THY WILL NOT MY WILL…

As I read from my prayer journal, almost three years to the day, I have so many memories flooding through my mind.  I can read those Bible verses and be transported back to the constant fear that would wash over me…fear of the unknown… fear of not understanding …fear of the loss of control.  That faithful mantra that I repeated hundreds of times…”Faith over fear”, rolled over and over in my minds eye.

So much has happened in these three years and yes we have seen God be faithful and true to this very prayer in our lives, but it wasn’t quick and it wasn’t easy.  Just to recap some of the things I have shared in previous posts: God had “unencumbered” us from pretty much ALL of our earthly possessions.  We sold our house to pay off business debt, and were living in our RV trailer.

On one fall day as the weather was about to turn very ugly, God suddenly provided us a place to move into for 3 months.  A home belonging to complete strangers who were currently living in the USA until Christmas.  We moved our few belongings out of the RV and into the house mere hours before the snow fell… and did it fall, about 2ft accumulated on that early fall day.  God is so good…

Shortly after moving into this strangers home, a friend contacted us about a place we could move into at a  fair price that would carry us through the winter.  Just prior to Christmas when our hosts would be returning to Canada, we moved into this other home, located out of town on a beautiful acreage.  Once again, God was faithful…

Through this process God was teaching us His faithfulness.  He was teaching us to Trust that He had a plan and we simply needed to submit our lives to Him and His plan rather than our own. This was not easy, we discovered how much we like to be in control of our lives and know how they should turn out.  The enemy battled us hard in this area.  Once again, God was good… He taught us to draw close and dig into His Word for answers, strength and encouragement.

The following April, I received a phone call that my Mother was dying.  Her cardiovascular system was collapsing and it was suspected to be a matter of days.  Here again, God provided for our needs:  We were  not prepared for this nor did we have the funds for me to get a flight to be with her, yet God was already at work, prompting the hearts of special people who purchased my ticket and arranged for a hotel stay.

Mom was in Hospice for 7 weeks (slightly longer than the days we were given…) and I am thankful for each day we had with her as I spent those 7 weeks beside her bed…God continued to be faithful to us and.  although it was painful to say good-bye, He gave me such a gift of precious time,  that I will always be grateful for.

There were so many other ways that God provided during those times; from a place to park the RV while we were there… to construction jobs for Mike which provided us with finances…and numerous other treasures along the way that we have been so blessed by.

Now jump forward with me to June of 2020:  As the world was struggling to manage life in a pandemic world, God brought Mike & myself to a small community in Northern Alberta.  It would be in this place that the prayer below was fulfilled.

When we were first offered the opportunity to take a one year contract and move 10 hours north… we were a HARD no!! Our plans consisted of moving 8 hours West to beaches and sun, as this had always been our dream… MOST DEFINITELY NOT NORTH.

Yet over the course of 72 hours, God opened our “eyes to see and our ears to hear”.  He reminded us of our prayers to “serve together in unity” and that, although “we can make plans, His way will prevail”.  We had prayed, “Not my will, by thy will” far too many times for us to ignore what was happening before us.

Jump forward one more time with me to the present time of July 2021.

We have been in this community for an entire year, which went unbelievably fast.  God has gifted us with incredible friendships with so many amazing people.  He has taught us the art of hospitality, an art that is quickly fading but needs to stay, there are so many values in time and relationship with others.

God has continued to provide for our EVERY need, and He has used us; along with the gifts and talents that He has been preparing in us our entire lives, to serve Him in such a time and place as this. As this year and our contact has come to a close, we have been asked to extend another 2 years in this place, as the work is still needed and the workers are few.

Without any hesitation we said Yes! We knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has been and continues to be IN this.  For the first time in our lives we have learned what it means to surrender our Will and Trust in Gods plans rather than our own, and most importantly we get to live out 1Corinthians 15:10a every single day… walking in and trusting the Grace of God in our lives.

Journal Entry:

Dated:  July 2018

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”                  
Psalm 91:1 NLT
All verses taken from Psalm 91 (click links to read full verse)
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You can make plans, but the Lords purpose will prevail.”                                                                                             Proverbs 19:21
“But by the Grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.”                                                    1 Corinthians 15:10a

Heavenly Father, 

Thank you for Your Word, and thank you for the Psalms that fill me with such hope.  Hope that encourages me to continue to search for You, even when I cannot understand.  Psalm 25:4-5 says:show me Your ways, O Lord;  Teach me Your paths.  Lead me in Your truths and teach me,  For You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.”

This passage sums up exactly my prayer to you Lord, Thank you for opening my eyes to it today.   Show me – Lead me – Teach me – Your will and Your ways Father.  

You know that the desire of my heart is to be living within Your will, and living out the purpose You created me for.  I pray that You would Lead – Show – and Teach – Mike and I, both individually and collectively, that we might be unified in Your leading and be certain we are following Your plans rather than filling our minds with plans of our own making.  

Your Word tells that “good advice lies deep within our hearts, so give us the wise understanding to bring it out Lord.  Your Word tells us that “You give us eyes to see and ears to hear”… help us Lord to see what You are showing us and to hear what You are telling us, Give us the discernment to know what is from You Father, and what comes from our own desires.  

As well, Your Word constantly tells me that “the Lord directs our steps”… help me to trust in that direction that comes from You, forgive me in my need to know… which simply speaks of my lack of faith in these areas and my persistent battle to be in control.  Help me to lean in and trust that You are in fact directing our steps.  

Finally, the verse that keeps going through my head from 1Corinthians;  “But by the Grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.”  There are no adequate words to express my thankfulness for Your gift of Grace Lord Jesus.  Thank You for the changes that You have produced in me, I give You ALL the praise and glory. 

Thank you for the many ways You have used me… the talents and giftings You have given to me… the opportunities I’ve had to serve You in unique and wonderful ways Lord, and thank you for the many ways that I will continue to be used by You in the future… whatever that might look like. 

Let Your Light shine through me Father, that those I encounter would see You.  Release me from anything that may be preventing my service to You.  Reveal to me, my hidden sins Lord that I may turn away from them.  Free me from anything that continues to enslave me Lord, so that I might be fully free to serve You and produce good fruit.  

Thank you for Loving me and choosing me O Lord.

In Jesus name ❤️ Amen

My Final Thoughts & Encouragement…

As you read these Bible passages and get a peak at the journey Jesus has had us on, what do you feel?  Have you been in that place of darkness and fear?  Do you struggle with the battle of control over the direction of your life?

Maybe, you are in that place right now… where the words “refuge” and “safety” feel like another language because they simply are not part of your current reality or vocabulary.  How do you not be “afraid” or feel “dread” when everything is upside-down?

My friend, let me encourage you.  If you know the Jesus of the Bible, If you have a personal relationship with Him, the Saviour of the world.  You can KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is for you.  He Loves you and wants you to follow Him.  You were designed with a purpose and a plan specifically chosen by God.

One of the major lessons I have learned that I would like to share with you and hopefully encourage you with is that;  it’s much easier to follow Jesus with our spare time… and much harder to follow him with our every minute … every detail time.  Although this might sound a little discouraging, let me assure you it’s not.

The battle is won, once we recognize that we have been pawns our entire lives;  lied to by the enemy, that ‘we can be like God’.  This is exactly what he told himself and then proceeded to convince Eve… all through history, mankind has sought our own path… our own way.  The enemy has cunningly convinced us that our path is better, for who could know better as to what’s good for us than us?

This is where the encouragement should hopefully come… Gods way is ALWAYS better, because only God knows what our future could hold.  Had we not followed His path to come North, we would have missed out on Blessings completely unknown to us.  We would have completely missed out on seeing Him at work IN and THROUGH us.

By choosing to surrender our will to Him, we are experiencing a deeper relationship with the Father and honestly I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it.  There are so many more blessings that He has provided for us in our new home and ministry… but I will save those for another day and another post. We are serving together, being the Light of Jesus in a hurting community and through His work… we are being blessed!

Wherever you might find yourself on this journey we call life, may you find peace in the knowledge that God is at work, His timing does not follow our time patterns and His ways may not follow ours.  Remember that it took three long years, and a direction completely opposite of our will,  for this prayer above to be answered (at least in a way that I could finally see it) Yet, I fully believe that God was in the details every single day… All we had to do was say Yes, when He said “Follow me”…

Blessings, Janet   ❤️

Do you know Jesus?    

woman facing mountains raising her hands
Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

The Winds of Change…

Have you ever found yourself in that place of life, where the storm clouds are descending and you can just sense that you are in for a storm that is going to shake things up around you? The type that is not going to lift quickly and will keep you tossing in the wind even as the world around you appears to remain still. This is the place I was in three years ago when I wrote this journal entry in my prayer journal.

We had sold our home and any other properties and all of our business inventory, so that we could pay off any outstanding bills etc.after watching our business crumble.   We were living in our camper trailer on a lovely piece of property loaned to us by people from our Church.  This place was a sanctuary to us in the storm, and we praise the Lord for it.

Yet, we were utterly and desperately lost as to what we were going to do with our lives going forward.  We prayed regularly together, we dug into the scriptures like never before and we surrendered our lives to Jesus on a daily basis, believing and hoping that He had a plan for us.

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Life According to Him or the Gospel according to me?

Life is a lot like the waves in the ocean, you know the ones… the ones that are so fun to play in.  They pick you up and move you forward, dropping you down for a moment only to return and repeat.  This has been such an adequate description of my life for majority of it…rolling along with the tides.

On a sunny calm day everything was easy & beautiful, but then the storms would come which would roll me around oftentimes unable to catch my breath…yet life lay mainly in the middle, soft rolling waves with a large one hitting unexpected.

I share this with you my friends in hopes that this visual would potentially be something you recognize as well.  You see, it took me many years of repeating things over and over again, that I realized I could break away from the tide.. I could get off the hamster wheel and choose to follow a different path.

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I PRAY TO YOU GOD BECAUSE YOU WILL HEAR ME…

But will He answer my prayers?

As I was re-reading this post for my Throwback Thursday, I was praying and asking the Lord what was relevant for today, what might speak into someone who is struggling in 2021.  God focused my heart and mind on the aspect of “slowing down”. 

As I thought about what does slowing down mean, my thoughts re-wound over this last 14 months that our world has been forced to slow down because of Covid 19, it was here that God started showing me something deeper.  Yes, the world was forced to slow down, isolate, work from home and quarantine, but what did that mean for our minds and hearts? 

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It was here that I recognized the gift I was missing; we could look at this slow down from a place of anxiety & stress, after all everything is out of control.  Or, the better choice is to recognize that nothing is actually in our control in the first place, and spend our slow time leaning into the heart of the Father, learning how He would have us live, react and respond to the world around us. 

God has so very gently reminded me that things are actually not out of control at all, in fact everything is simply falling into place… and ours is such a time as this.  

Read on from my journal entry 3 years ago and recognize the ways God is always at work getting our attention to look up and lean in to Him rather than the world around us… His ways and plans are perfect!

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As for me and my House…

 

I know it has been awhile since I have written or shared on my blog… for those following faithfully, I want to apologize for the delays.  God has had me in a place of learning, of discovery… and it’s taken time for all that He is teaching me and showing me to sink in and absorb.  

I recognize that words have the power to both heal and divide, as well they have the power of both growth and deception. I don’t take lightly the power of words nor the influence they can have.  God has been showing me the deceptions that are creeping into our Christian literature, the Church and Bible book stores.  

I once used these sources as a way to grow in my Christian faith (after all they have done the work already why reinvent the wheel…right?) But God has been revealing to me that it’s not that innocent anymore.  More often than not, there is a cross section of Spirituality / Christian  and Progressive thinking, influencing many of the authors.  God has challenged me to look to His Word for the truths I desire… and I in turn am going to challenge you my friends, to do the same

Where ever you find yourself on this journey called life, I would like to encourage you to take some time and do some critical thinking on some very deep subjects within our Christian faith. 

What is it you believe about God? Is He all powerful and omni-potent like we read in the Bible? Does he have clearly defined ways that He desires us live? Does He remain the same yesterday, today and tomorrow? Or, can we shrink him down to fit into a box of our own making? Adjust his ways to fit our agenda’s?

What is it you believe about the Bible?  Is it the Inspired Word of God? Is it both History & Future events, as well as our guidebook for life? Or, can we pick and choose which parts of the Bible we will follow and remove the parts we don’t like or disagree with? Is it still the Way.. the Truth and the Life… or has it been broken down into irrelevant fables?

What is it you believe about the Church? Is the Church still relevant today? Is it our mission to grow into mature followers of Jesus and point others to the grace, life and forgiveness that He offers them?  Or, has the Church evolved into a type of community group with their focus less on the actual person of Jesus, and more on the social justice issues of our present world, focusing more on how the Church can better fit into the world by just being more tolerant and loving and accept everyone as they are? 

Friends, these are some tough questions! Questions we ALL need to review in our hearts and minds.  The world is focused on social justice and as followers of Jesus we want to see justice in our world, justice to the poor & marginalized, but there is a troubling difference between this type of justice and the worlds version of politically powered ‘social justice’. 

Unfortunately, I’m also seeing a trend happening in many of the Churches in North America,  A desire to be more of the world and less of the Bible.  To be more involved in the political social justice issues and less about Repentance, Forgiveness and Salvation. 

I’ve been witness to those who claim to follow Jesus Christ, but choose which of his Words they like to follow and which are simply not relevant in our day and age.  I’ve seen new age philosophies slip into Church staff meetings and small groups. As people seek new ways to discover themselves and grow outside of the gifting of Christ.

Sadly, I believe there is a Great Deception happening within our Christian Churches and I believe it grieves God deeply.  I believe the enemy is blinding many on the alter of tolerance.  I fully believe one can love a person completely yet disagree on their choices and decisions.  I believe Jesus died for ALL of humanities sins, but many Churches are forgetting an important action… the action of repentance, the turning away from those sins that separate us from the Father, in order to receive the gift of Grace.

This my friends is the entire reason Jesus went to the cross, to show us a better way.  We were warned the road would be narrow, as the wide road…the easy road… would lead to destruction.  I fear for our Churches, for my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, as I see a progressive form of Christianity gaining influence across our Countries. 

This is a form of Christianity that is more tolerable to the world, less threatening.  This is the type of religion that doesn’t require work or change on our part, it’s a ‘come as you are and stay as you are’ type of gospel.  This is a form of religion that does not recognize sin as defined in the Bible, in fact this is a form of religion that doesn’t recognize the Bible as the Holy breathed Word of God.  And this is a religion that nullifies Jesus’s atoning death on the cross for each of us, enabling us to one day stand cleansed in the presence of the Father.

So I urge you Friends, think deeply about these questions.  Be wary of the easy road that requires little from it’s followers.  Love deeply, pray hard and ask the Lord God almighty to protect you from this deception creeping into our Churches and our literature.  If you have found yourself buying into these lies, turn away and turn back to Truth.  

Christ came into this world, was killed on a cross for your sins and mine.  He died and rose again on the third day so that we might receive forgiveness for our sins and one day spend eternity with Himself and the Father in heaven.  He sent us the helper, the Holy Spirit, that we might discern between right and wrong, that we might be strengthened for the battles we would face against the spiritual forces of darkness within this world. 

So why do I choose to share this with you today?  I believe it is because God has been preparing me for the last three years for this message.  While I was in the ‘desert’, waiting on what He would do in my life…with my life, I was compelled to dig deeply into Gods Word.  

I spent time, desiring to know Jesus better, more intimately.  I sought His plan for my life, rather than continuing trying to fit Him into mine.  And here we are in 2021, and He has rewarded me for these efforts. He has opened doors that both Mike and I could serve him full time as we had prayed so many times.  

He has rewarded us with Godly friends and relationships that build us and that we can build into.  And He has opened my eyes to the beautiful Truths that are contained in His Word.  I have experienced his Word being alive, sharper than a double- edged sword.  It has separated Truth from lies within my own heart and mind and sharpened my discernment from within.  

Finally, I fear the apostasy of the Church… the falling away by turning away from Truth.  I fear for Brothers and Sisters in Christ that I love dearly, and I feel God is calling His followers to sound an alarm so that eyes might see and ears might hear.  Praying that these words fall on open eyes and open ears. 

Journal Entry:  

June 24,2018

 

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for Your Word, not a day goes by that You don’t show me something that prompts my heart. When I think of my sinfulness and having my sins laid open before you; with no justification or excuses, it makes me shudder.  

I much prefer the image of the Good Good Father, this image loves us (inspite of our failings and our ugly parts), He accepts us as we are, he would never lay our sins out in the open to actually be seen… would he? I prefer to tell myself that You see past all of that ugliness, this is the image of Jesus who washes our sins clean and we can live forever in the land of Grace.  Which You do and we can !

Yet, I am reminded that there are other images of You Lord, that are also correct. Images we prefer not to focus on, and that is the God who SEES.  Your Word tells us that You see into our hearts and our minds, You see ALL of our sinful thoughts and actions.  As much as You are the God of Grace… You are also the God that desires Repentance.  Thank you for that reminder today Lord. 

The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.     Luke 12:2 NLT

Thank you for reminding me that unconfessed or justified sins hinder my relationship with You Lord.  O God, would You open my eyes to those sins in me that I have either justified away or convinced myself that they are not really sin.  

Forgive me Lord, for allowing the enemy to deceive me into this habit of justification:  “that little lie really didn’t hurt anyone”, ” that person didn’t know what I was thinking about them and how I was judging them”.  The truth is Lord, that you know and you have told us that those secrets will not remain secrets, that they will be revealed, unless we acknowledge them for what they actually are…sin, and confess them to you. 

Help me to see those things in my life that I have Not put in front of You, those things that I have justified.  I lay them out before You Lord that You might teach me to walk closer to You, following Your ways rather than mine. Open my eyes to see…open my ears to hear…open my heart with a desire to follow.

O Lord, Your Word is always instructing us to search for wisdom:  our need and the importance of wisdom, of growing in our wisdom. You tell us learn discernment, and to practice discerning not only between right and wrong, but as C.H. Spurgeon so eloquently said, “ the difference between right and almost right”

Lord God, in a world where everything is shaded in grey, help me to still see Your black and white… Your truths for right and wrong.  Not as the world sees it but as Your Word teaches it. 

Thank you Lord, for the reminder that my life is like the wind… here for a moment then gone. Forgive me for allowing myself to believe the lie that we have all the time in the world: time to serve You…time to be all in…time to…(fill in the blank).  When in fact, today could actually be my last, and my time on this earth could in fact run out. 

Forgive me Lord, for focusing more on my comfort and desires than on fulfilling the very mission which You created me for.  Every single one of us was created by You with a purpose that will glorify You Lord. The gifts of Grace and Love that I have received were not to be kept for myself, but used to lead others to You.  

Forgive my wasted years Lord Jesus.  Forgive my inward thinking, my self-serving thoughts.  Help me Lord…teach me… to live for You.  Help me Father, to see the ways I can live for You every single day.  Forgive my very lack of wisdom, my foolishness, as I have flitted my days away with so little of eternal value to show for them.  

Thank you Father, that You have been teaching me and changing the desires of my heart, to be more in line with the Your desires for me.  Create in me a new heart Lord, one that is on fire for You with purpose and passion.  Thank you for this time of ‘waiting’ Lord, time I needed for You to wake me up and get my attention once again… this desert place is good for that.

Once again, I submit my life to You Sovereign Lord.  To be used for Your purposes and Your Glory, rather than my own .  Let there be less of me and more of You Father.  Use whatever days I have remaining in this brief existence of life.  For when I meet You face to face, there are no words I desire more to hear from You than, “well done good and faithful servant”

In Jesus name ❤️Amen

My final thoughts & encouragement:

In the book of Joshua, after bringing the Israelites into the promised land, Joshua challenged the Israelites against turning away from the one true living God to follow useless and worldly ways.  He exhorted them to follow the Living God.  He said, “choose today whom you will serve…but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.  Joshua 24:15.  

Like Joshua, I choose, truth… the Bible… historical Christianity…and I will serve the Lord Jesus Christ.  I recognize that there are many today that believe the God of the Bible, and the biblical version ofJesus, to be outdated. They would rather see a Jesus that accepts us as we are, that wouldn’t ask us to give up anything for him.

But the Jesus I know gave up his very life for each and every one of us, He chose to give it up for us as the way for us to come close to the Father. Without His sacrifice we had no way to be forgiven. God is a just and holy God and no one can come before him without first being justified. Our ONLY way to be justified is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, to acknowledge his death and resurrection as our atonement for sin.

If Jesus gave up so much for us, how foolish it would be to think that nothing is required from us. We can’t earn our way to the Father by following a bunch of rules, but we acknowledge the price Jesus paid, when we turn away (repent) of our sinful actions.

I don’t know about you my friends, but I know my struggles… I don’t like looking at my sin. I would much rather bury it and pretend that it doesn’t exist, but therein lies the problem… it does!! If it didn’t we would never have been separated from God in the beginning, but Gods Word clearly tells us we were.

Sin is ugly, it’s selfish, it’s mean spirited, it’s everything I don’t want to be, yet sadly, it is so much of who I am all wrapped up together. I am so grateful for Gods gift of forgiveness and grace, that I can give it to him and it does not control me any longer. Does this mean I never sin again? I wish…

But sadly no, our broken human nature has been forever tainted. We can gain mastery over it with the help of the Holy Spirit, but until that day that we are fully reconciled to Christ in the heavenly realms with our new ‘unspoiled’ bodies, we will continue to deal with the sin factor.

Yet, this world would have us believe that SIN is an outdated theme. What is sin? what’s right for you and what’s right for me don’t have to agree... these are lies from the pit of hell. The enemy would love us to believe that we can choose what is sin and what is not, based on our own desires. The Bible tells us that “our hearts are deceitful”, that they cannot be trusted for truth… only God’s Word provides trustworthy Truth.

So my friends, what are we to do in such a chaotic time? We can look around and see many of our loved ones fall under the spell of tolerance. Tolerance simply avoids dealing with choices about right and wrong… tolerance is always shaded Grey, rather than absolutes like black & white.

I for one choose to believe that the Bible is Gods Holy Word for the world. It is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow… forever unchanging yet never the same ( how’s that for a mind bender?). If I was basing these decisions simply on what my heart desires, I would be totally led astray, but I am standing on what I KNOW to be true based on what I have experienced in my own life.

I am so thankful that God did not leave me as I was… broken and frail. I am so thankful that He built me up and built into me to become all that I am today. I am so thankful for His gift of Grace… because boy do I fail… often. But, because of His incredible Love for us, He picks us up … dusts us off… and sets us back on our feet again… ready for another day.

Blessings, Janet ❤️

Do you know Jesus?  He’s waiting to meet you…pexels-pixabay-33085

take my hand lord… show me the path

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. 

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(TT) SO MANY QUESTIONS LORD… Show me the answers.

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, Oh the difference a year makes…

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…❤️

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Who’s with you in the dark? the lion…or the lamb?

 

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. 

Journal Entry: #45

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

Heavenly Father,

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

My Final Thoughts & Encouragement: 

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) 

lion sleeping beside rock
Photo by Aldo Picaso on Pexels.com 

(TT) GRACE, GRACE, GODS GRACE…

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.

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Shadow dancing With God…

 

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. 

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