Gratitude, thankful, thank you, joy, provision, peace, community, strength, God’s love, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Say Thank You: Remembrance and Gratitude are Keys in A Life of Joy

How many times do we slip into the muck of life because we are stuck in our own pity-party? Get out of the muck, and say thank you. Enter a life of gratitude and joy.



“It’s ok to have your pity party, but then you need to move on.” This is some sage advice given to me by my husband’s grandmother when I was a newlywed. I cannot for the life of me remember what prompted this advice, but it has stuck with me for nearly two decades. Perhaps this wisdom was shared in a moment of tough love, but I received it well, and treasure it greatly.

There are still days when I have my pity parties. Things seem too difficult. I feel too tired. There are moments when I want to throw in the towel and call it quits. Days I feel all alone in a crowded space. My feelings are hurt, yet again. And before I know it, I am wallowing in the muck.

In the middle of the muck is usually when I heap on a big dose of guilt and shame. You know, to make myself the martyr of my own demise. I think I shouldn’t feel this way, I should be tougher, I should be better, I should do more. No wait – I shouldn’t do more – I should do less. I should be grateful. Meanwhile, the promise of abundant life slips by.

How many times do we slip into the muck of life because we are stuck in our own pity-party? Get out of the muck, and say thank you. Enter a life of joy. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #gratitude #thankful #joy #ThankYou #PityParty #provision #community

Pity Party

There are things that are too difficult. There are problems I simply cannot fix because I do not possess the means. But, hallelujah! They are not too difficult for God.

I do feel tired at times. But the things I am doing like parenting and leading and teaching are good things. They continually bring me back to my knees.

There are moments I want to quit. A life of joy doesn’t mean easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. It means peace. Things can be hard yet peaceful.

There are days I feel alone. The loss of friendships has left gaping wounds. I hide behind facades, too afraid to let people see the real me. But I am NOT alone. God continually meets my need for community.

My feelings do get hurt. Having a sensitive heart is a strength of compassion. This is how God created me, and I am confident it is a gifting He gave on purpose. But honestly, it is often my own insecurity that causes my wounded pride.

Gratitude

Gratitude is woven throughout a life of joy. And gratitude begins with awareness. By acknowledging and remembering the blessings in life, our attitudes shift from doubt to confidence.

Remember God’s faithfulness of provision in your life. And say thank you.

If we are able to solve our dilemmas on our own, we would not need to rely on the Lord. And if we provide the solution, then we receive the credit. When there seems to be no solution, God will provide. He will receive glory, and we learn to trust in a deeper way.

Remember God’s strength gives you endurance. And say thank you.

We are in continual training. Every trial we go through prepares us for further work. This is our hope and comfort. Because we know that our future is for eternity and that our life has purpose by glorifying the Father, we see value in these trials.

Remember God’s peacefulness brings you comfort. And say thank you.

Because the task we are enduring is one we are called to, part of His provision is comfort and peace. There is a difference between stretching our faith, and a struggle with the Spirit within ourselves. We have His peace within the discomfort.

Remember God’s plan for community. And say thank you.

Instead of focusing on the loss of friendship, focus on the friends we have. Invest in these people, build trust, and love them well. God does not desire us to be alone, He created us to need community.

Remember God’s love for you and all His creation. And say thank you.

Getting the focus off of ourselves, onto others, we can see that we are loved and cared for. Recognize this. Be thankful for the love other people give. Receive it well.

Move On

If you find yourself in the muck, go ahead and have your pity party knowing you will not stay there. Feel all the feelings – sad, stressed, overwhelmed, hurt, scared. Then remember. Remember how God cares for you, the provisions, the blessings. Acknowledge the good in your life. Focus on what you have, love who you have, use the time you have and do it all for the glory of the Lord.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT

Feel all the feelings – sad, stressed, overwhelmed, hurt, scared. Then remember. Remember how God cares for you, the provisions, the blessings. Click To Tweet

How many times do we slip into the muck of life because we are stuck in our own pity-party? Get out of the muck, and say thank you. Enter a life of joy. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #gratitude #thankful #joy #ThankYou #PityParty #provision #community

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Faith, focus, perspective, strength, mountains, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Finding Perspective: Focusing Your Eyes on Jesus

Many difficult experiences in life, shift our focus to the chaos around. Finding perspective is key. Keeping our eyes on Jesus gives us the strength to carry on.



Mountain Top Experiences

In Bible times, when someone wanted to fully experience the presence of God, to clearly hear His voice, to embrace His power completely, they took to the mountains. There is just something about being on the peak of a mountain that not only moves you physically closer to God but spiritually as well. You cannot be atop a mountain, walking among the clouds, without being in awe of its Creator and His all-mighty power.

We all have difficult experiences in this life. Finding perspective is key. Keeping our eyes on Jesus gives us the strength to overcome any difficulty. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #faith #focus #perspective #strength #mountain

Finding Your Burning Bush

It was at the top of Mount Sinai, the mountain of God, where Moses first encountered God in the form of a burning bush. On this mountain, God commissioned Moses to lead the people of Israel out of their slavery and oppression (Exodus 3:1-10).

It is this same holy mountain that Moses returned with the Israelites, where he received the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19-20). It is this same mountain that Moses climbed to be in the very presence of God, to seek His guidance for the journey he must make to the Promised Land.

If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor…The Lord replied, ‘I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.’ … ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you…but you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.’

Exodus 33:13-14 & 19-20, NLT

Finding Your Silent Strength

During Jesus’ ministry, He dealt with all of the same stressors that we as humans face today, only to a much greater degree. He frequently retreated to the mountains to pray for strength and guidance; to just be rejuvenated. If Jesus needed time alone to speak with God, how much greater is our need for moments of solitude and solace?

On these mountain tops, Jesus imparted some of His greatest words of wisdom, including the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). It was on the top of a high mountain that Jesus was transformed and His glory shown to the disciples.

There He was transfigured before them, his face shown like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.

Matthew 17:2, ESV

While that kind of experience was not necessarily my intention when I started my journey up the mountain, that was definitely how it ended.

Finding Your Faith

There have been many great lessons learned at the peak of a mountain, and I am sure that mine is not nearly as profound as some, but I did learn that food poisoning and climbing, or should I say descending, mountains do not really mix. The climb up the mountain was filled with breathtaking views and tranquility. However, the climb down was a much different story, one that was filled with a different kind of beauty. The kind of beauty that can only be felt when you go through the fires and come face-to-face with God.

Shortly after eating our lunch on top of Mt. LeConte, I suddenly began to feel very sick. I later realized that the hummus I had just consumed was maybe not the best choice. Instead of being properly refrigerated, it sat in a hot backpack the day before and overnight. I can tell you, it will probably be a good, long while before I eat hummus again; it is definitely not as good the second time around. Some of you may think it’s not even that good the first time.

Just Keep Walking

I knew there was only one way off that mountain, and it was 6 miles of hiking through treacherous terrain. So, I did what I had to do, I just kept walking, and I prayed–I prayed like someone who has come to the end of themselves and knows that they won’t be able to make it on just their own abilities. I pleaded with God, “Lord, please help me make it down this mountain!” And a verse immediately came to mind:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4, KJV

Jesus Will Meet You Where You Are

I have always been comforted by the story of Peter walking on water. Shortly after Jesus had descended the mountain, where he had been praying alone, He met the disciples who were already out in the middle of the lake. And by met them there, I mean He walked across the stormy waves to where they were tucked safely inside their vessel. Jesus beckoned to Peter:

‘Come,’ He said.

Matthew 14:29, NIV

Keep Your Eyes On Jesus

And Peter cast his fears and anxieties aside and put his faith in Jesus. He left the safety of his boat behind to brave the deadly seas. The world was quite literally crashing down around him. But he remained unscathed as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. However, like most of us, he became paralyzed by the chaos surrounding him.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’

Matthew 14:30, NIV

It was that same calm voice that cried out to Peter that I heard calling out to me:

“KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME.”

It became a chant in my head:

“KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME.”

As I walked over thin strips of land, with only a cable to hold on to on one side and a sheer dropoff on the other:

“KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME.”

While traveling down slick, steep rocks:

“KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME.”

Steep Cliff at Mt. Leconte
Finding Perspective

Finding Perspective

And I did, I kept walking, and I kept my eyes transfixed on Jesus. And after a while, I began to feel better, until I had only a couple of miles left to go, and I again became very ill and weak.

My mouth was parched. I knew I was dehydrated, but every time I tried to take a drink, it only made my stomach start to churn. I sat down and didn’t know how I was going to be able to get back up and finish. Again, that still, small voice returned. Only this time, with a slight difference.

“KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME. YOU’RE ALMOST THERE!”

So, I shakily got back up and did the only thing I could, I just kept walking and walking and walking…with Jesus’ voice encouraging me until I eventually made it to the crystal clear, flowing stream and serene waterfalls that I enjoyed so much at the beginning of the hike.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Psalm 23:2-3, KJV
Flowing Brook on Alum Cave Trail to Mt. Leconte
Finding Perspective

When we focus on God’s power instead of our problems, we can face even the most treacherous mountain. Finding perspective helps us face our mountains. And we all have our mountains. Times when there are steep cliffs surrounding us, and one false step feels disastrous. Rocky terrain that is difficult to maneuver. A difficult stretch of land that seems like it will never end. Days when we feel we just can’t go on.

In those times, when you just can’t do it on your own, Jesus whispers:

“KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME. YOU’RE ALMOST THERE!”

When we focus on God’s power instead of our problems, we can face even the most treacherous mountain. Finding perspective helps us face our mountains. Click To Tweet

We all have difficult experiences in this life. Finding perspective is key. Keeping our eyes on Jesus gives us the strength to overcome any difficulty. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #faith #focus #perspective #strength #mountain

unsplash-logoWillian Justen de Vasconcellos
weakness, weak, strength, empty, grace, emptiness, enough, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Weak: When We are Empty, God’s Strength is Enough

When we feel weak, Christ is the strength we need to serve out of our emptiness. He is enough especially because we are not.



Perception

I love giving feedback especially when it is good. Recently, a few of us threw a wedding shower and it was so beautiful. The decorations were lovely, the games were a ton of fun, and the atmosphere was relaxing and cozy.

I texted both of the girls I had worked with and told them what a fabulous job they had done. One of them quickly replied that she was sorry for the mess her house had been in when we got there. That she truly felt like her efforts were just being drug out of an empty well with a too full season. But, she was wrong.

When we feel weak, Christ is the strength we need to serve out of our emptiness. He is enough especially because we are not. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #empty #enough #weakness #strength

Am I Weak?

What does living out of emptiness look like? I mean, let’s be honest, none of us is really looking for that kind of serving. We would rather be serving out of plenty, fullness, more than enough.

I am often drawn to the stories in scripture of the widow’s mite or the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair. These women used what they had and it was lavish. Jesus does not say that the mite wasn’t enough because the offering was small. He knew that is all she had and it mattered to him.

Empty

I had a similar experience…

I spend a lot of my day thinking and praying for people. It really is a gift and I don’t take it for granted. I was driving by a friend’s business and was prompted to pray and text her. Weeks later, I heard the rest of the story.

It was a difficult day. A difficult hour. It was right on time to point my friend to Jesus. Now, let me set you straight right now. I am not special. In fact, if my friend had not shared this with me, I would have kept on feeling pretty useless.

Right now, I could not be more depleted, more emotionally empty. I really don’t have much…

He is Enough

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  

2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NLT

But, Christ does not expect me to work out of my own strength. Am I the only one who feels that way? I think I have to have all the answers and all the ability. I’m pretty sure the Gospel verifies that I do not have any answers for myself.

He Knows Me

I gently texted my friend back a reminder: When we think things are falling out of our control, that is when we can serve in our own emptiness. We can know that He fills us and uses us through His own strength.

I, myself, need this reminder.

I am so tempted to believe that God wanted me because I was worthy or useful. When the opposite is true. He loved me when I was an enemy. And He loves me now when I think I need to have it all together. His desire is for me to rely on His strength because He knows I am weak. He knew that then, He knows it now, and His opinion is still one of grace and love. That is who He is and for that I am grateful.

God desires us to rely on His strength in our weakness. He knows we can't and don't have it all together but His opinion is still of grace and love. Click To Tweet

When we feel weak, Christ is the strength we need to serve out of our emptiness. He is enough especially because we are not. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #empty #enough #weakness #strength

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
boundaries, comfort, sufficient, grace, strength, peace, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Sufficiency: Finding Comfort in the Promises of God

The messages of the world can leave us feeling empty. We must seek our comfort in the promises of God and trust in His sufficiency. 



If you subscribe to the concept of love languages, it would take you five minutes with my son to recognize that his love language is clearly physical touch. In a world where snuggling was an Olympic sport, he would earn gold medals. He could beg to be tickled all day, every day and never stop asking for more. He likes to be right next to you at all times so that if he wants to reach out and touch for even a second, he can. My sweet boy expresses himself through touch, communicating both his love and his anger with his hands and feet.

The messages of the world can leave us feeling empty. We must seek our comfort in the promises of God and trust in His sufficiency. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #boundaries #comfort #grace #scripture #devotional

Understanding Boundaries

We live in a physical world where contact is necessary. However, we draw boundaries around this necessity to keep ourselves and others safe from something as little as awkwardness, to something as big as victimization. Because of these boundaries, my son’s world is constantly telling him that his desire to connect with others and have them connect with him is not okay. He hears the same messages on a loop:

  •    That’s inappropriate.
  •    Too rough.
  •    I’m not available right now.
  •    Keep your hands to yourself.

One night, after carefully explaining appropriate touching to him, he fell apart in my arms and sobbed. “Mommy,” he cried, “I try. So. Hard. But I like people and I want to touch them, but I always get in trouble because it’s just so hard to remember.”

I hugged him tightly and reassured him that I knew he was trying. Recognizing that it was a challenge for him, I let him know the fact he loves people is a good thing. My heart broke for him because I know it is difficult to feel loved when you feel like you are always in trouble. It is especially difficult when you are always in trouble for something that is such a large part of who you are, intrinsically. You can feel wholly insufficient.

Seeking Comfort

It is hard. God created us in a physical world in order to be in relationship with others. At the same time, we are sinners and have to be in relationship with other sinners. This makes for messy relationships and confusing boundaries. And there are times where we feel discontent with our earthly relationships. This discontentment is meant to be healed by finding our comfort, rest, and satisfaction in the arms of Christ.

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11, ESV

I think that many of us know this and have moments where we can truly feel it. But resting in the Lord doesn’t have the immediate, recognizable comfort that the embrace of a loved one has for us. His words, also, are harder to hear than those of others in our lives. Especially when we are distracted by the world and its demands.

This reminds me of the Israelites as they waited for Moses. They became fearful and distracted by their circumstances. Since they were not seeing the blessings and protections of the Father in that moment, they created an idol to worship in His stead. They were unable to trust in His sufficiency when they thought He might be absent. While we may not be forging gold into a golden calf in our daily lives, we can make physical contact with others an idol. We can easily take His sufficiency for granted.

Flipping the Script

I have to figure out how to present this to a five-year-old. It’s difficult enough for me to understand and seems like an insurmountable obstacle to apply it when it is needed the most. The best solution for me right now is to teach my boy the scriptures he can turn to. It is so important for him to look for solutions in the Word. I must help him hide those words in his heart so that he can turn the messages from his physical world into messages from God, rooted in Truth.

  • It’s inappropriate to touch someone that way just because you like them, but God’s grace is sufficient for you.
  • That’s too rough. Remember that you are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
  • I am not available for you right now, but the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
  • Hands to yourself. Instead, pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.
  • I know it is So. Hard. But you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Maybe, while teaching my son, I will learn this as well.

While we may not be forging gold into a golden calf in our daily lives, we can make physical contact with others an idol. We can easily take His sufficiency for granted. Click To Tweet

The messages of the world can leave us feeling empty. We must seek our comfort in the promises of God and trust in His sufficiency. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #boundaries #comfort #grace #scripture #devotional

Bryan Minear

Refuge: Where Can We Find Solace in Times of Anguish?

Despair surrounds us. Trials abound. Where do we find refuge? Can we truly experience peace when we are feeling anguish?



I just got news that a friend’s cancer screening came back CLEAR. We are high-fiving and rejoicing all over Northern Virginia, and beyond! Several of us waiting and praying needed the win – to see God’s mercy displayed. I am crying tears of joy.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10, ESV

So much loss and heartache is swirling around in my sphere. I talked to someone earlier who feels like they’re fighting off despair with a baseball bat. We spoke about how we come into this world with nothing and we leave the same way. Everything we receive in life is a gift, but it is freaking painful when we lose them. It is difficult to believe we won’t end up humiliated if we place all of our trust in God.

Despair surrounds us. Trials abound. Where do we find refuge? Can we truly experience peace when we are feeling anguish?

But once you’ve experienced God, His presence is not something you want to be without. There is always more to discover about God. Still, it has to be personal. I can tell you my homemade chocolate pound cake with chocolate buttercream frosting is scrumptious. (And it is) But if you haven’t tasted it, how can you possibly know?

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!

Psalm 34:8, NLT

When you lose another job, how can you not be perplexed? When your spouse cheats on you, or you have a miscarriage, how does it not absolutely crush you? Exactly how do you not give into despair when you’re sitting in a jail cell because someone lied about you?

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.

Psalm 46:1-3, NASB

Despair surrounds us. Trials abound. Where do we find refuge? Can we truly experience peace when we are feeling anguish?

Throughout my life God has been a refuge for me. He sustained me and brought me out of darkness. He restored my marriage from the brink of divorce. I’ve experienced His deep peace in times of anguish. The kind where you tune into yourself and realize, this isn’t natural. I should be way more upset right now.

God does not often clue me in ahead of time to His plan, but I know He is at work. I am familiar with His goodness. When I feel like I’m tottering on the edge of despair, I recall to mind how He has been my refuge in the past. Then I have unwavering hope.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.

Isaiah 26:3-4, ESV

What does it look like to make God your refuge?


If you have found this inspiring, share the encouragement…

Everything we receive in life is a gift, but it is freaking painful when we lose them. Click To Tweet

Despair surrounds us. Trials abound. Where do we find refuge? Can we truly experience peace when we are feeling anguish?

m wrona

Ready, Prepared, Perspective, Risks, Pursued, Loved, Strength, Faith, Glory

Get Ready

When getting ready to face the unknown, we must be prepared, change our perspective, and take risks. The Lord is loving, strong, and longs for His glory to be known.



There has been a recurring theme in my life over the past couple of weeks. And one day in particular that caught my attention. Perhaps it take multiple times of smacking me in the face with something in order for me to understand. Perhaps I need to pay attention to what is happening.

Over the past few weeks, I have been doing the Ready Study by Heather Dixon. It is a study on the book of Joshua, chapters 1-5 and teaching how to be ready when we are facing unknown circumstances. I also have been reading through Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson. It’s about praying often with boldness, and is a 40 day prayer challenge. And during my runs I have been listening to Cast of Characters by Max Lucado. In this book he connects our lives with the lives of people in the Bible.

Well, on one day the phrase “Get Ready” came to my attention in 3 different ways.

First, in the study by Heather Dixon, where she says this:

I was sitting on our screened-in porch listening to the early morning songs of my backyard bird friends when God told me to get ready.

Three months after God told me to get ready, I was in the emergency room with two aneurysms. I lost 10% of my kidney tissue. Not long after that, my left carotid artery ruptured. I underwent two precarious surgeries to repair it. I was soon diagnosed with Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome – a genetic connective tissue disorder that makes my blood vessels, arteries, and organs prone to spontaneous rupture. There is no cure for Vascular Ehlers-Danlos. There is no treatment. There is only a prescription from the doctor to prepare your bucket list and live your life well. The average life-expectancy of someone with VEDS is 48. Indeed, God wanted me to be ready for something. I am convinced that God led me to Joshua’s story as a gracious warning for what was to come. It was the truths I learned in Joshua 1-5 that helped me stay strong through months of uncertainty.

Then, later that day I was listening to a podcast where Heather was being interviewed, and I heard this segment of her story being told again, with her saying, “get ready.”

Finally, in the late afternoon as I sat down to read in Draw the Circle, I couldn’t believe my eyes when the title for day one was, “Get Ready.”

Okay Lord, I get it. It’s time to get ready.

But for what? Is it something good? Is it something bad?

I remember a time in my life where I had a similar whisper in my spirit. I can still tell you where I was when I heard it. I had this feeling of peace, and a general all-is-right-with-the-world kind of feeling. And then the feeling shifted to, what is about to come?

Wow, did life ever shift. In the following months we experienced three deaths in the family, including my mother, as well as moving to a new state with a new job and no friends. My world, and my faith, were shaken.

But this time, I say “bring it.”


Getting Ready…

Be Prepared. In the Ready Study, Heather Dixon talks about how God will prepare us for our battles beforehand. That “He does not call you where His feet have not already marched.” The Lord knows what is coming, He is not surprised. He promises to prepare us for the work to come.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

The Lord knows what is coming, and promises to prepare us for the work to come. Click To Tweet

Change Perspective. In the chapter about David in the Cast of Characters, Max Lucado shares how David could see the giant and how large he was, but more than seeing Goliath, he saw how powerful God is.

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord‘s, and he will give you into our hand.”

1 Samuel 17:45-47

Take Risks. In Draw the Circle, Mark Batterson (who is also sharing about Joshua), challenges us to step out in faith and be willing to get our feet wet. Notice that God didn’t hold back the water and then tell them to go forward. He told them to get in the water first.

And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.”

So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters…were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.

Joshua 3:13-17


Final Thoughts…

Do I believe God’s power is bigger than my giant?

Do I face the unknown with boldness?

I honestly do not know if I am headed toward something good, or something bad. None of us know what the day will bring. But… I do know that whatever is to come, I will be prepared for it. I do know that, even though I may not be able to handle it, God can. I do know that God wants good things for me, so if walking through difficult times will bring me closer to Him and bring glory to His name, I am willing to step out in faith.

What are you getting ready for?


PS…

These are the books I referenced, all of which I recommend:

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When getting ready to face the unknown, we must be prepared, change our perspective, and take risks. The Lord is loving, strong, and longs for His glory to be known.

NeONBRAND

Aware: Knowing Our Strengths and Weaknesses

Often, the attribute we consider a strength can also be our weakness. Likewise, the things we see as weakness in ourselves may just in fact be our strength.


Watching my children grow and develop into their own selves is an incredibly rewarding experience. Of course, it’s also maddening and terrifying. Even though I see so much strength in them, I know they will also struggle with their weaknesses as they experience in life.

My specific prayer for my oldest son, and the meaning behind his name, is that he would not only be strong but also bring strength to others. I see this being developed in him, and it’s beautiful. He is incredibly compassionate and has a tender heart with a desire to care for others who are hurting. Unfortunately, he also gets his feelings hurt easily. I don’t want him to hide from others, seeking protection. But it’s his compassion that makes him sensitive. It’s his strength and his weakness. He also has a desire for fairness and justice. Unfortunately, he can be lazy and selfish, only concerning himself with his own justice. Life is rarely fair, and I don’t want him to only do the minimum required just so he is not taken advantage of, but it’s recognizing the desire for justice in himself that will spur him on to speak up for others. It’s his strength and his weakness.

For my younger son, I pray that he will be loyal and a trustworthy man whose word is true and dependable. He is a hard worker and already a huge help when working on projects around the house. Unfortunately, he finds it difficult to communicate which results in vast amounts of frustration. I don’t want him to feel inadequate because he is unable to use words. His ability to express himself with his actions and creativity is amazing. It’s his strength and his weakness.

I pray for my daughter to be a bright light to others, to bring joy to those who need to be uplifted. She’s bright alright, bright like a fireball! I have lots of praying to do…

The attribute we consider a strength can also be our weakness. Click To Tweet



 Strengths and Weaknesses…

We were each created in a specific way, designed for a purpose. As my friend Cheryl said in her guest post, “I can never be you, and you can never be me.” Each of us are given our unique gifts, and quirks. We each have valuable gifts and strengths to share with each other. This is how we function best in relationships, the church, and society.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6, ESV

This does not, however, mean that we are not to weed out certain areas in our lives. With each of those strengths, comes a weakness which we are prone to. There are parts of us that need to be challenged, weaknesses that need to be strengthened. I believe this is the ploy of our soul’s enemy. He is a deceiver, and perverter of the good our Creator has made. The enemy cannot create things of his own, so he twists what the Lord has made.

To begin the process of strengthening our weaknesses, we must acknowledge them.

Our weaknesses can be related to our strengths. Perhaps your strength is…

organizing… but get irritated when things don’t go as planned.

flexibility… but struggle to complete a task.

being driven… but become obsessive.

serving others… but get taken advantage of.

dreaming… but don’t complete a project.

having endurance… but collapse under the strain.

responsibility… but don’t give out of abundance.

trustworthiness… but don’t trust others.

determination… but don’t know when to ask for help.

diligence… but don’t take risks.

compassion… but get your feelings hurt.

communicating… but say too much and hurt others.

Once we have identified our strengths, or talents, that the Lord has given us, we can be aware of how the enemy will try to twist it in order to make us less effective. Then, we repent of it, and tell Satan to “be gone“!



Your turn…

Just like we each have different strengths, we each have our own weaknesses. I challenge you to recognize and be aware of that weakness, and allow our Creator to use it. The Lord will use it for His glory. He will use you in mighty ways if you will allow Him.

What are your strengths, and what are your weaknesses?

xoxo

Meiying Ng