Choose to Praise God

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message:

I once saw a refrigerator magnet that said, “I know that God promises to never give me more than I can handle. But sometimes, I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” When trials come and life seems hard, we plead with God to deliver us from the problem when many times, His plan is to deliver us in the problem. Praise does not depend upon an understanding of the circumstance or trial. Praise depends upon an understanding of and faith in God.

As humans, we will never fully understand God – this side of heaven. God is holy and without blemish. God is all powerful and omniscient. He is Creator of the universe and yet lives in me. He is the only true, living God! We may understand some of His ways and comprehend the reasoning behind some of His plans. We may even come to the place of knowing him on what we call an intimate level, but a full understanding of God is reserved for heaven. Until then, we walk by faith, not by sight. We praise him in the darkness, knowing that the light is just ahead. We trust him for things we cannot see and turn to him in the valleys. Honestly, the thought of serving and relying on a God I can understand is not a reassuring thought.

Most people who know me well would describe me as a strong person, someone who can usually handle what life holds. I thought the same thing until, in 1995, I found myself a powerless, prisoner of the darkness as I battled clinical depression. It took me two long years to climb out of that pit and not a day goes by that I am not reminded of that wonderful, horrible time.

One of the many lessons I learned from my “pit experience” was that I cannot depend upon my own strength or my fickle emotions. God often asked me to praise him when, as far as I could tell, there wasn’t a whole lot to praise him for! I didn’t feel like praising him.

I began to understand that praise is not a feeling but a choice, a step of obedience taken without the assurance of a changed circumstance or the elimination of a trial. Praise focuses on God, not the circumstance, and fixes its gaze upon God’s truth and God’s character instead of the trial at hand or just ahead. That is why we can celebrate the battle before it begins. The outcome is neither our responsibility nor our goal. Praise begins and ends with faith in the very nature, personality and integrity of God … and that never changes.

No matter what lies ahead, God is faithful. No matter how hot the fiery trial may be, God will deliver us. No matter what man says or does, God loves and accepts us. So praise God! Thank Him today for every victory tomorrow holds! Celebrate – knowing that the battle belongs to God and because of that single truth, victory is certain.

Have a blessed day!

Worry Wastes Life

Thank you  Sharon Jaynes for today’s message…..

Not all fear is bad. It is good to be afraid of sticking your hand in a fire, crossing a busy street with your eyes closed, or jumping off a cliff. That is good healthy fear.

Bad fear is fear of present circumstances and future events that may or may never happen. Being too afraid to step out and do what God has called you to do. Being so worried about the consequences that you throw trusting God out the window. That’s an unhealthy fear.

The Holy Spirit will warn you with a healthy sense of fear to protect you, but He will never stir up worry to stymie your faith. I’ve often heard it said that worry is a down payment on a problem you may never have. And it’s true! Rehearsing your troubles before they even happen causes you to experience them many times, whereas you were not meant to experience them but once—when or if they actually occur.

Most of the biggest challenges you will ever face will be the result of things you never even thought to worry about or even crossed your mind. They will blindside you on a Thursday afternoon at 2:00, when you never saw it coming. You will not even have known that you should have worried about the possibility! (Now, don’t let that get you worried.)

We waste valuable time and forfeit the thriving faith when we allow “what ifs” to hold us captive.

  • What if I’m embarrassed?
  • What if I’m rejected?
    What if I fall flat on my face?
  • What if I fail?

What if one or all of these things do happen when I step forward in obedience? I’ll live. God will be right there with me.

Here’s the bigger question: What if I don’t step forward in obedience? What if I ignore God’s prompting? I might miss out on one of His greatest blessings of my life.

Do you believe God loves you? I’m thinking you just answered yes. Then why do you worry that He doesn’t have your best interest in mind? He will not allow or initiate any circumstance in your life that is not filtered through His sovereign love for you. You will make it! Life might not unfold as you imagined, but when you place your hand in His and trust in His love, you will survive and most likely thrive.

Paul had an incredible attitude about the “what ifs” in his life. He had the mind-set of bring it on. The Pharisees couldn’t stand him, but they found his attitude made it impossible to stop him. They threw him in prison and he said, “That’s OK. Give me some parchment and ink. I’ll write some letters to the churches. I’ll write to them about how to have joy in all circumstances.”

They chained him to a prison guard and he said, “That’s OK. I’ll tell him about Jesus. As a matter-of-fact, I’ll bring his whole family to Christ!”

They threatened to kill him and he said, “That’s OK. I’ll get to go to heaven and be with Jesus. What could be better?”

Paul faced his fears and booted them out the door with the love of God. What do you do to a guy like that?

He wasn’t worried or concerned about his future. Paul was at peace with whatever happened on his faith journey because He trusted in the character and love of God. And with a faith like that, the natural consequence is to live bold. And that’s what we can do today

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

When You Feel You’re Not Good Enough

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message:

“I’m not ___________ enough.” You can fill in that blank with smart, talented, gifted, spiritual, outgoing, attractive, or any number of positive attributes. But the root source of each one of those blanks is rooted in “I’m not good enough.” Period. It’s one of the Enemy’s favorite deceptions to hold God’s children hostage to a life that is “less than.

“I’m not good enough” is an insidious lie that keeps God’s best at bay for many of His children.

The Enemy tries to get us to focus on our flaws rather than on our faith. When we focus on our faults, we take our focus off God, who equips us; the Holy Spirit, who empowers us; and Jesus, who envelops us.

The Bible does say no one is good enough to earn his or her way into heaven (Romans 3:23). Salvation is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). However, many have taken the truth that they are not good enough to earn their way to heaven and transferred it to “I’m not good enough—period.” But through the finished work of Jesus Christ, and His power working in you and through you, you are good enough to do everything God has called you to do and be.

Giving in to the lie of “I’m not good enough” will paralyze you. It’s the coward’s way out. I might have just hurt your feelings, but listen, I’m talking to myself, too.

I was asked to speak to a group of teenage girls not too long ago. I thought, I don’t do teenage girls. They scare me. I’m not cool enough. They won’t listen to me. I’m going to sound stupid!

Yes, after all these years of writing and speaking, I still struggle with feeling not good enough. I haven’t conquered it yet. God still stretches me and challenges me to see if I truly believe He is enough to work through me.

By the way, I did put on my cool jeans and my gladiator sandals and spoke to the girls. How did it go? I’m not sure. But here’s what I do know. I am not responsible for the outcome of my obedience. God is.

Stepping out when “not good enough” is heckling at you to step aside is scary. Shrinking back and not moving forward is safer. But it is also boring—not the life-to-the-full Jesus came to give.

Henry Blackaby challenges us, “When God invites you to join Him in His work, He has assigned a God-sized assignment for you. You will realize that you cannot do it on your own. If God doesn’t help you, you will fail. This is the crisis point where many decide not to follow what they sense God is leading them to do. Then they wonder why they do not experience God’s presence and activity the way other Christians do.”

I don’t want to be that person. I don’t think you do either.

Courage and confidence follow obedience. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood backstage at a conference with the words “I’m not good enough” screaming in my head. But when I step out in obedience, and do what God has called me to do, the power of the Holy Spirit overpowers the lies of the Enemy who told me to just go home. And God does amazing things.

God has given you everything you need in order to do what He has called you to do. You are enough.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!