Categories
Chronic Illness VOTD

Facing All Conditions {VOTD}

Today’s Scripture is the YouVersion‘s Verse of the Day –

I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me (Phil. 4:13, GNT).

This Scripture declares that – my circumstances aren’t too much for God to handle. If we were sitting face-to-face in a “bare your true heart” setting, I would have to ‘fess up that I feel overwhelmed by my circumstances.

Weight of Circumstances

. . . And, I am absolutely tired of feeling this way. I am weary in my mountain of circumstances, and ready for “almost any” vacation to spend a few days away. The only problem with the “need-a-vacation” way of thinking is – the eventual return to life as it is now. It doesn’t solve my problems.

As I write and think of my own circumstances weighing me down, I read a message from a former professor regarding a dear friend’s life-giving praise report of being cancer free. Like in hers, God is working mightily in many people’s lives – including mine. 

Focus

Though this life may seem long, I know it isn’t as long as we’d like to believe. Our lives are described as “no longer than the width of my hand. . . just a moment to [God]; at best, each of us is but a breath (Ps. 39:5, NLT).”

My focus needs to be on eternity. If my focus is found glancing around at my temporary life, then, obviously discouragement will surely find me.

As human beings, we need to focus on our Eternal God who is our Creator and the One in whom we find our purpose in life. God is the One who will supply us with life, guidance, and strength.

The “break” we need when life gets difficult isn’t found in a few days “away from it all,” but found in Jesus Christ. Our needed supernatural strength comes only from our Lord God.

Where Do We Turn?

I look to the hills! Where will I find help? It will come from the Lord, who created heaven and earth (Ps. 121:1-2, CEV).

We can seek answers in things, other than the Lord. Just because we have that freedom, it doesn’t mean they will meet our desperate needs. The psalmist is in active pursuit of real help. The pursuit is a deliberate one, and so should ours.

“How are we choosing to make Jesus Christ our Helpmate?” He is the One who will give us the answers we need, as we draw near and ask. He will either give us the answers or give us His peace along with contentment in the waiting.

Application

To whomever is reading this: Let’s draw near to the Lord our God and depend upon His strength.

This Scripture (Phil. 3:13) doesn’t guarantee that the conditions will subside. It says, we will have the strength to face all conditions. Choose today to –

  1. Focus on our great God and the power He holds in His hand.
  2. Realize He is the One Thing we need more than anything else. This relationship of trust through Jesus Christ is based on what God has done for us.

Featured Image by Elke Karin Lugert.

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Categories
Making the Journey

Finding True Security (Psalm 120:1)

making the journeyyyA few weeks ago, I began to craft an announcement for a new Bible study. That study, actually begins fair sooner than I expected. Our journey, it begins…  NOW! IF you don’t have a journal yet, you still have time to get your hands on one. So, head on over to Amazon (but don’t forget to come back here for tonight’s study).

The 4-1-1

Each week, my hope is simply –

  • To meet up with my readers to discuss what God is teaching us.
  • To have accountability in memorizing the Word of God.
  • Finally, to go deeper in our quiet time, as we study these passages.

Memorizing Psalm 120:1

This week, our memory verse can be found in Psalm 120:1. It is easily found in the middle of our Bibles, but we are going to do something different. I don’t want us to solely read it out day-by-by, but commit it to memory. Long after our study has been completed, that verse will continue to spur us on in the right direction. So to allow our study time to have its full-effect, I want us to do something. Commit it to memory. Scripture reminds us that we are to “hide God’s Word in our hearts, so we might not sin against thee (see Ps. 119:11).”

This week’s Scripture, Psalm 120:1, is designed to do just that.
Help us to not sin against God.
To remind us to seek after God.
God’s Word has power. Let’s grab ahold of that power, by studying and memorizing His Word!

Write It Out!

Before we begin today’s teaching on the Scripture, let’s take a moment to write out on an index card Psalm 120:1 in your favorite translation (do yourself a favor: do not say “I will do it later.” The Spirit of God is ready to meet us right now, as we commit to writing out our memory verse. Let’s be willing to leave the excuses at the door. If all you have is your phone, open your notepad or some other app and write out your memory verse.)

I personally, am opting to memorize the verse in New International Version (NIV). Actually, I might write it out in this translation (NIV) along with the Voice or Amplified – which I find helpful to help me dissect passages a bit more.

“I call on the Lord in my distress, and He answers me (NIV).”

In order to let these words given to us by God, to take root in our spirits, we need to explore its truth for our lives. So each week, my hope is to take a few moments to expand on our memory verse or sharing how others have applied it to their lives.

Living Psalm 120:1 –

Today, we will be looking at the life of Jonah and his circumstances leading him to cry out to God.

Jonah Fled

In the book of Jonah, we see this biblical truth play out in Jonah’s own life. Jonah flees from God. What happens next, would impact Jonah’s decision to seek God on a whole new level.

“Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah,
and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and
three nights (Jonah 1:17, NIV).”

Jonah Prayed

What would Jonah do now? Stuck in a circumstance where there is nowhere to go.

“From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God (Jonah 2:1).”

In Jonah 2:2-7, we get the full picture of Jonah and the prayers he offered to God. Likewise, we can come before God and know He will hear us. No matter what we are facing, God is far greater! In 1 John 4:4, we are reminded of this truth. So, what are your circumstances, friend? What are you facing right this moment?

Remember, God heard Jonah from the belly of a fish. We may have fled from God or run from an opportunity God wanted us to take, but He is still willing to hear us. He will provide a way for us to do just that, call upon His awesome name! Not only can we call, He will also hear and be our ever-present help!

In your circumstances, how might God be calling your attention to your need for Him?

Our Circumstances

In our circumstances as God rearranges things in our own lives, we have to allow Him to work on our hearts. Our circumstances might be less-than-ideal, but our relationship to Him is far more important than our comfort level. Now, dear reader, I want you to consider this week how you can call upon the name of the Lord for His help. Allow God to become your Strong Tower.

Contrary to our way of thinking, our safety isn’t found in calm waters of circumstances. Our safety? It rests in the arms of Jesus – the Christ!

“The name of the Lord is like a strong tower. Godly people
run to it and are safe (Proverbs 18:10, NIRV).”

Deliberately Call Upon His Name

In our times of distress and trouble, we can make the deliberate choice to call out to God for His sovereign help. When we do this, we are ensured God will respond to us in our time of need. He will not turn a deaf ear to us, as we are up to our neck in deep waters going down to our grave. He is sovereign. He will work things out. It may seem, at times, like things aren’t going anywhere. But, hang onto your faith. God is working all things out for YOUR good!

Remember how God is described. Strong tower. Why is this of such importance?

Our security is wrapped up in God, not our circumstances.

Listen to this commentary.

“The security of the righteous is based on God’s character as a faithful Savior.” (Reformation Study Bible)

Reflection

As we consider the importance of this Scripture, we need to look at two things – the trouble we face and the manner of calling out.

If we are not turning to God or failing to recognize His authority over our lives, how can God effectively help us?

We want God to work on our behalf, but a lot of times we don’t give to God the room to work His-kind-of-miracles. God doesn’t serve as a genie of sorts who does solely what we ask. God is our Creator who knows our needs far better than we do! We need to place our hearts before the altar of God – and prayerfully say to Him: “Have thine way, Lord.”

As we face circumstances (big or small), consider how you can surrender to God your entire being. Recall the different ways God has miraculously acted on your behalf in the past, and dwell on His perfect character and willingness to be your God.

Categories
*Secret Glimpses

What My Heart Says – Part 2

Recently, I shared a tool in my chronic illness toolbox to make my life easy (or easier, I should say). It’s new to me. I have felt led to try Whole30 before, but never actually did. Not until 22 days ago. But, the plan I am utilizing – isn’t strictly Whole30. It is a combination of Whole30, Low-Histamine eating plan.

Why?

Because this works!

I know, I need accountability to keep going.

Otherwise once day 30 hits (Monday!), I can tell you exactly how it will go. Because I have had “moments” of it’s-no-big-deal-I-can-have-that-on-a-technicality-scale. No. I need accountability.

Thankfully for me, I have facebook friends who are on similar journeys. A couple friends I have known for quite a while actually, have made a facebook accountability group.

At This Point…

I should give you my “why’s”. Why am I doing this?

  • Because I am sick of feeling like junk every time I eat something I shouldn’t.
  • Because I am sick of not knowing what’s actually wrong with me.
  • Because I am sick of being unhappy, for lack of trying (Food affects our mood. It affects depression and anxiety).
  • Because I want to be healthier.
  • Because I want to be able to keep up with those I love (especially the kids in my life).
  • Because I want to have the energy I need.
  • Because I want to be able to serve God on a more active level.

Then, there is one more. Perhaps, this is the best of all reasons.

I know this way of eating is something God is calling me to, and I need to be obedient. I can’t keep praying for healing, yet ignore the directives God is giving me for my life.

How can I say “no” or continue to walk in defeat, when God has readily given me the materials I need to write “success” over every aspect of my life?

The Catalyst

It’s not just about the eating.

It’s not just about the exercise.

It is about honoring God in every single aspect of my life. It is about walking this narrow path, where I seek after God and choose to honor Him. Despite my wants, it’s about gaining a heart of devotion. A heart that chooses God over every other option I have in my life.

This is the “why” of my life. Why I am choosing to make this decision to stay on this path, and get accountability to help with the journey. This is why I want to eat healthier and figure out what works for me. And, why exercising is a part of “the plan”.

Whole30 -&- Low Histamine (The Diet)

The Link.

I am learning there is so much that can be made, with the foods I am given access to (and it can taste just as good if not better, than its counterparts). And, these are things that I don’t have to worry about – making me worse. I don’t have to concern myself about a bad food reaction, when I follow God in eating this way. I am learning this is the path God wants me to walk in.

This is God choosing to hear and answer my prayers (and the prayers of many who placed themselves in His Awesome Presence and bring my needs before the Father).

This is how God is choosing to heal me. Through learning what foods leave me without any (or less) negative effect(s). It is about gleaning understanding about how foods affect me, and learning to heed the warnings they offer.

That’s what this is.

Here to Stay

On this journey of Whole30, I am learning a lot more than I thought I ever would. I am experiencing more transformation than I thought I would, too. While the scale may show a minimal loss, I have lost much on this eating plan.

Here are my Top 5.

  • Decrease of symptoms.
  • My blood pressure is within normal (ish) range now, when it had been as low as 50/30 for months.
  • I have energy (and can stand!)
  • I am perhaps the happiest I have ever been.
  • Depression and anxiety levels are much lower now.

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Categories
My Heart Spiritual Gifts

God Can Use Anyone – Even Me

Amazing how God will use whoever to speak the Words He wants us to hear. The question is: Will we listen?

Do I believe these words? Do I firmly believe God can use whomever He wants, to deliver His message? Do I really believe that? Do I believe God’s opinion is far more important than my own or others? When God calls us to step up to the plate, will we allow our thoughts to be consumed with all the ways we differ from all those past players on God’s team. I mean – our form is different; our abilities and experiences are different; There is much that we can do to compare ourselves to others.

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people,
but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not
be Christ’s servant. – Galatians 1:10

We have to choose God over everything else.

But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom
you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served
beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land
you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.
– Joshua 24:15

When God calls us to step up to the plate, what will we do? How will we respond? We need to prayerfully seek God’s Will for our lives. Does the opportunity excite us? Does it answer our hearts’ desire to grow and see others grow in Him? My prayer lately has been for a spiritual fire in the lives I know. And, I am getting to see that prayer come to life. My job is to be obedient. Go, when God says “Go”. And stay, when God says “Wait on Me”.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
– Matthew 28:19-20

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD. – Psalm 27:14