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The Lord God is With You

“Yes, be bold and strong! Banish fear and doubt! For remember, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (TLB)

I thought I’d share a little word of encouragement with you all this morning. I love how this translation says to “Be bold and strong!” and to “Banish fear and doubt!” Why? Because no matter what you are going through, “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

I pray that you will take the Lord’s Word to heart and know that He is with you even if you feel weak, fearful and full of doubt. There is nothing in this world that can separate you from the Lord. He is always with you.

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Perfect Trust

This isn’t my personal photo but one I got off of the internet. Just wanted to show you what a sunbirds nest looks like.

I came across a quote that I wanted to share with you, “Too often we think we are trusting when we are merely controlling our panic. True faith gives not only a calm exterior but a quiet heart.” – J.C. Macaulay

I am a shy and introverted person who tens to lean towards dealing with anxiety which is why I was drawn to this quote. Growing up I was one of the quiet shy kid that didn’t have a lot of friends. Truth be told I was always filled with anxiety while at school. Anxiety over learning because I struggled with being dyslexic. Anxiety over making friends because I dealt with social anxiety. People thought I was quiet because I was shy which was partially true, but they didn’t realize I was working hard at controlling my panic.

I got the above quote from a devotional and within this devotional it talked about the tiniest birds in India called the sunbird. This type of bird builds pendant nests which is a nest held by four frail threads. As the story goes missionary Amy Carmichael watched one of these birds build its tiny frail nest before the monsoon season. She kept watch over this nest as the winds and rain hit. “Then she perceived that the nest had been so placed that the leaves immediately above it formed little gutters which carried the water away from the nest . . . The storms raged furiously, but the sun bird sat, quiet and unafraid, hatching her tiny eggs.”

This tiny bird trusted the structor of her nest because God placed it into her to build it so it swayed in the wind but didn’t fall and break. She also knew to place it where she could be safe from the hard rain. To us, it would seem that this tiny nest could have easily been destroyed. But God knew if she built it just right and in the right location that she would be well taken care of.

Growing up I was not like this sun bird. I didn’t trust that the Lord would take care of me throughout all the storms that raged through my life. Truth be told, trying to trust in myself only lead to further anxiety because I knew I was too weak to support myself.

We can learn some amazing things from this tiny bird. We can trust that the Lord will take care of us even in our weaknesses and when the storms rage around us. We know to build our nests with threads anchored in heaven and not on earth. We know to build our nests under the Word of God and not under the open sky where we can be bombarded by the influences of this world. There is no need to control our panic when we allow the Lord to lead us.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

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Mother’s Day

Motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes. Moms can be single moms, foster moms, substitute moms, step-moms and moms who  have the support of a loving spouse. I want to share these verses that are encouraging to me and hope will be encouraging to you as well.

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’”  Proverbs 31:28-31

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”  Proverbs 31:25-28

Mother’s Day is a day of celebration for most but it can also be a day of sorrow, pain and the reminder of what has been lost. I want you to know that I’m praying for those of you who find this day to be filled with sorrow and loss. We all need to be sensitive to our dear friends who find today a difficult day. Romans 12:15 says, “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.”  I pray that the Lord will comfort you, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

No matter how we view this day we are still obligated to live by the fruits of the spirit. To love, be patient and kind to all.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

Lastly, we need to never ever stop encouraging and supporting each other, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

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Facing Disappointment

The other day my husband and I got disappointing news. To say it was hard to swallow was an understatement. I had a choice to make as I prayed later on that night. I could go down the negative road and complain to God that the outcome wasn’t as we’d hoped. That life just wasn’t fair. Instead of airing my complaints and asking my why’s I couldn’t stop thanking and praising the Lord for all He did.

The more I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving the more my heart was lifted. As my heart lifted I was reminded about all the promises God has given to us. The one that stood out to me was, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

I am so grateful that the Lord helped me see how our needs were supplied through this situation. My husband’s life was spared after an accident that was the result of someone else’s choices. The trauma center’s doctors all said it was a miracle he was alive and didn’t sustain more serious injuries. A year later I still have a husband who can work to provide for our family, my girls still have a father and all the bills from this incident were taken care of. Our family is truly blessed.

When we are faced with disappointment we do have a choice in how we respond. I’m here to tell you that responding with praise and thanksgiving can turn your heart of disappointment into a heart of gratefulness.

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Fighting For The Lost

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 3-5

I do not fish nor have I ever gone fishing. It just isn’t my thing. Can’t imagine sitting in a boat getting sick (thank you vertigo issues) baking in the sun waiting to catch a smelly gross fish. Don’t even get me started on what goes into baiting and what one has to do once the fish is caught. But the theme of Greg Laurie’s book, “How To Share Your Faith,” is all about fishing.

In one of the chapters Greg Laurie shares a story he heard about a fisherman named Larry Shaw. While fishing on a lake in Ohio he spotted a gigantic muskellunge fish near the surface of the lake. As the story goes, Mr. Shaw tried unsuccessfully to attract this muskie. He must have moved on to the other parts of the lake but returned to this particular location and saw the muskie again. This time he didn’t hesitate to cast out his line but instead “quickly put on his leather glove and plunged his arm into the water, grabbing the fish behind the gills.” A great battle ensued that resulted in others helping Mr. Shaw get the gigantic muskie into his boat. The fish weighed over 53 pounds!

Since I don’t know anything fishing I decided to look up what a muskellunge fish looked like. I found this picture. This muskie measured 51 3/8 inches in length and weighed 43 pounds, 14 ounces. We’re talking about this fish being at least 10 pounds smaller than the one Mr. Shaw caught.

We are at a time in history where people are, “not enduring sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” People are YEARNING for peace. In a sense some people are YEARNING for a Savior but don’t fully understand that they do.

I had a few thoughts that came to me as I pictured Mr. Shaw fighting with this fish . . . I’m also going to switch gears here and start to talk about fishing for men as God calls us to be fishers of men. My thought? Do I fight for the unsaved in my life as much as Mr. Shaw fought to get his muskie? Shouldn’t I be persistent in not giving up on praying for them and taking every opportunity to love them to the cross? Shouldn’t I have a deep desire to show them the one true way to peace and joy?

I have to be honest with you and say that I don’t think I do. Not to say that I don’t do anything at all. But I don’t have that intense fighting drive that I think we all should have. A fighting drive that comes from love and compassion and not from shame and bible head thumping.

My prayer for us all is that God will instill in us that deep desire to share the Good News with the lost. That we won’t give up when people continue to ignore the truth and fight to satisfy their desires through false myths.

I will leave you with this one last thing – “do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” We all have the same ministry of reaching the lost. It will look different to each one of us because ministry comes in different shapes and sizes. Why? Because we all have different types of muskies in our lives that need fighting for.

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A Dry Path

“When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side. The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” Psalm 77:16-20

This is one passage I tend to be drawn to because it gives me hope and renewed strength when I’m going through difficult times. We may not understand why God calls us to go through deep waters. But we can trust that He always gives us a dry path to follow through the deep waters.

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Hang Onto The Rope

 “And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.'” Mark 2:5

This week I came across the story of Jesus healing the paralytic. Let us first get familiar with the story by reading it before we move on: Mark 2:1-12

In this story we have five close friends. One of the friends was unable to walk because he was paralyzed. I can’t imagine what life would have been like for this man back in biblical days. I’m sure there were no accommodations for him. No wheel chair to push him around in. No hospital type bed to raise him up or turn him over to help keep bed sores at bay. I’m thinking that maybe these four friends helped their friend on a daily basis. They must have had first hand experience in watching him deal with his disability and possibly suffering day in and day out.

Can you imagine how they felt when they learned that Jesus was in their town? Jesus whom they’ve heard healed people? I don’t think they hesitated to carry their friend on his mat to where Jesus was teaching. As we read, we know that Jesus was teaching at a house and many people had also heard He was in town which meant that the house was crowded. Too crowded for these friends to carry their friend through the front door.

Did this stop them? Did it cause them to be discouraged? Did they turn away defeated?

The answer to that would be a “no” of course.

These dear friends didn’t let this obstacle stop them from getting their friend to Jesus. Instead they put their thinking caps on and decided to dig a hole out of the roof to lower their friend down through. Houses in this time period had flat roofs that were made up of large stone tiles. Stone tiles that were easy to remove and replace. The tiles were often covered with dirt or sod for insulation. This means, it wasn’t too hard for the friends to remove tiles to give them enough room to lower their friend through the roof.

This is where the story gets exciting for me and the reason why I’m writing a devotional about it. I will admit that I’m assuming these faithful dear friends didn’t let go of the ropes even after they lowered their friend to the ground. Maybe they did but I like to think they held onto the ropes until they saw their friend forgiven and healed by Jesus.

I had to ask myself do I have that kind of yearning for my unsaved friends and loved ones to see Jesus? Would I go to great lengths like breaking through the roof of a house so they can see Him face to face?

My friends, I want to be a faithful friend like these men were to their suffering friend. I can do this by being an encouragement to my fellow Christians. I can also do this by being a faithful friend to those who don’t know Christ. We can’t stick ourselves in a clean safe Christian bubble and wish the rest of the world all the best in finding Jesus. It just doesn’t work that way. You have to step out of that bubble and wade in the muck with your unsaved friends.

Not only do I want to be a faithful friend but I also want to be a person who is able to work with other Christians for the common goal of furthering God’s kingdom. Greg Laurie says his book, “How To Share Your Faith”, “You see only one of those men working alone could not have presented his friend to Jesus like that. It would have been very difficult for two – even three. But when all four friends worked together, it resulted in a changed life.”

Satan knows if he can divide us we can not be effective in bring others to Christ. It is true that less than four men could not have done what they did for their friend. It is also true that working together can only benefit sharing our faith and the ministries we work within.

I pray that we can be the kind of friend to our unsaved friends like these four men were to their paralytic friend. Do not let go of the ropes of your friend’s life even if it means asking other believers to come alongside you to support your friend. Hang on to the rope until Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven.”