Fill in the Blank

Photo provided by Samantha Davis

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

Iwas struggling the other day. I was trying to cook a low-sodium chicken dish per my husband’s dietary restrictions. He had recently gotten out of the hospital, and I was overwhelmed with the idea of cooking more while working a full-time job. I did not feel like cooking to begin with and on top of that, the Pinterest post rambled on about the chicken dish without ever giving me the actual recipe! Like annoying flies, ads kept popping up, and I swatted them away by trying to press the tiny x in the corners without activating their videos. Additionally, I was trying to get ready for work, cook breakfast, and do the morning routine with my 85-year-old mother-in-law. In that moment of extreme frustration, the Holy Spirit, in His trade-mark gentleness, whispered todays’s verse into my heart. We often limit this verse to loftier things, but God meant for “all things” to include prepping chicken dishes, getting out of the door on time for work, and patience in wading through annoying ads on Pinterest. He is a God for every area of life. So I said to myself, “I can prepare this chicken dish through Christ Who strengthens me.” I was immediately flooded with peace and confidence.

I encourage you to see the “all things” like a blank to fill in with whatever you need Jesus to strengthen you to do. What is on your blank? Say it out loud if you must. I would love to hear what some of yours are. Fill in the blank!

A Prayer Trigger

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

Photo by Mary Godbee Solis

Standing in line a safe distance away, I could not help but make a few observations about the woman being served ahead of me at the checkout counter. Let’s just say she was a generous size, but the shorts she wore were stingy. I was not sure she was even wearing shorts until she walked out and the hip-length T-shirt shifted a little to reveal an enormous amount of skin that the shorts were never intended to cover.

We have all encountered women like this. If we are not careful, we will find ourselves judging them, but what would Jesus have us do? An immodest woman sends out signals she is unaware she is sending. Some are begging for any man to notice them. Some are revealing a lack of training at home. Others are flouting their upbringing in an attempt to express autonomy. Still others show they have taken their cues about beauty from the media that is only trying to get into their purse. Whatever the reason, the need is the same: Jesus. Instead of judging these women, why not see every immodesty as a trigger to pray? What if those short shorts and low-cut tops provoked a prayer for her salvation and sense of identity? The need is so great in our culture, is it not? Let us determine to do our part in turning things around in this small but profound way!

Lord, Help Me Be Present

“A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way” Proverbs 20:24

Photo by Donna McFarland

Father, my life can be so hectic sometimes and I am so easily distracted. I have found distraction to be a subtle thief of present opportunity. I need You to help me be present instead of mentally wandering too far into the future or lagging back in my past. Today is a new day and You have a path You want me to walk. I surrender to You. Carry me along by the wind of Your Sovereign Spirit. Help me not to tip the scale of today with more than You intend. Grace me to give each human encounter the respect it deserves. Do not let me poison this fresh day with worry that would rob today of it’s joy. You said You are an ever-present Help. May this knowledge help me to be present as I rest in You and give this day my best.

He Has a Plan for the Unplanned

The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid….” Psalm 118:6

Your life may look nothing like you thought it would. Whether due to unexpected current events, a health diagnosis, financial fiasco, or any number of other happenings, you can know one thing: God has a plan for you in your unplanned season. Because God is all-knowing, the gasp of surprise never fills His lungs, if you will. As such, He has a roadmap for you to follow in this uncharted land of the unexpected. He has had it ready since before you were born. Instead of wringing your hands or cursing the changes, why not scoot closer and ask what He would have you do? Let the peace of knowing your unplanned has pre-planned instructions sink in. You are in good hands, My Friend. Your Heavenly Father has everything under control and, like any good daddy would, He will give whatever you need to get to the other side of this unexpected experience.

You Can Get There From Here

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

Hard situations have a way of blindfolding you to hope. The darkness can loom so thickly that doubt tries to claim squatter’s rights it never dared in the light. Backpedaling on the solid ground of your faith, your unbelief pushes you to the edge and you plunge headlong into despair. Even then, God’s great hand can rescue you. Even then, He knows a way out. He is the One Who makes a road in the wilderness, creates rivers in a wasteland, and springs roots out of dry ground! (Isaiah 43:19). Nothing is impossible with Him, including whatever situation you are facing. Remind yourself of Who God is, My Friend. Renew your mind through His Word, share your struggles with those who have seen God do the impossible. You will discover anew that you can get where you need to be from the impossible place you are now.

The Right Delivery

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

We who are followers of Christ have the very words of life. When sharing those words, we must be careful that they flow from our mouths with a tone that reflects the love of their original Author. Truth shared with a condescending undertone might as well be muted, because they hit the hearer like daggers. Yes, the truth can hurt but not because we dipped it in the poison of sarcasm or harshness. Our motivation must be to help those caught up in sin to see that God offers a better way. We must seek to lead them gently and with respect, otherwise we risk provoking them to stay where they are because our demeaning attitude distracted from the very truth we are proclaiming.

Let us ask the Lord today as we deliver His message to those who have strayed that He to grant us the respect that should accompany it.