31 Days of Courage

courage-scripture-writing-plan-englishSeveral of months ago I found a wonderful website called Sweet Blessings. This website has many neat things, but my favorite so far is the daily scripture writings. I have chosen to do the Courage scripture plan for the next month. There are many others that I will also put on here. If you go to the Sweet Blessings website you can print off the scripture plan for a month as well as some cute cards that you can write each scripture down. I’ll post each days verse on here along with any thoughts that I may have. My thoughts may focus on the entire daily verses or it may just be on what speaks to me from the verses that particular day. I hope that you will go through these verses alongside me! There is also a photo gallery with portions of each day’s verses. You can view that by clicking here. 

 

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Day 1: 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  

There are days where I don’t feel strong. There are days where I feel scared. There are days where I feel that I am not everything I need to be. Today’s verse reminds me that on the days that I am weak and I am not courageous, God is strong for me. Courage can be defined as  having the ability to do something that scares someone or  showing  strength when something painful is going on. He is there for me when I feel unsure, when I am sad, when I don’t have courage. I think of a time in the past year where I felt like courage was exactly what I needed but lacked. If we give ourselves to God when we feel like we aren’t courageousness or we are afraid, we can receive a sense of peace leading to courageousness.


Day 2: Ephesians 6: 10-15

” Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;”

We have armor! This world is going to try and knock us down, it is inevitable. The closer you get to God, the more you may find the Devil trying to pull you off course. Lucky us, however, that God gave us armor to defeat that darkness. Truth. Something my mom always used to say was, “It is much easier for someone to deal with the truth than a lie.” That statement was something I always rolled my eyes at her when she said, but she was right. I remember my husband telling me one day that he loved a meal I had cooked, it was chicken and dumplings. I was excited because while I do cook every night, it was my first time cooking this for us. Around a month later, I decided to cook the chicken and dumplings again. Next thing I know, he had this sad look on his face. After some very persistent nagging on my part, he finally admitted that he actually hates chicken and dumplings, always has. I was hurt. I know it seems silly, but it’s true. That small white lie (a lie he only told so that my feelings wouldn’t be hurt) really upset me. That statement my mom said was true. It would have been much easier on my feelings if he would just have told me that he has never liked chicken and dumpling. (Now honey, if you are reading this, I hold no resentment over your dislike of chicken and dumplings 🙂 ). God’s armor also consists of righteousness. Being righteous can be taken as meaning walking down a moral path. We are human, so sometimes we will fall, but it is important that we strive to live in a way that God would be proud of us and in a way that we can be a light to others. God’s armor also consists of peace. Would it not be nice to always have that feeling that you get when you are away on vacation at the beach or at the mountains? We can! Wearing God’s armor can give us that sense of peace and that sense of peace can give us courage. When I feel down or discouraged,  I’m going to do everything I can to put my armor on.  It’s comforting to know it’s there.

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Day 3: Ephesians 6: 16:20

“above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—  and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,  for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

We have even more armor! Yesterday, we learned about the breastplate of righteousness and becoming prepared with the gospel of peace. Now we have even more armor to help us through life. We have the shield of faith. The best explanation of faith that I have ever gotten was a simple one. When you sit down in a chair, do you question that chair’s strength? Do you flip the chair over and examine it? Or do you just sit down? When you sit down, you have faith that the chair is going to hold you up. We should strive to have that kind of faith in God. We need to have faith that He is there, even when we don’t think He is- or rather, even when we are not letting Him in. Put on your helmet of salvation. God sent Jesus to die on a cross for our sins. It is because of that act of love that we can be forgiven and we can have a better life. Go back to the beginning of Ephesians 6:16, “you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”  Satan is going to take shots at us and as we make the journey to get closer to God, we may feel like we are taking more shots from Satan. This verse is telling me that the salvation is something that can help to defeat Satan. Use the sword of the Spirit! The Bible is our sword. Some of the times that I feel the most at peace are when I am at church and when I am reading my Bible. Pray always. You don’t necessarily have to have your eyes closed and your head bowed to pray. You can pray in the car on the way to work. You can pray while you are cooking dinner. You can pray throughout your day as things come to you. You can pray by keeping a prayer journal. There are many ways you can pray. What is important, is that you are sincere and saying them to God, He will hear. Speak boldly. Do not be afraid to tell others what you believe in. Use your armor and have the courage to do what you need to do for God’s will.

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Day 4: Isaiah 54: 4-7

“Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.  For the Lord has called you. Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, Like a youthful wife when you were refused,” Says your God. “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, But with great mercies I will gather you.”

Today’s verse was a little harder for me to grasp. I had to read and re-read several times and break it down sentence by sentence. Verse 4 says to not fear. Fear is an emotion that we all have and sometimes we do feel ashamed by our fear. Do not be disgraced for you will not be put to shame. Many times, when someone makes a mistake, they can have that held over their head. I remember when I was younger my sister and I would argue and hurtful words were said. I did have times where I held what my sister said to me against her, something all siblings do. (I don’t now, now I have a wonderful relationship with my sister and she is my best friend!).  For you will forget the shame of your youth. Verse four tells me that I will make mistakes, and I will feel ashamed, but those mistakes and that shame can and will be forgiven. A woman forsaken and grieved in spirit. This may not be exactly what it means, but I have had times where I felt completely alone and angry at God. When my husband and I began understanding the fertility problems that we were facing is when that feeling that God had forsaken me came about and I was grieving, but I wasn’t grieving to God at first. I now feel ashamed at my disbelief in God during that time. This verse gives me peace, however, because it tells me that God forgives me for my disbelief and He forgives me and He will show me mercy.

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Day 5: John 14: 27-31

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.  Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.  But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.”

This verse is beautiful to me. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” Have you ever had a day where you just felt wound up entirely too tight, you felt so stressed out that you did not know how you would carry on? On days like that, I just want peace. This past Sunday I was a ball of nerves. I felt like too much was going on at once and I could not get a grasp on my thoughts, my emotions, and I felt like I needed peace. Sitting at church, singing the songs, and listening to the message, I felt that peace that I so desperately wanted. I thank God that the peace I felt is available to us 24/7 when we just sit still, get quiet, and let God take over. “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” We are human, there are going to be times when we are troubled- whether it is relationship troubles, work problems, or just general day to day grievances that get us down. There will also be times when we are afraid. For me personally, I find that I am most fearful when there is uncertainty. Since I have recognized what gets to me the most- uncertainty and fear- I have more access to the peace that God says He will give me. “If ye loved me, ye would rejoice.” How do you rejoice? For me, I feel like I am rejoicing the most when I am singing to God. I have always been a singer and music lover and that is what really gets me ready for service. The music is when I begin to feel that peace from God and many times I feel like the words of the music are speaking exactly the words that I want to say to God. There are many ways to rejoice God, the music is my personal favorite. Having the peace God gives me, Him telling me not to let my heart be troubled, to not be afraid, and by rejoicing in Him, I have courage to face anything that life sends my way.

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Day 6: Psalm 27: 1-5

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me, To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident. One thing I have desired of the LordThat will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LordAnd to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble. He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle. He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.”

Verse one asks the question, “whom shall I fear,” and “Of whom shall I be afraid?” Have you ever been afraid of someone or a situation? I imagine your answer is going to be the same as mine, yes. There will always be someone who does not like us for some reason, there will always be someone that will be a bully to others, there is always someone who will take advantage of others. So, what do we have to overcome our fear of those people? We have God’s strength. Verse two says “when the wicked come against me, To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell.” How did they stumble and fall you might wonder? The fell because of God’s strength. They fell because as verse three points out, “our heart shall not fear, though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.” Our heart shall not fear-  do you have a fearful heart? Do you have a spiritual war going on? We all go through spiritual wars. It is important to us when going through a war of having fear to remember that we do not need to fear, we need to let God be our light and let Him be our strength. Verse four says something that we should all be striving for as Christians. We should be striving to seek the Lord, we should want to be in His presence for our entire lives and we should strive to be in Heaven with Him once our lives are done. Seeking that place means we will go through spiritual warfare with the Devil to get to that place. It means that we will be fearful sometimes. When you are going through those times, remember verse five- in times of trouble, He will protect us. If we just open up and let Him, He can give us all of the peace, the courage, and the strength that we need to make it through life. If we let Him give us those things, we can have a life that is worth living.

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Day 7: Psalm 27: 6-14

“And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LordHear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Do not hide Your face from me; Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation. 10 When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me. 11 Teach me Your way, O LordAnd lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. 12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence. 13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed, That I would see the goodness of the Lord, In the land of the living. 14 Wait on the LordBe of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”

On day 6, I mentioned that I loved rejoicing the Lord by singing. Verse six here tells me that to sing praises to Lord, one of the things that I love to do and really puts me in a position that I am ready and able to take in a sermon. From verse 7 to 13 I feel like this is a prayer. I feel like this is a prayer where you can ask for God to hear you and to respond to you, ask for help, strength, care, and forgiveness. It is a prayer where you can ask for courage, hope, and guidance. “Wait on the Lord, Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” How true is this. Learning to wait on the Lord is not something that comes easy at all times in our life. As my husband and I have struggled with infertility, I have had days where I felt angry at God- I wasn’t doing as verse 7 to 13 suggested asking for guidance, strength, and courage. I wasn’t waiting on God to give me a sign, some hope, some strength. I was angry at Him instead. I finally realized, however, that what I am going through is part of God’s plan, a plan that is bigger than what I can imagine or even begin to guess. What do I need to do to have that plan revealed to me? I need to pray for things that verse 7 through 13 mention, I need to have COURAGE, and I need to be patient!

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Day 8: Psalm 56: 1-4

“Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up;  Fighting all day he oppresses me.  My enemies would hound me all day, For there are many who fight against me, O Most High. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.  In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?”

“For man would swallow me up; fighting all day he oppresses me. My enemies would hound me all day.”  Do you ever feel like you can’t seem to catch a break and the day is just getting to you. It could be a number of things- difficult people, difficult situations, day to day stress building up? I like that description for those things- feeling hounded and swallowed up. Isn’t that how life feels sometimes? Yesterday, I felt swallowed up with stress. It felt like it was one thing after another, a never ending viscous cycle. It was not until I sat down, I got still, and I just prayed for peace that I felt God’s mercy, I no longer felt hounded by the stresses that had gotten me down. In verse one, there is a request for mercy. My favorite definition of mercy is compassion.  Compassion is what I felt last night when I prayed. I felt that God was showing me the understanding that I needed to feel and then the peace that I needed to just slow down, breathe, and let Him take control. I put my trust in God, I stopped fearing, and now I am praising him.  I feel that is the take home today, stop fearing, trust in God, feel His compassion, and let Him help you with your burdens.

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Day 9: Joshua 1: 5-7

“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.  Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.  Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.”

 This verse is reassuring. It makes me feel so very comforted to know that God is with me and he will not leave me alone. Today, for a brief moment, I felt alone. I felt scared and alone. I did not have courage and I do not feel as though I were strong. This verse is what I needed today because it serves as a reminder that even when I feel overwhelmed and like the world is beating me down, He is there to help me to stand. He is there to help me be strong and to be courageous. Take a moment and just think about a time that the world was beating you down. Whether it be in regards to hurtful words, worldly beliefs being thrown at you, or your emotions it is the world getting you down which is the Devil’s work. Don’t let him take control. Let God help you to stand and to be courageous. Let God help you to  do the right things in life.

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Day 10:  Joshua 1: 8-11

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,   “Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’”

“You shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” To me, this is an extremely powerful verse. Think about times in your life when everything seems to be going as wrong as it possibly could and even then it feels like it is getting worse. A recent time that I had like that was last August. We had been trying to conceive for one year and eight months and found out that we were pregnant. Just a week later, we miscarried. From that point, everything seemed to go wrong. I could not get a grip on my grief, I was depressed, my husband and I were arguing more because we were not initially talking about our grief, and it felt like life was spiraling  out of control. I was not sleeping, I felt like an empty shell of whom I had previously been. It was not until we began really opening up, I began praying to God again (I had been angry with Him for taking our baby away so soon and after so long a wait), and I began to read my Bible more. It was not until then that I began feeling like I was a success and that I was prospering in both my general life and my marriage. Is it not amazing how something so small, focusing on God’s word and on Him each day can straighten your path out?!

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of Good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” This whole month is about courage. Courage is something that most likely everyone has times where they do not feel courageous or strong. This verse reminds us that God is with us, even in those times. Even when we do not want Him there or think He has left us, He really is there. We just need to open our minds and hearts to Him.

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Day 11: Exodus 14: 13-14

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.  The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

Do not be afraid. I would be lying if I said that I have never been afraid in my life and that I have never been afraid in recent times. Off the top of my head, there are three circumstances in the past month that have had me fearful. One of those situations was just a few weeks ago sitting at the doctors office with my husband. We have been battling infertility for 25 months now and each appointment, I have fear creep up on me. It never fails that as I am sitting in that office my chest feels like it is tightening, I want to cry as I look at the pictures of newborns on the walls, and I am scared. Every time I am in that office, I wonder if this is the visit where I am told I can’t have children and there is nothing more to try or to test for. Each visit, I have to stop before my doctor comes in and pray. Within seconds of praying, I feel that peace and I feel God in my corner.

Things happen in life that we never expect. We are blindsided. My response in the doctor’s office was one I consider to be normal- it was fear. There is a big difference between me going to these appointments today verses these appointments one year ago. I am relying more on God. I begin to pray to God when I feel that fear and I stop trying to handle my emotions on my own. I stop trying to understand what is going on and why it is happening to me. Instead, I do as verse 13 says to and I allowed myself to see his salvation and to see what He could do for me instead of what I can do for myself. I think that is where many of us go wrong. We stop thinking about what God can do in our situation and we try to take things into our own imperfect hands. Verse 14 says that God will fight for us, and we shall have peace. Why throw that away. I cannot think of anyone better in the world to have by my side than God when I am scared.

pagebreakDay 12: Isaiah 41: 10-13

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’  “Behold, all those who were incensed against you Shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, And those who strive with you shall perish.  You shall seek them and not find them— Those who contended with you. Those who war against you Shall be as nothing, As a nonexistent thing. For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”

With courage comes fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, there are many different types of fear. In this verse we are being told to not be fearful because He will strengthen us. He will hold us in His hand. I find that so very comforting to know that someone so powerful is looking out for me and wants to help take my fear away- He wants to give us courage. Twice in this section of verses it says that those who were against us will be as  nothing. To me personally, I feel that it means that even thought we will be attacked, those attacks are not of God and therefore they should be pushed to the side. Pushing attacks to us to the side is something that may be of fear for us. Those attacks can be an issue in your workplace that has you feeling like you need something different- that change can be a fearful thing. The attack could be someone you know betraying your trust or confidence- this can cause fear of the unknown or even fear to trust. Now, I don’t think God is going to just zap anyone away when he says they will be non-existent, but in my opinion, reading this verse today, the way it speaks to me is that those situations, you may be wronged, you may have wronged someone else, but those attacks on you are nothing when you have God by your side. Having Him there you will be able to have courage and strength and you will be able to overcome any situation that comes your way.

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Day 13: Proverbs 3: 5-8

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.”

Do you have days where you just are not able to trust God? Days where you are not leaning on Him? Days where you are not allowing for him to direct you? I think that as imperfect humans, we all do have days like that periodically. It is easy to praise God when things are going good and it is easy to follow Him when your life is going great. It is much harder to trust in Him and follow Him in the dark times of our lives, however. Think about a situation you are going through or you have gone through recently. How are your mannerisms towards God during that trial? It is my personal opinion that even if you are not angry at God through your trial, you can still turn away from God by trying to take the situation in your own hands or by being doubtful of what is happening in your life. Right there in verse 5 it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Through your trial, did you trust Him completely or were you trying to make sense of the situation all on your own? Did you let fear of a situation rule how you responded or what you thought about a situation.  I would be lying if I said that I have not in the past week let the fear of a situation shape my thoughts and reactions to a situation. Right now, I am letting my fear of not being able to conceive a child due to my infertility control me. I am letting the fear that our loss of Riley was our only chance control me.  Verse 8 says, “Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.” I need strength right now. While I do, I should not be fearing my situation but I should be fearing God. I should be leaning on Him and His word so that I can have that strength that he wants for me to have. I have been fearful of the wrong thing. My goal through the next couple of days is to change what I am fearing in my life right now.

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Day 14: Psalm 23: 1-6

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness, For His name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.”

I feel that there is not a whole lot that I can say about this verse, it speaks for itself. It is straightforward and absolutely beautiful. I am going to hit the high points for me as to not take away from the beauty of this verse. “He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.” I feel that we all have those times where we need peace to wash over us and He is willing and able to do lead us and give us that sense of peace that can help to restore us. “He leads me in the paths of righteousness.” If we try to follow our own paths, we will stumble, fall, and we will sin- we are imperfect after all. If we hold God’s hand, we can walk a better and more fulfilling path. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For you are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Every day, we are a day closer to dying. That can be a scary thought, but it is true. You can have comfort, however, by knowing where you are in your walk with God and by letting Him guide your life. He is there to protect us if we allow Him and to lead us. He gives us courage when we are fearful. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.” Again, I am reminded that when I feel as though I am being attacked, He is there with me. I have everything in the world that I need when I have God by my side and I am comforted in that. I am also comforted in the fact that when it is my time and I pass, I will be able to join Him forever. 

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Day 15: Philippians 1: 27-30

“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,  and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.  For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,  having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.”

Philippians 1: 27 says, “Only let your conduct by worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” To me this verse serves as a reminder that I need to act as a Christian should act- be honest, be dependable, use good language, love everyone, be kind, follow the ten commandments, and so much more. How can I be worthy of the gospel? It is my opinion that to do this I do as I just mentioned, I live a Christian lifestyle. I need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Where verse 27 says to stand fast in the spirit, this reminds me that there will be things that come along and try to knock me down but I need to stand firm in what I believe in and not waver away from what the Bible says. Then end of verse 27 says, “with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Many times, you see multiple churches in the same area, but many times, the various churches do not get together and participate in activities together. Could we not accomplish so much more by working together every once in a while. This could create a real sense of community and I feel that doing something similar would have us doing more as verse 27 and striving to be together and of one mind.

Philippians 1: 28 says, “and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.”  There will be people that do not agree with my beliefs as a Christians and there may be some people that say or act in an unkind way towards you. Let that serve as a reminder that Jesus suffered for everyone, to give everyone salvation, and by believing in Him, we should meet those individuals that disagree with us with love and keep in our faith.

Philippians 1: 29-30 says, For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,  having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.” As Christians, we will suffer at times. Jesus suffered for being our Savior and He paid the ultimate price to give us  salvation and hope. When suffering, try to keep this in mind and remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you have someone to hold your hand through it all. 

pagebreakDay 16: Psalm 112: 6-8

“Surely he will never be shaken; The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.  He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  His heart is established; He will not be afraid, Until he sees his desire upon his enemies.”

When reading these verses, the first thing that comes my mind is a series of questions. The first question was “Am I afraid?”. The second question was, “Have I been shaken in my life?”. The third question was, “What is the state of my heart?”. For today, I am going to answer the questions that these verses brought to me.

  1. “Am I afraid?” I encourage you to ask yourself the same question. At this very moment I am not afraid, but this past Tuesday I was. I had a doctor’s appointment last Tuesday. This was my first appointment with a new doctor who would be reviewing my charts with the Creighton method. The purpose of that appointment was literally to find a problem with my body. Going in to an appointment knowing that we are looking for something wrong was scary. I was wondering if I had a chance to become pregnant at all, was there anything else they could try, was I going through early menopause- the questions and what-if’s going through my head were overwhelming. As I went through my appointment, they did find something wrong, but they have a solution that they feel very optimistic about. While I was waiting for the doctor to come in, I did stop and pray. I prayed for peace and understanding. I started that appointment as afraid and alone. By the end of that appointment, I felt peace, I did feel a sense of understanding, and I felt that God was there with me, holding my hand.
  2. “Have I been shaken in my life?” I most definitely have been shaken in my life and more than once. Have you ever had something happen where you felt like our whole world and life was on uneasy ground and all of a sudden, an earthquake came through and destroyed everything? I feel that the answer to that for most is yes. Two times that I have felt shaken to my very core by circumstances in my life are when I had my car accident in  May of 2012 and had to have surgery and re-learn to walk as well as August of 2017 when my husband and I miscarried. Both of those events felt like the end of the world to me. I was angry at God both times and scared out of my mind. All of today’s verses, Psalm 112: 6-8, really apply to that feeling. Let’s face it, life is going to happen and we are going to feel shaken, broken, and afraid but Psalm 112: 6-8 tells me to  have courage, trust in God and in God’s timing, and do not be afraid. This is how I should respond in times I am shaken- with courage, trust, and no fear.
  3. “What is the state of my heart?” At this very moment, my heart is most definitely trusting in God and yearning to learn more and be closer to Him each and every day? What is the state of your heart today? Are you shaken in your life and turning from God? Are you afraid?

Today’s scripture gives us the perfect opportunity to look at ourselves, our situations, and our lives and to see where we need to make changes, what we need to improve on, and what we need to let go of.

Day 17: Psalm 31: 21-24

“Blessed be the LordFor He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!  For I said in my haste, “I am cut off from before Your eyes”; Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications, When I cried out to You. Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.”

When I read the first verse I think of all of the times that I needed God more than anything and He is always there for me. I can think back to many different times in my life when I felt weak or afraid and when I turned things over to God, it is amazing how one’s perspective can change. An example is when I had my car wreck in 2012. For several of months I was stuck in a wheel-chair, could not put any weight on either ankle so that they could heal from surgery, and I could not do anything. I needed help getting to the shower and bathroom for a long time. If I wanted a glass of water, I couldn’t reach the cabinet on my own,and everything that had once been a piece of cake for me to do, I needed help with. For a while, I did exactly what the verses said, “For I said in my haste, “I am cut off from before Your eyes.” There were so many things that were so extremely frustrating and made me so angry at God. I can’t remember what changed but at some point I realized it was a blessing in disguise and one of the best things that happened to me. I finally did as the the verses above said, I realized that “Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications, When I cried out to You. Oh, love the Lord, all of you His saints!” I realized that my car accident gave me the opportunity to change my life, to be a better person, and I was lucky to be alive.  God never left me, but I left Him. “For the Lord preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.” Always remember that God is always there for you, even when you think you are alone. Many times it is us who walk away from God and then complain that he isn’t there. He can give us the courage when we are afraid and the strength when we are broken down and weak. 

Day 18: 1 Peter 3: 13-14

“And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?  But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.”

I know today’s verses are 1 Peter 3: 13-14 but I want to take a look at Romans 5: 3-4 first, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;  and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Just because you are a follower and believer of Christ does not mean that you will not face trials. I have faced many trials in my life, am going through trials now, and will face more in the future. The key is how you address those trials. As a follower we can make a great impact if we take our trials and turn them into “blessings in disguise” or life lessons. To me, this will show others that while our situation may seem terrible, we know there is a purpose and that there is someone to hold our hand- God. If we choose to stay with God through our trials and have the before mentioned outlook, we can build the characteristics that Romans 5: 3-4 mentioned- perseverance, character and hope. Characteristics that I believe our vital to us as Christians when we are spreading God’s word or leading by example in our daily lives.

I think of the infertility my husband and I are going through. It is a sad and frustrating situation, but I have chosen to not let it keep me down. Instead, I am using my infertility as a lesson towards patience (although some days the patience to wait to be a mother for when God has planned is more difficult than others), and as a way to show others that no matter how terrible the situation may feel, there is a light at the end of that tunnel. It may be just around the corner, or down a long stretch of road but it is there.

Let’s go back to 1 Peter 3: 13-14, “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?  But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” Even as a Christian, you will suffer. If you do suffer and you stick with God through it all, just remember that you are blessed. There are still so many people in our world today that do not realize the mercy, forgiveness, comfort, and grace that God has to offer all of us if we just choose to believe and follow Him. Do not be afraid either. These last 17 days have been all about having courage and not fear. Let God hold your hand through the tough stuff and always remember that you are lucky and blessed.

Day 19: 1 Chronicles 28:20

And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.”

This verse is so very beautiful and I wish so much that I had this one somewhere in my home as a daily reminder (I see a DIY project coming on!). Before we break this down, think of a time you were at your lowest and you either did not feel God was with you or you felt angry with God. Now think about a time where you were at your highest and God was right there with you and you were praising Him. What is the number one difference in those occasions for you? For the example I have, the biggest difference is simply MY attitude and MY anger. I thought back to the day my husband and I found out we were pregnant last year. I was so overjoyed and thankful to God and I felt Him right there with us. I then thought of the day that we got confirmation that I had miscarried- I felt hopeless, angry, hurt, and I blamed God. I could not comprehend why God would do something like that to my husband and me. It wasn’t until many months later that I realized that God did not do anything to me, He allowed an event to happen in my life. An event that He has a plan for, whether I understood it or not. I finally began to see that He had never left my side, I left His side. He wanted to help me through everything I was feeling, I did not let Him.

“Be strong and of good courage.” Isn’t that so much easier said than done sometimes. In my previously mentioned experience, I wasn’t strong and I had no courage. On the day I finally stopped seeing everything as God’s trying to hurt me, I finally felt strength on those days I was weak- it was God lifting me up. I felt courage on the days that I was afraid and it all came from God.

“Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.” It is so easy for us to just throw our hands up and give up when things go wrong in our lives. We push God to the side at a time when we need Him the most. We should be throwing our hands up and praying to him for understanding, courage, and strength. He never leaves us. He is always there for us. If you had to take a test for school or work and you were allowed to use a cheat sheet, would you use it? Of course most people would! God is our cheat sheet- use Him, let Him guide you and comfort you when you need it. Let Him help you to be more courageous and stronger. Let Him be a light to you so that you can be a light to others even in the most terrible of situations.

Day 20: Deuteronomy 31: 6-8

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it.   And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

Today’s verses take place when Moses is handing the reigns over to Joshua to be the leader of Israel. The parts of these verses that hits me the most is “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you,” from verse 6 as well as “And the Lord, He is the one who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Currently, my family is going through a trying situation. My great grandmother has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and throughout the weekend she had another heart attack. As of this morning, we were told she had about two weeks to live unless something else gave out on her first. These verses are what I need right now. These verses remind me to be strong and do not be scared. Even in the most terrible situations, as I feel this one is, God never leaves our side. I am comforted to know that God is there with my granny and He is there with me and with my family. He gives me strength to accept the things in life that I do not understand and that I do not like. It is so very hard to remember that in situations involving sickness and death. We are to quick to immediately get angry at God and blame Him. When my husband and I lost Riley, I had nothing but fear and anger at first. It wasn’t until I started listening to my mom that I started to feel a peace. A peace because even though I did not understand why we lost Riley, we would see Riley again one day and Riley was in a better place. I am not saying that loss did not hurt anymore, it still did and it still does to this day, and losing Riley will always hurt just as any  loss does. I feel that same anger a bit today since I got the news of how long my granny has left but I am determined to not let it consume me this time. I am going to keep in my mind that this is God’s plan and she will be in a much better place. It is because I have not walked away from Him during this stressful and heartbreaking situation with my granny that I can know that he is with me right now and He is with her and will protect her. I will have courage and strength, for her, given to me by God and I will enjoy every moment that I possibly have with her. While it hurts knowing that she will be leaving us, I am thankful that she will not have any more pain and she can be reunited with loved ones whom have passed and that I know she misses.

 Day 21: Psalm 119: 25-28

“My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.  I have declared my ways, and You answered me; Teach me Your statutes.  Make me understand the way of Your precepts; So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.  My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.”

What does Psalm 119: 25 mean when it says, “My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to your word?” My soul clings to the dust sounds like clinging to something that the wind will sweep away. Something that is paper thin and will not hold me up. It is clinging to the belief that I alone can make it through this life on my own terms and without God’s help. Have you ever thought like that? I would be lying if I said that I had not at various points in my life tried to take everything into my own control and pushed God to the sidelines. How did things work out for me you may wonder- not so well. I think of back to when I had my accident. I came home to my parents stuck in a wheelchair, unable to do anything for myself and pushed God so far back. It made me angry at times to have to go to church because God had allowed for that to happen to me, it was His fault. I felt anger and all it did was put me in a state where I was depressed and pushing away everyone who truly loved me and wanted to help me. I was in a bad place but boy was I wrong. What happened to me was my own fault, I was the one driving, I was the one who fell asleep, God simply ALLOWED for that to happen. Now I see that my accident NEEDED to happen. I needed to be slowed down so that I could take time to reflect on my life, my happiness, and my family. Slowly but surely I changed my attitude and I stopped clinging to the dust that I could get myself better and I didn’t need Him and I allowed Him back in so that he could revive me. He gave me another chance at life. A chance to be a better person, a chance to learn more of His power, a chance to be with the people that I love and whom love me.

“I have declared my ways, and You answered me; Teach me Your statutes.  Make me understand the way of Your precepts.” Before we start these verses, precepts basically means laws or rules. When we slow ourselves down and declare that we want to follow Jesus, He will be right there to say “Come On!” He is always ready to help us through life’s valleys, hills, and plateaus. He is ready to teach us and to help us to understand His laws for us. I feel that this section of verses could also apply to He will help us to understand the things that happen in our lives if we allow Him to fully be in our lives.

 “So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.” I used to keep a prayer journal. I actually kept one for about 5 years. It amazes me when I go back and read through them. I will see where I prayed for a certain circumstance in my life or someone else’s life and a few pages later or sometimes a journal or two later, I see where I wrote about how one of my prayers was answered. I can remember some times when my prayers were answered. I prayed for a husband that I could count on, who would love me, and who would be a team player. I prayed for a man who would treat me like my dad treats my mom- I have that husband.  I prayed for my mother to be free of cancer and okay and she is. She is my best friend and I would be lost without her. I prayed that I could find peace when my husband and I lost Riley in August of 2016. It still is a painful lost, but I do have peace now. I look back on all of my prayers that were answered by God and I have no reason to doubt His love for me or His intentions for me. I will instead keep those answered prayers in my mind always remember His love and what He can do.

“My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.” The end of this verse made me cry.  My soul is heavy today as I know so many others are as well and for a variety of reasons. My great grandmother is passing away and it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart to know that I am losing her and to see her in the state she is in. All I can do right now is be there for her, and pray. I can pray for God to wrap His arms around her and help her through this time and to wrap his arms around my family. Through praying to Him I can ask for strength and He will give me the strength that I need.

Day 22: 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. “

“Take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.” As a Christian, it is important to realizes that at times throughout our life we will be weak, we will be sick, we will need help, we will be sad, and we will be persecuted in some way. The important thing to remember, however, is that we don’t have to be weak. “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Even in our absolute weakest and lowest times, we can be strong. We can be strong through God. We do not have to go through the lows in life alone. My great grandmother passed away yesterday morning. This feels like a low in life, my family has lost a wonderful mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, and sister. I know, however, that even when I feel weak right now, God will lift me up and He will help me to be strong. I love the icon that I found to go with today’s post. I love the anchor. God is our anchor. He will help us to stay strong in the middle of the roughest storm just as an anchor will keep the boat in the ocean still. Do you have God as your anchor today?Day 23: 2 Samuel 22: 31-37

“As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.  “For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?  God is my strength and power, And He makes my way perfect.  He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your gentleness has made me great. You enlarged my path under me; So my feet did not slip.”

Today’s set of verses seems to just screams of the things that God does for me each and every day. He protects me, like a shield. He is my rock- the constant in my life that I can rest assured knowing he loves me and has my best interest in mind. He gives me strength when I feel weak. He leads me down the path that I need to go down.

I think that many times we “forget” God is there, ready to help us in whatever way we need. We pull against him many times, which is really sad. I think back on all of the times I have been angry at God in my life and none of them were ever His fault. Did He allow certain events to occur? Yes, He did. Were they all good and happy? No, there are events in my life that were not happy and my own fault but I blamed God. Did they all have a purpose? Yes, they all did and they all do. Some of those purposes I see now while others I do not and may not ever. Try to always remember that He will protect you in the trials and lows of life, He will give you strength when you are weak, and He will always be there when you need Him the most.

 Day 24: Psalm 28: 6-9

“Blessed be the Lord, Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!  The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.  The Lord is their strength, And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.  Save Your people, And bless Your inheritance; Shepherd them also, And bear them up forever.”

To me, these verses are voices of Praise. It is a reminder to thank God for taking our fear away and our weakness away. It is a reminder that He gives us courage and strength. I think of the infertility that my husband and I are going through right now. Some days, it is so difficult. It is difficult to think about the fact that what is supposed to be a natural and what you always assume is “easy” process is not actually easy. I have been documenting our journey on this blog and we are in our 27 month of trying to conceive. We have had one miscarriage in that time, August 29, 2016. This journey has been painful, confusing, and angering at times. But, I still praise God. He has set my husband and I on a path. We may not be entirely sure of the course of that path at this time, but I have no doubt in my mind that He is doing as verse 6 says and “He has heard  the voice of my supplications!”.  There have been days where I literally cried to God. Even though our pregnancy did not progress as we would have hoped, He gave us that child. He heard our cries and He gave us that child. I trust that He has a purpose for taking Riley home. I can have peace knowing, however, that He is giving me strength to keep going. He gave my husband strength to keep going.

I have said it many times before, but too often, we take the bad situations, like the infertility or a death in the family, and are angry at God. We think that we know best and that God has forsaken us. I personally feel that when we have those feelings, we are forsaking God. We are pushing Him away and allowing the Devil a straw to grasp out and he is the one who plays on our emotions and our weaknesses. When you feel weak, try to think of that- of the Devil looking for that straw to grasp and to play you into pulling from God. Instead of being angry, remember that you are going to have valleys and mountains in life and we should praise God through it all. He gives us life, He gives us joy, He gives us peace, He gives us answers, and He gives us courage.

Day 25: Psalm 118: 14-18

“The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation. Is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. The right hand of the Lord is exalted; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the Lord. The Lord has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death.”

What beautiful verses we have for today! What I really want to take home today from this verse is at the end of these verses, “I shall not die, but live. And declare the works of the Lord. The Lord has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death.” Ask yourself this question, Do I deserve God’s forgiveness? Then, think of someone who has done something to you to hurt you in some manner, do they deserve your forgiveness?

Many times when we are wronged giving that forgiveness is a very difficult thing to do. We feel that the other individual does not deserve our forgiveness because they are not apologetic for whatever they did, we are still hurt by what they did, or we feel that by forgiving an action or words we are forgetting what was done to us. That logic, logic that we all, myself included, have at some point thought of is not right. Is there anyone that you still haven’t forgiven right now?

Think of Colossians 3: 13, “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” The Bible tells us right here and in many more places to forgive. Forgive as CHRIST forgave us. So what did Christ do exactly? Let’s take a look at John 3: 16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” When God sent Jesus to die on the cross, many people were persecuting Him and as there are now, there were people who did not believe in Him at that time- even as they could witness first hand His work in a way we don’t necessarily see today on a daily basis (miracles). Even so, Jesus died on the cross so that we could be forgiven of our sins. Do we deserve that forgiveness? No, not necessarily. Did we get that forgiveness? Yes, if you are a believer of Christ then you are forgiven by Christ when you request forgiveness.

Back to our verse of the day, Psalm 118: 14-18, our lives without Christ are dead lives. We can have no ultimate forgiveness. Without Christ, we do not have life. When you pass away and you did not have Christ in your heart, you will not be going to Heaven. Heaven is not based on how good you were in life or how many works you did or how many people you led to Christ. Getting to Heaven where you really get to experience your eternal life is based on your belief in Christ, your desire to know Him, your trust in His word. That is how you can have eternal life. Your earthly life can be made complete with Christ. I think of my life at times when I was not in a relationship with Christ and those aren’t the best times of my life. Those are the times when I felt the most lost, angry, unfulfilled, and as if I had no purpose. Who wants a life like that. I crave a life where I feel love, forgiveness, the desire to forgive those who wrong me, where I feel strength and courage through my God when I am weak. I want a life that means something. I want a life that is an example to others.

The question to ask yourself today is . Think about your answer. If you go through a valley in life, what lesson will those around you take from your take on it? Will they see you as bitter or angry? Will they see you as someone who looks to God for answers? Are you allowing your life to be as full as it can? Do you feel like you are missing something? Are you being a light to others?

Day 26: 1 Samuel 30: 3-6

This verse speaks so loudly to me right morning. Are you grieving? Are you distressed? Today feels like a day that will never end, and it’s only just started. Two nights ago we had someone attempt to break into our home in the night. Thank goodness for alarms that scared them off but it has me on edge. I am looking out the windows constantly, day and night, to be sure no one is waiting out there (because if I’m honest, I tend to think worst case scenario possible). I have been grieving over the loss of Riley last August and over the fact that after 28 months and multiple attempts at different treatment plans, we are still struggling with infertility. On the way to work this morning, two cars were doing what seemed to be racing and went into the shoulder of the road throwing rocks all over my car (it did cause two dents and some scratches) and one nearly clipped the front end of my car. It caused me great fear in that moment and then made me angry that people are so careless when driving that they could hurt themselves or others on the roadway. As if all of this wasn’t enough, my hair dryer broke. Such a small thing but the combination of all these things sent me into a river of tears this morning.

What I am trying to remember now is someone is ALWAYS going through something worse than you. My problems seem like the end of the world at times, but in reality they aren’t. Not with God by my side. In 1 Samuel 30: 3-6 David was distressed, he was most likely fearful and angry. Guess what He did though, he strengthened himself in the Lord. And you know what, what he was going through was much worse than what I have going on. I think about that. I also think about the fact of what Jesus went through just so that I can have a full life in Christ and I could have mercy and forgiveness. What Jesus did, dying on a cross for my sins, made it to where on a day like today where I feel distressed, angry, and fearful, I can instead have hope, strength, peace, and courage. I can have someone to help take what feels like attacks on me and fight back. I can push the Devil’s advances on me back into a corner and feel strong in Christ. I can feel hope through Him. I can feel peace in knowing He has a wonderful plan laid out for me if I will just give it time.

I encourage you to think about what you have going on today. You may be having a terrible day where it seems that everything that can go wrong is going wrong and you may be emotional today, or you may be having a wonderful day. Either way, remember that we have strength in the Lord, just as David had strength in the Lord. Use that strength. If you don’t need it today, save it for another day when you need it more. Don’t let the Devil work his way in with all the little things to get you down. Be thankful that you have life and  life worth living thanks to Christ.

Day 27: Isaiah 12: 1-3

“And in that day you will say: “O Lord, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.  Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’” Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation

I think to start this daily devotional, we need to define what salvation is. It is mentioned three times in these three verses. The dictionary defines salvation as, “deliverance from the power and effects of sin.” This verse is about praising God because He is our salvation! Many know that God sent Jesus to die on a cross so that our sins could be forgiven. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us, His sinful, greedy, and at times doubtful children so that we could be happy, strengthened, courageous, and have a relationship with Him. We now know that while we make mistakes in life, if we are truly in love with and believing in God and want forgiveness, then we will get forgiveness and we get eternal life with Him. Does that mean we can go out and sin whenever we want and afterwards say, “Hey God, I did this, this, and that. Oh, I’m about to head out  and do this. I need some forgiveness.” No, that isn’t how it works. You must sincerely be striving to do what is right and realize that you are not a perfect being and that even when you think you have not sinned you probably have. I think about the past day. I would originally say, I didn’t sin in the past 24 hours. Well guess what, that’s a lie. I coveted. I coveted the pregnancy that was successful from a friend’s Facebook post. I was jealous. I was jealous at all of the successful and healthy and easy pregnancies I keep seeing. I’m not perfect. I am a sinner.

“Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away and You comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation.” Do you think God is happy with me when I sin? Do you think God is happy with you when you sin? Of course not. Think of it like when you were a child. When you lied to your parents, they were angry and disappointed in you. God is not different. But, as a child of God, He can turn away from His anger and comfort me. He comforts me by letting me know that I am forgiven. He comforted me when I felt jealousy. He comforts me when I feel anger towards my infertility. He comforts me and He will comfort you if you allow Him to.

“I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.” I think the trusting part is one of the hardest for me personally right now. As you may know, my husband and I have struggled with infertility for 29 months and have had one miscarriage. There are some days that are so difficult to trust because the pain I feel some days. We lost Riley, every time we try another treatment option one problem is solved while another pops up or gets worse. I want a giant sign in front of my face right now that says “YOU WILL GET PREGNANT ON THIS DAY!” OR “YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CONCIEVE.” Just give me an answer is what I keep wanting to scream. I want to scream please answer my prayers. But I can’t. God is answering my prayers. Every day He gives me breath, He gives me a good and healthy marriage, He gave me a supportive and loving family, He did give me Riley, and He has something good in store for me. I just can’t see the big picture right now. He truly is my strength in my hard times right. He gives me reason to sing, and He is the reason I am forgiven.

Day 28: Isaiah 12: 4-6

“And in that day you will say: “Praise the Lord, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted.  Sing to the Lord, For He has done excellent things; This is known in all the earth.  Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”

These verses are all about praise! I feel that these verses are simplified pretty well so today maybe we can talk about the different ways that people praise God. Sometimes it is hard to praise God. Sometimes we worry about what other people are going to think of us or that we aren’t “good enough” to praise God or that our life is in too much of a mess to praise God. Don’t ever let yourself think that way. As a child of God, praise Him whenever, wherever, and however fits you.

  1. Sing! Singing is mentioned right here in the verses and so obviously I have to mention it. I won’t even lie, this is probably my favorite way to praise God. I was part of junior high and high school honor choir, All-West honor choir, participated in several competitions throughout high school, and had a scholarship for participating in the Innovations choir at my school. Needless to say, I LOVE to sing. I think my favorite example of how much music speaks to me from God is one Sunday that I woke up and I will not even lie, I was in a horrible mood. I didn’t feel well, I didn’t sleep good the night before, I had several of things that I needed to do that day, none of my clothes felt or fit right that day and we had a family gathering that day. Everything was working against me and I did not want to go to church that day. My husband nudged me just a little and we wound up going. However, we were running late. So me being the overly insane must be on time person that I am was angry because we were walking in late. All of that anger went away in an instant. It was like it never existed. I walked in and they just started one of my favorite songs. I immediately started singing and praising God the remainder of that service and you know what- that joyous and thankful attitude I acquired during service stayed for the rest of the day, and the next day, and the next week. Music speaks to me. A song will make me cry, make me thank God, make me realize my shortcomings, and make me praise God through even the worst situations. While I love so many of our songs at Englewood, this is one that we sung recently and I really enjoy. Click here to open in youtube.
  2. Pray. Do you find your self praying just in the bad times of life when you need help or do you also pray when things are going great for you? It’s easy to only pray when we have problems but it’s just as important to pray when our lives are going great. It’s  a great opportunity to tell God you love Him, thank Him for your life, thank Him for all the blessings that He gives on a daily basis, and thank Him for His sacrifice. Think about it like this. Do you like it when someone tells you that you are doing a good job at something? Do that for God!
  3. Spread His word! This is one that can help you to grow as an individual as well as to help introduce the word of God to someone who may not have a full understanding. A very rewarding things I have gotten to do in my life is go on a mission trip to Naples, Italy several years ago. I do have a series of posts about each day of the trip on here under Trips if you want to check them out. That trip was such a blessing. I got the opportunity to minister to individuals that had heard of Jesus but didn’t actually understand what it was He did for us and what He can offer if you believe in Him. That trip also gave me the opportunity to learn more about Him and connect with Him in a way that I had not previously been able to. Spreading God’s word can be done in so many ways- mission trips, teaching at church, having a devotional at your desk at work, or going around and inviting people to church. There are just so many ways!
  4. Finally, another way you can praise God is by being in your Bible. By doing this, you let God know that you want to learn more and be closer to Him and you obtain more knowledge. More knowledge that will allow you to grow as a Christian and to help bring others to Christ. More appreciation for what He truly does for us.

Day 29: Habakkuk 3: 17-19

“Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—  Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.”

Faith. What is faith? The simplest explanation that I have ever gotten was in Sunday school several years ago and by using a chair as an example. Think of the last time you sat down in a chair. Now if you have that one wobbly kitchen table that seems like it could go at any moment and so you are skeptical of it each time you sit down, pick another chair. Pick the time before that in which you sat down 🙂 . When you sat down at the table, at your work chair, on the couch, on your patio chair, you didn’t hesitate. You did not pick that chair up, turn it over every which way and examine it to see if all the screws were there, if there were any cracks, or if it was wobbly. You simply sat down. That is faith. Faith is having COMPLETE and total trust in something or somebody. As imperfect humans, we will make mistakes. We will lie, hurt someone’s feelings, and just not be there when we should sometimes. God, however, won’t ever leave you. He won’t spill your secrets. He won’t give up on you.

Having faith in God sometimes isn’t as easy as sitting down in a chair. My husband and I struggle with infertility. We are in our 29th month of trying to conceive and we have had one miscarriage. There are times through this journey where I have looked to God and asked why He would “do this” to me. Notice the phrasing there, “Why would he do this to me.” God made me who I am supposed to be. He made my body to work in the way it is supposed to work. He gave me medical problems that I am supposed to have. Why? Because those things are parts of what makes me Savannah. Those things are ways that I can minister to various people in ways that others can’t.  He didn’t do anything to me , He isn’t trying to harm me, He simply made me who I am supposed to be. There is no one else in the world in my exact situation, with the same problems, or with the same relationship that I have with God.

All of that being said, I have let my faith waiver at times. I would be lying if I said I didn’t. At times I felt secluded, alone, and as if I were being punished for something. That isn’t the case. As it says in the verse, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls.” All of the feelings I previously mentioned fit with this verse perfect. Things aren’t going as it seems they should in the verses, no fruit, no blossoms, no harvest and in my life infertility, jealousy, loss. “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments” How  hard that can be sometimes. I feel that I am slowly having more and more faith in God in our current situations but it was so difficult at first. What makes it difficult is letting go of control. Truly giving your worries and problems over to God is difficult but so fulfilling. Always remember when going through the lows in life that you don’t have to go through them alone. God will give you the strength you need to get through anything, the courage to wait for the unexpected, and the patience to see His full plan for you and your life to unfold.

4 thoughts on “31 Days of Courage

  1. Christine says:

    I have found reading Savannah’s reflections have calmed my soul. I too have been going through struggles and a deep loss. I don’t want anyone else to hurt, but is it helpful to know that my inward feelings are pretty normal and to “pray without ceasing” for myself and all His children.

    By Aunt Chris, Savannah’s Aunt

    Liked by 1 person

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