My Hope Is God Alone (Even If He Doesn’t Save Through The Fire)

Scripture teaches us that it only takes a little faith to move a mountain. Well, I am grateful that I always have at least a little faith. Looking back over the past seven years of walking fully sober with Jesus, I truly believe that I have developed mountain moving faith. I have prayed and believed that God would move some mountains in my own journey and those mountains did get tossed into the sea – a mountain of alcohol abuse, a mountain of a cancer-causing virus, and a mountain of depression. I have seen God move mountains in other lives as well which is so awesome for a young Christian to see God answer prayers in such powerful ways.

Even so, there have been times where I have felt disappointed and maybe even a little shaken. I am sure we all experience this from time to time. Some of us grow stronger and closer to God, and some of us give up. I never want to give up. I never want to go back to a life of hopelessness ever again, so I keep pressing on even when life hurts. There was a time not very long ago when I prayed so fervently for a woman by the name of Peggy who was suffering from cancer. She had such amazing faith and had touched so many lives as a teacher. She was a Kingdom builder for sure. She was not ready to go. I heard her say so. She tearfully prayed for more time to serve the Lord. She knew my pastor and when she could, she would come a pretty good distance to visit our church a few times for prayer. Shortly after, she became too week to come anymore. I never saw her again. I did not personally know her, but I was honored to be one who got to place hands on her with other powerful prayer warriors taking turns praying. I will never forget that moment. When I touched her and spoke God’s Word of healing over her, I felt such a deep spiritual connection with her. After that morning, God put her on my heart to continue praying and believing, and that is what I did. My personal prayer sessions speaking God’s Word of healing for her were so powerful. Tears would stream down my face every single time and I would be thanking God that He had answered. I believed with all my heart that I would be hearing praises that God had miraculously healed her like we have heard for others. I felt like a little child who had no doubt that her Mighty God would hear and save Peggy from cancer. But God didn’t move the mountain. Not this time. I had received word that Peggy’s mountain of cancer overcame her and she passed away surrounded by family. I celebrate the fact that Peggy is now whole and with Jesus, but I would be lying if I said that it did not sadden me greatly that she was not healed on this side of heaven leaving behind her husband and family. I guess it really hurt because I had been so excited for that miracle that I had no doubt would come. And when it didn’t come, well, I do not think I need to describe any further how my heart felt at the time.

Now I could have let that stop me from pressing on in this journey of faith, but I am thankful for the strength that God gives me to keep pressing on no matter what comes. I think it will help me to remember that I am to be walking in His will, not my own, so there will be mountains that He chooses to leave unmoved. I have learned that nothing can get in God’s way for His purpose to be done, so I think I need to be okay when certain mountains do not move. Just because they seem to be in my way or the way of loved ones, it does not mean that they are in God’s way. At least, that is how it seems to me.

There are a lot of mountains – fiery health trials happening lately with people I love. I keep lifting them all in prayer knowing that God is able. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He can save every one of them through the fire with His mighty hand. But what if He doesn’t? I mean, He didn’t for Peggy, so what if He doesn’t for others that I pray for as well? Well, God is God, and I am not. I cannot know His plan, so, I will continue in faith and pray for healing. I will also pray for the strength for all of us, no matter what, to be able to say, “It is well with my soul.” Our only hope is God alone. Let us not forget what He did for us! (John 3:16) Amen?

While my heart was struggling with unmovable mountains and fiery trials, a Mercy Me song (Even If) was playing and really touched me. If you listen to the song, you’ll see that it inspired this writing from my heart. I hope it will encourage your heart like it did mine. It reminded me of the OT Bible passage in Daniel 3 where Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were about to be thrown into the fiery furnace for not worshiping the king’s golden image. They fully trusted Almighty God to deliver them from the fire, but stood strong in faith stating that even if He does not deliver, that they would not serve or worship the king’s false god. Wow. Super strong faith. They knew they had God on their side no matter what and had nothing to fear but God alone. That is the kind of faith I hope that I continue to develop. When we fear God, we need not fear anything else.

I dug a little deeper into this passage and read a Matthew Henry commentary and I love what he said about Daniel 3:17-18, and I hope that it helps you as it did me. Henry said, “God will deliver us either from death or in death.” Yes! It was no accident that I came to that commentary. I really needed to hear those words. It made me realize that Peggy WAS delivered after all. God delivered her from cancer and took her home to be with Him forever. She would have liked to stay longer, but she was not afraid because she knew where she was going. That is a beautiful truth and God will deliver every single one of His faithful ones so we also need not be afraid. I know we would like deliverance and healing on this side of heaven, but whether it is here or in heaven, it is a win-win for those of us in Christ.

If you are struggling like I was, I hope you will remember that the Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34). It is okay to grieve the loss of our loved ones who leave us behind, but it is not okay to grieve like those who have no hope. We are going home to Paradise, to be with our Lord for eternity. We have the blessed hope of heaven and it is not wishful thinking kind of hope!

Oh, breathe on us breath of God, so that we will never die. Be blessed my friends and may God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus whether your mountains move or not.

Psalms 34

From Damaged Goods to Broken and Beautiful – Learning to see myself through God’s eyes…

So my heart brought me back to one of my first writings from 2012, the year this blog came alive and my heart poured into it wanting only to share the greatness of God in my life. It’s not a popular blog, but it is a blessed one. When I started writing, I was very new in my Christian walk and only a couple of years sober and in this particular post I wrote about how I had wondered how God could love someone like me. I was remembering a past dark, drunk, and extremely depressed moment in my life before I had cried out to God, so I wrote about it and here is a little piece of it:

 …I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I was headed to the refrigerator for another cold one. I don’t know why, but I stopped and took a long look at the reflection of what was a lost soul. I can still picture those lifeless eyes staring back at me. I hated who I had become. I didn’t blame anybody, I knew I did it to myself and I thought I’d never be able to climb out of that big black hole that I had dug for myself. I was seriously wondering how God could ever love someone who had spent just about her entire life with her back to Him—no love, no trust, no surrender. I also wondered why He didn’t let me die like I wanted to. I was certainly ready to go. I wasn’t doing anybody any good being alive.”

Wow, I just got all teary eyed again with gratitude looking back at all God has done since I surrendered at the bottom a little more than seven years ago now. The miracle sobriety continues. Thank You, Jesus. I know there are still some suffering like I used to. I used to think I was worthless, dumb, ugly, and deserving of nothing good in this life. I was nothing but damaged goods, especially after that horrible stretch of being a victim of mental abuse before I finally escaped it (another miracle of God). Damaged goods – that was my main identity when I thought of who I was. I was Depressed, Drunk, and Damaged. Hmmmm, “D” for devil…pretty amazing to see, isn’t it? There’s also Discouragement, Discontentment, Defeat, Doubt, Deception — just to point out a few more words to be aware of (thanks to my mentor for helping me to recognize those words!). They are never loving words from our Heavenly Father. Anyway, I was believing all the lies of the devil and was caught up in his snare for so many years – he came close to destroying me, but he lost.  I am so grateful that those days are long gone. The moment I started opening my heart to the Lord and letting Him work in me and through me, He changed everything about me. He saved my life! He gave me a new heart and gave me new sight, and helped me to change my thoughts. And with the help of someone dear to me, well, it’s more than one walking this incredible journey with me, and they have all helped me to see myself as God sees me. And I believe He sees me (and so many others) as His beautiful bride. In time, I started to see that I am not damaged goods. I am broken and beautiful. I am chosen. I am set-apart. There’s so much more and I am grateful that His truths now overpower the lies. My identity is in Christ alone and nothing or no one can ever change that.

How amazing is that truth for all who believe, my friends! I hope that anyone who is struggling the way I did will not listen to anyone but God and what He has to say. It is all in His Word, I hope you will seek Him with all your heart if you haven’t yet. His love is amazing.

Your Heavenly Father saw you and approved of you even while you were in your mother’s womb. Read Psalm 139 with an open heart seeking God’s Presence while you read it. I pray that you will feel His Sweet Presence and will start to receive the self-esteem of Christ. He did it for me, I know He will do it for wholehearted seekers like you too.

May God bless you. Please know that you are loved. ♥

When Christians Hurt with Words…

Are we helping or hurting with what we say? Are we truly walking in God’s righteousness as He has called us to? I see and hear the word idiot and other harsh words about people and things out of our control quite a bit, so today on I want to focus on words. I think most of us have heard how powerful our words can be. The words we speak can bless and bring life into the hearts of others, including ourselves, or we can speak hard or hard words and word curses that hurt others. Did you realize that these types of words can also create strongholds in our own lives? Did you realize that they can block God’s blessings? So, I have to ask. Which words are you choosing to speak?

I will never claim to be a perfect Christian, but I have learned how to NOT be a blessing blocker — as much as humanly possible. I have learned some difficult and painful lessons in my journey, and as someone who used to be a blessing blocker more than not, I must put this out there. I know of several Christians (many that I care deeply for) that are in need – some are in desperate need of breakthroughs. For example, some need restoration, physical healing, financial, or emotional healing. I have seen some things that have triggered concern and I am being led to put this out there for others to seriously consider – please be aware that the words we speak (think and write–God knows all) may keep us in bondage if we are not choosing our words wisely.

Our mouths can really run away from us and I think it can happen easily if we are not spending enough quality time seeking God with our whole hearts. Some of us try to squeeze God into our lives but it never works because we never have enough time when we do not keep Him as priority time. We might make a better effort to be with Him only once in a while, but then the busyness of life usually gets in the way. We might praise Him in the good times and try our best to praise Him during the hardships, but sometimes we are just too weak to do it because we are operating under our own strength which cannot compare to His. We then humble ourselves and pray in the name of Jesus, and then we wait, and wait, and wait some more for the breakthroughs to come. When it seems that nothing is happening, we start to wonder how long we must wait for an answer – we may ask, “Does the Lord really hear me?” Sometimes the wait seems forever and we have no idea that we might be the ones causing the delay.

If you feel that you might be at this point, I want to encourage you to not give up. Do not lose hope. Do not lose heart! But know that it is a must that you still yourself before the Lord more than once in a while. You might even do what I like to think of as a self-check. If you cannot see what might be wrong in your life, ask God. You can ask something like, “Lord, am I getting the way of Your blessings? If so, please show me and give me strength to change. I want to bring You glory.” If you go to Him wholeheartedly, He will listen and He will answer. But you need to be still and listen. This is also a perfect opportunity to grow in your trust relationship with the Lord. For me, I am so grateful that I have learned to make it a constant practice to do a self-check because I certainly do not want to ever block the blessings of God. Been there, done that. When I am on the right path, I grow stronger in my wait for the Lord. When I am not on the right path, He shows me and lovingly corrects me. It is a win-win for me.

Remember, the invisible enemy is behind the temptation to run off at the mouth so as it is written in James 4:7 (New Century Version): “So give yourselves completely to God. Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you.” Amen! The enemy and his minions always run in terror in the name of Jesus.

How can you learn to always be mindful and speak in a way that brings glory to God? IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE WORD OF GOD. Do it day and night. If I sound like a broken record to some of you who know me, I am glad. I speak the truth from love and I speak it from experience of a 7 year journey (and counting) of many trials and triumphs. I am so thankful that I have learned many things the hard way because God has used it all for good and has made me confident and bold in what I share. And just like my wonderful and loving spiritual leaders, I now get to lead by example and I am extremely grateful for the gift to share my heart.

The more time you spend soaking in God’s Word instead of participating with the harshness (to put it politely) of the rest of the world which is Satan’s snare, the more you will desire to change your words and your ways. You will not be able to help but be drawn in and grow in knowing and loving God and wanting to glorify Him more and more in everything you do. You will be living out Scripture (God’s Living Word!), like it is written in James, for example. James taught us about becoming “doers” of God’s Word, not just listeners. I encourage you to read the entire epistle of James. It was a part of this inspired writing.

God wants to bless us abundantly, but it is hard for Him to do when we do things that His Word clearly tells us not to do. If you have a problem controlling your tongue, you are not alone. As a side note, I love how Joyce Meyer shares about her struggle with her tongue. I am sure she must have a book on it. Controlling our tongues may seem impossible at times, but with God, ALL things are possible and we can do ALL things with Christ who strengthens us, Amen? Do not let it hold you back from God’s best in your life.

I am praying for those who struggle with this. I am praying for your breakthroughs. The saying is true — change your words, change your life. Remember, in Christ Jesus we are Kingdom builders but we are not going to be able t draw people in for God with words that tear people down.

God will do His part, but you need to do your part in breaking the strongholds and enslaving yokes today. Stay out of His way. Choose to speak words of life. Just do it. You will be much better off (just like when you forgive). I will pray that the floodgates of heaven pour upon you like never before – I believe breakthroughs are in store! Thank You, Lord!

To God be the glory, forever. ♥

“God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger.” James 1:20 (The Message)

19 Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]; 20 for the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behavior which He requires from us].” James 1:19-20 (Amplified Bible)

Because I want the world to know why I have HOPE in a dark world.

Taking a chance with my heart…

I hope someone will click the above link and hear with their whole heart. I hope for more rejoicing in heaven, no matter what the cost is for me. Please pray that more will hear the Spirit call them to come to Jesus as they are — to come and see, come receive, come and live forever. May more have everlasting life with Christ my King…My Savior, my Hope, my reason for living. 

 

Hope for the Lonely

Feeling a lonely ache inside of your heart? It is not just you. I used to have that ache for too long. I started to feel it when I was 16 years old and carried it all the way to 44 (I am 51 now). That is a long time and it is no surprise how unbearable it became. I sought all the wrong things and people to soothe the ache. Even though I was filled with pain and was afraid to love, there were a couple of men that I allowed myself to love, but they did not love me back. Oh, they tried to make me think they loved me, but it was just so that I would do whatever they wanted me to do. I really did not think much of myself at that time and I drank my way through everything most of the time so I could get through it. I suffered severe mental abuse from the last one and I came to the lowest point in my life that almost had me ending the pain in a drastic way knowing there would be no turning back. It is not easy to talk about my dark past, but I do so that I can share of God’s greatness in my life. I thank God that while I was at that lowest point in life, hope came bursting in when I least expected it. Hope helped me find true love that I had never known for the first time in my life. I am getting teary eyed as I write this because that was about seven years ago and I am still deeply in love — more than ever. I want to share that my true love’s name is Jesus. Yes, Christ Jesus. Now I know some of you will probably roll your eyes and will stop reading right now, but I hope someone who is tired of the ache and emptiness will bear with me and keep reading. It does not matter if you are a man or woman, this message for you if you could just open your heart and listen. You might be wonderfully surprised and receive a life-changing / life-saving burst of hope just like me. That is my prayer!

Before I continue, I want to give credit where credit is due. I just started reading a book by Pastor Mark Hall, the lead singer of Casting Crowns, called “The Well”. Even though I am only half way through the first chapter, there were words that Mark wrote that prompted me to share my heart with you and I will be paraphrasing a little of he wrote. Mark shared about the Samaritan woman that Jesus had a divine appointment with at the well in the gospel of John. I love that story about Living Water – Jesus! Anyway, although I’m not exactly like the Samaritan woman, my past godless life is similar and I think a lot of us can relate because many of us have tried to fill the void in our lives with anyone and anything but Jesus. The truth is, and I know this because of my personal experiences, that only Jesus can fill the void in our lives. Only Jesus can truly satisfy our hearts. Only Jesus can take away the aches and remove all the pain from every poor choice that we have ever made. Only Jesus can give us rest and help us to escape repeated sleepless nights and tears of shame for all the wrong things we have ever done, and only Jesus can help us through all the consequences that come. Yes, only Jesus.

My heart feels for the lonely. I guess because I used to be extremely lonely after having pieces of my heart ripped out by others for so many years. I just could not allow myself to ever trust again. Not ever. I have come a long way on my healing journey and I no longer feel that way. And thanks to Jesus, all the pain and shame and distrust have been washed away. Thank You, Jesus!!

I know there are people who seek to get married someday. That is a wonderful thing. For me, I believe the Lord has removed that desire from my heart. I feel the call to serve Him only, at least for now. I want to encourage others to pray for God’s will. If He does not remove the desire for a future spouse, start praying about that spouse! Ask God for the right godly man or woman to be sent your way. Ask Him to transform you into the best husband or wife for your future spouse! I believe He will answer and you will be mega blessed with a lasting godly marriage – God must be in the center if you want a lasting marriage. I think something beyond you have ever dreamed of will happen if you do this and not give up. Scripture tells us over and over to trust God and wait. His timing may not be convenient for us, but it is always perfect. I have learned this the hard way. Every time I try to be in control, I end up getting in God’s way. I have learned to stop being a blessing blocker!

And if you end up having the desire removed like it has happened for me, keep seeking the Lord with all your heart. Meditate on His Word every single day. Delight in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart…they are really the desires of His heart and there is nothing better than that! You will be blessed. I guarantee it. Even better, God guarantees it! The loneliness ends with Jesus.

I wanted to put this out there because I see and hear the lonely hearts every day. Even married people get lonely at times. But I can say without a doubt that no one…nothing…NO THING in this world can ever compare with the love of Christ filling your heart and filling the void. It did not happen for me overnight, nothing on this incredible journey of love has, but I have become more than content. I think the photo that I just took shows it. It is Friday night, it has been a rough week and I am alone. But I am not really alone – not the way I used to think and feel. Because I have Christ, I have EVERYTHING and I am grateful. My heart is full and my lifesong sings…

Thank you for listening and I pray with all my heart that you too will find the True Love of Jesus who has all you need and more. He is just a whisper away. He is hope for the lonely, He is hope for all. ♥♥♥