You May be Down, But Not Out!

TOBY MAC NOT DOWN

Sometimes life knocks us down, we can be struck down by insensitive souls or untimely trials. A critical evaluation of our work can feel like a jab to our face. A friend’s decision to walk away from their family is like a kick in the stomach. Financial pressure, relational stress, physical illness and religious persecution can all take a toll on our soul. Even if we fall on our face, God’s grace lifts us up. We may be down, but not out. Have a wonderful day in His presence, knowing when you’re down, you’re not out. Love you all.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

BROKEN CRAYONS STILL COLOR

When we find ourselves down, it means the Lord is up to something. When we are on our backs, we look up to Him for hope. When we are stressed, our Savior gives us a refuge of rest. When we hurt He heals. When we drift, He disciplines us. Our heavenly Father does not abandon us when others walk away. Disappointment drags us down toward despair, but Christ lifts us up and repairs our broken dreams. A transition may feel long, but He grows our faith through it. Down, but not out.

Therefore, we look to the Lord to lift us up. Since God inhabits the praises of His people, we praise Him in the middle of our discomfort. As we lift Him up in worship our heavenly Father lifts us up in His love and sweet fellowship. By faith, Christ comforts our downcast soul. Thus, we persevere through trials. We don’t give up, because Jesus lifts us up. We take a step back for Him to prepare our hearts, then we move forward confidently in His strength. Down, but not out.

HEORINE

Let the Lord be our Guide!

girl with light directing her

I love how David writes show me the right path. First off he is saying show me the right path God. What he is saying is when we need guidance in our lives we should say God show me the right path in how I should approach this. Too often we we want to take our approach to how we should handle a situation and then want God to fix our mess. Doesn’t that just seem a little backwards? Now granted we may get in situations and need His help, but first and foremost we need to be seeking His guidance, His directions, and as David wrote show me the right path O Lord. Once again my brothers and sisters be encouraged and seek God for His guidance.

show me the right path

“Show me the right path O, Lord, point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.” ~ Psalm 25:4-5

Next David continues with teach me. It is not enough that we know His ways, but that He instructs us. How does He do that? He instructs us by His Word. Friends God is our schoolmaster. He teaches us daily and we need to be glad to learn daily. We must realize that we don’t ever get to a point where we have it figured out and can say we can walk on our own. Instead we need to know that everyday we depend on God to help us get through by leading us. As you can see the end of verse 4 and the beginning of verse 5 link together. They link together in that how He leads us and teaches us is in His truth which is His Word.

Friends we can’t rely on our mind or our heart to guide us. One reason is our heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). We can’t rely on our mind to lead for there is a way that seems right to man and that leads to death (Proverbs 14:12). So it is quite obvious we must be lead by God’s Word and use His Word to lead our hearts and minds as well.

As Christians we must totally rely on God to guide us. For this guidance we need to be lead by His Word which is the truth just as David wrote lead me in your truth. Friends when you are approaching big decisions seek God’s face and if it takes all day for a response wait. Don’t just give God 5 minutes or a few seconds, wait till you hear from God. Just as David wrote He is the one who gave us our salvation and why is it we can’t wait? Why can’t we just wait to hear from Him? Shouldn’t waiting on a response from God be important to us and vital as the food we eat? As it is written man can not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from God. ~Deuteronomy 8:3

Please stay on the path God is leading you to and give Him all the glory and praise! Please feel free to share this with other and I pray that it will encourage others in their walk with Christ!

Nothing is Wasted

Recovering from pain or disappointments of any kind is not something that just happens to some people and not to others. It is a decision! You make a decision to let go and go on. You gather up the fragments and give them to Jesus and He will make sure that nothing is wasted (John 6:12)

You refuse to think about what you have lost, but instead you inventory what you have left and begin using it. Not only can you recover, but you can also be used to help other people recover. Be a living example of a confident person who always recovers from setbacks no matter how difficult or frequent they are.

Rest Peacefully in Jesus’ Arms!

rest in jesus lap

Let’s assume you have accepted Jesus as Your Savior — you have now you are following Him into the boat. But now, in a stormy part of your life when the waves of doubt are crashing in and you need Him the most, does He seem to be asleep? I think that all Christians have felt that way at one time or another. But it is during those seemingly silent times that we can learn so much.

“And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.” ~ Matthew 8:23- 24 (ESV)

So what happened when the disciples in that boat called on Jesus? Jesus was asleep as the storm raged. Why? Because he had total trust that God would protect Him. He was at peace. Jesus knew His life was protected and that God would not let Him down. He wanted His disciples to sleep in peace as well. He still does. If we have faith, we can rest in the assurance that no matter how our boat is tossed, God will be there with the life preserver.

“Jesus was….” He didn’t leave them. He was right there with them in the boat the whole time. They followed Him into the boat. He didn’t vanish in a poof into Heaven and say, “OK, it’s all yours. Now, you handle it. See you later.” No matter what we go through, we can be confident our Lord is right there beside us. We can call on Him.

Jesus responded to His disciples’ pleas for help. He calmed the waves. Maybe like the disciples, you also scream for Jesus to wake up and do something, then marvel, just as they did, when He does it. So lets thank God for never leaving our side in the good times and in the bad, and rest in His peace knowing that whatever happens, He is with us.

Have a wonderful day resting peacefully in His arms. Love you all in Christ.
Please share this blog with others and I pray that it will encourage them in their walk with Jesus!

For when I am Weak, then I am Strong.

Often the Lord chooses to show His strength through human weaknesses. It is then that others will truly know that it was God at work. Is the Lord asking you to do something beyond your own capabilities? Today in prayer, thank Christ that when you are weak He is strong. Have a wonderful day in His presence and I pray that you will rely on His strength. Love you all in Christ.

when I am weak

“…… For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

Whatever has taken your strength away and has made you weak, where you find yourself facing a new reality- at least for a while- and you are left wondering why and what to do next. Paul’s own words and personal experience are speaking directly to you. As difficult as it may be, it is an opportunity to rely on the power of God as maybe never before and witness His strengthening in your life possibly never before. For sure it is how God wants us to approach the challenges we now face.

How about it? Will you give God the chance to work in your weaknesses? Will you approach all of your storms with an understanding that God’s strength will not only get you through but help you triumph? His grace really is that sufficient. And it is available for you right now.

praying woman with jesus beside her

Dear Heavenly Father, it’s amazing to think of all You have done in our lives. You have taken our greatest weaknesses and turn them into our greatest strengths. When we are weak, through the power of the Holy Spirit we are strong. Thank You for working in us and through us. And help us never to believe the lies of the enemy that say “I’m not enough” again. In Jesus name, Amen

God will Heal your Emotional Pain!

rest in jesus lap

We don’t know why, but sometimes we just have to suffer a little. How we respond is what makes us strong. When we get through those times, we must be thankful. David is in distress at this moment, but a short time later, he is hopeful. He reminds himself of God’s past help in times of trouble. By the end of this Psalm, David is giving praise to God. And just like David, we must trust that God’s helping hand will find ours, just in the nick of time.

“Save me, O God, for the flood waters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.” ~ Psalm 69: 1-3

We all go through struggles and hard times. Life is not fair. There are times of sadness, despair and regret. The Psalmist paints a picture of someone trapped in an emotional downward spiral. Everything seems overwhelming and yet in the end they were able to say that there is encouragement in seeking God’s help. Why? Because God hears us in our despair and He can help us.

Life brings each of us inescapable traumas that block maturity. God’s redemptive activity comes to us in two ways: He brings healing to our traumas, and adopts us into His family. Both ways boost us through our blocks to maturity, along the way to wholeness. With these boosts, we will be able to live from the hearts He gave us, our true identities will emerge, and our relationships with family and community will be characterized by joy.”

Today, praise God for His grace and power in His healing of your emotions. It is there for you as you bring your pain to Him. Also, as you participate and fellowship with others, sharing unconditional love for each other, you will become more mature and experience the joy God intended for you to have.

Quiet your heart before God. Ask Him to show you an area of emotional pain in your life that needs healing. See yourself praying over the memory. Sense deep in your heart that God cares and hears you. Sense that He desires to bring healing to that wound. Visualize yourself sharing your pain with trusted friends and having them pray with you. See God bringing you peace deep in your heart as you seek His truth and share the empathy and love from others. Affirm that, “God heals my emotional pain.”

Forgiving Others!

forgive forgiven

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you”. Forgiveness is surely one of the most misunderstood concepts in Christianity. Despite the fact that we are all called to forgive as our Father in Heaven forgives, misunderstandings are widespread. In this devotional, we want to broaden your understanding of what it means to truly forgive.There are times when we need to forgive someone for something they have done. On occasion it can seem so difficult…almost impossible. But forgiveness is not an option for you and me as followers of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness is an act of the will. You can forgive. In fact, Jesus said that we even need to love our enemies, those who may not want peace with us.

forgiveness sets you free

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”~ Matthew 6:14-15

First, we have to acknowledge that forgiveness is not an emotion. It is a conscious choice which has nothing to do with how we feel. Forgiveness happens when we choose that we will no longer expect those who hurt us to repay us for the harm that was done. We choose that we will get on with our lives and no longer dwell on the hurt.

Forgiveness is not initially about the person who wronged us; it’s about us. If we will not forgive someone who failed to meet our expectations, we start to change on the inside. We grow in anger and resentment. The quality of our own life continuously suffers and in this way, we compound the wrongdoing until it becomes something far more damaging than it originally was. One of the most important reasons we must forgive is that we cannot grow into the mature Christian whom Jesus is calling us to be with all that hurt and animosity building up inside us. Forgiveness is that act by which we release ourselves from our own prison of bitterness.

Forgiveness does not require that the wrongdoer apologize or is remorseful. It does not even require that they are aware of the fact that they hurt us. Forgiveness does not mean that we forget the offense and it certainly does not mean that we need to stay in a relationship with the one who wronged us. All that is required is that we simply say, “I’m letting this go. I will not let this incident change me in any way. I’m getting over it.” What the wrongdoer does or does not do should make no difference in our decision to move past it and begin our healing. As we release them from their duty to remedy the harm that was done, we release ourselves from the burden of making them accountable to their responsibility.

Forgiveness is not easy, but it is also not optional – our Lord commands it in Matthew 6:14 as a prerequisite for our own sins being forgiven.

If you are having difficulty forgiving someone today, take a moment and examine your reasons. Is it because the hurt is so big? The bigger the hurt, the more devastating is your prison of bitterness and therefore the more important it becomes to let yourself out. Are you having difficulty because they have not apologized and show no signs of changing their behavior? Remember that your forgiveness is about you, not about them. Are you struggling because you are still so angry and hurt? The pain will not subside until you make the choice to forgive. Ask the Lord for the strength and conviction to emulate Him, and make that decision today.

Please share this blog with others and I hope and pray it will encourage another in the Lord and inspire their walk with God!

Devote yourselves to Prayer, and always be Thankful!

thankfulness

I’m so grateful for all that God has done for me and so I offer my life as a living sacrifice to Him. So think about all you have to be thankful for-all that God has done for you. Don’t be silent or take these blessings for granted. Tell Him, in detail. As you thank Him, give Him praise, worship Him, and seek to cultivate a more intimate relationship with Him. Have a wonderful day as you continue to develop a life of constant prayer…always communing with your Father…always being thankful.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, with an alert mind and thankful heart.” Colossians 4:2

Most people admit that they pray…when facing a crisis or in times of stress or particular need. But Paul describes a completely different attitude toward prayer-a life devoted to constant prayer-watchful and vigilant, alert and prepared, thankful and grateful.

Thankfulness opens our hearts to God and changes our countenance and attitude. When we’re thankful, we look, feel, and think differently. With a thankful heart, it’s more difficult to be doubtful or discouraged, worried or afraid.

Many people fill their prayers with nothing but a list of wishes and desires, detailing the things they want. These kinds of prayers can make God seem like a genie in a bottle. But being thankful changes our relationship with Him. It helps us take our minds off ourselves and focus on Him. We remember all that He’s done for us. We think about His deeds and His faithfulness.

Thankfulness encourages a spirit of worship as we realize that God is the Creator of the entire universe…yet He loves us and cares about us as individuals! Thankfulness encourages faith and expectation. We realize that God really does answer prayer, that He really hears us.Thankfulness also changes our vocabulary. If we concentrate on our needs and problems, we can be worried or afraid, doubtful or discouraged. But when we’re thankful, we become confident in God and filled with expectancy.

Give all your Worries and Cares to God!

I know that there are days that many of you feel many things, but peaceful certainly isn’t one of them. You have a tendency to think the circumstances in your life should dictate the peace you feel. I’ve come to understand God cares for us so much and everything that concerns us, or rattles our day. We can lay every un-nerving part of it at his feet. In releasing it into God’s hands, it becomes His and no longer ours to carry. Our focus then shifts, from all of the problems to our God. Have a wonderful day as you cast all your worries to God. Love you all in Christ.

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“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Even though the circumstances are still surrounding you but so is His strength. Your perspective of the mountain changes when you realize, you are not climbing it alone. Your mind becomes fixed on God, and He takes you to the top of, what seemed, an un-reachable mountain top and showers you with His perfect peace all along the way.

God does not desire for you to carry such a heavy load. Jesus said in Matthew 11:30 “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” He wants us to hand it all over to Him. He desires to fill you with joy and happiness. When you follow the paths that He lays out you can find it. But when you insist on carrying it yourself, you lose that joy and happiness and that peace that passes all understanding.

The joy and peace that Jesus gives does not rely on our past or our future, it is available today for us to experience. Give Jesus your cares and be determined that today you will let go of the past and the worry and the fear and live today. Don’t worry about tomorrow or yesterday. Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Keep on Shining! Shine for Jesus!

shine like jesus

I know this post is long but I so pray that you will read each word! I pray that it blesses you and hope that it will encourage you to become a light for Him!

For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:6

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven ~ Matthew 5:16

What good does it do to tell people how great our Savior is if they cannot see that we ourselves have been saved from sin? Let your light shine.

When we turn the other cheek when we are attacked, our light shines.

· When we respond in kindness to our enemies (read competitors), our light shines.

· When we give erring employees another chance when the world wouldn’t, our light shines.

· When we tell others that the most important thing in our lives is Jesus Christ and not success, and then live so they can see that it’s true, our light shines.

· When we go the second mile when others wouldn’t, our light shines.

· When we risk looking the fool for Christ where others dare not, our light shines.

· When we wish genuine good to all men, with the greatest good being their salvation, our light shines.

· When we would rather see men saved than to make a profit from them, our light shines.

· When we keep our word in spite of the fact that it costs us dearly to do so, our light shines.

· When we honor all men, even those of much lower place than God has called us to, our light shines.

· When we don’t demand the privilege that our position affords us in the eyes of the world, our light shines.

· When we take no advantage for ourselves even when we could, our light shines.

· When we use our money to build people, rather than our people to build money, our light shines.

· When we do just what Jesus would do in the same circumstances, our light shines, and He lives. Jesus is still The Light. He lives as we let him shine in our good works.

This is our spiritual heritage. We have inherited it from those first disciples who sat on the hill with Jesus. He told them to let their light shine and, through them, the charge comes to us. We are they who believe in Him through their word. (John 17:20)

shine your light

What does Jesus mean by light? Jesus also calls Himself “the light of the world.” John calls Him “the life that is the light of men,” “the light that shines in the darkness” (John 1:4-5). The light in us is His light, the indwelling Christ, the Holy Spirit within us. The apostle Paul speaks of “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). We have that light shining through our lives if our actions reflect the nature of Christ—His love, compassion, and forgiveness. His light shines through our attitudes, words, and deeds. When people see that our lives have been changed so that we have Jesus’ values and see the power of God at work in us, they will agree that we do have a great Savior. When they see redeemed people, they are more inclined to believe that we have a Redeemer. The Christlike life is the platform on which individual testimony becomes convincing.

The alternative is for the Christian to live in the dark. Scripture teaches that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:5-6). If no light shines from your life, either you have no relationship with Christ or you are bringing dishonor to Him. It is a sad thing for someone to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and continue to live an openly sinful life. It brings disrepute to Christ and the gospel. It is a stumbling block for unbelievers. It is certainly not effective in convincing anyone that Christ has the power to transform lives. Our responsibility as disciples and evangelists is to have lives so transformed by the Word and the inward presence of Christ that everyone can see His light reflected in our acts of kindness.