There are many instances in the Bible where God makes it clear that He is well acquainted with the heart of humanity. In His choosing of David over all of his other brothers. In His acceptance of Abel’s gift over Cain’s. God is no respecter of persons and He makes it abundantly clear that living a life of honorable service to Him is primarily a heart issue. With this understanding of the God who created the universe, who exists outside of time, and has all power in His being; Shouldn’t we be able to trust Him at His word?
The short answer is yes. However, our thoughts and behavior often show otherwise, complicating what God originally intended to be a simple solution to address our needs. You may be familiar with the quotable found on many t-shirts, mugs, and other collectable items: “Keep Calm and…” The end of that statement has an extensive list of suggested things, people, and places to put your faith in. Yet, every believer is aware, to some degree, that the only true source of stability that we can put our trust in is God. This year, 2020, has quite rudely interrupted the norms that humanity has created for ourselves and made it abundantly clear that many of the things, people, and places we have put our faith in are not able to hold us up when life takes an unexpected turn.
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25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, [a]“Be of good cheer! [b]It is I; do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:25-27 NKJV).
The disciples were in a dire situation. They were caught in a storm that had been raging for some time (according to the passage, it would have been after three o’clock in the morning and, based on verses 22-23, they set sail prior to the evening’s start). In the distance, they saw something that looked unfamiliar coming towards them. They were troubled by what they saw and began to cry out in fear. What are you inviting into your life during difficult situations? The disciples were inviting fear to take hold of them. Jesus, knowing where fear would lead, was swift in His encouragement of their faith, attempting to assure them of who He was. Since they already knew Jesus and witnessed His track record, one would think that this would be enough to quell their fears. However, that did not appear to be the outcome.
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Upstream. Against the current. Even after losing yourself in the waves of disappointment. Just. Keep. Swimming.
This line spoken by Dory in the movie Finding Nemo is such a memorable one. It’s a reminder to keep going no matter what. Dory’s character is most memorable for her “can do” spirit, even in the face of what appears to baffle her. Even when she forgets her surroundings, what she’s learned and who she’s met. She keeps a positive mindset and presses forward with enthusiasm. Now, I understand if you’re reading this and thinking that you can’t relate to that level of optimism in the face of what you’ve been making your way through lately. But I want to remind you of something. God is faithful. He knows what you’ve been going through and He cares about every detail!
On those difficult days, there are words of encouragement that can be found throughout scripture to address your situation. For example, Proverbs 24:16a in the New International Version says, “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” This is a beautiful reminder that, no matter what gets you down or how many times you feel defeated, in Christ, you don’t have to be! There will always be an opportunity to get back up and keep going. God guarantees it. Another important reminder we receive in scripture is not to grow weary in doing good because a beneficial outcome awaits on the other side of our perseverance (Galatians 6:9). God’s word is filled with affirmations reminding us that He’s on our side, rooting for us.
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The world around us right now is taking a shift in an unimaginable direction and, while there may appear to be many reasons to worry, I’m inviting you to choose faith instead…
At the risk of being the one millionth person to mention the reason for majority of the world living under quarantine right now, I am simply going to say that this has been, without a doubt, a sobering experience for many. But, can I just say….there has been an underlying peace that has overtaken my soul in the midst of all that is happening.
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It always begins with one step. Obedience. Trust. Curiosity about what is missing in our lives…
For me, this landed me on the topic of femininity. It has been something that influenced my early years more than I previously realized. I recently remembered the details of my mother teaching me manners and etiquette as well as instilling in me some important truths about life and carrying myself with dignity and respect. Not every woman has been able to have these experiences with their mother or another female caretaker in their life. For those moments, I am grateful, but there are some other truths that I had to face in light of these memories.
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Today, I found myself caught in the cycle of self-criticism that often begins with my noticing something about myself that makes me feel embarrassed or ashamed. As I walked through my front door, finishing my commute for the evening, I went straight to pick up my prayer journal to write to God about the matter. In the midst of my writing, I felt led to do something else that had been on my heart for a while. I searched for some blank “thank you” cards that I had and began to write notes to some of the women that I worked with. Each of them have impacted my life in some way and I wanted them to know how grateful I was to have them in my life.
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