Everything We Need Can Be Found In Him

Just a quick thought I want to share with you:

Whatever our need is, Jesus is the only One who can meet it perfectly. Whatever our void is, He is the only One who can fill it to overflowing.  

Let’s take our needs, our emptiness…our everything – to Jesus today. Let’s tell Him we trust Him to deliver. And then let’s step back and watch Him work in our lives in the way only He can. 

“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Col. 1:17 ESV

He Has Us Covered

Ever since I can remember, I have had a comfortable, continual conversation with Jesus. Engaging in silent prayer regardless of where I am or what I am doing has been a natural part of my daily rhythm – most of the time.

However, there have been brief periods when intense emotional pain disrupted that rhythm and rendered me speechless before Jesus. When I have been unable to articulate a prayer amid hardship, a particular Bible verse has become a lifeline. Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings.” Friends, in our silence, the Holy Spirit lifts our burdens to the throne of Jesus on our behalf! Thank the Lord there is no communication gap when our pain temporarily prevents us from expressing our needs.

When we do not have the strength to pray, be encouraged – the Holy Spirit has us covered.

From Negative to New

It is not unusual to feel overwhelmed by negative emotions such as anger and sadness from time to time. Let’s be honest: our world is full of complex people and complex situations, so it is understandable when we experience and express complicated emotions. However, it is essential to remember that we are not required to stay stuck in that state! In other words, we do not have to wait for challenging people to start treating us better or for difficult situations to improve before we start reacting in a Christlike manner. (I’m sure we can agree that in some cases, we would be waiting a lifetime!) Therefore, choosing whether or not to let negative emotions have control over how we live is our own decision to make.

When we dwell on anger or sadness, we lose the opportunity to move forward in expectation of what God has in store for us. We may also miss chances to reflect Christ – which is an integral part of our mission on this earth.

So, what can we do when we find ourselves stuck in that unwanted state? Spend time with Him by reading His Word and praying. The Bible is chock-full of treasures for all of us, such as peace, comfort, and love. Talking to God reminds us that He is relational, and He understands what we are going through. Spending time with Him will help us view our circumstances with a fresh set of eyes and a renewed perspective. 

The next time we feel stuck in negativity, let us open His Word and remind ourselves of His many promises. Let us ask God to help us stop wallowing in negative emotions and start welcoming new ones that He is eager to offer us. 

Dear Lord, when we experience negative emotions, help us exchange them for a new, better alternative. We are grateful that You bless us by replacing our anger and sadness with Your extraordinary peace. Thank You for being ready and willing to come alongside us and help us become the people You want us to be. Amen.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Prayer for the Overwhelmed (based on Romans 5:1-5)

Friends, I have been feeling a little overwhelmed lately. If you can relate to that feeling, allow me to assure you that God wants us to reach out to Him. He is listening and He cares.

I wrote a couple of prayers that I want to share with you; one in this post and one in the previous one. The prayer below is based on Romans 5:1-5

Dear Lord, life seems complicated right now, and I am physically and mentally exhausted. I know You hear my prayer and see my situation. It is an unimaginable blessing that You are a relational God who knows and cares how I feel. I am deeply grateful for Your Holy Spirit’s outpouring of love and divine encouragement. Your Word says I can rejoice in my sufferings because I will develop endurance, character, and hope – traits that will help me become more like You. Bring to my mind Your promise to not only give me hope but to be my hope. Instead of focusing on the problems I am experiencing, enable me to focus on You and what You are teaching me through them. Lord, help me to surrender to You and to embrace Your plan for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Romans 5  1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Prayer for the Overwhelmed (based on Psalm 34:1-9)

Friends, I have been feeling a little overwhelmed lately. If you can relate to that feeling, allow me to assure you that God wants us to reach out to Him. He is listening and He cares.

I wrote a couple of prayers that I want to share with you; one in this post and one in the next one. The prayer below is based on Psalm 34:1-9.

Dear Lord, I feel overwhelmed by the numerous goals, commitments, and responsibilities vying for my attention and time. Please open my eyes to Your countless gifts, especially those found in the challenges I am presently facing. Strengthen in me the determination to continually praise You, especially when life is difficult. Help me to thank You daily for Your unwavering mercy and constant love. Remind me that You are right beside me, eager to reach out as I take refuge in Your arms. Thank You for the times You have rescued me in the past, and for the times You will save me in the future. Bless me with a renewed sense of awe as I consider Your incredible glory and power. Please grant me a brand new perspective of my situation and a fresh appreciation of Your matchless peace as I draw closer to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Psalm 34 1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.  2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!

The Bridge

The God who parts waters, conquers graves, and closes lions’ mouths is much higher and holier than us. And He is perfect, pure, faithful, and flawless, and none of that prevents Him from lovingly connecting the colossal chasm between us.

Recently, I have been thinking about how vastly different we are from God and how important it is to keep that fact at the forefront of our minds. Not so we dwell on our lowly position, but so we marvel at how incredible He is. Unfortunately, if we minimize the magnitude of the divide between God and us, we reduce Him to some sort of super-human being instead of remembering He is not in the same realm as us. At all.

Jeremiah 5:22a says, “Do you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Do you not tremble before me?”(ESV) The first portion of the ten commandments in Exodus 20:2-3 says: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. (ESV) Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”  (ESV)

Even though we continually choose to separate ourselves from Him through sin, His Word says He is not willing that anyone should perish. Jesus obediently died on Calvary; a gift offered to all of us regarding all of our sins. The God who parts waters, conquers graves, and closes lions’ mouths is much higher and holier than us. And He is perfect, pure, faithful, and flawless, and none of that prevents Him from lovingly connecting the colossal chasm between us.

We can’t truly appreciate how amazing God is without acknowledging the distance between us and recognizing how far He will readily go to reach us. 

During this Christmas season, let’s take time to thank God for sending Jesus to bridge the enormous gap between us. 

O, come let us adore Him; Christ the Lord.

When God Calls You Names

God knew that Gideon needed to hear God-authored words regarding who he genuinely was and the amazing things he could accomplish with His help.

I can’t imagine anything casual about an angel making an appearance in the Old Testament, but the angel account recorded in the 6th chapter of Judges begins pretty nonchalantly. God’s messenger was patiently sitting under an oak tree, as Gideon was threshing wheat nearby. He was assumedly waiting for an opportune time to approach Gideon and deliver life-altering news.

Judges chapter 6:12 says, “When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “the Lord is with you, Mighty Warrior.” Other Bible translations record equally distinguished titles such as Mighty Man of Valor, Powerful Soldier, and Valiant Warrior. Perhaps Gideon momentarily thought the angel had appeared to the wrong man because he did not feel like he lived up to any of those names. He quickly reminded the angel that he was the youngest child from the weakest clan in Manasseh. 

The next thing Gideon knew, the angel charged him with a seemingly impossible assignment: to lead a group of men to conquer a large, powerful Midianite army of more than 100,000 men. (In a fascinating aspect of the story, God was about to thin the Gideon-led army down from 32,000 to 300 men.)

Gideon took some time to ask for a sign that God sent the angel, and he received it. Eventually, his doubts about the message and the messenger vanished, and he realized he was going to be an integral component in a remarkable victory – a victory that could only be orchestrated by God. 

Do you ever have a little bit of Gideonish doubt about yourself? Do you ever see yourself as less-than or unworthy? Do you ever doubt your ability to carry out the tasks God has assigned to you? If you answered yes to those questions, then your impression of yourself is different from His opinion of you. Allow me to boldly suggest that you promptly silence all other views and align yourself with His. 

God knew that Gideon needed to hear God-authored words regarding who he genuinely was and the amazing things he could accomplish with His help.

Our perception of ourselves is affected by past experiences, opinions of other people, and our inferiority complexes. God bases His perception of us on the fact that He, the Creator and King, created us on purpose and with a purpose. 

May we allow God to work on our hearts, so that eventually, like Gideon, we accept what God wants us to know about our identity. May the truth of our identity always win out over the perception we have of ourselves.

Prayer: Lord, whenever I see myself differently than You see me, may I accept the truth of my identity in You. And may I live according to Your truth rather than my opinion. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

But What Does God Say?

Quick thought for today:

“It’s time to care a lot less about people agreeing with what we say and a lot more about us agreeing with what God says.”

There’s a part of me that likes to preface conversations or social media posts with, “I think,” or “In my opinion,” and then hope that whoever hears or reads my words agrees with me…

I’m working on this.

I’m trying to shift my perspective. My new goals: 1. Strive to express thoughts and opinions that are in alignment with the authoritative Word of God (In other words, before I form an opinion and rush to share it, check if it is Christlike.) and 2. Be less concerned with the reactions of people and more concerned with being obedient to God. (In other words, double-check my priorities. At the end of the day, I want my words to honor God.)

There will be times when I fail, but I am determined to prayerfully pursue those goals. It’s hard for a person who doesn’t just walk away from controversy…I’m more of a sprint-away-from-disagreement kind of gal. And it’s hard for a person who likes to please people. But I’m renewing my resolve to be a Jesus-pleasing gal above all else.

Maybe this sounds like an opinion,😉 but wouldn’t you agree that this world doesn’t need more opinions, and it could sure use more truth spoken in love instead? Ephesians 4:15 says, “But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ.” 

If we ask God, He will help us care less about the approval of others and more about lovingly expressing His truth in this world – a world desperate for Him.

Where is the Unity?

We aren’t required to share the same opinions in order to have unity, but we can agree that our shared love for Jesus will dictate how we handle differing views.

Have you noticed that the discussion about practically every headline-making topic in our world today (COVID, racism, statues, masks, opening schools vs. distance learning, to name just a few) creates bitter disagreement, anger, and sometimes even violence? Not just among believers and non-believers – that’s to be expected, because we form our opinions upon very different foundations. I’m talking about ugly division among believers. 

Where is the unity?

In John 17:20-26, Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father about unity. He prayed for future believers to be unified, so that people would be inspired to believe in His Heavenly Father. When we sit with that for a moment, it hits hard. We all have a purpose on this earth: pointing people toward Jesus, and that purpose is benefitted by being a unifying presence. If the beauty of unity shows people who God is and makes Him known, then it’s time to put unifying behavior on the top of our priority list!  Continue reading “Where is the Unity?”

Let God Have the Final Say (Our Identity in Christ ~ Day 3 of 3)

We have a choice to make. We can believe the false identity created by the world’s negative opinions of us, or we can read about, reflect upon, and ultimately receive the identity God bestowed upon us. It takes increased patience and intentional prayer to decide we are going to embrace our God-Authored identity, but we are capable of it with His help.

Philippians 2:5 says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” That verse and others with the same message make it clear that before we were born, God placed a calling on our lives: to be like Jesus. Continue reading “Let God Have the Final Say (Our Identity in Christ ~ Day 3 of 3)”