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Author John Chasteen’s words struck me. Only minutes before my daughter had shared alarming statistics about Generation Z-her, age group, gathered from Barna, the CDC, and university websites.

Somewhere between changing hundreds of diapers, flipping pancakes, and driver’s lessons, my children have either moved into young adulthood or the late teen years and I’ve transitioned from youthful mama bouncing a baby on a hip to seasoned mother who has spent more time on her knees than standing.

When I glance at young families eating in restaurants, I wonder at the challenges 
they'll face.Lord, prepare them for battle.#prayer #spiritualwarfare Click To Tweet

Now when I glance at young families eating in restaurants or strolling at the park, I wonder at the challenges they’ll face. Often, I whisper a prayer over them, Lord, prepare them for the battle.

Our wayward world skews the truth and confuses the most vulnerable-our precious children. Right becomes wrong; what was wrong is celebrated and if someone suggests otherwise that person is considered ignorant, hateful, or a bigot.

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the 
authorities, against the powers of this dark world...#heavenlyrealms Click To Tweet

But I am well educated, accept and love others even if I disagree with their lifestyles and choices, and recognize my battle isn’t with man’s standards or beliefs. Parents like myself aren’t at battle with any particular group of people. Scripture is clear, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)

We are waging a war against the lies of the Enemy.Lies that lead our children into bondage.
Lies that leave our children feeling lost, alone, and abandoned.#lostboys #lonelygirls Click To Tweet

We are waging a war against the lies of the Enemy. Lies of identity and value. Lies that lead our children into bondage. Lies that leave our children feeling lost, alone, and abandoned.

Consider this information…

  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents.
  • 33% report being bullied online.
  • More than 20% of teens struggle with mental health illness.
  • 50% of teenaged girls and 30% of teenaged boys use unhealthy weight control measures such as binging, purging, or diuretics.
  • 50% will experience the breakup of their parent’s marriage.
  • 40% of Gen Z is being raised without their fathers.
  • 70% believe it’s acceptable to be born one gender and feel like another.
  • 29% believe abortion is wrong.
  • 94% of boys view pornography by age 14 and nearly 25% are unable to discontinue the behavior.
  • 80% of girls view pornography by age 14 and 8% are unable to discontinue the behavior.
  • 1/3 believe lying is morally wrong.
  • 4% of 69 million children and teens in Gen Z have a Biblical worldview.

Friend, it is time to prepare the next generation. We cannot shrug them off dismissively because the battle lines are drawn; the Enemy has declared war on our children, families, and homes.

We must engage.

Our teens suffer emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.#ourteensneedus Click To Tweet

Engage our children–these beautiful gifts from God who stagger baffled and bewildered toward the deceptive traps set before them. While the average American family spends no more than thirty-seven minutes together each day, our teens suffer emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Earlier, I quoted John Chasteen. If we were to read each statistic individually, they might seem unremarkable. Innocuous. But read as a whole? Problematic and dangerous. Your teens and mine are hurting.

Send your prayers relentlessly toward heaveny.#prayingmothers #pray Click To Tweet

Mama, I know your heart. You love your child more than life; don’t give up. Jesus is your heavenly intercessor and He is praying on behalf of your beloved son or daughter. Send your prayers relentlessly toward heaven.

Below, you’ll discover four simple ways to overcome the Enemy. It’s a place to start as we trust the Lord with our children and fight alongside Him on the homefront.

Praying for my children is the single most important act I will ever do on their behalf. 
#battleonmyknees Click To Tweet

Four Simple & Effective Ways to Engage Your Teen & Overcome the Enemy

  • Pray Continually-The longer I’ve parented, the more I’ve realized the importance of prayer. I’ve come to believe that praying for my children before their birth and throughout their lives is the most important single act I will ever do on their behalf. (I’m planning to include a list of downloadble of prayer prompts in this month’s message. If you’d like to add your name to the email list, I’ll be sure to send it to you! )
  • Protect Family Time-Talk with your children about how much you miss spending time with them and determine a specific number of times each week your family will gather for dinner. No cell phones or other social media allowed.
  • Protect What Your Children See and Share-Every evening, politely but firmly insist that your children place cell phones in a designated area. Phones are not allowed to be in a teen’s room overnight and parents have access to all passwords and social media profiles-if you allow them. In addition, eliminate the ability to share photos on your child’s phone to avoid the possibility of “sexting”.
  • Protect Your Child’s Heart-Spend time with your teen each day. Go on a walk, play a board game, listen to music, or watch a favorite movie together. Share what you’re learning from scripture, offer to do a Bible study with your son or daughter. Create opportunities to grow your relationship and speak truth into your child’s life while he or she still lives at home.

I’d love to know other ways you protect your family time or your child’s heart. Please share with us below or let me know how I can pray for you.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

Mondays   InstaEncouragements/  Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup

 

The tantalizing scents of yeast and baking bread beckoned to me. Still bleary-eyed from sleep, I padded from the guest room to the dimly lit kitchen and surveyed the room. A large silver mixer stood on the counter, its dough attachment spinning vigorously as Gracie rhythmically kneaded a mass of dough. Thrust, turn, thrust. Five tins spanned the counter top, each covered by a white cloth.

Turning her attention toward me, the farmer’s wife dusted flour from her hands. “Good morning, Tammy. Would you like to see the special treat I have for you?”

Nodding, I followed behind Gracie as she stepped toward the oven. “This is for you,” she said, tilting a cookie sheet my direction. Curious, I moved closer to investigate the shiny tray and its promising contents—a loaf of bread carefully shaped to resemble a teddy bear. My stomach gurgled in anticipation as I imagined eating those golden hills of cinnamon-and-sugar laced goodness.

Reaching for a plate, Gracie tugged a round of sweetbread from the loaf and handed it to me. I’d never enjoyed a more delicious breakfast.

The disciples must have shared my sentiment the day they feasted on the bounty Jesus miraculously produced to feed five-thousand men as well as women and children. Food was scarce—until the Master filled baskets to overflowing with heaven-sent bread and assuaged the hunger of a ravenous crowd.

Amazed, the people hunted after the Giver when he quietly slipped away. Finally discovering His location, they demanded more. More bread. More miracles. More of Christ.

But John 6: 25-28 reveals that Jesus knew their hearts.

“When they arrived and found him, they said, “Sir, how did you get here?” Jesus replied, “The truth of the matter is that you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you believe in me.  But you shouldn’t be so concerned about perishable things like food.”

I imagine Christ peering out at those in the group, His gaze penetrating the hearts of the unbelieving before continuing.

Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that I, the Messiah, can give you. For God the Father has sent me for this very purpose.” John 6:27 MSG)

Jesus spoke plainly; He was the one for whom 
Israel had waited.#answeredprayer Click To Tweet

Jesus spoke plainly; He was the one for whom Israel had waited. But unbelief persisted as the people challenged deity in flesh and demanded proof.

 “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6: 30-33 NIV)

Christ’s next words stunned the crowd.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. (John 6:35 NIV)

The carpenter’s son made a radical claim when He spoke the words “I am”. This combination of pronoun and verb equated Christ with God. How? He chose to use the Hebrew words, “Ego eimi” to convey His message—an emphatic word choice referencing Exodus 3:14 when God revealed His character to Moses as YAHWEH, the I AM who always was, is, and will be.

Once we feed on the bread of heaven, He occupies our 
spiritual emptiness.#breadoflife Click To Tweet

Undeterred, Jesus made a distinction between the perishable bread God showered on the Israelites in the wilderness and Himself, “the bread of life”. One was temporary and the other eternal.

As much as I enjoyed the bread Gracie prepared for me when I was a child, it couldn’t satisfy my hunger. A few hours later, I needed to fill the void in my stomach again. Christ is far different. Once we feed on the “bread of heaven”, He occupies our spiritual emptiness and delivers us from always requiring more to storehouses of abundant blessing.

If you haven’t tasted of the joys of heaven, I pray you will. And if you’ve already joined Him at the table, won’t you sit by me? Let’s celebrate and feed on the things of Christ together.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link-up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode, InstaEncouragements

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday WelcomWednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup

 

Lake & Mountain (4)“I don’t know what it means to have joy,” she said. “I’ve read all of the books, studied scripture, and prayed, but I don’t feel as though I have the joy we’re promised. I smile. I try to act cheerful, but it all feels like a lie.”

Does your heart break over the pain in these words? Are you, too, struggling to live a joy-filled life in a world saturated by painted on selfie-smiles and Pinterest-perfect photos?

After we talked, I stared blankly out the window. Did I know what it meant to live a life full of joy? Was I embracing the fullness of joy as God intended?

Jesus: Man of Sorrows, Man of Joy

Days later, I began studying the life of Christ-the “Man of sorrows…acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3 NKJ). Surely, the One who painted the sky at dawn and whispered creation into wakefulness must also have known joy.

Christ tasted the breadth and depth of feelings like no other before or since. Click To Tweet

Some may imagine Him as solemn or angry. As fully God and fully man, Christ tasted the breadth and depth of feelings like no other before or since. His capacity to experience life-and death-was both enriched and made even more horrible by perfection of spirit.

The pious held Christ’s joy as one of his most offensive characteristics. John 7: 34 (NIV) reads, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” At the same time, they accused his cousin John of being “a demon” because his life was stripped of celebration (John 7:33 NIV).

Who was Christ that he should be joyful?

He was from a no-count town and was neither appealing nor promising by human standards. He spoke about loving the unlovable and forgiving the unforgivable.  He associated with women-the worst of them. And His companions weren’t well-bred, educated men. They were fishermen and tax collectors-either under-appreciated workmen or greedy traitors.

Still, Christ knew joy like no other. Consider these verses.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)

Jesus comforted his disciples with the promise of joy even though he'd already predicted his own death. Click To Tweet

The Greek word for joy is chara, which means calm delight. Fewer than twenty-four hours before his crucifixion, Jesus comforted his disciples with the promise of joy even though he’d already predicted his own death.

How could Jesus live with “calm delight” while death lurked nearby?

I believe it’s because He knew the end of the story.

Hebrews 12: 2 says, “…For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Instead of sorrow? Salvation.

Instead of ruin? Redemption.

Instead of tears? Triumph.

Instead of rejection? Rejoicing.

When Christ ascended to the throne, he embraced the glory from which he'd been absent. Click To Tweet

When Christ ascended to the throne, he embraced the glory from which he’d been absent and the Father from whose presence he’d been torn. Not only that, Friend. If you are Christ’s, then you were hand-delivered into heaven’s throne-room that day; your name is stamped in his palms.

There may be times we don’t feel happiness bubbling from us like a mountain brook that splashes its way down the mountain. I’d rather have the chara of Christ; the calm delight and peace of knowing “there is joy set before me”.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

Mondays   Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode, InstaEncouragements

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday WelcomWednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,

Allow love to drive you to your knees and cling to your cross.

Emotions ebb and flow like a mountain river rushing past my feet.

It’s that time I’ve set aside to lay my soul bare before the One who knows me best. One moment, I’m bent over in adoration, kneeling in a position of gratitude as my heart pours out thanks for sheltering the two young ones who travel in and out of my days almost as quickly as dew drying in the high desert sun.  The next, my heart fills with dark, unremitting sorrow.

Muttering, I ask “When, God? How long before you answer?” Frustration pours out hot and damp and I brush it impatiently aside.

I mourn the loss of what might have been and 
cry out to Him-longing for assurance.#faith Click To Tweet

These are the dog-eared prayers of more than a decade. Words written, wept over, and whispered. There are fresher requests uttered over soul-deep scars another loved one carries. I mourn the loss of what might have been and cry out to Him-wanting justice but longing more for assurance. Assurance of something better. Assurance of hope.

Have you ever grieved and wished you had the power to travel through time? To alter circumstances? Perhaps, even, to take matters into your own hands if it meant you could rescue the one you love?

While I can’t explain the path of suffering my dear ones are walking or rescue them from it, I know the Christ who stepped outside of time onto the cross to provide the way. The Rescuer has already come that life may be made new.

...bear the burdens of those who are wandering or wounded.
#loveothers #poweroflove Click To Tweet

This is the strange in-between of already but not yet when the Enemy takes advantage of the weak and vulnerable. He circles around the frail and unprotected, seeking to devour easy prey. But they are not defenseless. Instead, Christ calls us to be the modern-day equivalent of Simon of Cyrene as we bear the burdens of those who are wandering or wounded.

If your heart is broken and bleeding over someone you love, praise God.

Have I mistyped those words? No. Only deep, selfless love results in such sorrow. Allow that love to drive you to your knees and cling to your cross as you thank God for His continual presence.

I don’t know what your loved one is facing. It could be addiction or disease. Maybe he is walking the prodigal path or is trapped in the cage of mental illness.

The God who caused dead bones 
to rise triumphant will have the victory.#doyourpart#pray Click To Tweet

Whatever the cross you bear on the behalf of love, “Have faith in the Lord” and “give thanks…for his love endures forever” (2 Chronicles 20). The God who caused dead bones to rise triumphant will have the victory and you, Warrior, play a part.

James 5:16 (AMP) exhorts, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].”

Why? Because God has provided us with heaven’s homework. If your spirit is burdened for a friend, family member, or someone you met in passing then pick up your cross. There is work to be done (Ephesians 2:10) and you were called “for such a time as this”. (Esther 4:14)

He hasn’t left you unequipped, Friend. You wield the sword of the Spirit, God’s powerful two-edged m’achaira-a deadly weapon worn by the common soldier and always at the ready for hand-to-hand combat. This God-breathed blade is razor-sharp, designed to protect you and those for whom you battle from the Enemy. In moments of weariness, you’ll discover strength between the pages of His word. Strength to praise. Strength to pray. Strength to stand.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

Mondays   Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode, InstaEncouragements

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday WelcomWednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,

 

 

 

 

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Tiny legs carried them across the sand in a frenetic search as each child bent low over a crudely sketched map. The sunlight shone from their eyes like sea glass scattered on the beach.

“It’s here somewhere,” one said.

“Let me look at that.” Another boy grabbed the paper from his brother and quickly assessed their position. “I think it’s by him. Come on, guys. It’s gotta be buried somewhere by dad.”

Squealing and shouting, four little children careened toward their father. Joining in their play, the man threw his head back.  His laughter joined the rush of the ocean waves splashing joyfully against the beach.

The littlest one squatted near her father’s feet and brushed wet, gritty sand from something dark and brown. The boys joined in and they dug deeper, grainy bits of shell and dirt cemented to dimpled hands and limbs. Forming a pocket around the ridge of a wooden box, the one with the husky voice shouted, “We found it. Buried treasure.”

That game was one our children-now teens and young adults-still remember. My husband was a master at creating treasure hunts and this was particularly memorable.

Like children, we are all seeking after treasure; 
searching after that which fills the empty places of our souls. Click To Tweet

Like children, we are all seeking after treasure; searching after that which fills the empty places of our souls. But the treasure that satisfies man’s soul isn’t discovered in wealth, fame, or even family. It’s found in the person of Jesus Christ and He is waiting patiently for people to seek Him.

Scripture affirms, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

When we seek the treasure of Christ afresh each day, 
He pours out spiritual riches. Click To Tweet

And when we seek the treasure of Christ afresh each day, He pours out the spiritual riches of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

Oh, the abundant goodness of our Father!

We've discovered the Logos, the Lord, the Lamb, the Lion, 
and the free gift of Life. Click To Tweet

Here, kneeling in the blood-soaked soil at the foot of the cross we’ve discovered the Logos, the Lord, the Lamb, the Lion of Judah, and the free gift of Life.

May you find comfort in your wealth today, Friend.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragements/ , Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend

I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

 

I’ve let you down.

The moment I ask the Lord to fill the page with encouraging words, my thoughts still. It’s as though the well leading to my spirit has been cut off and the life existing there is dammed up-cut off by the grief all around us.

One day, it is the grim story of a male flight attendant from Hawaii that squeezes tears from my heart. Such a generous person, a friend Tweets below a beaming photo of a handsome young man. I blink hard as the image moves in and out of focus. There is no mention of Christ or faith or hope—only misguided, human goodness and I wonder if he is another soul without the eternal hope of Jesus.

There is no mention of Christ or faith or hope-only misguided, human goodness...#hope #jesus. Click To Tweet

The next morning, I venture outside. Perhaps a change of scenery will help me to listen more intently to Him. To pray. To focus on the message He has for me to share. Instead, several crows settle in the trees and perch on the rooftop as if to jeer at my optimistic, heaven-focused thoughts.

Have the hate-laced headlines left you wondering if people will ever treat one another with care or even civility?#loveoneanother #thegoldenrule. Click To Tweet

Are you, too, struggling to remain hopeful? Have the hate-laced headlines left you wondering if people will ever treat one another with care or even civility? Do you even dare dream of a world free of hatred and upheaval?

["You can do more than dream. Believe! Jesus' words of comfort to His disciples are meant for us.#believeinGod #believeinMe"]

Friend, you can do more than dream. Believe! Jesus’ words of comfort to His disciples are meant for us.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”

We may feel as though the world has spun off its axis, but we believe God because His word reassures us He…

spoke emptiness into beauty,

walked with faithful men through the fiery furnace,

rescued a condemned babe from Egypt’s waters,

filled a virgin’s womb with holy Life,

strode across the Sea of Galilee,

and raised a dead miracle-worker to the throne.

We believe because God's word reassures us He filled a virgin's womb with holy Life.. Click To Tweet

The Lord is powerful. While the pandemic, social unrest, and political uncertainty may cause personal unease, we can take comfort knowing our Father who loves us is firmly in control. He is neither taken by surprise nor wringing His hands.

He knows the beginning from the end. Take a deep breath, dear one. Jesus isn’t worried. Let’s allow His peace to fill our over-laden hearts today. Will you join me?

Prayer

Lord, your word promises that when I seek you, I’ll be delivered from my fears. (Psalm 34:4) Today, I admit I’m afraid of ___________________. Lord, please strengthen my faith that I might glorify you. Teach me to believe in your promises without wavering. (Romans 4:19-20) In the powerful name of Christ, Amen

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend

I cry to you, O Lord- I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.

We’d attended the quaint, family-oriented church for years. I’d joined Bible study groups, attended morning meetings for young mamas, and participated in Sunday school. Still, loneliness gnawed at my insides. Somehow, I just didn’t fit. One day after the traditional morning greeting, I once again watched as the women flitted from one pew to the other laughing and hugging each other while I stood awkwardly waving and smiling. I felt like the gangly little girl I’d once been-the last one to be chosen to play on the kickball or softball teams.


That afternoon, I spoke with my husband about looking for a different church. It’s terrible to feel invisible when you’re surrounded by people.


King David also experienced isolation. Having been handpicked by God, he’d slain a giant, married royalty, and had a meteoric rise to fame. Unfortunately, Saul was bent on murder. In an effort to escape, David found refuge in the cave of Abdullum along with 400 desperate men who followed him there. (1 Samuel 22)

Still, David felt alone. Unseen. Unnoticed. Was he? Was I? Are you?

The Secrets of the Cave

I’d been living in a cave. Unlike David, my cave was imperceptible. Its walls weren’t made of limestone or located in a barren desert, but they were real. My cave was called Anxiety and Depression.

My cave was called Anxiety and Depression. Click To Tweet


Some of you may have a cave, as well. Perhaps yours is named Trial, Difficulty, Sorrow, or Illness. It could be Divorce, Trauma, or Loss. We all find ourselves stumbling into desert caves at some point. While residing in the cave often feels uncomfortable, there are some secrets we can learn from David and his time in the cave of Adullam.

While residing in the cave often feels uncomfortable, there are some secrets we can learn from David.. Click To Tweet


• Caves Make Us Better Prayer Warriors
A musician and poet, David penned Psalm 142 as well as other poems and prayers during his time in the cave. He learned to “pour out”, or spill, his heart before God and set an example for future believers. While God already knows our needs, anxieties, and troubles, he longs to communicate intimately with us.


• Caves Help Us Realize Our Condition
David was surrounded by the enemy with Saul on one side and the Philistines on the other. He saw no way of escape. But God provided a route of victory. Even when we’re confused or uncertain of our future, God clearly sees the way. He is never unsure of His plans for us.

Caves remind us that God is constant. Click To Tweet

• Caves Remind Us That God is Constant
While David felt as though nobody cared for Him, the maker of heaven and earth heard his prayers. Isn’t that incredible? God hears every cry that spills from our hearts. Oh, what blessing to be known and loved that intimately.

Caves aren't our home. Click To Tweet


• Caves Aren’t Our Home
Something comes after the cave. When God brought David out of the cave, he’d prepared him for battles, victory, and then kingship. Perhaps you, too, are being prepared for a battle. Or, perhaps your cave is the battle and afterward, you’ll experience victory. Whatever the case, the Lord will bring you out the cave with purpose, fully prepared that “[you] might give thanks to [His] name”.


Peace and grace,
Tammy

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend

 

_...whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” - Copy

The throbbing is real but intangible. Painful but unseen. It’s the shattering of a heart already broken experiencing one more journey in the wasteland. Have you been in this place before? In the same sort of circumstance where your dreams are dashed by reality and hope drifts away like dust in the wind? Are you searching for solace, but coming up dry? Does it seem as if even God is unreachable in this desert place?

The Wasteland

The wasteland is almost uninhabitable; barren of comfort, it lacks nourishment and sanctuary is difficult to find. Even your spirit seeks aimlessly, searching for rest but finding none; lying in the pale sand only to rise up again up with the residue of silt  clinging to it-a a reminder of your unchartered journey.

Some of you may be in a spiritual wasteland or on its horizon; others remember trials you’ve recently experienced-difficult circumstances that led you deep into the arid places of the heart bereft of comfortable routines or reassuring normalcy.

If you’re passing through the refining heat of the desert, there is comfort in knowing those of great faith have also journeyed along the same gritty path.

A King in the Wasteland

Imagine being a man of great wealth and power only to discover your oldest son has betrayed you. Charming and deceitful, he’s convinced some of your closest advisors to turn against you and, as a result, you lose everything-your position, possessions, and prestige.

Discovering a plot against your life, you gather a few trusted men and escape to the wilderness. Nourishment is scarce and the enemy, your son, haunts every weary step. Battle weary, you’ve managed many losses and setbacks. Undeserved hatred. Depression. The death of a beloved child. This is a new heartache…the betrayal of a precious son and separation from your place of holy Hope. The one sanctuary of your life.

While encountering his own wasteland, the shepherd-turned-king cried out to God and scribed his words into song as a testimony for us.

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.                                                                                                                                   But those who seek my life, to destroy it,

Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
They shall fall by the sword;
They shall be a portion for jackals.

But the king shall rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped. (Psalm 63-NKJV)

 

Are you struck by David’s description of His parched soul? By the yearning he has to be in God’s presence? In these few, beautiful verses the believer reveals a path to joy in the most difficult of situations.

Focus on God’s Character

When I’m surrounded by the brokenness of the wasteland, I often fail to notice the stark beauty of the desert stars shining in an inky sky or the shifting shadows along the face of the rocky terrain. I’m consumed by the situation and begin to compare my unfair circumstances to other believers. Why this issue? Hadn’t I prayed enough? Why does God allow this suffering? The questions keep coming, but there aren’t any satisfactory answers.

Perhaps David felt the same way, but he didn’t resort to comparing or even complaining. Instead, he turned his thoughts heavenward and called out to the one who is unbound by circumstances. David cried, “O Elohim (the one true God), You are my El (the mighty One).”

Neither the barren surroundings nor the lack of protection garnered the king’s attention. God’s character was his focal point. When we find ourselves confused or fearful in unwelcome circumstances, our strength comes from the presence of the all-knowing, ever-loving El Elohim. Removing our eyes from the temporary and redirecting them to our Eternal horizon is the first step in rediscovering hope in difficulty.

Quench Your Thirst

As king, David knew the pleasures of fine feasts, silken fabrics, and celebrations. He was accustomed to being addressed with respect and surrounded by family members and doting servants. Now, David and a few loyal men were rushing from one cave to another without the simplest of comforts, and when crying out for his most basic needs what did he request?

More of God.

Despite his clear physical needs, David’s spiritual needs were far more acute. Body and soul, he longed to commune with God. Lamenting at being separated from the holiness of the sanctuary where he’d witnessed God’s glory, earth’s mighty king bowed before heaven’s King in humble submission asking that the Lord alone would quench his thirst.

What does your soul thirst after, friend? Is it His word? Worship? Communing with Him?  Go to Him for we need never thirst. Jesus said, “whoever drinks of the water I will give him will never be thirsty again”. (John 4:14 ESV)

Remember and Rejoice

Even though David is fleeing for his life, he recalls all of the good God has done for him. He recounts the joys, victories, and protection. Maybe David thinks of his best friend Jonathan, the rags-to-riches story of shepherd boy to king, the unexpected win of teenaged-boy over a ruthless warrior, or the birth of his son, Solomon.

Praise flows like a river from David’s mouth. As he thanks the Lord, gratitude wells up from inside his spirit and joy spills out.

Remembering God’s goodness leads to rejoicing. And don’t we all need more rejoicing-especially when we’re walking through the wasteland?

 

Leaving the Wasteland

Eventually, David was rescued from the wasteland. You will be, too, friend. Our Father promises to be your shield and protector, your rescuer and redeemer. He will quench your thirst and lead you by still waters.

Like David, we can cling to our Lord with steady perseverance and take refuge from any challenge in El Elohim-the one true God, the strong and mighty One.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jimmy Evan’s book, I Am David: 10 Lessons in Greatness from Israel’s Most Famous King, is a call to live for Christ despite challenges, difficult circumstances, and ploys of the enemy. It is a reminder to stay on the battlefield in the mix of life’s struggles as we engage through faith for our family, friends, and communities.

Evan’s book is a countercultural view of greatness, one that “has little to do with fame or how much money a person has earned. No one is truly great who doesn’t serve Jesus Christ. True greatness has everything to do with how many souls we take with us to heaven and how honorably we serve the Lord Jesus Christ, not only in front of people but also behind the scenes.”

True greatness has everything to do with how many souls we take with us to heaven...#iamdavid Click To Tweet

Straightforward and practical, I Am David is written for men and women who have believed God won’t use them because of mistakes or wounds in their past, but long to be used of God. Evans invites the reader to consider the sins and mistakes in David’s own life as well as the ways in which the shepherd-king turned to and relied on God and became known as “a man after God’s own heart”.

Offering ten lessons from David’s life, Evans presents steps toward Biblical greatness as he shares examples from scripture. I Am David is filled with scriptural references and includes both a leader’s guide as well as a study guide.

Evan’s book is encouraging and particularly powerful in the first several chapters. While some readers I know will disagree with the author’s choice of presenting Joel Osteen as someone to admire, this book is theologically sound and a great read for those who are afraid to step into their calling or for Christians who need to re-engage their faith.

If you would like a copy of your own, just leave a comment below and you’ll be entered in a drawing to receive your own hardback copy. (US addresses only, please. Thank you for understanding.)

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend

 

Shadow of Shame

 

Your parents had to get married. Her words, rife with condemnation and mockery, penetrated my third-grade heart. I felt the stares of the other children. I blinked hard, forcing my humiliation to be quiet. Undetectable. But shame rose fast and unrelenting like floodwaters. Tears blurring my vision, I bowed my head and hurried toward the school cafeteria. That day, every bite of food tasted like shame.

That day, every bite of food tasted like shame.#shame #powerofwords #identityinChrist Click To Tweet

My struggle with shame began long before elementary school. It festered and grew in a home where words were weapons and hurtful labels were accepted without question. I was a burden, not a blessing.

(To continue reading, please visit my friend, Katy Kauffman’s blog, where I am guest posting this week.) http://lighthousebiblestudies.com/katy-kauffman-blog/christ-who-conquered-shame.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend

 

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