Sunday Devotional: Pushing Past the Hardships

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for
extraordinary destiny.
-C.S. Lewis

We're often told that nothing worth keeping in life comes easy. If we want something, we have to work hard for it. Becoming a marathon runner often means losing your pinkie toenail. Ouch! While staying the course, the runner will feel aches and pains over their whole body, and could quit at any time and stop the pain, but to be a true marathon runner means staying in the race.

That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, 
who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
Command and teach these things. 
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, 
but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 
Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture,
to preaching and to teaching. 
Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy 
when the body of elders laid their hands on you.  
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, 
so that everyone may see your progress. 
Watch your life and doctrine closely. 
Persevere in them, because if you do, 
you will save both yourself and your hearers.(1 Timothy 4:10-16)

In order to stay the course, we have to make up our minds and set it. Persevere, watch closely, be diligent, devout ourselves. It's all about keeping our focus on God and the end goal... freedom. If we waver and can't make up our minds, then we'll consider quitting an option. Once quitting is not an option, that's when we'll see the fruits of our labor. 

The last six miles are the hardest in a marathon, when you've already got twenty miles behind you and you only have six left, many people find that's when the doubts come in on whether they can finish it or not. If we quit when we're almost at the end of our goal, we'll have to start over again at mile one next time, and pushing past those last six miles won't be any easier than this time.

If we worry that we can't do this, we need to see things God's way. We need to remember that we're already a winner. When trouble comes our way, we have to remember that God sees how this ends, and we've already won.

But thanks be to God, 
who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession 
and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

He always leads us in triumph... always. 

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you 
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philipians 1:6)

Even if we keep messing things up, He won't give up on us. He picked us because He saw us as winners, so expect Him to keep at us until we become exactly what He knows we can be... victorious. More than conquerors.

We've got this.

He believes in us.

Our turn to believe in Him and push past whatever hardships are standing in our way and keep striving until we reach the finish line.

New Release and Giveaway!

Hi Everybody!

My latest devotional, Living a Life You Love, released March 1 on Kindle (in the Kindle Unlimited program temporarily). The cover is by the lovely Marisa-Rose Shor of Cover Me Darling, and the formatting for the paperback was done by the ever awesome Marcy Rachel Designs.

I just got back the proof copies and they are FABULOUS.

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Sunday Devotional Blog: But I want it now!

Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act!
 Keep traveling steadily along his pathway and in due season 
he will honor you with every blessing, 
and you will see the wicked destroyed.
(Psalm 37:34 TLB)

I'm broken.

At 42 years old, I feel like I've been broken for so long that I'm beyond repair. But God promises me that there is nothing about me that He cannot change.

and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- 
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, 
the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise
 instead of a spirit of despair. (Isaiah 61:3 NIV)

Although there are times when He heals things miraculously and instantly, most of the time, He does not. Sometimes, we have to reap what we sow. Sometimes, we have to feel the pain of the sin that caused us to get into the predicament we're in and then rely completely on His strength and His timing to help us out of it. 

I cannot rush a broken bone's healing any more than I can rush this process of healing for myself.

Impatience is too much like unbelief. If we feel ourselves loathing God's timing, we start to doubt that He really has what is best for us in His mind. We start do doubt that He cares. And if He doesn't care, than why should we? Satan feeds us this line of lies because he wants for us to GIVE UP. It's too difficult, too painful to endure. Satan wants us to choose the easy way now because he knows that things will get harder for us in the future if we do.

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood
 in your fighting against sin (Hebrews 12:4 NAS)

Sure, the struggle is hard. The fight is real. When we're battling against our demons, we feel the pain and suffering that comes with it, but we do not bleed. We do not die physically. The battle we are engaging in is not against flesh and blood. 

"Truly, truly, I say to you, 
unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, 
it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." (John 12:24 ESV)

And we are called to die to the flesh in order to live. Those people who have overcome their sins and been healed are much more alive than this broken version of me. There are so many things that my sin has robbed from me. If we take an honest look at whether our sins and addictions are worth the cost, I think we can wholeheartedly say that it is worth the little bit of suffering now for the joy we receive later.

Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5b NIV)

The night can seem like such a long time that we begin to wonder if the morning will ever come. But we need to remember that we're not alone in the night - we have a guide. He has better night vision than we do, and is guiding us along this tough trial. He won't let us stumble and hurt ourselves worse. We only need to hold His hand. Also we need to keep believing, keep the faith, and keep watching while we wait for the signs that the morning is coming. Listen for the birds that start singing before dawn. Watch for the first vestiges of light that prove the morning is on the way. We'll see God even more clearly in the morning than we do in the night right now. He's promised that the morning will come, we just need to trust Him and believe it.

Luck of the Irish $250 Giveaway

Luck of the Irish $250 Giveaway
March 17th to 31st
Enter for your chance to win a $250 Amazon Gift Code or $250 in Paypal Cash!!

Thanks to this awesome group of bloggers and authors who have joined with me to bring you one fabulous prize!!


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Helen Smith
Stacy Claflin, Author
Rockin' Book Reviews
Kelly Hashway
Heather Gray, Author
Jennifer Bardsley
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Author Deb Atwood
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Elizabeth Isaacs
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Aubrey Wynne: Timeless Romance
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Melissa Giorgio
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How many times will we need rescue?

 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, 
and he will deliver us again. 
On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us 
(2 Corinthians 1:10)

We need constant care. Some people have a view of God as being like a clock-maker. He built the clock, set the time, and then let it loose. The world is on its own and whatever happens, happens, without God caring about it. But quite the opposite is true.

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (Luke 12:7)

He knows the number of hairs on our heads. Brush our hair and lose a few strands, and He still knows the number. Grow extra, and it makes no difference. He's so very vigilant when it comes to loving us that He cares about the number of hairs that are on our heads right now.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

His love doesn't change. We cannot tire Him out. His patience is long-suffering and He already knows our every fault, our every need. No matter how many times we need deliverance from temptation, He's there. No matter how many times we need help, He's ready to help. 

So even if we're disappointed with ourselves for our failures today, we do not need to hide ourselves from God. He already knows, He still loves us, and He's waiting for us to ask for His help.

Sunday Devotional - Dealing with Discontentment

One of the hardest things to deal with as a child of God is when we're disappointed with the One who provides all things. Sometimes we think that we deserve more than we have, better than we have, or something faster than we're getting. It's easy to see other people gaining what we want and then feeling like it's unfair that God's holding back His blessing from us. Especially when we've been good.

Like a child throwing a tantrum, we want to rail at God for being unjust.

Satan moves in like a lion waiting to devour right about now, too - he's there to provide all the coaxing that we need to feed our feeling of dissatisfaction.

  • Everyone else has more, even though they aren't even believers.
  • You've worked so hard this week, you deserve that reward - but God didn't care to give it to you.
  • Why should you bother fighting temptation when it makes no difference?
  • Why should you have to keep waiting for what you want?
  • God obviously doesn't care.
  • He doesn't really love you.

The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
    and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
(Psalm 145:15-16)

God has not changed who He is. He does love us and He does care. He is the provider of all good things - but in the proper time. His time. Our every desire will be satisfied by His hand. Just because He provides differently from what we expect, or at a different time than we hope, doesn't mean He won't provide. 

When feeling discontented, the first thing we need to do is tell God how we feel. If we're mad, tell Him. If we're sad, tell Him that, too. The Psalms are full of discontented voices asking God to hurry up. Once we've emptied out our feelings, we then need to denounce the lies and remember the truth of God's word. His promises are real and meant for us. We need to remember everything He has provided for us already, then thank Him and praise Him. Lastly, we need to wait upon Him. Wait for the contentment, or the blessing. If we know we are going to receive His promise, but haven't yet, we need to wait for it in great expectation. It's coming, even if it's not on our timetable. 

I've had a great bout with discontentment this week. I felt as though I'd been battling hard, fighting to gain ground, but when I checked to see how much ground I'd gained, I'd actually lost some. I was heartbroken, cried, and spent a few hours having a temper-tantrum of sorts. Then God reminded me of His provision. He reminded me that it's about the relationship I'm developing with Him, not about the outside sources or rewards. 

Jesus is the only source of true joy and satisfaction. He is my reward. 

Yes. I had a child-like tantrum and afterward, I felt a great deal of guilt. But God gave me a good hug and reminded me that I'm already acceptable to Him. If you're feeling discontented like I was, I pray that this short message and testimony will find you where you are and help you remember where you're reward is, too. May God bless you on your continuing journey with Him.