We can all think of an instance where we decided to just give up. We got frustrated, maybe we got distracted, or perhaps the task we were trying to accomplish got moved down the list due to life’s circumstances. Either way, we just gave up! Consider this however, maybe giving up isn’t a bad thing. Maybe the very thing we decide to walk away from will place us on the path to something better or maybe Someone better.
In Matthew 19 (and throughout the Gospels), we see how the disciples have given up everything to follow Christ: “Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” Matthew 19:27
The disciples just gave up-their families, their worldly possessions, their fleshly desires-to follow Jesus. What will we forsake for His sake?
We serve a merciful and kind God, who knows that our children and spouses and families are the desires of our hearts. Perhaps He isn’t asking us to abandon them to follow Him, but He is asking that we abandon control and pride to follow Him. He is asking us to forsake ourselves for His sake. He is asking us to serve and care for our families from a surrendered place as oppose to a position of control.
Will you go even if your family does not? Will you renounce the Lord if your sister or your mother does? Are we willing to forsake for His sake? Are we willing to give it all up for Him: the satisfaction of our flesh, the perks of that promotion, that 20 year friendship?
The reward that awaits is so much greater than anything we can ever give up:
…don’t last always! We all may have hummed this melody time and time again through difficulties. It may even sound a little cliche, but it is absolutely true!
Trouble has a stopping point, eventually things begin to turn themselves around and life gets a little easier, a little less complicated.
Trouble’s stopping point comes when we surrender, when we submit, and when we seek the Lord! He places all things into perspective. He provides a comfort that no one else can give. He is our hope! He has the absolute best track record-His defeat of death, Hell, and the grave is history-making news!
There is no other name under Heaven in which every knee-even trouble’s knew has to bow! We have this assurance in Christ that eventually trouble will fade, the Word says so:
Sin may be present but it is not our portion! Our portion is the forthcoming glory that will be revealed in Christ. Our promise is joy, peace, and power in Christ. Trouble is very present, victory is guaranteed!
Knee deep in trouble? Stand in your authority and tell trouble that it won’t last always!
No matter how broken we may feel, we have to know that the Lord is near us. Brokenness tends to place us in a humble and submissive state. As we are broken, the Lord is able to speak to us, sing over us, and comfort us back to good health.
Isn’t it good to know that the Lord can put broken things back together again?! Have you ever tried to put a broken vase back together again? Even if you successfully accomplish the task, it is still vulnerable to breaking again. We should rejoice even now that He is not us! What breaks before Him, He can put back together again-making us even better than we were before! To God be the glory!
Our brokenness can refine us, strengthen us, and renew us! That same spirit that is crushed by the troubles of life, He will make light as a feather. The broken spirit has the potential to shine brighter than ever before!
If you are feeling broken, know that the Father is near. Know that as you cry and fret, He is right there beside you. You are not alone. The brokenness we experience places us in the position to be molded and handcrafted to be stronger and wiser.
Let your brokenness cause you to cling to the Father, He is waiting for you…
Almost sounds like an oxymoron-failure birthing fruit. How can failure, which can be interpreted as the end of a thing, birth anything? That is the beauty of our Savior, there can be beauty behind a closed door!
“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning…” Ecclesiastes 7:8 Failure is often associated with the end of something or opportunity, like the denial of a job or denial of an opportunity. However, consider this perspective, what was the Lord protecting you from? What if this moment of perceived failure was God’s protection? The fruit of failure can very well be God’s protection. We have a desired plan and path but we must trust more in the Creator of our path.
As one journey ends, it creates room for another to begin. A denied job opportunity could be God’s direction. As He steers you away from one thing, He is directing you to another. Imagine this moment of perceived failure being fruit-full. Re-imagine this moment of that closed door as being God’s good thing for your life.
Failure can birth so many lessons learned! Failure can lead to the true understanding of repentance. The fruit of failure can birth an deeper understanding of submission. Failure teaches you how to get up again. It can lead to endurance, character, and hope-these are the fruit(s) of failure.
Our failure leads to His glory!
Reshape that moment of failure, reshape that end, that closed door, and the denial of that opportunity and know that it places you one step close to learning how the Lord, your God, is your strength and your portion, forever.
Many times throughout scripture, God’s voice was heard in the silence, think about the crackling of a burning bush or a wind that gently whooshes pass you. The voice of the Lord isn’t always booming. Sometimes it’s small and still but packs a powerful punch.
And if His voice is small and still, that means we have to turn down our world to hear His voice. Our world is loud. Full of distractions, sounds, and booms. But if we want to hear His voice, we must learn how to be silent. We must learn how to sit quietly, to pray quietly, and to silence the world around us.
Your prayers don’t have to be full of words. Don’t forsake the power of your silence before the Lord. There is a time to shout and there is a time to sit still. Being in a quiet space without the television or the phone can change and greatly impact your relationship with the Lord. You don’t always have to catch the latest and greatest teacher and preacher, not when you belong to the greatest Teacher and Preacher. Turn them off and sit before the Lord. Sitting quietly before Him requires trust and submission.
There is value is silencing the racing thoughts and the nagging voices. Your silence represents hope, trust, and faith. His word speaks to the beauty of silence:
Your silence is golden. Everything does not warrant a response. You don’t have to always verbalizes your prayers. Let your tears speak. Let your pen cry out. Let your posture before the Lord echo what you are trying to say.
The Father knows what you have need of and He knows what pains you. The Father is well aware of your wants and desires. He knows what you want to say before you say it. Your silence speaks volumes.
Wait in silence, for your hope is in Him, not the eloquence of your speech or the beauty of your singing and the uniqueness of your spiritual tongue. Your silence is golden for your hope is in Him alone.
When we graduate, tradition states that you turn your tassel or throw your hat into the air. When you leave one job to head into another, some jobs will have a send-off of sorts-cake, party, nice card, etc. When you get married, most folks have some sort of reception to celebrate.
In some capacity, there is usually something we hold up as our banner when we are victorious. And it’s nice to celebrate!
But before the retirement parties, before the reception, before the graduation celebration, the Lord must be our banner! He is the One who goes before us, He is the reason for the victory.
The Lord demonstrates His position as our banner in the children of Israel’s battle against Amalek (Exodus 17:8-15). As Moses held his hands up, Israel was successful in the battle. The obedience of Moses was the key in their victory.
Your obedience is an active demonstration of the Lord as our banner. Your obedience will be the key to your victory. Your obedience shows the world that the Lord is the reason that you are victory.
As we give God thanks, as we seek His face, as we yield to His will and His way, the Lord becomes our banner. Our banner is the key to our victory. As He is lifted up, we recognize that He is absolutely the reason and without Him, we will lose every time.
So for our next celebration, our next major win, our next success story, may we shout “The Lord Is My Banner”!
To cast can mean throwing something in a specific direction…
So as believers we are called to cast our cares, anxieties, or worries on Christ because He cares for us.
The Lord tells us the direction in which to cast our worries, and that is on Him, because He cares for us. We have our direction and our directive. So how many of us does this scenario describe?
We go through a tough situation. We worry, we fret, we become anxious and nervous. So we go before the Lord, crying, pleading, and begging. We vent and we get up and we move on. Sometimes we leave the cares there and sometimes we place the cares right back on our shoulders.
There is an art to casting. In order to throw something in a specific direction, it takes concentration and focus. We have to have our eyes on the desired target. Many times we neglect to properly cast our cares on the Lord because we aren’t focused on Him, we are focused on the worries and anxieties. Without clarity and focus, we will miss what the Master is trying to do for us.
Casting requires intentionality. We don’t cry and vent to the Lord just to pick the concerns back up. We cast and we leave the cares there because our Father knows best. We cast our cares because He is built for the burdens and concerns.
Casting produces peace, joy, and hope. Casting reminds us that He is the Shepherd and we are the flock. Casting reminds us that He is our Rock and our Redeemer.
One may enjoy control because perhaps there is a belief that it can frame an outcome…
One may enjoy control simply because they enjoy having power…
Another may seek out control to prevent from being hurt or betrayed…
Control, however, can often times be an illusion and the only form of control that is an reality is self-control. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
You cannot control what happens to you. You can simply control your response to the situation. Regardless of what you may believe, you cannot control another person. Everyone was given free-will. No matter how much you think you control an situation, you can still be hurt or betrayed.
Stop giving into the illusion of control. It is a false sense of reality. It is not of God. Your plans can still fail no matter how much you think you are in control. Go on ahead and surrender, life can be so much sweeter when you accept what is in front of you and not force it to bend to your will, your way.
Surrender to His plan and His will. Accept the flaws of your loved ones. Don’t get worked up over the traffic that you encounter on the way to work or school. Be at peace with the plan going left instead of right.
You are not in control, and that, my friend, is okay.
Instead of focusing on your perceived control, set your sights on the One who is truly over all things…
Women, because of their caring and nurturing nature, often times bear the weight of the world-or at least the weight of their world. And while admirable, that is not the will of God for you. Let’s turn to the Word:
“You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone.” Exodus 18:18
Sis, you are mighty and marvelous, amazing and awesome, however, you were not created to carry the weight of the world, or your world, on your shoulders. You are not strong enough to carry the weight of your world. You, lovely in every way, are no one’s savior.
You were created to submit. You were created to cast the burdens of your world at the feet of Christ. You were created to trust in His plan, His way, His will. You were created to wait and not to worry.
You were never created to do this alone. Lean on God and His understanding. Connect with your support system. You and your beautiful and broad shoulders are not equipped to carry your world on them. So cease and desist. Know that the Lord is more than capable to handle the cares of your world.
So, dear friend, take that weight you are bearing and place it at the feet of your Savior. You cannot run the race with weight of the world attached to you, be free.
“The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?”Exodus 4:2
Humans tend to operate from a deficit perspective, always quick to number and identify what is in lack. Mighty Moses, who would go on to lead the children of Israel, was also overly concerned with his perceived deficits. The Lord was not concerned with his lack but with the content of his hands. God will use Moses’ staff to perform one of the greatest miracles chronicled in the Bible.
Consider this perspective, what is in your hand? The same question that the Lord asked Moses, he is asking you! God is very aware of our deficits, our weaknesses, and the items we lack. After all, He is our Creator! However, let’s not be consumed with what we do not have and focus on what we do have. God can use our perceived “little” to do much!
Use what’s in your hands and watch your cup overflow. Use what’s in your hands and split your raging seas. Your desire to write, your passion for teaching, your degree in marketing—all can be tools for the kingdom of God! Your love for crafting can lead others to Christ. Your love for cooking can produce joy.
As you surrender all of who you are to Him, He will establish the work of your hands….
So sis, consider this, what’s in your hands? Now, surrender it to God and watch Him use it for His glory and your good.