Help For Hard Days

Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.

Psalms 50:15

Some days are harder than others. We need God’s strength every day, but some days we feel as if we have no strength left at all. It is a comforting thought that when we are weak,  He can be our strength.

What do we do when trouble comes? Prayer is a positive, practical response. God is always there, waiting to hear our petitions. Each time we claim His strength and He delivers us, we bring glory to Him.

We can call on God during days of trouble. He will help us throw away those behaviors that have marred our lives. He will give us strength to face the pain of our past and replace it with constructive behaviors instead of destructive ones.

Every human has a God vaccum. Don’t be ashamed of yours. You can’t overcome your troubles without God’s help. Call on Him today. He loves you and wants to deliver you from  anything that is entangling you.

Thought:  I will ask God to deliver me from my troubled times, realizing He may deliver me by giving me strength to take strong steps myself.


A Fresh Start

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

One of the most comforting tenets of Christianity is that God provided a way for us to get to Heaven with-out having to be perfect. God, in His mercy, gives us a new day every day in which we can begin again to serve Him. He wants us to be righteous, but He knows we will never totally arrive.

The healthy Christian life doesn’t come naturally to women on the journey. Our habit is to live in destructive relationships. We have to strive daily to develop healthy, new behaviors.

Sainthood doesn’t come until Heaven. Our goal on earth is to grow toward Christ-likeness by making healthy choices which lead to healthy habits. As we change our behaviors in small ways, we see evidence of God’s mercy.

It’s easy to take backward steps. Let’s determine not to fall backward today, but instead to accept His mercy this day and go forward. God is there to lead us faithfully each step of the way.

Prayer:  Thank you, Lord, for being merciful, compassionate, and faithful toward me in spite of my shortcomings.

Being, Not Doing

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

I John 4:10

It’s always been interesting to me that God created us as “human beings,” not “human doings.” He loves and accepts us far more than we seem to be able to accept ourselves. Especially if we come from unaccepting homes, the tendency is to figure that we won’t be loved unless we’re able ” to do”. What a setup this is for becoming overachiever. The trouble is that all the doing doesn’t satisfy. The affirmation we receive doesn’t feel like enough, and the standards have to be constantly raised in order for us to feel valuable. We end up saying yes when we mean no. We’re terrified of conflict. We feel used, exhausted, and taken advantage of. We experience little joy in living, and we develop a severe case of ingrown eyeballs-all we can see is ourselves. What’s the way out? With God’s help, we need to pull out of our rat race and acknowledge the emptiness inside of us. Then we need to crawl into God’s lap, so to speak, and get to know how deep His love is for us. We need to find one or two friends who will accept and love us at our lowest point. Most important, we need to come to terms with the truth that we were created not primarily to do, but to be who we are-a beloved child of God.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for your love. Because I have been loved, I can relax in the security of your love.


You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.

Psalms 32:7

David, throughout the Psalms, put great faith in God who was his safe hiding place and his deliverer. God didn’t let David down. He delivered him from his sins. He will also deliver us from our sins and old behaviors.

Each day we face “enemies.” May we, like David, humbly ask God to remove our sins. When we confess our sins to God and to others, we are admitting our weakness and showing a desire to change.

For women on the journey it is difficult to confess that we are sometimes too critical of ourselves and we make mountains out of mole hills. This type of confession  can be too much for everyone concerned. Confessing sins doesn’t mean we have to admit to every negative thought we’ve ever had and every wrong act we’ve ever committed. Instead, we need to focus on acts and thoughts that have come from premeditated, hurtful motives.

God’s goal for us is spiritual growth. He wants us to have His peace. He knows that as we humbly confess our sins, the weights will be lifted. We will be surrounded with songs of deliverance.

Thought:  I will confess to God today any premeditated, willful sins, I have committed that I have not yet asked Him to forgive me for, also asking Him to keep me from those same sins in the future.

Our Need For Quiet

Be still and know that I am God.

Psalms 46:10

Genesis 32 tells the story of Jacob, who was preparing to meet his brother, Esau. Esau had been holding a grudge against Jacob because Jacob had stolen what was rightfully Esau’s. Esau had even threatened to kill Jacob. Naturally, Jacob was terrified at the prospect of meeting his brother.

The night before their confrontation, Jacob had an encounter with a stranger, whom he wrestled. Only the next morning did he realize that he had been in the presence of  God-without even knowing it.

How meaningful that story has been to me personally. unless I make time daily to become still, I lose sight of the truth that God is in this place, in this person, or this situation. My perspective blurs. I forget that the God inside of me is closer than the problem facing me.

If our life is never quiet, we starve spiritually. The constant hustle and bustle of living in the fast lane leaves us empty and often angry. By contrast, a sense of peace and purpose is the result of living life from the inside out.

Thought:  When my connection with my heavenly Father is unbroken, I can face all that life offers me.

A Letter Of Anger

Looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.

Hebrews 12:15

The primary reason we hold grudges is to get vengeance. Subconsciously, we somehow think that our bitterness toward someone will magically make that person miserable. Instead we are usually the ones who end up being hurt by our feelings.

Vicki had been divorced for three years when she came to see me. Her anger toward her former husband and her best friend was destroying her ability to live in the peace that God wanted for her. In visiting, Vicki came to realize that bitterness was futile and that she must put it aside. But putting aside bitterness was not easy. Vicki had to recognize daily that God was in charge of judgment and vengeance was not her job. She also had to find a way to let go of the deep-seated anger that was fueling her bitterness.

Vicki didn’t feel the freedom to communicate her feelings with her ex-husband or her ex-best friend whom her husband had had an affair, but she did write them letters, and read them to me, her therapist, and then destroy them. Letter writing helped her to express her anger, let go of it and choose forgiveness.

Thought:  I will prayerfully write a letter today to the person I have felt most bitter towards. I will express my angry feelings, then ask God to help me forgive that person. Finally, I will throw the letter away.

Peace In The Midst Of Stress

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.”

Psalms 91:2

When the alarm rings each morning the Smiths groan, turn over, and press the snooze button. A couple of minutes later, one of them sits bolt upright, looks at the clock and lets out a panicked yell. Both partners roll out of bed. Two bleary-eyed children are yanked from never-never land and commanded to be dressed. After gulping breakfast, everyone is out the door-to jobs, school, volunteer activities, lessons, and sports. Weekends, too, are an endless round of activity. Meanwhile the house is cluttered, the garden produces only exotic varieties of weeds, the Smiths’ “date nights” are a thing of the past. And their stress levels, not surprisingly, are off the chart.

The Smiths have structured their lives without any conscious thought about God. As a result, they are like the pilot who radioed back to his base, “I have no idea where I’m going, but I’m making record time.” Stress comes when we feel alone in the midst of pressure. God didn’t make us to go through the storms of life alone. He offers us a refuge. But we must take time out of our hectic lives to turn to Him.

Prayer:  Lord, I accept you as my source of peace even in the midst of stress.  Be my refuge, my fortress, the source of my security so that I can keep my activities in balance.

Seeking Approval

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord.

Col. 3:23

“At age twenty, we worry about what others think of us. At age forty, we don’t care what they think of us. At age sixty, we discover they haven’t been thinking about us at all”! I love that saying; it helps me to keep perspective, and it reminds me of the folly of trying too hard to please other people.

When they were in their early teens, they all vehemently proclaimed that they wanted to dress in their own particular way. Yet when I toured the school, it seemed to me that every junior higher was wearing the same jeans, the same shirt, and the same shoes. (Yes, the colors varied.) They were so afraid someone would notice that everything wasn’t just right.

Most of us grow out of the junior high obsession with being just like everyone else, but many still spend their lives trying to get approval from others and fit in. That’s why the apostle Paul reminds us to be careful about whom we are trying to please. And Paul promises that if we live for the approval of God rather than that of other people, we will be rewarded for doing so.

Thought:  If I live for what others think of me, I’ll have an empty hand, but if I live for the Lord’s approval, I’ll reap a rich reward. Today I choose to live for Him.

Keep No Record

Love…does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil.

I Cor.13:4-5

Another version of this verse is “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” I once had a client who actually kept such a record. Helen seemed like a very sweet person, but I soon found out underneath the sweetness was a bitterness equal to that of any person I had ever seen. And for years she had maintained a notebook full of all the wrongs that had been done to her. It was divided into sections: “What People Have Said About Me” and “What People Have Done to Me.” She added to her lists regularly, and she read them often. And of course, she was miserable!

In visiting with her I shared with Helen my observations of her life. In time, Helen saw what her resentments had done to her. She realized she had been becoming like those she hated. And so she began the process of giving up her bitterness. She prayed for her offenders and forgave them. She asked God to take over the business of revenge. Most important, she threw away  her notebook-and asked God to help her also throw away  the list of wrongdoers from her mind.

Thought:  I will choose to throw away my “hit list” of grudges today.

A Holy Calling

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Col 3:17

What do you say when you enter your kitchen each day? We women tend to do a lot of work in that room. But do we look at it as sacred?

Sixteen-year-old Trish, one of six children, went on a summer missionary trip to Mexico. She worked hard all summer, helping to build a church during the day and teaching the little children in vacation Bible school at night. She was introduced to a different culture and experienced a true spiritual awakening. When Trish arrived home, she found her mother busily working in the kitchen. The daughter quickly began to relate to her mother her summer experiences. Then Trish asked,”Don’t you wish you could have been working for the Lord all summer like I did?” Her mother replied, “But Trish, I’ve been working for the Lord all summer too.”

Trish’s mother was wise enough to know that you don’t have to be a clergyman to be in full-time Christian work. In fact I don’t know of any calling that is more full-time  or more Christian than the calling of being a mother.

Prayer:  Lord, help me remember that every calling-even housework-is a holy calling if  I’m doing it for the Lord.