Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Called to Persevere

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

I’ve read this verse so many times, each time soaking in the comfort it provides. Yet, when I read it again recently, there was more.

There was still the comfort and reassurance I was seeking, but there was also the reminder to persevere. {Tweet this}

As much as I’d like God to remove the obstacles and difficulties I’m facing, that doesn’t always happen. He does promise, though, to be there with me.

As I persevere through the deep waters of disappointment and discouragement, He walks through the waves with me.

As I persevere through life’s storms and the rivers of difficulty, He keeps me from drowning.

As I persevere through the flames of oppression, hardship, and suffering, He keeps me from burning.

As I persevere through daily difficulties and life’s hardest days, God is there, walking with me—making sure it doesn’t consume me.

His promise to you, and to me—
He will be with us every step of the way.
Guiding, guarding, and protecting.
Offering strength, comfort, and reassurance.
Today and all of our tomorrows.

We only have to look to Him, trust Him, and rely upon Him.

He will be by your side, and mine, as we persevere one day at a time. {Tweet this}

When you face stormy seas I will be there with you with endurance and calmyou will not be engulfed in raging rivers.
    If it seems like you’re walking through fire with flames licking at your limbs, keep going; you won’t be burned.

In Christ,
Laura 

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]

Linking up with: Moments of Hope, #DreamTogether, #glimpsesofHisbeauty, PurposefulFaith, #TellHisStory, From Messes to Messages, Coffee for Your Heart, Recharge Wednesday, Writer Wednesday, Porch Stories, Grace Moments, #ChasingCommunity, Faith on Fire, Grace & Truth, Faith ‘n Friends, #FreshMarketFriday, Jami Amerine

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Jesus in a Changing World


Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

I don’t know anyone who loves change. Whether it’s sudden, like the loss of a job, or expected, like a child going away to college, change can be difficult and adjusting to it takes time.

With change comes unknowns and what-ifs. What was normal no longer is, and a new normal has yet to settle in. That’s why I find this short verse reassuring: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 

When everything else in life can change in a moment, Jesus doesn’t change. {Tweet this} He is our solid foundation in a world of upheaval and unknowns.

Please join me at Christian Devotions to continue reading...Jesus in a Changing World.

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: pixabay.com]

Linking up with: Faith on Fire, #FreshMarketFriday, Faith 'n Friends, Spiritual Sundays

Monday, May 22, 2017

When God Answers with an Oxygen Mask


Have you ever wondered why you can see God’s hand in some areas of your life, but not so much in others? Maybe like me, you’ve even asked Him.

It’s not that you’re not thankful, you just want to know why.

That was a conversation I had with God a few months ago.

The Back Story...

The second half of 2016 was rough. After multiple large, unexpected expenses, loss of my part-time job when my position was eliminated, and ongoing family medical concerns, I was tired. I knew God was walking with me. I’d seen His work along the way. But, still, I was worn out.

As January 2017 began, the one-after-another extra expenses had slowed down. There were still bills to be caught up on, but I began to see some new employment opportunities.

I saw God at work in obvious ways in several areas of my life and watching His plan unfold re-energized my hope.

There was still one area, though, where there was no visible change—my loved one’s medical concerns. Every time I tried to move forward to make something happen, I felt like I hit a brick wall. My efforts went nowhere and I wondered if I was supposed to stop trying.

As I showered and dressed one morning, I had one of my heart-to-heart talks with God. I thanked Him for the opportunities He was presenting—I knew without a doubt He was at work. And in the next breath, I asked why. Why was He helping me and not my loved one? 

Why was I feeling hopeful in one area and hopeless in another?

I knew that He hadn’t chosen sides and that His help wasn’t limited to me, but sometimes what we know and feel don’t work together. {Tweet this}

I'm so excited to be a featured guest at Candidly Christian today! Please join me there to continue reading...When God Answers with an Oxygen Mask!

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo Credit: Candidly Christian]

Monday, May 15, 2017

8 Verses for When You Need to Remember God is Fighting for You

Life often takes me to my knees. Lately, however, I feel as if I’ve barely been able to stand up before it knocks me down again.

I’ve thought about just staying down—playing dead—so maybe the enemy will move on and leave me alone. But, that doesn’t settle well with me. It feels like giving up.

I’m learning though, that it is possible to not give up, but to stay low while I catch my breath. All the while, staying as close to God as possible. Fortunately, He’s not concerned with personal space, so He doesn’t mind if I cling to Him constantly and lean on Him hard. In fact, He encourages it!

I’ve been reminded that the Lord is fighting this battle. {Tweet this} It feels like it’s all on my shoulders, but I’m trying to let Him take the weight from me.

I imagine you might know what I’m talking about…when the weight of the battle feels like it will crush you. Lean in to Him with me. Let Him strengthen you and protect you. He is fighting the battle! {Tweet this}

8 Scripture verses for when you need to remember He is fighting for you… 


The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. 

Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”

He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

What verse do you turn to when life feels like a battle?

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]


Monday, May 8, 2017

9 Verses for Fighting Fear


A few weeks ago, fear creeped in and wanted control of my days. Maybe you know the feeling—when you realize you’re worried about how-will-I and all the what-ifs for today, tomorrow, and 10 years from now.

Fear of the unknown and how-will-this-work-out is formidable. It has the power to affect everything from our moods and how we treat our families, to the decisions we make. {Tweet this}

Fortunately, I realized it quickly…well, after an email chat with a friend who pointed it out. Then, it was suddenly clear. Fear for tomorrow (and all the tomorrows after that) was manipulating me in unproductive ways. {Tweet this}

As soon as I knew fear had a grip on me, I turned to God. I reminded myself that God goes before me. Things will often get harder before they get better, but I know if He leads me down a rugged path, He will be there to help me.

As I felt my anxiety start to ease, I turned to Scripture. I reread my favorite verses that calm me down, and I searched for verses on fear that I was less familiar with.

I don’t always know which verse will make my heart sigh with relief, but God does. He knows what I need to hear and precisely when I need to hear it.

And sometimes, I just need to be reminded of His calming presence…

At once, Jesus said to them, “Don’t worry! I am Jesus. Don’t be afraid.

Here are 8 more Scripture verses to turn to when fear starts to creep in.

But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.

Isaiah 41:10 NLT {Strength}
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Daniel 10:19 NLT {Strength}
“Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.”

But the Holy Spirit will come and help you, because the Father will send the Spirit to take my place. The Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of what I said while I was with you. I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn’t like the peace that this world can give. So don’t be worried or afraid.

Psalm 23:4 NLT {Comfort}
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

Joshua 1:9 NLT {Not Alone}
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

What David said are really the words of Jesus, “I always see the Lord near me, and I will not be afraid with him at my right side. Because of this, my heart will be glad, my words will be joyful, and I will live in hope.

What Scripture verses do you turn to when you find yourself feeling afraid?

In Christ,
Laura 

[Photo credit: FreeImages.com]

Monday, May 1, 2017

Don’t Let Fear and Self-doubt Kill Your Dreams


I recently spoke at a women’s event, presenting a 45-minute Bible study I wrote myself. It wasn’t my first time speaking to a group of women, but you might not believe that if you saw my hands tremble and heard the nerves in my voice. Every time I speak, I forget to breathe for the first few minutes. Then, I get into a groove and I’m able to relax. Somewhat.

For years, after I began writing to encourage women in their faith journeys, I wondered if God might ever lead me to speak. I’m not sure why I felt like this was something I wanted to do because holding a microphone made me panic. (And that’s before I even tried to speak into it.)

But God has a unique way of putting a dream in your heart that terrifies you. Those dreams are not meant be accomplished alone. God designs them so that you can work on them together—with Him.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

How often do we forget that wherever He leads us, He will continue to walk with us every step of the way? {Tweet this}