God Allows Us To Experience Difficulty...
"God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way." (Frequently credited to C. S. Lewis but actually not his. Though it does sort of sum up his points in his book, ”The Problem With Pain”)
This is an unfortunate truth. The human heart is full of rebellion and amnesia. As a result, the only way we can learn certain things is to experience low points in life. I know that has been true in my life.
When we are experiencing low points in life, we are tempted, whether consciously or not, to begin to doubt the goodness of God. God does not protect us from hard times. In fact, sometimes I think God might do even more than allow hard times in our lives. Is it heresy to say that God actually causes hard times in our lives? I don’t think so…because we need them. No, God does not protect us from hard times. Rather, He protects us during hard times.
I once had a basketball coach who was much harder on me than anyone else. He would constantly ride me, tell me what I was doing wrong, even if it was just a small thing. It felt so unfair because he chastised me so much more than anyone else. I finally could not take it anymore and let him know in no uncertain terms that I did not appreciate this special attention. After practice, he pulled me aside and asked me, “Do you know why I am constantly on you?” Before I could respond, he said, “It is because I know how good you can be.”
God wants the best for us. God knows "how good we can be." As a result, He pays us special attention. Unfortunately, because of the condition of our hearts, the only way we will learn certain important lessons is to go through difficult things. Rather than viewing it as God’s chastisement or feeling like God has forgotten us, let’s acknowledge that the difficult times actually show us how much He loves us.
He has not forgotten us. He is molding us and preparing us. As difficult as it is, we must always keep in mind that He allows things in our lives to better us, not to harm us.
"Whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want." - C.S. Lewis (for real)
It's Friday the 13th. Are you superstitious?
We all have heard about superstitions like Friday the 13th, knocking on wood, coming across a black cat, walking under a ladder, etc. To be superstitious is idolatry and it is trusting in things other than God. It is a slap in the face to Him showing that you don’t trust Him or believe in His Words.
If God is for us who or what can ever be against us? God is in control of all situations and we should never put our faith in myths, astrology, or other demonic things like witchcraft. All faith in Jesus Christ alone.
1 Timothy 4:7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.
1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
1 John 5:21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
Exodus 20:3-4 “You shall have no other gods before me.
Let's be sure that we are putting all of our trust in God and not men, government, or anything else.
“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” -Proverbs 29:25
Hearing God in the midst of the noise.
Proverbs 1:33 – Whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease without dread or disaster.
Voices vie for your attention from every direction, and sometimes you just long for a solo day at the beach or a quiet walk in the woods. But even waves caressing the shore or breezes whispering in the leaves can irritate you when the noises are never silent. God gave you those listening ears, but He also cautioned you about what you were to listen to.
In Genesis 3, Adam listened to his wife’s voice, and we all know where that took him. On the other hand, in Genesis 22, Abraham obeyed the voice of the Lord and he was blessed. In Mark 7, Jesus called the people to him and told them to listen to Him. In the book of Revelation, the seven churches were told that whoever has an ear needs to hear what the Spirit of God is saying to them.
Today’s verse on listening—with the implication of obedience—carries a promise of living securely and at ease without dread or disaster. Who doesn’t want that? Be judicious in your listening. Be discerning for what aligns with God’s truth. Above all, listen to the Father as He speaks to you through His word; then enjoy prayerful time with Him. The blessing and the promise are yours!
Holy God, thank You for Your Word and the lessons it has taught us about listening. Good things have happened for Your children across the ages when we create a time for silence and truly listen to what You have for us. Give me the discernment to know when what I am hearing aligns with Your will for me. Teach us all across America to take the time to really listen to one another also, and to respond in love. For the sake of Jesus and our testimony of Him, Amen.
Hi fellow warriors!
I hope you all have prayed for the election today. It's certainly not over and I am faithfully praying for Trump to be re-elected. But more than that I am praying for God's will to be done. The finish may look differently than we believe or hope. We don't want to steal the election nor always have an * next to Trump's 2nd term.
That being said, there is a call from God for us to pray for our leaders. He does not say pray for them if you agree with them, like them, etc... If we wind up with Biden in the White House it will be very hard to be obedient but praying for those who would do us harm might be the one thing that saves us.
Jim Bolthouse who leads the Presidential Prayer Team put out a very good letter on Election Day. The link below will take you to it as well as an inspirational clip from Billy Graham. I hope that this will encourage all of us as we wait for the conclusion to our election.
Blessings on you all!
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV)
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Romans 13:1 (ESV)
, 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV)
”Therefore, IF anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap IF we do not grow weary. – Galatians 6:9
Dear Heavenly Father, we confess that some days it feels like we’ve been put through the wringer. Our emotions are frayed and our hopes and dreams have been hung out to dry. Forgive us, for in those times, we have allowed our faith to waiver. We know Your Word says that when our faith is tested, our character grows as we turn and rely once again on You. So, help us keep our focus on You and not on our trials and tribulations. We long to have that golden precious faith that Peter mentioned.
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
We pray for our local elections and the strength to keep fighting the political battles. May we not lose our ability to witness your love to EVERYONE we meet.
We ask for your blessing on our rally this Sunday. Please bring the right people and let our voices be heard by many. Let us bring hope and encouragement to all who are praying for protection from a Democratic president.
We pray for President Trump, his legal advisers, and campaign staff, as they challenge election results.
We pray for all of the ballot counters here in Tarrant County as well as all over the country. Please put a stop to all of the fraud, Lord. And bless those volunteers who are doing it correctly.
We pray for discernment for the president and vice president as they consider the needs of the country.
We pray for the State Department as diplomatic relationships and negotiations are made with foreign nations.
We pray for the Treasury Department as foreign and domestic economic measures are discussed and decided.
You are so good, and we love You, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name
If – The Biggest Word in the Bible
The word ‘if’ is interesting. It is one of the most important words in the Bible because it speaks directly to our responsibility to God. Most promises in the Bible have conditions and the word ‘if’ speaks to those conditions. Our responses to God’s commands affect our relationship with Him and determine our receiving from Him.
Jesus used the word ‘if’ all the time. Almost half of the 574 occurrences in the New Testament are in the four Gospels.
Jesus always put the ‘if’ on man’s side and never on God’s side – If man does, God will.
This is a wonderful article about how the Lord uses "if" when he speaks to us, teaches us, and blesses us.
LISTEN TO THE POEM HERE:
by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
So, this is a poster given to Mike and myself many years ago. I love to look at it and remind myself of all the things that God says/believes/thinks about me. I look at it and believe every single word. I have always had a great gift of faith for which I am incredibly grateful. If He says it, then I believe it.
Some people read these words and believe some of it or maybe none of it about themselves. They think He must be talking about someone else.
I don't fool myself and think I have these special qualities all on my own. I know without a doubt that it is only because Jesus lives in me that I can claim these attributes or gifts. Without his healing grace and patient leadership I could achieve little to nothing.
Right now I am focused on "I have the peace of God, which surpasses understanding" Phillippians 4:7
I definitely do not understand what is currently happening in this world but I trust in Him and know that any peace I feel, day to day, comes from His Spirit. It's very hard to wait in the middle of chaos, uncertainty, and downright evil. But God.
This short blog fit right in with what I was feeling this morning!
It’s hard to let go of what makes you anxious
Matthew 6:34 – Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
The medical director of the emergency department at a hospital in San Jose, California, said his hospital is gearing up for an influx of patients suffering from “election stress disorder.” He told his staff to be “extra aware for those patients that are presenting with symptoms that could represent an acute heart attack or an acute neurologic disease like a stroke.”
No doubt, 2020 has been a stressful year for all manner of reasons. Stress and anxiety do manifest in physical and mental symptoms. The political divide and election have produced a tremendous amount of stress for Americans. Rather than prompting them to meaningful conversation, for many it has degenerated into name-calling, mud-slinging, rock-throwing, and even deadly riots. Even among many Christians, stress is not being well managed. At its bottom, stress leads to addictions, divorces, hospitalizations as in San Jose, and even suicide.
Among the many dynamics involved in dealing with your stresses, the most important one can be found in prayer. Even before everything else fails, pray that God would restore your peace. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY…
5 things we can do while waiting on God
Trust in Him
Micah 7:7 “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me” (NIV)
Pursue our faith
This is an opportunity to enter into His presence like never before. God draws us to Him when we go through trials.
Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” (ESV)
Remember that God gives us simple tasks now to prepare us for something bigger later. There is a purpose.
Luke 16:10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities” (NLT)
Psalm 5:3 says, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (NIV).
Many times we become hyper-focused on one issue that we forget to look around and see what God has already done in our lives.
Thessalonians 5:16–18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (NIV)
We do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us. – Romans 8:26
Heavenly Father, You are so good. You know how frail we are, but You never leave us without provision. Your gift to us of coming before Your presence in prayer is the stress reducer we all need right now. Restore peace to our hearts and minds. Restore a sense of calmness across America, according to Your will, we pray. Give that same peace to those who will be the ones to lead us over the coming years, for You are the God of All Peace.
•We pray for our own personal clarity of mind, and that we would be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10).
•We pray that God would help us and others to loosen our grip on our anxieties, letting go of them and placing them in the mighty hands of God.
•Help us to be faithful to pray for those in authority over us, now and in the days to come.
•We pray for those dealing with election stress disorder to find faith in God as One who cares deeply for them.
• We pray for President Trump as he continues to fulfill the duties of his office.
• We pray for the tabulation of the votes to indeed be accurate.
•We pray against those in this country that continue to preach unity but actually spread hate
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Today was a tough day. It started with a 2.5 hour root canal and proceeded to get worse when I came home to clean the pool of leaves and ended up falling in. With my phone in my back pocket. Yes, I know better than to do this with my phone in my back pocket and I ignored the voice of the Holy Spirit not once but twice reminding me to put it on the table away from danger. I did not wave the voice away but I did say, "okay as soon as I get back around to the other side". I never made it that far.
I beat myself up for hours today over my foolish choice. As of this writing I still do not have a working phone and have spent many hours trying to fix this problem. If only I had listened. How often do we create our own problems by delaying our obedience or turning a deaf ear or blind eye to the cautions from the Spirit?
I am grateful that God gives us another chance, over and over and over. He is patient with us but I have to wonder if he had a good chuckle over my fall into the pool. I don't think he would ever maliciously laugh at me or take pleasure in my struggles, but it had to look a little humorous. Especially as I climbed out of the deep end (no small feat), ran for the back porch, and hastily removed all of my wet clothing while praying that no neighbor was peering into our backyard!
And since my Lord knows he has already provided a way out maybe he indulged a little. I knew immediately that God would have a way for me but it didn't help me have a better attitude for hours and hours. Another poor choice that I hope I do better with next time. Any part of the day that I could have salvaged and made productive was lost to my poor attitude and self-pity.
Has he ever let me down or left me without a path forward? No. I hope that in the future I will remember how blessed I am in pretty much every single area of my life.
Now, I am thinking about the real struggles faced by real people everyday and how they persevere in circumstances that I cannot even fathom. The character they must have built inside to keep on fighting even when they can see no end in sight. My "struggles" pale in comparison.
My prayers tonight are that God wold reveal himself to those people and that the Holy Spirit would guide believers across their path to share the hope of Jesus Christ with them. I also pray for me - that God would strengthen me inside like them. Help me to not sulk or mope or even beat myself up. But instead, that I could resolve to forgive myself because we all make mistakes. And that I could quickly learn to embrace the lesson and then move on to be productive for Him and not waste the time He has given. None of us knows the day or the hour so we had better make the most of each day and each opportunity.
James 3:2, NLT Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
Romans 8:1, ESV There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14, NIV Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
A song to lift our spirits and remind us of His power and love
Great I Am - New Life Worship
Mountains shake before you, the demons run in fear
At the mention of the name, king of majesty
There is no power in hell
Or any who can stand
Before the power and the presence of the great I am
PRAYER FOR OUR COUNTRY:
Heavenly Father, an old hymn comes to mind where it says, ‘Mold me and make me after your will, while I am waiting yielded and still.’ We need Your healing touch in this nation and pray that you will gently mold us back into a country that brings glory to You. Like a lump of clay in Your hands, You may need to press us, pinch us, wet us down, and keep us spinning on Your potter’s wheel for a bit. But our trust is in You to craft us into what You want us to be, for Your own sake, we pray.
-We pray for national healing.
-We pray that Christians would seek unity with one another, regardless of political positions, knowing
that it is God’s purposes that are being worked out.
-We pray for election officials where vote counting, or recounting, is yet underway.
-We pray that candidates, whether in victory or in defeat, will fight for the truth that Americans deserve
and be ready to accept the election results when the fight is complete.
-We pray for our Supreme Court Justices and ask for supernatural wisdom and courage.
-We pray for clarity in understanding how God could be reshaping us through these national
SONG OF ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TODAY!
WAY MAKER by Leeland
Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God, that is who You are
Even when I don't see it, you’re working
Even when I don't feel it, you’re working
You never stop, You never stop working
You never stop, You never stop working
How should you feel in the face of uncertainty?
John 14:1 – Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
Have you ever shared how you were feeling with someone and all they said to you was “Stop feeling that way?” Isn’t that just beyond irritating? How are you supposed to simply stop feeling a certain way, especially without help to know how?
In John 14, Jesus had just said some things that deeply troubled his disciples. One of them was a traitor, all of them were going to deny Him, and He was going to be leaving them that night. Is it any wonder that they would feel troubled at this news? And yet, Jesus goes on to tell them not to feel troubled in John 14:1! Thankfully, he didn’t stop there, though. He encouraged his dear friends to stay strong. He didn’t want to see them give in to their troubled hearts but instead wanted them to put their trust in Him and His Father.
Jesus never promised that his disciples would never feel upset, but He also doesn’t take delight in their pain. Instead, He gives them a way that they can ease their pain and find comfort. Trust in God. Trust in His morality, His justice, His truth, His goodness, and His love. Focus on all that God is and can do, rather than on your trouble. It will not make it go away, but it can certainly help you get through whatever you may face!
Heavenly Father, I thank You that You are always with me. Thank You for the knowledge You have given me about who You are. Help me to focus on these truths when I am discouraged and hurting. Help me to let go of my worry and trust that You are working. Thank You for the comfort and the hope that I can always find in You.
President Donald Trump will continue to meet with administration officials and his campaign team as they investigate concerns surrounding the ballots and votes in various states. On Saturday, the president said, “The American people are entitled to an honest election.” He added that the review and recounts of ballots “is the only way to ensure the public has full confidence in our election.”
While the national media called the winner of the 2020 Presidential election for Joe Biden based on the projection of the Electoral College votes, there are still remaining ballots to count and pending legal challenges that may impact the final numbers and results. State electors will cast their votes on December 14, at which time the president-elect of the United States of America will be officially determined.
Great song to remind us of what is true and most important.
THE LORD REIGNS!
Let all the people sing of Your awesome power in all the earth
Let darkness tremble at Your name
Why do the nations rage when the King is on His throne?
Now and forever You will reign
PRAISE YOU LORD - YOU DO REIGN!
Keep my teaching as the apple of your eye. – Proverbs 7:3
Downsizing… could there be anything more daunting than sifting through your worldly goods, sorting them into groups of “trash it,” “donate it,” or “keep it?” While some find reorganization refreshing, most people stress a bit in the process.
As America moves into new days of leadership there will be a natural restructuring. Certainly, there are policies from the past that are better left to fall away. However, America’s Christian heritage is a critical structure, the lifeblood of society and it must be kept. But how will a divided nation do it?
The Apostle Paul sets an example. In his choice to follow Christ, he went from a high position in Jewish society to a prisoner, jailed by his former colleagues. Some actually sought to put him to death for his confessions of faith. Yet he counted the cost of his discipleship and deemed it worth keeping.
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith, that I may know him and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:8-10).
Pray for America’s leaders to see the nation’s Christian heritage as valuable, and worth keeping. Ask that believers serving in government will be like Paul, choosing to proclaim their faith regardless of the cost.
Recommended for further reading: 2 Timothy 4:3-8
References / Resources:
Today, several states are still in the process of counting votes and aim to have final results tallied within the next few days. Neither President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden have enough electoral votes to officially take the election at this time. On Thursday, many of the close state races had narrowed even further as state and local officials continued to work overtime to tally the ballots.
In states where the candidate votes were separated by only a few thousand votes, recounts are expected.
Judges in several states are reviewing additional legal cases surrounding concerns of potential voter fraud.
The president will meet with administration officials and campaign staff. He is expected to remain at the White House in order to monitor the ongoing election results.
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY…
The commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light. – Proverbs 6:23
Most people can recall one or two teachers who made major contributions to their student lives. Others might be remembered for negative reasons. Eighty percent of what you have learned in life is a direct result of someone teaching by word or deed; the remaining 20 percent being the result of “the college of hard knocks.” Teaching is both an art and a science. Every person is a teacher at one level or another, whether by skills, talents, spiritual giftedness, or the life being lived.
Learning is essential to one’s existence. Like food nourishes the body, information nourishes the mind. In today’s verse, “the teaching” is the words and commands of God. Properly taught, it becomes light for your life journey.
If you wish to teach others, study God’s Word, relay what you have learned to others, live out what you’ve learned, then study some more. To teach well, learn discernment from the Holy Spirit so that you might pass it on. Even as you continue your own learning, beware of false teachers. Remember that all Scripture is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness… a pattern that is self-repeating the more you learn.
The chaplains in the House and Senate, as well as military chaplains, are students of God’s Word. Pray for them and their effectiveness as they pass their knowledge on for the illumination of others.
Recommended for further reading: 2 Timothy 2:14-19
References / Resources:
Lifting our elections up to the Lord helps all of us keep the focus on the most important topics as well as softens our hearts to love everyone, even those with whom we may disagree. Believing differently shouldn't stop us from sharing God's love and His Word with others.