Tag Archives: difficult times

Times Of Rain

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

Rain is something we need, but don’t really want. We’ve given it a negative connotation too. It started when we were children singing the song, “Rain, Rain, go away. Come again another day.” Rain disrupts the times of sunshine and happiness that we feel. When it’s rainy outside, we say it’s gloomy. We think of the gray clouds and associate them with depression. Rain changes our path, our timing and our plans. It messes things up for us so we resist it. We forget that rain is a necessary part of life. We forget all the good that it does.

I’ve got several friends right now who are experiencing rain in their lives. Several friends have had loved ones pass away unexpectedly. I’ve got a couple of friends who can’t seem to find a job. I’ve got a few friends whose lives have been turned upside down because of choices their spouse made. For them, it seems like the rain just keeps coming. It feels like their lives are being flooded with only negative things. As I’ve thought about all their situations, Matthew 5:45 came to mind. It says, “It rains on the just and the unjust.”

I’ve read or heard that scripture my whole life. I was always under the impression that it meant that bad things happen to Christians and non Christians alike because I associated rain with bad times. When I read it in context and then in several versions and interpretations of the original Greek, the Message Bible stood out. It said, “This is what God does. He gives His best – the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone regardless.” The times of rain in our lives are meant to nourish us. Just like our yards, lakes and crops need rain for nourishment, so do our lives. 

When bad things happen, it usually pushes us closer go God. We spend more time in prayer. We take the time to talk to God and to read His Word to try to find answers. Days of sunshine rarely push us to spend time with God, but rain does. When we go a long time without rain or without spending time with a God, we go through a drought and that isn’t healthy. If you’re going through times of rain in your life right now, don’t pray for it to go away. Instead thank God for the nourishment and for the shelter He provides

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How To Fight Impossible Battles


In II Chronicles 20, a huge army invaded southern Israel. The king and all the people were terrified because they defeated several strongholds easily. He begged God for help and asked others to pray with him. It sounds a lot like any one of us when we are facing something that seems impossible to beat. Fear is our first response, then we beg God for help. I believe what follows in this story is something we can all learn from in these moments in life. 

The first thing that happened was King Jehoshaphat got like minded people together, fasted and prayed. We are not to fight these battles alone. Fear’s goal is to intimidate you and to push you into seclusion. Don’t let it! There is strength in numbers and in fasting. Get a group of people around you who can fight on their knees and touch God for you. This first step is critical if you’re going to win an impossible battle.

In verses 15-17, God answered those praying. The Word of the Lord came back saying, “Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (NLT). Things only seem impossible when God is not in the equation. The battles we face are not our own, but they are God’s. We don’t have to be afraid or discouraged at the sheer impossibility of anything that comes our way because God goes before us.

As the army of Israel approached the battlefield, Jehoshaphat spoke in verse 20 and reminded them, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in His prophets and you will succeed.” Faith will help us to stand firm when standing is all we can do. We can trust in God, and in His Word, to get the courage to keep standing in the face of impossibilities. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to continue to trust God and His Word so we can see the victory.

Finally, the king appointed singers to praise God and he sent them out in front. At the very moment they began to sing, the Lord gave victory. We need to be able to praise God in advance of victory. We need to honor Him when all else seems to be going wrong. Praise is powerful. It activates our faith and moves our God. If you can’t find it in you to praise, play praise music until you do. Victory is dependent on God, not us. We can praise Him for that. Our impossible battles are no match for a God who says all things are possible. 

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Restoring The Broken


Being a father of a boy with toys means that I have to always have superglue on hand. I can’t tell you how many times he’s handed me toys that were broken in pieces. With tears in his eyes, “Can you fix this please?” Sometimes I can do it, and other times I have to tell him that it’s beyond my ability to repair. He doesn’t understand why there are some things that are just too broken and superglue just won’t work.

Like him, many times we have to take the broken pieces of our lives to God and ask Him to fix it. I don’t know if God has some kind of spiritual superglue or what, but I do know that He’s pretty good at taking our broken pieces and putting them back together again. In fact, there’s no life so broken that it’s beyond His ability to repair. He specializes in putting our shattered pieces back together and making our life better than it was. We just have to be willing to hand Him the pieces.

Here are some Bible verses on God repairing our broken pieces and making us whole again.

1. GOD made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to GOD ’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. GOD rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.
Psalm 18:20-24 MSG

2. He heals the broken-hearted and bandages their wounds.
Psalm 147:3 GNT

3. A Message from Israel’s GOD -of-the-Angel-Armies: “When I’ve turned everything around and brought my people back, the old expressions will be heard on the streets: ‘ GOD bless you!’… ‘O True Home!’… ‘O Holy Mountain!’ All Judah’s people, whether in town or country, will get along just fine with each other. I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls.”
Jeremiah 31:23-25 MSG

4. But because of our sins he was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did. We are healed by the punishment he suffered, made whole by the blows he received.
Isaiah 53:5 GNT

5. For a child has been born—for us! the gift of a son—for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings. 
Isaiah 9:6 MSG

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But God Is Still On His Throne


I once knew someone who had an interesting answer for the question, “How are you?” No matter what was going on, after he told you, he would say, “But God is still on His throne.” He could have lost his job, he could have been sick, or was going through a bad time in his life. No matter what it was, he would always add, “But God is still on a His throne,” to the sentence. It was always a peculiar answer to me, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to understand it more.

For him, it was about keeping things in perspective. He could wallow in the negative things happening in his life or he could admit they were happening, and then remind himself and others that God was still in control. He knew that God was aware of what was happening in His life, and that phrase would encourage himself and others when he said it. I’m begging to think he picked it up from King David.

In Psalm 102, David is talking about all the things happening to him. For 11 verses he speaks of wasting away, pain in his body, insomnia, being taunted by others, uncontrollable crying, and being depressed. He speaks of all the things going wrong in his life, then he changes his tune in verse 12. He says, “Yet you, God, are sovereign till, always and ever sovereign” (MSG). He was saying, “But you God are still on your throne.”

It’s a good practice to get into especially if you’re going through a difficult time right now. If things aren’t adding up in your life or happening as quickly as you’d like, remind yourself that God is still on His throne. All is not lost. He is working things out for your good. He will give you the strength to endure as he develops character in you. Nothing has the power to completely overtake you as long as He is on His throne.

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Losing To Win


Several years ago, when things were going downhill in my life, I started to get upset at God. I was losing everything. Several friends had abandoned me during the process. I lost my business, had a vehicle repossessed, lost my business, and had to file for bankruptcy. I cried out, “God, where are you?!? Why are you letting this happen to me? Have you abandoned me? Don’t you care that I’m losing everything?” I didn’t get an answer and I continued to lose more until I had nothing left to lose.

I didn’t think God was there in those moments. Every once in a while though, my friend and Sunday School teacher, would say, “Chris, I believe God wants me to say this to you…” While those messages were encouraging, and I believed they were from God, I wasn’t personally hearing from Him. I was doing my best to keep from getting bitter towards Him because I felt abandoned and was upset over everything I had lost. What I couldn’t see, was what I was really losing though. 

I realized later that I didn’t just lose a bunch of material things and relationships, I lost my pride. God used that time to strip me of pride that was keeping me from a deep relationship with Him. I also lost my dependence on my self. Somehow I thought that everything I had in life, I had earned on my own. I forgot that God was my source and Jehovah Jireh. Through all of that, I gained a deeper faith and a dependence on God to be who He wanted to be in my life. I just couldn’t see it when I was losing the things that I thought mattered.

I Peter 4:12-13 says, “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner” (MSG). God uses difficult times to refine us. When they come, the dross in our life floats to the top and is skimmed off by God. What’s left over is pure gold. If you’re in the thick of it now, don’t quit or think God doesn’t care. He’s refining you and cleaning out the things in your life that are keeping you from Him.

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The Greatest Gift


Since it’s Christmas time, I have a question for you. What’s the best gift you ever received? Some of you might say a ring, or a car, or a bike, or a child. Each of us will have different answers depending on where we are in life, but I’m pretty sure that none of you said that going through difficult times was the greatest gift you ever got. However, looking back on your life, and seeing how that dark time made you into who you are today, you might want to reconsider. Yes, I’m suggesting your darkest days could be the greatest gift you’ve ever received. 

Most of us think of those times, and try to put them behind us, or pretend that they never existed. But I believe God uses those times to move us into position for our future, to develop in us the qualities of character necessary for the future He has for us, and to grow our faith in Him. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (MSG).

Those final sentences are tough for us to hear. When we are in a trial or test, we want them to end quickly. We pray and beg God to get us out of them. When we do get out of them early, the work is unfinished that He was trying to do. In Max Lucado’s book “The Anvil”, he writes that of God has you in these times, rejoice. It means He still thinks you’re worth reshaping. He hasn’t discarded you as useless and put you with the other tools the He no longer uses.

If you happen to be going through one of these times right now, I’d like you to look at the next verse in James. It says, “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.” God will be there to help you through instead of out of it. Pray for His help, but also pray to ask Him to develop in you what He needs to during this time. Right now it may not seem like a gift, but what God does in us during the hardest times is often one of He greatest gifts He gives. 

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41 Will Come


Chuck Tate is the author of “41 Will Come”. The theme of the book is: In the Bible, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. But day 41 came, and the rain stopped. The people of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Then year 41 came, and a new generation entered the Promised Land. For 40 days, Goliath bullied Israel and dared anyone to fight him. Day 41 came, and David slew the giant. Do you see the theme? Don’t quit. Don’t give up.

Today’s devotion is my interview with Chuck.

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned waiting on your own 41?

The greatest lesson I’ve learned during a season of waiting is to trust God no matter what. That’s the bottom line. Trust Him and His Word, but I’ve also learned to trust His timing. There were periods during my “41” journey where I felt as if someone else’s fingerprints would end up my dream. I was tempted to force doors open (due to being impatient), but in the end, I realized God’s timing is better than mine. His ways are better than my ways.

My favorite chapter is “Rawk Stance” because it reminds us that 41 doesn’t come unless we prepare for it. In your opinion, what’s one of the most important things we can do to prepare for our 41 to come and why?

God will always do His part, but if we aren’t willing to do ours, we will miss out on BIG opportunities. The real answer to this question depends on what we are preparing for. David’s time as a shepherd (and practicing with a sling-shot) served as preparation to fight Goliath. My “practice” time writing and blogging served as preparation for drafting my manuscript. The key is working hard on your craft TODAY so you are prepared to seize every moment of opportunity TOMORROW.

What advice would you give someone who has given up on their 41 like you had at one point?

That it’s never too late to dream again and you are never too old start over. The Scriptures are filled with numerous examples of second chances and new beginnings. You serve a God who doesn’t need to consult with your past when mapping out your future. He saw you doing “good deeds” before you even showed up on Planet Earth. Micah 7:8 says, “Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again.” Get up! Dream again. Start over. 

I don’t know anyone who won’t be moved by the story of your mom’s illness. What is your go to verse to “Word Up” with when you’re waiting on a 41 to come?

While my mom was in the hospital, we clung to Isaiah 53:5 (…by His stripes we were healed). Proverbs 24:10 (If we quit when times are tough, our strength is small) and Habakkuk 2:2 (…though the vision seems delayed. Wait for it!) are my “Go to” verses while waiting!

What’s the coolest “41” story you’ve heard since writing the book?

The following Facebook post about a family waiting on a heart transplant for their baby girl: “God is good! Day 41 at 10:10PM we got the call!! After 40 days & 40 nights God has answered our prayers! We have a heart! They believe it is the perfect heart for our Miela!”

How have periods of waiting for 41 to come shaped your life?

By teaching me patience. Ha! I’m joking, but I’m not joking. The periods of waiting have made me stronger. The Scripture that comes to mind is found in James 1:2-3: …when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

In your mind, who would benefit from reading your book?

Anyone who feels hopeless. Anyone in a season of waiting. Anyone who needs their faith fueled to carry on or dream again. Anyone who wants to learn how to hold on and stand strong right now…or in the future.

If there was only one thing someone reading your book could come away with, what would that be? By the way, there are a ton of things to take away. My book is full of highlighted sentences!

First of all, THANK YOU for the encouragement, Chris! I guess if I could have ONE takeaway, it would be this: God is ALWAYS moving behind the scenes…even when you don’t feel like He is. Don’t quit!

This book was written about the 41 that came when David killed Goliath. Which 41 will your next book be about and why?

Ahhhh, what a great question! The next book I want to write is a 41-day devotional (for individuals and small groups) that shares 41 testimonies (stories) that are a direct result of 41 Will Come. 

I love that you share so many personal stories in the book so that the reader can get to know you. For those who don’t know you, what’s something they need to know about you before they read “41 Will Come”?

That I am an ordinary person who has been given the opportunity to share some extraordinary stories. This is not a “hey, that’s a cool idea for a book” book. This is my life message. This is a book that I have walked out and one that I have lived…and my prayer is for that to come across to the reader. You might cry, you will probably laugh, but I know you will be filled with HOPE.

I know you will be blessed by this book. You can buy it by clicking here. Also, Chuck has agreed to give away a free book to someone who reads this today (9/1/16). To enter, type, “Don’t Quit. Don’t give up. #41WillCome #DevotionsByChris” on either Facebook or Twitter. I’ll randomly choose a winner tomorrow through the hashtag and private message you for a shipping address. 

Follow Chuck Tate on Twitter and check out his website.

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