When the Storms of Life Come Your Way


Brooklyn_Museum_-_Saint_Peter_Walks_on_the_Sea_(Saint_Pierre_marche_sur_la_mer)_-_James_Tissot_-_overall

“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Matthew 14:31

Throughout the school year our children are required by the school that they attend to memorize portions of Scripture. Each morning we gather together and say our pledges and read the scripture that they are to be learning. As part of their daily goals, they are required to learn a new verse of the Scripture and recite it to one of the teachers by the end of the day. The portion of Scripture that we are learning right now is found in Matthew 14:22-33.

If you have never stood in a room and listened to a group of children recite memory verses, you are missing out on a blessing. As I stand and listen to each of those children recite, from memory, a portion of God’s word, I can only imagine how God must feel as He watches these precious children hide His word in their hearts as He has commanded each of us to do.

Yesterday, my oldest son was quoting the verse that I have chosen to share with you today. As he recited his scripture, the words, “And immediately, Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him,” caught my attention.

I thought about the story of Peter and how he had asked Jesus to allow him to come and walk on the water. We know that in the story as Peter steps out on the water and begins to walk to Jesus he sees the storm around him, takes his eyes off of Jesus, and immediately begins to sink. In verse 30 we read that as Peter begins to sink, he cries out to God to save him.  Today I want us to focus on verse 31. Particularly the part that says, “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him,”

How many times in our lives have we acted just as Peter did in this story we read today? We ask God for the opportunity to do something, or we ask God to open a door for us, and then when He does and things get a little rough, we get scared. We allow the storm to distract us and we take our eyes off of Jesus. Realizing that the situation in which we are standing is so much bigger than ourselves, we panic. In fear, we begin to sink. If we are smart, we will do as Peter did and cry out for God to save us.

The encouragement I want to offer to you today comes not from Peter walking on the water, nor from him getting scared and sinking, but from Jesus’ response to Peter as he begins to sink. You see, the very moment that Peter cried out for Jesus to save him, Jesus Immediately reached down and caught Peter. Friends, He wants to do the same for us. When life gets scary, when we look around and realize that the storm is here, when we let the storm distract us and we let fear get the better of us, God wants us to cry out to Him. When we do that, He will do just as He did for Peter. Immediately, God will reach down, and catch us. He will set our feet back on solid ground.

Life is full of opportunities, chances to allow God to show us His power. God wants us to step out in faith and come to Him, just as Peter did. Along with those opportunities, however, we may encounter a few storms, a few waves. There are lessons to be learned from this story:

First, I believe that we must never take our eyes off of the One who gives us the power to do the impossible. We must learn to keep our eyes on the source of our strength and not let the waves cause us to fear and doubt.

Second, I want us to remember that if we do get scared, if we take our eyes off of Jesus and begin to sink, we must do as Peter did and cry out to Him. Do not allow yourself to sink in despair. Do not let fear get the better of you, cry out to God and immediately he will reach down and catch you. He will not allow you to sink. He will not allow fear to overtake you. He will pick you up, and He will save you.

Pray Through


Pray

” So He left them,

went away again,

and prayed the third time,

saying the same words.”

Matthew 26:44

Monday I posted an entry entitled “It Is Okay.”  The message in that post was that it is okay not to be okay. There are times when we say we are okay, but truly in our hearts we are broken and torn. This week, after posting that blog, the question has been ringing in my ears, “What do you do when you are not okay?” So today that is what I want to discuss. If you have not read Monday’s entry, feel free to do so now and then you can come back and pick up here.

There are many times in our lives when we are not okay. Somehow we find ourselves in a situation that we just can not seem to handle. We find ourselves torn, broken, and helpless. As I have pondered this situation this week, and have even found myself in a bit of one as well, I have struggled with how I should handle it. I have prayed about it, cried over it, and prayed some more, but have yet to find any resolve.

The question I want us to consider today is this: “What do we do when we are not okay?”

Here is the answer I believe God has given to me:

“Pray through.”

“Hmm,” you might say. “That is it?”

I know, it seems so simple, does it not?

Let us think about this for a moment. Do we really understand what this means?

I would like to share with you what God has been speaking to me concerning this answer. I pray that it will speak to you as well and that you will find some comfort in it.

Pray it through. I believe this is exactly what Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane. If you go back and read the verses that come before the one I shared this morning you will find that Jesus has actually gone back to pray two other times. (Matthew 26:36-43)

I can not imagine the situation that Jesus was facing and the anguish that he must have been feeling. Jesus knew what was to come and He knew that it had to be done, yet He still struggled as a man.

In Jesus’ prayer to His father, He asked for two things. First, He asked that if there was any other way to accomplish the goal to let it be. The second thing Jesus prayed, I believe was the most important. Jesus told His father, “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

Each time Jesus went to pray, the Bible says that His prayer was for exactly this: The will of His Father.

Three times Jesus went to pray, and then comes the beginning of God’s will for His Son.

I believe that Jesus did exactly what we have been discussing here this morning; He prayed through. After praying again and again He knew the will of His father, and He was willing to accept it.

This is what God has been speaking to me this week:Pray it through, let your request be made known unto Me, and then accept My will.

When you are facing trials and trouble, Pray it through. Seek God and cry out to Him. Tell God how you feel ( He already knows anyway) and ultimately, seek the will of the Father.

Sometimes God may allow the cup to pass from you, and other times you may have to drink from that cup. Be assured, however, whatever the outcome, God has promised to never leave nor forsake us. God will be faithful to His promise.

No matter what you are facing today, God knows, He cares, and He will be faithful to carry you through.

I pray that this has encouraged your heart today.

Life is full of trials and storms, but we can find comfort in the fact that we know who holds tomorrow. Life is no mystery to God. There are no surprises for Him.

Please remember: No matter what situation we are facing today or in the future, we must pray through.

Motivational Monday: Follow the Leader


Sculpture by Max Frassi Photo Credit: Unknown: CC

Sculpture by Max Frassi Photo Credit: Unknown: CC

For the LORD giveth wisdom:

out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous:

he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.”

Proverbs 2:6-7

Did you ever play the game ‘follow-the-leader’ when you were a kid? Do you remember watching the leader so that you could do the exact same things that he or she was doing? If the leader began to skip, then you would skip. If the leader began to walk backward, than you would walk backward.

Did you know that our lives are like a game of follow-the-leader?

From the time we are children, we are following someone. Babies learn to walk and talk by following the examples of those around them. Children tend to do what everyone else around them is doing.

As we grow, we look to those older than us to lead and guide us.

We tell our older school children to make sure they are setting a good example for the younger ones because they are being watched.

As adults, we must be very careful to lead our younger ones in the right direction. They are watching us to see how we are going to respond to situations, how we are going to treat others, and how we are going to live every day. It is our responsibility to lead them in the ways that God would have them to go. The Bible tells us in Matthew 18:6  :

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,

it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck

and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

As Christians, we too have a leader: Our Heavenly Father.

In God’s Word, He has set out guidelines for us to follow, and commandments for us to obey. In order for us to grow into the Godly men and women that He has called for us to be, we must watch the leader closely. We need to stay in God’s word, we need to search for direction, and we need to seek out the wisdom that can only come from God.

Our verse today promises us that the Lord will give wisdom and understanding to those that follow Him. We need to make it a point, just as we did when we played follow-the-leader as a child, to keep our eyes on the leader, watch Him closely, and follow His example. This is the only hope that we have of living Godly lives in front of those who look to us for guidance.

I  pray that you have been encouraged by these words today. I pray that we will remember to follow the Leader in every decision that we make everyday, so that we may gain wisdom and knowledge as it has been promised to us.

God bless you, friends.

Motivational Monday: Remodeling


 Photo credit: Leon H. Abdalian

Photo credit: Leon H. Abdalian

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:

if any man hear my voice, and open the door,

I will come in to him, and will sup with him,

and he with me.”

Revelation 3:20

My husband and I spent this past weekend redecorating our little girl’s bedroom. What started out as a drab, in-much-need-of remodeling room, has now been transformed into a cozy, purple bedroom, fit for a princess ( that is what her daddy calls her).

As I was thinking about all of the work that was done this weekend to get Princess D’s bedroom ready for her, I was reminded of a story that my Mom would tell when I was a little girl:

A long time ago, there was a man who had a house. One day he decided to invite a guest to come and live in his house. The guest’s name was Jesus. At the man’s request, Jesus gladly moved into his home and began to live there.

One day the man and Jesus were visiting and Jesus told the man that there were some things that needed to be done in his house. Jesus had been looking around and had found some things that were in need of repair. Jesus kindly asked the man if it would be alright for Him to do some remodeling.

The man thought about the offer for a moment, and decided that, yes, there was one room that needed to have some work done. The man led Jesus down the hall to a particular room and unlocked the door. Jesus went in and began to move things around. He did away with things that were not healthy for the man to have, and Jesus turned the cold, drab room into something beautiful.

The man was happy with Jesus living in his house. He enjoyed the fellowship.

As time went on, from time to time Jesus would mention other rooms that needed to be cleaned out. The man would unlock the door for Jesus, and Jesus would begin to clean each room out, removing what was dirty and unhealthy, and turning that room into something beautiful.

The man began to notice a change in his house. He realized how good it felt each time he would listen to Jesus’ word, unlock a door, and allow Jesus to go in and clean out each room.

One day, however, as the man and Jesus were talking, Jesus asked about a room that was in the back of the house. Jesus told the man that He would like to go in and clean out that room because he noticed something especially foul-smelling coming from it. The man knew immediately which room Jesus was talking about but refused to let Jesus in. The man told Jesus, “You can have any room in my house except for this room.”

As time passed the man noticed that things in his house were different. He and Jesus did not talk as much as they once did.

After some time had passed, Jesus asked the man again about letting Him in to the room in the back so that He could clean it out and make it clean and beautiful like the rest of the house. Once again, the man told Jesus, ” You can have any room in this house except for that one; it belongs to me.”

One day, the man came home from work and Jesus was no longer in the house. When the man asked Jesus why he had moved out, Jesus told him that He could not live in the house with that foul-smelling room in it. Jesus told the man that he needed to let him in to clean out the room in order for there to be fellowship between the two again.

The man knew just what was in that back room that he kept locked up for himself, but he missed the fellowship that he once had with Jesus. He missed the way that his house felt when he let Jesus come in and take control of each room.

With shameful tears in his eyes, the man handed the keys over to Jesus. He told Jesus what He would find in the room. The man told Jesus that he was sorry for keeping it locked away from Him for so long.

With love in His eyes, Jesus looked at the man and said, “My child, I know what is in that room. That is why I want to clean it our for you. I can turn that foul, dirty room into something beautiful again.”

Hand-in-hand Jesus and the man returned to the house. The man walked to the back room, unlocked the door and allowed Jesus to go in. Jesus began to clean the room out. He threw away all the things that were foul and unclean, he filled the room with His light, and He turned it into the most beautiful room in the house.

What does your “House” look like? Does Jesus live there? Have you given Him the keys to every door, and asked Him to go in and clean up?

Jesus already knows what He is going to find. There is nothing too dark, nothing too nasty, and nothing too foul for Jesus to fix.

You see, just like our physical homes, our spiritual homes need to be worked on as well. As we allow Jesus to come in and clean out those dark, drab places, He will turn them into something beautiful!

I encourage you today, let Jesus into every part of your heart. Do not keep parts of it locked away for yourself. You see, Jesus can not dwell in a heart with sin. The Bible tells us:

“No man can serve two masters:”

Matthew 6:24a

Will you let Jesus in? Will you let Him come in and dwell in your house today?

I would love to hear from you. I would like to pray for you as well. You are always welcome to leave a comment here for me, or you can also send me an email.

God bless you today!

Setting Your Priorities in Order


photo credit: mosaicnashville

photo credit: mosaicnashville

 “For what is a man profited,

 if he shall gain the whole world,

  and lose his own soul?

  or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

 Matthew 16:26

“What is this life worth to you?”

I am sure that if I were to ask this question to a group of people that I would get as many different answers as there were people in that group.

Different people value life in different ways. If asked to prioritize your life and the things in it, I am sure that each of us would come up with a different list.

How does God teach us we should prioritize our lives? Where does He say we should place our value?

In this particular section of Scripture Jesus was talking to his disciples about this very thing. In Matthew 16: 24 Jesus told his disciples this:

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples,

If any man will come after me,

let him deny himself,

and take up his cross, and follow me.”

1 John 2:15 tells us:

” Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.

If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Too many times we place our priorities in the wrong order. We place value in the wrong things.

As a young married couple, my husband and I got our priorities out of order. We did not listen to God’s word, and we did not allow God to lead in many of our decisions.  This lack of commitment to the ways of God often left us arguing about money and struggling to make ends meet.

As we have matured and grown in Christ, we have resolved ourselves to a new set of priorities. We are learning more and more every day to live within our means, and not beyond them. We are learning to do as the Bible tells us in Matthew 6:19-21:

” Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,

whehttps://encouragementforeveryday.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=782&action=editre moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,

where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Learning to live this way has taken time. It has taken commitment and discipline on our part to do as we have said we would do.

One thing I am learning personally is this:

“You can never out-give God.”

I have heard this said all my life, but I never really understood it until I tried it for myself. It was a big step of faith for me to give when I did not think that we had it to share, but God has ALWAYS been faithful to supply our needs and bless as we step out in faith and do as He has commanded us to.

I would like to be able to tell you that as soon as we got our priorities is order everything was instantly fixed,but that has not been the case. We are still working on getting our feet under us after making some unwise decisions, nevertheless God has been faithful to supply our needs. Slowly, by God’s grace, we are beginning to re-prioritize our lives. I can tell you that it feels great to know that we are doing the things that God has told us to do. God is blessing us every day.

As I write this morning, I am reminded of the story that Jesus told in Matthew 25: 14-30

I do not want to be like the man who was lazy and hid his talent. I want to give when God tells me to give, I want to share what God has blessed me with, and I want to minister, for the glory of God, to the best of my ability.

I want to encourage you today to take a minute and look at your life.

What does your priority list look like? Have you laid up for yourself treasures in Heaven, or are your treasures here on this earth? I would urge you to step out in faith, adjust your list of priorities if necessary, and then trust God to meet your needs.

In the end, when we are in Heaven together, the things of this world are not going to matter anyway.

I want to be able to look into my Father’s eyes and hear Him say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” ( Matthew 25)