“If Only”

“If only all this bad stuff would just quit happening,” was the response I finally heard from a young man I had just been discussing life and God with. Unfortunately, “bad stuff” happens quite often in this fallen world where we live. Bad stuff happens to believers and unbelievers alike, no one gets a free pass. There is no immunity for any of us. Yet there is one true thing we do have. That is HOPE!

So what exactly is hope and what do we hope for? Certainty in the present and firm expectation for the future was a definition I found and thought summed it up quite well. Building our foundation on Jesus, which I wrote about a few weeks ago in stress sums up certainty. (Luke 6:46-49) When the torrents and floods of life struck, it (the house/our lives) could not be shaken, because it was well built. You have a firm foundation in Jesus the Messiah! Not so for the life built on sand (earthly things, lies, deception…) it was destroyed. Destroyed is a terminal word there is no hope!

We walk in and out of storms our entire lives. They are hard and painful, at times we can’t see how we will ever get through them, yet they will not last forever. When you look at the trials of this life and know Jesus as your personal savior, this is as bad and as close to hell as it will ever get for you. On the other hand, if you don’t know Jesus as your savior this is as good and as close to heaven as you will ever be, it will get far worse.

Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

So why do bad things happen, why do we walk through these trials? Why does God allow it? This verse in Romans 5 may help: “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” ~Romans 5:2b – 5

This life is a trial it is how we live it, with or without God, that counts! Hope in Him, Trust Him, no matter how bad it gets, He IS with you, even when you can’t see Him! I do not want to minimize trials, I have lived in that valley of the shadow of death. When I helplessly watched cancer consume my daughters life, I was there with things to horrible to speak. When numbness stole my mind, and pain endlessly clenched my heart, God was still there and sent me the lifeline of hope. Persevere, our hope is in heaven, our real home is to come!

~Strength & Courage~

Marcie

When is God good?

When is God good? I often hear people say “See God is good, He still answers prayers, such and such was healed” or “God is still good he did this or that”.  Hmmmm… so again I ask when is God good? It seems to me many people like to use the God is good phrases, when referring to Him answering prayers the way they want.  Or He is good when things are going our way. However my questions seeks to ask why we do that? Is it to comfort or reassure ourselves or others? Do we need to convince ourselves of this and only believe it, if things turn out our way?

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” So lets break that apart. Some may use this as prosperity “God works out good things for me, because I love him”. Here we need to take off the blinders, that give us tunnel vision and finish the sentence, “who have been called according to his purpose”. His purpose, God is sovereign! The Bible reveals the character of God. God does have a will and plans for our lives, we need to walk with him and trust in His goodness. Key word there is TRUST. Things don’t always work out to what we perceive is “good”. Yet, we know God has plans and a  purpose! His purpose is ultimate and good! Even when we don’t see it that way.

It’s hard, even scary, to just let go and trust God. The human condition leaves us all with a little bit of a control freak issue and to be honest, we like things our way! What is the answer to that question, When is God good? All the time! Think about it next time you want to proclaim his goodness, don’t just use it in reference to things working out our way. It is hard to use it when things or situations are personally aweful. Yet we know with all our hearts, when we are walking with him, He is good at all times, never leaving or forsaking us! Trust in His ultimate goodness!

God is good, all the time!

~Strength & courage~  Marcie

Stress

When you look the word stress up in the dictionary it comes up with a lot of words all involving, anxiety, strain, tension, worry… and the list goes on. Why bother even looking up a word that makes us even more anxious at the definition? Well, because it is a fact of life and something we all face. At times it presses in from every side to the point we can’t breath and other times it’s a thought in the distance! Whether it’s health, grief, financial, relational, work related or just day to day living, it is all real and at times all consuming. Everyone has stress in some form and everyone handles stress differently.

I have so often heard people say “well God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” right? With this I smile and want to chuckle, so does that mean we are all a lot tougher than maybe we think? If this has been one of your quotes (I have even said it in the past) I am here to inform you, it is not from the Bible. But I also want to let you know what is in the Bible! You see the Bible is the living word of God. His truth is revealed in it. The more you seek God and read it, the more you grow in relationship with Him. When we have Jesus in our life, when we face stress of any kind, you see He walks with us. Does God allow more than we can handle in our lives? Yes, He does, but in those times He doesn’t leave us, He leads us through it every step of the way. Trust Him with your stress, let go and give it to Him, “I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my word and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” ~~ Luke 6:47-49 

Building life on Jesus the Messiah!:) Step by step with Him, one day at a time!

~Strength & Courage~   Marcie

Searching for Joy

Every year as Christmas comes around I have always looked forward to it with great anticipation. Not just the Joy of our Saviors birth, but the joy of the holiday, the joy of being all together with family, the joy of the season… Four years ago, however, my perspective changed. After spending most of the month of December in the Hospital with Leah, going from bad news to worse news everyday and ultimately the next years without her, my heart changed. Even as I hear the “Christmas story” over and over I struggle. Not from unbelief, but from something deeper I could not identify.

What was it, what is missing, why am I so bothered? Then it occurred to me, no matter what we do the “Happiness” in the “happenings” of the holiday is all around us. Not to be a Scrooge here, I know there is meaning in a lot of the time honored traditions of Christmas and I am not opposed to some of that celebration. However, my heart no longer seeks the “happiness” in the season, it searches for something deeper, something that only comes from God, ‘Joy’.

As I was reading my Bible the other morning I found the verses my heart was searching for. Even though I have read them countless times and maybe you have to, I would encourage you to read them again and let the words of truth sink into your heart and in these words, this truth, find JOY.

“In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me’.” From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”

May the grace and truth you find in Jesus, give you Joy this Christmas season,

Love and Blessings, Marcie

Is Business steeling you away?

Busy, busy, busy…. I don’t know about you but my world seems to keep going faster and faster. Every time I think things will start slowing down something else steps in and the business continues. But it all has to get done right?

I have always thought business was one of Satan’s biggest ploys on this world. It sneaks in steeling all your time and we just keep racing on! The cycle continues over and over again.

So what do we do about it? It is a battle we have to face and if you are like me, more than a few times! In Colossians 3 the Bible tells us to fix our thought on things above, not on earthly things. With keeping that in mind take a deep breath, letting the business go and read Philippians 4:4-7 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

This week is Thanksgiving. Let us turn our days over to God, letting our hearts overflow with praise and thanksgiving, for He is our hope, our salvation, our strength and our song. He is our all in all, Trust Him, lay all your cares at His feet. He loves us more than we can imagine!

A Breath of Fresh Air

As I was reading this morning I came across this verse:

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” ~ Galatians 2:20

Wow, take a cleansing breath and just soak that in. Let Him wrap His arms of love around you, because he gave Himself for you!!

We are not left alone in this crazy chaotic world. When we give ourselves to Christ He lives in us! He takes those burdens for us! We place our hand in His and live by faith!

I just love the beauty and simplicity of this and can’t praise and thank God enough for sending His own Son, using His own blood to atone for my sins. So my life, my hope and my future are now in Him no matter what. There is no other place I would rather be!

Thank you for letting me share the joy and praise of my heart today!!

Despair

The tears falling from his eyes told a story all their own, one of despair and hopelessness. While the all to familiar pain emanated from him over the next hour I repeatedly petitioned the Lord for him as I listened. That same pain filled story plays out over and over again in so many lives. Each person knows pain in different ways that make it real for them. But the depths of despair can run truly deep, leaving behind the feeling of hopelessness that is so incredibly hard to see beyond. In fact our meager attempts so see beyond it can be short lived! The mind is a huge battlefield, one where many scenarios are played out. The fact is life is hard and it gets harder! None of us has a free pass to perfection in this earthly life. Perfection is only obtained once we pass from this life into eternity and only through the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. So does that mean we give up and quit living this life?

I want you to know I speak of what I can relate to. I understand everyone’s pain and depth of despair is different. I have been in the depths of darkness where the tears fell so constant and I literally begged God day and night just to take me home because I could not take the pain of this life anymore. The months in that pit of despair taught me so many things. That is why I write this today as I was so reminded by that young man last night. Don’t give up; don’t give in, grab hold of the Saviors hand! Your life is so incredibly precious! You were made for eternity and God does have plans for you! As life and those plans unfold we need to just live them and take them one day at a time. Sometimes just one minute at a time choosing just to live and breath as we place our hand in our Saviors. With that being said, reach out and seek help, life is messy and it is okay to be real!

In Isaiah 41:13 it says “For I am the Lord, your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not Fear; I will help you.” And always a favorite verse of mine once again that holds so much 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

I encourage you this day, life is hard, do not despair Jesus has overcome this world! He is waiting to take your hand and walk with you! Seek Him you will find Him, give it to Him He will help you! He is the way, He is truth and in Him there is Hope and Life!

Groaning

As I contemplate the words of 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 they give me hope.  “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

You may be asking, why do these verses give me hope? I will confess, I find myself relating to all the groaning we have while we live here in these bodies, in more ways than one! Not just groans from aches and pains attributed to living in this physical body, but from deep emotional pain as well. As we look at our own lives and the world around us, we can see brokenness and pain caused by the destruction of sin. This world and these bodies we live in are quickly deteriorating! This causes me pain, but not hopelessness. Because God has given us His Spirit as a deposit a guarantee of what is to come. His Spirit within us gives us the confidence to live by faith, not by sight! 

Father, I put my hand in Yours as I fully trust and push on through this day. Open my eyes to see glimpses of You and Your glory, Let me reflect that glory and be part of Your light in this dark world. All Praise and Glory are Yours now and forevermore! Amen

Praise to God for a Living Hope

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into a inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, these have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of you souls. — 1 Peter 1:3-9

As I read these words in 1 Peter I am encouraged. Thinking of God’s power and glory makes my heart bubble over with His joy!  You see His truth is what we hang on to, what we wait patiently for.

My heart has pondered many things over the last several weeks. One is what would have been Leah’s college Graduation, if everything would have went according to our plans. The other is her 22nd birthday would be this Tuesday, May 6th. Though  my tears seem to have a steady stream of their own lately I am again reminded of these verses and know there truth. Leah has already received that great inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, the salvation of her soul! She lives in His eternal glory and is experiencing that inexpressible and glorious joy full time! Even though my heart may ache to hold her once again, I know this is just a blink in the great expanse of eternity that we will someday share!

Thank You Father God for giving us your grace and mercy, for that hope we have in You and for that free gift of a glorious eternity through Your Son, Jesus Christ! All Glory, Praise and Honor are Yours now and forever more! – Amen

 

When things don’t work out like we think they should

I believe I am not the only one who looks ahead with anticipation having dreams and ideas of how the future could be. Seeing things I would like to do, etc. But I also know it doesn’t always work out the way I have planned. Why is that? I know it’s because God’s plans are so much greater and better than my own. I know I am not capable of dreaming that big!! In Romans 8:28 we read that familiar verse,  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

That doesn’t say all good things will happen to us and everything will work out just the way we want because we are followers of Jesus. However, it does say we can trust Him. That’s right, when we follow Jesus, we love God with our whole heart and in doing so we lay ourselves aside and trust Him because He has wonderful plans. Perfect plans that fit into His will for us. If you will read on in Romans 8 it affirms how incredibly much God loves us! He gave up His own son for us!! We could never even begin to orchestrate such magnificent plans as His! I want to be in those perfect plans. Yes, even if it is painful right now, because I know things in this life are only temporary. In those areas where I cannot handle it I have to pour out my soul to Him, let go and trust. Realizing trust is not a simple noun in our vocabulary, it is an action verb. Trust is not something we have it is something we do!

So with that thought I close with this verse:

Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”

He is always faithful, even when we cannot see!