Keep Fighting


Every one of us fall down in life at some point. Some of us need some help getting back up. There are times when we say, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” None of us are promised an easy life. While some people may appear to have an easy life, the truth is that we all get hit hard enough in life that it knocks the wind out if us. None of us are exempt from that. The question is, who is around to help you back up?

Proverbs 24:16 says, “No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don’t stay down long” (MSG). There’s something God put in us that compels us to get back up. However, I can attest that you can be knocked down so many times that you begin to question whether or not you should get back up. If I’m going to be knocked down again, what’s the point of getting back up? It’s easier to stay down.

There are times in life where we feel like Rocky Balboa. We’re bloodied up from taking so many hits. We’ve been knocked down over and over again, but there’s something in us that drives us to get back up. Our friends may think it’s time to throw in the towel, but God doesn’t want that. He knows that if we will endure, we will grow stronger and that strength will develop character in our lives. When we go through struggles, especially the most difficult ones, God us there with us cheering us on to get back up.

Psalm 145:14 says, “God gives a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.” We’ve got to remember we’ve got God in our corner. He’s there to make sure we don’t give up or stay down. He’s cheering us on to get back up and try again. We are promised victory if we will just get back up and keep going. I’ve had God have to give me a hand more times than I can count. He’s been faithful to give me a fresh start, and I’ll know He’ll do it for you. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Get back up and keep fighting. 

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Finding God


Have you ever had to find your way around in the dark? Even if you’re in a familiar place, when the electricity goes out, you still bump into things. When it’s pitch black, and you can’t see your hand in front of your face, you have to feel your way around so you don’t get hurt or break anything. I usually do the zombie walk. You know the one where your hands are out front of you. I’m hoping that I feel something familiar and can follow it to my destination. I know I’m not far away, but there are obstacles along my path.

This world is a dark place, but you and I have been called to be light like a city set on a hill that can’t be hidden. Even though this world is familiar to all of us who live on it, many are wandering around it in spiritual darkness. Some choose to stay where they are, while others are feeling their way around. It’s up to us to help them find their way to God. We are the ones who are to lead them to their destination. God is not far from any one of us.

That was Paul’s message to the Greeks. They were a people who were feeling around looking for God, but in the process created many gods. Paul saw their longing to find the one true God and spoke to them in Acts 17:27. He said, “His (God’s) purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him – though He is not far from any one of us” (NLT). Man has always had a need to look beyond himself to find God.

Even today, according to the Washington Post, more than 8 in 10 people worldwide worship a god. That’s because God created all of us with a desire to search beyond ourselves for significance and purpose. As Christians, we’ve got to step out of our churches, our homes and places of comfort to be the light God has called us to be so we can help people who are feeling their way around find God. He is not far from any of us. We just have to be willing to be used in helping the lost find Him.

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Pressure, Prayer and Praise


One day I was walking and deep in thought. I wasn’t paying attention to what was in front of me until I stepped on a ketchup packet. When I did, ketchup shot out of the package and went all over the glass of a shop. While wiping it off, I began to think how when pressure is applied to something, what’s inside comes out. I began to wonder what would come out of my mouth and actions, from the inside of me, if serious pressure was applied. 

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison because they were preaching the Gospel and had delivered a girl from demon possession. Verse 16 says, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them” (NLT). When pressure was applied, prayer and raise is what came out of them. The goal for each of us is to be so full of God that when pressure is applied, prayer and praise would come out of us.

Here are some verses on prayer and praise. 

1. Proclaim with me the Lord ‘s greatness; let us praise his name together! I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me; he freed me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:3-4 GNT

2. In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?
Psalms 118:5-6 NLT

3. In this you rejoice greatly, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, which is much more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested and purified by fire, may be found to result in [your] praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 PETER 1:6-7 AMP

4. There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Romans 5:3-5 MSG

5. Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

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1 vs 100


Do you ever get to the point where your problems become overwhelming? There are times and periods in life when I just can’t seem to shake free of a cycle of problems. It depletes my energy and saps my spirit. To stop and look at everything in front of me and see a never ending line of things coming at me can easily leave me feeling depleted. It feels like I’m on that show “1 vs. 100” sometimes, except there’s no cash prize at the end of the line of things I’m facing. What I usually forget during those times is that I’m not facing it alone.

In II Kings 6, the king of Aram was trying to attack Israel, but God kept showing Elisha their plans and Israel averted them. The king was angry and wanted who in his army was the traitor. When someone told him that it was Elisha who was giving away their position and plan, he mobilized his entire army and went to attack Elisha. That next morning, Elisha’s servant woke up and went outside. When he saw an entire army camped against them, he panicked. He was overwhelmed and didn’t know what they would do.

I love Elisha’s response to him in verse 16 when he comes outside and sees the army. He said, “Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs!” (NLT). Then Elisha asked God to open his servant’s eyes, and he saw an army of horses and chariots of fire. The army didn’t defeat Elisha that day because God was on his side. Elisha remained calm under the pressure of being in a 1 vs.100 type situation because he knew that God was with him. He didn’t panic, but instead trusted.

When facing those insurmountable odds, instead of panicking, we need to remember that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world (I John 4:4). In those moments when I feel overwhelmed and outnumbered by my problems, my prayer is that God would open my eyes to see He’s on my side. I need to know that I’m not going to be defeated and that God has everything under control. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1 vs 100 or 1 vs 1,000,000, when God is on our side, there are more on our side than on theirs!

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Hard Problems. Simple Tasks.


Have you ever studied for a test, but the questions weren’t what you thought they’d be? You thought for sure the teacher would ask about all these other things, but they didn’t. It may not have been a difficult test, but what they asked didn’t make sense. I’ve had God test me like that. I hear Him ask me to do something that doesn’t make sense, and then I question whether it was from God. “Surely He would ask me to do something else,” I think. Sometimes what He asks of us isn’t difficult. It just doesn’t make sense. 

In the early part of II Kings, God spoke through Elisha and asked some people to do things that didn’t make sense. A widow owed her husband’s debts and the collectors were coming for her sons. Elisha told her to borrow bottles and fill them with what little oil she had. The Shunemite woman’s son died and Elisha told his servant to go put his staff on the boy’s face. There was also a pot of stew that had been made with poisoned gourds in it. Elisha threw a handful of flour in it and it was fine.

One of the most famous though was a man named Namaan in chapter 5. He had leprosy and went to see Elisha. Elisha sent his servant out to tell him to dip in the Jordan river seven times and he’d be healed. Namaan left angry. In verse 13 one of his servants asked, “If the prophet had told you to do something difficult, wouldn’t you have doe it? So shouldn’t you certainly obey him when he simply says, ‘Go and wash and be cured!'” (NLT) Namaan went and washed and was healed. 

In each of these cases, it didn’t make sense. I think that God asks us to do things different than we expect to test our obedience. God simply wants simple obedience. If He asked us to do something that gave us the answer, we would begin to think it was what we did. When the instructions have nothing to do with it and we obey, it can only be God who answered. Whatever God is asking for you, it may not be about the problem. It could be about your heart. Simply obey and let God do His thing. 

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Breaking The Perpetual, Downward Spiral


Not long ago, I was sitting at home stressing over everything on my plate. I was trying to figure out how and when I could get everything accomplished. Then the muscles around my eye started to spasm and I remembered that an eye doctor once told me once that that was usually due to stress. When I remembered it was due to stress, I began to think again about all I had to do. My eye began to spasm worse. I remembered I was stressed and started the process again.

I was in a perpetual, downward spiral. Ever been there? They’re hard to get out of. My wife came home and immediately noticed something was wrong. She asked and I began to frantically tell her all that was on my plate. I explained that my eye was driving me nuts too. She stopped me and said, “Why don’t you go outside and get your mind right? Go out there and stop thinking about all this and think about things that make you happy.”

After being out there a few minutes, the spiral started again. I had to push back and enjoy my surroundings. I began to thank God for each of the blessing in my life. I thought of all the things I have that bring me joy and happiness and thanked Him for them. After a while, I had t noticed, but my eye stopped twitching. I began to feel better about things. It reminded me of Proverbs 17:22 that says, “A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing” (AMP).

If you Google “happiness and joy as a medicine”, you will find study and after study that shows the correlation between a positive mood and humor with better health. If you’re like me and end up in these perpetual, downward spirals from time to time, find a way to get your mind on something that brings you joy. It doesn’t take away the problem, but it clears it up, brings healthy thoughts and helps you break the cycle. With a healthy, joyful mind you can solve any problem. 

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Incomplete Masterpieces 


Impatient. That’s a word that can often be used to describe me. Even though I know that something like an oil painting requires a lengthy process, I want it done quickly. But you can’t do that with oils. You pain a color at a time in an area and let it dry for a few days. You then add some more. Oil paintings require time and patience if you want an excellent piece. I always want it to look like a Rembrandt, but I’m not willing to go through the process. As I look at his work, I imagine the time it took him to create those masterpieces and am in awe of the finished product. 

Our lives are not much different than his masterpieces. To become the complex work of art that God has planned for each of us, we must go through a lengthy process. We can easily get impatient wondering if God will ever finish what He started. Sometimes He adds color to our life, then puts the paintbrush down while it cures. We want the whole picture quickly, but masterpieces aren’t created in a day. They must submit to the process. 

David could have easily been as impatient as I am. Imagine this: he had been anointed king, yet he had to go back to tending sheep. He had stayed a giant, but he still had to do his chores at home. Even though God had called and anointed him as king, he still had to submit to the process to become the masterpiece that God wanted him to become. He could have killed Saul several times, but he understood that he was in a process and he trusted God.

In Psalm 138:8 he wrote, “The Lord will work out His plans for my life” (NLT). He understood what we need to understand. God is working things out in our lives, not us. When we get impatient and interfere, we mess with the masterpiece He’s creating. He is the artist and we are the canvas. If you’re in the process now of waiting, don’t become impatient. God is still working out His plan. The brush may be set down right now, but He’s not finished with you. He will be faithful to complete it. 

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