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Don’t Give Up Now

He drew me out of deep waters. 2 Samuel 22:17
Let every valley be lifted up. Isaiah 40:4
I will be with you. Exodus 3:12
Go in the strength you have. Judges 6:12

Words That Hurt


📝They say actions can speak louder than words, but sometimes words can sting longer than actions. In my journal, I penned hurled words (insults/labels) over the decades. And to put them to rest, found a word—from God’s Word—to speak over them.

🗯They said: “you’ll never”
🎚God Says: “with me, all things are possible”
Matthew 19:26

🗯They said: “weird”
🎚God Says: “wonderfully made” Psalms 139:14

🗯They said: “unpopular”
🎚God Says: “if God is for us, who can be against us” Romans 8:31

🗯They said: “failure”
🎚God Says: “you have already won a victory”
1 John 4:4

🗯They said: “fake”
🎚God Says: “I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but God” Galatians 1:10

🗯They said: “fragile”
🎚God Says: “some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary”
1 Corinthians 12:23

🗯They said: “crazy”
🎚God Says: “if it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God” 2 Corinthians 5:13

Praise Is Awkward And Essential

To defeat the bad, we need bad’s opposite; and the opposite of bad thoughts are good praises! The Bible says in Isaiah 61:3, “and provide for those who grieve…a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” And the Bible also says in Philippians‬ ‭4:8, “if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” If your thinking is bad, praise God right from where you sit. I know what you’re thinking! “Nice try, Funk, but I’m sitting in the hospital, quarantine, rehab, prison.” But wait…there’s more! The Bible also says, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing praises to God, while the other prisoners listened.” Acts‬ ‭16:25‬  AHHHHHH!!!!! I’m bout to bust into a praise break! Today, WHEREVER you are, whether you sing a song, read a bible, rap a rap, or journal words of praise…praise God, and get that new garment of praise on!

Considerations for Smiling

 

Considerations for Smiling:
😃”When they were discouraged, I smiled at them” Job‬ ‭29:24‬
😃”what a relief to see your friendly smile”
Genesis‬ ‭33:10‬
😃”righteousness smiles down from heaven”
Psalms 85:11‬‬
😃”Your smile is flawless”
Song of Songs‬ ‭6:6
😃”Smiling faces make you happy”
Proverbs‬ ‭15:30‬ ‭

No New Year, But…

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) This is one of my favorite verses for a new year. You say, “But 2020 isn’t new anymore.” True. But thus far, 2020 hasn’t been off to a good start and a lot of us are wishing we could start it over.

*FOR I KNOW* God already knows what 2020 has for you. The bible teaches he recorded your days, before your first birthday. So if God already KNOWS, you can release yourself from being a predictor or controller of it. You don’t need horoscopes, dream-weavers or fortunetellers. You have everything you need in God KNOWING. And you don’t have to pay Him, because on the cross, He already did. He created you, He knows you, He sees you. Trust Him.

*THEY ARE PLANS FOR GOOD* Does this mean that in 2020 bad things can happen? Yep. And if I were a betting man, I’d say bad things already have and probably will again. But with God, bad can happen AND good can come from it. By sticking with God, God can bring good from bad because He is: all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, with NO sin, error, mistake, oops, misunderstanding or fail. The Bible teaches God already wrote your story. Until He ends your story, it doesn’t mean you won’t have bad chapters, it just means bad chapters will someday end in good results. God is good, and if you are with God, you are in His goodness. I hope this encourages you today.

Your Mind Isn’t a Battle You Can’t Win


One of the battles that can ensue on the battlefield of our minds are dark thoughts that enter and look for a place to stay. I don’t want to expound on what these thoughts are for us, lest I give them power. But they’re dark; and they have no right to our minds. I found a powerful counterattack in the bible for this: Romans 8:6, “but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” If you have Jesus in your heart, you have his LIFE and PEACE in your mind. His life and peace outweigh, outlive, outlast, overrule AND overcome the dark thoughts trying to stay there. Don’t be a wimp with dark thoughts. Don’t just roll over and submit to them. They don’t own you and they can’t take you. Jesus and you are bigger and more powerful than your thoughts. If you suffer from any degree of this, take your thoughts captive and SHRINK them to what they really are: cowardly attempts to attack turf that Jesus has already won. If you are struggling with thoughts having too much control over your mind, email me, I’d love to pray for you, as I pray for myself. I hope this encourages someone today.

When In The Valley

Sheep are protected in the valley by the shepherd. And so are we. Psalm 23:4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” In valleys, we get weak, maybe stray, grow desperate…but God does not. His power and protection is within us, with us, and for us in constant, epic and eternal proportions. Will God shield us from the valley? Not always. But nothing can separate us from God when we are in it. Today, some of you may be in a valley and God is all. you. have. left. Take heart, you have everything you need. I know dark valleys. And full disclosure, even with God it stinks to be in them. But when I consider my earlier valleys without Him—my testimony is concrete—the former is better. In a valley, the pain, uncertainty, anger, loneliness, fatigue is understandable–but the fear is optional. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid and anxious, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke‬ ‭12:32‬) We don’t need anxiety in the valley if God is in it with us. We’d only need anxiety if He wasn’t! I hope this encourages someone today.

The Heavy Seasons of Life

Lamentations 3:28-30, “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear.” Life can be like a weight bar: easy, okay, heavy, too much. That’s why this Lamentations passage was an epiphany for me. It unpacked a formula for the weighted, heavier seasons of life: 1) Go off by yourself. Shoot, Jesus did. If HE needed to, we definitely need to. During a season of heaviness, don’t be too cool or too busy to seek solitude, daily. 2) Be quiet. We are always “on,” “online,” and “on a roll.” In a heavy season, since talking is taxiing anyway, embrace opportunity for silence. 3) Pray. Period. The bible couldn’t make this any more clear: “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Pray for yourself like no one else has, is or will. 4) Don’t ask questions forever. It’s ok to ask (Jesus did, “why have you forsaken me?”) but let’s not stay there. In this season of heaviness, don’t let our asking prolong the Next-New season God has for us. 5) Wait. Not the kind of wait like a pediatric appointment with two sick kids in the “sick waiting room” for two hours while needing to pee. But wait like children on Christmas Eve, knowing when they wake up, there’s gifts under the tree! Wait like Lamentations exhorts us to: “for HOPE to appear.” If you have a King in your heart, you have a King who is alert, active and advocating for you in this heavy season. You may be lagging but He is strong! I hope this encourages someone today.

Love Suffers Long

I sat in my car praying before going into the hospital for a visit. On the radio was a message about love. Not romantic love where you buy a box of chocolates. Not tough love where you detach and put up boundaries. Not neighborly love where you love the way you love yourself. But a love where someone doesn’t deserve it or can’t return it. The Bible calls this, “Love suffers long” (1 Corinthians 13:4) It means…
LOVE: This “love” I have for you is an attachment because we’re attached via blood, covenant, or conviction. So I can’t act like I don’t see you, hear you or know you. The attachment comes with no abandonment.
SUFFERS: This “suffering” I have for you is joining you where you are no matter where it is. In my suffering, I become blind, deaf, mute to what you’ve done or are doing, and my heart is for you. My mind and feelings struggle, but my heart’s still in it.
LONG: This “long” for you means I can’t put a timer on it. I have to take off my watch and surrender it to God’s Will. If I have to love you for a considerable amount of space it means I won’t be far away. If I have to love you for a considerable amount of time it means I’m not the timekeeper.
And before I grumble, “I don’t want to,” I gotta know God suffers long for me every day. He picked me, He suffered for me, and He’ll love me from “in the beginning” to never-ending. God IS love and love does when love isn’t deserved. God knows that WITH Him, this love IS possible. You can’t love that person who doesn’t deserve it, but if you make yourself available to God, He can *through* you. For my hospital visit, God did this through me, for someone who couldn’t return it (or frankly, deserve it). Listen, I ain’t all that. I’m moody, hypocritical and insecure. But I avail myself to God (who is 100% undamaged love), get out of the way, and let His love suffer long through me. ❤️

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