Seeking God in Difficulties {Summer ’17}

In Psalm 70, we are reminded of our need to seek God – especially in the midst of the most difficult things.

God, hurry to rescue me. Lord, hurry to help me! (Ps. 70:1, CSB)

Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need (Heb. 4:16).

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have been gifted with this incredible relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Where we can boldly come to His throne, and receive all the help we could ever need.

Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; let those who love your salvation continually say, “God is great!” I am oppressed and needy; hurry to me, God. You are my help and my deliverer; Lord, do not delay (Ps. 70:4-5).

The outcome of seeking our Lord Jesus in the midst of hard times is – life changing. God can give us a joy like nothing we could ever experience. The secret to joy isn’t necessarily in the removal of bad circumstances. It is found in spending time in God’s presence and trusting Him no matter the outcome. Now God could change our situations, but He might choose to change our hearts and walk us through the difficulties of life.

Friends, let’s bring our needs before our gracious God. We boldly come and share with God all we are going through.

This is a message I need for myself, because life can get hard. While I might force myself to carry the full weight of the burden, I will progress at a much slower pace than if I had accepted King Jesus’ help.

Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30).

God wants to be involved in our lives. He doesn’t want to be merely an observer, but He wants to be actively involved in our lives. While it can seem like our “normal” to go at it alone, it is not part of the way we have been called toward.

Some believe we have to make our own prayers come true. Basically we need to lean not on God, but ourselves.

Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us of our need to allow God to be the sufficiency we need. God is God for a very good reason. Our strength cannot begin to compare with our great God’s!

As we walk with Jesus, we are invited to lay down our old ways and allow our great God to show us His love, grace, and power!

Friend, I have absolutely no idea what you are personally going through. What I do know is – the God I serve. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay the debt for our sin. He came and endured the most unimaginable pain, so we can have a relationship with our heavenly Father. A relationship, where we are His friend versus His enemy.

Image by Jason Blackeye.

Update | David’s Trustful Prayer

This Summer, I have been sicker than my usual “normal”. In lieu of recent circumstances, I have done the unthinkable (in my world) and merged a few blogs into just one. Want to see any of them? Here’s the list from less activity to current: chronological study, my beloved Psalms, and the Inspiring Women study.

And then a little sneak peek for you, Indoor Outreach will soon have a blog too.

Truth: As long as I am blogging and studying the Bible through writing, I won’t become as discouraged. Through God’s presence and quiet time, my joy will stay. I may not be able to serve in the local church, but I can keep writing through my trials and joys – which is what this blog is all about.

Psalm 56 –

Today, I want to just share a bit of today’s Psalm – which is Psalm 56. Fear is an easy thing to allow into our lives, at least it is for me. Fear is a difficult thing to overcome. Appropriately enough, the YouVersion “Verse of the Day” was 2 Timothy 1:7 – which adds to tonight’s (at the time of writing) Psalm.

God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid. He gave us a spirit of power and love and self-control (ICB).

When I’m afraid, I put my trust in you {God}. I trust in God. I praise his word. I trust in God. I am not afraid. What can mere people do to me? (Ps. 56:3-4, NIrV)

In this psalm, David was on the run from his enemies and feeling the full weight of this circumstance and emotions. Still, he was choosing to trust God in the midst of a fiercely difficult time.

Testimony

I love what David prays, next. Join me in looking at verses 9-11:

My enemies will turn back when I call out to you for help. Then I will know that God is on my side. I trust in God. I praise his word. I trust in the Lord. I praise his word. I trust in God. I am not afraid. What can mere people do to me?

David’s focus was on the end result. While he had many emotions and questions, he held onto his faith in God.

I want to learn to be prayerful like this. David took his circumstance, emotions, and even tears to God, and laid it at the altar of God. He knew God was the One who could help him. While he ran from his enemies, he also ran to God.

In verse 9, David does something encouraging. He focuses on the testimony this mess will bring. These people, his enemies, will know that David follows and obeys the One True God, and God is on his side. How David turned to God may have encouraged others to draw near to the One True God and to throw away their false gods and idols – because they met and experienced our great God.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or says. It is simply about putting our trust in our Lord Jesus, God’s Son, and knowing He is the One we can trust!

Featured image by Daan Stevens.

The Shepherd Who Protects {Summer Psalms ’17}

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep  (John 10:14-15)

We are reminded in Psalm 23, that the Lord is our Shepherd. More than told, we are given specific ways God reveals Himself as our very good Shepherd.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless (Ps. 84:11).

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, we are protected and have every need met. He is the One who faithfully cares for us no matter what is going on in our lives.

He gives us everything we need (vv. 1). I heart the “God verbs” as I call them, where we are able to see how God, our Shepherd, moves for our benefit.

He gives us rest (vv. 2). Not only does He provide physical rest for us, He gives us all the rest we need. He rejuvenates and offers peaceful rest we need to thrive. He is our God and makes sure we lack no good thing (see Ps. 84:11).

He leads us (vv. 2). God makes sure we get to the right place. He is the One who goes before us. He isn’t going to abandon us, half way through His leading us. Our great God leads us the whole way!

He gives us new strength (vv. 3). God is faithful to supply us with strength. Remember Isaiah 40:30-31, where we are taught that God renews our strength. Let’s pray for God to do this for us.

He guides us along the right path (vv. 3). He will lead us on the right path, where we are exactly where we need to be. One way He guides us, is through the Bible. As we seek Him, He will show us which way to go.

He is with us (vv. 4). Take heart in this promise that we find throughout the Bible. When we choose to follow Jesus Christ and diligently seek to obey His commands, He promises to be with us (see Mt. 28:18-20).

He prepares a feast for us in front of our enemies (vv. 5). We aren’t given mere leftovers, but God has thoroughly prepared a table for us. Knowing God’s protection and provision, we can sit down and enjoy our great God – even in the midst of the battle.

He pours oil on our head, giving us an abundance – which includes His favor and rejoicing (vv. 5). We see this lived throughout the New Testament. Despite all we have done, Jesus Christ came, has saved us and restored our relationship with God. In this new life, we are given much favor poured into our lives.

His goodness and love follow us (vv. 6). In whatever we are facing, God’s goodness and love is following those who are genuinely seeking Jesus Christ. Let’s put away the sin, seek His forgiveness, and allow Him to be the One whose love and goodness we are chasing.

Featured image by Patrick Schneider.

Psalm 19 {Summer ’17}

In the Bible, we are given specific instructions on how to have a relationship with God through His Son Jesus and taught how to live well. God has much He wants to teach us.

Those who have chosen to follow His Son Jesus Christ, have been declared children of God. We have been saved by the grace of God! His love leads us to be adopted into His family. This sets the stage for understanding and following the Father’s instructions.

The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them (Psalm 19:8-11, NLT).

In Psalm 19, we are reminded about God’s law. God has specific instructions for our lives. If we want things to go well, we need to be deliberate in hearing the Word of God {the Bible} and put it into practice.

Many times, we don’t apply what God is teaching us. What we need most is to savor His Words and simply obey. We need to seek His will, not our own.

Learning to Abide

God’s Word is so important for us, as Christians. As followers of Jesus Christ, we need to make sure that we stay plugged into Jesus. In 1 John 3 and John 15, this is specifically called “abiding”. We need to abide in Christ.

In its original language, this means “to remain”. We need to remain with Jesus the Christ, my friends.

Loving God and His Instructions

We need to learn what it means to love God and the instructions He has faithfully given to us – through the Bible.

God has lavished His love upon us, and continues to passionately pursue us. He wants to spend time with us. He wants to show us what is right. God wants to help us to avoid the pitfalls of the human life.

As we obey God, through His instructions, He continues to show Himself to us. Not only does He show Himself to us, He protects us from the traps we don’t see.

This is why God’s Word is so important, for God wants to help us to not become hurt. He doesn’t want to see us miss out on what He is ready to give us. If only, we would listen to what our great God has told us and put it into practice.

Feature image by Aniruddha Bhattacharya.

In Christ,

Signature

Psalm 17 {Summer ’17}

These past few weeks, I haven’t been able to write like I usually do. Life has become difficult, but I am moving forward. I may be behind in my Summer Psalms study, but it’s okay. It is okay, that it might take much longer than anticipated. It’s about the journey. Some journeys take longer than others.


Today, I was able to write out a little bit on the Psalms. What struck me the most was – Psalm 17. In this particular Psalm, it just really hit me – as I began to write out verses 6-12.

Vicious Enemies

Life with chronic illness is hard. It literally feels like, I am being surrounded by vicious enemies who seek to put me in danger. I face a real battle, but I don’t do it alone. I have God on my side.

In verses 11-12, it really just strikes like lightening.

“They track me down and surround me, watching for the chance to throw me to the ground. They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart – like young lions hiding in ambush (NLT).”

Seeking After God’s Protection

As I read through this Psalm, I am continually reminded about the protection God gives to His people – His children. As I continue my journey in following Jesus Christ, I am standing under His protection. God is the One who will guard my life, even when things seem a bit more messed up than I am used to.

I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.
    Bend down and listen as I pray.
Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways.
    By your mighty power you rescue
    those who seek refuge from their enemies.
Guard me as you would guard your own eyes.
    Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Protect me from wicked people who attack me,
    from murderous enemies who surround me.

What Happens Next?

13 Arise, O Lord!
Stand against them, and bring them to their knees!
Rescue me from the wicked with your sword!

God will arise, and touch us in the deepest parts of our lives. God will rescue us, and bring us to a place of healing. He can heal even the deepest wounds (or battles) we face. Even the ones that we feel are too big to hand over to God. God stands ready to act on our behalf. We need to be willing to cry out to God.

The beginning steps of gaining victory over these battles isn’t in striking down our enemies. It starts before that, as we step up in following Jesus and prayerfully share with Him what is honestly going on in our lives. And then, He acts in power – defending His people.

31 What can we ever say to such wonderful things as these? If God is on our side, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us all, won’t he also surely give us everything else? (Rom. 8:31-32, TLB)

Feature image by Averie Woodard.