Yes, [God] wants you to sense His Presence, but He’s more concerned that you trust Him than that you feel Him. Faith, not feelings, please God -Rick Warren
Do you ever feel like God is hiding from you? Have you ever felt like you were going through the toughest time in your life, and He was no where to be found, or like your heartfelt prayers were unheard? If you’ve felt these or similar feelings, what were your responses?
I certainly have had times in my life where it seemed like God was silent. I have cried myself to sleep many nights, wondering if God was even listening to my intense pleas for comfort, clarity, and/or direction. These seasons in my life where God has seemed silent were some of the most challenging times in my faith journey. My responses have varied during these times. There have been times when God’s seeming distance made me shut down, and there have been times when His seeming distance made me pray more and continue to intentionally draw closer to Him. There have been times in these seasons when I have felt alone, depressed, lost, and even forgotten….
If you haven’t experienced these times of seeming distance, it is inevitable that you eventually will, You may even be enduring one of these seasons as you read this, and I want you to know that God has not forgotten you. In fact, it is impossible for Him to forget you. Your ability to inhale and exhale in this moment testifies that He hasn’t. Most importantly, your breath is evidence that you have not reached the end of your life’s story, so that means,
IT AIN’T OVER, and God’s goodness for your life is still ahead of you!
Victory comes through surrender. Surrender doesn’t weaken you; it strengthens you. Surrendered to God, you don’t have to fear or surrender to anything else
~Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Life
As much as I’ve understood that “Surrender” is necessary in my personal relationship with God , I had never thought of surrender as being a position of continual VICTORY. Yet, when I read those words, they immediately resonated with me, and awakened me to a greater desire to be fully surrendered to God. Read more
Last week, I shared the immense impact that reading Purpose Driven Life had on me this year. On Sunday evenings for the next several weeks, I want to share some of the impactful principles in the book. My hope is that you would be encouraged, and also intrigued to consider reading, or maybe even re-reading the book as well.
The closer you live to God, the smaller everything else appears
-Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Life
Here we are 43 days into a brand new year. It is about this time, of any given year, that most people have completely sobered up from their #NewYearNewMe high. It’s the time of year when reality kicks most people in the butt, and they wonder, “Am I really able to achieve ALL of these goals I set in one year?” Or, “Do I really have what it takes,” or the all too common question, “Am I really enough?” This is the time when most people start to get into their own heads – worrying, stressing, and doubting. And, I’m not talking about those who haphazardly entered this new year, I am talking about the people who did the work! They spent the entire month of December, investing time, money, and energy into creating the Vision Board, writing the Vision statement, and deciding on their” buzz word” for the year. They’ve purchased the planner, filled it up with goals and plans galore, but NOW WHAT?!!!!!!!
We live in a culture where it is frowned upon to be dependent. Everyone wants to be self-sufficient, self-made, and self-maintained, no one wants to “need” anyone. Having a need is thought to be a sign of weakness, and in our culture, we insist on being perceived as “strong,” even if we are struggling and stressing to uphold this persona.
I am entering 2018 joyfully sober.
Today, as I thought about the coming year, the word SOBER kept ringing in my ears, so much so that I looked up the definition. Of the many differing definitions, this is what stood out to me,
Quiet in demeanor, Free from exaggeration, showing self control
Going into a new year, we tend to be SO LOUD. There’s so much to prove because no matter how great, or how horrible the current year has been, the next year must be better, bigger, and greater. So we eagerly pop off to our friends, loved ones, and followers, proclaiming all of the many things we are going to accomplish in the coming year. Yet, today as I pondered my own desires for 2018, I challenged myself not to be intoxicated by the possibilities of a new year, without being disciplined enough to count up the cost of my goals. Jesus said, Read more
Regret is looking for you. It wants to suck the life out of your hopes, goals, and dreams for 2018. It wants to remind you of all of the things you set out to do this time last year, but you did not accomplish in 2017. It wants to prove to you that you are not enough, and it wants to convince you that there is no use in even trying because you will end up with the same results.
What I want you to know is that regret is a LIAR. You are enough, you don’t have to stay chained to the should-haves, could-haves, and would-haves of your life. Your freedom has already been divinely purchased, and it is God’s will that you walk in your freedom, be released from guilt, shame, and defeat and begin to move forward. Read more