Friday, May 30, 2014

God Doesn't Give You More Than You Can Handle. Or Does He?

What is the common "Christianly" response we give people when they say that they are overwhelmed by life's hardships? I bet it's: "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." Naively, I have spoken these words several times with the intent to encourage. In retrospect, I may have caused confusion.

We have a family member going through a very tough time right now. She had heard that "God doesn't give us more than we can handle," but as far as she is concerned, what she is dealing with is way more than she can handle. I agree with her. God does give us more than we can handle. Often, when things are going good, we forget to rely of God. As soon as a storm hits though, we refocus and cry out to God for help. It is in the moments of desperation that we see God's goodness. The Bible has never stated that God won't give you more than you can handle. He's given my family more than we can handle on several occasions. 

First Corinthians 10:13 says that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what can we bear without providing a way out. I think this verse gets misinterpreted which in turn causes people to doubt God's goodness and sovereignty. God is always in control and nothing surprises him. He allows us to make  our own choices and then deal with the consequences, but he is always there providing hope and direction. Being tempted is very different than dealing with life stresses. In temptation, you are always given the choice to say no. If however, you succumb to temptation there will be consequences which will most likely stress you out. That stress comes from our choices. Most stresses result from the decisions we make in life. Other stress comes from things we can't control. Death of a loved one, divorce, and job loss to name a few.  

Here's the beauty of the Lord. He's there, ready to carry your burdens no matter what caused the stress. He's saying to you at this very moment, come to me and I will give you rest. Sorrow lasts for the night, but joy comes in the morning! Cast all your anxieties, worries, fears, and heart breaks on Him because he cares for you! He really cares for you! The sorrows you are experiencing are giving you an opportunity to declare your dependence on God. Ephesians 3:20-21 says that God can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. Even when you don't see a way out of your circumstances, there is hope! God can do more, but the contingency is that you have to ask. 

I leave you with the wise words of Paul in regards to handling our stresses. Distress that drives us to God turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets. And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. (2 Corinthians 7:10-12) 

Does God give us more than we can handle? Yes! But He never leaves us in the process. He is in control and we must trust him even when we don't understand. Do not lean on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight. I promise! We can stand on the promises of God. 

Be encouraged in the sorrows because it is building your spiritual maturity and giving you an opportunity to put your trust in the One who never fails. Our God is able to meet all your needs according to his glorious riches! Trust in Him, Sisters.  He will bring you through and show you the purpose behind the pain. 

Until the whole world hears, 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Mighty Morphin Power Words

Something happened to me yesterday at Walmart that I just can't seem to get out of my head, so I guess I'll blog about it.

As Kendell and I turned down the baby food aisle, we came upon a beautiful baby boy and his mommy. I asked the baby's name and age to strike up a conversation and Kendell seemed very anxious to babble with her new found friend. This little boy had red hair which looked like it had been sun-kissed with perfectly placed blonde highlights. I had prayed for hair just like this, but as I enjoy my dirty dishwater hair;  I reveled over this gorgeous little boy. I found it interesting that after complimenting his hair, the mom was quick to tell me that she had hoped he wouldn't have red hair. "Not for a boy," she kept saying. I pondered the thought that the very thing I had prayed for, she had prayed against. Not only that, but she was adamant about red hair not being for boys. My heart hurt just then because God created that little boy and counted every single little red hair on his head. He has plans for him and wants to give him good gifts. Maybe God even gave him red hair for a specific purpose! Instead of appreciating his uniqueness, she chose to dwell on what she perceived to be negative. Then it occurred to me, our words have tremendous power. Although this is a mom example, it can be applied to all our interactions. However, I will continue with my current example and speak to moms because our words have incredible influence over our children.

Often the Bible compares words to a sword. In fact, in Ephesians 6, God's Word is described as a sword. The sword is an offensive weapon. The meaning of the word sword is to wound or cut. God's Word is described as a sword because we are to take it into battle against the evil one. It's powerful and can cut through the deceptions, temptations, and the distractions because it is a sword of Truth. Go to battle for your kids! This may mean against other people who are trying to discourage them, or it could be with the world that is trying to fill our children with lies and distractions, or it could mean going to battle for them in our own minds.  Luke 6:45 says that our mouths will speak what is in our hearts. That's a huge responsibility for us to carry, but also an important mission from the Lord! We need to keep our hearts pure. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)  When we are thinking thoughts as the ones above and spending time with our Savior, there's no room left for defeating negative thoughts! It's a process we must go through daily because as soon as we let our guard down, you know we're vulnerable for attack! 

I say all of this to say, that your words have the power of life! They can set the course for your children to become all that God has called them to be! You shape their future and mold their confidence. Most importantly, you show them how God loves them by the words you speak into their lives. Choose them wisely! Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29) Our children are listening! Let's benefit them! :)

And even when we mess up, which often we do, we can also demonstrate God's grace by apologizing to our children and seeking their forgiveness. Fight with sword and heal with your words! Praying for you and living it with you.

Until the whole world hears,

Friday, May 2, 2014

Destined for Greatness

When you think about the great heroes of our faith, who comes to mind?  What made them great?  What do they all have in common?  Were they of noble birth?  Did they receive divine revelations, then step out in faith?

Most of these heroes were ordinary people, chosen by God to be used in an extraordinary way.  So what about the rest of us, can we become great in God's Kingdom?  God certainly can become GREAT in us, and that is the ultimate goal!  God must be GREAT in us, lifted up, and glorified!  When He's high and lifted up, ministry is birthed!

" And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." John 12:32

So you may be asking, "What's next?" or "Where do I start?"  Honestly, start ANYWHERE!  Just start SOMETHING!!  All too often we're waiting for permission from a person we admire, or for someone else to catch our vision.  Either way, when no one seems to catch the vision, or we don't hear the thundering voice from Heaven, we're left feeling hopeless that we could ever make a difference.  I would challenge that because we've been given the mandate to "Go into all the world..." (even if it's a small part of the world, like your own backyard...GO!!).  Also,  I feel as women, we tend to feel limited with our time and resources.  We have so many things on our plate:  kids to care for; work; serving in church ministry; etc.  We feel trapped and isolated, leading to feelings of doubt that God could ever use us. Dear sisters, this is completely untrue!

 Wherever God has placed you, just remember you're in that specific place for a reason!  Embrace where you're at, then pray and ask God to open your eyes to the needs around you!  Remember, whoever's been faithful with a little, will be entrusted to much!

Scriptures to read:
"And he said unto them,' Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.'"
Mark 16:14-16
"And he said to him ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’" Luke 19:17

Thoughts to ponder:

*Where has God placed me?
*What are some of the needs around me?
*What can I do to reach out to those around me?
*Am I allowing God to use me?
*How can I become Great in the Kingdom of God according to scripture?
*Is my life a living testimony of radical faith in Christ?  If not, how can I change?

Join the discussion, and let's hear your thoughts!

Yours in the Journey,