Tag Archives: hopeless

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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Helpless


I absolutely hate feeling or being helpless. My back has gone out on me a couple of times, and each time it has rendered me helpless. The last time it happened was right before we flew home from Israel. I wanted an aisle seat so I could easily get in and out if the row to go to the restroom when needed. The flight attendants said I had to sit by the window though. In case of an emergency, I would be a hazard to those able to exit the plane. In other words, if there would have been an emergency, I would have been left helpless on that plane by everyone except my wife. 

In life, many of us feel like we are in that same predicament. One bad thing has happened after another to the point that we feel helpless. It feels like if one more bad thing happens, we’re going down with the ship. It’s easy to feel discouraged in those times, but God has not left us helpless. He has promised to care for and to protect those who are or feel helpless. He won’t abandon you just because all feels lost. I’ve learned that helpless is just another way to learn to trust and grow my faith.

Here are a few Bible verse of how God helps the helpless.

1. Oh, blessed be GOD! He didn’t go off and leave us. He didn’t abandon us defenseless, helpless as a rabbit in a pack of snarling dogs.
Psalm 124:6 MSG

2. The Lord replies, “I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do.”
Psalms 12:5 NLT

3. The helpless call to him, and he answers; he saves them from all their troubles.
Psalm 34:6 GNT

4. I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, bereaved, and helpless]; I will come [back] to you.
JOHN 14:18 AMP

5. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.
Romans 5:6 NLT

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Building Up Hope


I once read somewhere, “If there aren’t any open doors for you, praise God in the hallway.” I love that because whether or not God answers our prayers the way we want, He deserves praise. In those moments where there are no answers, He still deserves praise. If God never did another thing for you in your life, He deserves praise because He is good and He’s dome more than enough for you on the cross. 

Ive also found that praising the Lord during the tough moments of life changes my perspective and gives me hope. Paul and Silas were in a dark prison at midnight with no hope. What did they do? They praised the Lord. In a hopeless situation, they found hope through praise and God met them there. Why should we praise in the hallway? Because God is there with us and that alone should give us hope.

Here are some other verses on hope.

1. But I will keep on hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more.
Psalms 71:14 NLT

2. Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord ‘s unfailing love and mercy still continue.
Lamentations 3:21-22 GNT

3. God, the one and only— I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I hope for comes from him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, An impregnable castle: I’m set for life.
Psalm 62:5-6 MSG

4. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Romans 5:3-5 NLT

5. I wait [patiently] for the LORD, my soul [expectantly] waits, And in His word do I hope.
PSALM 130:5 AMP

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Being Rescued


One evening in Cairo, some friends and I rented a sailboat on the Nile river. Our driver sailed for a while down river with the flow. Then when it was time to head back, he sailed side to side to go back upstream. As he got to the far side of the Nile, he lost control and sailed us deep into some reeds. We couldn’t get out and had no phone or radio communication to come rescue us. We yelled for help, but none of the other boats were coming close enough.

As it began to get dark, our hopes of being rescued were going down. We were getting hoarse from yelling and we were getting bit by mosquitoes. We climbed on top of the overhead canopy where there was enough wind to keep most of the mosquitoes away. Finally a boat with a motor on it saw us. They found out we needed to be pulled out, left to get rope, returned, and rescued us. Each of us had no voice and were covered in mosquito bites, but we were safe.

Being in need of rescue is not a fun place to be. It’s hard to find hope when you’re helpless. I’m thankful that God doesn’t leave us hopeless or helpless in the times of our greatest need. He hears us when we call out to Him. He sees us in our struggle. He rescues us when there is no hope. He is our very present help in time of need. If you’re in need of being rescued in any fashion, call out to Him today. He will meet you in that place and do what only He can do.

Here are some verses on being rescued. 

1. He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
Psalms 18:16-17 NLT

2. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.
2 Corinthians 1:10 NLT

3. Is anyone crying for help? GOD is listening, ready to rescue you.
Psalm 34:17 MSG

4. And so the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials and how to keep the wicked under punishment for the Day of Judgment,
2 Peter 2:9 GNT

5. Do not say, I will repay evil; wait [expectantly] for the Lord, and He will rescue you.
Proverbs 20:22 AMPC

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Responding To Distress


If you were to take a piece of pottery and a stick of butter into the oven, you’d get two different results. While the pottery would harden, the butter would melt. Even though it’s the same fire, things react differently to it. The same goes for us. Each one of us go through the fires of tribulations and troubles here on earth. Not one of us are exempt from it, but we each respond differently. Even though we have the same physical properties, those fires produce different results in us.

For me, those fires nearly wiped me off the earth. They destroyed everything in my life and left me with nothing. My response was to shut down and check out. I thought, “If I don’t have anything left to live for, why should I live?” Other people who have been through similar fires used it as fuel to get stronger, tougher, and better. They didn’t let it get the best of them. I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong way when it comes to how you respond to distress in your life except when it comes to your spiritual life.

Fires, tribulation and distress should push us closer to God, not away. Those are really the only two options spiritually. You can run to God and become totally dependent on Him or you can turn your back on Him wondering why He let this happen to you. II Corinthians 7:10 says, “Distress that drives us to God does that (produces all gain, not loss). It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets” (MSG).

In my life, the distress pushed me toward God in the end. It wasn’t until I had nothing left that I told God, “I give up. I can’t do this without you.” That moment sparked a change. Life didn’t get better immediately and not everything was restored right then. It took years, but God has been faithful to me and I don’t regret the pain I went through because it caused me to run back to God. I started off like that butter in the fire, but ended up like the pottery. You can too. Whatever you’re going through, it’s not too late to let it push you to God instead of away.

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