Tag Archives: difficult times

Joy Returns


Lamentations 4 and 5 are two of the saddest chapters in the Bible. Jeremiah was so descriptive of what life was like living under the control of their enemy. The people who were once wealthy were digging through the trash to find food. The kids were forced to do manual labor that was too hard for them. Anyone caught looking for food outside the city walls was killed. Confidence was replaced with desperation, and joy was replaced with a deep depression. 

People no longer gathered to talk. No one sang any songs. The population was dwindling down because people were dying of starvation. It was a very dark period in Israel’s history. Jeremiah knew they were living under the enemy’s control because they had turned their back on God. He cried out in repentance and asked God how long would they suffer. Then he remembered that suffering is temporary, but God is eternal.

You may be going through a dark time in your life right now as well. It may feel like God has abandoned you and that you are living under the enemy’s control. I know what it’s like to live through that. I know what it feels like to lose everything and wonder if you should still try to keep going. I can let you know that the suffering is only temporary. It does end and the sun comes out again. God has not abandoned you no matter how alone you feel.

I pray Jeremiah’s prayer in Lamentations 5:21 over you today. It says, “Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had!” (GNT) I’m living proof that God restores what the enemy stole, and that joy returns. When God restores you, He will rebuild everything better than it was. When He gives your joy back, it will be greater than before. What feels like forever is only a season. Restoration is coming. 

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The Anchor That Endures


Did you know that the United States doesn’t have a federal law that requires boats to have an anchor? I know that’s a random question to start your day with, but go with me on this for a minute. I’ve been on a boat many times to fish. We used the anchor to hold us in position over the fishing hole, but anchors are mainly needed if your motor dies or if you run out of gas. When that happens, your boat is simply adrift at the whim of the water without an anchor. That’s not a good situation to be in. 

Like boats, many people don’t have an anchor – something that can steady them. When bad times come or when they burn out, they have nothing to hold onto. Their life goes out of control and they begin drifting away. That’s a helpless feeling, but it’s something that all of us face at one point. It’s why we need an anchor in our lives. We need a truth that we can hold onto snd believe in when don’t have the strength to move forward. 

As Christians, we have an anchor. In Hebrews 6:19, it says, “We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure” (HCSB). The whole world around us can be crumbling, but our anchor holds us in place. We don’t have to be at the mercy of our circumstances. We don’t have to succumb to the pressures around us. We don’t have to worry when we can’t see the future. Our hope in Jesus is secure and provides us with stability in unstable times.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you’ — this is the Lord’s declaration — ‘plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” God gives hope because He knows it is essential to life. He has a plan for you, and He often uses hard times to mold us, shape us, and to correct our course. When we are in those times, we can hold on to the hope that He gives and it will not fail us because it is an anchor that endures. 

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Hope Returns


There have been a few times in my life when I’ve been desperate for hope. When I was in my early twenties, my mom was in ICU at the M.D. Anderson cancer center. I remember living in that holding room for families. Each family in there lived day to day desperate for good news. Some families got it, but most of us didn’t. We were tired, exhausted, mentally drained, and were looking for a ray of hope that might mean our loved one would walk out of there. 

Another time was after my first wife left me. My business was failing and the world all around me seemed to be crashing in. When I thought I had hit rock bottom, the bottom would fall out. When I thought I had good news, it turned out to be wrong. I just wanted something to hold onto in order to keep from from falling deeper in that hole, but everything I grabbed seemed to slip between my fingers.

To be without hope is a dangerous place, yet so many of us live there. Our lives seem to have no future, and we just want something we can believe in to brighten up the darkness a little. The writer of Lamentations was there too. He was in a desperate place having lost everything. As he recounted his trouble in chapter three, he then wrote in 3:22-23, “Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue” (GNT). His hope returned when he took his eyes off his situation and focused on God.

I love what he goes on to write in verses 25-26. He says, “The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him, So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us—.” God sees us in our hopeless darkness. Looking back, He used those times to shape me and polish me. Trusting God when you can’t see a future is hard, but be patient. The Lord is good and is working things out for your good. Hope will return because God has not forgotten you.

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God Is With You

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.


I love reading Luke 2 throughout the year. I don’t believe the story of Jesus’ birth is just for December. Honestly, what we are celebrating at Christmas, should be celebrated all through the year. The fact that God wrapped Himself in flesh and lived among us is something to celebrate every day, especially when we’re facing mountains in our lives. The prophet Isaiah said the Messiah would be called Emmanuel which is God with us.

I’ve always loved the meaning of that name. God is with us. It’s present tense. It’s not He was with us or He will be with us. He is with us! In difficult times in our lives, we feel alone. We feel the world is against us. Our friends are scarce. Our troubles are compounded. Our stress is through the roof. Our bills are too many and too high. We feel abandoned and afraid. How we feel and what circumstances look like don’t change the fact that God is with us. They don’t push Him away when they’ve pushed everyone else away.

When we’re surrounded by the storm, the waves keep crashing into us and we feel like we’re sinking, He is with us. He isn’t panicking like we are. He knows that things are under control even when they appear not to be. The disciples found themselves in this same situation. They were on a boat in the middle of a fierce storm and they were taking on water. They were terrified until they remembered Emmanuel. “God is with us.” They found Jesus, woke Him up and then He calmed the storm.

Maybe that’s you today. You find yourself in the middle of a storm. Your mind is occupied by all the “what if’s”. You feel as though your life is sinking. Nothing is going as planned. If that’s the case, remember there is no storm He can’t calm. There is nothing that life can throw at you that He can’t turn into good for you. Even if you can’t see it, have faith. It’s especially important in those times that you remember Emmanuel. God is with YOU. And if God is with you, He is for you. When He is for you, who can be against you? 

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Don’t Give Up


Right next door to one of the flooded houses I was helping to gut was a house that hadn’t been touched. Every house on the street had big piles of debris and trash out front except that one. I asked the owner of the house where I was helping about it. She said, “He came home after the water receded, took one look at it, locked the door, got an apartment, and walked away.” With every wheelbarrow of trash I dumped, I would look at that house and get upset. How could they walk away? 

I get that there’s a lot of work to be done, but come on. I couldn’t understand them walking away. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that so many of us do the same thing in our lives. We look at the mess and think, “This is too difficult to fix. It’s easier to just walk away and give up.” Life does get complicated, and often the messes we find ourselves in are complex without an easy solution. I’ve learned though, that messes are incubators for miracles. 

In the book of Jeremiah, he had been put in prison for speaking the truth. The Babylonians had seized Jerusalem, and they were threatening to burn the city down and take them away captive. God spoke to Jeremiah and told him that a relative was going to come to the prison to sell him a piece of family property, and he was to buy it. Why? Because God was saying that things would one day return to normal and the mess would be resolved. So he prayed in Jeremiah 32:17, “O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!” (NLT)

I can let you know that whatever you’re facing today is not too hard for God. While there doesn’t seem to be an end to your mess or a way out of it, God is working things out. Things will one day get back to normal. It won’t happen overnight, and things might get harder still, but what you’re facing isn’t too hard for Him. I’ve lived through messes where I thought there was only one way out, but God found another way. He will do the same for you if you don’t give up and walk away. 

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God’s Faithfulness 


What would happen if you held a pen out in front of you and let go? If you did it a hundred times? A million times? You’d get the same result. The pen would drop to the ground. No matter how many times you let go, that pen will fall to the ground. Why? Because the Law of Gravity is at work. No matter what you do or what else happens, each time you let go of that pen, it’s going to fall because of the Law of Gravity. It works 100% of the time no matter what.

The same is true when it comes to the faithfulness of God. You can trust it 100% of the time. No matter how many times you rely on God, He will be faithful. Why? Because it’s part of who He is. As much as the Law of Gravity is a part of our world, faithfulness is a part of who God is. It’s something you can rely on over and over again no matter what happens in your life. Your circumstances don’t change the faithfulness of God. The sooner we understand that, the greater the relationship we can have with Him.

Over and over again, we look at things that happen to us and we blame God. We think He must not care or that He’s mad at us. Ever since the Garden of Eden, the Law of Sin has been at work on our world. It is what causes death, decay, destruction, and the things that affect us negatively. It is the ongoing consequence of sin entering the world. It has nothing to do with God’s faithfulness and everything to do with our unfaithfulness. God is the one who comes to bring us life, and has redeemed us.

One of the greatest lies of the enemy is that the bad things in the world are a result of God not being faithful to us. Paul understood this and wrote, “But the Lord is faithful,” (NLT) in 2 Thessalonians 3:3 to remind us. He knew we would need to be reminded over and over again that God is faithful no matter what happens. He is the one who works in all circumstances for your good. It’s time we quit blaming Him for the bad things that happen to us, and start learning to trust His faithfulness to work them out for our benefit. 

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Peace In Uncertainty

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.


Have you ever noticed that the in depth weather report is at the end of the news? They might bring them out early to give you a tease about the weather, but they won’t give specifics until later in the broadcast. I’ve read many times that the weather is the most watched part of the news. I’ve always wondered why. They’re rarely right. The rest of the news is a presentation of facts that have happened and the weather is a prediction of what will happen. We are intrigued with possibilities and predictions more than the past.

I also think it’s interesting that the opposite is true when it comes to the Bible. We are more concerned with what’s happened than with what will happen. I would venture to say that Revelation is probably the least read book in the Bible. We care about the future of the weather, but not the future of mankind. I understand it’s very cryptic and hard to follow at times because a man two thousand years ago was trying to describe the world of technology and advancement like what we live in. 

Another reason I think people steer clear of it is fear. We fear what we don’t understand.we fear the wars and plagues that are coming. I’m convinced that God did not give John the Revelation to make us afraid, but to inspire hope and to give us peace. As believers, the book of Revelation reveals the final steps before spending eternity with Jesus. It is a reminder that no matter how bad things get in the world or in your life, God knows ahead of time what’s going to happen and that He and those with Him will be victorious.

I get hope in knowing that no matter what comes my way, God knew it in advance and has prepared me for it. He is not like the weather reporter who guesses at the future. He knows with certainty what will happen. We can trust His promise in Deuteronomy 31:8 that says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (NLT) He knew we would be afraid of what the future holds. He knew that we would need Him right there with us so he made us that promise.

Another promise I hold onto when the future is uncertain is Isaiah 43:2. It says, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Jesus even told us that in this world we would have trouble. He told us that hard times were coming. He then said, “I have told you all this (the future) so that you may have peace in me.” We don’t have to be afraid of the uncertainties ahead. Pray that God will give you peace and courage to move ahead

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