…He restores my soul

referencing The Lord is my Shepherd…

To restore means to bring back, to return something to former condition, to repair or renovate to original condition. A prayer of restoration insinuates that your soul was previously in a better condition than it is right now.

In this context, soul refers to the seat of our emotions; the real ‘you’ when no one else is watching; the part of you that weighs a situation and makes decisions based on what you know and how you feel about the situation. It is the part of you that gets downcast and discouraged. It is the part of you that feels emotionally fatigued. It is the part of you that gets devastated when a relationship comes to an end: the proverbial “broken heart”. It is the part of us that longs, that desires, that hopes. I am not talking about the part of you that will give account of your existence before God’s righteous throne. That’s for another day…

The psalmists experienced so many highs and lows in their lives which the expressed in song:

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”…
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? … Psalm 42:1-5 NIV

The anguish of the psalmist is almost palpable. This is a soul in need of restoration! I examine my life and I realize I am in this situation very often. Always making decisions: Should I or should I not?; Do I or do I not?; Can I or can’t I?… Oh! it is exhausting! Sometimes it feels like my life is spinning out of control because of the decisions and responsibilities I have. Even when everything is going well.. there is always more to be done and it is exhausting!

But our Shepherd has the ability to still it all and reset the button. He knows when you have had enough. Look back into your life. Was there ever a time you felt you were in this emotional vortex, this pit (heartbreak, divorce, miscarriage, death of a loved one, loss of a job, etc.) that you thought you’d never be able to recover from? Well, if you are looking back,  and trying to remember a time like that in your life, that means you got over it! I know people say time heals all wounds but that’s not true.

It is the One who has time in His hands, our Shepherd, who heals all wounds! He restores our souls. He resets our emotions so that the good times in life are not colored by the bad. He is the reason we can enjoy life in spite of!

But don’t forget the preamble…The Lord is my  Shepherd. People without a shepherd-sheep relationship more often than not wallow in hopelessness. They don’t have the privilege of having their souls restored. So when life beats down on them over and over again, it gets too much and the way out of the hopelessness is usually suicide to end it all!

Dear Reader, how blessed it is to know the LORD and to call him your Shepherd! He gives hope and anchors this hope in Himself so it is immovable and unshakable even when life is harsh. He restores our souls.


…He leads me beside still waters

referencing The Lord is my Shepherd…

One of the most soothing things in nature is the sound of water- a gentle stream, a rushing waterfall, a bubbling brook. This verse about still (quiet) waters evokes thoughts of a calm and peaceful place. There are 3 lessons I’d like to share from this scripture:

The first is our need for water. Our shepherd realizes the need to quench our thirst and He makes provision for this. He draws us to himself because in Him is a fountain of living [life-giving] water. Of the thirsty he says:

… “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega–the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. Revelations 21:6-7 NLT

Of course this is not a physical thirst. It is the thirst for life, the thirst that creates a void and longing in us; a void we are ceaselessly trying to fill with “stuff”. Jesus says, “Drink of the water I give and you’ll stop your meaningless wandering and searching. Drink of the water I give and I’ll give meaning and purpose to your life.” He says, “Drink and not only will your life have meaning, you’ll have eternal life.”

…but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. John 4: 14 NASB

The second lesson is in the word “leads”. The hebrew words for still waters mean restful water. Our Shepherd wants to lead us to the place of rest and of peace. So many times when my life is in turmoil, I try to solve my own problems and bring myself peace and relief from the situations that plaques me. But today the word leads stands out to me. God wants to lead me. He wants me to take my hands off of my life and give Him control and for me that’s a difficult thing! I need to be in control of every situation. I have backup plans for my back up plans. In this moment I am convicted by this song:

Just a whisper of your voice can tame the seas
So who am I to try to take the lead
Still I run ahead and think I’m strong enough
When you’re the one who made me from the dust
When did I forget that you’ve always been the king of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world
How could I make you so small
When you’re the one who holds it all
When did I forget that you’ve always been the king of the world
~Natalie Grant (King of the World)

In the world today there are so many ‘leaders’ even though God only asked for followers. God wants to lead us to the ever elusive peace we seek. God wants to bring us to a place of rest and refreshing. Our shepherd wants to still and heal our minds and hearts with His life-giving water.

The third and final lesson is in the word “still”.  I read this online and it is my sentiments exactly:

Our lives are so fast-paced that we battle continual physical and mental exhaustion, trying to keep up with never-ending demands. We’re constantly stimulated by social media, advertising, school programs, church events, and our own inner clamor. This frantic pace is exhausting! Even our “quiet time” is anything but quiet, as we run through one spiritual task after another until we can check it off our list with satisfaction. Our bodies sit but our minds race, and the idea of stillness seems almost alien. There’s so much to do, and so little time. Surely God understands.

But hear what God says about that:

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it. Isaiah 30:15 NLT

If we want to experience true intimacy with God, we need to learn to quiet the noise around and within us and enter into His stillness and rest. So what does it really mean to be still before God?

All the scriptures I read about stillness point to having trust and confidence in God. This trust helps me not to fret when others around me seem to be doing better than I am and I am just bidding my time (Psalm 37:37). This trust lets me let go of my backup plans for my backup plans and give God control (Exodus 14:13). Being still means I wait patiently for God to make the next move (Psalm 40:1, Habbakuk 2:1). Sometimes though, being still means I rebuke the voices in my head and say, “Quiet!, Be still!”(Mark 4:39). And other times it means I turn off all distractions like my phone and TV and spend time with God’s word unhindered (Mark 6:31).,.

Stillness is definitely not inactivity or stagnation. Quiet waters are still flowing albeit gently. When we are still before God, that is when He works His salvation and fights for us (because we are not getting in His way!)

Dear reader, as you purpose to be intentional, let the Shepherd lead you to peace and rest… Drink of the water He gives and be still and see the salvation of the LORD ( Exodus 14:13; 2 Chronicles 20:17). The problems, the hurdles, the challenges, the fears, the anxiety, you see today… you’ll never see them again!


…He makes me lie down in green pasture

referencing The Lord is my Shepherd…

One of the most fascinating things I have learned so far in this Psalm 23 series is that green pasture doesn’t just happen! In many places, green pastures may not exist until someone – usually the shepherd- tills the soil, plants the grass and legumes, irrigates the land, and tends to the pasture to ensure the nutritional needs of the sheep are met.

After sheep have trailed all day, they need lush pasture to forage on and lie down in and chew their cud. Pasturing is a time of rest and refreshing. Making and/ finding green pasture is a very intentional process. Healthy pasture by and large is in healthy soil. Healthier soils yield better-quality grass which means healthier sheep.

So lets look at the scripture again….

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; Psalm 23:1-2

What caught my eye was He ‘makes’. To make is to cause to exist or happen. Rest is a concept that originated from God (on the 7th day He rested). God is the only one that can give true rest. His invitation as a shepherd is:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest [make you lie down in green pasture (my interpretation)]” Matthew 11:28 NIV

There are times when I get so busy with the hustle and bustle of daily life- work, kids, home life, school, church life, my daily Netflix time- to the detriment of my spirituality. I get too busy for my one-on -one with my Shepherd and it manifests as me feeling physically irritable and emotionally drained. It is in those times that I am forced to rest. God literally makes me lie down and reminds me to rest and refresh in Him. One of the ways we lie down in green pastures in His presence when we make out time with Him through the study  and meditation of His Word. Times of refreshing comes from presence of God (Acts 3:20).

Now lets backtrack to the part on soils: Healthy pasture is in the health of the soil. The quality of rest and refreshment is in the state of the heart that receives the Word of God. Jesus told a parable about the sower and He explains it thus:

“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:18-23 NIV

What’s your heart condition? Good soil means good pasture means rest and refreshing. So dear reader, next time you read your bible, don’t rush through it. Be intentional. Take a moment to pasture: to study and meditate on the word and then let the words wash over you as you bask in His rest.

…I shall not want

referencing The Lord is my Shepherd…

We live in an era of prosperity preachers. The abundant life Jesus promises in John 10:10 has been translated to financial wealth. Even the blessings of Abraham connotes money to some. And while financial wealth is included in this scripture below, I want to take a broader lens to it.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Psalm 23: 1 NIV

What I hear God say to me when I read this is, “I am your sufficiency, in Me you have everything and so you lack for nothing!” This means if God is my shepherd then at any point in time, regardless of what the circumstances appear to be, I have ALL I need. Wow…that’s deep!

As my Shepherd, God makes sure that in every circumstance I have all I need to be complete (And you have been made complete in Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. Colossians 2:10 Berean Study Bible).  So when I wake up in the morning my Shepherd makes sure I have the strength and health I need to face the day ahead; so I lack nothing.  As I put my thoughts together in this blog, my Shepherd ensures that in this moment I have the wisdom I need; so I lack nothing. When my bank account is nothing to write home about, my Shepherd says of that circumstance, “even though your bank account says otherwise, you have all you need in this moment”.

The shepherd is many step ahead of the sheep. I think of God as a nomadic shepherd. He journeys through life’s seasons with His sheep promising never to leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  During the dry seasons, even though the sheep appear to be going through the drought, in reality, the shepherd is always leading them out of the drought to greener pasture (Psalm 23:2).

His assurance is that He has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:3). With God as our shepherd, we lack nothing at every given moment in time. Armed with this truth, contentment should come more easily and readily to us. Contentment does not mean we do not pray for more stuff or a better status quo. Contentment means:

Instead of always praying that God changes our circumstances, we pray that God helps us find opportunities in those circumstances.

Abraham was once on a mission at God’s command to sacrifice his son (Genesis 22). He could have prayed to God to relieve him of the mission. He could have negotiated with God to spare his son’s life (he had done it before for his nephew Lot). Instead Abraham found opportunity in his circumstance to prove God as a provider. With knowledge of God as his shepherd, Abraham said to his son, “God will provide for Himself a lamb for the sacrifice”.  This confession meant that even though Abraham did not have a lamb for the sacrifice in that moment, he knew without a shadow of doubt that in God he had everything he needed. We know how the story ends (and if you don’t, dare to read Genesis 22). That day, Abraham discovered God in a new light. For the very first time in the history of man, a new name for God was birthed on that mountain: Jehovah Jireh, ‘The Lord will Provide’ (Genesis 22:14).

As we study through Psalm 23, I do not take for granted and will continue to emphasize the preamble: the Lord is my shepherd. What prosperity preachers don’t tell you is that you need a relationship with the shepherd before you can claim the benefits. Is the Lord your shepherd? Then and only then can you say with confidence, “I shall not want!”

Steadfast and Unfailing

As my husband and I celebrate another wedding anniversary, I think of one advice that I try to live by in my marriage.

To always keep my word no matter how small and mundane; this goes a long way to build trust

For instance, if I constantly promise to take out the trash and forget to do so, although it may seem insignificant, slowly my failure to keep my word will chip away at the foundation of trust that we have established; and soon my husband will start taking everything I say with a grain of salt.

I visualize trust like a long rope you give another person and with every time trust is broken, a piece of the rope is burned off  until there is nothing left and trust once lost and cannot be easily gained back.

Even with this visualization, I think how long the rope God has given me is! For the many times I have disappointed Him,  you’d think I’d have burnt through my rope years ago. However, a scripture comes to mind:

If we are not steadfast [trustworthy], he remaineth steadfast [trustworthy]; to deny himself he is not able. 2 Timothy 2:13 Young’s Literal Translation

God is steadfast, unwavering, and unfailing. Its His divine nature to never fail and to keep to His word. His thoughts and actions are consistent with His character which is to be steadfast and unfailing. He does not waver in His promises.

The greatest promise I made to my husband was in my wedding vows: to love him through everything. But even then, most times my love is conditional. On a day like today, when its our anniversary, I LOVE him! But who knows how I’ll feel tomorrow when it’s just an ordinary day! No wonder Micah said

Don’t trust anyone–not your best friend or even your wife! Micah 5:7 NLT (you need to read it in context though!)

I can be wishy-washy in my love. But not God! He is not wishy-washy about His love. He promised to love us with an everlasting love. A love that is steadfast and never fails. He promised this steadfast love will never cease and to guarantee this, He renews His love every morning so its fresh. He sees you like it’s the first time He is falling in love with you…. and then he loves on you all day… and in the morning His love resets and He starts all over again!  That’s my interpretation of this scripture:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness [trustworthiness, steadfastness] Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

Oh I remember how it was like when my husband and I were dating! how fresh… how sweet that love was… but I digress…

So dear reader, as you set out to be intentional, I encourage you with this song:

This we know
We will see the enemy run
This we know
We will see the victory come
We hold on to every promise You ever made
Jesus, You are unfailing (Vertical Worship)

Dedicated to my loving husband….

Even If You Don’t….

At the beginning of the year and as often as I have prayed since then, my prayer has been that God will preserve the life of my family and friends; that everyone I started the year with God will keep safe and alive in His hands.

But as the year has progressed and I am starting to lose loved ones,  I question if maybe I did not pray hard and long enough. I question if God heard me and if He did why he does not answer! In my despair and anguish I am reminded of all unanswered prayers: the healing that have not come – financial, physical, emotional, spiritual. I think of the losses of this year and years past.

Usually, I am the encourager, telling people “God knows best”, “His ways are not our ways”. But the truth is those things are easy to say when you are not the one going through the fire. And now that I am feeling the burn I don’t know what to say.

And yet God still found  a way to still my soul (amidst my tears) with this song:

They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I’m losing bad
I’ve stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it’ll be alright
But right now, oh right now I just can’t
It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul
I know You’re able and I know You can
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause I know You’re able
I know You can
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

Dear reader, not the most upbeat post…I know! But even as I purpose to be intentional in my Christian walk, the last thing I want to do is glamorize this life. The hustle is real and there will be up and downs. But in all of this my confession will still be (Daniel 3:17-18):

Even if the healing doesn’t come
And life falls apart
And dreams are still undone
Sometimes all we have to hold on to
Is what we know is true of who You are
So when the heartache hits like a hurricane
That could never change who You are
And we trust in who You are.
You are God, You are good
Forever faithful One!

*(image from Harvest Christian Fellowship https://www.hcfcornwall.ca/series/even-if/)

The Lord is my Shepherd…

Psalm 23: 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. This could very easily be one of the most famous verses in the bible. For the most part, every time I have said that prayer, I casually run through the verses till I get to my favorite part, “Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” Boy do I say that with so much conviction but  today,  I felt God asking me to slow down with the scripture so here goes:

The first and most important thing I realized was that the “Lord is my shepherd” is a preamble to the whole prayer not just “I shall not want”. I can confidently claim the benefits of this prayer in its entirety if and only if the Lord is my shepherd.

So what does it mean to have the Lord as my shepherd?

I am the good shepherd. I know My sheep and My sheep know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. John 10:14-15 Berean study Bible

Note that at this point Jesus had not yet been physically crucified but He did not say, “I will lay down my life”. He said,  “I lay down My life”. The Lord Jesus,  our shepherd, has already paid the ultimate sacrifice and yet He is prepared to do it all over again if that’s what it takes so that you are part of his fold.

I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them in as well, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock and one shepherd. John 10:16 Berean Study Bible

As a shepherd, Jesus knows me. He doesn’t only know my name (Isaiah 43:2). He knows everything about me (Psalm 139:1-4) and wants me to be solely reliant on Him for everything. His love defends me when wolves (the storms of life) come (John 10:12, Ezekiel 34:12). He is concerned about me (1 peter 5:7). He delights in every detail of my life (Psalm 37:23). He is intentional about me and will leave the other 99 sheep to come after me when I go astray.

And what are the implications for me?

The sheep (me) knows the shepherd. I must know the voice of the shepherd. I must not answer to any other  but the voice of my shepherd. I must trust my shepherd completely knowing that He has my best interests at heart. I must rely on His guidance and direction. I must be comforted by His rod and staff  even if it is a rod/ staff of discipline. And when I find myself in a place of uncertainty, a place a sorrow, a place of despair, I will not be afraid or let my heart be troubled because I know he is selflessly with me.

So the next time I say Psalm 23, I am going to say it with understanding of the privilege I enjoy with Jesus as my shepherd and the identity and responsibilities I have as a sheep.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for the sake of His name Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Amen.

His Perfect Strength

Picture this: you wake up in the morning determined to be the best christian you can be. You spend time praying and meditating on some scriptures. Your mind and heart are at peace. It is going to be a good day! Today is the day you go a full day being the perfect godly christian and then the phone rings. On the other end of the phone is one of God’s creation sent to test your patience. By the time you are done talking, you are seething with anger and resentment and the peace you had before has been replaced by a volatile emotional volcano. Amidst this feeling of anger, you feel discouraged and dismayed. You could not even make till lunch and already you are out of character and bent out of shape. You no longer feel so so godly because you’re so angry at the person and angry with yourself because you could not contain your anger and be the bigger person.

This is me….most of the time. As we grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, we start to develop a certain degree of Christian character. We begin to grow in areas such as truthfulness, kindness, patience, humility, and purity. The Holy Spirit works actively on our conscience to help convict us of things that are not morally upright. The problem however is that we do not always act consistently with our character (Jerry Bridges). We tell a lie or allow ourselves to get caught up in juicy gossip. We get angry and in the moment, think or say unkind things to others. Then we get disappointed and dismayed with ourselves because our actions are inconsistent with the character that God is building in us.

Paul, the great apostle Paul, found himself in this conundrum on several occasions. In his despair he said,

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out… I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I keep on doing the evil I do not want to do. […] So this is the principle I have discovered: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s Law. But I see another law at work in my body, warring against the law of my mind and holding me captive to the law of sin that dwells within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:18-25 Berean study Bible

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord? Why does Paul say this? Does that mean there is hope for me to get out of this dilemma I constantly find myself in? The answer is YES!!!!

God knows that by myself I would never be able to get out of this destructive cycle so he helped me out by

…sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man, as an offering for sin. Romans 8:3 Berean Study Bible

I am encouraged because I have a mediator who fully understands my struggles and so when He intercedes for me I know that he truly understands. Whats more, He offers guidance through His Word so I can break free of the cycle. He also gives me His strength in those times when I am powerless over my anger, over impure thoughts, over gossip and backbiting so I can overcome.

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
But sometimes I wonder what He can do through me
No great success to show
No glory of my own
Yet in my weakness He is there to let me know
His strength is perfect when our strength is gone
He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on
Raised in His power, the weak become strong
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect
We can only know
The power that He holds
When we truly see how deep our weakness goes
His strength in us begins
Where ours comes to an end
He hears our humble cry and proves again
                                    Steven Curtis Chapman

You can overcome. Don’t give up. His strength is perfect and available. Be intentional in asking for strength this week.

Reckless Love of God

Over the past few months, I have come to love the song ‘Reckless Love’ and for the first time today I thought about the words in the song. Reckless love? To the songwriter and definitely to me, dying for people who are far from righteous is reckless. Dying for people who want to have nothing to do with you is reckless. Dying for people who go out of their way to diminish the significance of your death is reckless. Loving a world, a people who do not know you in hopes that in the future they will hear about what you did and perhaps love you for your sacrifice is reckless.

But Jesus wasn’t reckless at all when he chose to die for you and me. He was intentional in His love and in His death.

For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8 Berean Study Bible

For many people reading this post, this is common knowledge. Many of us have heard about, talked about, sang about, or maybe even preached about the love of God. And yet sometimes we question God’s love for us. Have you ever heard yourself say: “If only God would do this or that for me then I’ll know that He truly loves me” or some variation of this?

God does not have to prove His love to us over and over again. The CROSS is the ultimate proof of God’s love. So dear reader, next time you feel the need to question whether or not God loves you (and he does).. remember no one else would [by choice] be “reckless” enough to die for you.

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

Cory Asbury, Reckless Love, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xx0d3R2LoU

Discouraged… Defeated…

Have you ever been stuck in one of life’s ruts? Do you sometimes feel discouraged and then defeated because you just cannot shake the feeling of discouragement? Have you ever felt so sure God was leading you to step out into the unknown (a new city, a new career, a new church, plant a church, etc.) and yet things are not working out like you thought they would? Your bank statement, an exam score, an overdue unanswered prayer, a bad habit you are failing woefully at quitting, a wayward child, among others can leave you plenty discouraged.

Today I had an epiphany in church (shout out to Pastor Jori). God had promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the sand. At this point when the promise first came, Abraham was fertile. The problem with the promise being fulfilled was not an Abraham problem, it was a Sarah problem. Sarah could not have children. How discouraging! I am sure with each passing year, Sarah grew more and more discouraged knowing that she was the reason Abraham had not experienced the fulfillment of his promise. So she did what she thought she had to do… she asked Abraham to procreate with a servant in order that the promise would be fulfilled. We know how badly that turned out and how that decision made from a place of discouragement, continues to impact the world today.

Decisions I make when I am discouraged are seldom prayerfully considered. For the most part, I am trying to do all it takes in my power to shake the horrible feeling and move on. I think of people who resort to drugs and alcohol for a quick pick-me-up (and I pray for the peace of God to guard their hearts like an umpire right now and in this moment).

This was not where I was going with this topic but lets just roll with it. I am reminded of David: He had every reason to be discouraged and feel defeated. He had just come back from war to find his village pillaged; his wives and children and those of his men taken into captivity (1 Samuel 30 ESV). The bible says he wept till he had no strength to weep any more. Then he did something remarkable. Instead of rushing off to try and get the captives back, he prayed and asked God what he should do.

Last week, I heard something on the radio:

How you feel is not who you are. Feelings are good servants but terrible masters.

When life beats down on you and you feel defeated, remember that’s how you feel and its not who you are! Don’t make defeatist decisions because more often than not, like any storm, discouragement passes and you’ll have to live with the consequences of those decisions. Don’t let how you feel dictate your next move! Try telling God how you feel.

God still wants to be your God in those moments when you feel like He has abandoned you. He wants to help you navigate the storms of life. As life rages, and your ship is beat down by waves of discouragement and billows of defeat, you have an assurance, a hope that God is ever present with you.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139:7-12 NIV

This hope is the anchor that will keep your soul steadfast and sure while the storm rages on (Hebrews 6:19 NIV) and this hope is fastened to the immovable, unshakable Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ

So dear reader, when you feel like you are being pulled in all directions and you are overwhelmed and in distress or anguished, my prayer for you is this

…when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2 KJV

Be intentional in your relationship with God, through the good times and the stormy times.