I am with You

Two years ago my daughter and I flew for the first time. We were both a little anxious about the entire process from security to landing and even how to make our way out of the airport. Since we were alone, we had no choice but to be strong, push forward, and walk through this journey together.

I had prayed many times for God to give us courage and for protection, and thankfully the entire trip was very smooth compared to all the concerns which had rushed through my mind in the days leading up to our flight.

My daughter, Lindsey, was anxious but also excited for her first flight. I, on the other hand, am afraid of heights, terrified on roller coasters, want to feel in control, and had the intentions of never, ever flying!

She immediately opened the window to see everything going on. I sat afraid to even look until the plane seemed to have leveled off and was no longer ascending higher into the air. When I finally did look out that tiny window, I was amazed at the beauty and comforted by the peace that I felt.

After landing and meeting my husband and son-in-law, we began to look through the pictures Lindsey had taken from the air.

When I saw this photo, I was immediately drawn to something that we had not seen as we were flying . I quickly zoomed in and very clearly saw an image which to me represented Jesus.

I was moved to tears. It seemed as though God was showing us that He had been with us throughout the trip. Although we did not see this image in the clouds when the photo was taken, He was there! It reminds me of the disciples in a boat as a storm raged all around them. They were so fearful, but Jesus was right there with them in that boat!

This zoomed-in photo has been the screen saver on my phone since that moment. It is a constant reminder of God’s presence through this earthly journey.

Two weeks after that flight, our family faced a raging storm when my husband was struck by a fire truck. It was a difficult time and still is sometimes, but I know without any doubt that God is with us!

Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Regardless of what you’re going through or what emotions you are struggling with, God can give you peace in the storm. You can face anything with confidence that God is with you. Whether it’s an exciting moment that causes just a little anxiety or something that causes great fear and a loss of control, He is there!

God’s Mighty Works

When life is tough and nothing seems to be going right, remember and focus on the mighty things that God has done in the past. He has led you through troubled waters before and made a way where no way seemed possible. He is still a God of miracles and mercy!

Eagle’s Wings

Do you ever feel like life has pushed you off the edge of a cliff, and you are flailing about in slow motion just waiting to crash into the hard ground? The good news is that God is right there ready to catch you.

As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them up on its wings, so the Lord alone led him. – Deuteronomy 32:11-12. When the baby eagle has grown enough to learn to fly, the mother eagle pushes him from the nest and lovingly hovers near. When necessary, she spreads her wings, and catches that little one in the safety of her protective wings.

Like a baby eagle, sometimes we must be pushed out of the nest in order to grow and learn to fly on our own. At times, God allows situations to come into our lives in order to grow our faith, to teach us to trust Him, and to remind us of His loving presence.

When it feels as if your life is out of control and you’ve been pushed from the nest, remember that God is hovering, ready to swoop in, and carry you on His wings. He will not let you fall. You just have to focus on Him, and He will lead you just as the mother eagle leads her young.

Ready for Change

Students and teachers all over the country are preparing for a new school year. Even though they may be returning to the same school, there will be an element of change such as new teachers or students, new friends, different classes, different expectations. They prepare by purchasing new clothes and new school supplies, making plans, and building expectations.

What do you do when you’re expecting a change in your life? In most instances, we also begin making plans and gathering the necessary supplies to make that change easy and successful. We often do whatever is necessary to be sure we are ready for that change.

One Sunday, the preacher asked how many of us came to church expecting change and how many came prepared for change. Thankfully he didn’t ask for a show of hands because honestly that question knocked the air out of my sails. I was forced to admit to myself and God that I’ve just been going through the motions lately.

I am normally a person who prepares for change. I’ve spent most of the summer preparing for the change in my teaching position. There were so many things to do and learn, and my primary focus was on getting ready for the change. But lately I’ve failed to prepare my heart and mind for the change that God wants to do in my own personal life, in my walk with Him, in my heart, and in all other areas of my life on a regular basis.

As Christians, we are called to be more Christlike, and let’s face it, we are far from that goal. It’s an ongoing project that will not be complete until our time on earth is done, so we must take every opportunity to seek those changes which need to be made.

God calls us to be different from the world in Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. In order for us to be transformed, we must be ready to change.

Spend time in prayer before church services and ask God to prepare your heart to be willing to recognize any change which He is calling you to make. Spend time during the week reading His word and taking time to hear what the Holy Spirit wants you to do. Change doesn’t just happen. We have to prepare and plan for it. Get up and get ready for God’s change in your life. You’ll be glad you did!

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25

A kind hearted woman gains honor. Proverbs 11:16

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26

Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14

God is with her, she will not fall. Psalm 46:5

Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her. Luke 1:45

The Lord is my strength and my shield. Psalm 28:7

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God is with you where you go. Joshua 1:9

Under His wings you will find refuge. Psalm 9:1

Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Philippians 4:6-8

By the grace of God, I am what I am. 1 Corinthians 15:10

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

Isn’t this an inviting photo? I took it tonight after we suddenly found ourselves in complete darkness. Fairly quickly, we were able to get light from a cell phone, so that we could light this old, oil burning lamp. How in the world did we ever find a flashlight, candles, or matches without our ever present cell phones?

As we sat in the dark, my attention was drawn to this lamp that my husband lit and placed on the mantle. I was reminded of Psalms 119:105 – Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light to my path. Then I recognized a new beauty cast by this light in the dark.

The HOME sign in the background reminds me that this world is not my home. The life that we work so hard for each day is only temporary.  I have a much better home that is yet to come with my heavenly Father who is the light of the world.

On the left, is an old metal cross that reminds me of Jesus and the price that He paid for my salvation, as well as yours.  Salvation that none of us deserves, but is available to all. The Lord is my light and my salvation – Psalms 27:1.

Beside the cross sits an unlit candle. (I’m not sure why my husband didn’t light this candle except that God had a lesson for me to see in this photo.)  That unlit candle reminds me that there are many who don’t know Jesus, and it’s important for us to share the light of His love to those around us.

On the right hangs the letter “W” which normally represents our family name; tonight it symbolizes the world – a world that is living in darkness and needs the light of Jesus. In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” – John 8:12. 

Below that letter is a clock which not surprisingly represents time. It’s time for us to find peace and hope in the quiet, glow of His presence. It’s time to walk with Him and talk with Him. It’s time to do whatever He’s been calling you to do. And it’s time for us to take time to share His light with others.

Finally, on the left is a burlap sign which says, “Keep calm and pray”.  When your world seems overcome by the darkness, look to the only true Light in the dark, pray, and calmly let His light shine through you.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it – John 1:5. 

Just Believe

What is your reaction when someone tells you not to be afraid? My first reaction is usually fear and lots of questions. When we were young, my brother and our friend convinced (or maybe I should say coerced) me to ride the new double loop Shock Wave roller coaster at Six Flags. I was filled with fear and questions, but they insisted there was nothing to worry about. After a lot of screaming and even some crying, they had to practically carry me off of it, but I survived!

In Mark 5, Jairus, a synagogue leader, had a young daughter who was very ill and dying (v 23). The synagogue leaders of that time were skeptical of Jesus, but Jairus took a huge leap of faith and went to Jesus for help.

Along the way Jesus stopped when a woman touched his garments hoping to be healed. Jesus immediately recognized that healing power had passed from Him. So He insisted on identifying her, assuring her that she was healed by her faith, and most importantly loving her.

Surely Jairus felt impatient or worried as he waited for Jesus to go to his daughter, but he didn’t react impulsively. He simply waited. While Jesus was still speaking to the woman, news came that Jairus’ daughter had died. But before Jairus could respond with anger or grief, Jesus said, “Be not afraid. Only believe” (Mark 5:36).

Jairus must have had many emotions going through his mind, especially fear and questions. He may have felt that all hope was lost, but Jesus was telling Jairus that He was not finished. They continued on to Jairus’ house where Jesus resurrected the young girl. It is possible His delayed arrival was part of a greater plan. The girl’s resurrection was a much greater miracle than healing her illness, and Jairus’ faith grew as a result of the entire experience.

Jesus knows our problems before they actually occur. He also knows the strength of our faith or lack of faith, but there is no problem we could ever face that is too big. God’s timing is not usually our timing. Sometimes we must wait for answers. When the circumstances of our life seem totally hopeless and God does not seem to be acting, maybe it’s all part of His divine plan.

If life feels like a roller coaster that you never wanted on with double loops of trouble and mountains of unexpected delays, remember Jesus words to Jairus in Mark 5:36 – “Be not afraid. Only believe.” Believe what? Believe that God can. Believe that He does exist. Believe that He is with you. Believe that its never too late. Believe that He is stronger. Believe that He will carry you.

Just as my brother and friend did at Six Flags, God will be with you through the ride, He knows all the dips and loops in your life before they even occur, and He will carry you when you can’t go on.

photo credit: auspices <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/26432632@N08/6169711244″></a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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