Strength is found in the roots!

In times of trouble, those who trust in human beings will be impoverished and spiritually weak, so they will have no strength to draw on. But those who trust in the Lord will have abundant strength. As trusting followers, and as His children we must remain firm in our stance. Though our situation may seem unbearable, and we may be finding it difficult to cope from day to day, we must not give up on God. The God we serve sits high and looks low. He is faithful, and come what may, He still rules and reigns. So that means from his angle of observation, He has a much better view of our circumstances than we do so trust in Him completely. Are you satisfied with being unfruitful or do you, like the well-watered tree, have strength for times of crisis and even some to share as you bear fruit for the Lord? 

But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. Its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

As you began to seek God’s guidance concerning your situation, you probably became more frustrated because He was not telling you what you wanted to hear. No matter how drawn out or detailed your prayer requests became, the response that you will receive in return will be these three resounding words-“Focus on me”. Jeremiah 17:7-8 is like a breath of fresh air for us. We should underline and make asterisks around this Scripture in your Bible and I pray it resonates within your heart  today and that you discover that regardless of your circumstances, God is in total and complete control of everything that concerns us. All we need to do is seek Him daily for our needs, faithfully waiting with expectation for his provisions.

Words can’t begin to express how faithful our God is. His hand of provision is unceasing. His hand of protection is constant. Yet above all else, His love for us is unconditional. He is faithful and just to supply our needs if we would only center our hearts on Him, fully placing our trust in Him. In our limited understanding, it is difficult to fathom how God could provide for us when our circumstances seem impossible. But hallelujah and glory to God that His thoughts and ways far surpass ours! In His infinite wisdom He has the ability to transform our trials into triumphs. 

By now, I am sure that some of you may be wondering if there is some magic formula or special shortcut to getting a firm grasp on this trusting God thing. Unfortunately, the fact remains that there absolutely isn’t. Much like all of the lessons our Father teaches us, fully and faithfully trusting Him is a process. It is a matter of studying His Word, understanding how He is speaking to us through it, praying it back to Him, and believing that He will do exactly what it says.

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When God Is with You!

Allow me to share an important truth that I have come to know about God. When you find yourself asked God, “Where are you and will you please remove me from this situation,” He will begin to show you His hand at work. He may not remove the situation, nor will He move you out of the experience. However, He will very lovingly show you signs of His presence all around you and that He was in the eye-of-the-storm with you. After showing Moses many signs to prove to the leaders of Israel and Egypt that God had called him, God told Moses, “You will know I am with you when you have led My people out.” The greatest sign God is with you is not that He has destroyed your enemies or kept you from the fiery trials, but that you have accomplished what He has called you to do while going through great adversity. Please allow this word to encourage you to continue obeying God in spite of the impossible situations because God is with you as a follower. 

“Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:710,

Are you presently experiencing a very trying season in your walk? Perhaps God has instructed you to step out in faith and doing so is very overwhelming to you. However, if you’re like me, you have a heart to serve God and gladly accept His plan… that is, until you realize that fulfilling that plan has caused you to walk out on the water, which, by now, is way up over your head. There are times when we get out of the boat and step right into a commitment or a trial that tries our faith. It seems those are the times that we are most likely to ask God, “Where are you?” When we find ourselves in a position or situation that demands we walk by faith in God, then we should know that God has strategically placed us there, not to fear, but to allow the power of God to flow through us.

God not only knows our how fragile we are. He also knows about our tendency to be self-sufficient. However, the middle ground for these two extremes is only found in the midst of trust. To borrow a phrase from Paul, we are usually caught betwixt and between two extremes. If God should push us beyond the breaking point of our humanity, there is a risk that we will revolt out of fear. Furthermore, if He should leave us in our comfort zone, there is a risk that we will run ahead of Him.

So why does God allow us to be in such hostile situations that we often wonder whether we will even make it through, and we question whether He is even with us? Paul found himself in this very place in his ministry and sought God so that He might remove this thorn…which was a messenger from Satan. God told Paul that His grace was sufficient for him; His strength was made perfect in weakness. If active faith in Christ flowing out of our hearts is the victory over this world, then this is where we need to reside, spiritually. After God instructed Paul of the importance of operating in the strength of His divine grace, his attitude was changed. He understood that God was working in him and with him through the adversity, and this gave Paul solace.  

May the God of Hope fill you with all Joy and Peace, as you Trust in Him!

Is your heart filled with hope? Do you have a confident expectation of today? What happens when the road ahead is filled with loss and stress weighs your shoulders down? When confident expectation in life’s day dwindles, what can you do? How can you walk in hope when you feel hopeless inside? The God of Hope is your answer. 

“May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Sometimes in life we find ourselves with a task that simply looks too big for us. We do not just need a cup of God’s strength added to our own; rather we need His strength in us to do what we need to do. He will give it! 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness”. Seeing our weakness as the entry point of God’s strength gives access to His power!

When we put our faith and hope in Jesus, it not only gives us help, strength and power where we walk today but it also gives us hope for life after death. It is a confident expectation of the ultimate “tomorrow”.

The God of Hope sent His son to be our Savior. He is only one prayer away. If you want the confident expectation of His strength and wisdom in your today and His help and hope for your tomorrow, you need only ask. Just tell Him…

Dear God, we have all gone our own way and have put our hope in so many things that have disappointed us. Thank you that You sent Jesus, to be our Savior. We believe He came for us. Forgive us and come into our life today. Show us how to live in the confident expectation of how You can impact our lives, our character and our circumstances. We place our hope in You right now and ask You to make Yourself known to us in our lives right where we walk. We thank you. We pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Weathering the Storms of Life!

Because Christ weathered the storm on Calvary  you and I can cry out to God. He can deliver us from the storms of life or take us through them, giving us the strength and courage we need. Do you find yourself in a storm today? Ask God for the strength and courage to weather it and for the wisdom to understand it, not waste it. Have a wonderful day in the presence of the Lord and remember this is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

“He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Psalm 107:29-30

Every problem and troubling situation believers face in this life is allowed by God  for a specific purpose. He is working out something far greater than what appears to be happening as He guides the process of transforming you into the image of Christ. Your faith is being sharpened as a sword to equip you for the battles of this world. The path of victory has already been set and there is nothing that can destroy a believer who has put his faith in the cross of Jesus. We are commanded to be anxious for nothing and no one. But, is that still possible when the darkness of the storm surrounds us?

The truth is that the strength to endure every painful trial is with you in Christ. If your eyes were opened to view the spiritual battle that is raging, you would see the grand army of the living God totally surrounding and protecting you with powerful weapons far greater than those against you. Though you will still endure the attacks of the enemy, your hope of victory is secure because of the cross of Christ.  You may be feeling weary and completely overwhelmed but the bible tells us that God is close to the broken-hearted and he is near to us in our pain. He does not abandon you when your situation is bleak. As you lift up your fears to him in thankfulness and prayer, you allow his power to be unleashed in your life as he takes your struggle and makes it work into his perfect plan for you. God knows your weaknesses and has seen your failures yet his power is  more than enough to take you safely through. You may be wounded but you will never be destroyed! 

Take heart my friends and know without a doubt  that your situation is not dead. It is being worked out in the timing of God who already knows the outcome.There is an eternal purpose for your suffering. You are not waiting for God to show up for he already has. You are holding on for the perfection of the plan he is now working out  in your life. 

The struggles and trials you suffer are always an opportunity for God to reveal his power to you. Each time a painful situation brings you to your knees, use that position to give glory to God! It frustrates the devil when you do. Never let the enemy convince you to surrender in the heat of battle for you are nowhere near being defeated. You have been made more than a conqueror through Christ and he is not about to let you fail.

God is Faithful!

Let me encourage you this morning and you remind that God is faithful; do not allow yourself ever to forget that important point. The question is not whether God will be faithful, the question is whether you will hold fast and not waiver during the storms of life. God does not change; He is the same yesterday, today and forever. It is because of God’s faithfulness that you have the strength to not deny the faith. The next time a storm arises in your life, it is your duty to look to Jesus and remember HIS faithfulness. Then you can have the strength to keep the faith.

 “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his who promise.” Hebrews 10:23.

At some point in life we all face hardships. It may be something physically or emotionally challenging. Or it may be a dream or an opportunity that we missed out on. Whatever your difficulty is, don’t let it discourage you from believing in God’s best. The enemy wants to keep you focused on everything negative that’s happened, but don’t let him steal the dreams God has given you. He knows that if he can deceive you into thinking things won’t get better, you’ll lose hope and give up.

There will always be obstacles trying to keep you from becoming all God’s created you to be, but God has given you a promise for good and not harm. He has plans for better things ahead. It’s important to believe God and keep an attitude of faith despite your circumstances.

Choose today to hold on to God’s promises no matter what your situation looks like. Refuse to give up on the plans He has made for your life. God knows what challenges you’ve faced, and He has a way to turn things around for your good. Start thanking and praising Him for what He’s already done and what He will do.

“Heavenly Father, today we choose to believe in Your promises instead of what we see around us. We will not give up on the dreams You have given us because we know they will come true. Thank You for Your goodness and faithfulness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

God Always has a Plan for you!

Whatever you face, God will make a way to take you through it! God’s word stands true and He fulfills every promise despite the problems we face. This world is not our final destination but only a place of preparation for what is to come. In this life, we are going to endure hardships of every kind until Jesus returns to make all things new. He has defeated death and made us victors in all that we endure. No matter how fierce the battle, believers cannot be defeated by the fiery slings and arrows of the enemy. I trust in the promises of Christ. He is my stronghold and my very present help in time of need. I believe in prayer and know that my God hears my every plea. 

With all that said, I know many of you are having your faith severely tested and stretched to the limit as you face a powerful battle in your lives. There are times when you feel completely overwhelmed. Yet no matter how weary you may be, God will give you the grace to endure, so don’t ever give up or lose hope. All the trials that I have faced in my walk with Him only taught me that God has been my help through every single one of them. He sees your tears and knows your pain. He is not far away leaving you alone. Scripture says, ” The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 30:18).  We don’t have to see Christ or feel him to know that he is our hope and strength to get us through anything we must endure in this world.

When you do all that you can and it seems like you are being hard pressed on every side, remember that in Christ, you cannot be crushed. He will take  your broken heart and your fallen dreams and use them to build you up for his purpose. It may not seem like you will ever recover from your pain or that your tears will never end – but that is not true. King David wrote in Psalm 69 “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck, I sink in the deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters and the flood sweeps over me.  I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.”  And yet David kept trusting his God even when all hope seemed lost. 

Our problems and struggles do not dictate our future. It is planned out by Christ Jesus who will not fail to help those who trust in him. Remember your pain has no power to destroy the hope you have through Christ. Despite what you face in this life, our God will always be bigger.

Blessed: My testimony

I believe in sharing my testimony because I know it was hearing many testimonies that got my attention….I pray sharing all my ‘dirty laundry’ it will only serve to show how good God is and to reveal His grace. His love is unconditional and unending. 
…Okay, so here goes…
I was adopted at 6 months old by two wonderful parents and raised in a Christian home. I began to make poor decisions in my teenage years by having premarital sex and drinking and smoking pot; I guess to fit in with society. I moved from a small town in SC to the big city of Atlanta, Ga. when I was 19 years old. I continued to have sex with my boyfriends and partying which led to cocaine which really began in high school. I always said that I was just a social user. I went to college back in SC at age 22 and still continued to party. At age 29, in 1993 I got married and I had two awesome and wonderful children, a boy and then a girl. This relationship did not make it long. In 2001 we divorced and I had two small children to rear on my own. My ex cheated on me and six months later he married his third wife. We never committed ourselves to God, to put Him first in all things and I know this was where we went wrong in the first place. 
During the ten years or more of raising my children, I acquired my own home and car and career and was doing well, but always struggling to make ends meet. My ex did not help and did not even see his children much at all. I dated and lived with a man for seven years after my divorce hoping to fill that void in my kid’s life. I was wrong. He was not a good example for them to follow and for that matter neither was I. We partied and continued to progress in that partying until about 7 years later, we broke up and I was devastated yet again by a man. I made the worse decisions ever after he left. I began to experiment with cocaine and tried it in every way possible and got hooked. Within six months, my life was over. I lost my home, my kids, my career, my car, and my freedom! I was in a county jail and was headed hopefully I prayed to rehab and not to prison. But in the lowest point of my life is where I not only found God, but got to know Him and truly was saved.
I have had many trials and much turmoil and so much to deal with since leaving rehab and jail; from a disturbed young man stalking me constantly, trying to get visitation with me kids and then fighting for custody, walking away from friends as well hurting and disappointing my family from the poor choices I had made prior. I was homeless a few times and jobless for months. I lost my mother after the divorce in 2002 and my father in 2009. I have had more than my fair share of bad luck and yet somehow I always seemed to survive and get through those times. I know without my faith and trusting God I would not be where I am now. I am now unemployed yet again but I am grateful and faithful because I know my God is always working even when we can’t see it! We don’t see the other side of the mountain we are climbing but God does! I trust Him to provide and find a way where there seems to be no way.  In 2012 I filed all the necessary paperwork to regain custody of my children and I regained custody all because of God and His grace, His Love and His Mercy. 
Never give in, give out or give up~ For with God all things are possible! I am delivered and I’ve got almost eleven years now clean. But more than that, I’m free now. I’m not perfect lol but I’m on my way to completion with Jesus. God is still working in my life each and every day. He puts people in my life that I help and ones that help me. I am never surprised by his love and blessings. God has placed a confidence (Godfidence) and love in myself that I have never had before so “Thank you God” for the many ‘True Blue Christians’ you have put in my life and for all the blessings you bestow on me daily. I have not come this far without lots of prayers and the help and love of my true friends and family and I thank you Father for those special people in my life and the joy and strength He provides daily. 
I’m now happily married to the strongest man of God I’ve ever known. I’m blessed beyond my dreams… all because of Jesus! I live to please Him and sgare what he’s done in my life with anyone and everyone. If I do that and follow God’s instructions…I will be more than good!! And so will you!

I bring my requests to God and wait expectantly!

Prayer is more than asking. Prayer is more than praising. Prayer is more than thanking. Prayer is more than requesting or interceding or kneeling or humbling ourselves. Prayer is expecting that God wants us there, expecting that God hears us, and expecting that God will meet us in our prayer time and do what is best for us and those we love. 

“Listen to my voice in the morning Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3

David’s plea to the Lord was a daily act of faith. Every morning he talked to God and made his requests known to Him. He then waited on God and expected Him to listen to his prayers and answer them. We often treat God as a magician. We tell Him what we want and expect Him to respond immediately, like magic! We don’t wait patiently on Him. Other times we pray to God and don’t even expect Him to hear or answer our prayer. Then we get discouraged and stop asking altogether. We lose our faith in God. Both extremes are wrong. We are to ask God to meet our needs and wait expectantly as David did. 

When we wait on the Lord we put our faith, hope, and trust in Him. This act blesses God. He then gives us the grace we need to wait until His answer manifests. We must learn to wait patiently because His timetable is not ours. He knows what’s best for us and that includes the right time. When His timing comes, He will give us a solution better than any we would have thought of on our own.

Take time each morning to stop before His throne, to fill up in His presence, to allow God to pour His life and love into you for the day ahead. That way no matter what happens you will be okay. You will have sufficient fuel to get you through the day. Let God fill you afresh and anew every morning. Take it from me. Running on empty is no way to live. God has a better plan for you. It begins with Him. So, why not BEGIN with Him and then wait expectantly for Him to answer.

God is Good Regardless of Bad Circumstances!

All of life is a choice of who you will believe. Life is a battle between believing the truth or swallowing lies. And because the nature of our hearts is to doubt the truth and believe deceptions, it takes a deliberate effort to embrace God’s truth as non-negotiable. If we don’t keep our minds in the truth of the Scriptures on a daily basis, we become easy marks for our constant foe, the devil, who is both “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) and “the father of lies.” Deception. It is the devil’s specialty. The Bible says, “He deceives the whole world”  (Revelation 12:19).  And he deceives the whole world through lies. Has he deceived you? “He is a liar, and the father of lies.” John 8:4. I pray today you have a wonderful day as you keep truth in believing the truth of God’s goodness.

I hear from people often who have been deceived by the devil into thinking that (1) God is not good, (2) God does not really love them, and (3) God cannot really be trusted.  Those are perhaps Satan’s three greatest lies … and so many people, Christians included, subconsciously believe them, to one degree or another. Why is that? All of us have a strong tendency to evaluate God’s goodness, love, and plan for our lives based on current circumstances. If things are going well for us, we tend to see God in a positive, biblical light. But, if things suddenly go south (we encounter job loss, health loss, marriage and family trouble), we start to question the goodness of God and the promises in His Word.

 

Circumstances are a faulty means for evaluating God and His character.  Job’s wife fell into that trap.  As she viewed all of the tragedy that had befallen her and Job, she surmised that God wasn’t good, He didn’t love them, and He was not worthy of their trust. Her circumstance-driven response to Job was “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). Sadly, many follow her advice as they cannot seem to reconcile their trials and hardships on one hand with a good and loving God on the other. The devil steps in at that moment to say, “The reason this equation doesn’t compute in your mind is because God is not good, loving and kind. The pain of your trials is real and undeniable, but the goodness of God is obviously a cruel, sadistic joke.  Better to just curse God and die.”   

 

The truth of the matter is this: God is good, regardless of bad circumstances.  God loves you and I, regardless of the storms that may pour into our lives.  God has a good plan for us, regardless of what it might look like right now.

 

God knows what He is doing, quit judging the product before it is finished. Trust God and His Word. The cross of Jesus Christ is God’s permanent reminder to you and me that He is good, He loves us, and He can be trusted (Romans 8:32). And what’s more …He works all things together for good by His amazing grace (Romans 8:28).