Finding Your Place

Have you ever felt like you were searching to find your place in this world? I have. Often. I believe many people have a desire to know where they belong, and what their purpose is in this life. Most people want to know that their life has meaning. I believe the Lord puts a desire inside of us not only to know Him, but also a desire to be able to walk in the path that He has chosen for us. 

Some of you reading this may not even believe in God. Far less believe my opinion or my thoughts. That’s OK. Nevertheless, I still believe it to be true. Sometimes we don’t even have a clue as to what we are searching for. Maybe we just feel like something is missing. It could be that walking in God’s plan may be the very thing we are looking for.

Have you ever felt a longing for something other than the way things are now? Or had a feeling that you know there is more you want to do, or to be but you don’t even know yet what it is? I believe that only God’s plan can satisfy these kind of desires. He created us, He knows us. He knows that it is His plan for our lives that will satisfy us.

We may know the Lord, and maybe we’ve even walked with Him for many years.Yet we can still have this longing. That’s normal. Seasons change. So do we. Sometimes we may feel this way because we know we are supposed to be doing something different but we make a conscious choice not to do it. Other times it may be that the Lord is preparing us for a new season.  Seasons do change, and what we were doing last year may not be what we should be doing this year.

Each and every one of us was created by God for a specific purpose. Ephesians 2:10 tells us “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. 

We can be creatures of habit. And we do tend to like our comfort zones. Many of us don’t like change. Or, when we think of change the thing we focus on is what we would be losing, or leaving behind, instead of focusing on what the Lord has ahead for us.  I think that sometimes God puts these longings in our hearts, or circumstances in our paths just to prod us into seeing the things He has for us, or for us to do, if we would only open our eyes and take a step. 

There may be times when we feel ready for change but we just don’t sense any direction from the Lord yet on which way to go, or what we should do. That can be challenging. We may rush to do something we think might be the right thing just so we can be doing SOMETHING! That can be dangerous. Waiting to hear the Lord can sometimes be hard but jumping into something that is not part of His plan will end up being a lot harder.

When we jump into plans of our own making it can take weeks, months or even years to untangle ourselves from what we got ourselves into. That effectively makes our wait even longer to be in God’s perfect plan for our lives. When we are doing something we aren’t supposed to be doing we can’t expect God to bless our plans or reward us in that situation. It doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us or will stop caring for us, He will just patiently wait until we are ready to get back to His plan.

When we are longing to know what to do next and we seem to not hear from the Lord it’s not that He’s hiding things from us. Often its just that He’s waiting for the correct timing to show us what’s next. He may be going ahead of us to prepare things for our next step. Many times He may be perfecting some aspect of our character that needs work before we can move forward. We need to trust Him that in the right time the next step will be revealed.

An oft quoted scripture, (and one of my favorites) is Isaiah 40:31. “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”


It paints such an awesome picture. In and of ourselves we can look at waiting as frustrating. We feel as though we are not doing anything to move forward. When we look at this scripture we can see it’s just the opposite. When we are waiting on the Lord we will have the renewed strength to carry on and do what we’re supposed to do.

So I guess the question is, will we trust God enough to believe that He has the perfect plan for our life? And will we trust Him enough to wait for Him to reveal it to us in His time? It’s up to us. We can trust God, or we can rush forward like a bull in a china shop, doing our own thing and hoping it will work.

I think I’ll trust God. What about you?



The Good Fight

Do you ever wonder what it means to fight the good fight of faith? Faith is so much more than what we sometimes think. Faith is a power. It is a force to be reckoned with. Faith is part of our armor. It’s our shield of faith that quenches the fiery darts of the enemy. It’s not a wishy-washy shield of hope. 

According to the Bible we have all been given a measure of faith. The Bible also tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith. So we know we have faith but it’s up to us to decide to actually use the faith that we have been given. We can’t expect our shield of faith to quench the fiery darts if it’s laying in our closet or under the bed.

If you’ve had to stand in faith for something for a long time or even for a short time, you and I both know it truly can feel like a battle. Anytime we decide to take a stand in faith we will have to contend for the victory. In our thoughts, with our words and on our knees in prayer.

Why are we sometimes so surprised when things in our lives go wrong? In John 16:33 part of the verse tells us “in this world you shall have tribulation”. That’s pretty clear. It tells us we will have tribulation. It doesn’t say when we come to Jesus  our lives become trouble free. BUT (and it’s a big but) it’s the rest of the verse we need to put our focus on.

 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” So we see that even when we are standing and contending,when we are in Jesus we can have peace in our situation. And we can do it in good cheer. He has already overcome the world. We already have the victory. Through Jesus. 

Sometimes, when we are standing in faith and fighting a battle it can be a long and weary journey. There may even be times we feel like we are standing alone. It may seem as if everyone around us thinks we are wrong. Some may say we are being naive to believe. We may feel truly alone, forsaken even. That is a lie of the enemy. The Word tells us that the Lord has said He will never leave us nor forsake us. Even if everyone else were to abandon us the Lord never will.

There are times in these battles that one of the enemies we are fighting may be our own selves. A great part of these battles of faith take place in our own minds. In our thoughts, our words and our hearts. What or who are we really believing? If we are saying with our mouth, we know we have the victory , does that correspond to what we are really believing in our heart? Or is there some doubt or unbelief that has crept in? The greatest part of the battle can often be to get our hearts or our beliefs, our thoughts and our words to all line up with what God has to say about us or our situation.

Have you noticed that when we are believing in faith for someone else’s need it can be a lot easier to do than when we are standing for our own needs? Like when we are believing for a financial need and the mortgage still needs to be paid. Or when we are believing for a child to be delivered from something and we still see the problem or behavior in front of us. Or we are believing for our healing yet all we see is our body that still has the symptoms. The problem is right there in our face.

Those are the times when our thoughts and our minds can struggle the most. But it’s when we give place to those thoughts and attitudes that we can be in the most danger of losing our battle. 

We all get thoughts come into our mind that we don’t want. If we are not careful and mindful of what we allow in, we can start to believe those thoughts, instead of what the Word says. Any thought that does not line up with the Word of God is from the enemy. You know the kind of thought I mean. You’re believing for finances and you get the thought that you will lose everything. Or you get that thought that the Lord doesn’t care about you. You poor thing. He’s not going to heal you. When we allow these kind of thoughts to take root in our minds we know we have given place to the enemy. We have dropped our shields and swords and sat down. 

Most of us have been there at one time or another. We get tired of fighting so we just give up and give in. Maybe we fall into self pity or we get angry, maybe even angry at God. Or we sink into depression. That is not the place the Lord has prepared for us to take in battle. We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. 2 Cor 2:14 tells us “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” The Lord has prepared us to fight from a place of victory not of defeat.

The good news is no matter where we may be in our faith journey today, we don’t have to stay where we are. If we have given up the fight or missed the boat we can get back in the fight. We can repent, stand back up, pick up our shield and our sword, take the authority that has been given to us as believers and carry on.

Sure, your faith might have been tested. Maybe you feel like you’ve failed and it’s over. Rest assured that is not the case. The Lord wants us to win our battles. The only way we lose is if we give up. We need to keep our focus on Jesus. That is how we will win the battle.

If we spend all our time focusing on ourselves and our problems it’s hard to see beyond ourselves. We are all part of the Body of Christ. We each have a part to play, and we need each other.  That is why we need to support each other and hold up the arms of the one who is struggling. If we are only focused on ourselves how can we help others? How can we accomplish anything for the Lord? Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

James 1:2-4 gives us some great advice for when our faith is being tested. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 

count it

The Best Gift

This time of year can be so hectic. We often tell ourselves at the beginning of the Christmas season, that this year we will slow down and take the time to enjoy it. At least I know I do.  Maybe you do too.   I say I will take time to reflect on what Christmas really means.  Then, oftentimes my best intentions get lost in the busyness of the season, and before you know it Christmas is over.  

I don’t know what happens to the time and how it all rushes past so quickly.  Each year it seems to go faster and faster.   I love to listen to  the lyrics of the song “I Need A Silent Night” by Amy Grant.  It really speaks to all the busyness and craziness that goes on.  It seems like each year gets a little more over the top.  Decorating, shopping, expectations etc.  If we’re not aware, we can start to feel like we need to do more, buy more, and be more, or it simply won’t be good enough.  

Don’t get me wrong.  I love to do all those things we do for Christmas.  I love presents as much as the next person.  I love to give presents, and I like to get presents too.  What’s not to like?  But how did that become the main focus of the season? And what have we done with Jesus?

Lets hit the rewind button and go back a couple thousand years to talk about a truly, crazy busy time.  Mary and Joseph were betrothed, and Mary was pregnant with Jesus.  The Bible doesn’t really tell us what they were doing at this time in their lives. I’m assuming like couples today that are expecting, they prepare things for the new baby.  Then boom! Out of the blue an order comes  from Caesar Augustus that he wants a census. Mary and Joseph are required to go to Bethlehem because Joseph is of the house of David.  

Imagine their thoughts.  From what I have read it was probably anywhere from 70 to 90 miles.  With Mary pregnant.  On the back of a donkey.  If you have ever been pregnant you know how uncomfortable it can be just to sit anywhere at the end of your pregnancy. Never mind days on the back of a donkey, being bounced up and down like a sack of flour. 

It’s really not something you would choose to do.  I wonder what Joseph’s thoughts were about taking his highly pregnant betrothed on a journey such as this.  Did they bring baby things in case the baby was born while they were gone?  Diapers?  Baby clothes?  We don’t know.  We do know there were no hospitals or Urgent Care’s along the way where she could have stopped to give birth.  

Then they finally reach their destination, only to find there are no rooms to be had. No way to check online for local hotels with vacancies either. Like most of us, I was always taught that Jesus was born in a stable.  I have also heard it was a cave or a barn. Another thought I read recently, is that it was likely a downstairs room of a private house, where animals were often brought in at night.  We just don’t know for sure.  We do know it wasn’t a Hilton. Or a birthing room, where you can take a hot shower after delivering. There was likely not a lot of privacy and surely no room service. No ice chips to suck on, or nurses tending to your needs.   That must have been a crazy time.  

In comparison, it puts all our running around in a different perspective.  I imagine that if you were to research when gift giving started as a celebration of Christmas,  gifts were likely given to represent the gifts that the Magi brought to Jesus.  He did not receive an Xbox or a stuffed animal, or in fact any kind of toy or baby item.  Gold, frankincense and myrrh.  There’s another whole story involved in theories on why those particular gifts.  Check it out for yourself.  

So how did it turn into the craziness that we have today?  With Black Friday, stores being open 24 hours, people getting run over in the rush to be first in line to get the deals.  Grown ups fighting for toys so their child will get the latest gadget.  Craziness.

Meanwhile, in towns and cities and schools across the nation there are those who try and erase all mention of Jesus, and the whole reason we celebrate Christmas to begin with.   Christ-mas.  He was born as a gift to us.  The best gift we could ever hope to receive.  Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” 

Of all the presents that will be exchanged this year, not one of them will last forever.  By next year we probably won’t remember most of them.  But the gift of Jesus being born is still being talked about more than 2,000 years after the fact.  And it will be talked about through all of eternity.  

In these next couple of weeks as we celebrate, may we make time to slow down, and remember what we are really celebrating.  Maybe take time to read in Luke 2 the story of Jesus’s birth.  Give thanks to God for the gift of Jesus and for all the other blessings in our lives.  Let go of some things that you think you “have” to do that stress you out. Enjoy the company of friends and loved ones.  Celebrate the season before it’s gone.

I pray you all Have a a blessed and Merry Christ-mas!


Searching For The Christmas Spirit

Spoiler alert! For those of you who have been reading my blog since last year this blog may sound familiar to you. I have made a few revisions but I think it’s just as true this year as it was last year. 

I can’t believe it’s getting so close to Christmas.  Talk about time flying.  Usually, its somewhere around this time of year that I, and probably some of you, start to think; hey it doesn’t seem much like Christmas.  Often, I don’t think we even know what it is that we are looking for.  Or, exactly what it is, that we feel we are missing.

If I were to ask a bunch of people what they think the Christmas spirit feels like, we would all have different answers.  I think some might depend on when and where we grew up. Or how we celebrated Christmas as a child. Maybe what we enjoyed about Christmas or happy memories we might have of times past.

If you grew up where there was snow you might think; it doesn’t feel like Christmas if there is no snow on the ground.  Or,  maybe we think we just need to get the tree, and put up the lights. Or listen to carols, make cookies, drink hot chocolate, see Santa, or go to the mall. Sometimes we think it’s all those things we have to do,  for it to feel like Christmas.  Sometimes, even when we have all those things, it still feels like something is missing.  

I don’t have all the answers.  Often I think we are trying to recreate something that can never be re-created. We have changed.  Circumstances have changed. We can’t go back in time to what we remember.  

I think the Christmas spirit is more a heart thing.  I don’t have a lot of vivid Christmas memories from when I was young.  And I know that all our Christmas’s were not perfect.  There was stress on my parents back then, just like there is stress on all of us now.  

When I do think about Christmas, and the feeling of Christmas when I was growing up, there are a few memories that stand out.  My dad reading The Night Before Christmas to us on Christmas Eve.  Relatives coming to Christmas dinner.  Walking to the drugstore one dark snowy night to get a Christmas gift for my parents. The crunching snow, the feel and smell of the air.  Visiting with family and friends.  Standing outside my grandmother’s house one cold snowy Christmas eve.  Looking at her lights and the stars and just sensing the presence of God-though I doubt I even knew what it was at that time in my life.  

We were not wealthy.  We didn’t receive huge amounts of gifts. Some toys,  some clothes, and a stocking of course.  It wasn’t the gifts, or the amount of money that was spent. And we surely didn’t go all out decorating like Chevy Chase on Christmas Vacation.  In fact,  I don’t recall ever even using outdoor lights.  It wasn’t extravagant parties.  It was family and friends taking time to spend time together.  It seemed like a much simpler time.  Easier to find that Christmas spirit.  Maybe we just remember things that way.  Maybe my parents if I could ask them, would disagree and say it was too busy of a time for them too.  

All these things that we work so hard to get done, gifts that we buy and wrap and send, are all so fleeting.  We likely won’t even remember most of it next year.  Maybe we could just take some time to slow down, and just pay attention to what’s around us.  Give someone a hug.  Take a long walk.  Do something for someone in need.  Play with a child.  Put away our watch and our cell phones and tablets and just….live.  Seek God.  Thank Him daily and often.  Sing carols at the top of our lungs just because we can. Look at Christmas through the eyes of a child.  With wonder, and excitement.

Maybe, just maybe, if we do that,  when we aren’t looking, we might find ourselves enjoying this time and truly celebrating Christmas.  No matter whether it fits our preconceived ideas of how it should be, or not.  

Ask your parents, or your grandparents, if you are blessed enough to still have them with you, or you could ask your older children what their favorite Christmas memories are.  Though some of it may be special gifts that they received, chances are many of them will say the same things I did.  Special times with those we hold dear.  

 There’s really only one thing we need to remember to have joy at Christmas.  Luke 2: 10-12: “ Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

If you have any special thing you or your family do to get in the Christmas spirit please feel free to leave a comment! 


Hidden Things

Recently, my friend had surgery to remove a growth in her lung. (Not cancerous, Praise God). Afterwards, we were talking about how it seems so odd, to have something like that growing inside you, and you don’t even realize it’s there. We talked about other people we knew, or had heard of, that had had growths removed that were even larger. Some, grapefruit size or bigger. Many times the person had no idea it was even there. Some were told these things could have been growing inside them for years.

We take such care of the outside of our bodies, and pay a lot of attention to how we look, or how we dress. But, when you think about it, what we see on the outside is a small fraction of our makeup. There’s so much more going on in the inside of us, that we can’t see, and usually don’t even think about all that much. 

 For instance, we don’t see our inner organs or how they work. We don’t see our heart pumping, or our stomach digesting. We can’t see our blood flowing, or our cell’s regenerating. Needless to say, although these things are not visible from the outside, they are a huge, important part of us. 

Another thing that we may not always be aware of,  are things that may be hidden in our souls. Some of those things may also have been lurking inside of us for years or even decades. In some cases, maybe even a good part of our lives. 

Those things that are hidden in our souls can also be quite dangerous to us. Because some of those things can affect our lives, or our relationships with others, and even our relationship with God. 

From the outside, we can’t see those hidden roots, whose tendrils may have kept us a prisoner of sorts all these years. Roots of things like perhaps bitterness, or resentment. Fear or rejection. Roots of anger or pride. Roots of unbelief or shame. We often don’t recognize how those things may have had a part in shaping who we are today, or how they may have influenced decisions we’ve made in our lives. 

 Those types of things may be so ingrained in our thinking patterns that they have become a real stronghold in our minds. Sometimes keeping us from moving forward with God’s plan for our life. Unfortunately, we can’t use X-rays or CAT scans to find those types of  hidden things. But praise God! There is help. The Word of God gives us all the instructions and hope that we need, so that we can be set free from these hidden things once and for all. 

When we focus on the Word of God, it shines a light on areas that may be an issue for us. Hebrews 4:12 says “ For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Anyone who watches any of those fixer upper type shows, knows that it’s not always what you see on the outside, that causes the biggest problems. It’s when they start pulling apart those walls and floors that we can see what’s been going on out of sight. Perhaps it’s mold, or rot, plumbing issues or pest problems. We do know that if there’s an issue behind a wall or under a floor, that just slapping a coat of paint on it doesn’t fix it. The root of the problem needs to be addressed and fixed first.

Of course on the flip side of hidden things, there are also good things that are hidden. This time of year we hide gifts from loved ones so they don’t find them before Christmas. We have gold and minerals and natural resources hidden in the earth.  Or buried treasure. We also have many strengths and gifts hidden within each of us. 

I found a hidden treasure the other day as I was cleaning in my garage. I was going through a box of old papers, and I came across a Mother’s Day card, with a letter, that my Mom had written to me 30 years ago.  I had completely forgotten I even had that letter. My Mom has been gone many years now so that made it a treasure of great worth to me.

The greatest treasures we could ever find, are hidden in the Word of God. Yet, just as we sometimes have to mine gold and search for it, we have to spend time in the Word to discover its greatest treasures. The Lord has hidden things in His Word for us, not from us. We just need to seek to find them.

Luke 8:17 tells us “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.” If we are hiding something that we don’t want known by others, that could be a frightening scripture. Personally, I find it to be rather comforting. 

As I quoted above from Hebrews, the Word shows us the thoughts and intents of the heart. I’m so grateful for that. My desire is that every ungodly thought and intent of my heart and every dangerous root would be revealed and rooted out of my life. Often we can’t see these things on our own. Proverbs 21:2 tells us “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.”

We generally don’t see ourselves, or our faults, as those around may, but nothing is hidden from the Lord. As for me, I would rather have Lord reveal these things rather than to perhaps have them revealed by others, in a way that might not be fun. The Lord is kind and gentle. When He reveals a thing to us, it is for our own good, so that we might change and become more like Jesus. When the world reveals our faults and character flaws it is usually done in a judgmental way and more to cause harm than good.

It can be comforting when we think of “hidden things being known and coming to light”, when we think about it in regards to the gifts and callings in our lives that we may not know about yet. Sometimes the Lord waits for us to be ready before He reveals them to us. Let those hidden things come to light!

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139: 23-24







Last week I listed an item in the free section of our local Craigslist group. I thought, we’ll just give it away free, be a blessing to someone else. Easy peasy right? Not so much. On the first day several people were interested, so I contacted the first person who had responded. She said great, yes, I want it! So I wait all day. No show. Day two different person, much the same thing. Rather frustrating.

Mind you, I’m giving you the Reader’s Digest Condensed version. Suffice it to say there were multiple texts to multiple people, before someone finally showed up to take it on Day 3. I thought to myself, it shouldn’t be this hard! It’s not like we’re asking for money or anything else. We are just looking to give something away free to whosoever will come and get it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t always have a lot of patience when people say they want something, and then don’t come and get it or even call. I mean really! It was free!

Then it occurred to me. Can we not be like this with the Lord sometimes? Jesus died on the cross for us, so that we could have the free gift of salvation, which includes eternal life with Him. Yet how many times a day, does He stand knocking at the door of millions or even billions of peoples hearts, only to have them not be willing to receive their free gift? There’s no cost to us, Jesus already paid the price.  But still He waits, patiently knocking. We don’t have to be the first one to answer an ad. His offer is for everyone, and available to anyone that chooses to accept it.

I’m so thankful that He doesn’t just lose patience with us, give up, and walk away. Aren’t you? I wonder how many times He knocked on the door of my heart, before I opened it and received Him and His gift? How many times did He knock on yours? Is He still knocking and waiting for you to allow Him to come in? If so, what are you waiting for? None of us are promised tomorrow, and I assure you there is nothing or no one else in this world that can compare.

 Salvation is the most wonderful gift we could ever receive. And along with that gift we get so much more.

We get to have a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe. Someone who loves us unconditionally all the time. Someone we can talk to 24/7, 365 days a year. We become a new creature in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

All the promises in the Word are now ours. Everything that the Lord says about us in the Bible, or anything it says is ours, we are free to claim as our own.

When we receive Jesus we become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. We become children of God and joint heirs with Jesus. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. We’re the head and not the tail. We’re the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Ambassadors for Christ. We have the mind of Christ, and redemption through His Blood. We are accepted in the beloved and more than conquerors through Him who loved us.         

There’s so much more! Jesus came that we may have life, and have it more abundantly. He gave us His whole armor that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the enemy. We are redeemed from the curse of the law because Jesus became a curse for us. We are called of God and He has a plan for our lives.

I could keep on going and going but there’s not enough space to cover everything. When have you ever been offered anything so wonderful? Jesus came to earth as a baby so that He could later die as a sinless man to reconcile us to God, thus making the way for us to receive His ultimate gift. The Lord loves us so much He does not want anyone to be lost.  2 Peter 3:9 tells us “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 

We do not have to get our lives in order and be perfect before we turn to Jesus. Romans 5:8 states “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were still sinners. Not while we were already perfect. Our part is just to be willing to turn to Jesus as our Savior and be willing to let Him be the Lord of our lives.

There is only one path to God and that is through Jesus. When Jesus was speaking in John 14:6, He said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

If we choose not to take things like my free Craigslist item, or the multiple “free” things we may be offered online everyday, it’s not a big deal. We may not get the free item but it doesn’t affect our eternal lives. If we choose not to receive Jesus there are eternal consequences. Heaven is real but so is Hell. The Lord loves us so much He doesn’t want anyone to go there. 

There are multiple scriptures in the Bible that talk of Hell. Matthew 13: 49-50 is just one example.  So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”Hell is not a place where anyone would willingly want to be. 

The Lord is a gentleman. He will not force His way into your life. He gave us free will, it’s up to us to choose. God does not send anyone to Hell. Those who exercise their free will by deciding not to accept Jesus will spend eternity separated from Him in Hell. It’s our choice where we will spend eternity.

Choose wisely. Your life depends on it.











A Runaway Train

Have you ever had times when it seemed your emotions were like a runaway train? They get started down that track, and try as you might, you feel helpless to stop them. How does that happen? Where does it come from? Sometimes it all starts with a thought.

You know if you were to ask yourself where the thought came from, if it’s a negative thought, it’s not from the Lord. Yet sometimes, instead of refusing to believe that thought, we think it, maybe even meditate on it. Perhaps we even start to believe it. Then come the emotions.

The roots of some of these negative emotions can go back even to our earliest memories. They are nothing new in the world. These roots and emotions have been around almost since time began. 

Have you found the more you think on those kinds of thoughts, the worse you feel? They can lead you to emotions like sadness, rejection, jealousy, bitterness, fear, worry, or the feeling of being unworthy, unwanted or unloved. Or any number of other unhealthy emotions. The problem is, once you start allowing any of those negative emotions to rule you, they do become like that train. If we don’t consciously do something to stop them, they just keep rolling along. 

Sometimes if we are aware of those thoughts in our minds, and we are vigilant, we are smart enough not to board that train. Other times, perhaps we may be overtired, or our guard is down, or we are feeling vulnerable and before we know it we are thinking those thoughts. That’s when the trouble can begin. 

In my experience I have found when we start having those troubling thoughts and emotions there can be two major culprits behind them. Fear and/or unbelief and doubt. All of which are from the enemy.

We begin to think things like, I can’t do it. I’m afraid. I’m not good enough. People don’t like me. I don’t have what I need. I need more. I don’t pray enough. I should do more. I should do less. Or, if we allow worry to set in the what if’s begin to chime in. What if I can’t meet my needs? What if I lose my job? My friends, my house, my dog. What if I’m not smart enough, or thin enough, or just enough? You get the drift. Or here’s one. What if God is tired of me and the way I am and the things I do?

Did you notice one thing in common on all those statements? I. Me. My. When our thoughts and emotions spiral in that downward direction all we can think about is ourselves. 

Emotions themselves are not bad. They can be wondrous things. Love, joy, peace, happiness, contentment etc.  The Lord gave us emotions to help us and to use, not to harm us or to harm others. We are to rule our emotions they are not to rule us.

Sometimes we may not even know why we are feeling so down. Have you ever asked yourself something similar to what the Psalmist asked in Psalm 43:5 “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me”  When we do wonder why we feel that way, we can remember the second part of that phrase. “Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” Verse 6.

Praising God is one place we always find the answer for those runaway thoughts and emotions. When we purposefully focus on praising Him and thanking Him, for all that He is, and all that He does, there is no room in our minds for those negative thoughts.

It may not be easy. There are times it may be a battle to focus on praise. You may have to keep forcing your mind to go in the direction you want it to go. Left to it’s own devices the mind goes places we don’t want it to go. Sometimes it truly is a sacrifice of praise.

We can also ask the Lord to help us manage our emotions in a healthy way so that they don’t manage us. Jesus walked this earth as a human and He understands our struggles. Hebrews 4:15 reminds us “ For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

I don’t know about you but this type of runaway train is one I have been on all too often in my life. I would like to stay off that train and never climb back on.

The next time your thoughts go in that direction there is no better advice than Hebrews 4:16. “ Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” All we need to do is ask.