Archive for the ‘Blessings’ Category

Stories of Hope   Leave a comment

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Do you remember testimony services? I recall services such as these but was too young a person and in the faith to really get into what was being said, let alone take away deep, impactful meaning. I remember that some of the same ol’ people would get up and tell the same ol’ stories and shed the same ol’ tears while the same ol’ people in the same ol’ crowd would nod their same ol’ heads and talk about how blessed or wonderful it was to have this same ol’ experience shared once again in the same ol’ pews.

So yeah, not so meaningful to me.

Yet I do know the powerful of a God-story. I have heard tales of the Lord’s intervention in situations what can only be described as miraculous. I have BEEN IN such stories myself. The feeling that has been overwhelming in each of these situations is so intense that it is numbing, it is as if the air is thicker than usual, as if each breath comes not from my body actively taking in and releasing as it normally does. Rather, it feels as if it is the Holy Spirit being breathed in and out instead of air!

Times such as these beg to be told to the world. God is still in the business of miracle making as well as other manifestations that real people experience in real time in their real lives. Some are not miracles, but instead are stories of God’s unexpected grace. These stories need told every bit as much as the miracle stories, otherwise we would all be hiking mountains and looking for burning bushes and skipping doctor appointments because nothing will suffice short of a manifested miracle.

We should never seek the story. We should always seek the Author.

God’s miracles do not replace our doctors, or preachers, or people who just enjoy being good and doing good things for others. They do not come on demand and, frankly, do not always come when we feel as if we deserve them. This is where many find trouble that sometimes leads to unbelief. God’s miracles are not promised, not the way some folks expect them.

This does not mean we should not ask for them. I believe God wants us to request that he intervene as it is an expression of faith. I also believe that God does not want us to simply ask—even if in strong faith—and simply sit idly waiting. The angel appeared to the disciples after Jesus ascension because they just stood there looking into the sky where he had just ascended. He said he’d be back, so their thoughts probably told them to stand there and wait because this was going to be another great story. Their timing was off. It still is.

I believe in miracles. I believe in the God of miracles. I believe those miracles make phenomenal stories that the world needs to hear. Maybe now I am ready for one of those testimony services. Better yet, I need to do a better job of telling my own God-stories while also doing a better job of listening to others for theirs. After all, these are stories of hope.

In the Name of Jesus, Shut Up! Battling Those Pesky Internal Voices   Leave a comment

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Sometimes I sit and wonder who my enemies are. Usually I find that the primary ones I face today are the demons within. They love telling me how I’m not good enough, talented enough, popular enough, skilled enough, worthy enough, known enough to do all of this writing for God’s kingdom work. They also say all of the above about me thinking I can make it as writer and an entrepreneur, running a business of my own that is off to a painstakingly slow start.

My #1 enemy today is within, and it is the voice of self-doubt, lack of self-confidence, and poor self-esteem. These voices have their moments with me as I still trudge on to get better, do more, and hone my skills. They interrupt me when I’m writing and even coaching. They look over my shoulder when I take time to dream of what is still to come. They get agitated when I have those moments of thankful connectedness with God who trusts me, cares for me, inspires me, energizes me, loves me and believes in me.

This war within is more prominent than I desire. It is easy to become upset with myself when those voices of dissent speak because they bring with them their friend “guilt” who tells me I should feel even worse because I’m allowing them to hurt me so badly. It becomes layers of negative pressure that are difficult to overcome. This weight can be burdensome enough to stop me in my tracks at times, winning the day by overwhelming my willpower.

Thank God this is not the end of my story. This is never the end of my season. Feelings like that can sometimes last a moment, a few hours, and at their worst a few days. But they don’t last. God is always faithful in reminding me just how worthy I really am. It is because of him that I can stand up in the middle of the storm and declare to all of those voices, “In the name of Jesus, shut up!” When this happens I sit up straighter, smile while I’m working, walk taller, write faster, coach better, study and learn feverishly, and always, always feel more blessed than I know how to handle. It is the confidence that comes when you know beyond doubt that God is with you. You can feel it!

It is God who has called me into this new arena of ministry. It is God who has gifted me with the heart and passion for this work. It is God who has given me the opportunities to advance my skills to serve people in specific ways to help them in the areas of their lives where they are stuck, especially spiritually. It is God who receives all of my praise and thanksgiving. All of this is because it is God who reminds me frequently that I really can do all things in his name!

It is God who lifts me up out of the darkness where those voices reign, and conquers them with compassion, confidence, and care. Those voices are a part of me that still need work. But with God’s help, I know they will be overcome and that they will become voices that cheer me on as I move forward, deeper into God’s call. This is where victory is found. The Holy Spirit resides within me and wins every time when I avert my eyes away from my self-defeating mirror to the Lord of love.

Today, I’m praising God from whom all blessings really do flow.