When I Couldn’t See

When my daughter hurried to the car after stepping off the school bus, I knew something was wrong. “There’s a shooter,” she said.

She explained a few miles from our house, a man had shot at police and was on the run.

We hurried inside, locked the doors, and watched a plane as it began to circle our yard. It flew so low I wondered if it skimmed the top of the maple tree in the front. The growling of the engine grew loud every time the plane approached and became a small speck in the distant sky as it made its rounds, searching for the shooter.

This went on for hours.

I’d asked close friends to pray. Calls and texts came in, asking us if we were okay and telling us to stay inside.

I prayed while my daughter and I went room to room in our house as we watched the sky for the plane and searched the shadows of our yard for an armed stranger.

Of course God was there. And in the brightness of day as we kept watch, I had peace.

But night came and there was no keeping watch beyond the beam of my flashlight. The plane was gone and the quiet was unnerving. Police cars raced by our driveway, their lights flashing in the darkness, their sirens silenced.

I breathed easier thinking, They must have got him.

But another call came. “They think he’s somewhere on your road.”

I’d like to tell you I still had peace. I want to tell you I cried out to God in that very moment and He brought me His peace that surpasses all understanding.

But it didn’t happen that way. I didn’t cry out to God just then.

I’d been relying on my sight, and now it was extremely limited. My ability to monitor the situation had been stripped away with the light. I reasoned I could still listen.

But every creak in our house, every sound I’d heard a thousand times before suddenly made me question the source. My stomach soured and burned. My head started to throb when I heard a helicopter circling, the red infrared light hovering above the shadowed trees.

My husband was completely calm with the seriousness and stability of a soldier on duty while our daughter watched the helicopter in between answering her friends’ texts.

Me? I paced and sat. Paced and sat. Answered my phone and paced some more.

It wasn’t until I was in the shower, my sight and ability to hear limited to the confines within the shower curtain and the sound of gushing water, that I finally cried out to God. My flesh wanted to hurry, so I could get back to the living room and keep an eye on the helicopter or stand in our darkened bedroom to listen for sounds outside our window.

Thankfully, my spirit won over my flesh, and I stood in the shower and prayed.

Please, God. We need You. I don’t know how any of us will get any sleep tonight if this goes on. Please keep the police officers safe. Please protect the man they’re after too. Please Lord, help them find him.

When I returned to the living room after my shower, my husband told me, “You can relax now. They got him.”

You can relax now.

I have to wonder if my Heavenly Father told me that very thing the moment I finally cried out to Him instead of relying on me with all my ridiculously limited abilities.

Yes, I can hear Him now:

Relax, child. I am. And I am here.

I want to remember this:

Every time things are out of my control.

Every time I can’t see the outcome of a situation or even what’s going on around me.

Every time I stumble over my human reasoning and weaknesses instead of living by faith.

And I want to remember how God cares for His children, even when they are pacing in the dark or crying in the shower.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV.)

God Is in the Darkness

 

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I was lying in bed last night, listening as the wind roared. It was as if there were a thousand mighty horses stampeding through the woods surrounding our house, bringing a powerful force with them. Hail hit our window and lightning lit up the room as the horses came closer.

I prayed, remembering a time when Jesus was with His disciples in a boat and a terrible storm raged.

“He [Jesus] got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’” (Mark 4:39-40 NIV.)

The lightning faded from our bedroom walls and the power went out. The glowing lights from our alarm clocks were gone, the light illuminating our backyard, also gone.

It was completely dark. The thunder rumbled in the distance, the rain continued to pelt the window and our roof.

And somewhere in the midst of the darkness, I fell asleep and slept peacefully.

When I got up this morning, I thought about that wind. I went to Scripture and read about Elijah hearing the voice of God after the wind.

“The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:11-12 NIV.)

I believe God spoke to me after the wind of last night’s storm through His Word this morning just as He has done for so many of us so many times.

What He revealed to me was this: God is in the darkness.

“The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.” (Exodus 20:21 NIV.)

“Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.” (Psalm 97:2 NIV.)

We don’t need to be afraid. We are in a storm, a darkness of uncertainty.

But we can be certain God is with us in this darkness.

“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (Psalm 139:11-12 NIV.)

Darkness is simply another place where God is, another place where we can trust Him. There is no place where we can escape His presence. No storm too great for Him to reach us. No home or room too isolated where He can’t meet with us.

We must have faith and believe God is working all things out in the darkness, in the place where our eyes fail us, the place where our faith is tested, the place where we are still and listen for His whisper.

Stand fast in the darkness, stand firm in the faith, and cling to the King of Kings.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV.)

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV.)

 “My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” (Psalm 63:8 NIV.)

“On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” (Revelation 19:16 NIV.)

 

(Photo from pexels.com.)

 

 

Focus

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Calling 911 and telling the operator our propane tank was leaking put a lot of things into perspective. But first, let me explain something.

The coronavirus is a thief and has been trying to steal my focus. (Is it trying to steal yours? Your peace?)

I was finally going to my first writer’s conference in Georgia at the end of March. I’d been hoping and praying about conferences for years, knowing it’s the best way to meet an agent.

Of course, roadblocks popped up in front of me concerning this conference, so I prayed about each one. And I watched as God made a way for me, removing each roadblock. (Conference cost, plane ticket cost, traveling alone, hotel cost, and our daughter’s school schedule – God provided through some lovely individuals who blessed me beyond words.)

But then came the coronavirus. (You know, the one we keep seeing pictures of, those little blobs floating around wearing spikes – a synonym for corona, by the way, and according to my medical dictionary, is “crown”). And so the conference was canceled.

I’m being honest here. I fell apart. I sobbed and questioned why God would move all of the other roadblocks and yet allow this one to stay. I wondered if I should still go to Georgia; if I might bump into the agent I was hoping to meet. When I asked God, I heard in my spirit:

Don’t look for the agent, look for Me.

So when this virus began stealing everyone’s focus, I fought to look for God. (Not an easy task when the focus of the world all around seems to be on this virus!) I looked for God and saw Him in some pretty amazing ways. (Just look at the surge of scripture on social media!) But I had no idea I would see Him the way I did yesterday:

I realized I’d left our mudroom light on while backing out of the garage, so my daughter got out of the car to turn it off. That’s when we smelled it. I didn’t know what it was, but when she said it smelled like eggs, I knew I needed to check our propane tank.

Our propane tank was hissing and the smell was strong. I rushed back to the car, called 911, and drove to the end of our driveway.

Silence. I watched our house in the rearview mirror as we sat in the car and waited for the fire department.  And I cried out to God to protect everyone and our home, my voice breaking, the words falling short.

But I was looking for Him. In that moment of complete helplessness, I looked for God in that moment and cried out to Him.

And He showed up.

He came with the roaring siren of a fire truck and four firemen to turn off the tank and inspect our home. God protected everyone involved, and He kept our home safe. And when I walked side by side with those firemen back into the house, I knew God was already inside and everything was going to be okay.

When things leave us holding our breath, anticipating tragedy, look for God, my friends, and cry out to Him. Don’t allow those microscopic blobs wearing their tiny crowns to steal your focus or your peace.

Fix your eyes on the King of Kings who wears many crowns and has you in the palm of His hand.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV.)

“His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.” (Revelation 19:12a NIV.)

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28 NIV.)

“That’s right. Because I, your God, have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go. I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic. I’m right here to help you.’” (Isaiah 41:13 MSG.)

(Photo from pexels.com.)

Stuck in the Mud

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When I was a little girl, my mom and I went for a walk through the trees and trails on our property. I wore boots, so I wasn’t too worried about all the mud from a recent rain.

I was making my way through the thick sludge, putting one foot in front of the other and realizing my boots were starting to get pretty heavy.  Finally they wouldn’t budge at all.

I tugged and pulled with everything I had, feeling different muscles in my feet and legs screaming at the absurd torture. But my boots wouldn’t even wiggle. It’s as if they suddenly developed an attitude, stubbornly refusing to move and laughing because now they were stronger than me, and I wasn’t going to tell them what to do anymore, thank you very much.

It got me thinking this morning…

How often do we feel stuck? Stuck in debt or an illness? Stuck waiting for an answer so we can move forward, knowing then which way to go?

Maybe our “mud” is in the form of anxiety or fear or even bitterness and we don’t know how to escape the muck. (Read more on that here.)

The day I got stuck in the mud, I called my mom and she came to my rescue, pulling my feet out of my boots and then wiggling those stubborn beasts free as they let out a loud slurping roar. (We had a good laugh as I stood there in my socks!)

When you and I get stuck in our lives we can call out to God, and He will come to our rescue.

I’ve learned He sometimes allows us to wait for the rescue for a number of reasons:

He wants us to know the rescue, the glory belong to Him; we can’t get unstuck by ourselves.

He may want to stop us to protect us from what’s up ahead.

He may be preparing a blessing up ahead, and it’s not ready. Or we’re not ready.

He may be teaching us this path is not for us.

And sometimes this may be the only way He can slow some of us down so we will spend time with Him. (Any other caffeinated gung-ho-ers out there?)

The point is if you feel stuck, the moment you cry out to God He hears you. The answer and the rescue will come. Just sit tight (or stand if you can’t get those boots off!) and wait for Him. He will never let you down.

“In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears…He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.” (Psalm 18:6, 16 NIV.) *

*If you’re really struggling, needing God’s rescue, try reading all of Psalm 18 out loud…so powerful!

(Photo from Pexels.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hallway and the Door

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When God calls you to step forward and walk through the door He’s opening for you, you’ve got to be careful you don’t get stuck standing in the hallway.

In the hallway, you can convince yourself you’re not ready or you’re not good enough. Or maybe the door isn’t opened all the way; there’s only a sliver of light cutting through the shadowy hallway and that scares you. Let’s face it, you’d rather stay where you know what to expect. There are no surprises in the hallway except the occasional dust bunny parachuting from the ceiling to land on your head.

Or maybe you’re too busy. That’s right, you’ve got a dozen or so loads of laundry to do, the kitchen cupboards need rearranged, and the grass needs cut. Maybe you need to frost a hundred cupcakes for a bake sale, and you need to go to the store to buy a new surge protector for your laptop.

You can convince yourself you don’t have the time for the door and whatever is inside, so you tell God, “Today doesn’t work for me. Maybe tomorrow.”

So you busy yourself and hurry through the hallway to gather the dirty laundry. And while you’re doing that, you notice the photographs hanging on the walls. You stop and remember the past, the colors of those failures so vivid. You look away. It’s too painful. But when you turn, you find yourself reminiscing over another photograph, one you cherish. You wonder if things will ever be that good again. You feel out of sorts, mixed up, and confused like someone is playing Ping-Pong with your emotions.

Satan is doing all he can to get you to linger here so he can whisper his lies, wreaking havoc on your heart and causing every emotional outburst or breakdown imaginable. You see, then he’s not only discouraging you, but he’s stealing your time too. It’s a double whammy.

And let’s not forget how Satan loves to steal your time by distracting you. He’s going to whisper your to-do list in your ear, reminding you how all of those things are so much more important than some silly door. While he’s at it, he will probably tell you you’re not hearing from God anyway and that the door before you isn’t even for you; it’s for someone more qualified and capable. The enemy will tell you you’d better stick with rearranging those kitchen cupboards; someone might come over and see how you’ve got the canned corn mixed in with a box of rice and think you’re completely unorganized and a real slob.

But wait a minute. God pointed out that door to you, didn’t He? And you’ve been praying about it for such a long time, and now it’s opening…

Keep moving, my friend! Don’t turn back now, and don’t let your precious time get swallowed up by distractions, procrastination, or doubt. And don’t keep pacing back and forth with that to-do list in your hand, the one you made for yourself.

Go with the one task God has given you today. Move closer to that door. And if it’s not open all the way when you get to it, pray. Perhaps you’re to knock on it and it will swing wide open when you do.

And when it does open and you take that step and cross the threshold into God’s will for your life, you’re going to realize it’s so much better than hanging out in the hallway with a liar and a bunch of dust bunnies.

Instead, you’ll be living joyfully, immersed in God’s presence, and doing what He’s called and created you to do.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV.)

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:11 NLT.)

A New Adventure with God

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I’d like to tell you I’m brave and adventurous. But I’m not.  I’m a big fat chicken.  I used to be more courageous, more willing to throw caution to the wind and drive off to unknown places and hop on a plane to unfamiliar territory.  Back when I was young (so many moons ago) I didn’t care about taking risks so much because I was the only one at risk. It reminds me of the time I drove to Nashville on this great adventure to become a songwriter; the risk of leaving my job and the life I’d always known was all on my shoulders.  If I loved it and it all worked out, great.  If I failed, no big deal.  I was only failing myself.  I could always head home with the thought of, “Well at least I tried.”

But I’m much older now and the risks don’t just involve me. I’m married.  My husband and I have a daughter.  And the very idea of spur-of-the-moment, life-altering decisions makes me sweat.  I don’t like it.  I like predictability now.  I enjoy the time of day when my husband comes home from work with a kiss and listening for our daughter’s school bus stopping at the bottom of our drive.  I count on these things.  I count on fixing dinner, washing the dishes, and folding laundry.

But sometimes God isn’t calling us to a predictable life. I mean, how would our faith grow if things never changed, if challenges never surfaced, if we stayed on the same gravel road?  Sometimes God wants us to follow Him into the weeds, into the forest where we can’t see much of anything; trusting only His hand in ours and His gentle whisper.

That’s what I’m about to do. By writing this post, I’m stepping out in faith and clutching onto His hand.  I’m still very much afraid, but I’m trusting God to hold me when I’m feeling weak in the knees, when I don’t know what I’m doing, when I can’t see my hand in front of my face.  I’m trusting His Word:  “When I’m weak, then I’m strong.”  And I know I need His strength to stand, to follow His lead on this new path.

Inside, I’m still the little girl with dirt caked under my nails from making mud pies, still the tomboy with tangled hair and scraped-up knees from climbing trees, and I’m still the girl who trembles at the thought of standing up in front of a crowd to speak. But God is calling me to do that very thing, to talk about Him. Gulp.

It’s a new adventure. A new adventure with God.  But this is certainly no drive to Nashville.  I’m not by myself on this one.  I have the support of my family and friends.  And really, I have my Heavenly Father showing me which way to go.  I don’t need to have all of the answers or all the directions mapped out in advance.  I just have to accept God’s invitation to take a deep breath, grab His hand, and step out the door.

The benefits of this risk? A deeper walk with God as my faith grows.  Snuggling up closer to Him in my most profound moments of weakness, clinging to His Word for my very breath, and embracing the opportunity to connect with you, His children, in ways I can’t even imagine right now.

And I am deeply humbled and honored that God would even consider leading an old tomboy like me with tangles and dishpan hands on such an adventure.

Thank you, Lord. Please help me to serve You well.

“But he [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV.)

Wake Up and Live Courageously

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Are you living courageously, boldly? Or are you hiding in the corner of your life, hoping those vultures circling overhead will move on, peeling away those cold shadows they’ve covered you in?

What vultures?

Fear, doubt, shame, anger, regret…calling.

Wait a minute. How did “calling” get in there?

Perhaps that’s what terrifies you the most and is keeping you cowering in the corner with your face buried against the wall, your hands over your ears. Perhaps you can live with a little fear or regret but God’s calling on your life is daunting, terrifying, and brings about some serious panic attacks while you’re hunkering down, praying for this calling to pass and land on someone else.

But don’t you know your calling is where God wants you to shine?  Your calling is what you were born for, what He created you to do, and where you will live with unspeakable joy.

God has matched your life with your calling. All of your past experiences and your current struggles are about to collide with the future God has planned for you.  Perhaps it will cause such a shockwave, such a shaking, that it will be felt clear across the world.

Sound a little scary?

Don’t worry, my friend. God is with you.  You know He promised He will never leave you, and He never breaks a promise.  Never.  He is the solid core of your calling.

But maybe you’re looking back and seeing all the things you tried to do and failed: that college class you took and dropped, the job you quit after a month, the new bowling league or softball team. Maybe you’re even looking back at the way you worked so hard to plant a garden a few summers ago only to find little critters chewing the vines of your cantaloupes and testing every strawberry.  Perhaps you wondered, “Why can’t I do this?  Everyone else can.  I tried so hard.”

Why?  Because God doesn’t want you to be like everyone else. He wants you to be like His Son, Jesus:  obedient.  And that means obedient to your calling.

You see, your calling isn’t something you try just because everyone else is doing it or something you believe in because your neighbor’s brother’s nephew’s wife thinks you’d be good at it. And it’s not some vulture waiting to strike and pick you apart, leaving you shredded and desperate to return to the safety of your corner.

That would be the enemy trying to scare you off. Satan would rather see you trembling in the corner than living out God’s calling for your life and shining for Him. Remember, your calling could possibly shake the world.

So what exactly is your calling?

Your calling is God’s hand working in your life through your past and present and reaching out to you as He whispers, “This way.  Come see what I have for you.”

It’s time to take His hand. It’s time to wake up to your calling and live courageously.  And it’s time to wake up the world.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  (Joshua 1:9 NIV.)

“He created each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” (Ephesians 2:10 MSG.)

“The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1 NIV.)

Brick by Brick

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We all build walls.

Someone hurts you and you quickly learn how to stop that from happening again by building a nice big wall between you and that person.

Only sometimes you go a little too far and you build it all around just in case someone else would come along to hurt you.

So you build this wall, brick by brick, to protect yourself from pain.  But when you stop stacking because you can’t reach any higher, you realize that without any windows and bricks all around, you’ve built yourself a prison cell.

And since the bricks reach so high and are so thick, no one can see you or hear when you cry for help, when the dark shadow of loneliness fills your cell.

Only God can reach you in that dark and painful place.

But maybe you’re afraid to ask because the world is too cruel and you don’t know if your heart can handle another blow.  So you stay there for a long time.

Finally, the walls close in too tightly and the darkness grows too thick, so you decide you must try again.  You whisper a plea to God, but as He lifts you up to the top of your wall and sets you there, you totter.  You look down at the safety of the prison cell, the darkness looming below, and then you look out at the contrasting sunlight and the people all around and the drop-off to get to them.

You freeze.  You’re afraid either way will bring you unbearable pain; pain that will wound you so deeply you’ll never recover.  And suddenly you don’t sense God’s hand anymore.  You wonder why, in this worst predicament, would He leave you now.  So you cry out to Him, begging Him to remember you.

You don’t hear His voice or see Him, but you notice your wall is different; a brick here and there has been removed to build a set of brick stairs leading from the top down and into the sunlight.

Who built the staircase? you wonder.  God?  Someone else?

You don’t know.  Perhaps God did it Himself or maybe He led someone else to do it.  Either way, the stairs are waiting.

Life is waiting.  And God is waiting to help you escape your prison cell and the cold that climbs the wall and reaches out to you like an icy hand, reaching from that place with all the pain from your past.

All you need to do is take God’s hand and take it brick by brick down those stairs and into the sunlight.

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”  (Isaiah 41:13 NIV.)

The Monster in the Closet

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My first known fear surfaced when I was about four years old. I believed there was something evil lurking in my closet and if I took my eyes off of it to go to sleep, it was going to get me.  I’d lie awake and stare at the door knob, just waiting to see it slowly turn and this “thing” jump out at me.  Eventually I’d fall asleep only to have nightmares of twisted faces, contorted and monstrous looking.  I’d scream and wake everyone in the house.

Then I grew up.

Satan would love it if you and I live in fear; if we’re so fixed on that fear that we don’t look anywhere else. Or if we give in to that fear and give up, stop trying, believe something is just too hard, too big for us to accomplish.  The enemy wants us to fail.  Do you really understand that?  Satan will kick harder when you’re down.  He won’t pull any punches and will only laugh when you bleed.

And Satan will do whatever it takes to sidetrack you. I have to wonder if he laughs when we fall for his distractions, like a dog following the familiar scent of the way back home but veers off course because someone nearby is grilling hot dogs.

So what are we supposed to do?

First, remember who you are and Who you belong to.  I like thinking of it this way to go along with the idea of Satan beating us up:  Satan is a bully and Jesus Christ is your big Brother.  Go tell your Brother, and He’ll take care of that old bully.

When it comes to dealing with distractions, beware of anything that leads your heart away from God and that makes your focus bounce all over the place. Stay on the path God has for you and forget about the hot dogs.

And when it comes to fear, your Heavenly Father will lead you to that closet and open the door. With one hand firmly holding yours, He will turn on the light to reveal what is lurking inside:  Nothing.  There is nothing to fear when His hand is in yours.

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”  (Isaiah 41:13 NIV.)

 

Crunch Time

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Are you going through a crisis in your life? Or maybe you just have a lot of questions about the things you’re going through and you want answers, you need answers.  The right ones.

The Bible has every answer for every problem you have. That sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  But it’s true.  It’s not just for those individuals who were living during biblical times; it’s for us, you and me, right now.

Do you feel alone?

God says He’ll never leave you.  (Hebrews 13:5.)

Are you having marital problems?

God gives us a plan.  (Ephesians 5:22-33.)

Money issues?

Jesus taught a lot about money.  (Matthew 6:24.  This is only one example.)

Concerns about the lack of morality in the world today?

God explains.  (2 Timothy 3:1-5.)

Consumed with fear or discouragement?

God says He’ll be with you wherever you go.  (Joshua 1:9.)

Afraid to die?

If you choose Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the best is yet to come.  (John 14:1-6.)

Don’t understand what you’re supposed to do with your life?

God knows exactly why He created you, and He wants to tell you.  (Jeremiah 29:11-13.)

Have serious trust issues?

God is THE One you can trust.  (Proverbs 3:5-6.)

Struggling with illness?

Go to God in prayer.  (James 5:14-15.)

Afraid of what the future holds?

God is always in control. (Isaiah 46:9-10.)

Feel like you’re worthless?

God made you. You have great worth.  (Matthew 10:29-31.)

Do you take the time to read the Bible? If not, why?  (I promise I’m not trying to badger you!)

Are you afraid to read the Bible because you think you won’t understand it? There are so many translations to choose from so you can find one that you understand.  (I use the NIV a lot.)

Are you worried about what other people might think; that you’re some fanatic or nut? Maybe they’ll think that and maybe they won’t.  But don’t worry if they do.  You’ve got a ton of people on earth and in heaven who know you’re very wise to read the Bible and will be cheering you on as you grow closer to God.

Or maybe you’re simply afraid you’ll have to change if you read the Bible. Just remember, the caterpillar changed into a butterfly.  So do you want to crawl around through life or feed on God’s word so you can soar?  Perhaps it’s crunch time for you.

Open up the Bible, my friend, and let it feed your soul.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8 NIV.)

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