Are Your Broken?

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. – Psalm 51:17

God loves to take people who are broken, cracked vessels, and make something new out of them.

Only God can’t use a vessel that doesn’t know they are broken or cracked. A vessel who thinks they have it altogether.

We must come to the end of ourselves. We must see who we really are. People who have sinned. People have messed up. People who have no hope of redemption outside of God.

We have to see ourselves as in need of a Savior.

If we think we are good enough, if we think we can earn our ticket to Heaven on our own, we still need to have a revelation of the cracks in us.

If we think we haven’t sinned enough to earn us a ticket to Hell, we need to remember that breaking one commandment means we have broken them all, according to James 2:10.

God wants us to come to Him, to ask Him to help us, to save us, to use us to further His Kingdom.

There is something about just pouring your heart out to God and asking Him to help you.

In asking God to help us because we cannot help ourselves, we develop a broken and contrite heart.

We become a people God can heal, save and use.

Are You Strong?

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

The Lord will strengthen you. I don’t know about you, but I need all the strength I can get.

I act strong. The only thing I ever wanted people to see me as is strong.

I have survived a lot, even thrived.

Only I am not strong.

I am not strong enough to stop myself from wanting a situation to work out that I know can’t.

I am not strong enough to say no to people who intimidate me.

I go along with the crowd instead of speaking up. Although I have a definite opinion on most things.

I am not strong enough.

Only God is. He is strong enough to get me through the bad times and has.

He is strong enough to help me put up boundaries to prevent a situation from escalating.

He is strong enough to help me distinguish the blurring lines between black and white and all those shades of gray.

Only God is able to take my weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

Only God is able to do what I cannot do in my own strength.

It is when we depend on Him and His strength that we are strong.

Forget about being strong on your own. Lean on God and His strength.

When we lean on His strength, we become a strong powerhouse able to take on all that life throws at us.

What Are You Fighting For?

for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. – Proverbs 24:16 (NIV).

My initial reaction when I mess up, when I throw my life off balance, into chaos, is to just hide, to go start my life over somewhere else.

I want to cut myself off from the world.

Yet it takes more courage to stand, to face the music, and re-build the remains of my life.

It takes more courage to face up to what I have done and accept what happens next.

It takes more courage to continue living than to just cash out emotionally, mentally or spiritually.

Courage is not the absence of fear but the judgment that something is more important than fear.

We have to determine what means more to us than our fear.

What are those things in our lives that we can’t stand to lose? Those things that make life worth living?

Then we have to fight for those things.

That may mean having talks we’ve been putting off. That may mean putting up boundaries with people who not good for us.

If something is worth fighting for, it is worth doing these things. It is worth the discomfort, worth the potential risk and pain.

Determine what is important to you today and fight for it.

When you fall down, get back up. Fight for what you believe in and move forward because my God will take all your messes and make something wonderful out of them.

As Romans 8:28 (NIV) says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

What Was I Thinking?

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. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV).

Right now God must be really strong in my life. He must be very powerful because I have been very weak.

I have put myself into situations I shouldn’t have, getting the results everyone told me I would get.

Only when everyone is telling me not to do something, my automatic thought is that I can handle the situation. It is not as bad as they are making it out to be.

I forget that I am not the strong person people think I am. I don’t always follow the Bible to the nth degree. I have moments of weakness. I have moments where no matter how hard I try to stop a situation, I still have to suffer the consequences.

I am glad that my God is strong when I am weak. I love that He is faithful when I am unfaithful. Loving when I am unloving. I am a human being. I am flawed.

God knows me better than I know me. He knows that I am going to fail. He knows that I do things I am not supposed to do, cross lines that I never thought I’d cross.

The amazing part is that God still loves me. When I am beating myself for not being a better human being, for being weak, for being the biggest numskull on the planet, God still loves me. God only knows why.

The moral of this story is that we are going to make mistakes, do stupid things, put ourselves in situations that we shouldn’t, and God is still going to love us.

Were we wrong?  Yes.  Was I wrong?  Yes.

Only things to do now are to repent–change our way of thinking, to meditate on how much God has forgiven us and ask forgiveness of those we have hurt.

We have to let God do the work in us to make us better human beings.   We have to remember no matter how evolved we think we are, we are still God’s works-in-progress.

Which Do You Choose?

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, – Philippians 3:13 (NIV).

The past is the past, I am told, but I don’t know about that.

Just when I think I’ve put the past in the nice, little “over” category, my past will come knocking.

Usually in the form of a person.  You know that person that you dreamed of coming back just so that you could tell them how you feel about them now, how they hurt you.

Only what I realized is that I just wanted to be heard.  I wanted this person to give me the answers I needed to close this chapter in my life,  and for the person, to understand what I had to say.

I think that we all hang onto the past a lot longer than we should, even after we have, like me, already moved onto a much better and healthier situation.

We keep looking back, thinking the grass was greener.  In our minds, we glorify the past, making it seem much better than it was.  Maybe thinking we were more wild and daring back then, that it was more fun, than the kind of ho-hum life we have now.

We need to move forward.  We need to look to things ahead, and determine to be the best we can for God, to fulfill His purpose for our lives.

I like to hold onto my security blanket of the past far longer than necessary or than is healthy for me.

I like the feeling of having that security blanket to go to when things are falling apart, but that will not help me get where I need to go.

It all comes down to choices.

Are we going to choose the past or choose the future?  Are we going to move forward or are we going to get stuck in the past?

I choose to move forward, my future.

What do you choose today?

Is God Faithful?

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9 (NIV).

There is a deadline approaching for me…and the resources I need, the provision I was believing God to manifest in my life doesn’t look like it is anywhere in sight.

I am human, so I developed a back-up plan. I did something I wouldn’t consider before. In the long run, my solution will cost me more, but I panicked and came up with my own Ishmael.

You remember the story of Abraham in the book of Genesis. God promises him a son. Several years passes, and Abraham’s promised son hasn’t arrived.

His wife Sarah gets this idea. She sends him in to sleep with her maid servant Hagar in order to conceive a child.

Poof! Hagar becomes pregnant. She has a son. Ishmael.

That must be the promised son, Abraham and Sarah think, but God says “No.”

God’s plan was for Abraham to have a child through his wife Sarah. Through his wife. Not through a maid servant.

Only Sarah is getting up in age and so is Abraham.

Hebrews 11:11 tells us, “Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised (KJV).”

She judged Him faithful who had promised.

Like Sarah, we have to judge Him faithful who had promised.

God promised to provide for my needs (Philippians 4:19), but He didn’t promise to do it when I want it or the way I want it.

God doesn’t think like me. God’s ways are far superior to mine.

When the deadline is approaching and the provision is nowhere on the horizon, the tendency to create Ishmaels is part of our human nature.

Instead we need to remember that God is faithful, that God’s ways are far better than anything we can ask or desire. We have to learn to trust that God knows what He is doing no matter what we see or don’t see.

We have to judge Him faithful who promised, and that includes me.

Are You Asking?

“Until now you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that you joy may be full.” (John 16:24 NKJV)

Ask and you shall receive.

We make this into ask and you may receive, you may not receive.

Romans 8:32 clearly states, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

God is not withholding from us.  He is not withholding healing.  He is not withholding the money to pay our bills or the job with which to pay those bills.

Let me clarify something, though: Psalm 84:11 teaches us, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

There are two qualifications there.

God is not withholding any good thing from us.  He may not give us a certain job or a certain spouse because He knows they wouldn’t be good for us, but that doesn’t mean He is withholding a job or a spouse from us.  Just those particular ones.

The other qualification is “from them that walk uprightly.”

We will never walk completely uprightly.  We will never walk blameless before the Lord.  It cannot be done by mere human beings.

This is the reason God sent Jesus to die for our sins (John 3:16) .

At the Cross, Jesus exchanged His Righteousness (right standing with God) for our sins.  He gave us His Righteousness and took our sin.  He took all that we are, and we became all that He is (II Corinthians 5:21, I John 4:17).

Now we are righteous through Christ.  Therefore God is not withholding any good thing from us.

We can ask for what we need in Jesus’ Name, and have confidence that God has heard us and is manifesting it in our lives (1 John 5:14-15).

All we have to do is ask.

Have You Made The Shift?

…I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. – John 17:4

If you have been with me for any length of time, you know that I get on my soapbox, and I start to teach what I think the church as a whole is missing. Things that seem so simple to me that people look at me and said, “Huh?” This may be one of those.

We, for the most part, live in the realm of trying to accomplish our goals, trying to accumulate our wealth, our health, even our salvation.

Only that is not what the Bible says.

On the Cross, Jesus cried, “It is Finished! (John 19:30).

Not that it is half finished. Not that we need to finish the work.

No, He gave us everything we need for life and godliness (II Peter 1:3). He gave us all things for us to richly enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).

“Annagail, that’s right. All of our wealth and health is being stored up for us in Heaven.,” I can hear some say.

That statement, that belief, has keep us from believing that we already have the victory, that we already have healing, that we already have the financial blessings we need.

Think about it.

What do we need health for in Heaven? We have new bodies.

What do we need wealth for in Heaven? We don’t have the homeless, the need to preach the Gospel, the sick, houses to pay for, bills and taxes to pay.

For us to need those things in Heaven is ridiculous.

God is a practical God, though.

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, He taught them the phrase, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10 NIV).”

Is it God’s will for us to be healed? Yes, I Peter 2:24 (KJV) clearly says that “by whose stripes you were healed.”

Jesus took stripes on His back for our healing.

Is it God’s will for us to be blessed financially? III John 2 (KJV) tells us, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” and Philippians 4:19 (KJV) states, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

He wants our needs meet–financially and physically. In Genesis 12:2, He mentions that He wants to bless us so we can be a blessing to others.

We don’t have health and financial prosperity in the Great By and By. If it is God’s will for us to be healed and financially blessed in Heaven, it is also His will for us to be these things on Earth.

They are ours now. Jesus paid for these things at the cross when He paid for our salvation.

They are a done deal just as our salvation is. They are sealed and are ours.

All we have to do is believe they are already ours. We need to make that shift in our minds. Whatever you believe in your heart and mind will happen in your life.

When we stop fighting, stop striving, to be healed, to be blessed to be a blessing, when we know we are already in possession of it, we fight from our victory ground instead of fighting for victory.

The battle is already won. Jesus has already given us the victory.

Make that shift in your mind today!

Will You Take The Challenge?

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – Habakkuk 3:17-18

How many times do you look at your situation and complain?

Maybe you are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Perhaps you barely make enough to pay the bills every month. Nevertheless eat.

Then all of a sudden this major expense shows up.

Perhaps it is not financial. Maybe it is a long-term illness—cancer, liver or lung problems—for you or a loved one.

All this looks devastating in the natural realm.

No reason for you to rejoice, but that is exactly what God is expecting you to do.

God’s ways seem to be opposite of our ways (Isaiah 55:9). He says “Let the weak say ‘I am strong.’ (Joel 3:10).”

Instead of complaining, God tells us to rejoice (Philippians 4:4).

The word rejoice in Habakkuk 3:18 is the Hebrew transliterated word `alaz, which means to exult, rejoice, triumph.

The primitive root of this word is aw-laz’, meaning to jump for joy, i.e. exult: be joyful, rejoice, triumph.

Think about this: we are to jump for joy when we are in the midst of trials. We are to be joyful.

Why? Because II Corinthians 2:14 tells us that God always causes us to triumph, and John 16:33 says that Christ overcame the world.

God is our Savior (John 3:16), our Redeemer (Isaiah 44:6), our Provider (Philippians 4:19), our Protection (Psalm 91), everything we need.

This is why we can rejoice in the midst of problems. We know our God has everything under control. He has our back.

All we have to do is believe that what He says He will do (Hebrews 11:11).

That, in itself, is the reason we can rejoice in the midst of the storm: our God is faithful (II Timothy 2:13).

Will you take the challenge? Will you rejoice in the midst of issues? Will you exalt God? Praise Him even when you see nothing happening? Or even getting worse?

When you do this, when you rejoice and praise God instead of complaining, things will start to look different. Even things just take on a different perspective.

Will you rejoice today?

What Is Your Choice?

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” – Mark 4:39–40

How many times do you get into a situation where you have your faith on the line? Where you are out on a limb, so to speak, and if God doesn’t come through, you are in trouble?

Maybe, like me, you are in one of those situations right now. Perhaps you have prayed, thanked God, had others pray, and still you are seeing nothing.

The deadline for this issue seems fast approaching and yet nothing.

What we need to remember is that God is still in control, God is still in our midst, calming the storm.

We have to learn to have faith no matter what we see or don’t see around us.

For me, when I am in a situation where I cannot see God working, I have learned to say, “Lord, I don’t know what You are doing, but I trust You.”

Sometimes it is a moment by moment process.

Sometimes I don’t feel it, so I say, “Lord, I don’t know what You are doing, but I choose to trust You.”

Choice is so powerful.

Governments and religions throughout history have known that if you take away a person’s right to choose, you take away their freedom and their power.

We have to choose to trust God and what His Word says even when we don’t see anything happening, especially when we don’t see anything happening.

Trust is not a feeling. Faith is not a feeling. Love is not a feeling. Forgiveness is not a feeling. They are all choices.

We can choose to love the unlovely. We can choose to forgive our boss. We can choose to trust God.

Life is full of daily choices.

Today, will you choose to trust God and His Word, or will you trust what you see?