Let the Weak say I am strong

By: Dawn Ashley

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Joel 3:10 Let the weak say, “I am strong!”

I am in a season of my life where I am being called to walk in greater strength as the overcomer that I am in Christ.  Yet, I feel weak and beaten down and honestly am struggling to hold on to hope, much less victory.  How then if we feel weak do we proclaim our strength? I am finding in a real way that it has not a thing to do with how I feel because let’s admit it those feelings can change day to day or even minute to minute.  Although, even when we find ourselves in the pit of life, those tough valleys,  we feel defeated, but are we?  No!  If our feelings don’t line up with scripture they are simply not true.

Romans 8:37  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

How do we do this?  We realize the power of the  Holy Spirit that dwells within is in us and the faithfulness of our Father.  We trust him when he calls us out of the dark places in our mind and heart.    God Almighty is our firm foundation and our anchor.  He does not move from our side or take his eye off of us for a moment. Honestly though I think often times He is waiting for us to let go of our own need to control things and trust him.  God can’t step in for us if we don’t let him.  I heard the Lord  say this to me, “Why do you think you are waiting on me to move in your life?  Dawn,  I am actually waiting on you to stop moving so I can.”  Wow!  Waiting is hard.  I am a more comfortable doing something.  Waiting is even harder when we are hurting or people in our lives are hurting and feel we can’t’ sit back and do nothing.  However, praying and trusting God is far from doing nothing and is actually the key to unlocking the victory in our lives.  It is actually where we derive our strength.

2 Corinthians 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

So I want to encourage any of you out there that feel weak, beaten down and are holding on to hope with all you have, to join me today in letting go.  Letting go isn’t surrendering to the enemy or giving up on those you love, it is trusting that God can do far more to bring about victory then you or I can.  Trusting and praying are action.  We are calling our faith in to action, we are hitting our knees in prayer and calling our emotions to get in line with the truth of God’s Word.   Jesus has never lost a battle my friends and that should give you and I comfort.  Even the greatest mountains in our lives have to bow low to our God. Let’s put things back in order and no longer let the Lord stand by idle waiting on us, let’s put our trust in him as we wait upon the Lord because my friends this is where we, the weak, find our strength and can truly say I am strong.

Isaiah 40:31  But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

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Individuality Within Faith

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By: Holly Haglan

I struggle with” individuality”. I have always been a Christian, but I struggle with finding myself within my faith. I don’t want to look  or act like everyone else. I have always wanted to be my own person, yet love the Lord at the same time, however, I wondered if it was wrong to feel this way.

It’s amazing how God connects you with just the right person to tell you exactly what you need to hear and provide the confirmation you have been praying for. The other night my roommate and I were talking, when this very topic was brought up. She told me about how her and her old roommate were so different. How their walks with the Lord were nowhere similar, and yet they loved it that way. Wow right?

We started talking about how God is a God of diversity and loves every single inch of every single one of us. He made no two of us exactly alike, and He loves us that way. He wants us to be unique, and express our different qualities. He doesn’t want us to be exact clones of each other, walking the exact same walk as each other, doing the same mundane thing over and over. He calls us to be exactly who we are, and do our best to glorify Him through it. We all fail in glorifying Him, we are too human to do that perfectly. But, that should not stop us from trying our hardest to do better for Him. If we were are all exactly alike, that would limit the pool of people we could reach. He calls each of us to follow the path He has individually created for each one us, allowing our mission field as the Body of Christ to be infinite.

After the conversation, I went to God’s Word, because I know truth will always align with his Word.  What did God have  to say about individuality?  I knew God would never lay something on my heart without confirming it in His Word.

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts,[a] yet one body. (1 Corinthians 12:14-20)

I was in complete awe of these verses because this is exactly what I needed to hear. I genuinely feel like many of us need to hear this. I found myself turning from God because I felt like I didn’t measure up. I compared myself with other believers and their walks and felt like mine didn’t look like theirs.  I internalized this to mean I must be doing something wrong. I have had believers ostracize me for not meeting their standards of what my walk should look like. But, God says No!  We are all one Body. We are all His Body. We all have a unique and perfect path planned out by Him specifically. So, I challenge you to let your perfectly made, individual qualities shine. Because you were handcrafted by the Creator of this world.   And I challenge those who condemn others for being exactly who God made them to be to read the verses above over and over until it sticks with you. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, dull your light.

Trust in Him Always

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By: Roslyn Maglione

There are situations in our lives that seem so difficult that there is no way to get through it. We only feel anxiousness and fear of how we are going to handle the problem and make it, before it breaks us.  We need God’s assistance to gain perspective and realize we cannot do this life on our own.  These are the opportunities God has given us every day to trust in Him.  When we ask for His help, we are finally trusting in His power and peace.

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

The world makes you think that you will have peace if you have enough stuff; whether it is money, the perfect family, the precise job, a flawless body, or the right friends.  But the Word tells us something different and that is to trust in God for all our needs.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

 (Psalm 20:7)

A strong trust in God will give you blessing beyond belief because when you trust fully in God, He gives you the peace that you need in your life to rest and be anxious for nothing.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. (Jeremiah 17:7)

Thank God for the chance each day to put your trust in Him and gain true peace.

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.(Psalm 94:19)

Your Steps Are Ordered

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By: Tina Coble

This week I was running behind for an important appointment. If you are like me, you hate running late and always try to show up to an appointment a little early. In route, I was stopped by an earlier accident. I started to feel anxious and angry.  I thought to myself, out of all times, I  am delayed even more. As I set in my car and watched the cops and the tow truck slowly clean up the accident, God spoke to me. Why are you so upset? I begin to plead my case to him, about how I was late etc…… when He quietly spoke to my spirit.  I have all your steps ordered Tina. I meditated on this word and I realized I may never know what God may be protecting me and my family from.

What if….  we would of been in an accident if we were not stopped, construction material in the road we may have hit or even worse a life changing tragedy we may have faced. I began to trade my anxiety and frustration for peace and thankfulness for the protection of  the Lord.  I am starting to see as long as I have faith, God will bring me where I need to be in the right time.

  1. 2 Kings 8:5 Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to appeal to the king for her house and land. Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my LORD the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.”

In this scripture, Elisha’s friend’s, a woman, son died.  Elisha came to the woman’s home and prayed for her son and when he did the boy came back to life. Later there was a famine in the land. The woman had to leave her home, leave her property, and move to another land. Once the famine was over the woman decided to go back to her home in Israel. When she arrived someone was living in her house and farming her land. She knew this wasn’t right so she went to see the king because she knew he had the power to correct things. She wasn’t sure what the king would think or how he would respond.

At the same time the woman was travelling to see the king, little did she know God was preparing the king for her visit. Elisha’s main assistant was there with the king. The king wanted to hear stories of  the miracles Elisha had performed.  At the exact time that this woman walked in to ask the king about her property, she could hear the assistant telling the story about this woman’s son who was brought back to life when Elisha prayed.  If she would have arrived a day earlier, or even an hour earlier, the king would have not given her favor. But since God lead her footsteps, He was able to have her there at the perfect time. The king gave the woman back everything that was hers.

So let me challenge you, when time is not working out as planned. You are stuck in traffic, delayed at the airport, a meeting has been rescheduled, etc. Thank God that He directed your footsteps and his plan is better than yours. He will have you at the right place at the right time.

Shannon and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Devotional 

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By: Shannon Chambers

It’s late Wednesday night and I’m up trying to think of something to write for this devotional. I am really not here for it! I have played around with a couple of thoughts over the last few days. Nothing stuck. I was supposed to send it in on Monday. Missed deadlines loom over me like a task master scrutinizing every unproductive minute until I complete whatever I said I would do. I don’t like missed deadlines. Unfortunately, the presence of one does nothing to stir my creativity. I have had time to write but there has been nothing I felt like saying and much like my daily life, if I don’t have anything to say, I am perfectly content in stubborn silence. It’s a gift and a curse.

I have been in a mood. A childhood friend of mine died almost two weeks ago. There is a verse in 1 Corinthians 15:55 that asks, “Oh death, where is your sting?” I keep answering in my mind with four letter words like “OUCH!” followed by, “Ummmm…here and here and oh…over there and here too.” [Think randomly being stung by a large nest of aggravated yellow jackets]. That is how I am feeling death’s sting right now. I know it’s the wrong answer. It is an answer that bugs me. I am better than that answer. My faith is stronger than that answer. Yet, it is the answer of my heart.

There is another scripture that says, “Singing light songs to the heavyhearted is like pouring salt in their wounds.”(Proverbs 25:20 – The Message) I’m typically a positive person. I spend a lot of time encouraging people to believe for the best and to see the glass half-full. Those are the soundtracks that play on repeat in my mind. But death is one of those occasions that reminds me that it’s okay to feel the negative and embrace the dark along with the Light. “To everything there is a season…a time to laugh and a time to cry.”

Sometimes tears are appropriate…

Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead but still burst into tears when He saw the tomb of His beloved friend! I am uncomfortable with tears…my own and those of others. I am certain my eyes are allergic to tears. Shedding more than five over any situation causes my eyes to swell like someone rubbed hot peppers in them.

Every personality test I have taken in the last decade, whether for fun or professionally, has included the phrase, “emotionally detached.” I resent this repeated sociopathic sounding conclusion but accept it as truth. It startles me when outward expressions of feel-good emotions pop up. It feels like a contradiction of self to express emotions that feel negative. The reality is that feeling sad about things that happen in life or in the world is okay and at times, necessary. It’s healthy.

Paul told the people of the Roman church to, “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” It’s not always appropriate to try to cheer someone up when they’re going through something. Sometimes it’s the right thing to just cry with them or to even be sad with them. This week has been a reminder for me that loving life and being happy in no way negates feeling a sense of loss over people or even things that you care about. There is “a time to mourn.”

My stroll through the valley of the shadow of death feels awkward. I am really more of a soul restoring, green pastures walking, still waters laying, anoint my head with oil, prepare a feast and let my cup run over kind of woman!!! Hallelujah!! But the valley has me gripped for now.

Jesus set an example when predicting His own death and resurrection…“I will be in the heart of the earth for three days, and then I will rise again.” I have to accept that in my own life, there will be seasons when I feel like I am in the heart of the earth but I can find comfort in the fact that I will surely rise again.

Even when I am surrounded by the dark, I trust the Lord for the strength to feel it, process it and get through it. “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning…”

Hopefully, one day real soon, I will be flowing with this proclamation from Isaiah 60:1:

“Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!”

 

Until then, at least this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad devotional is finished and I can go back to saying nothing.