Didn’t Get the Announcement

If they do not believe our communications are clear, trustworthy, and of value to them — we have little opportunity for communication to occur, no matter how loudly we announce something.

At work, we have a weekly “All Hands” phone call that everyone company wide is supposed to listen to. However, my department is not able to listen in to the live call, because it is scheduled during our highest volume of work with customers. So the call is recorded for us and we are supposed to call back in at a later time that won’t impact or normal work flow to listen to the call. And there are memos and emails and notices sent out to us from management and from our own team members to make us aware of different things that affect or jobs.

It is repeatedly evident which people on our team listen to the call and read the communications and which do not, because you’ll hear them ask a question that was answered in the “announcement” and someone else who read it then gives them a summary and says, “It was in the (call/email/etc). Check it for the details.”

The hope would be that after their missing the communications happens enough times, that they might see the value in listening to and reading these communications for themselves regularly. But it doesn’t always work that way.

So just because an announcement is made, it doesn’t mean that it is received. And even when it is received, if the message isnt clearly explained or if the recipient doesn’t seek to understand what is being communicated — the intended message is not always comprehended by the recipient in the manner that was intended by the sender. Effective communication has several points at which it can break down.

I am not the supervisor of our team at work, but as a leader and mediator by nature, I end up stepping in to help my teammates regularly when there are technology issues, personal issues, questions, concerns, etc. And the team members regularly come to me with these problems because I will take action — whether or is a technology issue that needs to be addressed by the infrastructure team, whether it is an issue with something another team member did, or whether it is a question or concern about something management has communicated — they know that I will look into the issue, reach out to the appropriate resources, and track and follow up on the issue until it had been remedied.

Because of this, I am usually the member of the team that is addressing “issues” directly with those who can “fix” the problem. Even though others might be loud within their own comfortable circle that listens to their gripes and complaints, they might never communicate the problem/complaint directly to the person they are complaining about who could actually make a change that would improve things.

And being in this position of always “seeking to move the team forward towards resolution of issues” rather than “leaving issues to either wither away or fester” can be challenging at times — especially when most people don’t want to hear about issues that might take effort on their part to resolve. Most people by nature are prideful and self defensive when it comes to any type of announcement calling for change on their part — so the messenger needs to either wear a flak jacket or learn to move like Keanu Reaves in The Matrix to avoid getting shot.

It’s wonderful when you encounter someone who is “reachable”, someone who is “teachable”, someone who will value input from others, receive what is being said without practicing a response even before the message is complete, consider what is being communicated, comprehend and seek seek to remedy the situation. But that is not always the case. Resistance to what is being communicated is real, and there is not always unity of purpose, strong work ethic, a willingness to put aside self interests for the sake of the team, or comprehension in every instance where communication is attempted.

We can work on our skills to perfect or communications for sure:

But at the end of the day, the recipient must be willing to receive and comprehend, or we can’t help them. If they do not believe our communications are clear, trustworthy, and of value to them — we have little opportunity for communication to occur, no matter how loudly we announce something.


And we can see this is true of this Good News that we shout from the mountaintops as well:

For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God.
Hebrews 4:2 NLT

Life Application Study Bible
The Israelites of Moses’ day illustrate a problem facing many who fill our churches today. They know a great deal about Christ, but they do not know him personally-they don’t combine their knowledge with faith. Let the Good News about Christ benefit your life. Believe in him and then act on what you know. Trust in Christ and do what he says.


Lord, help us to communicate clearly, in a message relevant to our listeners, in a timely fashion, with a truthful and trustworthy message, providing a solid foundation for our message, providing adequate detail to allow for a comprehensive understanding of our ideas, in a visual manner without conflicting or confusing the message, being caring and compassionate, and majoring ourselves available and open to feedback. And when we have done our best, help us to trust you to carry the right message, in the right time, to the right recipient, for the right purpose. Help us to share this most important message, your Good News, to the ends of the earth. Amen.

Lead through Suffering

When I used to lead my own department, I found that the best way to become a trusted leader among your team was to be willing to take upon yourself the hardest tasks and the most challenging situations.

If there was something that had to be done in the late hours of the night, I was the one willing to do it — I was the first that would step up to the plate and volunteer, even though I was the “boss”. And by doing this consistently, my team saw this example time after time again, and eventually they started stepping up themselves and volunteering as well — because they saw the sacrifice that their “leader” was willing to make, and they began striving for those same things.

We didn’t have people grumbling about having to come in and work over the weekend, because it was a voluntary thing. In fact, it was a badge of honor that meant you were willing to submit yourselves to that challenge — to that suffering “on behalf of your team”. And the people who bought into being a part of a flourishing and unified team grew and thrived — and the few who were not compatible with the system (because of their own lack of motivation and commitment) were easily noticed in time and encouraged to go find their success somewhere else more compatible.

Like a good gardener, a leader must have enough vision to cultivate fruitful plants and eliminate weeds. Without leadership vision and understanding, the workers will perish while the thieves work the system.

This was a great tool in building a strong team that was dedicated to helping each other and to working together towards common goals — instead of being divided and divisive and clawing in tearing at each other (seeking to climb the ladder on the backs of others) — or complaining and grumbling about the burden of the work environment (ungrateful, self absorbed narcissists expecting everything should be easy for them).

Yes, it is true —

Very few people want to truly suffer. It isn’t comfortable, it isn’t fun, and it isn’t enjoyable in and of itself. But a willingness to suffer — even in eagerness to suffer — on behalf of a cause/purpose is a powerful, powerful leadership tool.

Leadership is not just pointing to what needs to be done and saying “you go do this” and “do it this way”. Leadership is instilling values and goals and a common unity amongst your people that ensures that they’re willing to work as a team towards those common goals.

So if you are seeking to be a leader and not just a boss, I encourage you to strive to suffer well. Don’t let your team see you grumbling are complaining about the next challenge, but instead let them see you eager to face the next challenge — eager to face the next thing that might seem unjust — eager to face the next suffering — eager to let them know that you would rather be 1st in line for the suffering rather than at the back of the line. If you do this you will build a powerful team around you — not just behind you following orders, but around you charging into the thick of battle willingly and eagerly.

And this isn’t some amazing manipulation or game that I’ve come up with on my own. This is an example that I’ve seen played out in the greatest leader. It is something that I am learning to emulate. I don’t get it right all the time, and I can be found at times grumbling or complaining — or not looking forward to the next challenge in suffering. But I’m learning to recognize the value of suffering, and that THIS IS KEY to being a LEADER.

A leader who has suffered can share his experience to help his people understand. A leader who understands the value in suffering well can help spread a good work ethic that overcomes selfish tendencies and fosters true teamwork.

God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.
Hebrews 2:10 NLT

The Life Application Study Bible notes for this verse:

How was Jesus made perfect through suffering? Jesus’ suffering made him a perfect leader, or pioneer, of our salvation. Jesus did not need to suffer for his own salvation, because he was God in human form. His perfect obedience (which led him down the road of suffering) demonstrates that he was the complete sacrifice for us. Through suffering, Jesus completed the work necessary for our own salvation. Our suffering can make us more sensitive servants of God. People who have known pain are able to reach out with compassion to others who hurt. If you have suffered, ask God how your experience can be used to help others.

Lord, help us to understand and appreciate the value in suffering well — not that we have some lofty idea of being martyrs for our own glory, but that we would have a willingness to suffer for the glory of God and that it might draw men closer to you. Forgive us for how often we fail you in this regard, and replace our hardened hearts with hearts that desire what you desire. Amen.

Discipline

This morning after discussing our morning devotional together as a family, my wife shared with me that my daughter Mia decided (totally unprompted and on her own) that she is going to begin writing her own book of devotionals:

She wrote:

Kids don’t listen and when you discipline them, they cry and say, “You yelled at me!” And you still totally live them, but at that time, they think you ate telling a lie.

What do you do?

A) Talk it out and make them feel better

B) Because they think you ate mean, say “well fine!”

C) Don’t cook for them until they hug you

D) Spank them

For God so loved the world that He gave His only son for whoever believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

(Answer: A)

What a beautiful thing to see my young daughter eager to share the Word and the Way in such a way this morning. It really blessed me this morning so much!

My first thought when reading her devotional as a parent was to recognize that something the parent has done has provoked their child to the point of not trusting them anymore in that moment.

As a parent, it is good to understand both sides of this complex topic of discipline.

Discipline is absolutely necessary and is good. Our children desperately need discipline to teach them how to avoid dangerous consequences in this life and how to choose the right way:

A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away.
Proverbs 22:15 NLT

By nature, children start out with neither experience nor instruction to lead them through this life, and they will make foolish and uninformed decisions without our help and guidance. If a child tries to pull a pot of hot water down from the stovetop because they know no better, it is good to correct them with a physical pop on their bottoms when they are young to teach them “No” and about danger and consequences. Physical discipline along more verbal explanations/discussions and physical punishment/restrictions as they grow older is not mean, but is loving.

Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them. Physical discipline may well save them from death. My child, if your heart is wise, my own heart will rejoice!
Proverbs 23:13‭-‬15 NLT

So in the devotional Mia provided, she acknowledged that discipline is not enjoyable when it happens. Children do not like to be corrected in the moment that or is happening (nor do adults):

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
Hebrews 12:11 NLT

And Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” while Colossians 3:21 echoes “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”

As parents, we need to value and protect our ability to speak into our children’s lives. We need to understand that they will react to the necessary discipline that we provide, and that we need not avoid discipline or we will coddle them while not protecting them from farmer or teach them about consequences — and end up with the terror of a toddler’s “mine, mine, mine” mindset running around in an adult’s body eventually.

But we also need to avoid provoking or children to the point that we lose their trust. This necessary moment of discipline where it is not enjoyable to them opens the door for the enemy to step in and tell them they can’t trust us, saying things like, “If they loved you, they wouldn’t hurt you.” So we must be watchful and prayerfully prepared and ready to explain why discipline is necessary — we must use this opportunity to strengthen their trust by sharing the Truth behind why discipline was necessary.

A great way to do this is to know the applicable Word of God or know how to look it up and share with them what God has to say on the subject.

Now, adults, how many times have you recently been feeling the pain, the discipline, the consequences of your own decisions that resulted in the discipline of the Lord — and because it was difficult, you too listened to the lies of the enemy telling you that you couldn’t trust the Lord. The trick is the same for you as well — so don’t be surprised that your own children don’t always understand and trust when you yourself don’t either.

So let’s be willing to receive discipline when necessary, willing to apply discipline when necessary, and always seeking to keep the lines of communication open.

Lord, help us in these things to see and understand and choose your way. Amen.

What are we building?

We are building our lives, our character, our history, our testimony with every thought, word, action, reaction and response that we will have today. And even more important than our outwardly visible reputation amongst men — is how we are presenting ourselves before God.

God is not blind to our most personal and secret thoughts, desires, and actions. And when we are truly believing in God for His forgiveness and grace found in Christ Jesus, we not only seek repentance in turning away from sin, but we want to work to see the Good News spread and His Kingdom work here on earth expand and grow here as it is in heaven.

Salvation does not require work that resembles holiness — yet true saving faith always produces holy work — because Christ is now the holiness of God come to live in us.

Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15 NLT

Life Application Study Bible

Because God will examine what kind of workers we have been for him, we should build our lives on his Word and build his Word into our lives-it alone tells us how to live for him and serve him. Believers who ignore the Bible will certainly be ashamed at the judgment. Consistent and diligent study of God’s Word is vital; otherwise, we will be lulled into neglecting God and our true purpose for living.

Lord, we ask that our day be your work in and through us. Help us top surrender every aspect of our lives, flinging open every door that was once locked away from your presence and influence — to now be overcome by your freeing grace and truth. Give us a hunger to seek your Truth, to know your Truth, and to live out your Truth — resisting evil instead of resisting you. It is only possible by the power of your Holy Spirit, only through the sacrifice paid by your Son Jesus Christ on the cross, only by the grace and perfect holiness of Almighty God the Father that we see evidenced in the whole Trinity at work in perfect harmoy throughout your Word and throughout our lives. Lord, make us a living testimony to your grave and your glory. Lord, like the prodigal returning to your presence, we ask you to make us your workers, we seek to do the good work of your Kingdom laborers. And in doing so, we find that it is not laborious, it is not a heavy burden, but it is a great and a celebration and a joyous and abundant life. Help us to be consistent and diligent in your Word and your will. Amen.

Constantly

I work in a commercial data center, and one of the key things that we hear about is consistency. Just as we want our systems and services to be “Always On” for our customers (one of the major selling points of data centers with multiple levels of redundancy and security), we want our team to be always on time, always efficient and effective, always available, etc.

Consistency, is about being constant, being solidly founded, being predictable, which all boils down to being reliable.

When things are consistent and reliable, there is a ready amount of evidence proving that they are trustworthy.

My morning verse today is from Paul’s second letter to Timothy, and the word that caught my attention was “constantly” — ἀδιάλειπτος in the Greek, meaning “unintermitted, unceasing, continual“:

Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
2 Timothy 1:3 NLT

The Life Application Study Bible has this note to consider about this verse:

Paul constantly prayed for Timothy, his friend, his fellow traveler, his son in the faith, and a strong leader in the Christian church. Although the two men were separated from each other, their prayers provided a source of mutual encouragement. We too should pray consistently for others, especially for those who do God’s work.

Constantly and consistently — these are markers of Paul’s Christian character. And isn’t whatever is constant and consistent in someone’s behavior the evidence of their underlying character?

Don’t we expect the one who has lied to us in the past to lie to us again, because we have time after time, seen the evidence of their character being a liar?

Don’t we expect those who are always late to work, or those who are regularly absent, or who show up early but only put in a half effort, to probably act the very same way today because it has become a defining component of who they are — demonstrating and defining their “character” like a role in the movie being played out in our minds every day?

If your friends and coworkers were looking to “cast your part” in a movie about their lives — what would the basis of your “character” be?

Christian, would it look and sound and speak and act in any resemblance to Christ who you claim is in you? Or would it resemble a religious hypocrite or a wayward sinner?

I’m not talking about whether or not you have occasional little shifts towards the light or towards the darkness — but what is the overall, defining truth about what is in control over and guiding your life as a whole?

Is it your own selfish, sinful nature — or is it the Lord?

What fruit is evident on your tree sho that others around you, when in their time of need might know whether you are constant, consistent, and trustworthy — or are not?

Do we see that our consistency is not some obligatory requirement in order to obtain credit for ourselves — but it is an opportunity to provide help for others in their storm, to help bear the burdens of our brothers and sisters, to lift up the name of Jesus Christ in spirit and truth (not in false claims, dead religious practice, and fruitless and self- righteous hypocrisy!

And isn’t the Lord steady and trustworthy?

And aren’t we made in His image?

And doesn’t Christ live in and through us by the power of the Holy Spirit?

Is the Lord God Almighty playing the starring role in your character today — or are you (as the intended understudy) stepping onto the stage to demand control and any applause for yourself?

Be honest in your answer to yourself, friend, because He already knows the truth — do you?

Lord, you are the one who can make us new. You are the one who can chesnee or very nature and being to resemble a new creation in your image. Rid us of our old selves and come live in and through us. Teach us and lead us to be consistently and constantly like you. Help us to be Christ to a dying world. Amen.

The First Part

I encourage you to listen first to:

“We promise to bring the first part of every harvest to the Lord ’s Temple year after year—whether it be a crop from the soil or from our fruit trees. We agree to give God our oldest sons and the firstborn of all our herds and flocks, as prescribed in the Law. We will present them to the priests who minister in the Temple of our God. We will store the produce in the storerooms of the Temple of our God. We will bring the best of our flour and other grain offerings, the best of our fruit, and the best of our new wine and olive oil. And we promise to bring to the Levites a tenth of everything our land produces, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all our rural towns. “A priest—a descendant of Aaron—will be with the Levites as they receive these tithes. And a tenth of all that is collected as tithes will be delivered by the Levites to the Temple of our God and placed in the storerooms. The people and the Levites must bring these offerings of grain, new wine, and olive oil to the storerooms and place them in the sacred containers near the ministering priests, the gatekeepers, and the singers. “We promise together not to neglect the Temple of our God.”
Nehemiah 10:35‭-‬39 NLT

After we read our family morning devotional together this morning, we talked about what giving our “first” to God represents. God doesn’t need the blood of herds and flocks from us. God doesn’t need burnt grain and fruit and wine and olive oil from us.

All of this is a “remembrance” of God giving His first to us — of His first and only begotten son, Jesus Christ, being sacrificed for our sins mercifully and graciously to restore us into right relationship with God. A proper tithe is not an obligation, but it is a joyful remembrance of the Heavenly Father and His love for us even while we were still sinners and were His enemies, and it is a joyful remembrance of Jesus Christ the Son of God who lived, suffered, died, and rose again for us, and it is a joyful demonstration of the Holy Spirit who lives in the heart of those who truly believe, repent, and follow as students of The Word and children of God.

In fact, we discussed that this morning devotional time that we set apart at the start of our day isn’t some religious obligation — but it is a remembrance of what God the Father has done for us through His Son, Jesus Christ, and how we receive this gift by the Holy Spirit. So it is a type of tithe of our day, or remembering God’s fully willing, fully loving, fully sacrificial demonstration of His love towards us — not out of obligation or duty, but purely an outward reflection and demonstration of His grace towards us — we have the same opportunity. With each day in our morning devotional, with each week in our Lord’s day corporate gatherings, with each tithe on what we receive given to support the “Temple of God” — we have an opportunity to “do this in remembrance of me”.

Doing these things in remembrance is not just some religious ceremony that we step through to meet some obligation.

The Lord tells us how He feels about such religious, obligatory, hypocritical, self-righteous “religious” offerings:

“I hate all your show and pretense— the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.
Amos 5:21‭-‬24 NLT

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have festivals or assemblies! This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t make offerings to the Lord! It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t praise! It means that we should do these things rightly!

We are to give generously in remembrance of how much God has given us:

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!
2 Corinthians 9:6‭-‬15 NLT

And there by the Ahava Canal, I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before our God. We prayed that he would give us a safe journey and protect us, our children, and our goods as we traveled. For I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to accompany us and protect us from enemies along the way. After all, we had told the king, “Our God’s hand of protection is on all who worship him, but his fierce anger rages against those who abandon him.” So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.
Ezra 8:21‭-‬23 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/ezr.8.21-23.NLT

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.
Ephesians 6:10‭-‬20 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/eph.6.10-20.NLT

Letting go of a “Simple Man”

Last night was tough, and today will be challenging…

I’m going to be cleaning out the house tomorrow that I’ve always called home, no matter where I’ve lived.

We will be bagging stuff up to throw away, and gathering things to sell to people who have no idea the precious hands that touched and held and used these things — things that are all that is left of so many sweet memories.

I listened to and sang Simple Man by Skynyrd last night and it just broke me when I realized that I’m so much the opposite of that song. I’m so much the opposite of the “Simple Man” that he was.

I’ve spend so much of my life “chasing after the rich man’s gold” — pleasures and niceties — willing to use credit when I couldn’t yet afford something thinking that “I’ll pay for it later.” It’s stupid the traps we can get ourselves into — even when we think we are making wise and reasonable decisions — much worse when we are just being foolish, selfish and greedy.

I wish that I had just learned to live simple like Bill.

“Don’t buy it unless you can pay cash for it.”

“Take care of what you have.”

“Fix what you have instead of buying a new replacement.”

“Don’t rely on the big comforts, extravagant meals and entertainment and vacations — save and give generously and consistently — and learn to live off of less and appreciate the little things in life.”

He was the type of man that makes me ashamed of how little I can compare myself to him in those things that I admire most about him. I feel like I’ve let him down in almost every way that mattered to him.

Last night, as I wrestled with the anticipation of what would come today — I found myself sobbing, weeping, writhing on the floor, howling like a hurt animal. I couldn’t even lay in the bed, but preferred the cold, hard floor and the closet floor away from even my wife who was doing her best to be there for me and pray for me as I found myself brokenhearted before myself and before God.

The anticipation was killing me last night.

It’s like Mia said about riding Fury 325 at Carowinds — the worst part is the slow click, click, click as you are climbing the hill, waiting for the drop — the anticipation. The drop isn’t even as bad as the anticipation.

My mind just couldn’t seem to handle it last night. I just wanted to go somewhere, hide somewhere, escape to the woods or to the bottom of a bottle somewhere!

I know that’s horrible to say. I know that someone is going to say, “But doesn’t he talk about Jesus and now he’s talking about drinking?” I am tempted too– you can believe that! Sometimes my faith is hanging on by a thin thread, but even when I doubt and I fall on my face, He’s always pulled me back up before I drown.

So I cried out

“Lord, help me please!”

And I remembered and prayed:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake. Though I walk through this valley, in the shadow of mourning Bill’s death, I will fear no evil. You are with me, and your discipline and your guidance comforts me. Even in the midst of my enemies who surround and attack me, you prepare a table for me. What they meant fir evil, you will turn to good. Your grace and mercy anoints me and my cup runs over with your blessings, Lord. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell with you forever. Amen.

And I remembered the song lyrics:

I’ve stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it’ll be alright
But right now, oh right now I just can’t

It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well, good thing
A little faith is all I have right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

Hoping that the last line of those lyrics would be true, I found a friend’s testimony about how her life has been filled with loss, but that the Lord has always been there for her:

I hope this helps someone. There is something in my life that I never seem to get use to. Losing the people I love. Around 5 my father left. He was abusive and drank. My mother never got over that. We lost her to depression and bipolar disorder. My oldest brother went to live with his biological father. This left me and my little two year old brother to really form a bond. We were both physically and emotionally abused. We moved a lot not making friends. The times we lived with our grandparents were the best. We had Nanny and Papa and Anita across the street. I never made friends in school. Kept to myself, always feeling out of place. I tried to commit suicide and spent 3 months in a comma. At age 12 I moved to Connie Maxwell Children’s Home. Didn’t make friends there easy either. I was use to adults and people older than I. I formed an amazing friendship with my houseparent “Ma”. My administrators were like parents. An old soul they called me. Had the same boyfriend for 6 1/2 years. We went to the same college and my world once again fell apart when we parted ways. I finished college in 3 1/2 years with a BA and two minors. No this girl didn’t party or have too much fun. Explains the nut I am now. LOL! Got married, divorced, very short marriage. Married again moved back home to Inman…..another broken heart. Once more 20 years later my very first boyfriend from Connie Maxwell and I married. Lost him to drugs, alcohol, abuse, and adultery. I almost lost my son to Leukemia, my little brother died in 2016..went to sleep and never woke up. My oldest brother called on the day of his celebration of life to let us know he would no longer have anything to do with me. Ma passed away. Dakota the baby I lost…his birthday is this month…the 16th. This is just part of my story….and not much detail. This life brings lots of pain and loss. I am so grateful that I have always known Jesus was with me. I use to talk to him when I was small. I called him my best friend. He still is till this day! No matter how many people leave, how much loss, how much pain, He will NEVER LEAVE MY SIDE!

So if I post a lot about my Savior! It is because he has saved me not only from eternal damnation! He has saved my life so many times on this earth! So many times my life should have ended but I have more time to serve my KING!

OUR FAMILY IS GRATEFULLY BLESSED

And I thanked her and she prayed for me, and I was finally able to calm down enough to return to bed.

This morning, I awoke to what the day has for me:

And the following scriptures prepared me for my day. The anticipation is over and the day is here:

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1‭-‬8 NKJV

Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Matthew 5:4 NKJV

The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
Psalms 34:17‭-‬19 NLT

Praise the Lord ! How good to sing praises to our God! How delightful and how fitting! The Lord is rebuilding Jerusalem and bringing the exiles back to Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and calls them all by name. How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension! The Lord supports the humble, but he brings the wicked down into the dust. Sing out your thanks to the Lord ; sing praises to our God with a harp. He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures. He gives food to the wild animals and feeds the young ravens when they cry. He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse or in human might. No, the Lord ’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Psalms 147:1‭-‬11 NLT

Thank you, Heavenly Father! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Holy Spirit! You are always true and faithful, and your Word proves true time after time again.

Thank you, brothers and sisters in Christ, who are willing to share your testimonies, encourage each other, serve each other, pray for each other, and bear each other’s burdens.