“Run to God and His Shelter”

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14 Today, my encouragement to you is to run to God and His shelter when you’re feeling overwhelmed. What does this mean exactly? It means to gain the courage to build awareness of our thoughts and feelings, because ultimately, God is the creator of these emotions. In modern society, many of us, especially men, have learned to suppress our feelings and not become emotional, however, God does not desire that for us. Instead, God wants us to acknowledge our emotions when we are anxious: “I’m feeling this way right now, and that’s okay.” It’s a good idea to process it. When a situation stirs your emotions, you can say, ”I’m going to run to God, into His shelter, to His spirit and His word, as

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Fighting in Prayer

“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, ‘Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.’” – Samuel 1:10,11 Yesterday we saw that God calls Himself Yahweh Tsebaoth, or the “Lord of Armies,” over 250 times in the Bible. Interestingly, one of the most famous usages of this particular name was by a woman named Hannah. Now Hannah’s husband’s name was Elkanah, and he was married to her and also to a woman named Peninnah. Peninnah was fertile and she gave birth to many children, but Hannah was unable to conceive. Even though Elkanah loved and favored her, she was

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What You Can’t Pick and Choose

“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” – Psalm 42:7 Something I love about the Psalms is that they are raw and real. Most of them were written by King David, a man who minced no words regarding the depth of his feelings. In fact, if we have ears to hear and eyes to see, his ancient poems have something important to teach us about our human journey — something that’s been repeatedly backed by science: you can’t pick and choose your emotions. A song of hope and victory is often preceded by a song of lament and sorrow. Pain is a necessary part of the human experience, and unless we acknowledge this truth, we can never move fully into abundant life. Unfortunately, many people try to push down the yucky things that they feel and simply pretend

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Simply Praise

“My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.” – Psalm 71:8 As we conclude our discussion about the power of words, I want to offer one final piece of advice — when you don’t know what to say, simply praise. We can never go wrong with worshiping God, and when it’s the last thing our emotions say to do, that’s when it’s most important to do it. Even if things around us spiral out of control, healing comes as we turn our full attention to the One who is in control. He is the Beginning and the End, and because He never shifts or changes, He is always worthy of praise. He is powerful, majestic, and incomprehensibly glorious, yet He is full of love and compassion. So much does He adore us that He reconciled us to Himself while we were hopelessly lost in a

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Words Can Wound

“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” – Matthew 12:36,37 Like it or not, I believe we carry around careless and unkind things spoken over us in our hearts…and even in our bodies. As I was growing up, I was often called “stupid” and “clumsy,” and to this day, though people can say a lot of things and not upset me, if someone utters either of those words, I have a strong emotional and physical reaction. You see, labels create a negative imprint on our spirits, and when we’re identified by them in any season of life, they continue to haunt us. Even as an adult, I’ve laid awake at night on several occasions thinking about vitriol spewed

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Actions Before Feelings

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?” – James 2:14 January is a time we often spend setting goals, working toward resolutions, and trying to become the best version of ourselves. To that end, I want to give you an important tip today that I believe applies in many different areas of life, but especially where it concerns carrying out our calling as disciples of Christ: actions overcome feelings. As we resolve to walk out our identity as God’s temple, or the vessels in which He dwells, we will be required to step out of our comfort zone to minister to others. Whether this means putting aside our own schedule to help a friend, giving of our resources to assist someone who is going through a rough time, or simply taking a few moments

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The Struggle is Real

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” – Psalm 40:2 How are you doing? When’s the last time someone asked you that question? If it wasn’t too long ago, how did you respond? I think many of us, when queried on our condition or status, give a canned or rote response rather than answering in a way that reflects the true state of our being. While this is fine in casual encounters, it’s beneficial for each of us to pause occasionally and take an account of the state of our hearts and souls. Here in Southern California, COVID-19 remains at the forefront of our lives, and we were recently faced with another shutdown. For many, the feeling of going backwards is especially difficult, and while I realize that

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