Discouraged

Is God Dispassionate? An Indifferent deity?

Is God dispassionate
An indifferent deity
Coldly designing, dispatching, aloof?
Island of iron
Impassible mountain
Sovereign, majestic, timeless, removed?

Are we set adrift
Existentially axed
Rudderless, anchorless, charterless waifs?
Could Maker of minds
Molder of dreams
Abandon enfleshed to entropic fates?

Joy in the morning would say otherwise,
Dew freshly falls though desiccants rule,
Seasons and cycles remove world disguise
Revealing a plan to "make everything new."

Gentle the hands that pull us to Him,
Soft is the Word that falls from His lips,
Patient, compassionate, sovereign, our sin
He takes to His Heart and lets His Life slip.

Need Strength? Our Sure Resource!

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble! Psalm 46:1

God intended Himself to be the great fountain of supply to His creatures. All are to be dependent on Him--and to look for their supplies from Him. Just so, the believer is to apply to God for all. Ample provision is made--but it is only in Jesus. Promises are given--but they are to be fulfilled by Jesus. He possesses all fullness, and as such He presents Himself to us as His needy dependent creatures--and says, "Look unto Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other!" Isaiah 45:22

This is the business of faith and prayer--to look to Jesus, and apply to Jesus for all that we need. Let us consider these words as spoken unto us every day--as calling us away from dependence on the creature, and as directing us how to act under all circumstances. It is Jesus who speaks. Jesus, as God. Jesus, as the Savior. Jesus, full of sympathy and power. Let us therefore listen to--and act upon His Word.

When Prayers Seem Unanswered

This was written by an unknown Confederate soldier

I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for help, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

How Do You Live?

Acts 17:28: For in him we live and move and have our being.

"Every woman on my dad's side of the family has died of breast cancer except me," a lady told me as I drove her to the airport.

I gulped before I answered. She was a miracle of God's grace and mercy. I wondered what work God has in store for her on earth.

I told her I'm also a miracle of God's grace and mercy. Twelve years ago I went through breast cancer treatment. Prior to my diagnosis, two cousins had died of breast cancer. My work on earth is not yet finished either.

My medical oncologist who oversaw my chemotherapy treatment had lymphoma, but she was fully alive and fully involved in the treatment of all of her patients.

Trusting in the Promises of God

And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and theLORD did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. Genesis 21:1-2 NKJV

God is always faithful to His promises. His word is absolute truth, so we can invariably be assured that, just like we are told in Isaiah 55:10-11, God will not see His word return to Him void when He sends it out to achieve important purposes in our lives: As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Have you given up hope in a promise that God has made to you because you have not yet seen its fulfillment?

When Things Look Bleak, Do You Still Trust God?

Genesis 50:10-20a NRSV
Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good."

The story of Joseph is always amazing to me. I keep coming back, again and again, during different experiences in my life, to this particular verse and to the reality that was Joseph’s. You see, I’ve heard many preachers extol the honors that Joseph received, how he went from a slave to becoming Prime Minister of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. But that’s not quite the entire story.

Has God Abandoned You?

Has God Abandoned You? Do you believe that He no longer loves you or cares about you? Have circumstances become so dire that there is no hope at all? I have been there too - in that dark night of the soul. The pit is so deep, so black, the walls so steep and slick that there seems to be no way out.

The times I have felt so lost, alone and totally abandoned by God were so dark I believed there was no hope. I honestly thought that God no longer cared about me. But looking back I can see that I was like a 3 year old whose mother had gone out of the room I was in. There I was all alone. It was as if I spilled milk all over myself and did not know what to do. Where was mommy?

The Breath of Life: How Do You Feel About Yourself?

Do you like yourself? How do you feel about yourself? How do you view yourself? In the eyes of those around you? Your peers? Your family members? Your employers and the other authority figures in your life? In the eyes of your Lord Jesus Christ?

Personally, for as long as I could remember, I had dwelt beneath a shadow of deep inner shame. Shame that whispered in my ear, tortuously accusing me with words such as, "You are dirty; you are worthless and deserving of punishment; you are unlovable and warrant no merit in this world."

Proverbs 23:7 teaches us that, For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [Amplified Bible]. Like the leper in Luke 5:12, I knew (or so I thought) that I was unclean. However, unlike the leper in Luke 5, I had no idea that Jesus could make me clean, and that He desired to do so. I was lost in a deep ocean of deceit with the waves of false belief tossing me against the sharp and slippery rocks created by the lies of the enemy - Satan - along with many falsehoods from my past without God. Furthermore, I was being dragged beneath the dark surface by the undertow of lack of knowledge:

Avoid Burn-out by Practicing Good Self-care

Urban mission work and recovery outreach are certainly unique. The rewards can be tremendous, as well as the discouragements. So, here are a few of my thoughts on how to avoid burn-out by practicing good self-care:

A. Keep a life for yourself -- I often struggle to find the balance between personal priorities and ministry opportunities. It's easy to get caught up in ministry and put my own needs on the "back burner." Because urban missions can be a very stressful place to work good self-care practices are essential. One of the most important of them is to cultivate a life that is separate from the mission and its staff and clients. We need to leave work stress behind and pursue our own interests and relationships. For people who live in the mission facilities, failing to develop meaningful outside relationships and activities is a sure path to "burn-out."

God Chases Runaways

Study of Jonah 1:1-5


Jonah 1:1-2
The word of the LORD came to Jonah ...
But Jonah ran away from the LORD.

Do you remember the TV series, “The Fugitive” (and then the movie version in 1993? It was about Dr. Richard Kimble’s efforts to find the one-armed man who had killed his wife.
Police thought he had done it, so he was on the run.
He was a fugitive.

The Bible tells us we’re fugitives from God.
That’s because we’re sinners, and have broken His laws.
Unlike Dr. Kimble, though, we are guilty.
As fugitives, we are running away from Him.

We don’t like to think of ourselves that way.

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