As I sit here reflecting on this journal entry from three years ago, I have the gained vision of looking back at it from the other side. I can read and remember the fear, uncertainty and pain that I was in from the loss of our business and the loss of our home… all the uncertainty that we were facing.
I remember not knowing how we could possibly move forward… what would that look like? What would we do for work? Would we be able to serve God in our work? There were far more questions than answers, Yet the Lord took our hands and led us out of the desert of our making in the promised land that He had for us all along.
I find myself reminiscing back through the journey… how we got from there to here. I can’t help but smile and feel God smiling back down on us. He taught us the importance of complete surrender… the type of surrender that does not take it back, but trusts that He was in control and we are not. He taught us to have Faith not fear… and focus our eyes on Him as our healer and redeemer.
Have you ever thought of the “monuments” of your life? Those moments of time, that you could look back and see Gods hand at work so clearly? This blog post is one of those monuments for me, two years ago I was gasping for air, trying to keep my head above water with our finances…then Covid hit and we watched every other part of our world change before our very eyes.
Over the course of the year we have become aware of many new slogans: “flatten the curve, bend the curve, keep each other safe, social distance, self isolate, non-essential travel’… this list is pretty much endless. There are fear mongers and conspiracy theorists.. with most of us caught up trying to figure it out somewhere in between the two. News outlets no longer appear to have journalistic integrity or independence, as every major news cast speaks from the exact same script, world wide.
Then there’s the division, and WOW is there division; families divided, politicians against constituents, medical opinions vary widely and we are left scrambling to try to understand what is happening to our world. We are living in a new world of “cancel culture”, if you don’t like the narrative rewrite it, or better yet erase it. Differing of opinions is no longer accepted or welcome, we have to be of the same mind or we are to be removed from the platform. Growth no longer has multiple avenues as only one is currently accepted.
Yet, In the midst of all of this, I have seen Gods hand moving mightily. He has been at work molding and teaching us new things. He has strengthened and encouraged us, teaching us to trust when we cannot see and He has filled us with Hope rather than Fear. He has shown us to identify with the disciples and apostles who lived in a culture that could not accept them nor the message they chose to share, where God encouraged them to Love in a world that often hated them.
If you are struggling to overcome fear or simply can’t see where God is in the midst of this chaos, let me encourage you before going on…
God is still very much in control. His Word tells us what will happen and how these things must come about. So be at peace my friend, stay true to your faith, dig into Gods Word and allow the Creator of our universe to calm the stormy seas. Learn from the apostles and Fathers of our faith, recognize how He has gone before us preparing us for such a time as this.
He has a plan and a purpose in ALL things, so read on my friend and be encouraged…❤️
Can you think of a time when you found yourself in the midst of a circumstance or crisis that looked totally and absolutely hopeless? Maybe you are in the midst of that today. Regardless of the situation, all of us find ourselves in these “wilderness times”. The times that feel like you are caught in a storm without shelter, when your entire being is exposed to the elements. This wilderness has many faces: illness, divorce, financial stress, business… this list goes on and on, symptoms may vary but the right response remains the same.
Friend, let me tell you, I’ve been there. When I wrote this journal entry, I was exactly in that space. There was no calm on the horizon, and most days all we could do was hang on, but hang on we did. We hung onto the Words of Jesus in scripture, we hung onto the lessons learned through the Kings & the Prophets of old. We hung onto Hope and that the Lord was ultimately in charge. We learned that until we could surrender ourselves and our circumstances into the capable and trustworthy hands of the Father, we would remain in the eye of that particular storm much longer than necessary.
It was here that we had finally come to the end of ourselves and the end of our ability. Although the storm had not diverted, we started to see an incredibly important lesson beginning to emerge. Humanly, we often believe we need to get out of the storm before God can actually use us. But this is where I hope to challenge you by reminding you of one of my favourite Biblical prophets. When Daniel was thrown into the lions den, he never entered the storm alone, the Lord met him there. God was In the midst of that very storm with him, and like Daniel, He is IN it with us.
When Daniel was in the lions Den, it was pitch black, he could not see anything, his senses would have been reeling, His sense of smell would have reacted to the mangy lions kept in a cave for just this purpose. His sense of touch would feel the beasts as they brushed past him, but it was the very presence of God, that allowed his sense of sight to see in the darkness. Just like the story of Daniel, we need to know where to focus our eyes when we are in the midst of the storm. Will we focus on the “lions” surrounding us, or focus on our Lord, believing in His plan for us.
1) I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.
2) I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart.
3) Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.
4) I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
5) Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
6) In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.
7) For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
8) Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
9) Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need.
10) Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
Psalm 34:1-10 NLT
Thank you for Your Word, Your Word is precious to me, more precious than food. For it fills my soul and speaks to me in both good times and bad.
Thank you for speaking to me in this Psalm today Lord. Reminding me how much I have to be thankful for, how good You have been to me and how much You Love me. Thank you for reminding me to give honour to You, for who You are and for all you’ve done for us. Praise you Lord, Praise your Holy name!!
Thank you for reminding me that when I pray to You, I will be freed from the fear that tries to grip my heart. Thank you for reminding me that I can be filled with Joy, even in the midst of these difficult circumstances. Thank you for reminding me that You hear our desperate prayers and that You save us from our distress… Thank you Jesus, Praise You!!
Lord, I don’t know what our future holds, as I can’t see past the moment of the day that I am in, I don’t even know the outcome of today. Yet, I trust in the One, who numbered my days and created me for His purpose before I was even born. I believe that You will use these circumstances for Your glory, and use us to bring glory to Your powerful name.
Lord Jesus, You know all our needs, we know that you hear all our prayers, would You show us what we are to do, would you advise us on how we are to proceed. We don’t trust our own thoughts and plans, as they have proven worldly and foolish. It was our lack of wisdom that got us to this point… O forgive us Lord for our foolishness with the resources You had provided.
Forgive us for not giving back to you what was already yours. Forgive us for living beyond our means and for Loving the things of this world too much. Forgive us for all the foolish and careless decisions we have made. Cleanse us Lord from all of these sins, forgive our rebellion against You, thank you for Your Grace and Forgiveness. Thank you for removing our guilt for all of our failures.
Help us to move forward into a new future Lord, one that spends time with You and time in Your Word. A future where Mike and I can serve You together… free of the past. Direct us I pray: Where we will live, how we should earn a living and how we should clear up this mess we have made.
Be our wisdom we pray, Lord Jesus, hear our prayer and answer us. Redeem the remainder of our lives for You and in service to You. Thank you that You are with us…even when we find ourselves in the wilderness.
In Jesus name ❤️ Amen
How are you holding up my friend? Are you a battle weary soldier, just putting one foot in front of the other to survive? The enemy would have us believe that we are fighting a losing battle, that we don’t have sufficient strength to carry on. As soon as you starting thinking these thoughts, you need to recognize the schemes that are at play.
The enemy’s goal is to convince you that you need to take care of problem and come up with a solution on your own, he knows that if he can get you to believe this, you will rely on your resources rather than trusting the one who gave us the amour to fight these battles (Ephesians 6). The enemy wants you to focus on the lions… Jesus wants you to focus on Him and His plan.
As I write this encouragement to you today, I have mostly come through this wilderness time, we are for a large part of it, on the other side and although we are still carrying some battle scars, these actually feel more like monuments to remember what God has done as these were the areas we saw Gods plans begin to unfold and life started to make sense again.
I don’t know what you are battling today, nor do I have any magic answers or solutions for you. But, what I do offer is encouragement. It IS possible to have joy in the wilderness. If you ask God to take your eyes off the lions so that you can see HIS presence, you will be profoundly changed, your experience may not change but your perception will be radically altered, as you allow Him to show you what He has begun in you.
Let’s jump back to the previous story about Daniel, for all of us animal lovers out there, we might cry out, “but Lord, you took away their food, now they will go hungry again”. Yet, God was working out His glory in All areas related to this situation. The King discovered that it was the deception of his rulers that tricked him into this very situation in the first place, and these men had their schemes against God turned against themselves. Yes, the lions still had a feast, and Gods Glory & Power was shown to many that day.
Whatever it is you are facing I urge you dear friend to trust and believe that God is in the midst of the storm (illness, divorce, loss of a loved one, financial crisis etc.) He has promised that He will never leave you nor forsake you. May you be able to take your eyes off of the lions that are encircling you this day, and see the face of the master, working through you in this very storm. Molding you in new ways to do new things in different ways than you could have ever imagined. So take your eyes off the lions my friend, and place your focus on the lamb… He has great plans for you.
Blessings, Janet❤️. Journey4Jesus
Do you know Jesus ? He’s waiting for you… ( click the link to learn more)
Can We Ever Measure Up?
Welcome to Throwback Thursday. I’m always in awe of how God chooses to use our circumstances (if we let Him) to come alongside others. God doesn’t waste anything, and wants to use us and our life experiences, both good & bad, to walk along with someone else who is struggling. Maybe that’s you today, maybe God has something in this that will speak into your heart and circumstances, I’m praying He does… read on my friend, may you be encouraged today.
Have you ever been in a place that feels so dark, so deep, that it feels like you are being swallowed into the depths alive? I have been there, more than once in my life, each time feeling like I would not be able to survive what I was going through.
Yet each time sensing this almost tangible string (as thin as a spiders web) reaching out to me from the heavens. You see, I knew of God… I thought I knew who He was, he was somewhere out there, all -knowing and all-powerful… but out there. I guess I was a slow learner because it would take multiple major events in my life for be to begin to fully understand and know the heart of God.
I gave my life to Jesus as an eight year old child, at a backyard Bible school. I had never heard the words “I Love you” from anyone within my family, so when I was told that God Loved us so much that He sent His Son to save us… I wanted that very much.
Unfortunately as a young child and little Biblical training outside a weekly Sunday school class, I really never grew… I never forgot about God, I never stopped believing, but I never grew closer to Him. This led to my life as a teenager in the early 80″s, the time of “sex, drugs and rock & roll”, where the lures of this world, specially for a girl that desperately desired to be loved, was all too alluring and I was quickly sucked right into the culture.
As I sit down to write and think back as to when this journal entry was written and the uncertainty that was engulfing us, all I can say is “God you are so Good!!” At the time of this journal entry, we were in the process of becoming “unencumbered“. The problem is, we really couldn’t even understand what that meant, never mind how it would play out.
Our mantra for those days was “Faith not fear”, we had to ground ourselves in those words daily if not hourly, and as difficult as those days were, I am so thankful for them. God used those days to mold us and prepare us for where we are today.
Miraculously, the necessary funds always came, other times we were extended great favour from those with the power to do so. Every time we thought we were stripped down, we discovered God had another layer to reveal, more work to be done in our molding process.
As I sit on this last day of the year and reflect upon a new year beginning tonight at midnight, I feel a sense of awe… God where are you taking us? What is around the next corner? Suddenly, in the quiet of my mind I sense His presence… reminding me that I have no need to fear, all is going according to the plans that He has set into motion from the beginning of time.
Bible verses with significant messages begin to swirl through my mind: “who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!” Matthew 8:27. “O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!”. Jeremiah 32:17, and so many more reminding me of the sovereignty of God over this world. Check out more strengthening verses here.
In the Lords gentle way, He reminded me and reaffirmed in my mind, that WE, his children were created for such a time as this. Just as we recall the deeds of our heroes of both the Old & NewTestaments of Gods Word, that stood for their faith in the midst of fear and/or loss of life: Abram, who left his entire family to follow a God his people did not know to a new land, completely unknown to himself. Esther who had to approach the king without being summoned, David who hid in caves refusing to kill Gods anointed, trusting God’s timing rather than his own. The disciples crowded in an upper room trying to understand the past 3 years of their life and watching their saviour killed on a cross. Saul who went from killing Christians to writing the majority of the New Testament… ALL of these were born for such a time.
I believe that we too, are born into a place of history that God had planned before we were even in the womb. “you saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalm 139:16… what an incredible life changing concept to understand. Nothing is happening that God is unaware of, everything man sets in motion has already been ordained by God our creator.
As we look forward with anticipation at the coming of a New Year, we may be hopeful that all the bad is behind us, everything will start looking bright and prosperous again. But, what if it doesn’t? What if Gods plans are different than our hopes, how will we, as Children of the almighty God respond?
Thankfully God gave us all of the answers we need inside His Word. He has told us that this world is not forever, that a time of great distress and heartache would come. We were told to watch the signs, just as the fig tree prepares for a coming season, so does the Lord. He has shown us through His Word, that we do not need to fear, but we need to be prepared to serve in ALL situations.
Three verses in Hebrews 10, sum up so beautifully how we are to live in these times regardless of what the world throws at us. vs. 23 states; “ Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” Let those words sink in like a drink of living water.” God can be trusted! Amen and thank you Father.
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” vs. 24. These are the things that we can do for one another, leading others to Christ that do not know him, and affirming those in Christ that are living in fear.
Finally, vs. 25, I believe is equally as important in a time such as this; “And let us not neglect meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” I understand this verse will be very controversial in the day we currently live in, but the Lord was very clear in what He instructed Paul to write for His children.
All through the centuries Christ followers have been targeted, many times having to go underground and meet secretly, even at risk of imprisonment and/or death, why would they risk this? Because they knew the importance of these Words. The enemy is working to divide and weaken the Church (the people of Christ)…
To be strong we need to be together.
To be effective we need to be together.
To serve a broken and hurting world we need to be together.
This is exactly the reason the enemy of the Church, wants to keep us apart. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that we need to disregard everything at the detriment of your health or someone else’s, but we need to prayerfully find ways to meet, encourage and strengthen each other, and be the light in this dark world… Jesus is returning soon, and He wants none to be lost… He has chosen to use US, His adopted children in such a time as this.
“A Frightened world needs a FEARLESS CHURCH”.
Let me encourage you my friends as we head into unchartered territory this new year. Rather than grieving what has changed, and yes although there is much worth grieving, shift your focus to where we are in the history of this world… could it be that Jesus is returning soon? No one but the Father knows the date, but we are told to keep watch, and be prepared.
Let’s move into this new year with a heart of preparedness. Let’s choose to be the church that God created and called us all to be. Let’s move forward intentionally and without fear, trusting the One who created us exactly for this time.
Thank you for creating us for such a time as this! Lord, we recognize that You are in control, that nothing is too hard for You… Praise you Jesus! Forgive us Lord, when we hang on too closely to the world, you have called us to be IN the world but not OF the world. Teach us Father how to live in this new year with all the changes that come our way. Give us wisdom Lord, to encourage and strengthen each other, to find ways to serve those that don’t know you and lead those within our circle of influence to You, as You want none to be lost. Open our eyes to the signs Lord of Your return, help us to be watching, ready and engaged, serving You in these days. Help us to have the courage to trust in Your Word Father, to meet together and Trust in Your plan for Your Children (who is the church). Thank you that this past year is behind us, and a new year is approaching… May we be Your light in this dark world Father.
In Jesus name ❤️ Amen
Friends, may this New Year be an opportunity for us to live the life that Christ called us to lIve. From my family to yours… HAPPY NEW YEAR!
2020 has admittedly been a difficult year across the globe. The attacks have felt like they have been coming at us across many fronts.
It is impossible to get through a 24 hour period without hearing the words: Covid, coronavirus, social/ physical distancing, masks, anti-masks … and the list goes on and on.
Politics has been heated and divided, not only in the USA but as a world power, has caused much strife, confusion & concern across the globe.
Friends, I’m not sure where you are and what policies have been implemented in the name of safely, but here in Canada, our Country feels likes it’s been divided into two camps. Those that believe the government is for us and taking care of us, and those that believe our freedoms are being stripped away and separation and isolation are becoming the new norm.
I’m not here to tell you which side of the gap I think you should be on, we each need to make those decisions for ourselves, as we alone are responsible to God for our choices we make in this life.
Here in Canada, particularly my province of Alberta, the government decided another lockdown was in order. This one over Christmas. No family gatherings allowed , even going to the point of encouraging neighbors to report those that would choose to gather.
This brought a whole new level of divisiveness… over Christmas?? How could this even be?? Admittedly I too, struggled with this decision. My hopes and dreams this year were to spend Christmas with my new granddaughter. I met her as a newborn just prior to Covid lockdowns and have not seen her in person since. This just felt cruel and unfair and I felt deep despair and grief at my loss.
Honestly, I allowed myself to wallow there for quite some time, brought to tears numerous times in my grief. Over Christmas how can this even be happening? Admittedly, I was becoming angry at the thought that the government would “take Christmas away from us”.
And it was here in my grief and anger that God opened my eyes to some truths I had never realized. In my minds eye, He showed me Churches over the the last 2000 years that held traditions equal to the Gospel message. He allowed me to see how quickly that action led them astray from the simple beautiful message of Christ coming to save us from our sins… Messiah arriving on earth.
Then He showed me what we, (including me) as a society has done with Christmas. We have allowed our “traditions” to stand equal with the actual meaning of Christmas. As I pondered that thought, my first instinct was to object…”Lord, we always kept you in Christmas”. Which we did, but the realization of the depth of my grief, showed me the truths that I had not recognized.
I was grieving what I could not have, even to the point of complaining that Christmas was being taken away from me. then God in His ever gentle way reminded me that NOTHING could actually take away Christmas. Man could prevent our traditions from happening as we liked…But does this take away Christmas?? Rules and regulations could alter our shopping habits… but does this take away Christmas??
The answer to that is a resounding No!
Let’s go back to the simple gospel message of Christmas. Jesus Christ was born as a baby, to live on this earth so He could conquer sin, bringing us into a right relationship with him, so that one day we would be clothed in His righteousness,and that we could spend eternity with him as His Children.
Christmas is a Birthday celebration of our Lord and Saviour… and nothing on earth can ever take that away from us.
Thank you for opening my eyes to truth. How easily we compromise the day of remembering your birth and reason for that birth… to one day die on a cross for each and every one of us. We know Lord, that family is important to you, so you understand how easily we fall into the trap of our traditions. Forgive me lord, for allowing those traditions to turn into an idol, causing me to put them equal to you. Wherever we are Lord on this Christmas Day, may we be filled with the Love of Christ as the gift of Christ. Thank you for slowing us down and removing the extra packaging so that we could be brought into that place of simple worship for the most important gift we could ever receive.
In Jesus precious name ♥️ Amen
Friends, if you were in anyway struggling like I was, I encourage you to lift your eyes to the heavens, remind yourself that God is still on His throne. What the enemy planned for evil God can use for good.
Merry Christmas…may the Christ of Christmas fill your hearts this season with Joy in what He has done for us .
Blessings , ♥️ Janet
I don’t know about you, but I can honestly say that I never thought that our world would change so drastically so fast. Going back to New Years Eve of 2020, we didn’t know that within mere months we would live life in a very different way and using a very different vocabulary.
Friends, I am not here to voice my opinion on what is happening in our world, there are too many voices already adding to the chaos and confusion. My goal with this short post is to remind you that God is still on his throne.
Nothing happening today, has left God unaware. In fact if it’s happening… He’s part of it. I’m not saying he’s part of the scheming and confusion that ensues, but He allows the brokenness and oftentimes evil within the hearts of others to fulfill His plans and purposes foretold centuries ago.
We, as Children of the most High.. know that this world is not meant to last forever, it is broken beyond repair. We know that the prince of this world has his time running out and he is frantic to take as many down with him as he can.
So what do we do, in what could feel like a hopeless situation? We recognize that God chose for us to live in such a time as this. Why? because He still has a purpose for us in this broken world. We, my friends are called to be the Light of Jesus to the lost, to bind up the broken hearted and care for those in need.
It’s pretty easy to see that we have a world in need. There are many things that are needed right now… Answers…Truth…Freedom, and although these are ALL good things, I believe what the world needs more than anything else is Love. Remember the old song…”they will know him by our Love”
Then this message came to Zechariah from the Lord: / “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. / Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.Zechariah 7:8-10 NLT
Jesus has given us the way to live in this world, by binding ourselves with him… in thoughts…deeds…and prayer. Be purposeful in your prayers, call out on behalf of the unbelievers, pray for unity within the body of Christ, and pray for how to navigate the challenges before us.
From the days of the prophets to today, the message of how to Love in Jesus name has never altered. Let us be children OF the world but let us not stoop to the actions of those IN the world. We live for an eternal glory not an earthly one… Shine your light from within my friends… shine your light.
” Lord, help me….Be Prepared, but not anxious… Be aware, but not desperate…Be vigilant, but not in fear…Be joyful but not clueless…Be faithful, but not careless…Lord, Be my hope and strength.” Amen [Fr. Goyo Hildago]
Blessings, Janet ❤️Journey4Jesus
Do you know Jesus ? He’s waiting for you… ( click the link to learn more)
Have you ever thought about Jesus words when He said to “take up your cross”? I used to think that taking up my cross meant I was supposed to be accepting specific burdens from God. Yet in reality to take up my cross is actually about surrendering.
I effectively take up my cross when I surrender my plans and my will to God. When I choose to put His ways before my own. When I put my focus onto living my life surrendered to Him following His Word even when it’s difficult.