Godly Courage

“If you pray for courage, the Lord will provide”
 
and He does. He has the ability to change you from a “My mouth tastes like adrenaline, I haven’t slept in weeks, and I want to throw up” wreck, into an amazingly relaxed calm in a surprisingly short amount of time.
 
But He doesn’t do it by making you forget your problems, or giving you a testosterone high of ignorance. In my experience, it has never been “Courage” the Lord has given, but “Perspective”
 
The perspective to realize that God is in control.
The perspective to see your overwhelming weakness and all the mistakes you’ve made and realize, God already knew that about you.
The perspective to realize God still can and still will use you for great things.
The perspective to realize that God loves you, and it is because of that that we can ask Him for help.
The perspective to realize that all the voices saying to fear and despair don’t matter because HE IS
 
It is from that perspective that you can find peace. It is from that perspective you can breathe easy yet again. It is from that perspective that you can switch from crying out “God save me! Lord show mercy!” to “Praise the Lord for what you have not yet done but WILL do for YOU are Lord!”
 
This world will tell you many things. To panic, to fret. That if you aren’t outwardly showing signs of the panic you are in at every second you are clearly not taking matters seriously enough.
 
Even in the church we fall into this trap. We believe God cannot move unless we do. We believe God plays a support role in our life but not a leader.
 
But God CAN and God WILL save.
 
Give God your best
Be willing to go where HE will lead not where YOU want Him to
Trust HIS timing, not your own
He CAN and WILL use you for Great things.
He never told us to carry this world on our shoulders. He only told us to believe and follow Him.
 
Amen.
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At the End of My Rope

What do you do when your best isn’t enough? What do you do when your prayers aren’t being answered? Or even worse, your strongest prayers are met with greater hardships within minutes? What do you do in the times when the greatest proof that there is a God is that it makes no logical sense for your hard work to be met with such emptiness and for your luck to be THIS bad with such timing?
 
At least when you are holding back or not facing something you can at least find comfort in the fact that life would be better if you kicked your butt into gear. But what about when you’re trying your hardest? What about when you’ve addressed every sin and weakness that you can think of? What when your ambitions have led to making the burns worse every time? When you’ve failed so many times and the fires grow so big that you’ve forgotten which way is forward, which is back, which is up, and which is down?
 
What when you seek wisdom and you just are told what you’ve already been doing? What when you seek comfort, and instead find pain and emptiness? What about when you’ve forgotten how to dream and want, because all you dream and want is just to survive another day? What when what you find through prayer and the Bible, vs what the wise people in your life tell you clash?
 
Do you blame people? For their empty words… for their offensive comfort? It is not their fault…. If they say what they feel God is leading them to say, it’s not a matter of saying what is wise, or what will help you. It’s up to say what they feel God is leading them to say. Whether it comfort you or test you further.
 
Do you blame society? The cruel, cold, and empty machine… who at one point was designed to face a problem, but has long since forgotten it’s purpose, and is now run by fools who only know how to milk it dry to prolong the time till their own punishment reaches them? Such a ridiculous thing is out of your control and you were never meant to rule the world in the first place…. you wouldn’t be much better at it…
 
You realize that you are part of a bigger game… A game that transcends society, feelings, emotions, relationships…. yet a game that is simpler than most…. a game between God who wants you to trust Him and to show what wonders can be done through Him, and the Devil who wants to convince you how much better the world would be off without God.
 
I can’t say what works and what doesn’t in this world…. I am not that wise, and if I could then what would be the point of faith. I write now not as a conquering hero who overcame hardships and saw a brighter future… but as a weak, confused, and lost little kid… who is completely overwhelmed, with the room spinning, confused, and out of ideas of what to do…. but I write this now not out of searching for pity…. but because THESE are the points when it is most important to decide….
 
It is when you have no strength left that you most need to stand.
It is when you have no hope left that you most need your faith.
It is when you have no path left that you most need to move forward.
It is when you feel empty that you must keep running on full.
It is when you feel most abandoned that you must know how loved you are.
It is when you feel most abused that you must accept how blessed you are.
It is when you want it all to end, that you MUST keep going forward.
 
I know not what the future holds… and quite honestly, from where I stand I see no light. I see no hope. I see no peace. I find little to no comfort from others. I see no way my future can work out. I feel like no matter what I say or do, more bad news will come in a few minutes time. I feel like this is all my life is… all my life has been… and all my life ever will be… The thought of being excited for the future… having things I can’t wait to see happen… hope… they all sound like luxurious dreams which people like me have no right to have. But I know what the Bible says…. and even if I haven’t seen it…. even if I never do see it… I am going to follow it..
 
It says that if you are lost then God will find you (Luke 19:10)
 
It says that when you feel unloved, unimportant, or insecure, to remember to whom you belong (Ephesians 2:19-22)
 
It speaks of how God is able to do abundantly more than what we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20)
 
It says how God can turn our storms and devastation into something good (Romans 8:28)
 
It says even what is intended for harm, God can use for good! (Genesis 50:20)
 
It says how the Lord will give you strength when you have none (2 Timothy 4:17)
 
It says how this battle was never ours but God’s (2 Chronicles 20:15)
 
It says how there is nothing the Devil can steal from us which God can not restore, and how the one thing the Devil can not steal from us is God Himself!
 
It says how patience and perseverance are rewarded but at God’s timing not our own.
 
It says how we shall never be abandoned. How we are loved in spite of our weaknesses.
 
That God knows our weaknesses and still has great plans for us.
 
That none of this life has caught God off guard or by surprise. That He knew our weaknesses and problems before they even came to be.
 
That God works all things to His glory, beyond human comprehension
 
That it is not our ability but our faith to Him that let’s Him use us
 
That He can use the uneducated, those with rough pasts, the socially inept, the weak, the cowards, the proud, and more
 
That even though we should never stop combatting our weaknesses, that God accepts us in spite of them and can use us in spite of them.
 
That our circumstances are not directly tied to our efforts or our path. It is up to God to decide who rises and who falls.
 
That He brings rest for the weary, hope for the helpless, strength for those who can move no further.
 
That He is GOD and that He can do great things. That no matter what comes our way we are never beyond His saving.
 
So while I know not what the future holds… I barely know what tomorrow will be like…. and while I fear more suffering and hardships because even if God is strong enough to face all things, I am not and I passed the end of my rope years ago…. I know that He is God… that my life always has and always will rest in His hands. That no, there is no way to save myself… but God put me in a place where no one but Him could save me for His glory and for my strength. Much like chasing away the armies for Gideon, or putting Job through trials and ridicule…. He is the Lord. He is God. He is the only truth and way. And so yes I am scared. Yes I am tired. No I don’t even want to wake up tomorrow…. but I can come to Him about this…. I can come to Him with how I feel…. because He is God. And He loves me. And He already knew in the first place.
 
Amen

Were They Weak?

You know, We really tend to underestimate what people in the bible did due to the fact that we get to see the whole picture across only a few chapters.
 
Was Abraham a fool for not trusting God? He should have trusted God yes…. but after living 5 years on faith alone with nothing to prove you have a chance…. I can tell you living 25 years on just faith is quite an amazing accomplishment…
 
Was Job a fool and that’s why God scolded him? God was right in the things he said, but that doesn’t change the fact that the reason Job went through such trials was to prove what God had already believed in him, that he was a holy and faithful man, (how’s that for interesting logic??)
 
Was Elijah a fool for praying God would strike him down? Yes he should have trusted God would turn things around…. but when you are faced with something greater than you can handle, and nothing but even greater trials lay ahead, it is very easy to realize you are not cut out for this living stuff and would it not be better for God to just end you here on a high note?? (It wouldn’t be better but the mindset is very easy to go to)
 
Was Jesus a fool for begging God for a different path? (I dared to say it!) You know… this is one I’m still working through… what right we have to ask God for stuff and how much we need to just trust and follow His path…. but if there is one thing I think…. it is this…. Yes God does want us to make mature choices, and follow Him, and believe in Him….. but if we can’t be honest about our feelings with God then who can we??? If we cannot bring our doubts and frustrations before God, and we continue to cling onto them ourselves afraid to show our weakness before God…. Then how can God take those weaknesses and fears away from us? God already knows we’re weak and frustrated. You aren’t revealing a shocker by being honest…. but you are accepting that He can help you by being honest.

Hearing God’s Voice

How are we supposed to live? By following God and doing as He says.
 
But how do we know what He says?
 
How do you know if you’re listening for God’s voice? You know God. You read His word and understand Him… but more than that you WANT to follow Him.
 
If there was no God and this was all up to our interpretation, then it would make sense to be nervous about “Am I doing what’s right or just what I want to do?” because it would be us deciphering what is true and what is not. BUT Since God is real, why do we have so much trouble understanding He can and WANTS to talk to us???
 
It is not us simply chasing after God, God is reaching out to us. And how will He talk to us? It differs from occasion to occasion because it is not about us trying to reach Him and decipher Him from all the other voices. It is about us listening and trusting that He wants to reach us just as badly if not more than we want to reach Him.
 
Will you make mistakes in life? Yes. Will you convince yourself your own wants are God’s voice from time to time… most likely. But the thing is that if you really want to hear God’s voice in your life and trust Him to reach out, He will. He wants to. He’s waiting for you to let Him. But it’s not always like a “Earth shaking and blinding light” revelation. Sometimes it comes from following Him for weeks before you suddenly clue in “This wisdom… it’s not my own… it never was my own… Praise God!”

Path of Miracles

When you face giants, and all God has left you with are tiny stones,
 
When you face an army, and God keeps sending the strongest allies away from you,
 
When you want to save your companions, but God places you in the hands of your enemy
 
Remember…
 
It was never your plans that would save you but His
It was never your logic that would save you but His
It was never your strength that would save you but His
 
Do not ask for miracles in your life, then be surprised to be led down paths beyond your strength. It is on these paths that miracles happen most!

When Prayers Aren’t Answered

As prayers go unanswered, and trials pile one after another… As you strive to follow God only to have the paths forward cut off one after another… It is easy to let your mind wander to what you have done… “Did you do everything you could? Could you have done more? Should you have done things differently? Did you fall short?” And honestly the answer is… “Yes…”
 
I’ve never really liked giving the advice “Well is there anything else you could have done?” because we use it in the wrong context. Of course there is things we could do differently. Of course there is more we can do. Of course there are mistakes we made. Of course we didn’t do everything perfect because we AREN’T perfect!
 
This is good to recognize as we analyze and grow… but beyond that, what good is it?
 
We tend to treat it as “God’s plans fell through because you faltered in your faith at the last second… God didn’t let you move forward because you take 15 minutes in your preparation instead of 10. If you had given up drinking coffee as well I’m sure your life would be much better right now.”
 
POPPYCOCK!
 
If God’s plans relied on our ability to do everything in our ability at every given second, what would be done in this world??
 
YOU are imperfect. YOU will fail. But newsflash. God already knew that!
 
God KNOWS you are weak. God KNOWS you are human. God KNOWS you are going to fall flat on your face an innumerable amount of times. If things are getting tougher, and everything is falling apart in spite of you chasing after God… don’t go kicking yourself up. You’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. You’re following God! All the rest is a matter of His timing and His methods… and trust me… just ask Gideon… He likes setting up a losing situation first.
 
So then… should we sit back and live life as we please, because God loves us and is ultimately in charge of what works and doesn’t??
 
Replacing one extreme with another rarely works…..
 
God calls us to follow Him… not to make His plans work… Not to do miracles so we can get to Him… God knows where you stand. God knows who you are. God knows where you are strong and where you are weak. He wants you to grow through this journey, but you have to be willing to follow… and believe me that’s scary enough!
 
Are you following God? Are you trusting in Him? Are you praying? Are you reading the Bible? Are you asking others to pray for you too?
 
Unlike what society may say…. results do not necessarily show if you are doing what’s right or wrong… because all we can see are the results in this moment. We can’t see the path that lies ahead.
 
Learn from your mistakes. But do not feel you have failed God…or are too weak for Him. He knew where you stood before He asked you. You cannot let Him down as you were never holding Him up to begin with. The road ahead is treacherous and scary… but your safety has already been looked out for. Walk in confidence

Moving Forward

What is our role in this life?
 
If there is no God then what hope is there? The world will rest on your shoulders alone. And what hope do we have of handling such a responsibility?
 
If God is nothing but a good luck charm and a lesson in good morals, then how are we expected to handle the fear and stress? How heavily would the mistakes you make weigh on you?
 
What future would there be when we’ve destroyed all our chances? What would be the point of continuing on when there is no longer any options to go forward? If there is no God, and the success of your life rested on your shoulders alone… what would be the point of fighting on?
 
But there is a God, so what is there to fear? Though life is out of my hands. Though the mistakes of my past weigh me down and close off all paths forward… what do I have to fear? Because it is not about what I can do, but about what God can do through me as I follow Him.
 
It is not because we deserve God’s grace, but because He loves us that we can ask for a path, for a chance, for a life forward. And so, though the world I currently stand in may collapse around me, and all my attempts to escape were all for naught, I shall not waste my life in fear and stress, but instead focus on following Him as best I can.
 
If there is no God than to put faith in Him would be viewed as foolhardy and putting off responsibility…. but it is because there is a God that I can cry out…. no matter how undeserving I am, no matter how much of my current problems are my own fault… no matter how scary and confusing the future may look… it is because there is a God that I can beg of Him to lead me, and find peace and comfort in the knowledge that He is in control and even my greatest failures He can use to make me stronger.
 
So for those who feel you have lost… that there is no path for you… That you have messed up too much to be redeemed…. know that this life was never resting on your shoulders…. and that as long as your lungs draw breath it is not too late for God to do amazing things through you.
 
Amen