Going through Hell?

“If you’re going through hell, keep on going. Don’t slow down. If you’re scared, don’t show it. You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there.”

Songs have a way of encouraging us in the darkest, weirdest moments of life. The Lord uses lyrics to drive encouragement right into our hearts.

If You’re Going through Hell by Rodney Atkins is one of those encouraging songs. It reminds us to keep on moving through the hard times of life.

BUY If You’re Going through Hell at Amazon

If you’re going through a hard time, keep on moving. Don’t slow down. Unfortunately, hard times are a part of life. Difficulties have a way of creeping into life. Fortunately, they only last for a season, and it is a season the Lord is with us. We can keep moving during those times with the confidence the Lord is our shelter and refuge.

We may be scared, but the Lord says we can take courage because he is with us.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes,” encourages Ephesians 6:10-11.

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.

Please share this post with your friends who need encouragement.

 

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.

Please share this post with your friends.

 

 

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.

Please share this post with your friends.

 

a mountain range under a beige sky

3 Take-Aways from Psalm 121

It was a dangerous road. Traveling the road was nerve-racking, and most travelers were filled with anxiety as they made the journey up this road. It was the road going up to Jerusalem, and there were many obstacles which could interrupt a pilgrim’s trip. The road was filled with twists and turns. Cliffs and caves lined the road adding to the danger.

Accidently stumbling could send a traveler head-first over a cliff. The caves made wonderful hiding places for wild animals and robbers to await an unsuspecting victim. The road was dangerous, but it was an essential passageway in Israel.

Does it seem like life is the road to Jerusalem? It is filled with twists and turns; there are many obstacles waiting for the opportunity to interrupt our journey. Financial struggles, losing a job, being forced to move, or navigating through life with an ever-changing eyesight may all be on our journey. Anxiety and lack of confidence may be ever-present struggles on our journey as we wake each day wondering how we will get through that day. Yet the Lord is with us just like He was with the Israelites traveling to Jerusalem. We can find great confidence in the timeless truth of Psalm 121.

This Psalm was written for the Israelites to recite as they traveled the road to Jerusalem and offers us great encouragement. Here are 3 take-aways from the Psalm.

1. Our help comes from the Lord.

We are reminded to look past the obstacles interrupting life to the source of our help.

Verses 1-2 say, “I lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and earth.”

2. The Lord never takes a break.

The Lord is willing to help us 24/7. He doesn’t take a break.

Verse 4 says, “Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.”

3. The Lord will still be with us tomorrow.

The Lord doesn’t help us today, then walk away. He will still be with us tomorrow.

Verse 8 says, “The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go. Both now and forever.”

Acting

The road of life is filled with twists and turns. There are many obstacles waiting to disrupt our journey; they desire to overwhelm and discourage us, but Psalm 121 reminds us the Lord is on the journey with us. The next time life is interrupted, try reciting this Psalm.

Have a friend who may be encouraged by this post? Please share it with him or her.

 

storm clouds

Courageous Fishermen

Deep water, tall waves, and a fierce wind made for an interesting night on the boat. The boat swayed from side to side as it was tossed by the waves, but the crew stayed hard at work. It was commonplace to be caught in a storm.

The wind would sweep down from the mountains and cause a severe storm to pop up on an otherwise good night for fishing. Catching fish meant risking being caught in a storm, so fishermen were accustomed to this situation. Much courage was required to hold fishing as your occupation.

Fishermen would go into deep water, survive a treacherous storm, and repeat the process the next night. They courageously viewed storms as a normal part of their lives. They did not lack courage, which is one of the reasons Jesus called fishermen to be his first disciples.

Jesus knew it would take courage to travel the road ahead, so he called courageous people. The same is still true today.

Traveling life’s road requires much courage. With all the twists and turns, no one is sure what tomorrow may bring, and a storm may pop up at any time. But, as Christians, we can take courage in the Lord.

Psalm 46 says, “God is our refuge and strength; always ready to help in times of trouble. So, we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge.

A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. The nations are in chaos, and the kingdoms crumble. God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts. The Lord of Heaven’s armies is here among us. The God of Israel is our fortress.

Come see the glorious works of the Lord: see how he brings destruction upon the world, he causes wars to end throughout the earth, he breaks the bow and snaps the spear, he burns the shields with fire…. The Lord of Heaven’s armies is here among us. The God of Israel is our fortress.”

We can courageously take the next bend in the road because the Lord is with us. The Psalmist reminds us that our refuge, fortress, and strength travels with us.

Around the bend may be natural disaster, family emergency, economic strain, lost job, or health concerns, but we can take the corner courageously. The Lord is with us, and saying, “Take courage. It is I.”

Some form of the words “do not fear” appears in the Bible 365 times; that is, one time for every day of the year. Each day the Lord encourages us, “Do not be afraid. Take courage.”

 

Firm Foundation

“The house don’t fall when the bones are good.”

The Lord’s truth often shows up in song lyrics. Our ears are hearing and our hearts absorbing valuable truth that can help in life.

Maren Morris’ The Bones packs a valuable truth into a cool song. The story has love holding a romantic relationship together in adversity, but the idea of having a firm foundation can help all aspects of life.

The Bible tells a parable about two men who built houses. One man built his house on the sand, while the other dug through the sand to place his foundation on the rock. A storm came, and the plain flooded. The house sitting on the sand was wiped away, while the house resting on the rock remained standing. It stayed in place because of its foundation; its bones were good.

Life has its storms. They are unavoidable. The difficulties of life will strain our marriages, families, friendships, and business partnerships; however, those relationships will stay intact if they are built on a solid foundation.

The Bones reminds us to build on a solid foundation. Where are you building?

By the way, if you are like me and enjoy reading, you might be interested in Kindle Unlimited. You can read millions of eBooks plus listen to thousands of audio books for one low monthly price. It’s a great way to read.

You can also borrow thousands of Kindle titles with an Amazon Prime membership. Prime members have instant access to thousands of movies and TV shows and free two-day shipping on Amazon orders. You can try it free for 30 days. You can cancel anytime.

 

mountains with the sun setting

Feel like quitting?

Feel like quitting? You should meet Joseph Grunfeld.

Joseph is a 62-year-old New Yorker who has defied odds all his life. “Born with a heart murmur,” according to the New York Post, “he’s had three back operations, suffered a stroke that left one arm entirely numb, and has mild to moderate rheumatoid arthritis.” And earlier this month, Grunfeld defied odds once more.

He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro’s peak of 19,340 feet. Grunfeld, who has difficulty walking, said it was not easy. He had many people, including doctors, tell him no along the way, but he refused to give up. Grunfeld was able to climb the mountain with the aid of walking sticks and a team of volunteers. Joseph Grunfeld was able to accomplish his goal and fulfill his dream because he didn’t give up.

How often do you feel like giving up in life? Seeing a dream realized or obtaining a goal becomes hard, so we want to stop. A long-term relationship enters a rough season, so we just want to bale. It may be tempting to quit, but Joseph Grunfeld’s story reminds us pressing on can bring victory.

Our victory may mean defying odds and staring down stereotypes, but we can.

Defying Odds

You and I may face overwhelming odds, but we can defy them. Statistics are just numbers on paper. They do not chart the course of our lives if we do not allow it. Maybe you’re facing odds that say you’ll never earn a degree. Odds are you won’t be successful in that career path, but it is your passion.

For you and me to realize our dreams and achieve our goals, it may mean we have to ignore the stats. It may take us longer than it does everyone else. We may have to take a different approach than others, but that is okay. Hard work and persistence will overcome stats. You and I can defy the odds.

Staring Down Stereotypes

You and I may have to face down some stereotypes. Society tries to place people in boxes which do not fit. I’m sure you are aware of any stereotype you face, but it does not describe you.

You and I can not allow stereotypes to play games with us. We must do our best to ignore them and press on. Breaking through stereotypes gets society thinking which may make it easier for others in the future. So, not only are we realizing our own dreams, we are helping shape the future.

Where can we find strength?

We can find strength in others who have went before us. Their stories may encourage and inspire us. Most importantly, I believe we can find strength to defy odds and stare down stereotypes in the Lord.

Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Realizing dreams and achieving goals can be hard, but don’t quit. You can defy the odds and stare down the stereotype.

As for Joseph Grunfeld, he has no plans on quitting. He has climb one mountain and has a second in mind. “I’m revved up,” Grunfeld told the New York Post.

Acting

What is the next step you need to take in realizing your dream? What’s the next step in achieving your goal? Identify it and do it. You may need aid and extra time, but that’s okay. You can do it.

 

 

waves of water crashing into a rocky shore

Remember These 3 Keys When Overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed? These 3 keys can help.

The situation seemed grim. There was no where to turn. The Israelites found themselves sandwiched between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army. How could they possibly get out of this situation? They were overwhelmed, and the Bible uses this event to help us navigate overwhelming circumstances.

Overwhelmed? You are not alone. A study revealed 74% of respondents were overwhelmed to the point of not being able to cope. To go with these 3 suggestions to get through overwhelming circumstances, here are 3 keys to remember.

Moses offered these keys to Israel as they were leaving Egypt. God directed Moses to lead the people on a less traveled path out of Egypt, so they find themselves at the shore of the Red Sea with the Egyptians hot on their trail. The Israelites surveyed the situation and panicked.

“But Moses told the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm,” states Exodus 14:13-14.

In his statement, Moses gives us 3 keys to remember in overwhelming circumstances.

1. Stay Calm

“Just stay calm,” Moses advises. Stay calm is a message we receive a lot. In emergency training, we are instructed to stay calm. Flight attendants tell us if something happens in flight to remain calm.

I don’t know about you, but I find this hard to do. Our natural reaction in overpowering events is to panic and run. We immediately jump to the worst-case scenario. We’re not going to make it. We’re not going to survive; there is no way this plane is capable of landing in this condition. But, remain calm is the advice we are given.

Captain Sully did. It should have been a peaceful Thursday afternoon flight from New York to Seattle, but less then 5 miles from the airport, the Airbus A320-214 struck a flock of Canadian geese causing dual engine failure. Captain Sully and his copilot, Jeffrey Skiles, remained calm and attempted to return to LaGuardia Airport. It became clear the plane could not make it back to the airport, so the decision was made to land in the Hudson River. The ditching was successful. The 155 souls aboard the flight were able to be rescued by nearby boats. Lives were spared and disaster was averted because of the calmness of Sullenberger and Skiles.

The pilots were in an overwhelming situation, but calmness helped them remember which switches to flip and levers to pull to successfully put the aircraft on the river. Staying calm in life’s storms allows you and me to think clearly; it allows us to respond to the situation rather than react to it. Rather than panic, we should stay calm and allow the Lord to take our hand.

2. Stand Where You Are

“Stand where you are,” Moses tells the Israelites. “Don’t try to run. Just stand where you are and let the Lord work.” This may be one of the hardest points to remember in an overwhelming situation. Our natural reaction is to panic and run; run away as fast as we can from whatever is overpowering us. You and I try to convince ourselves if we run away from the problem, it will leave us alone. Sometimes, this is a great battle strategy. We run from the problem and it disappears.

However, there are other times when running does not work. The situation puts us in the shoes of the Israelites. The Red Sea is in front, and the Egyptian army is behind. We have nowhere to go; no escape route to follow. This is the moment when we need to stand where we are and let the Lord work, and he will.

David stood where he was, and the Lord worked. David found himself standing on the battlefield with the Israelite army. They were overwhelmed by Goliath. Goliath was around 9-foot-tall, and he was a master soldier who had never been beaten. Israel’s fighting men believed Goliath would overpower them, so when he appeared on the battlefield, they would run in retreat. But David offered to stand and fight.

King Saul tried to talk David out of fighting. David could not be convinced. You see, David had been in some tough spots before and the Lord helped him, so David had faith the Lord would help him on this occasion.

“The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine,” David exclaimed in 1 Samuel 17:37.

David prepared to fight and went out to meet Goliath. The giant taunted David, “There is absolutely no way you will beat me!” It does not look good for David in this moment. Goliath is 9-foot-tall, wearing armor, and has someone carrying a shield in front of him. David, on the other hand, has no armor, no one is carrying a shield, and his only weapon is a sling shot and some rocks. Though it doesn’t look good for David, he knows the Lord will work.

David responded to Goliath’s taunting by telling him the battle was the Lord’s. David stood where he was, and the Lord worked. The Lord overpowered an overwhelming situation for David.

You may have no where to go or no escape route to follow right now. Remember, stand where you are and let the Lord work.

3. The Lord Will Guide You

The Lord guided Israel on the exodus from Egypt. He fought for them and when they were standing between the Egyptians and the Red Sea, the Lord guided them in a way no one could have imagined. The Lord divided the water so the people could walk through on dry ground. Amid overwhelming circumstances, Israel was guided by the Lord.

He will guide us in these times as well.

  • Psalm 48:14 says, “For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die.”
  • Isaiah 30:21 says, “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.”
  • “I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things. I will not forsake them,” the Lord says in Isaiah 42:16.

I think it is safe to say sometime in life you and I will be overwhelmed. When it happens, stay calm, stand where you are, and let the Lord guide you.

Acting

Ask the Lord to help you remember these keys when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Do you have another key for handling overwhelming circumstances? Please share in the comments.

Please share this post with friends who may find it helpful.