For He Himself has said: "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
As we enter a brand new year, there is the usual talk of new beginnings and fresh hope. New year’s resolutions will be made with some excitement and sadly abandoned within a short time.
I am choosing however, to simply be thankful. It isn’t a question of ignoring the negative things that have happened but choosing to focus on the reality that God has brought me through as well as to focus on the good things He has brought out of it all. The fact is that God uses both the good and the bad things to help shape your present and your future. God’s purpose and plan for your life have not changed, they remain the same no matter what has happened. At the end of the day, no matter what, God is still good. He isn’t only good when things are good, He is just good … period!!!
I recall the testimony of a young African boy, Tani, a champion chess player in the United States. He was only eight years old when he won the 2019 New York state championship. He and his family had endured a terrible life in Nigeria where they faced persecution and the threat of death. They finally managed to escape to America where they started a new life. It was there that his chess skills were developed. He worked hard and his mother prayed with him explaining to him that with patience and prayer he would see success. It was a long and difficult road but Tani followed her advice and kept his focus and trusted God to help him be successful in the various tournaments he entered. In time, Tani’s success brought attention to his family’s plight and his family received material blessings beyond measure! Imagine, their challenging life in Nigeria helped pave the way for the success that was a part of their future!
Your journey may have been a long and difficult one. You have received promise after promise; your hope and faith may have been severely tested. At the end of the day, it is important to trust God and leave the results up to Him. God is going to be God and He is going to still be good no matter how things turn out. Our focus needs to remain riveted on God who can do all things. As soon as our focus shifts to the negative - which can be so easy to do - our hope becomes shattered. I encourage you to keep your eyes on God. Isn’t that what Jesus was trying to teach us when He walked on stormy waters? The miracle wasn’t so much that He was walking on water as the fact that He was walking on extremely rough, unstable waters. HE was in control. He did not need the problem to fix itself so that He could walk safely on it. He was able to walk on it in spite of how rough it was. HE wasn’t being tossed about like the boat, neither was Peter, once he kept his eyes on Jesus (Matthew 14:22-32).
Once we keep our focus on God and on His Word, we can survive and thrive in any situation. It really is about focus. When you focus on the problem - the wind and the waves - you will feel discouraged and hopeless. But, when you focus on God, hope and faith will remain alive because you acknowledge that He is the One to do it … not you! He is in control … NOT the situation! It’s about focus!!!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I invite you to do so now. Last year has been what it has been, but in this new year, you can choose where to fix your focus - on God or on your situation. The one thing that can change is your situation, the one thing that cannot change is God. He is unchangeable and has proven Himself incapable of failing. He is still the God who is able to make the impossible … possible!!!
Elizabeth and Kevin felt ready to start a family after three years of marriage. However, after several months of trying with no results, Elizabeth’s enthusiasm was replaced with the growing concern that something might be wrong. After a year, they visited the doctor who had no explanation for their infertility and therefore no easy solution. They kept praying and believing God but for Elizabeth she felt as if God was silent.
As they approached Christmas 2004, Elizabeth felt a sense of desperation because this three-year mark could mean that they would never have children. After Christmas dinner with Elizabeth’s family, they decided to gather around for a time of prayer. Each member of her family prayed that at the same time the following year, she and her husband would have a baby. Three months later, they decided to do a pregnancy test and discovered that they were pregnant. One year later on Christmas day 2005 - just as her family had prayed - Elizabeth delivered their daughter, Cassidy. God had answered even though it seemed as if He was silent. Elizabeth felt that God had gone out of His way to say that, yes, He did hear her and that He was just waiting for the right time to answer in a miraculous way. They now have four children and each Christmas they have an extra reminder that God hears and loves them. As she looks back, she realises that God had been guiding all the details just to show that He loves them and that He is always listening even when it seems as if He isn’t.
I am pretty sure Hannah, the prophet Samuel’s mother could relate to and understand what Elizabeth went through. She was barren and earnestly wished for a son. To make matters worse, her husband’s other wife Peninnah would grieve and torment her because God had closed her womb. Yet, Hannah turned to God in prayer and trusted Him to work a miracle in her life. She even promised to give her son back to God if God honoured her request. God did not fail her. Through the chief priest, Eli, God promised that her prayer request would be answered and sure enough in the process of time she conceived and gave birth to a son, Samuel (1 Samuel 1:1-20). She kept her promise and gave him back to God to serve Him in His tabernacle all the days of his life. God, in turn, blessed her with five more children (v. 22; 2:18-21)! Even though she had to go through a season of pain and anguish, God had been listening and was putting things in place to grant her request … but it was about His timing! Just like Elizabeth and Kevin, God had been listening from the very first time they made their request but He had also been orchestrating everything according to His timing … and purpose.
Waiting can be difficult especially when you are not even sure your request will be granted. Both Elizabeth and Hannah had to learn to trust God even when He seemed silent. We too have to trust when no answer seems forthcoming, when God seems to have turned a deaf ear. It can be frustrating, it can be discouraging, it certainly hammers away at our faith. Yet, God does hear, He is listening. Psalm 34:15 says, “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and His ears are open unto their cry.” The issue isn’t that God isn’t hearing but maybe that we feel stressed and discouraged when He doesn’t respond as quickly as we would like or in the way that we would like.
We love to say that Jesus is the reason for this Christmas season. Just remember that Jesus is proof that God hears us. Through Jesus we now have direct access to God’s throne of grace. God is interested in listening to us, He is interested in what we have to say … even though He knows what we are going to ask before we ask it! God desires to listen to us because what we have to say is important to Him. Think about that. The God of everything is interested in what we have to say! He will never ignore us … He is always listening!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, this Christmas, make that step and gift yourself with the gift of salvation. That’s the reason why Jesus came to this earth, to offer us hope and salvation. God wants to hear from you. So, take the time to talk to Him today. He is listening!
Toni and her husband David were devastated to learn that he had two years to live. His heart was enlarged and not beating like it should. The EF (efficiency rating) of a healthy heart is 60 percent, his EF was 12 percent. They sought a second and third opinion but the results were the same. While he accepted that he was going to die, his wife, Toni, and their daughters refused to do so and prayer support was sought from family and friends at church. For the next several months, doctor’s visits revealed that he was getting neither better nor worse, his EF continued to be 12 percent and they recommended that he get a heart transplant as soon as possible.
One day, however, Toni realised that in order for her husband to get a heart transplant, someone would have to die. This realisation made her uncomfortable because she didn’t want anyone to have to die in order for her husband to get a heart. So, she changed her prayers and asked God to give him a new heart without having to rely on a heart transplant. She firmly believed that God was able to do just that.
In the following days, David was encouraged from the Word of God. One of the verses that gave him hope was Ezekiel 36:26 where the Lord said: “ I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you…” Toni, on the other hand, was thanking God for healing her husband yet, knowing that all she needed was faith like a grain of mustard seed, she asked for a sign - that snow would fall in their area. It had not snowed in her town for over one hundred years! On Christmas Eve, she looked outside and noticed that God had answered - snow was falling and it did not stop. The next morning the town’s inhabitants were amazed but Toni was in awe that her God saw her as significant enough to honour her faith. Three weeks’ later, at his monthly checkup, his doctors were baffled because he wasn’t sick anymore, his heart was fine!
I have shared countless miracles in this blog over the years simply because I truly believe God can do the impossible. There is nothing too hard for God according to Jeremiah 32:27. God can do anything but all He wants us to do is to trust Him and even prove Him! The Bible says that His Word will not return to Him void but will accomplish what He pleases (Isaiah 55:11). Over the years I have chosen to believe in and stand on His Word time and time again. Let’s face it, there are many people who have died from a heart attack but there are also those who have not. He chose me to be one of those who survived it! I didn’t accomplish that on my own, I couldn’t, that was ALL GOD!!! Just as God spared David’s life because He has a beautiful plan and purpose for Him I certainly know that He spared mine for the same reason!
There are countless Bible characters who have experienced miracles from God and just like David in our story, they expected something great from Him! Blind Bartimaeus received his sight (Mark 10:46-52); a man possessed by a legion of demons was delivered (Luke 8:26-35); a leper was cleansed (Luke 5:12-13); a Gentile woman’s daughter was healed (Matthew 15:21-28), and there are so many more examples!
What are you expecting from God today??!! Do you even believe that He is able to do the impossible? Whether we choose to believe it or not, God is able. As I always say, He may not answer in the way we would like but He does answer. Ultimately, He has a plan and a purpose for each of us and His thoughts toward us continue to be for good NOT for evil contrary to what the devil would have us believe.
At the end of the day, God loves us and wants the best for us. Once you believe that then it’s not so hard to believe that He will do His utmost best to rescue us when we are in trouble and to ensure that we live the abundant life His Son, Jesus Christ died to give us. God is able!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I invite you to do so now. God did not create you for destruction or to live a failed life. He wants you to prosper and thrive in Him. He wants you to live the abundant and blessed life He originally designed just for you.
I was encouraged by the testimony of Christine Caine, a popular Christian speaker and author. She was at the airport about to return home after a conference. After facing various challenges in transit, she managed to get on the plane to take her to her final destination. Unfortunately, however, the captain informed them that they would not be able to take off immediately. It turned out that because of the weather, there were 26 other planes ahead of them awaiting clearance for take off. He further went on to say that he did not believe the plane had enough fuel to wait that long. Immediately, this confident, woman of God started complaining to God, completely stressed with all the delays and challenges of this trip. However, in the midst of her tirade to God, the captain came back on the loud speaker and told them to immediately get themselves ready because they had been cleared for take off. It turns out that another run way which had been closed was now open and they - plane number 27 - were going to bypass all 26 planes in front of them and leave via that runway!
You can imagine how she felt. She was just busy practically telling God off in her mind and there was God now working a miracle out in her favour! Isn’t that so like us at times? We get discouraged, stressed, upset when situations don’t quite seem to be working out the way we would like. Our worry and fear increase and before you know it, we have forgotten all the good things God has done for us, all the times He came through for us - and right on time! In the midst of a trial or test, it can be so easy to forget who our God is and what He is capable of and the fact that He really never fails us!
I recall the story of the children of Israel in the wilderness. Each time they faced a challenge, they would complain. It seemed that they consistently forgot the miracles God performed for them with each new trial. They complained and even wanted to return to Egypt, the place of their bondage. God had parted the Red Sea and not only got them through safely on dry ground but used that same sea to drown their enemies (Exodus 14); He even literally provided food for them from heaven (Exodus 16:1-5) yet, each time a problem arose that they couldn’t handle, they forgot that their God could perform miracles. The psalmist David, on the other hand, was a man after God’s own heart because, although he faced numerous trials, he never failed to put his trust in His God. He knew where his help was going to come from and that if God did it for him before, He would do it for him again! Our problems may vary but the God who can solve them is the same.
In my own life, I have learned to trust God, choosing to believe that if He did it before He will do it again. With each challenge, He has been developing in me trust in Him. Yes, there are times when my faith begins to waver. The situation or challenge seems so scary, seems as if it will never end, seems as if it will get the better of me and I assure you my attitude is not always the best at those times. But, faithfully and beautifully, God always reminds me that He is right there, and He will see me through. There is nothing that I face that He can’t handle.
That day, God understood exactly Christine’s need to return home on time and her subsequent frustration at the various challenges she had been facing during travel. He could have allowed her to suffer through the wait but He chose to work a miracle just for her and to remind her about her attitude while she was waiting. Whichever way it went, God was going to work it out and she was going to get through this test. Sometimes we need to be reminded to have a good attitude during our trial or test; sometimes we need to put our faith into action; and sometimes we just need to remember that we serve a God of miracles and that with man it may be impossible but with God all things are possible! However you look at it, we are not required to figure it out or do it on our own. We are simply required to trust and let Him lead. He sees, He knows and He never fails!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour I encourage you to make that step now. In this tumultuous world in which we live, life can be so challenging at times. Yet, our God is ever-present and ever-ready to take us victoriously through any challenge, any test that will come our way. He really does see and know. He truly never fails!
At the age of 3 months, Kaleb’s mother became concerned with the way he was breathing. When they took him to the hospital, tests were done and it was discovered that he was suffering from a heart condition which would require a heart transplant. He was given medication in the hope that this would aid in the healing process but this did not happen. He was put on the waiting list for a new heart. Prayers were going up on his behalf from family and those on social media. Months later they were informed that a heart had become available and it was confirmed to be a match. His surgery was successful and they were able to take him home just in time for Christmas. It has been a reminder every Christmas since then of God’s goodness to them during that crucial time. Even though the waiting process seemed long, He came through for them at just the right time. They learned to trust God and not give up.
As I listened to this story, I was reminded not only of God’s goodness but of the fact that time is in His hands. As baby Kaleb waited for a heart for his heart transplant, it must have been stressful on his parents wondering if he would survive the long wait, wondering if he would make it. All the while, as they waited, they prayed and trusted God. I don’t know what waiting season you may be in but while you wait I encourage you to trust God. During this time it can be so easy to focus on the negative, to focus on what could go wrong, to believe that you are not going to make it through this season, but, I encourage you to trust God in the waiting. He can see what you can’t, He knows what you don’t, He knows what the end of your story will be. Trust Him in the waiting, hold on to His promises because He always gives us a Word, something to hold on to while we wait.
As my mind runs over a few people in the Bible, it finally settles on the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48). Think about it, she had suffered for twelve years. That’s a long time! Many of us can barely make it through our situation in a few days! She had tried everything and had to finally face the reality that no one could help her not even the doctors. I am sure she felt hopeless and helpless. Yet, one day, she heard about a man who was going around healing the sick and performing miracles and He was passing her way. It had been an extremely long - and expensive - wait but she was going to try one more time. She wasn’t on a waiting list, she had no appointment to see Jesus but she was going to get to Him no matter what it took! And get to Him she did, secretly, quietly and she received her healing. In God’s perfect timing her healing came because she chose to have faith in Him … even after an extremely long wait. Some people would have given up on ever getting healed after twelve years! Many have given up in much less time!
Don’t give up on God! He may seem to be long in coming to your rescue but He will come … just in the nick of time! It may seem as if everyone else is getting their breakthrough, their promotion, their healing, their prayers answered . . . everyone except you. At this point it can be so easy to give up. It can be so easy to believe that your dream may very well die in that wilderness, that you may die in that wilderness. But guess what? You are going to make it, you are not going to die there, you will make it through, you will make it to the other side. It is God’s job, not yours, to get you safely to the other side, to get you safely through your wilderness experience. I have had to believe that for myself. It is the expectation I hold on to that God will get me through my own trying season, I am going to make it because He will get me to the other side! That’s His job - not mine! So, when fear steps in, choose trust and have faith in Him because HE will do it!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so now. We all need a God who never fails, a God who will get there when we need Him just in the nick of time!
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.