I will call on the name of the Lord

I’m a strong believer that faith in God is far-reaching. Farther than we can begin to comprehend, in fact. I’ve talked to so many people who seem to believe that God’s help is limited to the spiritual realm. Salvation, grace, mercy, all that intangible stuff.

I disagree.

The Psalms are full of confessions that God saves, that He is a very present help in time of trouble, that He watches over us. While we put our trust in Him for the afterlife, not many of us put our trust in Him for THIS life. And we get caught up in bad decisions or poor thinking that seems to rule every earthly action. (I’m so talking to myself here.)

Negativity and depression want to rule my life. Wallowing in poor decisions of the past, I’m in danger of missing the glory and power He has for me today. What a perfect time to give those decisions, mistakes, and regrets to Him! Today’s confession, from Joel 2:32 and Romans 10:13, relieves me of the guilt and shame of the past.

I will call on the name of the Lord.

When I doubt His promise to deliver me, I will confess this truth. And I’ll turn to Psalm 121 for reinforcement. Especially meaningful to me is verse 5: “The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.” It gives me visions of being hidden in His shadow. The enemy passes right by, never even seeing me, because the Lord hides me in a protective shade.

I will call on the name of the Lord today. I will not fear because He stands beside me.

Do you believe God’s help is limited to spiritual things, or does He ever intervene in a tangible way?

 

He is the Lord who heals me

I told my sister this morning that being an adult is far harder than I thought it would be. Must we choose between our dreams and reason?

When I was younger, I watched my mom and dad do the things parents do. I never wondered if they had dreams, but I wonder now. They went to work, probably paid all the bills, cooked meals, cleaned the house, set healthy boundaries for us, and generally gave me a wonderful, wholesome, sheltered childhood. They argued, but they laughed too. I remember game nights (Scrabble from the vantage point of Dad’s lap, anyone?) and bacon waffles for dinner. I remember feeling safe. Loved. Unafraid.

Then I grew up and realized I had to do what they did. And I might have to choose between my dream or living responsibly.

I’ve been editing my second novel and trying to get started on the path of public speaking while taking care of two littles who are by nature demanding, loud, and cuter than anything I’ve ever seen. Is the responsible thing to continue pursuing my dream, believing God will show favor? Or am I to abandon it and the faith that I can do all things through Jesus Christ? Life is uncertain. I struggle with depression, discouragement, anger, and a boatload of disbelief.

But I don’t have to live with it.

Today’s confession is important because it proclaims the truth about God’s power and promise in light of my struggles. Exodus 15:26 says, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”

The first part of that is important because it leads to the second part. It tells me what I have to do to get the promise. If I listen carefully to the voice of the Lord my God. Do what is right in His sight. Obeying His commands and keeping His decrees. The promise is protection. And today’s confession is deliverance.

He is the Lord who heals me.

Whatever my struggle, He is the Lord who heals me. Uncertainty, depression, discouragement, anger or doubt, none of these things are bigger than my God. He is the Lord who heals me. Whatever you fight today, know that God is capable and desires to heal you. Confess the truth and keep the faith that He loves you and wants to bring bountiful blessings to you. Then step out in that faith and expect them to happen.

What is your big dream? Are you doing something to make it happen?

I will not depend on my own understanding

Trust is hard for me. Trust means I give up my opinion and I believe in someone other than myself. It means I don’t question and I don’t try to understand.

I like to understand.

In spite of that, it’s no secret I don’t understand much in this world. Why I must have chocolate every hour, why my children don’t sleep at night, why awful people thrive on mistreating others. I especially don’t understand why I am such a coward when the Spirit of God lives in me.

Today’s confession sticks in my throat. I want it to be true. I want my life to be defined by trust in God. I want to leave fear and worry and distress behind. In my wild imagination, I swing from skyscraper to skyscraper on an itty bitty string, not trying to understand this enormous change that’s happened to me and my family. Strong, fearless, scanning creation for bad guys and opportunities to save helpless victims.

No, wait. That’s Spiderman. (Or my biggest little after he watches Spiderman. My furniture looks like a skyscraper to a three-year-old, right?)

Okay, no swinging and no helpless victims. But trusting, not trying to understand. That would be incredible. So in spite of the words sticking in my throat I confess:

I will not depend on my own understanding.

Then I turn to Proverbs 3:5 and find today’s confession in full. I’m not surprised to realize it’s about trust in God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

This one will take awhile to soak in. Things happen that I may never understand, but if I trust in God I don’t need to understand. I just need to seek Him.

Does trust come easily to you?

I will pray about everything

My husband likes to play the devil’s advocate with me. I state my confession and he throws lightning fast questions that seem to contradict the truth of God’s word. The fun in this is hearing a distorted perspective. It’s fascinating to see how the enemy might twist words, using my own weaknesses to make me doubt what I read in the Bible.

Last night’s “game” centered on prayer. He said we can pray, but God doesn’t always grant our requests. True, I said. But what are we praying for? Our will, or God’s? I don’t pretend to know the intricacies of prayer, but I know the Bible says to ask anything in His name (and remember all that goes into asking in His name: grace, peace, love, and all that) and He will grant it. See John 15 for more on that.

I told my husband that the important thing is to continue praying, as Philippians 4:6 says. Maybe we won’t get what we ask for, but God knows our hearts better than we do. After all, did I really want to be a star on Broadway? I don’t like bright lights shining in my eyes. Do I really want to live in that gigantic house? It is a lot of space to get cluttered and dirty. To maintain. To clean. Constantly.

Ahem.

I will pray about everything.

How can we hear from God if we’re not open to Him? If we quit talking to Him, we can no longer see His hand at work. Our hearts get hardened to His grace and mercy. Our ears close to His voice. That’s a dangerous place to operate. Even if we’re only praying that we feel abandoned or bitter, or telling Him we don’t know how to pray, He’s listening. Start talking!

Have you allowed something to close your mouth to God?

I will hope in God

What – or who – do you put your hope in? Like the foundation of a house, your hope must be solid enough to hold everything together and withstand tremors. Like a good friend, it must be close enough to be heard in spite of the screams of a dying world. Like every girl’s hero, it must be strong enough to listen to your doubts and remain loving and faithful.

Today’s confession holds all those characteristics. Try it out loud:

I will hope in God.

Whether you face job loss, financial difficulty, health issues, broken relationships, or other troubles, you must decide your foundation. Fear or faith? Hope or depression? Surrender or soldiering on? It helps to choose your foundation before troubles come, but the important thing is to choose well no matter when you do it.

Though the mountains crumble and the waters rise,

Though the fires rage and my heart trembles within,

yet I will hope in God.

In His lovingkindness He rescues His beloved.

He rains mercy and deliverance on those who fear Him.

I say again: I will hope in God.

Yes, even my soul hopes in God.

I choose faith, hope, and soldiering on. I choose to say today’s confession loud and without hesitation. Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God. Psalm 42:11

What is your trouble and what is your foundation?

I will not waver

One of the many great things about publishing your own books is the creative control you keep. Titles, covers, character names and places, even plot to an extent all remain what you envisioned for your story.

Of course, the downside is also that you get to keep creative control. No one else takes ownership of this project. No one else sees the potential and has as much passion for it.

Yes, it’s a wonderland of control and isolation. For decisive control freaks, it’s the life they dream of. For wishy-washy, I-can’t-decide-between-potatoes-or-pasta people, it’s a little more complicated. I have controlling moments (especially since becoming a mom… Okay, I have controlling days. I blame the toddlers!) but I’ll just be honest. I can’t decide between potatoes or pasta in the best of situations. Love ’em both!

That’s why I crave the solid certainty of the Bible, and today’s confession is a great example of the necessary middle ground between uber-control and indecisiveness. “Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6) I can’t leave out the scripture immediately before this. Verse 5 says, “But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.”

And that’s the key, friends. When you make a decision, make sure your faith is in God alone. Our certainty rests on Him. If faith in God is the basis for my decisions, I don’t have to waver.

So take a few minutes today to focus yourself on this truth and to let it impact your decisions. You’ll be glad you did!

No matter what I do today, my faith is in God alone. I will not waver.

Do you struggle to make decisions, or do you need to control every situation?

Whatever is not from faith

I wonder what life looks like for people who don’t doubt themselves. More importantly, for those who don’t doubt God. How easy must it be to take the necessary steps to achieve their goals. To see each step, to know how to accomplish it, and to know what step to take next. Never doubting their ability to overcome. Never fearing the possibilities. Never getting sidetracked by life.

I wonder what my life would look like if I stopped doubting God. Would I have a publisher? Would I be one of those uber successful self-published authors who has scads of readers? Would I have a thriving career that includes public speaking, marketing, and networking with experts in my field? Would I respect myself and the ability God has given me?

Confession: When I see my goal, I let minute details draw my focus away from it. House chores, phone calls, internet research, family expectations. The list is endless. I allow these distractions because it’s easier than facing the doubt and fear. This smacks of distrust in God. Today, I will take deliberate steps to confront doubt and fear, and to prove His power and love for me.

Truth: But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin. Romans 14:23

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:6

What are you doing to confront doubt and fear today?

Changing my mind

Re-thinking this ground rule to be transparent. Definitely not the easiest thing to stick to.

It’s well known in my family that I over-think everything. What kind of cereal to buy, what book to read next, how to phrase this or that. Especially how to phrase something. But also what direction the Lord might want me to take. Not knowing and not wanting to disappoint Him – because, really, is there anything worse than disappointing GOD?? – keeps me from making any decision and taking any direction. Probably not the best approach. And in case anyone is wondering: yeah. My tendency toward melodrama annoys even me.

Work with me, people. I’m trying.

Confession: I procrastinate based on fear, doubt, and depression. (Hint: Procrastinate is a euphemism for ‘waste time.’) Realizing that time is a gift from God and I should be a good steward of these gifts, my thought patterns must change.

Truth: Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Thing about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:16

Do you ‘procrastinate’ based on your emotions? What pulls you out of it and pushes you toward productivity?