This months Hope blog features an excerpt from David Crowder from the Beyond the Music Devotional.

Grace Over Regret

When Christians gather as a group, it may produce opportunities to share the Gospel. Peter encourages us as believers to be ready to explain why we have a belief and hope in Jesus Christ.

An encounter may arise at any moment: in a restaurant, walking down the street, or at a concert. David Crowder talks about a time when he listened to someone’s life story and shared the Gospel with him.

Listen to David

Worshiping God in song often produces an unexplained joy and peace. This proved to be true for “Dirty Dave” who worked at the venue during David Crowder’s concert. Although he was not a Christian, he could feel the Holy Spirit moving during the concert. Despite all of Dave’s regrets, he learned that there was nothing he could do remove himself from God’s grace. How wonderful it is that we may experience peace and joy while worshiping our Savior!

Apply

  • What would you say if someone asked you why you believe in Jesus?
  • What is your favorite way to worship? In song, reading scripture, in nature, or something else?
  • Make sure you take time daily to do it!

This months Hope blog features an excerpt from Rend Collective’s Good News Devotional.

Weep With Me

Psalm 22

Sometimes I like to imagine King David pitching his song ideas to a Christian record label in Nashville or LA.

He presses play and the speakers come alive with his demos – “These are just roughs – they still need a little polish.”

Executives in sharply tailored suits nod along and tap their feet to “The Heavens declare the Glory of God”.

They can already hear “His love endures forever” being sung at conferences and in churches across the globe.

They almost lose their professional cool altogether and just start high-fiving across the desk when they hear “The Lord is my Shepherd” – definite first single.

However, from this point, things begin to fall apart.

“Uh…what was that lyric, Dave?”

“That one? ‘My God, My God why have you forsaken me.’”

“Huh… have you got anything else for us?”

They get about 10 seconds into “Will you forget me forever?” before it becomes clear that its not a hit with the label.

“Any other ideas?”

“Well I have this one I’ve been working on – “Break the teeth in their mouths O God” …or “Make them vanish like a stillborn child.”

“Yeah…eh…cool -gosh is that the time? We’ll be in touch. But don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

The funny thing is that these songs of lament, that would probably fail to impress the Christian music industry, have been sung, prayed and clung to like a life raft by believers for thousands of years.

Isn’t it strange that a lot of the lyrics from the hymnbook at the center of our Bibles – the Psalms – would be so out of place in Sunday morning worship or on Christian radio?

Don’t get me wrong, I think we have a God who is absolutely worth celebrating – it makes sense that we sing a lot of incredibly positive songs. Rend Collective, a little embarrassingly, has 5 songs so far with joy in the title. The gospel is good news after all.

The problem isn’t positivity: the problem is when we sacrifice honesty for the sake of positivity.

Maybe you’ve been in that terrible position, where you’ve received THAT phone call, and a curtain of grief drops like a scene change at the theatre and you know that life is never going to be the same again.

If you’ve been there you probably know what it’s like to stand in church and just not be able to sing. Not because you don’t believe, but because the words just seem hollow.

This is why we need songs of lament: they give us a song to sing in the shadows.

In the rawness of our pain we need the rawness of the psalms.

There is nothing wrong with wrestling with God.

To wrestle is a form of intimacy – it’s the opposite of running away.

To wrestle is to choose to engage even when it’s hard.

And rest assured that your God is strong enough to handle anything you can throw at him – He’s heard it all before.

He’s even PRAYED it all before. Jesus quoted a Psalm of heart-wrenching lament from the cross – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

That is all the permission you will ever need to be direct and vulnerable with God.

So maybe you’re going through something unspeakably horrible and it has been keeping your soul silent: my challenge to you today is to just open your mouth and tell Him how much you’re hurting.

You don’t have to wait until you can say something nice or something “holy”.

Just begin the conversation. Just sing something out.

Join the long-standing, ancient tradition of the psalmists and raise your lament – it may well be the beginning of your healing.

To continue your worship experience and listen to “Weep With Me” on The Overflow Christian music service, please visit https://oflow.it/M5GGZBcZVK

This months Hope blog features an excerpt from Rhett Walker’s I Surrender Devotional.

FEAR

All my dreams

All my doubts

The fear that fights to drown you out

Take it all to the ocean floor ‘Cause who I was I am no more

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” —Joshua 1:9

Fear is a powerful feeling—the type of feeling that can turn a day on its head immediately, the type of feeling that can stop us from trying certain things. None of us can pretend we don’t deal with anxiety and fear; we all do no matter our social status, how much is in our bank accounts, or what kind of cars we drive. We all deal with fear on a daily basis and it is up to us to rise to meet it or coward from it and let it overpower us. The biggest thing I try to remind myself is fear is just a feeling. Nothing more. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that God didn’t give us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and self-control. We have the power to overcome fear and anxiety because of the spirit God gave us. When we can surrender fear, there is more room for peace.

Many times, we run further into the fear instead of speaking what it truly is, a feeling with no place in our lives. It is a great reminder for me when it says in Joshua 1:9 that “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” God is with us. Not sometimes, all the time. Run to that promise today. I challenge you to highlight, write down, and maybe memorize some verses that can keep reminding you that God is in control and there is no need to fear. You do not walk alone.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” —John 14:27

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” —Psalm 94:19

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” —Psalm 56:3

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” —Proverbs 12:25

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” —Psalm 27:1

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” —Psalm 55:22

This months Hope blog features an excerpt from We The Kingdom’s devotional, Live at the Wheelhouse.

God So Loved
Bring all your failures
Bring your addictions
Come lay them down
At the foot of the Cross
Jesus is waiting there
With open arms

 

Every time we sing the second verse of this song, I’m reminded about the depths of my depravity and the magnificence of God’s great love. What a gift to have a Savior who’s willing to welcome us as we come to the Cross wearing the chains of our past guilt, shame, mistakes, and insecurities. We come covered in filth, and He sees His beloved child on whom He places the cloak of righteousness as He welcomes us into His open arms. WHAT A PROFOUND MYSTERY!

I remember several years ago when one of my daughters woke up in the middle of the night weeping and calling my name. I went into her room and quickly realized that she was covered in her own feces as I removed the blanket she was hiding under. She was so scared and ashamed, and I had to the opportunity to sweep her up into my arms and carry her to the place where I carefully washed the filth off of her, even as it got on me. In that moment, it was as if God was saying to me “How often are you in this same place? Don’t be afraid to bring your worst before me; it’s my joy to meet you where you are, and I adore you no matter how filthy you might feel.”

I’ve spent so much of my life trying to hide my mess from my God, myself, and the people who love me, and keeping the depths of my heart in the shadows while wearing masks when I’m in the light, so that everyone sees the “me” I want them to see. I get so tired from crafting the image of who I think people want me to be rather than just resting in who I am in Jesus. Like my daughter, I am prone to hide my heart under the blanket. But, praise God from whom ALL blessings flow, that He, in His mercy and grace, looks at me in that state and showers the river of His great love over me.

I’m overwhelmed that there’s nothing that I can bring to the Cross that hasn’t been washed by the blood of Jesus. His work on the Cross is complete, and His work in me is being brought to completion. Yes, there are huge bumps and setbacks in the journey, but all the while, as I draw nearer to God, I become more aware of the vastness of His compassion, and that changes everything!

— Scott of We The Kingdom

This months Hope blog features and excerpt from Zach Williams Devotional – Chain Breaker.

If you’ve been walking the same old road for miles and miles
If you’ve been hearing the same old voice tell the same old lies
If you’re trying to fill the same old holes inside
There’s a better life
There’s a better life
If you’ve got pain
He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost
He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving
He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you’ve got chains
He’s a chain breaker

 

The message of the song “Chain Breaker” came out of an experience of feeling hopeless in the midst of being down a really dark life path. The lies of hopelessness were saying that I was too far gone for even God to find me, and it felt like an impossible feat to believe there could be a better life. Have you ever felt this way? 

In Daniel 6, things were stacked against Daniel. He went against the king’s decree and was punished by being thrown into a den with lions. Do you think that Daniel felt scared? He wouldn’t be human if he weren’t! Do you think that Daniel felt hopeless? He was in a sealed den with lions! This story parallels what so many of us experience. Life can throw us into situations that feel insurmountable, that there is no way out, and that we’re so far gone it will be impossible to believe in a better life.

God sent an angel to protect Daniel from the lions and when he was released, there was rejoicing. In Luke 15, Jesus tells a parable about a shepherd finding one lost sheep from his flock and when he does, there is rejoicing.  There is a better life, one where God’s power saves us from our hopelessness. As believers, we need to hold these truths about God firm. God has the power to pull us out of the lions’ den and we can rejoice, along with Him, that we are found again.

Prayer:

Lord, if I’m being honest, sometimes life is hard. Sometimes it’s hard to believe there is a better life, but when I read about Your miracles, I can stand firm in Your power. Please continue to remind me of the truths about You when I feel lost and thank You for rejoicing with me when I’m found again. Amen.

This months Hope blog features and excerpt from Tauren Well’s Devotional, Collection One by Tauren Wells, The Devotions

You’re not the only one:

Have you ever just really blown it? Well, I’ve got some good news, and some really good news. The good news is that you’re not the only one. And the really good news is that God’s not done with you. The truth is, in the middle of our failures, our weaknesses, and our struggles, we feel the true weight of God’s grace, mercy, and love. If you’re struggling and you’ve been dealing with personal issues, heart trauma, and difficult situations, you’re in good company because everyone in human history has done the same. Let’s take off the veneer of Christianity – all the plastic, shiny, social trappings that imply things like, “I’m so good. I never do anything wrong. I never struggle because I follow Jesus, and Jesus’s followers don’t struggle!” Ha! Yeah right! As a matter of fact, there’s a long list of people who demonstrate that if you haven’t failed yet, you will.

Abraham, the father of faith, lied. Elijah, one of the Bible’s greatest prophets, was suicidal. Moses murdered someone.  Gideon was consistently fearful. Samson broke his covenant with God. Rahab was a prostitute. The Samaritan woman was divorced and still sleeping around. Noah got drunk. Jacob lied, over and over. Jonah rebelled against God’s call and was extremely prejudiced. Martha worried – a lot! Zacchaeus stole tons of money from people. Paul killed Christians. And let’s not even get started on the original disciples; they were all different flavors of dysfunctional. We all struggle. We all fall. We all fail. We are all merely human.

You are not the only one grappling with feelings of deficiency and the reality of sin. Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ. No matter how low you may feel, Jesus can forgive you, restore you, and even use you for his glory.

What would it look like to have unspeakable joy? Well Journey Artist Baylor Wilson is sharing her thoughts on a Joy that only comes from knowing Jesus! Here is an excerpt from her devotional: Joy Comes In The Morning.

“There is a sweet joy that comes to us through sorrow.” – Charles Spurgeon

Have you ever cried so hard and then started laughing uncontrollably? Maybe it’s just me but this has happened a handful of times in my life where my ugly crying/sobbing has turned into belly laughing simply because of a mindset shift and me realizing that the pain I’m currently experiencing won’t last forever. Our pain can feel so personal, and the devil wants us to think that we are the only ones going through whatever we’re going through but I can promise you, we are not. How do I know this? Because Jesus said so:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

One of the reasons Jesus tells us point blank that we will have many troubles and trials is because He wasn’t a stranger to them. He Himself experienced the worst of trials on the cross. His friends abandoned Him, His family questioned Him, and He was constantly being ridiculed, yet He encourages us that if we remain close to Him, we will have peace. So, what does that have to do with joy?

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” – James 1:2-3

Troubles and trials can produce joy if we let them. It’s one thing to experience joy just because it’s sunny outside and you’ve got the windows rolled down, but it’s a whole other level of joy when we choose it in the middle of really bad news or in the midst of heartbreak. Without troubles, our endurance can’t grow, and without endurance, our faith will fail.

Ask the Lord to give you His perspective on your current situation. Ask Him to teach you to “consider it an opportunity for great joy” during this current situation that you’re walking through.

As we head into the new year, what are you holding onto? What do you need to surrender to God? Here is a message from our dear friend Laura Story, from her book “I Give Up“.

“I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a good grip. I mean, I can hold on like nobody’s business. I can hold on to old hurts, even when I know they’re not doing me any good. I can hold on to faulty ideas, even after they’ve been proven wrong. I can hold on to pride by refusing to ask for help, believing that asking would be the same as admitting weakness. I can cling to the moral high ground in a situation where a little grace would be way more Christlike, not to mention constructive. And if I’m not careful, I can hold on so tightly to yesterday’s blessings that I couldn’t possibly receive anything new from God today.

My prayer for myself – and for you – is that we would peel our fingers back from whatever it is we’re clutching and release it to God. Even if it’s our own brokenness. May the posture of our hearts be surrender to the one who is wise and strong and powerful and good and who loves us beyond reason. This is our choice – and our true worship.

Prayer: God, I confess my need to gain and keep control of things and ask for your help in letting go of _________. It’s all yours. Now help me leave it there with you. Amen.”

A message from Bart Millard, the Lead Singer of MercyMe, from their devotional “Inhale Exhale”

“As we began to write and work safely on our at-that-time-yet-to-be-titled album, throughout the creative journey, one simple message kept resonating with all five of us. We decided the clear statement we wanted to make to a stressed-out world was: “Okay, no matter what. breathe. Just breathe, and it’s going to be okay.” Basic and simple, yes, but also timely and accurate. The album became a sixteen song reminder to us all that life is going to be hard on so many levels throughout various seasons, but with God, there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel. Even if that light is heaven.”

John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Well, my birthday is this month.  51.  Yeah, I know.  In some situations that’s not really that old.  In others, I went over the top of the hill a long time ago.

In my getting older, it dawned on me just how fortunate and blessed I am that my mother and father are still alive. They live in Florida and on my most recent visit, I realized that they really like it when I’m there. Sure, we’ve talked on Facetime about once a week, but that doesn’t hold a candle to physically seeing me, and hugging me.  We can have face to face conversations!

They are both in the they’re mid-late 80’s and I think they were happy to have me do some things around their house.  I spent part of the trip cleaning and dusting. I reworked some of the grout on their outside patio and realized that it’ll look a lot better if I just redo the whole thing. That’s another bigger job that’ll come during a future visit.

I’ve made it a new goal of mine, to go down and visit them about every 3 months.

I think my favorite part of my recent visit was the time I spent going thru some old photo albums that my grand-mother owned.  She lived with us while I was growing up. So it’s like I had two moms at home.

Looking thru old pictures of her, soon after being born in 1915.  Seeing pictures of our family including my great-grand parents, all thru the years.  I had seen these before, but it had been a lot of years.

I’m heading back down for another visit, this time, for Christmas. This time my wife Adrienne is going to get to go with me.  I’m going to pull out those old photo albums and show them to her.  Share some old stories and maybe even a few laughs.

As I’m starting this new decade in my life, I’m starting to appreciate the past. Being thankful for where the Lord has brought me.  And believe me, He brought me. But I’m also looking to the future, with hope.  Knowing that He’s had me in the past and He has my future. I pray that I’m strong enough to continue to trust in Him and see what amazing things He has in store.

One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” – Matthew 19:14 The Message

As I think of the verses above, one of the sweetest and most impactful examples of child-like faith I’ve ever witnessed transpired during Partner Invitation on The Journey.

On Tuesday, September 21, when Keely’s mom called to tell us her little girl wanted to give $20 by doing “extra chores”, our hearts melted.  Little did she know on Thursday, Jesus would inspire 41 people to give $20/month to follow her giving heart, turning $20 into nearly $10,000!

Even now, as I write about Keely’s gift, I’m tearing up.  Ok, I admit I’m a softy, especially when I think of a nine-year-old little girl who is working joyfully for mommy so she can give to Jesus and keep her station going strong during the next six months of ministry.  Look what He did to show us “…God’s Kingdom is made up of people like these!”

We never get tired of saying it – your partnership equals changed lives! 

I’m Larry Walters, radio host and friend of The Journey.  It’s truly a privilege to host Partner Invitation with Kenny and Brittany each Spring and Fall.  Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus through your generous giving, taking your station over the goal!  I’m a life that has been changed as a result of your partnership.

I heard this song a couple of weeks ago at a women’s bible study and I have not been able to shake it for some reason.

House of Miracles

I think because it is a direct reminder to me that God is within me and His power dwells within me.  I think, as humans, we limit God because it can be difficult to grasp the fullness of who He is, and therefore, we limit His ability in our lives.  I could not spend another day not reminding you today that YOU have HIS power within you.  The power that makes demons flee, the power that heals, the power that works things for good; that is within you today and every day moving forward.  You alone are a house of miracles because He is within you.  Whatever you have left at the feet of Jesus today, leave it right there.  Do not go back and pick it up.  He is able. He is capable of carrying it for you and in fact, He wants to because that frees you to go and speak of Him.

As The Journey heads into this Fall Partner Invitation, I am reminded that this message is exactly what we get to share each and every day with you, our listeners.  We get the chance and the ability to remind you that God is a chain breaker, that He brought Jericho’s walls down, and that He is moving and changing lives. We are not who we once were, and we dare people to tell us that God won’t do what He says He will do. On those really rough days we remember that God desires to hold on to us. He is within us each and every day and we have His love, mercy, joy and power within us.  This is my prayer for my kids as they go back to school; that they realize they have God’s power sewed into every fiber of their being and that He has outfitted them with His armor and that they can face each day knowing His power is within them and they can speak of Him and His goodness.

So, come alive my friends.  Go be the House of Miracles and let His power move.

Lately God’s been reminding me that even on my worst day he still loves me for exactly who I am. I’m Brittany from The Morning Journey and lately the song Who Am I from NeedtoBreathe really speaks to me.

Sometimes my bad decisions

Define my false suspicions

No one should ever love me like you do

While I’m on this road you take my hand

Somehow you really love who I really am

I push you away, still you won’t let go

You grow your roses on my barren soul

This song on The Journey reminds me that when I feel like I can’t or when I feel like I’ve failed, God can and He will. Thank you for helping provide that hope to me and others who so desperately need it. Your partnership = changed lives. Will you join the journey family by partnering with us during our Fall Partner Invitation September 21st – 24th.

Showing love and compassion should be natural to the Christ follower. We care about others…our neighbors, right? We care about family members and friends in our surroundings because we know what it’s like to be cared for. God creates and loves every single human life. We are made imago dei, in the image of God. Circumstances have no bearing whatsoever on the depth of God’s love for His image-bearers. By contrast, God’s love is constant! It is our anchor and our compass. At the end of the day, love is the bottom line and our top priority. I remember when I first got saved and couldn’t wait to tell the good news of Jesus with all I came in contact with. As the years have progressed since first giving my life to Christ, I have never wanted to waver in serving others and do outreach. It is my joy and fulfillment in this lifetime.

When is the last time you agreed with God’s nudging to do missions…outreach…serve your neighbor? My challenge would be to do it today and obey a great and mighty God who is the giver of all life. Both physical and spiritual! Share your hope with a lost and dying world. Tell the world about the treasure you’ve found.

Hebrews 6:19 – We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.

There is a plaque on my TV console that says “Life is better when you say your prayers.”

I love seeing that little plaque. It’s a reminder that prayer changes things. It’s a reminder to talk to the One who is in control; The Creator of the entire universe; my God and Father – and yours!

You know, the Bible teaches us in Nehemiah 8:10 that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

I don’t know about you, but when I’m not having regular conversation with the Lord… I can get downright cranky! (It’s hard to admit that.. but it’s true!)

Satan will try to distract us by throwing small and large annoyances and inconveniences our way. Often, our distractions come in the form of our responsibilities and our stresses. Other times, it’s life’s unexpected circumstances that try to take our attention off of the Lord and onto things (problems) of this world.

Got a flat tire? Forgot your lunch at home? Have an unexpected bill? Instead of stressing, start praying! The joy of the Lord is your strength.

Can we just break down this verse for a minute?

Who’s joy? God’s joy. Not yours or mine, but His. Who’s strength? Your strength.

God’s joy – his beautiful perfect joy… will give you the strength you need to endure whatever circumstances you’re going through. When you spend time with God, you become stronger, and, I might add? … even joyful!

So, remember: Life is better when you say your prayers. Have you talked to God today?

When I was younger, I remember wise friends trying to counsel me about “being patient” and “giving God time” and “being in it for the long haul”. It was difficult for my young, eager heart to accept those words. I wanted success in my career, in my family, spiritually and in every other area of my life to be come quickly. I remember one particular time when a mentor in business told me I needed to wait on the Lord and take it one step at a time. Boy, I didn’t want to hear that. But he was right. And the ‘wounds’ of a friend can be trusted. Fast forward to now and, looking back, I now have almost 20-20 “rearview mirror” hindsight to see how God has worked out all the details, in His time, not mine, to bring me to this season of my life.

It is certainly important to “plan our course”, as the Proverb below says. We don’t want to presume upon God, as though we have no part in the process. But, ultimately, He is the One who moves the chess pieces around on the board of our lives (always seeing several moves ahead), to work and to will His good pleasure. Another lifelong friend used to say “work as if it all depends on you, but pray as if it all depends on God”.

So, if right now you are feeling as though your career is seemingly stalled, your family situation is not what you want it to be, or you are hoping to see transformation and healing in the life of someone you love, ask God for patience. And a perspective to realize that many things in life take time. Often, these types of things do not happen on our schedule. My experience has always been that, when I choose to trust what He is doing, even though it may not make sense to me, the outcome will be much more wonderful than anything I could have asked for or imagined. Today, take one step at a time, and let the on-going process of life, under God’s direction, unfold before your eyes.

Proverbs 16:9

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

We have all said things we shouldn’t have and the moment we say them, wish we could take them back. We have all done things we knew we shouldn’t do and are ashamed of. None of us are perfect. The Bible says in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”.  But do you ever find that you did something in your life that even though you are now saved and the precious, cleansing blood of Jesus Christ washed away that sin, you can’t seem to forgive yourself?  You are not alone!

Do you wonder how in the world could I do that yet the Lord finds it in His heart to forgive me? But rest assured, He has!!  Hebrews 10:17 says “I will remember their sins and lawless deeds no more”.  We all fail God. We don’t mean to and certainly don’t want to, but we do. But praise God, He forgives us!

My pastor says all the time, if you ask God to forgive you today and tomorrow you could talk to Him and say Lord, remember that terrible thing I did yesterday? And the Lord will look at you and say, I have no idea what you are talking about. That sin was put under the blood of Jesus Christ and was forgiven!

Put all of your trust in the Lord. When you ask Him for forgiveness, forgive yourself. Instead of spending time and energy beating yourself up for something He has forgiven and forgotten, use that time to worship Him, to praise Him, and most important to tell others about Him!  My favorite Bible verse is 2 Corinthians 5:17:

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

BE STILL – Two small and simple words, but oh how daunting this can be! When our lives send us running in so many different directions, and we feel overwhelmed, being still is the last thing on our minds.

I can’t slow down because something is sure to be neglected. We say to ourselves, I’ll make it a point to spend some much needed time with God – at the end of the day. We’ll fit Him in when our to-do list is complete.  And if we’re honest with ourselves, we may be wondering if God is really there.

I can relate having been through the quiet moments, busily running my family household, neglecting the very One that desires my time. Any parent desires to share these moments with their child.

The God of this universe, who created the sun, the stars and nature’s beauty all around us, knows us inside and out. He sees all, knows all, and nothing comes as a surprise to Him. He is always working on our behalf, even when we ‘feel’ like nobody cares, and complete silence surrounds us. Our Heavenly Father is working things out for our good.

When our thoughts are consumed with hopelessness, discouragement, confusion, fear and restlessness, say no to the clever whispers of the enemy, and just Be Still.

When things get overwhelming in your life, grab your bible, maybe a cup of coffee or tea, find a cozy corner to escape life’s demands and just be. Listen for the voice of the Shepherd, let Him fill your heart and mind with love, hope, compassion, forgiveness, confidence, mercy and His never-ending joy as we just “Be Still” in His Loving Presence.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

At 53, being raised in a Christian home, and receiving Christ at the age of 12; you’d think I would be able to resist temptation like Superman soars over tall buildings.  Yes, well, that would be as fiction as Superman.  I’ve been on the mountaintop many times and I’ve also been so low, I’ve thought, “does God really know me?”  These lows tend to happen when my prayer life is also low.  No matter who you are, the devil will try every avenue to distract and discourage you.  The good news is, God is just a prayer away to lift me up.  Something that baffles me, also encourages me.  To think through the thousands of years the earth has existed, the countless wars and devastating times this world has seen, and among the billions of people that have ever lived and needed His attention way more than me…. like spiritual leaders, people fighting for the lives, people making real change, and God makes time to talk to me?  He answers MY prayers?  An unimportant, simple, country-girl from Lynchburg matters?  Yes, yes I do.  He has shown me undeniable miracles and answered prayers.   He’s better than Superman… and real… and we are all important to Him.

Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Paul is telling Christians, not to waste time worrying. Instead of worrying, pray and worship. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness will come and settle you down.  So when I start to feel discouraged, or worry, a prayer sets my thoughts to right.

If I could only share one piece of advice, it would be to start your day with this prayer, “Lord help me Glorify you in every thought and action today.”  Physically say these words to Him.  Have a conversation and ask God to guide your every thought. It will make a HUGE difference in your daily walk and focus.

 

Some lines from a favorite song, “Lord, I Need You” by Chris Tomlin, include:

Lord I come, I confess

Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart

You’re the one that guides my heart
So teach my song to rise to You

When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand, I’ll fall on You,

Jesus You’re my hope and stay!

I have always appeared to be very confident, but most of my life my confidence has been rooted in all the wrong things. I’m Brittany from the morning Journey and most of my confidence and identity have been rooted in achievement. When I was in school it was easy to feel confident because I made good grades. As I got older I started to get my confidence in my looks, and the attention that brought me. Then when I excelled in my career path I started to shift my confidence there, and most recently I have found my confidence to be rooted in my relationships, especially with friends. What’s wrong with finding my confidence in these things, is that they are empty. When I didn’t have grades, a career, felt ugly, or had a fall out with my friends it wrecked me. I found myself floundering, looking for assurance in all the wrong places, and mostly looking inward at myself instead of towards Christ.

I found myself starting to sing the Sanctus real song Confidence that you hear on The Journey. “You took a shepherd boy, And made him a King, So I’m gonna trust you and give you everything, I’ll be a conquerer, ‘Cause you fight for me, I’ll be a champion claiming your victory, So give me faith like Daniel in the lion’s den, Give me hope like Moses in the wilderness, Give me a heart like David, Lord be my defense, So I can face my giants with confidence”

Recently God led me to a post by Lynn Cowell, where she reminds us that one of Satan’s greatest tactics is distracting us from the Holy Spirit that lives inside us. That is where our confidence should come from. I have found that when I fix my eyes on Jesus, nothing can shake my confidence. It’s freeing, empowering, and something that no one can take from me. Don’t let the enemy distract you from Jesus and who he says you are!