God hasn’t Given Up on You, so don’t you give up on Yourself

Some times we allow what I like to call “Stinking Thinking”, to get us down on ourselves. You know, like when we get up in the morning and looking in the mirror and in your mind you can hear that old song by Carole King “ You’re no good, You’re no good, Baby, You’re no good.” It is easier for these bad moods to develop when we are tired, discouraged or disappointed in ourselves or something else. This can also can happen when we going through a prolonged period of brokenness, and our life seems to be more fragmented than whole. The good news is that God can use even these broken uneven times in our lives if we will turn to Him, give them to Him, and continue to let Him reshape our damaged emotions as we recover and renew our strength.

The truth is, we will really never find lasting peace of mind by giving into the reoccurring thought patterns of doubt and discouragement. The key is to release those fears to the One who loves us more than anyone else… even ourselves. The God who created us and has been with us is the past is the One who can guides us, strengthen us, and give us peace, as we get our thoughts off ourselves and look to Him. I really like what Dr. Roy Lessin wrote about this struggle we wrestle with: “God did not give up on you when you didn’t know Him, and He will certainly not give up on you, now that you are His.”

Isaiah 26:3-4 states it this way: “ You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all who thoughts are fixed on You! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the Eternal Rock.” This and many other promises from the Bible echo and encourages us in the midst of our messy and confusing times, by helping us to look to the Lord as our ultimate source of strength and peace.

This becomes more real to us as we focus our mind and thoughts on His love for us. We are to live by faith in Him more than by our feelings and changing moods. Dr.Eugene Peterson, a prolific Bible Scholar and teacher, clarifies this for us…” All the persons of faith I know are sinners, doubters, uneven performers. We are secure; not because we are sure of ourselves, but because we trust that God is sure of us.”

Stop for just a few moments, and read these scriptures slowly and think about how much He loves us, He is with us, and He believes in us…

The Bible describes us as “God’s Masterpiece” created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do good things He planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)

“You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.” – Acts2: 28

“My health may fail, and my spirit grow weak. but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.” – Psalm 73:26

“The Lord is near the broken hearted. He delivers those who are discouraged. “ – Psalm 34:18

“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” – Isaiah 58:11

“ Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.” – Psalm 136:1

“In face of all of this, what is there left to say? If God is for us, who can be against us? He that did not spare His own Son but gave him up for us all… can we not trust such a God to give us, everything else we need?” – Romans 8: 31

Unrealistic Expectations can set us up for Disappointment

I got to go fishing at the beach while on a family vacation for a few days earlier this summer. The fish are usually safe when I go fishing. I am not very good at it but I always have high hopes of catching a “Big One.” True to form, I caught a few little fish and even a crab, who once I reeled it in, looked at me, and some how got unhooked of my fishing line and went back into the water… I guessed I scared it. I had a great time anyway. Sometimes little things do not go our way or turn out like we had hoped, leaving us feeling disappointed… but that should not ruin our day.

It is wise to plan ahead, think things through and hope for the best. When we expect everything to always go perfect in an imperfect world, that is a different story .That kind of attitude can get us uptight just about any little thing, even insignificant things that really are irrelevant. That selfish attitude can kick into high gear and our demanding demeanor can become a stress inducer not only for us, but it can spill over into those around us… what a mess we can make for ourselves and others.

Sometimes our problems are self-induced by our own unrealistic expectations. We can get so worked up and anxious, expecting people to react to us in a certain way, preconceived in our own minds . If they don’t do what we expect, we can misunderstand their lack of response to us. We may think they are rejecting us as a person. Maybe that is not the reason at all, they could be having a bad day, or they are distracted by something else that they are worried about.

Stephen Arterburn, noted Christian Counselor and author offers this insight: “Unrealistic expectations that we place upon others leads to unnecessary disappointments. It is so easy to place our values and expectations upon others, measuring them by our standards and grading them on how well they fit into our plans. Sadly, we are most prone to do this with those closest to us. They sometimes become our emotional punching bags because we know they are least likely to abandon us when we show our demanding side. Try to approach each day, each relationship, each situation with the conscious thought, that God wants you to be humble and gentle with others.”

Open my eyes Lord…that I may see things and other people from Your perspective. May I be sensitive to Your Spirit to guide me. Keep my mind clear of the stuff that doesn’t really matter. Show me the way to show Your Grace to others, and to make the most of each day.

The Difference between Happiness and Joy

I like being Happy. I am thankful that even in our U.S. constitution, it mentions the pursuit of happiness. I am glad we can pursue it, even though we are not always able to attain it. Happiness is based on Happenings or specific pleasant experiences, like a beautiful sunset or a great vacation etc…They make us smile and create good memories to reflect back on. That being said, they are temporary and quickly evaporate. You may have seen this happen as you return from a fun trip or vacation. A few days later, you are back at work or busy with your regular routine and responsibilities, and the euphoria of happiness fades into “the real world” stuff we all have to cope with again. You wish you could go back to and relive that happy time you had last week.

Our joy in the Lord, is not limited to just good days or experiences and is available 24/7 and has no expiration date. It is not based on our surroundings or feelings but rather upon our personal relationship with God.

We can be joyful even when when we are not happy with our present circumstances.Our joy is not limited to our current situation. The Joy that comes from knowing God is with you and me, transcends any situation we may encounter. Just realizing that God is with us and goes ahead of us gives us greater comfort and stability. Dr. Henri J. M. Nouwen has stated: “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose Joy and keep choosing it every day.”

I like to think of JOY this way:




Jesus Only You can: Forgive me of my shortcomings and faults. Give me Eternal Life. Give me the Strength I need for today. Only You know me better than anyone and knows what is best for me right now…Jesus Only You!

Here are some practical and specific verses form the Bible about Joy:

“Restore to me the Joy of your salvation and uphold me by your righteous right hand.” – Psalm 51: 12

“You will show me the path of life, in Your Presence is fulness of Joy.” – Psalm 16:11

“The Joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10

“I will Rejoice in the Lord, I will be Joyful in God my Savior.” – Habakkuk 3:18

“The Lord’s instruction is right, giving Joy to the Heart.” -Psalm 19:8

“ Always be Joyful.” -I Thessalonians 5:16

May you and I choose the Joy that we only can find in Jesus…today and everyday.

Adjusting Your Pace to a Different Schedule

Seasons change and so do our schedules. I have observed that the most “Got It All Together” type people seem to find a way to adapt and adjust to the changes in their lives. Yet at the same time, they are able to maintain their personality and identity through it all. Here are some other positive habits they have and we should embrace:

Personal pace. Identify what works best for you as far as your daily schedule that is structured around your priorities. Refrain from comparing your pace with others. Your pace is unique. You also don’t want your pace to be slowed down unnecessarily by spending a lot of valuable time doing things that aren’t really that important or productive. This will help you to maintain your most effective pace.

Adjust as you go. Anticipate some interruptions, which will inevitably happen. Leave some space in your schedule for time to adjust accordingly. Don’t overbook, that sets you up for additional stress and frustration. Everything is not a sprint or an emergency. Patience is required to adjust to a different routine. Sometimes, it just takes some time for it to get more comfortable. Remember… Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape about trivial things.

Concentrate on the most important things. A lot of time can be consumed on being distracted by issues or tasks that aren’t your primary priority. Keep your focus. I like this statement by J.R. R. Tolkien… “ All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” As a Christian, we should allow the Lord to guide us in discerning how best to live by our priorities. Taking some time to be still and quiet to think and pray about these decisions is most helpful. David Zerfoss sums up this process very well: “Life can become full very fast. If we can first block off some time for what is most important, it can actually free us up to focus on the rest.”

Examine at the end of the day. Celebrate and be thankful for what went well. Think about what could be improved. Rearrange your list of things to do that you were not able to accomplish today into your schedule for tomorrow. This keeps you on track for whatever is most important next.

I hope and pray that you will be living in the grace of a steady pace, just right for you.

Make God a part of your daily life

We as Christians are often very thankful for God’s love and forgiveness, salvation and His blessings for us in our past. Also, we look forward to the future, spending eternity with Jesus in Heaven some day. We have a tendency though, to forget that God really wants to be a part our our daily lives in the here and now. I am so glad that God doesn’t leave us here alone on earth to figure it out how to live the Christian way of life in just our own strength and wisdom. He doesn’t give us the gift of salvation and say something like “Good luck, See you later, you are on our own until you get to Heaven someday.”

God loves us much more than that. He wants us to experience His presence and joy in our daily lives. Noted inspirational writer Sarah Young has said it best : “ Pursuing a close walk with the Lord is the best way to live in the present.” God is not going to change the world we live in until He changes our individual lives first. That is where it starts with you and me. This is an amazing opportunity for us to live a life of purpose and fulfillment beyond our greatest expectations. When we continue to grow closer in our daily relationship with Him, He takes ordinary people like you and me and continues the process of making us more like Him in our character, attitude and actions. As a result, God begins to use each of us in our own unique way to make a positive difference in helping other people in small and big ways for His glory, not our own. It is not just going out and attempting to do something for the Lord, but more like working in concert with Him to encourage people you encounter as you go through your day.

The question is…what do we need to do, to have that kind of daily relationship with Jesus? First of all, we must realize that God doesn’t move parked cars! We must let go of our stubbornness and selfishness to follow Him daily. Jesus said we are to take up our cross by denying our selfishness and daily follow Him (Luke 9:23). We continue to trust in Him by talking with Him silently in prayer as we go through your day . We thank Him for blessing us with another day. We pray for other people we know and their needs and concerns and we help them when we can, we thank Him for guiding us, giving us the air to breathe, a home, our freedom, family and friends, etc… that He is with us, no matter what we go through right now. This not a “To Do List” but living a lifestyle as we follow Him.

I am still learning and growing in my daily walk with God and that is my prayer for you as well. We can have a great day because God is with us.