Where Is He?

Did you see that baby cowering in the corner, trying to hide from the screams and profanity swirling around her head?

Did you notice the young boy who got into a fight at school, making his friends a substitute for his anger, because he can’t hit his abuser?

Did you recognize the young teen shielding her face from the crowd, looking for the one who will make her feel loved and secure?

Where is God in all of this? Where is His mercy? Where is His grace?

Do you see that man marching off to war, preparing to slay a few demons of his own in the battle?

Do you notice the woman working three jobs, living a frazzled, exhausted life, simply trying to give her child something a little better? 

Do you realize the old man wandering the halls, the same who doesn’t even know his children’s names who desperately long to love him and reach through his darkness? 

Where is God in all of this? Where is His mercy? Where is His grace?

Some ask and plead. Some scream in demand. Some just sit and stare. Others simply walk away, veering this way and that, never making much sense of the journey. 

“He’s always there and always faithful,” says the church walls. “Just look up and you will find all you need,” states the sign as the tender ones lie dying on the front steps. My mind wonders if we really make a difference. Do we really share and care?

Some lash out in anger. Some wallow and cry. Others become cold and stone-like, never realizing hope knocking at the door.

His love never wavers. His mercy never fails. Just because you cannot see the sun through the tornadic clouds doesn’t void its reality. Hurricanes never validate the lack of peaceful showers on the ‘morrow. 

Some answers I will never find until the other side. Some questions will still remain after the crisis of one life has vanished. Yet, I have found this truth to remain:  He is faithful. He is love. He is true. 

He will be there when you need Him even in the quietness of your soul. He will never leave you in your deepest sorrow or shame. He will remain when all else fails, when everyone else has disappeared into the dark of night. He will remain. He will be a shield. He will be a refuge. 

Just call on His name and find He is the Hope which remains. 

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

https://isaiahministries.wordpress.com/tag/covenant-of-grace/

DailyVerses.net
Advertisements

Valley Praise

psalms-42-11What happens to your countenance when you are in the valley? What is the appearance of your face when everything seems to be going wrong, and you don’t know what to do? How do you react when trials, sickness or persecutions come? Are you sad? Do you get mad? Is confusion and chaos the ruler of the day?

Are you down in the dumps, or are you rejoicing through the valley?  My pastor always says, “What you can PRAISE through, you can MAKE IT through!” Find something in that valley to take joy in. Count your blessings. Even the smallest things can bring the greatest joys.

Honestly, there are some valleys where it seems there is NOTHING about which to celebrate. Some desert places are NOTHING but hot, dry sand and a burning sun that makes you feel you will DIE of thirst and loneliness. Some low places in life simply feel like the abyss with no light, no sound and no direction or hope. Yet, those are the times when we must stand with Job and say, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21, and “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” Job 13:15.

We must praise Him regardless of what we feel or what we see. Praising is a submission of our flesh. It is not something that comes when we “feel it.” It is something that comes as we force our stubborn will into submission. Praise helps us see hope again, because it opens our eyes to His truth beyond our current circumstance.

God is holy. God is righteous. God is gracious, merciful, loving and majestic. He is worthy of all our praise. He is honorable of all our affection, adoration and appreciation. Let us praise Him through the valley. For, it is in our loneliest hours, and through our darkest nights when His glory and grace is revealed in our lives. ❤

Above All, Trust Him

 

proverbs-3-5-6-2

TRUST

For so many, this can be a scary word. This simple word can be bring up memories filled with disappointment, heartache and even anger and despair. This word can cause a person to scowl, cry and even turn away. Why does this word cause such trepidation?

I’m not sure I can speak for every soul that might read this, but I can definitely answer for myself… Trust can be the one thing that, when placed in a human being, can be built up like a mighty tower, only to be torn down in the blink of an eye. It is the one word that,  when placed in the hands of another, can be cradled and cared for like a child or can be dashed against the rocks of life without a second thought or concern.

Trust can be placed by a loving child into the neglectful grasp of an adult, and that adult can be reckless, rebellious. Thinking only of themselves, they carry on, never considering the heart of that child , they never realize their waywardness has left irreparable damage behind. That child can be scarred for life, being conditioned by broken promises and ill spoken words, never recognizing there is a better way.

Trust can be planted in the fist of a broken love, destined for failure, yet having faith that this time might be different. Being fleshly and human, they carry on, never acknowledging the wounds, the actions and glances that bring more pain. That love can be scarred for life, being conditioned by broken promises and over zealous musings of commitment, never recognizing there is a better way.

Complete TRUST should always be placed in the hands of the One who is forever faithful and true. When our trust is in Him, it does not mean people will never let us down. It doesn’t mean all things are made new, and all of a sudden, we live in a perfect world full of trustworthy friends and foes. However, when our trust is in Him alone, His love and faithfulness shields our soul from the death of disappointment and pain. For His grace and mercy brings life, love and hope to TRUST once again.

jeremiah17-7-8

 

 

Just Roll With It

“Roll With The Punches” … Definition: term is used to explain how boxers will often angle themselves in certain ways to help lessen the impact of incoming blows. 

Sometimes, you just roll with the punches. You know what I mean, don’t you? Things just keep piling up, and there seems to be no end to the “punches” that life is doling out. There seems to be no relief to the amount of “adulting” we have to endure. 

I have found there are times when “the rain just won’t let up,” or “”the hits just keep coming,” and if you’re going to survive, you’re just gonna have to roll with it or DIE! You have to make a decision in that moment. Are you going to give up and quit, or are you going to dig in for one more round, one more punch, one more hard blow before the bell rings? 

As Christians, we’re called to roll with the punches. We’re encouraged to endure till the end. We’re to finish the fight, complete the race, and finish it well. Acts 20:24, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Romans 5:3-5 tells us, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Finally, Hebrews 12:1 reminds us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 

Our ‘commission’ from God to endure, to persevere is not simply so we can suffer through hardships, and it’s not just so we can prove to the next person how tough and strong we are. No, we are encouraged by God to finish so that we might be a witness for Him. 

Pinterest.com


We are stirred to continue on so that we might share our story with others and they might see Him through our faithfulness. We are inspired to remain steadfast, regardless of the obstacles or the hinderances, in order to inspire someone else along the way that they might see His goodness, His love and His grace. After all, this earthly home is not our destiny, this is just a season. We have an eternal home to which we look forward with desirous anticipation! 

So, get up! Dust off those gloves. Get that grit back in your eyes. Get ready to swing, and roll with those punches! He will give us strength for each and everything we encounter. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and He will always fight for us! With God by our side, we cannot lose!! 

Need A Little Stretching?

Have you ever watched a taffy puller in a candy shop? Or a bread baker kneading the dough? Or maybe a potter molding and shaping the clay at the wheel?

  

None of this happens in an instant. No, not one of these processes happens without a lot of pushing, pulling, poking, and stretching beyond the original state. All of it, friction of some kind, to bring forth a beautiful masterpiece.

Do you know each one of us were created by the greatest Creator of All as a masterpiece? He has designed each and every one of us to be exactly what He desires.

Sometimes, life is going to feel like a huge taffy puller, drawing out the impurities, extracting what doesn’t need to be.  I don’t know about you, but there are times in my life when it feels EXACTLY like this!! I think, “Wow! I don’t know how much more pulling and stretching I can take!” Yet, when I allow Him to, God, in His infinite wisdom, keeps going deeper and deeper to remove those things which shouldn’t be, those fleshly things that get in the way of who He’s called me to be.

He wants all of me, all of us; so, we can hear with definition, see with clarification and speak and act with precision. He keeps stretching and refining; so, we might become a beautiful masterpiece that isn’t just a pretty piece to sit on a shelf, but one He can use against the enemies of His kingdom! Just like taffy or fresh, homemade bread or even beautiful pottery, it takes a process, and it takes perseverance, patience and a purpose-driven obedience to allow Him to finish what He has started.

Esther went through 12 months of preparation to see the king. David waited over 20 years to become king over Israel. Joseph went through 13 years of trials before he became the second in command to Pharaoh. Jesus waited 33 years of His life to fulfill His destiny here on this earth. When we start to get frustrated in the waiting and overwhelmed in the stretching, let us step back and be thankful for the preparation. God is always at work. The friction we feel is simply the formation of His perfect masterpiece!

To Make A Dream Come True

Inspiration + Perspiration   =  

A Dream Come True

Okay, can we just get REAL for a moment? Dreams don’t just happen because we dream them. Dreams don’t become realities simply because we wish them so. Yeah, I know the world of Disney and Hollywood would like to have you think so. (No offense to both!)  No matter who tries to tell you otherwise, dreams take a lot of planning, hard work along with your inspiration to make a dream come to reality!
An Olympic runner doesn’t cross that finish line in first place simply because he dreamt about it when he was eight years old. A CEO doesn’t become a multimillionaire, because he lives his life in indecisiveness. A government official, small business owner, military officer, author or even an NFL player doesn’t become who they are just because they wished it into existence. No, a dream has to be inspired, first, but then, it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to bring it into existence.
dreams1
I think we rob this next generation, sometimes, by giving them all the materialistic things they desire, skip them through grades like their playing hopscotch and loan out credit to them like it’s water, because when you become an entitled people, you become selfish in your ethics, self-centered in your approach to community and demanding of all those around you to provide for your every whim and desire. You believe the world owes you something, rather than, believing you owe the world something. In turn, you kill the very abilities to dream and aspire plans and strategies to make those goals happen.
dream2America was founded upon people who had a dream. It has survived by having people who aspired to be great. However, it only become a great nation by being nurtured and pioneered by those who were willing to toil, sweat and even die for the dream they held within their hearts. So many gave up so much to make the great nation America has always been known as.
I know that in recent years, this vision of our country has been fought hard against, and there are many who would try to debate this notion of America being great. However, I will contend if America isn’t so great, then, why on earth are so many who don’t live here still desperately longing to come here, even by illegal methods? If America isn’t so great, then, why do so many despise the freedom, justice and pursuit of happiness that we enjoy here? But, I digress. That argument is for another post for another day…
The fact is simple, and it remains to be true: if you have a dream, and you want it to come true, apply some hard work, and you can make it happen! You may have to make some changes. You may have to acquire a great leader in your life, and you may have to overcome some incredible obstacles along the way, but if you dream it, AND you work hard to achieve it, you CAN make all your dream(s) come true!
dream3

How’s It Growing?

 

bamboo

jurassicworld.com

 

A Chinese bamboo seed stays hidden in the ground for 4 years. It shows NO amount of growth on the surface for that entire amount of time. Then, in the fifth year, something amazing happens. In just six weeks, that same bamboo tree grows to a staggering ninety feet tall. It has even been measured to grow 48 inches in a single 24hour period.

Many have equated this type of growth with the rate of success in one’s life, but I would like to equate this to the process God, sometimes, does within our souls. There are times when we simply can’t see the change we so long to see. We work and toil, worry and sweat, striving to obey in what He has directed us, and we wonder if the growth will ever be what He has promised it will be.

be-still

quotesgram.com

 

Sometimes, we won’t see the immediate results that we so long to see, but if we will remain focused and diligent in what He has called us to do, we will surely see His promise fulfilled in His timing. Sometimes, He is working things out of our own heart and mind to get us ready for that growth. I have found that when I have to “wait on Him,” He is working on my character to help me be prepared for what He is bringing forth.

Can I tell you? He’s not finished until He says He’s finished! Sometimes, we just have to be patient in the waiting. This patience doesn’t mean to simply “kick back, relax, and take it easy,” but it means to be graceful in the commitment of the process. It means to continue putting one foot in front of the other and finish what He told you to start. It means to be just like a farmer who plants those bamboo seeds and waits through the summer heat of four years to see the abundant harvest of fall in that fifth year.

 

philippians_1-6_nkjv_picture

thefellowshipsite.org

 

 

Fill It Up!

There is an old hymn that goes something like this…

overflow2

voiceofoc.org

 

Fill my cup, Lord;
I lift it up Lord;
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.         –  Richard Blanchard

 

If we expect to be able to reach out and help others, to pour out to others, we must continually be filled up by Him. If we’re running on empty, it’s going to show in our attitudes, in our words and even in our thoughts, which, eventually, always work their way into our words. This is why so many Christians find themselves worn out and burnout in “doing the work for the Lord. This is, also, why so many non-Christians find themselves walking away from grouchy, don’t-want-to-smile-at-you-but-I’ll-give-you-food church goers.

This isn’t to validate those naysayers who just want to fuss about “Christians-hypocrites who don’t share the love of Christ,” because, from where I stand, there are way too many good men and women who love Jesus to even give credence to that kind of nonsense. However, I have found that well meaning Christians can get to the point of burnout and bad attitudes when they aren’t getting filled back up when they’ve given time to a ministry.

We have to work from the overflow. You see, we are like a conduit through which the Lord flows, and when we stop getting filled, it’s as if we shut off His flow and try to continue on our own. Our strength is only so strong. Our faith is only so faithful. Our diligence is only so diligent, and that is because we are only human. We are not God. From God, all blessings flow. In God is found all the love, mercy, hope, joy, and everything the world is looking for. Through God, we have all the strength, faithfulness, and dedication we could ever need.

When we allow Him to pour into us and through us, all this world needs comes gushing out. Let Him fill your cup to overflowing today; so, it might “gush all over” those around you and to whom you minister.

 

overflow

marlonikkila.com

 

Pilgrims Passing Through

edb8cc042620994917ac978f91ed3c6bI am reminded of something, time and again, that I think often gets lost in the shuffle of everyday living, periodic competitions with our fellow man and intermitten crises that, at times, seem to shield our vision from reality:  We are ALL JUST PEOPLE living desperate lives trying to survive in this journey called life!

That moment when you feel “on top of your game,” when you feel nothing can ever stop you, and maybe even a little pride comes sneaking in to seduce you to the thought that your life is so much better than so many, remember this: we are ALL just one heartbeat away from saying goodbye to everything. There are no guarantees for tomorrow, and there are no promises beyond what God has given us in His Word.

As well, on that day when you feel “at the bottom of the bottom barrel,” when you feel nothing could ever go right for you again, and maybe even a little self pity creeps in to convince you of the thought that so many would be better off without you, remember this: we are ALL just one step away from the potential to succeed. When you put your hand in the hand of the Father, you are guaranteed to become an overcomer, and you are instantly promised ALL He has to give.

Do these promises instantaneously make our lives perfect, never again to be effected by this human nature, this earthly life? OH! How I wish it were so, but by all means, NO!! He told us in this world we would have trouble, we would have tribulation; yet, He has, also, assured us that He has overcome the world! 

So, don’t take courage in your tomorrow, and never let discouragement cloud your view of today. We only need to hold tightly to His hand and remain trusting of His heart as He guides us through to the other side! We are simply pilgrims passing through to a better land, to our eternal home.

“Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:16

quote-pilgrims-are-persons-in-motion-passing-through-territories-not-their-own-seeking-something-h-richard-niebuhr-76-99-65

Counted Worthy

Acts 5:41-42 “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.  Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”

…rejoicing because of ridicule and persecution?? Who does that?? I don’t see many in today’s society who get excited over verbal attacks, much less, physical attacks! You can pick up today’s paper or turn on the nightly news and see accounts of those who are angry at any intolerance, any mocking or even the slightest implication of ridicule for their given faith, lifestyle or even choice of words. These men, here in the Scripture, were thrown in prison, mocked, accused, about to receive a death sentence, and ended up simply being flogged (for anyone wondering, that means “to be beat with a whip or stick”), and yet, they left rejoicing, because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 

This Scripture is so challenging to me. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m not crazy about suffering, and especially, about being beat with a whip or stick. Honestly, that’s not quite my vision of a “fun day!” Yet, these men loved God so much that they were willing to go through all of this just so they could testify of His Name. They rejoiced that the suffering came their way, because it enables them to preach more boldly to others of His glory, and they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news from that day forward!

With the news headlines of all the Christians around the world being killed by ISIS, and so many other happenings in our own nation, this scenario is coming so close to being a reality within our own Land of the Free and The Brave. Growing up, I never thought this could happen here; yet, now, as an adult, I’m not so naive nor idealistic. I know it can happen in the blink of an eye, and to be honest, it does give me pause. 

I read books like Jesus Freak and Fox’s Book of Martyrs, and my faith is challenged by their boldness in the face of persecution. My petty little worries of friendships, light bills and “Are my children doing their homework today?” vanish into thin air in the light of their martyrdom. I pray I can be found this faithful. I pray I can be found this encouraging and this bold to share my testimony with others even if I am staring death in the face. 

It’s so easy to boldly proclaim your allegiance when no one is threatening you. It’s so easy to declare your faithfulness when you don’t have a gun aimed at your head, or your children are lined up at the stake, but as I read Jesus Freaks, I truly wonder if I could keep my bold faith when looking down the barrel of a semi-automatic or my children’s very lives are being threatened.

I pray I am found faithful and true. I pray I can remain steadfast and committed to the One who saved me, forgave me and gave me new life. I pray that, if I am found worthy of suffering disgrace for His sweet Name, I am able to stand, rejoicing, proclaiming His goodness and grace for everyone to see. 

How about you? What do you see? What would you do?