Category Archives: angels

In The Midst of Adversity You Are Covered

Rather than saying “God, here is my problem,” we should put the problem into perspective by saying, “Problem, here is my God! 
Anonymous 

We’ve all had to face adversity in our lives. It’s a time of hardship, affliction, recession, depression and otherwise unfortunate circumstances. If you are like me, you probably thought adversity would be a breeze after you sold out to Jesus.

Wow, was I ever wrong! In the beginning of my Christian walk, it seemed the more I obeyed God the more adversity came my way. I quickly discovered that I didn’t like adversity. I still don’t. I like peace. Like a severe storm, you can almost sense adversity coming…the calm before the storm. When the storm of adversity comes, it demands your total attention.

Adversity visits us all from time to time – and in many different ways. It can come disguised as marriage trouble, sickness, financial calamity, hardship from personal attacks, or even difficulty in the workplace and many other ways. Adversity is no respecter of persons. All of us will face it. The question is how will we respond to it.

There is a  scripture in the Word of God that reveals, “If we give up in the day of adversity our strength will be small” (Proverbs 24:10). In this context, giving means to withdraw, let go, or to show yourself slack. Instead of pressing through of what is a time of growth, we shrink back because we prefer to not go through the opposition. This will stunt our growth, I personally prefer growth.

When adversity hits, most people have a tendency to look for a way of escape…shrink back and say it’s not worth it. The Lord is very specific in this verse, though. He makes it clear that withdrawing from adversity is not the way to go. He also makes it clear that if we back off from times of trouble we lack spiritual strength.

Let me tell you stepping into the call of God on your life, does in fact come with adversity. As I have began to fulfill the call of God on my life it seems there are plenty of times to shrink back, or grow through adversity. Folks think that being a leader is something so great and is so breezy easy. That couldn’t be further from the truth, to get to where God is taking you, there is always opposition you have to overcome.  I have purposed in my heart, I will not give up, I will not give in. I will keep pressing forwarding, keep growing in Him, and love people. All the while knowing that in adversity I grow deep roots of strength.
Over the past few weeks I have seen several go through adversity and opposition. Cancer diagnosis, offense of a church member, illness, financial attack, a driving accident and so on. Some have grabbed ahold to the word of God and not given an inch. Others have taken to offense and left the place God put them to grow.  The attack on finances has caused folks to stop giving instead of standing on faith continuing to give; knowing that God will not let them fall but is faithful.  One friend had an accident and proclaimed the good news that God  protected her, giving Him all the glory. One group shrank back another group grew deeper roots.

I have personally been walking through a mess. Both of my daughters had strep then I  had it. Which turned into bronchitis and now into pneumonia. You name the symptom I have had it, and it’s not been pretty. As I thought about this adversity and my attitude through it, God has began to show me where I need growth & where I have  grown. One area of growth, I have received help and have reached out, not trying to do this alone. The pride I had isn’t there in the area of thinking I have to “do it all”, and not receiving help. Did you know that people really do want to help? Letting yourself say, “I need help, now,” is huge. That’s a place of letting God work in your life and a step of surrendering.

Another area I have noticed is the desire to just watch as much bible teaching as I can. I watch and re watch my favorite teachers. The enemy didn’t win in shutting my spirit man down. I felt myself just get so sad the other day and lonely, Josh has been gone so much I almost wanted to throw a pity party for myself. Instead, I asked my friend Rachel to come and set with me (for goodness sake she only lives 5 minutes from me) and just talk for a few hours, that is HUGE for me. My spirit man grew a little bit bigger this week.

Now the areas I have seen I need to surrender to the Lord. I have really struggled with how others perceive me. I am a pastor’s wife and I haven’t been to a service in 2 Sunday’s. My girls were sick then I became even more sick. What will others think, and will they be upset with me?  Seriously God is the only one I need to seek approval of, and now I see how I really need to give that to the Lord. I felt the same about my trainer, is he going to be upset with me because I can’t go to the gym? Not that I could do one workout without throwing up all over the place. Lastly joy, oh my how we let joy be stolen in the midst of adversity. I have had moments of just not wanting to talk, to upset, then crying and snappy.  Let me tell you, I still tried to be joyful. However, how I felt would take over from time to time. This is an area the enemy will attack the most, trying to get us to be led by our feelings. By faith we have to surrender our feelings to the Lord and speak we are full of joy until we see the evidence of it in our life. This is possible and there is so much power in doing so.

When adversity hits, most people have a tendency to look for a way of escape.. Shrink back and say it’s not worth it.  The Lord is very specific in the verse Proverbs 24:10. He makes it clear that withdrawing from adversity is not the way to go. He also makes it clear that if we back off from times of trouble we lack spiritual strength.

When adversity attacks, run to Jesus: When adversity attacks, the first thing you should do is run to Jesus. Don’t flake out, shut down, break rank or isolate yourself from those who can help you. Run to Jesus. Remember that Jesus is the Author and Finisher of your faith. He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus will not let you down. You can trust Him to get you through this turbulence. After you run to Jesus, check your heart. Go down your personal checklist and check yourself. If you have sinned, repent. If you violated the Word in any way, repent. Running to Jesus coupled with repentance should always be our first reaction to adversity.

One thing to help you overcome adversity – get back to church. God’s Word is very specific: don’t forsake the assembling of yourself together with other believers (Hebrews 4:9). Listen, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Isolation is not healthy. Find a good Bible-believing church where the power of changed lives is visible. Plug in and help that church fulfill its vision.

Adversity attacks everybody, but with your love for Jesus you can overcome it every time. Remember this, God causes all things to work together for good to those that love him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). That’s you! With Christ in your life you can make it through every sorrow, oppression, trouble and adversity.

Psalms 91:1,2  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,  my God, in whom I trust.”

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The Ripple Effect

Have you ever thought about how touching water makes a ripple? Think about when you throw a stone into the water how it affects all the area around the point of contact. From the start of the first small ripple it grows into a large ripple. You can throw a small stone and make a huge impact with the ripple, I call this the ripple effect.

The ripple effect applies to how we respond and interact with one another. Take the cashier at Wal-Mart for instance. She can be having a horrible day, not friendly to you because of what she is dealing with, and it will effect  your day. The ripple effect will be, you jumping in your car, driving aggressively and get a phone call and respond with an attitude to the caller. We will think how someone could have been so rude, and get offended over something that actually had nothing to do with us. The same is true if you get a phone call that someone wants to bless you with a gift, this will effect  your entire day in a positive way. The ripple effect will be, because of someone’s action it created in you a positive response, which will in turn causes you to be kind to someone else.

This brings me to a story that happened while living in Chicago. Wow, that was a culture shock living in such a large city. Imagine everything you need within walking distance. People packing the streets busy about their day. Cars and their horns blazing. Sirens blaring and the yellow of cabs flashing by as you walk to your destination. Many people make these very streets their home. A place to lay their head and a place where they may find food to eat.

I will never forget the lives I passed daily who lived on the very street I walked to school every day. Do you think the passersby thought about the ripple effect? What about those who pass by and give no thought to the fact that these are lives, not just something to walk by as quick as possible. Ignoring these lives has a ripple effect, it says you are not important enough for me to stop by and say hi.  Muchless ask if they have a need that could be met.

I daily passed by such a person when I would walk off of the “L” train.  She would stand in the same place everyday not bothering anyone. She had a shopping cart with her full of things that we would throw away. On the cart were plastic bags tied to the side, of what I would assume were items she didn’t want to get wet. She has such a sweet presence about her. Everyday she would be singing and humming with such a joyful heart. She didn’t know that she was having a ripple effect on me.

As I made it home each day I would have her on my heart. God began to really speak to me about her . I felt in my heart I needed to reach out to her and bring her a hot meal. I really wanted to do something that would really make her happy. As I stepped off of the “L” train I approached her, this was the day to reach out. I said to her I had some chili on the stove and if she would give me 30 minutes I would make cornbread and bring her dinner. She said to me, “oh sweetie thank you so much but if I want to get a bed I have to be on time, thank you.” Oh gosh I felt like I had been gut punched. I knew the Lord had told me to feed her and to reach out. The following day I didn’t even say a word, I ran straight up ( took the elevator) I lived 15 stories up, put some chili in a bowl and ran right back down. She was gone. Oh how my heart hurt, I felt I was missing the Lord on this one.

 The weekend rolls around, I look out my window and I see her in her usual spot. This morning I made bacon, eggs and biscuits. I pack her a nice meal up and take off down the stairs, as you can guess she was gone. At this point I gave up, I thought forget it, I tried. Isn’t it funny how we want to make sure things are “perfect” and “just right”?  Often times God just wants us to make the step and let Him do the rest.One evening I make my way home, I see this joyful spirited women and I say to her,” stay right here, don’t go anywhere I will be right back.” I booked it up to my home, I had zero groceries at the time because I hadn’t had time to shop. I  ran to my closet and found a pair of wool socks and new tennis shoes. I had noticed she had holes in hers. I grabbed saltine crackers and some more “whatever is in the pantry” and I grabbed my Bible, packed it all up in a box and ran down the stairs.She was still there, I was so excited to see her. I said to her, Jesus told me to bring you these and I want to give them to you. She looked at each thing, but much to my amazement was her response to the Bible. She grabbed me, hugged me better than I have ever been hugged before and started singing a worship song. She loved the Lord and could not believe she now had a Bible. She kissed me on the cheek and thanked me over and over. I told her, this was from the Lord. This still brings tears to my eyes today. I left her and never saw her again. She was never there to greet me with her singing as I got off the train. I never saw her pushing her cart around making her way to where she slept in the evenings. To this day I believe she was an angel of the Lord. The Bible says we will entertain angels and not even know.

What I thought was me doing a good deed and doing my best to listen to the Lord, turned into impacting me in a life changing way. She had a ripple effect on my life and I am sure on so many others. Today, this has set me on a course for helping those in need. To see the value in everyone. To take the time to talk with someone and make sure they know they matter. The one pebble of encountering one of the most beautiful people I have had the pleasure of meeting, created a ripple so large that it still reaches others.

As you go about your day, think about the impact you have on someone else. Something as simple as a kind voice tone and attitude can have a ripple effect to help change someone’s day. Next time you are at the check out counter, think about how many people the cashier sees a day and does anyone take the time to just talk and see how they are doing. When you go home to your spouse, take the time to notice one another. This list can go on and on. Jesus made a HUGE ripple when he went to the cross for us that is still making contact with lives every day. Jesus will lead you to someone if we will be open to listen and obey. Make a ripple today.

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