Finding Conviction, Comfort, and Clarity in Discouragement

Do you ever find yourself discouraged and at a loss for what to do next? I found myself there a few weeks ago. The stress built up on all sides of me; work, family, marriage, and my health. As I tried to find answers to problems, solutions to puzzles, and the way out of troubles, I only came up with dead ends and more frustration. I was discouraged. I was losing hope and the courage to stand on my convictions. I was on the edge of giving into defeat.

I shared my feelings with a dear friend of mine. She brought a great perspective to my situation. She challenged me to ponder the thought that I was discouraged because I had the wrong focus. Was I looking through the wrong lens? As we discussed my hardships, dead ends, and frustrations, it became quite evident that I was out of focus! I was completely caught up in what I wanted, what I needed, and what I thought I didn’t have. What was the common thread there? It was I.

My friend encouraged me to focus on God our Father instead. I was brought to Psalm 73:21-28 (ESV), 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, Colossians 3:1-17 and Hebrews 12:1-3. I meditated on these for days; Praying, Reading, Listening. I became refreshed, renewed, and reassured that I just needed to switch my view from internal to eternal. Psalm 73 mentions the eternity that gave me the conviction to stand strong on the promise of God’s faithfulness. I found comfort in knowing He is my refuge. And I found clarity in what I first thought was unanswered problems. The struggles dissipated as I loosened the grip on my impatient and foolish desire to be in control. God knows what we need before we even think a thought. Why should we not trust his lead? He created the world, He created us with his own hands and breath, and He wants to bring us joy through his glory. Our hearts can keep the faith that all will be for the best when God is in control.

In the verses from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”, God calls us to share such experiences. I encourage you to read the rest of the passages in 2 Corinthians to learn more of God’s comfort and how when we share our comforts we are strengthened to continue through the trials. I hope you find encouragement though my journey. May God bless your path as you follow his lead.

 

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

GOD NOD

A God Nod is that moment when we realize God is giving us confirmation for a question, project, or plan we have been considering.

I was recently trying to make a particularly difficult decision. After praying for several days, I wrote a list of pros and cons. Then, I began to ask myself deeper questions about motivation, desire, and self. Deciding to take a short break, I walked to the mailbox and discovered an item that seemed to confirm the project. I received what I call a God Nod.

How do we know when we are receiving a genuine God Nod?

  • First, and most importantly, it does NOT contradict God’s written word. God will NEVER tell us it is okay to do something He has already declared wrong.
  • Second, we have prayed about it. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to know what someone wants if we don’t ask them. Enlist others to pray about it with us.
  • Third, we have analyzed the situation. Do we know the earthly wisdom and the biblical advice on the subject? Seek advice from others.
  • Fourth, we have made a list of the things we think are confirmation AND the things that look like caution or stop signs. When we compare the lists, does it still look like confirmation?
  • Finally, how do we feel about it? While decisions should not be made on an emotional basis alone, emotion can be an indicator of the desires of our heart or the prompting of the Spirit. Analyze those feelings.

After we’ve looked at God’s Word, the facts, the apparent confirmation, any caution or stop signs, and analyzed any emotional reaction, we should be able to see when God is giving His approval. We can accept the God Nod and move forward with confidence!

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

– James 1:5

 

 

[Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™]

This Time
I Will Praise the LORD

This time of year, our thoughts turn toward what the year may hold. We make plans and think about the previous years with all their disappointments and regrets.

Leah (Genesis 29:31-35) was doing this year after year. She thought children were the answer to not being loved. Having children was very important in biblical times, especially sons for they would carry on the family name. Leah believed that if she had sons her husband would be pleased, see her worth, and love her. The Lord gave her what she thought she wanted. Leah had three sons. Sadly, Isaac still didn’t love her.

Finally, Leah looked elsewhere and found love where it had always been waiting for her–in God’s arms. So when she had a fourth son, she praised God with that son’s very name, Judah which means praise. Pleasing her husband to make him love her was no longer the thing that defined Leah. Rather she decided to please God. After all, he had always loved her.

Have you ever done this? So caught up in what you think will make you happy, you miss how God can make you happy right where you are, nothing else needed.

Sometimes God gives us what we think we need to show us what we really need.

God is there for you whatever you feel you are missing in your life. God can satisfy it.

Is there anything in your life that you keep looking to for happiness other than to God?

Active Patience

Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow–that is patience. ∼Leo Tolstoy

Sometimes our journey with God is hard. Sometimes it seems as though we’ve struggled forever only to look around and discover we’ve barely moved. We need to look up ahead and focus on our future hope, and look beside us at the One who is there to help us. Then, we will be able to take the next step. And the next. And the next. Until we find ourselves at our destination.

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
∼2 Thessalonians 3:5

 

Retucking My Foundation

Stone and brick home foundations develop cracks, loosen and crumble if not maintained. They need regular inspections, testing, analyzing and sometimes retucking. If there are cracks or deteriation in a foundation it allows rain & pests to get in and cause damage. If this damage is not taken care of in time, the damage can be irreversible. Retucking is a construction process that stabilizes a damaged foundation. The old, cracked and crumbling mortar must be scrapped out and replaced. This reinforces and stabilizes the foundation. It will now be able to withstand bad weather, pests and time.

So, why am I telling you about construction techniques? I believe there is a great correlation with our lives. If we allow our foundation to weather, deteriorate and crack, the enemy will be able to get in and destroy. At first, it may not be visible to the naked eye. We can mask over the damage to hide our imperfections. Over time the cracks get bigger and our ability to stand against the storms of life decreases.

My 2017 seemed like it was a year and a half long. My year had so many troubles, hardships, and tragedies most would have run as far as they could in the opposite direction. Why didn’t I? What kept me from doing what so many told me I had the right to do? It was my Lord, my Father, my God. He was my rock. My solid foundation.

I must confess it has not always been solid. There was definite damage. The cracks had been there a long time. I was hiding behind serving in the church, facilitating bible studies, and attending small group studies and prayer meetings. I’m not saying that these things are bad and only mask your real life or even that I knew that is what I was doing. I only want to point out that if we are not careful, we only allow God in on the surface of our life.

Just like a stone or brick foundation of a house that has damage, My life needed to be retucked. I didn’t even know it! But last February, God took a hold of my heart and breathed new life into it. I, for the first time, TRULY believed He loves me. All of me.

“With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: ‘He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.’ And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” – Ezra 3:11

This verse is about the Levites, God’s chosen people. After a better part of a century of hopes and desperation, anguish and resentment their hope was restored. The Levites were overjoyed, singing praises to the Lord. Like the Levites, I sing praises knowing God’s mercies fail not. Is God your foundation or is he a cover up? Make time for reflection and inspect your life. Look for areas where the enemy is getting in and creating havoc. I am so glad I did and allowed God to stabalize my footing. I was able to withstand the storms and see the rainbow on the other side. I pray the same for you in 2018.

Blessings.

 

Bev Pomering has been married to her husband, Terry, for over 20 years. Their family includes two teenage boys and two dogs. Bev describes her home as anything but quiet. She works as an administrative assistant in the medical field. In addition to being an avid crafter and gardener, Bev is also active in her church where she focuses her talents on Women’s Ministries.

 

 

credit to
http://www.biblegateway.com NIV Coffman, James Burton. “Commentary on Ezra 3:11”. “Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament”. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/ezra-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™