Dec 31, 2012

Don't Be Discouraged

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them - to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates - all the Hittite country - to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’” 

Of all the people in the Bible, Joshua might be one of the last we'd expect to need encouragement.

Years earlier, Joshua and Caleb stood their ground against an angry mob that was ready to pummel them to death with rocks. A number of spies had just reported that it would be impossible for the people to conquer the land of Canaan. The giant inhabitants of the land had powerful weapons. But Joshua and Caleb countered, ‘Don’t be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us’ (Numbers 14:9). Although this speech did not convince the frightened Israelites, Joshua and Caleb did not back down.

Given Joshua's courage, why did God need to tell him not to be terrified or discouraged? This was now about 40 years later, and Joshua was no longer facing fellow Israelites. Now he would need to lead an army of Israel against the Canaanites, who would fight to the death to protect their land, possessions, and families. The real battle would begin.

Yesterday's courage can’t be saved for today's challenge. But God's faithfulness is new every morning.

Believe in Jesus and know that the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Don’t be terrified. Don’t be discouraged.

Father, sometimes we’re afraid and discouraged. Thank You that You are our refuge and strength. Help us to remember that You are always with us. In Jesus' name, amen.


Dec 30, 2012

What's at the End of Your Rope?


Moses said to the people,
Don’t be afraid. God’s come
to test you, so that the fear
of God will be with you to
keep you from sinning.
Exodus 20:20

When you're at the end of your rope, you're at the beginning of hope. Grab on to JESUS ... He's our lifeline of hope. Hope in God, He's the only one that will never fail you. He can be trusted.

Our bad circumstances don't negate how good God is. He is good ALL the time.

Maybe 'What's at the end of your rope?' is the wrong question. I'll rephrase it to 'Who's at the end of your rope?'

Praise Him ... and HANG ON!
Father, I pray that You help us not be afraid when we’re being overwhelmed with circumstances. Thank You that You won’t leave us when the going gets tough ... we’ve all been there, done that in other relationships and it’s getting old. Help us to renew our minds to the fact that there IS hope and it's YOU. No matter what happens, YOU’RE our ONLY hope of a LIFELINE. Give us faith to grab on to You and NEVER let go. You sure aren’t. I love You Lord, amen.
see also:  God's Hand
               There's a Reason for That Test, You Know
               Faith Walk
               The Man with the Plan

Dec 27, 2012

Someone Cares

The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ Exodus 3:7,8



‘Nobody cares.’ What a terrible thought. Whether it’s the teenager who feels she has no one to talk to or the widower who feels that everyone is too busy to bother with him, the thought that no one cares is dreadful.

Although the person who feels this way may not be aware of just how much people do care, the most important thing to know is that God cares. He ALWAYS cares. When His people cried out to Him from slavery in Egypt – God cared. He was concerned about their suffering, and He came to their rescue. He used Moses to deliver them from their bondage and bring them to the Promised Land.

God cares about you. He ALWAYS cares about you.

When you cry out to God in your suffering – God cares. When you doubt that He cares, when the circumstances of your life seem to say that He doesn’t care, just look at Jesus suffering on the cross. He went to the cross to free you from your slavery to sin and death. He promises to bring you to heaven one day. The One who cared about you enough to do all of that certainly cares enough to deliver you from whatever other trials you are facing.

When you are tempted to think, ‘Nobody cares,’ look to the cross and be certain that the LORD cares.

Prayer: Thank you Father, for proving Your love for me by sending Jesus to the cross. When I am down, when I doubt Your care and concern, lift my eyes to the cross and comfort me with Your care. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Dec 25, 2012

The Gift within the Gift



Our Savior, Jesus Christ was the gift that our Father God gave to us. There were 7 gifts that Jesus brought us with the gift of Himself.

1) He's our Salvation

    Luke 2:11 - For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

2) He's our Redeemer
    Galations 3:13 - Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for
    us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’).

    Galations 4:4-6 - But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a
    woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might
    receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His
    Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’

3) He’s our Healer

 Psalm 103:3 - Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.

    Psalm 147:3 - He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

4) He’s our Deliverer

Romans 11:26 - And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of
    Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob’.

5) He’s our Wisdom

Isaiah 11:1-3 - There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out
    of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and
    understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the
    Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor
    decide by the hearing of His ears.

6) He’s our Counselor and Our Peace

Isaiah 9:6 - For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon
    His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
    Prince of Peace.

7) He’s our Soon Coming King

Acts 1:11 - Who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same
    Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go
    into heaven.’

    Matt 16:27 - For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He
    will reward each according to his works.

    Matt 24:27 - For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the
    coming of the Son of Man be.

1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 - For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the
    voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then
    we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the
    Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Jesus gives peace that the world cannot give. He’s the King of King’s and Lord of Lord’s.

People say that Jesus was born to die. That is true. But He was also born to rise again. He sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for us and will soon return and draw those who belong with Him in Heaven.

My Pastor, Rev. Wanda Meadows, preached this sermon this past Sunday and I wanted to share it.

Dec 22, 2012

Sweep Off Your Own

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." Matthew 7:1-5

It's really hard to be around family sometimes, especially this time of year. Them still condemning me for the old me. Let it go people, I'm NEW. Family sure can be our worst critics sometimes, makes holidays really rough, but I'm gonna love on 'em anyway. Hmm, most of the stuff I'm being judged for isn't even true. If you don't accept me, don't think I'm gonna run home and cry a river, I'll give the rejection to Jesus and move on. I can live without you ... just fine.

Then there's all the fighting and bickering, people talking over each other, no one really caring to listen to anything but the sound of their own voice. Hurts to see family arguing and disrepecting each other, but I always ask God for grace to be around them and try to see all the family anyway - they are family after all.

Stop the disrepecting. Quit gossiping and judging, YOU don't have it all right, either. We don't need nobody pointing out our sins and judging us.

Sad to say, a lot of church folk criticize and find fault but then try to hid behind the Bible or their own personal so called righteousness. We try to dog others for what they're doing or not doing but then we forget about what we're doing behind closed doors at home.

Let he who's without sin cast the first stone. Baby, you need to sweep off your OWN porch first before trying to make others sweep theirs or you try to do it for them. Take a look at yourself before you criticize or have something to say about others.

It's funny how we so quickly see others faults and judge harshly, but either don't see our own shortcomings or ask others to excuse us like it's ok if we mess up and not them. We're actually usually guilty of the very faults that we try to accuse others of. That's why we recognize it so easily ... it's familiar to us.

We ALL need a heart change. And judging IS NOT going to change someone. If anything, it will cause them to withdraw and separate from the body of Christ even more. People feel bad enough as it is, they need love and support, that's what wins one out ... love.

The Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

No matter what you've done, God still loves you and He's there for you even when you can't feel Him. We make things so difficult sometimes, just relax and let the Lord lead. Don't think that you have to do everything right, that you have to please God and everybody, to be loved and accepted. God loves you and accepts you JUST LIKE YOU ARE.

Mother Teresa once said, 'If you judge people, you have no time to love them.'

Keep loving on family members and friends. Treat each other with respect, the way that you would want to be treated. God is the repairer of the breach and will mend the relationships that we give to Him and entrust to Him.

Sweep off your own front porch FIRST .... before you try to sweep around others porch.

Father, help us to quit worrying about what people think. Help us to stop trying to please everybody else when YOU'RE the ONE that we need to please. Help us to just do the best we can. Forgive us for judging our brother instead of loving on them and walking beside them in their time of need. In Jesus’ name, amen.

see also: In Times of Weakness

Dec 12, 2012

God's at Work

God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power
to do what pleases Him. Philippians 2:13

The Lord knows our hearts and knows we want to please Him. That honors Him and He uses our 'want to' as a starting point to help set us free. 

(Jesus said) You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

We need to come to Jesus, and come often, to ask for help to be able to do His will, to do what's right, and to ask for the power and grace to be obedient despite our flesh waring against us. You're 'qualified' to come to your heavenly Father's throne of grace today because 'grace' means 'UNEARNED, UNDESERVED favor'.

Let us come BOLDLY to the throne of our gracious God. There we WILL receive mercy and we WILL find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16

God WILL deliver you if you ... simply trust Him.

Father, give us the desire to want to do what’s right. Help us to want to please You. For whatever it is that we’re struggling with, forgive us of our sins and give us grace and mercy so that we may be obedient. Keep our hearts turned towards You. Help us not to beat ourselves up when we don’t meet the high expectations that we’ve set for ourselves. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Dec 11, 2012

You're Surrounded

The Lord your God is going with you.
He will fight for you against your enemies,
and He will give you victory.
Deuteronomy 20:4

Are you overwhelmed by the attacks of the enemy? Feel like you’re all alone? Feeling afraid?
We live in a fallen world. There's evil on every side. There's sickness, temptation and sorrow. Tragedy and loss sometimes strikes. Problems with personal relationships, economic difficulties, personal failures.  
What shall we do? The answer is found in faith.

God is greater than ANY circumstance or emergency we might find ourselves in. He won't be caught off guard by it. He is well able to help you overcome. Because if He's for you, NO ONE can be against you (Romans 8:31). NEVER run from your enemy. It only delays promotion. Know that when an enemy shows up - promotion is being offered.

Fear not that which tries to torment, for those that are with us, to protect us, are more than those that are against us, to destroy us - angels are unspeakably more numerous - God infinitely more powerful. When we are magnifying the causes of our fear we ought to possess ourselves with clear, and great, and high thoughts of God and the invisible world.


'Don't be afraid,' the
prophet answered.
'Those who are with us are
more than
those who are with them.'
2 Kings 6:16
Don't panic. Don't be afraid. Don’t look at the enemies that may be surrounding you, instead focus on Jesus and the help that is yours as a child of God. There's more going on than just what you see. Unseen by the physical senses, God is there to support, protect and encourage. Be unmoved.

God gives peace AND rest.

The Lord gave them peace and rest ALL AROUND, just as He had promised. Not one of their enemies opposed them - He placed all of them under their control. Joshua 21:44


Even seemingly surrounded and overwhelmed, there’s STILL more with us than be with them. Jesus is standing beside you -- you ARE NOT alone today. He’s ALWAYS with you.


God is greater than any enemy. Period.

Father, I pray that You help us to feel Your presence with us instead of fear when seemingly surrounded by the enemy. Give us protection on every side, build and be a protective fortress around us with Your presence. Open our spiritual eyes to see You and the angels of protection You have around us. I bind the attacks of the enemy trying to come against us and our loved ones and cast them to the pits of hell. Lord, give us peace and rest on EVERY side. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen.
see also: 2 Kings 6:8-23
             Romans 8:31-38


Dec 10, 2012

Go Forward


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

Yep, I've made a lot of mistakes. Bad decisions. But I CHOOSE not to let guilt and condemnation win. I WILL go forward from here.

God can breathe life into that seemingly dead situation, trust Him for it.

Live forward and trust your Father for better days.

We learn courageous action by going forward despite fears that try to urge us back.

1) Be courageous.
2) Have faith.
3) Go forward.
Father, let what You've invested in me not be in vain. Use what I've been through, use what we've all been through, to somehow bring Your name glory. We pray for better days, help us to believe for them. Turn what the enemy meant for harm and use it for good. In Jesus’ name, amen.



Dec 8, 2012

Worrying Will Never Change the Outcome

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have over come the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] John 16:33

The battles rage within, and only You Lord God can quiten the restlessness, fears, anxieties, and questions.

The things we worry about, stress about and busy ourselves with are just distractions for the enemy to deter us from the Lord's cause to win souls and heal hearts.

Worry will not only NEVER change the outcome, it can cloud our mind so that it's hard to hear the Lord's voice and direction as He tries to help us with what we're facing.

God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present and well-proved help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Hold on ... with bull dog faith.

And relax, God's taking care of it - - - don't you worry about a thing.

Prayer: Our hope lies in You Lord God, drive our hurts and fears away with Your presence and love. Help us to trust in You and look to You and not let the distractions of the world pull us away from You and Your will for us. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

see also: God Really Does Come Through 

Nov 27, 2012

Faith Walk

For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7

This 'faith walk' sure is hard sometimes, it'd be nice if it was just a little bit easier.

It's so hard to understand why God does or allows things to work out like He does sometimes ... I just have to get comfortable with not always having it all figured out.

I don't understand Lord, but I trust You anyway. Yeppers, I'm just gonna have to trust You on this one. I release disappointments.

You KNOW I woulda done given up by now if I hadn't believed I'd see God's goodness in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).

Father, be with us. Give us re-newed hope to continue on. I curse the attacks of the enemy trying to come against God's people, trying to make them give up ... get behind us satan, in Jesus' name.

FYI - the picture above is called the 'Walk of Faith' and it's a glass pavement built on a 4,690 foot mountain in China.

see also: The Man with the Plan
               Overcoming Discouragement

Nov 18, 2012

YOU are Beautiful!

    God created mankind in His own image,
    in the image of God He created them;
    male and female He created them.     
    Genesis 1:27

Stop putting yourself down.

Love yourself ... we are ALL made in God's image.

I hate it when people don't get it how beautiful they really are, so one more time people YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

Abba Father, help us to see ourselves as You do. Help us to speak Your Word and what You say about us instead of speaking negative things over ourselves or believing evil things that people may try to speak into our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Nov 15, 2012

You AREN'T a Mistake

    The Lord says, 'I will guide you along
    the best  pathway for your life. I will
    advise you and watch over you.'
    Psalms 32:8

You ARE NOT a mistake, you were handcrafted by God Himself. You ARE loved and you ARE special, regardless of what people say or how you're treated.

You deserve better than that.

God doesn't make junk. God doesn't make mistakes.

YOU are special.

Father, help us to to see ourselves through Your eyes instead of the image that we have in our minds based on what ppl say about us or how they've treated us. We are precious in Your sight. Help us to receive that identity in You and wear it. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Nov 13, 2012

God Has Not

God has not given us a spirit of fear and
timidity, but of power, love and a sound
mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

God hasn't given us a spirit of fear ... He's given us peace, strength and courage to face our enemies and defeat them.

Those who rest .... are trusting.

You DON'T have to run in fear any more.

Father God, replace our fears with peace by trusting in You and in Your ability to work through our circumstances to bring about right results. We need You now more than ever. Shoot, I need You now more than ever. Be close and let Your presence bring peace. May we enter rest through putting our trust in You. In Jesus' name, amen.

FYI - Picture is yesterday's sunset.

Nov 9, 2012

The Lord's Plans

The Lord’s plans stand firm forever;
His intentions can never be shaken.
Psalm 33:11

If God's said something about you, it doesn't matter what you're seeing right now ... if God said it, then IT IS.

God didn't bring you this far to leave you here, He has awesome things working on your behalf.

Father, thank You that Your love never fails, never gives up, and never runs out on us ... You're love is the ONE THING that will ALWAYS remain. May Your will be done in and through our lives. In Jesus' name, amen.

Sep 28, 2012

Peace and Rest on Every Side

Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God? You have allowed me to suffer much hardship and severe troubles, but You WILL restore me and revive my life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You WILL restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again. Psalm 71:19-21

The psalmist had seen 'great and severe troubles' (Ps. 71:20). Yet hovering in the back of his mind was the thought that God would 'revive' him again. The literal meaning of this phrase is 'bring him to life again.' He elaborated: 'You shall bring me up again from the depths of the earth [the grave]. You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side' (vs 20-21). If the troubles didn’t end in this life, certainly in heaven they would.

This thought - that someday we shall be in God’s presence and enjoy Him forever - crowns many of the psalms and is an assurance that helps life’s present troubles fade away (see Ps. 16,17,49,73).

Perhaps no one but God knows the trouble you've seen, but this is not all that shall be. Someday, your Father will 'increase your greatness' - you will be clothed with unspeakable glory. There will be comfort 'on every side.' His presence and love will bring perfect peace and rest.

The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as He had solemnly promised their ancestors. None of their enemies could stand against them, for the Lord helped them conquer all their enemies. Joshua 21:44

Richard Baxter once wrote, 'O what a blessed day that will be when I shall stand on the shore and look back on the raging seas I have safely passed; when I shall review my pains and sorrows, my fears and tears, and possess the glory which was the end of all. When all my labors and trials are over, and I am safe on that beautiful shore, just to be near the dear Lord I adore will through the ages be glory for me.'

Father, I pray that You wipe our tears away and cause our sorrows to give way to comfort. Defeat our enemies, put them to shame. Draw us close to You and help us to depend on You. Give us peace and rest on every side. In Jesus' name, amen.

Sep 2, 2012

You CAN Trust the Father

My times are in Your hands ... Psalm 31:15

Throughout the Psalms, David acknowledges that he chose to put his life in the hands of the Lord. In the verse above, he was in essence saying, 'I trust You God, because I know You are good - my times are in Your hands.'

Are you willing to release every area of your life to the Father? Are you willing to trust Him with the times and seasons of your life? You may be in a situation right now that you don't fully understand, but take heart - God is a good God, and you CAN trust Him.

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]. For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] John 16:33

God is working behind the scenes on your behalf. If you'll keep your heart surrendered to Him, you'll begin to see things change in your favor. As you continue to trust Him, He'll open doors for you. He'll take what the enemy meant for evil in your life, and He'll turn it around for your good.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. Genesis 50:20

Keep standing, keep believing, and trust Him. Your times are in His hands.

Prayer: Father, today I choose to trust You. I trust that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf. I trust You with my whole life - my times are in Your hands. Help me to stay close to You today so that I can hear Your voice. In Jesus' name, amen.

 see also: AFTA Blog - Trusting God
                AFTA Blog - Yep, We're Going Thru
                AFTA Blog - You Want Me to Do What?

Aug 8, 2012

Don't Self-Harm

I waited and waited and waited for God. At last He looked; finally He listened. He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud.  He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn't slip. He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise-song to our God. Psalm 40:1-3

DON'T hurt yourself in any way ... for any reason ... that's NOT the answer.

Being a Christian or committing yourself to someone doesn't give a person the right to treat you like a doormat. You don't owe that person anything. Commitment and relationships take TWO people working together.

You're a person with feelings. You count. And you are somebody. You're just as important as the person you're with. You deserve to have a good life and be happy.

STOP searching for ways to die, and START searching for ways to fight to live. Ending your life WOULD NOT be a good witness to those around you, DON'T do it. LIVE I say, LIVE in the name of Jesus.

No matter what problems you are struggling with, hurting yourself isn't the answer - JESUS CARES - call on Him.

God's NOT going to give up on us and there ISN’T so much bad that we've done in our past that He can’t forgive us, He CAN and He WILL. He cares for you and loves you, whether you are a Christian or not, whether you're male or female, whether you're gay or straight, whether you're black or white ... He simply LOVES YOU.

People can't always give us what we need, they can't always be who we need them to be ... BUT GOD. People aren't always equipped with love and care to give out, 'cause they never had it themselves.

Don’t you give up, honey. It may not always feel like it, but YOUR life matters. Don’t become a statistic … stats show that 3,000 people A DAY commit suicide and approximately 20% of young adults self-injure/self-mutilation or starve themselves to the point of anorexia :-( 

It's all about what YOU think about YOURSELF ... you ARE loved and you ARE special, regardless of what people say or how you're treated and those voices in your head that say no one cares and no one would miss you are LIES, stop listening to 'em. 

You matter to God. Take time out for yourself if you need to. Maybe let some things go. Things can wait. You MUST survive.

DON'T HURT YOURSELF ... put the knife, scissors, blade, pills, gun, etc DOWN. DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT driving yourself into a tree or driving straight on a curve to end it all. DON'T starve yourself, thinking you have to be skin and bones to be attractive, because you don't ... you're beautiful just the way you are. Any emotional 'high' or release from harming yourself is only TEMPORARY. If you actually ended your life it would hurt a lot of people, whether you believe that to be true or not, including jeopardizing your own soul. Ask God to help you find others ways to release the emotions, feelings, anger, etc that you may be feeling ... including talking to someone you can trust to talking to God and laying it all at His feet. Whether other people understand you or love you or not, JESUS CHRIST does. There's no pit so deep that He can't reach in and lift you out.

JESUS IS THE ANSWER, to whatever you're going through and whatever you're feeling. Ignore thoughts of shame and embarrassment. Reach out to Him. Go to church. Call a neighbor. Call a friend. Send a text, tweet, or facebook it. Call a helpline (like the number in the above picture). Just REACH OUT ... and LIVE.

Father, touch Your people. Take away the urge to self-harm. Take away any 'charge' that might be received from it. Help us to relinquish that need for controlling our self since we can't control others or our life and give complete and total control to You. Quieten the voices of the enemy that tell us to do things to ourselves that will hurt us. Give us the hope, will and determination to live. You came to give us a full life. Lift the depression. Give wisdom regarding relationships. Give peace. Lift burdens. Remove the shame and feelings of unworthiness. Lord, show Yourself strong where we are weak, mighty where we are lacking. Meet the deep needs of our hearts, our Father and enable us to get through the difficulties we're facing by Your grace. Put godly people in our lives that we can talk to. Thanks for being our Friend and we can ALWAYS trust You. In Jesus' name, amen.

see also:  
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
                Suicidal Teens: Teen Depression and Teen Suicide
                Self-Injury Hotline 1-800-DONTCUT
                Do You Know Jesus?
                AFTA Blog - Do You Hate Yourself?
                AFTA Blog - Contemplating Suicide?
                AFTA Blog - Prescription for Depression
                AFTA Blog - You're Worth So Much More Than That
                AFTA Blog - Encourage Yourself in the Lord
                AFTA Blog - God HATES Abuse
                AFTA Blog - Don't Look Back, Enough is Enough!

Aug 3, 2012

The Unconditional Love of God

God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love - not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:9,10

One of the biggest struggles many people face is a feeling that the Lord couldn't possibly love them. Yet the Bible clearly tells us He does. Far from just saying so with words, God has also given us ample proof. Creation itself is an expression of His awesome care for us. He designed this earth as the perfect habitation for humanity and provides us with the necessities of life. But the highest expression of His love is manifested in His provision for our eternal needs. He sent His Son to redeem us from sin so that we could be forgiven and reconciled to God - and then live with Him in heaven forever.

So why, with all this evidence, do so many of us still doubt His love? Perhaps the reason is that we are looking at it from our own limited perspective: since we can't love others unconditionally, we doubt that the Lord can. After all, human logic considers it reasonable to be loving towards people who measure up to our standards - but to hold ourselves aloof from those who don't.

We've been hurt way too many times and have had so many inappropriate role models that can't show love because they weren't shown love either. It's hard to feel safe to trust God enough to let our guard down and love Him.

Maybe we just feel unworthy of His love. Well, I have news for you: no one is worthy. God's love is not based on whether we're deserving or not. We don't have to earn His love, it's not by works. He already loves us, just the way we are, for God IS love.

Divine love is conditioned not on our performance but on God's nature. It's like the ocean's tide. You can stand on the shore and say, 'I don't believe in waves,' but that doesn't stop them from coming. Likewise, nothing you do or feel will stop the Father's love from washing over you.

Father, I pray that You wrap Your arms around us. Tell us how much You love us. Show us how much You love us. Help us to believe how much You love us. Help us to love You back. In Jesus' name, amen.

Jul 27, 2012

Yep, We’re Going Thru

The testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. When you ask, believe and not doubt. James 3:3-6

Release and trust. Trust God - whether you see victory yet or not - cause He IS gonna come through for YOU. Don’t just believe that God can do it, or that He’ll do it for others and not you. No … He’ll do it for YOU too, for He’s no respecter of persons. It doesn't matter what it looks like, God's still moving. Most of the time we don't see where God's been till after He's already past (done what we need).

If you feel alone or like God isn’t hearing you, that’s just not true. God is ALWAYS with you and He hears your EVERY cry. God hasn't abandoned you, He may have just stepped back so you could see how strong, tall and beautiful you really are.

I’ve been having a lot of physical problems lately, including trouble with both my knees (bursitis, bones separating, and possible gout) and I can barely walk. Both knees are swollen and now my legs are swollen, too. I started using my cane and now my hand and wrist have become so swollen that I can’t even use the cane anymore. I’m used to lifting weights every day, doing 2 or 300 sit ups a day, and walking 3 miles 5 times a week and now … NOTHING. I feel like I’m going stir crazy. It’s pretty frustrating. On top of everything else that I’m behind with, I have 2 acres of grass that needs to be cut, desperately (pray for help with that, thanks).

The below scripture from Job really brings fight to my soul, a desire to not give up. Each time I’ve had severe medical problems or have been in the hospital, the Lord has had it rise up from within my spirit and it renews my hope. I quote it quiet often and it’s really become like a theme scripture for me:

Though He slay me, yet will I wait for and trust Him and I'll maintain and argue my ways before Him and even to His face. Job 13:15

So often we think that we’re going through a severe trial or storm because we’ve sinned. Sometimes that’s true. The Lord will use our desperate times to show us areas that we need to work on. BUT, we need to stop receiving the lies of the enemy about us and what we’re doing and not doing, and instead be able to come to the Lord and ask Him what He thinks. BE STILL and listen to what He has to say. Wait on Him if you have to. He’s faithful to point out areas that we need work on … without beating us up. God is a GENTLE leader and a GOOD Father. During a trial if He shows you some area where you’ve sinned or need work on, ask for forgiveness, repent, and ask for grace and help to do better. Period. WITHOUT guilt or shame move on. If you don't hear anything, if the Lord isn't pointing to a particular thing that you need work on, you're probably not in the trial due to sin.

Sometimes the trials we go through are because WE’RE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT. The enemy would like nothing better than to steal, kill and destroy us. He doesn’t want us helping people and encouraging them in the Lord. Tough toodles, the enemy is a loser. We must be strong and continue to carry on. We’re gonna do it anyway.

If you’re going through a hard trial … that trial is almost over … hold on a little longer. The trial WILL come to an end. I said, the trial WILL come to an end. If you're doing your best ... KEEP DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING ... and be listening for further instruction. Our part is to praise, it's the Lord who actually defeats our enemies for us. Praise God (whether you see victory yet or not) 'cause He's gonna come through for you.

We don't have to be afraid anymore, because our loving, heavenly Father walks through the valley of the shadow of death WITH US.

Father, forgive us for the times that we hurt You. Help us to repent and move on instead of beating ourselves up when You show us areas that need work. Be the lifter of our heads. Encourage us. Be so close that we can feel Your loving arms around us. Lord, give us peace and rest on EVERY side. Help us to make it successfully through the trials you allow in our lives and help us not to give up while going through them. Defeat our enemies. Hold us in the palm of Your hand. Thank You Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 see also: There's a Reason for That Test, You Know
                How's That Waiting Thing Working Out for You?

Jul 20, 2012

The Enemy of Busyness

"I am trusting You, O Lord, saying, 'You are my God!' My future is in Your hands. Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly." Psalm 31:14-15

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Taking on too many responsibilities, no matter how 'good' they may be, can often render us ineffective for service to God.

Busyness, no matter how much it may be 'working for the Lord' can exhaust us, make us unavailable for quaility time with our family, and can cause us to miss opportunities that the Lord may specifically want us to be a part of because we've already filled up our time slots or are just plain too tired to do it.

When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another - and ourselves.

God knows our limits. He understands our capacities.  He's willing, if we will ask Him, to help us navigate the busyness and activity that often trips us up. Thankfully, He can rescue us from the barren life of busyness. He wants us to offer our too-full schedules up to Him, allowing Him to weed out all the activities and responsibilities. Then, place back on our calendars only the things HE longs for us to do and possess.

When this happens, we can create space in our calendar to retreat, places of sweet respite in our days where we connect with God. We can SLOW DOWN and sit still to listen and learn.

SLOW DOWN. Sit in God's presence. Take a walk in the park. When someone talks to you, really listen. Are all those things that you've put before your God and loved ones REALLY that important?

Taking time out for a break from it all is something we need to do for ourselves, WITHOUT feeling guilty the whole time we're trying to do it. We need time for God to refill and refresh us. We need time for God to speak to us. We need time for God to minister to our emotions. Resting and relaxing is the most spiritual thing we can do sometimes.

It's time to put our schedules before the Lord. Have you overcommited?

Father, forgive us for allowing busyness to overtake our lives, crowding out others and worst of all You. Help us to take care of Your temple, for You live within us. We offer our bodies to You as a living sacrifice. Help us to get rest and refreshment like we should. Help us as we purpose to place only those items on our calendars that You want for us to have on them. Show us what to do with our time, Lord. Lead us. Give us grace and discernment when to say 'yes' and the boldness to say 'no' when we should, without fear of rejection or making others mad. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Jul 18, 2012

The Man with the Plan

'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, '(good) plans to prosper you and not (bad) to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' Jeremiah 29:11

God definitely has a plan, a good plan for our lives. We aren't here just to wander through life going from one crisis to another. We may think God's apathetic and cruel. We may have mixed Him up with the world. But He couldn't possibly will us evil when His very character is goodness -- and good will toward all of us.

God's planted a seed of purpose within us, but we must diligently seek Him in order for the seed to grow, and most of the time that seed doesn't grow into a full-fledged plant without dying, getting imbedded and being nourished ... and that takes time. We'll reap a harvest at just the RIGHT time. Seed --- TIME --- harvest.

Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Has God planted a seed and a desire within you to do something? Don't allow your circumstances to dictate whether or not that seed becomes a plant. Keep your eyes off your circumstances and on God.

'No weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from Me. I, the Lord, have spoken!' Isaiah 54:17

God wants us to hope and trust Him for a brighter tomorrow. Don't give up. Press in to God and press on with Him. God promises that He'll give us the desires of our heart when our will is aligned with His.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Trust God with your life ... the path you take, the friends you have, the place you live, the family He's placed you in, the ministry He's blessed you with ... trust Him with it all, for He's a good, faithful father and He will NEVER let you down.

If God tells us to do something we don't have to know why, just know that He WILL accomplish what He wants to through it. God DOES NOT want us to fail and He's going to make sure that we don't, for God's our greatest encourager.

Following Jesus is the ultimate plan for us all and to use our specific talents in His service. Seek God. Read and meditate on His Word. Love Him with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself (Matt 22:37-40). Take advantage of every opportunity that the Lord gives you. These things are being in His will and following His plan.

Father, I pray that You give us hope and help us not to give up. Silence and defeat our enemies. Help the plans that You have for us to come to fruition and help nothing to get in our way. Work YOUR will through us Lord as we submit our all to You. Give us strength and wisdom to be able to do all that You ask us to do. Help us to love You and love others. In Jesus' name, amen.