11.22.2016

If God is Near, Why Does He Feel So Far Away?

There is a desperate cry within my heart that I’ve longed with every fiber of my being to see come to pass. Minutes have turned into days and weeks and years of learning to make some sort of spiritual peace. On my good days I stand assured, “It’s just not God’s timing yet.”

But on my less stellar days I crumble, afraid and hurt, “God, why? You know how much this ache in my heart steals a piece of too many of my smiles. Quite honestly, I’m tired of wondering if you’re withholding because I’m not good enough, capable enough, spiritual enough, trusting enough, or mature enough. I guess I’m really tired of hoping.”

And I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way.

What is that relationship, that insecurity, that hurt, that desire, that prayer you’ve brought to God countless times?

In my own pain, I’ve learned that Jesus not only cares about our deep, spiritual wrestling, but He wants to step in and see us through it.

That’s why I wrote my new Bible study, Finding I AM: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart. Through this interactive, in-depth study, you will learn to:

· Trade feelings of emptiness and depletion for a more personal fulfillment from knowing who Jesus is.
· Stop living like a slave to your circumstances by training your heart to embrace the life-giving freedom God wants for you.
· Gain a better understanding of how Jesus’ words 2,000 years ago are so very applicable to the answers we are searching for today.

If you’re new to Bible studies, this is the place to start. If you’ve studied the Bible for years, it’s time to travel to the Holy Land via video and see the truth of Jesus come to life like never before.

Finding I AM doesn’t release until January but if you pre-order today you’ll get all kinds of free resources to help you along the journey!

You can pre-order by clicking here.

11.8.2016

What We Can Do About This Election

We’re about to witness what might be one of the most divisive yet monumental elections in American history.

Some of us will rejoice with the results tonight and some of us will fall asleep weeping for what the election may mean for this country. Either way, it will be our reality.

But I refuse for that reality to stifle my sense of possibility. An election can determine who sits in political offices but it is God who is ultimately in control.

Now is the time for Christians to live the message of Christ. Maybe, more than ever before, we will be invited outside our comfort zones where living what we believe won’t be as easy. And dare I say, that may be the best thing that has happened to Christians in a very long time.

It’s one thing to hold fast to traditional principles, but a completely different thing to act whole-heartedly upon them.

It’s easy to say abortion is wrong, but let’s walk beside and support that woman who chooses life.

It’s easy to think we should help the poor, but let’s also write that check from our own bank accounts to do so.

It’s easy to point out wrongs in other people, but let’s also examine the many places we ourselves fall so short.

It’s easy to point out problems, but let’s also sacrifice our time to be part of the solution.

These are the choices that being a Christian is supposed to propel us to make. With grace and gentleness and humble spirits, we are to be more than a band of people labeled as conservatives. We are to actively be Christ’s hands and feet in this world.

Jesus never called us to the comfortable life. He called us to follow Him through whatever life hands us.

Jesus never waited for the circumstances of the times to line up in His favor. He called us to follow Him and be light in the darkness.

And in following Jesus, an air of excited expectancy will be breathed fresh in our souls.

Abraham Lincoln once said to a very divided country, “We are not enemies, but friends … though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.”

Now is the time to be representatives of truth to all those around us. May we Christians be seen not as those who continue to strain against the unity of our country, but as followers of Jesus, who shine the light of His eternal hope.

Now is the time… today is the day… to follow Jesus like never before.

11.3.2016

How to Wait on God Without Losing Faith

Have you ever wondered whether waiting on God is really worth it? My friend Wendy Pope is guest posting on the blog today to encourage us through those hard (and sometimes impossibly long) seasons where we’re desperate for a breakthrough.

We prayed for healing.

We anointed with oil.

We believed.

We waited and we waited… And we waited some more.

Have you been there? Have you done that? I should probably back up a bit so you can get the whole picture.

On November 23, 1991, I married the man of dreams…literally. Tall. Blond hair. Blue eyes. Drove a fast red sports car. (OK. I know this is little vain, right? But I was in my late teens.) A Christian. There. Yes God, that kind of guy will do just fine. Yep. That was him, the man I wanted to marry. So standing before Scott on our wedding day, you can only imagine how divinely blessed I believed my marriage would be since God answered my prayers down to eye color. With great confidence, we danced into our life of bliss.

Fast-forward to our earlier 40’s, you know, that time when we start noticing lines around our eyes, loosen the belt to the next hole, and grunt when we stand up. These are the typical signs of normal wear and tear that come with age, but my healthy husband seemed to have aches and issues beyond the norm. Without warning, we were thrust into a season of sickness and revolving doors of medical experts.

We started this health journey with hope, but for eighteen months doctors probed, prodded, and stuck the body of my once strong and healthy husband. This specialist treated his symptoms with that medication. That specialist treated his symptoms with different medication.

The seemingly never-ending roller coaster of meds and doctor visits finally stopped when we heard two life-altering words to my worn-out and weary husband: rheumatoid arthritis. Finally, a diagnosis…finally, an answer. Oh how we wanted our medical wait to end; but let’s face it, sometimes our wait doesn’t end as we expect. Sometimes it seems our wait will never end.

The wait is more about experiencing God than enduring the delay. Instead of getting distracted by the object of our wait, a medical diagnosis, we can grow closer to God, the Person of our faith. Here are three truths we can tuck deep in our heart to help us wait without losing faith.

1) Maintain your spiritual strength through prayer and reading God’s Word.
I realize this is the Sunday School answer. I also know that when waiting has stolen your peace, praying and reading your Bible is not at the top of the to-do list. Long waits can drive a wedge in our relationship with God. Even though I didn’t feel like spending with God, spending time with God was exactly what I needed. Peace will fill our circumstances when we push through our feelings to stay close to God and allow His Word to navigate us through our wait.

Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105 KJV)

2) Fight for praise.
On the days Scott could barely walk praising God felt like a huge sacrifice. I wanted answers from God. I didn’t want to offer applause to God. Through my Bible reading, I fell in love David’s psalms. This man knew about suffering and waiting yet praised God. We can be certain that even on the bad days, God is still good. He will carry us through our season of waiting. Even though it is hard to praise God when the future is unknown, there’s always something worthy of praise.

You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, O God, are my fortress.
(Psalm 59:9 NLT)

3) Find small and simple ways to love people.
Our churches, neighborhoods, and communities are full of individuals who need a touch from Jesus. This truth is number three for a reason. It is only when we have immersed ourselves in the Word, spent time with God in prayer, and made praise part of our routine that we can help others. Scott and I don’t have to look far to find someone in need. Our troubles seem to be minimized when we focus on someone else.

Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25 NIV)

When we find ourselves in a holding pattern, it’s easy to ask, What was I doing wrong? Is God holding my past against me? What do I have to do to earn His favor? Rest assured, God never presses pause out of spite. Sometimes waiting has less to do with the strength of your faith and more to do the perfection of God’s timing. God makes us wait at times so we can glean valuable lessons. In the wait, He is preparing us for what He has already planned for us. Waiting isn’t wasting time; it’s training time.

Wendy is giving away 5 copies of her new book, Wait and See, today! To be entered to win, leave a comment below sharing which of these 3 truths you’re going to implement in your situation this week.