Tag Archives: darkness

Believe, Live and Love

Today’s my 59th birthday.  Honestly I didn’t think I would live to see it.  The majority of my family didn’t live to see 59, including a 35-year-old brother (died on his birthday) and a 47-year-old younger sister, all pretty good reasons to think I wouldn’t.  But here I am, the first day of my 59th year.  I’m thinking…well knowing…there’s a reason I’m still here.  I asked God what He wanted me to do with this year and this is what I felt Him say:

Believe. Believe that I am good.  Believe I have your best interest in my heart.  Believe I control everything concerning you, even the bad stuff.  Believe I have a good plan.  Believe the enemy is still very much working in everything (and lots of those around you) and he’s a worthy opponent for you…but no match for Me.  You’ll witness and experience bad, heartbreaking things you don’t understand and when you do…believe.

Live.  Not just breathe; not just do the thing but live each moment knowing I’m in you and around you.  Even in the mundane, remember?  How many things have I shown you in the everyday moments of your life (?remember The Last Mile Home?).  If you search for Me in everything, every day, I promise, you’ll find Me, you’ll hear Me and you’ll experience Me.  No matter where you are, what you’re doing, look for Me.  I give life…even in the most ordinary things of life…its true and fulfilling meaning.

Love.  The greatest thing you can do, is to intentionally be a person who exhibits love for Love is the one thing…the greatest thing…that shows others who I am.  I know your world, it’s not very easy to be kind with so much meanness and ungratefulness but I called you to be different.  You’re not supposed to act like you’re lost because you’re not!  I called you to be light in all that darkness.  You’re alive for My glory and good pleasure “for a time such as this”.  Don’t waste it.  Don’t think love is a waste of time or not worth the effort.  What if I had felt that way about you?  Remember where I found you!!! Do the same for others.  Don’t fret over their response, I’ll see to that.  Do what I called you to do; do what only you can do – be you – for My Glory.

How easy it is to get caught up in our lives, thinking we’re just here to make money, buy the things we want and do what we enjoy.  God wants so much more for us.  His ultimate will is to know Him and love Him.  My greatest fear is to leave for heaven and never know I’ve fulfilled His purpose for my life.  What a regret that would be!  I want His will in my life so I’m going for it and doing exactly what He told me to do: Believe, Live and Love.

Colossians 3:23  “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men…”

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Ssstttrrreeetttccchhh!

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When I sat this weary cutting of a vine close to my office window a few weeks ago, it only had a few leaves on it and they all faced me.  It has thrived in this location, obviously, and now most of the leaves have turned to face the light source.

Several things came to mind this morning from observing this plant.

Sometimes we find ourselves “planted” in circumstances we had no intention – sometimes no control – being in.  We can adapt and make the best of it…or not.

This cutting, when allowed the opportunity to live, is doing what plants do.  I put it in some water until it rooted then stuck it in an old dirt filled pot.  Nothing special.  No special attention, just watered it and set it in a bright place.

When things happen to “break” us, we have choices although it may not feel like we do.  We can choose to do what we can and trust God for the rest or we can wither up and “die”.  Some have chosen the latter. I refuse.

When life breaks us, we must “plant” ourselves in God’s sovereignty.  As these leaves stretch for the sun, we must stretch for the SON.  It may not feel good; we may not even want to, but stretch anyway.  Inside us is His Spirit and a strong will to survive and with a little faith in those truths and some effort, if we find the strength to press on and stretch ourselves, things undoubtedly will get better.  This plant would have survived anywhere else in my house but I chose a place of great light exposure to give it the best chance.  It not only lives, it’s thriving.  We can too, in the light of His presence because in that place, we find joy, peace and comfort that only He can give.

Set yourself up.  Get as close to Him as you can.  When you don’t feel Him Ssstttrrreeetttccchh!  Keep stretching.  He’s there.

Silencing the Lambs

Divorce.  Death.  Natural disasters.  Sickness.  Depression.  Struggling to make ends meet.  Broken heartedness.  Disappointment.  Cancer.  These are just a few things embedded in life.  One would think – especially after something life-changing – and you trust in Jesus that bad things would no longer happen.  I could refer to all kinds of scripture to prove my point, yet I don’t think I have ever seen a time when God’s people seem to be suffering more than they are right now.

Remember where you are.  God gave the enemy this “playground” for a time.  This is his (the enemy’s) domain.  This earth isn’t heaven although sometimes the Father allows us to see glimpses of it here.

Because life is hard at best, so many who were passionate about their salvation have allowed their light and love for him to become dim.  Once so bold with His love, we’ve grown cold and find it difficult to usher a smile, let alone a word.  We’ve become a selfish people (note I said WE), and may I say in a human kind of way, rightfully so.  Life has beat us up. We walk around with all kinds of heartbreaks, disappointments and frankly, things haven’t turned out at all like we thought they would.

The enemy has successfully, in many cases, shut us up.  Perhaps faith has wavered because of what we’ve been through or going through and we’ve grown cold and silent.

Let’s try a different perspective.  Let’s believe that all we’ve been through is so we can help and encourage someone else.  Let’s choose to love and keep growing our faith in spite of how we feel and what we think (Proverbs 3:5-6). After all of this, are you going to stop believing in God now?  So many do; they get mad at God and turn away from Him.

Let’s believe Romans 8:28 – ALL things work together for the good…all means all things – even the bad. After all this, we’ve seen His provision, we’ve had a glimpse of His glory and He’s chosen us to bolster someone else’s faith that although all hell breaks loose He’s still faithful and will do exactly what He says He will:  be with us, never leave us, and see us through whatever moment of darkness we find ourselves in.

Don’t let the enemy silence you.  Remember who you are and Whose you are.  You’re more than a conqueror.  You’re royalty; live like you believe it.  “By your endurance you gain your lives.” Luke 21:19 (NASB)

Treasures in the Darkness

“I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places…” Isaiah 45:3

Take an inventory of what you’ve lost, what’s been stolen even what you gave away.  Chunks of your love, your heart, resources you’ve invested only to find yourself sometimes empty.  Perhaps you’re in a place of regret, wishing you hadn’t done this or that; wishing you hadn’t loved this one or that one, taken that job, spent that money.  Regret is a dark place and it really doesn’t matter what caused it, the pain of regret is the same and brings many emotions with it.

God knows. He is well aware of all you’ve given through love and sacrifice.  He knows you made the best decision possible with what you had to go on; He also knows the times you knew it wasn’t in your best interest (or the interest of others) but you did it anyway. He knows the times you stepped out in blind faith and the times you dove head first without thinking.  He knows every tear you’ve cried and the people and reasons behind it.

Walk into a completely dark room with no light source and we become disoriented.  Even though it’s a familiar place, the darkness changes everything doesn’t it?  We may stumble over something that has been in place for years; we forget what’s in there and where it is. The same is true for spiritual darkness. When the light and hope are stolen we find ourselves in complete darkness and forget what we have…WHO we have right at our fingertips.

Rest assured, God will use it all to bring about a fresh revelation of who He is and the personal love He has for you. Even though you can’t see it, feel it or touch it…you may not even believe it or believe in Him right now; even that doesn’t matter.  He is.  He’s there, He loves you and He’s aware.  Trust Him to bring the treasure out of the darkness.  Know that even if you’ve asked for darkness He is bringing the light to your situation.  He IS the light; He is the goodness that will come from the places of despair.

Some of the recurrent themes in our lives are tragedy, heartache, brokenness, and we often find ourselves asking why.  God answers in this verse:  “So that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.” (Isaiah 45:3b).

The darkness can’t be dark because He’s there and He will bring treasures from it. Believe it.  Will you?

Supernatural Smile

There are many products out there these days that promise to make your smile a stellar one.  Whitening agents, mouthwash, toothpaste, etc. all promise to make your smile perfect.

When I first met a longtime friend, I noticed joy oozed from her.  She never complained and always spoke positively.  To talk to her one would think life always went her way and she knew nothing about sadness.  Nothing could be further from the truth. She weathered many things in her life most of us never will and yet, her eyes were bright and it was easy to tell her smile was straight from her heart.  I’m sure she had that effect on every person she met.

I’ve had a tumultuous year.  The loss of income, friends, and all the hurts that accompany those kinds of things took their toll.  There were times I didn’t want to get out of bed because I couldn’t see the point.  Each and every day, many times a day, I would tell God my living through the day was solely contingent upon Him. I’d ask Him for the strength, physically and emotionally, to do what needed to be done.  Fearful and discouraged, I didn’t even want to try because it seemed like no matter what I did nothing was getting any better.  I just wanted to sleep until I died.

Yet every day I would find myself where I needed to be doing what I needed to do and smiling like nothing was wrong.  I would hear myself speak positively to others encouraging them in their troubles telling them to just keep praying and believing God to get them through…even when I had doubts He would do the same for me.

Many times, even now, people tell me how I have encouraged them and made a difference in their day. They compliment my real smile and kindness, and they thank me.  When they do, I’m amazed and it brings tears to my eyes.  I think, “if they only knew…”

That, my friends, is Supernatural and all the credit goes to God.  The ability to smile…and certainly to trust Him and believe…ONLY is possible through Him.

You know what I’m talking about.  I know some of your struggles and things you have been through and I find it miraculous that you, too, smile a real and beautiful smile. I marvel at the fact you encourage others and believe what you’re saying to someone else. You are a miracle.

Think about it.  We should be bitter, angry and resentful.  We’ve been betrayed and abandoned.  Perhaps life has taken from you cherished people, things and possessions and yet, there you are, a beacon of light in other’s darkness.

Don’t believe God works miracles anymore?  Go look in the mirror.  Smile that smile you find so easy to flash to others. There it is.  There’s the miracle.  It’s supernatural that you smile a REAL smile and mean it. The fact you go through your day content and peaceful is a miracle.

If you suffering with bitterness and/or depression, tell God.  Talk to Him about you feel.  Ask Him not to let it happen. Believe He can and will heal you if you choose to be healed.  Just like Jesus asked the crippled man, “do you want to be well?” (John 5:6) He asks you the same question.

Life is hard and sometimes extremely unfair.  There’s a force IN you that longs to give you the abundant life.  Sometimes, more often than not, the “abundant life” has nothing to do with material things.  That force is the One who allows you to smile your Supernatural smile when the world crumbles around you.  It’s the One that allows you to sleep peacefully at night when you don’t know you can survive what’s coming in the morning.  He’s the One who makes it possible to believe when there’s no physical reason to.

Don’t be afraid or ashamed to tell people what you’re suffering through, and don’t be afraid to believe God is still in the miracle business.  YOU, my friend, are the evidence that nothing is impossible.  Smile that Supernatural smile and tell them why your smile is so real.  That’s why you’ve been through what you have, to help others believe He makes it possible to be peaceful and real in a world that’s not.

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37