we can “shine like the stars in the universe.” It is a choice.

Prayer: Lord, your creation is marvelous and I thank you for the beauty that surrounds us. When I think of the stars shining in the night, I pray that I shine your light brightly so that others will be attracted to you. Amen

Faith tip: Think of those in your life that “shine like stars in the universe” and consider why they do. Think of ways you can shine today and be lovely to look at.