I have added a page to my blog with the intention of offering a kind hand through prayer to those who struggle to forgive themselves. Is your past one like mine that is filled with pictures of where you never again want to visit…have you done stuff that seems unforgivable?
Please take a moment to view this page on my blog and maybe share the hope of forgiveness with someone you know might be struggling with past regret!
The Tough Stuff
So what is it that motivates you? There is something within each one of us that keeps us going, keeps us taking one step forward and another step after that one. I am speaking specifically of our Christian journey here on this terrestrial ball. Our walk is something we either just do without much thought given to it or it is proactive and spurned onward from the motivation of either fear or faith.
The basics are the daily routine we find ourselves in with its nuts and bolts of dealing with everyday life. Our family, job and those unexpected interruptions (negative or positive) that we may just cruise through. But that can be so mundane. I don’t know about you but I want more! I want more of God, His power, love, experience and His blessings to accompany me while on the journey.
I like this verse in Proverbs 16:9 “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Oh how we can get in the way of His will for our lives! You see, it could be that He has planted something within you that could potentially rock your world and raise the bar of excitement and fulfillment as you walk out His plan for you. Then along comes an anchor of doubt that will try to rob you of the joy of the journey.
I am so afraid that…
It scares me to even think of going there…
But what if I fail and can’t do it…
What will people say if I do that…
It seems to me that more often than not, we move forward dragging an anchor of fear instead of allowing faith to ignite our passion and propel us forward into that to which God has called us. We shrink back in fear and stay quite comfortable in our complacency! I know, I have done it myself and then I look back and wonder what could have been had I gone forward with that certain dream or vision.
God’s word tells us that “…without FAITH it is impossible to please God”. Yet time and time again I make the choice to opt out because of the risks involved. I truly believe that we know when the Lord confirms in our heart a particular direction to take and how sad it is when the excuses come and we do not proceed. We miss out on the blessings and possibly the blessings intended for others by playing it safe.
We all (Christian or non) go about our day with a certain measure of certainty that as we enter our cars to go where needed that the vehicle will get us to our destination, I am not talking about that kind of faith. What I am addressing is the kind found in Hebrews 11:1:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Could it be that God has laid something on your heart that seems a bit out of the box for you to undertake? Has he called you to a mission trip or to lead a small group, sing in the choir, start a new business venture or home school your children? These all have the potential to make some of us shake in our boots don’t they! But if you want to walk in obedience you need to get out of your comfort zone and act upon that calling. Even if you cannot see the finished product or end of the journey! He just calls us to action, to put one foot in front of the other as we lean into Him for direction!
God has given me some dreams and confirmed some things that seemed rather ‘scary’ for me to undertake. Like being willing to share my story and love for Him with others whether it is in written form, at a speaking engagement or on the air. As God has confirmed in me to write my story out immediately my thoughts were who cares you and your story? That is a lot of time and energy expended for something nobody would be interested in reading. But after the confirmation was settled in me I knew that I was not to worry about who or if anyone would read it, I was just to begin the process of writing my life story. God knows what will happen with it and I am to act, not shrink back and decline His request. My part is to trust in what Hebrews 11:1 tells me, even if I can’t see or visualize the outcome.
Are you one of those folks who needs to have your “ducks in a row” before you proceed? Some would argue that you would be taking precautions and securing your venture before moving forward. Please, I am not talking about being foolish throwing caution to the wind. I am talking about the calling upon you that keeps nagging at the back of your mind and you can’t seem to let it go. Then someone says something or a thing happens that really just settles in your mind that yes, you are to move forward. Your next step is to put one foot in front of the next even if you cannot see exactly where you are headed.
Thinking back to when I was first asked if I would be interested in working part-time at the Christian radio station, I walked into the control room and looked at all the stuff (equipment) on the walls and said uh, I don’t think so! I wasn’t trained in radio. I didn’t have a clue regarding electronic stuff and there were eight knobs on that control board that completely ‘scared me’ to think of having to operate. I agreed to pray about it and willingly said, “God, if You want me to do this then I trust You will guide me through the process of learning how.” I didn’t go off to broadcasting school or take a class in electronics but I did willingly say yes. Just about 20 years later I am still in radio and some amazing doors of opportunity have opened as a result of saying yes to God.
Now, what about you? Let me encourage you not to miss out on the blessing of walking in obedience and allowing God to use You for His glory. Think of it as sowing into God’s kingdom.
Father, I am so excited to be serving You in several of the ways that You have called me to serve. I am even pumped to see what You have in store for the next 20 years. I ask that You would keep me from complacency and the fleshly desire to take the easy way out instead of trusting You to lead me into Your way of everlasting! Everlasting joy and fulfillment knowing that I am in Your will, being used by You to introduce You to those who don’t know who You are and encouraging those who know You to walk in the abundant life You have for them. Let me keep pressing on till Jesus returns, in Your name, Amen.
One fall, back in 1997, I got a cold that settled in my bronchial tubes. (That seems to be where I am most vulnerable in my body.) I couldn’t seem to get over it, developing a horrible cough that just wouldn’t abate. I am not a ‘run to the clinic’ kind of girl and try to use natural remedies that often do work. However, I would seem to get things settled down and then the cough would reappear. My husband kept threatening me with the “You better get to the clinic or I am going to take you myself!” threat. Poor guy, my coughing at night didn’t afford him a very restful night’s sleep!
Well, my teas, vitamin C’s, water, steam…you name it I tried it, could only bring it to rest for a short period of time and then it would return. I seemed to be losing some weight with this and I wasn’t feeling quite right so I finally responded to my guy’s final request to get to the doctor.
The trip to the clinic evolved into chest X-rays and blood work and as I was waiting for the doctor to come in after the testing was completed, something shifted in my spirit and I could tell that he was lingering outside the door (barely open) where I could hear soft discussion over my X-ray before he came into the room where I was seated. I knew something wasn’t quite right. And the doctor revealed to me that there were some suspicious spots in my right lung that would need further examination via a CAT scan. Oh boy, I have to admit that I was becoming concerned with what was in my lung. Well I was put on antibiotics, told I didn’t have pneumonia and sent home to wait for the test the following week and rest, rest, rest to get over whatever it was that I had.
The physicians decided that because of the precarious location of these spots that a biopsy couldn’t be done and the CAT machine that was local wasn’t conclusive enough so I was referred to Duluth to have another try and opinion to determine the next step in this journey.
Oh my, this time in my life God was beginning to teach me of Himself as Jehovah Rophe, our God who heals, Click To Tweet and let me tell you, I was learning a huge amount faith in this area as I began to call upon my Jehovah Rophe! I did the biblical account of James 5, going to my church for public prayer and it was right at Christmas time, yikes, I felt so awkward interrupting our lovely service for MY concern at this special time, but I wanted to be obedient to His Word! I was anointed and prayed for by the congregation, then off to Duluth the following week for my second CT scan.
My daughter lives in Duluth and I was able to stay with her. Of course she insisted on coming with me to the appointment and I agreed so we could have a second pair of ears upon consultation! Their remedy was that I would be cut open from front to back under my rib cage to remove my two spots that were just too close to my heart to do a safe biopsy. I was to plan to be off work for two months! I haven’t had a surgery since having my youngest son and I wasn’t really welcoming this idea of someone placing their hands in my body! But the doctor knows best (doesn’t he?) and I would go home to prepare for this new adventure. I want you to know that I anticipated going to Duluth to have them find nothing after being prayed over, but God had some other lessons in mind for me.Upon returning to work to let everyone know the plan, my coworker and friend said, “Aren’t you going to get a second opinion?” (Duh, well, ah, never thought of it!) I am so new to this stuff that I didn’t even think of it, don’t you just trust your doctor? (I am learning!) I was on the phone to Mayo clinic the next day and within eleven days my husband took me on the seven hour journey to Rochester! I have to say that prior to that appointment, my precious prayer group did come to my home and we gathered down in our family room as they too anointed me with oil, laid hands on me and prayed for me. My husband who doesn’t usually partake in that kind of ‘thing’ totally blessed me by also following suit with the others and prayed for me (even audibly!) That was a huge blessing!
I had recently discovered a new kind of praise and worship music from “Down Under” at the Hillsong church. We used a lot of their music during our prayer and praise nights and I rather felt God gave me this song to hold on to and sing on my trip to Mayo:
Mayo Clinic is a very quiet and somber place to be but I had that song on my lips and in my heart for most of my visit there. Whether walking to and from appointments, gently whistling or singing that song, I was claiming the truth in those lyrics for my situation and God used it to sustain me!
You know friends, I am fully aware that not everyone’s situation turns out the same. I also know that God works individually in each of our lives and two people can be dealing with the same thing while God chooses to answer differently in each case. In my case, my third CAT scan appeared to reveal no cancer. I was praising Him all the way home and beyond! Someone else’s story is quite the opposite as they get ready to undergo the process of some sort of treatment to try to deter or get rid of the invasive disease. Would I be praising God all the way home if I had received the sad news that I did have cancer? Of course I want to say absolutely but honestly, probably not!There is power in praise, and for one thing it raises our level of faith and helps us keep from being overwhelmed by our outcome. Click To Tweet God is in control! And for whatever reason and because He sees the big picture that I am unable to see, He lovingly allows things to go certain ways because the outcome will teach us to walk closer to Him and always bring Him glory! Provided we posture ourselves to a position of surrender.
Please friend, if you are in a place of uncertainty, fix your gaze on Your maker, He has you in the palm of His hand. Look to Him and praise His name for you can trust your life and all you love to His care!
From Hebrews 11:1 the Message paraphrase:
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.
If you are in a tough situation right now, physically, emotionally or relationally,
I would love to pray with you and for you! It’s what the faith-filled body of Christ does for each other!