Sometimes God being near isn't pretty (or one thing to do when you're anxious)

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:5-6 (ESV)

I had a stomach bug recently. Just one of those 12-hour bugs. The kind that sees your body violently revolt against itself and leaves you wondering if you'll keep even the smallest water biscuit down.

During those hours I requested a bucket to be bought to lie next to me in case I couldn't make it to the bathroom in time. 

Strangely enough these hours of feeling awful and desperate and in need of a bucket is what I think of as I read this verse.

It's not a pretty analogy but much of the gospel isn't clean and neat and Sunday school friendly. And to be honest neither are most of our lives. 

This verse makes me want to say God is like that puke bucket: right at hand in times of trouble. 

God is not far off (like the bathroom) or unreachable. 

God is present. He is near and he's all you need.
God is right there. Just stretch out your arm and you'll find him.

No matter what kind of tough you're going through God is at hand. (tweet this)

Not only that but God says to tell him what you need when you are anxious about anything. 

So today no matter how rough life is feeling or how tough you are finding it to get through the day remember that the Lord is at hand and ask him for what you need to get you through. 

Ponder: When you are anxious do you remember that God is at hand?

Prayer: Lord, sometimes I forget you are near. Today I need to feel you sticking close to me. Thank you that with you I can get through the hard things I am facing right now. 

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Why I know God fulfills his promises

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. Genesis 12:1-4 (NIV)

Last week, my friend Renee Fisher wrote about being okay with waiting for the promises of God to be fulfilled. (Go read her post by clicking here)

It resonated with me. 

Maybe because, like her, I'm busy moving back to a place I left in distress more than 10 years ago. 
Maybe because, like her, I'm wondering what God has for me I this new season. 
Maybe it was because I liked the idea that we can't rush the faithfulness of God. 
And maybe because, like her, there's a meaning of my name that I've never quite understood. 

Renee writes about how her name usually means born again but one time in the middle of learning to live with anxiety she read it meant peaceful. And wondered how on earth that could apply to her.

Most baby books will tell you “Wendy” is a name JM Barrie made up for Peter Pan, it’ll go on to tell you it's one of the newest names, and that it means friend

But there was one time when I picked up a baby book and it said my name means redeemed

I remember reading it and wondering what that meant for me. What God was going to redeem in my life. 

As I read Renee's post I was reminded of the meaning of this name, of this promise that God has redeemed me. I was reminded of God's faithfulness and my impatience. 

The verses that Renee shared from Genesis 12 are such a reminder of this: 
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.

Abram trusted God. 
He obeyed God.
And nothing happened. 
For 25 long years the promise God gave him wasn’t fulfilled.  

The world I live in demands so many things now. It turns it’s back on things that take time, that require patience. 

God isn't like microwave popcorn, giving pleasure in a matter of minutes. God is eternal, he is outside of time as I know it and when he promises to do something he does it. 

No matter how long it seems to us. 

God acts for me on his own time. (tweet this)

He's a God of peace. He's a god of redemption. He's a god who whispers hope into the promises I've given up on.

God will fulfill his promises to me, to you. 

I might just need to be okay with waiting 25 years (or longer sometimes) for the promises of God to be fulfilled.

If I’m willing to wait, God will give me something more lasting then popcorn.  

I know that even now he is moving towards me, towards you, shifting things, and preparing us for a move towards his healing, his peace, his redemption. 

I’m learning that sometimes God fulfilling his promises means going back to a place where Renee felt like she failed him, or where I thought I could never live again.  

This past year I learnt that God can redeem heartbreak in ways I never dreamed of. 

Often God redeems you and I in ways we could never have imagined. But he always redeems. (tweet this)

Even if it takes 25 years.

Ponder: Has God promised to redeem something in your life? Are you prepared to wait 25 years for him to fulfill his promise? 

Prayer: God, give me patience to wait for your promise to be fulfilled and fill me with faith when I feel hopeless. Amen.

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How can you include faith in your every day life?

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

A guest post by Ann Hale
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NKJV)

I’m new to Christianity. 

Well, ‘new’ is maybe not the correct term; ‘reborn’ would be better. I was raised as a Christian, went to a Christian school and to church. 

When I was 14, my father became ill and God decided He wanted him home. Barely 13 years later, He also called my brother back. For me, that was what they call ‘the final drop’ and I lost my faith, but a little while ago, I returned to God.

For me, having faith in God and Jesus means believing that there is always someone watching out for me in my best interest; that no matter how hard life gets, there’s always light within the darkness; and that I may be certain that I will receive all good things that are rightfully mine. 

Without faith, depression and loneliness prevails. When you have faith nothing will be impossible for you (Matthew 17:20).

However, I have noticed that it appears to be easier to believe and pray when the going gets tough. 

When life is a smooth journey faith tends to be placed in the background. 

This led me to ask, how can I include faith in my everyday life? 

I found the answer in 1 Corinthians 16:13:
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. (tweet this)

This verse is so short, and yet (like all verses) so meaningful. 

First, I need to watch – watch out and be on my guard for seen and unseen enemies. There’s a lot more evil around than I may think. Be vigilant and pray to see and hear the truth through God’s eyes and ears. 

Second, stand firm in my faith. When I stand firm, nothing will be able to knock me down without believing that God and Jesus are right there with me to help me up; and not even a smooth daily journey will be able to change that.

Third, be brave and face life courageously and patiently. Patiently waiting and believing that God always answers my prayers. 

Finally, be strong – ‘strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus’ (2 Timothy 2:1).

Ponder: How do you include faith in your every day life? I’d love you to share your thoughts in the comments.

Prayer: Father God, Lord Jesus, Show me how to live in faith in my everyday life. Let me see the truth with Your eyes. Let me hear the truth with Your ears. Let me have faith in You as You have faith in me. Guide me whenever I am lost and away from my path, so that I can find You and re-gain my faith – every day, every hour, every minute, every second until my last heartbeat. Amen.

About the author of this guest devotional
My name is Ann and I'm a 35 year old Belgian living in Australia. I'm a writer and graphic designer, and have recently renewed my faith in Christianity. With this renewal came the drive to write about my faith and to endeavour to see through life's illusions, or as I call them 'life bubbles'. Besides faith, I also decided to share our struggles to start a family and how I try to keep hopeful and positive throughout this journey.

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The one thing I try to remember when I'm overcome with worry

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Do not worry bible verse matthew 6:34
So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today. Matthew 6:34 (VOICE)

Since mid-November we have been renovating our new home. The place has been gutted and fresh plaster clings to new walls, uneven concrete begs for a fresh layer of screed and fresh ceiling boards lie waiting to be used. 

All of the renovations have had me fretting about money. I’d love to say since mid-November but it’s been well before then. Each time I sat down to work out the budget the numbers don’t seem to work. Each time I told my husband he would say, “It’s okay, God has this, it’ll work itself out.”

Now, my husband and I aren’t irresponsible spenders. We are almost chronic savers who have to be pushed to spend money even on things we need. I guess that’s probably why paying out so much money to have our new house fixed up freaks me out. 

Recently, my husband and I went for a walk and I bought up the money issue again. I told him how it was amazing that God had given my husband extra freelance jobs which meant more money than we expected came in over the last few months. I confessed to Xylon that I thought we’d be able to afford it now. 

Before I had time to look at my husband’s face I felt it against my ear, “Jesus has already said, ‘Don’t worry, silly humans!’”

Once I recovered from being deafened by his comment, I let his words sink into my soul, and I realised how often I try to control tomorrow with worry. 

When I allow my mind to dwell on difficulties I leave no room to dwell on God. (tweet this)

That whisper in my ear was a wake up call for me, a reminder that God is more than capable of looking after my every care.

So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.

Ponder: What worries do you need to let worry about themselves so there is space to focus on God?

Prayer: Jesus, help me to dwell on you, instead of my worries. 

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One thing to remember when you feel like you won’t make it (and a free printable so you don’t forget it)

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


So he became their Saviour.
In all their troubles, he was troubled, too.
He didn’t send someone else to help them.
He did it himself, in person.
Out of his own love and pity he redeemed them.
He rescued them and carried them along for a long, long time. 
Isaiah 63:8-9 (MSG)

Do you ever feel like giving up? You know those days when everything just seems too heavy? The times when nothing is going your way?

Maybe you or a loved one just got a diagnosis of a dread disease. Or you’ve just pushed aside a pile of debts you don’t know how to pay to read the internet. Or maybe one more relationship has ended and your heart can hardly take it. 

Recently, I’ve spent time with a number of people who are struggling to figure out how they will make it. And most of the time I don’t really know what to say them. 

Then this morning I stumbled across these verses in Isaiah and I felt like God was saying, here is the one thing you need to remember when you feel like you won’t make it: 

“You will make it because I carry you.”

Not because you were bought up to be tough, not because you have kind friends, not because you’ve figured out how to hide your pain but because the one who hung the stars in the sky will carry you. 

I don’t know about you but that blew my mind. 

In fact, I went back and read Isaiah 63:8-9 again and again letting it sink in, changing it, personalising it:
So God became my Savior.
In all my troubles, he was troubled, too.
He didn’t send someone else to help me.
He did it himself, in person.
Out of his own love 
and pity he redeemed me.
God rescued me 
and carried me along for a long, long time. 

This verse reminds me that God cares about my troubles, he takes a personal interest in me, and he is strong enough to carry me and my burdens for as long as it takes. 

Next time you feel like you won’t make it whisper to yourself:
I’ll make it because God carries me. (tweet this)

Ponder: What things are making you feel like you won’t make it at the moment? Do you think that God is strong enough to carry you and your burdens.

Prayer: Jesus, I’m in trouble. And I need you to carry me, maybe for a long, long time. Help me to feel your arms around me and your presence. Amen.

Print: I’ve made a three versions of this free printable for you to download and stick on your wall, mirror or desktop to remind you that God will carry you when you feel like you won't make it. Make sure to take a pic and tag me when you use them. 
Click here to download the printables below (all three in one document). 


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How God can use your embarrassing moment for his good

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

A guest post by Christy Pearce
“Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” Exodus 4:12-13

Thanks, but NO. I never even wanted to do this anyway.  

It had come to this – the only way off this stupid obstacle course was a stinking ZIP LINE.  Well, just go ahead and chop my head off because I’d rather DIE than take that leap.  

END. OF. STORY. 

Well, not really. The highlight of the Youth Retreat weekend was the gospel, but there was one “special” event on the schedule-a “Recreation Area”. What I didn’t know is that we were about to risk life and limb 50 feet in the air on a course all in the name of “team building”. Yeah, more like “Team Save Christy’s LIFE”

Did I mention I don’t like “up high” stuff?

The obstacle was called “The Odyssey”, which is a fancy word for “Let’s all go 50 feet in the air and play “tight rope” without letting anyone fall off to their death.”

My hubby laid it on thick. “Will you please come with me?”, then he bore deep into my eyes and said firmly, “I WON’T LET YOU FALL.”

It wasn’t pretty. I can’t tell you I was a great “team player”; I snapped. I took the lead, and barked my ultimate goal to the boy holding ‘the end of my rope’: “If you let go of that rope, I will kill you.” I promised I wouldn’t really kill him, but he didn’t let go of that rope.

We inched along in a-g-o-n-y with every muscle and emotion tensed. I was relieved to finally reach the platform of salvation. There was just one problem…the only way down (trust me, I asked) was a zip line.

It was one of the most humiliating moments of my life. 

I was thinking “Christy, don’t you TRUST God? The worst that could happen is that you could die, and that’s not a bad thing…right God?” I was shaking and crying uncontrollably on my little stage up in the air for all to see. And everyone was watching. EVERYONE.

Just to prove to myself I really could trust God, I inched my bottom along the platform to the edge, one scoot, then ano… Just then, my scoot was interrupted by a gentle shove on my shoulder. My husband had given me “a little push”. And you know what? I was RELEIVED. 

The initial fall was terrifying, but then I felt the tension on the rope catch me. The worst was over. That was what I was so afraid of? THAT was what I was pitching a grown-up tantrum over?

As the air brushed across my wet, tear covered face, all looked on as I slid down to safety. I ran straight to the bathroom and cried hysterically. 

I argued with God a little asking Him what in the world I was supposed to do with that “Zip Line Incident”. Should I repent to the youth and tell them I was sorry for that outburst? What?

It all became clear our last day at camp. Our youth leader asked if anyone wanted to share something they learned that weekend.

In a moment, I knew what I had to do. Initially, God had called me to a task that I totally did not want to do, suddenly I knew how He wanted to us it. My spirit stirred, and before I knew it, I was walking to the front with NO idea what I would say. But I knew God would give me the words to speak.

I opened my mouth with this message: 
“That zip line incident? It was for you. It was a living illustration of you. You might be like I was-on the edge of trusting. I knew I needed to. I knew I wanted to, but I COULDN’T do it. I needed just a little push. And maybe that’s all you need too-is just a little push. We are here to help.”

I had no idea God planned to send me down a zip line for Him that weekend as an illustration of trust for those teens to view. 

But if God wants to use me and my squashed pride to help those kids (and me) to come to a greater knowledge of Him, then I am more than happy to have had that little “trust exercise”. All so WE might exercise some trust of our own…to the glory of God.

Ponder: Is there a time that you can think of when God used something embarrassing to you for his good?

Prayer: Lord, show me how you are using my life in even the most unlikely situations (tweet this)

More about the author of this guest devotional
Christy Pearce is just like any other mommy. Christy and her husband, Jim, have three little gifts whom she works hard to serve and train up! While Christy admits that she is far from perfect, she desires that Christ would be preeminent in all she says (writes) and does. Her blog, “Faith Like Dirty Diapers,” was born out of God using every day events—even a diaper change—to strengthen her with words of life. Christy would love to connect with you on her website or on Facebook and Twitter.


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When you need to fight back with joy

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

My husband was in the thick of his second diagnosis with cancer when I read that author, Margaret Feinberg, was receiving treatment for breast cancer. Although, she didn’t post about much during her treatment I enjoyed her posts on how to help someone diagnosed with cancer and rejoiced when she received the all clear after treatment. When I was asked if I’d blog to promote her new book, Fight back with Joy, my answer was yes. I thought the best way to do that would be to let Margaret share some of her words from the book. I hope you enjoy them, if you'd like to read more you can buy her new book now from Amazon or Barnes and Noble
Fight back with joy quote by Margaret Feinberg
See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Isaiah 65:17-19 (NIV) 

“This is Dr. Jones,” the voice said. “Is now a good time?”
No. No, no, no.
As the physician spoke, my head dropped into liquid amber. Time halted. The conversation blurred.
Carcinoma.
Positive.
Both masses.
Surgery.

I’m sure he said more, but after carcinoma everything grew fuzzy. After the call, I stared at a wretched souvenir of the conversation: a scrap of paper on which I’d scrawled two recommended surgeons’ names.

Dazed, I beelined to the field house, where Leif was busy preparing the PowerPoint slides.
“I have your microphone ready,” Leif said.
He glanced up. I couldn’t hide my apprehension.
“What’s wrong?”
I took his hand, led him outside where we could be alone, and looked into his sky-blue eyes. I never spoke a word. Leif just knew. He always knows. My eyes are his second language.

He cloaked me in his arms and we stood motionless, knowing we had crossed a threshold through which we could never return. In the warmth of his strong embrace, I won­dered where God was in all of this.
 “What if we fight back with joy?” I said to Leif.

From the day of the diagnosis, I felt compelled to choose a different type of weapon: joy. Such a selection might seem flippant and frivolous. One blunt friend called it “downright odd.” If I had to cry ten thousand tears, I wanted joy to be the companion that carried me through. Joy would not deny the hardship, but would choose to acknowledge and face it no matter what the outcome.

I define joy as a spectrum of emotions, actions, and responses that includes gladness, cheer, happiness, merriment, delighting, dancing, shouting, exulting, rejoicing, laughing, playing, brightening, blessing and being blessed, taking plea­sure in and being well pleased.

The Bible insists that joy is more than a feeling; it’s an action. We don’t just sense joy; we embody it by how we respond to the circumstances before us.

What is the genesis of this joy? I believe that, at its core, joy emanates from the abiding sense of God’s fierce love for us.

The tigerish love of God from which joy comes is foun­dational to faith. God’s love guards us, protects us, grows us, strengthens us, and compels us to walk in greater trust and holiness. This is no passive affection, but a feisty, fiery pledge to grow us into the fullness of Christ. When we embrace this love and cultivate an awareness of it, our hearts are filled with joy.

Such awareness strengthens our resolve that no matter the fight, we face it confident that God is with us and for us. When we fight back with joy, we no longer size the character of God according to our circumstances, but we size our circumstances according to the character of God and his great affection for us.

Practicing defiant joy is the declaration that the darkness does not and will not win. (tweet this)

Perhaps no greater joy has been given to us than through the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to take away the sins of the world. Through his sacrifice, everything that stands between God and us is wiped away forever. We bring God and all of heaven great joy when we give ourselves wholly to Christ.

The Son of God crashed into our world with an angel broadcasting, “I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.” Before leaving our world, Jesus endows the disciples with the promise, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

Jesus arrives in joy, departs in joy, and calls us to great joy through fellowship with him. The proper response to being drenched in so much wondrous affection is to bring delight to God by offering our lives to him through obedience.

We are destined for joy. (tweet this)

Not only are we founded in joy and created for joy, but we are destined for joy. Consider the following promise at the heart of the book of Isaiah: “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.”

The joyous creating of God continues to unfold. He has drawn the blueprints for an existence with the defining characteristics of gladness, rejoicing, and delight. One of the greatest promises to a child of God is that this life is not the end of the story.

You are founded in joy, created for joy, and destined for joy. Joy is where you come from. Joy is what you are created to experience. Joy is where you are headed.

Ponder: What area of your life needs you to fight back with joy?

Prayer: Jesus, thank you that you arrive in joy and depart in joy. Help me to find joy in the hard times I’m living through right now. Amen.

Adapted from Fight Back with Joy by Margaret Feinberg. Used with permission. Emphasis mine. 

More about the author of this devotional: 
Margaret Feinberg teaches at churches and conferences including Catalyst, Thrive, and Women of Joy. She was recently named one of 50 women most shaping church and culture by Christianity Today. Her books and Bible studies, including The Organic God, The Sacred Echo, Scouting the Divine, and Wonderstruck, have sold nearly a million copies. She lives in Colorado, with her husband, Leif, and their superpup, Hershey. She believes some of the best days are spent in jammies, laughing and being silly.

*This post includes affiliate links*


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{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Thursday.

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Photo Credits (Creative Commons): Balloon: Ruth and Dave Trumpet and Photos: gratisography.com | Design: Wendy van Eyck