Tag Archives: trials

Even though _______________, I will have joy!

Is life challenging for you today?  Not necessarily in a bad way.  Life can feel heavy whether we are facing unfortunate things or really great things.

smile

The Lord recently led me to this passage during our church staff prayer time.  At the time it seemed kind of random.  Then it appeared again two days later in a devotional book I had not picked up in a while.  I’ve learned over the years that when things like that happen it’s more likely to be God trying to get our attention than simply irony.  So I felt I should write about it.

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!     – Habakkuk 3:17-19  (NLT)

Do you see how many times the author says, “Even though?”   3 times.

Even though (insert negative situation)….YET I will rejoice in the Lord!

I wanted to share mine with you today.

“Even though God is calling me to something overwhelming…..”

“Even though I find myself falling short at home, work, and in my health…..”

“Even though despite my best efforts, I cannot seem to get caught up…..”

In the midst of all that, YET I WILL REJOICE!

I’m sharing this to be authentic, hoping it might encourage others.  Now it’s your turn.  Take a minute to complete 3 of these for your self.  “Even though __________________________

So…if you are feeling overwhelmed by either horrible or great things today, let me encourage you.  Our God is our strength!  Period.  End of story.  Our circumstances are always changing.  God, however, does not.

Leave me a comment below.

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Be thankful for life’s crap!

photo by: notesfromthecove.com

Seriously, when was the last dart in the back or broken down car that you actually said, “Wow, I’m so glad I had that experience?”  You’ve heard it said that one man’s trash is another’s treasure.  Its true!  Its all in our perspective.  As I was catching up on some blog reading of my own, one of my friend’s blogs really inspired me to do some reflecting of my own.  So here’s my very authentic list of thankful points for the year.  Can you relate to any of these?

I’m thankful…

…for spiritually dry periods of my life because they cause me to crave after Jesus more aggressively.

…when finances are sometimes a little tight.  These times teach me better stewardship of my blessings.

…that there are times when work gets heavy and I feel like I’m drowning.  Sometimes this is what it takes to force me to take a better look at how I’m budgeting my time and planning my week.

…for all the incredibly unhealthy churches I’ve served in with my wife over the past 20+ years.  Until recently, I have not been able to see that everything wasn’t terrible, and that our current church is truly one of a kind…and to continually thank God for this gift!

…that despite all the crap my four kids have endured as PKs (referring to previous point), none of them are hooked on drugs, pregnant, partying on the weekends, or doing time in jail.  Not because of stellar parenting, but an abundance of God’s grace and a loving and praying church family.

…for a merciful, loving, and gifted wife who was handed to me from Heaven!  In spite of my multitude of shortcomings and failures as the spiritual head of our home, she has always stood by me and encouraged the best in me.  She really is my best friend and life partner.

Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks.  For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer.  1 Timothy 4:4-5 (NLT)

How about your list?  Are there things you would mention today that you might not have before?

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You can’t stop an avalanche with a garden shovel

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.    Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

I simply love God’s word.  It seems like every time it instructs us to NOT do something, it gives us something else to do.  Don’t worry…instead, pray!   The verse above goes on to say, “Tell God…..…”  Wait a minute!  What do we need to tell God?  Doesn’t he know everything?  Why should we waste any time telling him something he already knows?

He knows when we’re…

…happy

…tired

…thankful

…worried

…angry

…doubting

…confused

I can tell you why in one word.  Relationship!  When we actively come to him with our heart opened a relationship is formed.  You see, only when we are honest with him will we have peace in our circumstance.  Only when we are bold enough to step near his throne will he guard our hearts and minds from all the distractions of life. 

When changes and trials approach us we really only have two options.  We can resist.  I like to compare this to attempting to stop an avalanche with a gardening shovel.  Our efforts are usually ineffective.  The other option is to accept it, and discover how to embrace it.  This leads to a strong witness to those around us.  It also is evidence that we are maturing in our faith.

What has shaken your world this week?  Take time today to tell Jesus all about it.  He’s waiting on you to invite him into your pain.  May you then have peace in his arms of love.

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My Unplanned Life

Let me start off by asking you a question. Have you ever had life simply not go your way? Maybe an emergency or an unexpected situation pops up! Don’t you love it? I mean, come on…don’t we deserve to have these things submit a request to our day-planner like everything else?

The fact of the matter is life is going to continue moving straight ahead whether we are keeping up or not. Some of the things that tend to catch us off guard are as simple as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yet other times it is a direct result of an untimely or unwise choice we made. God is not necessarily there placing some obstacles in our path and removing others. He is there guiding us throughout the journey. Sometimes he gets our attention by shouting our name, and other times he simply whispers. Either way, his intention is to draw you to himself…to keep you focused and not distracted. The closer we see and feel him near us, the more insignificant life’s trials appear. The contrary is also very true. If we are not walking, talking, and fellowshipping intimately with our creator the small negatives in life can virtually blind us of his presence.  Check out the verse below…

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

You see, Jesus never promised us that life would always be a bed of roses. He did, however, conquer the thorns, broken glass, fiery coals, and anything else that could otherwise tear us apart. This week, may you know the person of Jesus each day. May you also trust him enough to share your happiest moments…and your most devastating struggles with him. He longs to be there for both.

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Cast a smile

photo by: articles-place.com

Have you ever said this?  “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired!”  Maybe you’re saying it today.  Face it, life throws curve-balls at us from time to time.  But…this should not surprise us!

John 16:33 (from the Message) reads:

I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace.  In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties.  But take heart!  I’ve conquered the world.

Here are some of Jesus’ last intimate words with His disciples. When He said these words it was in the context of His approaching arrest and death. The disciples were instructed how they were going to mourn, and how joy would also soon return to them. That ‘joy’ Jesus spoke of is directly tied to His resurrection.

Simplified a bit more, this verse can be read as this: “Your challenges are also my challenges. Your enemies are my enemies. And your sadness is my sadness. But I have triumphed over it all, therefore, so have you.”

This week, may you stand up…gaze heavenward…cast a smile toward His face…and know that Jesus defeated it all for YOU!

What has Jesus conquered on your behalf recently?

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