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Instead, we welcomed a bouncing baby girl.
The next time we conceived, our oldest daughter got a little sister.
Finally, the third time was a charm.
We had Kedar and a couple years later, Kaleb followed.
In my mind, however, before God’s plans played out, I figured the boys of the house would be the older protectors of their younger girl siblings. I had all these ideas.
I was way off.
Funny thing is, although the Hobbs guys are the youngest, they’re just as know-it-all and bossy as they would be if they were the oldest.
Convincing them that they don’t have all the answers is a task.
Right now, they hold court with full assurance that, next to daddy, they are running it.
Kedar and Kaleb drive their sisters nuts most days, teasing them and invading their space. It’s adorably hilarious to see those dynamics.
Every now and again, they do something to remind me of just how young—eight and ten—and vulnerable they truly are.
Earlier today, “Frick and Frack” came to me screaming about some kind of bug they saw crawling. It was “enormous” according to their terrified reports.
Now, typically, these two are outside, digging through mud to find insects. They proudly boast and show me when they discover a fat, wiggly worm.
“Look mom!” Kedar and Kaleb smile, bringing their slimy new friends over. It takes everything in me not to leap out of my skin. I am not fond of worms at all.
I grin politely and silently hope one doesn’t fall on me.
So anyway, I was a bit surprised to see the very two who always beg to keep creepy crawlers as pets, all wild-eyed and spooked over a bug.
I was thinking, what in the world did they see?
I told them not to be afraid.
Still, they were shaken to their core.
After they harped on it for so long, I went to investigate.
I looked where they told me and didn’t see anything. After my inspection of the premises was a bust, I went back to doing something else.
Two minutes later, I heard two pair of feet bounding up the stairs.
“We saw it again!” the dynamic duo panted with a crazed look.
As they explained, the initial reports of the bug grew into greater tales of horror. Its size, shape and color descriptions kept changing.
You would have thought a monster had invaded the Hobbs residence.
“It had legs all over it and it was fast!” Kaleb said with bulging eyes.
Kedar chimed in, “At first, I thought it had wings, but it was just going so fast I couldn’t see it!”
He knew for certain it had wings, only it moved too rapidly to actually set his gaze upon it.
Both of them were periodically startling themselves, jumping in fear and talking about how frightened they were over it. Poor things.
Phase two of my investigative work began.
Guess what I found!
Wait for it.
No. Bug. Anywhere.
Since I couldn’t locate the many-legged critter that was hiding beneath the kitchen stove (according to Kedar and Kaleb), they told me they were going to just avoid that area.
They wanted no parts of the crawling tormentor that conveniently got lost every time I came around.
By the way, I still haven’t found it.
I do believe they saw something. What they saw, I don’t know.
Their older sister Kaiah was unbothered by all their shenanigans. Our 13-year-old fixed herself a snack in the kitchen with no worries.
After a while, when no insect emerged from the creepy shadows, the young Hobbs men got up the courage to go back to the scene.
A bit later, while placing his hand across his rapidly beating heart, Kedar told me, “Mom, I felt a lot better with Kaiah in there. I wasn’t as scared.”
When he saw her do what he was afraid to, he realized he didn’t have to be anxious. All would be well.
Seeing her was enough to give both our scaredy-cats a cup of courage.
Sometimes, you simply need to witness someone else do what frightens, challenges and trips you up, to help you believe you can.
This is the principle at work in Hebrews 12:1. The God’s Word Translation says it this way: “Since we are surrounded by so many examples [of faith], we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up.”
When we see models of what is possible, it awakens our faith in our potential to launch out.
Notwithstanding, there are seasons when God will call you to complete a task for which you have no point of reference.
He’s done this with me many times.
When He thrusts you into new territory with no natural mentor to speak of, He simply wants to prove to you that He is enough.
Just because you haven’t seen it done, doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
God empowers you.
He equips you.
He enables you to walk into new places and thrive.
Friend, no matter where you come from, what your history is, or how limited your experience, God has still anointed you to do His will.
When you’re chosen, you’re just chosen.
Don’t worry about how to do what you’re called to do. Just place your trust in the One who called you. As I often say, if He called you to it, He’ll equip you to do it.
Sometimes, I know it can seem overwhelming when you're endeavoring to accomplish something more, better, and different with your life. And when there are no immediate examples from which to draw, it can feel that much more daunting.
Trust me, I understand.
That’s why I can also confidently say, you can do it.
Time won’t allow me to run down the long list of never-seen-it-or-done-it-before things the Lord has sent me out to do.
I’m reminded of a man named Roger Bannister. On May 6, 1954, he became the first to ever run a mile in under four minutes. Before he did it, experts said it was impossible, dangerous and potentially deadly.
He broke through that barrier and survived.
Since he did it, many others have and continue to run a mile in under four minutes.
Mr. Bannister proved it was possible.
Somebody always has to be the first.
Don’t be afraid to push past the limitations of your experience to reach the great heights God has for you. Choose to believe and pursue the awesome things God says you can do, be and have.
Even if none of your family or friends have ever gotten to where you envision yourself going, don’t worry. If God placed that vision in you, He’ll get you there.
Besides, you cannot look to the left or right to discover His divine purpose for you.
Your path is unique.
Allow God to lead you where He wants you to go.
To help you along the way, I’m stirring a prayer found in Hebrews 13:21 NLT into your cup of inspiration.
It says, “May he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, as you receive this word, I believe God is building your strength, courage and faith in His sovereign will.
He is reminding you that you are not limited by any limitations, because the limitless One lives within.
Increase, breakthrough and greater heights await you.
Take the limits off.
Now let’s pray.
God, there are many things I’m believing you for that go beyond the realm of my experience. When doubt tries to creep in, please help me remember that when You give a vision, You also give supernatural strength and provision. Right now, I declare that I am equipped and capable of fulfilling the divine destiny You have preordained for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!
If you need prayer, don't hesitate to request it. I would be honored to stand in faith with you. I know that prayer works. CLICK HERE to learn how to submit your prayer request.
I used to sing along with the catchy tune when I watched the familiar commercials used to market vegetables. The “Jolly Green Giant” is a fictitious character rooted in folklore and fairy tales. Yet, this iconic advertising figure fascinated me.
It wasn’t until later that I learned real-life giants—the kind that take on various forms and often stand in the way of destiny—aren’t friendly or green.
There are many things the years have taught me.
Looking retrospectively, I chuckle about how naïve and carefree I used to be.
When I was a little girl, I loved playing dress up and walking around in my mother’s shoes.
She had the coolest high heels and I would go trudging around the house in them, barely able to keep my balance.
Playing pretend was amusing. My love of it was not unique. Most children get a kick out of that at some point.
I romanticized the idea of adulthood. I just couldn’t wait to be grown and gone so I could do whatever I imagined I wanted to.
Having no adults to supervise, instruct, or set the course for my life was exciting to me.
Being independent, in my mind, meant living a free, unrestricted lifestyle, full of thrills and fun.
But thrills quickly gave way to bills and the quest for fun was replaced with the need to be functional, and self-sufficient.
Responsibilities mounted quickly and there was no shortage of things to do.
Although my youth was not without challenges, there were plenty of things I didn’t have to think about.
I had no idea the tremendous pressure my parents were under. Raising a family and navigating life’s challenges takes much prayer, work and balance.
These days, I totally get what it means to be all grown up and I see firsthand what sort of obligations come along with that.
Being free isn’t actually free. It comes at a cost.
It takes much sacrifice.
I now realize something I didn’t when I was role-playing: we tend to over-romanticize what we have never experienced.
We have this false notion that if we can just get there—wherever there is—all our heartaches, troubles and concerns will be over. The sky will be bluer, the grass greener and the sun brighter on the other side.
Even the most exciting things have mundane elements. The greatest opportunities are often accompanied by the greatest opposition. Walking through doors God opens doesn’t mean you always know what you’re walking into.
As a parent, I do my best to prepare our children for the realities of life. I tell them there will be problems. But as long as the ultimate problem-solver is on their side, they have no cause to worry.
Often, when you achieve a long-held dream, or arrive at a place you once daydreamed about, it doesn’t always live up to your expectations, does it?
As the saying goes, “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.”
If, before you got there, you deluded yourself into believing things would be perfect, soon after, comes that rude awakening.
That cloud nine float gets a pin stuck in it called reality as you come crashing down to earth.
There are no perfect circumstances. Further, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the unique issues we face, even in our Promised Land.
Who knew there would be problems that came along with those promises?
Welcome to the real world.
Remember in Numbers 13 when God had assured the Israelites they would possess the land of Canaan—their Promised Land?
Well, when Moses, at the Lord’s command, sent spies from each of the twelve tribes to scope out the land which was being given to them as an inheritance, they were not prepared for what they saw.
In verses 18-20 he told them, “See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many.
“What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified?
“How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land. (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)”
When they got over there, oh boy!
They saw menacing giants that terrified them. The Bible says ten of the twelve Israelite spies came back with a negative, horrifying story of war-like giants they were sure would consume them.
Even though it was harvest season and they brought back some good things like huge clusters of grapes, pomegranates and figs, the not-so-good things shook them up.
Friend, are you shaken up by negative manifestations you see right now, even though God has given you positive revelations of your future?
As I touched on briefly, every promise also has a problem.
Giant-sized opportunities come along with giant-sized opposition, but God is on your side. That giant is going to fall.
That’s what we learn from the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:45. God’s manservant told that mocking giant, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”
Even though it seemed unlikely, David defeated Goliath and you will defeat whatever enemy stands in the way of your destiny.
To give you a boost of confidence, I’m stirring Numbers 13:30 NLT into your cup of inspiration. These are the words of Caleb, who silenced the panicked people and expressed his belief in supernatural equipping. “’Let's go at once to take the land,’ he said. ‘We can certainly conquer it!’"
As you drink down the contents of your cup, God is infusing your spirit with the assurance you need to slay the giants in your life. You will realize that what is coming against you right now is no match for who is for you.
You are already victorious. You just have to be bold, courageous and faith-filled enough to charge ahead when everything around you is screaming, “Retreat!”
This battle is won. The fight is fixed.
As you resist fear and walk by faith, you will lay hold of your destiny.
At this moment, as you take in this word, God’s anointing is awakening the conquering warrior within. Go forth. Possess the promise.
He already said you can have it. His favor is with you.
Now let’s pray.
God, I refuse to be defeated and intimidated by the opposition that has come to challenge me. You said in Your word that all things are possible with You. Today, I believe You have equipped me to slay every giant in my life and possess the promises You have spoken over me. So I resist fear and walk by faith into my destiny. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!
If you need prayer, don't hesitate to request it. I would be honored to stand in faith with you. I know that prayer works. CLICK HERE to learn how to submit your prayer request.
Always thoughtful, she was calling to check on me and make sure I was okay after having laid my cousin to rest yesterday.
I told her all is well and shared how my ankles were shaking while I was singing during the funeral services. I prayed that God would calm me and thankfully, He did and I got through it alright.
In the middle of the conversation, I mentioned that seemingly out of nowhere, a memory of her flashed before me.
I literally had this flashback. It was like being transported back in time to a very trying day I still remember vividly. I had come to visit her at home. She answered the door on a walker, barely able to move.
Her entire left side was paralyzed.
You see, she was experiencing complications from Multiple Sclerosis, but initially, she thought she’d had a stroke.
I remember she struggled to speak. Her voice was very weak. Her speech was slurred and my usually energetic friend and always reliable ministry assistant was frustrated.
She wasn’t used to being immobile.
As the discussion went on this afternonn, she said, “My left leg felt like it had a 20 pound weight on it!"
Then, as if a light bulb went off inside her head, with a lift in her voice she said, "Wait a minute! That was in August.”
“Really?” I responded.
“Yeah, August 2010,” she told me, then added, “Wait! As a matter of fact, it was August 1st!”
When she told me that, Daily Cup family, my eyes welled up. Today marks exactly four years from that day.
She is now up and about, driving herself around and going strong.
All glory be to God!
I love God moments like that when He reminds us of where we once were and how He brought us over.
During that same year, she was working on set of one of my video shoots. It was at an outside location and the Director wanted to get some shots out in nature.
We found a gorgeous spot. The music was going and I was in the middle of the scene when I noticed her on the ground.
She has passed out.
It was very jolting and I didn’t know all that was going on in her body, which made it all the more disconcerting. As the weeks progressed, she was falling and tripping more often. Something clearly was going on.
Symptoms were manifesting here and there, but nothing as drastic as what took place on August 1, 2010.
At the most trying time in her life, she didn’t think things would ever improve. But the Lord brought her through that.
Although she still has some physical challenges and takes special care not to overtax herself, where she is today compared to where she was in 2010 is a miraculous transformation.
She knows God intervened and turned it all around for her.
We both were thanking Him on the phone today.
So the message for you is, no matter how bad it looks, expect change.
Whether you’re struggling in your health, finances, relationships, emotions, or wrestling with other personal issues, this is not the end. You will not be down, hurting, struggling and suffering forever.
As I told you, for a while there, it looked really rough for my friend. Doctors had her on all kinds of steroids and MS treatments, and nothing was working. Her body was rejecting it all.
She was swollen and nearly unrecognizable. She could no longer work, go out, or do any of the things that were once second nature.
Some people even wrote her off and thought she would die, but God said live on!
That word is for you today as well.
Live on. It’s not over. Things will improve. This will be a testimony.
I don’t care how many times you’ve lost; how dark the day; how rocky the road; how long it’s been; how many opportunities you’ve missed; or how many doors have closed in your face.
I know it’s not easy to go through prolonged periods of turmoil, heartache, sickness, lack, or difficulty.
Sometimes, my friend, for years, life feels all messed up. Your finances are out of sorts; relationships are torn up; your career seems stalled; your health declines; the business isn’t growing; your situation doesn’t seem to get any better.
You pray, cry, praise, believe, work and do everything you know how and still, nothing seems to happen.
But if you don’t lose hope or throw in the towel, it will work out.
God is building perseverance in you. He’s showing you that if you can believe Him in the bad times and remain loyal, the good times will come. So don’t allow feelings of frustration and despair to overtake you.
Even when I think of the young Sudanese woman, Meriam Ibrahim safely arriving in the US, preparing to make her home in New Hampshire, my heart rejoices! Though she was facing the death penalty for refusing to denounce her Christian faith, she remained steadfast. That situation looked bleak, but God delivered her.
Isn't He good?
If he can do it for my dear friend and our sister in Christ Meriam, He can set you free too.
To encourage you as you await your soon-coming change for the better, I’m stirring Jeremiah 32:27 NIV into your cup of inspiration, which says, "I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, you will realize that, while what you’re going through may be hard, it is not too hard for God. Just because you don’t see it working out, doesn’t mean God isn’t working it out.
It is going to happen.
He’s turning it around.Whatever you do, don’t give up on your faith.
Now, let’s pray.
God, change has been a long time coming. Yet, I know and trust that You are turning things around in my favor. Instead of responding to trouble with fear, I choose faith. I know that every word You have spoken is true. I believe my change is on the way and I praise You in advance for what’s already done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!
If you need prayer, don't hesitate to request it. I would be honored to stand in faith with you. I know that prayer works. CLICK HERE to learn how to submit your prayer request.
When I went into WUFO studios in downtown Buffalo for my radio show today, a fellow DJ said, “You know there’s some pizza back there,” referencing the break room.
“You can help yourself.”
As I hooked up my computer to the system and tapped on my keyboard to make sure everything was functioning properly before I was live on air at 5 PM, I responded, “Oh, no thanks. It isn’t my cheat day.”
As I told you before, I give myself a designated day of the week to indulge in something that tastes good, but isn’t good for me.
That gives me something to look forward to and helps set boundaries so I won’t grab that bag of chips in the checkout line.
I do my best to stick to that rule, although I have failed in the past.
Like pizza three times a week bad.
Like burgers, ice cream and chocolate cake terrible.
Like Snickers and Salt-N-Vinegar chips, and soda awful.
Don’t look at me with that condemning glance.
So anyway, he looked at me and said, “I’m telling you. It’s good. Double cheese. Pepperoni. Meatballs. You should eat some.”
I chuckled and half-jokingly said, “No. The devil sent you. I rebuke you. I am not eating any pizza today.”
Finally, he relented and I carried on.
Well, as one of the songs was playing, he opened the door to the studio, waved a slice around in the air and chomped down on it.
I just shook my head and stayed focused.
As much as I enjoy pizza, I can’t have it as often as I would like to.
I try to eat things that help me stay healthy and strong, rather than filling myself with empty calories that only leave me hungry and craving more junk food.
Is it just me or is it true for you that when you start eating badly your body wants more of that sweet, greasy, salty stuff you know you don’t need?
Maybe you don’t struggle in that area, but I have to be deliberate about food choices.
I want to make sure I’m nurturing my body.
Speaking about nurturing, it makes me think about an interesting conversation our ten-year-old struck up with me yesterday. In his sort of out-of-the-blue, random kind of way, he shared a cool fact.
“Mommy, did you know mosquitoes drink our blood so they can lay eggs?” he asked.
He just pulls these things out of the sky.
“They do?” I responded.
“They do,” he said confidently.
“Wow, that’s a pretty cool tidbit, Kedar,” I told him.
And he’s right.
Mosquitoes’ annoying bites are purposeful.
Interestingly, only female mosquitoes bite people and it’s for the express purpose of reproducing.
Now, both male and female consume fruit and plant nectar, but the female mosquito needs the protein found in human blood to help her eggs develop.
Pretty fascinating, right?
When you get bitten, once the insect has had her fill of blood, she goes off and rests for a couple days, then lays her eggs.
God programmed that tiny flying insect to know exactly where to go to get the nourishment it needs.
Our life-giving blood helps the female mosquito reproduce.
So the next time you feel that itchy mosquito bite, you’ll know you were instrumental in helping the cycle of life—though that won’t make it feel any better.
In life, we all need to be nurtured, strengthened and empowered to produce. Just like female mosquitoes drink our blood to get what they need, you and I need somewhere we can go to get what we need.
But if we don’t “drink” from the right source, we end up filling ourselves with things that don’t have any power to empower us.
I’m reminded of the Samaritan woman at the well in St. John 4. She had a deep longing of the soul that only Jesus could quench.
In verse 13, the Messiah told her if she drank from the water inside the well, she would be thirsty again. But if she drank of the life-giving spiritual water that only He could provide, she would never thirst again.
After she grabbed hold of the word Jesus imparted to her, His transforming power revolutionized her whole life.
After she “drank” from the Living Water, she gained power to produce other disciples.
In verse 29, that woman ran into town and said, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did."
She was so excited.
She was changed, renewed and able to become an effective witness for Christ because she got a supernatural taste of the Life-Giver.
Don’t you know that same Jesus lives on the inside of you? You don’t have to go around looking, hoping and longing to find strength, joy, peace, and power. Just tap into what’s already within.
You already have the most powerful One of all working in and through you.
He wants you to know you have power to produce.
And if, by chance, you’re feeling weak, I’m stirring a portion of a prayer into your cup of inspiration found in Ephesians 3:16 NIV, which says,” I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, may you sense the strength of Lord arising within. As verse 20 reads in that same chapter, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
You already have the power.
Now let’s pray.
God, I declare that I am strong, equipped and able to be productive because You dwell within. Thank You for empowering me to live the abundant life Your Son died to give me. Today, I will walk in my authority granted to me by the indwelling power of Your Holy Spirit. I can do all things through You, the One who gives me strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
And you know what?
My curiosity resulted in me bolting down the hallway of the pediatric orthodontist’s office earlier this afternoon.
I’ll tell you what happened.
I had taken our youngest daughter Kaiah to have her braces checked and adjusted. After the routine appointment was over, we rode down to the main floor on the elevator.
While inside, the two of us were casually shooting the breeze, goofing off, you know, nothing serious.
Then I noticed what appeared to be a big piece of wood sitting just above the elevator door off to the right. It seemed strange and out of place.
I gazed at it for a moment and then asked Kaiah, “Do you see that big thing up there?”
Initially, she didn’t noticed anything odd, so I pointed it out and said, “Right there. Look. What do you think that is?”
“I don’t know,” she replied, sizing it up.
“Does it look like a piece of wood to you too?” I queried.
She shrugged. “Um, sort of I guess.”
The elevator door opened, but I didn’t walk out immediately. I was too deep into my investigation no one asked me to conduct.
“I bet if I tap on the wall here, if that isn’t a stick, whatever it is will probably start flying around,” I said.
Not even five seconds later, I hit below it with an open palm, using enough force to shake it up a bit. I figured, I may as well satisfy my curiosity.
Thump! Thump! Thump!
Almost instantly, that thing that had so closely resembled an inanimate object, spread its wings and flew around erratically.
It was huge!
As if being chased by an evil assailant, both Kaiah and I went tearing down the hall at breakneck speed. We rushed out the door and didn’t look back.
Once outside in the lot, I rested my hands on my knees, tried to catch my breath and simultaneously laughed until tears came out of my eyes.
She was pretty tickled about it too, though not quite as winded.
I didn’t even know Kaiah could move that fast. You should have seen her go. And me? I couldn’t believe my own reaction.
I tend to be pretty composed around bugs. If centipedes, bumblebees, spiders, moths or some other creepy crawlers get into the house, I don’t freak out too much, even though I might feel a bit uncomfortable.
I at least play it cool for the children.
The last time I really lost my composure was a few years ago when our oldest son Kedar began screaming at about two o’clock in the morning.
“Mommy! It’s a bird!” he yelled out.
Sleepy cobwebs clouded my clarity of thought as I stumbled out of bed to go and see what all the commotion was about.
Oh, but I got real clear, real quick when the wild winged creature came zig-zagging toward me.
I lost it!
I grabbed a pillow as a shield, covered my face and hopped as if the floor were made of hot coals. I still can’t figure out why I was dancing. Fear will make you do strange things.
But anyway, I was doing my blind terror-jig and guess who was sleeping peacefully through all of this?
My husband Kenya.
Finally, he heard me yelling his name.
Between screeches, I managed to utter four words: “A bird! Get it!”
To make a long story short, we later discovered that the bird was actually a bat.
It had gotten in through a third-level trap door we forgot to close.
After that incident, all the Hobbs children took turns mimicking and mocking my hysterics.
This afternoon, I added yet another chapter to my fail-to-keep-my-cool chronicles.
Served me right for messing with that bug that was minding its own business in that elevator, huh? Shame on me for disturbing it and then being terrified of the critter I awakened out of its restful state.
Had I just left it alone, I would have been alright.
And with Mr. Bat, had we just closed that trap door, it would have never gotten in.
There are some predicaments that we cause and then freak out about the results later.
Let the church say “Amen.”
Whether our curiosity, irresponsibility, or poor judgment landed us in a position we were itching to get out of, no matter the cause, the results were totally undesirable.
Have you ever ended up deep in the muck and mire of life when you went off on your own, without consulting God?
Bad relationships, debt, stress, overwhelm and other issues can often be linked to personal choices we have made.
Our need to know, be in control, branch out, quench our thirst for more, or our simple refusal to wait for God’s perfect timing, drags us down a path toward nothing good.
Friend, it’s no fun nursing self-inflicted wounds or running away from predatory monsters we created. When we fail to let God go before us, we start “playing God” and building our very own Frankensteins.
Then we are terrorized by what we created.
I remember my father used to always tell me, “If you make your bed hard, you have to lay in it.”
It’s a terrible place to be.
I don’t know about you, but I have, in the past, been down rocky roads in life fueled by my own desires and not God’s will, that I vowed never to tread again.
The point is, you and I need the power of the Lord guiding, covering and anointing us in order to effectively navigate life.
Without Him, we will get eaten alive in this dog-eat-dog world.
After all, we are wrestling an unseen enemy. The word of God tells us we are not coming against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). This is a spiritual battle we’re in on a daily basis.
To do our own thing is to go out on the front lines of battle with no armor and no shield from the enemy’s fiery darts.
It makes me think about when some of the Jews went around trying to cast out demons, without any real power. Acts 19:13-16 says the man with the evil spirit gave the seven sons of a Jewish High Priest named Sceva a mean beating. That demonic force terrorized them and sent them out naked, and wounded.
We don’t have any power of our own. We need the Lord.
There’s an old song that the seasoned saints used to sing that says, “Take the Lord ‘long with you everywhere you go.”
When He’s with you, you can confidently own Psalm 27:1-3 NIV, which is what I’m stirring into your cup of inspiration. It says this:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked advance against me to devourme, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, you will be reminded that God is your protector, sustainer, and mighty conquering warrior. When He goes before you, you have no need to fear anything.
When you take the Lord along with you everywhere you go, you will be blessed, productive and shielded from the enemy’s vicious assaults.
Furthermore, when He is at the center of everything, you can avoid foolish blunders that make life unnecessarily difficult.
From this day forward, make doubly sure that you are inviting the Father into all your affairs. Don’t make any moves without His leading.
Don’t get in a hurry and stir up trouble for yourself.
Do what Proverbs 3:6 says and acknowledge God in all your ways and He will direct your path.
Now let’s pray.
God, I haven’t always invited You into my decisions. There have been times when I allowed my own desires, ambitions and ideas to lead me, which led to a mess. I don’t want to make the same mistakes again. So today, I ask for Your guidance. Wherever You lead me, I will follow. And when I am unsure, I will patiently wait for Your direction, because I know You will lead me along the right path. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I think I was a bully magnet in my earlier school years.
Perhaps being small for my size put a bullseye on my back.
I’m not sure why some people singled me out to taunt and threaten, but I became familiar with the signs that let me know I had to put my dukes up after school.
It always went something like this.
The fight initiator would tighten their lips, squint their eyes, softly hit their closed fist up against their jaw, point at me with the free hand, give me that death stare and silently mouth, “Me and you after school.”
I knew it was on and popping when that happened.
I’d get this sinking feeling in my gut each time, just like I experienced right before the earliest “official” scrap I can recall.
I was in something like the second or third grade—not sure which—when I was first challenged to a brawl.
That turned into the longest, most miserable bus ride ever. I knew that when the driver reached my stop, it would be time for the dreaded showdown.
I wanted no parts of it!
An older girl on the bus said she would beat me up and I was terrified. I mean, couldn’t we talk it out? Was violence really necessary?
I wanted to disappear!
Anything not to have to fight.
If it were at all possible, I wanted that cup to pass from me.
All the older kids in my neighborhood egged me on. They were intent on seeing some action that day on the east side of Buffalo. It all went down on Leroy Avenue.
I lived around the corner back then.
“You better hit her, Dianna!” the instigators shouted, causing me to feel pressure. Honestly, I wanted to run, but even my older sister Shavette wouldn’t let me weasel out of that fight.
“You better whip her butt,” she demanded.
Knowing there was no way out of the altercation, I just began randomly swinging.
It was the “swimming method,” where you tuck your head down, let your fists fly and allow them to land where they may. It wasn’t the most accurate way of connecting punches with someone’s chin. But the odds say, if you throw enough shots, something has to eventually hit its target.
It was an uncoordinated mess.
But when I snapped back to reality, my unofficial ringside scorers told me, “You won, Dianna!”
Disoriented, I thought, Huh? I did?
A guy who lived in our neighborhood laughed and said, “That’s the first time I ever saw anyone win a fight swinging backwards.”
That became the running joke in our social circle and I’ll admit, I was a bit embarrassed by it.
Well, angry about losing, the girl regained her composure and came back to reclaim her title from the new, unlikely champ—me.
Before I could re-start my backwards attack though, my big sister intervened and it wasn’t pretty. She was rougher and more skilled.
Shavette beat the poor child senseless.
By the time she commanded, “Come on, Dianna. Let’s go—now!” I saw her victim lying in the snow face down. She was bleeding.
Boy did we get in trouble when the wounded child and her dad showed up on our porch to tell our father.
Daddy, the good reverend, was not too pleased to learn that his “sanctified” daughters had been in the streets scrapping like wild animals.
Though the other girl started the fight, the fact that she took a mean pounding made us look like savages.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget that experience.
As I grew older, though smaller than pretty much everyone else in my class, I realized fear was at least one of the things that invited attacks from enemies seeking out trouble.
Bullies, who were experts at picking out the weaker students, could smell fear on me.
Over time, I got myself together.
The less scared and intimidate I was, the fewer challenges I received from opponents.
Of course, it did help when word got around that the little short girl could fight.
I eventually learned how to punch forward.
Now, obviously, I am not condoning physical violence, but I want to make a point, especially using the example of my first fight.
Had I known my sister, who was much bigger and stronger, would step in and fight for me, I would have been less nervous about being targeted. Had I been confident that she wouldn’t let me be defeated without intervening, I would have experienced a whole lot less nervousness before battling it out.
She had my back all along.
I was protected.
The same principle can be applied to our spiritual walk.
Sometimes, we walk around fearful of the enemy, scared of new opportunities, intimidated by opponents and dreading attacks. We worry that we aren’t strong enough on our own to rise to the challenge.
And you know what?
But the good thing about it all is we’re not alone.
God never abandons you or me.
But if we don’t have enough faith to believe that He is fighting for us and working on our behalf, we will be filled with anxiousness and terror, like Abram was in Genesis 12:10-20.
When the biblical “Father of Faith” and his wife Sarai went to Egypt to escape famine, he was gripped with fear that the Egyptians would harm him in order to steal his wife.
To avoid this undesirable fate, Abram came up with his own plan rooted in fear.
“Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you,” he told her in verse 13.
Abram assumed he needed to come up with a plan, because he didn’t realize God already had one. The Lord had his back all along, just as He has yours.
To help His scared servant, God sent a plague of serious diseases among the Egyptians and informed the Pharaoh that the woman he had taken possession of was indeed Abram’s wife.
Those folks couldn’t get rid of Abram and Sarai fast enough!
The King wondered why Abram didn’t just tell the truth.
Because He was walking in fear and not faith. That's why.
“Take her and go!” the King ordered.
All that time, Abram had been afraid for nothing.
In fact, sadly, his fear could have cost him his wife if God didn’t intervene.
Friend, being afraid will cause you to give up things that rightly belong to you. You’ll settle for less, trust God less and possess less than what God desires you to have. Fear is a thief.
So today, cast fear out of your life by reminding yourself of who’s in control.
To remind you not to worry or be afraid, I’m stirring Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV into your cup of inspiration. It says, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
When you drink down the contents of your cup of inspiration today, you will rejoice in knowing that our mighty God will keep you, carry you, and coach you as you navigate treacherous waters, rough terrain, and fierce storms of life.
You will be reminded that there’s no need to fear the environment when the One who controls the environment is in you and for you.
Again, cast fear out of your life. You cannot be full of faith and full of fear.
The very next time worry tries to creep in, remember Isaiah 43:2, that says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
You can walk through the valley of the shadow of death and still fear no evil when you know that God is with you. (Psalm 23:4)
Now let’s pray.
God, I thank You for reminding me that You are for me, with me and working through me. Today, I come against any fear, doubt, and worry over any circumstances that may come to try me. As long as I have You, the Greatest One of all, I am more than a conqueror. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
No to chocolate.
No to cupcakes.
No to cookies.
I could type that as many times as I want to.
Yet, each time I am presented with the opportunity to gorge on one of my favorite things in the world, I have a choice to make.
Now, that is not to say I don’t ever have guilt-free moments to indulge.
I allow myself at least one “cheat day” every week to enjoy my good-tasting, not-good-for-you, treats.
Each time I see a desirable snack, though, I can’t go on autopilot and do what I feel like doing.
Discipline isn't easy for me. Chocolate calls to me in the midnight hour. Are you sure Paul didn't have tearing into junk food in mind when he wrote Romans 7:21, "So I find this to be a principle:when I want to do what is good, evil is right there with me"?
Anyone else struggle?
Anyway, as you are well aware, more than just food cravings pose threats to our temperance!
I remember a time when I was young, impulsive and reactionary, which led me to make a poor choice.
Though it was just a simple game of kickball among siblings, I took a hard hit to the face when my brother kicked asoccer ball hard and high.
It bounced off my face before hitting the ground, leaving me with a busted lip and throbbing face.
Like a thousand pointed needle pricks, the stinging sensation was painful. Then, after my face took a hit, my ego took another one when my other siblings, including Andre, doubled over laughing at my misfortune.
I was humiliated.
We were all silly children, but I didn’t find the humor in it back then.
Anger arose in me.
My impulses took over.
This time, I wasn't tempted with a chocolate cupcake. Revenge was the temptation to which I was getting ready to succumb.
I’ll fix him, I thought, as I marched over and walloped my unsuspecting family member right in the middle of his spine.
What was I thinking?
I was reacting.
As if in slow motion, I watched his body fold over. He cried and could not walk straight for a while.
I got a mean whipping that day and was grounded for a couple weeks.
Good thing my little brother was alright, no thanks to me.
I never reacted that way again. I realized, after chastisement, that deliberately wounding someone to make myself feel better was never the way to go, even if I felt like doing it.
I had to just say no.
I cleaned up my act.
As you know, being reactionary is an easy thing to do. Often, when we feel wronged, mistreated, attacked, misused or slighted, we want to lash out, hit back and seek justice.
When our emotions run high, if we don’t exercise the Fruit of the Spirit, all our discipline goes out the window quickly. We say and do things we know we shouldn’t.
When our feelings get in the way, they lie to us and tell us we are somehow justified in the mistreatment of others or in the indulgence of unhealthy things.
Recently, I had a tough "say no challenge" when I was in a meeting with two colleagues.
One of them lost their temper and began saying some really awful things to me. Aside from being unprofessional, the verbal daggers were shocking and very hurtful.
Nevertheless, I sat there and remained calm. I could not feed into the emotionalism.
When I got home, I had to pray.
I mean, really pray. Some of what was said was deeply offensive.
Thank God for the Holy Spirit bringing the word back to my remembrance. I had to meditate on what the Bible says I should do when others come against me. By His grace, He gave me strength to forgive the offense and move on.
God got me straight, but only because I was willing to obey Him and not my flesh.
A few days later, I came face-to-face with that same person again. Do you know they were tearful and apologetic, and admitted to having some personal issues I didn’t know about? They said their history of anger had been problematic and cost them opportunities and relationships.
By the time that second meeting adjourned, they were thanking me for my Christ-like example.
I let them know what they said did wound me, but I had forgiven them and let it go.
They were very moved by the exchange and vowed to get into the word of God more, pray and let the Lord do a work in them. It was a wonderful 180-degree turnaround.
God worked it out.
Out of an ugly situation came something beautiful.
But what if I had responded the way I did when I was an immature adolescent?
What if I hadn't said no to self?
What if I had come out of character and returned evil for evil? God would not have received any glory out of that and I would have hurt my witness for Christ.
Don’t speak or do anything out of frustration or impulse. When you do, you end up messing up your own life and removing yourself out of destiny’s pathway. Be led by the Spirit.
Listen, I know life can be challenging. People and situations can be a lot to handle.
Still, whatever or whoever you feel is troubling and targeting you—however slight or serious the attack—must be handled with care and prayer.
As I sought God for guidance in that situation, I thought about how we don’t fight physical battles, but spiritual ones. Our war is not against the people and things we see, but rather, against an invisible enemy working through them.
And we, through Christ, can crush our Chief Adversary, Satan.
But we will never tap into the real power we have if we’re constantly giving into flesh. When we say no to what we want to do and yes to what God wants us to do, then we walk in power and authority.
At the end of the day, doing or saying whatever comes to mind will cost us way too much anyway!
Rememer Moses' mistake? In Numbers 20:2-12, we see this great leader, with whom God dwelled, miss out on the Promised Land because he responded the wrong way.
He didn't tell his flesh no.
God had used him to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, bring them across the Red Sea on dry land, and perform numerous miracles by the power of God.
But he let frustrations with people rob him of what was rightfully his.
Don’t let this happen to you.
Again, walk in the Spirit so you don’t fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
Ephesians 6 tells you your fight is not against “flesh and blood,” but it is spiritual in nature. So take up arms. Put your war clothes on. Go in the name of Jesus and do battle the right way—not the carnal way.
You will be victorious!
By being vigilant in prayer, speaking the word of God, walking in love and maintaining your integrity.
Then, when you do all those things, you can confidently claim the promise of Isaiah 54:17, which is what I’m stirring into your cup of inspiration, as your own.
In the New Living Translation it says, “But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, you will realize the benefits of walking in the Spirit. By refusing to give into fleshly ways, the weapons of the enemy will be ruled ineffective against you. As a servant of the Lord, dressed in the full armor of God, Satan is no match for you!
His fiery darts will hit up against the shield of faith and boomerang. So keep that armor on that Ephesians 6:10-18 talks about.
In closing, remember, the fight is already fixed. Things will work in your favor. Your victory has been preordained.
It all depends on what you're willing to say no to.
When you feel weak, lean on God.
Don't let people--or anything else--make you miss your promise.
Now let’s pray.
God, please help me say no to my way and yes to Your way. I don’t want anything to rob me of the destiny You have for me. Thank You for equipping and empowering me, by Your spirit, to be all You have called me to be. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Whatever you need, God is able to do it for you.
In today's devotional, Dianna Hobbs reminds not to stop believing for manifestation.
I find pomegranates, grapefruit, pineapples, oranges, apples and grapes pleasing to the palate.
But I especially love melons.
Honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon are among my absolute favorites.
So yesterday, after finishing up our run, my husband and I stopped by the local market to grab a few items.
While in the store, I decided I had a taste for a delicious watermelon.
You see, I tend to get full after exercising. I don’t really know why. Kenya gets the munchies as I sit there feeling like I’ve eaten a full course meal.
The only thing I can stomach is fruit.
Anyway, while at the grocery store, Kenya, the family’s official watermelon-picker, grabbed one.
On the outside, it had a creamy yellow spot. That was good sign.
Now, I know a lot of people think they should look for the greenest melon, but that’s not true.
That buttery spot is where it sat on the ground and ripened. So make sure you find one like that.
Also, seek out a melon that’s heavy for its size. When you knock on it, you don’t want a dead thud. It should be firm and have a little bounce to it. Plus, make sure the melon is symmetrical and not full of dents, and dings.
I didn’t mean to turn this devotional into a watermelon-picking tutorial. But I thought I’d throw a few helpful tips out there for any fellow watermelon lovers who may not know them.
In our haste, beyond the cursory glance, Kenya and I didn’t take time to do any of our usual testing.
We saw the one spot and just went with that, bought it and headed home.
I was eager to sink my teeth into the juicy, sweet treat.
As soon as Kenya cut it open, I noticed his head shaking and not in a good way. “Uh-oh,” he muttered.
“What?” I asked. “You don’t think it’s sweet?”
He shook his head no.
I walked over, still hoping for the best.
I grabbed a spoon, dug right into the center of it and popped a piece in my mouth.
Can you say disgusting?
It was juicy, but not sweet at all.
And I do mean, not at all.
I have tasted many watermelons that haven’t been as sweet as I would have liked them to be. But never have I had one with no sweetness.
This was a first for me.
If I had to compare it to anything, it would be like a fountain drink that runs out of flavor. Have you ever had a cup of soda that tasted like carbonated water and afterward learned that the machine needed a refill?
If so, then you have an idea of what chomping on an unsweetened piece of watermelon is like.
I was so confused, I doubted my own taste buds and invited our sons Kaleb and Kedar to do their own taste-testing. That way, I could confirm whether or not it was just me.
Their frowns said it all.
As you might imagine, Kenya and I will be more deliberate about taking our time selecting a watermelon on the next occasion!
Even still, I know that not every melon—no matter how carefully we choose it—will be sweet.
But we won’t let that stop us from hunting.
You know, come to think of it, life is a lot like watermelon picking.
You don’t always get what you expect and it certainly isn’t always sweet! Nevertheless, you can’t give up on living and get discouraged because of the uncertainty of it all.
You don’t just bury your head beneath a blanket and say I’m never trying again simply because things didn’t pan out the way you were hoping.
Get up. Dust yourself off. Go right back out there again, fully expecting that the next time around things will be better. That, my friend, is the way you approach disappointment.
After all, being let down in life is inevitable.
As much as you would like them to, things won’t always swing your way. Setbacks are unavoidable.
This is not the end. God has more for you. Life is not over. You can begin again. Trouble lasts but for a moment. This is a temporary season of struggle and heartache.
You will not be in the valley forever. You will rise again. Life will get sweeter. Just hold on to your faith.
Ride out the storm knowing that Jesus is aboard the ship, which means, you will get to the other side safely.
Strong winds will blow. The storm will rage. Harsh waves will threaten to overtake you.
But you will make it through.
Because the very God who commands the seas is on your side. The One who has the power to speak to the winds and the waves, and cause them to obey His voice, is with you. There is no threat, weapon or force that comes against you that is mightier than the God you serve.
Rest in Him.
Again, it’s not over. This is not the end.
You’re coming through this with a greater testimony and even more evidence of God’s favor on your life.
To remind you of this truth, I’m stirring 1 Peter 5:10 NIV into your cup of inspiration, which says, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, you will be reminded that you will go through downs in life, but God will always raise you up again if you don’t throw your hands up and walk away.
No matter how low you are today, you won’t be here always.
You may be in the deepest valley, clawing your way through the mud, but if you look up, you will see the Son. He is shining upon you, giving you strength and guiding you all the way.
While awaiting your deliverance, I want you to declare Psalm 121:1 NIV. And that says, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Look to the Lord. He is your help.
And know that, after you come through it, God has a greater plan for you.
He has more for you.
Just wait and see.
Now let’s pray.
God, I’ve been stuck in a low place for so long that it feels like I’ll be here forever. I ask that when discouragement tries to overtake me, remind me that this season of struggle is only temporary. Right now, I declare by faith, You have more, greater and better in store for me. Thank You in advance for the new season of blessing I’m about to walk into after this. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I wasn’t expecting company but when I spotted her on the porch with the metallic container, I knew she was carting something tasty.
A big smile covered my face.
I hadn’t seen my neighbor since we moved away years earlier!
She said she didn't want to stay long, but came to drop off a big batch of her fresh-baked cookies. They are always so good and the Hobbs family enjoys them.
It was such a kind thing to do.
We hugged and chatted, trying to catch up on all that had occurred since the last time we spoke.
Though she had shed some pounds, cut her hair and highlighted her dirty blonde locks, there was something that hadn’t changed.
She still lived in the same house where she does all her own gorgeous landscaping.
This is the same neighbor I told you about before who grows tomatoes.
Each year, while living on the same street, she would plant seeds and diligently watch over them.
I remember when she first tried her hand at backyard gardening. She told me and my husband Kenya all about her plans with a glimmer in her eye.
She was so giddy.
Soon after, we would walk by and see our excited friend dressed in overalls, a sunhat and gardening gloves, with a garden rake and a few other tools in hand.
She planted those seeds and faithfully nourished the ground.
When the tomato plants began budding, she was proud and happy, and could hardly wait until they were ripe for harvesting.
One day, Kenya and I came home and shortly after, heard a knock on the door. It was our typically chipper neighbor. Only this time, her countenance had fallen and her eyes appeared sad and droopy.
“What’s the matter?” we questioned.
“Squirrels,” she answered. “They ate my tomatoes and ruined them all.”
When we walked over to the garden she had worked so hard on, we saw multiple half-eaten tomatoes. They were a pulpy mess. Some had just gone missing altogether.
All of them, gone—just like that.
Boy, the two of us felt incredibly sorry for her. We knew how much effort she had put into growing them.
Have you ever patiently awaited a harvest, only to be disappointed at reaping time? If so, you know how discouraging that can feel.
For a while, she was pretty down about it, but did not let the mishap stop her from trying again.
She re-planted some tomatoes—only this time, she doubled the amount and put up a small gate to keep the squirrels out.
Although the persistent little furry mammals got a few of them, when the plants blossomed, there were so many tomatoes, our neighbor did not have enough room for them all.
She was over the moon about it, but, at the same time, overwhelmed.
The next time she knocked on her door, her face was gleeful and she had a big old bowl of organically grown tomatoes she wanted us to take.
She literally had a harvest she did not have room enough to receive!
By the way, those tomatoes were juicy and delicious, and we didn’t have to go to the market for any. It was awesome.
The second time around, things worked out great.
Friend, you, like our neighbor, have been awaiting a harvest, but, perhaps, have been disappointed. When you expected to reap, you were met with ruin. It could have been the ruination of your finances, relationships, health, emotional stability, opportunities, or hope for a positive outcome.
When you anticipated increase, you were met with loss after loss and setback after setback.
All the sowing, working, tilling the ground, nurturing the soil, consistent praying, sacrificial fasting, and continuous believing, did not produce the harvest you had imagined.
How devastating it has been for you to believe God for blessings, but face barrenness instead!
I know it has been hard.
But God is saying, don’t give up hope. This time around, things will be different.
This is your year of harvest, but not just any harvest—one that you will not have room enough to receive.
Get ready for the overflow in your life.
This may not resonate with everyone. But for someone reading this, you already know it. This is merely confirmation for you.
Lately, though, you have been under intense attack. The warfare on your life has been great. Major opposition, emotional strongholds, feelings of defeat and even occasional bouts of depression have threatened to rob you of your harvest.
The enemy has been telling you that you have been believing God for nothing, getting joyful over myths and praising over fantasies that will never come to pass. The devil has been trying to make you believe your season is nothing more than a self-created fairytale that will not manifest.
He's a liar!
He has all but told you that when it comes time to reap, there will be nothing waiting—only scraps like those left behind by the ravenous squirrels in my neighbor’s yard.
But don’t you believe that.
What the enemy has said is not true, but everything God has promised is real. Good things will happen. You will come out of this. You will reap a harvest.
Though you may have lost some things and failed to reap anything good in season's past, it will be different this time..
To remind you of this truth, I'm stirring the first eight words in Joel 2:25 KJV into your cup of inspiration, which says, "And I will restore to you the years..."
As you drink down the contents of your cup today, you will rejoice over the harvest that's on the way. No matter what has come against you in previous times to strip you of what God has for you, God has more, greater and better in store.
There are some things you have been waiting so long to manifest. Well, the time is now.
Get ready for it.
To stop you from sinking into a pit of despair and losing all your hope for the promise of what God has for you, cling to Psalm 126:5, which tells you, They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”
That word is for you.
If you feel like you're drowning in a sea of problems today, this word from the Lord is a lifeline. It is a rope being thrown out into the raging waters, reeling you into the shore of promise, deliverance, and abundant favor.
Again, this is your year of harvest.
You will see the seeds you have sown blossom into something wonderful.
Forget about what has happened in the past and how many disappointments you have faced before now. What God has for you, you will receive.
Now let’s pray.
God, when discouragement and fear because of past failures and disappointments come to steal my hope, please remind me that You are not a God who can lie. Anything You say, You will do. I believe for my breakthrough. I receive it and I praise You in advance for the restoration that will manifest in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I was cleaning the kitchen a little earlier.
While washing dishes, I had a heart-to-heart with my dear friend.
I don’t speak in Elizabethan English when I approach the throne of grace.
I just communicate with the Father in normal, honest, unimpressive, plain language.
Anyway, He’s not impressed with eloquence. He looks at what’s in our heart, amen?
So, anyway, we were chatting as we often do.
I was telling the Lord how thankful I am for everything.
Everything I have, He gave it to me.
Anything good that I am, He made me.
As I was mopping the floor (I still use an old fashioned bucket and wring the mop out by hand.), I felt grateful for the strength to do it.
Not too long ago, I lost the use of my left hand, which is why I tell you often how excited I am to be able to do simple things.
When I was going through recovery, I felt discouraged. At other points in my life, when the road was rough, it sometimes seemed like God had abandoned me.
I remember praying prayers like, “God, did I do something wrong?” “Are you angry with me?” “Am I going through all of this as punishment?”
Just as Job’s three friends condemned him in the Bible, assuming he must have wronged God to be going through all that, I thought the same thing about myself.
The Lord must have been unleashing His wrath upon me.
But now I know better.
In fact, I actually knew better then, in my head, that is.
It was not until I went through some of the roughest circumstances ever, that I learned to trust God’s love, grace and compassion toward me, even in difficult times.
Why do we so often look at ourselves through eyes of condemnation when we suffer? What makes us assume that trials and tribulations serve as incriminating evidence that we must be out of the will of God?
Is there a scripture in the Bible that says something like, “If you love the Lord your God with all your heart, you will be exempt from all life’s trouble?”
I read God’s word all the time and I have never in all my days stumbled across that one. If that were in the Bible, I bet it would be on most Christians’ list of favorite biblical promises!
How about this one: “The favor of God is an invisible force field round about those who serve the Lord that keeps them from experiencing any heartache or sorrow”?
I haven’t stumbled across that passage either during any frantic searches for encouragement from God’s word—no matter how desperate I’ve been.
But I have read these words: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." That is a direct assurance from the mouth of Jesus which can be found in John 16:33.
That’s a pretty straightforward statement, right? Even when we, with all our hearts, love, serve and commit our lives to Christ, we are guaranteed to go through troubles. We are not exempt.
Nobody gets to skip suffering.
Even though God’s word is clear, many times we have a different expectation. Because of that, we somehow feel let down by life (and God) when we are hit with disappointments, setbacks and tribulations.
Though we have heard it said many times that our Heavenly Father never promised life would be easy, that the road we travel would be smooth, or that the sky above us would be eternally cloudless and blue, the truth can still be hard to accept.
In our heads we know we must go through, but it still hurts. And deep in our hearts, we wish that somehow, this cup—the very bitter one from which we drink—would pass.
Well, I have both good news and bad news and I’ll give you the bad news first, okay?
The bad news is trouble is inevitable.
The good news is victory through Christ Jesus is also inevitable.
Psalm 34:19 NIV, which I’m stirring in your cup of inspiration today, puts it this way: “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”
When you drink down the contents of your cup, you’ll be reminded that God’s word gives two guarantees: trouble in life and triumph through Christ.
Sometimes, you’ll be down, but God will lift you. You will walk through the valley, but you also will, in due time, ascend to the mountain. You will tread through the wilderness. But you will also come into the Promised Land.
When it's all said and done, the good news is that the bad news is temporary, because God’s word, which promises victory, is eternal.
As Isaiah 40:8 reminds you, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever."
Friend, you have both a promise and a problem.
Problems last for a season. But God’s word stands forever.
So instead of feeling victimized by hard times, my friend, remind yourself that you are victorious despite hard times, because God is on your side.
Now please join me in praying for the following individuals on our “Thoughtful Thursdays” Intercessory prayer list.
Please pray for a new friend of mine named Diedra who is battling stage 4 cancer. God is working in her life. Her faith needs to stay strong. Pray that He put people in her path at strategic times and places to meet her needs on this journey she is on.
I asked for prayer yesterday concerning tests that I had to take to determine if I had HIV and also to determine if I would need to be on Coumadin for the rest of my life. I heard back from the doctor today and the HIV test came back negative. I am still waiting on the other tests, but I know everything will be alright! Thank you so much for covering me in prayer! I'm thankful for your ministry. God Bless!
I am asking prayer for deliverance/removal of all strongholds and bondages that are causing me such grief and anxiety. My will is just tired at this point. I am a child of God, and I know what prayer can do. Yet I am at a crossroads where I feel as though I am praying, yet feel no peace. God knows my heart and those issues which are disturbing my spirit. I want to be set free. Please stand in agreement with me for God to move in a supernatural way mentally, emotionally, financially, for my family, children, and remove any obstacles that are causing me to stand in bondage. In the name of Jesus!!! God bless you!!!
Please pray for my daughter Jennifer (Jenny). She is engaged to a very good man, Jeremiah. Last year due to an incident between Jenny and her father, there were words between Jeremiah and her father. Jeremiah tried in his own way to apologize and work things out with her father. Dan did not, and has not, made any attempt to work this out. Since then he continues to break Jenny's heart by saying mean things, not wanting to work things out with Jeremiah. She cries every time they talk, etc. I am not sure what to ask you to pray for…peace, happiness, and strength for Jenny. I pray that Dan's heart can be turned so that he can see what he is pushing away and how much he is hurting her. She loves her Dad and wants to have a relationship with him, but he seems to be so hard and cruel. (He and I divorced in 2002). Please pray for her. I don't know what else to do. I believe in prayer and I know God has a plan for she and Jeremiah. I am hoping Dan won't miss it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Hi I need prayer please! Me and my husband are separated, busy with a divorce! Every time, he comes back, but then he hurts us. He doesn’t wanna leave the things he's busy with and there's a lady he goes to visit every day. I don't know if they’re seeing each other. I take it so! Both of us are still young and we are reborn Christians, but I wanna fight for what's mine and I can only do that by asking you guys to stand with me in agreement. If God then wants us to split then He must show me.
We moved to a new state last year and since then my husband has been suffering with sinus issues and now we have learned that he will require surgery to remove nodules and infectious tissue which has started to deteriorate his orbital bone. We pray that the deterioration is not significant and that He is healed without surgery.
I also request prayer for my 18 month old who currently has a fluid filled vaginal cysts. The doctors would like it to be removed so that it doesn't rupture and reduce the possibility of her developing a urinary tract infection. She was born with 1 kidney so they want to do everything to prevent any damage to her urethra or functioning kidney. This surgery was scheduled before and when we arrived at the hospital there were so many signs from God that we walked out. They told us she wasn't scheduled, people at the hospital were arguing with each other, they weren't sure who the doctor was... We heard God clearly and she is now scheduled to see a specialist for a second opinion.
We pray that by His stripes my husband and my daughter are healed and will not require any surgery!
Lastly, please pray for our family. My husband is a college football coach and every season is a season of uncertainty. Our head coach has informed us that he will not be returning next season, which means neither will we. Please pray that my older girl will continue to do well in school and be shielded from the evils of this world and that the Lord will open doors for my husband and our family and allow us to seek, listen and move when He speaks.
I thank you for your daily cup this morning. “...uncertain times calls for certain faith.” My spirit knows that it is done.
Thank you and everyone who will pray for my family. I pray you continue to bless others with your gift.
Some things have presented themselves before me and I am not sure of the direction to take. I am not sure if this is of God. I have let go and placed my faith in him that he will reveal what it is I need to do. I have relied on my own understanding for many of things and it didn't lead me to where I needed to be. So fast to rush into a decision instead of being still. I ask for prayer for guidance and clarity family. Thank you for your prayers in advance.
God, I don’t like facing heartache and trouble, but I know it’s unavoidable. So today, I ask that You will help me accept the fact that difficult times will come, while I'm yet clinging tightly to faith and hope in Your promise to bring me out victoriously. I trust You Lord and I praise You in advance for deliverance at the appointed time, according to Your will. In Jesus name, Amen.
It was a crazy hectic day because it’s our youngest daughter Kaiah’s 13th birthday.
I had a lot to pull together just to see that great big smile on her face.
It’s hard to believe she’s a teenager now.
Where in the world does the time go?
I mean, really.
So, anyway, in preparation to head to the studio, I heard a voice cry out to me.
“Mom, I knocked over the sugar!”
It was our oldest son Kedar.
But he didn’t just knock over the sugar. He accidentally broke the canister!
By the time I made it into the kitchen to have a little look-see, I had under 30 minutes to leave the house in order to get into downtown Buffalo on time for my live broadcast.
From the looks of things, that cleanup job was going to take at least that long.
Did I tell you sugar was everywhere?
An utter mess!
My first question was, “Are you okay? You didn’t get cut did you?”
Kedar assured me he was perfectly fine.
With that, I grabbed what I needed for the job and got to work, as both our sons stood in the kitchen doorway to watch me work.
“I’m glad you’re not upset with me,” Kedar said.
“Why would I be? You didn’t mean to do it,” I told him. “Besides, I’m just glad you didn’t get cut. I can buy a new canister any time.”
I did too.
Friend, it is a wonderful thing to be on the receiving end of grace.
We all need it.
Have you ever been at fault in a situation in life? Have you ever found yourself in a bad position based on personal errors, or sometimes, uncontrollable circumstances? Were you met with a cold, bitter response from others? Ever fell on hard times only to be given a hard time?
If so, it feels terrible, I know.
Some individuals can be so harsh when you make a blunder. Their first response, though it would be nice, is often not mercy, empathy, or compassion.
Instead of focusing on the fact that you accidentally stumbled, or that you simply were unaware of what you were doing at the time, they go on the attack.
All they can see is the mess you made and the results are not pretty! Harsh words are exchanged. Verbal missiles are aimed at you. Accusatory questions are asked. Assumptions are made.
You, the one on the receiving end of the scathing look and callous words, are destroyed inside, left trying to collect yourself and find your way back to wholeness.
It can be hard enough to crash in life without heartless spectators gazing at the wreckage, judging you for it.
But you know what?
God is not like them.
When people look down upon you, God doesn’t see what they see. He views your mistake as an opportunity to restore, redeem, make you whole, and put you back together again.
All you have to do is come to Him the way Kedar came to me and say I created a mess. And with no judgment, God will help you get yourself back together again.
People, on the other hand, can be very quick to pounce and pronounce judgment.
They judge. God loves.
So even if you are facing a troubling season based on something that was your fault, it doesn’t matter. God does not keep a record of our wrongs, nor does He dangle mistakes and imperfections over our heads.
Folks do that.
His grace, mercy and compassion is unending. God does not see like man sees.
To remind you of this truth, I’m stirring Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV into your cup of inspiration, which says, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”
When you drink down the contents of your cup, you will be reminded that you can never mistake human actions and reactions for God’s. His love is incomprehensible and His ways, according to Romans 11:33, are past finding out.
All you need to know is that He loves you endlessly, treasures you immensely, takes pride in you sincerely, and has a plan for you unmistakably.
You are His beloved, prized possession and He has a wonderful purpose for your life, despite where you find yourself today.
What God says is totally different than what they say.
What exactly does God say?
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11 AKJV)
Now let’s pray.
God, thank You for loving me the way I am and for Your endless compassion. I am so grateful that, even when I stumble, Your mercies are new every morning. For this, I give You praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“No, what happened?” I said in the middle of cleaning.
“Daddy burned his fingers,” Kedar and Kaleb told me.
I knew that, but strangely, I didn’t hear any shouting.
Guess I missed that part.
Before our little guys got around to telling me, Mr. Hobbs had already come up the stairs walking gingerly and clutching his hand. I knew something was wrong.
I was right.
We have a flat top stove and he didn’t know it was hot. So he sat something down on one of the burners, went to pick it up and sizzled his fingertips.
I felt sorry for him.
Good thing it wasn’t too severe, though I could tell by looking at him that it hurt.
So we broke out the first-aid kit and I doctored on his hand a little bit. My efforts, however, could not fully relieve the pain of the injury.
When I asked him about it, he told me his fingers were throbbing pretty badly and felt like they were on fire.
The next day, though still somewhat sore, Kenya felt better.
The body had begun its natural healing process with the development of blisters on each of the injured tips.
When I was a youngster, whenever I saw what I called a “water bubble” on my skin, I’d try my hardest to pop it. I had this weird urge to break through the blister’s surface.
Once, after burning my own finger, I got an unsanitary safety pin (What was I thinking?) and punctured that raised skin.
I was intrigued by the water that came trickling out, but then, that intrigue turned into pain.
When the area with the pinhole in it deflated, oh my! It felt as if someone had lit a match, then threw alcohol on an open wound and rubbed some salt in for good measure.
You get the idea.
I suffered for that dumb decision.
I wished I hadn’t burst the blister after I made that mistake.
That was the last time I ever did that.
Back then, I didn’t understand that blisters are filled with fluid called serum or plasma that actually protects the damaged tissue and prevents further harm.
God literally placed within our bodies a self-healing tool that activates on its own when we are hurt. We call it a blister.
How cool is that, right?
I had no idea I was doing more than just breaking the skin. I was literally ruining the healing process that was taking place in my body at the time and opening myself up to infection.
When you don’t understand the purpose of something, you abuse and mishandle it. You don’t respect its function or importance, no matter how central to your well-being it is.
Think about things that you abused in your immature state.
Perhaps you didn’t take care of your finances; ruined your credit; binged on drugs and alcohol; gave in to promiscuity; damaged a relationship; walked away from a wonderful opportunity; pushed closed a divinely opened door.
Who knows what you did?
The others involved know.
Of course, God knows.
But that was then. This is now.
I love the saying, “If you don’t know better, you can’t do better.”
So there’s no sense in beating yourself up over past mistakes. Why rehash negative events in your history?
You learned your lesson.
Sure, you had to cry. Your heart got broken. You felt embarrassed. You lost some people and things. You walked down a path that led to destruction. You spoke out of turn. You behaved uncharacteristically.
You did some things that you now realize weren’t things you should have done.
Okay, so, now what?
I’ll tell you.
You move ahead and be thankful you survived it.
You may have suffered some bad bruises, knocks, losses and heartaches. But you’re still here.
And a new day means a new opportunity to begin again.
You have the liberty to start over.
Isn’t that good news.
So instead of wallowing in the guilt of your past, rehearsing the missteps of yesterday and rehashing the upsets of yesteryear, let it go.
Release your history, so God can write HIS-tory for your life.
History says you failed. HIS-tory says you got back up more victorious.
History simply says you stumbled. HIS-tory says He caught you and established your steps.
Now you are wiser and more certain of the direction you should go. You are seeking God for wisdom, knowledge and insight instead of leaning on your own understanding.
Finally, you clearly see a powerful truth found in Psalm 37:23 KJV, which is what I’m stirring into your cup of inspiration. It says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, you will become more keenly aware of how God is directing you day by day. You won’t be so quick to jump into things and make decisions, but you will acknowledge the Lord in all your ways.
As you look to the Savior for all things pertaining to life and purpose, you will witness God’s plan unfolding in your life.
You will trust Him with all things. You’ll stop looking backward, so you can move forward into purpose.
Lift up your head, destiny awaits you.
God is now ordering your steps, which means you are on the right track and you are covered.
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." (Isaiah 43:2 NIV)
Now let’s pray.
God, I thank You for all that I have faced. It was hard at times, but You brought me through it and I am grateful. There are things I know now that I did not understand before I suffered and I am better for having lived through the struggle. Now, as I move forward, oh God, be with me. Strengthen me even more for this next leg of my journey. Thank You for ordering my steps. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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At the time, I was hunched over, looking through a briefcase full of files, fully engaged in my reorganization project.
I turned around to see what she was talking about when I noticed something familiar in her hand.
Over the weekend, I decided to free up some space. I wanted to rid the Hobbs home of unnecessary storage. It was a big project and the soreness in my body today tells me how many boxes I moved around.
In the middle of scanning filed-away data and making a firm determination about what was definitely going, and what was staying, Kyla’s voice broke my concentration.
What she had in her hand got my attention.
It was a large manila envelope with green trim.
I quickly recognized it.
“This is the letter from my doctor saying two lumps they found in my breast were benign,” I explained.
As I told you before, in 2011, months after my mother finished her chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and was given a clean bill of health, I discovered a hard, painless lump in my left breast.
Because of my family history, the doctor was extra cautious and set me up for a mammogram right away.
The radiologist’s films showed what appeared to be early stage Ductal Carcinoma—one of the most common forms of breast cancer.
I had not one, but two lumps.
I was sent to the best breast specialist in our city.
The day he told me with a smile, “You can relax. It’s not cancer,” I smiled back and felt thankful.
Before my good report came, though, I had to believe God and know that everything would be alright.
It was difficult, at moments, to remain optimistic when doctors weren’t even sure I should be.
Uncertainty is uncomfortable. It can be frightening and unsettling.
Whether the issue is health related or not, we all want to know everything will be okay. We long for clear insight into what God will do next. We desperately desire clarity and certainty about the outcomes of life.
We don’t like not knowing.
Nevertheless, in every Believer's life, there will be a meantime or between-time season. The answers won't come right away.
There will be some kind of uphill faith climb.
I like to compare it to traveling to the top of a hilly road. The incline makes it impossible to see over it. Nothing is visible ahead except the road left to climb.
Are you there right now? If so, don’t let that worry you.
You might not have all the details of God’s plan, but there is something you can know for sure: whatever happens, the Lord will cause all things to work together for your good!
So how do you handle your meantime?
Adopt the right mindset, like the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4:8-37. In dire circumstances, when her son became suddenly ill and died, she didn’t panic or lose hope.
Instead, she sought out Elisha, the prophet of God, with full assurance that the Lord was able to revive her son. In verse 23, even when her husband asked why she was looking for the man of God, she did not answer her spouse in a panic. She was not hysterical.
Her son was dead and she was calm?
This faith-filled woman said three words in the middle of a negative crisis: it is well.
She declared that it was already alright during a serious shakeup in her world.
She spoke victory while her only son, a child of promise, who had been prophesied by Elisha, lay lifeless.
It appears that she understood something fundamental: uncertain times call for certain faith. When you know the Lord is faithful to keep His word, you can face trials calmly.
This woman believed God, no matter what.
Her inspiring confidence in God was unwavering. So God used Elisha to perform the miracle of returning the boy back to his previously healthy state.
Our Heavenly Father responded to her faith.
Friend, He wants you to take cues from her reaction during whatever test you’re presently going through. You have to walk by faith, not by sight.
In order to help you remain calm in affliction and cling to faith and hope in God, I’m stirring the words of the Shunammite woman into your cup of inspiration taken from 2 Kings 4:23: “And she said, ‘It is well.’”
When you drink down the contents of your cup today, you will be reminded that, even before you see a turnaround, you can confidently declare it.
It is well.
It is done.
It is worked out.
It is turned around.
It is fixed.
It is so.
And so it is.
Open your mouth and speak the word.
Now let’s pray.
God, while I am awaiting manifestation of Your promises, I declare by faith that it is well. Just like the Shunammite woman trusted you in the midst of difficulty, I put all my faith in You and thank You in advance for my breakthrough. I believe it and receive it! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you have been praying, seeking and hoping for what you need to manifest, this word will encourage you.
In today's devotional, Dianna Hobbs reminds you that you are on the brink of something great. Your harvest is on the way.
You are more than your past mistakes—whatever they may be.
If you are struggling with feelings of inferiority and are doubting that you can do, be and have all God has ordained because of your history, this devotional is for you.
Today, Dianna Hobbs helps you get un-stuck in your thinking by getting to the root of the confidence-stealing thoughts prohibiting you from walking in authority, confidence and boldness.
Do you often second guess yourself, wondering if you could or should do something, based on what others may think?
Well, it's time to readjust your mentality.
In today’s devotional, Dianna Hobbs says “where God is taking you in this next season will require that you focus on God's plan for you and not others' expectations of you.”
When I think of women like the Christian Sudanese mom, Meriam Ibrahim, my heart breaks.
The Empowering Everyday Women Ministries team and I have been interceding for her and following her story.
Her face has become famous, her plight, infamous. Meriam, 27, who has suffered great persecution for her Christian faith, fears her newborn daughter is disabled due to conditions of delivery.
"I gave birth chained," she told the UK Telegraph, describing the May 27 delivery. "Not cuffs - but chains on my legs. I couldn't open my legs so the women had to lift me off the table. I wasn't lying on the table."
Such an unconventional method, Meriam believes, has negatively impacted her baby girl Maya. "Something has happened to the baby," she said. "I don't know in the future whether she'll need support to walk or not."
Only time will tell.
For now, the wife and mother of two children-she also has a 20-month-old with husband Daniel Wani-simply wants things to go back to normal.
Unfortunately, since the hullabaloo began before Christmas after authorities claimed she had "abandoned" Islam, her life has been enormously difficult.
Under Sharia law, by which Sudan has been governed since 1983, daughters must follow the religion of the father, or else be charged with apostasy, punishable by death.
"I've always been Christian," Meriam told CNN. "I couldn't have been Muslim."
Despite the fact that, as she claims, she indeed was raised Christian by a devout Ethiopian Christian mother after her Muslim father abandoned the family when she was six, government labeled her Muslim.
Marrying a Christian man was viewed as a criminal act.
After being locked up in Omdurman women's' prison, Meriam was subjected to constant ridicule, mockery and mistreatment for her faith.
She said there were "women in prison saying all sorts of things like: 'Don't eat the non-believer's food'. There was all this talk and taunts. Even the officers in the prison would join in."
Religious scholars were sent in to change her religious beliefs-"a different sheikh (Arab leader) coming to speak to me every other time," she explained.
While Meriam was confined, her husband Daniel, who has joint American-South Sudanese citizenship, did all he could to secure a visa for his wife to travel to the United States.
When he achieved that goal and Meriam was released, the two were headed out of Sudan when authorities detained them at the airport. New accusations were brought against Meriam, alleging that she had forged documents, which she denies.
"How can my paperwork be wrong? My paperwork came from the Embassy. Its 100 per cent correct and it was approved by the South Sudan ambassador and the American ambassador.
"It's my right to use the papers and have a South Sudanese passport because my husband is a South Sudanese citizen. He has an American passport and South Sudanese passport.
"I never forged any papers."
After all Meriam has been through, she is exhausted and is finding it quite hard to focus on what's next.
"I can't even decide what I should do right now. I want to travel but at the same time I don't want to travel. But the state I'm in right now means that I'm forced to. There's a new problem everyday about me leaving."
As you think about Meriam today, say a prayer for her and send up a prayer of thanks to God for your freedom.
And by all means, use that liberty to make the world better.
Happy Independence Day!
In this season, God is calling you to focus and shut out anything that pulls you out of alignment with His will.
In today's devotional, Dianna Hobbs reminds you to resist the temptation to give into distractions that do nothing to help you grow and mature.
No one likes feeling stuck in a rut without any power to change their circumstances.
Feelings of powerlessness lead to frustration, discouragement and disillusionment. But you don’t have to be discouraged. Although you don’t have the power to change things, God does.
In today’s devotional, Dianna Hobbs reminds you to look to God, the source of every good and perfect gift, for help.
All three of them were adorable with their fishing tackle, ready to spend the day outdoors.
When they returned home, Kedar and Kaleb shared details about their adventure. Their eyes lit up with delight over the fact that our oldest caught two fish.
“It’s not as easy as it looks,” Kedar maturely said, explaining the process that requires much patience and technique.
As the conversation went on, the Hobbs men shared practical lessons.
Minnow (small fish) are better bait than worms. The fishing line sometimes gets tangled and getting knots out can take quite a bit of time. There are plenty times when fish successfully eat the bait without getting caught by the hook. They get free lunch and the fisher gets the fun opportunity to put fresh bait on the hook—again.
Whenever anyone goes fishing, there is a possibility they will be standing under the blazing hot sun, possessing everything necessary to reel in a fish, and catch nothing.
Plain and simple, no matter how skilled a fisherman or fisherwoman is, there are days when they just come up empty.
Our youngest guy Kaleb told me he thought he had caught a fish one time. But when he reeled it in, only seaweed was attached to his hook.
Though he felt the tugging on his line, what it was weighted down with was useless.
This happens to all fishers, both veteran and novice.
As the Hobbs men shared their enjoyable and informative fishing stories, my mind related all of them back to a special story found in Luke 5:1-11 when Jesus’ disciples were having an unproductive fishing day.
After Jesus had finished using Simon’s boat to teach the crowd on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, he told him to push out into deep waters and let his net down for a big catch.
Before agreeing, Simon informed Jesus that they had been fishing all night and caught nothing—not even a minnow.
They were tired of all those hours of waiting patiently and receiving nothing in return.
Quite honesty, Simon didn’t want to do that again.
He felt he had been through enough torture, having his hopes dashed and didn’t really care walk down that path of failure a second time. I mean, after all, those waters didn’t seem to be producing any kind of harvest of fish.
Have you ever felt like you needed to move on or switch up because something wasn’t working? Perhaps you have presently reached a point where you feel tired, as if you have exhausted all your options and just want to rest from your toils.
This is how Simon felt when Jesus told him to try something again that didn’t work the first time.
Nevertheless, exasperated and all, Simon essentially said, “Well, alright Jesus. I don’t think this is a great idea, but if you say so, I’ll let the nets back down.”
The Bible says, when he followed Jesus’ command, there were so many fish, the net couldn’t hold them all. They had to call to their partners in another boat to help them.
Those fish filled up both boats. So great was the catch, that they started sinking under the weight of that harvest.
What made the difference? What took them from lack to abundance?
This time around, Jesus had spoken. He gave the command. And when the word of the Lord goes out, that changes everything.
I’m reminded of Luke 8:49-56 when Jairus's daughter had taken sick and died. This was after Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood. Remember?
By the time Jesus arrived at the home of Jairus, folks were mourning and crying, and just carrying on.
When Jesus said that the girl wasn’t dead, but only sleeping, they went from crying to laughing at the Master.
Then, he spoke to the child and told her to arise.
At His word alone, her spirit returned to her. Her lifeless body rose up and the Bible says, her parents were amazed.
Again, what made the difference?
God commanded it to be so. He spoke a word.
Friend, no matter what you’re going through. Your situation might look bleak. Your days, weeks, months and years might have been filled with failure, pain, disappointment, and one loss after the other.
But God is speaking a word over your situation today.
Right now, He is commanding a blessing over your life.
And when He speaks, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been unproductive. When He speaks, it doesn’t matter how long that situation has appeared to be dead.
Just one word changes everything.
This is what the centurion servant understood in Matthew 8:8 when he entreated Jesus to heal his servant.
This man, who had great power and influence, told the Savior he wasn’t even worthy of the honor of having Jesus come under his roof.
So you know what he said?
His words are the very ones I’m stirring into your cup of inspiration. This faith-filled man told the Anointed One, “speak the word only, and my servant will be healed.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, you will be reminded that all God has to do is speak one word and yokes will be destroyed; shackles will be loosed; chains will fall off; sickness will be expelled; oppression will be broken off of you.
It just takes one word.
If you have the faith to believe it, you will receive the word that is being spoken over you right now.
God is saying it is done. It is well. It is fixed. It is worked out.
Psalm 107:20 KJV says, “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”
God is sending His word to your house today.
Again, all you have to do is receive it.
Now let’s pray.
God, no matter what my situation looks like, I know You have the power to speak a word over my life and shift everything. Isaiah 55:11 says Your word will not return empty, but will achieve the purpose for which You sent it. I believe Your word! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I was driving down the highway yesterday evening just after 6 pm when the scent of burning wood hit my nose. I quickly looked over to my left and saw thick clouds of smoke hovering over several blocks.
Simultaneously, I noticed multiple fire trucks and police cars with flashing lights lining several blocks.
What in the world is going on? I wondered.
Though I was merely passing by on the expressway and was unable to stop my vehicle to investigate further, I just knew something bad was happening.
There were way too many emergency vehicles around.
Furthermore, the grey billows of smoke let me know there was a major fire somewhere.
All the signs indicated what I could not verify until later when local news reports confirmed it.
Sadly, a raging fire claimed a 56-year-old man’s life. He was inside the home with his five year old son, who, thankfully, was rescued by a helpful neighbor.
I was so saddened to hear that.
Life is fleeting. You never know what will happen on any given day.
Just as I drove by the fire, I could have easily been the one caught in the flames. Again, you never know.
That’s why it’s important to live every day with the awareness that you cannot control every circumstance, nor can you predict each outcome.
Though I was hoping no one was hurt before learning of the tragic death, things didn’t turn out the way I hoped they would.
It reminds me of something that occurred back in 2011.
After Sunday service, I went out to dinner with my husband Kenya and our children when I ran into a woman who has known me for quite some time. She was enjoying dinner at the same restaurant and stopped to ask me, “How’s your mom coming along?”
I smiled and replied, “Thanks so much for asking. She’s doing great and has finished all her chemo treatments.”
“Oh that’s wonderful!” she said excitedly. “I have been following your updates on Facebook and my sister was diagnosed around the same time as your mother.”
“Wow, really? Well, how is your sister doing?” I asked.
“Oh, she didn’t make it,” she responded in a subdued voice. “The Lord saw fit to call her home.”
Reflexively, both my hands made their way onto my cheeks as I clutched my face. That announcement hit me hard.
“I’m so, so sorry to hear that.”
“No, it’s okay,” she told me with a slightly fading smile. “Everything was so nice,” she continued, describing the time she was able to spend with her sister before she was ultimately laid to rest. “The Lord saw fit to call her home and it’s alright.”
My heart sank, but it made me ponder the fact that happy endings will not always manifest in every area of life.
While my mother survived breast cancer, her sister and my aunt, didn’t. She passed away a couple years prior to Mom’s diagnosis.
Hard times come.
We lose loved ones.
My husband Kenya lost both his parents in the span of two years and it was incredibly difficult.
We get laid off from work. The house gets foreclosed on and the car gets repossessed. Our health declines. The relationship we cherish suddenly collapses. The opportunity we were banking on doesn’t open up. The success we imagined turns into failure.
The sun recedes behind the clouds and that beautiful day quickly turns grey and dreary.
Hard times, as painful as they may be, happen to us all.
No one is exempt.
I have had days so rough, I cried so hard I couldn’t catch my breath, nor could I see through the tears.
Loss, grief and sorrow are all a part of life.
But the woman who lost her sister and was still able to smile stands as a testimony of God’s sustaining power through the toughest times. She is a reminder that even when things turn out a lot differently than we had hoped, God is yet able to give us peace and comfort.
I can testify that He is the God of both the mountaintop and the valley. Though we will not always ride high on the wings of the wind, He will uphold us when we are treading through the deepest valley.
Friend, you might be going through one of those difficult times right now.
Your hopes may have been dashed and your heart may be hurting.
If this is so for you, don’t think God loves you any less because you’re enduring troubling times. Don’t assume that His favor does not rest upon you because you’re going through unfavorable situations.
God yet loves you. He has a good plan for your life.
Yet, He never promised that any of us, whether righteous or righteous, would escape trials and tests. He did not say the road would always be smooth and free of roadblocks.
No matter how good or bad we consider our moral character to be, we all experience both good and bad in life. Ecclesiastes 9:11 says time and chance happens to us all.
The good news is, whatever time and chance brings, God is with us through it all.
In rough times, the Lord will strengthen you.
To encourage you today, I’m stirring Psalm 29:11 NIV into your cup of inspiration. It says, “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”
When you drink down the contents of your cup, you’ll understand that experiencing trouble, hardship, and sometimes, heartbreak, is inevitable.
But we can all have peace through struggle because, again, God is with us.
John 14:27 also says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Whatever you’re going through now (or will go through in the future), you can lean on the Lord.
His joy takes over when your situational happiness takes a beating. His sweet presence soothes the otherwise unrelenting aching of your soul.
Jesus, the balm in Gilead, is healing salve for every wound.
His peace calms the internal chaos.
Lean on Him. He will never let you down.
And remember, when everything falls apart, He will hold you together.
Need some peace and strength right now? Let's pray.
God, I know you never promised the road would always be easy, but I didn’t know times would be this hard. Still, I believe that in good times and bad, either way, You’re with me, carrying me through it all. Today, I ask for Your strength and peace as I go through. Thank You for being my comfort. I know that You will bring me out in due time if I don't give up. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As is typical, I listened as Kyla, Kaiah, Kedar and Kaleb spouted off whatever popped into their young brains.
I take pleasure in the simple joys of just being together and sharing conversations, even about silly things.
So anyway, I don’t know how we got on the subject of insects, but the Hobbs clan started talking about how they like playing with bugs. They all have a certain affinity for earthworms (which I totally don’t get).
I told them all about how I used to love to play with ants when I was their age. I’m not sure why, but I would spend hours hunting for them. They fascinated me.
Then, the topic of flies came up.
Instantly, I frowned.
Whenever I see a housefly, I can’t relax until it’s out of my presence. When one starts buzzing around, all I can think about is how unsanitary it is. I never know what that fly landed on before it infiltrated my home.
That discussion led to me into a childhood story.
I was in my bedroom as a young girl, reading a book. I was alone at the time when I heard that familiar buzz. As my eyes darted across the room, I spotted my mortal enemy on the window.
My plan, which seemed like a good one at the time, was to smash the fly with the curtain.
When I crept over to the window, I lost myself. I just wanted the annoyance of the buzzing sound to stop already!
So, what did I do?
With all the strength I could muster, I pushed my hand, covered by the curtain, into the window, with visions of crushing the icky fly.
I didn’t realize how ridiculous my actions were until I heard the sound of glass shatter.
I had essentially pushed through the window in the name of going after the fly.
So smart, right?
Before fear of parental retribution for my poorly thought out actions fully gripped me, I noticed my left wrist.
I let out a terrified shriek when I saw the deep gash.
The glass had slit my wrist wide open.
Boy was that cut ever so deep!
All I saw was white meat, bone, then blood.
My bright idea landed me right in the ER. I had to get stitches and I permanently lost sensation in that area of my wrist.
The doctor told me how “lucky” I had been, because I had missed a major artery only by a few inches.
Was that fly really worth it?
Um, I can say, unequivocally, no!
Nevertheless, I allowed an annoying distraction to lead me on a destructive path.
Looking retrospectively, it’s easy to see how crazy a response that was to a fly!
Stitches for a fly.
In the moment, however, my emotions, adrenaline and desire to be rid of that frustrating nuisance engulfed me.
Have you ever made a similar mistake?
Have you, in times past, let the distractions, frustrations and aggravations of life cause you to do things that only hurt you in the long run? Have you allowed disappointments, pain and setbacks to upset you to the degree that you got off course and made poor choices?
Have you gone through unpleasant circumstances and self-sabotaged as a result?
Here are some ways we do damage to ourselves.
In times of difficulty we stop praying; quit believing God; refuse to read the word; sabotage relationships; go back to toxic relationships; lash out; rebel; fall back into old patterns; and do whatever we can—no matter how bad—to numb the pain.
We do ourselves a great disservice when we get caught up in the moment, without considering the results of our impulsive actions.
See that correlation?
Going after that buzzing fly on the window the wrong way, without thinking about what I was doing, left me wounded. Similarly, the same thing happens when we let what troubles us drive us toward bad choices.
Don’t do that.
Know that what’s bugging you and making life feel unpleasant is only temporary.
When you sense that something is causing you anxiety, upsetting you emotionally and getting under your skin, before you react, pause.
Don’t be reactionary. Don’t speak or do anything out of frustration. When you do, just like that window, you end up shattering your life to pieces and needing to have your wounds sewn up.
Listen, I know life can be challenging. And trust me when I tell you, I also know that life throws far more difficult things than buzzing flies in our direction.
Let the church say amen on that.
Still, whatever it is that’s ailing or troubling you—however slight or serious—must be handled with care and with prayer.
After I told that story, our oldest son asked, “So, Mom, did you even kill the fly?”
“Nope, didn’t even get the thing. I was in the hospital, while the fly I went after was still buzzing around.”
I went through all that mess and stress for nothing.
I assure you, being impulsive and controlled by your emotions never resolves anything. It leads to more hurt, pain and greater problems.
That’s why I want to remind you of what to do with stressors and pressures. 1 Peter 5:7 NIV, which is what I’m stirring into today’s cup of inspiration, tells you exactly what to do. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, remember not to get caught up in the moment or swept away by your feelings. Emotional responses lead to poor choices.
Rather, cast your cares upon the Lord. Tell Him all about your troubles. Run to Him in prayer. Seek His face. Even when you don’t feel like praying, pray anyway. When you don’t want to read your word, read it anyway. When you don’t feel like forgiving, forgive anyway. When you don't want to bite your tongue, bite it anyway.
Don't act rashly.
Don’t do anything until you’ve talked to God.
Before you go down a path of destruction, get down on your knees. Don’t you try to fix it until you have consulted the ultimate fixer. For God, there is nothing too hard.
There, on your knees and in His presence, you will find the peace, joy, contentment, help and guidance you need.
While you allow this important word to soak in, please also join me in praying for the following individuals on our “Thoughtful Thursdays” Intercessory prayer list.
I am a 32 year old woman who had been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer over a month ago. I'm now having my chemo treatments...6 treatments of chemo 1 down 5 to go. I have a great support team but I can never have enough prayer... My prayer request is for complete healing, and me being able to have kids in the future...( I don't have any currently). I believe in God for my healing claiming it's already done... Please pray for me and thank you!
Hello, I am in the middle of a custody battle with my child's father. It is ugly. It has been brutal. He has married the woman he cheated on me with and together they are trying to take my child. However I now know the strength that GOD has given me. He has heard my cry and I am working on walking in faith and being patient. We now have to take parenting classes for 12 weeks. They were supposed to be with him only but she will be in attendance and she is a conflict. We start the classes tomorrow evening. I know this is my test. I know GOD has been preparing me for this. I am asking for prayer warriors to stand with me in prayer for me to let GOD do his work and stay focused I am almost to the end. I praise him now for the victory -just asking that my strength gets renewed and I don't give up when in the process.
I have been so discouraged lately. I have stayed in prayer. I just feel as though I am in a stand still. I am a Single mother of two children and I have had to stay in a job where I feel no growth for 10 years now. As a Single parent I have to make hard decisions to be able to provide for them.
I have only been in two relationships my entire life, one with the father of my 2 kids who would not change after multiple chances. I walked away from him over 7 years ago. Then 5 years ago came my second relationship. I had known Carell for over 25 years. I believed everything he told me about how he would be better than my kids’ father and he would never hurt me. I gave him my heart and trusted him. He lived in another state but moved to where I was. And he was the Complete opposite of who he was prior to moving in with me. We couldn't agree on anything. He lied to me about some things and within 3 weeks he left my home. I continued reaching out but there was no hope.
I feel like will I ever experience True love? Will I find my soul mate? I feel as though I cheated my kids because their father is not involved in their lives but he is Not a Positive Role Model. I always wanted marriage then kids but it didn't turn out that way for me.
I work long hours. I have a mother who is so Negative towards me and my kids. But she lives with me and it is so Stressful at times. I didn't grow up being Encouraged by my parents. My mom holds me to a much higher standard than she does with my 2 brothers.
I feel Broken. I pray daily and always have because that along with my kids is what keeps me going. I NEED PRAYER I NEED A BREAK THROUGH. AND I NEED GOD TO SPEAK ON WHAT DIRECTION I NEED TO GO.
I am currently in a women's shelter with my 3 week old daughter. Please pray for us and my 10 year old son. I am terrified of the future and saddened because I want a good life for my children and everything I worked for in life is seemingly down the drain. Please pray for salvation for me and my family, that this situation is resolved in a way that is favorable to me, that I get direction from the Lord.
My friend and sister in Christ Veronica L. Maul has been suffering with her health. I know she is strong, but please pray for her and a supernatural healing upon her body. Thank you in advance, Claire.
No matter how often I pray and stand on God's Word for deliverance from fear, I still allow it to operate in my life in various manifestations...primarily procrastination (fearing that what I set out to do won't work anyway so I just put it off), handling finances (spending too quickly for things I need because I've developed this fear from when I had no job for years and struggled with homelessness) so when I get money I spend it too quickly and end up messing up my finances again, and the fear that I am just a screw-up, no matter what. I keep people at arm's length and carry the fear that if they get to know me too well they will eventually see that I truly am not what they thought I was.
I recognize that my own thoughts are what hinder me and as much as I try to “renew my mind” with the Word confessing who I am in Christ, it seems that I can never get beyond this. I am now 62, and wonder how I can ever gain the success that I know God has ordained for me. People look up to me and see me differently than I see myself, and I know that I am hindering God's destiny for me. I battle the spirit of clinical depression and was able to get off meds last year, and I continue to speak God's healing Word over it, but I need help.
There is so much more, but I know that I am stronger than the enemy, but at times I don't feel I am. I pray and read and confess, and yet I am still...
Then I see others' success and I have to repent of covetousness and envy and recognize that I am the reason that I am NOT successful. Thank you for your intercession. God bless you.
My spouse is in an adulterous affair with a co-worker and I am praying for restoration of my marriage so I am asking you to come in agreement with me according to the word of God. I thank God that I came across your website and I don't believe it was a mistake I believe it was by divine order, it has blessed me tremendously. Your cup of inspiration dated June 5, 2014 spoke to me personally. I thank you and praise God for you and your ministry
Please pray that the lord leads me to where I need to go. I'm tired, but I have the will to win. I don't know who to trust anymore. God help me! I've ran from this co-dependent relationship with me and my mother for 3 years, then I came back after family and some church members who were “helping” tried to benefit from my plight. My family has a tendency to marry off the girls in our family as a way to solve the problem. I've tried so hard to keep my virginity and pray the lord will only let me marry and sleep with the one man who he has chosen, who loves me unconditionally, and who I also love. Lord, help me complete my education. You, oh God that have started a good work, promised to finish it. God, I beg you as your beloved child. I claim interdependence, freedom, unconditional love, self-love, joy, peace, a strong voice, strength, wisdom, and total victory in the name of Jesus Christ. Most of all, I hope to be able to forgive everyone who hurt me intentionally or un-intentionally. God, please hear my prayer. Forgive me oh Lord of my sins, but help me to be who you've made me to be. I claim all that you have for me in the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.
I need prayer to overcome negative thoughts and stay focused and have faith. There is a lot of change going on and I know in my heart God is leading me down a path of success but it feels like hard times right now in terms of work, school, relationships. I pray for continuation of strength, faith, courage, and patience.
Lately I've been going through it!! And I mean going through it. From stressful relationships, thinking that I need the love of a man to fulfill my happiness, depressed about “when am I ever going to be married am I worthy enough to be a wife”. Depressed with my job, finances money is tight living paycheck to paycheck. The stresses of motherhood. I just feel as though the battle will never end. I find myself straying away from God and his word thinking I can get through this alone but reality is I CANT. I need direction and prayer.
Greeting Dianna and Praise Members,
Two years ago, I learned my son, Jared, then 19 years old had cancer and a daughter in her junior year. “Lord,” I prayed “Please give me a job where I can be at the bedside of my son when he is going through chemo and radiation treatments and also be there for my daughter.” Praise God, in January, my son got a stellar report and only goes to see the doctor for check-ups. This year, in 2014, my daughter graduated from high school; Jared will graduate early in December--the one who underwent Cancer and still managed to keep up with his school work and my oldest graduated with his Masters. I on the other hand feel “stuck” as a Pre-K Paraprofessional. I have two degrees and yet when I try to apply for other positions within the school district--nothing. I have not had any success applying for other jobs either.
I ask for prayers to help me in my career and for my dreams to manifest in becoming an author. Secondly, please pray for my daughter to get into the right school and to receive the finances she'll need to complete her educational endeavors.
Lastly, give me the strength to be strong and supportive of my three children pursuits while also helping my mother whose sick. I am exhausted but I know that God is able to make a way out of no way. I need renewed strength to continue to work despite the rejection and to obtain a good job. Thanks.
Please pray for my mother Marie. She is suffering with pain in her knee and foot on the left side. The doctor says it is arthritis. I believe that she will be healed and am asking for your prayers believing this for my mother also. In addition please pray for my co-worker's mother, Mrs. Brooks. She suffered a stroke on last week Wednesday at the back of her brain. This is the area that controls all body functions. I am asking that you pray for the Brooks family that their mother will make a complete recovery. We are praying and believing for a miracle in both situations.
My husband and I and our three children have been through many trials and tribulations these past five years. I ask that you pray for my husband's new job to take off and to let him know that he is strong enough to do this and even more so with God in his mind, heart, and soul. I ask that you pray for me to stay strong for I know these trials and tribulations only make me stronger as a mother and a wife. Pray that I keep a calm mind and heart, be slow to anger, be quick to forgive, and know understanding. For I know God's plan rises above all else.
Now let’s pray together.
God, sometimes problems, burdens and troubles come at me so fast, I barely have time to catch my breath. I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle and frustration sets in. Before I know it, I’m reacting out of emotion instead of seeking You in faith. Today, I am asking that You will help me come to You for guidance, strength and understanding. Please strengthen my spirit, so that I can rule my emotions and not act on what I feel, but rather, what I believe! Despite how I feel, I declare that You are able to fix things and work them out in my favor. And I thank You in advance for doing just that. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
It bothered me when they gave me that assessment. Obviously, it didn’t make my parents happy because my instructors were essentially saying, “Dianna slacks off when she could do better.”
I received some stern lectures around report card time.
My teachers were right. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. In my teens, I couldn’t see it. I felt singled out and picked on. I had convinced myself I couldn’t do any better.
I truly believed that.
Had I gotten rid of my limited thinking, pushed myself harder and refused to quit when certain subjects challenged me, I could have improved immensely in some areas.
Though there are specific subjects that proved difficult for me, even in college, after putting forth my best effort, I was too easily discouraged in my earlier days.
I was particularly intimidated by taking tests in high school.
Oh, I loathed them.
So I would rush through the examinations and try to finish as quickly as possible. If I was in my “I’m-gonna-fail-anyway” mode, on multiple choice questions, I would randomly select an answer.
I don’t need to explain that eeny meeny miney moe is an ineffective way to approach exams. Is it any wonder I failed?
I was defeated in my mind first before it ever played out in my reality. What I believed about my ability became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
After I got into college (which was a tough process because my grades were so low), and really worked hard, I began getting straight A’s.
The first time my GPA was a 4.0, I nearly passed out.
Do you know what made the difference? My commitment to try based on my belief that I could do it.
I stopped replaying those negative messages of defeat. I quit telling myself I wasn’t smart enough and started working toward my goal of improving.
I prayed, studied for hours and did the work.
One day, after an English exam during my junior year in college, I was expressing to my peers that I had concerns about how well I did. I didn’t know if I had given a thorough enough answer to support my view on the essay-style exam.
When each of them frowned and said, “Oh shut up Dianna, you always get A’s,” I genuinely felt confused.
I had never been the “always get an A” girl.
But then I realized, they didn’t know me back when I was struggling. All they saw was the girl who came to class focused, hit the books hard and gave it my all.
I had changed.
They only knew the new me.
Right then, I recognized the residue of my old thoughts about myself. I needed to change the mental script inside my head.
I still saw a hint of the old me when I looked into the mirror, even though that girl was long gone.
I was different and more focused and needed to consciously tell myself that.
I had tapped into the greater potential that was within me all along. It was just lying dormant before and had finally been released.
Friend, there is great untapped potential in you, but past failures have a way of lying to us and telling us we will never thrive, improve or go higher.
Then, when we buy into such untruths, we live out that lie, so, in effect, it becomes truth.
See how that works?
What you believe manifests.
What do you believe?
Today, God wants you to see yourself differently. Allow Him to transform your thoughts about you.
No matter what mistakes you have made; disappointments you have endured; or what odds have been stacked against you all your life, there is a new story about to emerge.
Before it can fully unfold, however, you have to believe something new, different and better about you.
See yourself through God’s eyes.
He calls you victorious, equipped, favored, blessed and chosen.
Be confident, courageous and faith-filled, because the Lord is with you.
Whatever you have allowed to intimidate you and cause you to be fearful, if you allow this word to permeate, it will transform your thinking.
As God said in Joshua 1:9, He’s saying to you, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
No more fear.
It’s time for your thinking to be transformed.
The world says your past dictates your present and molds your future. But we don’t accept what the world says. We embrace what the Word says.
You can start fresh and get different results in your life.
To help you undergo this transformation, I’m stirring up Romans 12:2 NIV into your cup of inspiration, which says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, you will be reminded that God wants to change you from the inside out. Not only did Christ come to free you from the curse of sin, but also, from the bondage of wrong, limiting and hindering thoughts.
He wants you to see who you are!
You are an heir of God and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ. You are royalty, a King’s kid. You can do all things through Christ.
Lift your head up. Speak the word over yourself. Stop talking negatively and cast out those debilitating thoughts that say you will never do, be or have what God says you will.
This is not the end for you.
There is untapped potential in you.
You’re about to tap into it.
There are greater things God has in store for you. But you have to believe it before you can have it.
Now let’s pray.
God, failures in my past, hurts and disappointments sometimes cause me to feel like I’ll be stuck in the same place forever. But I don’t want to be defeated in my thinking Lord. I want to be confident in You and every promise You have spoken over me. Today, I ask that You transform my thinking and help me see myself the way You see me—victoriously! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“Did I really just say the ‘second August in July’?” I asked, chuckling.
“I meant to say the second Sunday in August,” I clarified.
We were talking about something on my schedule and I got a bit tongue-tied. I jumbled that one up terribly, huh?
I was doing too many things at once I suppose.
It is a pretty common thing I do if I lose focus.
I mix things up and get them all confused.
I’m not ashamed to admit it; I can be a little scatter-brained at times due to the hectic nature of my schedule. This is likely why I am known for getting dates scrambled in my mind.
Because of this, I don’t keep my own calendar—ever.
I allow those with who are gifted in the areas of organization, time management and scheduling to help me keep everything balanced.
Thank God for assistants. Otherwise, I would be in serious trouble.
Before I realized I was challenged when it came to scheduling, I tried to handle it all on my own. As a result, I would book more than one thing for the same day and time, and wouldn’t recognize the oversight until I had said yes to both things.
Needless to say, that was a disaster!
Since I couldn’t be in two places at once, inevitably, I would have to call one of the planners and offer up apologies for the mistake.
It was upsetting to both them and me. I felt awful about it.
There were even times when I would record the date of an appointment—something as simple as seeing the doctor—and get it all messed up.
My brain would tell me one date. My hand would jot down another.
Who does that?
One day, I showed up at the pediatrician’s office and was baffled about why they couldn’t find my appointment.
Turns out, it wasn’t for another two weeks! I arrived on the wrong date.
Clearly, scheduling is not my ministry.
I fully accept that now and pass those duties off and am happier and less stressed.
My husband Kenya and I joke that I have to be “reminded to remember.”
But it took me a long time to accept that I had a limitation in that area. I felt like I could handle my schedule, thank you very much.
Reaching a place where I would even need one assistant—let alone more than one—seemed too far-fetched.
For a season, my unwillingness to relinquish certain roles in which I wasn’t thriving caused all sorts of frustrations for me and those who relied on me.
I was taking on too much. It was time to release it.
For some, the idea of having assistants is wonderful. They like to have others take things off their hands.
I prefer doing as many things by myself as possible. I like being independent and self-sufficient, but no one can do everything alone.
I’m reminded of when our eldest son Kedar was younger. He didn’t want help with anything.
Whenever Kenya and I would offer, despite his limited ability and knowledge, he would emphatically state, “I can do it myself.”
For what seemed like an eternity, our stubborn little guy would fumble through the process of carrying out a task that was beyond his ability.
And finally, when he’d had enough, he would ask for help.
Have you had enough yet?
Are you attempting to carry an entire load on your own?
We can all be that way sometimes. We overestimate our abilities and underestimate our need for help.
We think we can tough it out, put our mind to it, throw all our energy into it, figure everything out, and come up with solutions.
But really, we need God to help us. He’s waiting for us to ask and invite Him into our circumstances.
When is the last time you called upon the Lord, your present help, to be fully involved?
Are you prone to swinging into action and then asking for assistance after you’ve reached a roadblock?
If so, God wants you to reverse your approach. Ask Him for help first. Invoke His wisdom and guidance. Then you’ll know which way to go and how much to take on.
Don’t ignore your limitations. Rather, admit that you have them and trust God to be your sufficiency in every area of deficiency.
Let God take care of you. Allow Him to hold your hand and carry the weight you have been dragging around. His hands and arms are much stronger than yours and they are forever outstretched.
To remind you of this truth, I’m stirring Psalm 136:12 into your cup of inspiration. It talks about God’s love and compassion for His chosen people and how he delivered Israel “With a strong hand and an outstretched arm, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
When you drink down the contents of your cup, you will realize that the same deliverance and assistance awaits you.
All you have to do is say, “Help.”
Ask for what you need. Tell the Lord you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of troubles. Be honest about what you’re going through and give Him an open invitation to share the load.
Go ahead and put in that distress call and watch God come to your aid.
Psalm 91:5 says, “He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.”
Now let's pray.
God, please help me. You know what I need even before I ask. I give all my burdens, troubles and struggles to You. Your word tells me You are a present help in my time of trouble. I’m calling upon You and thanking You in advance for hearing and answering my call. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
All you’ve endured has increased your maturity as well as your capacity to handle greater challenges that come along with enlarged territory.
In today’s devotional, Dianna Hobbs reminds you that the hardest season prepared you for the harvest season. Get ready for breakthrough.
First, the rubber spacers were put on her teeth to make it easier for the appliances to go in.
After a few other steps, it's official.
“Awww, you look so adorable,” I fawned over her silvery smile.
Our baby girl is growing up.
Though she had a big grin on her face when she left the orthodontist, by the time we got home, Kaiah was feeling the pain a little bit—especially when she tried to eat. Though she wasn’t too happy about only being able to munch on soft foods and still experiencing slight pain, she expected it.
I warned her in advance, because nobody warned me when I got braces about ten years ago.
I remember visiting my parents’ house a few hours after leaving my orthodontist’s office. I had been running that day and didn’t have a chance to eat.
So I was happy when I saw pizza on the table.
I grabbed a slice and bit down.
Instantly, I let out a scream. The ache was so intense, tears involuntarily shot from eye sockets and began streaming down my cheeks.
“What’s the matter?” my mother asked me.
I replied, “I don’t know. My teeth hurt so badly.”
I was all messed up and confused, and still teary-eyed.
It wasn’t until a cousin of mine came over and said, “Girl, you can’t eat pizza when you first get braces put on. Are you crazy?” Then, she proceeded to laugh at me, shocked that I didn’t know better.
Though I was still in pain, at least knowing what I was going through was normal, calmed me a little.
That night, I went home and launched the “soup ministry,” because I was not about to go through that again.
No ma’am. No sir.
While pain is never comfortable, it is even more difficult to bear when it comes unexpectedly, because you’re unprepared.
Furthermore, when you don’t know of anyone else in your circle who has been through the same thing, no one can offer you comfort in your affliction. You feel unsure about whether the intensity of the hurt is a common thing, or what you should even do in response to it.
When my husband Kenya and I were pregnant with our first daughter, I was terrified about the idea of giving birth. Everyone I talked to told me they had been in labor forever and how torturous the experience was for them.
I remember looking at that big round belly and thinking, “Lord, how in the world am I going to get all of that out of me?”
To reduce my fears, Kenya and I enrolled in Lamaze Childbirth classes.
This is where I learned everything I needed to know about the changes my body was experiencing, as well as the birthing process.
“At first, the pain won’t be that bad, but then, it will intensify,” said our teacher. “The more it hurts and the harder the contractions, that means the baby is closer to being delivered.”
She also said, “When you feel the pain, try your best to relax and breathe through it. Your uterus contracts so it can push the baby down through the birthing canal.”
Friend, I must say, labor was intense. I have a few horror stories of my own that I'll spare you. Our daughter Kyla took her sweet time getting here and wore her poor mother out. But knowing what to expect helped me so much. In fact, doctors and nurses were shocked by how calm I was during the process.
It was because I remembered the instructions I received. I recognized that the pain and ache was going to produce positive results—a new baby girl.
When I laid eyes on her, I know it sounds cliché, but it was worth it.
In life, when pushing to give birth to destiny, we go through hurt, heartache and one hardship after another. But pain pushes us into purpose. But here's some even better news: the painfulness of the process will pale in comparison to the gloriousness of the outcome.
You might be going through right now, but don’t worry. You’re coming out. I love how 1 Peter 5:7 ESV says it: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
The pain God allows in your life will only last long enough to do its work in your life. 2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV says it this way: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
This process you have to go through will, in the end, bless you.
None of us can go through life pain-free. We all have to cry, go through difficulties and endure setbacks. ButI’m here to tell you, it may not feel good, but it’s working for your good. It truly is.
You have to tell yourself, hey, I might go through for a little while, but I’m coming out better, stronger, wiser, and more prepared to fulfill God’s ultimate plan for my life.
To remind you of this truth, I’m stirring Romans 8:18 NIV into your cup of inspiration (another favorite!), which says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, you will draw encouragement through the knowledge that, even though every day may not be easy, going through is worth it. It positions you to receive every good and perfect gift that comes from God.
You can make it. You can do all things through Christ.
No matter what, be strong. Stay in the fight. The Lord is on your side through it all and what He is producing will go above and beyond your expectations.
Hang in there!
Now let's pray.
God, life can be so hard, challenging and difficult to bear under the weight of these burdens. Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by it all. But I know You have a plan for me. When it all seems too much, please remind me that if I go through, I get to all you have waiting for me on the other side of this . In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Everything you need to do, be and possess what God has for you is all inside. If you believe that, nothing will be impossible to you.
Struggling with your confidence? This is a must read!
Life and death are in the power of your tongue. When you speak negatively, you limit yourself and hurt your potential, so watch what you say. In today’s devotional Dianna Hobbs helps you stop cursing your life with what you speak.
No matter how tough the road gets, don’t turn around. Keep going, trust God, and get rid of every negative thought telling you what you can’t do. You can do all things through Christ!
In today’s devotional, you will be encouraged to push past the opposition and discouragement and heed only the voice of the Lord. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to stand in faith with those on our faith community’s “Thoughtful Thursdays” prayer list.
Though people may fail you and overlook you in your time of need, whether intentionally or accidentally, the Lord sees you.
He cares and will come to your rescue. Right now, whatever you may be going through, know that you are not alone. God is there. You might not see your way clearly, but if you just call on His name, Jesus, He will supply your every need!
If you have been feeling a bit beaten down, spread thin, and anxiety-ridden, in today's devotional, you will be reminded that all you need is some rest for your soul.
It’s found in Jesus. Let Him have it! Run into the arms of the Savior and let Him hold you. Allow the Master to take control of your circumstances while you take refuge in Him.
When life gets hectic, if you don’t give up on your faith, God will restore everything you lost. But the question is, will you trust Him in the meantime?
In today’s devotional, Dianna Hobbs encourages you not to let go of your faith. But rather, hang in there until God brings you out—and He will!
She thought about killing herself. The hurt was so deep and the pain too intense. Her hopes were shattered and she felt like she didn’t have anything else to live for after a deeply personal betrayal.
The person she thought loved her the most, turned out to be a cruel fraud. The realization devastated her and she nearly lost herself in the process of chasing after him.
Seeing her that desperate and feeling so desolate broke my heart.
I cared deeply for this person.
After I was away from her, in private, I wept.
I sobbed like it happened to me.
None of the words I offered could comfort or ease her pain.
Nothing seemed to make her feel better. She needed an intervention and a visitation from the Lord.
So when I was crying that day, the tears were not flowing simply out of emotion, though I did sense her deep grief, which was overwhelming.
But I travailed before the Lord. Literally, I laid out on the floor and cried out to God with my whole heart.
“Please help her,” I begged. “I can’t fix it Lord, but You can. You can make it better. You can heal her hurt. You can mend her brokenness.”
I pleaded for Him to pick up the broken pieces of her life and make her whole again.
Like the wailing women Jeremiah 9 speaks of, in the presence of the Lord, I released rivers of prayers that formed streams of tears pouring down my face.
The job was too big for me and the challenge too great for her. Neither of us could handle it. But God was and still remains able.
He turned that thing around and lifted her up out of that emotional pit she was in.
If He did it for her, my friend, He will do the same thing for you.
Yes He will.
He'll do it for you.
I don’t know what you may be going through that has left you feeling upset, frustrated, hopeless, or in despair. But God, who is rich in love and compassion, has looked upon your needs today.
He sent me to tell you, it will be well with you if you don’t give up. Keep believing. Soon enough, you will see the fruit of your faith. But you absolutely must not stop expecting that turnaround.
Again, God will do it for you, according to your faith and His will.
As you wait, in His presence, you will find refuge from the storm; a safe haven from every threatening attack of the enemy; and restoration for the depleted areas in your soul. He will breathe life into that hopeless situation.
Take comfort and rest in Him. God loves you so much. He sees, knows and cares about what you’re facing.
Today, I am travailing again. This time, it is for you and your needs.
As we join our faith together, I’m stirring the latter half of James 5:16 KJV into your cup of inspiration, which says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
When you drink down your “Thoughtful Thursdays” cup of inspiration, you will be reminded that God is a very present help in the time of trouble. He hears, honors and answers our prayers.
Even when you are too weak, discouraged and cast down to pray for yourself, He’ll send someone to pray for You. And that someone, at this very moment, is me.
Right now, if you can muster the strength to join your faith with mine, God will move.
The Bible says in Matthew 18:19 NIV, "Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”
Touch and agree with me.
Now, let’s pray together for the following individuals on our "Thoughtful Thursdays" list:
I was falsely accused at work and decided to resign due to the lack of support received from my employer. Since leaving I have been ridiculed publicly and seemingly black balled. I have gone on several promising interviews to only be denied the position.
I know who God is and I believe I am heir to His promises and provision but I am so tired. I see others profiting and excelling while I am shunned. God blessed me with this ability so He will give me a place to use it for His glory.
I have been having suicidal thoughts and feeling despair. Please pray for with me that I stay strong in The Lord and the power of His might!
My 15 year old daughter is being influenced by lesbians. I know this is an attack of the devil and we are praying for victory, but pray for my heart to be warm and more compassionate towards my daughter's feelings.
I know there is power in prayer. My cousin Rita is in intensive care right now. Her sugar was 900. My mother’s best friend’s son was shot five times and killed today and her cousin also shot five times is in critical condition. Elise's son Christopher is seven and diagnosed with a tumor in his arm. Her new born baby was born with health complications and they don't know if her baby will be okay. George has kidney failure and is in need of a transplant. Tina is overwhelmed by grief! When my mother called me my heart was overwhelmed but I know there is power in prayer and I have pulled strength from here and I know God is yet working. I just want you all to touch and agree with me for them! God is able. I know he is.
Emotionally, physically, and spiritually I am broken. I have been unemployed since 10/13. Although I have been actively seeking employment; I have been unsuccessful in securing employment. I am extremely depressed and very discouraged. Unemployment benefits expired on 4/22 rendering me without any source of income. I am now living in fear of being evicted for my rent is 3 months behind. I am about to lose my phone in the next couple of days. I desperately need help and everyone who can potentially help have turned their back on me. I DESPERATELY need a job and a financial breakthrough. Despite my fervent prayers, God doesn't seem interested in helping me. Please, pray for me for I need help...
I have been weathering the storm in my marriage for a while now, and nothing seems to have change. It’s like my back keeps getting push to the walls. I have adapted a closer walk with god, but I feel I’m in this alone and God doesn't hear me even though I know he does. I thank god for grace and mercy, because if it wasn't for that I would not have made it this far. I'm losing hope, falling into despair at times due to the strife in my marriage. It's like he doesn't get it but still I’m believing in God’s everlasting arm. Please pray my continued strength in the Lord. I give up on this marriage, then I think it’s okay and it blows up in my face, as if God is saying wake up, this is not what I have for you. My faith seems to be lacking. Please pray for my strength.
Dealing with a broken heart and also would like for God to help me with single parenting
My dream is to become a Christian motivational speaker. However, I have a fear of public speaking. I study scriptures on fear and speak them over myself. I often speak anyway although I am full of nerves. Please pray for me.
Please pray with me for the healing and restoration of my marriage. That my husband will be touched by God and turn away from the sin of adultery that now binds him. That he may understand the pain his family is suffering and choose to come home to us. That I may be strong and wise, and have faith and trust in God during this time.
My prayer request: I am a single mum of 3 beautiful kids and all I would like to ask from the Lord is to be the best mum/dad I can be, also to fix my love life as nothing seems to go right for me when I’m in a relationship.
I am in the middle of a very unnecessary child support/custody case. My prayer since my pregnancy has been for our child to have a close relationship with both parents; however, personal decisions of the father have prevented our ability to co-parent. He refuses to speak to me, and their father-son relationship is just non-existent. This battle has been hard, but I've learned to leave it all in the hands of OUR GOD. I will continue to claim victory over our future. That our son and his father have a loving and unbreakable relationship. I will continue to declare blessings and peace over this situation. In Jesus name.
Now let's pray together.
God, there are some situations in my life that are so far beyond my ability to fix and handle. I feel depleted and confused about what to do next. Today, I know this word is for me and it is Your desire to bring me out of this horrible pit of despair. So right now, I put all my trust in You and cast my cares at Your feet. I trust that You will make me whole, put my life back together again, and make me an example of Your glorious deliverance. By faith, I expect great things to happen in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you need prayer, don't hesitate to request it. I would be honored to stand in faith with You. I know that prayer works. CLICK HERE to learn how to submit your prayer request.
When our children do independent recreational reading, I’ll ask things like: what was the story about? Who were your favorite characters? What were the lessons the writer was trying to teach? What do you think the main moral of that story is?
I want them to see that thinking critically about what they read is essential to comprehending what they take in. It’s important for them to know that words aren’t just mere words. They have meanings and there are many layers to be interpreted.
Sometimes, I know they don’t feel like examining things more deeply, but it is a life skill we all must possess if we want to understand what’s happening to us, in us, and around us.
I remember when I was a young girl, I was so impressed with myself because I could speed read like my father, or, at least, I thought I could.
One day, I got the bright idea to rapidly consume about 10 chapters in the Bible in a very short span of time. When I went and told Dad about my proud accomplishment, he began quizzing me about the scriptures I had just ravaged.
Do you know how many of his questions I could answer?
Wait for it...
I was so in love with my ability to read, that I forgot to pay attention to the most important thing: the message.
There were lessons to be learned, wisdom to be extracted, and revelation to be gained from the Bible. But I needed to slow down so I could get that understanding and clarity.
But Speedy Gonzales over here was about swiftness.
Maturity has taught me that being in too much of a hurry for anything leads to bad choices and costly mistakes.
As the saying goes, "Haste makes waste."
Years ago when my husband got bit with the entrepreneurial bug. He strongly sensed the unction to begin consulting nonprofits as he had been doing in his professional career. He pretty much just woke up one morning with fire under him to help ministries grow and organize in the same ways he did with community organizations.
It’s not that the idea wasn’t good. It was exceptional.
Our approach was misguided.
We ran after the vision with childlike abandon, throwing caution to the wind, waiting and hoping for manifestation.
In order to get startup capital for the business, we leveraged all of our savings, including his 401(k). We bought thousands of dollars in supplies, believing the theory that says, “If you build it, they will come.”
Well, we built it and they did not.
Not at first.
Still believing, we spent more money on projects we could not afford, remaining full of faith and optimism, until it all came crashing down.
There was nowhere to look for answers except, of course, to God, who caused us to search within.
With His help, we discovered the truth about our overzealousness and propensity to jump headlong into things without the wisdom and understanding we needed.
Owning up, growing up and picking up the broken pieces was hard. But we were willing to do the work together—this time, going at God’s pace, not our own.
Looking retrospectively, I now see the error of my ways. At the time, though, I was on autopilot, ripping and running, jumping into this and that, assuming that the issues I faced had to do with life's opposition or the devil (who gets way more credit than he's due, by the way).
Had it not been for the Lord and my willingness to seek and heed His word to me, I would have been doomed to repeat failures, because I would not have understood what led to them in the first place.
Friend, receiving revelation from the Holy Spirit changed everything.
That’s why, daily, I lean on Him for guidance.
In order to do that, I have to approach every day with an awareness of my own limitations, inability to grasp hidden truths, and lack of insights.
I get clear by seeking God in prayer and staying in His word.
I was reading Matthew 16 today, where the Pharisees and Sadducees demanded that Jesus give them a sign proving that He was the Messiah.
I was fascinated by Jesus’ response in verses 2-3. He told them, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.’”
In other words, they wanted natural signs for things that could only be spiritually discerned.
And that brings me to my point.
The Lord wants to help you see things clearly in your life, but that means you have to draw close to Him, the only true giver of revelation.
You must be completely open to His leading, putting aside your own ideas, philosophies, agenda, pre-conceived notions, wants, impulses, and personal preferences. This way, God can lead you along the path to truth, without your own theorizing getting in the way.
Get rid of your need for speed and be patient with His process.
Ask Him to cleanse your mind, open your understanding and help you follow Him on the unique path He set out for you before the foundations of the earth were laid.
He’ll do it.
I can tell you personally: the things the Lord has revealed to me, done through me and for me, are not anything like what I assumed they would be years ago! I knew nothing at all of His will, even when I thought I did.
I was sincere, but sincerely wrong.
When I dropped my agenda, slowed my roll, and let Him take the lead, things became clearer and much better.
This will happen for you too if you follow the specific instructions laid out in Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV, which is what I’m stirring into your cup of inspiration today. It says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
When you drink down the contents of your cup, you will remember to look to God for the answers, direction and revelation you need to fulfill your life’s purpose with productivity. You will newly recognize how destructive and limiting it is to assume you know the plan of God enough to jump ahead of Him. You will be motivated to seek the Lord with a new fervency in prayer and wait on Him for answers.
As the word of God reminds us in Isaiah 40:31, those who wait on God renew their strength and mount up on eagle's wings.
But you must seek before you soar.
Slow down. Get clarity.
God will give it to you if you ask... and are willing to wait for it.
Now let’s pray.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!
God, I ask Your forgiveness for all the times I jumped ahead of You, assuming that I knew better. Today, I want to make a new start and put You at the helm of my life. Wherever You tell me to go, I will go. Whatever You want me to do, I will do. Please make me more sensitive than ever to Your leading, for it is my desire to please You in all things, and to live a life of divine purpose and favor. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
It looked like he may have had Conjunctivitis, or “Pinkeye”—caused by bacteria that’s highly contagious.
But that’s not what was going on.
Our oldest son, Kedar, has allergies and springtime really aggravates them.
Earlier today, he told me it felt like something was in his eye, but he couldn’t get it out. Immediately, I knew exactly what was going on.
“It’s just an enlarged vein,” I explained, a symptom of hay fever. The same thing happens to me when outdoor pollens get the best of me.
When I rattled off exactly what it felt like and what helped the discomfort go away, his eyes got big and he smiled, “Oh yeah, it feels just like that,” he said.
His grin wasn’t because the condition of his eye improved, but rather, because someone else could relate and understand what he was going through.
As you well know, when you’re struggling or suffering to some degree, it is always helpful to hear from another individual who’s been there, right?
I remember when I was a little girl, the first time I got a chest cold, man, it scared me so badly! When I inhaled, that not-so-subtle pressure and tickling feeling created the oddest sensation.
Do you know what I did?
I started literally running around the house, pulling at my shirt, crying and screaming for my father. He came tearing down the stairs as I coughed, gasped for air and told him how I thought I was dying.
I still recall it like it happened yesterday, likely because the experience was so traumatic for me.
These days, it’s pretty comical, but at the time, I was absolutely terrified. Thankfully, my dad was able to explain what was going on, which helped me calm down. He also informed me that all that bugging out, screaming and gasping was making matters worse for me.
I needed to shut the hysterics completely down.
Just like Kedar, I experienced a deep sense of relief after I gained some perspective and understanding of what was going on with my body.
Knowing minimizes fear.
It is human nature to be frightened by what we cannot apprehend or comprehend. That is why we grapple and wrestle so intensely with that “spirit of fear” during seasons of wading through the waters of the unknown.
Walking through the wilderness of nebulous uncertainty is terrifying.
It just is.
There is no way around that. There is a level of discomfort that is inherent in the process of branching out beyond the borders of your comfort zone.
Something deep within longs for assurance and clarity. We want to know the how, when and why of it all.
This is why, when God’s plan is not unfolding fast enough, our flesh tends to panic. We forget all about the just living by faith. We fall into that “seeing is believing” trap, which is totally inconsistent with the word of God.
If you’re facing uncertain times in your life, this word is for you.
Get out of your head. Remember, the process of trying to connect the dots, usually connects you to doubt. As Acts 1:7 NIV says, "…It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”
You may as well relax and settle in for the ride.
The only thing you can know is, in the end, as I so often say, God will cause all things to work together for your good.
Friend, it’s easy to read the Bible and celebrate Abraham’s obedience when the Lord told him to leave everything familiar and go to a place “I will show you” in Genesis 12.
Really think about it.
What sense did that make?
Leave with no direction?
What about us getting all excited over how God sent a “ram in the bush” for Abraham who was about to offer his promised son Isaac as a sacrifice in Genesis 22:13.
How about pondering what this great leader must have been dealing with internally during the moments leading up to that positive outcome?
Abraham had to believe all the way, even when it got really hard to do so.
You and I are no exception. We don’t get to hop off the “faith train” because the direction the tracks are going is unclear—at least not if we expect to possess all God has for us.
In a nutshell, the Lord is saying to you today, “You’ve got to believe me, even when it’s inconvenient to do so.”
Are you going through an inconvenient time?
Well, take a number and join the club.
You may be asking, “Dianna, what do I do? How do I handle it?”
Three words: believe through it.
And if you absolutely must know how it will work, I’m going to stir a partial answer into your cup of inspiration which is found in Zechariah 4:6 NKJV. That Scripture says, “’Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, despite your desire to know details, you will be empowered to be content with the one verifiable fact in the midst of uncertain and inconvenient times. That is, God is on your side.
And if He’s for you, well, you know the rest.
Now let’s pray.
God, things are not making sense. I don’t understand what You’re doing in my life. I don’t have the answers I would like to have right now, but as long as I have You, I know it is enough. I ask that You increase my capacity to believe as I go through this time of uncertainty. Right now, I declare by faith that it is done. It is fixed. It is worked out. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
What am I talking about?
The notion that God is for me, on my side, working in my favor, causing all things to work together for my good.
When life’s rough spots got really rough, I was shaken. I, just like any other person, questioned how in the world can a good God allow the people He so deeply loves and cares for to go through such bad things?
There is no denying it. A lot of intense suffering exists in the world.
Life can be hard.
Sickness, loss, abuse, poverty, injustice, depravity, and a seemingly endless cycle of pain make the most valiant among us ask, why does He allow us to hurt? Is God punishing us with pain?
I thought about that a lot in 2011 when I was sick and bedridden and my mother was battling breast cancer.
Had I offended God? I wondered. Was He angry with me?
I wrestled with those deep thoughts as I have watched friends and family’s children and spouses precede them in death, leaving them gutted, grief-stricken and hardly able to move on.
I have pondered why, when I was molested by a trusted neighbor at six, did God not step in to help me? Why didn’t He stop it?
When my husband and I lost our first baby in my second trimester of pregnancy, I was devastated and confused. I didn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. Grief was my meat and tears were my hydration.
I have wondered why plenty of times. There are many other occasions, which time will not afford me to share today, that left me stunned and befuddled.
Hundreds of messages I receive from members of our global Daily Cup community let me know that we all grapple with the same issues.
Friend, through ups and downs, I have come to grips with this truth: the answers lie in the word of God.
To look through your own lenses and try to figure it all out is to pursue a futile course that ends with more confusion, hurt, anger and sometimes, bitterness.
Earlier today, I was reading Ecclesiastes 7.
It is a challenging chapter that focuses on pain and adversity, and even touts the benefits of reflecting upon death. It highlights the wastefulness of living for today and promotes the blessing of adversity, because it builds character and wisdom.
From that passage, which should be studied thoroughly for understanding and not just quickly skimmed, I grasped the lesson that we grow through difficulties.
There is no other way for your faith to be strengthened but through being tested.
Even naturally speaking, if a muscle is never worked out or challenged, it cannot grow stronger.
As James 1:3 says, “because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
But we don’t like testing.
We enjoy comfort and pleasure. But that is not the reality of life.
Ecclesiastes 7:14 says in the God’s Word Translation, “When times are good, be happy. But when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one time as well as the other so that mortals cannot predict their future.”
In other words, though God doesn’t cause everything, there are good and bad seasons that He ordains. He does allow it.
So then, we have to trust that if He let it be so, He will help us get through it and in the process, build up our spiritual muscle. As you know, the equipping we need to fulfill our destiny is gained in the deepest valleys of life.
With that in mind, don’t give up on God because it’s not going your way. When it’s all over, you will be stronger and more equipped to deal with greater challenges and also, advance to the next phase of life. If you wait this thing out and walk it out, life will improve.
Now, it may not get better in the ways that you want it to, but God’s ultimate plan, which always greatly differs from our own, is superior to anything we can imagine.
As you read this, I want you to know beyond any doubt that something good will come out of what you’re going through right now. It’s not all for nothing. It’s not in vain. God is working through this to increase and mature you, and birth your purpose.
Just as golden olive oil is produced by crushing olives with an oil press, so, too, is the oil of the anointing produced in our lives through a crushing process.
The journey will not destroy you, but instead, will squeeze out the treasure that is within.
To remind you of the good fruit that’s coming forth out of this season of pain, I’m stirring 1 Peter 5:10 into your cup of inspiration. It says, “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
When you drink down the contents of your cup, you will be encouraged and inspired to know that the best outcomes often emerge from the worst circumstances.
Through suffering, you will be strengthened, established, and perfected.
Better days are ahead if you hold on and don’t quit.
Things will improve.
"...Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." (Psalm 30:5)
Now let’s pray.
God, thank You for letting me know that, after this, joy awaits. No matter how bad it seems, I believe that something good is coming out of my circumstances. Right now, oh God, I stand on Your word that assures me that all things work together for the good of them that love You and are called according to Your purpose. Thank you Lord. I am praising You in advance for my victorious outcome! In Jesus' name, Amen.
While broadcasting my daily radio program “Turnt Up with Sunny D” live from downtown Buffalo (You can listen live from www.wufoam.com daily from 5-6 PM EST. and hear the cup of inspiration live.), I had to really focus.
Otherwise, I would have been completely distracted by all the loud sounds of conversation, blaring music that could be heard booming through the door, and various activities of guest visitors.
We were hosting a live event as a part of our “Dinner with a DJ” series.
Today, the staff celebrated Doug Ruffin, one of our popular on-air personalities and lots of people came to show their appreciation for his work.
A few months ago, I told you all about how Doug helped a woman out of a ditch during one of our city’s worst blizzards.
It all happened when I was finishing up my show, preparing to move out of the way to make ready for Doug to work the boards.
That’s when I noticed a woman in the driver’s seat of a car that was stuck in a small snow bank right next door.
I could see the tires on her silver Buick spinning around and around. But she wasn’t moving at all.
It was terrible outdoors that evening. Our city had virtually shut down because of a blizzard. It looked like a ghost town with hardly any vehicles on the road.
But some motorists, like this woman, still had places to go and attempted to commute with as much caution as possible. But the roads were extremely icy and the snow accumulated quickly, which made for some seriously treacherous streets.
If there was any day when a driver was at risk of getting stuck, it was that day.
So when I saw this person’s predicament, I had to think of something I could do to help. I would have felt terribly guilty gazing out at her from inside the warm, cozy studio, and heading to my vehicle without so much as offering to help.
But I had a problem.
I knew I wasn't strong enough to push her car. Had it been up to me, she would have been stuck in that ditch indefinitely!
I needed someone bigger and stronger to come to her rescue.
With Doug—a tall, stocky guy—on his way, I knew if he agreed, he had a much better chance than I did of being effective.
When he arrived, I made him aware of what was going on and volunteered to stay behind to operate the boards while he offered help to the inconvenienced driver.
Without hesitation, thankfully, he agreed and went to work.
It took about ten minutes, lots of pushing and a bit of shoveling, but Doug got the job done.
That woman, whose name is Kyah, was so happy and grateful. She was coming to WUFO, in fact, to pick up a prize she had won over the air. I smiled both outwardly and inwardly knowing that it had all turned out well.
Even though I couldn’t fix her situation, I knew who to call on to get it resolved.
In my case, it was Doug, but spiritually speaking, all you have to do is call Jesus when things are too hard for you.
Friend, there will be times in your life when you will feel like you’re spinning your wheels, going around in circles, without any forward movement. It will seem like you are stuck with no help or hope in sight.
Instead of trying to dig yourself out of that ditch—something you are not strong enough to do—call the only One who is capable of helping you.
Run to the throne of God, the great and mighty One, who is both willing and able to set you free.
He can do what you can’t.
Today, if you are worried about the challenges, hindrances and difficulties in your life, and don’t know how things will all come together, you need to make a quick call.
As I said yesterday on Facebook, “Get off the phone & run to the throne. Call JESUS! He’s the only One who can fix it. There is power in that name!”
He’s waiting for you to cry out to Him.
He is a very present help in the time of trouble, as Psalm 46:1 reminds us.
If you call on His name, He will hear, answer and deliver you. Though God’s answer may not come when you want it, it will. And when it does, it will be right on time.
To remind you to call on the name of the Lord and run to Him as your refuge, I’m stirring Psalm 50:15 NASB into your cup of inspiration, which says, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me."
As you drink down the contents of your cup, you will encouraged to know that God hears even your faintest cry and will heed the voice of your supplications (Psalm 86:6) and respond your pleas.
God loves you and cares so much about what you’re going through. So take some time to tell Him all about your troubles.
As the season saints used to sing, “Jesus on the mainline tell Him what you want, call Him up and tell Him what you want.”
I have recently ended an almost 10 year marriage to an abusive man. He was a “man of God” in public but an abuser at home. I raised his daughter (which I still love to this day) but as soon as she graduated high school he told me “my purpose had been served.” I was literally crushed. I am only giving you 30 seconds of information but this has been an almost 10 year ordeal. No one knew. I was so ashamed. My heart has been shattered into a million pieces because this is a “man of God.” I thank God for the peace I have now but I need prayer for another home. I KNOW God is able and I am house hunting right now although I have no money. Also, I am writing my story because I didn't go through all of this just for naught. Someone needs to hear my story and know that God can and will deliver. I am encouraged to go on in the Lord.
I have a job opportunity to move to Atlanta. I just need some clarification that God will lead and guide me as I move to Atlanta to be closer to my daughter who is in college. I have to sell my house and also pay for the move. I’m asking you to touch and agree with me that my house will get sold and that everything else will work out as far as the money for the move and the money for my new place in Atlanta. I’m going through a tough time right now and asking that God gives me clarity as I make this transition to Atlanta. Just want to make sure that I stay in his perfect will.
I have been suffering from fatigue, weight loss, and recently palpitations. Although my blood work keeps reporting good, I am seeing several doctors for additional testing. I pray for an answer. I pray for my strength to endure. I pray for God's perfect Peace and greater Trust in Him. Thank you Prayer Family for lifting me up to the Saviour.
My names are Zack Mbuguah from Kenya and I truly like your inspirational articles. Currently I work with a travel company in Diani Beach although currently we are really undergoing troubles because of the security situation. This is not the issue but I would love you to pray for Kenya as a country. Ok now Dianna, in my case I drink alcohol and am really not happy with it. I need to quit drinking alcohol completely. Although I drink I believe in God. I have been a keyboardist for a couple of years at Full Gospel church of Kenya but along the way I fell back. I am not comfortable with this life of drinking and I honestly need a change in my life. I have been brought up by my parents in Church since Baby class to Junior youth back when I fell back. My issue here is that I need my life to drive back to where it was ... God Fearing, Please pray for me for this and my Job so that I will find God's favor at work with my boss and my workmates even if it will take days or months, I know and I believe God is able. May the Lord bless you and all your intercessory team.
I need strength.... I have such a desire to be married to the one God has for me but it hasn't been brought to fruition yet. I gave up someone because God said no... I need peace and the strength to see this thing through to the end and not give in. Please pray for me. Thank You so much.
My husband has stage 4 cancer but I am believing God for a complete healing for him. I pray that the Lord will use him mightily to encourage others that may be going through the same thing and that his walk with the Lord will be strengthened as well as our marriage in Jesus' name! AMEN!!
I am unemployed; and I desperately need a job. My unemployment compensation expired on 4/22 essentially rendering me with no source of income. Despite my continued efforts to find a job, I am not getting hired anywhere. My rent is 2 months behind; and there is no money to pay. I fear being evicted and becoming homeless again. There is no money for food, utilities, basic necessities, or other monthly obligations. I am destitute; and need a financial breakthrough. I have prayed and prayed; but, my cries and pleas seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Sufficed to say, I feel like God hates me and wants me to suffer. Emotionally, physically, and spiritually I am broken. I don't even know how to pray anymore. My faith, trust, and belief in God is slowly dissipating. Please pray that God will provide me with employment and a financial breakthrough. Help me to believe and become stronger in faith. Thank you in advance for taking the time to pray for me.
I am going to court on June 2. I accepted a plea agreement for something terrible that I did. I am so sorry for the pain and disappointment I caused for so many people that trusted me. Please pray with me asking God to turn this situation around in my favor and for another chance to correct my wrong.
Dear Prayer Partners, I am normally a person who is very private and against telling my personal situation. However, I am a single mother of two boys and we have been homeless for 9 months now. We live right now in a temporary housing program. I was told by one of the administrators that if I didn't find a job soon, my boys and I would be back homeless. I have been looking for work, I have been pushing myself to think positively and believe GOD. But with 4 weeks to get employment, I need intercessory prayer. Please pray for me to get a stable career so I can provide for my children and myself. Also, please pray that I find a church home.
I need prayer for divine direction as to my destiny and purpose that Jesus would visit me and reveal himself to me. I also need prayer for Supernatural favor and speed concerning immigration residency.
Hello woman of GOD, I am a single mother with four young kids. I have been out of work almost a year and a half due to no childcare or transportation. I am a CNA and need both. I now have transportation and one of my youngest will be starting school this year, so I will be able to afford childcare for the one. I have been putting in applications, but no door has opened up yet. I am down to my last $200 dollars. Bills are due and on top of that we move on the 1st of June. My girls are in need of beds and dressers. We need a dining room table, and couch and loveseat, washcloths and towels. Can you please pray for us that GOD will provide us with our needs, and that a job will come open. I just want to be able to take care of my kids. We have no family here and no help. Please pray. Thank you.
Please pray for my family, we are literally a week from being put out on the street. My husband believes in God, but his actions say otherwise. I feel like I don't have any support from him, and nothing I do or say is right and everything I say or do is seen as an attack or done not in the best interest of our family. My kids have been fighting constantly and they are walking on eggshells when he is around. I want my marriage to work, because I am a product of a divorced home and I don't want that for my kids. I feel as if don't have a sense of direction. I question every dream and idea. I struggle with not giving up on my marriage. We struggle financially. I would like to work and find a career, or start a business, but nothing pays enough to have me work and daycare, and every business idea or financial suggestion to my husband is shot down or is heavily criticized. I feel like I am being emotionally abused, I try to get my husband to see it from my point of view, but somehow he makes it as if I am the issue and I need to not be so emotional. I pray for guidance for my husband and kids daily, but I just want to be on the other side of this mountain already.
I feel like I want to give up. Ever since college I have done everything to make a career (Info interviews, network, endless job fairs, resume submissions, grad school) and I am still at entry level 12 years later. I am not able to live independently, also I have never had a relationship and I am always single. This past 2 years I was forced to move home with my parents due to being unemployed for over a year and a half and during that time my father was diagnosed with dementia so now I care for him. I want a chance in life, I want my dreams to come true but no matter what I set out to do nothing happens. So I need prayer for a open door, for God to restore my faith, for God to heal my depression. Thanks!
I need a breakthrough. I need some open doors. I need some suddenlies. I have been struggling with financial hardships ever since I got my divorce seven years ago. It has been one battle after another but now in 2014 it has gotten worse. I have lost my job for the second time this year. I just brought a new car and moved into a new apartment in February. I have borrowed money from every family member I can. I have nowhere else to turn and now I have just lost my job again. Now what? I have a strong fear I am gonna end up on the streets. I have no family who will take me in. So what do I do? I can’t even pray about it. The words won’t come. I feel like God just don’t care. I feel like he has thrown me away and I don’t know why. What am I gonna do? I have way more bills than I do money. I need God to multiply my bread. I need God to add more than enough to my not enough.
Lord, Your word tells me that if I call upon Your name, You will hear and answer me. I need You today to come to my rescue. I cannot make it on my own. But You, oh Lord, are strong and mighty. You are able to supply every one of my needs. Please look upon me with compassion and according to Your tender mercies, intervene in my situation and make things all better. I pray that this is done according to Your will. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Financially frustrated and aggravated with her inability to get a job, she broke down and admitted that she felt forsaken by God.
“How can you know what I’m going through?” she asked me. “You can’t possibly understand.”
But I did.
I listened to her, knowing she needed to vent and get some things off her chest.
Although God has brought me through some things and given me victory in certain areas of my life, I certainly have not forgotten what it feels like to walk in those old, uncomfortable shoes, believe me.
I was explaining how Jesus, when He walked the earth, was tempted and suffered just as we all do. But He made it through and is now seated at the right hand of the Father with a name that is above every name.
Still, Hebrews 4:15 says He can be “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.”
The point is, coming out of a wilderness doesn’t mean you forget what it was like to be in it.
Though I am now strong, well and whole, I surely recall the pain and despair I felt going through prolonged illness a few years back.
Even serious financial hardship is something I can definitely relate to.
My mind goes back to this one day that I just sat on the bed crying.
No, I was bawling. Everything seemed to be falling apart in 2001.
My husband suddenly got fired from his job. We had way more bills than money. We’d just welcomed a new baby girl days earlier and didn’t know how in the world to make ends meet.
People would look at us with those pitiful eyes. Some would say things like, “I heard about your husband getting fired. Wow. What are you guys gonna do?”'
I didn't know the answer.
For months, Kenya couldn’t find work. No one would hire him and we were trying to live off of less than $250 per week in unemployment.
We were “robbing Peter to pay Paul” and Peter went broke.
We were in a bad way.
That day, alone in the bedroom, I wasn’t expecting to break down and tell God about how I
couldn’t take it anymore.
Before that breakdown, I thought I was handling it.
And that was the problem.
I was trying to handle it without His help. I was relying on my own strength, positivity, and ability to make it through. I thought I was strong, but really, I was oh so weak.
Emotionally, I was drained.
While holding our newborn daughter in my arms, though, I turned those woe-is-me tears into a God-I-trust-you prayer, and really meant it. Right there, I cast my cares on the Lord.
I knew if He didn’t help us through it, we wouldn’t be helped.
When I laid my burdens down, even though our situation did not change for quite some time, I had peace. Our money was still short, but I had an abundance of joy. I started getting up before daylight to meet with God.
I would pray, read my word, and let Him fill me up with everything I needed to make it through the day. Instead of projecting into the future and trying to figure out how everything was going to work, I began to pray, “God, give me this day, my daily bread.”
I adopted Matthew 6:34 and started walking that thing out forreal.
It says, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Day by day, the Lord ministered to me.
I stopped worrying and started leaning on His everlasting arm.
Talk about feeling free!
I remember a few months later, my husband and I went out to a church convention and someone walked up to us with that familiar “Oh that’s too bad” look. It took a minute to figure out what they were all distraught over, because we had moved so far beyond that phase of anxiety and distress.
Had Kenya found work yet?
Had anything at all changed?
The storm had not passed, but God gave us peace that surpassed all understanding.
He transformed our thinking, comforted us in our affliction, and gave us supernatural power to go through.
Eventually, a new opportunity opened up—far better than the one Kenya lost. He didn’t even apply for the position. Someone came seeking Him out about it.
Won’t God do it?
Looking back on it, we realize that before God brought us out of the situation, He was teaching us how to trust Him in the middle of it. All along, the Lord knew what He was going to do. The way was already made. But we had to learn to place our faith and confidence, not in outside circumstances, but in the One who reigns over our circumstances.
Friend, you might be struggling in this season and facing hard trials. The trouble could be in your finances, health, relationships, career, business, or even, your emotions. But whatever you’re dealing with, know that this opposition is God’s opportunity to show you that He’s a keeper, way-maker and sustainer.
This is a lesson in trust.
He wants you to have faith and lean on Him for everything you need. He will supply every single
one of them.
To remind you of this truth, I’m stirring Jeremiah 17:7a into your cup of inspiration, which says, "But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.”
When you drink down the contents of your cup, you will be reminded that God will never forsake you. He has a good plan for your life and will take care of you. But you have to trust His heart, when you can’t trace His hand.
You may not know what He’s doing, but you know who He is—a good, loving, compassionate
Father that will provide for you.
Now let’s pray.
God, I’m going through a unique situation and You are the only help I know. Rather than focusing on how bad it is, I’m focusing on how good You are, and how faithful You are to bring me through victoriously. Despite what may be going wrong, I believe that if I put my faith in You, everything will be alright. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
We keep the negative aspects of our history contained, sometimes out of shame, fear of what others will say, or even denial due to the painfulness of what happened.
But I came across an online video published by CBN’s The 700 Club. It featured a woman named Yakinea who grew up with a drug-addicted mother, was raped at nine years old, became a teenage mom, started stripping to support herself, and dated drug dealers to finance her lifestyle.
She was lost and didn’t know the Lord.
But someone invited her to church.
She went and kept on going, but didn’t change right away.
For two years, Yakinea worshiped in the house of the Lord and went right back to her job as an exotic dancer after church was over.
She was leading a double life, until the Lord really transformed her life.
Today, she is a brand new woman.
She is sold out for Christ and sharing her testimony through vehicles like Christian television.
Isn’t it amazing how God can make us over and turn our mess into a message?
Maybe you can’t exactly relate to what Yakinea went through, but we all know what it’s like to go through something we aren’t necessarily proud of or fond of remembering.
In many cases, we suppress pain, try to forget the bad decisions, and desperately attempt to move forward, leaving all that junk behind us.
While we’re in the middle of the struggle, confusion, drama or mess, it’s hard to imagine that God can repair what is broken and use our lives for His glory.
But He can and will.
You know, it is not always sin that makes our life experiences messy.
You can be living 100 percent for the Christ and still get hit hard by life.
Can I get a witness?
Health battles, unexpected betrayals, devastating loss, or great injustices can come knocking on your door any day.
I've been through quite a few things myself!
Whether we feel prepared for it or not, at any moment, a turn of events can alter our serene lifestyle, making it feel chaotic and nightmarish. Things can get so bad that it seems there is no way for God to ever fix any of it or in any way get glory out of it.
But His ways are nothing like ours.
As I often say, God is not the cause of everything that happens to us, but He will cause everything that happens to us to work for our good.
The messiest messes, deepest valleys, most vicious storms, hardest challenges and seemingly insurmountable odds don’t pose a challenge for God.
He knows the end from the beginning. In other words, our difficulties, mess-ups, and trials don’t take Him by surprise. Those heartaches don’t catch God off guard.
What you’re dealing with now is not shocking to the Lord.
He knew you would be here before you got here and He has a plan to get you out. All you have to do is surrender everything to Him. Give it over to the Lord. Let Him handle it and work it out.
What are you going through today?
Whatever it is, the Lord wants you to know this is not the end. There is something good coming out of this, no matter how bad it looks right now.
In the midst of it all, He knows the plans He has for you, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” as Jeremiah 29:11 says. He knows your future is brighter and that there is light at the end of this dark tunnel, even if you can’t see it now.
Instead of worrying and fretting, fix your gaze upon Him. Focus on His sovereignty and unfailing ability to do anything—including putting the broken pieces of your life back together again.
Whatever area needs mending, He’ll do it.
All it requires is total surrender to His will.
Release everything to the Lord. Give yourself—your life—completely to Him. If you've already done that, just wait for the manifestation of breakthrough.
It's on the way.
He has a master plan that exceeds your expectations.
To help you give it all to Him, I’m stirring 1 Peter 5:7 which says “Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, you will be reassured that the Lord has the way already made for you, despite what you’re facing now. You will be empowered to trust Him more completely as you go through this trial, knowing that you will come out better, stronger and even more blessed.
Though the odds may be stacked against you, you will take comfort in knowing that the plan of God is greater than the obstacle you’re facing.
As long as you remain committed to His will there is no one and nothing that can stop the great destiny He has preordained for you.
Again, give it all to Him.
All of it.
Now let’s pray.
God, I’m going through a season of uncertainty and difficulty. I don’t have all the answers and I don’t see how this will come together. But yet, I trust You. I know that You are able to take the pieces of my life, put them together and create a beautiful image of Your glory. So today, in the midst of it, I surrender everything to you. I give it all to You. Thy will be done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
It was so beautiful outdoors over the weekend.
I went outside with the Hobbs children as they rode their bikes and enjoyed the warm, sunshiny weather.
On my way into the backyard, I noticed an odd looking leaf sticking out. I reached out my hand to pluck it, when suddenly, I remembered something.
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I read her story on Christian Solidarity Worldwide USA’s website and immediately, I prayed for God’s mercy.
A 27-year-old expectant Christian Sudanese wife, who refused to denounce her faith and convert to Islam within three days, was sentenced to 100 lashes and death by court order.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim’s crime, according to authorities, is marrying a Christian man, an act regarded as apostasy because her father, who abandoned her family when she was six, was a Muslim.
Shari’a law in Sudan says Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslim men.
Despite the fact that her dad was absent most of her life and she has been an active Christian for years, Ibrahim is still regarded Muslim.
She and her 20-month-old son have been locked up and are being denied visitation from the husband and father of the couple’s children.
Since Ibrahim’s marriage is not acknowledged by the government, she is accused of adultery, punishable by flogging, and apostasy, for which the sentence is hanging.
Appearing in court May 11 after her February 17 arrest, Ibrahim was informed that she had until May 15 to convert to Islam.
Her refusal sealed her fate.
She was sentenced to death Thursday.
The sentence will not be carried out until her unborn child is at least two years old.
Just reading that story did something to me. I couldn't get it together for a while.
I kept on thinking about how easy we have it here in America by comparison. You and I can freely talk about Jesus Christ, worship Him openly and express our faith any way we choose without worrying about government sanctioned persecution or execution.
We can read our Bible whenever we get ready and proclaim the name of Christ, virtually without opposition.
We are blessed.
Yet, there are many ways the enemy will try to intimidate us, get us off course, and force us to abandon our destiny.
But we must draw inspiration from this remarkable woman and refuse to be intimidated into quitting. We must never back down or give up.
Friend, this word is to remind you to be strong, courageous and bold. Don't allow the enemy's tactics to move you.
If you don't, you will never take the territory God has called you to occupy—something that would bring the enemy so much joy.
Satan doesn’t want you to fulfill your God-given assignment, so he will do all sorts of things to deter you from walking your path to destiny. He'll try to force you to move from your place.
But don’t you dare allow him, anyone, or anything he uses to cause you to retreat. You are more than a conqueror through Christ.
Walk in your authority and refuse to move from the place of victory God has already declared belongs to you. Stand with boldness and confidence in the God of your salvation. When you do that, you will be productive in your life.
To remind you of this, I’m stirring Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV into your cup of inspiration.
It says, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
When you drink down the contents of your cup, you will be encouraged to trust God, so that you will be like that unmovable, fruitful tree.
That doesn't mean trouble won't come knocking, nor does it guarantee that the road will be easy. But placing your confidence in God does give you what you need to withstand the assault of the enemy.
It's time to stand firmly in your conviction and your position. Declare right now, "I'm not moving!"
Now let's pray.
God, when the enemy comes against me, help me, in all circumstances, put my faith in You. No matter what I must face, I believe that You will never leave nor forsake me. As long as I have You on my side, I can handle whatever comes my way through You, my strength, my redeemer. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Once I was reassured that I wasn’t jumping to conclusions and the good thing I initially believed to be true was, in fact, true, I screamed to the top of my lungs.
“I’m so excited!” I shouted, beside myself with joy.
Another friend of mine is pregnant.
The news is extra special because she lost her baby in September 2012.
She was devastated, broken and confused about why God had allowed her to miscarry the seed she was hoping would be a little girl.
Though I fully understood the devastation she was going through, having lost my first child in my second trimester, still, there was nothing I could do to ease her suffering.
My friend’s heart was broken and I knew only God could mend it.
But I tried my best to be there for her, even though I live in upstate New York and she resides in Alabama.
Her name is Keisha.
She and her husband Jeremy discovered their new bundle will be arriving for Christmas. What a gift from God—literally and figuratively, right?
Here’s the awesome part.
On April 30, Keisha broke the news to me with these words:
“I went to your blog Monday night (April 28th) and saw the words ‘God Will Open Your Womb.’ I wasn’t sure why, but something in my spirit just leaped. Today I learned that that is exactly what God has done for Jeremy and me!”
The Lord is just so faithful.
Two days after reading the devotional that talked about my friend Jane giving birth after many years of barrenness, Keisha discovered that the thing she had been praying and waiting for had already happened.
When I shared Jane’s story, I knew God wanted to use it in a special way, but I had no idea He would do that.
Today, I believe God is about to do it again. You are going to receive a supernatural breakthrough in your life in an area that has been unfruitful.
You have been frustrated, disappointed and stalled for too long.
The Lord is working things out in your favor. You may as well rejoice because, God, who does all things well is about to exceed your expectations.
You have been crying out to God and believing for favor.
Know that He has already breathed new life into your situation.
Just as the Lord heard Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 when she cried out with all her heart, He has heard you. There are some things you've been praying about. He’s bringing them to completion.
If this word is connecting with your spirit today, praise Him in advance.
If God can do it for Jane and Keisha, He is not a respecter of persons. He will do the same thing for you.
To remind you that God can do amazing things like no one else can, I’m stirring Mark 7:37 NIV into your cup of inspiration.
In this passage of Scripture Jesus opened a deaf man’s ears and restored His speech. When He did this, the Bible says, “People were overwhelmed with amazement. ‘He has done everything well,’ they said. ‘He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.’"
As you drink down the contents of your cup, you will be encouraged by the reminder that God can do the seemingly impossible. He will do the miraculous in your life and do it well, thoroughly, and completely, so that nothing will be lacking.
Get ready for a completed work.
God is about to amaze you.
As you rejoice over what’s coming, please also join me in praying for the following individuals on our “Thoughtful Thursdays” intercessory prayer list.
Greetings, I am submitting a request for prayer that the intercessors to join me, my husband and our family that I do not cast my fruit before it is time. This past Monday it was discovered that I have a short/incompetent cervix. An emergency cerclage was placed to stitch my cervix shut to sustain my pregnancy. We lost our son October 27, 2013 due to this, but it went undiagnosed until now. I believe the word of God & “None shall miscarry, none shall be barren” (Exodus 23:26) & I ask that the intercessors become a part of our prayer community and pray this promise with us. Thank You.
Prayer for the young ladies taken hostage in Nigeria.
Asking for prayer for a dear friend out of town, Deborah, who has heart failure & recently informed me she has only weeks to live. She has for over a year been saying she knows she doesn't have long...I know nothing is impossible with God and I pray she has truly accepted Christ & that the God of peace keep her and comfort she and family as they go through this very difficult time. I also send prayer up for the owner of a restaurant I work at. His wife has stage 4 cancer in lungs & now brain. They have young kids & she is fighting. I don't know them well but wanted to ask for prayer for them also - the Greer’s. Thank you & may God our Father through Jesus bless you abundantly and keep, sustain, and protect you in every area of your life and that of your family.
Please pray for Mary Ann who will be admitted to the hospital (for 6 days) this Friday for chemo treatments; for no bad side effects from the chemo & that she gets restful sleep; for her time to seem to go by quickly while there & that she doesn't get bored or lonely! Also, for her healing. In Jesus name! Amen! Thank you & God bless you!
I am a middle age woman trying to finish a nursing career after being in a 19 year marriage with two wonderful children and 2 foster children. The thing is, it’s getting very tough for me physically, mentally and emotionally. I am NOT a quitter. I just need some support in prayer because I have always stood in the gap for others and I still continue to do so, but I need prayer from my sisters.
Pray for covering over my daughter in the military. She's in Germany. Pray that my son will return to college and finish his degree and get his life on track with the Lord. I would love to finish school with God's favor on my life so that I can continue to better myself and continue to provide for my family and others. I trust and believe in the Lord that He will continue to keep me, heal my body and allow me to come out victorious in all things. Also, pray for clarity regarding my destiny for ministry. Blessing to you!
I recently lost my job and need prayer in finding a new job. Pray that God gives me clarity in moving forward in my new search. I need to know if I should search for a new job in the state where I currently reside in or in another state where my husband would like to relocate. Your prayers are very much appreciated. Blessings.
My prayer request is asking God to open the doors of opportunity for Oral J. Wells with the PSAL organization. Also, open up his heart to accept Christ as his saviour. In Jesus’ name I ask these things.
Please pray for my father Eugene Rickert of Arlington, Virginia. He is in the hospital 3 times in a week, admitted twice. He is 84 years young. I am just asking for prayer and trusting in my Lord that he will bring my dad back home healthy. I know God doesn’t make any mistakes. Uplift me & the Rickert family, that we would all get closer to the lord, grow in faith and strength. I will pray for you all as well. I thank God for what I have and I thank god for what I don’t have. Amen & amen.
Good Morning all. I am requesting prayer for guidance, wisdom, knowledge and creativity. Last year I was asked by our Youth Minister and a youth leader to come and help teach Wednesday night Bible Study to our Middle School Girls. This experience has been great and I love those girls. However, at times I feel discouraged. At times it's difficult reaching the girls...other things are on their minds. I just ask that the prayer community lift me up in prayer. I truly want to do the Will of God and I want/need his guidance. I do not want these girls to get bored with God. That is not an option. I want them to learn the Word and apply the Word to their lives. I am determined to press on and I appreciate all the prayers!!!
God, I have been experiencing a season of setbacks, barrenness and frustration. But I believe that this season is coming to an end and I am about to experience a time of manifestation. So instead of worrying, complaining and expecting the worst, I am praising You in advance for the best that is yet to come. Though I don’t know all that You will do, I am confident, oh God, that You do all things well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I felt like I was dying.
“1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... that's it, keep breathing."
The doctor talked me through labor in 2006.
I had not planned on having a baby that day! But a car accident caused placental abruption and I was forced to deliver.
I didn’t want to do it then.
At the time, I lived in Delaware. My collision happened in Philadelphia.
I was eight months pregnant with our 4th child, Kaleb. My husband and I were new to the city and I was still learning my way around.
In Philly, many of the street lights are on side posts and not high overhead like the traffic lights in Buffalo, NY where I'm originally from, which is what I was used to. Without realizing it, I drove straight through a red light into oncoming traffic.
Before I knew what hit me, a car slammed into the driver's side of my truck and sent it spinning in the middle of a crazy busy intersection and careening through traffic. It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.
All three of our children were in the vehicle. I thought I might lose them and the one in my belly that day, but praise God for sparing us all.
I wanted my doctor to be there with me through labor, but she couldn’t get there in time and the baby was coming.
“I can’t do it,” I said. I really believed I wasn’t going to be able to go through the process. The pain I felt after being all banged up—I had damaged my sciatic nerve!—was horrible.
“Yes you can do it, now breathe,” the doctor said firmly, yet calmly.
I had no choice but to deal with the less-than-ideal conditions surrounding the birth of our son, Kaleb.
Thank God everything went well. I made it through. He was perfectly okay, despite the fact that I did not prefer the way he came.
A painful hit caused me to give birth.
I have found this to be the case many times in my life. Difficulty has, on numerous occasions, ushered me into destiny.
It was hard at the time, but not quitting was enough to lead me to my destination.
Friend, giving birth to all God has placed inside of you will not be easy. There will be struggles and hardships. But when you’re hit hardest by life, if you don’t stop pushing, you will receive the promise.
I know it can be incredibly challenging to push through all the obstacles, setbacks, fears, and anxieties. You feel like you won't make it. You think you can't take it. You're convinced that this time you'll most certainly break down.
Perhaps you feel squeezed by life.
Maybe finances are tight; relationships are strained; your career or business is stagnant and life has you torn you up inside.
You can do it.
Some of my deepest hurts turned out to be my greatest helps. They challenged and also changed me for the better. I was stronger and much more powerful afterward and you will be too.
Just know if God allowed this test, it will bring out your best. If you can just realize that this will all work together to bless you, then you won’t allow the momentary discomfort to stress you. While you’re in it, push your way out of it.
Don’t faint, stop, or throw in the towel now. What started out negatively will end positively.
In the meantime, to help you keep going through the tough times, I’m stirring one of my favorite passages of scripture into your cup of inspiration. It’s found in Proverbs 24:10 which says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”
When you drink down the contents of your cup, you’ll realize that, in order to build up your strength, stamina, and endurance, you first have to endure something.
Push through it.
Is it unpleasant? Yes.
Do you feel the discomfort? Absolutely!
Do you doubt your ability to go through it sometimes? Indeed.
But those are just feelings and you have already been empowered to overcome your feelings with faith.
No matter how hard it gets, hold onto your belief. Stay the course. Hope in God’s word. And don’t concentrate on the pain itself. Rather, focus on the positive results this pain is producing if you endure until the end.
Now let's pray.
God, today I’m choosing not to focus on the pain, but the power, productivity, and purpose the pain is producing in my life. Thank You for reminding me that what hurts me helps me in the end, because all things are working together for my good according to Your word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I didn’t even have a Plan B in place, because I was sure—like really sure—I would get into that school.
I was surely wrong.
It was the only institution to which I’d bothered to submit an application.
My little heart was crushed and my confidence took a major blow when I got turned down.
It didn’t help that, a few days later, I was heading to the celebration party of a friend who was going to be attending the very school that passed over me.
It wasn't that I wasn't excited for my longtime buddy, I just didn't want to have to explain why I was in limbo. I knew someone was bound to ask.
I was right.
When I arrived for her happy get together, it seemed like almost everyone had the same burning question: “So, Dianna, what are your college plans? Did you get accepted anywhere?”
Each time that query came my way, it felt like someone was sticking a dagger through my heart. I felt like a failure.
Over and over again, I had to announce that I was, at the moment, unsure of my educational plans. In that jovial environment, I had a serious case of the blues.
But then, something helpful happened.
An older married couple stopped by and began chatting me up.
And yes, “the question” came up again.
This time, besides answering truthfully, I admitted how disheartened I was about the whole not getting in thing. I think I felt more comfortable and less judged while confiding in mature adults.
Opening up was a good idea.
They offered useful encouragement.
“Oh, don’t feel bad about that,” one of them told me. “I got rejection letters from the first few schools I applied to. But I eventually got into one and graduated. It’ll be okay. It’s just a part of the process sometimes.”
The more we talked, though still somewhat bummed, that speech turned out to be just the pick-me-up I needed. Being reminded that I wasn’t the only one in the world who had ever faced such a thing, gave me a lift. Others had gone through it too and made it out just fine.
“You’ll get in somewhere and you’ll make it through,” the reassuring husband and wife smiled, comforting me.
I thanked them and went on my way.
They were right, I did eventually get into another college, which turned out to be better suited to my educational needs. Buffalo State College, my Alma mater, was the perfect fit. When I graduated, though the road was difficult to get there, I was so grateful to God for carrying me through that experience.
Rejection doesn’t feel good, but, at times, it is good. It leads to better things.
Sometimes, God makes the reasons clear.
Sometimes, he doesn’t.
I'm reminded of a biblical story in 1 Chronicles 17.
David wanted so much to build God’s temple. At first, when he told the prophet Nathan about his plans, the man of God told him to go ahead and move forward, because God was with him.
But later that night, God spoke to the prophet and told him that he was not approving David's plans to move ahead. So Nathan had to break the news to David that, while he was anointed by God to be ruler over His chosen people, he was not the one selected to build the temple.
David’s son Solomon was chosen for that.
After receiving the news, do you know what David did?
He didn’t cry, moan, complain, get upset or angry with God because the Lord’s sovereign will differed from his own.
Rather, the Bible shows us in verses 16-27 of that same chapter that David offered up a prayer of thanksgiving. He gave God praise for all the things He had already done for him and his people!
David accepted the Father’s will with thanksgiving.
Can you do the same thing?
Very often, when God doesn’t do what we want or expect Him to, we feel the way I did when that university told me I wasn’t the right candidate for admission into their institute of higher learning. We feel like a failure. At times, we mope and get down in the dumps. We wonder what’s wrong with us and contemplate whether God’s decision not to open the door we prayed for was somehow our fault.
Stop that way of thinking.
Friend, there are some things we desire that are not for us. In fact, what God has is so much better. But we must learn to thank Him for the closed doors as well as the open ones, trusting that the Father does all things well.
His plans are good. His purpose will prevail. What He has for you, is for you.
As long as you remain in God’s will and obey His word, you will get everything He has in store.
Just wait on Him and be confident that His will is best.
If you find it difficult to let Him have His way completely, ask the Lord to give you a submissive spirit and a heart that is more yielded to His commands. Request that He give you a hunger to do what pleases Him most, not what pleases you most.
He will do it if you ask Him.
To remind you of this truth, I’m stirring Philippians 2:13 NLT into your cup of inspiration, which says, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, you will be more open to God’s plan. Like malleable clay in the hands of the Potter, You will yield to the way He chooses to mold, make and shape you.
As you accept the Father'ss will, with thanksgiving as David did, He will transform you into the glorious vessel He preordained you to be before the foundations of the earth were laid.
When your plan is rejected, accept His. It's so much greater!
Now let’s pray.
God, Your will is what I want for my life. So in those times when my flesh begins to cry out to have my way, give me a submitted to heart to do what Your precious son Jesus did and say ‘Not my will, but Yours be done.’ In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“Sir, I’m so hungry,” he approached my father as I watched and listened through the window of our van.
“Do you have just two dollars so I can get something to eat?” the stranger begged.
I was a young teenager with limited understanding of the situation. Yet, I felt deep sadness on this man’s behalf.
I gazed at my father, who was my pastor at the time. I wondered how he would respond.
“I won’t give you money, but if you’re hungry, I’ll get you something to eat,” he said.
Dad kept his word.
He came out of the local McDonald’s restaurant on the West side of Buffalo, close to where our church was at the time. I saw him carrying a couple burgers in his hand. He gave them to the disheveled, frail stranger.
I smiled happily, feeling good that the famished man who had fallen on hard times would be able to fill his belly with something tasty.
However, that warm and fuzzy feeling didn’t last long.
“Man, I don’t want no burgers!” he yelled, suddenly angry. “I told you I need some money.”
I didn’t get it.
He began cussing and fussing, and then proceeded to throw the hot food into the outdoor trash can.
Feeling completely stunned, that satisfied grin on my face turned into a confused frown.
Why would someone hungry dump food in the garbage? I wondered.
It didn’t make any sense.
The explanation would come soon after Dad returned to the driver’s seat.
“He didn’t want food. He wanted to buy drugs to support his habit,” he announced. “I knew if I bought food for him and that’s not what he was really looking for, that’s what he would do.”
That was an eye-opening lesson for me.
My dad, who was much more mature, wise and experienced than I, was compassionate enough to give someone a hand, but unwilling to assist them in self-destructing.
What that person wanted and what he needed were two different things.
His desire to support his habit was so strong, he angrily rejected an act of love because it didn’t fit his preference.
What I discovered that day is echoed in the Bible. In James 4:3 NIV, the word of God says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Just like my natural father, our Heavenly Father is not willing to give us anything that will destroy us.
Are you ready to receive what you're asking?
Your divine harvest will be released, but not a day sooner than you’re ready for it.
Now, I know we would like to think we always have the right motives and know exactly what to do with the things we are requesting. But God knows better than that.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT explains this so well. It says, "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve."
Having requests rejected is not a pleasant experience. I know. Still, there are seasons when we need to grow more, mature spiritually, and get in alignment with God’s will prior to receiving access to particular things we so intensely crave.
If we get the blessing before we’re ready, we will squander it like the Prodigal Son did in Luke 15:11-32. He told his father to give him his inheritance. He got his hands on it, partied and lived the good life, until he ruined himself. At his lowest point, he contemplated eating pig slop. By the time he got his mind right, you know what he did?
He went back home, broke, busted and disgusted, having blown through everything. Yet, his merciful father received him back home.
God doesn’t want us to have to go through that.
You see, it is not that He doesn’t want to give us good things. He loves blessing His children. Matthew 7:11 NIV says, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Again, the Lord wants to bless us and release our divine harvest. It’s just that before God gives good gifts to us, He wants to make sure they will be good for us. So He doesn’t release anything until we’re ready to handle it.
Of course there are people who jump ahead of God and make things happen out of season. I find that their rise precedes a very hard fall. Without God, that ascent to the top is temporary, followed by a painful descent to the bottom.
Matthew 23:12 NIV says, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Friend, let God do what He’s going to do in His timing. Don’t try to force it. Don’t get angry because it hasn’t happened. Don’t assume God has overlooked your request because it hasn’t manifested yet.
Remind yourself that whatever is for you, you will receive it at the appointed time.
Just last week, I felt led to tell you to trust God’s timing. Remember?
God knows what and when is best. He understands your capacity and readiness level.
It makes me think about how babies reach out, squirm and cry for meat and adult entrees before they have any teeth to chew with, or a digestive system that can handle the spices and ingredients in our meals.
As parents, despite their cries and tantrums, we don’t give them a big hunk of steak just because they want it. We give them what they can handle.
God does us the same way.
Today, if you have been feeling worried, disgruntled and cheated by life because your day to receive your divine harvest has not come, this word is for you.
The Lord wants you to rest and trust His timing. Know that He is sovereign and He does all things well.
To remind you of this truth, I’m stirring Lamentations 3:25-26 ESV, which says, “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, you are being encouraged to place your full confidence in the Lord’s plan for your life. You are also being empowered to withstand the trials of life while waiting for the day when the Lord releases the blessings stored up for you.
In the meantime, know that He will sustain you and keep you, and when the timing is right, He will shower you with those good things. Then, you will be capable of handling them well.
Now let’s pray.
God, Your timing is so different from mine. Sometimes, I feel ready to receive the things I have been praying for and when they don’t come, disappointment washes over me. But today, I release discouragement, worry and frustration, and submit to Your will for my life. Thank You for loving me enough not to give me something I am not ready to handle. In Jesus’ name, Amen.