Where is God In The Midst Of Tragedy?

where is God in the midst of tragedyWhere Is God In The Midst of Tragedy?

Episode 30

We often hear of a horrific event and we think, “Where is God in the midst of tragedy?” The news is all around us. Our phones send us alerts, and we have instant access to information and the availability of 24/7 news coverage. Days after any tragedy there is a constant barrage of television coverage. While this is understandable it can take a toll on our nerves and those of our loved ones.

When tragedy strikes there a sense of shock, disbelief, heartache, and sadness. When something senseless happens like the recent high school shooting, anger is added to the mix.

I remember the Columbine tragedy, the Challenger disaster, the Twin Towers – hijacked planes, the First Baptist Church massacre, the mass shootings in Las Vegas and now the tragic shooting of teens and one teacher at a high school in Parkland, Florida…

Where is God in the Midst of Tragedy?

How do we deal with this senseless act of violence?

So many times we want to ignore it we want to pretend it didn’t happen and we bury the emotional pain and trauma. Especially if we are removed in the sense that it didn’t happen to us. When the situation is closer to home, when it happens to us with a death of a loved one or an accident we often have all of the same feelings, only deeper.

When something happens that is an accident, or if an illness of a loved one is long, we tend to deal with it differently. Accidents happen, they are a way of life, the same with illness and death. If you’ve lived you’ve experienced it, none of us are unscathed this side of heaven.

Evil is real and the enemy is strong, but not as strong and victorious as our God. Free will gives us all the chance for great things. However, some turn their backs on good and opt for evil.

But God is here, He is real, He answers prayer. However, he answers prayers as He wants to in His perfect will and in His time. Friends, we can’t make God into our own image. We can’t expect Him to answer prayers according to our will.

I want to leave you with three points when you wonder where God is in the midst of tragedy…

  1. Identify the grief you are feeling and deal with it.
  2. Realize all evil is not from God, however, we can’t blame Satan. Yes, evil begins with sin, but we are capable of choice – we must take responsibility for our actions. We have free will.
  3. God is good all the time. We need to remember this. All that is good is from God.

Let’s pray—and keep those who are directly effected by this tragedy in your care, Lord – we pray for the families, for the first responders, for all the children effected, for the town, for those who heard about it in the media. Keep us in your care Lord, protect us and allow us to focus on you. And we pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

Letting Go Letting God

Letting Go and Letting GodLetting Go and Letting God

Episode 29

Letting go and letting God takes an effort. Let’s face it, life is so unpredictable and most of the time we just can’t keep up! It can a chaotic topsy-turvey existence one spent lamenting and clinging to the what could have beens, what could I have done different or what is the next thing that will surely break me?

In this episode, I share how life experiences can be an enjoyable ride (for the most part) with hills and valleys but the assurance that God is never far!

Sponsorship – Media Angels, Inc.

a few minutes with GodA Few Minutes with God

This book explains how to hear the small still voice ~ God, in your life. Great as a gift or for tweens-to-adult.

Show Notes: Letting Go and Letting God

Yes, life happens and most of the time it can be something as small as a tiny child spilling a drink at dinner time or perhaps even a speeding ticket. But even those things can send us over the edge and in this episode, I really want to hone in on one important fact. We need to allow God to be God in our life.

For those of us with older children now, we wish for those days long gone of the spilling of drinks at the dinner table. Little kids little problems, big kids big problems!

How do we prepare when life  is out of our control? We pray, your will and we let go and let God. Let’s face it most things that “just happen” are out of our hands. People don’t plan to lose money in the stock market, people didn’t plan for the economic crash in 2009 – or whenever that affected your family. For us it was 2009 when my husband who owned his own business found work scarce. He is a builder working in the construction industry in Florida. We watched as storefronts closed, motorcycle and auto stores (the smaller ones) closed shop and the streets and the stores were like ghost towns. I remember walking into a sporting goods store at one point and there was no one as far as the eye could see, around!

We must have faith that things will get better…

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

We have faith because that is all that is left. We have faith because the Bible tells us that it takes conviction of not seeing the evidence and still believing.

I recently had a miraculous event I want to share with you. I have five children and the second oldest went to college nearby. She lived at home, finished in 3 years and the cost was very affordable for our income level at the time. Now, with my 4th child in college – she received a partial scholarship, thank-you Jesus and my 5th child about to go to college I was beginning to worry.

Lord we can’t afford both of them in college at one time. What do we do? I remember having a frank discussion with them about the possibility of taking out student loans. One of my children became very stressed by this… we’ve talked about not getting into debt for years! Part of the issue resides in majors – as in finding colleges that offer what they want to study, as well as those that will offer them a position on a baseball or softball team.

And, so we prayed. Over Christmas when my daughter was home from college, we gathered and discussed this situation. We decided to storm heaven as a family, each night we would pray for the situation and pray God’s will. Within, day four or five, I can’t remember, both of my children received full tuition, books, and meal plan offers. I couldn’t believe it. It seemed too good to be true. Seriously Lord – no debt. (Living costs in these states are much more reasonable than some of the other places we looked at!) Yes, they were different states but they are within 6 hours of each other.

But then reality set in … one college is 17 hours away from my house and the other is 23 hours away! Oh, Lord, that is so far away… and then I remembered. Let go and let God.

We want everything our way – we think we will be happy when we get our way but in reality, we always have another demand another request that we are asking the Lord. Of course, we should pray for everything, but we need to remember that when we pray it may not all work out the way we’d like. Letting go and letting God be God, is sometimes difficult… okay, for me it is hard.

Letting Go and Letting God takes work!

Here are some practical ways to allow the Lord to work in your life:

  1. Trust: That He has the perfect outcome in His time
  2. Freeze: Don’t make rash decisions. If you are “letting go and letting God” you don’t have to make any immediate choice – just let it be and pray.
  3. If we’ve given our Lord our problems we can expect great things to happen, not necessarily how we wish or plan – but His perfect will, so much better than ours!
  4. Thankfulness: Praise God that His answer will be miraculous, thank Him ahead of time.
  5. Hope: Without hope we are in a sad state. We can always hope but we also need to put things in God’s very capable hands.

Letting Go and Letting God means letting go of the outcome WE want, and allowing God to bring about His perfect will.

He is in charge, He has the answer, He knows what is best for my children, for me, for my husband, for my extended family. He knows my heart, He knows my prayers – in fact He knows them before I even ask!

Letting go and letting God takes faith – the faith that surpasses all understanding.

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So, my prayer for you today and one that I will pray myself is for the grace to know that God’s plan is so much better than ours.

Answered Prayer

answered prayerAnswered Prayer

Episode 28

How often are we the recipient of answered prayer? We pray, unceasingly. We ask the Lord for the deepest desires of our heart and sometimes we actually have our prayers answered. Many of us are like little children when we feel that God has not answered prayer. We pout and stomp when we don’t get our way. We say things like, “God doesn’t hear my prayers,” or “I don’t hear God at all, ever!” How do we work on our prayer life, our relationship with God, and get closer to the Creator of the universe in a way that is possible given the fact that we are merely human? In this episode, we explore how even answered prayers don’t always turn out the way we hope! Sometimes the answer to our prayers are even better.

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

Show Notes: Answered Prayer

  1. Answered prayer is not always what is best for us. If we call God Father – Abba Father, then He knows best.
  2. Answered prayer sometimes is a “yes” but seems like it is a “no.” When God says yes to us, it may actually be a no to the way we hoped He would answer and a turn in what is, in the long run, a better direction.
  3. Answered prayers can be something we never thought about and ultimately we believe God didn’t answer our prayers.
  4. Turning from spoiled little children who want our own way into warriors of faith.
  5. Your will Lord, not mine. The best way to pray and seek God in all that we ask.

Combating Fear

combatting fearCombating Fear

Podcast # 27

Combating fear is something we all want. Do you worry about things? Join the club –  don’t we all? But in this episode I am going to discuss fear, the result of worry and how we, as Christians, armed with the promises of God can combat the fear and turn it to victory!

Show Notes: Combating Fear

Fear gets us nowhere. It is a dead-end street that has us walking the same path again and again. It is the place that the enemy would like us to remain in because let’s face it — fear is a bondage. Fear is from the enemy.

2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.

Yet, God built us to fear if we sense danger. Fear does in essence help to protect us – if we sense something instinctively it can help us to survive. Fear is natural, it keeps us away from those things that could hurt us or bad choices.

The bible also tells us that “fear of the Lord is the beginning of all understanding,” how do we take that verse? What we fear is the judgment of the Lord. If you are a follower of Christ and want to do His will – you should not fear judgment, but you should remember it as you live your life.

God is our light – He is the guiding beacon in the midst of our fears. We can have the courage to deal with the things that happen in our lives and what that takes is praying to overcome the fear. Prayer and reading Scripture verses and memorizing some can help. Another help is using acronyms to help us.

When speaking about fear in the spiritual sense, when we allow worry to cloud our thoughts and overtake our lives realize we are giving the spirit of fear permission to reside in us. The first step is in renouncing the spirit of fear.

In the Name of Jesus, I come against the spirit of fear and I renounce it – I do not give fear dominion in my life. I break any chains of fear in my life and offer it to you, Lord. Lord, I give you permission to come into my life with joy, the joy that surpasses all understanding and that reigns in the knowledge that you are in control of my life.

Here are some wonderful scriptures to write in your journal under the title of “Combating Fear” and pray, say, and memorize these wonderful scriptures:

  1. 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
  2. Proverbs 29:25:  “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
  3.  Matthew 10:31  “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
  4. Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
  5. Psalm 23:4 – “Even though I walk in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.”
  6. Psalm 91:14 – “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.”
  7. Romans 8:30-31 – “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
  8. Psalm 118:6: “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
  9. Psalm 27:1: “The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear?”
  10. Luke 1:30: “But the angels said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.”

If you are fearful and have never repented of the spirit of fear, let’s pray! (Prayer at the end of the audio.)

 

Relationship with God

relationship with GodIt’s All About Your Relationship With God

Episode 26

Do you have a relationship with God? In this world, there are so many variables that happen every day, every hour and every second. What is your Relationship with God? How do you make it work in your busy day with your crazy schedule? Do you set aside time to put God first or is He an afterthought? In this episode, I explore how to deepen your relationship with God before a crisis happens.

Relationships take time, they take energy, they take focus, they take determination. Relationships with others are sometimes heavy lifting because let’s face it  – humans are imperfect. So, how do you have a relationship with God? How does that work? How do you determine how much time you spend or how much focus you can put into it?

A relationship with God takes time on our side – God is always there for us – God is omnipresent. He is always there, he is outside of time and space. I think that is why I love the scripture

John 1:1-3

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him, nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

It is one of those mind-blowing scriptures that tells us that with God there is no time – the Word of God is Jesus – He came into being by the Holy Spirit – Luke 35 in response to Mary saying she was a Virgin states: … “The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.”

We want a relationship with the God who was at the beginning of creation – who created the world – who is present with us, the triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

That seems so out of our capacity, doesn’t it? How can we mere mortals have a relationship with God?

  1. God calls us – He is always near, waiting for us to listen, to seek to learn. We can do this in so many ways, through the Bible or through some of the ways I’ve explained in previous podcasts.
  2. We must be open to His call – if we are in sin, if we are away from God in some way, we must repent and be open to forgiveness allowing the Lord to work in our lives.
  3. God is present in all things, but especially when we call upon His Name when we adore Him in prayer, at Church, when we pray and ask for His grace to get through the day. When we ask for forgiveness or tell Him we are sorry and repent. (Psalm 46:1)

A relationship is built upon many things:

  1. Time
  2. Love
  3. Trust
  4. Honesty
  5. Respect
  6. Openness
  7. Similar focus

These things can also apply to God.

He is always there for us, are we there for Him?

He loves us unconditionally. Can we say that we love Him even when things go wrong?

He is trustworthy. Are we equally trustworthy to Him?

He is honest. We can count on Him. Can we be honest with Him and can He count on us?

He is open with us – we know where He stands – what He offers us. God does not push or force Himself upon us, we are the ones who put up blocks in our relationship with Him. Are we open to God? Does He know where we stand?

Do we have a similar focus? God wants our salvation. He wants us to be with Him in heaven for all time. Is that our focus? Do we want the same thing?

Ask these seven things of the Lord – ask Him to help you to have the time, give you the love, the trust, the honesty, respect, openness to share your heart and similar focus on heaven. And He will. A relationship with others takes so much work but with God, it is surprisingly easy.

I invite you to deepen your relationship with God – let’s pray.

Dear Lord, I ask you to bless the listeners and invite them to a deeper relationship with you. Help them Lord to have increase their time each day, to be more productive so they have time to spend and I ask you, Lord, to give your love to them in overflowing. Give them trust, honesty, respect, openness to share their hearts with you. Give them a focus on heaven. A laser-sharp focus for heaven. And grant us your will, Lord. I want a relationship with you and I pray this for each person listening today – and I pray this is Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

 

 

Journal How To

 journaling how toJournal – How-To

Episode 25

Do you keep a journal in the traditional way or do you keep a journal as a tool to jump start your Christian walk? Journaling is an amazing way to see the truth, answered prayers and your spiritual growth. There are many ways to journal and there is no definitive way, however, in this episode, we discuss ways to journal.

Answered Prayer Through Journaling

answered prayer through journalingAnswered Prayer Through Journaling?

Episode 24

Only when I began journaling did I see answered prayers. Have you found that by journaling to see answered prayers you can actually see that God has listened to your pleas? In this episode, I discuss journaling as a tool as well as the blessing that I found within the pages.

Show Notes: Answered Prayer Through Journaling

In today’s show notes, I want to ask you some questions to gauge your interest in journaling.

  1. Do I feel that God hears my prayers?
  2. Do I know how many times the Lord has answered my prayers?
  3. I have journaled in the past and …
  4. Journaling has been a passion of mine because …
  5. I’ve never tried journaling but would consider it, because…

Have you ever journaled? If so you know the impact it can have on your life and those around you. By documenting the answers to prayers, it helps us to see that the Lord hears us. In addition, it helps us by allowing us a snapshot back in time. Was there a desperate prayer, or one you really wanted answered? Was it answered? Was the answer all you hoped it would be or did it fall short.

No one said Christian life is easy, but it certainly is blessed and by journaling, you can keep an eye on ways you need to improve your relationship with God. There are many different ways you can journal. In the next episode of A Few Minutes With God Podcast, we will explore some of those ways.

Chose Happiness

chose happinessChose Happiness – the Best Choice

Episode 23

Happiness is a choice and the way we chose to live our lives is also a choice. We can choose to live our lives miserably or decide that today we chose God and therefore all we have left is to rejoice. No matter what your life circumstance the Lord knows your situation and is there to help.

Are we happy because of life circumstance or are we happy because we choose to be which is not dependent on our lives or our circumstances?

Joy transcends all understanding – Joy is given to us by the Lord, however, happiness is a choice we can make. We can select that as an option each day. Is it really depends on what is happening in our lives? Yes, but then how about we take charge, chose for God and chose to be happy. In this way the Lord can bless us with the joy that does transcend all understanding and our lives will change for the better. I promise!

  1. Chose Happiness the basis of all other choices
  2. We chose to be happy because of all the Lord has done in our lives.

1 Timothy 6:17
Verse Concepts
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

Psalm 16:11
Verse Concepts
You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Psalm 21:6
Verse Concepts
For You make him most blessed forever; You make him joyful with gladness in Your presence.

Psalm 111:2
Verse Concepts
Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them.

Time Well Spent

time well spentTime Well Spent

Episode 22

Time well spent makes us happy. If we feel accomplished, if we do things on our “lists,” it makes us feel that we’ve spent our time well. Most of us say we need more time each day, we can’t finish out tasks, we run out of time. How can we add more time to our days?

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

When I look at my day I think, “What is the best use of my time each day?” Other than with my friends and family the best time is with God. How can you fill up without the One who truly gives us that grace to get through each day? Who do you spend time with and is that time well spent? In this episode, we explore how you can make the time. Let’s strive to make the most out of every minute of every day.

Look at your day, how can you incorporate time well spent? We all say we don’t have enough time each day!

  1. Identify the time wasters. Relaxing is wonderful for everyone and we don’t need to “produce” every day! However often we say we don’t have enough time for prayer because we don’t use our time wisely.
    • What are the things in your day that waste your time
    • How can you avoid the time wasters
    • Does making a list help you
    • We all waste time, and often we all need a break, so enjoy
  2. What is the one thing you can avoid? Is there something on your list that you can eliminate or reschedule in your day so that you can make more time?
    • Social media
    • Emails in the morning or afternoon
    • Shopping without a list
  3. Can you make 5-10-15 minutes or more to spend with God in prayer? Look at your lists above and see where you can add more time to your day. Five, ten or fifteen minutes helps tremendously! Time well spent with God is so helpful in our day. Often we leave prayer time to night time. Praying in the morning, the first thing you do — will change your life and is truly time well spent.
  4. Who do you spend the most time with? Is it family, friends, virtual friends? Ist it fictional characters in books? Truthfully, sometimes we let virtual friends take the place of real ones. I have good friends online, some I’ve never met in person. Nurture your friendships but remember the one who will fill you with faith, love, and joy.
  5. How can you make that time productive? Spending it with God first will increase your productivity all day long.
  6. Can you be a witness or a blessing from the Lord to someone in your life? Do you ask God to use you each day? Do you see the people in your life as a blessing? How can the Lord use you? How can you be an example of God’s love to others?

 

God’s Grace

God's GraceGod’s Grace is Sufficient

Episode 21

God’s grace, is it sufficient for you? Or do you rely on the world for the help you need? In 2 Corinthians 12:9 we read the passage that many sermons are built around, but how do we apply this to our life? In this episode, I’ll explain how I strive to have more of Him and less of me in my life.

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

How do we live a grace-filled life when most of the time we can hardly get out of bed without being overwhelmed with all that needs to be done each day? Now that my children are older I’ve taken on some extra activities that put me in the path of people from all walks of life. Some are Christians, others are not, but it is hard to tell the difference. Years ago a good friend of mine used to be asked all the time, “What is different about you?” She carried the joy of Jesus Christ with her wherever she went. She was my writing partner and while we each attended different churches, she was an evangelical Christian and mostly attended non-denominational churches, I am a Catholic. We agreed on the solid foundation that without Jesus there can be no joy in your life.

Jill showed the love of Jesus in her life. She showed others that even if she was under a life burden she would still praise God. Jill loved her children unconditionally as she loved her friends and even her acquaintances. She didn’t live a life without hardship. She went through a painful divorce, bankruptcy and she died suddenly in 2007. Before she died she told me she would soon be homeless if things didn’t change in her life. Yet, she told me she was not worried – she had God. And, instead of being homeless, God took her home. I have never publically told that story before, and while I still miss her tremendously I am happy for her because I know that as she lived she was an example of God’s grace being enough.

It is the inspiration from friends that we surround ourselves with that we too can learn about that joy and that grace should be sufficient for us. That grace that surpasses anything that we can earn or attain in this world. Remember friends, it is in Him that we can have true life. As I record this episode it is the end of November and I approach the Christmas season with a sense of expectancy in the true miracle of the birth of Christ, but also in the miracle that we can be, by example for each other.

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

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