Finding Joy

joy of the lord

Finding joy in the midst of trials and circumstances can seem like searching for hidden treasure without a map or a shovel. However, if we seek God’s presence, He will grant us eternal blessings. Psalms 16:11 (ESV) says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” In this passage, David was assured that the Lord would preserve his life, even in the face of death. He rejoiced because God enabled his body to rest securely even when confronted with uncertainty. The reason David could find joy and rest is because he knew God would never abandon him.

When we turn our attention to the Lord, the light of His countenance and presence shines upon us. The more we depend on God, the more He will make us complete. Even in our weakness, He makes us strong. As we learn to live within His loving embrace, we will come to realize nothing can separate us from the love of God.

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.

Hurry Up & Wait

Sydney-Oncology ApptAs some of you know, the last 3 weeks of my family’s life have been very difficult. As a child, my wife had a rare form of cancer when she was four and my 3 and a half-year-old daughter went to the doctors for a regular check-up and her labs indicated she had the same cancer. My world was rocked, my parents were on the other side of the world, and I felt powerless!

The very thought of losing my little angel left me broken inside, the tests we had to subject her to left me in tears as I watched the tears roll down her cheeks, and knowing I was unable to do anything made me want to desperately change places with her.
parents prayer
I never fully understood a parent’s love until I became one and I would do anything for my daughter. Being a parent can provide the best of times and the worst of times, but as much as I love my daughter, it is unfathomable to comprehend that our heavenly Father loves her even more, so why would He allow something so horrific to happen to her and all the other beautiful innocent children? Dwelling on this began to rock my faith boat as I watched children and their families in the pediatric oncology department coming out after chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

The doctors have been amazing and I have been satisfied so far with their diagnosis, but I and many other prayer warriors have been seeking the Great Physician for His diagnosis and miraculous cure. After the first test came back positive for neuroblastoma, I pleaded with God to spare her from going through what her mother had to endure and I asked God for the strength to endure whatever the outcome might be.
Great Physician
It felt as though life had stood still until we knew for sure what we were dealing with and some days we raced from hospital to hospital for this lab and then another test, and then we would wait days with no answer. Hurry up and wait turned into wait and pray. Waiting is never fun, unless death is what you are trying to delay. keep-calm-and-hurry-up-and-wait-4

Our circumstances reveal our true character by how we respond to the adversity they are surrounded by. When facing trials, the first thing you must do is take your thoughts captive because our thoughts determine the direction we are headed. The second thing you must do is begin reading and speaking the Word of God. It will bring you peace as you find all the promises of God and it will give you strength to walk through any season. The third thing you must do is maintain a pure heart, so that you don’t allow fear, bitterness, or resentment to set in.

The very things we allow into our lives shape our heart and our way of thinking. Then as we all go through difficult seasons what we have allowed into our lives will determine our response. Do you get down on your knees and pray to God, or do you turn angrily away from Him when times get tough? It would be nice if every season we walked through was a season of harvest, but if we didn’t walk through the harder seasons of plowing, planting, and watering, we wouldn’t be prepared for the harvest.

Over the last three weeks, the soil of my life has been tilled to the point of feeling scattered and broken, but it has been in this season that I have been able to draw even closer to the Lord. Learning to survive where you are is hard enough, but if you can learn to thrive in any situation, you will never lose ground and you will move one day closer towards your victory and breakthrough.

Learning how to thrive in any season begins with learning how to be thankful in every season. Knowing my daughter may have cancer made this extremely difficult, but as I watched all the other children with amputations and terminal cancer, I began to thank God and it was in doing so that I found peace in whatever the Lord’s will was. An attitude of peace in the midst of a storm allows you to see the rainbow on the other side. Peace ultimately allows you to be at one with God regardless of what you are walking through.
rainbow through storm

Peace leads to joy even in the midst of uncertainty and suffering and the joy of the Lord is our strength. Real joy is formed in the midst of some of the most difficult seasons of life. The sad reality is most will never grasp this principle thus paralyzing them to move forward or to see the good in a negative circumstance. God causes all things to work together for our good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose so if we believe the Word of God to be true then He promises to use our pain, our fear, and every tear we shed to bring forth countless blessings. Those who don’t believe the word of God to be true are only living a facade and their joy is nothing more than artificial harmony.
every season
Knowing and believing you are who God says you are is paramount because the second you start listening to negative reports or what others say about you or your circumstances, you allow them to determine and dictate your actions and reactions. People are finite with limited understanding and power while God is omnipotent and limitless. Despite what is going on in your life, you must trust that God has you in the palm of His hand and that He has a plan and purpose for your life. Each of us has a calling, gifts, and talents and it’s often in seasons of extreme adversity where these skills are perfected either in us or through us.

Our adversity often leads to pain and while our pain is not optional, being miserable is. Trying times are not the time to stop trying; they are the time to pull your shoelaces tight and hold on to God. Yesterday we received the latest test results back and they showed no tumor and even the labs were now within normal ranges. The doctor who has been doing this for over 30 years said he had never seen two tests so drastically different, so we are believing God has provided a miracle. Miracles are a great and wonderful thing, but you rarely want to be in a place where a miracle is the only thing left to save you, but we are believing and praising God for this one. Please continue to keep my family in your prayers as we continue the protocol and remember to praise God no matter what you are going through.