Tag Archives: struggling

Lifts Up

Today I sit here with the stomach bug. This is the 2nd time in a month that I have been sick with the stomach bug. It seemed to have circled back around to me. It feels like a great weight upon me as I try to get work done, keep the household running, and take care of the dogs. Simple things seem like impossible tasks.

In the Bible, we read that “The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.” This is something I’m clinging to this morning. Time and time again, when I am weighed down, it is the Lord who lifts me up. No matter what you are going through today, you can rest in this truth. He lifts up those who are weighed down.

If you feel unable to get through the day or like the world is crashing down upon you, remember that you are not alone. The Lord is with you and He will see you through. He will lift you up.

“The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down. The LORD loves the godly.” – Psalm 146:8 [NLT]

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Encounters with a Stranger

As I sat at my desk going through my task list, I noticed an elderly woman approaching the office door. Was she coming inside? She is not a client. I went to the door to greet her and figure out who she was and what she needed. She saw a van parked outside our office just leave, and she thought that we were the business advertised on the van. I informed her that the company was only visiting our office to do some work and apologized.

As we were about to part ways, she told me she was having a tough time. She recently moved and she was struggling to get everything in order. She was hoping to catch the man in the van, or get some answers from his associates within, only to discover she wasn’t close to the place to find answers. Nonetheless, the Spirit gave me a nudge to help her out. Little did she know; the answers were online. She was led to share her struggles. I needed to listen to the voice telling me to slow down and pay attention. In no time at all, she had the answers in hand and it was time for her to leave. It was a simple encounter, and it was easy to help her. Five minutes. But she was so grateful and she left with a smile.

We often have these encounters with strangers. Do you consider why they are brought your way? Some people are in your path to help you grow. Some people are in your path for you to bless. Some people are in your path for you to shine the Light. Don’t trivialize evangelism. Don’t think sharing the Gospel is all about big demonstrations with fancy words. Small encounters with strangers, embracing and showing compassion—these encounters are precious. Do small things with great love and watch God move in mighty ways.

“And do everything with love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:14 [NLT]

Pollen Attack

The pollen levels have been out of control the past few days. My normal allergy medicine has not been enough to combat the problem. Then the officials called for a Code Orange warning, which signifies poor air quality that will thereby impact those who are “sensitive.” This means people who are losing their allergy battle with pollen, people who have asthma, etc., should proceed with caution.

As I was walking the dogs, I was having intense breathing issues from the pollen. My great hope was the medicine that I would take after I finished walking the dogs. As I continued to drag my feet a mile, pollen from a tree blew right into my eye. Pollen 2, Tania 0. I spent the rest of the walk trying to get my watery eye to expel the bits of pollen, only able to walk with one eye open.

Life usually is full of struggle after struggle, whether small or large. It seems when we think we cannot handle anymore, something else is piled on top to cause us more of a burden. Sometimes it appears as if the world is against us. Truth be told, we aren’t meant to carry all this burden alone. Remember, we are not in this alone. Also, the world is against us. If we are living for Jesus, if we are not of this world, then we are standing against the world and the world will always be against us. Thankfully we know this world is temporary. God’s Word tells us that heaven and earth have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, that one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth. The world may be against you – but God is always for you!

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:13 [ESV]

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31 [ESV]

Grim Strength and Glory Strength

We have the option of doing things using our own strength or doing things with God strengthening us “with all power, according to His glorious might” (Colossians 1:11b ESV). I have tried both ways and I know which way is best. Time and time again, using my own strength was like running a race without eating breakfast first. You might finish what you meant to finish, but it’s not fun, not easily accomplished, and it really beats you up.

In the Message there are two strengths mentioned: Grim Strength and Glory Strength. Grim strength is when you are gritting your teeth just to get something done. It’s almost as if you have to force it to be completed, giving it every ounce of what you have to make it work. It’s a bad struggle. It’s not how God intended things to work. The Glory Strength is when you allow God to strengthen you to accomplish His will. You might have a great struggle before you but with His strength it is never grim. People see you overcome, people see your achievements, and God gets so much glory. When you live with God’s Glory Strength, you do great things through Him and cannot help but have this outpouring of praise for what He’s done through you. You realize that you could have struggled alone and barely scraped by but with Him you were able to soar to great heights for His glory. He qualified you. He did the work. You simply were the vessel through which He worked.

Life is rough. Life is hard. Life is filled with struggles and obstacles. You have two options: Grim Strength or Glory Strength. You can do life alone and try to make it through to the end or you can do life with God and allow Him to provide you the strength you need to get things accomplished. You can focus on a life that is lived for you, where your plans are the goals to be reached, or you can focus on God’s will for your life and realize that you have put great limits on your life. For God wants you to soar; God wants you to be a great bright light in a world of darkness. When you walk with grim strength, you miss out on the great plan He has for your life. In the end, a life lived with that strength causes you a lot more than just gritting teeth. May you learn how God works and how to live with Glory Strength so that you may endure and praise God with all you have as you see Him move and work through your life.

“Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.” – Colossians 1:9-12 [MSG]

My Life Sucks

There is something that I hear and read too often – My life sucks. Sometimes it really can be frustrating to hear these words, especially from the mouths of Christians. Usually it is not something that is said once, but it is a way of life for some people. Perhaps the person believes he or she is the only one who has problems, trials, and hardships. Perhaps the person is not happy because he or she is not getting what’s desired. Either way, it is like nails on a chalkboard to hear those words.

Since sin entered the equation many, many years ago, everyone has hardships and struggles and pain. It is not how God intended the world, but we made a choice. Jesus has defeated death and through Him we overcome; however, trials and suffering still occur here on earth. I could list many of my personal struggles, and people who know me well can see them just by watching me walk, but it is not about that at all. When people see me and know of my struggles, they don’t hear that my life sucks—they hear that Jesus is taking care of me, helping me through each and every day. They see my testimony without me opening my mouth.

Does your life suck? Are things not going the way you intended? Do you have limited funds? Do you hate your job? Do you have relationship problems? Are you struggling through life? I am sure you have a lot on your plate. We all do. But remember, each day is a blessing—each day is a gift from God. You can walk through life complaining about each day, being ungrateful for the gift or you can ask God to use you, to strengthen you, to be a part of your life and things will be very different. I might have pain this morning as I write this, but I have a joy and peace that only Jesus can give. My life does not suck. No matter how bad it gets, no matter what challenges and hardships come my way, each day is another opportunity, another gift. Each morning I thank Him for giving me another chance. What will you do with your opportunity today?

“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” – Psalm 29:11 [NIV]

“This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24 [NLT]

Take Courage

Many people will agree that the Bible mentions some type of “do not fear” phrase 365 times and these same people hold that God left us these phrases so we have one for each day of the year. The Bible verse I return to often is Isaiah 41:10 which tells us to “fear not.” That’s where FearNot Ministries was born.

In Mark 6, the disciples were in the middle of storm that produced great wind. The disciples were struggling. Through this storm, there was Jesus walking on the water. It frightened the disciples. Who can say what was going through their minds? But Jesus told them not to be afraid. Then he said, “Take courage! I am here!”

Take courage. Jesus is here. If you’ve accepted Him into your heart—if you believe in Him and He is your Lord and Savior, He promised that you would receive His Spirit. God is always with you. So take courage. No matter what you are going through. Take courage. He is with you.

“They were all terrified when they saw him. But Jesus spoke to them at once. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said. ‘Take courage! I am here!’” –  Mark 6:50 [NLT]

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