And the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people."
There is a little story in the Bible that Jesus tells His disciples to encourage them to obey His Word. In Matthew 7:24-25 Jesus compares those who both hear and do His Word to a house that is built on a rock. When the rain, flood waters and winds came and beat against that house it did not fall but was able to stand because it was built on a rock.
That portion of Scripture has come back to me during a challenging season in my life. I am reminded of it thanks to a song by Cody Carnes entitled, "Firm Foundation (He won’t)." This song has become like an anthem to me. From the very first verse we are reminded of God’s sovereignty and His inability to fail.
Christ is my firm foundation the Rock on which I stand
When everything around me is shaken I’ve never been more glad
That I put my faith in Jesus ‘cause He’s never let me down
He’s faithful through generations so why would He fail now?
The reality is that when you choose to make Jesus your foundation, your focus, your strength and support, you can rest assured that you are “safe.” He is obligated to cover you, protect you, keep you safe in His arms and care … but you MUST trust Him!
Why do you think King David survived trial after trial? Why do you think He was a man after God’s own heart? He put his complete trust, faith and confidence in his God. Even when he failed he turned his focus and his heart right back to his God and trusted Him to see him through. Whether he was being pursued by King Saul who wanted to kill him or betrayed by his son, Absalom, who tried to take the kingdom away from him many years later when he was king, he trusted in his God. A number of his psalms reveal his choice to trust in his God in times of trouble: For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion. In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me, He shall set me high upon a rock (Psalm 27:5); The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him and I am helped (Psalm 28:7a).
Who are you putting your trust in - family, friends, some other source? Over the years, God has been teaching me to put my trust totally and completely in Him. There was a time when family and friends may have been my first line of support. I realise now that I am running to people first less and less. In recent years, God has been teaching me to run to Him first. It’s a choice to trust Him above all others, to believe and understand that He and He alone can and will get me through whatever situation I may be going through. It’s not that people cannot help but God wants to be my first line of protection and defense; the One I run to first when I am facing challenges. God has never failed me; He has never abandoned me; He has never let me down. I am glad that I can speak from experience instead of simply through the testimony of others. I encourage you as well to let God be the first One you run to. Stand on His Word, it will not fail you. When family, friends and others fail you, just know that God never will. His Word is sure and it must accomplish what He desires it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11).
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so now because when life’s storms come your way - and they will - you need a solid and safe foundation to stand on. Jesus is that foundation and He will never leave you, forsake you or fail you. Just trust Him!
I recently watched an inspiring movie called “Not Broken.” It’s about a young girl named Winter who was born with dyslexia. Her learning disability made school life difficult even when she changed from a regular school to a special school. The one thing she was good at was art. Unfortunately, her mother did not support her because of her own disappointment as a child living with a father who was an artist. As Winter got older she grew increasingly discouraged and finally dropped out of school. She attempted to work in various jobs but even this turned out to be a failure. She was discouraged, depressed and felt as if she was not good enough.
She finally decided to turn to her art and showed her work to a local curator. Although the woman liked her work it was not the style she was looking for. Sad and disappointed, she burned all of her pieces except for one. She finally met another curator who saw her ability and who was willing to showcase her work in her art gallery. By this time, her mother began to realise the value of her ability and finally gave the support needed.
Winter may have been dyslexic and may have felt damaged or broken but she was not. She just had to find what she was good at and fit in where God had created her to fit in. She did not have to be like everyone else, she just needed to be herself. I love the way she expressed it when she finally realised her value. She said: “Our differences don’t diminish our value, that’s what makes us special!” Before she came to this realization, however, you could almost feel her sense of hopelessness as each effort to make something of herself was met with failure. Many of us I am sure can relate. We may not have a learning disability like Winter but there may be some area in our life where we feel “disabled,” some area that makes us feel inadequate. However, that area does not define us and does not determine our worth or value. God does that.
When you think about it, Jesus met and healed many “broken” people during His season of ministry. They were worth His attention, they were worth His compassion, they were worth His effort. Jesus did not come for perfect people who had it all together but for those who were sick, lost and in desperate need of a Saviour (see Mark 2:16-17). They had value in His eyes. I am pretty sure He didn’t see their defect, rather their value and, to be quite honest, Jesus’ ministry would have been quite ineffective without them. Let’s face it, their story, their testimony found its way into the Bible to bring hope, healing and encouragement to all who read it. We need their story of brokenness to show and to prove God’s unconditional love, mercy, grace and favour to all of us.
When I suffered a heart attack last year, it threatened to break me and render me useless, at least that’s how I felt. But the reality is I am not broken. God can and is still using me. He had to remind me of what I do have … life! Sometimes we can so focus on our defects or on something negative that happened to us or on what we think we have lost that we forget what we do have and that it is still of great value. Be thankful for what you have, for who you are even if you are not like everyone else, even if you don’t have what others may have. What you do have is good enough … you are good enough and God is able to use you just as you are for His honour and glory!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into you life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so now. We all have defects, we all have shortcomings, we all have failed in some way. While we may be focusing on those negative areas, God chooses to see the value and worth He put in each of us.
You are not hopeless or helpless as you might think. God has created someone special, someone of worth and value … God has created YOU!
My New Year’s post last week began on a thankful note. I was choosing to be thankful because of all that God brought me through in 2022. Interestingly, I have heard more than one person admitting that 2022 had been a challenging year for them. It had been for me as well. I had lost my grandmother in April and I almost lost my own life in October. So, my need to be thankful is borne out of the various challenges that took place that year and the reality that God chose to bring me through each one.
This brings me to my video testimony for this week. Ross, a high school football coach and teacher, found himself struggling to breathe over a period of several days. He thought he had caught a cold but when his wife, Stephanie, couldn’t take it anymore, she took him to the hospital where it was discovered he had contracted Covid-19. The doctors had little hope that he would survive. Stephanie reached out to his school, family and friends for prayer. She finally reached, as she put it, her "Abraham and Isaac moment" where she told God if He wanted to take him, she would lay him down. She did admit to God that what she wanted was perfect healing for her husband, however, she would surrender to God’s will for him. He spent the next month in a coma and on a ventilator. She was finally summoned to the hospital because they felt that they could do no more for him. She went with her friend and her sister and they prayed and worshiped for about seven hours. Miraculously, his blood pressure began to improve. Some weeks later he came out of the coma and was finally released. He had spent seventy-seven days on a ventilator but God brought him through!
One of the things that caught my attention was Stephanie’s "Abraham and Isaac moment." As much as she wanted her husband to make it she realised that ultimately God has the final say and she chose to accept God’s will over her own desire. That can be so difficult to do, yet, I believe that when we can reach to the point where, like Stephanie and like Jesus when He faced death on a cross, we can say God this is what I want, nevertheless, not my will but Yours be done. There have been various times in my life when I too have had my own "Abraham and Isaac moment." God has brought me to the point where, when faced with something tragic or challenging, my choice is to surrender the outcome to God. The fact is He knows what is best for me and whatever He chooses will always be in my best interest. Trust isn’t easy to do but it can bring a peace that just doesn’t make sense.
The next thing that caught my attention is Ross’ closing remarks at the end of the testimony. He had spoken to friends in the nursing profession and they admitted that there was no medical explanation why he should be alive, that it was one hundred percent a God-thing. The only thing he could deduce is that he is alive because God decided that he should be alive. In other words, God chose to keep him alive. So many times, we lightly thank God for life. It’s almost like a cliché. But think about it. Every day, you don’t just wake up to see a new day. God CHOOSES to give you life to see a new day. Now that is something to be thankful for! And, if God chooses to give you life for each new day, it means He has something good in store for you. God doesn’t just nonchalantly decide to make you live to see a new day. He is intentional! He is intentional about His desire for you to live; He is intentional about the blessings He sends your way; He is even intentional about the negative He allows you to go through because He knows He is just as intentional about bringing good out of it for you.
After suffering a minor heart attack in October 2022, I would thank God each day for choosing to give me life to see a new day. I know He didn’t and doesn’t have to make that choice but He does and I am certainly grateful for His choice. It tells me that He has a plan for me each day, He has a plan for my life overall and it’s a plan to prosper me not to harm me, a plan to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
God has the same good plan for you. God is intentional about His plans for us, just as He is intentional about His blessings over us. So, take the time to be thankful. Don’t just focus on the negative and on what didn’t go right, focus on the One who helped you through each challenge, the One who ultimately helped you make it through another year and who brought you to a new one. Be thankful for His faithfulness. He doesn’t have to be faithful, He doesn’t have to love us but He does because He chooses to. So just be thankful!!!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so now and give your new year the best start you can give it. Life is going to happen whether you like it or not but, you can be grateful that God will always choose to be there, to take care of you, to love you, to see you through…
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.