Monday, June 18, 2018

The Road Ahead


Roads. Some are short with a definite destination. Others are long and winding, with a scenic view.

Like me, you might find yourself on a road you didn’t know you were on, but when you look back you can see where it started and where it’s taken you, even if you still can’t see the end clearly.

And then there are the somewhat defined roads. You know where they start—the moment your life changed—but you don’t know where it ends. What you do know is you don’t like the look of the road. You stand at the threshold knowing it will be hard, physically, emotionally, and mentally, and there is no way around it.

Maybe that road is the diagnosis, unemployment, the end of a relationship, the loss of a loved one, or one of so many other defining moments that feel dark and depressing.

Instead of things that can be done, there are things that have to be done. Instead possibilities, life looks full of impossibilities.

And yet, we are not alone on this oppressive road. We have a traveling companion who has promised to never leave us despite the rocky, uphill climb. God promises to go before us, walk beside us, and follow behind us, giving us what we need along the way. {Tweet this}

Jesus is the Light that will break through the darkness.

Some days along the road are filled with a dark fog blocking the light. There is sadness and exhaustion. Bad news that causes us to grieve and wonder if the sun will shine again. But, no matter how hopeless we feel, the darkness can never extinguish the light of Jesus.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

When we can’t feel it, we have to know it—remember it—Jesus is the Light that shines through the darkness. When we can’t see the light, He’s still there, and the fog won’t block the light forever.

God is at work no matter what we can or can’t see.

Especially during difficult times, we have to remember that God is at work behind the scenes. Sometimes, He’ll give us a glimpse of what He’s working on, but often we just have to trust that His plans are good.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.

It’s not easy to trust when we can’t understand why, or how, or when, but I’ve found that the more I try to trust Him, the more I want to trust Him, and with practice I don’t have to try as hard. Trusting Him feels comfortable and becomes more natural.

He is the One who holds us up when we can barely move on our own.

There will be days when we don’t want to get out of bed. If our feet don’t touch the floor, maybe we won’t have to face anything. It’s too hard to hold ourselves up, much less be there to support others. But, whether we stay in bed or trudge through the day, we are not alone.

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

There have been many times when I reflected back on my day and didn’t know how I made it through. It was a blur of difficulty that I didn’t have the strength for. 

The only answer was God. 

I know He was holding me up when I could barely stand on my own. He was there in the hard conversations and the actions I didn’t want to take. He was there to pull me up when the feeling of hopelessness was too great.

No matter what the road ahead of us looks like, God is with us and He won’t leave us. {Tweet this} The days will be hard and some will feel as dark as night…but we are not alone and the sun will shine again.

Lord Jesus, we know that in this life we will have trouble, but You have promised to never leave us. You have promised us peace in the midst of the storms. May we believe Your promises are for us and cling to Your presence in our lives. Amen.

In Christ,
Laura 

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]

Linking up with Purposeful Faith, Trekking Thru, #TeaAndWord, #GraceFullTuesday, Let's Have Coffee, #DestinationInspiration, #gracemoments, #RechargeWednesday, SittingAmongFriends#TellHisStory#porchstories#gracemoments, Moments of Hope, Grace & Truth, Faith 'n Friends, #FaithonFire, #FreshMarketFriday, #BVNetworkParty

Monday, June 11, 2018

Called to Remember God’s Promises


I don't know what your days look like right now. Perhaps life feels like it's out of control and you're praying for the strength to see your way through. Or maybe, everything is calm right now and you're thankful for the time to catch your breath. 

Whether you're struggling and worn out, relaxed and feeling good, or anywhere in between, God's Word is full of life-giving promises to us. {Tweet this}

Here are a few I'm reminding myself of. Maybe you can use a reminder as well.


We are called to remember God's promises...

You are His.
But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.  O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1 NLT
Nothing is impossible for God.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26 NIV
His love for you is endless.
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 NLT
He calls us to life.
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12 NLT
God forgives.
No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31:34 NIV
He sees us differently than the world does.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT
He walks with us.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV
God can be trusted.
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Hebrews 10:23 NLT
God changes lives.
This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace. Colossians 1:6 NLT
He is our hope and our strength.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:30-31 NIV
He is our peace.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]

Linking up with: Purposeful Faith, #TeaAndWord, Trekking Thru, #TellHisStory, #GraceFullTuesday, Let's Have Coffee, #DestinationInspiration, #RechargeWednesday, Sitting Among Friends, #w2wwordfilledwednesday, Moments of Hope, #HeartEncouragement, #gracemoments, Grace & Truth, #FreshMarketFriday, Faith 'n Friends, #FaithOnFire, #BVNetworkParty

Monday, June 4, 2018

Courageous Women of the Bible {Book Review}


Last fall, I wrote about courage and being brave. It’s something I think about a lot because courage isn’t just for the extreme actions we hear about. Courage is needed in our day-to-day activities. {Tweet this}

To keep trying when nothing is going our way.

To face a new day when we’d rather pull the covers over our heads.

To be ourselves instead of trying to be like someone else.

To share our stories when it means being vulnerable.

To have the hard conversations even though it’s uncomfortable.

We may not think of ourselves as being courageous, but we see it in others. And, sometimes, someone else’s brave example helps us look for it in ourselves.

Because I think so much about what it means to be brave, I was excited to hear about the opportunity to review Courageous Women of the Bible: Leaving Behind Fear & Insecurity for a Life of Confidence and Freedom by LaTan Roland Murphy.

In this book, the author explores eleven courageous women in the Bible, relating their stories to ours today. What did it mean for women like Deborah, Abigail, Mary, Jochebed, and the widow with two coins to be courageous women then? And what does it mean for you and me to be courageous women today?

At the very beginning of the book, LaTan explains the difference between worldly courage and Godly courage.
“Worldly courage often makes a rebellious, sinful nature. Worldly courage screams, ‘You can’t make me do anything I don’t want to do!’ or ‘It will be my way!’ Or even, ‘You can’t stop me!’
“Courage by God’s standards is the ability to act, regardless of human fear or frailty, and enables us to do supernatural things because we are not acting alone—God is with us. And sometimes, godly courage is manifested in the ability to not act outwardly, but to wait, pray, and be still in God’s presence.
“Real godly courage is laced with an attitude of obedient gratitude, knowing that He is able to lead, guide, and direct our lives.” – LaTan Roland Murphy, Courageous Women of the Bible (pgs 14-15)
Looking back in my own life, I remember many times when waiting on God looked to others like I was doing nothing. What I knew was Godly courage to wait and listen for God to lead, looked like a lack of worldly courage to make things happen. {Tweet this}

That’s often the way it is. Walking in faith takes courage, but that faith-filled courage can be difficult for the world to see or understand.

Courageous Women of the Bible has 12 chapters. Each of the first 11 chapters focuses on a courageous woman from the Bible and includes questions to think about at the end of each chapter. The last chapter is a journaling section. I read this book on my own, but it would also make a great group study.

More about this book (from the back cover):

Learn to live, love, and lead courageously—as you boldly choose to trust God.

Whether you're facing struggles with singleness, the mounting challenges of marriage and motherhood, health issues, a financial crisis—God has equipped you to walk in freedom and confidence as you abide in Him, strengthened by His power and provision. Through the stories of eleven brave women of the Bible who made faith-filled choices that positioned them for success, LaTan Roland Murphy exhorts, encourages, and empowers women of all ages. With warmth and wit, she illustrates how you, like Deborah, Jael, Mary, and others, can look beyond your circumstances and lay hold of the courage needed to

· draw closer to Jesus when facing illness, isolation, or rejection;
· live and give generously, even amid financial hardship; and
· step out into faithful, fearless living as a wife, mother, friend or coworker—no matter the season of life or what lies ahead.

You can visit LaTan on her website, and find Courageous Women of the Bible on Amazon.

*Giveaway*

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers and BlogAbout Blogger Network, I have one copy of Courageous Women of the Bible to give away!

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your email address (so I can contact you if you win.) For extra entries, share this post on social media (let me know in the comments where you shared.) [Privacy policy]

Drawing ends next Monday, June 11. (Sorry, only U.S. residents are eligible to win.)

In Christ,
Laura 

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com
(Note: I received a free copy of Courageous Women of the Bible from Bethany House Publishers in return for my honest review.)


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Hope For When Your Hope Feels Lost

A few months ago, I wrote an article titled Hope Changes Everything. Shortly after I posted it on my own blog, it also ran on a website called Thoughts About God. There it received more exposure which led to comments and questions from readers in other countries.

The common question was…

How do I keep hoping when it feels like all hope is lost? {Tweet this}

That's not an easy question to answer. Everyone has to deal with something in life, whether it's in the past, going on right now, or something that will happen in the future. Everyone’s “something” is hard and the longer it goes on, it can feel like hope is fleeting. {Tweet this}

Without knowing individual situations, I tried to respond based on what I've learned in my own experiences…because sometimes just knowing someone else is also struggling makes a difference.

Maybe you've been asking the same question—how do I keep hoping when it feels like all hope is gone?

Please join me at Candidly Christian to continue reading where I'm sharing 4 Things I've Learned About Staying Hopeful...Hope For When Your Hope Feels Lost.

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: Candidly Christian]

Linking up with: Purposeful Faith, #TeaAndWord, Trekking Thru, Let's Have Coffee, #porchstories, #RechargeWednesday, Sitting Among Friends#HeartEncouragement, #gracemoments, Grace & Truth, #FreshMarketFriday, Faith 'n Friends, #FaithonFire, #DestinationInspiration, #BVNetworkParty