What Can We Do?

When disagreement or controversy arises, I am usually a “Hey, I can see it from both sides,” person because A. I detest conflict lol and B. because I honestly can usually see both sides, or at least see valid points from both perspectives.

With this Covid-19 situation, we’ve heard numerous people say things to the effect of, “I don’t know what/who to believe,” and many of us have been forced to make difficult decisions and feel like we are “picking a side,” based on biased sources, differing views, and incomplete data.

What can we do?

1. Ask God for wisdom. There is a verse that flat-out says that we can ask God for wisdom and He will give it to us. Maybe you knew that already, but I finally discovered that verse existed when I was well into my 40’s, and now I sometimes wonder how I got this far in life not knowing it! James 1:5 says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”  Wow – If we ask Him, He doesn’t just give us wisdom, He gives it generously!

If we took time to ask God for His wisdom while sifting through the information we are being bombarded with, what might happen? We may feel compelled to research something further, we may decide to reserve judgment on other news, and/or we may feel led to share some information with others. Whatever the case may be, God is willing to give us His wisdom on how to process and deal with it. He is also willing to pour His peace into our lives even in the midst of the conflict and division surrounding these circumstances. This crazy time in our world would be a perfect time to consider taking advantage of Godly wisdom and “beyond-anything-we’ve-ever-felt-before” brand of peace.

2. “And let all that you do be done in love,” 1 Corinthians 16:14.  Sometimes we need reminders that the love this verse is referring to is the Christlike,  sacrificial, genuine love that God created and personifies. It’s deciding if the way we treat others, the words we speak to others, and the tone we post on social media with follows that Christlike kind of love example. Side note: calling people idiots or uneducated or saying that they have no compassion aren’t words that fit in the “Let all that you do be done in love” category.  Friends, all of it….how we present ourselves to the world, and Who we represent to the world…all of it should be done in love. I know we can get through this without questioning people’s hearts and intelligence.

I hope and pray that we can all choose to believe the best about everyone’s motives. And if you see me failing at that, please call me out – in a kind, considerate manner, of course. 😉

Dear Lord, help us to take a deep breath and put forth a genuine effort to see where people with differing views are coming from. Please give us Your wisdom to help us discern truth. Lord, help our actions and our words to be dictated by our relationship with You instead of fear, resentment or negativity. Grant us Your perspective as we navigate through this time and show us how to display Your love to others. In Your name we pray, Amen.

It’s Okay To Start Over

Philippians 2:5 says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:…” Hmmm…be like Jesus? That is a tall order to say the least! But the Bible is clear about Christlikeness being God’s calling on our lives. 

We can’t possibly act like, speak like, think like, love like, or look like Jesus…in our strength. However, when we ask God for the grace and love that it takes to be like Jesus, He helps us with that endeavor. For instance, He gives us wisdom to not say the first thing that comes to our mind when we are angry, and He provides productive words instead. He grants us patience when we are in a rush, and someone who needs a listening ear crosses our path. He pours His mercy into our lives so that we can extend it to others, especially when we don’t feel like it.  In other words, God faithfully leads us to make decisions that bring us closer to the goal of Christlikeness. 

As we mature, we will presumably heed His voice more and more.  But we are human, so there will also be days when we fail. Miserably. God made a wonderful promise in Philippians 1:6: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” This verse puts no conditions on Him fulfilling His purpose for us. Nothing that says we must be sin-free for a certain number of days before He completes His work within each one of us. Lamentations 3:22-23 assures us: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Praise God that our sin does not have enough power to stop His plan for our lives! 

On our journey toward Christlikeness, there will be failures. But those failures don’t mean we should give up. When we go to God in repentance, He lovingly offers second chances and generously grants new mercies. 

It’s okay to start over. God is there with us.

Jesus is Bigger Than the Waves

I’ve heard it said before that when we face adversity, our eyes are either on the waves or they’re on Jesus. Phrases like this come from the Bible story of Peter successfully walking on water toward Jesus until he shifted his focus from His Savior to the wind-tossed waves. Then he began to sink.

When we look at this Bible story from the perspective of the pandemic we are experiencing, there are plenty of waves that could potentially prevent us from getting closer to Jesus. 

Any challenge concerning this virus could be in the wave category: the news reports, the statistics, the daily decisions we must make, etc. I would never encourage avoiding those things in order to put our focus on Jesus. We should absolutely stay informed and responsible, but we don’t have to be consumed by the waves. Just like Peter, if we choose to focus on problems rather than Jesus, we’ll begin to sink. Now is the time to reach our hand to Him and ask Him to help us and give us wisdom in order to walk in faith and rest in His love.

Jesus is bigger than all of the wind-tossed waves we are navigating right now. Monitor the waves, but meditate on Jesus. 

He’s got this. And He’s waiting for us to walk toward Him.

It May Look Like I’m Surrounded

The Bible states that God is not only beside us, but He is covering us, He is our rear guard, and He goes in front of us as well. 

It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.”  

The song, “Surrounded,” by Elyssa Smith, is a cherished Sunday-morning stanza among some in my church family.  The lyrics remind us that we are surrounded, indeed. The Bible states that God is not only beside us, but He is covering us, He is our rear guard, and He goes in front of us as well.

     He is with us:  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

     He is covering us:  He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4

     He is our rear guard:  But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard. Isaiah 52:12

     He is in front of us:  The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

When we realize God is beside, covering, behind, and in front of us – providing, protecting, prodding, and paving a path for us – it gives us a calm assurance we cannot gain from anything else in this world. 

Problems and enemies that we feel surrounded by will decrease and ultimately disappear in comparison to what we are truly surrounded by – our Almighty God!

When we contemplate God’s steadfast, surrounding presence in our lives, it can surely compel us to enthusiastically sing of the enormous blessing of being enveloped, encompassed, and embraced by our Heavenly Father – to joyfully sing the powerful truth of that song. 

Thank You, God   — “It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.”

Let’s Live Loved

You are loved. So very loved. He loves the you that you are now…He’s not waiting for you to become a better version of you so that He can love you more.

When we grasp that He loves us, really loves us, we long to discover who He created us to be. To nurture the gifts He gave us and to use them for His glory. To allow His light to shine through the unique personality He entrusted to us.

When we grasp that God lavishes us with true love, (not the cheap, watered-down version of love that this world has embraced, but the authentic, sacrificial, genuine love that God Himself created) we are compelled to take hold of the identity He has given us. Old desires fade and desires He placed within us increase. Our tightly held grip on who we think we should be loosens until we surrender and therefore ask Him to shape us into who He created us to be. He won’t love us more. It’s simply not possible for Him to love us more than He already does. But we will be in His will, and there is no better place to be.

Let’s celebrate that we are perfectly loved by our perfect God. Let’s live loved.

A Thanksgiving Prayer for Your Loved Ones (Free Printable)

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!

I am sharing a Thanksgiving prayer for your loved ones. Let someone know you are thinking of them and praying for them this Thanksgiving season!

You can download a free printable of this prayer right here!

Have a great day, and may you strive toward a deeper faith and a wider witness today!

For her:

Dear Lord, please touch my loved one in a special way this Thanksgiving season. Give her a grateful spirit as she counts her blessings and thanks You, the Giver of each one. 

Remind her how important she is to you. Help her to believe that her life holds sacred value. May she know in the very depths of her soul that You have entrusted her with Your purpose, Your power, and Your peace.

Enable her to have an enjoyable and memorable Thanksgiving. In the midst of potential differences of opinion and belief, may she be a shining example of positivity and unity. May she sense Your love and Your presence going before her, guiding her with every step. 

May others see You in all she says and does. 

In Your holy name I pray, Amen. 

 

For him:

Dear Lord, please touch my loved one in a special way this Thanksgiving season. Give him a grateful spirit as he counts his blessings and thanks You, the Giver of each one. 

Remind him how important he is to you. Help him to believe that his life holds sacred value. May he know in the very depths of his soul that You have entrusted him with Your purpose, Your power, and Your peace.

Enable him to have an enjoyable and memorable Thanksgiving. In the midst of potential differences of opinion and belief, may he be a shining example of positivity and unity. May he sense Your love and Your presence going before him, guiding him with every step. 

May others see You in all he says and does. 

In Your holy name I pray, Amen. 

What Are We Seeking?

When incomprehensible things happen in our lives, and they will, we can choose to be okay with not always knowing the whys.

God’s ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and He is working all things out for our good. (Isaiah 55:9, Romans 8:28)

Instead of seeking the reasons behind the hard situations we face, let’s seek His face.(Psalm 105:4) In other words, take time to get to know Him better, and consequently trust more deeply in His plan.

It comes down to believing that God, who knows all, knows best.

Read more about seeking His face here.

Have a great day, and may you strive toward a deeper faith and a wider witness today!

He is Already There (Deuteronomy 31:8 – Jesus Is Beside Us)

Ever since I was little, I have pictured Jesus beside me when encountering a situation that caused doubt or dread in my mind. The image of Him walking alongside me has provided a boost of bravery and boldness. And lately, a thought that has produced even more confidence is that while the Lord is undoubtedly right beside me, He is ahead of me making a way as well.

Even though we may be facing uncharted territory, the Lord knows it like the back of His hand. Unknown to us are the results, ramifications, and potential rewards of obediently following Him into unfamiliar terrain, but He is ahead of us and knows all about them. 

The Lord leads us but does not leave us. It is not consistent with His character to forsake us or to leave us high and dry. When He beckons us into waters that are deeper, difficult, or demanding, He has already navigated through all those waves and will lovingly lead us.

Continue reading “He is Already There (Deuteronomy 31:8 – Jesus Is Beside Us)”