Never Alone

We never go through a trial without God in the midst of it with us. He never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). Christ and the Holy Spirit reside within us (Galatians 2:20).

Even through the valley of the shadow of death, He is with us (Psalm 23:4). Whenever we feel that God is not with us, it is due to our behavior, not the Trinity. We leave them or grieve them by our choices and behavior (Psalm 13:1-6).

This causes us to lose courage, strength, joy and heart. We feel abandoned and forlorn. We have no will to go on any more. We may even feel betrayed by those who are supposed to love us, including God.

God is just waiting for us to completely surrender to His love. The Way, Truth and Life is always with us and in us, giving us wisdom and bringing us into God’s glory (Colossians 1:27; John 14:6).

The Lord wants us to accept His will without any conditions or self-will. Praise opens the gates of hell, which we are experiencing, and allows us to understand the freedom of our union with God (Act 16:16-40).

Praising God for the negative circumstances, for the seed for a miracle within the trial and for His goodness, even when we are hurting, is the key to spiritual victory.

Jesus knew Calvary awaited Him. He first requested that God save Him from the cross (Matthew 26:37-42). Then, He prepared Himself for this trial through a time of prayer in the garden with His disciples.

Jesus knew that the only way to traverse any trial is to embrace the will of God in and through it. Therefore, He changed His focus to the glory, which awaited Him (Hebrews 12:2).

We follow Jesus’ example and praise God regardless of His deliverance or blessings for us in this life, because we know the glory, which also awaits us in Heaven (Romans 8:18). We know that God will work out everything – even the most unbearable circumstances in this life – for our ultimate good.

Prayer:
Father God, teach us to worship You in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Remove any hypocrisy in us and help us to live, move and have our being in Christ (Acts 17:28). Draw us close to You, because we know You will never, ever let us go.

We will pour out our love for You even when the flames of the fire, winds of the tornado, or destruction of the disease rip our life out of our clutches; because we know that our last breath on earth is followed by our first breath in Heaven.

Thought for the Day:
The God of the universe never, ever leaves or forsakes us; so, what is there to worry about? – Hebrews 13:5

Waiting for the Next Shoe to Drop

Living in this world apart from Christ is wearisome at best. There is always something negative happening to us in some way or another: financial, physical, relational, mental, emotional, etc. We struggle from day to day and almost never awaken without some trepidation over what will happen to us next. Trouble even seems to happen in “threes.” We are always waiting for the next shoe to drop.

We try to climb the corporate ladder in order to provide our family with as much security as we can. We compromise our quality family time in order to work overtime to bring home more money. We often work two or three jobs in order to give our children more than we had when we were growing up. We fall into the trap of buying them the latest toy on the market at inflated prices.

This schedule produces even more health, mental, emotional and relational problems. Some of us even work our self into an early grave. We resemble the hamster on the little metal wheel, going round and round, but never really getting anywhere. We amass material possessions, but they keep breaking down or coming out with an updated model, so that we feel the need to get a new one.

When we come to Christ and entirely surrender to Him, we begin living in His perfect plan for our life. We no longer fear the next shoe dropping, because it usually ends up being a glass slipper with King Jesus using the entire event to provide us with a special place in His Kingdom along with miraculous blessings through every negative event (Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:19).

Prayer:
Father God, the life You give to us in Christ supplies us with joy and peace, which transcends all human reason (Philippians 4:7). We are blessed when we trust in You, so we place our confidence in You. You plant us like a tree by Your streams of living water, and our spirit has constant nourishment. We do not fear whatever life throws at us, and we flourish no matter what happens to us (Jeremiah 17:7-8). You put Your plans in our heart and bring them to fruition, as we walk in Your Spirit (Psalm 20:4; Galatians 5:15-26). You sustain us, bless us and shine Your favor on us. You are always gracious to us and You keep Your eye on us, so that we walk in Your peace (Numbers 6:24-26).

Thought for the Day:
In Christ, we no longer fear trials or difficulties because we know they hold the seed for a miracle, which will surely happen.

God’s Plans in Our Losses

Living life as a good person does not guarantee our earthly success or our place in eternity (Galatians 3:21). Beliefs founded on humanistic philosophy may change our life and give us temporary relief, but it does not last for eternity. Only the Word and Will of God are entirely righteous and true (Psalm 19:9). God is patient with our unbelief, because He does not want anyone to die in their sin (2 Peter 3:9).

He walks with us through every valley and gives us His joy as our strength (Psalm 23; Nehemiah 8:10). For instance, after 22 years of marriage, the love of my life decided that he could no longer live with my Italian emotionalism. A wall of constant misunderstandings stood between us, so he determined that there was no option for us but divorce. I was shocked and in disbelief; yet, I did not want to live where I was not loved.

God proved that He has a perfect plan and purpose for us all (Ephesians 2:10). He led me to relocate and to attend divorce recovery classes in two different churches in order to heal from my loss. I learned that God still had plans for me, which did not include my former husband. One day when I least expected it, in a crowded Books-a-Million bookstore, I divinely met a pastor whose wife recently decided to end their union too.

Now, after 20 years of marriage to this wonderful man who dwells with me with understanding (1 Peter 3:7), I can see from hindsight that in both of our lives God used these devastating, negative circumstances for our good (Romans 8:28). In this new union, we appreciate each other’s gifts and character as we serve God together. We truly cherish one another, even with all of our idiosyncrasies (Ephesians 4:12-16).

Prayer:
Father God, we may be hesitant to put our total faith in You, but You always prove that Your ways will bring us ultimate fulfillment. We are so grateful that we can trust You to work out for our good every circumstance, no matter how devastating it is (Romans 8:28). You help us to grieve the loss of our relationships, health, wealth and material possessions. Although, crying may last through many nights, Your joy always comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

Thought for the Day:
We can trust in God’s ways, even when they do not coincide with our view of the perfect life, because His ways are always perfect, even when we experience trials, heartache, loss and devastation.
– Psalm 18:30; 2 Sam 22:31; Deuteronomy 32:4

Rejoicing in Negative Circumstances

I used to think that if I rejoiced in my negative circumstances that I would not be honest with my true feelings. I did not want to pretend to feel the opposite of how I really felt. Yet, Paul admonishes us to rejoice in our tribulation (Romans 5:3). I could not figure out how to express joy without pretending an emotion, which I did not truly feel.

It took a major trial in my life to teach me the key to rejoicing always (Philippians 4:4). After 22 years, the love of my life decided that he could no longer live with my Italian emotionalism. A wall of constant misunderstandings stood between us, so he determined that there was no option for us but divorce. To say that I was shocked is an understatement; yet, I did not want to live where I was not loved.

In the ensuing years, God taught me to be thankful even for these overwhelming negative circumstances, to rejoice in His hope, to have faith in His faithfulness, to be patient through every ordeal and to pray without ceasing (Romans 12:12). He instructed me to focus on the moment, rather than feeling depressed over the past and fearing the future.

I discovered that God is the only true anchor of my soul, and I would always dwell in the inner sanctuary of His Temple, regardless of my marital status and the earthly success of my life (Hebrews 6:19). I experienced the truth that nothing could ever snatch me out of God’s hand, and that I would always enjoy total security in His love (John 10:29). Now, those are real reasons to rejoice forevermore (1 Thessalonians 5:16-28).

Since then, I started looking at every trial as a seed for a miracle, which is just waiting to sprout. I know that there are situations more devastating than the loss of a mate; but I am convinced that Jesus, the Lover of my soul who saw me through that time in my life, will enable me to honestly rejoice through any future negative circumstance, large or small (Matthew 11:28; Psalm 23).

Prayer:
Father God, You have a divine purpose for everything that happens to Your children. Thank You for teaching me to trust You regardless of how negatively my circumstances develop. You filled me with Your presence through every moment of that nightmare, and You guided me by Your Spirit in all of my ways (Romans 8:14). Although I still grieve over the dissolution of my family unit, You restored my ministry as a pastor’s wife and You gave me a new husband who gives me more love than I ever imagined was possible on this side of heaven.

Thought for the Day:
There is no negative circumstance in our life that God is not orchestrating for our good. – Romans 8:28