Tag Archives: trials

Truth in the Storms

8 Jun

By Beckie Halaska

When storms come, no sign of sunlight
My soul betrays me, waves coming crashing in

I silently cry out, tired from the battle.
I hear your voice. “Look at me love, you will be safe with me”.

Fear seeps in, my mind building doubts.
Reminding myself over again, “Trust in Him. Follow Him. Dive in. “

I cry out for you, that your promises stand true
I give up my need to control the direction of the tide.

This world weary traveler longs to know rest in you.
Longs to know there is no journey too hard for her again.

You grab my heart, as my mind surrenders the fear
Peace transcends. You are here. You are sovereign.

You become the air filling my lungs again.
You are sun in the darkest of spaces. Peace in the hurricane’s that come and go.

Oh but I can get lost in the mess of this life. You never change.
I hesitate a bit as I surrender and say “I need you, I trust you”

And you come. You remind. You rebuild.

And you say… “It’s going to be alright”

Beautiful traveler, there is a future waiting… just a bit more.
I need you strong for just a bit more.

In this world you will have trials, but you are no longer a slave of this world.

You were made for so much more.  I am your strength.

and you say.,, ”It’s going to be alright”.

Amen.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights ~Habukkuk 3:19

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand~ Isaiah 41:10

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding; ~Proverbs 3:5

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:5

 

 

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When Evil Seems to Win

30 May

There is an ever present evil in the world. We can see it every single time we open social media or turn on the news. None of us will be spared evil in some fashion.

When your life has been touched by evil, one of the biggest challenges will be to not become embittered in the battle, especially if it seems to not touch the one that caused the harm.

We want things to be fair, and when there isn’t justice, we can lose sight on what actually is true. Evil may seem like it is winning but the truth is, there is no “win” in evil, only destruction.  Evil also loves to seduce in numbers.

Maybe that is the real goal of evil, to make us really question if there is any goodness left, to stop believing in the goodness of the world. Obviously we know the goal of evil is also for us to ultimately question our faith and hope.

Guarding our hearts against bitterness is very important during this battle. Bitterness can choke out the light in us, God in us. It is a daily battle; A war for our souls.

When we filter our thoughts on what has been done, no matter what has been done, we begin the battle of unforgiveness. When we begin to want justice, we begin our battle against bitterness. The battle will be fought in many ways, but at the end of the day, the real battle with be within your own mind, your own heart.

Trials will absolutely always come. Evil will be at times, be very strong against us. It is a spiritual war and a battle for our soul. Evil will come in many forms to wear us down. There will be attacks. There will be slander. There will be times you are or feel all alone in the battle. You will feel overwhelmed, defeated at times and you will want to give up the fight.

That is exactly when we must stay focused and steadfast in our faith. Practicing even what we can’t feel. Trusting in God’s plan for our lives even when it seems so unfair or worse, impossible. Reading His promises even when we can’t seem to believe it fully. He tells us that His word never falls void. Keep reading it.

Evil utilizes comparison, isolation, judgement and fear. The word of God, prayer and steadfast commitment to Him is the anecdote.

God will always triumph. This is His story. Evil doesn’t win. We may not appear to win in this world, but we are not to conform to this world, we are to remain in Him.

Our journey is not really about our success, how we fit in, or what anyone else does, thinks or says about us.  Our journey is to become Holy.

There is only one absolute truth, we are in a vertical relationship with Christ, He and us alone. There will not be anyone else with you when you take your knee at the throne.

When evil mocks you, pray.  Tell Him your wish for justice, He understands. He believes in justice as well. He is also merciful and gave you grace.

Praying not only for your faith to remain steady and confident, but importantly, pray for anyone being used by evil. That is the greatest weapon we have against bitterness.

Grace.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

Choosing Joy

1 Jan

As we look forward to what comes next, we have to also know that what comes next isn’t always what we wish for, desire, or plan for.

I personally have family that is facing end of life. T is the bravest, strongest person I know. She is so inspiring to so many.  I have a close friend doing everything her little body can to rid her body of cancer. She is so strong and brave as well. Determined. These are not the things we plan for or wish for but they are as much a part of our life as the good.

Having had to face my own misunderstanding that life is always supposed to feel good; It isn’t and it doesn’t. The truth is, living gets really hard at times and sometimes we suffer deeply. Sometimes people do unkind things, sometimes people get sick, sometimes we are left out, sometimes relationships are really hard. … but God, but love.

Through all of the ups and downs, there is love. At the core of everything, love is there and love is truly all there really is. Some people may not treat us well or be kind to us and some may never love us, but there are those that do.  Hold on to those people.

Some people may be cruel, selfish, mean spirited. We may not want to love some people but do it, do just that! When we come from a place of love, regardless of other’s, we grow in peace and joy. We steady our hearts and minds. It isn’t determined by them, it is your heart that chooses to love no matter what.

Let go of control. We may make plans and we may think we drive this life, but at the end of the day, we really can’t control anything, and especially any one. We can only choose for ourselves how we react and respond to what we will never control.

As a woman seeking and thirsting for the truest lover of my soul, what I have learned most is this… God remains the same through all of it. When I stop comparing how I think it should be, or what I planned, to the way it really is, I can climb into the peace of knowing that through it all, He has it all worked out for my good. When we surrender to His omnipotent plans and power, then suffering last’s only a little while.

At the end of the day, we only have this very minute, to choose what we think on. To choose what we focus on. To choose if we cherish or complain.  We can choose to let go of our peace over things we can’t control, or we can gain peace by embracing what is good and steady in the face of turbulence.  We can love through the worst of times… because one day we will wish we had done more of that. I promise you that.

2019 will have it’s own wonder and it’s own trials… but today, I am centered on His Sovereignty.  Peace settles so well on my heart, knowing that through it all, He is there, working it all out for my good and for His glory.

Today… my cup overflows. This moment I choose joy.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28 

choose this day whom you will serve Joshua 24:14-15

Christmas Devotional

1 Dec

17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” Luke 2:17-19

We all have times of trial; Times of frustration or pain, loss of loved ones, rejection, physical pain. When we have an issue, big or small, we talk about it, we pray about it and we focus some time on it.

As we read Luke, we see a still, quiet worship in Mary. She was quiet, obedient and calm. She didn’t talk about it; she didn’t focus on the hardship. She stored and pondered “these” things in her heart. They were the promises of God.

So much of God’s Word tells us to be still and to be quiet. Mary is our example of what that is. It is worship.

What if we, like Mary, stayed fully aware of the providence of God. We have to really imagine the culture and how shameful it was to be pregnant. She knew her Heavenly Father. In those days, the stories would include our God that wiped out towns. Mary was not shaken. She was calm. She knew the scriptures, but she also knew God. He was her husband first. Isaiah 54:5. I am your husband.

If we stored the same promises in our hearts, and we trusted God with the same fullness that Mary did, writing them on our hearts and remembering them often, her peace would be our peace. The Peace of the Lord would be ours regardless of what was happening around us. God made us promises. Those promises are there whether we remember them or not.

I pray as we journey through this Christmas together, we begin to write the promises of God in our heart. To remember the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, who is there to guide us and help us.  I pray we too become so full of peace, calm and joy. To always remember to first ponder these things and remember them always.

Merry Christmas

Discernment

8 Aug

As a Christian we are given many gifts. The Holy Spirit,  our intercessor and helper, is an important gift.  The Word of God is also His precious gift. In the pages of His amazing book, chapter after chapter, God shows Himself to us fully. He speaks to us. He directs our steps. He gives us the gift of discernment.

Discernment is something we as women are not very good at when it comes to our heart. We tend to lead with our hearts. He tells us to put our faith and trust in Him, yet we can discount discernment for fear of not being loved or liked. Fear of upsetting someone.

We are to love people, and trust God.  Why does He tell us this? He tells us this to protect us. Not because we are weaker, or because we a gullible, but because we all fall short. When we place our trust in God, and not in the words man tells us, when we seek Him first, seek discernment, He protects us. Whether or not we listen to Him, He is trying to protect us.

Broken people do what ever they need to do, to not have discomfort.  I have ignored God’s voice, the Holy Spirit, when He has been cautioning me.  I  have defended people, even when I found them in lies. I have been unconsciously unwilling to really hear God, worse, unwilling to trust Him fully instead. I have ended up with mighty painful lessons.

In the end, what they choose isn’t about us. It is about their battle. What we choose is. We absolutely may suffer, we may be collateral damage, and it can be painful, but in the end, all sin is vertical. Theirs is, and ours is. Everything we do, praise, obedience, sin, is between us and God. We hide nothing from God. Not one thing we do is ever a surprise to Him. If we are not living according to His word, we sin and all of us sin, daily.

But God, But Grace.

The beauty of our relationship to Christ, when we are believers, is though we are not kept from the consequences of our sin, we are still loved and not condemned. The gift is the conviction so we can bring our sin to Him as soon as it is revealed.  God loves us and washes us clean and we don’t live under the weight of sin.   Repentance is freedom. Lies are prison.

Brokenness in people is like the poisoned water’s surrounding Florida.  Suddenly there is a crisis. There has been damage being done, for years, lots of history of it. We all see it, but we just don’t do anything about it because we think something will be done by someone else. One day, the damage is too far reaching, there is too much harm. Lies are like that. People stuck in sin are like that.

We don’t hate people caught in sin, we hate Satan’s hold on a person, that causes the damage, we hate the fallout. God allows things, over time, but when those lies do damage to His Glory and His purposes, He says, we are at crisis, be a warrior for me now.

God says to live in peace with everyone. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for peace and a time for war.  Sometimes, even as a woman, God says, I need you to stand on truth. I need you strong and I need you to go to battle.  Ephesians gives us the Armor to stand firm against the attacks from the darkness. For me, peace is the obvious option, I fear even though God has made me very strong.

I learned recently, sometimes God calls us up, arms us to do battle. He will arm His people to stand firm.  Sometimes it is to be still. Sometimes it is to speak the truth. Our reputation in this world truly doesn’t matter in the big picture, that is God’s protection for us. All that matters in the end is God’s purposes,  God’s glory. Discernment is vital for our walk and our well-being.  We must be close to Him to be able to hear when He says go or stay. Not our own voices or our own offense. We only have one enemy. We do battle with Satan, His lies.   If we stand on truth, refute the lies, and then let God do the work;   The truth will always set us free. God hates lies more than anything. Lies are the greatest tool of darkness. We do not fight to win a war, we simply battle for truth.

In the end, we are here for a breathe. When we answer His call, when we are working for the Kingdom of God, our purpose is to be His hands and feet, to bring light where there is dark. To shine Him in all we do. Satan knows he cannot change our salvation. He isn’t trying to steal our redemption, He knows when we are chosen and answering the call. What He is doing is trying to steal our influence, our ability to touch the lost.  He will use anything to do that.  Even when we are afraid to stand against the enemy, God will fight for us. Sometimes, we have to go to war for that.  Sometimes, Peace at all costs is not peace at all.

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Proverbs 28:26  (NIV)

26 Those who trust in themselves are fools,
    but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.

Psalm 119  (MSG)

119 1-8 You’re blessed when you stay on course,
    walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You’re blessed when you follow his directions,
    doing your best to find him.
That’s right—you don’t go off on your own;
    you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
    now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
    keeping to the course you set;

 

 

 

Crafty Fool

19 Jul

I have had warfare going on and I knew it was the crafty devil trying to rob me of my peace this week as I dropped things, got pulled over, an unwanted text, someone trying to create an issue for their own purposes. We just need to be aware and rise above and see that we only fight one enemy.

I realized I had, for the first time this year, missed reading my one year bible study, missed my quiet time for three days in a row, I realized he was distracting me.  I am fully aware that we really only have one enemy and he is weak compared to my God. We must recognize him in all that he does.

When we slowly move through each trial, learning and growing in our faith, each lesson building our character and strength, Satan begins to come at us.  He knows that our faith is strong so he needs to stop us from helping other’s become strong.

As we grow in understanding, we learn to anticipate his attacks.   As we grow, he becomes more crafty in his attempts to sidetrack us.  He will stop at nothing to rob us of peace, to stop us from bringing even one more believer to the throne.

I have had a few successes, a few praises lately. Today I saw that I can begin to see my own success or I can stay fully submitted and give Him the Glory.  We are a steward of all things we have. He gives and takes away for his own purposes.  I was in the paper, which was fun.  As people began to say such nice things, we start to take that on and let that make us feel good.

This morning as I read Psalm 136 it hit me.  I am not humbling myself before Him. When I take my life and think I have determined my own steps, or accomplished for my own gain, then I have stopped submitting, stopped giving Him glory and stopped being able to be used for His purposes.

The beautiful, amazing God that we serve, meets us right back where we left off.  When we resubmit, recognize and humble ourselves again, he meets us right there,as if it didn’t even happen,  “carry on”.

We are not so kind or forbearing of one another, not that forgiving. But God is. What would our world be like if we all were more like that?

Recognizing He has placed it all there, not me, humbling myself, I look up and see a double rainbow in the sky. He is pleased.  He is kind and good and loving and gracious.  I forgot to give Him all the thanks in my heart for all He has done, accomplished in me, changed in me, used in me, blessed me with.  I am a handful! But, He is fully aware and loves me so.

Proverbs 1:7 Fear(Awe) of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.

2 Timothy 4:18 Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
His faithful love endures forever.

Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights—
His faithful love endures forever.
the sun to rule the day,
His faithful love endures forever.
and the moon and stars to rule the night.
His faithful love endures forever.

10 Give thanks to him who killed the firstborn of Egypt.
His faithful love endures forever.
11 He brought Israel out of Egypt.
His faithful love endures forever.
12 He acted with a strong hand and powerful arm.
His faithful love endures forever.
13 Give thanks to him who parted the Red Sea.[a]
His faithful love endures forever.
14 He led Israel safely through,
His faithful love endures forever.
15 but he hurled Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea.
His faithful love endures forever.
16 Give thanks to him who led his people through the wilderness.
His faithful love endures forever.

17 Give thanks to him who struck down mighty kings.
His faithful love endures forever.
18 He killed powerful kings—
His faithful love endures forever.
19 Sihon king of the Amorites,
His faithful love endures forever.
20 and Og king of Bashan.
His faithful love endures forever.
21 God gave the land of these kings as an inheritance—
His faithful love endures forever.
22 a special possession to his servant Israel.
His faithful love endures forever.

23 He remembered us in our weakness.
His faithful love endures forever.
24 He saved us from our enemies.
His faithful love endures forever.
25 He gives food to every living thing.
His faithful love endures forever.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His faithful love endures forever.

Finding Light in the Dark

9 Jun

As we hear about so many suicides, I think about all that I have walked in the nearly 8 years since my overwhelming experience with God; The night that changed everything.  July 9,2010.

What if?  What if I had not decided to go to Friday night church. What if I hadn’t told Pastor Jeff my plan. The plan I made earlier that week. What if Sue and Jeff hadn’t spent the evening talking with me, and praying with me? What if God had not intervened.

What I understand is the blackness. I understand the desire to not feel so much pain any longer, to not feel like a burden or invisible. To not feel so wrong and out of place. To not feel plastic in a plastic world. To not feel discardable. (is that a word?). I understand the isolation of being strong and not telling. No one knew.

What I found was an eye opening, amazing love from and for a God I finally believed was real. Everything crashed down around me and I had nothing left. I was at rock bottom. What I found there was Him. In all His sweetness and love, I found the beginning of a love for a creation He called Beckie. I found a purpose.

What I found was a peace that settle so completely on my soul that night. By morning I was walking on sunshine; From the pit of despair to pure joy. Free.

What felt like a bottomless black, a pain-filled nothingness; morphed instantly into a joy beyond measure. I found my redemption, my forgiveness, the promises of true forever. Hope.

God breathed new life into my weary soul.  I am one of the blessed ones. Blessed to be a blessing.

My sweet friend committed suicide when we were 19. I loved Julie and it broke my heart when she left us. I  still talk to her, still think of her so often. My friend Ron, just took his life 4 years ago this summer. My son, who loves Jesus deeply, through his own journey with coming to terms with his homosexuality, walked a depressed and difficult path. He didn’t come to terms with his own path until he was 31 and it has cost him much in this world. He once told me “if you knew who I was, you would hate me”.  He had his attempts, and many trials. This world is sure unkind to those that don’t fit the world’s view of “acceptable”, those who’s sin is obvious. Especially the saved only by Grace,from their own ugly sin” Christian world.

As christian’s, there is a disparity between being the judgmental harm-doer’s and walking as the truth tellers, not so much in word but in action. If our judgement is keeping someone from seeing God, then we are not walking in truth, nor with Him. I don’t want to be known by the rules I keep, I want to be known by The One that keeps me. Period!

God gave us a perfect savior; A hope despite this broken world. He makes us righteous. I really can’t even make it a day without sin. Sin is between God and I and in the end, all sin is equal. It all drives a wedge between us and Him, but at the end of the day, He loves us anyways. Submission isn’t free from sin, it is an act of surrendering your pride and self sufficiency and acknowledging that “I can’t achieve Heaven without you Lord. Embracing Christ and His death as your only hope.” Hard and easy to do all at once. But He is very helpful. Yes. He is.

Scripture states that we are saved when we proclaim and believe that we are set free by the blood of Christ. Once saved, always saved. It is a very dangerous place to dwell, inside a kind of “judge and jury” of other’s. I choose to take a more humble approach and know that even strong people, even excellent people stumble. Every day.

We have to stop with the right’s and wrong’s and get back to truth. Christians need to LIVE The Word of God in “transparent, less than perfect, need a savior  every single day of my life -because I stink at achieving perfect sin-less-ness without Him” Spending time in The Word, being transparent with God and allowing Him to change us. For His glory!

We need to look beyond the pointed fingers to see the need. To see sorrow in eyes that are haunted. To see anger in eyes that are weary, sick of how hard this world is. See into the eyes that can’t look at us, Eyes that are afraid or ashamed.  We need to be so apparent in our humble (not of our own making) loving kindness (because He has loved us so much) that people are willing to share with us. Willing to trust us.

This world is out of control in many ways, Our world is spinning so fast now. Pain and suffering all around us.

Seriously,  Be a light. Be hope for those that are grasping for a reason to hope.

Be the one that saves the one, like me. God leaves the 99 for the 1. Because the 99 already have a future with Him. He already has the 99 beheld. The one that wanders is more passionately desired and pursued by God than those of us already in His loving Grace.

When you sit in a judgement filled world, trying to protect the values you say you believe in, while you use your words as weapons, as unleashed punishment and sit on a bit of a higher plane, thinking you have this Christianity right, just know that I pray in earnest for you. For you to find the truth.

We need be truth tellers, absolutely. Mostly in our actions. Our tongue is too unpredictable.
God says: Ask, Seek and Knock!

Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. Matthew 7:7-8 

He loves us. He loves us so much. He loves us in our broken down yuck. He loves us in our prideful state. He loves us regardless of how far off the path we have gotten. That is the God I found at the pit of despair. A loving, kind, strong, protective, never-ending presence, pursuing, giant of a God.

Blessings are not financial, they are Him. His peace. Grace and Mercy. Remember…”If it isn’t true for the believer that has to beg for food, or seek to find water for her child, then it isn’t true.” That is the God that is truth. The God that is beyond our circumstances, beyond what is here and now. He is every present, ever knowing, ever loving, always.  He doesn’t change. Not ever.

I don’t know why we reject Him. I know I sure did!  I think it’s partly because we think God makes life rosy, ( His own son suffered terribly, so no, that isn’t truth) I believe it’s because people have really messed up the image of Him. People have done horrible things in His name. But that isn’t God. That isn’t Christ. That is just additional people that need Him, need to really understand who He really is.
Being self reliant lead me down a dark path. Eventually, I had to come to the place where I knew I needed Him, being made whole has changed my world.  It is still changing me. I am still growing and learning and becoming a better Christ follower. But don’t look at me, look at Him. He is the model. I am the one running all over the place!
If you are that one, the one that is hurting and thinking that the way out is death, please seek Him first. Please see that it’s all lies. The idea that it will never get better, that you can’t get through this, that this is too hard. Please talk to me or someone like me. Try God!

“Ask, and the gift is yours. Seek, and you’ll discover. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. For every persistent one will get what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he longs for. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door Matthew 7:7-8 TPT.

[a]Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock andkeep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 AMP.