Last night, after going to bed, I can say that it was one of the worst nights ever…as I tossed from side to side in pain. You know…it’s amazing what goes through our minds at this time…thoughts that keep reminding us that we have a lot to do the following day…and oh…how we really need our rest.
By time I had reached morning…the pain was still with me and I was feeling very tired and drained, from a night that I hadn’t experienced before. As I sat on the edge of the bed, I was debating, as to whether I should get up and do my ministry work or whether I should just go back to bed. For some reason…a feeling came over me, to get up and get going; so I did.
Even though I felt as if I was dragging through my morning, I began to feel a strength gradually kicking in; that actually caused me to do more than what I had first planned to do. As I kept saying…“Oh Lord”…God must have interpreted those words, as a desperate cry for help because from those moments on; His strength stepped in and overrode my weakness.
In Isaiah 26:3-4, we read… “He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord! 4 Trust in the Lord God always, for in the Lord Jehovah is your everlasting strength.” I came to see that the more I turned to God…the more He came in my direction and strengthened me, with no ordinary strength…but an everlasting strength…one that helped me to accomplish every little thing that I put my hands to do…Praise God!
Today, as we begin our time together, I hope you will join me, as I celebrate 59 years of life…54 years of overcoming pain and deep heartache and 16 years of ministry work!
Actually, when I look back on my life, I see a life that became a journey…a long journey that would actually begin at birth…as I was born with two bad knees that would eventually be used in my life, to not only turn my own life around; but to also allow me to learn much and be able to encourage others, through these moments of despair.
No one can ever feel or understand my life and where God has brought me from, to where I am today, except for me and God. I have come to love God so very much and it’s all because of this long journey that we’ve been on together, for so many years.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, we read… “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
These Bible verses have now become my life verses. For at a time, when God longed to bring me down to His level…He allowed a thorn of affliction to enter my life. Even though there were many times that I begged God to remove the thorn…He simply said… “Diane, my grace is sufficient for you; for it’s through these weaknesses; that I will make you stronger”…and through these times, I have come to see how a loving God could completely turn a life around for Him… a life that now longs to give back to Him, for all He’s done for me.
No matter what you walk through in life…and no matter how long and difficult the journey may seem; may I encourage you to keep pressing on…for God has a purpose for this journey and you will never know what that purpose is, until you have walked all the way with Him.
As I look back on my life and remember the very difficult times that I have faced; I can say that it was worth it all, for God has given me a brand new life…a life that now lives for Him, rather than for me.
How many times do we attempt to seek refuge in a problem, rather than God? Why is it that we would rather seek refuge in a weak and broken down circumstance, rather than under the wings of a God that is mighty in power and strength? In Psalm 9:9, we read… “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
When I think back to the many times, when I would attempt to find refuge in my problems; it was as though I was at a place that was broken down…a place that wasn’t able to keep me away from the elements of the storm. This place that I was attempting to seek refuge in, was similar to an old cabin in the woods that was missing part of the roof, while no door was there to keep me safe from the evil that was attempting to take me down. In my mind’s eye, I could see the darkness that seemed gray and dingy, as I peered through the cracks of the walls. Finally I came to a place, where I realized that I had taken shelter in my circumstances, rather than with God.
Our problems can lead us to a fork in the road; where we need to decide, as to what direction we will take, during these difficult times. If we are too buried in the thoughts of our problems; then we just might end up finding ourselves seeking refuge in them. I have come to see that seeking refuge in God means that I can experience a peace and tranquility, even in the midst of what may seem to be a chaotic situation. Today, can we truly say that we have found a place of refuge, where we can look out the windows of the shelter that God has provided for us and experience His beautiful presence, even as we look at our storm on the horizon? When we can turn to God…read His word and share our every thought with Him; then we will be seeking refuge, in a God that will become the stronghold and shelter we need, until the storm passes by.
No painful moment is easy for us to go through. We sit with tears that reveal a heart that has been torn in two or a body that is racked with pain. When will these tears ever stop and when will this night of pain and heartache be turned into a morning of joy? In Psalm 126:5-6, we read…“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. (6) Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”
For the longest time, I have seen my heart as a garden, where either new growth can spring up or where the weeds of circumstance can be left unattended…to the place where they clutter the heart and leave no room for new growth to begin. One day, we can look deep within the heart and see a beautiful garden that has brought us much happiness but then there can be moments, when we see that we have left the garden of our hearts unattended and as an overwhelming amount of circumstance stands before us, we find ourselves crying out to God, in the midst of a garden that has been overrun by the weeds of circumstance. As we cry out to God for help; He begins to walk through the garden of our heart with us and as He does, He reaches down, to pluck up the weeds of circumstance that have overtaken the garden that once produced beauty and good fruit. From there, God begins to plant new seed, which allows us to die to ourselves, so God’s seed can spring up in our place. As we go through this process, we experience moments of tears and a heart that wonders if God has left us alone; but as the tears fall, they begin to water the seed that God has planted deep within the heart and from there, a harvest of God’s goodness begins to spring up within us…bringing new growth and joy within the heart once more.
How long has it been, since we entered the garden of our hearts? Have we worked side by side with God, to pluck up the weeds of circumstance, so everything in our lives can continue to grow and flourish for Him? If not…then this isn’t the time to become overwhelmed by what we are seeing before us but rather, this is the time to cry out to God and allow Him to reach down and pluck up the moments that have overtaken the garden of our hearts; so He can replant new seed…seed that will grow through the tears that have watered the heart from within.
Are you drained and tired, from the circumstances you’re facing today? Do you feel like you’re about ready to give up? In Galatians 6:9, we read…“And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.”
This morning…after getting up, I was sitting on my daybed in the office, as I was beginning to check emails and prepare for another new day. As I was sitting there, in the quiet moments of my morning, I was experiencing a few moments of discouragement…just like we all face from time to time and as I began to seek God’s word for the answers; He led me directly to this verse in Galatians 6:9. As I started to focus deeply, on each word in this verse; God was reminding me that when we aim to do the right thing in life, we are always going to face the opposition.
You know…there may be times, when a day seems to take us down a smooth path, while the sun shines brightly and the fragrance of God’s presence is felt everywhere; but then there may be days, when we just can’t seem to get over the humps and bumps of life. It seems that with each step we take, the road becomes even more difficult to walk down, while darkness continues to surround us.
One thing we need to always remember and that is to talk to God during these difficult times and ask Him for His strength; that we may not grow tired of these moments…to the place where we find ourselves on the verge of giving up. I have come to see that when the battles become the fiercest; that is when a blessing is just around the corner, as it is Satan’s intention to stop the blessing that God has awaiting us.
If we ever want to discover the help and hope that God can only offer us, during these difficult times; then we must continue to walk down the road that leads us in the direction, of where we can truly find God’s best. Even though the moments can seem dark and dismal, with weeds of circumstance surrounding us along life’s path; we can find the strength we need through God, when we choose to walk away from the thoughts that attempt to lead us in another direction…a direction whose only aim is to keep us in a place of darkness.
One thing God is showing me more and more; is to never remain weak with a problem because Satan is lurking around…looking for some point of weakness to prey on. In 1Peter 5:8 we read…“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
You know…we don’t always overcome our problems instantly; but that doesn’t mean that we should remain weak in those problems. Until now, I haven’t really thought of it this way; but we can actually be experiencing a weak problem, without living the weakness. In other words, there can be a weak circumstance surrounding us; but at the same time, we can allow God to lift us above that weak circumstance…to a place where we are no longer face to face with it.
If I was to think about a point of weakness in my life, I guess I would have to say that it’s the chronic pain I live with…and what is amazing; is that just at the time Satan turns up the pain…he seems to be right there…attempting to detour me, from the work God has for me to do. One thing I can say for sure…no matter how tired and drained I may feel from the pain; God has taught me how to go beyond it and reach instead, for what He longs for me to do for Him.
When I look back to an old rugged cross…a time, when Jesus was taking His final steps to the cross; I see a love that was so strong…a love that was never affected by what Satan was attempting to use against Him, as a means of stopping Him, from dying on the cross. In fact…His love for us became greater than the weak moments that stood before Him…like the weak moments of extreme suffering, pain and ridicule.
Sometimes, I think we become so deeply focused on the weakness, rather than the strength that can lift us above that weakness; that we completely miss out on all God longs to offer us, during the tough times…like peace of mind, hope, and most of all, His loving presence.
No matter what you may be facing today…let God take you above despair; that you may be distant from the clutches of evil…AMEN!!
Where do we stand with God? Are we expecting Him to work for us, when we have chosen to walk down roads that lead us away from a power that can heal…redeem and lead us, to where we can experience a mighty God at work within our lives? In II Timothy 3:1-7, we read…“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. (2) People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, (3) without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, (4) treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—(5) having a form of godliness but denying its power….(7) always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
As God was leading me directly to these verses this morning, I decided to look up the word “godliness,” in comparison to “a form of godliness” and this is what I found. Godliness means to have a love for God that causes us to fear Him; in a way, where we long to please Him and follow in His footsteps, rather than our own. On the other hand…“a form of godliness,” is when we choose to take God’s word and fashion it after our own liking… or to do our own thing and live according to our own standards. We must come to see today that when we choose to live with a “form of godliness;” then these moments only lead us down roads, where we can be easily led by the hand of evil, rather than the hand of God. When we choose to become lovers of ourselves, while following after our own thoughts, plans and ideas; then we will find that we can become easily detached from God and what He truly longs to do for us.
Don’t we realize that when we attach ourselves to a life that only seeks to please ourselves; that we have detached ourselves from a power that is more than capable of caring for our every need? How do we expect God to answer our prayers and work for our good, while we choose to follow after a “form of godliness” that contains no power? Today…we need to not only learn about God but we need to be willing to lay everything of ourselves to the side; that we may gain the knowledge and truth that can reconnect us back to a power; that can work at meeting our needs. Today, we need to look closely at what these verses are saying because just one of these “forms of godliness” could place a road block between us and God…to the place, where we miss out on His best.
How many times do we attempt to remain strong on our own, while facing a difficult moment of circumstance? In James 4:9-10, we read…“Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and sincere grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. (10) Then when you realize your worthlessness before the Lord, he will lift you up, encourage and help you.”
Why do we attempt to hold ourselves up during the difficult times, when we know that we aren’t strong enough? Don’t we realize that when we try to remain tough during these times; that we are only trying to fight a battle that is too strong for us to fight alone? When we hold tightly to the reins of our lives, our prayers become of no effect because while we are trying to remain strong and tough through it all; in a sense, we are pushing God back, when He longs to do His best for us.
While facing these difficult times, we need to let go of the moments that are just too difficult for us to handle. Even though the heart may break and the tears may fall; these moments become the time, when we relay a humble message to God that we are weak and He is strong, which allows the door of our hearts to open up, so He can enter in and begin a good work within us.
There can be times, when we feel that we just aren’t worthy of God’s help. Maybe we have done something wrong in this present time or in the past; so we try to remain tough because we haven’t come to grips with the thought that we can still be worthy of God’s help. We must remember that God’s Son died for moments such as these. The brutal price that His Son paid for us was because He knew that we would need forgiveness; for what we see, as the worst sin ever. When we can truly come to see that we are worthy of what Jesus died for; then we will be able to let go and fall humbly into the arms of the One, who longs so much to help us during the difficult times.
Today, we need to remember that humbleness is what draws us into the presence of God and once we are willing to see that we can be found worthy of God’s help; these will become the moments, when God walks in our direction, to lift us to our feet, as He becomes the crutch for us to lean on, until we have walked out of the moments that once seemed hopeless.
The other night, I was up late…finishing some work on the website and got to sleep around 1:00am. As I laid my head down on my pillow, I said to God… “Well, this is going to be a short night…and so I’m going to definitely need your strength tomorrow.” From there…my eyes closed and I was fast asleep.
As the alarm went off the next morning, I was definitely feeling the side effects of staying up late the night before…as my pain levels had climbed higher, while my body felt as if it was running on steam. Even though I was struggling to wake up and get going into my day; I decided to lean on God’s strength and let Him carry me through this long and busy day that awaited me. I have to tell you…there were moments, when I was truly being put to the test, as I continued to pursue the day with God’s help. It seemed that as God was giving me the strength to go on…Satan was right behind Him…trying to knock me back down; but I got an attitude with Satan and told him to go back down to hell where he belonged and from there, everything started to fall back into place.
In Ephesians 5:11, we read… “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” I came to see that day; that the only way I was going to be able to press on; was when I chose to get an attitude against evil and to allow the light of God’s presence, to bring his ways to light.
How many times do we actually just put up with what Satan is doing to us? I have come to see that I can’t get an attitude with God; but I definitely can with Satan. Why should we suffer, while fearing evil; when there is someone greater…One whose light can dispel darkness and make it seem as nothing.
Are you discouraged today? Do you feel as though you will always walk the same path of darkness forever? In Isaiah 42:16, we read…“Then I will lead the blind along a path they never knew to places where they have never been before. I will change darkness into light for them. I will make the rough ground smooth. I will do these things for them; I will not abandon my people.”
This morning, I am thinking back to one of the darkest moments of my life and it was so dark that I thought that I would never see the light of day again. As I stared down to the floor, all I could think about; is that this would be the way that life would always be for me.
You know…our circumstances have a way of speaking lies that attempt to place us further into darkness. Once we believe these lies, it’s as if we have taken the bait that Satan had set out for us and once we take hold of these thoughts; then we find ourselves being reeled in his direction.
As I am sitting here this morning…facing my own challenges in life; God began to whisper a gentle reminder into my spirit early this morning and what I felt He was saying to me; is that we need to quit focusing on how our lives are headed in the wrong direction because when we do this; then we only find that thoughts such as these, only lead us into further moments of darkness.
Today, we need to focus on the promises that God gives us in His word…promises that remind us that He will never abandon us during the difficult times. Even though the path before us may seem rough and rugged, while surrounded by darkness; we have the hope through God’s word; that He will change the darkness into light, while making the rough ground smooth…and this is exactly what God has done for me in my life. At a moment, when I felt all hope was gone, God’s promises to me became a new foundation for me to stand on and even though evil attempted to have control over these very overwhelming moments in my life…God stepped into my darkness and brought a light that helped me to once more find the hope that I needed to press on.