Monthly Archives: April 2014
Monthly Archives: April 2014
What happens in the hard times? Sometimes we face situations that are so hard we start to wonder if this is the end, are we really gonna make it? Will we ever live our dreams or the visions that God has given us? We can get so discouraged that we don’t want to hope any more, we don’t want to try anymore, we don’t want to have faith, we don’t want to work at it anymore because it’s just not working out.
What do I do when life is just too hard? Where is God when I am failing, depressed, when I lose a loved one, when I lose my job, when I lose my car, when I am so discouraged and depressed that I can’t even get out of bed? God is here, He is with me. When I go to Him and give Him my ashes, He gives me beauty and victory.
During the hard times I can make a choice- a choice to believe God or believe someone else. To grow in my faith or let it dwindle a way. I can choose to take responsibility for my decisions or I can blame others. I can blame God or I can believe that God is sovereign and just and He loves me with and everlasting love. I can trust Him to redeem me, my reputation, and my time.
During the hard times I can pray or I can complain. I can seek advice from godly people or I can continue trying to do it all on my own. I can continue to grow in my relationship with God, asking Him for the
answers or I can try to figure it out myself.
During the hard times I can get into His presence, I can pray, I can read the word, I can worship, I can praise, and I can be still before God. I can ask Him for perspective or I can blow it all out of proportion. I can choose give thanks for what I have, or I dwell on what I don’t have. I can chose to only worry about me and what I need, or I can bless someone else.
During the hard times I can choose to persevere or give up. I can give my burdens to God or I can self-medicate myself by smoking, eating, having sex, distracting myself with a busy social life, or even pouring all of my energy into a hobby.
God loves me no matter what choice I make, however the choice I make can prevent me from understanding that God loves me. When I walk away from God, when I chose to sin, and when I chose other people or things over God, I become a prisoner of condemnation, guilt, shame, pride, self-righteousness, and self-reliance. I no longer hear God saying that He loves me; I can’t see all the ways that God says I love you.
Every battle, every problem, every circumstance, and every hard time is an opportunity to grow closer to God and to trust God. The hard times remind me that I need God in every area of my life. They remind me that God truly is all powerful and almighty. The hard times build endurance, strength, hope, faith, love, patience, discipline. The hard times remind me that to be humble, to show grace, to show mercy, to be compassionate and to pray others. During the hard times I am still more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus.
It was a peaceful evening. I was reflecting back on my life before Christ. As pictures passed through my memory bank it seemed as if those memories of hurt, pain, rejection, fear and insecurity belonged to a neighbor or perhaps the stranger that I had met on the street somewhere. I would look at myself in the mirror and all I would see was a scared, unattractive young girl desiring to be loved. I looked deep into my childhood memory bank and realized where it had originated from. I am going to share a piece of my journey starting from my childhood.
My parents split when I was 5 years old. The morning of my father’s departure I felt abandoned and alone. I loved HIM very much. My mother, on the other hand, was there physically but not emotionally. She never knew how to love me, she never told me “I love you” verbally; she would only write it in a birthday card. So that set the course for my rebellion and search for love.
As I entered my early teens I went from relationship to relationship. Then anger and rage set in. At this point my mother was so desperately searching for her own love that her boyfriends came first. I was always asking myself “Why can’t anyone love me? Why am I not good enough? And if I do this, will this boy love me?” Eventually my father got saved and I was introduced to Jesus Christ. I was so caught up in my own pain that I could not receive God’s love. I felt that I was unlovable and not worthy of anything. Then I met my husband and I felt a sense of security and that I finally found someone that could fill my emptiness. How wrong I was… At that point I entered Egypt and remained a slave to physical and emotional abuse for 13 years. I continued to spiral down until I found myself in depression. My self- image and self- esteem was on empty.
Till one day on a Saturday morning I called out to God…I was on my knees in the living room floor with tears pouring down my face like a river. I cried out “OK God… I am tired of doing things on my own…If you are real…then change me, change this situation that I am in. I can’t do this anymore. The power of God came rushing down that very second like a flood. I felt his love saturate me. As I got up from the living room floor a few hours later, I felt hope and life arise in me. I saw the world bright and promising. I knew that God had done something in me and that He was indeed real. Romans 10:13… those that call upon the name of the lord shall be saved
The Lord began to send me mentors and strong women of God to help me through the valley, and eventually I left Egypt. My long journey of inner healing began. My life began to transform AND my mindsets began to shift and break off. Romans 12:2 be transformed by the renewing of your mind. One day I woke up and went to wash my face, as I was standing there I looked in the mirror and I saw my beauty. I saw love, I saw compassion, I saw worthiness. I saw Jesus….My poor self-image had been shattered. This set a new course in my life. Though I am still on my road of healing and deliverance, I thank God I am no longer where I use to be. The day that I reached out to Christ, is the day I died. And today I am resurrected with Christ.
Written by Desiree Hernandez. If you’d like to reach Desiree, you can contact her here.
Earlier today my friend sent me a picture of someone’s profile from Instagram. It said “God 1st” and then a whole bunch of other ungodly things followed. And before I could blink, I had already cast judgment. “That’s a hot mess”, “God first my behind”, and a few other things ran through my mind. And no sooner had I thought them I was convicted.
Who am I to judge her or anyone else? What makes my walk any better than hers? So I don’t drink, but I clearly am quick to judge. So I don’t go to bars and clubs, but I definitely listen to some ungodly music.
So I go to church every Sunday and Wednesday, but I check my phone at least three times a service. My point to all this is that just like that girl, I am far from perfect. I fall short of who and what God wants me to be on daily basis. I think (and sometimes even say) mean things when I have to deal with traffic. I don’t pray or read my Bible how I should. Yet, God loves me anyway. He’s merciful anyway. He’s a God of grace anyway. It’s so easy for us to know how OTHER Christians should behave, but we fail to focus on our own behaviors. NONE OF US WILL GET IT RIGHT. If we were able to live sinless, righteous lives, Jesus wouldn’t have had to endure the cross. BUT HE DID.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this gives any of us the right to abuse God’s mercy and grace, and the salvation freely given to us. I don’t think we should walk around doing any and everything because we know God will love us anyway. We need to take a close look at ourselves. Recognize where we are and how we can get closer to where God wants us to be. Look at the condition of our heart and ask God to heal us if we carry bitterness and pain. And thank God for His mercy and grace. If we are going to cast stones, we need to cast them towards ourselves
Written by Amber Boggs. If you’d like to contact Amber, you can reach her here.
When we experience traumatic or difficult times we tend to believe that no one understands us or what we are going through. We keep our troubles and our struggles to our self and we believe that we are alone. Fortunately, we are not alone. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says that nothing is new under the sun. I think that means that no matter what I am going through, someone has had an identical or similar experience. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 reminds us that two are better than one: Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.
Look at Elijah the prophet in 1 Kings 18 and 19. He had just called down fire from heaven, converted an entire city into believing in God again, and his prayers ended a three year drought. But when Jezebel vowed to kill him he instantly believed that he was the last-standing prophet. Elijah was not the sole prophet and he was not the only prophet fearing for his life. He had recently met Obadiah and Obadiah told Elijah that he had hidden and fed 100 prophets to protect them from Jezebel. Yet in the midst of the trauma and fear Elijah convinced himself that he was alone. Twice he tells God “I, even I only, am left,” and he asks God to end his life. God reminded Elijah that there were 7,000 people that had not worshipped Baal. God reminded Elijah that he was not alone and instructed him to go anoint Elisha. Elisha remained with Elijah until the very end and Elisha faithfully assisted him even when Elijah tried to get rid of him. Elijah was never alone again.
When I start to feel that I am alone I get dramatic, self-pity sets in, and hope dissipates. Recently, I was freaking out and on the verge of a breakdown because I realized I was not good at maintaining relationships or expressing love. This little epiphany snowballed into: “how can I call myself a Christian if I can’t love? No wonder I’m not good at sales, I will never be a good minister because I’m clearly not a people person, I’m going to be horrible wife, I won’t be able to make a difference, no wonder no one understands me, why can’t I be like sister sunshine.” For two weeks straight these poisonous thoughts plagued me. Guess what? There was no one to encourage me because I refused to confide in anyone. I had convinced myself that I was the only person with this problem and that no one would understand. God could not encourage me because I was too busy trying to convince Him to choose someone else.
Then, by the grace of God, a friend of mine was vulnerable with me regarding her personal goals. Because she was transparent, when she asked how I was doing I decided not to give the standard “busy” or “good.” I told her that I was freaking out because I was horrible at maintaining relationships. To my surprise she shared that she and few friends had been talking about wanting to build stronger relationships. Then she offered to help me improve my relationship building skills. Suddenly the burden was lifted because I knew that I was not the only one struggling in this area and I had help. Immediately light rays of hope dispelled the darkness of doubt and loneliness.
As the young people say “the struggle is real.” But you can overcome the struggle faster with God, and with the people He has placed in your life. You are not alone.
Written by Remaliah Evans. If you would like to reach out to Remaliah, you can contact her here.