And the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people."
I was moved by a testimony that a husband, Gerald, gave about his wife’s miraculous recovery after an accident. She was on her way home and had just spoken to him on the phone. Unfortunately, she never made it home because she suffered a heart attack behind the wheel and crashed. When he tried calling her, he had problems getting through but finally a woman, a nurse, answered his wife’s phone and told him what had happened. They tried doing CPR on her while he desperately tried getting to her after finding out that things were bad. When they got her to the hospital, they discovered that her heart had stopped for about 28 minutes. Her organs were beginning to shut down and they didn’t expect her to last the night. Gerald, fearing the worst, tried to release her but he reminded God that He was the God of the impossible and asked for a miracle. Fortunately, she did last through the night and in the coming days friends and family prayed for her. During that time, as he prayed he felt God say that He would answer his prayer and perform a miracle, that it didn’t matter what man said, He was going to do it. He chose to hold on to God’s promise. She began to stabilize but when they did an MRI they discovered that she had had a stroke and believed that she would be a vegetable. They got ready to take her off the ventilator and to bring her out of the coma not knowing what her mental state would be. Gerald prepared himself by reminding himself that God would keep His promise to him. She came off the ventilator and steadily improved. She acknowledged that her recovery was a journey and that she had to go through her season of therapy.
I was encouraged by this story because, once again, God was reminding me that He keeps His promises. If He tells us something, He is obligated to fulfill it no matter what anyone says, thinks or believes, no matter how bad and hopeless the situation looks. If God says it, He – not us – will perform it. As that husband heard all those negative reports, I can imagine that it was difficult to hold on to God’s Word to him. Sometimes when God speaks, we want instant results, we want things to happen in as short a period of time as possible. But, guess what? It doesn’t always happen like that. I think sometimes He speaks because He knows we are about to get a negative report and He wants us to trust Him NOT that negative report. It’s almost as if He is preparing us for the worst by telling us up front, “don’t worry, what THEY say isn’t what’s going to happen but what I told you, that’s what’s going to happen.” And yes, it can be tough to see “facts” in front of you while choosing to trust a WORD from God that you can’t see.
And that’s what happened with Gerald. He had to remind himself of what God told him at the beginning even though afterwards he kept hearing negative report after negative report. It’s the same with us. No matter how negative, how challenging, how hopeless the situation may seem, remember the Word that God spoke to you and hold on to that. And if He hasn’t spoken maybe you need to ask Him what He’s saying to you in your situation. Sometimes we don’t know because we don’t ask.
Over the years, God has taught me to know and to hear His voice. During challenging situations I have learned to trust in that still small voice that gives me hope and encouragement and even tells me how a thing is going to turn out. He speaks to me in different ways, through reading His Word, a sermon, a song, a movie, a dream, or especially through that still small voice all of which bring that conviction in my spirit that God has spoken. What confirms it is when that Word really does come to pass.
God’s promises are sure (2 Corinthians 1:20). If He promises a thing, He will bring it to pass. The nice thing is, we don’t have to strive to bring it to pass ourselves. There are times when He will guide us and show us what to do, but in those impossible times when your hands are tied and you can’t do a thing, trust what He has said to you and know He will bring it to pass. He is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19). He is the God of His Word and He can’t and will not go back on His Word to you.
If you have not invited Jesus Christ into your life I encourage you to do so now. He is one who will never turn His back on you and will always keep His promises to you. He may not always do things in the way you might hope or expect, but whatever He does will be way better than anything you could ask or imagine.
Some days ago, I listened to a testimony that I had actually heard a year or so ago. It came from a young lady who had been adopted as a baby into a loving and caring family. Years later, when she got older, she decided to look for her birth mother. When she found her, they had a beautiful time of catching up but then she found out what had really happened. Her mother had become pregnant at the age of thirteen. Her mother's mother told her that the only solution was an abortion. So, at five months pregnant, she and her mother went to an abortion clinic together and the abortion was successfully done. Some weeks later, while at school her mom’s friend sensed something was wrong and encouraged her to visit the doctor to make sure everything was okay. They were shocked to learn that yes, the abortion was successful, but she was still pregnant with another baby ... she had been pregnant with twins! Because the amniotic fluid contained in the sack which holds the baby had been broken she had not been receiving the nutrients she was supposed to be receiving. She was born some weeks later at three pounds two ounces, with dislocated hips and clubbed feet. When she was born she had to wear a harness for her hips and a cast for her feet. For the next couple of years, she would wear casts, even body casts, to help form her body back together. The interesting thing is that after learning all of this she chose to forgive her mother. Her mother in turn, however, took a few years before she could receive that forgiveness.
Life happens. God doesn’t expect perfection from us as much as we expect it from ourselves. We can’t always choose what our story would be, but we can choose to make the best of it. Like that girl’s mother, we all make mistakes. Some mistakes are more tragic than others yet there is no mistake that God cannot forgive or that He will refuse to forgive.
As I listened to her testimony, I heard in that girl’s voice a love for her mother. I heard a thankfulness for life in spite of her mother and grandmother’s best efforts to destroy her. It’s actually the same with God. If God had to talk about us, we would hear the love in His voice for us, His joy that we are His and that He is ours. When God forgives He truly forgives but sadly we are the ones who have a hard time forgiving ourselves. God has chosen us, we have not chosen Him. He has chosen us from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), even though He knew we would fail, we would mess up.
I keep going back to the story of David because there is so much to be learned from his story. He was a man after God’s own heart, yet he committed adultery and murder and tried to cover it up (2 Samuel 11). When he met with an arrogant, disagreeable man called Nabal, he got so angry he was prepared to destroy the man and all the men in his household (1 Samuel 25:1-22). On top of that, he didn’t handle his family very well and almost lost his kingdom to one of his sons (2 Samuel 15 & 18). David’s life was certainly colorful but that didn’t stop God from loving him and taking him through every tragedy and mistake he faced.
Nothing can stop God from loving us and from forgiving us. He forgives us and moves on and even uses the mistakes we have made to bring about some of our greatest testimonies, just like that mother who unsuccessfully tried to abort her daughter. It was a tragedy for the twin that was killed but for the one who survived, it has been an opportunity to tell the world about God’s mercy and love.
No matter how you have messed up, God is able to take that horrible mess and turn it into a wonderful testimony that encourages and comforts others. Or maybe someone has hurt you and you find it so hard to forgive. I realize that one of the things that God does with me sometimes is to allow me to struggle in some area. Why? To remind me that I too am struggling with sin just like the person I am struggling to forgive is struggling with sin. We are in the same struggle together. Our sin may be different, but it is still a struggle in the flesh.
Forgiveness does liberate, it does set free, but it is also a choice not a feeling. And when we make that first step to choose to forgive, God will always come alongside us to help us the rest of the way. I have struggled with unforgiveness for years until God came alongside me and helped me to finally understand how to forgive and to actually do it. It was so liberating it was tangible but it is still a work in progress. I have also experienced God’s forgiveness over the years and that too has been liberating, like a burden being lifted. I read a quote from an unknown author recently which simply says: "Forgiveness is not something we do for other people, it is something we do for ourselves so we can move on." If unforgiveness is holding you back today, cut loose from it so you can be free to move on. You have absolutely nothing to lose.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as Lord and Savior please do so now. There is no sin that you have committed that will cause Him to turn His back on you. He still wants you. He still chooses to love you. Accept Him today and experience a love and mercy that will truly set you free!
The song “Good Good Father” is a song I have been familiar with for a few years. I decided to listen to it before even starting to write this post and the music, melody and especially lyrics did not disappoint. It’s a song that reminds me of God’s unconditional love for me. It’s a love that is gentle, sure, not influenced in any way by what I have done or failed to do. The first verse states:
Oh, I've heard a thousand stories of what they think You're like
But I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
And You tell me that You're pleased and that I'm never alone.
God is truly a personal God. We can listen to other people’s experiences, read volumes on theological explanations on who He is and what He is like but until you experience Him for yourself all of that lovely info means nothing. Knowing about Him can never compare to knowing Him intimately, personally.
I once again look at one of my most written about characters in the Bible, David. There is no doubt that he had a very intimate relationship with his God. He went through numerous trials, challenges, tests, betrayal, rejection and through it all he learned to trust his God. He knew what it was like to be alone and without human support, he knew about unfair treatment, he knew about temptation and sin, but he also knew through experience that in spite of all of these things his God loved him and that he was never actually alone in the face of these trials. Jesus too, faced His own challenges of opposition, betrayal and loneliness. His walk was a lonely, difficult one but He never gave up because His heavenly Father with whom He communicated daily was always there for and with Him. Elijah was a powerful man of God. He performed great miracles and after defeating and killing the prophets of Baal, queen Jezebel threatened to kill him. He ran for his life scared, alone and praying to die. What did God do? He fed and refreshed him and after several days gave him a fresh revelation of Himself and even reminded him that he was not alone, that there were seven thousand others like him who had refused to worship Baal (1 Kings 19:1-18).
That “tender whisper of love in the dead of night” many of us can probably testify about. Those alone times when we may feel totally spent and as if we can’t go on, we don’t even want to go on, we just want to give up, give in, throw in the towel. I think we have all faced times like that and some are probably facing them now. God never gives up on us even when we give up on Him and He has this interesting and timely way of letting us know that He’s right there, He is pleased with us, we are not alone. I think many times, it’s not a question of if He’s there but whether or not we are able to feel His presence, have that intimate knowledge that He is right there watching over us and caring about our every move.
Just yesterday, I was faced with a challenging time. I was having quite a full day trying to juggle one task after the next. I had an assignment to fulfil but was also feeling extremely tired and quite frankly I was incapable of thinking clearly. I finally decided to take a rest. During that very brief time I also chose to just rest in Him. I had asked for His help with that assignment and realised I was too tired to think properly and that I had to let it go, release it to Him and let Him handle it. Mind you I was feeling frustrated because time was very limited but I had the choice to crash and burn or to rest, refresh and continue. I lay on my bed and it was a few minutes of complete, total and much needed rest. When I arose, the ideas just started to flow and I was able to complete my task better than I could have imagined. I had to truly thank Him because He brought all the ideas together. I realize that maybe like Elijah He was more interested in my health and well-being and needed to ensure that I got adequate rest before continuing with the job. He also wanted me to trust Him. I had asked for His help more than once but He knew that rest was first priority. That is how much He cares for me.
Sometimes, it just takes rest and trust and remembering that we are never alone, that He is always there, a present help when we need it. I know life can be tough, believe me I know. But we also have a heavenly Father who has promised to never leave us or forsake us. Even in our most lonely of times, like David, like Jesus, like Elijah, He is always there helping, covering, protecting, and just plain loving us even when we don’t deserve it. He is indeed a good, good Father and we are loved by Him.
If you have not asked Jesus Christ to be Lord of your life, I encourage you to do so now. We all need a loving, caring Daddy who loves us and is always there for us no matter what.
It’s interesting... I have been trusting God to give me material to write and He usually does. Today, as I prayed and waited patiently, or rather impatiently, for some inspiration to come, my youngest daughter walked into my room and begged me to pull out her tooth. At that point I don’t know who was more scared, me or her. I immediately told her to wait for her father to get home because after all, that was his specialty. But, unfortunately for both of us, that tooth was very ready to come out and daddy was too far away to run to her rescue ... or mine... So, I pushed aside my feelings of inadequacy and made up my mind to do it. A napkin appeared to assist me in my task and armed with the only instrument at my disposal, I proceeded to attempt to extract a tooth. Now mind you, as easy as that sounded the next several moments was almost like a dance routine. I put my napkin-equipped hand over the tooth, she moved her head, she walked away, she came back, she spoke – several times – she dillied and dallied, none of which made it any easier for me to do this unpleasant job. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she stood still enough and I was able to remove the tooth. After lots of blood, she was relieved, I was relieved, everyone was happy – yes we had an audience, her siblings and cousin – and life continued ... as normal.
And that’s life. Sometimes, we too, dilly-dally, we procrastinate, we know we need to get rid of some things, but... My daughter’s tooth could not remain in her mouth. It was time for it to come out. Its time was up, it had to give way for a new tooth, a permanent one to come in. I saw a drawing once – maybe you have seen it too – of a little girl holding a small teddy bear in her hands. Jesus is kneeling in front of her holding out His hand for the teddy bear. She doesn’t want to give it up. She has become attached to it, it is precious to her. Little does she know that behind His back is a bigger, nicer teddy bear just for her. All she has to do is give him that little bear and she would get an even bigger one.
There are times when God wants to give us something better, but the trade-off is that we have to let go of the old – the old way of life, the old way of doing things, the old habits. Or, maybe what we are holding on to like that little girl isn’t necessarily something bad, but God wants to give us an upgrade, He wants to give us something even better than what we already have. We turn it down because we are so attached to that old car, that job. Maybe He wants to promote us but we are quite comfortable in the position we are in. Whatever it is, God always has and wants to give us His best for us but sometimes without even realizing it, we tell Him, “No thank You God, it’s alright, I’m quite content with what I have.” That sounds so noble and humble... But what if we are standing in the way of God’s blessings for us?
The children of Israel in the Bible were faced with this same dilemma. When they left Egypt, they faced various challenges that prompted them to complain and say that it was better for them if they had remained in Egypt. They were not willing to go through the process of receiving God’s best for them and so they found themselves wishing that they had remained in bondage in Egypt. Even when they were about to enter the Promised Land, which God had told them was a land flowing with milk and honey, just as they were about to enter they changed their mind. Another “problem” came up. There were giants in the land and they felt totally incapable of subduing them. They preferred instead to remain where they were in the wilderness (Numbers 13:26-33 & 14:1-3).
We can’t always control the journey to receiving God’s best for us. There will be problems, challenges, disappointments along the way, but if we are persistent, we will reap His best for us. What is also most important to remember is that God is right there with us – just as He was with the children of Israel – in our process, in our wilderness. He even understands our desire to hold on to what may not necessarily be bad, but He knows that letting it go paves the way towards something even better. We may not be able to see the big teddy bear God has for us behind His back as He reaches out for the little one in our hands, but we can trust that He will never ask us to give up something without already having in His hand something even better.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as Lord and Savior, take the opportunity to do so now. What God has for you will amaze you, surprise you and will certainly not disappoint you. As His child, His best for you is always going to be there for the taking. So, what are you waiting for? Choose Him and His best for you today!
I remember a video I watched some time ago about an eagle and a crow. It was interesting to see the crow perched on top of the eagle, pecking away persistently at his neck. As I watched I also realized that the eagle made no effort to shake the crow off. Instead, the eagle rose higher and higher in the sky until the crow finally simply fell off because of a lack of oxygen at that height.
One of the first things that came to mind was the reality that we can’t escape the “crows” of life. Problems are going to come whether we like it or not and sometimes they are going to come from areas we least expect. We can’t always stop them but we can learn to deal with them as they come.
I am reminded of the story of Job. Job’s problems seemed to come out of nowhere. He was doing his best to live a good life even praying on behalf of his children when he thought they might have sinned. Yet, problem after problem came. He lost his material possessions and his children. When his wife in grief of spirit told him to curse God and die it seemed he had no support whatsoever. Then, his friends came, but, instead of comfort, their words added to his pain and suffering. Yet, in spite of it all, Job kept his focus on his God, he refused to give up on him and chose instead to honor Him. His attitude to God in the midst of his trials did not change. He maintained his focus, his stance to honor God, to trust Him even when it did not make sense. When God finally delivered him, he had not allowed his trials to change his attitude or defeat him. In fact, God blessed him even more after his season of suffering.
I took note of the fact that the eagle did not seem to once pay attention to the crow. It’s not that he was not feeling the bites on his neck but he chose to focus instead on going higher. Sometimes we have to keep our focus on what is important. The problems that come are at times merely distractions to throw us off course, to discourage us, to deter us from accomplishing our goals or dreams. And sometimes they come just as we are about to be promoted or to receive great blessings. The battle still belongs to the Lord. I know that is easy to say and write but the truth is the truth. Sometimes we need to be reminded that it is not our responsibility to fight. That’s God’s job and we need to learn to give God’s job back to Him!
I am also reminded of the story of king Jehoshaphat. When he heard about that combined army coming against him and his people, he ran to God. God let them know that the battle belonged to Him and that all they had to do was stand still and watch and see how He would deliver them (2 Chronicles 20:15, 17). On the day of the battle, appointed singers began to sing praises to God: “Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir who had come against Judah, and they were defeated” (2 Chronicles 20:22). Without even having to lift a finger, their enemies were defeated because God fought for them.
Our praise and our worship are important. Fighting up with the enemy will only weary us, even make us bitter. But offering praise and worship to God will rejuvenate and strengthen us and when we step aside and trust God, He is obligated to defend us and fight on our behalf!
I can speak freely on this topic of trials and challenges because I have had my fair share just like so many of us. We know what it is like to go through storms, pain, suffering, stress. I also know what it is to put on some worship music and just choose to praise and worship my God while I am going through. I admire that eagle. He just kept flying – he never chose to land. He just kept rising higher and higher. My encouragement to us – even me – is to keep flying, keep soaring, keep rising, don’t stop. Whatever God has for you, keep reaching for it. Whatever God has given you to do, keep doing it. Don’t get distracted or lose focus. Keep praising and worshiping, even when it hurts, even when it is difficult. I am sure the eagle felt the pain of the crow biting into him BUT HE DID NOT STOP he kept rising, he kept his focus, he refused to be defeated!!!
Don’t stop! Keep rising! Keep soaring! Be your best for God. You will never be alone or have to do it alone!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and Savior I encourage you to do so now. In Him you can face any challenge or situation that may come your way. He will fight for you because you belong to Him and He will never leave you without the support and strength that you need.
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.