Real Church. Real Life. Real Celebration.

Posts tagged ‘hard times’

Finding My Joy Again

My joy was gone for about two to three weeks. Not on a vacation. It has been completely non-existent. I didn’t check my personal emails. I went to bed with a heaviness that often resulted in me being woken up in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep because of a pounding heart beat.

That feeling of dread often carried over into the morning. I had things I needed to be working on, but I had ZERO desire to do anything.

How did this happen? I’ll tell you. It resulted from me carrying things I had no business carrying. Matthew 6:25-27 reminds us not to worry saying, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

I knew my joy was gone. I hated the way I felt. If my mind and emotions were not in turmoil, I was just in limbo. I wasn’t doing anything to move forward. I KNEW I needed to pray, but I couldn’t. I would read a few Scriptures in the Bible just to get some peace…for the moment. Sometimes I would start quoting the Word with power and authority, but end up in tears.

I KNEW I needed to confess the Word over myself. I knew it, but the circumstances and overwhelming feelings were just too much. I would try to work on things and I would just go in circles, never really accomplishing anything.

I’d had people pray for me. The feelings would lift. Then, my mouth would get me into trouble. It’s like I had an overwhelming urge to say the wrong thing whenever something happened. I am usually never continually negative, but it seemed like nothing was right. I couldn’t write because I didn’t have anything to say. The words weren’t hanging out in my mind. They simply weren’t there.

Finally, I called a friend. I talked to her for five minutes, only sharing a little of what I was feeling. She started praying for me and God showed her almost everything…even things I had thought!

I slept better that night, but the next day was a struggle. Finally, my mom said, “Something’s got to give.” “I know,” I said. “You won’t pray. You used to listen to the Word. I don’t know what you do now.”

“It’s not that I quit listening all together. The sound of anything irritated me. I irritated myself.

Mama and I committed to start praying in tongues thirty minutes every morning. If I couldn’t do it all right then, I took Mama’s advice and prayed when I could, even if that meant just a few minutes at a time.

After a few days, weightiness and heaviness that had been so prevalent lifted. I felt lighter. I wasn’t as irritated. Before I got the breakthrough, each day I had to look for something to be happy about.

When my nephew and cousin came over, I made myself get excited and do silly faces. I told Mama I felt fake doing that, but she said, “Sometimes, you have to fake it until you make it.”

If things seem bad right now, they won’t stay that way. LIFT UP YOUR HEAD! Turn your eyes to Jesus! I promise you He’s there. The enemy wants to convince you that he’s won this round. He wants you to stay down. I am encouraging you to GET UP! With God, all things are possible! All you have to do is make a choice to let God be God! He’s got this!

~ Madison Sanders

Image Credit: Happy Buttercups Lesley Cutts via freeimages.com

Cultivate Your Praise!

This phrase came to mind the other day. It got me thinking. Cultivate means nurture, develop, or work on. Praise isn’t something that comes naturally to most of us. Our minds are geared to think on the negative things. It is easy to get bogged down by people and situations. Without even realizing it, you will fall into a pit of negativity.

That is why it takes effort to develop our praise. In hard times, we have to plow through those negative feelings, reach down deep on the inside of us, and praise Him!

You will develop an attitude of gratitude if you shift your perspective. Look for the best in a bad situation. Like a song at our church says, “No matter what comes my way, I’ll lift my voice and say, Hallelujah anyhow!”

The more you choose joy; you will bear much good fruit in your life. The more you look for the good in things, the more you will find it.

My prayer today is, “Lord, help me to see all the many blessings in my life. I have so much to thank You for. Thank You for being patient with me. Thank You for Your mercy when I mess up. Thank You for loving me in the middle of my bad attitude. Thank You for reminding me to focus on Your goodness. Thank You for all You have brought me out of. Thank You for what You are bringing me into.

Praise shouldn’t be determined by what kind of day we’ve had. We shouldn’t just praise God on Sundays in church. God is good all the time. It’s time for us to stop letting the cares of this life rob us of a victorious life!
~ Madison Sanders

Image Credit: Praise © Chris Wittwer via freeimages.com

Keeping it Real

~Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth thee.”

I do not know what this year holds. I don’t think I have seen as much uncertainty in the world since 9-11-2001 until recent years. I saw a lot of it in my own personal life. More than once, loved ones were rushed to the hospital. there were car accidents. We had bad reports concerning our son’s heart. Cancer reared it’s ugly head in my families’ lives. Friends lost jobs. My best friends’ husband came too close to losing his life. One aunt faced terrible health issues. I was heartbroken as another aunt went home to be with The Lord. I am sure by now you have gotten the picture.

These times weren’t all bad. We welcomed new babies. There were weddings to celebrate. Maybe as you read this, you are thinking back over your own year. I hope it was a good one for you. I am not one of those people who go around shouting that everything is great when it is not. God will work all things together for my good.

I have been a Christian for many years now. I knew from times gone by that God is always near to those who call upon His name. It has been true in every circumstance I have faced this year as well. I have felt his presence fill the room as we gathered to pray for a loved one. I have seen unbelievers find Christ. I have witnessed miraculous healings.

Don’t wait until things are bad to spend time in prayer and worship to God. It is the most amazing experience you could ever have. Come to think of it, anytime is the perfect time. I am going into this next year with great expectations. More importantly, I am going in knowing that God is well able to keep me. God bless you in this coming year. If you don’t know Him, He is only a prayer away. Don’t spend another day without Him in it.

~Ricky Robinson

Image Credit  tunnel © Asier Barrio via freeimages.com

– See more at: http://www.gatewaybelievers.com/blog/keeping-it-real#sthash.FH5MGLuj.dpuf

Opportunities to Change

I always dread that seeking time is coming. I’m not going to lie to you. I resist the call to extra worship and setting aside extra time I don’t think I have.  I have to drive to church two more times a week? I haven’t followed through on that as I should have as the weeks have come and gone. I was laid off just before seeking time and have been wide eyed and dazed by the reality of the world we live in. Circumstances have crept up my spine, and outweighed the Word I have living in me. The despair mentioned from the pulpit last week hurt in its accuracy.

My hope in sharing this candidly in The Celebration is to be a part in helping someone else  who has been through some hard times lately. I think I get tripped up sometimes by thinking the things I deal with are personal and intimate things for me, when, in fact, they can be useful to those around me. I don’t know about you, but I have spent a lot of time drifting in the subtle breeze, unaware that I have gotten off course. I’ve wasted time; and time, friends, is marching steadily forward, absolutely and irrevocably without mercy.

In spite of the resistance of my flesh, I have come to truly know something valuable: Seeking time prepares our future together by offering an opportunity to share in our unified hope and vision, rather than going it alone. I needed to re-align my focus on God’s plan for my life. The corrections to my course have been relayed successfully through my commitment to this house. The unified call to seek prepares the way for us all to correct our courses if we recognize it as an opportunity.

God is offering this opportunity for us all as a body of disciples. He’s saying it’s time to re-align our focus on His plans for the year ahead. How aware are you of God’s voice in this seeking time? Don’t mistake the framework of law we use as a chore. If you stand in faith, realizing God is always trying to speak to you, in or out of the corporate gathering, you can develop a more sensitive ear in these forty days and in the days ahead. Rather than resisting seeking time, learn to think like this: “The structure of seeking time provides a path of opportunity in my hectic schedule that can lead me – and our entire church family –  into a higher place in Him!”

What does seeking time mean to you? Judge your intentions and motivation. Look at yourself, and weigh how thankful you are for the opportunity to change.

~ Guy Parker

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