God Doesn’t Always Rescue Us, But He's Always with Us

5:45 am Unknown 12 Comments

{Guest Devotional by Chris Morris}

When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:2-3 (MSG)

photo credit: DanBrady via photopin cc | Design: Wendy van Eyck
I awoke in the middle of the night because I felt something warm against my leg. 

Confused, I turned to my pregnant wife to awaken her. As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I saw our bed was covered in blood. 

Oh my God, was she miscarrying? Help – I don’t know what to do! 

God didn’t keep my wife from miscarrying.

We still lost our baby. We cried and cried for days. It was hard. The hardest moment in our young marriage. 

Yet my God answered my plea for help. 

God almost physically guided my steps as I threw on some clothes. I felt His strength as I lifted my wife in my arms and carried her to the hospital. His knowledge reminded me where the hospital was as I drove in a panic to the hospital. Gods love warmed me and my wife as we wept for our lost child. 

God did not rescue us from this tragedy, but He didn’t abandon us either. 

God can’t, because He is faithful. Every day. All the time. No matter what. Even when it hurts. 

So often in our faith we miss the nuances of passages like this one in Isaiah. We want our God to take care of us by removing our pain or keeping us safe from harm. But this is not the promise of God here, or many other places in Scripture. 

God promises His presence, not His rescue. (tweet this)

God promises hope, not deliverance.

God promises salvation, not a life of ease.

We can look at the Exodus narrative and see the same thing. Many of the plagues affected the Israelites and the Egyptians. 

God keeps us from drowning, but we will get wet. We will be squeezed, but never abandoned.

When we expect something God never promised, we set ourselves up for disappointment. (tweet this)

Let’s stop trusting God to keep us from danger or pain or sorrow or sadness. 

Instead, let’s choose to believe God will guide us through the storms to the other side. This gritty kind of faith gives us more than fairy tales. We will have stories to share with the world of God’s enduring goodness.

When have you seen God walk with you through dark times?

Chris Morris{About Chris Morris: The Author Of This Guest Devotional}
Chris Morris writes about how to hang on to hope when a busted life and faith collide. He is a writer before dawn, a CPA by day, and a loving husband and father of 4 all the time. You can read his blog at chrismorriswrites.com, follow him on Twitter and find him on Facebook

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What You Need To Know If You Feel Afraid

5:52 am Unknown 2 Comments

Energize the limp hands, strengthen the rubbery knees. Tell fearful souls, “Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on his way to put things right. And redress all wrongs. He’s on his way! He’ll save you!” Isaiah 35:3 (MSG)

Courage! Take Heart!
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When was the last time you felt afraid? 

It wasn’t so long ago that I last felt real fear. 

Fear was so pungent it made my muscles quiver and my bladder feel like it was going to burst.

In the dark of night I woke up to my husband shivering next to me in the bed. Not from fear but from fever. Which if you know anything about post-chemotherapy care is a very bad thing. 

I didn’t know what to do. It was past midnight. And I was afraid. 

Did I need to rush him to hospital? 
Should I call the doctor? 
Should I calm down and breathe? 
Could I even drive with my muscles quivering so hard?

I’m sure you’ve found yourself in similar situations where you are so afraid you can’t think straight. It feels like you’re no longer in control and you can barely move or think for the fear. 

If you’re like me you just wish that someone was there to hold you and make everything better.

Which is why a few days later when I read this verse in Isaiah 35 I felt like God was speaking to me, and to anyone who has ever felt afraid.

Energize the limp hands, strengthen the rubbery knees. Tell fearful souls, “Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on his way to put things right and redress all wrongs. He’s on his way! He’ll save you!”

Did you hear that? In the place where fear is saying that it is in charge God is saying I am here, right here. 

That night when I was shaking like a leaf I was scared because I felt alone, I was afraid because I felt like I had to make everything right on my own. 

I wish I’d realized that I wasn’t alone the other night. That in my fear I could have talked to God. But I didn’t that night.

Fear does that, it isolates us, it makes us forget that God is here, right here. (Tweet this)

Fear makes us forget that God has promised to never leave us. 

I’m sure you’d agree that somehow the most terrible things seem less scary when we face them with someone by our side. 

I think that is why God tells us over and over in the bible that not to be afraid, he is with us. 

God knows that his presence casts out fear. (Tweet this)

God knows we need to be reminded that we are not alone. We are not left to fight fear on our own, to battle our terrors with our wobbly knees and shallow breaths by ourselves. 

In our darkest, most petrifying moment we need to remember that God-of-the-Angel-Armies is there, he is right there and he has promised to make all things right. 

Next time you feel afraid know that you are not alone. God is with you and his presence casts out fear. Then breathe out a prayer, and breathe in the courage that comes when you know One bigger than your fear is on your side.

Prayer: God, please energize my limp hands and strengthen my rubbery knees. Help me to feel that you are here, right here, right now in this moment when I am afraid. Come and save me, Lord. Amen. 

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This One Is For The Outcast, The Forgotten & The Person Held Back By Their Past

8:06 am Unknown 0 Comments

Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, taking all his meals at the King’s table. He was lame in both feet. 2 Samuel 9:13 (MSG)

You are loved, seen and whole
photo credit: D. Sharon Pruitt via photopin cc
Design: Wendy van Eyck
Do you ever feel like an outcast? 

Have you ever felt forgotten? 

Are you the person who feels crippled by your past? 

Believe it or not there is a story in the Bible written just for you. It’s a story of seeing invisible people, being kind to the forgotten and sharing life with a person marked by the burden of their past. 

This story is found in 2 Samuel 9 and goes something like this:

David, now Israel’s King, sets out to discover if any of the previous Kings descendants are still alive. 

Only one grandchild was still alive. His name was Mephibosheth and he was a cripple.

With the rest of Mephibosheth’s family murdered, and he himself having been disabled while running away from a massacre at 5 years old (2 Sam 4:4), it is understandable that he was shaking when he entered the Kings’ court.

“Don’t be afraid,” King David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”

Mephibosheth was living in obscurity just the day before: forgotten, broken and alone. Then the King seeks him out and changes his fortunes forever.

I love this story because it reminds me that when we deserve no blessing, or think we are nobody, God comes and finds us and blesses us with more than we can imagine. 

When God, our King, seeks us out, we can find ourselves dining at the King’s table as though we are a son and not the crippled child of an outcast family.

God doesn’t invite us to the table because we are an outcast, forgotten or limping, he asks us to sit with him because of who our Father is, simply because we are a part of his family. 

If you feel like an outcast: God says, “Come sit with me, you are one of the family.” 

If you feel forgotten: know that God has remembered you and he’s searching for you, longing to bring you back. 

If you feel crippled by your past: God is looking beyond that to your future.  He is giving you what you need for the right now and enough to take care of you into the future. 

You are loved, seen and whole. (Tweet this)

If you are feeling alone, forgotten or overlooked know your King is out there looking for you, seeking you out to lavishly bless you, for no other reason than that you are related to him.

What others have said about you, your family name or your past no longer defines you. (Tweet this)

God does. 

God has noticed you, your inheritance has been restored and he has completely changed your future. 

Question: What holds you back from living like you believe this? 

A prayer for the outcast, the forgotten and the person crippled by their past:
A prayer for the outcast, the forgotten and the person crippled by their past:
photo credit: D. Sharon Pruitt via photopin cc | Design: Wendy van Eyck
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It Seems Impossible...But God Can...

5:43 am Unknown 1 Comments

And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Romans 4:19 (NLT)

Is there something in your life right now that seems impossible?

photo credit: Martin Gommel via photopin cc | Design: Wendy van Eyck
Not just something that is hard or difficult but something that is impossible.

Something like having a baby when you are a hundred years old. 

There is a story in the bible of an old man and his wife. Both were well past the age of having children, in fact they were in their nineties, but God promised them there children would be as many as the sands on the seashore. 

The old woman actually laughed when she heard this. Wouldn’t you?

If God told you he wouldn’t only do the impossible but fulfill all your wildest dreams wouldn’t you laugh?

It was impossible but God did it. (<-- Tweet this

He gave this old couple a child when there is no way they should have been able to give birth naturally.

God can but that doesn’t always mean he does. (<-- Tweet this

This is the reality that every person has to come to terms with at some point. 

God can heal my husbands’ cancer but he hasn’t. God can give you the job of your dreams but he doesn’t have to. 

I sometimes wonder if Abraham hadn’t had a child at 100 what would have happened. What the bible would have recorded in Hebrews? 

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and I think that even if Abraham didn’t have a child in his old age it would still have read and Abraham’s faith did not weaken. 

Even if Abraham had died childless I believe his faith would never have waivered that God could still fulfill his promise to him. 

Abraham might not have known how God would have done it but he would have believed that God could. Would have put his hope in the fact that God was in control.

Faith isn’t dependent on me it relies on God. (<-- Tweet this

Faith believes that impossible is just an opportunity for God to do something outrageous and beautiful and breathtaking. 

I don’t know what the thing is in your life that looks impossible right now. 

You might even burst out laughing at the thought of God doing something to change your circumstances.

I want to encourage you that even if it seems impossible God can still do it. 

Even if right now you’re laughing. God can.

Even if you’re thinking there is no natural way it will happen. God can.

It is impossible but God can do something outrageous and beautiful and breathtaking. 

What is the impossible thing you’re asking God to do right now? 

You can share this devotional on twitter by clicking here. I’d also love for you to connect on my facebook and twitter pages or leave a comment here.

Other places I’ve been writing recently:
DevotionalDiva.com - Living Together In Sickness and In Health: I’m sharing my story of how cancer has shown me we are called to carry one another’s burdens in our relationships. 
IBelieve.com: Marriage & Melanin: This is the post where I share a little of my love story and how culture and skin colour can impact a relationship.

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How Do You Pray When Your Heart Is Breaking?

11:29 am Unknown 9 Comments

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” John 12:27-28 (NIV)

“My biggest struggle is wanting to know if God is truly calling my husband home or if I am to continue to pray for his healing? I don't want to let him go but nor do I want to hold him back if this is the time God has ordained for him.”

prayer for when your heart is breaking
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She wrote these words to me asking me to pray for her, with her. Her husband of almost five decades had just been diagnosed with cancer for the third time. 

But what do you pray at a time like that? 

How do you pray when your heart is breaking? (<-- Tweet this)

Everything inside of me just wants to pray, “God heal him! Let him live.” Her words remind me of how much I hate death, of how even though I know that in Jesus death is not the end; it is still something that hurts. Death is still something I wish everyone could avoid. 

Death is still something I haven’t discovered how to rejoice in. 

So I stuttered out a prayer and trusted that God would meet my inadequate words with his more than adequate love for this man and his wife. 

I believed that God would his best for them whether that came through healing or through loss.

But her words stayed with me and I wondered how Jesus would pray when his soul was distressed? 

What would Jesus say if he had to pray about something that broke his heart? (<-- Tweet this)

I searched the bible and found this simple prayer that Jesus probably stuttered through in John 12: “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” 

In these few lines Jesus tells us he was heart-sore about the choice between life and death. 

Jesus’ heart was breaking with the choice he had to make, but instead of praying for rescue, he prayed that God would be glorified.

At times like this I am so grateful that God came to earth as man, that he let his holiness beat through a heart like mine. 

I love that Jesus let’s us see it’s okay to lift our broken hearts to God - to tell him what we really want is a way out - and then to somehow find the strength to sigh, “God, do your Best!”

While this prayer doesn’t make your heart ache less, and it doesn’t make the outcome easier, it frees your heart from fear. And allows you trust that no matter what happens God is doing his best for you. 

Do you believe that God will always do the best for you? If if you don’t know how to pray about that hard thing right now you can borrow these words: My heart is breaking, I don’t know how to pray. I want to say, God give me a way out. But instead God I’m choosing to trust you. Father, do your best. Amen.

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What If I Put My Confidence in God?

6:07 am Unknown 1 Comments

{Guest Devotional by Jen Mguni}

“I love you, God – you make me strong. God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. My God – the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout.” Psalm 18:1-2 (MSG)

God is a rock
photo credit: Jeff Pang via photopin cc | Design: Wendy van Eyck
There’s a beautiful place where I come from that is known for its breath-taking granite landscape. 

Take a trip there and you’ll see majestically smooth, vast granite boulders, as far as the eye can see. By vast, I mean you can go for long walks on them and you’ll be so high up that you’ll be surrounded by stop-you-in-your-tracks panoramic views. 

My family and I went there a couple of years ago. We drove through the national park area and then walked to a few viewing points. 

As soon as I set my feet on the first bit of granite I knew one thing for sure: that is one very solid rock.

Granite isn't like sand, which shifts and changes form. 

Granite is solid to the core; it’s sure and steady. 

It’s no wonder that this imagery is used in the Message Bible to describe our rock-solid God. 

God’s a firm place to plant our feet. (<-- Tweet this)

God's a safe refuge, high above the flood-waters of worry. 

Trusting God doesn't mean that the worries won’t come, but it means that when they do, we've got a safe harbour to run to.

There are a lot of things about God that I can’t explain and I don’t understand. And that’s just fine with me. 

In my opinion, anyone who has no beginning has the prerogative to remain a little mysterious. 

Putting aside what I don’t know, what I do know is this: when I put my confidence in myself and try to figure things out on my own, then I am an anxious bundle of nerves. I try to control everything, I’m preoccupied by concerns of what other people might think of me and I’m tossed by the smallest wave. 

When I put my confidence in God, I find calm and quiet. My soul settles down and I can find rest and peace even in stressful situations. 

When our eyes are on Jesus, our feet will find firm footing on a solid foundation. (<-- Tweet this)

Human wisdom revels in being self-sufficient but I am happy to join the Psalmist in a state of recognized need and surrender, saying “I love you, God - you make me strong.”

Thank God that he is firm place to put your feet. Think if there is any area of your life right now where you need to step out of your situation and onto His solid foundation. 

{About Jen Mguni: The Author Of This Guest Devotional}
Jen Mguni
I’m Jen Mguni. I am a Zimbabwean-born South African, currently living in Germany. I’m an instructional designer, writer and poet, with a learn-as-you-go-style passion for photography. I love playing with light and colour and I feel exhilarated when words come together surprisingly on a page. I write about finding grace in the grit and grime of life and about the love of God seeping into every crack and callous, transforming the broken into the beautiful. You can read my blog posts and poems at freshmercies.com and connect with me on facebook and twitter

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Perspective, People!

5:45 am Unknown 2 Comments

Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. Colossians 3:1-2 (MSG)

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“Two tweets, people!” exclaimed my friend about an incident at work that day.

“We were having crisis meetings all day over two tweets out of thousands of compliments about our service.” 

She went on, “I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to shout, ‘Perspective, People! I wanted to remind them of my doctor friend who had a patient die in her rooms that day.”

Have you ever been in the middle of a situation that just feels out of control like that? 

Like everyone has lost perspective on what the real problem is and is focusing on something that doesn’t really matter?

It made me think about how often we do that in our daily lives and how often God must want to stop and shout, “Perspective, People!”

I can imagine God standing there like my friend saying: 

“Take your eyes off the problem in front of you, and ask Me to open your eyes to view things the way I see them.

Slow down, look up, and you’ll see things from My perspective. You will see that I’ve got your back and I’ve got this under control. 

Breathe for a moment, look at Me and you’ll see that I’m working all things out for My purposes and your good.” 

No matter what you’re struggling with looking up and seeing things from Gods perspective will always change the situation. (<-- tweet this)

So no matter what happens in the next few moments, days or months remember these 7 little words I’m borrowing from my friend, Jen Mguni

Big day. Deep breath. Eyes on Jesus. (<-- tweet this)

What do you need to do right now to take your eyes off your problem and focus on God? 

Father, help me to take my eyes off the problem in front of me and to look up and see you. Thank you that you have my back; that you have all of this under control. And Lord when I’m losing it let me hear your voice saying, “Perspective people!” Amen

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What Do You Do When Your Circumstances Seem Bigger Than God?

5:55 am Unknown 11 Comments

quotes about God and worry
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33 (NLT)

What big things are going on in your life right now?

Have you recently: 

  • been kicked out of your home? 
  • Lost a job? 
  • Miscarried? 
  • Held the hand of a loved one while they took their last breath? 
  • Gone for surgery?
  • ___________?

I’ve got a lot of big things happening my life right now.

My husband is starting chemo for the second time in a year today.

My brother is having a 3-5 hour operation to remove a 30cm section of his intestine today.

In fact both things are happening at the same hospital, at the same time. 

These are big things. Just one of these things happening at a time would be a big thing.

In addition my grandfather passed away a few weeks ago. 

If I allow myself to sit and think about all the big things my family is dealing with right now it is easy for me to begin to think that my circumstances are bigger than God. 

It gets harder and harder to see God’s presence because all the difficult things ask for attention, time and energy. 

Often the urgency of these hard things makes them bigger and bigger in our lives until it’s hard to see God.

photo credit: lrargerich via photopin cc | Design: Wendy van Eyck
It is easy to begin believing that God isn’t in control of everything when there are lots of big things happening at once. 

To be honest I sometimes think it would be easier to believe God was out of control than wondering how God allows death, cancer and chronic illness and other hardships. 

In hard times God can seem so distant, so far away, such an out of touch father. 

Other times God can feel so close it is like he is holding you, propping you up and helping you walk through the hard things. 

When my problems become so big that they begin to make God look small in my eyes, I remind myself that Jesus told us there would be many trials and sorrows but that we could have peace in him because he has overcome all these hard things. 

When I remember God has overcome I begin to see my problems in their proper perspective. I start to notice that these hard things could not overcome my God. 

Have death, or cancer or chronic illness or any other hard thing ever overcome our God? 

When I start thinking of it that way these big things I’ve been allowing to cloud out my vision of God begin to look very small. 

All of our big things are small things to God. (<-- Tweet this)

When I remember this it doesn’t make the big things disappear but it does put them in their proper perspective. 

It reminds that my problems are really small things. 

Jesus can overcome anything. (<-- Tweet this)

Even in the midst of trials and sorrows we can find peace in Jesus if we remember how much bigger than our problems he is.

What big thing are you facing in your life right now? 

A prayer for you if your circumstances are feeling bigger than God: 
A prayer if your circumstances are feeling bigger than God:
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