Tag Archives: problems

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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1 vs 100


Do you ever get to the point where your problems become overwhelming? There are times and periods in life when I just can’t seem to shake free of a cycle of problems. It depletes my energy and saps my spirit. To stop and look at everything in front of me and see a never ending line of things coming at me can easily leave me feeling depleted. It feels like I’m on that show “1 vs. 100” sometimes, except there’s no cash prize at the end of the line of things I’m facing. What I usually forget during those times is that I’m not facing it alone.

In II Kings 6, the king of Aram was trying to attack Israel, but God kept showing Elisha their plans and Israel averted them. The king was angry and wanted who in his army was the traitor. When someone told him that it was Elisha who was giving away their position and plan, he mobilized his entire army and went to attack Elisha. That next morning, Elisha’s servant woke up and went outside. When he saw an entire army camped against them, he panicked. He was overwhelmed and didn’t know what they would do.

I love Elisha’s response to him in verse 16 when he comes outside and sees the army. He said, “Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs!” (NLT). Then Elisha asked God to open his servant’s eyes, and he saw an army of horses and chariots of fire. The army didn’t defeat Elisha that day because God was on his side. Elisha remained calm under the pressure of being in a 1 vs.100 type situation because he knew that God was with him. He didn’t panic, but instead trusted.

When facing those insurmountable odds, instead of panicking, we need to remember that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world (I John 4:4). In those moments when I feel overwhelmed and outnumbered by my problems, my prayer is that God would open my eyes to see He’s on my side. I need to know that I’m not going to be defeated and that God has everything under control. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1 vs 100 or 1 vs 1,000,000, when God is on our side, there are more on our side than on theirs!

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Turning Mountains Into Molehills


In my life, I’ve been successful at turning molehills into mountains. There have been things that were no big deal in the grand scheme of things that I have lost sleep over. I’ve also allowed true mountains to make my faith waiver. There are times in life when we are faced with insurmountable odds and impossibilities. Those mountains look over us and block our view of God. Our mind reasons that we have no chance of success so we shouldn’t even bother trying. Those always make our faith seem so small.

God knew that we would feel that way at times and is able to make molehills out of our mountains. Mark Batterson,one of my favorite authors, says we shouldn’t tell God how big our mountain is. We should tell our mountain how big our God is. It’s all about perspective. Jesus even told us that we didn’t need a lot of faith to be able to cast mountains out of our path. We don’t have to have the ability, we just need the faith to believe God is able.

Here are some Bible verses about mountains turning into molehills.

1. For who are you, O great mountain [of human obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who with Joshua had led the return of the exiles from Babylon and was undertaking the rebuilding of the temple, before him] you shall become a plain [a mere molehill]! And he shall bring forth the finishing gable stone [of the new temple] with loud shoutings of the people, crying, Grace, grace to it! 
Zechariah 4:7 AMPC

2. A voice cries out, “Prepare in the wilderness a road for the Lord! Clear the way in the desert for our God! Fill every valley; level every mountain. The hills will become a plain, and the rough country will be made smooth. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it. The Lord himself has promised this.”
Isaiah 40:3-5 GNT

3. I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.
Matthew 17:20 NLT

4. The mountains take one look at GOD And melt, melt like wax before earth’s Lord.
Psalm 97:5 MSG

5. “Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth! I am your enemy,” says the LORD. “I will raise my fist against you, to knock you down from the heights. When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of burnt rubble.”
Jeremiah 51:25 NLT

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Comfort In The Chaos


To me, one of the most comforting promises of God is found in the first two verses of Isaiah 43. God says, “Do not be afraid—I will save you. I have called you by name—you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you” (GNT). I can know that whatever mountain I’m facing, trial I’m going through, or difficulty I’m having, God will not let me go through it alone.

This verse reminds me to get rid of fear first. Fear takes my eyes off of my savior and puts them on my problems. Fear makes my problems appear to be bigger than God. It can cripple me and prevent my progress in the middle of a trial I’m called to walk through. It makes me want to give up because the struggle is so difficult. But God does not give me a spirit of fear. He gives me a spirit of power and a sound mind so I can advance through whatever I face.

The next part reminds me that I’m His child. When my own child gets in danger, the first thing I do is shout his name to get his attention. God does that to us. In the midst of our chaos, God calls our name to get us to look to Him. When we’re facing uncertainty and feel like we’re drowning in sorrow, it’s His voice we need to listen for. He reminds us that we are His, and He will not leave us nor abandon us in our times I’d desperate need.

When I feel like I’m overwhelmed and I can’t seem to find the light of day, I have the promise that God is with me. He is the rock that higher than I am when those floods come in and wash me down stream. When everything I’m standing on appears to be sinking sand, He is the rock of my foundation. I know that my life is built on Him, and even though everything else seems to be lost, I can trust that my foundation is sure.

Finally, I can rest knowing that my trials will not hurt me in the long run. I know that God works in all things for my good. Set backs, unanswered prayers, times of darkness in my life, and fiery trials all make me stronger and purify my faith. When I feel like giving up, I remember that there’s no fire great enough to burn me when God is with me. I know He leads me by still waters while protecting me with His rod and staff. I can find comfort in the chaos because He sees me, knows me, and walks through fire with me.

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Fight Or Flight

  
When things go wrong and your world starts to fall apart, it seems everyone is full of advice on where to go and what to do. David faced something similar in Psalm 11. His response was, “I trust in the Lord for protection” (NLT). They thought he should take flight to the mountains for protection. They painted a picture of a world that was collapsing and wanted him to trust in something else for protection instead of God.

David again responded in verse 4, “But the LORD is in his holy Temple; the LORD still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.” He knew that no matter what comes our way, God is still on His throne in Heaven. He is still in charge of everything, and nothing happens without His knowledge. David didn’t allow the circumstances around him to move Him from a place of security with the Lord.

When things get hairy, if we don’t take flight, our other natural instinct is to fight. David found his peace in knowing that the Lord provided his protection and that kept him from making the mistake of fighting or taking flight. He knew that God would fight on his behalf. Verse 6 says, “He (God) will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds.” The Lord vindicates the righteous and fights for them.

The next time you find yourself in a situation where you want to fight or take flight, find your peace in trusting God for your protection. Don’t listen to those who would coax you out of that secure place. The only real protection we have is in the Lord. Other options may sound like a good idea in the heat of the moment, so decide now that you won’t take flight from the Lord’s protection or fight a fight that is His.

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The Destiny Of The Righteous

Psalm 37 is one of those chapters I find myself going back to over and over again. In it, David wrote about the destiny of the wicked and the righteous. When life shovels on a helpful of trouble, I like to go to this chapter to remind myself of the promises of God. It helps me to change my focus from my current situation to what my future will be. When hard times hit, it seems like they will never go away, but David reminds us we have a destiny that is promised by God.

One of my favorites in this chapter is verse 25. I found it when I was young and have held onto it my whole life. David wrote, “I am old now; I have lived a long time, but I have never seen good people abandoned by the Lord or their children begging for food” (GNT). No matter how bad life gets, the Lord does not abandon us. When friends and family separate themselves from you, you can rest assured that there is One who never will.

Now that I’m older and have a family, the second part is of particular interest to me. If I uncompromisingly continue to do what is right in God’s eyes, my child will be protected as well. As a father, as a protector, and as a provider, that gets my attention. The next verse does to. It says, “At all times they give freely and lend to others, and their children are a blessing.” I want my child to be a blessing to others and not a burden.

In these verses in Psalm 37, God promises us that if we will do good and follow His path, we won’t be abandoned, our children won’t have to beg, we will always have enough to give to someone else, and our children will be a blessing. That’s a lot of motivation to do what’s right in God’s eyes. It’s also a good promise to hold onto when your destiny seems unsure because of present circumstances. Don’t get caught up looking at what your life looks like today. Focus on your destiny.

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Developing Endurance (Video)

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.

Romans 5:3

If you are having trouble viewing this video, click here.

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