I started my junior year of college a few weeks ago. Since being in college I have realized how much of a worrier I am. I get anxious every time I make a new transition, and at this time in my life, that’s a lot. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed I actually contemplate running away to Europe (I’m not joking- plane tickets to Paris cost about $2000. So that’s why I’m still here). I wish I could say prayer is the first thing I turn to when I feel waves of panic coming over me. Unfortunately, 95% of the time it isn’t. But after the hyperventilating, crying, and thoughts of dropping out of school have subsided, I always find that prayer is the only thing able to calm my worried spirit.
Whether your stress is at the level of booking a one-way trip to Europe or you’re in a much less dramatic situation, prayer is the one way to instantly connect your heart to the LORD and refocus on Him.
It’s so easy to take prayer for granted. Often we forget what a miracle it is that we have the opportunity to come before a holy God and speak with Him. We are able to praise Him, thank Him, and bring our requests before Him. In the moments when I feel overwhelmed, I remind myself of Paul’s encouragement in Philippians 4:6.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Often what causes our anxieties is trying solve our problems in our own strength. Once something unplanned happens, we struggle to maintain the control we think we have and piece our lives back together. This leaves us exhausted, worried, and stressed. It ends up creating a divide between us and our LORD as we essentially say, “I don’t need You- I’ve got this.”
Maybe you’ve heard the comparison between a really difficult situation and a mountain. Mountains are definitely not easy to climb, especially when you are ill-equipped. But what brings me comfort during the mountain moments in my life is the fact that my “mountains” are nothing to the One who created them. I love the verse in Psalm 97:5 that says, “The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.” This is such a beautiful image to me! There’s a song by Shane and Shane called “Lord of Hosts” and one part says, “Oh God who makes the mountains melt, come wrestle us and win.” I love this lyric because it reminds me of two things: 1) how powerful our God is and 2) how badly I need His strength to overpower my weak and stubborn self.
So my encouragement for you today is to let go of the control you want to have over your life. Bring your anxieties, doubts, and praises before the One who has the power to melt the mountains.
By: Kayelei Wright
It’s easy to cry out to God when times are hard, and that’s understandable. When we are facing a difficult situation, it’s sometimes all we can do to reach out to talk to God and seek His face. It’s easy because we see our need for Him. We see our utter hopelessness and desperation. We trust in His control. It’s easy to do this when times are hard. When it gets hard is when times are easy.
Recently, times have been pretty great for me. I’m back at college, living with some of my greatest friends, and I just landed a really amazing job. No, it’s not perfect (I mean, it is life), but at this moment, I am happy.
One thing I realize is that when I am happy, I tend to rely on myself for everything. I tend to think that I’ve got everything under control and that I am capable of everything. I just go throughout my day (or however long this period is), and not turning to God asking for the same things that I do when times are rough. I don’t ask for the peace that passes all understanding, the unconditional love, the patience, or the joy to last me the day. I don’t ask for help and guidance in trying to become more like Jesus, and I definitely don’t tell Him how desperate I am on my own.
What I’ve learned is that no matter the situation or season of life I am in, no matter what my circumstances are, I am always just as in need of God and all that He is.
The thing is, we serve a God who is never changing. In the difficult times, He gracious, loving, wise, comforting, and guiding. In the good times, He is still those things. How cool is that?!?! His Word is the same despite our circumstances, so we can and should always turn to it to learn lessons from it.
I think that what Jesus says in John 15:5 describes this perfectly.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him will bear much fruit. For apart from Me, you can do nothing.” (ESV)
The word abide means to remain. By definition, to remain means to “continue to exist, especially after…other things have ceased to exist” (Oxford Dictionaries 2016).
Remaining in Jesus means to stay with him, especially after “other things” (such as good and bad circumstances or seasons) cease to exist. Continuing in our relationship with Jesus throughout all of life is how you are able to grow, and in my experience, is the most meaningful and fulfilling thing you can do.
So here’s the challenge, you ready? (yeah you are!)
Spend some time each and every day dedicated to learning how to rely on your Father in the good times (and bad). He is always good, and you always need more of Him. Seek the things that He promises to you, and learn how to become more like Him. Don’t forget about God when times are good. And take heart in knowing that even when you do forget God, He will always be there waiting for you right where you left off.
By: Amanda Fowler
You long for it in the deepest recesses of your soul. You crave it with every breath that you breathe. You look for it upon the mountain tops. You search for it in the rocky ravines. You do all of this work, but it is to no avail.
In a fit of hopelessness, you are ready to give up. But then, the tender voice of the Father breaks through the silence.
“My child,” He beckons, “come to me. In my healing arms you will find the freedom that you desire.”
Sin wrecks us. It holds us captive to sorrow and slavery as its chains take hold of us. God did not design us for that; the Lord designed us for freedom and wholeness. He designed us to be in a holy communion with Him where we are free to experience all of His goodness. Because God created us for something so beautiful, Satan wants to see us held captive to our sin. He wants to see us as slaves to the sin that so easily ensnares. When we are bound to our sin and to the turmoil that it encompasses, we cannot free ourselves. We are stuck in that pit of despair because we are unable to bring about the healing that we need.
But, God is our freedom song. God can free us from the weight of our wrongdoing. Only Christ Jesus can save us from our slavery to sin. We cannot save ourselves, but Jesus longs to heal our hurts. Only Jesus can restore what was broken. In His loving arms healing flows with abundance. In His compassionate presence, restoration is ours! Because of God, we can be set free! The freedom that our soul cries out for is ours to claim when we ask our gracious God to break our chains. The pain that characterizes our lives is washed away.
In God’s healing presence, we have freedom from lust. We have freedom from the abuse that was placed upon us. We have freedom the hatred we have toward ourselves and others. We have freedom from fear. We have freedom depression. We have freedom from Satan’s lies.
In Christ alone, we are set free.
Written by: Tara