Tag Archives: no way out

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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The Bread Of Life


Not long ago, I read the story of a fisherman who was forced to move because of a house fire. In the move, he asked his aunt to hold onto his good luck charm, which he had kept under his bed for over 10 years. He took her a 75 pound pearl that his boat anchor had caught on all those years ago. Each day, he would touch it before going fishing hoping it would bring him luck so he could catch a lot of fish. It turns out, as he’s struggled to make a living for the past ten years, he’s been sleeping over a $100,000,000 pearl! He had no clue what’s its value was as the world’s largest gem quality pearl.

That story reminds me of Jesus feeding the 5,000 in Mark 6. There were hungry people and it was getting late. The disciples asked if they should spend 200 silver coins to buy food for everyone. That’s when, in verse 38, Jesus asked them, “How much bread do you have?” (GNT) They went to check and came back to tell Him, “Five loaves.” Jesus then had them seat everyone. He broke the bread and the two fish they had, fed all 5,000 men (plus women and children), then took up 12 baskets of leftovers.

When Jesus asked how much bread they had, they had already seen Him heal the blind, raise the dead, cure leprosy, and so much more. In fact, they had just returned from being sent out to the towns and villages performing miracles themselves. They knew the power of God was with Jesus and had flowed through them, but it never crossed their mind to ask for a miracle for a crowd. Until this time, with the exception of the wine in Cana, most miracles had been for individuals. But to me, the question of how much bread they had was a test.

They had more than five loaves. They had the Bread of Life with them and not one of them thought to include Him in the number of loaves of bread. Whenever you add Jesus to whatever you have, you will always have more than enough. We can’t stay in the same mindset they had. We can’t look at physical problems expecting spiritual results unless we are willing to add in the Bread of Life to the equation. We can’t see through blocked roads, huge obstacles, or insurmountable odds because we’ve been keeping Jesus under our bed as a good luck charm. He’s worth more than $100,000,000. He’s the answer to your struggles. Give what you have to Him and watch Him multiply it.

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The Rock Of Help

When I get overwhelmed by circumstances and things going on in my life, I do an exercise in faith. Before I panic, I force myself to remember times when God has come through for me. I try to think of all the times before when things have been hopeless and at the last minute, He answered. Doing that reminds me that God answers at just the right time, that He sees my situation and that He’s been faithful in the past. When I begin to take my focus off of how impossible my situation is and remind myself of how capable God is, my attitude starts to change.

The Israelites were at Mizpah offering sacrifices to God for their sin. I Samuel 7 tells us that all of Israel was there repenting. While they were gathered for offerings, the Philistines decided to attack them. The Israelites were scared, confused and began to panic. Samuel cried out to God on their behalf as he made a sacrifice. Verse 10 says that as he was making the sacrifice, the Philistines showed up for battle. God spoke from Heaven in loud claps of thunder that threw the enemy into confusion. After Israel routed the Philistines that day, Samuel set up a rock and named it “Ebenezer” which means rock of help.

Anytime that Israel was in distress, they simply had to look at that rock and remember that God came through in an impossible situation. It was a reminder that if He did it before, He’ll do it again. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. David knew that too. I wonder how many times he passed by Ebenezer and called out to God. In Psalm 61:2, he wrote, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” He wanted to be led to God, but also to that memory that God saves us just in time.

When we get overwhelmed, our prayer shouldn’t be one of panic. It should be that we are led to the rock that is higher than we are. When the enemy comes in like a flood, we need to run to that rock for safety. When we can’t see tomorrow because of all the trouble today holds, we need to remember the God we serve. We need to call to mind the great things He has done in the past and remind ourselves that we are not forgotten. We have not been abandoned. He will come just in the nick of time as He always has.

Don’t make your decisions based on fear. Make them based on the faith that God hears us. Make them based on how He has responded in your life in the past. Your situation may seem hopeless. You may be outnumbered, out gunned and surrounded, but you serve a God who is able. He is able to deliver you from whatever you are facing today. It’s not too late. You’re not too engulfed. You’re not finished. When you’re overwhelmed, run to the Rock of Help. He’s there for you in your time of need.

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Lesson Learned

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It’s Free Friday! Today is the day you let go of the things in your life that keep you down or hold you back from all God has for you. To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of “AHA: Awakening.Honesty.Action.” by Kyle Idleman. Keep reading to find out how to enter.

Have you ever been stuck on a problem or in a situation and didn’t know the answer of what to do? Have you spent days and nights racking your brain trying to figure out the solution? It’s stressful. You’re in a no win situation with no doors or windows opening telling you, “Thos is the way out!” It’s complicated too. If you do this, then that will happen. If you do that, then this will happen. Then, when you least expect it, you see the answer. It was there the whole time, but your vision was cloudy.

That’s how the prodigal son was. He had taken his inheritance early (mistake). He had moved away from his family so he could be himself (mistake). He wasted all the money from his inheritance on partying (mistake). He didn’t take time to build real relationships with others. All the friendships he had made were superficial and shallow because they were built on his ability to pay for drinks (mistake). When a famine came, all those superficial friends wouldn’t lend him a hand. They only looked out for themselves. Every mistake he had made was staring him in the face. His hunger was a constant reminder that he had messed up.

Here he was trapped in a foreign land. He had no friends, no shelter, no food, no money and no way back. He had to be honest with himself. He had no way out of the situation. He thought for days on how to get some money back. He found a job slopping pigs. He was so hungry that he wanted to eat the food in the slop. I’m sure he got angry at himself as he watched the pigs have enough food to eat. He probably tried to think of ways get some of the food out of the trough with no one looking. He was desperate. Hope was running out when he had a moment of clarity. He could go home to his father and feed his pigs. At least his father fed his servants unlike his current employer.

That moment of clarity led to action. He got up immediately once he saw the answer to his problem. He rehearsed his speech the whole way. “Dad, I’ve messed up. I don’t deserve to be called your son. Will you hire me? I’m starving and am willing to work hard.” While he was going through the words as he walked, his father saw him and ran to him. His father embraced him and kissed him. The son pushed the father back and started to say his speech, but the father wasn’t listening. He saw the hunger and desperation in his son. He had his servants prepare a feast for his son. The son never had to worry about food or shelter again.

He learned some valuable lessons in the ordeal. He learned that real relationships aren’t made by paying for everything. He learned that you should always prepare for the worst outcome and have enough to survive it. He learned that family loves you no matter what. He learned that pride will keep you from having real relationships. He learned that being honest with yourself and God pushes you to action. Most of all, he learned that no matter what he has done, the Father will always accept him back if he’s willing to return. The past is pushed aside and arms are wide open to the child who returns.

If you would like to win “AHA” by Kyle Idleman, go to the Devotions By Chris Facebook page here and “like” it. I will randomly pick one person tomorrow (June 28, 2014) who has done liked my page. If enjoy reading these daily devotionals, please invite your friends to like my page so they can receive encouragement from God’s Word too. You can also follow me on Twitter here.

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Nothing Is Too Hard For God

A friend of mine asked me to pray for his brother who was sick and being taken to the hospital. When he told me the diagnosis, I replied, “That’s not too hard for God.” The truth is that there is nothing too hard for Him. When we hear a diagnosis, run out of money, get our hearts broken, lose our job or anything else that affects the way we live, we tend to look at it with our human eyes. We see the impossibility of recovery instead of the God who makes all things possible. We see the negative instead of the positive.

We get so used to walking by sight that we box God in. We tell Him what He can do and can’t do. We limit His ability to make a way where there seems to be no way. We look at the situation we are trapped in and desperately try to find a way out, but all we see are blocked paths. Sometimes that’s the way it is. There’s no way out. “When God closes a door, look for a window” is not in the Bible. God allows us to be in those moments where there’s no way out so that He can show us that He’s still in charge. He wants to remind us that He is able. He wants to grow our faith.

Nothing drives us to our knees faster than being in a no way out situation. Nothing makes us depend on God more than to have no power over a situation. The Israelites were up against the Red Sea when they were leaving captivity in Egypt. Pharaoh and his army were closing in fast. There was no where to turn, no weapons to fight with and panic was setting in. They were exactly where God led them, yet they were cornered into a desperate situation. Instead of crying out to God, they complained and said they would have rather died as slaves than to be killed in the wilderness. They would have rather gone back to a life of sight than a life of faith.

In Exodus 14:13-14, Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent (ESV).” Think about that in the situation you are in today. Don’t fear. Don’t panic. Stay calm and trust God. He will work for you today. Then it says that The Lord will fight for you. He will fight your battle so you don’t have to. You only have to be silent. Just stand back and watch God work.

He sees your situation. In fact, it’s part of His plan for your life. He’s growing you through the tough times. When your back is against the wall and there’s no way out, that’s when God does the most amazing things. It takes us not acting in fear in those times to see the victory. It takes us holding on to God’s Word to get us through. The outcome may not be the way we thought it should have happened, but it will happen the way God intended it to. No one in Israel thought The Lord would part the Red Sea. His answer may not come in the way you think it will, but it will come right on time. Remember, there is nothing too hard for God.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:27 ESV)

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Out Of The Hole

It’s hard for me to believe that next week I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the lowest point of my life. I know it seems odd to celebrate such an event, but for me, it was a turning point in my life. It was the moment when I refused to go any lower than I was and made the decision that I would claw my way out of the hole that I was in no matter how much effort it took and no matter how long it took. I’m still clawing my way out of that hole, but now I’m starting to see daylight.

Ten years ago, there was no light at the end of the tunnel. There was no hope of ever recovering from what I had been through. I was hurt, embarrassed and alone. Sure I had a few friends around me, but no one truly knew the depth of my pain or what I was struggling with. I made a conscious effort to never think about that time in my life. I felt that if I could pretend it was a bad dream, the pain would go away. I thought that if I never spoke of it again, then I could put it behind me.

I moved on with my life pretending that I hadn’t gone through a painful divorce, filed for bankruptcy, lost my business or ran away from those who cared most about me. I figured that the best way out was to start my life over fresh and new as if none of it never happened. The problem was it did happen. Underneath everything I was still a mess inside. I was still hurt to the core. I was mad at God for letting me walk through that. I was mad at others thinking my failures were somehow their fault. It all boiled down to bad decision making by me.

Once I was able to take responsibility for the things that happened, I began to move forward. It’s not easy to look in the mirror when you know the pain inside is caused by the person looking back at you. I know other people played roles in delivering the punches that knocked me down, but I made the decisions that put them there and put myself in that position. I left myself open for the gut shots that took the wind out of my desire to live or move on.

I hid the pain for over seven years as I moved on with life. It was then that God spoke to me through Dave Roever that I needed to expose the wounds and face them head on. Since that time, I have begun to share my story being open and honest about what happened. I have found healing for the wounds that were so deep. I still feel the pain like I did every time I open them up, but I know that through my wounds others can find help, hope and healing for theirs.

I don’t know what you’re facing today, but I know what it’s like to hit rock bottom and feel like there’s no way out. I know what it’s like to think that there’s only one way out of the pain and anger. I can tell you that there is another way out. I found it. It was through forgiving myself and others who hurt me. It was in finding forgiveness through Jesus for the unthinkable wrongs I’d committed. It was over the course of years, hard work, dedication and never giving up. If I can make it out of that hole, you can too.

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