When God Steps In Like A Fighting Hero

redwood forest, scenicreflections.comLife’s troubles and storms can be fiercer than fierce.¬†We may run into¬†‘close calls’ or tough circumstances¬†that howl like a black¬†tornado on the horizon. We¬†have no idea how we got into this mess¬†or how¬†to get out.

I had a small idea about¬†God as a kid.¬†I’d gone to church and tried to be good. I had learned the¬†difference¬†between¬†right and wrong.¬†But I didn’t get to know God until my mid-20s. When a storm hit. I had¬†begun insisting on living life¬†my way. And¬†I’d¬†landed¬†up in¬†more trouble than I’d bargained for.¬†What I had mistaken¬†for an exciting¬†‘love’ relationship¬†nosedived into a¬†scary¬†downward spiral of psychological and¬†physical abuse. Darkness hounded me and¬†I finally cried out to God.¬†In no time at all, God made a way out of darkness and sent caring and praying friends¬†of faith to¬†help me.

But I’ll never¬†forget the¬†chilling reminder of where I’d been with¬†my ex-boyfriend when he called one day and whined and threatened over the phone,¬†“Don’t worship God, worship me!”

Looking back, there are countless times¬†God has has stepped in¬†with bold love to free me from life’s¬†storms. He¬†has led me along¬†peaceful trails¬†through quiet forests of learning how to¬†walk¬†more closely with Him.¬†God never ducks out on us. He’s there for the long haul.¬†He is forever teaching and establishing us in His promises. He upholds us by grace and waters us and refreshes our lives with constant hope. God powerfully¬†strengthens the¬†pillars of faith beneath us. One day we look around and realize we are standing firm. With God as our fighting hero,¬†we will never be shaken.¬†(Revelation 3:¬†12)

Little Light

It takes but a tiny spark…a little light…to chase darkness. So don’t worry about not having the wattage you think you need to make a difference. Follow God. And wherever you are, whatever you do, wherever you go…let your little light shine. Let God do the rest.

© 2012 S. Michaels
From Notebook: Following God

A Fascination with Darkness?

October used to be¬†a time for raking leaves, a¬†season of Thanksgiving, a fun time for kids to¬†head out the last day of the month collecting¬†a few treats.¬†Things have changed.¬† October seems to have¬†taken on a growing fascination with darkness.¬†For example,¬†how many TV networks¬†today don’t sport a full month¬†of¬†horror-related programming?¬†I¬†seldom watch tv¬†in October, and prefer to celebrate autumn’s¬†beauty. But, maybe that’s just me.

Others seem to be hitting the streets¬†stirring up darkness.¬†In recent years¬†North American cities have witnessed scores of adults¬†playing at being ‘the living dead’. They get all¬†‘gored up’ and take part in ‘Zombie parades’,¬† a strange ‘celebration’ of¬†things deathly…or ‘almost dead’…

I don’t get it.¬† Why this overblown fascination with¬†darkness?

As our world erupts daily with¬†news of toppling economies,¬†violent¬†crimes reaching epic levels, anarchy, wars, and global threats of¬†terror,¬†one might suppose or¬†hope¬†for more rational human¬†experiences to unfold. One might expect¬†people to abandon anything ‘dark’ and to celebrate ‘life’ instead of death.¬†Instead, we hear of more¬†‘zombie’ classes¬†getting integrated into universities (huh?) or about¬†‘zombie’ neighborhoods being designed where people can go and fill¬†up on more gore. Has¬†truth finally¬†become stranger than fiction? Appears so, but let’s examine this phenomenon further…

Fact:¬†a human¬†fascination with darkness is nothing new. Throughout¬†history every¬†nation and empire has toyed with ‘the dark side’.¬†What explains it? Is this perhaps because the Bible is true?¬†Is there¬†truly an unseen¬†battle of the ages being warred between¬†good and evil, darkness and light…and for the souls of mankind? And could it be that whether people¬†know it or not, darkness is a choice?¬†A choice exercised by free will, and whether people¬†believe it or not, a time will come the other side of this life, when no one¬†will be able to joke or excuse their choices by¬†jibing¬†“…aw, the devil made me do it…”?

Jesus said, “When the light within you (the God-breathed living spirit that gives you life today) is darkness (is separated from God)…how terribly great is that darkness.”

But¬†in¬†the midst of an apparent growing fascination with gore, and all things zombie, ghouls and darkness,¬†I am always encouraged by the power of¬†God’s word and truth.¬†God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness¬†and to shine in our hearts¬†(2 Corinthians 4:6 The Bible, NIV) has¬†spoken:

The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome…(John 1:5, The Bible, NIV)

© 2012 S. Michaels
From Notebook: Following God

When Faith Feels Small

Believing and receiving go together.¬†Jesus once spoke to two blind men who¬†stumbled behind him and asked to be healed,¬†and He said, “Be it unto you according to your faith.” (Matthew 9:29). The two men were healed. Faith is real. Faith has life-changing power.

But what happens when faith feels small?

It¬† happens.¬†We are human¬†and limited and finite beings, and we are often ruled by emotions. Sometimes faith feels strong and we feel on top of the world. Sometimes we feel down¬†and we know that in and of¬†ourselves¬†the power to believe is impossible to ‘drum up’.

Faith is a gift from God. Like all gifts, faith can get misplaced or lost.  When we wrestle with unbelief we may feel blinded by circumstances. Perhaps with good reason. We may have been through a terrible loss and it might have seemed God abandoned us. Perhaps we went through a long series of hardships and grew weary of believing.

When faith feels small,¬†don’t allow doubt, guilt, fear or¬†raw and hurting emotions¬†to get in the way. When unbelief blocks you from moving on in¬†faith,¬†or when faith feels small,¬†draw closer to God.

How wonderful to know¬†God is always there and He never condemns us, but says, “Be strong and¬†of good courage!” God lovingly reminds us in His Word that all of His great and precious promises and New Creation power are ours forever and¬†always within reach.

If unbelief is a battle for you, let God know.¬†Talk with Him. God doesn’t have a voicemail box full of unanswered calls.¬†He’s always waiting to hear from us and to answer with awesome outpourings of His faithfulness.¬†So talk with God. Let go. And let God be God. Trust that He is there for You – always.¬†Pray humbly, “Lord,¬†help my unbelief.”¬†Then trust Him to raise the level of your faith.¬†No matter¬†where you’re at in your life journey,¬†always hold on to His promises. One of my favorite promises of God¬†has seen me through many times when my faith was oh so small:¬†

It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you His Kingdom.¬†(Luke 12:32)

God said it. Believe Him.¬†Expect MORE…

© 2012 S. Michaels
From Notebook: Following God

Faith is…

The Bible says faith is real. It’s tangible. You can take hold of faith. It is substance. The substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not yet seen. (Hebrews 11:1) Faith wasn’t born yesterday. Faith is eternal. It covers a lot of ground. As I got thinking about faith, I decided to start a faith list. Please feel free to add to it or to start your own list! ¬†ūüôā

Faith is…

Following God
Strength renewed
A priceless heirloom
Joy and peace
Answered prayers
Waiting prayers

A mountain mover
Walking in the light
Giving thanks
Green pastures
Living your dreams
Ready to serve
Abundant life
Supernatural guidance
Letting go
A fresh start
Beyond all you can imagine
God’s promises received
Always forgiving
Burdens made light
Full of hope
Green pastures
No more losses
All in the details
New Creation
Wilderness blooms
A road less travelled
Free of doom and gloom
Worry free
Living Water
God’s power at work
Sunshine after rain
Following God

© 2012 S. Michaels
From Notebook: Following God