When things go wrong am I willing to let God lead?

6:00 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

{A Guest Devotional by Lesley Sebek Miller}
The Lord turned my darkness into light
You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. 2 Samuel 22:29 (NIV)

One time in college I planned a huge concert for the student body. 

My co-leader and I worked with a major record label to bring Christian recording artists Bebo Norman and Jeremy Camp to campus. At the time Norman was a highly sought after Christian performer, and Camp was somewhat new to the music scene.

Will Everything Be Okay?

8:20 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Take a Deep breath
Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. Isaiah 41:10 (MSG)

“Should I be this scared before my wedding day?” 

Giving God Glory No Matter What Happens

6:00 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

{Guest devotional by My Mom}

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. Romans 8:28 (Voice)

Photo: kevin dooley via photopin cc | Design: Wendy van Eyck
Until Wendy, my daughter, was a teenager, I was chronically ill. 

Arthritis riddled my body and a heart complaint had me in ICU/CCU every two to three months. 

My youngest said that he never knew that mums didn’t spend their afternoons on the bed until he visited friends whose mums were healthy. 

I was anointed with so much oil for healing that I almost slid off the chairs. 

I believed…but my health deteriorated. 
I experienced much needed deliverance which healed so much of my life…but my health continued to deteriorate. 

My husband would often wake in the night to check if I was still breathing and the kids knew that Mum was in hospital again when Dad fetched them from school with a lunch of KFC to lessen the pain. 

At the same time my youngest son had asthma and a challenged immune system which meant that several times, he was in one hospital in an oxygen tent fighting for his life while I was in ICU at another hospital. 

Life was hard [especially for my husband].

During this time I read the biography of Pastor Duma, who against all odds ministered across the colour bar in apartheid South Africa. His motivation was ‘Take your glory, Lord’. 

I understood for the first time the sovereignty of God. 

It’s not about who we are but about who God is. {Tweet this}

I realised that the often quoted scripture, ‘all things work together for good to those who love God’ was not saying, ‘all things work together for MY good’ but was actually saying ‘all things work together for HIS good,’ and His thoughts aren’t our thoughts and His ways are definitely not our ways.

Talking about healing and the sovereignty of God, James Robison said, ‘With your legs you kick Satan away with all your might but with your arms you reach up to heaven and say, “Not my will but yours be done.”

Take your glory, Lord, whichever way you choose. {Tweet this}

I believe the acceptance of God’s will for my life was the turning point to health. 

Several years after this acceptance, a new medical heart procedure was 100% successful, and as my circulation was restored so the joint inflammation reduced, until, although I have very crooked fingers, I have been symptom free for nearly twenty years. 

Take YOUR glory, Lord. 

I don’t want to give false hope or dish out another cure all for chronic illness by just saying, accept your illness and you’ll be healed. I know this is not the case. My son’s chronic illness has continued unabated for many years without relief. 

I don’t understand why God does what he does. {Tweet this}

All I know is God’s ways are not our ways. Which is why my prayer today is still the same: 
Take your glory, Lord, whichever way you choose.

What hard things are in your life at the moment that you need to hand over to God and say, “Take your Glory, Lord, whichever way you choose”. 

{About the author of this guest devotional} 
Jeannette Harbottle is the mother of Wendy who writes and curates ilovedevotionals.com. She shares her home with David, her husband of over 40 years, and two giant schnauzers. She is the distributor of Kanaan Literature and resources in South Africa.

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Do You Have A Dream?

11:07 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)

God can do anything
Photo: seyed mostafa zamani via photopin cc | Design: Wendy van Eyck
“Careful if you dream for God because nothing is impossible. If he wants you there, he’ll take you there and you will never, ever, be the same again.” 

My youth was spent singing these lyrics, believing these lyrics, waiting to see the impossible. 

As a young teen I had crazy big dreams with God.

I thought I was going to be own a huge media empire. 

Then my life took some twists and turns and this dream seemed stupid, naïve, adolescent. 

A decade or so later I went to an interview and God reminded me of my media dream. It had revolved around a warehouse where young people and teenagers could hang out and discover that Jesus not only loved, but liked, them.

During the interview, I was told that the set for the TV show, which I would be working on, would be a warehouse. 

This was the blooming of my teenage dream into something I could never have imagined.  

On the drive home, I kept saying thanks to God and laughing. 

I think God was laughing too. 

My dream would have reached two or three hundred kids; God’s dream reaches millions across the entire African continent. 

My dreams were too small; God’s dreams were beyond my wildest imaginings.

That was the day I learnt God isn't limited by our small dreams. (tweet this)

I’ve been working there for 6 years now. It’s been hard and it hasn’t always felt like I’m living a dream. Often it has felt like hard work and sweat and tears but it’s been amazing to live a dream.

Some of the best dreams you can live are the ones you can't even imagine right now. (tweet this)

I don’t know about you but as I’ve grown older I find that I dream less. 

I’m not talking about the kind of dreaming that interrupts you sleep but the kind of dreaming that hopes for the future, that wonders what God has in store, the kind of imaginings that wonder what big things God wants to do with my life. 

I’ve been wondering if my lack of dreaming about the future somehow holds God back from “WOW”-ing me. 

Of course, God doesn’t need my dreams to do amazing things but he does need my heart to be available to him. 

Somehow I think dreaming for God is part of that. It’s part of making ourselves available to him and saying, “I’m in God, no matter what crazy plan you have up your sleeve.”

I don’t know about you but I’m daring to dream for God again, won’t you join me? (tweet this)

Are you currently dreaming some big dreams for God? If so, why not write them down and share with a close friend? If you haven’t dreamt for God for a while why not pray this prayer with me?
A prayer for those who want to dream for God again
Photo: seyed mostafa zamani via photopin cc | Design: Wendy van Eyck
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Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer!

6:00 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

{Guest Devotional by Aldyth Thomson} 

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)

Photo: Nina Matthews Photography via photopin cc | Design: Wendy van Eyck
In December 2004 I went for a mammogram.

To my horror, I found out that I had stage 2 breast cancer and was facing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

I would love to tell you that I was very brave and ‘just knew’ that God was going to come through for me, but I can’t. (Tweet this)

When I sat in the oncologist’s office after the surgery, and she started listing the possible chemo side effects, I started to cry, and cried on and off for two days.  

I couldn’t believe this was happening to me! 

I couldn’t sleep. It was like a huge, black cloud pressing down on me. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so isolated before. 

I have a very caring family and wonderful friends, but the more they tried to encourage me and say that it would all be okay, the more desperate I felt, because how did they know I was going to be okay? They weren’t the ones facing chemo! And what did any of them know about cancer anyway?  

Sometimes, I’ve found, you just have to hear from God for yourself, as nothing else can bring you peace…the kind described in Philippians 4:7 where it says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard (garrison) your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (NIV).

I was desperately afraid of the actual chemotherapy. 

I wondered anxiously exactly how sick I would be. The night before my first chemo, I went into my bedroom and asked God to speak to me and help me deal with my fear. 

My eye fell on Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.”  (Tweet this)

What I didn’t know that night, was that the needle used to administer the chemo would always go into the back of my right hand! The overwhelming feeling of fear and helplessness lifted and for the first time I felt able to cope. 

What is it that’s worrying you? What are you desperately afraid of? What do are you going through that you feel like you need God to hold your hand? However you do it, reach out to God and He will meet you at your point of need.                          
                                
{About Aldyth Thomson: The Author Of This Guest Devotional}
Aldyth Thomson has been an organiser of the Beauty for Ashes Women’s Conference since its inception in 1996. Her passion is to see women encouraged in their faith, absolutely sure of God’s great love for them. In December 2004 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was herself encouraged by so many wonderful women. She is married with three grown children and one grandson. 

Find out more about the Beauty for Ashes Women's Conference, where Mary DeMuth and Sue Keddy are speaking, from the 24th & 25th of May 2013 in Johannesburg by clicking here

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That time I Had A Breakdown & God Was Silent

6:00 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Devotional on psalm 62:5 be still my soul
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. Psalm 62:5 (NLT)

I’ve wiped the kitchen down. Put dishes in the dishwasher. Started another pile of dishes that still need to be wiped, wet, cleaned and put away. 

My husband has just declared he’d like toasted sandwiches for dinner and I’m snapping at him for little things like not reading my mind and getting a plate when I needed it. 

I’m flipping buttered bread when he yells at me from the next room that he needs his injection. I remember that we’re already two hours past schedule.  

I wonder how I’m supposed to make supper and give injections to help him fight cancer - at the same time. 

I’m wound up tight. I can feel tension in my shoulders. I can feel that I’m ready to blow. 

I give my husband and injection while I smell the sandwiches burning. And I wonder how I’m supposed to do it all. How I’m supposed to hold it all together. 

It’s unraveling. I’m coming undone. I can feel it coming because I don’t want to stop doing stuff. I want to stay busy. I grab my sandwiches and shove them down, barely tasting them. 

I pray. I ask God to speak. To tell me what is going on. Request that he at least whispers something beautiful to me, something that will still my soul.

Nothing. God is quiet. 

I’m having a breakdown and God is silent. (Tweet this)

I wonder back to the kitchen and clean up again. I think about baking choc-chip cookies and that’s when I start speaking to myself. 

Not out loud. Just in my head. 

Slow down. Stop. Think. Why don’t you want to just relax? What is driving you? (Tweet this)

Still. Be still. Be still my soul. 

I start to settle down.  There has been no great revelation, no burning bush, no holy moment where I stand barefoot before a holy God. 

Just a stillness. A settling in my soul. 

I realise my busyness has been driven by a need to control, to feel in charge of my fears and my future which seem so tightly intertwined. 

It’s all tangled: My fears that something will happen to my husband, that chemo won’t work, that I’ll end up alone and my feeling that I can do something about it. My sense that if I just care for my husband well, give him injections at the right time and keep everything together that everything will be alright. My expectation that I can do something to change my world. 

So I still. I wait. I quiet down my soul. 

I murmur to God who is so silent right now in my untangling, words of apology, that I’ve put my expectations in myself and not in him. 

No wonder I’m so tense. I know I can’t rely on myself, I know I’ll let myself down. 

I roll my shoulders, breathing out my attempts to save myself and praying instead that my silent God comes and saves me. 

Breathing in the hope that even when God is silent he is still good, he is still in control and he is still bigger than fear. 

Breathe in. Salvation. Breathe out. Hope. (Tweet this)

Lord Jesus, I need you. I can’t do life without you. I give you my fear, my attempts at controlling my world. I trust you and I put my hope in you. I will wait for you. Amen.


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Photo Credits Reeds and perspex Pink Sherbet Photography Houses murkredi Bee aussiegall | Design: Wendy van Eyck

Shout It Out

6:00 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

{Guest Devotional by Renee Fisher}

Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. Psalm 126:5 (NLT)
Nothing is ever too far out of the reach of God's grasp
Photo: demandaj via photopin cc | Design: Wendy van Eyck

Nothing is ever too far out of the reach of God’s grasp. (tweet this)

No amount of sorrow, loss, sickness, pain, grief, and negative emotions will ever separate you from Him.

Why? Because God is Sovereign and [still] in control over all your circumstances. 

That does not mean that I don’t ask “why” or soak my pillow in the night with my tears. No!

Take my blog, for instance. Blogging was like putting flesh on the Bible. I picked different Bible verses and explained how the Word literally sustained me through tough times. “The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught” (Isaiah 50:4).

My blogs also enabled me to encourage my friends and fellow “planters” who were also suffering in some way–like me. It connected me to the body of Christ like no other and gave me a song in the night instead of tears for my pillow.

Paul got it too.

He said, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer (2 Corinthians 1:3-6).

Each time I wipe away the tears from my eyes, I am comforted knowing there are others who experience fear, heartache, and rejection. 

May this be a reminder to you, that you too are not alone.

Dear God, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, when we have the opportunity, help us do good to our fellow planters, especially to those who belong to the family of Christ. Amen

{About Renee Fisher: The Author Of This Guest Devotional}
Renee Fisher, the Devotional Diva®, is the spirited speaker and author of Faithbook of Jesus, Not Another Dating Book, Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me, and Loves Me Not. A graduate of Biola University, Renee’s mission in life is to “spur others forward” (Hebrews 10:24) using the lessons learned from her own trials to encourage others in their walk with God. She and her husband, Marc, live in California with their dog, Star. Learn more about Renee at devotionaldiva.com.

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Praying The Unthinkable

8:13 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably. Then she made a vow: Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, if you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain, if you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me by giving me a son, I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you. I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline. 1 Samuel 1:10-11 (MSG)

Unthinkable prayers
Photo: aspheric.lens via photopin cc | Design: Wendy van Eyck
We were putting dinner out and talking about how we hope my husband can have chemo tomorrow when suddenly I blurted out,

“God, please help my husband to have chemo tomorrow!”

I never thought I’d be praying that my husband would have chemo.

Oh, the prayers we pray that we thought we’d never have to.

I turn and see my sister—in-law, taking down plates for dinner - just back from her gran’s funeral - and of the unthinkable prayers that must have been prayed for her suffering gran; prayers that God would take her gran home quickly. 

And the prayers some of my friends have whispered that someone else would choose not to keep their child so that they could welcome a baby into their home. 

Un. Thinkable. Prayers.

Almost, unsayable prayers. 

These are the cries of hearts being spoken, and we pause and wonder if God hears, if the Lord understands the pain and hope intertwined when we stutter them out. 

Or if God throws them away and wonders how we dared to pray them in first place. 

I recall the unthinkable prayer that Hannah prayed in 1 Samuel, “Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, if you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain, if you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me by giving me a son, I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you. I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.”

Hannah prayed a bargaining prayer, a last hope prayer, a prayer that laid all her pain out before God and said, “Lord, do something!”

And God did. God heard her. And God gave her a son. A son, Hannah gave back to God.

I’m not saying that bargaining prayers are the way to communicate with God, or that sacrificing our hopes or promising to give everything to God, is the way to get what we want in prayer. In fact, I think this type of prayer is often how we try to manipulate God into coming round to our way of thinking. 

What I am saying is that God hears our unthinkable prayers. 

God hears the prayers that we thought we’d never pray, the words that we hope no one ever knows asked God for and the appeals that we literally sob through heavens gates. 

God hears every word. 

I believe God answers every unthinkable prayer. 

Does God always answer our prayers the way we want? No. That would be unthinkable. (Tweet this)

I wish I could tell you how God answered the prayer I thought I’d never pray - the one about please, “Lord, let my husband have chemo” – but we haven’t been to hospital yet, we haven’t had the blood tests that will show if he’s well enough for chemo.

What I can tell you is that no prayer is too unthinkable to speak to God. 

God won’t close his ears to the breaking of your heart and the sighing of your soul. (Tweet this)

The Lord sees your pain, he is listening, and he will answer.

When was the last time you prayed an unthinkable prayer? Do you think God heard you? Does the story of Hannah help you to believe that God heard your prayer and will answer?

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How To Handle Sorrow

6:00 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

{Guest Devotional by Kate Motaung}

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4 (NIV)

Photo: CaptPiper via photopin cc | Design: Wendy van Eyck
In the weeks that led up to my mom's death, I would often stand in the shower in the mornings and think about how each update and report of her declining condition was like a leaking saltwater tap, dripping steadily into an open wound.

With each day, there was something new that had gone wrong, something else she was struggling with and having to endure. 

The news stung; it burned. 

I groped around, looking for a way to stop the incessant dripping, but I couldn't find the source of the leak.

Then one day it stopped.

The news stopped coming. 

In place of stinging drops, I looked down and saw the pool of water that had accumulated at my feet. The drain opened, and it all gushed out, rapidly, furiously. 

Hot, fast tears were interspersed with quick, frantic gasps, syncopated stacatto breaths swirling to the rhythm of the water spiraling down the drain.

Eventually the bulk of the volume had been released, and only a thin layer of standing water remained. 

It still remains – silent, almost invisible, but as obviously present as when one steps in wetness by mistake while wearing socks. 

I hate that feeling. 

The drain is still open, but the remnant of standing water drips out dreadfully slowly, first requiring enough moral support to conjure up a full-fledged tear to conquer the brink of the eye lid's cliff.

Once it breaches the precipice, its journey over the curvature of the cheek and eventually to the bottom of the chin shows no respect for time. It lingers – dawdles, even – somewhat mockingly, as if daring me to wipe it away. 

But I don't. I let it run its course, a rivulet in a process of unchartered territory that was not designed by me.

Then I think about the promise in Revelation 21:4, that one day, there will come a time when “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

I smell the saltiness of my tear-stained cheek, and I look forward in great anticipation to the day when He will indeed wipe every tear from our eyes. 

How magnificent and glorious will it be when there will truly be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.  The very thought seems nearly impossible to imagine.

But it is possible.  

It is oh, so possible – only by the power of God Himself, the One who ‘daily bears our burdens’ (Psalm 68:19) and ‘heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds’ (Psalm 147:3).

Some days it is so easy to wallow in our own pool of long-standing sorrow that we forget to look up. We forget that one day, there will be no more.

One day, for those who believe, there will only be joy. (tweet this)
                                  
How do you turn your focus away from worldly sorrow to the hope of eternal joy?

Kate MotaungKate Motaung is the wife of a South African pastor and homeschooling mom of three.  She has contributed to Ungrind, Radiant Magazine, (in)Courage, StartMarriageRight.com, Thriving Family, MOPS and Young Disciple magazine.  You can read more from Kate at her blog, Heading Home, or on Twitter @k8motaung

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