Tuesday, April 11, 2017


One phone call can change your life.  You're just sitting there, your phone rings, and someone on the other end is saying something you don't want to hear.  You don't want to hear that someone's child is not recovering from a serious illness; you don't want to hear that a friend has been rushed to the hospital; you don't want to hear about that accident involving someone you love.

The last two days have been filled with hearing things I don't want to hear. 

I cannot control what people say.  I cannot control what happens to people. I cannot control bad news.  And at times, I cannot control my emotions.  I cannot make myself NOT CARE about what I just heard. Sometimes it isn't ONE BIG earth shattering thing that gets you down - but a bunch of small things coming all at once.  Last night, at about 8:30 the flood of sadness just overwhelmed me.  For a number of reasons, I felt completely alone and abandoned.
Now, the truth is just the opposite.  My life is filled with people I love and who love me back. Still, when one small thing after another hits you all at once, it can get to you.

I tried to read the Word, but my eyes were not seeing.  I tried to pray but my heart was not in it.  In my brain I knew/know that my life was/is perfectly blessed. Still, I was sad about so many things I had heard.  And as whiny as I know I am being, I missed my mother.  I missed my father. I just wanted to talk to someone who loves me.  I whispered that to the Lord.  

And then the phone call came.
I looked at my phone and it was Carol.
My friend.
She was just calling to say "hi"
I know the Holy Spirit prompted her to call.
His timing, as always, was perfect.
It was not a coincidence.
It was my Father in heaven.
I'm so thankful she followed His lead.
It was exactly the person I needed. 
God knew that.
When our call was finished, so was the sadness.
I am good. 

One phone call can change your life. 
A few months ago, we were visiting with some friends in another state. Their family - children, grandchildren - were visiting also.  We love these people.  And I was surprised to hear that one of the family members, who is the pastor of a very large and healthy church, had been so discouraged decades ago about his faith in God, his call to ministry.  As a matter of fact, one day he drove home to tell his wife that he was not going to continue his seminary training. He was quitting.  And he told me that I called him. At that exact moment.  I don't even remember doing so.  But evidently, I called him to say that he had been on my mind, he had been in my heart all day that day. And I encouraged him to keep going.  I don't remember what I said. I don't remember making the phone call, but he did.  He told me it was a turning point for him to realize that God DID CARE and DID HEAR.  He continued on and became a pastor.  Who knew what God was going to do through a phone call?  God did.

O.K. So what?
Let me suggest to you that when someone comes to your mind today, maybe it isn't just a random thought BUT THE HOLY SPIRIT placing that person on your heart.  

Make the call.  Pick up the phone.  Let them know that you were thinking about them. Don't let yourself be talked out of it.  Don't assume you are not God's instrument of peace in someone's life today.  

If the Holy Spirit is the One who orchestrated your encouragement, then God's will has been accomplished.  If it WAS just a random thought, then at the very least, you connected with a friend.  The world is FULL of people whose hearts are breaking, who wonder if God sees them and cares about them.  Maybe God would like to borrow your voice and your phone to call His discouraged child today and say, "I see you.  I care. I'm right here. Right now."


One phone call can change someone's life. 

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called 'Today,' so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


"God never gives you more than you can bear" is the go-to verse for people trying to encourage people who are positive they have been given more than they can bear.  As they struggle under the weight of whatever is trying to crush them, drown them,  we assure (convince?) them that they have the ability to overcome. We tell them "You can do this or God wouldn't be allowing it!"  But is that true?  Because they are sure that they are going under. They are convinced they are on their last gasp of air.  And is it fair to tell someone, in essence, to stop whining because if they couldn't bear what they are being called upon to bear at the moment, God wouldn't be allowing it?

Here's the portion of Scripture containing that phrase:
"If you think you are standing strong,be careful not to fall.  The temptations in your life are not different from what others experience.  And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can bear. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry." (1 Cor. 10:12-14)

The word used "temptation" can also be used for the words "testing" and "trial" 
But NOT ONLY "testing and trial" but ALSO TEMPTATION TO SIN. 

In the context of this chapter, it appears to me that Paul is telling them that when they are tempted to sin, God will ALWAYS provide a way to escape that sin.  It is reminding them that if they WANT to obey, if they WANT to avoid sin - God will always come through with a way to avoid sinning.  In his very next breath he says, "Flee idolatry." Flee sin. I don't believe the verse is saying what we say it says.  It doesn't say, "Don't worry about hard times. Don't worry when your heart is about to break beyond repair. God has given you a get-out-of-tough-trials-free card. As soon as you can't take anymore, as soon as your enough is not enough anymore, just push the magic button and it will end."

So... these brave brothers and sisters keep looking at themselves, trying to find enough strength to get through the waves of stress and sadness wiping them out.

May I offer another perspective? (Oh, wait.. yes.. this is my blog..)
How about the truth?  That sometimes things come our way that we cannot bear, that we should not bear?  That this fallen world has cruel times people go through.

Sometimes your "enough" is simply not enough to get through. You are not enough. That's the truth. You do not have enough of anything that is required to get through what you are being forced to get through.
Stop trying to find strength in your own strength. 

But that doesn't mean there isn't an answer.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't have hope.  Have hope! But not in your strength. Have hope in the Lord. And in HIS MIGHTY POWER.
Look to Him.
Call to Him.

And that's when the Lord steps in.  And He calls to you and says, "Give it to me.  You cannot do this in your own strength. You will need My strength. You cannot conquer this by using willpower.  This is not about YOUR strength but about MY STRENGTH. Come to Me. Give it to me.  Let me fight for you."

Here's what Paul said about his own struggle, his own "thorn"  -

"Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." (1 Corinthians 12:8-9)

When we are weak, then we see how strong Jesus is.  And that's the key to our overcoming - to know how POWERFUL JESUS IS.   He may allow seasons of feeling powerless. Because He is mean? No because He is love and He wants our lives to be built upon knowing that we "can do all things THROUGH CHRIST who STRENGTHENS US."

The ALL THINGS.. can only be done THROUGH CHRIST.

Paul clearly cautions us,  "If you think YOU are STANDING strong... BE CAREFUL."

Some testings.........are too much.
We will need Outside Help.  He will carry you.
How long will He carry you? Long enough.
I don't know how long it will be until you find relief, but you will find it day by day... Every day you will have enough to get through.
More than enough to get through.
How strong is Jesus?
Strong enough.
More than strong enough.
His "enough" is not just enough.
His enough is MORE THAN ENOUGH.

It is so good to come to the end of our "enough" because it's the only way we understand that Jesus is enough.