The Lord personally goes before us in uncertain times.

Don’t be afraid. God will personally go ahead of you.

Israel was about to go into Canaan. This was the land the Lord had promised to them, and it was time to enter the land. Many barriers still stood in the way.

For the Israelites, this may have been an uncertain time. What was going to happen? How would they move forward? What challenge would they face tomorrow? These are questions everyone seems to ask in uncertain times, and Moses reassured the people.

Moses says in Deuteronomy 31:6, “So be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid and do not panic before them for the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Moses reminded the people the Lord would personally go ahead of them. The Lord would create the path, and he would show the way to go. So, the people of Israel could walk into uncertain times with the confidence the Lord would be with them.

In the same way, we can have confidence the Lord is with us. He will personally go ahead of us. He will create the path and show us the way to go. We can have confidence following the Lord’s leading will get us through uncertain times.

We are living in a time and place which may be unsure, uncertain, and fluctuating, but the Lord is constant. He is never changing.

Hebrews 13:6 says, “So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear.”

You and I can have confidence in the Lord; he is personally traveling ahead of us. He is creating the path and will show us the way to go.

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5 women laughing

9 Jokes Guaranteed Not to Make You Laugh

Some humor to help you get through the day.

Amid the stressfulness of life, one of the best ways you and I can encourage one another is offering a slight diversion. So, here’s a slight diversion.

Here’s 9 jokes guaranteed not to make you laugh.

1. What did Mr. and Mrs. Hamburger name their daughter?

Patty

2. How do you convince a farmer’s daughter to go on a date with you?

A tractor.

3. What are the weakest days of the week?

Saturday and Sunday. They are the weekends.

4. Why are skunks intelligent?

They have lots of sense.

5. What do you call a farmer who counts his corn stalks?

A corn stalker.

6. What did the one egg say to the other egg?

Get cracking.

7. Why does a golfer take two pairs of pants to the course?

In case he gets a hole in one.

8. What do you call two monkeys sharing an Amazon account?

Amazon Prime mates.

9. What did the triangle say to the circle?

You’re pointless.

I hope this has encouraged you in some way. In this stressful season, remember to stay calm. The Lord is our constant as everything changes around us.

Share your clean joke which will not make us laugh in the comments below.

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a stack of folded newspapers

The Constant in an Ever-Changing Crisis

Everything around us may be swirling and tossing, but the Lord is staying.

The current landscape is ever-changing. Society is amid a health crisis, which is rapidly evolving. Information is changing daily, perhaps even every few hours, and we must adjust our approach at a breakneck speed. It can certainly be overwhelming as everything is changing around us, but there is one constant.

Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

The Lord is our constant in an evolving time. Everything around us may be swirling and tossing, but the Lord is staying. He is the same today as he was yesterday, and he will be the same tomorrow as he is today. And, the Lord has already displayed his power over everything.

He calmed a storm and overpowered demons in an evening’s work. Mark’s Gospel records this eventful night.

Power on display.

Power to calm the storm.

After Jesus wrapped up a day of preaching, he and the disciples were crossing a large lake, and a fierce storm developed. The Bible says the wind was howling and waves were crashing over the boat filling it with water, but Jesus was asleep.

The panicked disciples woke him, but Jesus didn’t panic. He calmly rebuked the storm and it obeyed. The disciples were amazed and pointed out even the wind and the waves obey the Lord.

What caused the disciples to panic, Jesus calmly controlled? He was their constant in a storm, and he was constantly in control.

Power to free the man.

The excitement continued across the lake. A man, who was possessed by demons, ran to meet Jesus. He was screaming. Jesus overpowered the demons. He freed the man from their bondage and sent them over the cliff into the water. All were amazed at Jesus’ power.

What caused everyone difficulty and stress, Jesus calmly controlled. The demons were no match for Jesus.

The evening from the disciple’s perspective.

What a night the disciples experienced. Their trip across the lake was interrupted by a strong storm. They were panicked and anxious. They finally get across the lake, but their hopes of having a calm moment are interrupted by a screaming man in the dark.

Either of these events would be enough to unnerve the disciples, but they experienced both in one night. Panic, uncertainty, and anxiety may describe the disciple’s emotions that night, but Jesus met the night with calmness and constant control.

Relating to the disciples.

Right now, you and I may feel like the disciples felt on that night. Panic, anxiety, and uncertainty may be emotions we are feeling today. The days and weeks ahead have us in suspense. Everything is rapidly evolving around us, but we can take courage in the fact the Lord is constant. In an ever-changing world, the Lord is never changing.

“So, we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear…,” says Hebrews 13:6.

3 Benefits to Staying Calm in Overwhelming Situations

Clear thinking helps us get through the heaviest of situations.

It was a sunny Saturday morning, and the van made several turns before stopping. The driver said, “Let the training begin. Get out. I’ll see you back at the training facility.” The team with their guide dogs got out. They were lost.

What street were they on? What direction did they need to go? They were faced with a choice. They could panic or stay calm.

Staying calm awards, you and I benefits in overwhelming circumstances.

1. Staying calm keeps us thinking clearly.

Our minds are not fogged by panic, so we can process the situation. We can clearly see the event and any options available to us. Clear thinking will help us ask appropriate questions and develop strategies for moving forward.

2. Staying calm helps us respond rather than react to the situation.

Often reacting to a situation makes it worse. Our reaction is not thoughtful, so it doesn’t solve the problem. Responding with a thoughtful strategy can propel us forward even in the heaviest of situations.

3. Staying calm helps us communicate clearly.

One of the best resources we have in overwhelming situations is each other. Working together will help us create a better path out of the situation than we can make on our own. Staying calm helps us communicate in a more effective way.

Calm communicators think before they speak. They are not irritable and are less likely to drive teammates away by the things they say. Calmness fosters clear communication.

You and I will be placed in overwhelming situations. No one knows what tomorrow holds. The recent Corona pandemic is a good reminder we need to be ready for anything. There are benefits to staying calm when we feel overwhelmed. Staying calm will help us develop and execute a plan to get through the situation.

The lost team made it back to the training facility with no issues. We stayed calm and started walking in what we believed was the right direction. We found someone from the neighborhood, and she gave us more thorough directions. We made it back and had the confidence to stay calm if the events of the training exercise ever occurred in a real-life situation.

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This was originally posted on The Good Men Project.

 

 

3 Keys from Psalm 16 for OverpoweringCircumstances

Here are 3 keys from Psalm 16 to help in the storms of life.

1. The Lord is a place of refuge during overwhelming times.

David’s life had its share of overwhelming situations. He faced down Goliath. He found himself being surrounded by his enemies and being chased through the wilderness. During these times, David found his refuge in the Lord.

David says in verse 1, “Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.”

Life creates moments when we need the shelter of the Lord, and we can seek refuge from him. He will rescue us.

Psalm 17:7 says, “By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies.”

When the pink slip arrives, the bank account hits negative numbers, and we’re not sure what tomorrow holds, the Lord shelters us. When the loved one leaves and we are heartbroken, we can enter the sanctuary of the Lord. Life’s storms will hit, but the Lord will keep us safe and give us refuge.

2. The Lord will guide us in overwhelming times.

David says in verses 7-8, “I will bless the Lord who guides me. Even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken for he is right beside me.”

The Lord will prompt our steps and guide our direction. He will help us navigate overwhelming situations. We need only to trust him.

Proverbs 3:5-7 advises, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, submit to him and he will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and shun evil.”

The direction we go may seem strange, but we must remember the Lord will not lead us astray nor will he leave us. He will pilot us through the darkest of times.

3. Victory comes in the Lord.

At the end of all the struggles, David knew victory comes in the Lord.

He says in verses 10-11, “For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”

Acting

The next time a storm comes in your life, apply these points and allow the Lord to go with you through the storm.

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Count Your Blessings

“Always take time to count your blessings.”

Song lyrics can present the Lord’s message to us in a melody which goes straight to the heart. We are reminded of timeless truth which can change our outlook and attitude.

Blessings by Florida Georgia Line has those lyrics.

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We are reminded of our blessings. “It sure ain’t hard to count your blessings,” the chorus says. An inventory of our blessings won’t fit on one hand or even two. Thinking about our blessings helps us see we have an abundance. A comprehensive list of our blessings can move us from discouraged to encouraged.

The old hymn Count Your Blessings suggests we name them one by one.

“When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings. Name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings. Name them one by one.

Count your blessings. See what God hath done.

Count your blessings. Name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”

It is not hard to count your blessings. Every good and perfect gift has come from the Lord above. Share how the Lord has blessed you in the comments below.

Blessings Is available at Amazon.

a mountain range under a beige sky

Faith Overcomes Barriers

They told the man, “It can’t be done.” Climbing the mountain would be difficult, and there were giant obstacles standing in the way. “It can’t be done,” they continually repeated. Sound familiar?

There are barriers in life that seem like mountains. The goal is huge, the dream is enormous, and the calling seems impossible. We believe we know our purpose, but fulfilling it is overwhelming. So, we become disheartened. If this is you, the Bible offers encouragement.

Caleb was able to overcome a mountain.

The Bible records the story of Caleb. He faced much adversity on his path to fulfilling his purpose. Caleb kept hearing the phrase “it can’t be done,” but he was able to overcome the barriers thought to be disabling.

They said, “It can’t be done.”

Caleb was among the 12 spies who explored the land promised to Israel. Most of the spies came back with an unfavorable report. They did not believe it was possible to take possession of the land. They said, “It can’t be done.”

This is a disheartening statement.

“It can’t be done” is a short statement but has the power to demoralize the recipient. It did in Israel’s day; they heard the words causing panic and a lack of faith. Unfortunately, the same happens today.

We take steps to fulfill our purpose, and we are met with resistance; “it can’t be done,” we are told. Odds are we won’t be successful because of our background, socioeconomic status, or we have a disability. Society creates a stereotype deeming you and me unsuccessful, so we are instantly told, “it can’t be done.”

Hearing this phrase is discouraging. Our desire is to overcome barriers and fulfill our purpose, yet attempts are cut short by a few words. In turn, placing another barrier on the path. Caleb shows us how to respond when this occurs. He responded to the statement with faith.

Caleb was able to overcome the statement.

Caleb responded to the “can’t” statement with faith.

“If the Lord is pleased with us, he will let us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us,” Caleb says in Numbers 14:8.

Caleb remembered the Lord had already helped Israel, and he knew the Lord would help them again. Caleb had faith, which is the most important key to be an overcomer.

Caleb had a proper understanding of his own abilities. He understood his own capabilities and limits. We too need to have a proper self-image. We have limits, and it’s in our weaknesses God does some amazing work.

More important than a proper self-image, Caleb believed in the limitless power of the Lord. If the Lord was with Israel, Caleb knew they would be victorious. The same is true for us. If the Lord is with us, we will be victorious.

Caleb’s faith propelled him past doubt to knowing the Lord would help Israel accomplish the purpose.

His faith allowed him to take a mountain.

Caleb remained faithful as life continued. Israel had to stay in the desert 40 years because of their disbelief. Caleb continued living the life of an overcomer, and when he was 85 years old, Israel had taken possession of the land, and there was a mountain needing conquered.

This was no ordinary mountain. Its inhabitants were giants. Caleb faced some barriers in taking this portion of land, but he believed he could. Again, Caleb’s faith propelled him past doubt to knowing the Lord would help him.

Caleb was not someone satisfied with the average or commonplace. His goals and dreams were big. His purpose was important, and his faith was strong. There were barriers standing between Caleb and fulfilling his purpose, but Caleb’s faith helped him overcome the barriers.

Our faith needs to propel us past doubting to knowing.

Our goals and dreams are big. Our purpose is important, so we need our faith to be strong. There will be barriers standing in our way. Some may seem as large as a mountain occupied by giants, but we can overcome them. The Lord will be with us as we accomplish the purpose, he has given us. Like Caleb, our faith needs to propel us past doubting to knowing the Lord will help us.

Acting

Faith is like muscle. The more it is used, the more it builds. Build up your faith by taking steps to accomplish your purpose. Identify one or two steps you can take in the next week, and in faith, take them. See what happens.

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An Overcoming Character

The twists and turns of life often create barriers and hurtles needing overcome. The path to success is blocked by any number of obstacles forcing you and me to take a different route. The challenges posed by finding an alternate route can overwhelm and discourage us.

Thankfully, we are not alone. Many have overcome obstacles and barriers to find their way to success. Their stories can serve as encouragement to you and me. The Bible gives us examples of people who overcame life’s difficulties to fulfill their purpose.

Ruth went into the unknown.

Ruth is one of those overcomers. Her life seemed to be ordinary. A native of Moab, Ruth fell in love with a young man from Bethlehem. He and his family moved to Moab to escape a famine, and he was smitten by Ruth’s beauty and character. The two were married, but it wasn’t long before life challenged Ruth.

Her husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law died leaving Ruth and her relatives as widows. Naomi, her mother-in-law, decided to return to Bethlehem, and Ruth had to decide what she was going to do. Ruth had to decide which direction to go; stay in Moab or go with Naomi into the unknown.

Stay or go?

For Ruth, this was a pivotal moment. The choice she made here was going to chart the course of her future. This was a big decision. It could have easily been overwhelming and discouraging. Can you relate?

Life is going well, but suddenly, it changes. You and I are pushed into a moment of change and required to make decisions charting our future. It is an overwhelming feeling and can be discouraging, especially if we thought the path to success was clear. Ruth illustrates the best approach for us.

Ruth allowed character to determine her direction.

To spite being overwhelmed, Ruth allowed her character to determine her direction. She was unselfish and loyal, so she went with Naomi into the unknown. Naomi was at an age where she was going to need help and Ruth believed she could be of assistance, so she went to Bethlehem. Her character propelled her into the unknown.

The unknown soon became familiar.

Bethlehem soon became familiar to Ruth, and she developed a relationship with Boaz. The two were married and had a son. This put Ruth in the lineage of Jesus.

The same will be true for us. If our character pushes us into unknown territory, it will soon become familiar.

Ruth’s secret to success was character.

Ruth was able to overcome barriers in life and find success. Her secret was character. Ruth allowed her unselfishness and loyalty to move her into the unknown.

Acting

Cultivate a character that’s ready to overcome barriers. Allow your character to determine your direction rather than feelings. A properly cultivated character will help us find the path to success.

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woman and girl painting

3 Ways God Views Us

When God looks at us, what does he see?

The picture wasn’t much. It was a hand drawn sketch of what was supposed to be a dog. It had a few oddly placed stickers around the dog, and there was really no theme or artistic thought given to the picture. Most everyone would look at the picture and declare it trash, but in the eye of the recipient, it was a beautiful work of art.

The recipient was a mom and the picture created by her daughter, making it a masterpiece worthy of hanging on the refrigerator. No one else saw the beauty. No one else saw the potential, but the mom did. She did because it was her daughter.

The same can be said about our lives from the Lord’s perspective. No one else may see the beauty. No one else may see the potential, but the Lord does. In his sight, our lives are a masterpiece by his grace.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

In his grace, the Lord overcomes the messiness of our lives. He looks past all the dirt to see our heart, our potential, and our purpose.

When the Lord looks at us, here is what he sees.

A Masterpiece

He sees the shattered pieces of our lives put back together in his grace. The result is a beautiful mosaic in his sight.

A person with a purpose

You and I are not just aimlessly wondering through life. The Lord has a purpose for the mosaic he has created. The Bible reminds us the Lord has plans for us. Plans to give us hope and a future.

A person who can do some amazing work

The purpose the Lord has for us is awesome and will leave behind a lasting and beautiful legacy.

Acting

Ask the Lord to help you view yourself as he views you.

God uses Messy People to do Amazing Work

No one is perfect. We are messy people, and sometimes our lives can be a little messy. We make mistakes. We have regrets, and we have many struggles. All of this can make life dirty at times, and we may wonder how the Lord can have a purpose for a life as messed up as ours. He does; the Lord uses messy people.

The Bible says liars, cheats, and prostitutes were all used by the Lord. Their lives were anything but clean; they were not perfect. They seemed to be the least likely to be used by God, yet he used them to do some amazing work. They were messy people with messed up lives, but the Lord still had a purpose for them.

As we read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1, we find a messy cast of characters.

David

David makes the list. David lusted after Bathsheba, had her husband Uriah killed to cover up an affair, and had a family life filled with turbulence. Yet, the Lord used him. Scripture even says David was a man after God’s own heart.

Ruth

Ruth was poor, and it seemed she had few opportunities. She was humble and dedicated to her mother-in-law. Life was hard as Ruth was forced to walk behind the harvesters hoping enough food was left to provide for her and her mother-in-law. Ruth developed a relationship with Boaz, and they had a son. Ruth’ life took her from rags to riches, from impoverished to having plenty, from unknown to finding a place in the Lord’s lineage.

Jacob

Jacob is used by the Lord to spite being a liar and cheater. Jacob wanted his father’s blessing, but since he was younger than his brother, he had to lie and cheat to get it. One day while his brother was hunting, Jacob pretended to be Esau so Isaac would bless him. Jacob was dishonest. He lied to his father and cheated his brother, yet Jacob had a grand purpose for his life.

Judah

Judah is listed in the family lineage though he hated Joseph. Judah and his brothers sold Joseph as a slave hoping to never see him again, yet God used them in his plan.

Tamar

Tamar is listed. Tamar’s life was filled with heartbreak. She was widowed twice and promised a third husband, but the man and Tamar were never married. Trying to fix things herself, Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute and tricks Judah. Judah has intercourse with Tamar, and she gives birth to a son placing her in this genealogy. Tamar’s life was messy, but she is in the genealogy of the messiah.

These are dirty stories of messy lives, and it might even be shocking to think the Lord used such messy people, but he does. The Lord did not sanction the messiness, but he overcame it to do some amazing work.

The Lord can use us in the same way. Our lives may be smeared with many mistakes, regrets, and struggles, but the Lord can overcome all of them. To spite being messy, you and I have a purpose to fulfill. The Lord will help us even though we are not perfect.

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord,” in Jeremiah 29:11. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”

Life may get a little dirty at times, but the Lord will help us overcome it. He will help you and me complete our calling and fulfill our purpose. The Lord uses messy people to do some amazing work.

Acting

Remind yourself the Lord uses people who are not perfect, and he will help you realize and fulfill your calling.

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