Come closer to God

Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I’ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start.”

Luke 22:31-32 MSG

The enemy has tried to separate us from God since the Garden of Eden. He may have began with fruit, but today his devices are more sophisticated: unresolved hurt from our past; the need to be acknowledged and significant in the eyes of others; the pursuit of a mate; being overworked and/or over obligated; the pursuit of the American dream; our children and conversely our parents; or simply drama that keeps us so wound up and distracted. All these things, and so many more, are often ways in which the enemy distracts us, keeps us from prayer, steals our time and energy and causes us to be/become distant from God.

Something I’ve learned from struggling with my own shortcomings, times that I’ve missed the mark — sinned — time and again, is God is ever present. Even when I think I’ve strayed so far away from Him, I’ve found He’s right there.

I think the thing is to never give up. Jesus tells Peter to stay on his toes because Satan has tried his best to separate the disciples from Jesus. Notice, Jesus said that He’s prayed that they never give up or give out. In other words, their destinys are tied to their efforts. So as long as I am making an effort to draw closing to God, I will come through the time of testing and I’ll be able to help others gain a fresh start in God.

 

God, thank You for Your infinite mercy and grace. You placed me in this time and this place, and you crafted every test and trial specifically for me. Each one is fashioned for me to show me more of who I am and more of who You are. The enemy cannot succeed in his attempts to separate me from You because You sent Jesus to be my advocate, the repairer of the breach, my Interceder. So, though I may fail or fall, 1,000 times, I will get up 1,001. And each time, I become wiser and more aware that I am a conqueror. I shall win and overcome this test, and others will see and I will share my testimony. And they will become overcomers as well — through Your Power.

Thank you. I love you.

Amen.

God's Will Be Done: Strength in Adversity

Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not mine.”

Luke 22:42

 

I’ve lived a pretty blessed life: I’m happily married and have three adult children; I’ve earned two degrees; my parents are still living — I still have my grandmother, who is in her 90s; we own our home ... so, of course, there are times when I become relaxed and let my guard down, forgetting that for every stage of life, there will be challenges. And I have to grow, evolve and become better. God has to bring obstacles and tests my way. Our spiritual growth can be likened to school: we cannot be promoted to the next grade level until we’ve learned the lessons and skills required for this level. We prove that we’ve retained the knowledge and learned the skill set through testing. As the adage goes, this is easier said than done.

But, we have a great mentor in our Brother, our Savior Jesus. When faced with the biggest challenge in history — a horrific death though He was innocent — He set the ultimate example, yet He yielded to The Father’s will.

Granted, nothing we encounter will ever compare to Christ’s death on the cross, however, we can follow His example when challenges and tests seem insurmountable. It’s by His example and through His death that we’ve gained the victory. It’s our flesh (stubbornness, pride, laziness, fear, pride, unwillingness to be vulnerable, truthful or humble, etc.) that cries out and makes us want to give up when we face adversity. However, we have within us the same power that enabled Jesus to stand silently while literally facing false accusations, emotional and physical abusers, the same Spirit that empowered Him, though beaten, bruised and bleeding, to carry the cross lives within us. And He never leaves us alone. He’s standing by to give us wisdom, strength, and courage. Look at the next verse: “Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him.” Luke 22:43

Thank you, Jesus, for Your most powerful and poignant example of strength in a time of great adversity. I often forget that nothing, not one thing that I am working to conquer is stronger or bigger than You. You created me. You created the universe, the galaxy and every, little thing within it. Time exists in You. Nothing is coincidental. Therefore, You created every trial, every test and every challenge for my making. You are proving to me who I am and Whose I am. So, I gladly accept each as part of my proving, knowing that I’m becoming more like You. I praise You for engineering this time, this place, these circumstances, just for me. And I worship You now for the victory. Thank You for counting me worthy.

Amen

Get out the boat!

As I type this, just days away from the soft launch of GODsent Greetings, I feel compelled to urge you, dear reader, to trust God for your dream. No matter your age, the challenges you face (financial or otherwise) or nagging fear, know that if God deposited in you a dream, you must pursue it. You will not know true happiness, true fulfillment until you put your hands to it.

Understand, there will be distractions — for me, it’s been busyness, serving others while doing good, worthy tasks that I excelled in but ultimately they were not what God called me to do. You may think it’s too late, but let me assure you, it’s never too late. I’m the Queen of doing things later: I went back to school at 32 with three small children! I didn’t start this company until I was 48! All I can tell you is:

If God gives you a dream, a vision, your job is to pursue it. His job is to make it happen!

Stop looking for the who, what, when, where and how. True trust is not seeing the path, but stepping out anyway. We often say we’re trusting God to do something and proceed to tell Him how to work it out. Then we don’t move because we’re busy looking for Him to do it as we decided He should! What? HE Is The Great I Am! He will do it as He knows it should be done. True trust is yielding to His Will … nevertheless, Father, Your Will be done, not mine.

Come on, Peter. Get out the boat!