In Turbulent Times, Keep Praying

Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises.
JAMES 5:13 HCSB

God is trying to get His message through . . . to you! Are you listening?

Perhaps, if you’re experiencing tough times or uncertain times, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the press of everyday life. Perhaps you forget to slow yourself down long enough to talk with God. Instead of turning your thoughts and prayers to Him, you may rely upon our yown resources. Instead of asking God for guidance, you may depend only upon your own limited wisdom. A far better course of action is this: simply stop what you’re doing long enough to open your heart to God; then listen carefully for His directions.

Do you spend time each day with God? You should. Are you in need? Ask God to sustain you. Are you troubled? Take your worries to Him in prayer. Are you weary? Seek God’s strength. In all things great and small, seek God’s wisdom and His grace. He hears your prayers, and He will answer. All you must do is ask.

I have found the perfect antidote for fear. Whenever it sticks up its ugly face, I clobber it with prayer. ~Dale Evans Rogers

God always answers the prayers of His children—but His answer isn’t always “Yes.” ~Billy Graham

Prayer accomplishes more than anything else.   ~Bill Bright

I have witnessed many attitudes make a positive turnaround through prayer.   ~John Maxwell

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, let me raise my hopes and my dreams, my worries and my fears to You. Let me be a worthy example to family and friends, showing them the importance and the power of prayer.  Let me take everything to You in prayer, Lord, and when I do,  let me trust in Your answers. Amen

Make Peace With the Past

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
JOHN 14:27 KJV

Some of life’s greatest roadblocks are not the ones we see through the windshield; they are, instead, the roadblocks that seem to fill the rearview mirror. Because we are imperfect human beings who lack perfect control over our thoughts, we may allow ourselves to become “stuck” in the past—even though we know better. Instead of focusing our thoughts and energies on the opportunities of today, we may allow painful memories to fill our minds and sap our strength. We simply can’t seem to let go of our pain, so we relive it again and again . . . with predictably unfortunate consequences. Thankfully, God has other plans.

Philippians 3:13-14 instructs us to focus on the future, not the past: “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (NKJV). Yet for many of us, focusing on the future is difficult indeed. Why? Part of the problem has to do with forgiveness. When we find ourselves focusing too intently on the past, it’s a sure sign that we need to focus, instead, on a more urgent need: the need to forgive. No amount of anger or bitterness can change what happened yesterday. Tears can’t change the past; regrets can’t change it. Our worries won’t change the past, and neither will our complaints. Simply put, the past is, and always will be, the past. Forever.

Can you summon both the courage and the wisdom to accept your past and move on with your life? Can you accept the reality that yesterday—and all the yesterdays before it—are gone? And, can you entrust all those yesterdays to God? By God’s grace, you can.

So if you’ve endured a difficult past, learn from it, but don’t live in it. Instead, build your future on a firm foundation of trust and forgiveness: trust in your Heavenly Father, and forgiveness for all His children, including yourself.

If you are God’s child, you are no longer bound to your past or to what you were. You are a brand new creature in Christ Jesus.   ~Kay Arthur

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, free me from anger, resentment, and envy. When I am bitter, I cannot feel the peace that You intend for my life. Keep me mindful that forgiveness is Your commandment, and help me accept the past, treasure the present, and trust the future . . . to You. Amen

In Times of Uncertainty, Trust God’s Timing

“I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, and heard my cry.” – PSALM 40:1

The Bible teaches us to trust God’s timing in all matters, but we are sorely tempted to do otherwise, especially when times are tough. When we are beset with problems, we are understandably anxious for a quick conclusion to our hardships. We know that our problems will end some day, and we want it to end NOW. God, however, works on His own timetable, and His schedule does not always coincide with ours.

God’s plans are perfect; ours most certainly are not. So we must learn to trust the Father in good times and hard times. No exceptions.

Elisabeth Elliot advised, “We must learn to move according to the timetable of the Timeless One, and to be at peace.” And Billy Graham observed, “As we wait on God, He helps us use the winds of adversity to soar above our problems.”

So today, as you face the uncertainties of everyday life, do your best to turn everything over to God. Whatever “it” is, He can handle it. And you can be sure that He will handle it when the time is right.
Will not the Lord’s time be better than your time? ~C. H. Spurgeon

By His wisdom, He orders His delays so that they prove to be far better than our hurries.   ~C. H. Spurgeon

Waiting on God brings us to the journey’s end quicker than our feet.   ~Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

God is in no hurry. Compared to the works of mankind, He is extremely deliberate. God is not a slave to the human clock. ~Charles Swindoll

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, Your timing is seldom my timing, but Your timing is always right for me. You are my Father, and You have a plan for my life that is grander than I can imagine. When I am impatient, remind me that You are never early or late. You are always on time, Lord, so let me trust in You . . . always. Amen

Ask Him

So I say to you, keep asking, and it will be given to you.
Keep searching, and you will find.
Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

LUKE 11:9 HCSB

How often do you ask God for His help and His wisdom? Occasionally? Intermittently? Whenever you experience a crisis? Hopefully not.

Hopefully, you’ve acquired the habit of asking for God’s assistance early and often. And hopefully, you have learned to seek His guidance in every aspect of your life.

Jesus made it clear to His disciples: they should petition God to meet their needs. So should you. Genuine, heartfelt prayer produces powerful changes in you and in your world. When you lift our heart to God, you open yourself to a never-ending source of divine wisdom and infinite love.

James 5:16 makes a promise that God intends to keep: when you pray earnestly, fervently, and often, great things will happen. Too many people, however, are too timid or too pessimistic to ask God to do big things. Please don’t count yourself among their number.

God can do great things through you if you have the courage to ask Him (and the determination to keep asking Him). But don’t expect Him to do all the work. When you do your part, He will do His part—and when He does, you can expect miracles to happen.

God has promised that when you ask for His help, He will not withhold it. So ask. Ask Him to meet the needs of your day. Ask Him to lead you, to protect you, and to correct you. Then, trust the answers He gives.

God stands at the door and waits. When you knock, He opens. When you ask, He answers. Your task, of course, to make God a full partner in every aspect of your life—in good times and in hard times—and to seek His guidance prayerfully, confidently, and often.

God will help us become the people we are meant to be, if only we will ask Him. ~Hannah Whitall Smith

The God of the galaxies is the God who knows when your heart is broken—and He can heal it! ~Warren Wiersbe

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, when I have questions or fears, I will turn to You. When I am weak, I will seek Your strength. When I am discouraged, Father, I will be mindful of Your love and Your grace. I will ask You for the things I need, Father, and I will trust Your answers, today and forever. Amen

No Problems are Too Big for God

Is anything too hard for the LORD?
GENESIS 18:14 KJV

Here’s a riddle: What is it that is too unimportant to pray about yet too big for God to handle? The answer, of course, is: “nothing.” Yet sometimes, when the challenges of the day seem overwhelming, we may spend more time worrying about our troubles than praying about them. And, we may spend more time fretting about our problems than solving them. A far better strategy, of course, is to pray as if everything depended entirely upon God and to work as if everything depended entirely upon us.

Life is an exercise in problem-solving. The question is not whether we will encounter problems; the real question is how we will choose to address them. When it comes to solving the problems of everyday living, we often know precisely what needs to be done, but we may be slow in doing it—especially if what needs to be done is difficult or uncomfortable for us. So we put off till tomorrow what should be done today.

The words of Psalm 34 remind us that the Lord solves problems for “people who do what is right.” And usually, “doing what is right” means doing the uncomfortable work of confronting our problems sooner rather than later. So with no further ado, let the problem-solving begin.

The grace of God is sufficient for all our needs, for every problem and for every difficulty, for every broken heart, and for every human sorrow.   ~Peter Marshall

Trial and triumph are what God uses to scribble all over the pages of our lives. They are signs that He is using us, loving us, shaping us to His image, enjoying our companionship, delivering us from evil, and writing eternity into our hearts.  ~Barbara Johnson

No matter how heavy the burden, daily strength is given, so I expect we need not give ourselves any concern as to what the outcome will be. We must simply go forward.  ~Annie Armstrong

Measure the size of the obstacles against the size of God.  ~Beth Moore

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, sometimes my problems are simply too big for me, but they are never too big for You. Let me turn my troubles over to You, Lord, and let me trust in You today and for all eternity. Amen

In Turbulent Times, God Teaches and Leads

Leave inexperience behind, and you will live;
pursue the way of understanding.

PROVERBS 9:6 HCSB

Complete spiritual maturity is never achieved in a day, or in a year, or even in a lifetime. The journey toward spiritual maturity is an ongoing process that continues, day by day, throughout every stage of life. Every stage of life has its opportunities and its challenges, and if we’re wise, we continue to seek God’s guidance as each new chapter of life unfolds.

From time to time, all of us encounter circumstances that test our faith. When we encounter life’s inevitable tragedies, trials, uncertainties, and disappointments, we may be tempted to blame God or to rebel against Him.

But the Bible reminds us that the trials of life should be viewed as opportunities for growth: “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4 HCSB)

Have you recently encountered one of life’s inevitable tests? If so, remember that God still has lessons that He intends to teach you. So ask yourself this: what lesson is God trying to teach me today?

Your greatest ministry will likely come out of your greatest hurt.  ~Rick Warren

Let’s thank God for allowing us to experience troubles that drive us closer to Him.  ~Shirley Dobson

It is a fact of Christian experience that life is a series of troughs and peaks. In His efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, God relies on the troughs more than the peaks. And, some of His special favorites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else.  ~Peter Marshall

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, when I open myself to You, I am blessed. Let me accept Your love and Your wisdom, Father. Show me Your way, and deliver me from the painful mistakes that I make when I stray from Your commandments. Let me live according to Your Word, and let me grow in my faith every day that I live. Amen

Turbulent Times Build Character

The one who lives with integrity lives securely, but whoever perverts his ways will be found out. PROVERBS 10:9 HCSB

Charles Swindoll correctly observed, “Nothing speaks louder or more powerfully than a life of integrity.” Righteous men and women agree.

Character is built slowly over a lifetime. It is the sum of every right decision, every honest word, every noble thought, and every heartfelt prayer. It is forged on the anvil of honorable work and polished by the twin virtues of generosity and humility. Character is a precious thing—difficult to build but easy to tear down. As believers in Christ, we must seek to live each day with discipline, honesty, and faith. When we do, integrity becomes a habit.

Psalm 145 promises, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” (vv. 18-20 NIV). And the words of Jesus offer us comfort: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV).

The times that try your soul are also the times that build your character. During the darker days of life, you can learn lessons that are impossible to learn during sunny, happier days. Times of adversity can—and should—be times of intense spiritual and personal growth. But God will not force you to learn the lessons of adversity. You must learn them for yourself.

Character is both developed and revealed by tests, and all of life is a test.   ~Rick Warren

Every time you refuse to face up to life and its problems, you weaken your character.  ~E. Stanley Jones

Jesus—the standard of measurement, the scale of weights, the test of character for the whole moral universe.  ~R. G. Lee

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, every day can be an exercise in character-building, and that’s what I intend to make this day. I will be mindful that my thoughts and actions have great consequences, consequences in my own life and in the lives of my loved ones. I will strive to make my thoughts and actions pleasing to You, so that I may be an instrument of Your peace, today and every day. Amen

Faith Moves Mountains

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
1 JOHN 5:4 NKJV

Because we live in a demanding world, all of us have mountains to climb and mountains to move. Moving those mountains requires faith. And the experience of trying, with God’s help, to move mountains builds character.

Faith, like a tender seedling, can be nurtured or neglected. When we nurture our faith through prayer, meditation, and worship, God blesses our lives and lifts our spirits. But when we neglect to commune with the Father, we do ourselves and our loved ones a profound disservice.

Are you a mountain-moving person whose faith is evident for all to see? Or, are you a spiritual underachiever? As you think about the answer to that question, consider this: God needs more people who are willing to move mountains for His glory and for His kingdom.

Every life—including yours—is a series of wins and losses. Every step of the way, through every triumph and tragedy, God walks with you, ready and willing to strengthen you. So the next time you find your character being tested, remember to take your fears to God. If you call upon Him, you will be comforted. Whatever your challenge, whatever your trouble, God can handle it.

When you place your faith, your trust, indeed your life in the hands of your Heavenly Father, you’ll receive a lesson in character-building from the ultimate Teacher. So strengthen your faith through praise, through worship, through Bible study, and through prayer. And trust God’s plans. With Him, all things are possible, and He stands ready to open a world of possibilities to you . . . if you have faith.

Trials are not enemies of faith but opportunities to reveal God’s faithfulness.  ~Barbara Johnson

It may be the most difficult time of your life. You may be enduring your own whirlwind. But the whirlwind is a temporary experience. Your faithful, caring Lord will see you through. ~Charles Swindoll

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, sometimes this world is a terrifying place.
When I am filled with uncertainty and doubt, give me faith. In life’s dark moments, help me remember that You are always near and that You can overcome any challenge. Today, Lord,
and forever, I will place my trust in You. Amen

God's Promises For Your Turbulent Times

Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will support you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

PSALM 55:22 HCSB

These are times of great uncertainty. As we have become accustomed to, and at times almost numbed by, a steady stream of unsettling news, we are reminded that our world is in a state of constant change. But God is not. So when the world seems to be trembling beneath our feet, we can be comforted in the knowledge that our Heavenly Father is the rock that cannot be shaken.

Every day that we live, we mortals encounter a multitude of changes—some good, some not so good. And on occasion, all of us must endure life-changing personal losses that leave us heartbroken. When we do, our Heavenly Father stands ready to comfort us, to guide us, and—in time—to heal us.

Is the world spinning a little too fast for your liking? Are you facing troubling uncertainties, difficult circumstances, or unwelcome changes? If so, please remember that God is far bigger than any problem you may face. So, instead of worrying about life’s inevitable challenges, put your faith in the Father and His only begotten Son. After all, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV). And it is precisely because your Savior does not change that you can face your challenges with courage for today and hope for tomorrow.

Are you anxious about situations that you cannot control? Take your anxieties to God. Are you troubled? Take your troubles to Him. Does your little corner of the universe seem to be a frightening place? Seek protection from the One who cannot be moved. The same God who created the universe will protect you if you ask Him . . . so ask Him . . . and then serve Him with willing hands and a trusting heart.

When I am secure in Christ, I can afford to take a risk in my life. Only the insecure cannot afford to risk failure. The secure can be honest about themselves; they can admit failure; they are able to seek help and try again. They can change.  ~John Maxwell

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, because of You, I can face the uncertainties of life with courage, with hope, with wisdom, and with faith. So today and every day, Father, I will study Your Word; I will trust Your promises; and I will follow Your Son. Amen

God's Plan and Your Turbulent Times

“For I know the plans I have for you”—[this is] the Lord’s declaration—“plans for [your] welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a Hope.”
JEREMIAH 29:11 HCSB

It’s an age-old riddle: Why does God allow us to endure times of uncertainty and pain? After all, since we trust that God is all-powerful, and since we trust that His hand shapes our lives, why doesn’t He simply rescue us—and our loved ones—from all hardship and pain?

God’s Word teaches us again and again that He loves us and wants the best for us. And the Bible also teaches us that God is ever-present and always watchful. So why, we wonder, if God is really so concerned with every detail of our lives, does He permit us to endure emotions like grief, sadness, shame, or fear? And why does He allow tragic circumstances to invade the lives of good people? These questions perplex us, especially when times are tough.

On occasion, all of us face adversity, and throughout life, we all must endure life-changing personal losses that leave us breathless. When we pass through the dark valleys of life, we often ask, “Why me?” Sometimes, of course, the answer is obvious—sometimes we make mistakes, and we must pay for them. But on other occasions, when we have done nothing wrong, we wonder why God allows us to suffer.

Even when we cannot understand God’s plans, we must trust them. And even when we are impatient for our situations to improve, we must trust God’s timing. If we seek to live in accordance with His plan for our lives, we must continue to study His Word (in good times and bad), and we must be watchful for His signs, knowing that in time, He will lead us through the valleys, onward to the mountaintop.

So if you’re enduring tough times, don’t give up and don’t give in. God still has glorious plans for you. So keep your eyes and ears open . . . as well as your heart.

Every misfortune, every failure, every loss may be transformed. God has the power to transform all misfortunes into “God-sends.” ~Mrs. Charles E. Cowman


TODAY’S PRAYER

Dear Lord, even when I am discouraged, even when my heart is heavy, I will earnestly seek Your will for my life. You have a plan for me that I can never fully understand. But You understand. And I will trust You today, tomorrow, and forever. Amen