Have you been saying, “God, why is this happening to me?” A better question would be, “God, what are you trying to show me?” The fact is God’s always trying to show us something of eternal value. Paul the Apostle assures us that “…it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13, NKJV) Though Paul was in prison and would eventually be beheaded, he still saw how God graciously used—for good—what Satan meant for evil. Refusing to see his circumstance in a negative light, Paul wrote, “…what [has happened] to me [this imprisonment] has actually only served to advance…the [spreading of the] good news.” (Philippians 1:12, Amplified) What a marvelous way to view life! The way God intended. Trusting Him every step of the way.
I Will Restore
Is your heart broken? God wants to help! His healing power can smother the smoldering pain, so that even remembering it is no longer painful. It may take years for the finished work to be accomplished, but God promises, “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…” (Joel 2:25, NKJV) It’s the very reason Jesus died on the Cross: “…it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down…He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5) Absolutely everything we have gone through in life can be healed, if our hearts remain open and trusting, surrendered to the One greater than our pain and our problems.
Are you in any way hiding, either from God or people? It’s a sure way to NOT experience the wholeness you need. The Bible’s clear: “It is not good that man should be alone…” (Genesis 2:18, NKJV) In order to be healed, we must walk out into the light of God’s love, forgiveness, comfort, and power, with others—not alone. God’s love covers. His grace forgives, and His Spirit comforts and empowers us to be fully healed. Yet, since the Garden of Eden we’ve been prone to hide. (Genesis 3:10) Even from the God who loves us, but especially from the divinely orchestrated events designed for our maturing and growth. If we face our fears, they’ll dissolve. If we bow down to them, they become bondages, strongholds, and even generational curses. Run to the light! Jesus will meet you there!
Would Anybody Notice?
A 43-year-old man died while watching TV. For five years, no one noticed he was gone until his automatic payments stopped, when his money finally ran out. I hope someone notices when I die. I hope my presence will in some way be missed. In life, we reap what we sow. If we live, caring for others, at our point of need someone will care for us. We may NOT have been treated well, but we need to learn to live well…to forgive well…to love well. “To give,” as Jesus said, “expecting nothing in return.” (Luke 6:35) What others have done to us is their responsibility. What we do for others is ours. There is no valid reason to be self-absorbed. The God who gave His life for us expects us to do the same for others. Jesus, teach us to love like You love.
Are you worried about your future? God isn’t! He’s got a plan. May we never give up on God’s will for us. May our hearts and minds remain steadfastly open to live our lives as He intended. May we always believe that our best days are ahead. Pessimism is from hell. The God who makes the sun rise every day is an eternal optimist, and so are His sons and daughters. Others may overlook us, but we’re never invisible to God. Our Father in Heaven is aware of all our needs. “… even the very hairs of your head are all numbered…so don’t be afraid…” (Matthew 10:30–31, NIV) Behind every challenge is a loving God whose victorious perspective is far greater than the trials we face. God owns the future. Trust Him!
Are you bored? Boredom is a result of being unable or unwilling to see life from God’s perspective. The God who made galaxies isn’t boring. If we say we are following Him and yet lack the passion and purpose He intended, then, somewhere along the way, we’ve lost touch with the God who made us. Consequently, without knowing Him, we’ll never realize who we’re created to be. A friend of mine once challenged, “How many adventure movies do we have to watch before we begin to live the adventure God’s planned for us?” The Bible tells where to turn our attention, “Tune your ears to…wisdom; set your heart on a life of understanding… searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt…” (Proverbs 2:3, The Message) Search for God. There, you’ll find your life!
A Different Life
Do you wish you had a different life? Perhaps even that you were a different person? None of us are accidents! None of us are mistakes! A loving Creator has formed each one of us. May we join the psalmist and say, “I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14, ESV) Every second we spend wishing we were somewhere else, or even someone else, is a waste of time and a slap in the face of a God Who’s done everything possible for our wellbeing. We must stop waiting to live and start living! Today can be one of the best days of your life, if you’ll surrender to God, and believe the truth of His Word, more than what you feel.
Do you know what time it is? It’s time to wake up! The Bible is our alarm clock. It says, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Eph 5:14, NLT) Unless we LIVE AWAKE, our God-given opportunities are quickly slipping through our fingers. Unless we open our hearts to what’s on God’s heart, we’ll miss what we’ve never seen before, and may never see again. I want to LIVE FULLY AWAKE! Believing the God who “only does wonderful things” (Psalm 72:18) has written the best possible script for my life. “…no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him. but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.” (1Corinthians 2:9-10, NIV) Awaken me Jesus! Awaken me to the life You’ve dreamed for me. Far better than anything I can imagine for myself.
We’ve all had a love-hate relationship with the word “No.” But as painful as “No” may be, it can be a lifesaver. If we don’t learn how to say “No,” we’ll eventually lose our ability to say, “Yes” to all that is eternal and good. Ask any addict, boss, or good parent and they’ll tell you that “No” can be the difference between life and death. At times, no amount of “Yes’s” can undo the damage done by a missed opportunity to say, “No!” Unless we learn to say, “No” to the world, our flesh, and the devil, (1John 2:15-17) we’ll eventually be overwhelmed by the seductive power of their combined “Yes.” Say “Yes” to God and “No” to the enemy of your soul. Say “Yes” to Jesus, and invite Him to be the Lord of your life.
In my own life, I not only wish I had said, “No” sooner and more often, I also wish I had said “Yes” to God a lot sooner as well. Each of us can experience either purposeful pain, which always works for our good, or pointless pain that beats us up for no good reason at all. It’s our choice! Frankly, a “Yes” to Jesus will save you a whole lot of pain as well. The Bible provides a clear remedy: “Humble yourselves…under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.” (1Peter 5:6, NIV) As the Psalmist prayed to God, “…I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against You, and You alone, have I sinned…” (Psalm 51:3-4a, NLT) “Lord, I say ‘Yes’ to Your Spirit!”
Do you feel like you need more faith? We all do! Receiving God-given faith will require our full surrender. Yet, true faith is effortless; like ripened fruit, it falls into our hands with ease. It just takes the right kind of heart. Jesus promised, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) A partial faith in God means we distrust Him. When we are full of faith, He’s able to fill us with His life. Live a life filled with “…faith (that) comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17, ESV) God wants to speak to each of us every day through His Word, the Bible. It’s the best way to receive the faith we need to get to know God and see Him move mountains in our lives.
Do you feel like you’re barely hanging on? God’s not brought you this far to fail, but to finish…and to finish well. Paul the Apostle was “…certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6, NLT) If we are committed to live for Jesus, He will watch over our lives. If we allow God to finish what He’s started in us, we’ll be more than pleased with the results, we’ll be amazed! If we’re willing to first trust Him, like Job, “GOD blessed Job’s later life even more than his earlier life.” (Job 42:12, The Message) You may have had a rough start, even a troubled middle, but above all else, be committed to surrender fully to God and finish well.
Feel Like a Failure?
Do you feel like a failure? Even when we fail, it’s not the end of the story. It’s actually an opportunity for us to be humble enough to grasp the nail-scarred hand of a gracious God. The One who willingly gave His life for us so that our fellowship with Him could be restored, and never broken again. We’ve all failed God. As the Bible states, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23, NLT) We’ve failed, but He’s never failed us…and never will. Our failure may even be completely our fault, but it’s not a deal breaker. The Bible promises, “…if we are unfaithful, God remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2Timothy 2:13, NLT) He cannot deny His plan for us…His heart for us. Let today begin a new season of trusting the God who never fails.
Why are children so special to us? Because they are first special to God. He created their innocence, genuineness and sincerity. The more it is preserved in them, the more it captures our hearts. Children give us a glimpse into pristine qualities found in God Himself. Jesus went so far as to say, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:3, NIV) Every doorway to our future is purposefully designed to be entered with child-like faith; with arms reaching high, captivated by our faithful God. It begins when we are born again (John 3:3). Only then can God’s Spirit soften our heart as we allow Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. Today, pray and begin your new childlike walk with Jesus!
Are you blaming God for the difficulties in your life? At times, we each misinterpret our struggles and blame an innocent God. I can understand it, because I’ve done it, but it’s a complete dead end. It’s time to cast our fears aside, disregard past misunderstandings, and wrap our arms around the only completely trustworthy Person: Jesus Christ. Whether we realize it or not, He is the One who has never failed us. He was willing to die on a Cross in our place—for our sins. We’ll stop blaming God for anything when we realize Jesus took the blame for everything. “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2Corinthians 5:21, NLT) No one has ever loved you like Jesus!
Power of Pain
Even if we don’t see it, God knows the potential we have if we learn to process our pain. Pain can give us the strength and power needed to motivate us for good. God can transform the worst experiences we’ve gone through to give us full lives that are able to help and even heal others. He also never meant for us to live out our lives with gaping holes in our hearts. The miracle thread suturing these emotional wounds is that whatever happens, no matter how horrible, it will work for our good if we are willing to love and follow God. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NKJV) Today, love God and live your purpose!
Benefit of Pain
All the wounds in our lives have extraordinary value when we allow God to heal us. They become the doorways to His one-of-a kind destiny for our lives. God doesn’t just make all things work for our good—He allows all things to mold us into the people He created us to be. Without suffering, we will only be shallow representations of whom God intended. I used to dread the emptiness of suffering, but now I honestly value the growth suffering has brought to my life.
The long-term benefit of pain far outweighs the temporary grief it causes. As the Bible teaches, “…the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18, ESV) Trust God! Embrace the pain! Enjoy the journey!
The healing hand of our Creator can redeem absolutely everything we have ever gone through. Jesus intentionally allowed Himself to experience and overcome every temptation possible so that we would fully know He understands each of our struggles. The Bible tells us that because Jesus “…has gone through suffering and testing, He is able to help us when we are being tested.” (Hebrews 2:18, NLT) God isn’t worried that my suffering will cripple me forever; He’s fully confident that my struggles will help develop His character in my life. God even allows suffering to be so intense at times that we’ll do whatever it takes to get free. Freedom is part of our destiny—we were made for it. But, at times, suffering is the doorway to being free.
Doctorate in Depression
Before I was a Christian, I spent six months contemplating ending my life. At that time I thought I would never get through it. I was an atheist, recovering from a failed relationship, and suffering from what I called a “doctorate in depression.” Was there any value in all I went through? Absolutely! Now I can empathize with people who feel hopeless and depressed. God wants to heal you so completely that He will use every sadness in your past to help someone in your present. Nothing is ever wasted in God’s Kingdom. I am absolutely convinced it’s God’s will for every person to take what the devil meant for evil and see it transformed into good. (Genesis 50:20) The way to reverse the damage done in our past is to allow God’s Spirit and truth to heal us in the present.
Beauty For Ashes
Many of my childhood were painful! But if I had wasted my life wallowing in the dysfunction of my youth, I would never have experienced wholeness in my marriage and the happiness of raising healthy children. If I hadn’t received God’s healing, I would have passed on the same sorrow and pain to my own kids. They have received a healthy start, not just a mangled past. They have their own challenges, but not the baggage I was unwilling to unpack. God wants to do so much healing in your life as well. “…He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.” (Isaiah 61:3a, Amplified Bible) No one wants your ashes. That is, no one except God.