Childlike faith. I was reminded of it this week while I was rereading my devotional dated, August 30th.
“It is like the little girl who said that when the devil came knocking with temptation, she sent Jesus to the door” (Graham, Dr. Billy).
I love that!! Such simplicity and clear direction–not my worry, God’s got it–He told me so!!
“I will call on the Lord who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” 2 Samuel 22:4
The quote above, about that little girl, brought so much hope to me this week. I needed this reminder, and I’m going to add something to it. Be still.
It is so easy to immediately try to fix, change, or go after whatever comes up in my life without first being still, not caught up in the emotions of whatever is going on, and seeking God first, and letting Him “get the door” and work on my behalf according to His will in what is occuring in my life.
Jennifer Rothschild explains it this way, “So, if you’ve got a battle, then you’ve got a choice. You can either stand still and trust that God will fight for you, or you can freak out and possibly make it worse. Sometimes we just need to get out of the way and under God’s will and watch Him bring the victory. When we choose to be still, we do begin to know, I mean really know, that He is God. And, the best part of really knowing that He is God is knowing that we are not.”
So the next time problems/concerns/temptaions come knocking at my door, I’m going to be still, let God answer, and put my trust in Him, His will, and His timing. What about you?
All the Glory to God,
Image of “and Chillike Faith” by Tumblr. https://www.tumblr.com/search/and%20childlike%20faith
Graham, Dr. Billy. “Unto the Hills: A Daily Devotional.” Victory in Jesus, August 30th. Word Publishing. 1996. Print. 17 September 2019.
Rothschild, Jennifer. 3 Scriptures to Help You Stand Strong: The Battle is the Lord’s. 17 September 2019. Web. https://www.jenniferrothschild.com/3-scriptures-to-stand-strong/
Hello everyone!! Happy Wednesday, one of my favorite days of the week! My daughter and I get to wake up just a little bit later in the morning because it’s a late start for school and that makes the morning even better. Yay!! Did I ever mention that in the Crenshaw household we love our sleep and are more night owl’s than early birds… 🙂
Anyway. Today when I was preparing to write, I came across some quotes on “hope” and I could not stop reading them–and before I knew it I had spent the better part of a half-hour reading them. I guess hope is contagious after all. I wanted to share a few that I discovered with you! Enjoy!!
“Hope itself is like a star–not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.”
–Charles Hadden Spurgeon
“The difference between hope and despair is a different way of telling stories from the same facts.”
–Alain de Botton
“Hope is a renewable option. If you run out of it at the end of the day, you get to start over in the morning.”
“However long the night, the dawn will break.” –African Proverb
“This day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
Of those, I believe my favorite quote is the one by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. It is so true that when life is going well and on track we don’t think too much about needing hope. Throw a crisis into the mix and despair/hope are teetering together on a balance, weighing heavily on the shoulders of the one facing adversity. But, like Spurgeon says, this is when the star of hope has the brightest chance to shine!!
Another favorite, sorry, had to share:
And, like Alain de Botton says, the difference lies in how you are telling (or viewing) the same facts of the story: are using the lens of hope or the lens of despair? The choice, as hard as I know it can be, is ours to make.
What about you? What is your favorite quote on hope? I’d love for you to share it with me!! God bless you!
All the Glory to God,
All of these quotes were from: 290 hope quotes that will empower you-wisdom quotes.
http://wisdomquotes.com/hope-quotes/ Web. 10 September 2019.
Despair–have you ever experienced it? I have. It is the complete loss or absence of hope.
There are many times I can remember letting it become a “foothold” in a situation until sadness, depression, or discouragement slowly enveloped my whole being and hung around like a black cloud just above my head. Because it followed every I went, it effected everyone around me: family, friends, and co-workers.
I remember one situation in particular. One of the last classes I took, before I received my Bachelor’s Degree, was an Advanced Creative Writing class. I was to write a twenty to twenty-five page fiction, non-fiction, or poetry piece.
I chose to write a non-fiction memoir. Our only “real” grade–1,000 points for the term– would come at the end when we turned in our finished piece. However, we would twice receive full credit–of fifty points each–if we simply turned in the right page count at different milestone sections.
Our first milestone section would be the first ten pages. I worked hard on it and received full credit for all ten pages, but my teacher was not impressed. Based on her comments/questions, it didn’t seem as though she even read my paper. Now, I know writing is subjective, but if I can’t get her to understand my point of view, how am I going to pass this class?! My whole grade is basically her opinion of my writing.
This hit me really hard and had me questioning everything. You see, I never wanted to be a writer. God planted that seed (writing) in me a few years ago and it led me to getting my degree and, eventually, to where I am now.
For several days, after I read her comments, I thought I must have heard God wrong. I can’t write and who would want to read it, anyway?? Must have been a mistake. I was so discouraged. At this point, I was wondering if I should just quit because if I couldn’t pass this class, how would I get my degree and move forward with the plan God had for my life?
Over the next several nights, I decided to keep working on it and see where it went. Through lots of tears, prayer, faith, and perseverance I kept taking small steps forward. This is where I leaned on and trusted God a lot. Faith in action.
Slowly, the dark cloud began to lift. The more I put my faith in God, the one that planted the seed of writing in my heart, the easier my next steps became and I could sense the Holy Spirit guiding me and my writing. He never left my side and His presence was as strong as ever!
Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”
A huge breakthrough happened as a result of this testing–I received a 100% in the class–but more importantly my relationship with my Savior changed. When I am on the cusp of despair, I lean into Him and lay it all at His feet so much sooner than I used to. Daily.
I can relate to the despair felt in this story about Martin Luther. He was the German theologian and religious reformer who was a catalyst of the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation (Brtainica.com). It just goes to show you that all people can experience extreme despair. Check it out:
“There is a story about Martin Luther going through a period of depression and discouragement. For days his long face graced the family table and dampened the family’s home life. One day his wife came to the breakfast table all dressed in black, as if she were going to a funeral service. When Martin asked her who had died, she replied, “Martin, the way you’ve been behaving lately, I thought God had died, so I came prepared to attend His funeral.”
Her gentle but effective rebuke drove straight to Luther’s heart, and as a result of that lesson the great Reformer resolved never again to allow worldly care, resentment, depression, discouragement, or frustration to defeat him. By God’s grace, he vowed, he would submit his life to the Savior and reflect His grace in a spirit of rejoicing, whatever came” (Graham, Dr. Billy. Pages 316-317).
I read this story today in my daily devotional and it reminded me of God is everywhere at the same time (omnipresent), all powerful (omnipotent), and all knowing (omniscient). Why should I despair?! Know one is looking out for me the way He is, so I am going to rely in Him daily for all I need one day at a time. In the same way my brother, Martin Luther, did. What about you? 🙂
All the glory to God,
Britanica.com. “Martin Luther: Biography, Reformation, Works, and Facts.” July 28, 2019. Web. September 9, 2019.
Graham, Dr. Billy. “Unto the Hills: A Daily Devotional.” September 9th. Pages 316-317. WORD Publishing. Print.
Image of “The Dark Cloud- The Black Wallflower in Wonderland” https://thewallflowerinwonderland.com/2017/04/14/the-dark-cloud/
HOPE. I don’t know about you, but I could use a healthy dose of it right now. Everywhere I turn the headlines and words I hear can be so discouraging.
That’s why I am so thankful that not only does God hear the cries of my heart, He has answered them in multiple ways!!
First, and ultimately, through my Savior Jesus Christ. He alone is THE source of my HOPE!!
Second, He answered my prayers by revealing the HOPE of Jesus through His Word, the sermons at my church recently, and through encouraging songs.
Finally, Thank you God for giving me the desire deep in my heart to seek You first, and to share encouragement, hope, and love through You, and the community of people you invite around me. 🙂
Jesus is THE ulitmate source of hope! And we, as a community of believers (the church), are called to not only share the Gospel, but to spread the Hope of Jesus!
My church, SFC, last week began a series titled, Empowered to Hope. It is such a blessing and so timely to what my heart and soul needed at this season of my life.
I am thankful that God knows what I need even before I do, and that this message was put in place by Him, and delivered through my faithful, God-fearing Pastor, just when that seed of discouragement was beginning to take root in my spirit. Not anymore, though.
While listening to this teaching, I was reminded of who I want to be in Christ. An encourager. Someone that puts God first, and follows through with the will that He placed in my life and heart.
Years ago, when God planted the seed of writing in my heart, He was in the process of showing me, through the Holy Spirit, that He was ALWAYS there and He was ALWAYS at work.
Even through the deepest darkest pits of grief, despair, and discouragement He was the flickering light of Hope, showing me the Way to Him. Often times, it was the community of believers–the church–that spoke His Word, shared His love, and welcomed me into their arms while I cried and seeked God.
That is who I want to strive to be everyday. An encourager of Jesus, one that shares the hope of what Jesus is doing and changing in my life– ready to share everything God places in my heart to do and be!!
Our Pastor, Mr. Mike Price, shared this in his message, Empowered to Hope: Week 2:
“If we are going to make a difference in the world it is going to come through hope filled people. Hope filled people change the world…we can point to what Jesus has already done in us.”
That is who I want to be and I need your help. Please join me in being an encouragement to the community of people God invites us to share our lives with, to share the message of the Gospel with, and to share the Hope and Love of Jesus.
So I’m dedicating every Wednesday of this blog to sharing the hope and encouragement of Jesus.
How do we (I) do that?!
By sharing something from your day or week that Jesus has done, that encouraged you so strongly, that you can’t help but share it!
I’ll begin. Jesus used my Pastor’s message last Sunday and this song, “Hope Can Change Everything” by Bart Millard and other artist’s, to move my discouragement to encouragement this week!! Amen!! God is so good and faithful!!
Here’s a snippet of the words:
A breath can give you life
A hand can turn the page
A word can give you strength
To face another day
Hope, yeah hope
Reaches in the heart of your darkest night
Lifts you off the ground when you’ve lost the fight
Keeps you hanging on through the disbelief
Every day, every step, every dream
Hope can change everything
Hope can change everything
Jesus–THE HOPE–that can change everything. What is He changing for you and in you?
Good afternoon everyone! What a beautiful day! It has been a few weeks since I’ve posted, but WOW! God has been at work in me in a mighty, mighty way! The words He whispered to my heart, an October evening last year, brought my trust and obedience to Him to a whole new level. Definitely my faith in action, for the following scriptures:
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (NIV)
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 (NIV)
Wednesday evening, October 24, 2018, I was sitting in my ladies bible study small group helping facilitate when God spoke these words to my heart, “You will be the next speaker at Divine Design.”
Divine Design is a Mother’s Day weekend get together that is put on each year by our women’s ministry team that includes a meal, guest speaker, raffles, pictures, and much more, to honor the women in our lives. It is a two day event, Friday evening and Saturday at noon. It is such a good time and amazing fellowship takes place.
After I heard the words God spoke to my heart, I felt them come alive and rise up in me as the Holy Spirit brought life to God’s will.
As the evening moved on, the seed that God planted grew and grew! I couldn’t wait to share the news with my husband when I got home!
My husband was in Memphis, TN for business, so I called him the minute I got home, “I have a very strong feeling that Kim (ladies ministry director) is going to ask me to be the next speaker for Divine Design. I’m telling you this now, so when she asks me in the future, you will remember that God laid this on my heart, first.”
Over the next few days–leading up to Sunday–Divine Design was very heavy on my heart. I thought about what I would say, my confidence, my speech, what I would wear, how I would get my make-up done, etc. All of it confidence building. All of it God.
Let me explain why. The one thing that I would never do on my own is public speaking. I enjoy being an introvert, being on the sidelines, and watching as others are in the spotlight.
But God calls us to do things that are way beyond our comfort zone and abilities. Why? Because that “forces” us to completely depend on Him and the Holy Spirit.
On Sunday morning, October 28th, our guest speaker was a Missionary family from Portugal that we help support and his message focused on our interruptibility for God’s plans in our lives. God was connecting the dots of my blog writing, with this message, and I felt the sudden urge to share this with Kim, our Pastor’s wife, after church.
“This is what I wrote about two blogs ago.”
She said, “I know. I read it this morning.”
We moved off to the side of the sanctuary and sat down. She prayed for me and said she wanted me to be the next speaker for Divine Design! Confirmation! Then I shared with her how God spoke to my heart, etc.
Yes, of course I will do it!!
From the moment God planted the seed about speaking, there was never a doubt in my mind about being obedient to Him. And again, that confidence comes from Him, not me, because He has been faithful throughout my life.
Fast forward several months. Over time, God had given me peace and some direction on the message I would be sharing Mother’s day weekend. In fact, by the time April rolled around, I had the whole outline of topics and the first five pages written, courtesy of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Trust me, you know when your writing is Holy Spirit ordained–it is an almost effortless flowing of words that almost feel like an extension of your abilities.
Then nothing. Not one word.
When I tried to write it felt forced and I did not have peace with it. So, I did more of what I had been doing. Praying. Reading. Seeking. Worshipping. And most importantly trusting. I KNEW beyond any doubt that God brought me to this and He will provide in His timing and His way.
On Wednesday, May 1st, (I’m starting to see a pattern with Wednesday’s!!) I was driving to bible study and I was listening to a song that I’ve heard dozens of times. In fact, its one of the songs I chose to be a part of my message, “Everlasting God” by Lincoln Brewster.
“Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord”
“Our hope, our strong deliverer”
Those words jumped out at me! I finally understood that the very song that was being used for Divine Design is what God was trying to do through me. He was building my trust in Him. He is my Strength. My Deliverer. My Hope.
He would give me the words to finish my message in His perfect timing, which turned out to be the next afternoon, May 2nd. From mid afternoon to 9pm that night, I wrote with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and finished the last five pages of the message that God wanted me to share. It all came together perfectly, the way He allowed it–seven days before I was to share it with the ladies!!!
The weekend was awesome and I had a really good time fellowshipping and speaking with everyone. God showed up in a mighty and powerful way!
What I value most of this whole experience is how God has transformed my heart, mind, character, and relationship with Him. I am eternally grateful.
Recently I was reading a book titled, “Whisper: How to Hear the Voice Of God” by Mark Batterson and I love what he wrote about God given dreams:
“The goal of going after a God-given dream isn’t just accomplishing it. In fact, accomplishing the dream is of secondary importance. The primary goal is who you become in the process. Big dreams make big people because we have to trust a big God. Nothing keeps us on our knees like God-sized dreams. They force us to live in raw dependence upon God. Without Him, the dream cannot be realized. God sized dreams force us to lean in a little closer, and that’s when God has us right where He wants us.”
Writing, that is my God-sized dream. I am committed to keep doing, each day, what God places in front of me. I won’t be perfect, but I will be faithful! 🙂
And yeah, He has spoken some new dreams to my heart. And He has given some conformations to me. I will reveal all to you, in His time and His way. Stay tuned!!
All the glory to God!!!
My husband Steve and our two daughters
My dad and I
Batterson, Mark. “Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God.” Multnomah publishing. 2017. Written.
Happy Saturday!! The first day of Spring is just around the corner!! Yay! It officially begins on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. So many of us can’t wait for warmer, sunny days because this Winter has been down right hard! And cold. And snowy. And dark. And did I say snowy?!
Today is such a beautiful day to be outside, taking our German Shepherd, Sasha, for a walk, but first I want to spend some time in my writing room with you. My family, my friends, and the new friends I have met while on my blogging journey.
I am very grateful to each of you. Thank you for taking the time to be a part of the first year of my blog!!
One year ago today, this journey began!! Woo-hoo!!!
Praise God for the year He has given me! It has not been easy! I still don’t know what I am doing most of the time, BUT He is still present and having me proceed on what He is calling in my life.
Isn’t the not knowing sometimes the hardest part?! I know it is for me. I’m such a planner and I love a schedule. Routines are my friend. God doesn’t work that way. In fact, He usually starts small and gradually allows growth to happen as we prove we are capable of handling it.
This journey is small and it’s His. It is between me and God and all He invites to read the blog I call Heaven Sent Sentiments. I love what He has started with me and I will continue as long as He allows.
One of my favorite things to do and I try really hard to remember to do it, is to journal. Especially at times when God Is or Has moved mightily in my life.
So today, I reflected on what I wrote in my journal around this time one year ago. Several confirmations were given to me, through others, about moving forward with my writing journey. I’d like to share one with you.
First, a little background on the entry. I had asked a friend of mine from church to read a twenty page memoir I had written for my Advanced Creative Writing class. She thought my story was wonderful and asked if she could pass it on to a friend that was a published author. Of course, I am open to any and all critiques!
This is the message I received through my friend from her friend. I’m keeping the names private to protect the innocent. 🙂 Also keep in mind, this will not necessarily be grammatically correct, I write fast when I journal!:
“She really felt like she was a part of your story and told me to tell you to keep writing in the Spirit.
Also, here are the two passages of scripture that she really wants you to focus on. Isaiah 46: 9-11 and Jeremiah 33:3. She told me to tell you not to get discouraged. God knows the end from the beginning, and He may seem slow or not available at times, but be ready. He will come upon you when it is time and finish what He has started. Let Him use you to write whatever His heart wants to say to encourage His people.”
I am so glad I reviewed my journal today because I have experienced times that seemed slow, and at times it did seem as though God was not available. I have made mistakes, gotten viruses in my computer, and had many problems with people not getting my blog emails. It’s been an adventure for sure and you now what?
God’s presence has never left. This dream He started in me is still there. And Christ in me is stronger today than this time last year because of the work He has done in me.
Continue to work in me, Heavenly Father. Your will be done not mine. Amen!!
All the Glory to God!!
Image of Isaiah:46 9-11 by Pinterest.
Image of Jeremiah 33:3 by abstractdesktopnexus.com verseof theday
Hello everyone!! Wow, what a week I have had! The enemy is always seeking a way to sideline and corrupt the plans that God has for us in doing His will, right? None of us are immune to his tactics.
A few close friends know how my week has gone and I will not give any more thought, words, or power to the enemy. God is on my side and it is His full armour I put on daily to fight against the evil powers on this earth.
I was talking with several of my close Godly friends this week, and we are all going through more spiritual warfare than usual. We are planning and getting ready for a higher than normal group of women for retreat this March and we KNOW a breakthrough will be happening!! Praise God!!
So , no, the enemy needs to back off!! We stand together, hands held high, firmly rooted in the Word of God, and fully armoured against the Evil of this world!!
I wanted to share a portion of one of my favorite blogs from July. It is something I needed to be reminded of and wanted to share it with you. 🙂
I’m going to change gears here and focus on Chamber’s devotional titled, “One of God’s Great Don’ts.”
“Do not fret–it only causes harm.” Psalm 37:8
Do you fret? I wasn’t sure just how much I did it because, honestly, I couldn’t remember exactly what it meant. According to the online dictionary it means, “be constantly or visibly worried or anxious.” Yup, we were once very close cousins. Anxiety used to be a very big part of my life. In fact, I would say it affects many family members as well. Remember, we were close cousins? 🙂 I believe many traits can be generational, whether it is a tendency toward anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy, etc. Those traits are all sin and the opposite of what Jesus wants us to have which is the fruit of the spirit.
“Worry always results in sin. We tend to think that a little anxiety and worry are simply an indication of just how wise we really are, yet it is actually a much better indication of just how wicked we are. Fretting rises from our determination to have our own way. Our Lord never worried and was never anxious, because His purpose was never to accomplish His own plans but to fulfill God’s plans. Fretting is wickedness for a child of God” (Chambers, July 4th, emphasis mine).
The sentence that really convicted me today is the one I emphasized. Have my own way… If I am praying to God and seeking His help, worry should never enter the equation, right? He has searched me and knows me (Psalm 139:1) and He knows all the days ordained for me (Psalm 139:16).
God knows everything and He is always with me. I wasn’t alone when my dad was recovering from triple by-pass open heart surgery, He was right there. When my doctor told me the extra testing she did, because of my family history of cancer, saved my life, God was right there. He moved mountains, to make sure I was right where I needed to be, to be healed. Three months before my doctor made her discovery, my husband was just about guaranteed a promotion–after a year of extra work towards it- and a transfer that would have taken us from the West coast, where my doctor was, to the East coast, where no one knew my family history. Thank God He didn’t give us our hearts desire at that time!
Remember, God and God alone is the only one that truly knows all that you are going through and has the best plans for you and how to get you through it.
When God moved mountains to keep me in the West coast, it was literally life changing and eye-opening for me. I realized He has all of my days. I want God’s plans, not my plans. If a trip is cancelled, He knows what’s best. A job that fell through, He knows what’s best. A missed promotion, well you already know that one. I’m sure you recognize the pattern here. Trust me, I know it isn’t easy. I just take it one day at a time, leave it all at the altar, and know He keeps His promises.
We will end our conversation with the final thoughts from Oswald’s July 4th devotional. “Set all your opinions and speculations aside and “abide under the shadow of the almighty” (Psalm 91:1). Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about whatever concerns you. All our fretting and worrying is caused by planning without God” (Chambers).
Yongsung Kim Artwork
Are you resting under the shadow of the Almighty? I pray that you are! His arms are stretched out wide to give you love, comfort, and rest for your weary souls. He is waiting, rest in the arms of your Lord.
All the glory to God,
Chambers. Oswald. “My Utmost For His Highest.” July 4th, One of God’s Great Dont’s. Discovery House Publishing. Updated edition, 1992.
Fire Bible: Global Study Edition. New International Version, Life publishers International, 2009.
Images: Yongsong Kim. “Rest in the arms of your Lord”.
Hello friend!! What a God-blessed day it has been! This morning, while I was seated at my writing desk, I began writing today’s blog on one of my favorite prophets–Elijah.
This wasn’t too surprising because we kicked off our new ladies bible study last Wednesday night which features this amazing man of God. We are studying, “Elijah: Spiritual Stamina in Every Season” by Melissa Spoelstra. I’m only on day four of the first week and I love it!! Which is why I began sharing in my blog today about how relateable Elijah is….and then, nothing. I knew the Holy Spirit was leading me in a new direction.
Apparently only across the room, to my dark brown bookshelf, where I keep my old bibles, writing books from school, and all of my past bible studies. I keep them all because I use them as journals, prayer prompts, and heartfelt answers to questions that reflect on that season of my life. I highlight, scribble, doodle, and mark it all up with memories and reflection. Anyway, why am I at the bookshelf…
Oh yeah. I am led to pick up a different bible study, by the same author, that we did the fall of 2017. It is titled, “Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World”. I am so thankful I looked through it. It really wasn’t that long ago, but in that short time, several prayers were answered, I can see growth in my relationship with God, and God revealed something new and fresh through His Word! Don’t you love that?!
One particular story really spoke to me. The author, Melissa Spoelstra, relayed her version of a story she heard at church camp many years ago:
A little girl bought a plastic pearl necklace with the money she had been saving all year. She loved her pearls and felt so grown up when she wore them. She only took them off when she went swimming or took a bath. Though the pearls weren’t real, that didn’t matter to her. She had bought them all by herself.
This little girl had a loving father. One day he said to her, “Honey, do you love me?”
“Yes, Daddy,” she said. “You know I love you.”
“Then will you give me your pearls?” her father asked.
“Not my pearls!” the little girl practically gasped. “But you can have my toy horse.”
“That’s okay, Sweetheart. I love you,” he replied. And then he kissed her cheek. About a week later, the father asked his little girl again, “Do you love me?”
“Daddy, you know I love you,” she said.
“Then will you give me your pearls?” he repeated.
“Not my pearls. But I’ll give you my baby doll.”
“That’s okay. I love you,” the father answered. And once again he gave her a kiss on the cheek.
This same routine happened again and again, and the little girl began to wonder, “If Daddy loves me, why does he want to take away something I love?”
Then one day the little girl walked up to her father with tears in her eyes and held out her fake pearl necklace. “Here, Daddy. This is for you,” she said.
The father reached out a hand to take the necklace, and with his other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a velvet case. Inside that case was a strand of genuine pearls, chosen with love and care for his daughter. He had had the pearls all along but was waiting for his daughter to give up what she had so that he could give her something even better.
Isn’t that story amazing? I know I read it during the bible study, but for some reason it was magnified today, and I felt, there it is. That is what God wants me to share!
And here we are my friend. What comes to mind when you read that story? Has God asked you to give up something in your life that you are holding onto? It may be an unhealthy relationship, bad habits, material things, a certain job, a place that you live, etc. What I have come to realize in my life is this:
“God will never take something away without giving you more in return. Trust that He knows what He is doing” (Joel Osteen).
I can honestly say I have experienced all of those things and more! Years and years ago, I was in a toxic friendship. It just wasn’t healthy any more. But we had been friends for over a decade, etc. Blah, blah, blah. I kept making excuses and God kept nudging me to let. it. go. Our friendship had run its course and we didn’t have much in common anymore.
Guess what happened? It kept getting worse until I felt bad all the time and finally listened to God. I would have experienced a lot less stress and pain if I would have listened to the Holy Spirit in the first place and let it go. Please tell me someone relates to that!?
The most amazing thing is what God did next. He brought some new friendships into my life that were more compatible with my family, interests, and faith. He was trying to bless me in new ways, but I was clinging to what I was used to and didn’t want to change.
God wants the best for you! In giving you the best He has, you have to give up all that He has asked you to. It isn’t an easy thing to do, and it may not be comfortable, BUT it will ALWAYS be worth it!!!
Praying God’s absolute BEST for you, my friend! Step out in faith and trust God!
All the glory to God!!
Image of “Just trust me…” by Jennifer Brobbey. “He’s Got Something Much Better For You…” 6 March 2017.
Image of “When God gives you a “No””… by Erin Perkins. Pinterest.
The second week of January began in a predictable way, weather wise, here in the Pacific Northwest. The clouds and the wind were rolling in, billowing and forming a thick layer of insulation against a gray and darkening sky. A light rain fell on the evergreen and tall pine trees surrounding my Washington home. The season of Winter has definitely made it’s grand and wet appearance.
Right now, I feel as though I am walking through the desert–a dry, parched land with a scorching sun and hot, unrelenting winds. Not in a physical sense (although a hot, dry sunny day does sound nice!) but in a spiritual sense. Spiritually dry. Another term I could use to describe what I am going through is walking through the valley.
I know that, over the last several weeks, there has been a shift in the awareness I was feeling in regard to God’s presence in my life. Now, I know without a doubt, that God will never leave me nor forsake me (Joshua 1:5). Whether or not I “feel” His presence, I know that He is there. I believe in this Truth and in no way feel abandoned. However, I wanted to understand more of what I was going through and shared my experiences with one of my nearest and dearest God fearing “mom’s” that the Lord has blessed me with.
During our conversation, she reassured me that what I was experiencing, she could also relate to, and that she has walked through it. She asked if I had ever heard of, “dark night of the soul.” I had not. Charisma magazine author, Joy F. Strang, describes it in this way,”…a season of dryness–called a dark night of the soul by 16th century mystic John of the Cross–during which it seemed as if God was not there.” While visiting together, my friend and I, discussed this subject, and others, while we shared the Word of God, prayer, wisdom, and lots of hugs. And coffee! 🙂
Joy F. Strang, in her article titled, “Why you’re in a Spiritual Desert,” describes her own experience of being spiritually dry.
“During my “dark night” I realized that on our path to spiritual maturity, we don’t go from mountaintop to mountaintop. We have to walk through valleys as well. Even after we have arrived in our “promised land” we may experience spiritually dry times.
David confirmed this truth in Psalm 63, in which he expressed the thirst he had for God in the midst of a “dry and weary land” (v. 1). He wrote the psalm in the desert of Judah—a dry region in the promised land! David had experienced God intensely before (see v. 2) but found himself for a season in a place “where there [was] no water” (v. 1)”
For a moment, let’s focus on, “we don’t go from mountaintop to mountaintop.” A mountaintop experience can be described as a place (or time) where we can clearly hear God’s voice and we are able to follow His leading because it is clear to us. God’s presence leaves us feeling empowered, strong, inspired, and loved. We feel confident, through this mountaintop experience, that with God, we “can do anything through Christ who gives us strength” (Philippians 4:13).
As much as it would be amazing to never leave the mountaintop, the reality of living in a sinful world, is that many seasons of our life are spent in the valley. This is where our faith is really grown and matured and used by God.
Billy Graham has this to say in regard to mountaintops and valleys: “we are made for the valley of life. God will sometimes allow a view from the hills, but only so that we might be refreshed enough to return to the valley–where the action is–that we may be of service to Him. Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys“ (Graham, Billy, v).
Did you catch that?! “…but fruit is grown in the valleys.” This is where the action is, where our faith and our fruit, grow together in a way that can be powerfully used by God!
I’ll share a few things that I am doing right now while I am experiencing this dry season.
1) I asked God to search my heart and reveal to me any sin that I need to repent of and receive His forgiveness.
2) I start my day in the bible. By doing this, I know the foundation of my day begins with Him, and my heart and mind are better prepared to respond to His presence throughout the day. This is also a time when I read my devotional, I begin a new one each year.
3) I always begin my day with prayer. Depending on what I have going on for the morning, the length of time varies. However, two things never change. Everyday I begin and end my day with prayer and thanksgiving.
4) I ask God to open my heart in a way to be of service to others throughout my day. He has never disappointed me and given me lots of ways to bless others. As a result, this takes the focus off of me and my own cares, and I get to share the love of Jesus with those He brings into my life.
5) I listen to music that remind’s me of God’s presence in my life. I listen to it in my car, while I’m cleaning the house, getting ready to write, and especially when I am feeling sad and depressed. There is nothing that can turn my mood around quicker than when I put on my favorite Christian artist, turn the volume up loud, and dance for my Savior, “much like David was dancing before the Lord with all his might” (2 Samuel 6:14).
6) Several times throughout the day I pause and pray. Whenever I drive by my daughter’s school, I say a prayer. When an emergency vehicle is going by, I say a quick prayer. When I am anxious, stressed or not feeling well, I say a prayer. And especially when God brings someone to my mind, I say a prayer for them. Praying in this way again, takes the focus off of me and my worries, and directly releases them to God.
Our faith and fruit grow the most when we are close to the vine (Jesus) and filled with the Living Water. This requires action on our part through the Word of God, prayer, and submitting to God every single day.
I encourage you, know matter what season you are in, to develop a prayer, bible reading, praise, and worship schedule that allows to be as close as possible to the God of the Hills and Valleys! God Bless You!
All the Glory to God,
Image of “It takes a valley and a God…” by CHRISTian Poetry Deborah ann
Image of “You’re God of the Hills and Valley’s by taurenwells VEVO
Graham, Billy. “Unto the Hills: A Daily Devotional.” Foreward, page v. Word Publishing. Print. 1996.
Strang, Joy F. “Why You’re in a Spiritual Desert.” Charisma Magazine. Web. 31 May 2015.
For Christmas last year, my daughter’s gave me one of those page-a-day calendars. Each day has a beautiful picture and bible scripture on it. As I tore off yesterday’s scripture, I realized how few I have left for this year.
That simple swipe of a page caused me to reflect for a moment on all of the many triumphs, disappointments, hardships, and blessings that occurred this year.
Appropriately in line with my thoughts was today’s scripture, right out of Ecclesiastes 7:13-14. King Solomon wrote:
“Consider what God has done:
Who can straighten what he has made crooked?
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad consider:
God has made one as well as the other.
Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.”
Remember that God is with you through all times; He will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6) I truly believe that He holds me by my right hand.
When I have experienced my deepest and darkest times, I close my eyes and actually visualize Him seated right next to me, holding my hand. It brings me the most complete, nurturing love and comfort that only my Heavenly Father can provide. Try it, you will be blessed. 🙂
“By recognizing that God is working in us through all situations, we can rejoice in success and prosperity and learn to trust God through failure and adversity” (Ecclesiastes 7: 8-14 commentary.)
God holds my all days, as well as yours. Remember, God doesn’t change; only our situations do.
During these times of thankfulness, take some time to thank God for His never-ending presence in your life. Times change, people change, relationships change but He is the one that we can always count on–His promises never change!
All the glory to God,
Image of Jesus Christ: The same yesterday, today, and forever” by www.preachit.org.
God is first and foremost in my life.
my husband Steve, daughters Suzanne and Savannah,
my AMAZING family and friends,
the majestic beauty of the Pacific Northwest,
traveling and camping,
a GREAT cup of coffee with my morning devotionals,
and my Sumner Family Church family. :)