Tag Archives: trials

Where are the answers?

We all have moments of crisis. We all have times when we are overwhelmed by what life has just brought to us. We all have real-life, human emotions. And it’s ok to say it.

In Jeremiah 37, the people of Judah were facing a real life battle. But here’s the rub; and here is where the enemy wins, our anxiety, anger, sadness, or other things overtake us, and we veer further off course than we meant or needed to:

Just like the people of Judah, we look for our conclusive help in the wrong place.

They looked to the army of Egypt to save them. But God was there all the time, and had been from the beginning, trying to get them to turn to Him. Yet they refused.

We do it, too. Proverbs 20:7 says, “Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.”

The Lord had saved them time and time again, but they kept forgetting, and way too often not even giving Him credit. Sound familiar? ūüė¨

Proverbs 44:6-8, “I don’t depend on my arrows or my sword to save me. But You saved us from our hateful enemies, and You put them to shame. We boast about You, our God, and we are always grateful.”

My, oh my. Why do we continue to look to ourselves, to others, and to outside sources for the answer, the solution, or the salvation? It is God that fights, God that has the answers, and God that is Faithful.

He protects, shields, defends, provides, supplies, heals, comforts, creates, fights, gives wisdom, gives knowledge, gives understanding, unifies, loves, breathes life. There is literally nothing He can’t do!

The answers we seek? They lie in Him.

We saw the mountain, in the photo, when we were in TN. I mentioned that it reminded me of when Moses was on the mountain talking to God, and it was covered in cloud and smoke. My son said, “Maybe someone’s up there talking to God.” ‚̧ԳŹ Maybe they were. I sure hope so. That’s what we all need to do.

You are loved,

jamie

You’ve been heard

My enemies, don’t be glad because of my troubles!  I may have fallen, but I will get up; I may be sitting in the dark, but the Lord is my light.  Micah 7:8

Have you ever felt that way?  You might have had enemies or just troubles.  For a moment you might have fallen.  Perhaps your enemies were more like regular complaints that caused you to feel like your falling.

Maybe you were in the dark, but all of sudden there was the light.  The Lord was there to remind you that He was the light of the world, and  you would not be overtaken by any of it!  

Something like verse 7 might have sprung to your mind, that says, “But I trust the Lord God to save me, and I will wait for Him to answer my prayer.”

The waiting may feel longer sometimes than others, but rest assured, dear friend, that even if you’re going through that now, that He has heard you. 

Michael told Daniel, “Daniel, don’t be afraid! God has listened to your prayers since the First days you humbly asked for understanding, and he has sent me here.”

The light of the world hears your humble cries.  He will not let you stumble.  God Most High will still be your Refuge in times of need. And He is still the lifter of your head.

Call upon Him and keep trusting,

jamie

Don’t quit now

Farkle.¬† Have you ever played?¬† It’s a pretty low-key dice game, but you can choose to take risks or not.¬† My son decided to take a risk that didn’t pay off.¬† He lost a lot of points and asked if we could change the rules “just this once, and then everyone could have the same thing done for themselves, as well.”¬† I said no.

I said, “You took a risk, and that was great, but it didn’t work out.¬† You lose your points.”¬† Then he said, “Then, I’ll quit.”¬† Nope!¬† That was also not an option.¬† We finished the game, and he came in 2nd.¬† Not too shabby, when quitting would have ensured his loss.

There are moments like that for all of us, where it can be so easy for us to want to quit.  Quit life, quit trying, quit parenting, quit working, quit giving of ourselves, quit caring, quit any number of things.

I remember when Elijah felt this way,¬† He literally sat down under a tree in the desert and said, “I’ve had enough.¬† Just let me die.”¬† And then he fell asleep.¬† If I’m being honest, I have felt that way, but I am so encouraged to know that someone like Elijah felt that way, too.

Paul reminds us in 1 Cor. 9 that athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever.¬† We don’t run without a goal.¬† He says in vs. 27, “I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won’t lose out after telling the good news to others.”¬† Even he understands that sometimes we feel that weight on us, but we have to discipline ourselves like an athlete, and keep the goal in mind.

We do it for a crown that will last forever!¬† There is no 2nd place with God.¬† There is only life everlasting, and we don’t want to fall down and lose our place now.¬† We can keep our eyes on Him, our faith in Him, and keep on going.

So run to win!

jamie

Held in trust

Ps. 11:3:¬† “What can an honest person do when everything crumbles?”

We were definitely overcharged, but the lady at the front desk insisted that we weren’t.¬† We’d calmly and kindly conceded, paying the full amount she’d requested, but we drove away with the feeling that we’d just been robbed.

For 2 months in a row, we couldn’t get the office to change the amount due, even though our circumstances had changed.¬† Emails were sent back and forth, phone calls were made, and we finally made an in-person visit.¬† They were all very kind and helpful, but the amount never made its way back to our checking account.

And then, my husband needed surgery.  We are a 1-income family.  Medical tests were being done and the bills were already coming in.  We planned as far in advance for living on short-term disability pay as we could, and all we could do was trust God with the rest.  His Word has promised that He will supply all of our needs.  His Word also gives a promise when it comes to tithing.  And so we hunkered down, in faith, and decided not to worry about the math, but to continue to put our faith in Him.

Here is where God showed out!¬† Right when we needed the money the most, we got the refund from months before from when we knew we’d been overcharged.¬† Suddenly, the other money made its way into our bank account.¬† And out of the blue, a couple of other refunds that we weren’t even aware of or anticipating found their way into our bank account, as well.

God knew when we would need that money the most, and He had been holding that money in trust for us that whole time!  Its just beautiful and amazing to me how He works!

I am so grateful that we did not “show out” or act rude and ugly to the other people involved when we knew we’d been overcharged those 2 times.¬† It was God working in both of those situations, making plans for our future.

Here are a couple of takeaways:

  1. God is faithful to His Word:  He still supplies the needs of His people.
  2. Behaving well, even when things seem unfair or uncertain, is never the wrong thing to do.

Cared for,

jamie

Feeling dismayed?

These all look to You to give them their food in due season.¬† When You give it to them, they gather it up; when You open Your hand, they are filled with good things.¬† When You hide Your face, they are dismayed…”¬† Ps. 104:27-29

Since Creation began there have been moments where the creation has felt like God has hidden His face from them.¬† All throughout the Pslams you can see the questions, posed, “Why do you hide Your face from me? Why are You so far from helping me?”

Before that, Job asked, “Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy?” We even heard Jesus, from the cross, ask, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Because we look to God for all things, it is in our moments of sorrow, pain, anxiousness, or uncertainty; it’s in the moments of silence that we sometimes feel as though He has hidden His face, and we are dismayed.

As we can see from the reaction of Jesus, and all throughout the Bible, it is a normal, human reaction.¬† We were created in God’s image, with emotions; and loneliness, uncertainty, grief, and pain are some of those emotions.

What can we do?¬† Keep looking for Him, seeking Him, and reminding ourselves of all He has done.¬† Job was looking for him in his darkest moments, when all he wanted to do was die, and he couldn’t find God to the right or the left–he kept seeking.

He spoke of all the works and wonders God had done in the past, and even as he wondered at first where God was, speaking of who God is built him up, and helped him keep close the One he needed all along.  Eventually he found his way back, not just to physical health, but to emotional and spiritual health, too.  This is how it works for us all.

I know there was a lot involved behind the scenes in Job’s story, but seeking God in the tough times the way Job did, praising, and reminding ourselves of God’s works and the things He has done in the past is the best way to find our way out.

We tend to pull away when we go through pain and crisis, and we feel like we can’t find God, but the truth is that the answer lies with Him alone.¬† He is the One.¬† He is the Salvation.¬† He is the Deliverance.¬† He is the Healing.¬† He is the Provision.¬† He is the Wisdom.¬† He is the Unity.¬† He is the Peace.¬† He is All in All, the Great I Am.

Every answer we need to fill the great gaping hole we feel inside is found in Him.¬† We just have to hold on and seek Him.¬† ¬†God said in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”¬† This is still true today.

Grateful for a God who cares,

jamie

Broken, but not forsaken

I heard a sermon on Sunday night that reminded us that a lot of times before we go into a season of being given out to be used by the Lord we go through a season of being broken, like bread.

I keep thinking about that, and what I love about God is that during that time when we are broken, He doesn’t allow us to be broken into crumbs and spread out in such a way that we cannot be whole again.¬† If we are like bread, He continues to hold the 2 pieces in His 2 capable hands the entire time, ensuring that we are well and cared-for, never alone, or truly crumbled; and we are never crushed!¬† Sometimes we feel that way, but all the while, He is holding us.¬† We are in his hands.¬† We are safe, and when it passes, He will use that time of brokenness as a way for us to minster to the people in our lives.

He never lets go!

“He makes me whole again, steering¬†me off worn, hard paths¬†to roads where¬†truth and righteousness echo His name.”¬† Ps. 23:3

You are held,

jamie

Lessons from ol’ Eb

In Jeremiah 38, we find Jeremiah cast into a dungeon, meaning he had to be lowered down with ropes; and the Bible says there was no water, but mire, and Jeremiah sank in the mire.  Jeremiah is in a bad situation.

Someone found out about this.¬† He was a eunuch in the king’s house, named Ebed-Melech.¬† We’ll just call him Eb, for short.

Jeremiah was a prophet, which means he normally had some respect, but right now he is sinking in mire, in a place where he had to literally be lowered down with ropes.¬† Yikes!¬† Not much respect here.¬† Eb goes to the king and says, “My lord the king, these men have done evil..to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon, and he is likely to die from hunger in the place where he is.¬† For there is no bread in the city.”

The king commands Eb to take 30 men with him to go lift Jeremiah out of the dungeon before he could die.¬† So, the men got some old rags and clothes and lowered them down into the dungeon on some ropes and told Jeremiah to put them under his armpits, under the ropes, and then they pulled him up, and hopefully fed the man and let him get cleaned up a little.¬† (I don’t know…it doesn’t say that part)

There are people in our lives right now that feel as though they are sinking the mire.¬† Are we taking the time out of our lives to send down the ropes and pull them out?¬† It’s ok if we need to get some others to go with us.¬† Eb took 30 men with him.¬† If you’re too insecure or uncertain to do it alone call for back up!¬† But never leave someone sinking if you know they’re there.¬† Pull them out before they can die…emotionally, spiritually, or physically.

I also love the care they took with Jeremiah.¬† They considered his weakened state and sent down some old rags and clothes for him to put under his armpits before having him put the ropes under his arms before they pulled him back up.¬† When we are helping people, it’s ok to take a little extra care and not always assume “tough love” is the immediate best plan.

There are also people around us who need to be literally fed or given some water.¬† Perhaps you can help with that.¬† If so, please do.¬† Maybe you don’t have all the resources, but like Eb, you know someone who does.¬† Talk to them.¬† See if they can help, and maybe you can even pitch in and help like ol’ Eb did.¬† Don’t just watch someone suffer and do nothing.¬† Pr. 3:27 says, “Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it.”

Thanks for these great reminders today Eb!  You were a stand up guy!

Look for someone around you that may need some help today,

jamie

 

What more could be said?

12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Serve God with Spiritual Gifts

3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Behave Like a Christian

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17¬†Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard¬†for good things in the sight of all men.¬†18¬†If it is possible, as much as depends on you,¬†live peaceably with all men.¬†19¬†Beloved,¬†do not avenge yourselves, but¬†rather¬†give place to wrath; for it is written,¬†‚ÄúVengeance¬†is¬†Mine, I will repay,‚Ä̬†says the Lord.¬†20¬†Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.‚ÄĚ

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Well said. Help us to do this, Lord.

The winds of change

Have you ever noticed how, after a big rain or storm, the winds come?  I love those winds.  I love how God sends those winds to dry everything up and set things right.

Yesterday was such a day where I live.  Every time I walked outside I instantly closed my eyes and took a deep breath, enjoying the feeling of those winds as they blew over me.  It was a comfort for me, knowing that God was in control, caring for His creation, after all this time.

It made me think about the stormy times in our lives.  Sometimes when the big storms are over, the winds come.  The storm is over, but the winds can still cause a little bit of discomfort.  The winds mean change is coming.

See, yesterday, the soggy ground and the winds caused my flower hanger to fall the the ground.¬† The winds also sent a few things across my yard where they didn’t belong.¬† There was discomfort from the winds, but those winds were also setting things right.

The winds, after the storms in our lives, mean that change is coming, and that God is still in control.¬† Don’t give up!¬† You know that the storm is over…that much is clear.¬† Now He is setting things right.¬† If there is still some discomfort, it’s those winds.¬† They will die down soon, and all will be well.

Of course, in this world, storms can brew again, but we can always know that our Lord is still in control of it all, and will remain faithful until the end.

Been through it, too,

jamie

Be usable during the trials

Laying block with oxygen.¬† What’s stopping you??

My father was bed-ridden for several years, and then weak for several more.¬† Why not healed?¬† One night the Lord spoke to him and told him to build a house for someone he’d never met.¬† He wasn’t able to in his own strength.¬† The Lord also spoke to the pastor at his church and told him to give away a substantial amount of money.¬† He spoke to another man and told him to donate land.¬† Person after person stepped forward, obeying God’s leading, and a home was built for a family from start to finish in 40 days.

My dad’s weakness enabled God’s strength to be perfected and manifested.¬† Might I suggest that before that time my dad may have been too busy to hear the voice of God in that way?¬† Or too busy to take the time to help organize and attend a project of that magnitude?

God uses us all in different ways and for different reasons.  We just have to be available for His purposes and plans.

“Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.¬† For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

These are the words the Lord spoke to the disciple that was sent to put his hands on Saul (who would later become the apostle Paul–missionary to thousands), when he would regain his sight.¬† And yet, Paul always had what he called a “thorn in his flesh” that God never removed.¬† He said he prayed for the Lord to remove it and the Lord told him no.¬† The Lord told Paul that His grace was sufficient and that His strength would be made perfect in Paul’s weakness.

It’s interesting that when Paul was called into ministry he was shown how many things he would suffer God’s name’s sake, and how the Lord told Paul no, and how now, in 2019 we think our Christian walk should be about our comfort, our happiness, our delight….about us.¬† When did things get so twisted?

Christianity just simply isn’t about us.¬† It is about the Lord.¬† It says about Saul, “Immediately he preached the Christ in synagogues, that He is the Son of God.”¬† He began immediately doing what he was called to do, and people immediately began wanting to kill him.¬† (You can find all of this in Acts 9)

Job, in his agony and suffering repented and humbled himself before the Lord…before he was ever healed or restored.¬† Then, in Job 42:8, the Lord put Job in charge of praying for his friends.¬† In his state, he was best suited to pray for his friends.¬† He was the one God called to pray, to work, to do His will.¬† And then, praise God for him, He was restored.

Sickness and trials are not a problem that keeps us from fulfilling God’s call in our lives.¬† It may hinder us from doing all the things we want.¬† I know I still have times when I can’t sing, can’t raise my hands in worship, can’t teach or even attend church; however, if we are still alive then God can still use us.

Ask God how He can use your vessel.¬† When He gives you an opportunity, don’t let it pass you by.¬† Don’t fear that you’re too weak.¬† In your weakness, His strength is made perfect.¬† It has been proven over and over:¬† see David and Goliath, Noah and the Ark, 3 Hebrew’s in the furnace, on and on.¬† God will give you all that you need to complete the task He sets before you.

Be available just as you are,

jamie