Safe and Untouched

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Isaiah 43:2 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

I love this verse. As amazing as it is, life can be difficult sometimes, and this verse reminds us that no matter what we go through—rising waters or burning flames—when God is with us, we are protected; we will make it through…tried, tested, but ultimately unscathed. With God by our side, guiding us, protecting us, giving us strength, we can endure the storms of this life that rail against us with complete confidence that if we hold to our faith, we will not be consumed. There’s such peace and joy to be found in that knowledge.

Yes, of course, it may be better (we often believe) if God just shielded us from any trials and challenges that may come our way, but the reality is that we often emerge from these seasons of adversity stronger, more centered, and better able to stand firm in our faith when next the winds and waves of life beat against us. We can’t always avoid the storms of life, but it’s so amazing to know that we have a God who walks with us, takes our hand, and even carries us through the tough times to ensure we make it to the other side.

Footprints

If you’re going through the storm today, feeling beaten and battered by the winds of life, hold on. God is with you. He is your strong tower, standing tall in the gap to keep you safe…protecting you, keeping you…and you WILL make it through.

Give It to God…

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praise you God- i give it all to You

SURRENDER 

Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Reflections: The other day, after averting crisis number 1,892 :), I realized that I tend to follow a pattern, of sorts, when unexpected challenges pop up in my life. First, I may experience a brief moment of panic as I realize what’s happening, and then I get this laser focus as I set about trying to find a solution to the problem at hand…in my own power. Oh, yes, I may mumble an offhand, “Please, God!” as I go about this process; but oftentimes, it’s not until I hit a wall in my own efforts that I stop, find my center, and turn my focus and attention to the one who promises to take all my burdens, handle all of my cares, and assuage all of my fears.

In that moment, any remaining panic or frustration is replaced with a sweet peace, as I FINALLY seek God in the midst of my storm. As I begin to surrender my problems to Him, it becomes so much easier to accept my limitations and trust God to work it out and see me through. And you know what? He ALWAYS DOES! EVERY time! WITHOUT fail! Sometimes He is subtle with His solutions, and other times, He works in ways that are nothing short of amazing! It makes me wonder why I insist on going through this habitual process instead of just seeking God in the first place. 🙂

If you, like me, tend to try to solve your problems in your own power before tapping into the Power of God, maybe it’s time to adopt a new approach (I know I’m giving it a go!). 🙂 We’d save so much time, energy, and STRESS if we would lean on God instead of relying on our own strength, if we would focus on Him instead of our circumstances, and if we would trust Him to guide, direct, and see us through whatever problems we may face instead of thinking that we can do it all on our own. Who really wants to do that anyway? 🙂 He’s our Way Maker, and He promises that if we surrender our cares to Him, He will give us peace, clarity, and rest for our souls.

Philippians 4:6-7 – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Shine Your Light!

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

takeiteasy

The Balance Challenge!

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Beach-Balance

BALANCE

Psalm 23:2-3a – “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.”

Genesis 2:2-3 – “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

Reflections: Life can get pretty hectic sometimes, and the myriad distractions of this world can keep us from properly caring for ourselves and the people around us. When we live each day moving from “to do” to “to do,” not taking a moment to rest and refresh, the stress of the day can wear on us, making us less productive, less efficient, and in many cases, less healthy (physically, emotionally, and spiritually). When we fail to take the time for self-care, our minds, bodies, and Spirits can suffer, along with our relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and most importantly, God.

The Bible speaks often about the importance of quiet, peace, and rest. Even God rested on the seventh day, and Mark shares that Jesus told the disciples to “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31). It is in these quiet places, those spaces where we let go of distractions and welcome peace and stillness, that God is most likely to meet us and give us the rest and renewal that we so desperately need.

If you (like me) are guilty of neglecting your body and soul’s need for rest, join me today in The Balance Challenge! I challenge you to make a list of things that refresh and renew you—things that bring you joy, make you smile, or give you peace—and commit to engage in two things from that list EVERY DAY. You’ll be surprised how much more centered you feel and how better prepared you are to face the day ahead. You’ll also find that it slowly becomes easier to hear the Voice of God in the midst of all the chaos and noise that life can sometimes bring. Give it a try, and let me know how it goes! 🙂

“Do not let your to-do list (written or mental) become an idol directing your life.” ~Sarah Young, “Jesus Calling”

Also Read:

Luke 5:16 – “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”

Shine Your Light!

A Still, Small Voice

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Still Small Voice

STILLNESS 

1 Kings 19:11-13 – “The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’”

Reflections: I realized something interesting today… Sometimes, I’m so focused on looking for God’s answer to my prayer(s) to come in one specific form that I actually miss it when He shows up and responds to my petition. Just the other day, I’d been praying to God for a solution to a particular challenge, and in my mind, I’d already envisioned what that solution would look like. I prayed about it for the better part of the week, and set about waiting and looking for God’s response. But while I was looking in one direction for the reply I’d envisioned, His actual response came from a completely different direction in a form so unlike what I’d been expecting that at first, I did not recognize it for what it was. It was like God crept up quietly, like a ninja, and completely threw me for a loop! 🙂

It wasn’t until I was meditating this morning that I realized God had, in fact, taken care of the issue at hand without my truly registering it. The situation was resolved through no action of my own and in a way that was much more like a quiet whisper than the bigger, attention-grabbing bang that I was expecting.

I think that God often operates like that, with a quiet whisper instead of a big bang, and we must quiet ourselves and attune our Spirit to His peaceful stillness so that we can recognize and be grateful for the subtle blessings and responses to our petitions when they come. It’s also important to acknowledge that God’s answers to our prayers often come in a completely different form than we imagine as we pray; but that’s okay, because God knows so much better than we do the solution for which each situation calls. And I’m so glad that He’s a God who gives us what He knows we need instead of what we think we want; because in the end, we’re so much better off if we do things His way instead of our own. 🙂

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Shine Bright! 🙂

Breath

Let It Go…

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PEACE

1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

 Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Reflections: Throughout the Bible, we see frequent mention of the “sister sins” worry and anxiety. I think that these themes are so prevalent because God knows that life can be hard, and that we will, at some point, have to face challenges that make us anxious and cause us to agonize over the burdens we must carry. God also knows that in many cases, these burdens are too much for us to bear alone, and that is why each of these references in the scripture is paired with an invitation to LET THE BURDENS GO.

Peter, for example, encourages us to cast all our cares on the Lord because He LOVES us (1 Peter 5:7), and Jesus Himself offers to be our burden bearer (Matthew 11:28-30). So why do we still insist on carrying the load ourselves?

During our quiet time, when we are completely focused on God, it’s easy to leave our burdens on the altar and trust God to intercede on our behalf; but as we rise and go about our day, reminders of those troubles often cause us to “pick them back up,” and with them, our worry and anxiety. The reality is that giving our cares to the Lord is often a choice we must make countless times each day. And in those moments of doubt and worry, when we want so badly to peek over at the altar to see how our troubles are doing, we must be deliberate about keeping our “eyes” focused on God and not our problems.

Keep in mind, though, that this process is not an excuse to abdicate personal responsibility for the issues in our lives. It does, however, entail trusting God enough to accept the peace He offers as He walks with us through the struggle, and believing His promise that though we may suffer a little while, in time, He will restore us to a place where we are strong, firm, and steadfast (1 Peter 5:10).

See Also:

1 Peter 5:10 – “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.”

Song: Let Go by DeWayne Woods

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Shine Your Light!