When I’m in the Valley, He Points To The Mountain Top

I went through one of the darkest most difficult times in my life over a decade ago. I was deep in the Valley, suffering grief, loss, and  financial hardships. I literally could not see my way out: no light at the end of the tunnel. My ship was sinking, and I was desperate!

What I learned was….I was desperate for God! Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I got on my face before my loving and compassionate Father. He held my hand through every challenge; through every pain; through every shed tear; through every fear; through every attack; through my grief, anger, resentment,un-forgiveness, and isolation. He held my hand while I experienced every hard emotion of my rock bottom.

He taught me how to pray; how to find contentment and joy in the smallest of things. He taught me how to read His Word, and the Holy Spirit gave me understanding. He would encourage me every day to not give up. His grace taught me how to brush myself off as I made mistake after mistake. He taught me how to forgive, how to love Him, others and myself.  NO, my situation did not change right away, but my outlook did. He turned my focus from the valley toward the mountain where He was taking me.

“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3

God held my hand in the valley, all the while lifting my head toward the mountain top. I want to encourage you today.  If you are walking in the valley, you are not alone! Your Father is with you! I can assure you that this” valley season” will not last. Hold fast to hope! Hope fast to your faith! There is a mountain top waiting with your name on it!!!

“God Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not,  I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down relax My hold on you! Assuredly not!” Hebrews 13:5 ampc

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 msg

Check That Filter

My husband changed the air filter to our HVAC system yesterday. He stepped in the kitchen, and held up the black dirty filter in disgust! It had been way too long since he changed it last. That’s not the only filter we have to change in our home. Since we live on well water, we installed a filtration system. Once, we were very low…….very low on water pressure. Why? You guessed it…the water filter beneath the house had caked up so bad with clay like silt, that it restricted the water flow.

Not changing the filters to your home can restrict air flow and water flow. My son Josh works for an HVAC company. His company understands that you don’t wait until there is a problem on the unit…..you try to stave off problems with proper upkeep. So currently, his main job is to provide routine maintenance for their clients.  I asked my son, what type of maintenance you do to help avoid unit issues. Boy oh boy he sent me a long list. You can thank me later that I shortened it for you:

  • Change filters
  • Check capacitors & contactors
  • Wash coils
  • Tighten wire connections & fuses

What’s the point to all of this, you’re wondering? The point is, that without changing our spiritual filter, keeping our spirit man in check, washing and renewing our minds, and tightening our connections to God……we might find ourselves experiencing malfunction.

Do you find yourself ‘breaking down’ every time somebody says something to you? Is your thinking ‘damaged,’ and you’re thoughts are negative? Have you discovered some ‘friction,’ along with difficultly forgiving wrongs or hurts?  Is your love ‘flow restricted’? Are you ‘sputtering’ things out of your mouth you feel you can’t control? Is your anger management system in ‘disrepair’? In general, are feeling that spiritual ‘wear and tear’?

Let’s get back to the basics: check your filter, we all have one. It affects our perspective in life. What’s collecting on your filter: hurts, anger, insecurities, and resentments? Time to change the filter. Here’s how:  “Above all else guard your heart because everything you do ‘flows’ from it” Proverbs 4:23.  Wow-there we have it folks. If we let our filter collect garbage, that garbage will restrict the ‘flow’ of God in our lives.

 “Let me explain further. Live your life as your spiritual nature directs you. Then you will never follow through on what your corrupt nature wants” Galatians 5:16 gw. What a good picture of what the filter does for us as Christians: separates the spirit from our flesh. Let’s not be led by our clogged up filter (the flesh), and let’s be led by the Holy Spirit.

Each of us has spiritual maintenance that we must do!

  • Change that spiritual filter (Proverbs 4:23)
  • Keep our spirit man in check (Galatians 5:16)
  • Wash and renew our minds (Romans 12:2)
  • Tighten our connections to God (Psalm 16:8, James 4:8)

Decisions, Decisions!

My co-worker asked me to her home one day after work. We both hop in my car, but only one of us knows where we are going, and it isn’t me. Yet, I’m the one behind the wheel. Without her telling me every turn to make, I would have been lost and the destination would not be reached.

So it is in our everyday Christian walk. We are behind the drivers wheel but the Holy Spirit gives us directions.

“Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go, whether to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 31:21 nlt

Imagine what might have happened if……I ignored my co-worker’s directions, or I cut the radio up so loud I drowned her out? What if I thought she was just offering me “suggestions,” and that I had a much better route?

These questions make us all think about how we respond to, and interact with the Holy Spirit. What is He telling us, and will we listen?

He has a purpose for our lives, and a destination in mind. Trust in His Word…..”Your own ears will hear Him….” He will NOT steer us in the wrong direction.

Not Forgotten

“Praise be to God who has not rejected my prayer or withheld His love from me” Psalm 66:20

I used to love to try out new recipes. Ya know, from scratch: the ones that don’t come in a box.  I would be excited to shop for every ingredient; thrilled to make sure my kitchen was clean and prepped; and then I’d make sure my day was dedicated to the big task ahead. I’m all in….fully invested. Before long, the kitchen is messy again, and I begin to wonder if this was such a good idea after all, not to mention my growing concern about how this new dish will turn out. Or worse, what if I neglect to turn the timer on and I forget it’s in the oven?

Sometimes we approach our prayers like this! We toil and labor over prayer and we don’t get desired results, or we simply forget about it.

Prayers can be like meals: some are done in 15 minutes, some are take hours in a slow cooker. You may even think God is the one who has forgotten about your petitions! He has not!

Isaiah 49:15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though SHE may forget, I WILL NOT FORGET YOU!”

Wow that is powerful!! Not only that, but He keeps all of His promises (2 Chronicles 6:14)! Whatever He has spoken WILL come to pass! No Word from the Lord will ever fail (Luke 1:37)!  He cannot tell a lie (Hebrews 6:18)! And He has not rejected your prayers (Psalm 66:20)!

God has not forgotten you or your prayers! So cling to the promises in His Word; cling the Words the Holy Spirit has spoken to you about your circumstances; These Words from God will come to pass, it’s only a matter of time.

Long after we’ve forgotten, God has NOT forgotten!
Rest assured that when the time is right, you will see the evidence of God’s faithfulness!!!

Isaiah 60:22 “When the time is right, I the Lord will make it happen.”

When The Time Is Right

Isaiah 60

The Holy Spirit knows just WHAT we need; WHEN we need it; and HOW to supply it. On top of that, He knows just how to comfort us. Lately, I’ve been comforted by this scripture.

I trust that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than mine…..therefore, I know that some things in my life will be beyond my understanding, yet I will trust Him.  I know that He has good plans for me and my family…..therefore I can expect God’s favor to make that happen.  I know that the Creator of all I see, can create solutions in my life where I see none. I know that I can’t always trust in my limited reasonings and rationale, so I put my trust in an All  Knowing and All Powerful God.

But sometimes, waiting for my circumstance to change is hard.  I want it now!! Waiting for that break-through can be hard. I want it now!! Waiting for God’s timing can be hard. I want it now!!

I recently was reading thumbing through a notebook where I’d shoved various scraps of paper. At date was written on an old bank envelope: 2012.  The date took me back in time, to a place where I’d seen God grant me “desires” I had longed for….for over 10 years. Yet in 2012 I found myself struggling  because I had “needs” that were not being met.  But God didn’t get mad at me, He spoke a gentle yet firm reminder of His power and love to me. So I grabbed what was handy and wrote down what the Holy Spirit was telling me:

“If I can grant the desires of your heart, I will certainly meet your needs.”

Oh is it so wonderful to know that our God will not only meet your needs, but will grant the desires of your heart. BUT, we must wait on the timing of the Lord.

So encourage yourself in the Lord. Fill in the blank with the thing you have been waiting for…..the need…..the change…..the dream……the breakthrough…… the miracle…. and quote Isaiah 60:22.

When the time is right for _________________________, I, The Lord,  will make it happen.

DON’T GIVE UP!!! God has not forgotten you!!
DON’T GIVE UP!!! God is working on your behalf!!
DON’T GIVE UP!!! The Creator is still creating for you!!
DON’T GIVE UP ON GOD’S TIMING!!! Wait on the Lord and be of good courage!

When You Don’t See Progress

“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us,
even though we cannot see it up ahead.” Hebrews 11:1

This table….old, used, abused, painted and re-painted…currently adorned with the three different colors.  A table discarded by my daughter because it no longer had purpose.

Yet I had hope for this piece of abandoned furniture, and wasn’t giving up. Not yet anyway. But after sanding and sanding and not seeing the results I’d imagined, my frustration grew and my determination wavered as a new purpose emerged:  chunk this unchanged junk!!!

That’s the moment the Holy Spirit whispered an important life lesson to me:
“When you don’t see progress, trust the process.”

We all have a “table” in our lives that needs a change. And we’ve all experienced that moment when we’ve decided to give up all hope when we don’t see progress…..when things don’t change. But I’m here to encourage myself and to encourage you: DON’T GIVE UP! Don’t abandoned the process.

The process of faith, of prayer, of hope, of releasing your situation to our All Powerful, All Knowing God! This process works because God never fails!!

Don’t stop Praying!!
Don’t stop Believing!!
Don’t abandon Hope!!
Don’t throw out your unchanged junk!!

Something IS happening even though you may not see it just yet. God does have a purpose and a plan when you don’t see one. So I continued the sanding ‘process’ and sure enough, I began to see the result I was looking for.

When you don’t see progress, trust the process. God IS moving on our behalf. He IS responding to our prayers.


It’s Time To Grow Up

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up my childish ways.” I Corinthians 13:11

If you work with children in any occupation, more than likely you’ve been taught about child development. It’s important that everyone recognizes the various stages of growth, and what each child should accomplish by a certain age. These achievements are called milestones. It’s how we measure growth.

For example, we all expect our baby to roll over on his or her own by four months of age; to sit up by six months of age; and to walk by twelve months. If a twelve month old can’t even roll over by four months, it’s a red flag that development could be delayed. Why is it important to note growth and development?

In other words, what’s the big deal if an infant doesn’t learn a particular milestone? The big deal is that this lack of growth could affect this child’s entire life: from how they think, speak and move. Not growing and maturing is a big deal!!

It’s important to note growth so that you can address any delays; to intervene in an effort to help this child become a successful independent adult.

Paul was doing this very thing in chapters 5 and 6 of Hebrews. To sum it all up in a nut shell he says, it’s time for you to grow up! It time to move to another level! It’s time to proceed to advanced teaching. (Hebrews 6: 1-3)

Raising your newborn baby is a wonderful experience: the joy and excitement is priceless. But you don’t want your baby to stay a baby forever! How do I know this? Because we teach them to eat with a spoon, to say please and thank you, to read and write, to ride without training wheels and to make good decisions. We teach them to grow, mature and advance. WHY? Because we are equipping them for life! We don’t want our children to become helpless adults.

Not growing and maturing spiritually can affect us the rest of our lives. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want us to stay baby Christians forever; He doesn’t want us to be helpless; He wants us to advance!  God wants to equip us for success, so we can live a good and abundant life! He wants the very best for each one of us.

HEAR THIS: God wants to take you to another level!! The Holy Spirit will teach you all that you need to know (John 14:26). All you have to do is ask, read His Word and talk to God. Like any good parent, He will guide you gently at your own pace. In other words, it’s time to grow up.

He loves you and wants to see you prosper beyond your wildest dreams.

A Changed Mind….An Unchanged Circumstance

Peace iv

While many may not admit it, Christians often struggle with doubt, anxiety, tormenting thoughts, fear, and the like. All of which will promptly steel your peace and be long gone before you even realize it. The thief in the night, you might say. I’ve been there recently. And this is the comforting word the Holy Spirit gave me:

My circumstances do not have to change in order for me to experience God’s freedom from tormenting thoughts. I can have God’s peace in the midst of a stressed filled situation!
His grace is enough!

Your circumstance may not change, but your mind can!!!! Keep your thoughts fixed on God, and He is sure to keep His promise of peace!



When You Are Unsettled, Pay Attention

Don’t settle for something that doesn’t settle in your Spirit. Let God’s peace be the deciding factor.

And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].” Colossians 3:15

Pay attention to that nagging unsettled feeling you may get from time to time. We’ve all been there, and it doesn’t feel good at all. Pray and ask God to reveal to you just what is stealing your peace. The Holy Spirit will show you.

Jesus said, “ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

The boiled down version is this, God never intended for us to be unsettled, worried, anxious and undecided. The solution, He GAVE us peace. So pay attention when you get that unsettled feeling, and go to the Lord in prayer. He is faithful to us, and will reveal the source of what threatens to steal our peace. God has good plans for us, and does not want us to settle for less than His best. So let peace be your guide! Guard it! Trust this spiritual instinct, because God has given it to you for a purpose.


Is That What He Really Said???

Satan: Did God really say that you couldn’t have any of the fruit in the garden? Really?
Eve: No, that’s not what God said. Of course we can eat the fruit. There’s only one tree we’re supposed to avoid at all costs. It’s the tree in the middle of the garden. We could die if we even touch it, much less eat its fruit.
Satan: Well, that’s a lie!! Here’s the real truth: if you eat that fruit, you’re gonna be just like God: wise. You’ll know what He knows. You are definitely NOT going to die.
Eve: Hmm…let me reconsider. Maybe I did misunderstand what God said.

Eve takes a lot of ridicule from church folks and non-church folks. Everybody blames poor Eve for the struggles of this life, and she is the butt of many jokes. But I can identify with Eve’s conflict: I’ve been in her shoes recently.

A few weeks ago, God told me something….several times. It was just one word, but it was a very important word. A word that defined a course of action that I should take. A single word specifically for a family issue I was dealing with. Before I tell you the rest of the story, I want to point out a few things about Eve.

Consider that Eve walked with God daily!! She was accustomed to His voice, His ways and His love. In other words, she was as close to God the Father as any human could ever get. Furthermore, Eve did not seek the counsel of the Satan….he sought her out just as soon as God had spoken to her. I gotta tell ya, if Eve can be deceived: we can all be deceived. So, instead of being hard on her for chomping the fruit, perhaps we can learn something from her experience.

Now, the rest of my story. As soon as God gave me that one word, Satan paid me a visit. As with Eve, he began to offer me some unsolicited interpretation. It made sense to me……..at first. I began to think that this is what God meant by that one word. I almost munched down on some fruit myself, but something in my spirit told me to pray further; to come back to God again, presenting HIM with the word and asking HIM for clarity. God gave it to me, and it was nothing at all like the lie Satan tried to sell me. As a matter of fact, it was quite the opposite. I would have made a grave mistake for my family had I listened to Satan’s twisted reasonings.

So what do we learn from Eve’s account?

  1. God speaks to us
  2. Satan immediately challenges God’s word
  3. Satan offers free interpretations telling us what God really meant to say. In other words, Satan outright lies to us. He is the father of lies (John 8:44)
  4. We begin to look at God’s word differently. Factoring in the lie, we now re-evaluate and alter God’s word.
  5. After hearing both sides (God’s & Satan’s), Eve took matters into her own hands and relied on her own reasoning. One Bible version said, Eve was ‘convinced.’ What a fatal mistake. What will you do?

We never have to go to step 5. Don’t rely on what you think you know, rely on what God knows (Proverbs 3:5-7).  Always go back to The Source: God Himself. The Holy Spirit will provide clarity. Lastly, God cannot tell a lie (Hebrews 6:18). He will always tell us the truth!