Stand your ground

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). Every time I go through trials and tribulations, I read this verse or I recite it to myself. It is so true and so powerful. We will always have problems. There is no way we can be on this earth without any tribulations. I once heard of a man who asked a pastor to pray that he would never have any problems again. The pastor said “Do you want me to pray that you die?” As long as we are alive, we will have opportunities to exercise our faith while facing the tribulations of life. Jesus said He had conquered the world so while we are waiting for the answer to our prayers, we should keep on standing. We should keep on hoping and keep on believing. The Lord can do all things and He conquered everything that will ever try to destroy us. Whatever you are going through today and whatever will happen tomorrow, do not forget that Jesus conquered the world. The enemy wants you to fall apart and to collapse. He doesn’t want to see any Christians standing. When life gets tough, stand your ground. You are standing on holy ground. You are standing on the Word of God. You are standing on the promises of God. Keep standing. Don’t let those problems shake you. Don’t let them intimidate you. They have been conquered and your faith will make things happen for you. Stand your ground in the name of Jesus. Stay strong and keep going!

A friend and I were saying the other day how easy it is to have faith when all is well. It is a strong message I had received from the Lord years ago and to this day it has been eye opening.. God knows that in our weak moments we need faith and we need Him so He stands by our side. He doesn’t leave. He gives us hints and He gives us signs that show that He is still there. He keeps us going and He keeps us standing. What we need to do in good times and in bad times, is hold on to Him. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus when the sun is shining and when it’s raining cats and dogs. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. His promise that He conquered the world is the same yesterday, today and forever. In the face of adversity, it is very easy to give up but the world with all of its trials and tribulations was defeated. Next time you are in the middle of a crisis, say out loud that Jesus conquered the world and He took care of your problems. Keep saying it and keep believing it. That is how you will be standing your ground. The goal is not to give in to the negative thoughts that come as part of the baggage of trials and tribulations.

Negative thoughts and thoughts of discouragement will come. You can’t avoid them but what you can do is not give them life. As long as you don’t say them out loud and as long as you don’t act on them, you are in good shape. Distract your mind. Fill it with God’s love. Fill it with joy. Fill it with the Word of God. Sing. Shake off the negativity. Do a dance. Dance as a sign of adoration and worship. David danced before the Lord. Dancing for the Lord is more powerful than we think. It is part of worship and it can help us get rid of negative thoughts. When your problems are all you can think about, put something else in front of you. Look at something. Focus on something from the Word of God. Block the negativity with God’s positivity. Dive into the Word. Take a stand against the feeling of despair. Take a stand against what the enemy wants you to experience. Don’t react with emotions. React with God’s motion. God will make you move in the right direction. He will move you into the direction of positivity and hope. Hold on to hope. Hold on to the hope that says that Jesus conquered the world. You are going to be more than ok. You are more than a conqueror. Don’t give up! Stand your ground. The best is yet to come. May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!

Suggested reading: 2 Samuel 6:14-22; Proverbs 31:25; Romans 15:5

God can redirect your life

Yesterday was an exhausting day. Both physically and emotionally. I had a lot to do and I had a long meeting where we talked about some big changes at work. Some of these changes are pretty drastic and they are going to have a negative impact on our work. I was very tired and I didn’t know I could get everything done. I got it all done by God’s grace. I was cheered up by God’s grace. I had the strength to go through the day with a positive attitude by God’s grace. I saw the hand of God in action. I went from being confused and disoriented to being comforted and redirected. That is what God does. He redirects us when we are headed in the wrong direction. We might see Him in action at first but He does take care of us and He does watch over us. God watched over me beautifully yesterday. I was ready to throw in the towel and just break down. My mind was full of thoughts and ideas that were not conducive to a productive day. God had a different plan for me. He didn’t let me go too far in the direction of sadness. He saw me. He heard me and He said “time for redirection.” I found His redirection when I remembered that while I was praying in the morning, He said ‘Do not worry.” When I hear that, I often know that something is coming that will make me want to worry. Well, as the day unfolded I saw why He had said that. However, it wasn’t until later in the day that I saw how God redirected me. He reminded me of His early morning words and those words were enough to start the redirection process.

Today I want to remind you that God can redirect you and that He will assist you with that process. His Spirit is there to tell us that everything is going to be just fine. His Spirit can warn us and give us comfort way before the problems arise. I was joyful and at peace when I was praying in the morning. I sensed it was going to be another glorious day with the Lord but He knew what was coming and He warned me and gave me some early morning encouragement. I even shared it with a friend. I told her that I had received a pretty strong message from the Lord about not worrying. It was one thing after another and I felt I had a good reason to worry. There are never good reasons to worry when we have the Lord. We have to remember that. Nothing we worry about is ever worth it. God almighty is with us and He can take care of anything so why worry? It is part of our human nature to worry and it makes us feel better at times as strange as it sounds. Not being worried can seem unnatural but it can be supernatural which should be our new normal when we are in Christ. When those words came back to mind, I saw a smile. I saw the Lord smile in my heart. I sensed peace and the redirection took effect. A friend had emailed me and confirmed that there was absolutely no reason to worry. Her words echoed the Lord’s words and served as confirmation. God can use a few words to put us back on the right track.

God can redirect your life a million times. He can put things back together a million times. With God, you don’t have to think that because He did it once, He won’t do it again. He will do it again. He will do it again and even better. He will bless you and bless you and bless you. He will bless you ten times in an hour if that is needed. He is the God of redirection. The enemy might have sent you in the wrong direction but God will restore your path and make things right. Don’t get discouraged when you are lost and you don’t know what to do. That is how I felt yesterday. I was confused and I had no clue what to do. I am a man of God. I felt like I should know better but these disorienting spells can happen to any of us. I thank God for redirecting my heart and for helping me focus on what truly helped. His words helped. His words gave me a boost and gave me peace. If you are feeling lost and disoriented today, ask God to redirect you. Ask Him to redirect your life. He will make things right. He will bless your path. May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!

Suggested reading: Psalm 54:4; John 14:26; Hebrews 13:6

Pray God’s will into your life

A few days ago, I talked about the importance of believing when we pray. Whatever we ask, we should believe that we will receive it. I also mentioned that what we pray for should be in agreement with God’s will. What is God’s will for us? His will is described in His Word and He only has good intentions for us. God will not give us everything we want because everything is not good for us. His desire is to bless us and to prosper us. Anything that will not be a blessing to us and that will not prosper us in any way is not something that God wants for us. That mansion we have been praying might not exactly be what God has planned for us. It could be but we shouldn’t be surprised if it’s not in His will for us. I used to say that God could make me a millionaire but He couldn’t trust me with all that money. That money might become a god in my life and I would lose the best connection I have going on. God gives us what we need and more. “The more” is that extra cherry on the cake and it is often meant to be shared with others. God answers our prayers so we get what we need and so that we can hand the overflow to others.

One thing I had never thought about was how because I wasn’t asking, I wasn’t getting anything.  I thought that since God was God He didn’t need to hear about all my needs. However, He clearly says in His Word that we are not getting what we need because we are not asking. This means that there is a need to be a request first and that request must be in line with God’s will like I mentioned earlier. Today I want to encourage you to ask God. Don’t underestimate or overestimate your requests. Bring them to the Lord. Bring them to the throne of God and see what He does and what He has to say about it. The first thing I suggest you ask is that He gives you discernment. Ask Him to show you what His will is and to open the eyes of your spirit. Make a list of your needs and scan them with the power of discernment that only the Lord can provide. You will find many answers in the Word of God. Read it prayerfully and read it with your coach. The Holy Spirit is your coach. He can help you decipher some of the mysteries of God’s will and He can always point you in the right direction.  I pray to the Holy Spirit before I read my Bible and I thank Him for illuminating me and enlightening me. He is the best at showing the truth and He is the ultimate expert at giving us the revelation we need. He will do that for you. Make it a habit and you will discover what you should be asking God for.

God knows exactly what you need and He can give it to you as you stay in faith. We can’t go to the Lord and ask Him with doubt. We can’t try to ask Him and hope for the best. We ought to ask Him knowing that He will provide. If it’s in His will, it will come to pass. There is no doubt about it. There are some many blessings listed in the Bible that can be prayed into our lives. I would start there for sure. Pray God’s will into your life. Pray according to His heart. He will show you what’s in His heart and His Spirit will whisper the prayers to you. It implies that you should be in sync with the Lord. Agree with His Word. Develop a sense of reverence and honor for the Word. Let it be your reference book and your way of life. It should overtake the world in your mind and in your heart. Daily study and reading is often required. Carve some time in your daily schedule so you can devote time to the Word of God. I am telling you that it’s going to make your prayers very powerful because they will echo God’s will for your life. Get filled with the Word of God. Pray God’s desires for your life. Thank God for His will. Thank God for how He is blessing your life. Things will change and blessings will follow you. May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!

Suggested reading: Matthew 7:7; John 14:13-14; James 4:3

God will turn it around

One thing I know about God and I often mention is that He is the God of the impossible. He can do all things and He can change anything and everything. I am developing my faith in that truth and I am enjoying the journey. I have my opportunities to see God doing the impossible in my life and I have many opportunities to succumb to doubt and live in fear. God is bigger than doubt and fear and He is teaching me how to conquer them and how to turn those negative opportunities into great occasions when I can see His glory manifested. The God of the impossible can’t be stopped. My God can’t be stopped. My mind puts up walls at times but my faith is getting stronger and it tears down the walls that try to separate me from the God of the impossible. When I read my Bible and I go over accounts of God’s mercy and grace and accounts of His miracles, I am in awe. The God of the Bible is the same God that is in me and that lives with me today. God lives with me. That is how I see it and that is how I live my life. I have to let Him be completely in control and impress my life with His power to do the impossible. I have ways to go but I thank God that I am on my way. I remember a time when I was in a pinch and I didn’t know what to do. Everything became very dark very quickly and I couldn’t see the sun so to speak. I couldn’t see the Son. I needed help. I needed comfort. It was one of those impossible situations and I had no idea how I was going to get out of it. Then the Lord said He would turn it around. He said to my heart, “Do not worry. I’ve got this. I am going to turn your situation around.”

My first reaction was that I was daydreaming and I was hearing what I wanted to hear. However, those words were etched into my heart and I couldn’t get away from them. The Holy Spirit, our great counselor, has a way of speaking hope and encouragement into our hearts and if we take Him seriously, He seriously does what He says He will do. “Do not worry,” He said. Isn’t it one of the most beautiful things you can hear when you are panicking? It helps me tremendously. If the God of the universe tells me not to worry, I better not worry because He is in charge and He can do all things. The One who parted the seas and changed water into wine can definitely change my trial into triumph. I spent some time in prayer. I spent some time meditating on His words so I could get the fullness of what He was implying. He was implying that even though things didn’t look good, there was no reason to worry because He will make things good again. Not only can He improve our situations but He can make them even better. I was all ears. I was ready to pay attention to His directions and so I thanked Him for taking care of my circumstances.

God did turn it around. He came out of nowhere with a blessing out of this world. At least that is how it felt. I had not expected Him to rescue me the way He did but He took care of me and He replaced my fear with peace. He covered me with His love and He gave me strength. When things are rough, we lose strength, energy and drive. God turned my situation around and He gave me more than enough. My budget had been tight but I had God and I had faith and He provided amazingly. This was a long time ago but I will never forget how He came through for me. He always knows what to do and how to blow my mind. If you are going through financial difficulties, if you are in a pinch, if you don’t know what to do anymore, pray to the God who can turn it around. He will do it. He will change things for you. Keep on praying. Don’t lose hope! Something great will happen. God will surprise you and give you a blessing that will outweigh the pain that I have been through. He is going to turn your mourning into dancing and He will clothe you with gladness. The Lord is smiling at you now. He is not worried about your situation. He knows how to handle it and what to do to make you be at peace again. Rejoice! Peace is coming and joy is going to come bursting in. May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!

Suggested reading: Psalm 30:11; Isaiah 25:8;Ephesians 3:20

Pray for others

God’s greatest commandment to us is to love Him and to love our neighbors like ourselves. It is a commandment that has been twisted and modified by men to the point where we tend to define what loving God and loving others look like. Our definition is sometimes miles away from the Lord’s definition. We add “but”, “except for” or “some” to that commandment. It sounds more like “Love God but love yourself more and love some of your neighbors like yourself” or “Love God and love your neighbors except for those who are different from you.” There are thousands of variants of that definition out there and it is sad. God plainly and powerfully stated that He should be our first love and that we should love everyone with no exception. It doesn’t matter if that doesn’t jive well with our upbringing or with our culture. It is God’s commandment and He made it clear that love should be unconditional. I am learning how to love God with all my heart and how to love my neighbors like myself. I will continue to learn and do my best and I am enjoying the lessons and the endless love possibilities that stem from God’s commandment. Now, one way we can show love for others is by praying for them. One way we can show love to God is to pray to Him. 

The message I have had on my heart is to encourage you and to encourage myself to pray for others. Yesterday during prayer time the Lord spoke to me on the inside about powerful prayers that have no end. He told me about how there is always someone or something to pray about. There will always be tough situations that need to be broken by the power of prayer. There will always be someone who is suffering in private or in public and that person will need prayers. There will always be eyes that need to be opened to God, hearts that need to be mended, joy that needs to be restored, peace that needs to go into someone’s life and hope that needs to be revived. Everywhere we go we will always encounter a person that needs something from Jesus. Whether it is a smile, a hug, a word of encouragement or a prayer. The needs of this world will always be present and we are the ones who can help facilitate changes in this world in need through our prayers. We can pray for those who clearly need a breakthrough and we can pray for those who are not aware of what they need. Every single person you will ever meet can benefit from prayers. Every single person you will ever meet needs God’s love. Arm yourself with prayer and bring down the walls of fear, hatred, pain, anguish and perdition. You are praying to a God who can do all things so remember that your prayers are effective. 

When you pray, God goes to battle. The battle belongs to Him. You don’t have to make things happen. All you have to do is pray and have faith. It is God’s will for your life that you are a person of prayer, a person of faith and above all a person of love. Your prayers are love letters about others that are penned in your heart by the Holy Spirit and that ascend to God the Father who is always listening. When you pray for others, you can’t go wrong. You are doing the right thing and you are sending love to that person. Don’t stop praying for others. Find someone new to pray for. Find situations to pray about. Bring it all to the Father in prayer and trust that He is answering. You might not see results right away and you might not understand how God is answering your prayers but know that He is. Nothing can stop the Lord. Nothing is impossible to Him and He is doing all the work. Don’t carry the prayers to the point where you think it depends on how powerfully you pray. The fact that you are even caring for someone else and that you are bridging the gap for them in Jesus’ name is very powerful. Let God’s love guide you. Stay in prayer and stay in faith. Pray as often as you can and for as many people as you can. No need to make a public announcement about your prayers but be sure to make a private declaration of victory in the name of Jesus. Pray for others every day. God’s love will flow to those who need Him and you will be walking in God’s will. Keep praying for others!

Suggested reading: Job 6:14; John 15:12-13; Galatians 6:2

Create great things with God

I had an interesting dream a few days ago. I was making a gingerbread house and every time I was close to finishing the house, it collapsed. I would be ready to put the roof on top and the whole house would fall apart. I kept doing it. I kept trying and all of a sudden it worked. It reminded me that when we try to build something, we have to keep trying. We can’t get discouraged. It might not work out the first, the second, the third time but if we persevere, we will be able to build something solid. I know that I have tried to create things on my own and they have come apart before I was even able to put the whole plan together. I always forgot the most important piece of the puzzle; God has to be part of it. 

The Lord is the mason, the architect, the builder and the visionary. I should always rely on Him when I try to create something. I have to be very creative in my job and for the past few months, God’s inspiration has helped me create great lesson plans and activities. Sometimes His inspiration comes during prayer time. I used to ignore it thinking it was something that was trying to distract me when in reality it was the Spirit leading me. We all need to create every day. It might not be a lesson or an activity but we are creators all the time. We have to create a plan for the day or for the week. We have to create what we are going to say and what we are going to do on any given day. We constantly create because we are made in the image of the creator. We have to remember that our faith creates and our fears destroy.

Today I want to encourage you to let your faith create. Give it the chance to do something great. Faith is inspired by God the creator. It is our faith that can build our future. Our faith can create a solid foundation and a solid structure that the wind of doubt can’t bring down. Be the creator the Lord meant for you to be. Speak things into existence when you give your faith a voice. God spoke and the world was created. Speak blessings, healing, freedom, joy, peace and love into your life. Your faith can heal. Jesus said “Your faith healed you” to those who came to Him. Your faith can heal your most terrible circumstances and it can create blessings..

 Your faith can open the door to blessings that are bigger than your imagination. Dream God-sized dreams. A good dreamer is a good creator. Run with the dreams the Lord has put in your heart. When I read my Bible, I get very inspired and very excited about the endless possibilities. I start dreaming of things that the Lord wants for me and for the people I pray for. I dream every day and I enjoy the visions and the messages attached to those dreams. Create and build a world based on the dreams the Lord is giving you. Ask Him to open your eyes to the dreams. Renew your mind. Delete the nightmares and replace old thinking habits with God’ thinking.

Use God as your foundation when you create. Find what the Word has to say. For instance, the Word tells us not to rely on our understanding but to trust the Lord. Our understanding can give us small dreams or big dreams that are not God-centered. You can create amazing things when Jesus is at the center of your creation. Ask Him for help. Ask His Spirit for ideas and inspiration. Once you have those dreams, write them down. Pray about them. Thank the Lord for them and rejoice over them. Seal everything with faith and that is how you will be creating great things. That is when blessings will come and your creation will materialize. Create spiritual strongholds in your life by speaking about how the Holy Spirit is your coach and your counselor. Thank the Lord for His wisdom and His guidance. Speak about them and bring them into your life. Create space for God’s direction and it will lead you to a house of knowledge on top of a hill of hope. 

Create with God. Don’t be your own mason. Give God permission to help and to teach you. He wants you to seek the kingdom and you can do that by praying for others for example. God will help you create prayers that will manifest blessings into people’s lives. You have the Creator of the universe in you and with Him you can create beautiful things. Spiritual things and physical things. God can inspire you in your work, in your relationships, in your workouts, in your cooking, in your story-telling, in raising your kids. Invite Him into every part of your life and phenomenal creations will ensue. Don’t get discouraged if things fall apart. Keep at it. You will get there with God. Stay encouraged!

Suggested reading: Psalm 19:1; Proverbs 3:5-6; Colossians 1:16

You can do it all

I needed the message I received yesterday. I needed it badly. The Lord has a way of reminding us of what matters and what is true despite our feelings, our moods and our apprehensions. I had a lot on my plate yesterday. I had meetings, housework, puppy training, errands to run and a report to write. I woke up with the peace of the Lord like I do every day but once I left my prayer room, everything came flooding into my mind and worry tried to get the best of me. I felt overwhelmed and the Lord reminded me that when life is overwhelming, it’s time to overwhelm yourself with His presence. I wasn’t going to let stress dictate how my day was going to go. The day was given to me by the Lord and He should have the upper hand all day long. It’s not about praying first thing in the morning and then whining and struggling the rest of the day. There will be struggles. They are inevitable but the Lord is also inevitable. When we let Him be in the way of what is bothering us, He always makes a way. That is what I did, I let Him invade the space that worry was starting to control. I went back to prayer for a few minutes and the message came. The message was, “You can do it all through Me.” The Bible tells us that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. I didn’t have to do everything in my own strength. That is where the stress came in. The picture I had of the day looked like a giant that was too hard to tackle. My day showed up in my head like a Goliath and I was David. I needed to have David’s confidence in the Lord and praying was the stone that was going to defeat Goliath.

 

I threw the stone of prayer to that giant and it fell apart. I saw my day as an ensemble of events that God could easily handle one by one. The meetings, the work, the report, the errands, all flashed through my mind but the Lord was there for each and every one of those events. I was not alone and I was going to make it. Jesus says that we can do it all through Him. Once we trust that we can do it thanks to Him, we can expect to go through it all with flying colors. The strength of the Lord is way bigger than my strength. I can’t even compare what I can do on my own with what the Lord can do. The beauty of His message is that He gives us ownership. He says that we can do it. We own the victory and the power of achieving everything. He gives it to us. We go through Him to accomplish everything but we are the ones who do it. The most difficult tasks that you and I will ever encounter can be daunting but we can deal with them because we can do it all in Jesus’ name. Let’s keep God in the picture. He will frame the situation, give His input, provide a solution and let us take it away in His name. It is our choice to take this promise to heart and apply it to our lives. Our faith can heal us. Our faith can help us. Our faith can heal all situations. Our faith can get us to our final destination. The daunting meetings will become dazzling opportunities that prove that the Lord is right. His strength and power added to our faith will always yield amazing results.

 

Once I had the great reminder that I could do it all, I became calmer and I gave God the glory. I sang. I praised Him. I opened the gates of heaven a little wider with my praise and worship and I gave the Lord the floor. I let Him speak to my heart even more and His encouragement was priceless. God knows that nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible to the one who believes. He knows that there is a David in us who can face all the Goliaths of the world but we need to step out in faith and sling that stone. We will not be defeated with the Lord on our side. We will not be conquered. We will always conquer whatever comes our way. I said to myself that the day was going to be awesome because of my awesome God. I didn’t care how much I had to do. God was going to send me help. Angels were dispatched to assist me and the Spirit of the Lord counseled me all day long. The joy that was in my heart as I was going through the day was phenomenal. I thanked the Lord for His presence. He never leaves us. We just leave Him at the door when He knocks. We ignore the knock or we are too distracted to hear it. I was able to do all things thanks to the Lord and everything went even better than I had imagined. My imagination was poisoning my hope but the Lord took care of the poison and injected me with faith in His promises. Friend, you can do it all. Not because you are Superman but because of the One who lives in you. Greater is the One who lives in you than the devil that is in this world. Greater is the One who lives in you than all the busy events of this world. You can do it all and you are going to do it beautifully in Jesus’ name. Hold on to hope!

Suggested reading: 1 Samuel 17; Matthew 19:26; 1 John 4:4

Prayer puts everything in God’s hands

I can think of many examples of when I wanted to take things into my own hands. I thought I could do it better than God. I didn’t realize that was my mindset at the time but my actions spoke loudly. I even skipped prayer about certain matters thinking that I didn’t need prayer. Little did I know that prayer was the key to everything. I would say that I would pray about something and never said the prayer. I was then led to read the Word of God more and prayer jumped out of the pages. It appeared to be the essence of a relationship with God. Without prayer how can we communicate with God? Prayer is not just a formal means of communication. As matter of fact, it doesn’t have to be formal at all. It just has to be from the heart. It has to exist. It has to be manifested. Prayer is the language that gets us connected to God. God understands all prayers. It doesn’t matter what the actual language is. God knows it all and He hears our prayers even the ones that are not uttered. Prayer can be an internal plea. It can be muffled by the sounds of our tears. It can be hidden by the weight of our fears. It can be squeezed between two heartaches. It can be spoken by the lips of our faith even if our mouth is closed. Prayer has many forms but what all those forms have in common is a desire to communicate with God. God sees the desires of our hearts and that is what matters.

 

I have spoken before about prayer being a two-way street and not a one-way road. It’s an exchange with God. God can speak during prayer and our approach to prayer should take into consideration its listening aspect. Once I had established a daily prayer routine, I had also started expecting to hear from God. The first time it happened I thought it was my mind but the message was backed up by the Bible and it was clear that God was talking. His words are comforting and reassuring. Prayer is a place where we receive comfort, encouragement and love. When things are rough, I find refuge in prayer because that is where God’s love is apparent. I go to the Rock who cares for me more than anyone. I see prayer as a cocoon where many blessings are birthed and where love is always in the background. If you feel hurt, sad or lonely, make prayer your daily place of comfort. Prayer will give you the soothing touch you need. Keep on praying. Don’t let the pain take away the blessing of prayer. Prayer will always bless you when you give it a chance on a daily basis. “Pray about it” means “Receive God’s love in your situation” as well. It’s not just about getting guidance. It’s also about getting the love and peace that are needed in the situation we are in. For every difficulty, God has a solution and it begins with being aware of how much He loves us and because He does, He will get us out of that trial and tribulation.

 

Prayer is surrender. It’s taking the time to humble ourselves before the Lord. It is showing our vulnerability and receiving power and strength from the Lord. The surrender aspect of prayer also comes from the fact that when we pray we should accept that God will make a way. When we have a request, we should let God take care of it. We should let God be God and not try to be in control. That was a tough lesson for me to learn. I still struggle with it at times but I am always reminded by the Spirit of God that God always knows best. I am not the architect of my life. God has the blueprint of every situation I will ever encounter and I need to let go and just enjoy watching the master plan unfold. I am not always able to see how God is laying out the structure of the solution but faith reveals the process and I just have to trust it. “Pray before you worry about it” is a reality in my life and I strive to keep it going. When we walk in faith, worrying is never justified. If we pray about a matter, worry doesn’t make sense and we can push it out of our system. Prayer recognizes that our lives are in God’s hands. Friend, your life is in God’s hands. Believe it with your whole heart. Prayer will show you that once you put it all in God’s hands you have nothing to worry about. Pray every single day and you will keep handing your life over to God so He can do what’s best and give you rest!

Suggested reading: Matthew 6:6; Philippians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Take care of yourself with God’s help

One thing that seems very necessary these days is self-care. We have to take care of ourselves (and others). These times are very trying for a lot of people and we can easily get weak and weary if we don’t maintain a balance and if we don’t take care of our emotions and our health. When our emotions are flying high to altitudes where hope is non-existent, we are more susceptible to crash and burn. We need to have a strong core if we are going to be asked to do emotional planks all the time. The pandemic and its host of negative agents has pushed many of us to our limits and we find ourselves having to do an emotional plank so to speak. Holding that plan is almost impossible. No matter how strong you were before all this started, today you have to work on either staying strong or on getting stronger. What does God have to say about self-care? He says, ‘Come to me you that are heavy laden.” He tells us that He will give us rest and He will take care of us. The first step is to recognize that we need His help and that we can’t do anything without Him. I often find myself humbling myself before the Lord during prayer time especially these days. Things can seem so overwhelming and only the One who can overwhelm the world with His goodness can help me make it. I can’t see myself as number one in this process. Number One is Jesus and He is my provider. When He comes first, I can see that I am first in His eyes. It is an interesting concept. When we put God first, we realize that He sees us as the apple of His eyes. Today I want to encourage you to take care of yourself by letting the Lord take care of you. Make it a habit to rest in Him. Find the peace and the comfort you need in Him. Let His Spirit coach you and get you strong so you can hold that plank and you can face the day with no worry and with no fear. Let the Lord give you rest. He knows how to do it best!

 

The burden that people have been carrying lately is heavy. It is a bundle of fear, chaos, worry, lack, sickness, distress and many other parts that create this negative load. We all carry burdens and problems until we realize that we are not supposed to. When something bad happens to us, we take on that burden and we keep it in our minds. Some of us know how to release that burden right away and some of us use it as material for overthinking and over-indulging in mental confusion. Those burdens usually come from what we hear, what we see and what we feel. Our senses transmit a signal that triggers those burdens. Well-guarded senses know how to stop the burdens. When our senses are ruled by faith and surrendered to the Lord, they can stop any burden from forming. The key is to allow our faith to be bigger than our senses. We can walk by faith and not by sight. We can walk by faith and not by what we hear that is negative. We can walk by faith and not by our feelings. How can we do that? The answer is in the Word of God. Taking care of ourselves means taking the Word at face value. Taking care of ourselves means spending time in the Word until it becomes a part of us. The world takes too much space in us because we live in it and we are part of it but it is the Word of God that should be dominating our world. There is no way around it. We need to be in the Word and to be constant doers of the Word.

 

Taking care of ourselves is achieved when we study the Word of God and we apply it. There is some action required on our part. If we read that the Lord will be with us and never forsake us but we act like He is not around, we are not being doers of the Word. I have found that applying the truth of God’s Word has changed the way I deal with life. When I follow the Lord and I heed His advice, my spiritual core gets fed and I am able to withstand the attacks of the enemy better. God’s Word will take care of us when we let it take its course and do its work in us. Active participants in the Word of God see amazing results. They develop a spiritual and emotional plank that is solid. When life tries to push them down, the Word of God in them gives them the ability to hold that plank no matter what the weight is on their back. They take care of themselves by taking care of their spirits. As long as their spirits are fed the truth, the way and the life, life springs out of their core and they are stable and ready for anything.

 

Friend, take care of yourself. Get physical rest. Sleep enough. Eat well. Be active. Feed your spirit. Let your spirit develop muscles of faith so that you can stay calm and collected when life tries to remove your peace. Find rest in the Lord. Seek His face. Pray and spend time with Him away from people, away from the media, away from the negative thoughts. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you peace and to counsel you. God will take care of you better than you can take care of yourself.  Things will get better when your core is stronger. Give it all to the Lord and you will see what He does with your emotions, your well-being and your attitude toward life.

Suggested reading: Matthew 11:28-30; John 7:37; Galatians 5:1

 

God will refine you and define you

I love how God refines us. He molds us, He changes us. He does a wonderful work in us when we submit to Him. When we surrender ourselves and we leave our ego at the door as we enter His house, changes follow. We can’t be with God and spend time with Him without being altered and modified. God is always with us but we are not always with Him. We can choose to go in a direction that it not His ways. We can walk on the left side of life when He wants us to stay on the right side. We can walk fast away from His goodness but it doesn’t mean He is not there. We can get into a lane that doesn’t belong to us and stick to our own will. Stepping away from the lane that was designed for us and walking away from God can lead us into dire straits. The refinement that takes place when we stay in the house of the Lord is a beautiful process that bears much fruit. Surrender and devotion are key. We need to acknowledge that we can’t do this life without Jesus. He desires to bless us by refining our spiritual character and molding our hearts so that they look more like His. The refinement process involves some burning. It’s the burning of our old ways. The burning of our thinking, the renewing of our minds and the development of our spirit. The word “refine” has the adjective “fine” in it. What God is doing in your life as you give Him control, is going to turn you into a fine individual. He is going to turn you into a person of high quality. High quality according to His will. Today I want to encourage you to recognize that the Lord is a refiner and that He is refining you so you can be more like Him.

When I hear the word “refinement”, I picture some fine and pure sugar. For some reason I see some fine grains, a sugar of the highest quality around. God makes us sweet when He refines us and He opens our eyes to the sweetness of His love in every situation. He gives us the ability to see the good in everything. He gives us the ability to see the good despite the bad. He opens our eyes to the reality that He is bigger than our biggest problems. He fine-tunes out spiritual eyesight so the filter of faith replaces the filter of fear. God can change us on the inside in a way that defies all understanding. He can do the impossible on the inside and then we understand that anything is possible. He refines our approach to life and He refines our (spiritual) senses. He dilutes the negative perspective we have held on to for some long. How does this take place? When we place ourselves in His hands and His Word is our go-to reference for life. When we abide in Him and obey Him, He can refine us and redefine us.


I mentioned a stage of burning when God refines us. The sacrifice of praise can appear to be a burning procedure that feels like a stretch.
When we feel that burn of worship because our flesh doesn’t want to praise the Lord, we are on the right track. The burn doesn’t last but God’s goodness is revealed. Oftentimes we need the flesh to be put under so the goodness of God can be presented to our spirit. The flesh is weak but the spirit is willing. As God is refining you, take a stand and decide to stay in the spirit and give your flesh a tranquilizer until your spirit is more in control. Your spirit wants to obey the Lord and follow His control. Stay in prayer. Be in prayer every day. God will refine you in many ways as you pray. Prayer is a platform that gives God the ok for refinement. God will speak to you during prayer time and help you proceed through the “refinement operation.” God will operate on you and He will hold you dearly in His hands. Keep surrendering. Keep praising Him. Keep thanking Him. Keep relying on Him. Keep tuning into His Spirit. Let God refine you and define you today!

Suggested reading: Isaiah 64:8; Romans 9:20-22; Romans 12:2