Be Strong and Courageous

II Chronicles 32 is a wonderful example of the sovereignty of God and proof that when we place our full trust in God, He will cause us to be victorious!

I’ve been spending some time reading and re-reading this chapter to slowly digest its true meaning.  I love verses 7 and 8 in particular:

“Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him;

With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles.  And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah, king of Judah.”

Wow.  God was saying through Hezekiah – “Hey, I’ve got your back!  The odds may not be favorable for you but, no worries.  I’m bigger; I’m greater than your foes.”

Sometimes we place God is this super small box and believe that He is somewhere up in the sky looking down on us, probably frowning, and that He is incapable of moving in our situation.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  The Bible says that God is touched with the feelings of our infirmities.  He cares, folks.  He has loved us with an everlasting love.  Above all, He wants us to seek Him out and to trust Him.  How can you have a relationship with someone if you are unwilling to trust them on the most basic level?

When we are able to fully trust God and place our lives in His hands, we will then begin to see Him move in our lives in ways we never thought possible.

“…but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.”  Yes!

We build up our faith by reading the Word of God.  And when we do this, our faith is able to grow and we are then in a position to be “strong and courageous”, not in our own strength or might; but in God’s strength.  He will give us supernatural strength to walk through whatever valley you find yourself in today.  He is able.  He is more than enough.

Will you trust Him?

In our weakness, He is strong.   If you feel weak in your faith today, I encourage you to get into the Word of God.  It is there you will find strength.

May God bless you and may you find courage and strength in God today!

You Are Never Alone

This has got to be one of the devil’s most sharpened tools he uses against Christians.  Nobody cares.  You might as well give up.  And, all too often, we fall for it, hook, line and sinker!

Nothing could be further from the truth!  If we can dodge the “Woe is me” bullet long enough to look around us, most of us are surrounded by family who love us dearly.  Above that, God promises in Hebrews 13:5 that He will never leave us or forsake us.

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

This is so true.  During times in my life that I have felt the most alone, those have been times that I was not spending adequate time reading God’s Word and praying.  It is there we will find strength from God and sense His presence in our lives.

Never fall for this lie from the enemy of our souls that we are alone.  There is always someone you can reach out to.  Now, there lies the caveat.  Sometimes, perhaps too many times, we are hesitant to reach out and become vulnerable enough to let someone know we need help.  Most people would be willing to assist, but they are not mind readers.  You have to let people know of your needs.

You will find peace in God’s Word and reassurance that truly God is with you every step of life’s journey.  Sometimes it’s a matter of us acknowledging His presence and asking for His guidance and help.

The truth is:  You Are Never Alone!

Let that sink in.

The devil wants to discourage believers because if you are a weak, anemic Christian, you can’t be effective as God’s Ambassador.  However, if we can move past this lie of discouragement, we can experience the peace of God and find contentment.

You are never alone.  It bears repeating.

Now, find someone who needs to hear this and reach out to them.  It’s so important for Christians to be God’s hands and feet extended.  The world will never know unless we show them with our love.  It’s been said that you are the only Bible some will ever read.  That’s so true.  Let someone know they are not alone today.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

Galatians 5:22-23 lists nine fruit of the Spirit that each Christian should bear.  Today’s focus is peace.

The dictionary defines peace as “freedom of disturbance, calm and tranquility”.  That sounds like the perfect demeanor, doesn’t it?

How can we as Christians possess such peace?

If we have received Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then we have accepted the personification of peace into our hearts.  Isaiah 9 says one of Jesus’ Names is “Prince of Peace”.  So the question becomes are we reading God’s Word to have a greater knowledge of God’s character?  Are we praying that our spiritual eyes would be open to what His Word would teach us?

If our focus is on God, His Word and prayer, then our lives should be measured by peace.

Life happens.  Adversity occurs.  The unexpected transpires.

What do we do when those things happen?  Do we fly off the handle?  Or do we have the faith to trust that God is able to guide us through each trial?

We gain faith and trust in those around us by spending time with them and getting to know them, right?  It is the same with our relationship with God.  The more we invest in prayer and reading God’s Word, the more we learn of the character of God.  And when we know God’s character, we are then able to decipher our future with God.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You.”

I strongly believe that the deeper and more invested our Christian walk is with God, the greater peace we will experience.

If you need more peace in your life, spend time in prayer and reading God’s Word every day.  I guarantee you will see a change.

Trusting God is not a one time occurrence.  It is a daily walk.  Sometimes it is a minute by minute walk.  But the closer we align ourselves to God, the more closely He will walk beside us and grant us deeper peace.

Count it All Joy

James 1:2-4 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worth patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Why on earth would we be happy about being in a temptation or trial, as Christians?  How is this even possible?  Isn’t it a terrible thing when we find ourselves in less than perfect situations?  After all, as believers, aren’t our lives supposed to be beds of roses?

I love studying God’s Word because it lends a broader perspective than our present circumstances ever could.  We learn to look beyond ourselves and see the bigger picture.

No one is naturally happy about trials and tests of our faith.  However, when we see through God’s lens of eternity, one day we will be able to look back and realize how all the puzzle pieces fit together to form God’s plan in our lives.  It’s about trusting God’s plan and moving beyond what we see in front of us.

James talks about letting patience have her perfect work because some tests and trials (okay, probably most!) last longer than we would like.  If we can stop fighting God in the midst of our trials, we might actually learn something that would build our character and serve a greater purpose in bringing glory to God.

We have been led to believe that we should never encounter difficult times but such is life. Life is full of ups and downs and both require trusting God to continually work all things together for our good and ultimately His glory.  It’s just that it’s easier to trust God in the good times.  Somehow in the bad times, we feel as if He’s forgotten where we live.  He hasn’t forgotten.  He knows your name and mine.  He sees all.  Nothing is being wasted as you go through tests and trials.  I read this a long time ago: “God doesn’t waste pain, tears or scars.  He uses them all for His glory.”  I absolutely believe that!

Everything we go through in this life serves a greater purpose than we often see at the moment.  If we can see through eyes of faith, a time in the future where we’ve moved beyond the present circumstances, perhaps we can get a glimpse of the good that it will bring.  If we will be patient and learn to be still, we will eventually see that God’s hand was, in fact, with us during our darkest days.

“Be still and know that I am God.”  ~ Psalm 46:10a

“But let patience have her perfect work that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”  ~ James 1:4

So, at the end of your tests and trials, the goal is that we would be mature and complete, wanting nothing.  The word perfect here does not refer to our English word perfect, but more of a complete faith, a maturing in the Lord.

If we only fed our children sugar, what kind of adults would they become?  As Christians, we cannot only experience the good things in life.  For there would not be an appreciation for them if that was our sole reality.  A balanced life causes us to fully appreciate the red letter days and times of our lives.

The challenges in life also serve to magnify our desperate need to trust God more fully.  We can say that we trust God, but when the rubber meets the road, do we really?  When you lose your job?  What about then?  When the doctor’s report comes back bad?  Still trust Him?

In my nearly 42 years of walking with God, one thing I have learned … and that is, that the Word of God is my true source of strength for whatever situation life hands me.

When I don’t know what to do, it is my compass.  When my heart is distraught, it is my comfort.  When I am wrong, it is my correction.  And when I am down, it is my courage.

The Word of God truly is:

My Compass

My Comfort

My Correction

My Courage

Praying that as we enter 2017, it will be for you also!  Blessings, my friend!

~Amber