Friday, July 3, 2015

More Than Worth It

More Than Worth It
“That’s not fair!” shouted my seven year old daughter. She was right. It wasn’t fair that her brother had taken the last Nutty Bar, when I had told her she could have it. But it’s also not fair that some children go to bed hungry every night. It’s not fair that couples who want a child are unable to have one. It isn’t fair that tornadoes and hurricanes, mudslides and earthquakes, forest fires and floods level towns and villages throughout the world, devastating people’s lives. It isn’t fair that soldiers are wounded and killed every day. It isn’t fair that some of us are diagnosed with cancer. Sometimes life isn’t fair. Sometimes it’s hard and painful and overwhelming. 

My Dad has a poster that reads: “I never said life would be easy, only that it would be worth it,” signed God. God has promised He will be with us always. Always. No matter what we face. He promises He will never leave us, never forsake us, regardless of our circumstances. He has promised to work all things for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Despite how we feel, in spite of our circumstances, God promises us hope for today, and eternity for tomorrow. It isn’t our circumstances that make life worth living. It’s God.

Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” The apostle Paul adds, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) 

In 15 years of marriage, my husband and I have faced a few trials, some we kind of expected—broken bones and stitches; a few took us by surprise—my husband’s job loss and relocation, twice; the death of my brother, my father-in-law, and several other close family members; a seriously ill young child; an auto accident and permanent injury, and a diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer. It’s been quite an adventure, but when I look back, it’s not pain or fear, heartache or loneliness, sorrow or anger I remember, but hope. Every step of the way, through every unexpected circumstance, God continued to grow and shape and refine us; to strengthen and deepen our faith; to encourage us and give us hope; to make Heaven very real; and to teach us to trust Him more.

When change happens, we can either fear the worst and focus on what isn’t fair, or we can step back, slow down, breathe deeply, and accept what God has allowed into our lives. The hottest fire refines the purest gold. The toughest trials teach us the greatest lessons and change us most profoundly. For in the midst of pain, we learn to persevere, our perspective is changed, and our faith deepened as we begin to understand the depth of pain Christ endured, the amazing price He paid for our salvation. Then can we begin to say with conviction, “Life isn’t fair, but because of God, it’s more than worth it.” Cindee Snider Re

Friday, June 26, 2015

He Delights in the Details

The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. (Psalms 37:23 NLT)

He Delights in the Details
Having grown up in the church, I never had a problem believing that God directs the steps of the Godly. You can see that just in the way Godly people live their lives. It’s the second part of this verse that I sometimes struggle with. “He delights in every detail of their lives.” Every detail? Really? Does God really pay attention to which brand of toothpaste I choose to buy? Does he notice that I’ve been trying to eat better lately and that turning down the donut at church on Sunday was really difficult? Does he see that my budget is pretty tight in this difficult economy and that my wardrobe has gotten a bit threadbare, my car is making a funny noise and my boss is getting on my nerves at work?

I think he does. I imagine that it’s a bit like the way I delight in my children. Sure, raising them is difficult and sometimes they get on my nerves, but then I see them doing something that makes me smile. For example, my son is reading the directions on his new toy, very diligently trying to assemble it the right way. He puts a few pieces together, realizes it isn’t right, gets frustrated, takes it apart and tries again. I could jump in and show him exactly how it should be done, but then I’d rob him of the opportunity to figure it out, manage his emotions and complete it himself. I enjoy seeing him get to his accomplishment.

Another example is my daughter choosing a piece of fruit instead of chips for her lunch. What she really wants is a piece of chocolate cake, but she makes a healthy choice. She struggles to cut up the apple and get the core out but I let her do it on her own because it’s good for her to learn that she can do these things and be self-sufficient. The struggle makes her stronger, and the next time she’ll be more confident and it will be a little easier.

I don’t rescue my kids from every challenge that they encounter, but I’m there to help when they need me or to guide them when they don’t know what to do. Just like parents who love to watch their babies learn to crawl, walk and talk, so also does God loves to watch us grow and learn and overcome challenges that life throws at us. He delights in seeing us live our lives the way we were designed to live them. He knows that the struggle is necessary, because without it, there is no accomplishment. It’s in the details that he truly directs our steps. Angelique Snow

Friday, June 19, 2015

Watching Over Us

For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91:11 NAS)

Watching Over Us
My wife and I waited at the airport for the arranged transportation, but it never arrived. We decided then to take the public transport to the bus station nearest where we were supposed to stay for the next few days. With our luggage in hand, we eventually reached the station, only to find out our destination was still a distance away. Not knowing where we were or the phone number to call a cab, we were totally helpless as to what we should do next. Thankfully, someone at the bus stand offered to call a cab for us using his mobile phone.

In our time of need, a kind soul came to our rescue and helped us, and we were wondering later on whether he could be an angel sent by God to direct our way. That was just one of the many situations my wife and I experienced which we remembered vividly because of the unusual circumstances. 

More recently, I have seen time and again how God changed situations to put things right whenever I encounter situations I knew I could do nothing about on my own, and I am bearing up to trust Him more. In the face of difficulties that could lead to dire consequences, frequently at the right time, things fell together to allow me to handle the circumstances in a manner only God could have made a way where there seemed no other way.

Looking back at the time of my youth in the faith till today, I could see the wonders of God working through people and perhaps angels who led me and my family out of difficult situations. I could not imagine how I would have continued the journey without their help. Surely, God had given His angels charge concerning me, to guard me in all my ways. My foot has never slipped because He who keeps me does not slumber (Psalm 91:11; 121:3). 

As a chosen people saved by God, we can rest assured that God will not leave us to our own situations without help. He cares for us too much not to see us through the circumstances we may face. At times, He may bring us out of difficult situations, and at other times He may choose to let us go through them to let us know His presence and care or to fulfill His purpose in us. 

We who dwell in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty for the Lord is our refuge and our fortress, our God in whom we trust. He is the one who delivers us from the snare of the trapper and from deadly pestilence. Under His wings we will find refuge, for His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. He has given His angels charge concerning us and they will bear us up in their hands so that we do not strike our foot against a stone (Psalm 91:1-12).

There is therefore no need for us to be afraid of what lies ahead. We can confidently take the steps necessary to fulfill the plans God has for us. Whatever the situations we are facing right now or awaiting us, we can count on God to be with us and to lead us. Knowing that His angels are guarding us in all our ways, we can rest assured God is on our side. What can people do to us? The LORD is with us and He is our helper. In triumph we will look on our enemies without fear (Psalm 118:6-7).

Thank You, dear Lord, for being our shield and bulwark, our refuge and our fortress. In You, O God, we trust! Guide, lead, and see us through our situations and circumstances. Deliver us from the snares of our enemies and from deadly pestilence. Grow in us a greater measure of faith as we walk closer to You each day. Grant us Your perfect peace that surpasses comprehension so that we might not worry too much or feel apprehensive of the things coming our way, but knowing that You have given Your angels charge concerning us, we will bear up to trust You more and more.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Have You Lost Your Flavor?

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. (Matthew 5:13 ESV)

Have You Lost Your Flavor?
God's purpose for each of us is to make a lasting impact. We are to have a spiritual influence in the lives of the people we meet. This is not an option; it is a command. And the power of our impact is going to be determined by the character of our life. The Bible uses a very common item to describe what our character should be - we are to be like salt.

Food is flavored by salt. We are to season the lives of the people around us in such as way that they will come to know Jesus Christ. Salt also creates thirst. When we enjoy a big slice of hickory smoked ham for breakfast, we need a glass of water to go with it! When we are at work or among friends, people notice our joy and contentment and desire to have those things for themselves. Their heart thirsts for God.

Salt has unique healing properties. One treatment for a sore throat is to dissolve salt in warm water and gargle with the soothing solution. In the same way, we can be a healing element in the lives of others. Take a moment to listen to people's hurts, and you will have their attention. Then you can share with them the truth that heals a broken heart.

Salt loses flavor when it becomes mixed with impurities. In other words, when we let sin into our life, we lessen the strength our witness. So to preserve the power of our "saltiness," we must guard the way we live. Then our impact can be strong and lasting. Karen McKenney

Friday, June 5, 2015

Has the Lord's Arm Been Shortened?

And Moses said, 'The people whom I am among are six hundred thousand men on foot; yet you have said, 'I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month.' Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to provide enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to provide enough for them?' And the Lord said to Moses, 'Has the Lord's arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not. (Numbers 11:21-23 NKJ)

Has the Lord's Arm Been Shortened?
The children of Israel had been complaining, as usual: this time because they wanted some meat; this time because the food that was being provided, the manna, was not good enough. The people were weeping, and complaining, until Moses could not take it any longer. Moses inquired of the Lord, wanting to know why he had to carry the burdens of all of these people. He told the Lord that the burden was too heavy for him and he would rather God kill him.

However, God told Moses that He would supply meat for the children of Israel for a whole month. Moses wanted to know, how was God going to provide food for 600,000 men for a whole month!! What a silly question ... He's God! God said, 'Has the Lord's arm been shortened?' In other words, 'Did I loose some of My power? Do I not still own everything? I am not still sovereign? Am I not still able to do exceeding abundantly above all that you can ever ask or imagine? Am I not still the Lord who delivered you from bondage? Has the Lord's arm been shortened?'

The question to you today is this ... Do you think the Lord's arm has been shortened in your life and situation? What is facing you that is so big that you are wondering, "How God?" Stop trying to figure out God ... Stop trying to fix the situation yourself ...

"With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible." God does not change, He is a miracle working God. We do not have to carry burdens for ourselves or for others. God's Word says, "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)

God has not lost any of His power and ability. You do not have a need that God cannot meet today. You do not have a situation that God cannot change today. You do not have a sickness that God cannot heal today. You do not have a problem that God cannot solve today. You do not have hurt that God cannot comfort today. You do not have an addiction that God cannot deliver you from today. The Lord's arm has not been shortened.

God is still the God who called the world into existence; He is still the God who said, 'Let there be ...' and it was; He is still the God that loved you so that He called you out, set you apart, sent His Son to give you life, made you new, cleaned you up, turned you around, and made a way for you. 

Sure, it may seem that what you are asking of God is big, but God is BIG! 

God is speaking ...

He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. (Job 26:7)
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? ... Who determined the measurements? ... Or who stretched the line upon it? .. To what were the foundations fastened. Or who laid its cornerstone?..Or who shut up the sea with doors? ... Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who can give understanding to the heart? (Job 38:4-6,8,36)
Has the Lord's arm been shortened? Rev Toni Brown

Friday, May 29, 2015

Book Review: Trials and Triumphs II

Trials and Triumphs II
Living the Christian life is not all smooth sailing, and like everyone else, the authors of this book have gone through some extremely difficult times. The difference is, rather than dwell in despair, their relationship with God flourishes as a result.

My heart is deeply moved and stirred within me reading some of the testimonies in this book. The experiences shared in this book lets us know we are not alone in our pains and sufferings because God is always with us.

This book is a good read especially for those who have gone through or are going through difficult times and for those seeking to know God more deeply and how to help others in their pains.

Get a copy of the book @ Xulon Press or Amazon.

Friday, May 22, 2015

In His Will

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, (Philippians 3:8 NAS)

In His Will
We have read heart-warming stories of men and women giving up their careers to become pastors, ministers or preachers. We have also heard or known some who have left the ministry. Surrendering our all to pursue the one or things we seek or something we consider of great value or importance is to some a calling.

Counting our cost before committing ourselves to the pursuit of what we want in life or our calling is important as well as wisdom. 

“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” Jesus said. “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’” (Luke 14:28-30 NAS)

The call to discipleship demands that we be willing to surrender our all for something greater. In the case of the apostle Paul, when the Lord called him, he gave up his pursuit in the Law as a Pharisee. Whatever things were gain to him, he count as loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing his Lord (Luke 14:33; Philippians 3:5-8).

What about us? Are we willing and ready to surrender our all for the Lord and His purpose? Or are we giving our all to the pursuit of things on earth that we deem of greater value?

Let us seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all that we need He will give to us. If, therefore, His will becomes our will, there is nothing for us to be afraid of because God is our strength. Surely, He will help us and uphold us with His righteous right hand (Matthew 6:33; Isaiah 41:10).

Thank You, dear Lord, for the assurance that You will supply all our needs when we seek first Your kingdom and righteousness. Help us set our priorities right in our pursuit of the things we seek or consider of great value or importance. Grant us a willing heart that esteems Your will above our will, for Your will we seek to fulfill as we surrender our all to You.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Times of Prayer

Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. (Daniel 6:10b NIV)

Times of Prayer
An hour a day? That’s a lot to ask! Perhaps an hour a week?

Not everyone is likely to respond to and negotiate with God in such a manner when it comes to prayer, but some of us are likely to understand this sentiment. We are always very busy, and we seldom have the time to even spare an hour a day just to pray. The truth is spending time to talk to God and listening to Him benefits us much more than benefits Him—if at all.

Prayer is an essential part of Christian living—a time we set aside to converse with a Friend and our Daddy God. Spending time with our friend who loves us enough to lay his life for us is a joy, not a burden. Conversing with our father who cares for us to want to give us the best shouldn’t be fearsome or uncomfortable. If we choose to refuse the love of our friend or the care of our father, we are the ones on the losing end, not the giver.

Perhaps, the hour we hope to have should be broken down into different times in a day. That would surely be easier for some of us. We know the Bible exhorts us to pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. To pray without ceasing is to keep within us a spirit of prayerfulness and thankfulness at all times. This is more difficult than we care to admit or realize, especially when we get too busy in our work or in whatever we are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).

A good way to maintain prayerfulness through a day is to take moments and short intervals to pause and seek the will of God in everything we do. If that is difficult, then we need to have a routine, such as three times a day like the prophet Daniel, or an hour of prayer like Peter and John, and other believers (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Daniel 6:10; Acts 3:1; 10:30).

A day in the presence of our God is better than a thousand elsewhere. Similarly, an hour in prayer conversing with God is worth much more than thousands of hours doing something else. Our Lord God is our shield who bestows us with favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from us whose walk is blameless (Psalm 84:10-11).

Are we busy to the point of neglecting our prayer time conversing with our Friend and with our heavenly Father? Are we losing out on our blessings because of not spending enough time to be cared for by our loving God?

Let us take time to pause and make time to consult God in everything we do. Keep a prayerful and thankful spirit at all times, knowing that no good thing does our loving Father withhold from us.

Dear Lord, thank You for the privilege to come to You and to the Father in prayer anytime of the day. Guide us each day by Your Spirit with an attitude of prayer and thankfulness. Bestow on us with favor and honor for You are our shield and friend.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Fortress of Refuge

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2 NAS)

Fortress of Refuge
On July 27, 1758, 11,000 British troops and 200 American Rangers fought against the French garrison of around 6,000 at the North East coast of Nova Scotia on the eastern seaboard of Canada. General Amherst was the commander of the British and American force with Brigadier James Wolfe, his subordinate commanders. Chevalier de Drucour was the commander of the French and Canadians.

Amherst knew before the British could conquer the French colony, Louisburg had to be captured, so he camped to overlook the Fortress of Louisburg. Wolfe, meanwhile, engaged the defences around the bay and the French ships. The walls of the fortress began to batter down as Amherst’s troops continually opened fire. On July 26, 1758, the last French gun positioned on the wall was destroyed and a breach made. Drucour eventually surrendered.

The account of the Battle of Louisburg is recorded in an article at We know a fortress is always built to last and be impenetrable. Nothing that is man-made, however, lasts forever. No walls of any stronghold or fortress here on earth are able to withstand bombardments for long. 

Thankfully for us, the mighty fortress we put our trust in is built on the rock that is everlasting, and can never be shaken or battered. The LORD is our rock and fortress, our deliverer, our God, in whom we take refuge. He is our shield and the horn of our salvation, our stronghold (Psalm 18:2; 91:2; 144:2).

Are we finding ourselves frequently fighting our life battles on our own? Are we putting our faith and trust in things on earth which do not withstand or last? Are we battering others to achieve our goals?

Let us constantly remind ourselves as followers of Christ not to fight our battles out of worldly motives. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We demolish false  arguments, pretension,  and intellectual arrogance that keep people from knowing God, so as to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Dear Lord, thank You for being our mighty fortress in whom we can place our complete trust because Your steadfastness lasts forever and You are eternal. Help us set our minds captive in obedience to You forever and never to put our faith in things on earth, for You are our deliverer, the horn of our salvation, our shield, refuge and stronghold.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Counting our Misgivings

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (James 1:17 NAS)

Counting our Misgivings
My career life has been anything but smooth sailing. The last few years have been especially difficult for me and my loved ones after I was laid off from a corporation and had to go into waiting mode with occasional freelance and contract assignments. When it came to the last straw on a number of occasions, I cried out to the Lord and He heard me, and provided a way. The way out, however, frequently involved a choice I had to make between pride or humility to turn away or humbly accept what was given, and perhaps someday repay the ones who had given help in my time of need.

Counting our blessings when we find it hard to, often contradicts how we feel. Yet the Bible exhorts us to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

More often than not, however, we have chosen to count our tears and pains instead of our blessings. This is usually because of our lack of humility and because we prefer to sulk in our misery to complain. We question God why He did not answer the way we expect Him to or because He said “No” or to go through to learn. If only we are able to put aside our pride and misery, we might just realize the number of blessings we have far exceeds the number of times we go through the humbling process on our training ground.

Trials are times we come to realize our dependency and sufficiency are in the Lord and not in our own abilities. Difficult times open our eyes to see the many occasions God had placed the right people at the right place in His time to help care for us. Although, presently, I do not have plenty or the ability to share good gifts with those who have far greater needs than me and my loved ones, we have enough.

There is much truth in the saying, “If God is all we have, we have all we need.” For every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. If as parents we know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will our heavenly Father give good gifts to us who ask of Him (James 1:17; Matthew 7:11)?

Knowing our heavenly Father loves us so much, let us never ever doubt His plan for us is good. Stay thankful always and count our blessings instead of our short stints of sufferings, knowing that He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all will also freely give us all things (Romans 8:32).

Dear Lord, thank You for blessing us and seeing us through the many areas of our life. We know Your plan for us is always good because You are Abba, our Father who loves us so much. Help us not doubt in our times of need to think that You would leave us without Your sufficiency. Keep our hearts humble that we might not because of pride turn down the help of others. Bless us wherever You place us, and keep us burning bright for You.


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