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Did God Disappear….

Have you ever felt this way? Like God has completely disappeared from your life? I will admit that the thought (and feeling) have crossed my mind. Especially when I’m going through a difficult situation.

I feel lost!

I want answers!

I need help!

Sound familiar?

There is usually a reason why at times, I don’t feel God’s presence in my life, and it does always lay at my doorstep. We don’t want to take responsibility most of the time, let’s just be honest here, but feeling far away from God usually means that we have continued walking on our merry way down a path that God has not intended for us to travel. There’s a saying I heard years ago, but it’s so true, “It only takes one step in the right direction to find God again.”

He is always right there when I need Him. Always!!

But sometimes, there might another reason why we feel that God has seemingly disappeared from our life. Maybe it’s because He’s shielding us. Maybe He’s behind us, protecting us from something coming, something striving to devour us. I Peter 5:8 {AMP} warns us to be alert, “Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour.”

There is SOMETHING seeking to destroy us and his name is Satan. He and his demons really do have a plan to completely screw up your entire life.  He wants to get us so anxious, worried, depressed, angry, etc., that we think God has disappeared. All of those distractions become like a thick fog over our spiritual vision and we can’t see our own hand in front of us. But let me assure you…God is still at work in your life when things seem upside down.

If you go back into the verse above, you will see that the devil is “like a roaring lion” ~ he is NOT a lion though…but he sure makes us think he has that kind of power when he’s lurking about. The devil’s job is to poke around in our mind, confuse us, cause us to doubt the truths we know,  and quite simply bring us to a point where we lose hope.

Matthew 22:37 {AMP} says, “And Jesus replied to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’”, and we are told this because we are cautioned in Ephesians 6:11-13 {AMP} saying, Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious].”

So although God is working on our behalf, He also calls us to be an active participant in the process of keeping the Lord close and the enemy far away.

But for those times when we are actively pursuing what God has called us to do, how He asks us to live, the way in which to raise our children, our attitude at work ~ whatever it may be ~ and we still feel alone, let me take you to the Old Testament for quick minute and give you some encouragement.

In Exodus 14:19-20 {AMP} we read, “The angel of God, who had been going in front of the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them. The pillar of the cloud moved from in front and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. It was a cloud along with darkness [even by day to the Egyptians], but it gave light by night [to the Israelites]; so one [army] did not come near the other all night.” 

To put these verses in perspective, the Israelites were in the middle of escaping Pharaoh. Now, the Pharaoh had let the people go with Moses, but then he had a change of mind when he realized that he no longer had anyone to do the manual labor around town. So he sent hoards of his chariots and armies to get them back.

The Israelites were already anxious about leaving the life they knew in Egypt (even though they hated it…it was what they knew), and God knew this too.  He knew the depth of anxiety they felt as they walked across the land. I’ve always thought that the people who were in the front of the pack, walking closer to Moses and Aaron, would’ve been quite a bit more at ease than those closing up the ranks. I mean, come on, if they were attacked, who was gonna die first?

But check this out…those folks in the front also could see the cloud that God was in, the one leading and guiding them, seemingly disappear. That must have been incredibly unsettling. Can you imagine the conversations, “Hey – did you notice the cloud left us?” “Um, I think God just disappeared.” “What do we do now…where do we walk?” Those people in the front were suddenly forced to believe that although the cloud was behind them and probably looked a bit smaller way at the back of the pack, it was still there!

It had moved but it was still there!

The cloud offered a massive amount of protection…one that was not even quite realized by the Israelites. It offered a source of light for them to walk by night and it appeared as darkness behind them so that the armies of Pharaoh could not see them, or each other.

The cloud that God was in, stayed there until the Israelites were safe!  The whole group (which was probably more than a million people) came to the Red Sea.  Once again, the people had to trust that God was still there. Moses had to trust that he was hearing God’s instruction. The sea parted, the people walked across on dry land…and that cloud stayed behind them all along the way to the other side. God caused confusion for Pharaoh’s armies and they were annihilated by the Lord when the sea walls came crashing back together. {Exodus 14:21-30}.

It only looked like God has disappeared, leaving the people to fend for themselves…but He didn’t.

And He hasn’t left you!

Look around your life and see where the hand of God has protected you? Shielded you from injury or attack? And if you can’t identify something right away, pray and ask the Lord to show you how He has protected you.  He WILL absolutely reveal to you where He has been in your life.

You left your keys in your unlocked car ~ and it was still there when you got back?

You left for work later than usual, causing great irritation, only to pass a horrific car accident on the freeway that possibly could have been you?

The anonymous grocery gift card that is dropped off on your front porch when you’re in need.

And so many others…

If you look hard enough, meaning, if you take your eyes off of yourself and lift them up, you WILL find the Lord. You will see Him guiding you, protecting you, shielding you. He is not far from you ~ just turn around and you will see.

He’s been there the whole time!

Blessings,

René

Exodus 14 verse 19

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Shattering the Darkness…

This past week, there has been so much tragedy in the news.  Which, honestly, that’s why I don’t watch the news.  I used to watch the morning and evening news every day, but it became overwhelming for me.  All the bad news just lingered in my brain and brought on unrealistic fears and anxieties.  I know that the Lord is my protector and that I can turn my worry over to Him, but I was spending so much time allowing the darkness of this world to permeate my mind, it was becoming a real problem for me.

I mean really, what are the odds that the convict on the run from a prison (that was is an eight hour drive from my home) would actually be hiding in my backyard?  Or the ring of burgler’s, two hours away from our neighborhood, were going to arrive in the middle of the night choosing us as the next targets?  And the list went on and on.  It’s probably been a good seven years since I’ve watched the evening news, and that has made a huge difference.

But some stories, it doesn’t matter where you turn, you will hear of great tragedy.  You will see desperately sad stories unfold before your eyes.  You will see unexplainable sorrow in the wake of vicious attacks.  It can very quickly seem all together too much to take in.

There is still ~ HOPE~

The darkness will never completely take over the light. 

Have you ever walked into your house late at night and quickly realized that you forgot to leave a light on?  I hate that….totally freaks me out!  But in that moment that you turn on the hall light, or the “flashlight app” on you iPhone, the darkness is pierced and the fears of the unknown vanish. Why?  Because you can see what’s in front of you; everything becomes clear.

Just look at how the Old Testament starts out in Genesis 1:1-5, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”

God created the light of this world and we have the Light to this world, Jesus Christ His Son, to pierce the darkness that begs to permeate our lives.  We have the victory over darkness my friends!

John 1:4-5 is a proclamation of a wonderful promise from the Lord for us ~ In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Another promise of victory over the darkness of this world from Jesus is found in the latter chapters in the book of John.  These are His words as He speaks to the disciples before He was crucified.  He was preparing the disciples and had spent time instructing them with the knowledge of God the Father.  I used the Amplified Bible Version below, because I love how striking the verbiage is here.  Jesus gave the disciples, and us today, a cautionary warning of what we WILL indeed face in this world; followed up by a magnificent promise to remind us that we do not need to cower in the face of the trials.  Jesus does not state that His victory might happen or that it could possibly take place….it HAS been accomplished!

John 16:32-33 (AMP) “Take careful notice: an hour is coming, and has arrived, when you will all be scattered, each to his own home, leaving Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have[perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]”

Jesus wanted them to have everything they needed ~ “And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” (Philippians 4:7).  And He wants US TODAY to have this same peace.  But that cannot come to us on our own.  It is HIS peace that He gives to us ~ all we have to do is ask for it.

Here in John 14:26-28, we find that promise from Jesus as to where we will find peace ~ But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.  You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”

My friend, be encouraged that you are not just dangling out in space.  You have not been left alone.  You have a grand purpose and calling on your life.  You have been given identity from the King of Kings.  The Creator of the Universe wants to be in relationship with you because you are precious to Him.

The Lord can erase fear and anxiety from your heart and mind because His love is perfect and perfect love drives out fear (I John 4:18).  Sometimes this looks like a period of time in devoted prayer for issues that are surfacing in your life, or simply from a horrible tragedy that is going on in the world.  However, there are times when we need to call out to another person to help us bring those fears and anxieties to the surface and get them out of our life.  There is nothing wrong (or non-Christian) about seeing a counselor.  My only personal recommendation would be to make sure that you see a counselor whose guidance comes from a place of clarity in scripture, so that you are not led astray.

This world is run by the prince of darkness and the Lord warns us about this.  It is this way because of the Fall of Man when sin entered the earth.  This is NOT what the Lord intended! BUT Satan (prince of darkness) has not won; he has not ever nor will he ever, overcome the Son of God. {John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11}

Do not be distressed my friend when fears arise ~ because as I have shared in the many verses above, Jesus Christ has already won the mighty victory!  We win in the end!  We were not created to live in state of fear, but in a place of victory and freedom from eternal death through the resurrection of Jesus!!!

From the Old Testament, Isaiah 9:6-7 blesses us with this promise of the coming of Jesus Christ to earth,

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

Be strong today. Have courage for tomorrow.  Settle into peace during trials.  Trust that you belong to the mighty King.  Believe in the Prince of Peace who came to bring you Hope!

Blessings,

René

John 1 verses 4 and 5

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Peace is NOT Anxiety Management…

This past week or so, I was on vacation with my family and we had a wonderful time together.  Not only did I enjoy the fact that we were seeing beautiful parts of the TN and visiting family and friends that lived there, all five of us were together and enjoying spending time with each other.  Even with the unfamiliar humidity, it was a peaceful and relaxing time together! My daughters are 22, 20, and 16 and they are hilarious!  We truly had great times and they are so fun to be with! I remember traveling with them when they were little ones, and it is so challenging…so if you’re reading this and you have littles…hang in there!  You WILL reach a day when you don’t have to pack a stroller, diaper bag, three changes of clothes, and a pack n play!  But while you have your littles…enjoy those moments too…they really are fleeting!

While on this trip, I had the opportunity to go to two different churches with family there and loved how God gave me insight to even more truths in His Word.  Hearing from a pastor that is not from your home church, sometimes makes you pay a bit more attention because it’s all new.  The setting, the people, the worship team….I love seeing how God’s people come together with the main goal of soaking in knowledge and pursuing the truths of scripture, and making them a reality in their lives.

One of the pastors went through several verses in Psalm 27 ~ which I love!  Such words of encouragement painted a picture of hope on a backdrop of the fear King David was up against. The pastor was talking about what we do in life to combat fear and how we can allow the Lord to take away those fears and replace them with peace.

Psalm 27:3 says,Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.”

Psalm 27 verse 3

There are so many verses in the Bible that speak about peace (over 350 of them actually), but I believe that this verse above completely encapsulates what it is to have real peace in our lives.

It doesn’t say that we can be without fear and fully confident because nothing bad is happening to us or to those around us.  No!  In this passage, David was literally surrounded by an army of bloodthirsty jealous men and a King who was completely out of his mind, and their goal was to find David and kill him.  Why?  Simply because God the Father had called David to be the next King of Israel and the current King didn’t want to let go of his title.  You may not be crowned the next King of your country, but I would venture to say that the feeling of being surrounded by people who want to see you fail, is probably something most of us are familiar with.

The word peace means ~ “a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations; freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction,anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquility; serenity.” 

How do we get to a peaceful place?  If you think you can accomplish this on your own…let me encourage you to take a new tack.

We are not called to manage our emotions or feelings…nor are we called to keep them “in check.” When you have a relationship with the Lord as your Savior, we are called to give over all of our anxieties and worries to Him and trust Him to cover them and all the fears that go along with them.  We are not promised a stress free life, but we are promised life everlasting.  We are not promised a life without pain or struggle, but we are promised a life of grace and mercy, through the salvation we find in Jesus Christ.

So when we submit our fears to the Lord and truly allow Him to take them away from us and give us peace in return…remember that it is not peace that we have mustered up for ourselves.  It is HIS PEACE that we are given.

John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

This verse in John mirrors the verse in Psalm 27 ~ the Lord does not intend for us to walk around with troubled hearts and minds.  He knows that we will encounter incredibly difficult times and situations, but He wants to give us His peace so that we can endure those moments.

Recently, my heart has ached for those around me that I see who are ruled by fear.  This doesn’t mean they necessarily hole up in their homes.  Fear can present itself in the form of: control, anger, bitterness, regret, self-righteousness, or pride…just to name a few.  Honestly, I see right through these attitudes and know they are based in fear because I recognize them in myself.  I have battled with all of these negative attitudes and have hurt those I love.  It has taken years to repair some relationships, and sometimes only a short time.  God is good and He wants me to live a peace-filled life.

So because of knowing the pain of being controlled by fear, I want these friends to experience the pure joy and freedom of God’s peace, but I cannot force them to take His peace.  They have to want it for themselves.  Instead of being frustrated with how their fears manifest them-self, I must instead be in prayer for them and seek the Lord on their behalf, that they will one day soon give over their fears to the Lord and live in peace.

I love Psalm 27 so much, that I feel led to just print the whole thing out right here for you to read…and this is how I will end today’s blog.  Before you read them, I would like to ask you to pray and ask the Lord to see these verses anew and for Him to show you deep meaning in them that pertain to YOUR LIFE TODAY!  The Lord wants to show you how much He loves you, and He can accomplish so much of that when you read His Word. Soak in these words and let them resonate in your heart.

Blessings,

René

Psalm 27

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?

When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
    and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
    he will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up
    above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent
    sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!

You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

    Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
    O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
    but the Lord will take me in.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.

12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
    for false witnesses have risen against me,
    and they breathe out violence.

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!

14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

 

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+27&version=ESV

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/peace?s=t