Weathering The Storm

This post was written by a guest blogger and sweet friend of mine! I think it’s a great encouragement and challenge to us we abide in Christ and journey with Him through our days. Hope you enjoy! Thanks again for sharing, friend 🙂

The other day as I sat down with my cat and picked up my book that I’ve been trying to finish for so long. The words on the pages leapt out at me, as I realized what the author was saying. And, it really hit home for me. Yes, I know!  It’s a lot of reading, but keep going…it’s totally worth it! 🙂

“Actually the tree that day had not been cut down but struck by lightning which had ripped off one leg of its Y shape and sliced a huge area out of the trunk of the sycamore. This had happened in early winter and I had thought the tree could not survive such an amputation, so I was greatly surprised now in early spring to see it covered with its beautiful green foliage as of yore. It was alive and lovely as ever, despite its massive “surgery.”

I wandered on to the edge of the wood, from which I looked over our little hamlet of Boreland, thinking of other trees which had suffered in winter gales. The first was in my first church at dear little Moorton – to be accurate a very large white lilac tree which we were sorry to lose for it was our only white one – and there it lay, broken completely, its roots sticking up in the air. I kept meaning to clear it away, but never got round to it, and was glad I didn’t for it taught me a lesson. When spring came, the fallen bush was covered, as always in beautiful blooms, even though lying apparently dead. How had this come about? I looked more closely, poked about in the ground, cleared away some earth, and found one solitary root still going into the ground, and drawing up from the earth enough sap and nurture to supply the whole plant. It was beautiful as ever, even though now recumbent.

The other tree was even more amazing. It was the main branch of an old gnarled plum tree at Aldermouth, a tree which annually had a huge crop of the most delicious Victoria plums, and the branch lay on the ground seemingly broken right off.  But yet when spring came, the branch blossomed…and I looked at it in wonder. How could this be? I examined it carefully and found just one bit of bark still attached to the parent tree, and through that tiny channel, food and water was flowing, and in due course there was a magnificent crop of plums.

The lilac and the plum, and now the sycamore, were still doing their job…and looking beautiful and fruitful in the process. How could they do it? I was reminded of Jesus’ words: “Abide I me and I in you. So shall you bring forth much fruit, for without me you can do nothing.” The damaged trees were still abiding in the roots.

There are times in life like that, don’t you think? We are jogging along happily when suddenly a gale gets up, often without warning, and hits us. It may be a gale of illness whisking us to hospital for surgery. It may be a gale of bad news, perhaps a youngster we love kicking over the traces, going the wrong way, getting into trouble, causing us terrible worry. It may be a storm of sorrow, perhaps the loss of a parent or life’s partner or someone very dear to us, perhaps a life-long friend. The wind can get up very quickly and flatten us, and it is not always predicted by the Met Office! But if we can learn the lesson of the trees and stay attached to Christ, we can weather the storm; we can still be beautiful for God and others like the sycamore or lilac, and still be fruitful, like the plum, still, come what may…abiding.”

Dog Collar Diary by Alexander Cameron

Come what may, you can still be beautiful and fruitful for God during your highs and lows through Christ our Savior. He is our Redeemer and stronghold, remaining steady through this hard journey called life. So when a storm comes your way, do not be discouraged. Stay rooted in Him, because He loves you and will carry you through these times.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

 

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“You’re going to be okay.”

I few nights ago I was alone at home and found myself facing worries, doubts, burdens, and fears. In the battlefield of my mind, I started to become discouraged and lose my perspective of hope. Then as I tried to lead my thoughts out of this pattern, it seemed like the Lord just said, “No matter what happens with all of this,You’re going to be okay.” I took a deep breath and  thought for a minute. Then I unlocked my phone and went to YouTube to look for some encouraging worship music. As I did this however, a song on the recommended channel caught my eye-“You’re Gonna Be Ok” by Bethel. Seeing that and then listening to it for the first time was another sweet conformation from the Lord that He sees me and He cares about my future in Him. He is so tender and compassionate to us!

So, while we don’t know what the future holds, or the outcome of our circumstances, we do know our God. He knows and holds the future, He keeps His promises, and He loves us. He has good in store for His children in walking with Him. And in walking with Him, we learn to let Him define what is truly “good” and “OK” in our  lives.

All of this leaves me knowing, I’m going to be okay. And so are you! Okay, and in fact, joyful, hopeful, and resting in Him, no matter the circumstances.

Enjoy The Journey,

Laura

 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” -Romans 15:13

Psalm 16

The Weight of Encouragement

Earlier today I spent some time studying at a coffee shop. I got up from my chair at one point, and while I was putting milk in my coffee made casual conversation with the older gentleman beside me. I went back to my seat and the man came and sat down a few chairs away from me with his newspaper. Finally, when he got up to leave, he came over to me and my rather ominous looking physics book and said,

“Well, I tell you, I’m getting tired just watching you.” He laughed and putting his hand on my shoulder said, “You’ll do just fine.I know. You’re a good young lady.” Giving me an affectionate Grandfatherly pat he concluded, “It was nice to meet you!”

All I could manage to do was smile and say, “Oh thank you! It was so nice to meet you too. Have a good day!”

He had no idea how much these simple words of encouragement would mean to me. I have struggled so much the last couple of weeks with feeling inadequate and unprepared. At times, these feelings have crept their way into almost every area of my life including school. When I stop to think, I know it isn’t true, but feelings will be feelings. And in the midst of this, little reminders like “you can do this”, and “you have what it takes”, carry so much weight with them. Meeting this man made me think of my Grandpa and how he encouraged me to try hard things, and believed I could do them-affirming me with love and gentleness.

It also makes me think of what my Heavenly Father said to me just this morning from His Word:

2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;” and

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

(In my own words) “I have prepared you for good works which I have ordained. You have all you need in Christ, because I have equipped you with My power and will give you grace (abundantly!) to do what I have called you to do in every area… even when that includes struggle and what feels like failure. And in the end, I will get the glory.”

Thank you God for gentle reminders that carry much weight; reminders of your promises and love for us. Friends, I hope this is an encouragement to you as well. Keep pressing in!

Enjoy the journey

 

 

 

Keep Looking Up- Psalm 13

“But I have trusted and relied on and been confident in Your lovingkindness and faithfulness;
My heart shall rejoice and delight in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.”
-Psalm 13 AMP

“One of the keys to transitioning from depression to delight is choosing to look up, not down.” Such a good word for me today. I often get so distracted and discouraged with worries of this world and caught up with my own struggles and forget to look at Him. Then when I realize what is happening, I feel painfully convicted.The more I stare  at the darkness of my surroundings, the darker my perspective becomes. But when I look at Him, trusting Him to help me shift my eyes, His radiant Love Light changes everything about me and my heart towards my circumstances.The truth is, I can trust Him and give Him praise in the midst of every circumstance because He has been faithful and He WILL be faithful according to His purposes. He is so compassionate and gracious. And I’m extremely thankful for that today.

Hope you are having a good week friends! Keep looking Up.

In Him-Turn my eyes

“Oh soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness to see
There’s a light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace”
-Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

The mind set on the world can lead to such emptiness. The perspective set on the flesh drains life, while the perspective set on the LORD is life and peace.  We can’t see the whole picture from where we are now. I am trying to remind myself that it is better to look to the Lord and His promises than to look around or back at myself for answers.

In my joy and in my mourning, in my aching, and in my healing, let me turn. Through worries, fears, and sorrows, and through all things may I turn my eyes toward my faithful Savior. In Him is life, joy, and peace. In Him is everlasting, soul-satisfying love. In Him is the courage I need to face my tomorrows. Righteousness to cover my sins and redemption to work through my failures rests in Him.

Let us turn our eyes upon Jesus. And when we feel we can’t, let us cry out to Him to help lift our spirits, and He will!

Victorious Spirit through Christ,

Laura

 

“If” (Psalm 124)

A couple of weeks ago our church began a series on the Psalms of Accents. As well as reading the chapter for the week and spending time in prayer, one of the challenges is to re-write the psalm of the week in our own words. I will confess I haven’t been very consistent in following along with every daily discipline, but this week’s psalm really hit home for me. These particular psalms have been encouraging to read because they are about fellow Believers on a journey. As they ascended to Jerusalem every year to celebrate their feasts, the Jewish pilgrims faced hardship, danger, and doubt. But still they sang. I admire their honesty, and though their feelings didn’t always match up, they acknowledge that the Lord was their help and hope no matter what. This example challenges me to keep singing real authentic songs to the Lord as I journey. As well as to keep in mind the great hope we have living on this side of the cross. Hope you are encouraged by this as well! Keep pressing on!

This week’s psalm is Psalm 124. Here it is re-written in my own words.

“If the Lord had not been on my side, if He hadn’t been for me-

I will say-

If the Lord had not been on my side fighting with me when men accused me and came against me, then they would have prevailed.

I would have fought for my life while they held it in their hands.

They would have overtaken me in their anger, and the waters of adversity would have overwhelmed me.

The feelings of despair raging inside would have swept over and engulfed me.

*But God.

Praise the Lord who counseled me and delivered me!

He is my comfort and stay. He has not allowed me to be torn apart. He has not allowed my undoing.

Rather, He has provided a way of escape. He has set me free-Eternally from sin and despair.

My help is in the name of ‘Yahweh, the Maker of heaven and earth-Creator and Sustainer of all, and my good Father!

Amen!”

Also, check out Psalm 94 for more encouragement!

In Him,

Laura

 

An Heir of Hope in Christ

Titus 3:7

“So that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

When a tough day leaves you feeling low, or when the sun goes down signaling the end of what seemed like a perfect one, what are you left with? When the feeling of comfort and pleasure fades, what do you turn to? If you’re like me, more often than I would like to admit, I turn to people, temporal things, and or even wishing or imagining to make me feel better. The Word of God has another answer.

It says, thanks be to GOD who has given us a living hope! It says this hope that we receive through believing on Christ and the story of the gospel is imperishable, enduring forever, never ending. This hope doesn’t change with the circumstances or seasons of our life. Nothing can pry us away from this hope. The passage above in Titus 3 paints the picture another way. God says through Paul that we are “heirs according to the hope of eternal life”. An heir is someone who is promised to receive an inheritance. When we become followers of Christ, our promised inheritance is eternal life with Him. When Jesus spoke of eternal life once He said, “This is eternal life that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent…” Our future hope then is that one day we will be with God forever. In that day, all will be made right, and we will be able to enjoy Him perfectly for eternity! And if that’s not amazing enough, our present hope is that learning to know God here on earth is a taste of  the eternal life to come!

When the tough days hit, when we make mistakes, or people fail us, or the feelings fade, let us remember… We have a present hope, and a future one, and nothing can separate us from this hope which is the Love of God!

Will you join me in making it a goal to chase after this Hope? After all, it is our inheritance.

Keep pressing on fellow heirs!

In Him,

Laura