Tag Archives: struggle

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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41 Will Come


Chuck Tate is the author of “41 Will Come”. The theme of the book is: In the Bible, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. But day 41 came, and the rain stopped. The people of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Then year 41 came, and a new generation entered the Promised Land. For 40 days, Goliath bullied Israel and dared anyone to fight him. Day 41 came, and David slew the giant. Do you see the theme? Don’t quit. Don’t give up.

Today’s devotion is my interview with Chuck.

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned waiting on your own 41?

The greatest lesson I’ve learned during a season of waiting is to trust God no matter what. That’s the bottom line. Trust Him and His Word, but I’ve also learned to trust His timing. There were periods during my “41” journey where I felt as if someone else’s fingerprints would end up my dream. I was tempted to force doors open (due to being impatient), but in the end, I realized God’s timing is better than mine. His ways are better than my ways.

My favorite chapter is “Rawk Stance” because it reminds us that 41 doesn’t come unless we prepare for it. In your opinion, what’s one of the most important things we can do to prepare for our 41 to come and why?

God will always do His part, but if we aren’t willing to do ours, we will miss out on BIG opportunities. The real answer to this question depends on what we are preparing for. David’s time as a shepherd (and practicing with a sling-shot) served as preparation to fight Goliath. My “practice” time writing and blogging served as preparation for drafting my manuscript. The key is working hard on your craft TODAY so you are prepared to seize every moment of opportunity TOMORROW.

What advice would you give someone who has given up on their 41 like you had at one point?

That it’s never too late to dream again and you are never too old start over. The Scriptures are filled with numerous examples of second chances and new beginnings. You serve a God who doesn’t need to consult with your past when mapping out your future. He saw you doing “good deeds” before you even showed up on Planet Earth. Micah 7:8 says, “Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again.” Get up! Dream again. Start over. 

I don’t know anyone who won’t be moved by the story of your mom’s illness. What is your go to verse to “Word Up” with when you’re waiting on a 41 to come?

While my mom was in the hospital, we clung to Isaiah 53:5 (…by His stripes we were healed). Proverbs 24:10 (If we quit when times are tough, our strength is small) and Habakkuk 2:2 (…though the vision seems delayed. Wait for it!) are my “Go to” verses while waiting!

What’s the coolest “41” story you’ve heard since writing the book?

The following Facebook post about a family waiting on a heart transplant for their baby girl: “God is good! Day 41 at 10:10PM we got the call!! After 40 days & 40 nights God has answered our prayers! We have a heart! They believe it is the perfect heart for our Miela!”

How have periods of waiting for 41 to come shaped your life?

By teaching me patience. Ha! I’m joking, but I’m not joking. The periods of waiting have made me stronger. The Scripture that comes to mind is found in James 1:2-3: …when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

In your mind, who would benefit from reading your book?

Anyone who feels hopeless. Anyone in a season of waiting. Anyone who needs their faith fueled to carry on or dream again. Anyone who wants to learn how to hold on and stand strong right now…or in the future.

If there was only one thing someone reading your book could come away with, what would that be? By the way, there are a ton of things to take away. My book is full of highlighted sentences!

First of all, THANK YOU for the encouragement, Chris! I guess if I could have ONE takeaway, it would be this: God is ALWAYS moving behind the scenes…even when you don’t feel like He is. Don’t quit!

This book was written about the 41 that came when David killed Goliath. Which 41 will your next book be about and why?

Ahhhh, what a great question! The next book I want to write is a 41-day devotional (for individuals and small groups) that shares 41 testimonies (stories) that are a direct result of 41 Will Come. 

I love that you share so many personal stories in the book so that the reader can get to know you. For those who don’t know you, what’s something they need to know about you before they read “41 Will Come”?

That I am an ordinary person who has been given the opportunity to share some extraordinary stories. This is not a “hey, that’s a cool idea for a book” book. This is my life message. This is a book that I have walked out and one that I have lived…and my prayer is for that to come across to the reader. You might cry, you will probably laugh, but I know you will be filled with HOPE.

I know you will be blessed by this book. You can buy it by clicking here. Also, Chuck has agreed to give away a free book to someone who reads this today (9/1/16). To enter, type, “Don’t Quit. Don’t give up. #41WillCome #DevotionsByChris” on either Facebook or Twitter. I’ll randomly choose a winner tomorrow through the hashtag and private message you for a shipping address. 

Follow Chuck Tate on Twitter and check out his website.

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Find Your Joy


We all know the story of the first Thanksgiving. After enduring such hardships, hunger, and death, the Pilgrims had an abundant harvest and stopped to thank God for His provision. Not taking anything away from that incredible day, but I’ve found it’s easy to praise God during the harvest. It’s easy to celebrate His goodness in times of plenty, but what about in times of hardship? How thankful were they when they were rationed a couple of kernels a day to survive on? How thankful are we in our hardships?

I’ve found that thankfulness and joy come from the heart and not from my circumstances. No matter how hard life gets, how dark our days are, how desolate we feel, we can still find a reason to have joy. It’s so important that we find that reason too. Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us that the joy of the Lord is our strength in times when we don’t have the strength to face the day. Joy gives hope and reminds us that God is still on His throne no matter what comes against us.

Habakkuk painted a picture of dark times in chapter 3:17-18. He wrote, “Even though the fig trees have no fruit and no grapes grow on the vines, even though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no grain, even though the sheep all die and the cattle stalls are empty, I will still be joyful and glad, because the Lord God is my savior” (GNT). He was saying even though the seeds planted didn’t yield a harvest, he’d still be joyful. Even through failure, there is a reason to be glad. Even if your savings are wiped out and there’s no food on your table, you can give thanks.

Don’t let the enemy use circumstances to steal your joy. Don’t let the thief come in and take your focus off of your provider. No matter how bad life gets, we must purpose in our hearts to find joy so we keep our perspective right. We can say, “Even so, it is well with my soul.” We can say, “I will still be joyful and glad,” because God is still on His throne and our circumstances will never change that. We can find joy in the pain. We can find hope in desperation because the Lord God is our savior. It won’t change our circumstances, but it will change our perspective. It will give us strength to endure anything. Find your joy in the Lord, not in your circumstances.

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Motivated To Change


What do you think is a more powerful motivator, pain or pleasure? If you think pleasure, let me ask you why you’re going to work today instead of going on vacation? It’s because the threat of the pain of losing your house, car, and belongings. The thought of that pain will motivate you to go to work instead of going to the beach. Pain has been proven to be a powerful motivator in humans, and it often causes us to do things differently.

At one point in my life, I wasn’t living how I knew God wanted me to. I did things that He considers evil, and I lived my way on my terms. I received several messages from God through scripture and from others, but I ignored them. I knew the things I was doing were wrong, but lacked the will power to stop. I kept pressing forward against God disregarding the consequences of my actions.

Then, one day, everything in my life started to crash down and implode. God started removing the things in my life to get my attention. If you don’t know, I’m a pretty stubborn person. I was a lot like Jonah. I kept going in the wrong direction despite the raging storm. I waited until all was lost before I decided to toss my selfishness overboard, admit I was wrong, and ask for forgiveness. It’s was very humbling, but effective in getting me to turn my life around.

Proverbs 20:30 says, “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways” (GNT). For me, that’s what it took. God broke me by sending me through so much pain I wanted to end it all. In the end though, I changed paths and now listen when He speaks. I don’t wait for the painful experiences to change the parts of my life He wants changed. Each of us have a choice when God speaks. We can change or we can keep on doing what we are doing. Like a good parent though, He will use whatever is necessary to get us to change our ways depending on how much motivation we need.

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Patient Endurance 

  
Patience. It’s not a word we like very much. We like to have results quickly without having to put in the time and effort. We want answers given to us without us having to dig for them. We want growth without risk, and we want fruit without tending the garden. We’ve heard the saying, “Good things come to those who wait,” but who really wants to wait? We live in a now society where everything is given to us quickly. The temptation is to let our societal speed carry over into our spiritual growth.

Endurance. It’s not something you get in good times. It requires pushing yourself beyond what you think you’re capable of. It takes mental toughness to get it. You have to withstand pressure repeatedly in order to attain it. Giving up can’t be an option if you’re going to increase your endurance. You have to keep your mind on the prize to keep your mind off the struggle of you’re going to build your endurance. It isn’t given to you, it’s earned.

Both of these things are required of us as Christians. The more of God you want to know, the more patience and endurance you’re going to have to have. If we are willing to give up in the struggle, we will miss the blessings God is preparing us for. Hebrews 10:36 says, “Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised” (NLT). When things appear to be going wrong in our life, God is preparing us to receive all He has for us.

We can’t be like Jacob and fight it. In Genesis 42, there was a famine in the land. Jacob sent 10 of his sons to get food in Egypt. Joseph wanted them all there so he pretended to not know them, sent them home with their food, and held one brother captive until they returned with their other brother. Jacob felt like he was being punished when God was just trying to get him to the land of plants. In verse 36, he cried out, “You are robbing me of my children! Joseph is gone! Simeon is gone! And now you want to take Benjamin, too. Everything is going against me!”

If everything is going against you, it’s quite possible that God is actually trying to bless you. Jacob waited a long time before he sent his sons back to get more food and their brother. He could have been living without fear of starvation. He could have had the relationship with his son restored. God was trying to use what appeared to be negative circumstances to move him into a place of blessing. Imagine what God could be trying to do for you in your situation. Work on having patient endurance instead of complaining, and see what God does.

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