Category Archives: Encouragement

04/25/17

Mighty Warrior

Do you ever feel lost or drowning in your own uncertainties?

That you have so much to overcome?

That you are too ordinary? Not enough?

At times, I am swallowed up by those all-too-familiar feelings of doubt and inadequacy until I feel as if I am suffocating. Unable to serve like I want to, unable to encourage others and lift them up, unable to give of myself unselfishly, and unable to have a heart of true gratitude, praise, and thanksgiving.

And in moments such as those, I try to remind myself of the story of Gideon. Someone who truly in every single sense of the word felt truly inadequate. Not enough. Ordinary. Unable to be used mightily of God.

But, He was.

I love those moments in Scripture that remind us that this person was this, or that, and common, BUT God… for He turns ordinary in extraordinary and elevates common circumstances to moments that are completely uncommon and awe-inspiring.

I was having one of those days recently that I was feeling swallowed up and smothered over, and I read the below devotion from Proverbs 31, and although I am not a mother and my days share very little in common with the author of this post, truth is truth and I gleaned inspiration and encouragement from her sharing her heart’s cry.

It’s the calling of the mighty warrior in all of us. For, I definitely believe it is in there.

In me.

In you!

We must choose each day to submit to His plans, in His timing and in His way, and to remain mold-able and teachable, and to listen for the cries calling the mighty warriors to “Assemble!”


“When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.’” Judges 6:12 (NIV)Devotion Graphic

“I remember being a new mom and finding great solace in the bathroom. Some days I wanted to hide in there for long stretches of time from my energetic toddler. My son Ethan loved to turn off the light in the bathroom and shut the door. He would giggle from the other side.

I didn’t care about being in the dark. I was just happy to be left alone for a moment. I didn’t feel at all like a mighty warrior. I felt more like a nobody hiding out.

This is how I imagine Gideon’s disposition was in Judges 6. During this time, the Midianites had overpowered and dominated Israel for seven years. The Israelites hid out in mountains, caves and forts. Like an invasion of locusts, the enemy came in and took over. They destroyed Israel’s crops and devastated the country. In desperation, the people of Israel cried out to God for help.

Perhaps something has overwhelmed you in your life. Maybe you relate to Gideon’s situation like this …

The crying children overpowered the mothers. Because of their whiny, unhappy little ones, the mothers made hideouts wherever they could find them — the bathroom, local coffee shop or hidden in the laundry room. The children wreaked havoc in the kitchen and family room. Their toys were like an invasion of locusts. The mothers, reduced to wearing sweats and cutting up food all day, cried out to God for help.

We can all take heart, because in the midst of Gideon’s hopelessness, God shows up in a big way. While Gideon was hiding in a winepress, threshing wheat, the angel of the Lord appears. This was not just any angel. This is understood to be an Old Testament appearance of God Himself declaring:

“The LORD is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12b).

“Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14b, NIV)

Gideon may have looked behind him to see if the angel of the Lord was addressing someone else. After all, he was hardly qualified to save Israel, coming from the weakest clan in Manasseh and being the least in his family (verse 15). Yet apparently to God, Gideon was a mighty warrior.

I believe God sees mighty warriors in each of us too. Imagine going about your daily work, making dinner, paying bills or sorting laundry and God appears to you saying, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” This would undoubtedly change your life.

It doesn’t matter how you were raised as a child, whether you’re rich or poor, God makes victors out of the ordinary and overlooked. God seems to delight in working powerfully through unexpected “warriors” such as Gideon, Rahab and Ruth. Don’t let your past determine your present or your circumstances dictate your worth. God is the giver of new life.

Notice God appeared to Gideon in private. Wheat was normally threshed in open spaces, typically on a hilltop so the breeze could blow away the chaff. But fearful of the Midianites, Gideon worked hidden away in a sunken winepress.

God can meet you in the privacy of your home when you’re tending to your family members, thinking no one notices your efforts. You might be caring for a toddler, teenager or aging parent. Or you may be at your job, doing your daily work when God shows up to speak to you. Gideon was a simple man living a normal life, but as he fulfilled his everyday duties, God showed up to do the miraculous.

Gideon was teachable because he listened to what the angel of the Lord said. He rose to the daunting occasion of delivering the Israelites. He didn’t do it perfectly, but God’s strength is perfected in weakness, isn’t it?

So when you look in the bathroom mirror today, what will you see? Even if you’re hiding in there, you can choose to see a mighty warrior for God.”

TRUTH for you Today & Tomorrow:

Judges 8:28, “Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years.” (NIV)

2 Peter 1:3, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (NIV)

– See even more at: http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/gods-mighty-warrior/#sthash.aT0wlpDn.dpuf
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04/05/17

When Waiting Wears you Down…

And honestly, when does waiting not wear you down?

Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually. Intellectually. Waiting is hard, and no matter my age, maturity level, or how deeply rooted my faith may be at that time, waiting does not get any easier for me. And, in all honestly and truth, Trust hasn’t gotten any easier for me.

Which is why I find a kindred spirit and heart-sister-friend in Ann Swindell, a blogger and author who guest posted on Proverbs 31 Ministries recently. Although our circumstances are quite different and our lives seem miles apart, wait seasons, at their core, are very similar. And her words of despair turning to life & encouragement were like water to a parched soul.

Her words are below… I pray they reach and touch you where you are because we are always in some stage of Wait. Coming out of a season of Wait, heading into a season of Wait, or smack dab in the middle of the painful Wait. We are always “ladies in waiting…”

Devotion Graphic

“I sat on the bed and unclenched my hands, trying to pray. From my perspective, the past season had gone painfully wrong.

My work was overwhelming, with deadlines that came too fast and too often. My womb had filled with life and then emptied twice in a handful of months, as we suffered two miscarriages back-to-back. Our daughter visited the ER for a sickness that lingered and broke up our sleep like shattered chalk, and I was wrestling with a physical condition that wore me down every day.

Then, unexpectedly, we found ourselves moving a week before Christmas, which meant a broken lease and high fines, as well as transitioning to a city where friendships would have to be built afresh.

Externally, I was busier than I’d ever been, but on the inside, my soul was barely limping along.

So I did what I always do — I tried to figure out how to fix everything. Maybe if I rearranged my work calendar, or if we saw a specialist or made more money or could get my daughter healthy — maybe then, things would get better. Easier. More hopeful.

But the more I tried to figure things out, the more overwhelmed I became. I started crying out to the Lord, asking the unanswerable question of why: Why were things so hard? Why was there such loss? Why did I feel so stuck?

God answered me, but not in response to my whys.

As I sat and prayed, God reminded me that all the things I was so desperately trying to secure — life, health and provision — come from Him. I can’t heal myself or my daughter. I can’t sustain life in my womb. I can’t force friendships or provide for our family. God alone gives us what we need.

All I can do? Pray. And wait.

I pushed out a hard breath as the tears slowed. Waiting is a recurrent theme in my life, but it has never gotten easier. It’s always painful, because it forces me to remember — again — that I’m not in control. I can’t give myself what I need; I can only ask God to heal, renew and provide.

I sat and prayed that God would change our circumstances, and then I turned to the Word and read verses that declare that I already have all that I need in Christ (Ephesians 1:3, Philippians 4:19). Sitting on that bed, I came to terms with the fact that the Lord has never promised me another child, an easy life, a full bank account or perfect health. But He has promised me more of Himself.

I may have to wait for everything else, but I never have to wait for God.

But why is waiting still so hard? If I have all that I need in Christ, why do I try to fix things instead of waiting for God’s timing? I think it’s because waiting reveals our hearts and how much we want to have control. And in order to wait well, we have to give up that control and stop striving to fix things — and seek Him instead.

Our key verse in Lamentations declares that “The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.” It’s not easy, but “it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD” — to have to wait for God to move on our behalf.

Our difficult circumstances may not change easily or quickly, but as we wait on God and put our hope in Him, rather than hoping in a change of situation, we’ll find that He Himself is more than enough for us.

In Christ, we have all that we need.” 

Truth for you today to triumphantly walk in:

Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

xoxo….

– See more at: http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/when-waiting-wears-you-down/#sthash.uSfKkxxf.dpuf
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