Living Above Your Circumstances

God vs. Satan

When things seem to continually go wrong in life, we must continue to trust God. When the reins of life slip from our fingers and we are no longer in control, we must still continue to trust God.Live a positive lifeYou see our response to adversity has the potential to lift us up above any challenge we may come across. Unfortunately, the natural human response is to turn to negativity and start complaining. This mindset only leads deeper down the rabbit hole to depression by darkening our perspective.

Instead of complaining, we should be crying out to God and we should be thanking Him in all things. I realize this can be hard to do, especially during times of great loss and suffering, but if you are already in the habit of looking to God in the good and the bad, it will be much easier for you to lean on and trust in God’s plan when disaster strikes.start next chapter in lifeRemember that Satan is waiting for the opportunity to inflict the most damage in your life to take you out and that can easily happen the longer life is grand and God gradually takes a back row seat in our priorities. However, with an attitude of praise during times of turmoil, you will experience an unfathomable peace regardless of what is going on in your life.

Many times in life, we have not because we ask not, so what we must never forget is the Spirit of God dwells inside every believer and His power is infinite. As we pray, praise, and trust God, we channel that power to move mountains and do miraculous things.lion-and-lambThe problem arises when we try to do things on our own with our own strength, which is finite, because Jesus tells us the main reason He ascended to heaven was so He could send the Holy Spirit to be our helper and ever-present help in time of need. In life, it is not by might or by power, but by the power of the His Spirit says the Lord Almighty.
CaddyshackOur joy in trials and tribulations is something we must also guard especially in seasons and chapters of life that seem to have no end. Our joy is not dependent on our circumstances; true joy is the by-product of dwelling in God’s presence. The joy of the Lord is our strength, so any adversity we face should not negate joyous living, in fact, we should consider it pure joy! When God is first in our lives, we can find joy even during the most difficult trials and circumstances. Even though we don’t know what tomorrow may bring, God does and our breakthrough or miracle may be right around the corner.

We must walk by faith and not by sight and in II Corinthians; Paul actually says we are to live by faith and not by sight. When we worry about whatever we are walking through or what may happen, we deafen the voice of God in our lives. Where does our help come from? It comes from the Lord and He is waiting for His children to call out to Him and to trust Him in all things. We must entrust God in every area of our lives because His ways are so much higher than our own.
Don't let things bring you downIn all things we should rejoice, for this is the day the Lord has made and we are to be glad in it. If you can wake up and start the day with that as your first thought, I promise your days ahead will be far better than your latter. It does not mean you will no longer face adversity, but it ensures that God is with you in whatever and whenever something or someone may attempt to steal your joy, so always remember to give thanks in all circumstances and God will never forsake you.

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Cast Your Burdens on the Lord

never-be-afraid-to-trust-an-unknown-future-to-a-known-god-corrie-ten-boom

Whatever we are going through, God knows. That statement itself should give us peace and strength to endure anything, yet we often find ourselves fighting to survive the daily circumstances and conflicts that surround us.

While we are gasping and choking for air, we should be resting at the Master’s feet breathing in His daily peace and calmness. While we are treading water with no sight of land, we should be sheltered and safe under the Lord’s outstretched arms of protection – so why aren’t we?

God promises each of us a supernatural peace in the midst of turmoil, if we seek Him first. In turn, despite what is going on, we will know He is in complete control. To cast your cares upon the Lord also means to give God control in your circumstance. You can’t have one without the other! Carrying life’s burdens leads to anxiety, which causes us to worry, and which ultimately takes our eyes off God and focuses them on our problems and ourselves.

Worry is fundamentally a willful form of self-centeredness. Instead of praying and seeking God, we can become consumed with trivial circumstances. If you could picture heaven and earth colliding, our minds would be in the epicenter. There is a daily struggle being waged and if we lose the battle over our minds, we lose the war. Staying grounded in the Word and keeping in close communion to God is how we overcome and prevail over the siege warfare being used to wear us down. In the end, God gives beauty for ashes, like a phoenix rising from its own demise. God will do the same for us when we allow Him to use our circumstances for His glory and when we view our trials through His eyes and perspective.

We expend countless energy and resources on problems which are either unimportant or are completely out of our control. However, when we look to God and allow Him to carry our burdens, we allow Him to shine light in the dark areas of our life and we trust Him to do what only He can. In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 Paul said, “all our troubles are light and momentary, compared with the eternal glory being accomplished by them.” These profound words mean we have no idea what or how our trials and circumstances are accomplishing. Some trials may be for us: to strengthen us, to better ourselves, or perhaps to even correct an area of our life; while other times, the trials we walk through may be for the people in our lives. We may be the epitome of a disciple of Christ, but one trial comes on the heel of the next and it’s the people in our lives who are watching how we handle ourselves when there seems to be no hope. True faith is always measured where there seems to be no hope.
TrustGodGod’s Word tells us to lay our requests before Him and to wait in expectation. This is impossible to do if we don’t keep our eyes fixated on God. As we draw near to Him; He draws closer to us and when we are in communion with God, we can hear His still, small voice speaking words of wisdom, love, joy, peace, and life. Worrying accomplishes nothing just as maybe leads us in circles that go nowhere. Jesus answers yes and amen and He empowers us for whatever life may throw our way and He is our song allowing us to have joy despite our circumstances. Today is the day the Lord has made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it. Don’t worry about tomorrow for it will worry about itself. Like manna from heaven, God will give you exactly what you need to make it through this day and tomorrow He will do the same when you seek Him with all your mind, soul, and strength.

The way of the Lord can be narrow and often steep, even perilous at times. That is why we must constantly cast our cares, our anxieties, and our burdens on Him so we are less likely to fall as we traverse the path set before each of us. The less we have to carry the less likely we are to fall. As we give God everything that attempts to hold us back, He takes them and buries them at the cross where the blood of Jesus was poured out so we never have to live in condemnation of our sin and so we can experience closeness with God. When Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom making a way for each one of us to know and experience God on a deep and personal level. God knows what you need and when you need it, so trust Him and you will never regret it. I’ll end with two of my favorite quotes: “We must cease striving and trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses to make it available. But this kind of trusting doesn’t come naturally. It’s a spiritual crisis of the will in which we must choose to exercise faith.” Charles R. Swindoll & “Fear is the glue that keeps you stuck. Faith is the solvent that sets you free.” Shannon L. Alder

Fear & Trust

Any second they will be taking me back for surgery to repair my spine…posterior-lumbar-interbody-fusion-surgery1

“For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)

God’s love for us is the strongest power in existence and nothing can separate us from it; my greatest strength comes from knowing that! The weeks and days leading up to this surgery have sent my mind into overdrive, sometimes causing my peace to escape my grasp.

To overcome my fear, there came a point where I had to trust God enough to take care of any problem I might face.trust-god

God is the ultimate Shepherd and He protects His flock. Nothing’s impossible for Him and when we bring our physical, spiritual and emotional needs before God, He hears our cries and His power is made perfect in our weakness.
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When we stay focused on God, peace surrounds every step we take, but when we allow life to take our eyes off of Jesus, we open ourselves to attack. Things like depression, transitions, and loss begin to permeate our lives. Next, our anxiety, stress, and thoughts over money, time, work and the countless other things we must manage begin to manage us until they bring us to our knees.

In this life, we are bound to have trouble, but Christ has already overcome the world and He only sends the toughest battles to His strongest soldiers.
fight or give up

I thought my battle would only be a chapter of my life, but it has turned into a book; one that is full of miracles and endless stories of God’s grace and mercy. When God is for us, there is nothing that can ever stand against us.

Speak these words to the next adversary that tries to rob your peace!

Shaken

The opposite of up is down and the opposite of wet is dry, but what is the opposite of God? Many of us would quickly say Satan and that would ultimately be wrong because God has no opposite and God has no equal; this is something we must never forget. When times are so bad that it feels like all the powers that oppose God have been focused on you and the Eye of Sauron has you in its sights, as one attack comes on the heels of the last, it can feel like the only option left is to just give up. As each trial of adversity confronts us, it feels like we are besieged on all sides and there is no way out. In these times, it is very easy to be shaken to the core and feel like a fraction of who and what you used to be. Our confidence and ability to be a father, husband, mother, or wife can be stolen from us. If you have felt this way, you are not alone.
The moment I recognized the call God placed on my life and I decided to advance the kingdom of God, I was bombarded in every possible way. The enemy had thrown every fiery dart in his arsenal in an attempt to take me out but I love Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden and cares upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” I claimed this scripture over my life and I trusted God to plant my feet firmly! I chose to put my faith and trust in Him and believed that He had already set the time for my victory and I pray the same prayer over your life as you read this!
When we are insecure, we can feel so empty, but at the same time feel like we are going to explode. We may lay in bed at night hoping, wishing, and praying God will take our burdens. Sometimes we are even left asking, “Where is my God in all this?” In these times, clarity, strength, and peace can feel beyond our grasp, but even when our confidence in ourselves has been stolen, our confidence in our God must remain. He loves each one of us and He has a plan for each one of our lives. Sometimes I wish He would just write those plans on the wall, but even though He doesn’t, I know His plans are to prosper us and to give us a hope and a future.
Being shaken is like being invaded, so when we are we must not just pray that God gives us back what was stolen, but that He would give us the strength to take back what is rightfully ours. If you are walking through this season, I pray what the enemy meant for harm in your life God will use it for good and I pray God will be your rear guard so that when the enemy attacks again, He will send them fleeing in seven different directions. C.S. Lewis wrote, “God gives gifts where He finds the vessel empty enough to receive them.” Be that empty vessel and pray that He fills you till you are overflowing with His love, mercy, and grace and that He grabs hold of you and never lets you go.

Silence

To know the mind of God, we have to learn how to discern the voice of God.  Lately, this is something that I have had a real hard time doing.  For me, this is normally a sign that I’m doing too much and I’m going too fast.  When we slow down to actually see what God thinks, it is amazing how much more peace we have.  Rarely, will we have to go through a period where God remains silent, but what do we do when this happens?

This is something that has really been on my heart lately and I’m going to be real honest, it’s something that is harder to write about since it’s going on right now.  It’s a lot easier to talk about things once we’ve already walked them out, so I’m going to be as transparent as possible.  When we are calling out to God for direction, peace, or any of the other trillion reasons we call out to Him and we hear nothing; it feels incredibly lonely?  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am doing exactly what God is calling me to do, that is what makes it even harder. It has taken me years to discern the voice of God and I still miss it from time-to-time and there are still times, like the present, where He seems to be absent.  It is in these times that our faith and trust in God are truly tested.  I heard today that God uses impossible people to accomplish impossible tasks by crushing them.  That is what it feels like when you are living your life doing what God has called you to do, yet when you call out to Him, there is only silence.

I have had to guard myself from becoming bitter and from letting my joy be taken during this period of silence.  When you call out to God and there is only silence, it feels like God is shouting back, “I’m not here” only by His lack of response.  Someone recently reminded me that the joy of the Lord is my strength and hearing this came at the perfect time because I could literally feel my joy being stolen and I know the enemy wants nothing more than for us to lose our joy because when we do, it makes us more vulnerable to spiritual attacks.  So, I offer you the same encouragement I am giving myself: this too shall pass.  God gives us joy so that we can have the strength to face any adversity.  Even in His silence, He is accomplishing more than we can ever fathom.  We can’t make it through times of testing without joy, so I want to encourage you to thank God even His silence.  Trust that even if you can’t hear Him now that He will neither leave nor forsake you and that you are loved and cherished by Him.  As a new father, I can’t imagine not responding to my daughter when she cries out to me, so I know it pains God to see us feel forsaken by His silence.  He alone knows what is best for us and if that includes silence, even in the midst of a violent storm, I trust in Him and I pray that you have the faith and assurance to do the same.

How to Swim in the Deep End

One of the hardest and scariest things we can learn is how to swim.  When we venture into unchartered waters and end up in the deep-end, where we can’t touch the bottom nor grab the sides or see the shoreline, it can be a very helpless feeling.  In Psalms 107:24 we read, “They saw the works of the Lord, His wonderful deeds in the deep.”  It is in times that we are powerless to act that we oftentimes see the wonders of God, especially when He has called us to represent Himself in the deep-end.  Being in the deep-end, where you can’t see the bottom or shoreline is like not being able to see how something could possibly turn out for good, let alone for greatness and this can be as scary as learning to swim in the deep-end.  It is in these times that we must realize that we are not alone and the Lord’s best by far outweighs our best and if He has called us to be here; His glory and mercy precedes any trial or adversity we might face and His Spirit will provide a way where there was no way and He will never make us endure more than what we can handle.  These are some major promises you should never forget!

When we feel powerless, or like we are drowning, treading water, or unable to swim anymore, we must have the faith and trust to believe that all we need to do is reach out to Jesus, our strong deliverer and defender and take hold of His hand.  Isaiah 41:13: “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you; Do not fear, for I will help you.”  That is the Lords words, straight from the source, but it is still difficult to have faith in something or someone who you have yet to see act in your personal life.

As a parent with a child in the NICU fighting for her life, I feel powerless to make her better and the guilt from this makes me feel like I am drowning.  A few days ago we had to make some crucial decisions regarding some painful diagnostic tests for our 4 day old child.  At this point we were broken and we both started praying in tears: “I called out to Jesus saying this is your child whom was brought with a price, she is marvelously made, her name is written on you palm, you have knit her together in her mother’s womb and I pray right now you breathe the breath of God into her and that you fill her with your Spirit.  I dedicate her life to you, I plead your precious blood over her life and I promise You that as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  I know that God can do anything beyond my wildest dreams because I have seen Him make a way when there was no way.  I’ve seen Him work in ways I could not see or understand at the time and have totally come to the conclusion that with God, all things are possible.

Since we found out we were having a baby, I have been keeping a journal, tracking all of her development.  Each week, I would pray over whichever organ or body functions were being miraculously formed, so I feel very in tune with our precious daughter.  I know first-hand that there is power in prayer and even right now, I know that He is restoring and healing my little princess who will be an amazing testimony of God’s goodness, grace, and mercy.  A major part of walking anything out is giving praise where it is due and helping other people who are walking similar challenges out.  I promise you will find purpose, happiness, and belonging if you will do these things.  Take a step of faith today and believe God for a miracle and stand in the gap with someone who is going through something you can relate to.  Just remember, we are not the answer, but we serve the one who is.  To Him be the Glory Now & Forever!