Are you on the “Struggle” train?

I have a really silly question…Do you struggle? I know it’s crazy to ask, because I know that the answer is “yes!” We all have our struggles, but sometimes in the church atmosphere it is easier to hide our struggles than it is to talk about them.  Satan knows our struggles, and he likes to remind us of them on a day to day basis. Satan has come to steal, kill, and destroy. He has come to steal our joy, kill our self-esteem, and destroy our lives. Today, I want you to be reminded of the promises in God’s word. Isn’t it wonderful that God gave us His word? We have the ultimate weapon to fight back these thoughts that come into our head!

I am reminded of the story in Mark where the paralytic man is in deep need of healing. He was so desperate for healing that he wasn’t going to let anything stand in the way. I love the website It is a site that has all kinds of devotions, but I love how she explains the parable of the paralyzed man. Here’s an excerpt from that site:

There’s a crowd in the way? No matter. There’s a roof in the way? No matter. Nothing deterred them from getting the help they were seeking. Their faith in Jesus’ power to heal enabled them to break through any barrier—literally.

Their tenacity moved Jesus. Scripture says when He saw their persistent faith, He uttered, “Son, your sins are forgiven!” (Mark 2:5). Jesus started with the inner healing of the heart, but didn’t stop there. He then commanded the man to get up and walk so the resistant religious leaders could see He had the authority of God to not only heal bodies, but also to forgive sins.

We want the external; Jesus goes after the internal.

We want what is seen; Jesus goes after what is unseen.

Did He want the man to walk? Absolutely. Did He go after the healing of his heart? Fundamentally.

The nature of Jesus never changes. He always heals, always redeems, always restores. Our role is to come. When we reach our moment of desperate brokenness, no longer denying our sickness of heart and mind, we will do whatever it takes to get well. There we will behold His face, hear His voice, and receive His healing touch.

That’s the gospel, simple and plain. Jesus said, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

I want to be among the ones who know they are sinners—broken, weary, in desperate need of a Savior. I want to experience a break-through-the-rooftop kind of healing. I pray the Holy Spirit will convict me, moment by moment, again and again. His conviction is a grace, a kindness, and a revelation that all is not well. But the healing we need is found in the forgiveness of our Savior, Jesus.

Isn’t that a beautiful truth? Let’s be bold, and come to Jesus with our struggles. Let’s confess them to Him so that He can begin a healing work in us.

There is a zebra at the end of this post

I have been sitting at my computer now for over an hour, trying to figure out where and how to start this blog. How do you do a blog post about Mother’s Day? I mean, I used to hate Mother’s Day with a passion. I always celebrated my mom on Mother’s Day, but deep inside me I longed to be a mom…and I hated going to church on Mother’s Day. So, if you are one who is currently struggling with this…I GET IT!

As I started really thinking about this, I started thinking about other women who struggle with Mother’s Day too. I found this list on Lifeways website:

  • Women struggling with infertility
  • Single women
  • Moms who have lost a child
  • Women who have lost their moms
  • Women who live far away from their moms
  • Moms who have dysfunctional relationships with their children
  • Women who have dysfunctional relationships with their moms
  • Moms who have had an abortion
  • Moms who are waiting for adoption
  • Moms who have placed their children for adoption
  • Moms who have lost their children to the child protective services
  • Moms of children with special needs or facing health issues
  • Moms with children who are with their stepmom for the weekend
  • Stepmoms who are struggling with finding balance in the midst of a blended family

There are probably even more scenarios that aren’t here. As Mother’s Day is nearing, I find it safe to say that moms, women who aren’t moms, and women in all walks of life, need encouragement on Mother’s Day.

A precious hymn keeps playing over and over in my head. Here it is…I expect you to sing it as you read it 😉

“’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take him at his word”. Do you realize how sweet this actually is? His word is full of promises to us, His children. Here are a few promises that he has for us. These can be applied to all  women, in any scenario:

  1. He is our help

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. – Isaiah 41:13

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1

**Let’s remind ourselves of this as we go about our days! He will help us!


  1. He strengthens us

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13

**Now you know where you get your “superwomen” strength from. Keep this in mind and run to him for rest. I know you feel overwhelmed…but God has strengthened you.


  1. He will never leave us, or forsake us.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33

And surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalms 23:6

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.  The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. – John 14:16-17


  1. He LOVES us!

I could list hundreds of promises God has for us in His word.

This Mother’s Day, I pray that you know that He sees you in your current place, know that He wants you to call on Him for strength, know that He will never leave you, and know  that He loves you. I urge you to rest, and find joy in His promises. Even in times like these…

He Has Risen

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.  And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.  From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.  God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.  For in Him we live and move and have our being.”

And our creator…  

“God so loved this world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. “

This Son, Jesus….

“was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men.”

He was not punished with death eternally.  The angel testified:

“Don’t be alarmed.  You are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here.

He has risen!”

And hundreds of witnesses testified and died proclaiming this truth, the good news for all people.

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. “

Acts 17:24-28,  John 3:16,  Isaiah 53:5 (prophecy of Christ 600 years BC),
1 Timothy 5,6,  Mark 16:6,  Hebrews 4:16, Romans 8:38,39

Finding True Love

We all yearn to be loved.  Every year we have a holiday to accentuate how loved, or unloved, we are feeling.  That lovely day is called Valentine’s Day.  It is a well-loved tradition for many and a boycotted nightmare for others.  Some feel that because it started out as a pagan holiday, we as Christians should not celebrate it.  You can find thousands of messages on social media calling for an end to Valentine’s Day.  One message I came across read, “Happy unimaginative consumerist-oriented and entirely arbitrary manipulative and shallow interpretation of romance day.”  Wow.  Those are some strong feelings for such a day that is supposed to celebrate love.  Love.  Love is one of the most over-used and misunderstood words in the dictionary.  There is no wonder why when we go to the dictionary for the meaning.  Our Webster defines it as, “An intense feeling of deep affection.” If we are all yearning to feel an intense feeling of deep affection, our human counter parts are bound to let us down!  They are set up for failure from the get-go!  

After my father died, I was going through some of his things and came across a poem scribbled out in his shaky handwriting.  It simply read:

One life is not enough. Not enough time.
Each sunset bothers me. Another day gone.
I want to be young again.
Something passed me by (or maybe I passed it by)
Life’s not so bad, just too short.
By the time you see how you should’ve lived your life, it’s gone.
When I think of life, I wish I had lived it.
When I think of love, I wish I had found it.

This breaks my heart.  My father did not feel that he had found that “intense feeling of deep affection.”  Oh, if he could only have known the real meaning of the word LOVE.  If we all could grasp the true meaning of the word, there would be no reason to feel so let down at the end of life, as my father did, or to feel let down by the celebration of a romantic holiday or let down by others in our lives.

Let’s define the true meaning of LOVE.  As you read this, please try not to be taken back to a time when you were standing in an ugly bridesmaid dress listening to a gal in a peach-colored dress suit quoting these words.  Open your heart and mind and hear them fresh and new:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.   1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is not that excited feeling you get.  It is not the warm-fuzzies.  It is not lust, it is not romance.  It is not “feeling intense deep affection” for someone.  It is NOT a feeling.  

True love is treating your husband with kindness even when you want to rip his head off!  Perhaps today he made you “feel” furious or worse yet – unloved. You make the CHOICE to treat him kindly.  You serve him and speak kind words to him anyway.  Perhaps yesterday a friend of yours did not include you in on lunch plans with the ladies in your neighborhood.  You CHOOSE to not become easily angered.  You hope that there is a reason you might be unaware of.  You do not allow pride or envy to take over, though you “feel” hurt.  You CHOOSE to bear all things.  You continue to treat others kindly.  The love our amazing heavenly Father taught us about is an ACTION, not a feeling.  It is making a choice to act out the above words even when we do not feel like doing so.  

Be patient.  Choose to be kind.  Bear all things.  Do not envy.  Choose not to be prideful.  Choose to hope and choose to endure.  That is what true love is.  True love is God.  We can never fully act out all of these words because we are sinful humans.  We live in a fallen world.  However, we can choose to seek God.  We can choose to accept the grace and love of Jesus Christ, freely given to us all.  We can ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us the strength to ACT in a loving way, even when we do not FEEL like doing so.  

So, today, make a choice to treat everyone in your life with God’s definition of love, allowing His Spirit to reign in you, giving you the help you need to live it out.

In closing I love this quote by Tozer and want to share it with you.  It gives an awesome picture of what it looks like to strive for God’s amazing LOVE.

“Yet if we would know God and for other’s sake tell what we know, we must try to speak of his love. All Christians have tried but none has ever done it very well. I can no more do justice to that awesome and wonder-filled theme than a child can grasp a star. Still, by reaching toward the star the child may call attention to it and even indicate the direction one must look to see it. So as I stretch my heart toward the high shining love of God someone who has not before known about it may be encouraged to look up and have hope.” 

 A.W. TozerThe Knowledge of the Holy

New Year’s resolution?

According to “the practice of making New Year’s resolutions goes back over 3,000 years to the ancient Babylonians. There is just something about the start of a new year that gives us the feeling of a fresh start and a new beginning.”

In our family, we celebrated the new year with tightly held-to traditions.  The Christmas tree and all decorations must be taken down before the New Year or we might have “bad luck.”  We ate greens and black-eyed peas for prosperity on New Year’s Day.  We would make a list of things that we wanted to change or do differently/better in the new year.  Sound familiar?  For years I made this New Year’s Resolution list.  

What was your tradition?  Did you make a list?  Do you still make a list?  I know one thing; it changes over the years, does it not?  

As a young mom I might’ve recorded that I want to spend more quality time with my children.  As a mom of teens, my goal might be more time away from them! (Just kidding, girls)

This past Sunday, a beautiful woman from our church asked me how my Christmas had been and if I had made any New Year Resolutions.  I paused.  I had not.  I have not in years.  For a moment I thought, “Should I come up with something wise and wonderful to say that I want to change in the new year?” Then, the truth came out and I said, “I am just working on all the things that need to change all the time.” (or something like that)

Years ago, I tired of making resolutions that I never fully followed through on.  After all, I really need to work on those things daily, not just at the beginning of a new year, right?

How does God feel about our tradition of New Year’s resolutions?  The Bible really does not speak against it or for it.  Our resolutions are usually positive things that God would want for us, are they not?  Most of you reading this probably would list something like this:  Read the Bible more, become more active at church, exercise more, lose a few pounds, eat healthier, be kinder, spend quality time with family, stay better in touch with friends/family, learn patience, control temper, and so on.  Pretty common list, I imagine.   These are all things that could be pleasing to God.  However, the place where we must check ourselves is in our motivation to do these things.  Is our motive to honor God with these changes?  Do we want to read the Bible more to feel better about ourselves or to check it off a religious to-do list or is it out of a desire to know Him better?  What about eating healthier and exercising more?  God wants us to take care of our bodies and be healthy, but if our motivation is in any way for our vanity or pride, then He is not pleased with this.  If we desire to be healthy so that we can serve Him better and be a more useful instrument to Him, then He is pleased and will help us as we strive for this goal.

1 Timothy 4:8 instructs us to keep exercise in perspective: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

As we hold on to the promise of this life to come, a “new year” can be useful in helping us to refocus on what really matters. Let’s use this time of New Year’s reflection to evaluate if God is at the center of our lives as He should be. Perhaps our resolution can be to focus more regularly, in fact daily, on those things that we need to change, praying for the Holy Spirit to work on us from the inside out. lists some resolutions that fit with God’s desires for us.  Here are their suggestions:

  1. Pray to the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5) in regards to what resolutions, if any, He would have you make;
  2. Pray for wisdom as to how to fulfill the goals God gives you;
  3. Rely on God’s strength to help you;
  4. Find an accountability partner who will help you and encourage you;
  5. Don’t become discouraged with occasional failures; instead, allow them to motivate you further;
  6. Don’t become proud or vain, but give God the glory. Psalm 37:5-6 says, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

God desires good for us.  He wants us to succeed and will help us succeed when our goal is to honor Him and to love Him more.  To begin the new year, Pastor Tom has asked us to read through Psalm 119.  Read or re-read this Psalm with me and let’s start this New Year off with an awesome, God-glorifying kind of BANG!

By Claire Christa

The Bible….In this day and age? Who has time for that?

The Bible….In this day and age? Who has time for that?

Have you ever started a television series, maybe on Netflix, that you instantly became hooked on? If  you have Netflix, you are so thankful that you don’t have to wait an entire week for the next episode to air, but if the show is just on regular TV, then you just can not wait until the next week!

I know I am totally showing my age, but when I was a little girl I was this way with the show Full House. I remember thinking to myself, “I can NOT wait until Tuesday!” Well, the Bible is the same way. It’s one long story, from beginning to end. It’s all about Jesus, and when you know the story of the Bible, it gives it so much more meaning. The more you study it, the more hungry you become for it. You literally can not wait until the next time you can dive into it.

Continue reading

© 2016

Up ↑