The Myth of Self-Reliance

We get things so turned around at times. God has never said He will help those who help themselves. The reverse is actually true:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

I want to encourage anyone who is going through tough times: Seek God. You aren’t supposed to figure it out on your own. The Lord wants to reveal Himself to you right in the middle of the confusion, the ugliness, the loneliness and the fear. Your situation is not beyond His ability to fix it and turn it around.

Nothing will be wasted.

As He comes to you with wisdom, direction, healing and peace, you will be able to encourage others to seek Him and hold onto Him, too. Take a moment to read this and focus on what Paul was saying as he shared his heart with the Corinthian Church. He was not an uneducated, faithless coward. He was a humble man of God whose words are still relevent today. They carry with them the wisdom of one who has walked with God and experienced His goodness:

 God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.  We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.  In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and he will continue to rescue us.  And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.” 2 Corinthians 1:3b-11 NLT

Truth is truth. Time does not change or negate it.

Rely on God. He is the faithful one.

 Blessings and peace to you today ❤

WP_20140526_20_10_17_Pro (2)

Mercy and Grace

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy”  Matthew 5:7

I confess that I love God’s mercy! And not only do I love it, I need His mercy everyday.

If I receive His mercy, then I need to extend that same generousity and grace to others. I love this description of mercy from Merriam-Webster:

~ kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly

 ~ kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation

~ compassion or forbearance shown, especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power; also :  lenient or compassionate treatment

~ compassionate treatment of those in distress

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love it when someone is gentle with me when I’m having a hard time. And I’m astounded and humbled when someone graciously and patiently responds to me when I have been less than gracious and patient with them!

Mercy and forgiveness can be demonstrated in so many ways:

* Offer a word of encouragement to a busy cashier. I can guarantee they have heard and felt the pressure of other people’s irritation. We can be the bright spot in their day.

* Let someone steal the parking space you were waiting for. Take a deep breath and find another one. While annoying, it’s not worth the drama. Ask God to bless them with peace in their day, too.

* When your spouse comes home and fills you in on their bad day– just listen. Ask God for the ability to nurture and love them even though you are tired too. Hug them and tell them you love them. God will return the favor to you.

I think the reason some people have such a hard time with this is because they have never experienced true mercy. Or they do not see or acknowledge their own weaknesses, and are therefore harsh with others. This is particularly hard for people who are “strong” and/or gifted in their life.

I put strong in quotation marks for a reason. Strength is an illusion. If you ever find yourself in a position of weakness for any reason, you will know what I mean. True strength is manifested through faith in God and His ability to work through us and on our behalf. We are never told to be strong in ourselves, but in Christ:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Ephesians 6:10

And as far as being gifted, well– it’s a gift. We are simply the recipient, not the originator of the ability or talent…so we need to recognize it as such.

I wish I could tell you that I have learned to be merciful because I read it once in the bible, understood it, then went off with flowers in hand and love in my heart, blessing everyone I met…but that is not the case. I have come face-to-face with my own weaknesses, short-comings and failures. I have been humbled by the love and compassion God has shown me throughout my life. I have received forgiveness when I didn’t deserve it, kindness when I could have been rejected or rebuked and help when I was emotionally overwhelmed or physically unable. God has sent people to encourage me when I have been stressed out and afraid, to help me when I was sick and others to gently teach me when I didn’t understand. I am so grateful for all the love and mercy He has shown me, how can I not turn around and show others the same?

Mercy in action

April 17

Winds of peace- blow

Rivers of blessing- flow

Words of comfort- sow

Seeds of joy- grow

Be fruitful and blessed as you grow in the revelation of our Lord & God!

“…make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.” 2 Peter 1:5-9 New Living Translation

Oranges Growing on Tree

A Word For The Weary

A word of encouragement for anyone who is tired, worn-out, stressed out and over-burdened:

First and foremost, know that your Heavenly Father loves you and cares deeply about your life (1 Peter 5:7).

My prayer for you today is that you will be able to release all your cares, worries and anxieties to the Lord.

Go to Him in prayer and confess your pain, your weakness, your inability.

Those of you who are carrying heavy loads of responsibility, or those of you who are drowning in a sea of discouragement, debt, confusion or fear– give it to God. He knows what to do with it. His shoulders can bear it, His arms can carry it– your weight is not too great for Him.

You may not have a clue what to do, but Jesus does.

Holy Father, please comfort and quiet those who need to receive this word today. I’m asking You to calm and steady them; Bless them with quiet and peace in the middle of their storm.

Give them the grace they need to release every weight and burden to you today. Some have heavy loads of responsiblity at work and at home. Some are caregivers for the sick and hurting. Please bless them with grace, help and revelation of Your undying love.

Help us to recognize when we are carrying more than You ever intended for us to bear. You say that Your yoke is easy and Your burdens are light. It is not weakness to admit weakness, for it is in our weakness that Your strength and power are shown forth (2 Corinthians 12:9-11)

I ask this in the mighty name of Jesus.

Amen.

Be blessed and let Him bless you with rest ❤

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]

  Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.”

Matthew 11:28-30 Amplified Bible

Jesus holding weary man

You Are Never Alone

You know what absolutely amazes me?

That the Lord is with me, always.

There isn’t a day or a minute that He leaves me alone or by myself.

When I become aware of this truth and focus on the reality of it–I become overwhelmed by the goodness of God. I thank Him for the ability to call on His name, to receive His help, to hold onto His hand and be steadied when my world is shaking around me. I gain strength from His strength and confidence from His unfailing love. I begin to focus on His promises to me, on His words of comfort and life… and I experience His peace.

What joy there is for those who know the Lord, who are sheep of His flock! He is our faithful good Shepherd: always vigilant, always aware. Resist the lie that tells you “you are alone”.

You are not. He will never abandon you or leave you alone. Run to Him and be safe. Call on Him in prayer and listen for His answers. Look to the word of God– He will use it to light your way. Gain strength and insight from others who know Him. Ask God to bless you with someone to speak with, because He knows who and what you need.

I want to end with this beautiful promise, spoken from the mouth of our Savior and Lord. Receive it in faith and rest in Him today:

“…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Blessings!

Immanuel God With Us