Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Life Changing Power of Hope

"I want to ask you one question that has the power to change the rest of your life.

This one question is so important it should be the primary question asked by every parent of every teenager.

This question is so important it should be the primary question asked by a spouse discouraged by his or her marriage.

This question is so important it should be asked by anyone currently feeling discouraged about themselves.

This question is so important it should be the first question asked by people who want to change their lives, lose weight, get out of debt, or have a better future.

This question has the power to lift a person out of discouragement.

It has the power to transform somebody's mood.

It has the power to turn around a company or a church or a family.

This question is actually more than a question.

It becomes a frame of reference for how you look at everything.

When this question moves from being a question to being a habit, to being your lifestyle, everybody you know will be affected.

A person trained to ask this question becomes •someone people flock to for advice and encouragement, •the parent everybody wishes they had, •the spouse everybody wishes they were married to, •the friend everybody wishes they knew, and •a better person, a better coach, a better teacher, a better employee, a better leader.

This question is the reason Peter went from being a complete failure to being one of the first great leaders of the Christian church.

I believe this question was uppermost in Jesus'mind every time He looked at His disciples.

Here is the question:


'What can this become? "

We learn this from Jesus.

Jesus tipped His hand when He looked at some young, inexperienced men and made an astounding statement:

"Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men"(Mark 1: 17 NASB).

None of the disciples was a first-round draft pick.

They were a mess.

Peter had his mouth always open, his foot always in it.

Thomas met every plan with, "I doubt it."

St. John the Divine? That same John and his brother James were called the "Sons of Thunder."

Matthew was a selfish tax collector.

As a group, they were always arguing about who was greatest.

The only thing they seemed to do right was "borrow"a kid's lunch one day so Jesus could feed five thousand people.

What made Jesus so effective?

What made Him the single most magnetic leader ever to walk this planet?

What was it about Jesus that liberated people from their pasts and freed them to go on to become something they never dreamed?

Here it is:

Jesus was not focused on what people were like. He was focused on WHAT THEY COULD BECOME.

Show me a parent of a teenager who is focused on what their kid is like right now, and I'll show you a discouraged parent.

Show me a parent who is focused on what his or her teenager can become, and anything is possible.

Show me a husband or wife focused on what his or her marriage is like right now, and usually I can show you a discouraged person.

Show me a couple focused on what their marriage can become, and anything is possible.

Show me Christians focused on what their spiritual lives are like right now.

In all likelihood they will be discouraged, but the minute they begin to focus on what their relationship with God could become, anything is possible.

Show me a person who wishes he was in better shape physically but is focused on what his life is like right now, and he is probably discouraged.

Yet all kinds of possibilities emerge the minute he focuses on what he could become in the future.

Everything changes when we ask the question, "Am I able to see things not as they are right now but in terms of what they can become?"

"I will make you become fishers of men,"Jesus said, and by following through on His word, He changed, is changing, and will change the world.


From "The Hope Quotient" by Ray Johnston

Stay Strong!

Friday, October 28, 2016

True and Clear Presence in the Storm

*"Everything is possible for him who believes"(Mark 9: 23).

• "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father"(John 14: 12).

•"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer"(Matthew 21: 22).

Whipped by the winds and waves, the very last thing many of us can do in our darkness and despair is to save ourselves.

Weary and without strength, we simply cannot hoist ourselves to safety.

But in the swirling chaos of our thoughts and fears, when we can no longer stay afloat, some of us are grasped by fellow sojourn ears who have somehow made it to solid ground.

When passengers fled the doomed Titanic in lifeboats, some were able to reach across the icy waters and throw a lifeline to other passengers who were desperate and foundering.

Working together, they would pull a victim into the safety of the boat, provide a blanket or simply the heat of their own bodies.

Once rescued, one could help to rescue another.

In this manner, many have received calm in the storms that threaten to overwhelm.

In the faces of friends, or even strangers, they have recognized the palpable presence of God.

Someone has lent a listening ear, has reached out with arms of love, bearing God's own presence to one in need.

A family coming home from the hospital following a child's surgery finds a feast set out on their dining room table and a freezer full of prepared meals.

A couple facing unemployment, returning home from a day of job searching, finds a generous gift card to the local grocery store tucked into their mailbox.

A struggling single mom, raising a teenage son who lives to play basketball, learns that her son has been awarded a full scholarship to summer basketball camp by a mysterious benefactor.

When circumstances threaten to undo, others provide tangible signs of God's presence in the midst of the storm.

Sometimes the rescuer will be wearing a cross on a chain around her neck.

Sometimes he will be carrying a Bible.

Other times, God sends helpers with no identifying sign other than compassion, and sometimes dressed in the most unusual garb.

We may not recognize the one here on earth  who by the direction and grace of God delivers us safely out of the storm, but we can be assured that help will come IF we ask for it IN FAITH and expect it - and it will come at times from the most unexpected of channels."

Remember you are never Alone and the tide always turns our way - by the Grace and Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Give thanks and praise as His Mercy endures forever! :)

Stay Strong!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

In the Midst of the Storm

"...he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike."
(Matthew 5:45, NLT)

In the Midst of the Storm

We all have opportunities to get upset and live stressed out.

The storms of life come to every person.

No matter how good a person you are, you're going to have some "rain" in your life.

When these storms come, a lot people use their faith to try to control their circumstances.

But I've found it's better to use my faith to control myself in the midst of my circumstances.

I know that if I can just remain stable in the storms of life and stay in peace, that's what allows God to act on my behalf.

God never said that we wouldn't have difficulties, but He did promise we could have peace in the midst of the storms.

When you face adversities, one of the most powerful things you can do is simply stay calm.

When you are at peace, you are displaying your faith in God.

By your actions, you're saying, "God, I know You're still on the throne. I know You're bigger than this problem."

So keep peace in the midst of your storms today.

Trust that He is working behind the scenes.

Keep your heart open to Him because soon He will deliver you!

A Prayer for Today
"Father God, thank You for peace in the midst of the storms of life. I choose to hold my peace knowing that You are working behind the scenes. I trust You, I trust Your timing, and I trust that You are working everything together for my good because You love me in Jesus' name.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Use the Gift

"And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness..."
(Romans 8:26, NLT)

He is Strong in You

Sometimes, people get distracted by what they consider to be a disadvantage or weakness in their lives.

It may be something about their personality or looks that they don't like.

Or, maybe they've been through an unfair situation: a divorce, a bad business deal or a bad break.

We all have things that can feel like disadvantages; things that make it harder on us.

It may even be a physical handicap, and you can't get around like you used to.

But just because you have a "disadvantage," just because you've been through a tough time doesn't mean you're supposed to sit back and settle where you are.

God still has something great for you to do!

He wants to show Himself strong in and through you, and He's given you His Holy Spirit to equip you in this life.

Today let the Holy Spirit help you when you feel weak.

Let Him empower you with truth that will set you free.

Stay in faith and don't get negative toward yourself or your future.

Let God take what you think is a liability and turn it into an asset!

Let Him take what you think is a disadvantage and turn it around to be an advantage!

Remember, you are more than a conqueror today and every day because He is strong in you!

A Prayer for Today
"Father, today I give You all that I am. I invite You into the weak places in my life so that You can turn them into strengths. Thank You for working in my life and filling me with faith and expectancy in Jesus' name.

From "Today's Word"

Stay Strong!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Cast Your Anxiety

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
(1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Cast Your Cares

God cares so much about you today.

Not only does He love and care about you, He cares about the things that concern you as well.

If you have concerns, worry or anxiety about something in your life today—finances, relationships, your job or anything else—know that your heavenly Father ALREADY has a plan to take care of those things for you.

It's a good plan, and He wants to show Himself strong on your behalf.

Scripture reminds us that the lilies of the field and the birds of the air are cared for, how much more will your heavenly Father take care of you?

Today, cast your anxiety on Him and trust that He is going to take care of you!

Refuse to dwell on your problems and don't allow them to steal your peace and joy any longer.

Instead, meditate on His Word and confess His promises over your life!

Cast your cares on Him and experience His peace, joy and blessing all the days of your life!

A Prayer for Today
"Father, thank You for loving me and caring for me. I cast my cares on You and trust that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf. I set my mind on You and look for Your goodness in my life in Jesus' name.

From "Today's Word"

Stay Strong! Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Countless Blessings

"Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare."
(Psalm 40:5, NIV)

God has wonderful things prepared for your future!

Even though you might be facing some circumstances that seem unfair, or things aren't going the way you planned, God's good plan still remains.

Even when life isn't fair, God is always fair.

He is always working behind the scenes on your behalf to move you forward into the destiny that He has prepared for you.

Remember, in order to keep your life moving in the right direction, you need to keep your thoughts, heart and words moving in the right direction.

The best way to do this is by declaring His wonderful deeds!

When you start recounting all the ways God has blessed your life, just like the psalmist, you'll find that His goodness goes beyond what you could ever imagine.

Right now, take a moment and think about all the goodness in your life.

Declare His deeds and focus your thoughts on Him.

Keep your words and thoughts going in the right direction so you can keep moving forward into the abundant life He has promised you!

A Prayer for Today
"Father, today I declare Your goodness and faithfulness in my life. Thank You for blessing me beyond my comprehension. You alone are worthy of all the praise, glory and honor. I bless You today and always in Jesus' name.

Stay Strong!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


The Garden of Gethsemane has long been a strong influence in my faith and I often find myself reflecting on that evening before the Lord's agony and death on the cross for all of our sakes.

For me it is remarkable that the Son of God struggled so much with His role in the redemption of the world (justifiably I would say) that he sweat actual blood in his agony and prayer. 

To me Gethsemane represents all of the things we experience that we just wish we could avoid and have taken away from us. 

It represents all the tough and painful events that we all are inevitably going to undergo in our lives - things we don't understand and cannot fathom why we are being asked to endure them.

The lesson of Gethsemane to me is that we will have to go through some agonies in our lifetime.  We are going to want and pray for them to be taken from us just as Jesus did so fervently that evening in the Garden.

But guess what, if God did not spare His own Son what he had to endure in order to save all of us, we too will be made to endure some challenges and storms that we clearly don't want and wish we could avoid.

We need to get through the night.

We need to get through the storm.

As Jesus did that fateful night, after praying we must accept the Garden and TRUST that God will bring us through whatever storm he has us experience.

And as we saw with Jesus and Gethsemane,  the Lord will NEVER make us endure these storms alone. 

He sent an angel to comfort Jesus as He struggled with the "chalice" in front of Him and gave him the Strength and Trust to carry on in the grand scheme He had planned for our salvation.

And the result is all the many gifts and blessings we have been given today!

Stay Strong and Persevere! :)

"When I am in need of peace, I join Jesus on his knees in the garden of Gethsemane.

In the midst of his own violent storm, about to be seized by Roman authorities, Jesus pauses to pray.

Sometimes it takes a lot of sweat, tears, and agony to get to the point of peace, but prayer is what leads us there, just as it led our Lord.

This glimpse of Jesus praying in the storm is reminiscent of Martin Luther's own insistence:

"I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer."

For Jesus, there wasn't any strategizing to be done with the disciples that was more important than prayer, especially as storm clouds gathered.

What makes this scene an unlikely source of comfort is that Jesus does drown, in a manner of speaking.

It is neither a story of heroic rescue nor of rains that suddenly cease.

In the garden, however, Jesus' prayer is still a source of comfort to me.

There, he prays a prayer of relinquishment, offering,

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42).

That THIS was the prayer of Jesus when thunder clapped and winds roared around him, gives me peace to join him in the same prayer."

From "At Peace in the Storm" by Ken Gire

Stay Strong!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Where We Learn

I apologize in advance for the length of this post but I truly hope you can soldier through it (and if not perhaps you can table it for when you have a few extra minutes) as I believe it carries a powerful message that will truly resonate strongly with a lot of us as we navigate this journey of life on earth! 

Stay Strong, Trust and Enjoy! :)

"Bouncing across raging seas, bent to our knees and clinging for safety, is where we learn to pray.

Ask Noah, adrift on the swells of the diluvian sea.

Ask Jonah, tossed about on the Mediterranean.

Ask the disciples, taking on water on the Sea of Galilee.

Ask Paul, weathering perilous storms on voyage after voyage.

The storm you're facing may be financial, when you find yourself caught up in a Category 4 hurricane that sweeps over the economy like Katrina over the Gulf Coast.

Widespread flooding. Levees breaking. Your home underwater. Your family drowning in debt.

Standing in water to your waist is where you will learn to pray.

Your storm may be vocational, when your job is outsourced overseas or made obsolete by technology.

Wet with tears, your prayers take on new urgency.

The storm you face may be relational, when a friendship turns against you.

When a teenager is caught in the vortex of raging hormones, tempestuous emotions, and pressures from peers.

When a marriage is broadsided by a rogue wave of infidelity or grounded on a shallow reef that slowly sinks it.

Stuck in the mire, you pray.

Your storm may be physical, when your loss of balance turns out to be MS, or the lump turns out to be malignant.

It can be emotional, when the undulations of mood plunge you into the depths of depression.

Gasping for air, you pray.

The storm in your life may be a spiritual one, when you have been driven and tossed by the wind for so long and you have taken on so much water that you are filled with doubt.

You are holding on, but just barely, as wave after wave washes over you.

You're gasping for air, heaving your insides out.

Your eyes are stinging from all the water, and you can hardly see anything clearly.

How much more can you take?

How much longer can you hold on?

When your grip is slipping and you are suffocating, you feel as though the very last thing you can do is pray.

During these times, I most often pipe short, clipped, desperate prayers:

"Save me, Lord!"

"Help me."

"Please, help me."


In a storm there are no requisite word counts.

There is no formal grammar.

There are no lofty phrases.

The Jesus prayer has just seven words:

"Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me."

Anne Lamott, who seems to pray like me, once identified the two most popular prayers in the world, ostensibly mid-storm and post-storm, as

"Help, help, help" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

The witness of Jesus' own disciples demonstrates that elaborate construction is not necessary:

"Master, don't you care that we are perishing?"

That was the prayer the disciples prayed when the storm swept over their boat and Jesus was asleep in the stern.

"Lord, save me!"

This was the prayer Peter prayed when he stepped out of the boat, taking his eyes off of Jesus and onto the wind and the waves that slapped against him.

The one prayer was a question, the other an exclamation.

In every life there are times when Jesus does seem to be asleep in the stern, while our lives are taking on water, and we are breaking our backs, bailing our hearts out.

How can he possibly be sleeping? On a cushion, no less!

How could he not hear the waves smashing against the hull, not feel the water sloshing over the sides?

How could he not see that we are perishing?

How could he not care?

We wake him with our prayers, or so it seems.

And he is inconvenienced, or so it seems.

Even irritated.

The question turns the way it did with the widow's question to the unrighteous judge (Luke 18:1–8).

And we learn that while we are looking for rescue, he is looking for FAITH.

It is difficult to be hard on the disciples.

What should they have done?

How should they have approached him?

Or when?

They didn't come to Jesus until they'd come to the end of themselves.

Maybe that is what prompted the rebuke.

Maybe they looked at him as their last resort INSTEAD of their FIRST.

Maybe they didn't want to disturb him, and that is what he wanted them to do most.

To come to him FIRST.

To realize he would WANT them to come to him first.

Jesus, no doubt, would have gladly received just a single word:



There have been a lot of times when I have cried myself to sleep while praying.

Not sobbing, just gentle tears spilling from my eyes.

When the storm has raged for too long, we are weary.

We are out of thoughts.

We are out of feelings.

We are out of prayers.

What then?

When we've reached the end, Jesus simply receives us.

No words.

A sigh.

A heaving of your heart toward heaven, however heavy it may be to lift, however hard it may be to heft.

When it is too hard, the Holy Spirit will do the heaving, lifting, groaning, to carry it for you.

Unclenching our fists, the movement of prayer is to trust with the trust of Jesus.

In the same way Jesus fully entrusted himself into the hands of the Father who loved him, so we too are invited to entrust our lives into the hands of the Father who loves us.

Where you find yourself today, whether drifting effortlessly on serene glassy waters or thrown by desperate violent waves, how do your prayers sound?

Like sinking Peter, do you instinctively call out to Jesus for help?

Or like Jesus' terrified disciples, have you been hesitant to rouse the Master?

Hoarse from praying, do you at last offer a humble prayer of relinquishment?

Or speechless, desperate, do you simply lift your eyes toward heaven and let the Spirit interpret the groans of your heart?

Whichever way,  always know that Jesus' ear is constantly attuned to those who find themselves in life's storms.

Sometimes he quiets the storm.

Always, he calms and delivers his child."

"Those persons who know the deep peace of God, the unfathomable peace that passeth all understanding, are always men and women of much prayer." - R. A. Torrey

Taken From "At Peace in the Storm"  by Ken Gire

Stay Strong!!!

Greater than ANY Obstacle

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."
(Isaiah 40:29, NIV)

He Gives Strength

Oftentimes, when we are facing a difficulty, it's easy to become weary in our mind and emotions.

Trying to figure it all out in our own strength can be exhausting.

But we weren't meant to try to figure everything out, we were meant to trust.

We were meant to call on Him and let Him be the hero of our story!

The Bible says in Isaiah that when you cry to God for help, as soon as He hears, He will answer you!

He will give you strength when you are weary and increase your power when you feel weak.

No matter what is going on in your life today, God is greater than any obstacle or difficulty you may be facing.

Do you need strength to overcome a challenge in your life?

Do you need power to stand strong in the midst of a storm?

Call on Him, and He will hear you.

Open your heart, and by faith, receive His strength and might.

Let Him empower you to live in victory and overcome all the days of your life!

A Prayer for Today
"Father, thank You for hearing and answering my prayers. Fill me with Your strength and power today. I trust that You are working things out for my good as I surrender every area of my life to You in Jesus' name.

Stay Strong!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Two for Monday

"Knowing God Is with Us"

This is a spiritual weapon that can be used very effectively against the enemy.

We can actually say to him, "Get away from me, Satan, for my God is with me. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is always with me, even unto the end of the age."

God's presence dwelling with us means He is ever present to give us help in our time of need.

Psalm 23 reminds us of God's dwelling with us through the midst of every circumstance we may go through in life—both good and bad.

David declared, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me" (vs. 4).

David knew God was with him so he was not afraid to pass through the valley of the shadow of death.

And in Psalm 118 we read,

"The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (vs. 6 NIV).

Likewise, in Deuteronomy 31:6 we read,

"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you."

Beloved, do you see how important it is to know that the Lord is with you at all times?

If we really know this in our heart of hearts, then we would no longer have to deal with fear on a continual basis.

We must remember that we are not alone in this world, even if there are no other people around us.

We are not orphans; God has adopted us into His spiritual family.

He has chosen us from the foundation of the world to be united with Him, to be one with Him!

This promise alone should be sufficient to banish ALL of our fears!"

Stay Strong!

Rich in What Matters

Happy Monday All!

As we re-engage the work week in pursuit of income and earnings et al, today's reading may be of some help for all of us to keep it all in perspective! 

Stay Strong!

"In our Gospel reading today, Jesus has an encounter with a man which prompts Him to warn the gathered crowd, "Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions."

Jesus then goes on to tell a story about a wealthy man who accumulates a lot of stuff, then sits back feeling very proud of himself.

But God admonishes him, saying, "You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?"

And Jesus finishes with, "thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.

This, of course, begs the question: What matters to God?

I suppose we could all come up with our own interpretation of the answer to that question.

But, as Catholics and Christians, perhaps we should seek the opinion of the One whom we claim to follow.

I think the answer can be summed up in one word: Love.

Perhaps today would be a good day to reflect on how full our "bank account" is in the one thing that really matters.

Is there room for more love in your account today?

Father, teach us to be truly rich in what matters to you. Let your love that is within us be poured out to all of our brothers and sisters today.


From "Gus Lloyd's Reflections."

Stay Strong!


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Sworn Refuge - Unfailing Resource

"What happiness for us, says Tertullian... that God be happy to swear for love of us!

Could he better make us understand how sincere is the desire that he has of giving us what he promises us?

Wretched Man, will nothing be capable of giving you confidence?

I give you my Word says the Lord.

I give you my Word that I will take care of you and that I will provide for all your needs.

May it be enough for you that I am your father and that I am not unaware of your needs.

Ask me whatever you want, I leave nothing out; I am ready to grant it to you.

This is much to promise but once again it is God who commits himself.

Is this still not enough?

I swear to you, by myself who am the Way and the Eternal Truth, by myself who hate untruthfulness and who punishes perjury with eternal penalties, by myself who can neither lie nor deceive anyone, to cease to be what I am.

I swear to you that I will serve you as a shield against all your enemies, as doctor in all your illnesses, as guide in all your ways, as advisor in all your doubts, as refuge in all your dangers, as unfailing resource in the greatest plights and when you will be abandoned by all creatures."

-  St. Claude Colombiere (1682) 

Stay Strong!

Friday, October 14, 2016

He Delivers.. Always

Happy Friday!!!

"One of the keys to overcoming fear is knowing that Jesus is faithful in the midst of the winds and the waves.

He will never let us down, so we don't have to be afraid of trouble.

Great victories and peace come to us when we come to a place that we no longer panic when something goes wrong.

Jesus will always bring us victoriously through, even as He did the disciples on the boat.

His faithfulness is a shield and a bulwark that nothing from the enemy can ever penetrate.

When fear tries to attack us, we are safe under His wings.

You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day.
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon (Psalm 91:5-6).

Here the Lord is speaking directly to our fears.

He is saying that He is with us both night and day.

He never slumbers nor sleeps, beloved.

He is always with us, constantly aware of everything that we are going through.

He knows when we're fearful or when we're anxious.

And He is the One who delivers us.

We don't need to keep our nightlight on, or the television on in our room at night.

We do not need to worry about anything at all.


Because God is with us, and He will NEVER let us down.

We don't have to fear."

Stay Strong!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Safely Through

"Our faithful Father will cover us with His wings like a mother hen covers her chicks.

When Jesus was on a boat with His disciples, a fierce storm blew up, and the men were fearful.

Jesus was not worried, however, and He calmed the winds and waves with His words.

Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?"

And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still."

And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.

And He said to them, "Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?"

They became very much afraid and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?" (Mark 4:38-41)

Jesus is with us in everything that we go through.

And His faithfulness to us is what gives us security and ensures our safety.

At times, like the disciples on the boat, we experience the wind and the waves, but He is always with us, and will see us safely through every storm that life throws at us.

We must come to the place that we are not afraid of facing difficulty because we know that Jesus will bring us safely through it.

One of the keys to overcoming fear is knowing that Jesus is faithful in the midst of the winds and the waves.

He will never let us down, so we don't have to be afraid of trouble.

Great victories and peace come to us when we come to a place that we no longer panic when something goes wrong.

Jesus will always bring us victoriously through, even as He did the disciples on the boat.

His faithfulness is a shield and a bulwark that nothing from the enemy can ever penetrate.

When fear tries to attack us, we are safe under His wings."

From "Do not be afraid ;How to free yourself from Fear."

Stay Strong

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Ask, Seek, Knock

Today's Gospel contains, to me at least,  one of the most comforting, 
hopeful, encouraging, and inspiring passages in all of the Bible!

It is a Call to Action as well as a Promise to all of us that we ought to keep close to our hearts and minds at all times - especially in times of challenge and doubt!

I have included the link to the full readings at the end of this post and I highly encourage you to take a moment to read it.

If we can believe and hold onto this promise we will be one step closer to that elusive peace that we all seek on this earth.

Stay Strong!

"In the Gospel reading from Luke 11, Jesus tells a story about persistence.

He then goes on to to say,:

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

He finishes with this:

"If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"

This leads me to a series of questions:

Are you asking the Father for the Holy Spirit?

What is your relationship with the Holy Spirit?

Are you open to an abundant outpouring of the Spirit in your life each and every day?

Or do you hold the Holy Spirit at bay?

Are you afraid to use the gifts of the Spirit?

As Jesus said, IF you ask the Father to pour the Spirit upon you, He WILL oblige.

So how about it…are you ready for the Holy Spirit to rock your world today?

A Prayer
Father, fill us with your Spirit. Help us to always be open, and to always be asking you for more of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

From "60 Second Reflections"  by Gus Lloyd

Stay Strong!


There are two Hebrew words for fear used throughout the Bible.

The first is yahreh, which means "dread"—to dread or to be frightened of—and the second is aratz, which is the term that is used in Joshua 1:9, meaning "to tremble at."

The Lord commanded Joshua not to tremble at the hostile armies surrounding him:

"Do not tremble, Joshua, or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you."

This same message is for every one of us today, no matter what forces might be threatening us at this time.

We may even see storm clouds gathering on the horizon, but we must resist being shaken because God is with us and for us.

Like Joshua, we must resist all temptations to fear by finding courage and refuge in the Lord.

We must wake up and fight fear with the weapons the Lord has given us—His Word, the name and blood of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

We must also remember that He is fighting the battle with us and for us.

It is time that we become proactive wielding the Word of God in our fight against fear.

We must shake off passivity.

It is time to fight, not to yield; to be on the offensive, not the defensive.

We must put on the whole armor of God, which will shield us from fear, standing our ground in Messiah (Eph. 6).

Having done our part, we can stand still, trusting in God's love and grace knowing that He is going before us and working on our behalf.

Joshua obeyed God even though hostile forces were surrounding him.

He chose to be strong and take courage; not to be fearful, dismayed, terrified, or anxious.

He believed God, beloved, and you and I can too.

As a result, Joshua was able to lead his people, the children of Israel, into their God-given inheritance.

If we want to receive and enter our destiny as God's children, we must learn to resist all fear in its varied forms.

Indeed, we must declare war on it, not tolerating it even for a second.

God wants us to experience and possess the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Though the enemy will attack us, we must not give in, for "greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

We must resist him:

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:8 NIV).

We are not to flee from the devil in fear, but to stand, go on the offense, and cause him to flee from us through faith!

As we do, the peace and love of God that has been promised fills us.


"Father, we pray that You will continue to reveal Your Son to us, and that we will not let any fear stand in the way of following Him.

Jesus, You said that You have revealed the Father's name to Your children and that You will continue to reveal it.

So we ask You to continue to reveal Yourself to us, giving us the strength and courage to follow after You without allowing fear to keep us from You.
Amen. "

From" Today's Word by Joel O

Stay Strong!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

[Stay Strong] Deep Inner Peace in the Storm

Hello All,

I have included an excerpt below that may appear a bit lengthy at first but if you can power through it I believe you may find the message meaningful, powerful and hopefully helpful as life's inevitable storms rage on us all and we seek our own refuge and peace!
> Stay Strong!
> "Everyone is familiar with the fact that Christ "walked on water," but not everyone knows that one of the main purposes of the story is to teach people the true meaning of PEACE.
> I'm going to quote the passage in full now, because it has such a direct bearing on some of the matters we've been discussing.
> 'When evening came, the disciples went down to the water. They got into a boat and started across the sea to Capernaum.
> It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
> The sea rose because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the water and drawing near to the boat.19
> They were terrified and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.
> But immediately he spoke to them, saying,
> "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid."
> And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, tell me to come out to you on the sea."
> And Jesus said, "Come."
> So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.
> But when he saw the wind he became afraid and started to sink; he cried out, "Lord, save me."
> Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him.
> "O man of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
> And when they got into the boat, the storm ceased, and those in the boat worshipped him.20'
> Peter and the other disciples play an enormously important role here—they represent humanity.
> All of us are being tossed about on a stormy sea, and all of us must face a good deal of suffering and anxiety in our life.
> Yet, in the midst of the winds and the rain and the turmoil, God offers us something incredible—the gift of deep, inner peace.
> When Peter stepped out of the boat and began to walk toward Christ, he was miraculously suspended over the water.
> None of the elements had any power over him.
> Despite the strength of the storm, he was untouchable.
> However, Peter faltered for two reasons.
> First, he stopped walking toward the Lord.
> After getting out of the boat and advancing fearlessly for a few paces, he recognized where he was and came to a halt, petrified.
> It was at that moment that he lost the ability to stay above the waves.
> We do the same thing.
> When faced with the problems of life—and the stress that comes with them—we try to "manufacture" our own peace and security.
> Essentially, we stop moving toward God and try to "do it ourselves."
> But, as we've already seen, God and peace are inseparable.
> If you try to obtain one without the other, you're doomed to failure.
> The one critical component to possessing deep, inner peace is being "right with God."
> And that means trying to move toward him all the time, obeying him as best you can, and then repenting whenever you fall.
> The second thing Peter did was to stop looking at the Lord.
> Instead of placing his trust completely in God, he turned his attention instead to the wind and the waves.
> That's when he panicked—and that's when he started to drown.
> Again, we do the very same thing.
> We can be sailing through life, relatively free from worry and pain, and then all of a sudden storm clouds gather and the downpour begins—and we're stuck right in the middle.
> The wind blows against us and the sea rises around us and it can be pretty scary.
> Unfortunately, there's very little that can be done to avoid such situations.
> Suffering comes to everyone.
> No matter how smart you are, no matter how rich you are, there's just no way to prevent "external" events from interfering with your plans.
> That's why you can't ever allow your peace of mind to depend on EXTERNAL events.
> When Peter focused all his attention on what was going on around him, he took his eyes off God.
> He looked up, down, around, and sideways, and was quickly overwhelmed with terror.
> How could he not be?
> He was alone at sea in the middle of the night while a tempest was blowing.
> He had no chance, and he knew it.
> How often do we act in the same fashion?
> How many times do we look at all the problems in our life and start to panic?
> Even when we manage to keep our composure on the outside, stress is busy eating away at our insides.
> It's impossible to be happy that way.
> The only solution is to keep your eyes focused on God.
> ONLY he knows your final destiny.
> ONLY he can grant you eternal happiness in heaven, and ONLY he can give you true joy in this life.
> Therefore the more you are able to give yourself over to his will and "cast your anxieties" onto him, the more you'll be able to experience true peace, despite what may be happening around you."
> From " The 10 Prayers God Always Answers"
> Stay Strong!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


My son is reading "The Shawshank Redemption" by Stephen King for his English class right now which was made into a terrific movie that came out many years ago. 

There is one scene in particular that sticks out in my head from a movie with many memorable scenes.  The protagonist Andy is speaking with a fellow inmate named Red who was incarcerated for life as a young man for a foolish crime and has repeatedly been denied parole for over 60 years.

Andy questions Red about Hope and Red answers: 

"Listen my friend.  Hope is a dangerous word. "

I agree that there is some real danger around hope but unlike Red,  I believe that the true danger with Hope exists only when we risk losing it.

Hope is such a critical and core facet of our faith and one of the true keys to our pursuit of peace, joy an happiness that we have to be careful to cultivate and protect it daily.

No matter the storm or trial you may find yourself in today,  God gives us the gift of Hope to take us by the hand and guide us away from the pain and grief and despair toward Him and everlasting and pervasive peace and joy!

We must keep that Hope and Trust in our hearts daily and FOCUS on that alone as we navigate this life filled with challenges and trouble.

We can do this through daily prayer and faith in the Lord.

Stay Strong!


Some of your prayers that you consider frantic and unintelligible are actually quite profound.

They rise from the depths of your heart—all the way to heaven.

To form these deep prayers, you need only turn toward Me with the concerns that lie heavy on your heart.

I want you to watch in HOPE as you wait for Me, your Savior.

Wait expectantly: confident that I will do what is best.

The longer you have to wait, the more you must rely on your TRUST in Me.

If you start to feel anxious, seek My help with short prayers such as:

"Jesus, fill me with Your Peace."

You may breathe these brief prayers as often as needed.

As you put your HOPE in Me, My unfailing Love rests peacefully upon you.

From " Jesus Lives " by Sarah Young

Stay Strong! 

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." ROMANS 8:26–27

"But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me."

"We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." PSALM 33:20–22

Monday, October 3, 2016

Fear Not

Happy Monday, All!

Mondays always appear to be the toughest day of the week to get back on the horse and go to battle!

Perhaps the couple of days off lulls us a bit and it takes some real mental and physical effort to get back to our mission!

Regardless, Mondays don't have to be any different than a Friday before a long holiday weekend if we choose it to be that way!

Whether Monday, Wednesday, or Saturday - we can take comfort in knowing we are NEVER ALONE in our daily battles, never alone in our storms and trials, and always member the Promise that help is just a simple request away!

We just have to Ask and Trust!

Stay Strong!

"Fear not. There is nothing to fear, for I am with you...I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My victorious right hand..."
(Isaiah 41:10, AMPC)

He Holds You in His Hand

We all face situations in life that feel out of control.

During times like these, it's easy to get discouraged and allow fear to creep in; but instead, why don't you focus on the fact that God is holding you in the palm of His hand!

There is nothing too difficult for Him; nothing's impossible; nothing is beyond His ability.

When God holds you in His hand, you are safe; you are cared for.

In His hand, there is victory.

In His hand, there is strength.

In His hand, there is provision.

In His hand is everything you need.

No matter what you may be going through today, you can trust that God is for you.

Instead of getting down and depressed over your circumstances, look up and get a vision of God turning that situation around.

Let faith rise in your heart and focus on His favor, promotion and blessing.

As you keep your heart and mind focused on Him and choose to obey His Word, you'll see those supernatural breaks that will launch you further ahead than you ever thought possible because

He holds you with His victorious right hand!

A Prayer for Today
"Father, thank You for helping me and holding me in Your victorious right hand. I choose to trust You even when things don't make sense, even when things seem beyond my control. I release my cares to You knowing that You work all things together for my good in Jesus' name.

From "Today's Word" by Joel O

Stay Strong!!