Tag Archive | trust

Battle Weary Soldier

Soldier for ChristWhen I looked at this picture on the morning of August 12, 2014, my soul was stirred.

You see, I had just heard the news that Robin Williams had passed away. I do not know what went through Robin Williams’ mind when he chose to take his life on that day, but I vividly remember endless days when I felt lonely, isolated and full of despair. I had been betrayed in one of the worst ways an individual can be betrayed and at the end of it all I wanted to take my own life. Fortunately for me, thoughts of my daughter flooded my mind and that kept me from harming myself!

For a fleeting moment, I thought again about just taking the same shortcut and immediately spend the rest of my life in eternity with Jesus. But I could not do it.

Because of the battles I’ve been facing (along with several of my closest friends) I have wanted to throw in the towel more than once these past few months! Instead of wearing a clean white dress (as shown in this picture) and holding my battle sword, I feel as though my outer clothes should really depict what is going on in my life. The white dress should be pictured with blood stains and be frayed, ragged, tattered, dirty, and torn.

The truth is . . . I feel “Battle Weary”! The term battle weary is used to describe soldiers who have been on battle lines too long and are tired of being there; it is also used to describe someone who has been doing any difficult job for too long.

Life is more than difficult and trials last much longer than I would like. Right now, I feel beaten, torn down, dense, depressed and non caring. When I ask the “why” question in my prayers I get no answer. When I ask the “when” question in my prayers I get no answer. When I ask “what am I to do” in my prayers I get no answer. Why do I keep getting up day after day after day when God is silent? I guess it boils down to trust. I know God loves me. I know He cares for me. I know that He knows everything that is going on in my life. To be honest, somewhere deep down inside of me I have hope in my soul. I also sense a lighted candle that silently says “keep going”. “Maybe today will be the day for breakthrough”. “Maybe today will be the day for a miracle”. Just maybe. God’s timing is perfect. Although I can’t see it now, I know He’s working everything out in a way that will bless me beyond what I could ask Him or even imagine!

Yes, I am a soldier in the army of my God. The Lord Jesus Christ is my Commanding Officer. The Holy Scripture is my code of conduct. Faith, prayer and the Word are my weapons of warfare. I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, trained by experience, tried by adversity and tested by fire.

I know my God is the author of unfailing love – steadfast love. The psalmist in the Bible says ““Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” (Psalm 143:8).

If you, like me, are a soldier who is weary of the battle, I pray these verses uplift and encourage you as they have me:

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

FOR STRENGTH:

Psalms 18:31-36 For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?—the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.

FOR TRUST:
Deuteronomy 31:8 “… It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Isaiah 41:10 “… fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalms 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Isaiah 43:1-2 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

I’ll end with this quote by Charles Spurgeon:
“The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.”

I hope all of you will stay on the battle field with me and claim the promise I continue to stand on:
Psalm 27:13: I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

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REFLECTIONS ON JULY 4th – INDEPENDENCE DAY

freedomLike millions of Americans, my mind is on the Fourth of July holiday and what it represents: our freedom as a nation. The freedom we enjoy in the United States of America is a precious thing, bought with the sweat, toil and blood of the countless Americans who initially fought to obtain it (Revolutionary War), as well as those who have fought to secure it in the centuries since that fateful day in 1776.

Gratitude without measure wells up in my heart when I consider the brave men and women of the American military who, this Fourth of July, are still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan to combat the tyranny of terrorism. These soldiers stand in the train of valiant warriors who fought in the Revolutionary War (mentioned above), the Civil War, two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and the first Gulf War. Each of these conflicts—while unique in themselves—share the common goal of protecting American freedom. Today’s battles are no different.

But even as I value my freedom as an American, I am moved to consider a greater freedom—the freedom I found in Christ. It is the freedom that comes with being a disciple of Jesus Christ. “If you abide in my word,” our Lord declares, “you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

Unfortunately, many Americans take “freedom” for granted. We place trust in our career, in money, in doing good works for others, in associations, etc., etc.

On July 4th, I ask myself, “What do I trust in?”. While I reflect on the freedoms I enjoy living in this country, I also remembered that my true citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and that my freedom in Christ is, indeed, of infinite worth!

Waiting

WAITINGWaiting is difficult . . . crawling behind a car that is going well below the speed limit in a no-passing zone, tapping your foot in line at the coffee shop as someone scrounges up exact change, anxiously waiting for the mailman so you can get your hands on that check that was promised weeks ago, and, of course, trying to keep a great attitude in church on the very Sunday that you planned to meet friends for lunch at 12:30 and your pastor decides to include next week’s sermon in with this week’s. Maybe the toughest waiting is when we ask God for direction on an important life decision.

No, waiting is not easy, but God tells us to wait patiently for Him: His choices, His answers, His news, His guidance, His perfect spouse for us, His desire for our vocation, His Love, and yes, even His coming again. Waiting patiently means trusting God knows what is best for us because we are His children.
God desires us to wait for Him because when we acknowledge Him in all our decisions, we truly begin to walk in wisdom.

Dear God, help me to overcome doubts and the temptation of impatience. Help me to trust You with the choices and decisions of my life because You know what is best for me. Amen.

If You Want to Give Up . . . . DON’T!

DON'T GIVE UP 1I am part of and speaking at an upcoming conference this Saturday, April 20th, 2013 being done by Elevated to Excellence, a ministry started by Christina Williams, which speaks value into the life of every person.  The theme for this conference is “VICTORIOUS” . . . and right now, many of us on the team do not “feel” that way as has been evidenced by the flood of emails the “team” has been sending back and forth over the last two weeks!  I know all of us, me included, have been feeling the onslaught of the enemy these past few weeks in every area of life imaginable!  What I know to be true is this . . . EXTRAordinary obedience unleashes EXTRAordinary favor from our Lord which is why there has been EXTRAordinary backlash from the enemy!

And so . . . after three months of silence and not writing anything for my blog, “Fresh Start 007”, I felt led to put this together to encourage and uplift all of us who are in the trenches!

DON’T GIVE UP!!! Many times I have stood on my balcony at home which overlooks green hills and I can’t help but be fascinated with the idea that we, all of us, find the evidence that we go looking for.

For example, these hills, are they a barrier or a challenge?  Are they too tall to hike over or a wonderful journey to climb?

Whatever we go looking for, we will find.  When we believe that we are not enough, we will find evidence in the world to support that belief.  Not because it’s true, but because our minds tend to find what we go looking for . . . even if it isn’t always there.

In my old house, I had an unobstructed view of the Saddleback Mountains.  Thinking of a mountain, or even a hill, is a great example for the challenges in our lives.  What if it were true that the obstacle, mountain or hill was the path we were supposed to be on?

A few years ago I can remember talking with a man who asked if he should take the MCAT (“Medical College Admission Test”).  He was a couple years out of college and instead of becoming a doctor he was working for a limo company, driving for a living.  He went on and told me a wonderful story about how after college he traveled to China and taught.  It helped him to realize that he wanted to work overseas.

When he came back, he tried to look for a job for about six months, but then gave up.  Even though he had found that he wanted to work overseas, he still wondered if the journey he had taken to China had actually changed his life.

I remember asking him what he learned.  He told me that he had learned that he wanted to work overseas and that he must be patient.  Yet, when he got back home, he started hanging out with all of his old friends who had a different mind-set and standard than what he had acquired while he was overseas.  Slowly and surely he began to sink back into his old mind-set and set of standards and, before he knew it, he had re-adopted his old habits.

Scripture tells us:  “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.   The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.  Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find.” Proverbs 12:25-27 NLT

In other words . . . we need to be careful about the friends we choose to spend time with.  Why?  Because, for better or worse, our friends will “rub-off “on us!

This young man looked for a job for six months and then gave up.  The story he made up was that it was just too hard to find a job, so he might as well not even try.  Ends up he took the same approach with taking the MCAT tests.  I asked him what his biggest challenge was in taking the MCAT.  He said it was the money.

Not knowing anything about the cost of an MCAT exam, I was thinking that it was going to cost him about $2,000 to take this test.  When this young man told me the cost was $150, I knew something was up.  So I chose to go a little deeper with him.

He mentioned that he did not feel academically ready to take the test and that if he took the test and failed, it would be hard to face that kind of failure.

Let’s take a look at this person’s psychology.  That is to say, his state of mind.  He was basically looking for evidence to support why he was not “good enough.”  He was looking at that “MCAT Mountain” as a setback and a stopping point instead of as a challenge and a journey.

I suggested that he could take the MCAT many times and each time get better and better because he would know what areas to study.  I also suggested that he hadn’t looked for jobs in EVERY country he wanted to work in (which was a list of about ten countries outside the US).  And, I also mentioned that he had adopted the mindset and standards of his current group of friends, and most of them had either resigned or given up on the future in some way.

You see, it’s very rarely the conditions of our lives that stop us, but what we MAKE UP about the conditions of our lives.  After our chat, he decided to go look for more jobs AND apply to take the MCAT.  I never saw this young man again.  It was a one-time divine appointment.  Only God knows what happened.  All I know is that it was amazing how a brief conversation with a stranger could change a life.

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • Are there any places in your life where you’ve given up? 
  • Are you surrounded with people who push you to the next level? 
  • Do you have people in your life who encourage you to believe in yourself? 
  • Do you have cheerleaders in your life? 
  • Can you decide to see the mountains in front of you as a wonderful challenge and journey instead of a stopping point?

Let me know.

Romans 8:31, 35-39 NIV

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 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.