Saturday, December 7, 2013

Can One Simple Email Change Your Life?

I scanned back and forth down the page. A lump formed; eyes no longer able to contain the moisture. The overflow releasing, sliding...the drops, clear pearls resting on my keyboard.

The young boy was soon to be left alone in this world. A mother, slowly letting go of her fight; her body...slight and weak, cancer overtaking.

The words called for prayer, help and God's will to stir and move the heart of someone to take him in.

Blurred, wet eyes fixated on the dot...the period signaling the end of the email.

I climbed the stairs; incredible urgency to reach the safety of my room. I needed release...the tears to freely flow. The words moved me, heart and soul...beyond my plans, my worries, my selfishness. I prayed for the boy. I prayed for his mother. I prayed for the right family to open their home. God's will.

I shared it with my husband. We prayed and prayed and prayed. God's will. We took steps of faith, moving and waiting. Gods will. After several phone calls, visits and constant prayer, the doors slowly began to open. One by one. With each door, fear of change, less us time momentarily filled our minds...but we stayed the course, always praying, God's will.

That Monday morning email changed my heart. God's plan is bigger and better than my plans. We await the final process; a young boy, alone, now to become a part of our family. God's will.

When God puts things in motion and asks you to move, touching your heart and spirit to the very core of your being, take the steps. Walk it out. He will open the right doors and shut the wrong ones. We worship a God who parts the sea, shuts the mouths of lions, makes walls crumble, brings the dead to life and sets captives free.

What has God been putting on your heart? Take a step of faith and trust Him...God's will.


"Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again..." Hebrews 11:33-35

"God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us." Hebrews 11:40

 "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.


READ HEBREWS 11:1-40 (To Increase Your Faith)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Fear and Doubt


I often doubt myself, question whether I'm capable, good enough, and strong enough to do all that the Lord is prompting me to do. I question my abilities. In the areas I'm lacking, I feel the enemy constantly attacking me. One moment I feel confident and capable, knowing that if God is for me, who can be against me. "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31 (NIV) His strength and power is able to overcome my weaknesses. And then on other days, the enemy seems to be working overtime in the areas God is trying to free me up in.

I know that doubt, worry, anxiety and fear are not of the Lord. I know that when these feelings are overtaking me, I need to run to the Lord, open up His Word and fill up with truth to overcome the emotional manipulation of my human nature and the enemy. The Lord has a plan for each one of us. He does not expect us to feel 100% confident when He calls us, He just asks us to be available; available to allow Him to work in us and through us. We need to remember, even Moses felt inadequate when the Lord called him, "Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue. The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”  But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” Exodus 4:10-13 (NIV). He didn't speak well and yet the Lord was asking him to speak not only to the Pharaoh but the entire people of Israel. The Lord knew his worry, fear and doubt in his inadequacies and short comings. He still required Moses to lead, trust and rely on God because in his own abilities, he fell short in every way.

God often uses weak and unqualified people because of their humbleness. God knows that when His Glory shines through, people will get a glimpse of HIS great power, faithfulness and love. He works in and through open and willing vessels (people). If you're going through a season in life where change can feel overwhelming, remember that God is bigger than anything you face. He is attempting to do a work in your life. Do not shrink back. Move forward in HIM. He is wanting to show and shine His love and greatness in you. Trust in His ability to move the mountains, to calm the sea, to give you His words and wisdom. Stand in faith and watch Him work, letting go of fear and doubt. Let God work!


"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Vultures

My week had been a difficult one as I faced many possible upcoming changes along with an ongoing issue with a loved one. My heart was heavy and I knew that having some alone time with the Lord, surrounded by His beautiful creation was exactly what I needed to calm down and get filled with His truth. 
The wetlands surrounded me as I made my way down the trail. I stopped and noticed two vultures sitting amongst several varieties of nesting birds. They were attempting to appear unassuming and harmless, just hanging out...waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike.
After I walked a long distance and was just about to turn around to head back because my to-do list at home was a mile long...I felt the Lord prompting me, "Keep going, I have something to show you." I noticed a bridge about a mile up ahead and decided to continue on until I reached it. Just as I turned, a beautiful pelican with an enormous wing span glided right next to me, his wing almost grazing my right shoulder. I thought, "Wow…that's amazing!" He continued his low flight until he was a few feet past me and then soared overhead. 
I finally reached the bridge and stood watching the beautiful, endangered, California tern circle overhead, squawking and dive bombing into the water in search of food, coming up empty time and again but never giving up. He knew there was food for him, he just needed to keep seeking. I stayed for a while, enjoying the view and thanking God for reminding me that He provides for my needs, I cannot quit, give up or stop seeking Him, for He knows exactly what I'll be facing and what I need to make it through the day.
But wait! Just when I began to head back, the Lord had more to show me. A woman came walking towards me and stopped me in my tracks, saying, "Did you see that?" "No what?" I curiously replied. She went on, "There was a seagull who had a large dead fish in his mouth when all of a sudden, a vulture flew up. The seagull didn't budge!" Raising her eyebrows in excitement she said, "I wanted to yell, GET OUT OF THERE before he hurts you…drop the fish! Then all of a sudden, a second vulture flew in. The two large menacing birds were surrounding him, but he still stood his ground. I couldn't believe it!" She paused as I said, "Wow…that's crazy!" Then she moved closer to me and with a knowing look said, "That seagull had some kind of power to be able to stand up against those two vultures!" She smiled and walked away, just like that.

I got a little teary eyed, thanking God for another reminder of HIS TRUTH. With God on our side, we have nothing to fear! "
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." 1 John 4:4

Life's vultures may be surrounding you...sickness, hopelessness, addictions, people, unforgiveness, doubt and fear. But God is with you, telling you to stand your ground in Christ. Stand against surrounding vultures reminding yourself, "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31 
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37 
Remember today to pray, read God's Word and let Him take care of you. You've been redeemed! You've been restored! You've been forgiven! Let go and let God!
"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matthew 6:26

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Light In Life's Clouds


Sometimes you may need to take a step back from your current situation to see God's Light shining through!

Never give up on your trust, hope or faith...things WILL get better. It's always darkest before the dawn. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel, a silver lining in every cloud and a rainbow (God's Promise) after the storm. I've found all this to be very true in my own life. The problem may often be remembering everything that God has already guided you safely through.

Today, I'd like to encourage you to take a moment to reflect on past "impossible" situations that the Lord has taken care of...carried you through...fixed! Let this be the light and truth of God's love and faithfulness to you."

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." 
Deuteronomy 31:6

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;" 
2 Corinthians 4:17

"The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." 
Exodus 14:14

"You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you." 
2 Chronicles 20:17

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Are You Seeking?

I was reading the book of Mark 2:1-12, in the Bible and was really hit by the determination of the people to get close to Jesus to heal their friends, family and even servants. The word about Jesus was spreading rampant from town to town. Thousands upon thousands were flocking to Him. It was almost impossible to get close enough to Him...but four very determined men dug a hole through the roof and lowered the man down to Jesus.

Can you imagine actually lifting a paralyzed man onto a roof and then physically digging a hole big enough to lower your friend and having blind faith that your work will not be in vain? These men didn't hesitate, they didn't look at the problem and say, "It's too crowded, sorry friend, no healing for you today." No they found a way to get to Jesus. They did whatever they had to. Their faith was strong enough to know that getting close to Jesus was the answer.

Today, we do not require this kind of physical labor to get close to the Jesus, and yet He is still just as alive today as He was all those years ago. The only difference, He's now able to be with each and everyone of us whenever we call out to Him. He is but a prayer away. So I ask you, in light of the story and the incredible work it took to reach Jesus, are you doing all you can to seek Him? Are you willing to give 20, 10, or even 5 minutes out of your day to pray and read the Bible? This costs you nothing, no pain, labor, lifting, or struggling. The only thing you are being asked to do is seek the Lord. Give Him a little time in your day. Ask Him into your life in faith. Allow Him to begin to fill you up with His truth and heal you in all areas. Are you falling short in seeking the Lord with the same fervency that they did while Jesus was walking on this earth?

The Lord loves you unconditionally, no matter what you've done, where you've been or how low you feel. He forgives you. He gave His only begotten Son so that you can be set free of the bondage of sin and guilt. Open your Bible, call out to your Heavenly Father, seek Him and allow Him to begin to make the changes in your life. His love for you is unending. Put your faith in the Lord...spend some time with Him and watch Him work in and through you. Getting close to Jesus is the answer your seeking!


"A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them,“Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” Mark 2:1-12


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pushing Through Life's Desert

On our recent vacation hike, I couldn't help but relate our journey to Christ... 
Heading up the dusty, cactus filled trail, the goal seemed impossible by the view currently in front of us. The mountains were scarce in trees and a small trickle of water wound back and forth in front of us. (You may have been told about a peaceful life when you seek a relationship with Jesus, but often find it difficult to see past your present circumstances.) 

Continuing on, we jumped over the "river," heading toward our goal. 
Steeper and steeper we climbed, the cactus/desert view slowly began to disappear. Green, lush trees now lined our path. 

The next part of the river we came to was wider, the water deeper and moving faster. It was beginning to look more hopeful. (The more you continue to chase after the Lord through prayer and scripture study, your view begins to change.) We stomped through the ice cold water in our tennis shoes, no longer able to avoid getting wet. In the excitement of what was to come we increased our speed, foregoing the trail and traipsing directly through the river to reach our final destination quicker.
I'd been told about an incredibly beautiful hike from a long time blogger friend who lived in the area that we were currently vacationing in. I was finding it hard to imagine that this trail was leading me to the final majestic beauty that I'd seen in her pictures.  

People began to pass us as they were heading down the trail. I asked, "How was it?" "AWESOME!" several teenagers replied in unison. (Church leaders, family members and friends will often tell you how God changed them and their life is now amazing.) "How much farther?" my husband asked in anxious curiosity and still lingering doubt. "Oh, you're almost there!" a teenage girl replied. My husband shot me a quick doubtful glance and said, "I wonder if they're just joking us and it's still really far or worse, not there at all!" As we looked around, there showed no signs of anything close to what we came for. (You may feel doubt in the middle of your struggles, wondering if God will really hear and/or answer your prayers.)

We continued walking and headed back onto the trail due to fallen trees blocking our path. (The fallen trees are like difficulties, often causing you to leave the narrow path God is calling you to stay on with Him.) 
When we were able to, we jumped back into the water knowing that we couldn't get lost by following it directly. (When you get closer to Jesus, you will not stray or get lost because He is your guide.)


Finally, as we turned a corner, we stared in awe...the slot canyon stood before us reaching towards heaven.

Our eyes fell on a small narrow entryway of amazing yellow, orange, grey and black colors marking the way inside this hidden treasure. (“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14) 

My husband ran to it and with his arms extended, was able to reach both sides. The only way to enter was directly through the river.

A loud, thunderous echo, was resonating from inside the canyon walls, beckoning us to see where it was coming from. (This is just like God inviting you to come closer to Him; wanting you to have a deeper more intimate relationship with Christ.) As we rounded the corner, there it was. 

One of the most glorious slot canyon waterfalls I'd ever seen.
 

(When you press in and continue to grow closer to the Lord, you will be filled with His unending love and peace which surpasses all understanding.)
Your life may be just like our incredible hike. You may be walking uphill in the hot, dusty, desert of life. The view around you may seem hopeless and unending. But the more you press into God's word, pray and seek a "relationship" with Jesus Christ, the closer you get to the dream he's placed in your heart. He begins to do a work in you; changing you one step at a time. Walking you closer and closer to His amazing light. The view around you begins to change. The dark grim areas...become brighter. You are filled with renewed hope and strength. You no longer feel lost and alone. The more you seek the Lord you begin to realize that your "hike" through life is easier when you allow Christ to be your guide. 

Today, take the journey of seeking a "relationship" with Christ. He will never take you down a wrong path. He will make all your paths straight. Eventually transforming you into His amazing image. Your life will become more than you've ever hoped or imagined it could be. His path will lead you to a life, "rooted and grounded" in Him. Start your hike though the desert into God's glorious waterfall of love, peace and light. He has a good and perfect plan for you and is calling you to take the steps in His direction. 

"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14-19

Monday, August 19, 2013

Feeling Dried Up?

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matthew 6:26
I've been struggling with eye problems & infections for years. My doctor finally figured out that my eyes are so severely dry that while I sleep, as soon as I go into REM (rapid eye movement) while dreaming, my dry eyes scrape against my eyelids and cause severe irritation. 

Last night I experienced one of these episodes. The excruciating pain I felt was like I'd been stabbed in the eye with a sharp object. I instantly awoke and laid there in agony for a few minutes. Due to this ongoing problem I have prescription eye drops always on hand. I quickly grabbed it, put a few drops in my eye and was able to fall back to sleep. I awoke pain free and saved myself hours, days and even weeks of pain.

Your soul can sometimes feel the same way. Life's circumstances may have you dried up. Things seem to scrape and scratch at you daily, irritating and leaving you feeling sick, hurt, isolated and trapped in your present situation. There is medicine for this. Something that you can apply that will have you feeling immediately better...it's God's word, the Holy Bible. The words in God's book are life giving truth, wisdom, comfort, healing, peace and love. It is the one thing that can ease your burdens, and carry you through the day. 

Don't continue to suffer alone. Apply God's life giving medicine for your soul. Open your Bible right now and see what He wants to tell you! Let His unending love for you set you free. He wants to give you life and even more so...LIFE IN ABUNDANCE UNTIL YOU OVERFLOW! 

"The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 1:14

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John10:10

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us," Ephesians 3:20


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Why Am I Suffering?


I was looking for something to send out to my "Morning Devotional Group," (a group of friends that I email every morning with encouraging, inspirational thoughts, stories and scriptures) when I came across a book, "Reflections of His Image-God's Purpose For Your Life," by Nancy Missler, which was sitting on my bookshelf. It was full of dust...forgotten and hidden over the years. It grabbed my attention, I pulled it out, dusted it off and started scanning, looking for something to jump off the pages. That's when I abruptly stopped and read this: 

THE PURPOSE OF SUFFERING

"Those of us who have lived long enough understand that life itself includes suffering. The 9th chapter of Ecclesiastes 9 points us to the truth that "all things come alike to all." Misfortune and evil and calamity and "time and chance" happen to everyone. (verses 2, 11) However, we also know that God is above all these things and He will use any or all of them as He sees fit to accomplish His perfect will in our lives. Suffering can be a result of our own sin, the sins of others, the schemes of Satan or from the fallen state of the human race. Here are a few other reasons suffering occurs: 

1)    To produce brokenness
2)    To destroy anything in our lives that is worthless, empty and steering us in  the wrong direction.
3)    To make us more pliable.
4)    To make us more Christ-like
5)    To endow us with more power.
6)    To experience the "fellowship of His sufferings," and
7)    To teach us how to help others, by our own experiences.

Another of God's purposes for suffering is to highlight the things in our own lives that must be dealt with. He wants us to make an honest self-evaluation of ourselves, which in turn, should lead us to confession, repentance and a change of lifestyle. "And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to test thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or not." (Deuteronomy 8:2) 

God put the book of Job, the longest book of the Bible, right in the center of the Bible for a very good reason: it's an example of faith in the night seasons and the determination never to give up. God intends for all of us to use this book as a "road map" through the dark times, always keeping in mind that at the end of the road, Job finally "saw" himself and God as he never had before, changing his life forever. (Job 42:5)" 

What a powerful reminder of continuing to seek the Lord during times of trial, asking for His wisdom, strength, patience and guidance through life's storms. Don't give up! Don't lose hope! Stand strong in the knowledge that through this you will come out victorious as you put your trust in the Lord every second, minute and hour of the day. Call out to Him and know that He is guiding you safely through this dark place. YOU ARE LOVED!

 
“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted." Job 42:2  
"My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you." Job 42:5
"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." James 4:10
"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:" 1 Peter 5:6   

Monday, July 22, 2013

When Are Things Going To Get Better?

How many times do you know what God is asking and wanting you to do and yet...you choose to stay exactly where you are? You continue doing exactly the same things that have been making you unhappy for the past several years. You talk about making the tough, yet necessary changes but somehow you continue to rely on your own strength, will and might. It is never quite enough to get your life back on the right path to happiness.

I'm going to be very frank with you. There is one constant and continual problem. It is something that we all struggle with...pride. We think we can handle everything on our own. But the one question I have to ask you is, "How's that been working out for you?" Do you still feel, lost, sad, alone, afraid and unable to stand strong and change the areas of your life that are out of control? The very thing that got the devil kicked out of heaven was pride. Unfortunately he uses that weakness in your life to continue to lie to you. He isolate's you and then fills your head with thoughts of defeat, and hopelessness. He tries to make you feel weak if you need to ask God for help. He does not want you to go to the very source of love, truth, light, wisdom and hope.

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:7, 9-10

Jesus came to give you life through a relationship with Him. This relationship is built on getting to know Him and His Word through prayer and scripture study. As you spend time with Him daily, He begins to heal your wounds through His love and truth about who you really are. He slowly begins to take away the desires to do the things that are causing you heartache. He leads you beside still, calm waters; allowing you to take all of your pain, addictions, heartache, and loneliness and hand it over to Him. He will fill you with a peace that is incomprehensible. A peace that defy's all human logic. As you lean on Him, He builds you up and reminds you of how special you truly are. You are not your sin, you are not your addictions, you are not unworthy, you are not unloved. You begin to see who you truly are in and through HIS EYES. A person of great importance and value in advancing His Kingdom. A person worthy of giving His life for. 

"I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me." Proverbs 8:17

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7

Do not continue to struggle alone. Do not feel ashamed to go to the Lord and ask for forgiveness. Do not feel unworthy of being loved. Do not feel the need to control everything in your life and feel like a failure when you can't. You were not made to travel this journey alone. You've been made for a love relationship with Jesus Christ. That emptiness you constantly feel is the huge gaping hole that God created in you to be filled with HIS LOVE. Do not continue to weather your storm alone through the deception of pride. Look to your Savior, your Redeemer, and your Healer. He stands at the door waiting...will you let Him in to your heart and your life?

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

Thursday, July 11, 2013

At Least I'm Not Like Them!

Have you ever found yourself saying, "Wow, what's wrong with them?" Do you ever sit in judgement of others? We all fall short in this area, often times using this to lift ourselves up..."at least I'm not like them!" 

Sin is sin - you can try to justify it any way you want. The truth is none of us are perfect. We're all battling something...some sin may just be more outwardly apparent than others. Don't ever forget where you've come from and what you've been forgiven of. Your story will become your ministry. You have the ability to reach others who may be struggling with the same challenges you've overcome through the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. 

You have a story to share. You have a life to touch. Instead of wasting your time judging others, spend time loving them. Share your story of redemption, freedom, peace and love through your relationship with Jesus Christ. You have  been given a great purpose; to help set the captives free. Go out in unconditional love today, reaching out to a lost, hurt and broken people.

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;" Luke 6:37



"Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?" James 4:11-12












"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." John 3:17



"Therefore said he unto them, The harvest is great, but the laborers are few: Pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest." Luke 10:2










Monday, July 1, 2013

WHEN YOU FEEL THE GRIME...

NOTICE THE HEART SHAPE AT THE TOP RIGHT?

I slowly pulled in between the tight panels, waiting to hear the loud beep signaling me to stop. I sat patiently waiting as the water poured over the top. Next came the multicolored layers of suds; a fresh, clean aroma filled the air. I sat in the darkness watching a particularly difficult spot a bird had left, wondering if the pressure would be strong enough to remove the main reason I was there. Water continued to rain down as the panels moved back and forth. The longer I sat, the stronger the pressure became, until finally the bird dropping disappeared from view. The flashing green arrows signaled I was done. I slowly pulled out of the car wash, my car once again shiny and new.

While sitting in the car, waiting for the cleaning process to finish, I thought about sin. When I've messed up and done something wrong, said something hurtful, talked about someone to others, negatively lashed out at my husband or family members, I feel the "dirt" of it on me. I feel the "old me" trying to rise up and cover me with shame, guilt and condemnation. For a while, I leave it on me, just like driving around in my dirty car with bird droppings on it. I allow my shame and guilt to be worn on my outward self. I don't feel worthy to go to my Heavenly Father and ask to be cleaned. The enemy takes this opportunity to fill my head with lies, "This is who you really are! You've messed up again. You're never going to overcome this. Look how far you were and you still couldn't stop doing it! Give up, what's the use...you'll never change!"

But through those dark moments, as I try to muffle the lies and make sense of it all; just like watching the multicolored suds in the dark car, the still small voice of the Holy Spirit calls to me, "You are forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ. You are a new creation in Him; and like the car wash, I begin to smell the clean refreshing aroma surrounding me. The past is gone, you have been made whole. I love you. I have a good plan for your life. Get up and let me clean you! The longer I sit with the Lord, the truth of His love begins to apply pressure to the dirt of sin.
I begin to pray asking to be cleaned, forgiven and made new again. I ask not only for forgiveness, but that the worldly desires of my human nature be removed in Jesus' name. Slowly the darkness begins to wash away, the light of Jesus' sacrifice beams brightly down upon me. I begin to fill the grime disappear. Then before I realize it, I've been cleaned, forgiven and I'm ready to be used by Christ for His purpose.

Don't continue to sit in the dark grime and dirt of your sin. That is not who you are! You have been given the gift of forgiveness and can start with a clean slate. Wash up...the Lord is waiting to use you for His amazing plan!

"Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!" Ezekiel 18:31-32

"Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." John 12:44-46

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Is It Enough?

I was driving home from work and noticed a homeless woman crossing the street. Our eyes met and I began to pray for her. It was unusual to see a homeless person in the affluent area of Fashion Island,  Newport Beach, CA. This homeless woman stood out, in her oversized tattered dress, and shopping cart full of all her belongings. She demanded my attention, standing against the lush green lawns and beautiful palm tree lined streets. As I drove further I felt the prompting to go back and give her all the money I had in my wallet, which wasn't much. I quickly turned around and pulled up beside her. As I rolled down my window, she grabbed a huge tattered Bible, holding it close to her chest and backed away from my rolled down passenger side window. I leaned over to tell her I wanted to help her, holding up the money in my hand. She said, "I don't approach cars." I said, "I can get out and give it to you." She quickly replied, "No, I can tell it's not the right amount. I pray each day and ask God to provide for my exact needs for the day. I know the amount, and I can tell that's not enough." I continued to try and persuade her to take it, telling her if it's not the right amount then she can use it to bless someone else. She refused telling me, "If I accept an amount less than I'm supposed to I am being unfaithful to God." With that I told her I would be praying for her and drove away feeling a little disheartened as to why the Lord would have me go offer everything I have in my purse, only to be rejected.

While driving I continued to pray and ask what lesson the Lord wanted to teach me. I had felt the prompting very strong to go back and give her all I had; even to the point that as I began to count the money, I stopped because I knew it didn't matter how much I was giving her, I was just supposed to offer it all to her.

When I got home...Tithing came to my mind. I remembered how I've been falling short in being faithful to give at least a 10th of my earnings. I give a little here and a little there. But God is asking me to give Him at least a 10th. He is asking me to give Him my best. What I've been offering "WASN"T THE RIGHT AMOUNT!" What I've been giving to the Lord wasn't enough? Everything I have is His..my family, my job, my car, my home, my food, my clothes and all the extra little "must have" things I store up. He has given me so much and in return asks me to give a 10th of my earnings to be used for His purpose. He's blessed me and only asks for a small portion to be given in faithfulness. I have fallen short. I have short changed the Lord who is ALWAYS there when I call. He is so faithful and yet I have not been

Today, ask yourself if you too have fallen short in this area? The Lord is faithful to provide ALL your needs. Are you as faithful in giving to the Lord?

 "A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord." Leviticus 27:30 

" Then say to the Lord your God: “I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them." Deuteronomy 26:13

"Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?  Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”  “Twelve,” they replied. “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”  They answered, “Seven.”  He said to them, “Do you still not understand?” Mark 8:17-21

Give God your best and He'll supply the rest!!




Saturday, May 25, 2013

PRAYING IN TIMES OF CRISIS

I normally write all my own stories on my blog, however today I came across an INCREDIBLE article that I feel needs to be seen, heard and read again and again. It is a little long but incredibly powerful, insightful, and encouraging. Please take a few minutes to read it...it is life changing!

PRAYING IN TIMES OF CRISIS
By: Kevin Meador

How do you seek God when you are in the midst of a crisis? Every believer will face crisis moments. You will encounter those times when your faith is tested. Following Jesus does not mean that you are exempt from suffering. It does not mean that your life will be crisis free. The Bible openly declares this truth, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials" (James 1:2). The Bible does not say if you will face trials; it says when you face trials. God wants you to know that you will experience these times in your life.

These crisis moments can be triggered by a variety of events. It might be the death of a loved one. It might be marital or family problems. It might be church problems. You may be struggling at work. It could even be that your blood pressure is up and that your bank account is down. You will experience those times when you don’t know what to do. You run the gamut of emotions- fear, doubt, anger, despair. Your faith in your Father is being tested.

It is in these times that God calls you to seek Him. The believer should seek God on a daily basis. Prayer should characterize your lifestyle. Yet, in these crisis moments, you should intensify your praying. You should forsake any attempts to depend on yourself or to look for a fleshly answer to these experiences.

The prayer life of Jehoshaphat provides you with an example of how to seek God in a crisis. Jehoshaphat was the fourth king of Judah who reigned in the ninth century B.C. In 2 Chronicles 20, he experiences a crisis. He does not know what he could or what he should do. But, he seeks the Lord. His example of prayer will hopefully give you insight on how to seek God when you experience times like this. His example reveals five basic truths about seeking God in the midst of a crisis:

Realize your helplessness.

The opening verses of 2 Chronicles 20 set the stage, "It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, ’A great multitude is coming against you from the beyond the sea, from Syria; and they are in Hazazon Tamar’ (which is En Gedi)." (vv.1-2). The text does not indicate why these other nations decided to attack Jehoshaphat. All the text says is that the odds were three against one. Three nations were coming to attack one man, Jehoshaphat. They formed a "great multitude". That phrase occurs three times in this chapter. And it left the king shivering for fear of his life, "And Jehoshaphat feared" (v.3).

Jehoshaphat realized his helplessness in the midst of this crisis. Fear gripped him because he knew that he could not stand against this united force. This great multitude was more than he could handle. He openly declares this to the Lord, "For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us" (2 Chronicles 20:12). He recognized that he was helpless in this midst of this crisis. He acknowledged that he could not deal with this
situation on his own.

This sense of helplessness compelled him to pray, "And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah" (2 Chronicles 20:3). He prayed because of his helplessness. And he didn’t mouth a surface prayer. He prayed with intensity in this crisis. The text says that he "set himself to seek the Lord". He then proclaimed a fast. This fasting would only intensify his praying. He poured his heart out to God because He knew that only God could help.

The root of this intense praying is his helplessness. That is why it is crucial to realize your helplessness in the midst of a crisis. The acknowledgment of your helplessness will drive you to pray. It will motivate you to seek the Lord and depend on Him for His strength, His solutions, and His direction. Helplessness is not a hindrance to prayer. It is actually a help to seeking God. Let your helplessness drive you to seek God. Realize that you cannot handle the crises of your life and that you must pray if you are to face them and grow through them.

A crisis is like a magnifying glass. A magnifying glass increases the apparent size of an object so that you can see it better. It enlarges your view of an object so that you can gain a better understanding of it. A crisis does this in your life. It enlarges your view of your helplessness. It helps you clearly see your need for God. It vividly points out your helplessness that exists daily and not just in the crisis moments of life.

When a crisis shows you your helplessness, let it drive you into God’s presence. Use it as a motivation to cry out intensely for God’s grace, power, mercy, and help. Allow your helplessness to move you to a deeper, more fervent and faithful prayer life.

Commit yourself to seeking the Lord.

When Jehoshaphat learned that this great multitude was coming to attack, he could have immediately begun making plans. He could have started mobilizing the army of Judah. He could have sent ambassadors to other nations for help. But, he did none of those things. He began by seeking the Lord. 

The text says that he "set himself to seek the LORD". This indicates intensity in prayer. But, at the same time, it indicates perseverance. He determined to seek the Lord until he received an answer from the Lord. He committed himself to seek the Lord in the midst of the crisis. He was going to pray and wait on the Lord. He confessed that he did not know what to do, "For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do" (2 Chronicles 20:12a). Yet, he then states his commitment, "But our eyes are upon You" (2 Chronicles 20:12b). He was committed to praying and waiting on God in the midst of the crisis.

Our response to a crisis is often to find a solution. It is to try and work it out on our own. It is to relieve the pain. It is to work out the problem in our own strength and wisdom. Sometimes our pride moves us to think that we can handle the crisis. Sometimes our desperation motivates us to try and deal with the crisis on our own.

Yet, your first response to a crisis should be to commit yourself to seeking the Lord. The commitment of your heart must be, "Lord, I don’t know what to do,
but my eyes are fixed on You." Your commitment must be to pray and wait on the Lord. There are times that God will answer you immediately in the midst of a crisis. Yet, there are other times when God’s answer comes after a time or unfolds over a period of time. We live in an age of fast food, drive-through banking, and instant communication. We are used to instant gratification. Yet, as a child of God, you will be required to seek Him and wait on Him and His timing. 
Sometimes you will have to seek Him intensely and wait for Him. Jesus said not only to ask, but also to seek and knock (Matthew 7:7). 

There are going to be times in life when you will not know what to do. What do you tell a father whose son is in rebellion toward God and hates everything that his father believes and loves? What do you tell a young woman whose husband has told her that he doesn’t love her anymore and the marriage is ending? These are extreme examples, but they illustrate the point. There are times when you will have no idea what to do or what to say. You will not know what the next step is. It is at these times that you realize that you are at the mercy of God. You are reminded that you must look to Him in prayer and wait on Him. These words are not superficial cosmetics that cover and ignore the pain and problem. These words are
spiritual counsel from God’s eternal Word.

I realize that saying, "Commit yourself to seeking the Lord and wait on Him" sounds trite, even empty. This is especially true when you are hurting and don’t know what to do. Yet, what else can you do? Who else can you turn to? It is God alone who can strengthen you. It is God alone who can sustain you by His grace. It is God alone who has the power to help you and provide answers. He is your God, your Rock and your Refuge. That is why you must turn to Him and wait on Him. When the crises of life come and challenge you, commit yourself to seeking the Lord. Wait on Him for the answers and solutions that you need.

If you will do this, it will not only help you but others also. When you commit yourself to seeking the Lord in the midst of a crisis, you provide a powerful example for others. When the people of Judah saw Jehoshaphat’s example, they "gathered together to ask help from the LORD; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD" (2 Chronicles 20:4). The people followed Jehoshaphat in seeking the Lord in the midst of this crisis. Notice that the verse emphasizes that the people asked help from the Lord and that they came from all the cities of Judah to seek the Lord after seeing Jehoshaphat’s example. His seeking attitude rubbed off on the people.

When you seek God in the midst of a crisis, you provide a powerful example for others to follow. Both fear and faith are contagious. When you show fear in the midst of a crisis, it will adversely affect those around you. They will be more likely to exhibit fear
and doubt. Yet, if you will seek the Lord and stand strong in faith, it will motivate others to do the same. It will be a source of encouragement for others to seek the Lord and wait on Him. Committing yourself to seek the Lord in a crisis not only anchors you, but it also encourages those around you.

Focus on God’s character

In verses five through twelve, Jehoshaphat stood before the men, women, and children of Judah and led them in prayer. In this prayer, he pled with God to help and deliver the nation from the great multitude that was coming against them. As he prayed, he focused on God’s character. He pled with God on the basis of who He was. Jehoshaphat exalted and concentrated on these aspects of God’s character:

His sovereignty over the nations: "O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations?" (2
Chronicles 20:6). He rejoices that God is not a faraway God but the ruler of the nations on earth.

His almighty power: "And in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?" (2 Chronicles 20:6). Jehoshaphat exalts the power of God because He knew His enemies could not stand against this power.

His faithfulness to His promises: Jehoshaphat reminds God of two promises. He asks God to be faithful to
these promises. The first promise is, "Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the
descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?" (2 Chronicles 20:7). If the nations coming against Judah conquered them, the ownership of the land would change hands. This would annul the divine promise. Jehoshaphat pleads with God not to let this promise to Abraham fail. The second promise is, " And they dwell in it, and have built a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, ’If disaster comes upon us-sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine-we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this
temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save’" (2 Chronicles 20:8-9). Jehoshaphat is quoting from Solomon’s dedication prayer after the temple had been built. In this prayer a promise had been given of protection from the
same kind of danger Jehoshaphat and the people were facing. He reminds God of this promise and claimed it in prayer (vv.10-11). God loves to be cornered with His promises. We honor Him when we take His promises seriously and expect Him to fulfill them.

His greatness: "O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that
is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You?" (2 Chronicles 20:12). This is a stunning statement in light of 2 Chronicles 17. In that chapter, we are told that Jehoshaphat had one million, six hundred thousand men in his army. 
Jehoshaphat is exalting God’s greatness. His confidence is not in the power of man but in the greatness of God.

Jehoshaphat provides a powerful example of how to pray in the midst of a crisis. He concentrated on the character of God. He did explain the situation that he was facing. He did confess his helplessness to the Lord. Yet, he primarily concentrated on God’s
character. His prayer is filled with the exaltation of God. The character of God consumed him and his praying in this crisis.

When you face the crises of life, focus on God’s character. Let yourself be immersed in who He is. Psalm 9:10 says, "And those who know Your name will put their trust in You." Knowing God’s name means understanding His character. The name of God represents all that God is. When you understand who He is, it will enable you to trust Him. It will enable you to stand strong in the midst of whatever you face. That is why Proverbs 18:10 says, "The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe."

In the midst of a crisis, concentrate on who God is. Let your prayers be consumed with His power, love, and sovereignty. Corner Him with His promises and expect them to be fulfilled. Gaze on His greatness more than on the crisis. Pray that God will deepen your understanding of and your experience of His character in the midst of the crisis.

Be obedient to God’s leading

God answered Jehoshaphat’s prayer for help. His command was clear, "Listen, all you of Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD" (2 Chronicles 20:15-17). God promised victory if they would trust in Him and stand firm. Jehoshaphat confessed that he did not know what to do. God now gave him specific instructions. And this is exactly what he and the people did (2 Chronicles 20:20-24). Because they obeyed God, they experienced victory. They experienced victory because they sought God, listened to Him, and obeyed Him.

When you seek God in a crisis, listen to His leadings. He may grant you specific insight in what you are to do. He may reveal a plan of action that you must take in the midst of your struggle. He might point out specific promises that you are to claim and expect Him to fulfill. The key is to listen and obey God in the way that he is leading you.

There will be times when God does not give specific insight or leading. What do you do then? In times like this, you must be faithful to do what you know. Stay in the Word of God. Continue to enter God’s presence and seek Him. Ask other believers to pray for you. Keep on worshipping God and fellowshiping with other believers of your church. Strive to obey God in all that you know. It is better to obey God in faith than to disobey God because of your feelings. In the midst of a crisis, strive to obey God as He has taught you and as He is leading you.

Understand whose crisis it is.

Jehoshaphat was facing an overwhelming enemy. This great multitude was more than he could handle. Yet, God revealed to Jehoshaphat that this was not his battle, "Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s" (2 Chronicles 20:15). Jehoshaphat did not have to give in to fear or discouragement. This battle belonged to God. He was going to fight it. Jehoshaphat and the people had to stand firm in faith and trust in God, "Position yourselves, stand still
and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed, tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with
you" (2 Chronicles 20:17).

Did you notice in these two verses what God emphasized to Jehoshaphat? He reminded him twice, "Do not fear or be dismayed." When God spoke through His prophet, He declares to Jehoshaphat that he should not be afraid. A great multitude was coming against him. He did not have the power or the wisdom to deal with this crisis. How could Jehoshaphat overcome fear and discouragement? It is because he knew whose battle this was. He understood to whom the crisis belonged.

When you are in the midst of a crisis, you must remember whose crisis it is. You must understand that it is God’s crisis. It is God’s opportunity to work in powerful and unique ways in your life. It is His occasion to reveal Himself in new and fresh ways to you. It is His circumstance to show you how much He loves you and cares for you.

I am not saying that everything that happens to you is good. On the contrary, there are a lot of lousy, rotten things that can happen to you. The crises that you can face in life can be agonizing and devastating. Yet, at the same time, they can be opportunities for God to work in you, speak to you, and change you. They can be times for God to show you Himself as never before in your life.

You do not have to drown in fear and discouragement in the midst of crisis. Understand that this is God’s opportunity to work in your life. The crises may be bad, but God is good. No matter how hard life gets, God is always good and merciful. God is so good and merciful that He can take the crises of life and use them for His own glory and your good.

It is easy to lose sight of this when you are hurting and struggling. A self-righteous pastor visited a member of his church who had had back surgery. The self-righteous pastor asked him in a pious tone, "My dear brother, what has God taught you through your back surgery?" The member shot back, "God has taught me that back surgery hurts!" In the midst of a crisis, you can forget that God is good and that this is His opportunity to work and to reveal Himself. Your focus can move from God and His goodness to the circumstance and your pain, fear, and discouragement.

That is why it is crucial to keep in mind whose crisis it is. You must continue to remind yourself that this is God’s battle not your’s. One of the things that I have done to help me remember this truth is to say the following prayer on a daily basis. I especially use it in times of crisis. Father, this is Your crisis, not mine. Reveal Yourself to me in fresh and new ways. Father, this is Your circumstance, not mine. Speak to me in clear and powerful ways. Father, this is Your opportunity, not mine. Change me in those areas that You desire. Father, this is Your battle, not mine. Release Your power to sustain me and deliver me. Father, this is Your time, not mine. Let me taste and experience Your goodness as never before in my life.

As you understand whose crisis it is and surrender it to Him, His peace and power will flow into your life. You do not have to be afraid. You do not have to be overcome by fear. Remember to whom the crisis belongs.

Praise God throughout the crisis.

After Jehoshaphat and the people heard the word of the Lord, they worshipped Him, "And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the LORD, worshipping the LORD" (2 Chronicles 20:18). Before the battle on the next morning, Jehoshaphat makes an unusual move. Rather than lining up his military, he appoints a choir (2 Chronicles 20:21). They were going to march ahead of the army onto the battlefield. He told them to sing praise to God before the battle. Never had anything looked so ridiculous since Joshua’s priests marched around the city of Jericho and blew trumpets to make the walls fall down.

Yet, God responded in mighty power, "Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated" (2 Chronicles 20:22). God honored their praise. When they praised God, it unleashed power from heaven. This power made the difference in the battle. Judah did not have to fight the battle. God fought for them. He released His mighty power in response to their praise. In response to God’s victory, the people blessed Him (2 Chronicles 20:26). Jehoshaphat and the people praised God before the battle and after the battle. Even the midst of their crisis, praise poured out of them to the true and mighty God.

When you face the crises of life, offer fervent and continual praise to God. Why should you render praise to God in the midst of a crisis? There are four basic reasons for permeating your crisis times with praise.

It unleashes the power of God (Psalm 22:3). Praise releases the power of God from heaven. When the praise goes up, the power comes down. This power can sustain you and strengthen you. It can also deal with whatever problem or circumstance that you are facing.

It builds your faith. During crisis times, your faith can be weakened. When you focus more on the crisis of your life rather than the character of God, your faith will be weakened. Yet, when you praise God, your focus is on Him and His awesome and holy character. It enables you to trust Him in spite of what you are facing.

It is a testimony to others. When you praise Him in crisis times, you are telling others how great God is. You are providing a living example of what to do when you hurt and struggle.

It is the antidote for fear and discouragement. The only way to answer any feelings of fear and discouragement is praise. Praise is the antidote for these diseases of the soul. It weakens and destroys fear and discouragement.

In order to praise God in a crisis, you must develop a lifestyle of praise. If you do not adore God daily, it will be virtually impossible to praise Him in the midst of a crisis. Praise for God in a crisis is born out of a lifestyle of daily praise. Plead with God to grant you a heart for praise. Ask Him to create within you a spirit of praise in daily life. As you do this, you will be better equipped to praise Him during a crisis.

Claim the peace that comes from prayer.

This event in Jehoshaphat concludes with these words, "Then the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around" (2 Chronicles 20:30). Jehoshaphat was not worried that these three nations might try and regroup and attack again. He did not fear any other enemies. Even if another force came against him, he knew that the Lord would be his helper. Jehoshaphat was experiencing the peace of God. This peace resulted from his praying. When confronted with a crisis, he sought the Lord and God granted him peace.

Prayer must be our response to a crisis. Yet, we must also claim the peace that God provides through prayer. The Word of God reveals that there is an intimate connection between peace and prayer, "Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7, emphasis mine). When the believer pours out his or her heart in prayer, it prepares the way for the peace of God to fill his or her heart. In prayer, the believer surrenders the crisis to God. The believer expresses to God his or her feelings. When this takes place, God grants His peace. This peace then encourages and sustains the believer in the crisis.

Peace is yours when you surrender your struggle to God through prayer. Claim that peace when you pour your heart out to Him. God wants to grant you His peace. He will grant it when you surrender yourself and your circumstances to Him through prayer. The combination of prayer with thanksgiving is the path to peace in the midst of any circumstance.

At a conference, a man asked me, "What if you pray and yet you are still struggling with worry and fear in a crisis?" My answer was, "As many times as you feel worry or fear coming over you, surrender yourself and your circumstance to the Lord." You may have to continually surrender your crisis to God. You may have to maintain an attitude of constant thankfulness. Yet, this peace can be yours. It can encourage you and sustain you in all that you face. God wants to give you this peace and you can claim it through prayer. You can receive it as you pour your heart out
to Him and commit into His hands.

Praising And Thanking God In The Midst Of Adversity

This may appear to be an unusual topic. Often the last thing that anyone wants to do in difficult times is praise and thank God. After all, how can you praise and thank God in the midst of adversity? It seems that trying to cope with the adversity zaps all your energy and causes you to focus on the difficulty. Yet, praising and thanking God can help you face these
times with faith and confidence. You can not only endure these times, but also actually grow through them. When you praise and thank God in adversity, you are fixing your faith on Him. Your gaze is not so much on the circumstances as it is on the God of the
circumstances. Rather than being absorbed in the crisis of the moment, you are consumed by the character of your God and Father. What can praise and thank God for in the midst of
adversity? James 1:2-5 provides a model for putting this truth into practice. These verses provide truths
that you can turn into praise and thanks to God in difficult times.

Praise God that He prepares you to face crisis times; Thank Him for the joy you can have in the midst of a crisis.

Praise God for His willingness to help you in the midst of crisis times; Thank Him for using all the circumstances of your life for His own purpose.

Praise God for His patience with you; Thank Him for the endurance that He is creating within your life.

Praise God for being the Potter who shapes and molds your life even through adversity; Thank Him for loving you so much that He works to change you.

Praise Him for being a God of purpose and having a plan for your life; Thank Him for accomplishing that plan in everything that you face.

Praise God for His wisdom that can use adversity for His purpose and your good; thank Him for the wisdom that He grants to handle and use adversity.

Praise God for being the generous God who pours out His blessings on you in the midst of adversity; Thank Him for never getting tired of hearing you cry out to Him.

Praise God for being the giving God who supplies your needs even in the midst of crisis; Thank Him for knowing what you need and for granting it to you at the right time.

Praying For 50/20 Vision

20/20 vision is considered perfect eyesight for a person. This vision allows you to see things clearly and correctly. As believers, we need to develop 50/20 vision. This is based on Joseph’s statement in Genesis 50:20, "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring about as it is this day, to save many people alive." Joseph declares to his brothers that God used their evil actions to accomplish His purpose and to bring great blessing to others. These brothers sinned against Joseph; they were responsible for their evil actions. Yet, God took their evil actions and used them to work out His plan for Joseph.

50/20 vision is the ability to see God’s hand at work in every circumstance in life. It is that ability to know and rest in the truth that God is working all things together for good for those who love Him and
live for Him. 50/20 vision gives you the ability to trust God even when you face adversity.

The following are Scriptures to pray to help you seek God for this 50/20 vision. They are to help you cry out for this ability: 
Genesis 50:20, 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 76:10, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Psalm 119:71, Romans 8:28.