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

True Positive: Day Three – Hope

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Despair comes easily when we find ourselves in a difficult situation. Generally speaking, it is a basic human tendency to defer to the negative. It takes a deliberate effort to look for hope when circumstance seem bleak, but that’s what positive people do. We must be honest and realistic about our pain, but through our grief we can look for glimmers of hope.

There is always hope. It may seem like a small sliver, but God can bring good even through the darkest night. Hold onto hope as you cry out to God. Trust the God of all hope to bring you through and ask Him to infuse you with hope. When Jeremiah lamented his own troubles, he made an intentional turn toward hope. He wrote, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end (Lamentations 3:21-22).”

As we focus on God’s unfailing love, let’s ask Him to give us a bigger picture of hope through the power of His Spirit at work within us. As Paul wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13).”

In the Pit

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Ever felt like you were in a pit? When life or emotions seem to bring us down, it is difficult to see anything but the pit in which we dwell. Interestingly, did you ever notice that there are several instances in the Bible where people were in literal pits? Think about it. Joseph was thrown in a pit by his brothers and then eventually sold into slavery. Not the Plan A Joseph had for his life. And then there’s a little known story about Benaiah who ended up in a pit with a lion. Seriously! The Bible tells us that Benaiah was a valiant warrior and performed many great exploits. The prophet Samuel recorded, “Benaiah struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion (2 Samuel 23:20).” Now that probably wasn’t on his schedule of things to do that day either.

David described God as the one who “redeems our life from the pit. Now perhaps you have felt as though your life or your day was in the pits and you could see no hope, no redemption and no way out.  I suppose that’s how pit-dweller Jeremiah felt. Jeremiah was one of God’s prophets who was thrown in a pit as a result of simply proclaiming what God told him to say. That doesn’t seem right! There he was obeying God, and he was thrown in the pit. Take a look at how low this Old Testament prophet must have felt as he wrote, “The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.”

But Jeremiah didn’t call it quits. He was able to keep his eyes on the Lord despite his circumstances. Here’s what he said after describing his situation, “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 (Lamentations 3:19-25).”

Now there’s a person who has their eyes in a positive direction!  He’s not dwelling on his dismal circumstances in the pit, instead He is dwelling on the Lords faithfulness. His sight is going beyond what he can see, and looking to the hope of what a faithful God can do.  How’s your eyesight? In one of his most fearful moments David declared, “Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame (Psalm 34:5).” Oh for the faith to look past the dark clouds of despair and see the sunlight of God’s faithfulness peeking through to bring us comfort and hope! May He be your strength today.

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This is an excerpt from Positive Life Principles for Women on sale this month for $5. Click here for more info.

Are you a Confident Person?

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Confident? That’s not exactly how I would have described myself for much of my life. Words like “insecure” and “self-doubt” were much more accurate terms. For many years, even as a Christian, I battled self-defeating thoughts and guilt feelings in my mind. Perhaps you can relate to what I’m talking about in your own life. Most women struggle with some form of insecurity. Even women who appear confident on the outside, often struggle internally with a lack of self- assurance. It’s one thing to look confident; it’s another to be confident.

In all honesty, true and lasting confidence is found not in focusing on ourselves, but focusing on the one who created us and discovering our confidence in Him. He is the one who gives us the strength and power to walk boldly in this world.

The word confidence means to have a firm belief or trust. The root word, fidere, means faithful or faith and is the same root you see in words like fidelity or confidant. To have confidence means you have faith or trust in someone or something. Now we can try to live our lives by placing our confidence in our appearance or in a relationship or having the right job or enough money, or being a good parent, but none of these can offer lasting security or inner strength. A God-confidence is different. When we place our hope and security in Him, no one can take it away. It is a rock-solid confidence from the well-spring of our soul.  How do we get to a place where we live with a God-confidence?

The apostle Paul said, “Let your roots grow down deep into Christ.” He penned these words to the early believers living in Colossae as he expressed the importance of knowing Christ and finding satisfaction and security in Him. Confidence begins in our thinking and what we believe, and it plays out through the way we live our life in relationship to God and to others. Our confidence spreads its wings and soars when we realize God has a purpose for our lives, and we use our gifts and talents for His glory.

 

This is an excerpt from Karol’s book A Woman’s Secret to Confident Living.

Check out this month’s $5 special, Karol’s DVD on the topic.

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Join me May 4-6 for the Global Media Summit 2017. Click Here for more info.

Life Lesson Learned from the Super Bowl

 

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If it weren’t for the commercials, I would have turned the Super Bowl off after the third quarter. Honestly, I enjoy watching the commercials more than the game, so I kept the TV on even though it seemed the Falcons were destined to win. Who would have thought that the Patriots could make such a powerful comeback from a 19-point deficit?

 

This year’s Super Bowl provides an important life lesson for all of us – don’t lose hope even when it seems as though the game is over. Hope is a powerful word. It drives us forward and turns us away from despair and defeat. It reminds us that no matter how bleak a situation, there are always possibilities.

 

What is it in your life that seems like a defeat? Maybe you are discouraged, tired or feel afraid that the game is over. Press forward, my friend. Look for the possibilities and do what you can do with the time and gifts God has given you. Your victory may not look like a Super Bowl win, but your perseverance can push you in a new and positive direction.

 

One of my favorite NFL coaches, Tom Landry, put it this way, “A champion is simply someone who did not give up when he wanted to.”  You never know what is around the corner. Ask for God’s wisdom to navigate the challenges. More important, ask for His strength to persevere with hope when the game seems over.

 

The apostle Paul could have called it quits many times, as he was jailed, beaten and persecuted for preaching the gospel. Yet, he continued to discover hope as He turned His focus toward God’s purpose for His life. He wrote, “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

 

When our goal is centered on God’s plan and purpose for our lives, we can always press forward despite the challenges. Let us continue to look at what is ahead and not behind us. Let us look up and not down, and remember we are never alone. He will guide us and give us He strength.