Build Your Trust in God

by Kim McDougal

trust

photo by (c) Helene Souza

If there were a 7-step process of what to do to trust in God and automatically you would begin to trust Him no matter what, life would be much simpler. But you and I know life doesn’t work that way. Trusting in someone is a process. Just like when you first meet someone…would you immediately trust them with the keys to your car? No. It takes time to build that kind of relationship. We invest years into many of our friendships to get to a point where we can really be ourselves around our friends.

And building a relationship with God is no different, it takes time and effort. We don’t just read today’s scripture and poof, we trust indefinitely. Everyday has its own set of issues and we have to choose to trust the Lord as each day passes. The good news is that He isn’t fickle nor will He time us as we’re working on trusting Him more. He is patient with us and as we grow closer to Him, it becomes easier to build trust in Him.

You may ask, why should we trust God? My answer is simple. If you don’t trust God, you will trust in something. And God is the only one who does not change, will not betray you or I, will not leave us especially when we need Him the most, does not break promises, and we can never be separated from Him. There is a lasting peace and joy when you know you can trust Him, we feel that with some of our friends now don’t we? Well, think of God being 10 times what our beloved friends or relatives are…The Lord is the safest place I know and I’m choosing Him to trust in today. How about you? Will you begin today to build trust in God? He will be your refuge and no matter what, you can trust Him.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

With everything around us constantly changing, we have the comfort of knowing that our Heavenly Father never changes. He is the only constant in our lives. His love and faithfulness are the solid foundation that we can build our lives on. People and circumstances change but his love and compassion for us never change. No matter how dark or discouraging our circumstances may appear, our Father’s hand is guiding and gives wise direction to every decision and problem that comes our way. We are greeted daily with His mercies…How great His faithfulness.

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4

Are you in the valley or are you praising Him on the mountain top? Do you see the glass half empty or half full? Have faith and believe He will see you through. Our Father delights in our trust in Him. His word is fresh everyday! His Presence is always with us no matter how alone or lonely we are! When we study and meditate upon His word, it fills us with hope and uplifts and encourages our wounded and broken heart. Through the Holy Spirit we have a future of hope and eternal reward. His word reveals this truth again and again. Open his word today and allow it to minister to what’s going on in your life.

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.” Psalm 34:7

If you are feeling alone and pursued by your enemies, turn to the One who is our salvation, our rock, and our redeemer…Hold on! He will see you through. God is still faithful. His word reveals this truth again and again. We are surrounded by amazing beauty and wonders that bear witness to His great faithfulness, mercy and love. We cannot help but give praise and thanksgiving to our loving, faithful and unchanging Heavenly Father. How great is His faithfulness!

Heavenly Father, thank you so much! No matter how difficult things are for us, You are always there. You do not change and Your compassions do not fail. Your faithfulness is great and your mercies endure forever. I praise Your name! Amen.

Sweet Blessings

Let Go and Let God

by Kim McDougal

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 KJV

I’m writing this as much for myself as I am for all our readers. You may even know my moving to Oregon story and, if so just bear with me as I explain why I’m telling it again. Last night as I was praying, I realized that I had really experienced trauma that spanned close to five years. And I’ll explain what I mean later in this post.

Trauma comes in different ways: surviving a criminal attack, losing a loved one, divorce, physical/mental/sexual abuse, natural disaster, loss of income, war, health problems definitely qualifies as traumatic. But there are other events that fall under trauma too like: breakdown in a relationship with family, disappointments in life, problems on the job, not knowing our purpose, and many others. The thing is that we don’t always understand that when we go through traumatic experiences we MUST give our trauma to God. We must tell Him how we feel, give Him our tears, fears, anger, frustration, even confusion. He never minds us asking Him “Why”? Now, He may give a reason or He may not. I think of Job who didn’t know what was going on in Heaven at the time, but He just kept trusting God that there was a good reason for his suffering and at the end he was definitely rewarded. But, do you think he went on after that feeling like a victim? I’d like to think NOT!

Getting over bad experiences is hard for us humans. Our nerves are affected, we don’t quite see life the same way anymore. The past few years in Florida was incredibly hard for my husband and I. We lost our income after the economy decline. After that, a host of problems ensued:

  1. We got behind on the rent to the point of threat of eviction and we couldn’t pay our bills;
  2. Received threatening letters and calls that our truck would be repossessed;
  3. We didn’t have enough work coming in and;
  4. Hubby had severe health issues on top of all this.

We still tithed what money came in and we prayed and went to church. But I will tell you, it was hard to keep our head up everyday. We never knew from day to day if it would be the last day before we would become homeless. Then it seemed to get worse because of the neighbors we had. The cops were called nearly every night because of their fights and tearing up their apartment. This happened so often that we couldn’t sleep well. My nerves were shot.

We finally got our break to move away cross country and so we did. But, when we got to our new place, new neighbors moved in next door and guess what? Fights, loud music, screaming and cursing, banging on the walls, and a whole lot more that I won’t mention. I could be working at my desk when all of a sudden the neighbor screams out the window or hits the wall, there was no peace. This was trauma we were experiencing. We’d go for walks just to get away. What’s worse is that there was no help from the landlords, they simply didn’t care and refused to do anything about the neighbors. I heard the enemy whisper in my ear: “Here you go again!, why did you come out here to experience the same thing you just moved away from?” And at that moment, I was so weak in my spirit that I didn’t answer. Three months after that, God would deliver and move us to a much quieter and beautiful apartment.

Then our downstairs neighbor recently moves and someone else comes in and we heard banging noises from her place last night just before bedtime. She looks very much like the kind of neighbors we’ve been trying to dodge. Now…I know not to judge a book by its cover. Also, isn’t she allowed a couple of days to get her furniture moved in so it stands to reason we might hear some noise until she is settled in, but you get where I’m going?

Trauma speaks to us that when we see anything even remotely like what we’ve been through we instantly think we’re about to get hurt again. Our guard is up, our nerves panic, and we are frantic! I was last night, after having such a great day. So I prayed. God spoke. “You’ve experience trauma with bad neighbors before, with bad living conditions, but that is not the way it is. Let Go and Let God.” This means I have to let go of bad past experiences. We have been delivered from that. Our income is better, our bills are paid, we can sleep at night now. The car has been paid off, God delivered us from a bad neighborhood, He gave us a wonderful, supportive church with a new church family. All this He has done for us to have that peace we so desire. It’s up to me now to resist the devil when he comes a calling to try to tell me we’re about to go through the bad all over again.

I’ve got good news for you if you’re struggling to get past trauma:

  1. First of all, the devil is liar. He’ll never tell you the truth about you or your situation so immediately tell him to get behind you in Jesus name.
  2. Quote your favorite scripture out loud, tell yourself you are a conqueror in Christ Jesus. The word makes the enemy mad and he will flee!
  3. God said: in this world we would experience troubles but to be of good cheer for He has overcome this world.
  4. We are deeply loved by our God and troubles don’t last always.
  5. When we get through trauma, it is because God was there strengthening us and sustaining us to have the victory.
  6. God is BIGGER than anything and anyone we face! He’s not in Heaven making it up as He goes along, He knows the end from the beginning.
  7. If you draw close to God, He will draw close to you. We will NEVER be separated from God again!
  8. The Lord has promised NEVER to leave you comfortless! He wants your grief and pain so that He can replace it with peace, acceptance, love, hope, and joy!
  9. God has prepared a place in Heaven after this life is over that we’re going to be with Him forever and none of this pain will exist there!
  10. God loves you and I and nothing we go through is in vain, nothing! We are rewarded by Him for sticking with Him in times of troubles.

I know what trauma feels like, BUT I know what deliverance feels like too and I choose deliverance. What will you choose today, trauma or victory?

“Father God, for every brother or sister that has or is going through bad times, I know you know all about it. I know you are the great comforter and I ask that you would help them right now. Lift them up in a way that they can give their fear, anger, and confusion over to you. Comfort them right now and let them know they are so loved by you. Help them to let go of the trauma and let you heal them inside out. Rebuke the devourer on their behalf so that the trauma can no longer taunt or torture them again. We love you Lord and thank you for delivering us, we will praise you forever, in Jesus name, Amen.”

Grace Covers Scars

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Most of us today were either born into pain or lived through pain that has scarred us deep within our soul. Some of us have learned to mask this pain and others have lived very dysfunctional lives because of it. We all have scars, though some of us are facing them and some of us are hiding from them. No matter who you are, there is a past pain in your life. God would like to use it for his good. In order to do that, we have to be willing to allow him to redeem the hurt, cover the scar with his grace and mercy, and then step out and use it for his glory.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8

Getting past our pain is a crucial step toward living a victorious life. God cannot fill hearts and hands that still clutch the pain of the past. Walk straight ahead into the love and transforming power of God. Trusting that He has already covered your past. It means trusting Him daily with the details of your life. He will bless your today’s and reinforce your tomorrows. He is the only One who can truly help you put the past behind and press on toward the future.

“God always gives you all the grace you need. So you will only have to suffer for a little while. Then God himself will build you up again. He will make you strong and steady. And he has chosen you to share in his eternal glory because you belong to Christ.” 1 Peter 5:10

Find joy in what you do for yourself and for others. Putting our past behind is constant motion but so is pressing on. We can’t go back and change the circumstances in our past that have marked us, but God can take those scars and turn them into something beautiful. As you embark on this journey, allow God to expose all your hidden scars. Invite Him to heal and restore you, so that you can enjoy the freedom of abundant living. Fall in love with Jesus. Loving Him will turn all your past pain that scars into a present beautiful memory filled with grace.

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:2

Sweet Blessings

Pressing Pause

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 3:17-18

Sometimes I get so busy and caught up in looking ahead and preparing for things to come that I miss what the Lord wants me to hear right now. There are times in our lives that we need to ‘press pause’ for further instruction while remaining in our present circumstance. We need to be still and focus on God. To choose to be still and quiet our hearts. The Psalmists says “I have stilled and quieted my soul.” Psalms 131:2} This pause doesn’t mean that we are to wait for events to work out as we want, but, for God’s will to be done. Pressing pause leads us to the season of sowing. Jesus frequently taught on the principles of sowing and reaping.

“A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,” Ecclesiastics 3:2

It’s usually during those busiest times in our lives that warrants a pause and reflection. This is when we need to look for spiritual refreshment. Life is like a garden. We reap what we sow. I like to invision my life as a garden. Sowing brings a gentle, calm rhythm to the daily chaos of life. It teaches me that every step is important, vital and has potential. Sowing brings me a spirit of patience and peace.

“Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” Ecclesiastes 11:6

The greatness of God is everywhere. Most of all, his greatness is in us. So many times he comforts us, helps us, protects us and guides us. He is always there with us through each crisis, not merely watching but actively and lovingly taking care of us. He has sprinkled treasures in our lives, gifts just waiting to be noticed. Be still and embrace each moment. Learn what Gods will for your life is and where your treasures are by…Press Pause.

“In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

Sweet Blessings

Do I Trust God?

by Kim McDougal

“All you who fear the Lord, trust the Lord! He is your helper and your shield.” -Psalms 115:11 (NLT)

Have you been so sick that you had to depend on someone to take care of you completely?, I mean even so much as going to the bathroom? I’ve been there. It’s hard when that happens especially if you’re like me, fiercely independent. But through that situation, I believe the Lord was teaching me how to completely depend on Him. Later on, I would lose my job, my financial security blanket, and go into my own business. I was single at the time and had no idea what I was getting into. I had depleted my severance pay and now I was totally dependent on God to bring in my income. I didn’t have the security of a paycheck every 15th and last day of the month. God taught me during those early years how to depend on Him, not in myself, for my livelihood.

Sometimes, we can be too independent or afraid to completely live on faith. It can seem scary because we can’t see the future. However, our God can. And He urges us to trust Him with all our cares, concerns, and life. He’s made many promises to us, like He’ll never leave us nor forsake us, that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose. We really can let go and let God in every corner of our world. There’s a freedom that comes with surrendering our live completely and solely over to Him. During the course of self-employment, I’ve seen God work miracles to ensure our bills got paid. Yes, there were struggles along the way, but God never let us down. Even when He told us to leave Florida and move to Oregon, He provided everything we needed for the trip and everything we’ve needed since we’ve been here. What a God we serve!

Today, whatever your life is like, trust God for it. Trust Him to do what’s right for you. Trust Him for the answers you seek even if you don’t agree with how God works. Oftentimes, we don’t understand, but God doesn’t asks us to understand, He simply asks us to TRUST Him.

Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

by Georgia (Jo) Kent

“I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before man”. -Acts 24:16

Did you know that little voice inside your head that often pricks your conscience when you’re about to do something wrong is the Holy Spirit? God has graciously implanted a powerful ally within us called a ‘conscience’ in our battle against sin. We would never know that something was wrong if the Holy Spirit didn’t convict us. God always gives us the ability to make our own choices for our lives and He gives us his Holy Spirit to guide us. The first thing that we should NOT do when we do something wrong is to ‘condemn’ ourselves! Doubt is a relative of fear. Fear and doubt are sent to war against our faith. Satan uses our mind as a battlefield. We have to war against our thoughts and our bad decisions. We have to stop repeating whatever it is that the Holy Spirt convicted us about. Did you know that the more that we misbehave the more trials we will have?

“Those who I love I rebuke and discipline” -Revelation 3:19

We have to go to the bible for the answers to our convictions. The more we study, the less we have self doubt. We need to claim our decisions and ask God to show us the way that He would want us to be. This builds confidence and then when we hear that little voice say ‘No, No, No’ we will check ourselves before we do it. God isn’t pleased with everything we do, but He is pleased with us. He will always pick us up when we fall down. With a clear conscience we learn to live in an abundance of freedom and joy.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything, is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”.  -Philippians 4:8

Sweet Blessings

Keep it Simple Silly

by Kim McDougal

“These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:32-33 NLT

Us humans make things more complicated than they ought to be. For example, I remember one day as I was working on my computer, all of a sudden, “POOF!”, the screen went black, the computer’s off and my first thought was, “My hard drive has crashed!” I began to go into a tailspin, I panicked and began looking through my file cabinets for the original CDs that came with my laptop. I thought I was going to have to reformat my hard drive and re-install the operating system and all my programs again. All the while, I’m screaming, “I have to wipe the hard drive and start over!!” Then, at that moment, I have a light switch moment…”I’ll pray!” Imagine that? Why didn’t I pray first? The Lord immediately spoke to my heart and said, “check the power cord.” I thought, “hmmm…ok”. Sure enough, the cord had come loose. I put it back in the socket and TADA!!!!!, the computer comes back on! Now I have to clean up my office cause I had CDs everywhere! How difficult I made that situation?!

God is so wonderful to us, I imagine He was probably in Heaven watching me freak out and just grinning at me…He knew I would eventually remember to pray, yet He didn’t convict me that I didn’t ask His help first. I knew better after this life’s lesson. And you can know that whatever needs you have whether physical (in my case I needed my computer to work), or emotional or spiritual, God has promised to meet every one of your needs. What He wants us to do is seek Him first and not to worry about the things in this life. When Jesus died for us on the cross, He put an end to worrying about what we would need. We just have to apply that power into our lives. He’s given that to us, today seek God first in all you do and say. Let Him take care of your family, financial, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Enduring, Hoping, and Waiting

by Kim McDougal

“For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.” – Romans 15:4 AMP

Waiting on the Lord…hmmm, that’s a hard one for me at times. However, that’s part of learning to endure, hope, and trust in the Lord. The fact is, He knows much better than me anyway so why is waiting on Him so hard? Mainly, because I’m uncomfortable. Notice I used the words, “I was uncomfortable…” See, when we make life about us, we miss out on what God is trying to do. For example, when we first moved to Florence, we were living in a bad situation. All I could do is dream every second that God would deliver us out. But He didn’t until four months later. We had to go through so much injustice during that time, but when God moved and we were able to live in a better place it gave us so much more appreciation for those first four months. Had we not gone through that trial, I’m not sure I would cherish where I am now. Also, there were so many details that God had to work out to get us where we are now and those plans couldn’t have been orchestrated  any sooner than the four months. What makes this story even more incredible is that our bills in our new place are lower than where we were those four months! Isn’t God good? Too bad, we don’t realize this until AFTER the deliverance comes!

We must change this, don’t you think? God’s word is written to help us endure trials WITH HOPE that we know our Lord hears, sees all we go through, and has a perfect plan for each of us. We have to be willing to wait on Him with hope. He will NEVER let us down, He will NEVER break a promise to us. His plans are absolutely perfect for us. “Father God, help us to keep hope while we endure and wait on your perfect timing for all our situations. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”