April 29, 2017

When You Don’t Feel His Presence

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.
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:2-3

I will be honest. I don’t feel God’s Presence every minute of every day.  But I have the faith to know that He is there because He promised.  His Word tells us not to fear but sometimes there are reasons to fear, true?  If you read the news or just step outside your door, you see a few.  Did you notice that in the verse above, it says “When you pass through the waters…” ? Not “If” because He knows that because of sin, we will encounter trouble but He is with us.  He is ever present, never leaving us, and that is our comfort.  And His Word reminds us of this over and over.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.
Psalms 139:11 and 12

Hebrews 13:5 says “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” You cannot escape the Presence of God, but you may not feel it.

In Matthew 14:25-32, in the middle of a storm, Jesus walked on water.  His disciples, who were terrified, did not feel His presence but Jesus said, “Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”  The storms continued to rage until Jesus got into the boat. Yes, there was something to fear—a huge storm in a small fishing boat—but Jesus’ Presence brings peace and courage.  And notice…Jesus did not say, “Take courage! I am calming the storm. Don’t be afraid.” Instead, with the winds raging, He said,”Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

The truth is—Jesus doesn’t always calm the storms, at least not immediately. However He always calms His child with His Presence.  I imagine Him saying,”Don’t worry!  Yes there are winds that are strong and blowing and the waves are really high and frightening but I am God over everything.  And if I do not calm the waves immediately, it is because I want you to watch Me walk on water.”  I still don’t enjoy the storms that I have to go through and I don’t want to go through it all again, but what I do still cherish is the closeness I have felt with Him and how much I desired to be with Him and hear His words.  I was desperate for His strength and I couldn’t get enough of Him.

Are you ready to accept His Presence in your life? Do you want to enjoy God in your life more than ever? If you said YES!, then take the time to pray and ask Him to give you faith and to teach you how to enjoy Him abundantly! He loves you and He created you with a desire for fellowship with Him. He is your Creator so He knows you more than you will ever know yourself. So you can trust Him always and know He will never leave you.

Feelings are just feelings and not facts. So not feeling His Presence doesn’t mean He is not there. Spend time in His Word and get to know Him. Hear His promises for yourself. Your faith will grow and so will your relationship with Him. Your life will blossom and there will be a peace that passes all understanding. And know that I am praying for you today, whatever you may need today. If you don’t have a relationship with Him, you can. All you have to do is ask Him into your heart.

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Pray with me today: Dear Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I need a Savior.  I ask for forgiveness.  I believe you died for my sins on the Cross and I am forgiven.  Walk with me now and forever more.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

He Keeps Me Singing

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I grew up singing hymns and choruses. Today I love and sing the contemporary worship and praise songs of the day. But often as I worship, my mind goes back to those old hymns that tell such wonderful stories, and teach such wonderful Biblical truths.  This is one of those songs:

 ~ He Keeps Me Singing (There’s Within My Heart a Melody) ~

Luther B. Bridges, 1884-1948

There’s within my heart a melody Jesus whispers sweet and low,
Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still, In all of life’s ebb and flow.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! Sweetest Name I know,
Fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.
All my life was wrecked by sin and strife, discord filled my heart with pain,
Jesus swept across the broken strings, stirred the slumbering chords again.
Feasting on the riches of His grace, resting ’neath His sheltering wing,
Always looking on His smiling face that is why I shout and sing.
Though sometimes He leads through waters deep, trials fall across the way,
Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep, see His footprints all the way.
Soon He’s coming back to welcome me far beyond the starry sky;
I shall wing my flight to worlds unknown, I shall reign with Him on high.

Luther Bridges wrote this song shortly after the tragic death of his wife and three sons in a house fire. How could he write such a beautiful song after such a tragedy!? He shared that the Lord spoke to him through The Word.

The Lord is my portion, saith my soul.
Lamentations 3:24

They that dwell in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1

As Luther wrote he remembered all that Jesus did for us.

Jesus suffered for us:
He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities…
We all, like sheep, have gone astray…
and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:5,6

He remembered God’s promises:
I will never leave you or forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.
Isaiah 43:2

He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge.
Psalm 91:4

In My Father’s house are many rooms…
I am going there to prepare a place for you…
I will come back and take you to be with Me.
John 14:1-4

My peace I give you.
John 14:27

All these promises and many more are wrapped up in one word…one Name—JESUS. That’s how Luther Bridges could move on from the tragic loss of his family; he said the Name of Jesus. He lived and breathed the Name of Jesus. Sisters, when you and I go through the trials of life, we must remember the sufferings Jesus went through for each of us, and we must remember His promises for us. Then we can say, we can sing, we can breathe the Name of JESUS, and walk through those trials.

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Oh Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, the sweetest Name I know. It fills my every longing, and keeps me singing as I go!  I pray, Lord, that this will be the song each of my sisters can sing from the depth of their heart.  In the sweetest Name of Jesus, Amen.

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Esther – Chapter 4:8-11

Here we are in Chapter Four of Esther, sisters, and today we are looking at verses 8-11.  Wow – there are so many topics that jumped out, wanting to be discussed!  But I want to delve further into one that touches us all in some form or another – trials or testing.  To say that Mordecai and Esther were facing trials is a bit of an understatement, wouldn’t you say?  And yet, while facing the same trial – extinction – they each had their own individual trial, as well; Mordecai was concerned for his people and their salvation, Esther was concerned for her own safety in honoring Mordecai’s request to approach the King.

Sisters, we’re going to have trials. Troubles.  Rough patches.  Dry seasons.  Disappointments. Jesus tells us this several times throughout the Gospels, and Darlene reminds us of 1 Peter 4:12 – 13 (NIV).  “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.”   Uh, wait a minute – did that scripture say rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ?  Yep.  And so does this one, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-3 NIV).  These verses in James say we will go through trials “of many kinds” – some will be severe, some not so much.  We may be losing our keys or our patience.  We may be having “one of those days” or wonder if we’ll even make it through the day. But God allows us to face trials because they “develop perseverance.”  I saw perseverance defined as “steady persistence in a course of action, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement” (Dictionary.com).  So, if I can paraphrase, God allows us to face trials so that we can develop the ability to stay the course, finish the race – in spite of what difficulties, obstacles or discouragement will come our way (especially from our enemy, Satan).

I know, I know.  I hear the protest rising from you right now. “How am I supposed to rejoice in the trial I am going through now?  You have NO IDEA what I am suffering.”  You’re so right…I don’t.  But God does.  And He promises never to leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5), so He will be with you through the whole thing.  He also tells us that “…no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me…” (Isaiah 54:17 NIV).  “Yes, yes,” I hear you protesting, “but joy, Robin? JOY???”  Yes, sisters, joy.  Because unlike happiness, which can come and go with our moods, joy is the deeper sense of understanding  and well-being that comes from accepting that God is in complete control of your life and, as such, will always work on your behalf, for your good, because He promised (Romans 8:28).

Trials are not easy, sisters.  And no one said you had to be happy to experience them.  But they do give you the chance to get closer to God.  Psalm 34:18 (NIV) says “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  When you find yourself in a hard place or season—cry out to God!  He hears you.  He LOVES you.  He wants to help you.  He wants to deliver you!  He wants to fill all the voids in your life.  He encourages you to “cast ALL your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Psalm34_18

I have heard testing/trials described beautifully in this way:  “Our lives are like gold – but in its unrefined state.  The goldsmith heats up the metal – so hot that it is liquefied – and then begins to skim the impurities and waste from the surface.  This happens not once, but MANY times. Each time the goldsmith skims the impurities and waste from the surface.  Do you know when it’s done?  When the goldsmith can see his face mirrored in the surface of the gold.”  God does the same with our lives. The rough times, hard times, difficult seasons, times of trial and suffering are like the heat used to liquefy the metal that is our character.  If we allow God to ‘heat up’ our character, he will skim the impurities and the waste that particular challenge brings out of us. With each trial we become more like Him (remember our first scripture, 1 Peter 4:12-13?) until one day God sees His face mirrored in our lives, and His glory is revealed – in us!

Let’s pray:

Dear God, I am asking You to help me through the trials I am experiencing in my life.  There are times that I just don’t know what to do, and I wonder how I’m going to get through this.  Thank You, Lord, that I can pour my heart out to You and trust that not only CAN You help me, but You WILL help me!  Thank You for holding me in the palm of Your hand.  If there are areas that I haven’t surrendered to Your care, please help me give them to You.  Help me to cast ALL my anxieties on You!  Thank You, Lord, for Your protection and provision.  Help me to come through this fire looking more like You every day.  In the name of Your Son I pray.

Amen.

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Financial Freedom {part 2}

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Last week, we began talking about how to begin to have financial freedom in your life. If you haven’t read it yet, you can find the post here.  The questions that we are discussing in regard to finances are:

How do you master money when you feel like money has actually mastered you?

How do I get in the black with my finances when I am always in the red?

How do I get out of debt?

…and today we will be working through the five principles for wise money management that the Bible lays out for us to help guide us as we work to get out of debt.  I pray this will be a blessing to you!

The Law of Contentment

  • Remember…God owns everything! {Psalm 50:12}
  • Recognize that God is our mighty source. He provides all that you possess. {Deuteronomy 8:17-18}
  • Realize that God wants you to be content with what you have. {Philippians 4:12}
  • Take a few moments and review what money means to you… (Security? Significance? Self-worth? Status? Power? Independence? A means to helping others? Other______?)
  • Once you discover all of the needs you expect money to fill, call Philippians 4:19 to mind…especially when you are tempted to spend needlessly.
  • Be sure to rest in God’s presence no matter what your financial circumstances.

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have,

because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

The Law of Self-Control

  • Start by transferring ownership of everything to God…mentally and emotionally. {Haggai 2:8}
  • Then you must separate yourself from the sin of greed.  You must repent and confess if your trust is in money.  Remind yourself of the consequences of financial bondage. {Luke 12:15}
  • Set a NEW goal for managing your finances.  Get counsel from someone with financial self-control and commit to staying on course with God’s plan for your finances.  {2 Corinthians 5:9}
  • Keep away from temptation by controlling your thoughts. Avoid thinking you can occasionally indulge yourself and avoid thinking that you can do whatever you want, self-sufficiently.

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

The Law of Stewardship

  • You must recognize your accountability to God for how you spend money.  What does accountability mean?  It means…. Knowing exactly what comes in, knowing exactly what goes out, knowing exactly where it goes (budgeting), knowing how to save (regardless of your income), knowing how to put your money to work for you (safe investment planning), and knowing when and where to give money to God and to others.
  • Return the first tenth of your earnings to God…this must be a commitment!  Many assume that tithing was taught only in the Old Testament.  However, Jesus gave full endorsement to the principle of tithing. {Luke 11:42}
  • Reserve an amount of your earnings for saving.  A wise steward plans ahead by establishing a habit of saving. {Proverbs 13:22}
  • Be sure to respond to the needs of others. When you allow God’s heart to have freedom in your heart, your attitude toward giving will change so that He will use your giving in the lives of others. {Proverbs 19:17}
  • Resolve to live by a monthly budget.  {We will talk more about this next week!}

The Law of Giving

  • Give confidently to God that which He has commanded.  {Malachi 3:10}
  • Give regularly to the work of the Lord.  {1 Corinthians 16:2}
  • Give sacrificially by giving up some of your own desires. {2 Corinthians 8:3}
  • Give cheerfully–not reluctantly or under pressure.  {2 Corinthians 9:7}
  • Give generously to the poor.  {Deuteronomy 15:11}
  • Give compassionately to those in need.  {Romans 12:13}
  • Give secretly without letting others know.  {Matthew 6:1}

The Law of Petition… How to Pray for Your Needs

The following are some conditions on which successful prayer depends:

  • Is your request within the will of God? {1 John 5:14}
  • Have you confessed and repented of any known sin in your life?  {Psalm 66:18-19}
  • Instead of desiring your own will, are you willing to accept God’s will with a submissive heart?  {Mark 14:36, Philippians 4:6-7}

Blessings to you,

Coach Megan 🙂

A Daughter’s Worth: Week 11 / Day 5 – Be Confident of God’s Involvement

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart

         and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

  Proverbs 3:5-6

How many of you know that it is difficult to let go of certain things that concern us personally? To be honest with you, it use to be almost impossible for me to let go of anything that concerned me in any way. I use to feel like I was the only one who would be able to fix whatever needed fixing.

Well, I was busy with a process that involved the future of me and my immediate family. Although I prayed about this process and what needed to be done, I was all over the place. I did endless research; I read whatever was said about this process we were involved in. I worried whenever I submitted something, and I use to get agitated with my husband whenever he took too long completing some paperwork. Well, needless to say that we were not successful completing the process.

Things only started to fall in place once I surrendered everything, and I mean everything to God and admitted that I did not understand what is going on and need Him to direct my path.

What you have to understand is that God only wants what is best for His children. We might think that a certain person will make us happy, or if we can just get a particular outfit or whatever we are into at the moment; but God knows exactly what we need, and His plans for our lives are far more awesome than what we can ever imagine.

I was so inspired by the following scripture in the Amplified Bible. Hebrews 13:5

Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for he [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [ Assuredly not!]

Oh my, what an  awesome assurance!!!!

Girls, I want to challenge you today to be confident of God’s involvement in your lives. Know that God has your best interest at heart.

Let’s Pray:

Father, thank You for each girl who will read this blog. Thank You that we don’t have to be worry about anything and that we can trust You with our every need. We admit today that we need You to guide us and be with us in all of our endeavors.   Amen.


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Winning Him Without Words: Is it possible to thrive?

Is it possible to thrive in a mismatched marriage?
 “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”
Hebrews 13:5
Like Lynn, one of our authors, I too remember a time in my marriage where I was on my “throne”. I married this man, shouldn’t he meet my every need?
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Shouldn’t he greet me in the morning, with no morning breath, and bring me breakfast , in bed cooked just the way I like it? bring me my morning coffee as he goes out the door to work? And shouldn’t he be available to help me with the kids or housework or laundry? After all wasn’t he my Husband, partner, my life-mate? Aren’t we supposed to be doing this together? I know that sounds absurd, but I really did think that!
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Thinking only of myself and judging him from my “throne”- it’s a lonely and sometimes angry place to be. My husband is a believer, but I think whether you are both believers or not, As we go through this life together we are not always on the same page, Spiritually speaking. The highs and lows of our life and walk with God come sometimes at different times for us. Until I realized that I was actually trying to push him to where I was, then God would speak to me and remind me that I was only responsible for my walk with Him. God would take care of my husband and his choices.
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WOW! What freedom I felt then! I could love my husband, have fun with him, live life and raise our children, and not worry about where he was with God. The unreal expectations I had for my husband were just that- unreal! My husband will never fulfill all my needs, he can’t!  But God can, if I let Him.
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I can rest and know God will take care of all of it  My husband as well as myself. When I let God be in control he takes away the anxiety of my life. God meets me right where I am and meets hubby where he is too. My marriage can grow and THRIVE!! I can rest assured God has our backs in this marriage-After all he created marriage!
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When we yield our marriage to the Lord of life-He takes it and molds it. He works together and sometimes individually on each of us to make our union the best it can be. All I need do is get off my “throne” and hand my scepter over to God, pray for my husband and let God work! He will never leave me or forsake me. Like Lynn says: recognize Jesus is with you always and is intimately involved in our marriage and that is life changing!
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 Let’s pray:
God we want to get off our “throne” and hand it over to you. Help us to love our husbands no matter where they are with You. I pray we can yield our marriage to You and rest assured You will take good care of it because You WANT our marriage to be successful. Be the Lord of our life and marriage I pray in Jesus name-amen
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Your assignment:
I sometimes struggle, because I am a control freak, with letting my husband make decisions for our family so I pray daily that I will leave him and the decisions he has to make to God. If you have the same “throne” problem I do tell us some of them and  ways you can get off the throne and hand your scepter t0 God.
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God’s Blessings On Your Day,
Donna!