Follow-Up to Hopelessness
First, I just want to thank everyone for your overwhelming response to my previous post on hopelessness and it seems I am not the only one walking through a season of despair.

What I want to make abundantly clear is when God places a dream in your heart, He seals that dream with a promise to bring it to fruition. Then, He equips you with everything you need to accomplish that dream.

Every desire God places in your heart, He alone can meet and He wouldn’t give you the desire to do something without also giving you the ability to fulfill it. God is faithful and He gives you the desires of your heart. As you walk through life, he prepares you until you are complete and ready to become His masterpiece!

When people set out to accomplish their dreams, setbacks and disappointments are sure to arise, but in God’s hands your setbacks will become setups and your disappointments will become appointments to something greater than you could have imagined, if you keep your faith and trust in God.

Even if you feel like your time has passed, don’t give up!

No matter what’s happened to you, no matter what you’ve done and no matter what people say about you, God will make all things new in and through you. Each day you are here is another day to reach your God-given potential and destiny. Even if a dream seems to have died, trust God to have something new and better for you. The promises of God are eternal so never let go of them and He will never let go of you!

Original Post
This last month has been one filled with disappointments, setbacks and people telling me I can’t or won’t be able to do things. You could say it has not been a good month, you could say at times it seems hopeless, and at times if I’m being totally honest that is how I feel. With another fusion surgery looming around the corner and people telling me I’m not good enough or that I won’t be able to do the things I know God has called me to do, it feels as though the dreams and aspirations God put in my heart are slipping through my fingers.

God’s Word says we are to cast our cares and our burdens on Him no matter how small or big they may seem and in Him we will find rest.

Rest is something I long for…

It is all but a fleeting and distant memory now. Some days, I’ll have a flashback of what life was like before everything changed, but even those are becoming rare. Lately, my nights have been plagued with painful spasms as my spinal cord is being compressed causing my body to violently jerk. I have prayed for healing and I know the Lord has heard my cries, but whether that healing happens supernaturally, naturally or on the other side of eternity, I must not lose hope because when you lose your hope, you lose your joy and the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Living with pain is a seductive dance; one in which your partner means to destroy you and she demands a response. The thorn in my side presses in deeper daily and attempts to rob me of any hope of its removal. Just as Satan waited until Jesus was at His weakest to tempt Him, he too has waited for an opportunity where I was weak and vulnerable to whisper his half-truths in my sleep deprived nights.

Sleep should literally be the easiest thing to do, but its sweet embrace eludes me.

The good news is I find my joy, my hope, my rest and my strength in the Lord; He is the ultimate source and with Him all things are possible.

You will never find joy, hope, rest, or strength in people, places or things, so every time someone says I’m not good enough, God says, “I am”; Every time someone says I can’t or I won’t, God says, “I can and I will.” Every time I feel like the burdens in my life are going to crush me, in that moment, God gives me everything I need to make it one more day. If you are in a similar place or have been experiencing any of what I’ve been talking about, look to God and find your joy and your hope in Him.

If you’ve lost your joy and hope, don’t just pray He gives them back to you, pray He gives you the strength to take them back from whomever or whatever has stolen them from you.

The promises of God are for you and in Christ you can be all things and you can do all things regardless of your circumstance and regardless of what anyone has told you.

God has put dreams and aspirations in each of your hearts, so grab hold of them and never let go of them. They will come to pass in His perfect time and according to His perfect plan. It may not look exactly like you had planned it. Just remember to keep your faith and trust in God because when you do it will always keep your destiny within reach.

His Grace is Sufficient

Neck Pain
I woke up this morning in excruciating pain; it felt as though a nail had been driven in the back of my neck as I awoke in agony. Many of you know I have undergone multiple surgeries over the course of last year to repair the damage caused when a truck hit me on my bike going 65 mph. Up until now I had been pain free, so you can imagine the thoughts racing through my mind this morning. I felt fear, panic, worry, anger, but the more my mind drifted to all the what-ifs, the more I could sense God’s presence bringing me back to center.

Even though I am in extreme pain as I am writing this; I know God’s grace is sufficient for me. Regardless of how much pain I am in and regardless of how messed up things feel right now, I know God is in complete control and I have absolute faith and trust in Him and His plan.

So, despite what is going on in my body, I want to speak a message of hope in the midst of my suffering. We serve a God who heals not only broken bones and bodies, but also broken hearts, lives, homes and spirits. God is close to the broken hearted and He is waiting to heal us and our wounds when we turn to Him.

The first step to receiving any healing is drawing close to God. Our healing may not be instantaneous, but the longer we remain in His presence, the more we are able to endure our circumstances. The trials we undergo build our faith and trust muscles. Healing is often a process and in some cases it may be on the other side of eternity where we receive our complete healing. The important thing for us to do is remain in the center of God’s will wherever that may be.

For the Apostle Paul, the thorn and affliction in his side was never removed or completely healed, but because it wasn’t, Paul learned God’s grace was more than sufficient for him despite anything he might have endured.

The number of people’s needs is infinite, but we serve an omnipotent God! Many needs go unmet because they simply ask not. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given unto you; seek and you will find.” Even though God knows every thought before we think it and He knows every word before we speak it, He still wants us to be open and honest with Him.

I will never understand why we try to hide our feelings from God, but I can guarantee you it goes back to the fall in the Garden where Adam and Eve hid from God after they ate from the Tree of Knowledge. God desires for us to be open with Him and to share the desires of our heart. The more open we are, the closer He will draw to us.
broken beautiful
When we seek God earnestly, He will share His mind and thoughts with us and He will open our eyes to see from His perspective. In my pain and uncertainty I have just sought God’s presence and allowed Him to overshadow any fear I was feeling. His grace and peace is sufficient for me and it is sufficient for you. Cast your cares and burdens on the Lord and He will give you rest and perfect peace.

Which Way Are We Looking?

To truly understand what it means to be whole, you must first understand what it means to be broken. God has a plan for each one of our lives, but we tend to deviate off the path from time-to-time. In some instances, we make a quick course correction, while others; we continue a downward spiral until we hit rock bottom.downward-spiral

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NASB)

Last night, I was lying in bed and I was looking into my dresser mirror and saw the ceiling fan going the wrong way and it really got me thinking. The fan in reality was going the right way, but in the mirror it was going backwards. When we look at our lives, we often spend the majority of our time looking the wrong way. While we should never forget the past, we should be looking for the new and wonderful things our future holds as followers of Christ. Knowing the story of what God has done in your life makes it that much more powerful, but using those experiences to better the kingdom of God brings joy, purpose and peace! When we get stuck in the past or present, it becomes impossible to see the future, so never lose sight of the great things yet to come, and never forget we overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb AND the word of our testimony!

Over the last 2 weeks, I have battled withdrawal from 3 narcotic medications I had taken following a car/cycling accident and then multi-level back fusion surgery.pill_addiction_by_kaywa-d4ij1lm At times, it has felt like there is no end in sight, but in my heart, I know this to not be true. So far, the worst part for me has been the sleepless nights, depression, anxiety and aching pain, but even in these God has spoken to me and allowed me to see another side of His loving character.Restless Mind The other part to this story which has truly moved me is a man I personally know of is battling these same withdrawal symptoms at a treatment facility. I truly believe God is showing me exactly how to pray for this individual and that has really motivated me to see something beautiful in something so painful. Because God loves us so much, He doesn’t want to leave us where we are; He wants the very best for each of us.
When we can begin to let that rationalization be our filter in life, we will see the world and all its circumstances through a brighter lens. Not one bad or painful experience will ever be wasted and not one tear we shed will be lost when we love the Lord and are called according to His purpose!

The Key to Finding Peace

peace of God

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

Lately, it has felt like more and more things are out of my control. Things I used to handle with ease have become monumental tasks and asking for help has become an everyday occurrence. Constantly needing help is foreign to me and having to rely on other people is completely beyond what I’m used to.
out of control

When you’re not in control, it’s real easy to lose your peace, but if you put your faith and trust in God during these times, He will use whatever you’re walking through to your advantage. God has the ability to meet every one of our needs without even straining because He is all sufficient and all powerful. He simply desires for us to call upon His name and look to Him with bold confidence and a grateful heart.

When things seem to be going the exact opposite of how I want them to, I have to remind myself that God’s ways are so much higher than my own and as long as I am living according to His will, He will make a way where I can see no way. When we give our problems to God, we will learn firsthand He will neither leave nor forsake us. When we don’t look to God, we are left to our own thoughts and our mind can race out of control, leaving us feeling uneasy, scared, confused, and restless, but as we cast our cares upon the Lord, He will fill us with His peace.Give your worries to God

We must continually seek the will and voice of God in our own lives and that only happens as we open up to the Father and share the desires of our heart openly with Him. When we seek Him, we will find Him and He will become our refuge and the closer we grow to the Father, the more He will empower us to embrace the trials and adversity of life. I don’t know about you, but I want to pass the test the first time so I don’t have to endure anymore heartache or pain than I have to. God is with us wherever we go, but because of the fall in the Garden, challenges in life are inevitable, yet when we face them and call upon the name of Jesus in their midst, our Lord will use whatever stands in our way as a stepping stone to abundant blessings.

This last chapter of my life has drained me physically, spiritually, and emotionally, but each day, I approached the throne of grace on bended knee with an open heart and God has filled me with His presence and He has met me where I was, broken at times, but afterwards I would be overflowing with His love, mercy, power, and grace. Each new day, God fills me up as I seek Him.hug from Jesus

The key to living a life of peace is we must continually seek God in the good times and the bad. He alone knows exactly what we need exactly when we need it and when we can trust God to supply all of our needs, we will know real peace!
God gives his hardest battles to His strongest soldiers

He Gave His All

God is the ultimate giver! On the cross, He held nothing back!
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

Suffering is never fun, whether it’s physical or emotional. For me, lately it has been a little of both since recovering from my recent back surgery. Last night my mind started to think back to the first night after my surgery and a point where the nurses needed to move me up in the bed. I can still remember them grasping the sheets and pulling my broken body up and the pain that soon ensued began to course through areas of my body I didn’t even know were possible.

This season of recovery has shown me things I never could’ve conceptualized before about agony and it has provided me with a mere glimpse of what Christ must have experienced on the cross. Here I was just being repositioned in bed after a corrective surgery and Christ was pushing up on nails pierced through His feet just to breathe. He took the weight of the world squarely on His shoulders and He who knew no sin became sin for all of us!nails pierced

Each day, I have to remind myself to seek God before I do anything else. If I don’t, it starts to feel like things are spinning out of control and before I know it, the world can feel like it is crashing in around me and the sky is falling. This is not the way God intends us to live our lives, but when we don’t continually seek Him, all we can do is try to balance multiple spinning plates.SpinningPlates

However, when we give our needs, our wants, our desires, and even our failures to Him, He is the ultimate author and perfecter of our faith and He will come alongside of us to give us exactly what He knows we need in that very instant.

This is where a lot of us miss the train or get off too soon: God is the only One Who knows what is best for us!
don't miss the train

Our minds are not capable of seeing neither every consequence that may play out nor the things that may be even better than what we could conceptualize or even fathom.

What we must do is simply spend time alone with God and allow Him to see what’s inside of us. He already knows everything about us, but He desires us to openly communicate with Him.

Talk to God

All that matters is we are honest with Him and when God begins to speak into our lives, He will transform and renew our mind and He will put a new song in our heart. He will give us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it; that is a promise from the King of kings, who swears by His own name because there is no name higher!

Even though at times it can feel like you are out of control, that’s ok because the only one who you really want to be in control is God. When the world seems to be crushing you and there seems to be no way out; that’s ok because God has already overcome the world. Our understanding will always fail us, but our trust and relationship with God will give us peace and will always remind us God can always make a way!God will get you through it

Praise Before the Prize

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.” Psalm 28:7 (NIV)Psalm_28-7

Last night, I awoke in excruciating pain with barely enough strength to merely sit-up in bed. It was in this moment, I could hear the Lord speaking to me. All I could was praise the Lord, so that’s what I did.Jesus - Just praise Him
The longer I praised Him, the more my faith began to increase as I knew He was answering my specific prayer in that very instant. God delights when we call out to Him and He is even more pleased when we rely on Him entirely.

Going through this spinal fusion surgery and now recovery has enabled me to see so many new sides of God I knew existed, but had never experienced first-hand. I know my road ahead is going to be tough, but I also know that nothing is impossible for my God!god-of-wonders_t

One area I am a little apprehensive about is coming off of all the narcotics I have needed to give me some sort of normalcy in my life over the last two years. This scares me and I am just being honest. To depend upon something to just make it through every day and then just stop is terrifying to me! I am already praising God for what He is going to do in this because I know that He is all I need, He will sustain me, He will strengthen me and He will give me rest.

At any given moment, our greatest weakness is God’s greatest strength!

If we can get in the habit of believing this and praising God before we can even see our victory, He will sustain us until all of His promises are fulfilled. Knowing this is such an encouragement to me and I hope after reading this, you would look to areas in your own life where despite what your finite minds can fathom and what your limited eyesight can see, you would begin to trust God with everything in your life. Ultimately, it’s our praise that will illuminate God’s presence over all of our circumstances!keep-calm-god-will-make-a-way-2

Be Still and Know I am God

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
Living Happy on a day to day basis
Never in my life have I had to really upon God so much than I have this last month. I have pleaded for him to intercede in my daughter’s life as we walked through a painful chapter called the NICU and I have pleaded with God to heal my wife’s diabetes and to keep her cancer in remission, but trusting God to act in your own life is different; it feels more intimate.

3 weeks ago, I underwent a spinal fusion procedure meant to correct the damage inflicted during a severe vehicular accident while I was riding my road bicycle. Up until 10 days ago I would have told you I felt things were finally starting to improve and that I had turned the corner from the major surgical pain I was experiencing. That night, I went to sleep and upon waking up, I could not feel my left leg and my right hip felt like someone was repeatedly stabbing me with an ice pick while the sciatica shooting pain straight from the pit of hell had intensified exponentially down my right leg.Pain
I was totally bed-ridden by this new onset of pain. What really terrified me was all the pain in my extremities had vanished after the surgery leading me to believe despite the surgical pain I was feeling, the surgery itself was a complete success.

Now you can probably imagine my horror and the thoughts that raced through my head: “I wondered if I did something wrong, or if something had broken off or come loose, or if they would have to operate again?”

After these thoughts began to race through my mind, I can remember the very instant because I could hear the enemy begin to whisper, “The surgery was unsuccessful and you will always be a prisoner to your pain.”TRUTH & lies
Immediately, I rebuked those lies in the name of Jesus, but I couldn’t deny my concern with the sudden onset of new symptoms.

Praise God, after viewing my scans and speaking with the doctor, he confirmed the promise God had already made to me: “My healing is real & God is true to His word.”

The doctor went on to say the symptoms I was experiencing were normal due to the sensitive nature of nerves and since my impingement had lasted for such a long time, there was quite a bit of uncertainty and unpredictability as to how long I would experience these new symptoms, but praise God we are not limited by man’s understanding of medicine.

I praise Jehovah Rophe for the work He has begun in me and will complete and I bind any lies or hindrances the enemy is trying to put in my path in the name of Jesus!

I can sense the enemy trying to do everything in his power to waiver my faith regarding the promise God made regarding my complete healing.cloud_serpent
God knows me and He knows exactly what I need. If this journey has taught me anything it is to take one day at a time and to rely solely upon the Lord.

When we spend our time worrying about everything going on around us, we miss everything God is doing in our life, whether it is seen or unseen.
Beth Moore said something that has always stuck with me regarding fear. She said, “FEAR is nothing more that False Evidence Appearing Real.” When we allow our fear to overshadow the power of God, we limit His power which is unlimited! The more we begin to trust God and praise Him for what He is doing, the more we will see Him make ways where there are none. The more we begin to sing praises to the King of kings while our world is crashing in around us, the more we will see miracles happen right before our eyes!

I pray as you read these words you would begin to look at areas in your life where you need to trust God more and for areas you need to praise God more. When the light of God shines upon us, there is no limit to what He can accomplish in and through us!