Tag Archives: giving up

Letting God Lead

Fifteen years ago today, I hit rock bottom in life. I was fired from my job and had no path forward. It was the last straw in losing pretty much everything over a six month period. I was at the bottom of a dark hole with no way out. I had no direction in life or purpose. I had just been through six months of hell and i wasn’t sure i wanted to continue living. I went home, laid on my living room floor in the fetal position and wept. I told God that i couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t go on. I was emotionally drained and was out of strength. I couldn’t find anything to hold onto in life. That’s when I heard God say, “Finally! Are you ready to try things my way?”

It was a crucial moment in my life. Everything I had built had crumbled, but I determined with God’s help, I would claw my way out of that hole. It took a lot years, a lot of prayers and a lot of faith, but God lead me away from that place in life. Up to that point, I had been fighting Him and His desires for my life. I was living how I wanted, but agreed to do things His way. I held onto a promise He gave me that said my ending would actually be a beginning, and if I trusted Him, He would lead me into more joy than I had ever known. Fifteen years later, He has continued to fulfill that promise.

Psalm 32:8-9 says, “I hear the Lord saying, ‘I will stay close to you, instructing and guiding you along the pathway for your life. I will advise you along the way and lead you forth with my eyes as your guide. So don’t make it difficult; don’t be stubborn when I take you where you’ve not been before. Don’t make me tug you and pull you along. Just come with me!’” (TPT) I believe God is close to every one of us trying to lead us down His path for us, but too many of us fight Him like i did. God wants to take you where you’ve never been to experience what you can’t imagine, but you have to let Him lead. You have to put down the reins and give Him control. Are you willing to do that starting today?

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

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The Hope Of Heaven

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.

As we sat around the dinner table last night, the conversation began to focus on Heaven. We went around the table asking who would be the first person we would want to meet in Heaven aside from Jesus. As we discussed different people from the Bible, I decided to post on Facebook asking others who they would like to meet. I was surprised by their answers. Instead of people from the Bible, most came back with family members they had never met. Several spoke of children they had lost through miscarriage.

What I read in their responses was there are so many of us who live our lives with the hope of being reunited and being made complete. Family units will be as they could have been. We’ll be able to see from one end of the family tree to the other. Heaven, for many, will be a great big family reunion. We’ll be joined together with families who were with us here on earth and with fellow heirs of Christ. I don’t know how it will work or how we will be known, but I do know that there is a great cloud of witnesses cheering us on to complete our race (Hebrews 12:1). Those who have gone on before don’t want us to quit.

When I think of eternity and the prize that is waiting, it always encourages me to keep going. Let’s face it, living how God called us to live isn’t easy. It’s difficult to be successful at it in a world that cheers us on to live like them. There are days where it’s just easier to quit running this race than to take another step forward. There are times when things happen that we don’t understand and we want to be angry at God. In those moments when I get frustrated and doubt that God really cares, I think of those who have already made it to Heaven and how I want to see them. I look beyond the pain of today toward what is to come.

Yes, life is full of loss, hurt and pain, but God didn’t leave us without hope. He gave us the Comforter to guide us and to remind us of God’s promises. He gave us the hope of being reunited with lost loved ones. He gave us that cloud of witnesses who are cheering for you to keep going. Can you hear them? Can you imagine them standing all around you wanting you to complete the race? When I doubt or want to quit, I hear those cheers and it encourages me to keep going. They’re cheering for you too. Your family members, unborn children and a host of others will be waiting at the finish line to welcome you home. You just have to keep running even when they’ve gone on before you.

Photo by Nicholas Green on Unsplash

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Surrounded

At church, we’ve been singing Michael W. Smith’s song “This is How I Fight My Battles”. It’s a simple song, but it’s powerful. One of the lines says, “It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by you.” As we sing that song, it reminds me of when Elisha’s servant walked outside one morning and saw they were surrounded by an army. He called for Elisha who came outside and said, “Don’t worry about it. There’s more with us than there are with them. Lord, open his eyes to see.” (2 Kings 6:17)

I also think of times in my life where I’ve been surrounded by turmoil, heartbreak and relentless attacks. Even when that period seemed like it would never end, God would surround me with people who would pray for me, encourage me and help me to stay in the battle. When all seemed lost, God never left me. He surrounded me with His presence and His people when the enemy had surrounded me and tried to take me out.

As you read through the Psalms, David felt that way too. He was chased and trapped in caves by King Saul and the army of Israel at times. Other times it was foreign armies hunting him down trying to take him out. He even writes of family and friends who talk behind his back and want to destroy him. Through it all, he cried out to God because he understood that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord lifts up a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19). God surrounds us in our greatest moments of despair.

Psalm 31:21 says, “Praise the Lord! How wonderfully he showed his love for me when I was surrounded and attacked!” (GNT) It’s not time to give up when you are surrounded- it’s time to look up! There are more with you than there are against you. God shows a His great love for us in the moments where we need it most. We have to learn to take our eyes off of the enemy that is surrounding us and look to God who is surrounding them. You are not alone in your fight. You are surrounded by the Lord Of Hosts and the armies of Heaven.

Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

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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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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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Being Little Children

It becomes increasingly difficult to remember what it was like to just be a kid. Running around in the woods behind our house, picking blackberry’s along trails, or making mud-pies in our dirt driveway. I fear that we are not growing-up as much as we are dumbing-down. Why do we let the creativity, passions, and the joy of life taper off as we get older? Who said that we were supposed to stop playing in puddles or gazing at the stars for hours? I’m reminded of what Matthew 18:3 tells us Jesus said, “‘I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven’.” I’ve heard many commentaries on this passage of scripture over the years, and I think many of them miss the mark. Yes, it is true that we need to have a child-like faith and we need to be open, receptive, and trusting toward God. But, there is a freedom that children have, a resilience they possess that has all but vanish from us by the time we enter adulthood.

True, it is utterly impossible for us to “become like little children” in the natural. For that matter, we can’t do it mentally or figuratively without divine intervention. The biggest problem with this idea, the Jesus-curve-ball if you will, is that he was asking everyone to be something that they had spent the better part of their lives trying not to be! Think about it. We can probably all recount the days of wishing, in hopeful naivety, about how great it was going to be when we were teenagers, or 20-something, married, etc. We literally wished our lives away. Now, here sits Jesus telling everyone they can’t even get into his Kingdom unless they start acting like little children – little, clueless, simple-minded, needy, helpless children. But what if he knows something we don’t? I know, it’s a stretch of the imagination to say the God of the universe, creator of both seen and unseen, could know things in greater depth than you and me. Notwithstanding, what if he is trying to bring us back to a place of wonderment and innocence. What if he is trying to free us from our need to be in-control, and independent?

I would wager that Jesus is saying that he desires for each of us to simply give-up. Imagine how different would the world look to you if you became a child again? We couldn’t reach the tall shelf in the closet. We couldn’t lift the heavy branch that fell in the back yard. We wouldn’t be able to touch the pedals in the car or reach the steering wheel. But we would know who to ask for help. I’ve watched my own kids risk life and limb to climb cabinets and strain while attempting to lift an impossibly heavy object. My kids always knew that they were just one prayer (or request) away from getting exactly what they need. Maybe Jesus is asking us to stop all the trying and striving to be “grown-ups” and humble ourselves to simply ask – simply trust. This I know for sure, he is eager and willing. The question is, are we?

This post was written by Chris Brown. He serves as the Director of the School of Missions for coreluv.org and is a worship leader. You can find more of his life perceptions at beingaltered.com.

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