You Prayed and Prayed…

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You prayed and prayed, and no clear answer came. Or worse, you prayed fervently, passionately, ceaselessly . . . only to have the situation turn out exactly the opposite of what you asked. You thought God loved you and would take care of you, but your life fell apart.

When disappointments like these come into our lives, we find ourselves asking, “Where is God?” Maybe you have shaken your fist at God in anger or given up on Him completely. Perhaps you just decided to slowly distance yourself in your relationship with Him, because you haven’t seen Him show up. Disappointment with God comes in many different forms. Whether we understand why God allowed something or not, one thing we can know is that He will not leave us in the midst of our struggle, for Scripture tells us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Personally, I have found great encouragement from reading the words of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, who is known as the “weeping prophet.” Can you believe that? Encouragement from the weeping prophet! But I think you will be encouraged too. As Jeremiah grieved over the destruction of Jerusalem, he turned his eyes toward the day-to-day faithfulness of the Lord. Notice how Jeremiah’s discouragement turns into words of hope:

“The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.

I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.

Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.

Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”

The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.

So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.”

Will you dare to hope as Jeremiah did? As he grieved his loss, he also declared, “The faithful love of the Lord never ends!” Yes, His mercy is new and fresh each morning. My friend, as you walk this new and different road, grieve the pain as you seek His comfort. Cry out to him for help, and trust his faithfulness to get you through one day at a time. The Bible reminds us, “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.”

This week, let us reflect on His loving presence and the strength that He gives in the midst of our not-so-perfect circumstances. Let’s also look for ways that we can show His loving care to others. See the blog below to find ways to volunteer and give to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

A portion of this blog is from Karol’s book, Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive

Texans Helping Texans

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Many of our fellow Texans have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Here are a few ways you can help.  If you live in the Dallas area, Trusted World is accepting donations for the evacuees. They work in coordination with the Red Cross and FEMA.

Current Needs:
 
New underwear and socks (all sizes)
Non-Perishable food
Toiletries
Feminine hygiene products
Baby diapers, wipes and formula
 
Donation Drop Off:
 
15660 Dallas Parkway, Dallas TX
 
Directions
 
Donation Hours:
 
Tuesday through Friday 9 am to 7 pm
 
Volunteer hours:
 
10 am to 8 pm. You can sign up for a 2-hour shift. If the sign-ups are full, go ahead and come when you can!

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Also, Goodwill is accepting donations, when you drop them off, say they are for Harvey victims

You can also donate funds to organizations who are on the front lines. Two disaster relief organizations that I believe are very effective are Samaritans Purse and Texas Baptist Men. Please click on the links to find out what you can do.

 

Looking Up This Week

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Many Americans are turning their eyes toward the heavens this week as we experience one of the most unique solar eclipses since 1979. This is the perfect opportunity to stop and consider God’s creation and observe His amazing and ordered universe. I marvel at the work of His hands in creating the cosmos. Take some time this week to reflect on His handiwork and thank Him for all He has made. One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 19. It’s a great passage to meditate on and memorize. Allow its truths to permeate your thinking this week.

 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.

 Yet their voice  goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

 The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
 The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.

 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

 

Here’s some websites to check out if you want to find out more about the eclipse:

https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive-info

http://time.com/4882923/total-solar-eclipse-map-places-view/

https://www.space.com/33797-total-solar-eclipse-2017-guide.html

Looking for fun space ideas to do with the kids? Check out www.positivemom.com

Photo by Michael on Unsplash

His Righteousness

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God’s righteousness is like the mighty mountains.
Psalm 36:6a

The grandeur of a mighty mountain range makes us seem so small and insignificant in comparison. If we were to stand next to a mountain, we would look like a tiny little speck. This simple verse in Psalms reminds us that there is a vast difference between God’s righteousness and our own. It’s easy to think that our righteousness is good enough to please God and maybe even get us into heaven, but the Bible is clear that all have sinned and come short of God’s glory. Thankfully it’s not our righteousness that saves us – it’s God’s. The Bible says, “God made him who had no sin (Jesus) to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  2 Corinthians 5:12

God knows that our righteousness could never be perfect or “good enough,” that’s why He sent His perfect Son to offer His own life on our behalf. It’s amazing to think that the One who created the mountains – the One who is completely righteous – has given us His righteousness through Christ. The apostle Paul, who was a pretty stellar guy, wrote to the Philippians, “Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”

Paul went on to say, “I want to know Him.”

What about you? Do you want to know Him? No matter where you are at right now, His arms are open to you.  Seek to get to know the God of the Bible.

I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 61:10

If you want to chat with someone about a relationship with Christ, please go to chataboutJesus.com right now.

POPM- 2015 The Power of a Positive Mom, Revised and Updated

By Karol Ladd

Photo by Adam Patterson on Unsplash

Prayer Risk

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There are times when we may feel as thought the riskiest thing we can do is pray and leave the results up to God. Praying is risky in human terms, because it is stepping out in faith and leaning in on God to accomplish far more than we could simply try to accomplish on our own. Prayer is an everyday risk. A person who devotes the early morning hour(s) in prayer is taking a risk – a risk that the hour could have been spent sleeping, working, striving or trying to make things happen on their own. Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” Now that’s a risk taker and a praise maker. Luther had such strong faith in a great God who desires to answer prayer, that he risked three hours of his busy day on his knees!

When we look at some of the women in the Old Testament, we find several women who prayed and listened to God’s direction. Take Deborah for instance. You can find her story in Judges 4 & 5. Deborah had an extraordinary faith and ability to lead. Her giftedness seemed to stem from a woman who had an intimate relationship with God. She heard Him. She recognized His voice. God told her to go into battle, and He told her how to do it. We don’t know exactly how God spoke to Deborah, but we do know that she listened to Him. Her risk was not based on her own crazy ideas. The risk she took was based on the very words of God. There’s a lot of crazy opportunities in our world to take big risks, but let us be wise and move on the foundation of God’s word as well as looking to Him for direction.

Recently, a friend of mine struggled with some family members and their unwise choices. She wanted to fix them and change them, but she also realized her limitations to do so. As she prayed about the issues, she began to realize she was powerless to make a difference in her family member’s lives. She also realized that although she was powerless, God was powerful and able to do what she could not do. Instead of trying to fix the broken parts of their lives, she took the risk of pulling her hands off the situation and instead putting her hands together in prayer. She prayed consistently and emphatically that God would do the work and fight the battle.

Where do you need to take the risk of listening to God and praying for His direction instead of trying to fix things on your own?

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This is an excerpt from Positive Leadership Principles for Women.

 

Photo by Myles Tan on Unsplash