Tag Archives: God

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 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

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?

Walk in Truth

Walking in Truth

“I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.” (2 John 1:4)

This beautiful metaphor, “walking in truth,” is found only in the two one-chapter epistles of John—here in our text, and in 3 John 1:3 and 4.

This principle should indeed characterize our daily lives, since our Lord and Savior is Himself “the truth” (John 14:6), the Word of God that we believe is “truth” (John 17:17), and the Holy Spirit who indwells our bodies is the very “Spirit of truth” (John 15:26).

The New Testament also uses other characteristics of the Christian life under this figure of walking. When a person is born again through faith in Christ and testifies of this by following the Lord in baptism, he or she is said to be raised to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

Then, since the Holy Spirit has come to indwell our bodies, to comfort, guide, and constrain us as needed, we are exhorted to “walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

Furthermore, we are commanded to “walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us” (Ephesians 5:2). This is not erotic love, of course, or even brotherly love, but unselfish agape love that sacrifices its own interests for the needs of others.

There are still more such exhortations. “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5). Furthermore, we are to “walk in the light, as he is in the light” (1 John 1:7).

All of these and other similar admonitions can be summarized as simply following the example of Christ. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6). “He that followeth me,” said Jesus our Lord, “shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). HMM

God Help Me

Where does my help come from?

How do I heal and move forward?

Am I strong enough to overcome this?

I am going though a really hard time right now. After a while with stable moods, my bipolar disorder  is causing major issues in my life.

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My previously helpful medication and treatment plan have not worked to push this mania away. It crept up over a year ago. There have been ups and downs, but for the most part I have been hypomanic. Stress and other triggers cause it to flare up. This is the case these last few weeks. I am battling anxiety, struggling to sleep, my mind is scattered, memory disabled, and thoughts are constantly racing.  Although I try to contain them, my words keep spilling out.

I try to do what I know works. I set A schedule, try and get enough sleep, prioritize tasks, spend time with God, and avoid triggers such as caffine. If I suddenly get the urge to organize everything, I need to step back and think about my thinking. Why do I suddenly have a desire to do the chores I usually put off because I dislike them so much?

I know I need to put God first. They only way for me to get better is to rely on Him. He loves me and wants what is best for me. When my mind is scattered and I struggle to make good choices. God leads me along the right path and carries me when I am too week to walk.

God also helps me through others. My family loves and supports me. I try to listen to their advice and accept their help. Normally, I try  to do everything myself. Obviously that has not worked. I need to let go of my pride and take care of myself. I know I will come through this and be better for it. My pain serves A purpose and I will persevere!

What Comes First in Your Life?

Do you  value love most? God is love. By putting God first, everything else will fall into place. We will best love and support ourselves, our family and our friends. By choosing love, we put God first. He is a light in the darkness, our helper in the storm. If we seek Him first, He will help us and show us how to love others and how to take care of ourselves.

God loves us more than we can imagine and only wants the best for us. God does not cause bad things to happen. We live in a lost and broken world plagued with darkness. The good news is that light has overcome the darkness. This is not our home. and as the song says, “We are just taking the long way home”  (Steven Curtis Chapman-lyrics) There is something better. God sees the whole story beginning to end and He has defeated death. We only need to have faith. We can never earn His love. We are all broken in our own way. No one is perfect and God doesn’t expect us to be.

However, He knows our heart and true motives. If we honestly pursue God first and want His will for our lives, He will use all things for good. That terrible heartache, health problem, broken relationship, anxiety, depression, addiction, or other struggle give you a power you did have before. We grow through our pain and our character is strengthened in the hard times. We are overcomes. Mandisa says it best in her song Overcomer

Staring at a stop sign
Watching people drive by
T mac on the radio
Got so much on your mind
Nothing’s really going right
Looking for a ray of hope
Whatever it is you may be going through
I know he’s not gonna let it get the best of you
You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ’til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when he reminds you
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer
Everybody’s been down
Hit the bottom, hit the ground
Ooh, You’re not alone
Just take a breath, don’t forget
Hang on to his promises
He wants you to know
You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ’til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when he reminds you
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer
The same man, the great I am
The one who overcame death
Is living inside of you
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life
There’s nothing he can’t do
He’s telling you
You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ’til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when he reminds you
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer
See don’t quit, don’t give in
You’re an overcomer
Don’t quit, don’t give in
You’re an overcomer
Don’t quit, don’t give in
You’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer
Songwriters: Benjamin Glover / Christopher E. Stevens / David Arthur Garcia

Prayer: You are Holy, Lord. Thank you for the Blood of Jesus to wash us and cleanse us from sin. As a born again believer I ask You to help me to put off these things that hinder my life from being completely surrendered to You and show me the ways to put on Christ so that I may please You. Amen.

• Do you worry? Worry is one expression of anxiety.

• What about a general sense of unrest? As someone might put it, you just are not happy.

• What if we use the word discouragement?

• What about the word depression or fear?

In Psalm 42, we are given a great biblical description of anxiety. We are introduced to a man who is troubled by enemies and those who would mock him for his faith. As a result, his heart is depressed. But he also describes the feeling as turmoil. He talks about feeling as if God has forgotten him.

What is this? This is anxiety.

So, the place to begin when looking for God’s answer to your anxious heart, is the place of admitting your need. We can’t embrace God’s solutions for problems we don’t believe we have. It is when we are honest with our problems, our struggles, our weaknesses – our sins – that we are genuinely ready to listen to God.

Let your heart be filled with hope! Open your heart to the answer Christ offers for the troubles of the soul.

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 on Amazon: goo.gl/dLhirm