Have You Not Heard?

It’s not unusual to wake up with a scripture on my mind. Every morning at 1 am, I read my Bible and pray. I then return to sleep until 4 am. So, you would think I would awake with the scriptures I read the night before. So why is this scripture in Isaiah on my mind? I first go back to my Bible to find that scripture and read its full context. It hit me right away; the Lord reminds us to think about who God is; He is our strength when we are weak. He stands ready to give us the stamina we need when we get tired. He will lift us when we fall. The scripture is challenging; have you ever experienced Him? How can you not know? How is it that you have not heard? 

Have you not heard

As I read these scriptures, I realized how limited we are in our way of thinking. I recalled Isaiah 55:8-9, which says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Then why do we, as humans, think we know what God would think about another person’s decisions? Why do we claim that one person’s way of thinking is better than another? Or do we act as if one group of people is less than human while another is superior? What makes us think that we can judge one minister’s ways of teaching are not of God? How do we take on such a severe and superior role when God is the superior one, not us? We sometimes act as if we know what God will say or do when we do not. I honestly believe when we understand that we cannot be God, maybe we can then exercise the humility needed in this world that will bring each other’s lives more joy.

I have seen the power of the Lord in my life through the miracles He performed. I have seen God’s power through my ability to face my worst fears and survive. I have heard about Him my entire life, but more importantly, I have experienced Him in so many ways that I can begin to tell. I hope you also have. But if you have not, please try to watch for Him. You will find Him.

Review your life and watch for the moments when you know it is God who intervened. Look for Him in small things you know you could not have worked out for yourself and marvel at the big things you know you could not have delivered on your own. You may see these things as coincidences, but they are not. I assure you of that one thing; they are not. Then you will be able to tell another with conviction, do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God!

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31`

Be Courageous, Be Strong, Be Confident

Is it just me, or does it feel like a shift happening in the atmosphere? After a full year of isolation, these past couple of weeks have felt as if a heavy load has been lifted, if only a little. IF you ever lifted weights, you know what I mean when I say, I know I need the heavy weights to build my stamina. However, as the repetitions begin, I look forward to lowering the size of the weights I am lifting. Even one pound lighter brings about a sense of relief.be strong and courageous2

Sometimes when I am using heavier weights, the pressure of having to lift them can be awful. I also know that there will be a benefit later to me lifting those heavy weights. Sometimes, I get frustrated and discouraged by the grueling task of lifting weights and dread the days I have to do them. But I do them anyway.

The last several weeks have felt like a weight has lifted. This week was simply outstanding. I continue to look at what I do day in and day out as something God has called me to do. I know when so many things tugging for my attention, it is easy, sometimes, to forget that God called me to the place I am, whether that is writing this Blog, speaking to a group, or interacting with people I lead.

But what happens when the weight seems to be too much? Do you give up? Do you walk away? No. Why? Because you do not have to handle the weight alone. That weight can be felt in the form of attacks, physically, mentally, emotionally, or even spiritually. The weight can feel so severe that you question your sanity. The attacks can be so overwhelming that you wonder if you have the strength or courage to stand for another battle. Also, something you know God called you to do can come into question. Not Him questioning you, but you doubt you or others wondering about whether you can cut it.

That’s why, for me, reading my Bible daily and praying are essential. I have had acquaintances tell me that they cannot read the same scriptures repeatedly because they become bored. I don’t judge them for that—they love God too. I tell them, for me, I read God’s Word repeatedly so that I am reminded not to be discouraged. Listen, there are people just like you and me in scripture who faced some of the same issues we deal with today: isolation (Elijah), fear (Jonah/Gideon/Esther/Daniel); depression (Jonah), anxiety (Peter), insecurity (Gideon), self-doubt (Moses). Shall I go on? These great warriors of the Bible were human beings just like you and me. They dealt with the same stuff. Their courage did not come from within; it came from someone greater. The God of the universe heard their prayers and gave them what they needed to succeed. God gave prophets and apostles the courage they needed to face the past, face impossible situations, take significant risks, and not give in. Some gathered courage from God speaking directly to them, while others gained it through others.

This month of May, where we celebrate Mother’s Day and Memorial Day in the United States, I am focused on irrevocable-gifts-callingJoshua 1:8-9. I memorized these scriptures as a teenager. There are times I go back to them to remind myself why it is essential for me to read scriptures time and again. Listen to what the scripture says: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then, you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” These scriptures are powerfully encouraging.

So, I say to you today, Be courageous, be strong, be confident at the place and position you have been assigned. You never know; you may have come to your place and position for such a time as this. Regardless of how others see you or judge you, the Word of God says of you—” Your gifts and calling are irrevocable.” You are very much needed where you are. Trust God to give you the courage to face any insecurities and fears. Trust Him to help you battle with your giant. Trust Him to show you what risks you need to take, and never, ever give up praying to God even when others do not understand you or threaten your peace of mind. Hold on to the same deep faith Daniel had in the Lion’s Den.

Think on These Things

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Each year many of us take into account what happened during the previous year. We stop and reflect. We also establish goals that we have the sincerest desire to accomplish. I, too, set goals every year. However, this year, I am most interested in one thing—God’s perfect peace and His will for my life.

As old as I am, I never expected that I would be caught up in the same stuff I was caught up in during my early years. Yet, last year, that’s exactly what I found myself doing. I was continually battling; battling trust issues, as well as competition, and other stress-related issues. I am not a worrier at all, but I found myself doing that too. For many years I have written and talked about my belief that fear and faith cannot coexist. However, during the last year, I found myself dealing with worry a great deal of the time. I dealt with ups and downs and constantly questioned my abilities. I questioned my ability to select the right relationships and I even questioned my overall judgment. Throughout the year, I feel, I was battling crazy people and the crazy ideas that were bouncing around in my head.

As I reflect on that time, I recall teaching a class over years titled “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyers. What Joyce talks about in that book is how to win the battle that goes on in our minds. What comes to mind now is that a woman like me, who has taught many people regarding thinking positively and relying on the strength of the Holy Spirit to help, found myself, battling the negative voices in my mind and intentionally trying to think positively in spite of my challenges. I desperately relied on the Holy Spirit to help me. Still, to turn around and find myself feeling doubt, confusion, anger, fear, and many other negative feelings caused me to feel condemned. 

I know the Scripture. I know that “there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1. I also know that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, but does not condemn us. Why then, was I feeling condemned? I was suffering from negative thoughts although I read my Bible daily. I began reading and consuming more of the Bible and other positive faith-based books that would help to edify my mind with positive thoughts.

The Word of God tells us in Philippians 4:6-7, “ Do not be anxious for anything, but by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” I remember running during the early morning and repeating that scripture to myself. I also read Think on These Things by John Maxwell and Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling. I was in prayer constantly, asking God to keep me in perfect peace during my most trying times. I reminded God that His Word said that He would keep me in perfect peace if I kept my mind on Him, so I tried to keep my mind on Him. God is so good. What I found was, when my days got too frustrating, too disturbing, and I wanted to throw my hands up and walk away, God would have someone send me a word of encouragement. I would get an invitation to go and speak somewhere, or some small thing would happen that was bigger than what I was experiencing but spoke volumes that it was God. He would reassure me and encourage me. 

I share this to say to you, do not be discouraged; do not be afraid. God knows what is going on with you. He knows the ups and He knows the downs. He cares for you and is willing to step in and help you through it all. Trust Him and when your times get hard, trust Him more. Remember, we are bombarded each day with all kinds of negative thoughts. Don’t let them overtake you. When the voices get loud, let the Word of God get louder. You won’t hear God, though, if you let the negative words saturate your thoughts each day, and you sit idly by and let that happen.

How do you combat those negative voices? The answer is found in Philippians 4:8: “…whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

Don’t be Discouraged

I am old enough to know that when I am experiencing difficulties, there is some lesson joshua 1-9God is trying to teach me. I must admit, I hate it when it is my time to learn something. As much as I embrace the tenets of “life-long learning,” the kinds of “activities” we have to do during these assignments can be so hard! The other thing is usually the activities are not fun ones at all.

Think about life for a moment; the activities we experience revolve around waiting, speculating, worrying, second-guessing, and stressing out over things that are happening that we have very little influence or control over. Because we cannot control the things happening to us, we become discouraged, despondent, angry, depressed, withdrawn, and sometimes we will just drop out altogether.

If we would, No! if we could remind ourselves that things happen to us for a reason and if you are religiously-inclined, you believe that God is trying to teach you something that will mature you in ways you need to be matured, then you can quickly snap out of those discouraging times. I am speaking this as much to myself as I am sharing with you.

When you are going through something that is affecting your mental and emotional state and you are so discouraged that you don’t know what to do or where to turn, turn to God. Ask Him to help you to be patient and to trust Him to teach you what you need to learn. And if one door closes, trust that He has a better door for you to walk through after He is done with your lesson. Also remember EVERYONE experiences ups and downs. When you are down, recall the happier times and tell yourself, God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. If it is difficult today, just wait, it won’t be tomorrow. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean to your understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.

While you wait, concentrate on these scriptures. I know they will help you. They have helped me!

Joshua 1:9 (the Bible) tells us the following: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Philippians 4:6 tells us this: Be anxious for nothing, but in all things with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. and the peace of God will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Lamentations 3:25-26 says: The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

 

Overcome your Obstacles

It’s Resurrection Month!

happy resurrection dayDuring the entire month I have experienced one stressor after the other. In fact, I think sometimes we forget just how challenging life can be.

On Monday, I attended an early morning meeting. On Friday, I was told that someone said I was dismissive of an administrative assistant at that Monday morning meeting. On Tuesday I was busy re-doing a plan that I had worked on almost the entire month of March. During working meet the deadline of getting the plane done, I had to get up, get in my car, drive to another building with 3-inch heels on trying to get from the parking lot to the elevator and up to another luncheon meeting.  On Wednesday my entire morning process was blown because I had to rearrange my morning to be at another meeting that lasted 4 hours. By the time I got to Thursday, things were turning around for the better and Friday would have been great had I not heard about my dismissive behavior to an Admin on Monday! I haven’t told you everything that happened last week either.

I share a glimpse of my week at the office, but I said nothing about home.  Because I was dealing with the news of illnesses on three different fronts, out-of-state and out-of-the-country.  Oh, did I mention I picked up either a cold or allergies? I was coughing profusely, with stuffy nose and headaches too. This week on for an entire week, the week before.  Oh, but this week my husband picked up the same systems. In the midst of chaos and stress, you have to stay positive and encouraging to others, especially when they share good news.  How in the world can anyone manage the ups and downs of life without faith is a question I always ask. Not only can life be challenging, it can be overwhelming!  What do you do when it seems as if everything is closing in on you? How do you handle a spouse’s blowup or a child’s misbehavior or a boss who has lost confidence in your ability to do your job? How do you handle what life throws at you?

I don’t think you have to have all the answers, you just have to know who the source of your answers is. Who do you turn to when life seems out of control? Many times we want to find a confidante to tell all our problems to.  There is certainly nothing wrong with sharing with a “trusted” friend, but even doing that can cause problems when they decide not to be your “trusted” friend anymore.

There is someone that you can trust fully and He will stick with you through thick and thin. He will never leave you and He is an expert on any topic.  The Word of God says in John 14:14, “If you ask ME anything in My name, I will do it.” So, during this past week, I had to go back to Jesus multiple times and ask for His help to get through personality changes, coldness, suspicions, and fear.  I had to “press-in” during prayer each morning and I had to wait.  During my time of waiting, I had to remind myself that He will hear me, but what was most important was I had to believe that He was going to do something. It didn’t happen right away, but what I prayed for eventually came. So I say to you, whatever is going on in your life; whatever stressors you are facing, pray, let go, and let God handle it through Christ. Remember John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

Happy Resurrection Day!