Need Some Encouragement?

I had a few setbacks this week in my ongoing journey with my brain tumors so I was needing some encouragement. I went to my stack of index cards of  Bible verses. I don’t have a good memory so I write verses that are special to me on them so I can read them again and again. And thus renew my mind and put God’s truth in me.

Anyway, here are a few verses that spoke to me and I want to share them with you, in case you’re needing some encouragement as well.

 

Proverbs 24: 16: For though the righteous fall seven times they rise again.

Psalm 92:12: The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree.

Psalm 91: 2: I will say of the Lord. He is my refuge and my fortress: My God in him I trust.

Psalm 31: 15:  My times are in Your hands.

1st John 5: 4:  for everyone born of God overcomes this world.

 Luke 18: 1: One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.

 

So whatever you are facing today, pray about it; trust in God’s love for you; and never give up!

 

UNSEEN BATTLES-PART 2

Ephesians 6:
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

FAITH! FAITH! FAITH!
Our spiritual journey begins with faith when we take that first step to believe and to become God’s child, then faith continues as we grow and mature spiritually, and finally our faith becomes fulfilled on that glorious day when we reunite with our Creator.
In our last devotion, we talked about life’s problems, big and small and that with each of those real-world struggles come an UNSEEN BATTLE—the battle to steal our spiritual inheritance and legacy. That is what the enemy wants. He wants us to listen to his lies, to believe him, to believe we don’t have the power to change our circumstances. To believe that God is not God. To believe that God is not good. To believe that God doesn’t love us as much as the other people around us.

We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose to activate our faith in and through every circumstance. In Beth Moore’s study—Living Beyond Yourself—she has a phrase for each of the fruit of the spirits. For faith, the phrase is FAITH FIGHTS!

FAITH FIGHTS!
Faith is not passive.
Faith is active.
Let’s look at today’s verse again in light of the fact that FAITH FIGHTS. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Which YOU can extinguish…. YOU must do it. Faith is not passive.  Faith is active. You must be the one who activates your faith.
But how?
A good start is with our thoughts, our words, and then our actions!
Every time, those seeds of doubt enter our minds, banish them with God thoughts! A great verse and very easy to remember is “With God, all things are possible.”
Every time, you are tempted to whine about the situation, change it to an act of faith, by using positive words:” It’s tough right now, but God is still with me.”
As you practice using your thoughts and words to activate your faith, let your actions show that you are believing God’s Words and His Promises, not the enemy’s lies.
Faith Fights!
In her study, Beth also talks about prayer and that prayer can change our circumstances. She uses the illustration of a wall of doubt but with prayer that wall can be knocked out and turned into a window to allow God’s Power into our lives. Can you picture that?
I can. I kneel before a sold wall but as I pray to God. I pick up my  axe of faith and start to knock out the wall. With each prayer a little more of the wall of doubt crumbles allowing more of God’s light and power to shine on me. And before I  know it, I am bathed in the light of God’s love.

Bring on the flaming arrows, enemy—I will use them to enlarge my window of faith!
FAITH FIGHTS!

 

 

SHARING TIME: What’s one real way you can activate your faith on a daily basis?

UNSEEN BATTLES

John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

LIFE IS TOUGH! And then it gets even tougher. Sometimes it seems as if our problems and troubles will never end. And the truth is they might not! Or they might not end the way we want them to.

Disappointments, worries, and problems come. Illnesses happen. Tragedies strike. That’s the reality of the fallen world we live in.

Those are the battles we fight every day in the natural world.

Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, and sometimes it becomes a wait and see what happens. But there’s another battle going on as well. This battle is much more important than whatever you are experiencing in the natural world.

It’s an UNSEEN BATTLE

The unseen battle is about stealing your faith, hope, trust,  power,  peace, joy, and all the other wonderful gifts God gives us as His heir. Paul says it this way in Ephesians 6:

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.

 

Paul knew what many of us forget in this modern world. Even though we can’t see the supernatural world, it’s out there and there’s an unseen battle going on. And that’s the battle that counts!

You may not be able to do much about the battle in the physical world. Sometimes, you can and you certainly should do all you can, but there are times, it is what it is and you can’t change it.

But the UNSEEN BATTLE.

God gives us the weapons we need for that battle, but it’s up to us to use them. If we don’t we’ll lose the war. So, what are the weapons for fighting the unseen battle?

Ephesians 6: 13-20

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

 

As you can see, God has not left you defenseless in the UNSEEN BATTLES, but instead has given you many weapons. They are all important, of course, but it all starts with that shield of faith which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Wow! Did you read that line? Maybe you should read it again:  that shield of faith which YOU can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Did you notice the word I put the emphasis on that time?

YOU can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one! YOU are the one that much activate your faith. YOU are the one that must use your faith.

So, how do you do that? Good question and we’ll  discuss it some more in the next devotion.

SHARING TIME:  What are ways you activate your shield of faith?

WHO’S IN CONTROL?

Proverbs 3: 26

for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about control lately.

If you ask me, who is in control, I would, of course, give the good Christian answer—GOD . If you ask me who is my provision, I would, of course, give the good Christian answer—GOD. If you ask me who the source if my confidence is, I would give the good Christian answer—GOD.

And I believe that but….

On the other hand, I like to think of myself as self-reliant. I started working the same week I graduated from high school in…cough…stammer…uhm 1973 . I found a job the same week and have worked since then with the exception of one quarter in college when I saved enough money to take a break.

I put myself through college along with a few grants and scholarships—no loans. ME and MY WORK. I saveD my money—bought my houses-bought my cars. ME and MY WORK

So, even though I say and believe God is in control, believe He is my provision, I’m not so sure I’ve ever depended on HIM the way HE wants. Because after all, for almost forty years, it’s been ME and MY WORK.

That is until lately.

I’ve been retired and only working part-time for the past few years. That was really awesome!  I had time to write and enough money not to worry!  And then it happened!

NO JOB! I actually didn’t freak out at first. I assumed something would come along at the last minute. But it didn’t.

The last check came and then it wasn’t ME and MY WORK anymore! Just me!  Oh, that’s right, I admit it—I forgot about God for a few anxiety-filled weeks. I worried, I grumbled to myself. I was more anxious than I’d been in years!

And it was driving me crazy!

Suddenly, my peace and joy was replaced with worry and aggravation. A lot of it and I didn’t like it. But I didn’t stop me from doing it until one day when I realized by worrying I wasn’t trusting God. I was NOT placing my confidence in God as my provider.

HE had been my provider all along but as with us fleshly humans, I forgot that for awhile…

So, now each time the worry comes back, I say a quick prayer: “I know You love me. You are all-powerful and I know you will work this out for my good.” Sometimes, it’s simpler and even quicker: “I need you or Your Will be done.”

The anxiety and worry are slowly being replaced by the peace and joy again. And that is wonderful!

We don’t, can’t, and won’t always know why things happen the way they do, but we always have a choice in how we react to them. We can choose to believe God’s promises. We can choose to believe God loves us and will take care of us. We can choose to stay in faith.

My life circumstances may still a mess, but as long as I keep my eyes on God, my faith remains steady. I now know that GOD truly is in control and my times are indeed in HIS hands.

Interestingly enough, I wrote the above devotion a few months ago before I developed complications from the Gamma Knife treatment for my brain tumors. Because of the complications, I was put on high dosages of steroids. And there would have been no way I could have worked during that time. And that would have only put me under more stress–something I certainly didn’t need.

God knew what he was doing when He decided it was time for me to retire for real.

He was in control and He knew what He was doing.

He was working my circumstances out for what was best for me–even though I couldn’t see it at the time.

That’s what TRUST and FAITH  are all about!

 

SHARING TIME: Share a time when what seemed like bad circumstances actually turned out to be the best thing for you. And allowed you to know God was working things out for you.

 

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REFLECTIONS OF 2012-BLAH…BLAH…BLAH!!

Hebrews 11: 6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

BLAH….BLAH….BLAH…

I had this wonderfully thoughtful post written and ready to post about the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2012, but I deleted it. That’s right, hit the delete button! And do you want to know why?  It doesn’t matter.

The past is gone, the present is here, and the future is waiting right around the corner. You can’t change the past but you can learn from it. (I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned a lot–yes, I’m saying I made lots of mistakes and still do!!!)

You can’t change your past but you can change the pressent and the future by your thoughts, words, and actions. How do you do that? Mmmm…keep reading.

In some of my writing groups, they talk about this idea of God giving them a word each year as the foucs for their spiritual and writing journeys. It’s a cool idea. I like it! Unfortunately, I never had a word, never got a word, but I wanted MY OWN WORD.

And then it occured to me, I do have a word,  we all have a word. It’s the same word for each of us.

FAITH!

The Bible is very clear about this WORD. FAITH– God expects us to have FAITH! We can’t please God without it. In fact, the Bible says He has given each of us a measure of FAITH. That’s good, becuase I need more of it.

Life can be hard. REAL LIFE can be REALLY HARD.

God knows that, but He loves us and wants us to have FAITH in HIs love, in His goodness, in Him.

So what is FAITH? Glad you asked, Paul wrote:

Herbrews 11:1

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Sure of what we hope for.

Certain of what we do not see.

How do we show that sureness and that certainty? By our thoughts, words, feelings, and actions. If we pray and then mumble, murmur, complain, and worry, and then TALK TALK TALK  to every person we come into contact about our problems-that’s NOT faith.

Faith is saying, yeah, I’m having a tough time, but I know God loves me and He will take care of me. Maybe not the way I want, but I trust His love and His goodness and His wisdom.

I believe with all my heart that FAITH is the key to unlocking more blessings, more abundance, more miracles, more joy, more peace, more of God’s presencen in each of our lives. So, my word this year, next year, and every year is FAITH!!

I pray that each of you will have a blessed 2013 and that God will give you miracles beyond your imagination in the coming year!

SHARING TIME: What are you believing for in the coming year?

Eyes of Faith

 Mark 11:24, NIV

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours

 

My last devotion was about faith and so is this one. You might be wondering if there is a reason or is it just a coincidence. Not a coincidence.

This whole year has been about developing more faith for me. I have a list too long to go into why and besides it would sound like whining—which I’m quite good at according to my husband.

But I will discuss one of the things going on in my life to make a point. I developed Bell’s Palsy in April. If you don’t know what it is, it’s usually caused by an inflammation of Cranial Nerve 7 which causes partial or complete paralysis of one side of the face. And being a Speech Pathologist that made work a bit of a challenge for me. Anyway…

For me, it was almost complete paralysis. At least one of my neurologists told me I wouldn’t have any recovery, but I refused to believe him. God makes those decisions.

At first I prayed for healing, but in the last few months I started thanking God for healing me. Outwardly, there hadn’t been any change, but I kept thanking Him for His goodness, His love, and the fact He takes care of me.

And in the last few weeks, I’m seeing progress. My smile’s not back yet, but I can eat and drink almost normally again. My speech sounds much better and I can feel facial muscles moving that weren’t moving before. So as far as I’m concerned it’s only a matter of time.

That is what eyes of faith are about. It’s about talking, thinking, and believing that God has answered your prayers even though there’s no physical evidence—yet!

Thank you, God, for your complete healing.

 

SHARING TIME: SHARE A TIME WHEN GOD HAS HEALED YOU.