Tag Archives: love

God’s Plans…

In the last week our family has been praying for something very specific….sunset_sailing….it didn’t happen.Now comes the normal responses of all of us as we seek to know what God is doing…

I prayed, why didn’t he answer?

This was really important to me, how could he not do it?

Is there really a God at all if he doesn’t answer prayers like this?

How can I trust him when he knew how important this was?

Why pray at all if he doesn’t answer anyway?

I’m sure you could add a dozen other questions to this list that you have asked as the plans and prayers you hoped for didn’t come true, didn’t materialize.

What is God doing? What’s his plans for us?  How do we navigate this topic of prayer when often the things we ask for are very important to us?  Now what?  Can we trust him?  Should I even pray for things again since he didn’t answer this prayer?  Doesn’t he know how important this was to me?

The emotions of unanswered prayer are intense.  The hoped for expectations that are crushed by a prayer unanswered are confusing.  Now what? Where do we go from here?

There are often no words for the emotions that follow an unanswered prayer.  For me, after many years of knowing God, I realized that often my dreams and visions are not the best thing for me…and so I trust God for his plans, his directions….but it’s hard, isn’t it?  It’s hard when we asked, we wanted, we hoped…and he replies with silence.  Is he there at all?  Is he, as many say, the God of the deist…making it all and then walking away?  Unanswered prayers make us ask those questions…especially when he has invited us to ask!

The bottom line for all of this is simply this-  God loves us. God is sovereign and his love, his plans, and his wisdom direct our lives for his glory and our good.  It doesn’t mean we always get what we want…and that confuses us because we “know” that what we want is the very best thing….if only God would give us what we prayed for.

But often he doesn’t.  Now what?

Solomon wrote these words,

“The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”
 
When God says “no” I come back to this…God loves me,He has my best in mind,

He has a plan for my life,

and he’s sovereign.

I can trust him to accomplish the best for me…..even when he says “no”.

In moments like this, when I don’t understand his “no” I go back to the verses that direct me when I don’t have answers…the verses that calm my confused and disheartened mind,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
  and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”

God in the Furnace

It’s often hard to see God, to see his hand, his work in our lives. It’s often hard to sense his presence, but for the believer he’s ever present. In fact, he says he will never leave us, but most of the time we don’t sense his presence, we aren’t aware of his care.For me it’s the busy life I live that makes his voice hard to hear, his face hard to see. I don’t take the time to quiet my mind and heart to listen, to see him ever with me.The times when God is most visible, the times when we see him the most clearly are times of test, times of trial. It’s in those refining moments the ever present one is most clearly seen….with us even in the heat of the trial.As I read Daniel 3 this morning, the story of Daniel’s friends and their trial by fire, the ever present one is unseen until Daniel’s friends are in the midst of the flames. In those refining moments, in the furnaces of our lives, God’s presence is most clearly seen. It’s in those moments when we desperately need to see him. In the midst of the trial our questions abound, in the midst of the heat we need him most. Has he brought us to this trial to destroy us? Is he punishing us for our sins? Why is this happening to us?

And in the midst of the furnace God is with us. He never leaves us. Last night I was with a family in the furnace of a lifetime. It’s a trial by fire to be sure. This is when they most need God’s presence, his care, his love. It’s in their furnace that they will see him. He is always with us, always caring for us….even in the furnace of trials.

But why trials? Why use the furnace to make himself known and seen? It’s because in the furnace no one can help us but God. As the king said to Daniel’s friends, “Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” The king has defined the test- Is there a God who can deliver from the furnace? Is there someone to help when the trials of life overwhelm? The answer from the furnace is “YES! I’m here with you. Don’t worry, I will take care of you.”

The God of glory is always with us working for our good and his glory. In the midst of your furnace God is with you making himself known to you and seen by the world. In the midst of the furnace all other distractions are burned away and we see the ever present God who is always with us.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

In A Valley

I love catching shapes in clouds & the mountains are always beautiful

I’m in a valley. It’s true. Have been for about a month now AND I love it! I do! I’m working in beautiful Salem Virginia. Mountains are everywhere I look. The ride to and from each week has been gorgeous with the color of the leaves changing to burnt orange and bright reds. Megan even asked me when I started working there, what it was like. My reply was, “I’m in a valley,” to which she responded ohhhhhh, niiiiice! I had to smile because I knew that I’ve been wondering about life’s valleys.

Being in this majestic valley has got me thinking lately about “life’s valleys.”

We all go through the valley in life, there is no escaping it. It’s a matter of when. My question to myself has been why don’t I “look up” at the wonderful surroundings when I’m in life’s valley, just as I’m doing while working here in the valley of Virginia? I know that I’m surrounded by a million little things that make life glorious and I also know the valleys are going to happen. So what is the disconnect?

Could it be that I’m so focused on the issues that I forget to look up and enjoy what is around me? Or maybe the discouragement during that time has put a huge cloud over me and I can’t see the beauty that is all about me? Could it be that discontentment wastes my energy and I have no strength to focus on making it through the valley? Why have I never thought of looking up before?

We all have so many blessings in our life that should carry us from one valley to the next but when we are in those valleys – we tend to forget them, so our stay there seems much longer than necessary.

The valleys of life are hard. I’ve been in many of them and do not enjoy them during that time. I’m always thankful for friends I can come to for help, but like many – I sometimes choose not to ask, for fear of being a “burden”.

I faced another closed door a few weeks back. My heart ached with great pain, discouragement and no music was there. Until I poured out my heart in the following words that day, I sat in silence. No singing, no happiness and fighting back the tears from yet one more closed door.

The Closed Door

Sometimes the hurt is too much to bare
Even though you say I can, I feel I can’t share

The Load is heavy, the road is long
The heart is weary and has lost its song

I know there’s hope that never ends
But for now it seems my life won’t mend

I just want to be held, I’m tired and weak
I’ll simply rest in silence, as I can’t even speak

You are strong, I’m not. I can’t even try
I can’t stop the tears from falling from my eyes

This is me, this is all – there is nothing more
Such is my life – as I stand, facing the closed door.

Will I remember this in my next valley? Yes. Will it make a difference? I honestly don’t know. Will I struggle along alone? I hope not. I hope that I will have the courage to ask for help that day, but it takes courage for that, and I’m far from courageous.

What do you think? Why do we not look up when we are in life’s valley? Why do we struggle alone – without asking for help? We have great friendships and tons of resources, yet we choose to limp along through the valley – alone.

Tell me, what is the disconnect?

{{HUGS}} yall


Marie is the founder/President of Spreading Joy Corporation, a Non Profit that is dedicated to reminding others of the simple joy of giving. To find out more about making a difference for others without breaking the bank, more encouraging articles and more about her book Spreading Joy Daily please visit her site at http://www.spreading-joy.org

New Year New Beginnings

It’s a new year.  A chance for new choices, a fresh start.  A time to look ahead and change what was wrong, to plant a new crop for the new year.

It’s a chance for new beginnings.  What will you do with the next year?  It’s all in your hands to live each day with the excitement of a child as they open each Christmas gift.  What will you find in the days ahead?NewBeginning

We always begin a new year with hopes and dreams of better things, but soon find that the same problems, same choices, and same people are still the same!  But don’t let the sameness around you keep you from planting new crops in your life, from doing something different, from new adventures.  Make the choice to do one new thing this year that you have always wanted to do.

Plant a new kind of seed in your life.  Become a student of a new interest, learn something new that has always interested you, go somewhere you have always wanted to go.  God is a God of adventure in our lives with him and in his desires for us personally.  He smiles when we thrive.  So, this year, with a new year beginning what new things will you do?   What adventures will you go on in your walk with God?

We are in the last days.  The Lord is coming soon.  There has never been a time like this when God’s people can be part of such an amazing time.  Love people.  Get to know God more deeply.  And consider the new year ahead the greatest adventure you will ever embark upon.  It will be exciting!

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Giants

 

Guys are huge! Huge! Especially if you are a little girl, you look up and see a mighty man towering over you, your heart trembles a little. Men are giants in the eyes of children

I remember as a little, tiny girl being afraid of those towering giants in my life. There were only two giant men that I took to early on without fear and they were my Father and Grandfather.

While I understand that not every man is full of care, compassion and concern for the women and children in his world and those that are quietly observing, (make no mistake, they are observing and retaining what they observe) I also understand that there are men that want to be a force for good in this world.

I applaud you and want to encourage you to continue to be a Giant!

Here are some ways we can all be Giants, but Men, please…. Continue to stand up and be HUGE!

Giant of Compassion – Men in particular usually have a hard time comfortably displaying their emotions and showing compassion isn’t always the easiest. I know that kindness is there, filling your heart…let it flow freely.

Giant of Love – Continue to love and allow yourself to be loved – even when love hurts.

Giant of Giving – Giving of what you have doesn’t always come naturally, but we can condition our hearts to be a giant in this area. Don’t focus on what you are giving, or to whom. Just give what you can and show others that there is nothing like it.

Giant of Laughter – With the weight of the responsibilities that you bare, sometimes it is just good to sit back and do fun things. Laugh daily and share freely.

Giant of Family – YOU head up the family, you are responsible, you direct, guide and shelter. Be there, be part of what goes on, share your heart with those in your family freely. Be authentic and in doing so, you will raise up giants of your own.

Giant of a Husband – Men if you are married, the best thing you can do is to continue to date and spoil your wife. Find out, if you’ve forgotten, what little things she adores and spoil her with them. Yes, we ladies need to do the same thing, but we gals are creatures of response and she will react. But, honestly…don’t do this just to “get” something in return….do this because you are a giant and are willing to do it because it is the right thing to do.

Giant of a Friend – Men, go and do some men stuff. Encourage each other and have fun. Take time to be a friend.

Giant of an Example – There are little eyes watching you and you won’t even realize it. You will cause someone, somewhere to remember something that you did…something you considered insignificant and yet, in that moment it was larger than life to the onlooker. You are always inspiring someone and being an influence. The question is, are you inspiring great things or are you inspiring a lackadaisical attitude?

Giant of Wisdom – You have experiences that no one else around you has. You can share what you’ve learned and those around you that are truly wise will learn from you. Share freely.

 

Lastly guys, remember, you are completely loved and adored by someone.

YOU ARE a giant in their eyes. Treasure that, protect that and use it.

Gals – you can be a giant to! I hope you will be.

Your turn! How can we be giants to those little eyes that are watching everything we say and do? Don’t miss your opportunity to be heard here.

 

Dear Dad, you are already a HERO, just because you are a dad… be the best influence you can be without guilt

Dear Dad, I know you are busy with work &providing for the family, but provide memories too

Dear Dad, I know we are all special BUT never, ever forget that you are loved & adored

Dear Dad, even when I think I know it ALL, YOU still be the parent. I’m too young to make big decisions.

Dear Dad, laughter is the best medicine, but never forget tears are healing

Dear Dad, Even though guys are macho, we still need to hear “i love you”

Dear Dad, I know you want to give me the best of everything, but make me be responsible for what you give me

Dear Dad, we love big squishy bear hugs

Dear Dad, help me to own my mistakes, don’t enable me or excuse my actions

Dear Dad, I love you

 

 

Visit Marie at SpreadingJoy.

Heart Direction

“May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.” 2 Thes. 3:5.

I’m fascinated by this short, simple verse. It’s a prayer of Paul for those suffering in Thessalonica. I would have prayed “May the Lord direct your minds…” but Paul prays for heart direction. There is a knowing of the heart that the mind cannot comprehend. There is an assurance of the heart that the mind cannot grasp. There is a relationship with God of the heart that the mind can only dream about. In this time of rest and sabbatical I have been seeking the face of God. It’s a passion I acquired from David the king. He pursued the face of God. I can only imagine what that looks like because, in truth, it’s a heart quest, not a quest of the mind.

One of the things I find as I get closer to the face of God is his love and joy in my presence. He really loves me! He likes me, he really does. He’s glad to see me. Personally. I feel so inadequate to even be in his presence, unworthy, imposing on his time and attention, but he loves me. As my heart is directed into his love I begin to see myself as he does. I see the me he sees and it brings the same response that Jesus had to the love of the father….steadfastness. As Jesus prayed in the garden, steadfast in his decision to obey the father because of the father’s love for him and for us, he went to the cross steadfast in obedience because he knew the father loved him. I see I cannot walk in steadfast obedience until I know the father’s love. It’s his love that gives me the ability to be steadfast in Christ.

We all go through difficult days, days that challenge our commitment to faith, but the love of God will bring us to a steadfast walk that can only be known to the heart. The mind would say you are crazy, but the heart knows the Father’s love and that makes all the difference.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Steven Curtis Chapman Music

 

Steven Curtis Chapman – Be Still & Know
Steven Curtis Chapman – Cinderella
Steven Curtis Chapman – Do Everything
Steven Curtis Chapman – Fingerprints of God
Steven Curtis Chapmen – Live Out Loud
Steven Curtis Chapmen – Long Way Home
Steven Curtis Chapman – Magnificent Obsession
Steven Curtis Chapman – Miracle of the Moment
Steven Curtis Chapman – No Better Place
Steven Curtis Chapmen – Remembering You
Steven Curtis Chapman – Speechless
Steven Curtis Chapman – When Love Takes You In

Phillips Craig & Dean Music

 

Phillips, Craig & Dean – Great Are You Lord
Phillips, Craig & Dean – Hallelujah
Phillips, Craig & Dean – Here I Am To Worship
Phillips, Craig & Dean – How Deep The Father’s Love For Us
Phillips, Craig & Dean – I am a friend of God
Phillips, Craig & Dean – I Want To Be Just Like You
Phillips, Craig & Dean – Let My Words Be Few  
Phillips, Craig & Dean – Mercy Came Running
Phillips, Craig & Dean – Revelation Song
Phillips, Craig & Dean – Top of my Lungs  
Phillips, Craig & Dean – When The Stars Burn Down 
Phillips, Craig & Dean – You are GOD Alone
Phillips, Craig & Dean – Your Grace Still Amazes Me
Phillips, Craig & Dean – Your Name

Jesus Culture Music

 

Jesus Culture – Break Every Chain
Jesus Culture – Happy Day
Jesus Culture – Holy
Jesus Culture – I Surrender
Jesus Culture – One Thing Remains
Jesus Culture – Revelation Song
Jesus Culture – Rooftops
Jesus Culture – Where You Go I Go
Jesus Culture – Your Love Never Fails

Search for these songs at Amazon… Jesus Culture Music

100% of all proceeds on purchases made are donated to Christian charities.