Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Peace And Joy In Him Alone

“Peace And Joy In Him Alone”

John 16:33 NLT

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

This past week and weekend, I found myself overcome with so many different emotions at all that is going on in the world right now.  I remember going to bed one night and I was overcome with anxiety and fear and I did not like that feeling.  I was overcome with feelings of anxiety and the fear of something bad happening because of things that had happened in our town.  As I laid there, I fought the feelings of anxiety and fear and I knew that God was trying to remind me that He was in control and that I need not worry. 

I just wanted to go to sleep and not lay awake worrying about the next thing that might happen.  I finally fell asleep and was glad that I could sleep through the night and awake in the morning knowing He was still in control.  This doesn’t mean that I was completely at rest for the weekend.  All the happenings in the news and such were just continuing to weigh my heart down and I just told God that I don’t understand why so many horrific things are happening.  My heart was broken and I prayed for peace and joy. 

Even though I cannot control the things happening in life, I need to remember every day that I can have total peace and joy in God.  The world will never provide this peace and joy.  It is only found in God alone.  Over and over and over again, God tells us in His Word to take comfort in Him and that He will be our peace and joy.  He is very clear that in this world we will have many trials and sorrows. 

While we are guaranteed we will have trouble in this world, we are even more guaranteed that He is always with us and will give us peace and joy like no one else can provide!  While all these crazy things are continuing to happen around us each day, we can know that God has overcome the world.  That gives us strength that we can, through Him, also overcome the world.  Whatever you might be struggling with today and this week, know that He will give you peace  and joy that the world can never give. 

God, thank You that in You we have amazing peace and joy that the world can never give us!  Father, as so much unrest is happening in our world recently, help us trust that You are still in control and that we need to reach out to others with Your love and shine.  Help us to trust in You everyday so that we can be a light for others to see.  Thank You for being our peace and joy, always.  As we continue to live in a world of confusion, work in us Lord so that we can be Your witness as people need that now more than ever.  Amen!


Monday, May 25, 2020

Always Remember.....With Love


“Always Remember…..With Love”
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

We all have experienced more than we ever thought we would have in the past several months.  Many of us still shake our heads thinking, “Is this really still happening?”  We’ve all had so many changes happen in our lives and, at times, we are still trying to make sense of this new “normal” as so many have come to call it.  This year has been unlike any year for everyone.  Sometimes, we can go through experiences in life and feel like we’re all alone because we think no one else has gone through what we are dealing with.  Well…..not now!  We are all experiencing many of the same feelings and emotions.

As many of us have been dealing with different experiences, it can be very challenging to show love to one another, especially when we get on each other’s nerves.  Just the fact that we are all dealing with constant changes can alone bring much irritation, especially if we are a person who doesn’t deal well with change.  Everyone is different for sure and that’s okay.  It’s in times especially like these that we need to be challenged to love people more as God calls us to do. 

Think about what is really showing love to those around you?  It isn’t just saying that you love the people around you, but most importantly showing them love.  Paul makes it clear that we can do all the great “acts of service” we want to in life and look really good doing them, but if we don’t have love, it’s absolutely meaningless and we’ve wasted our time.  Ouch!  That’s a tough one to swallow!

I would like to encourage us all to make the extra effort to show God’s love sincerely to those around us each day.  Whether it’s people who are easy to love or who are difficult to love.  And, remember that YOU are difficult to love sometimes as well.  Ouch!  Another tough one to swallow!  Let us always remember that we need to do and say things……with love. 

Lord, help us to truly show love to others each day of our lives.  Help us to not only say we love others, but to really show it.  We need to love more than ever before.  Help us to love sincerely and even when it’s hard to do so.  You loved us enough to die on the Cross for us, regardless of how people treated You.  Help us also to love others, regardless of how we are treated, even though it is often hard.  Help us love others each day, especially as we continue to navigate these uncertain days ahead.  Help us love with Your love.  Amen!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Certainty In A World Of Uncertainty


“Certainty In A World Of Uncertainty”
Hebrews 13:8 NIV
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

There are some things that I don’t mind being the same in my life.  There are certain things that I enjoy being predictable and expected each day and each week.  I’m sure there are things that you all enjoy each day that become a routine.  We all get into routines and we come to expect certain things at certain times. 

We get up in the morning, take a shower, eat breakfast, get the kids off to school (in the normal world, of course), drive to work (or go into the home office), eat lunch, drive home (or leave the home office), eat dinner, go to bed at some point.  We sometimes add to these activities or change them up in some ways as different things come up, but we stick to a routine a lot of times. 

We live in a world right now where nothing is certain or predictable.  Just when we think we have something figured out, change comes drastically it seems.  Nothing seems certain anymore, especially with all the chaos of the pandemic around us.  We have become very unsure and uncertain of many things.  It seems every day that I go to work, there are some changes taking place and more to follow. 

I’ve come to a point where I mentally have to prepare myself for any changes that may come and ask God to help me deal with them.  Sometimes I deal with changes ok, but other times I do not.  The change in expectation or routine can totally throw my day off.  It can ruin my mood and make me crabby the rest of the day with coworkers and then with my family at night.  I just want to have certainty in life so often.  However, I need to learn better to expect the unexpected and just be ready if things change.  I don’t need to be anxious, but just prepared. 

Friends, we live in very uncertain times, but one thing you and I can count on each day is knowing, trusting and believing that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  We can rest in that promise that He will never change and that we can trust Him in every aspect of life.  Nothing will ever change Who He is and how awesome He is.  He will remain the supportive and loving God we have followed for years.  Be certain that in this world of uncertainty, He is and always will be constant. 

God, we thank you for being such an amazing Father to us.  In this world of constant uncertainty, we praise You for remaining You.  We thank you for helping us and never leaving us, no matter the situations that come up in life.  We are so grateful that we can put our trust in You, even in the midst of the uncertainty in the world with this pandemic.  Help us trust You, even when things don’t make sense.  We lay our worries and anxious thoughts before You.  Thank you for hearing us.  Amen!    

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Continued Thanks Through Uncertainty


“Continued Thanks Through Uncertainty”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

This passage is very powerful and encouraging as Paul reminds us to rejoice always no matter the situation, never give up with prayer, and continually give thanks.  Friends, this can be so hard to do some days, especially when we are bombarded with so many different venues of news and statistics. 

We have so very much to be thankful for these days.  We always have a reason to continue our attitude of thanks.  There should never be a moment that goes by in our daily lives that we don’t have something to be thankful to God for.  I know sometimes it’s hard to give thanks when we are having really bad days and things right and left seem to be falling apart.  It’s in these times that God challenges us more and more to focus on how blessed we really are.  It can be tough to look through the stormy clouds and feel joy and thankfulness. 

We need to be consistent in our daily thanks to God for all He has done and all He continues to do.  I want to challenge us all, whether we are working from home or if we’ve been laid off and are spending much time at home with our family than we possibly ever have before,  to cherish this time when we are forced to not go places and do the things we have been so accustomed to doing.  Life has slowed down in so many ways and God has opened so many other doors of opportunity for us to fellowship with each other. 

Let’s take advantage and be grateful for this time we have to be close to our family members every single day and look for the opportunities God gives us to bless each other and grow closer together.  Maybe we need to turn off the TV and any other news source pumping stats into our minds and just focus on being together and praising God for everything He has blessed us with. 

Some days, it’s honestly hard for us to give thanks, even though we know we should always be doing so.  We are human and we often get very frustrated and the enemy can easily work through these times to steer us away from our gratefulness toward God.  If we focus each day on His abundant blessings, we will be reminded of our need to have continued thanks through uncertainty. 

Father, as we continue on in these unknown days that follow, we desire to seek and trust You every step of the way.  We want to focus on the amazing abundant blessings that You continue to pour out, regardless of our situations.  Help us focus on Your unfailing love and the opportunities You give us to be a blessing to others during this challenge time.  We give You continued thanks because we know You are always with us through everything.  Thank You for being faithful.  May we also be faithful as we seek to serve You each day.  Amen!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Thank You For It All, Lord


”Thank You For It All, Lord”
Psalm 36:5-7 NLT
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.  Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.  You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.  How precious is your unfailing love, O God!  All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.

Lately, I have been finding myself thinking of more and more ways to be thankful each day for what God has provided for me.  This passage is powerful starting with declaring praise to God for His unfailing love.  I am thankful each day how God reminds me that I need to be constantly and more grateful for the unfailing love He pours out to me. 

I’m so thankful that He continues to love me, even as I am often unlovable to those I love and care about the most.  There are days when I’m just not fun to be around and I’m so grateful for the love my family continues to show in those times toward me.  I’m grateful for His continued faithfulness that never ends and stretches beyond the clouds.  He is faithful even when I am so often unfaithful to Him in little and big ways.  Some days, I just don’t want to even try for various reasons.  I get in my own world and I’m just selfish and want things my way.  I’m thankful for not only His faithfulness, but the faithfulness of my family in those times.

I’m finding myself becoming more aware of all that He has done for me and continues to do through His faithfulness and unfailing love despite so often how self-absorbed I can get.  I’m so thankful for it all!  I don’t want to become ungrateful, but so often I do.  I’m so grateful for how faithful He is to give to us so abundantly in so many different ways.  I need to be reminded often how very grateful I should be.

Friends, these are just thoughts I want to share with you in hopes that you will be reminded of how grateful you need to be as well because of the amazing faithfulness, unfailing love and righteousness of God.  We serve an amazing God and we all need to be daily reminded of how very Awesome He is!  We need to be reminded to be so thankful for all things and all the people He has put into our lives to encourage and love on us.  We should also be thankful for those who challenge us to be better servants in our lives.

With all the continued changes we are dealing with day in and day out, we need to be reminded of His blessings and say, “Thank You For It All, Lord!” 

Father, help us to be in complete awe of You every single day from the moment we get up till we lay our head on the pillow to sleep.  Help us to be strengthened each day by Your constant, unfailing love and faithfulness.  You are faithful, even through all these challenging days.  Amen!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Thankful For The Hope


“Thankful For The Hope”
Psalm 33:20-22 NLT
We put our hope in the Lord.  He is our help and our shield.  In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.

This past week, I have been thinking more and more about the hope that I have been given in my life with God.  I find myself wanting to thank Him more and more each day for giving me the life that I have in Him because I have a hope that is real and strong, no matter what my emotions are like as I go through my days.  As I daily fight different emotions with all the different changes in life from this pandemic, I am being reminded by Him that I have so much to be hopeful about and so much to be thankful for.

I am thankful that He is my help and my shield.  I am thankful that I can fully trust in Him, no matter what is going on around me daily.  His unfailing love surrounds me every day and I just love feeling His warm embrace as I rest in Him.  I know that God is going to continue to provide for me and my family even though the coming days and weeks are filled with uncertainty. 

Friends, I simply cannot imagine how life would be with the hope we have in Christ.  I could not imagine waking up in the morning and living the whole day without any hope that God gives.  It saddens me when I think about how many people live each day without being filled with this hope and now knowing God at all.  Life with God is still hard enough so many times with not understanding things, I just can’t imagine not having my relationship with Him and being completely without hope. 

I want to encourage all of us this week, and in the coming weeks, to focus on putting our hope in God, no matter what the future holds.  We don’t need to worry, but just allow ourselves to be surrounded by His unfailing love in all the ways He shows that.  He is taking care of us and always will somehow.  Whatever you might be dealing with today and in the days to come, know that nothing is out of His control and He will fill us with hope.  We can rejoice daily because we have a hope that the world can never take away and no world events can crush.  Yes, we may have our days of despairing feelings, but His hope will fill us once again. 

God, thank You for the hope that You will us with each day.  There are some days, Lord, when we feel like we’re losing hope and feeling helpless.  We are human and we need Your unfailing love to fill us and remind us that we are never alone.  We have so much to be thankful for God and we need to trust that You will never abandon us and that You truly love us.  Remind us each day God to give You thanks for all the wonderful things You continue to bless us with in our lives.  We are truly blessed, even with a chaotic pandemic going on around us.  You are bigger than anything we might fear.  We love You and thank You for loving us and giving us hope.  Amen!



Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Lord, Help Us Through These Storms


“Lord, Help Us Through These Storms”
Matthew 8:23-26 NIV
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.  Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.  But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us!  We’re going to drown!”  He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”  Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

I don’t know how many of you are storm chasers and/or storm enthusiasts, but I have been a storm enthusiast most of my life.  I’m sure that I have written before about my fascination with thunderstorms and the weather patterns it creates.  During thunderstorm season, I get really excited when storms come through because I just like the adrenaline rush of watching them.  I have never personally witnessed a tornado in person, but I have heard and watched videos of countless stories of people who record them and chase them.  I also like to watch storm chasing shows on TV just to see the excitement and adrenaline rush of the storm enthusiasts.

Some storms have plenty of warning, but then there are some that suddenly come up and people respond with, “Where did that storm come from?  I did not see that coming!”  Sometimes we have no warning at all it seems and we are completely taken off guard by what comes our way.  We often don’t know how to react and we want to keep ourselves and our family safe. 

Friends, we continue to embark on the unknown ahead of us as we all deal with this new life experience none of us were prepared for or ever saw coming.  I hope this passage can bring a little comfort to us knowing that we are never alone when we deal with storms that come up in life.  Right now, we are all experiencing so many of the same storms.  And just like this passage states, these have come without warning. 

Even though we may be feeling a wide range of continued mixed emotions about the pandemic around us, know that Jesus is there to comfort us through these storms, whether we are experiencing job loss, the actual coronavirus itself in our life or within our family, financial difficulty or you are a first responder dealing with the front lines on all of this, know that Jesus is right there with us and will give us comfort through this as we trust in Him.

Father, we experience a lot of storms in our lives.  These current storms often seem overwhelming and they have come upon us much without warning.  Give us strength daily Father to trust You that You will carry us through this scary time.  We love You and know that You will never forsake us or abandon us.  Help us trust in You even though we don’t understand so much right now.  Give us joy and peace even in the midst of this pandemic.  We know You are still in control and help us never forget that, especially in the storms of life.  Amen!