Navigating the Storms of Life

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By: Dawn Ashley

I’ll be honest, I am walking through a storm in my life right now.  Storms can be scary, but the Lord has been telling me they don’t have to be. Through this tough journey the Lord has been revealing his truth and his promises.  This devotion is packed full of his promises, because in the times God chooses not to stop our storm, He will always walk us through it.  We have to hold on to his truth and the promises in His Word. Faith and fear cannot exist together, my friends.

For we live by faith, not by sight (II Cor. 5:7 NIV)

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Heb. 11:1)

We have to know that God is continually working in our lives even when we do not see the tangible evidence.  God deeply loves us and cares about all our needs.  As I have been digging in to His Word and listening as He reveals His truth and promises, a faith begins to grow in me that conquers fear.  The Bible tells us:

Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ (Rom. 10:17)

Look at David, this man experienced fear and his response was to put his trust in God.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you (Ps. 56:3)

Psalm 119 is full of verses that share how David truly treasured God’s Word.

I mediate on your precepts (Ps. 119:10)

I have hidden your word in my heart (Ps. 119:15)

The Bible is clear that our faith does not mature and grow stronger without the storms in our life.  The struggles we go through are the very thing God uses to develop strong faith in us.  We have to learn to praise Him in our storms and hold on to these truths. In doing so, His truth will saturate our thoughts and we will find these very storms become the stepping stones to a stronger and deeper faith.

My friends David volunteered  to fight Goliath.  He said:

The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine (I Sam. 17:37).

David knew what God had brought him through in the past, and in that, developed a fearless faith in him. God would carry him in the same way through his present day situations and the future that lay ahead. David trusted God. In this season, this has been a word God has continually reminded me of. He says, “Trust me, I am trustworthy. Look at what I have done for you in the past and how faithful I have been.” The world will let us down – people will let us down – God will never let us down.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one (Ps. 28:7-8)

My friends, God Almighty – the King of this universe is for us. Get a hold of that truth. If God is for us, who can be against us?

If God is for us who can be against us! (Rom. 8:31)

I strive for peace.  I want to fix whatever situation I can, at whatever cost to bring about peace. I lay myself down daily out of love in hopes of bringing about peace.  But why?  Why am I trying to lay myself down for what Christ already laid himself down for? Why am I trying to do in my strength what can only be done in His?  My strength comes in Him and Him alone. That, my friends, is how we walk with peace through our storm; the peace that transcends all understanding. That is how we operate out of His strength not our own.

 The peace of God, which transcends all understanding” which He has promised will “guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:7)

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.(Phil. 4:13)

The storm does not change His promise or His Word.  So, in the storm we have to stand on God’s Word and believe what He is saying, not what our circumstances or others may be telling us.  God confirmed this to me through a picture I saw on Facebook a couple weeks ago.  Do you see the rainbow (the sign of his promises) in the midst of this incredible storm over our city?  Is there a promise in your life that you need to hold on to in the midst of your storm?

God, El Roi, the God who sees. Our God sees what we do not see. In fact, there is nothing He does not see. Let’s take comfort in that. Let’s rest in Him who holds our future and the future of our families in the palm of His hands. Even if He doesn’t move the mountains or give us  the answers we are crying out for.  Don’t we want what God wants and nothing less?  He is our strength, our comfort, our steady hand,  our firm foundation – the rock on which we stand. His plans are always good, his ways are always higher, and there is no place He will call us to that He hasn’t already stood. Let’s humble ourselves before Him and pray fervently and trust Him in our storm, for our God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1).

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Become a Better YOU

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By:  Rosolyn Maglione

“Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.” James 1:2-3 AMP

We all have trials, many of us on a daily basis.  We pray and ask God to take away our burdens, but there are still difficulties.  The important thing to remember is that every experience has a teaching moment attached that God is using to make us stronger and better.  If there were no adversities for us to overcome, how would we learn empathy, compassion, patience, and endurance?  There has been a trial in everyone’s life that they can pinpoint that they thought they would not make it through or it would break them before its conclusion, but as they look back now they realize it was a growing moment.  They have learned a valuable life lesson from the experience and skills that will help them assist others facing similar difficulties, and they are better despite the trial.  Just remember if we complain, become angry or bitter, or blame God for our situation, things become worse and the burden lingers.  So pray and praise God for the opportunity to become a better you!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV

Being Spirit Led

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By:  Tanya Staton

As human beings we tend to look at the outward appearance of people. We look at the way they dress, the way they act, or what they may or may not do for a living. We look at how much money they may or may not have. We look at who they hang around with and sad to say, we look at what color a person’s skin is. We hate it when someone judges us, especially when they know absolutely nothing about us.  We behave so silly and so foolishly, yet we deem ourselves to be so wise. We spend hours watching CNN and Fox News or our local channels to give us direction instead of seeking the one who knows all and is all. We go to each other, our co-workers, our friends, our family, and yes, even our enemies for advice and direction, yet we spend little to no time in the Word of God or in prayer.  Thousands of years ago there was a prophet named Samuel. He was given an assignment by God to go and anoint the next King of Israel. Samuel was a man of God, faithful and true, and yet he fell into the same situation we find ourselves in so many times. He was told by God to go to the house of Jesse and there he would point out to him which one of his sons was to be anointed as the next King of Israel. So Samuel obeyed God and went to the house of Jesse to anoint his son as King. When he got there he went from being Spirit led to being sense led. There he saw one of the sons of Jesse whose name was Eliab. Samuel was convinced that he was the one that would be anointed king. After all, he was tall and strong in stature, he had the right looks, and he was from the right family.  His outward appearance convinced Samuel that Eliab was the one. Samuel said “Surely this one has to be God’s anointed one”.  When God gives us an assignment and we get off track, God knows exactly what to say to bring about His purpose and His will.  God said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his physical stature because I have rejected him. God doesn’t see the way man looks at things. For man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”   After that, each son was brought before the prophet and each time the Lord told him that those were not the one chosen.  Samuel came close to making a terrible mistake by allowing his senses to lead him. After the Lord rebuked him and got his attention back to the Spirit of God, he was able to hear clearly. When we are led by our senses we hear the wrong voice, we see the wrong things. Just because it looks good, sounds good, smells good and feels good doesn’t mean it is Gods will.  After all the sons were presented to the prophet, he asked a simple but very important question: “Are all your sons here”?  That is when Jesse spoke up and said that the youngest son was in the field tending to the sheep. Samuel sent for him. When the youngest son came and stood before the prophet Samuel he was a sight to be seen. He was ruddy, dirty, red headed with bright eyes. He smelled of sweat and sheep. To look at him he did not look like someone to be anointed “King of Israel” and yet God said, ” This is the one, anoint him, stand up Samuel, he’s the one”. So before his brothers and his Father he was anointed to be the next King of Israel and from that day forward the Spirit of the Lord rested upon him.  God knew that Eliab and the other brothers had a heart problem. They may have looked the part, but they didn’t possess the heart of a King. This young ruddy red headed boy had the heart of a King, he had the heart of the Father.  It is so important to be led by the Spirit of God, especially now with the world in chaos. When we are led by our five sense we will mess up and miss God every time. But when we step out of the way and stop going by what we see, hear, smell, touch and taste and be led by the Holy Spirit, He will always lead us into all truth, down the right path and cause us to make wise choices. When he sends us on assignment, whether it be ministry, prophecy, prayer for the sick, deliverance or whatever else God leads us to we need to know the only way we can get it right when we do it His way. The prophet Samuel had to stop going by his senses and tune into the Spirit. He had to wait patiently on the Lord. He had to wait for the one God chose, the one set apart by God. Who would of ever thought that God would take the least, the youngest, the ruddiest, the most inexperienced, a shepherd boy, and make him one of the greatest kings that ever lived. And because he waited and he allowed the Spirit to lead him, he anointed a boy named David “King of Israel”.   King David made mistakes, huge mistakes. He sinned against God and man and yet he was still the CHOSEN and ANOINTED King of Israel. Through all his trial and error he still became a great king. Nothing could change the call of God upon his life. Not his mistakes, not his sins, not his bad judgments and not man. WHY? Because God knew his heart. He had a repentant heart. A heart that was always hungry for the Lord. He was a man after Gods heart. So many times we are guilty of looking at the outward appearances, we look at their past, their past mistakes, their failures and their color.  When do we stop being racist. Since when do ALL LIVES NOT MATTER? When do we stop creating division in the church and in our families? It’s when we start being Spirit led and stop being self-led. It’s when we take ourselves out of the picture and step back and “Listen” for the voice of the Lord, the leading of His Spirit. If we have ever needed to be led by the Spirit of God it is now.  To be led by His Spirit and not by our senses we must create an atmosphere of worship to God the Father. We must have a relationship that comes through prayer and study of the Word. The more time we spend with the Father the more we become like Him. The more we look like Him, the more we smell like Him. And in the midst of a chaotic world we will be a light, shining forth with His glory and His Spirit. Beloved let us love one another, for love is from God and everyone that loves Knows God and he that loves not knows not God for God is LOVE. John 4:7 & 8

 

References I Samuel 16:1-13, Jewish and Message Bibles