Tag Archives: faith

Climb Out of that Hole

Don’t let the weight of this world get you down. When you are in a hole, look up and ask for the help you need to climb out. Don’t stay stuck and wallow in self pity. Unfortunately this life is hard and we all have our struggles. Keep fighting and be thankful for the good things no matter how small. True joy comes from an attitude of gratitude. #tistheseason #speaklife #gracefortoday

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Change

Change Requires Making Choices 

It’s not enough to want to change. It’s not enough to desire to change. It’s not even enough to say, “I have a dream of changing.” Dreams are worthless unless you wake up and actually act on them. You’re not going to change the defects in your life until you choose to change. 

How are you going to be different in six months? Are you going to be emotionally stronger? Are you going to be mentally sharper? Are you going to be physically healthier? Are you going to be spiritually deeper? 

It isn’t going to happen automatically. You aren’t just going to get healthier by accident in any category of your life. A lot of times we think we’re waiting on God to change us. You’re not waiting on God. God is waiting on you. 

There is no growth in your life without change. And there is no change without loss. You’ve got to let go of some old stuff. And there is no loss without pain. 

Some of you are stuck right now because you haven’t learned how to let go. That’s a choice. (Ephesians 4:22)


You might say that your defects are biological or sociological. Some of them are from your circumstances or your chromosomes. But it doesn’t really matter where they come from. You need to deal with it. Genetics explains your inclinations, but it doesn’t excuse your sin. 

Here’s the good news: Once you become a believer, you have a new power in you that is greater than those old tendencies. That power is the Holy Spirit. 

Does that mean you are supposed to be afraid of God? Of course not! Be afraid that you’ll miss God’s best and waste your life. Be afraid that you will go your entire life and never know God’s purpose. 

The secret to changing your life is not willpower. It’s God giving you the will and the power through the Holy Spirit to do what needs to be done. 

This devotional © 2014 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Hope in the Darkness

But the Lord was still faithful.

Habakkuk gives us three little words that we can cling to when it appears that God has not delivered on what he promised. No matter what you might be going through, never let go of these words.

If you want to be able to grow closer to God—no matter what—then these are the three words you need to remember on your journey toward intimacy and ultimate trust and faith in him:

But the Lord . . .”

You’ll find these words in Habakkuk 2:20, where the prophet, after acknowledging that he still doesn’t like what’s going on, says, “But the Lord is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him” (NLT, emphasis mine).

The world may seem upside down, but the Lord is still there.

When you have nowhere else to turn, when your own ideas and resources have evaporated, when your control over a situation is in shambles, God is still there. When your knees ache from kneeling in prayer but you can’t tell if he’s even listening, God is still there.

No matter what happens in your life, the Lord is in his holy temple.

Sometimes, even when we remember all that God has done for us, it doesn’t change our circumstances. Sometimes we just have to accept that it’s beyond our understanding right now and just keep going. But we must also realize that acceptance is not denial.

When you accept what God is doing, you don’t simply stuff your feelings down and let your heart die, even as you’re practicing your smile in the mirror and memorizing Bible verses. When you accept that God’s up to something that you can’t see or understand right now, you don’t just roll over and play dead and resign yourself to despair. No, you keep praying for a miracle from him unless he tells you otherwise. But you don’t pretend that everything is okay when clearly it’s not.

Habakkuk certainly couldn’t pretend and keep his head in the sand. After he questioned God and the Lord responded by telling him that he was going to use the wicked Babylonians to destroy Israel, Habakkuk said, “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled” (Habakkuk 3:16 NIV).

His response is visceral. You know that sinking sensation you get in your gut when something bad happens that’s beyond your control? That’s what Habakkuk was facing.

When Habakkuk accepted reality while waiting on God, it wasn’t denial. It was faith. Not faith that God would do what Habakkuk wanted God to do. But faith in God’s character. Habakkuk goes on to say, “The sovereign hand of God is doing something here. God has spoken, so I’ll accept whatever he is doing, as difficult as that may be for me.”

Sometime, something is going to happen that you don’t like. It may be happening right now.

You remember what God has done. You accept what God is doing. You trust what God is going to do.

New Patterns

A New Pattern Of Living

“We suspect that if we do not use what we have, we will lose what we have.”

Basic Text p. 75

Addiction gave a pattern to our lives, and with it a meaning – a dark, diseased meaning, to be sure, but a meaning nonetheless. The program gives us a new pattern of living to replace our old routines. And with that new pattern comes a new meaning to our lives, one of light and hope.

What is this new pattern of living? Instead of isolation, we find fellowship. Instead of living blindly, repeating the same mistakes again and again, we regularly examine ourselves, free to keep what helps us grow and discard what doesn’t. Rather than constantly trying to get by on our own limited power, we develop a conscious contact with a loving Power greater than ourselves.

Our life must have a pattern. To maintain our recovery, we must maintain the new patterns our program has taught us. By giving regular attention to these patterns, we will maintain the freedom we’ve found from the deadly disease of addiction, and keep hold of the meaning recovery has brought to our lives.

Just for today: I will begin a new pattern in my life: the regular maintenance of my recovery.

Hope from the Bottom

In the pit of our hurts, habits, and hang-ups, we were at our very bottom. We know the feelings expressed in

2 Corinthians 1:8–9

“We were really crushed and overwhelmed, and feared we would never live through it. We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God.” The verse goes on to say, “God … alone could save us … and we expect him to do it again and again.” The penalty for our sins was paid in full by Jesus on the cross. The hope of a new life is freedom from our bondage!

Hope in the Dark

WAITING ON GOD

THREE THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU ARE HURTING

1) LISTEN

I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he [God] will say to me … Habakkuk 2:1

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2) WRITE

Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets …” Habakkuk 2:2

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3) WAIT

“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it lingerwait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”Habakkuk 2:3

“But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slowdo not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!” Habakkuk 2:3 TLB

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  • If it’s not God’s time, you can’t force it!
  • When it is God’s time, you can’t stop it!

“See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness—”Habakkuk 2:4

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But the Lord is in his holy temple. …” Habakkuk 2:20 NLT

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All Scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted.
Experience the Scriptures referenced in today’s message and much more by downloading the free YouVersion Bible App for your smartphone or tablet at www.bible.com/app.

  • What’s it like for you to wait and listen for God to respond to your pain? What could you do to make more room for listening?
  • What are some answers God has given you in the past that you can write down as an anchor for the future?
  • Share about a time in your life when you either waited on God or tried to force His timing. What did you learn?
  • Let Pastor Craig lead your conversation: www.life.church/groups

Unconditional Love

Jesus loves me unconditionally. Therefore, I have not earned His love nor could I earn His love. I cannot be separated from His love.

When I obey Him, God will bless me. When I disobey Him, there will be consequences. Jesus may not like my behavior, but He always loves me.

Because I have experienced God’s love, I know that I am lovable. I know there are people who could love me too. Therefore, I am able to trust people who love me. I am confident in my worth based on the love of Jesus.

from Beauty for Ashes by Joyce Meyer

Worry & Anxiety

Do you worry? Most of us do, and yet Jesus tells us very clearly we have nothing to worry about. In fact, He tells us it is counterproductive! We don’t need to worry because we know how our story will end. If our hope is assured (see Heb 11:1), we shouldn’t be concerned about the sorrows of today or tomorrow. “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow,” said Corrie Ten Boom; “it empties today of its strength.”

How do we protect ourselves from worry? The answer is faith. When our hearts are fixed on God, we see life from an eternal viewpoint. We are able to put God’s goals first. The question we must keep asking is, “Where is my heart?” If my heart is fixed on worldly things, I will always worry because the world’s treasures are uncertain. If my heart is fixed on God, I will rest in His power and strength.

Great faith can cancel out worry.

The Answer to Anxiety Rejoices in God’s Plans

The Bible is clear that God’s people deal with anxiety. The Psalmist acknowledges that even when the Lord is your hope, the cares will still be many! All through Psalms and Proverbs there are acknowledgments that God’s people know what it is to have cares in our hearts.

It is humility that brings hope to the anxious heart, and this humility that brings relief from anxiety rests in God’s gracious and good plans.

Can you be confident that He will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you?

God is described by Peter as the God of all grace. I don’t deserve for the Lord to take care of me in such a way that, at all times, it is something good that is being worked out in the details of my life.

And yet that is what He does. Because He is gracious and good, I can have this confidence – whatever suffering I am going through is temporary. Even if it is for a lifetime, it is still a little while.

What awaits us is eternal glory in Christ – who will Himself restore us, confirm us, strengthen us and establish us.

The Old Testament book of Job tells us of a man who lost everything. We know that the Lord was using his faithfulness to demonstrate to Satan that Job’s reverence for the Lord wasn’t dependent on the things in his life that he had been given.

We read about this purpose of God’s in Job’s life, but Job lived it – he didn’t have the book of Job to tell him of the things that we know by reading in Scripture.

Amazingly, due to God’s work in his heart, he was able to say that “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away” – but “blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job was able to say, “I trust Him.”

You humble yourself when you acknowledge God’s sovereignty and rejoice in it. You must be willing to admit that He has the power and the right to do what He will do. Whether this looks like giving or taking away in your life, you must be willing to say this to Him with a heart of praise.

This is not fatalism or resignation, but praise.

We have not humbled ourselves until God’s sovereignty is sweet to us.

Do you rejoice in the knowledge that you are not in control, but He is?

Will you humble yourself by taking all those things represented in the word anxieties, bag them up, and cast them onto Him, knowing that He cares for you?

If you would like to find out more about this topic, we invite you to listen to the episode of the Straight Truth Podcast called “Answering Anxiety” on YouTube https://youtu.be/gPgK0tbUesc or Vimeo https://vimeo.com/252726922  You can also purchase the book “Answering Anxiety” by Richard Caldwell

The Greatest Counselor

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In times of struggle, we often seek a counselor — a trusted friend or a confidant to talk with about our troubles or from whom we seek guidance and direction. The disciples saw Jesus as their counselor, and were worried when He said He was leaving them. It was then that Jesus promised the ultimate Counselor — the Holy Spirit.

Like the disciples, we are given a Counselor to teach and remind us what Jesus taught (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit is available 24/7 and is absolutely free because Jesus paid His “fee”. He gives us the ability to understand our issues from Christ’s perspective and He exposes the false promises of the world. He offers us “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:10-16).

Do you take advantage of the best counselor in heaven or earth? He is available to you when you trust Christ for your salvation.

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Hope in the Dark

Life Church

HOPE IN THE DARK—1

WHERE ARE YOU, GOD?

WHY DOESN’T GOD SEEM FAIR?

How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? 3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? … Habakkuk 1:2-3

Habakkuk: to embrace or to wrestle.

Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails … Habakkuk 1:3-4

HABAKKUK’S PROBLEMS WITH GOD

1) You don’t seem to really care.

2) You aren’t doing much when you could.

3) What you are doing, doesn’t seem fair.

GOD’S RESPONSE

“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” Habakkuk 1:5

“I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own. 7 They are a feared and dreaded people … 9 they all come intent on violence …” Habakkuk 1:6-7, 9

A committed believer can both WRESTLE with honest questions and EMBRACE a genuine faith in God.

Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish. 13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? Habakkuk1:12-13

“What if honestly acknowledging your doubts is your first step toward building a deeper faith? What if embracing your secret questions opens the door for a maturing knowledge of God’s character? What if drawing closer to God, developing genuine intimacy with him, requires you to bear something that feels unbearable? To hear him through an ominous utterance, to trust him in the moment of doom, to embrace his strength when you’re weak with a burden? What if it takes real pain to experience deep and abiding hope?”From Hope in the Dark

Talk It Over

Read Habakkuk 1:2-4. Describe a time when you found yourself wrestling with God.

During a time that was (or is) difficult, how did you (or do you) continue to embrace God in the middle of the trial?

Who do you have around you to pray with you and support you? How can they be praying for you right now?