When it seems that nothing is going right, know that God is orchestrating your steps

This past week I was extremely busy; I felt like I was riding on skates non-stop. Sitting in the beauty parlor and  having my beautician take care of me was soothing and relaxing. Knowing that when I left there, that I would be having lunch with a dear friend, was comforting; she traveled more than two hours just to meet with me. God has a way of  turning things around when we need it.

Our meeting was a God-moment and I will always remember it. We shared and laughed together and spoke about our difficult journeys. What I learned from our meeting was that we all experience trying times that make us feel empty, and that cause us to feel that nothing is going right. But even at our lowest points, God is orchestrating our steps. When you experience low points, I want to encourage you to put the following into practice:

  1. Pray unceasingly, and have a spirit of thanksgiving regardless of how you feel. The prayer of a righteous one avails much and you must thank God because this is his will regarding you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
  2. Study the word of God and put on the full armour of God when you face tribulations (2 Timothy 2:15; Ephesians 6:11).
  3. Trust God in everything (Proverbs 3:5-6); he knows your beginning and your ending and he will see you through, for He is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9). He will never leave or forsake you (Deut 31:6).
  4. Have faith and allow God to orchestrate your steps so you will have good success (Psalm 37:23).

Saints, regardless of where we find ourselves, God has us in the palm of His hand, for we are his children (1 John 3:2).

In Christ,

Joan M. Blake

 

Learn four ways to brace yourself and overcome the storms of Life

For the past few weeks, we have seen and heard of the massive devastation that hurricanes Harvey and Irma have done in the Caribbean, and now, Hurricane Irma has moved to Florida, particularly moving to the Florida Keys and major areas in Florida. The storm comes with excessive rain which leads to flooding and winds that result in trees, debris, houses, cars, boats being thrown around. Residents have prepared for the storm, boarding up their homes and businesses and seeking shelters where they can be safe. But what is worst, is the aftermath of the storm; when people return to their homes and find out they have lost everything and find it difficult to pick up the pieces of their lives.

Characteristics of a physical or an emotional storm:

  1. You want to seek shelter from the storm
  2. You experience devastating effects from the storm
  3. You have loss on the aftermath of a storm
  4. You must pick up the pieces of your life after the storm.

Ways to brace yourself and overcome a physical storm or the storms of life:

1. Whether you have been through a divorce, a death of a loved one, caring for a loved one, you have been through a storm or still going through a storm, and people do not understand why you are overwhelmed. But the Almighty God is your shelter (Ps 91:1); He knows your pain, your weakness, and you can turn to Him to help you through your difficult times.

2. Unless you have gone through divorce, separation, the death of a loved one, the caring of a loved one, you do not know what your brother or sister is going through. He/she may feel the devastating effects of  a storm and may feel lonely, exhausted, guilty but in turning to the Lord, he/she can receive strength and peace (Ps 46:1; Phil 4:7).

3. You may feel an emotional loss on the divorce from a spouse or the death of a loved one but God promises that you are not alone and that He will never leave or forsake you (Deut 31:6).
4. You may feel overwhelmed picking up the pieces of your life, but, by turning to the living God, you will be renewed; because God makes all things new again (Isaiah 43:19).

When You Are in Doubt, Seek God, and Trust Him

Friends,

I have come to a time in my life where I must seek God and trust Him.  Sometimes, we need God to shape our lives and tell us what our next step is. We need to stop, look, listen and obey Him, so we can be assured that we are on the right road and will not have to turn around or go off-course. When God has directed us, or we have been put in a situation that we simply do not understand, we should not doubt God, just trust Him.

We remember in Genesis 37, the fate of Joseph, one of Jacob’s son, who Jacob favored; and the older brothers envied him and later sold him to the Ishmaelites, who in turn sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard. God blessed Joseph to a high position, but Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph and when she could not get her way, she lied about Joseph and Joseph was put in prison.

While in prison, Joseph interpreted dreams for the chief butler and the baker. The chief butler remembered Joseph two years later when Pharaoh had a dream and no one could interpret it. God used Joseph not only to interpret the dream about the seven year famine that Egypt was going to experience, but also to be Governor  in charge of storing the food. He was instrumental in providing for the people of Israel during the famine.

God knows everything about us and He is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2). We should feel confident and not be worried when we go through trials. God’s plans will come to fruition (Jer 29:11). When we are in doubt, we must seek God and trust Him.

In Christ,

Joan M. Blake

The Insignificant Bell

You are probably wondering from where did I obtain this title? As an exercise during a women’s retreat, each person was asked to choose something from the table that had  meaning to her. I chose a tiny insignificant bell.

That bell may be different to other bells by size, weight and color but the similarity was that it could do something; it had sound. That reminds us that although we are all different and may feel that our impact in God’s kingdom is insignificant, God does not look at us in that way. God has given each of us many gifts and God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (1 Cor 1:27). Regardless of who you are, where you have been, how you feel, God has positioned you on this earth to do exploits for Him (Dan 11:32).

Begin to ring your bell regardless of how insignificant your bell may seem.  Effect change in the lives of others by showing love, compassion and  encouragement. God delights in using you as his insignificant bell and He gets the glory out of your life.

May God Bless you

Joan M. Blake

 

 

Easter, A Season to Rise up

Christians celebrate Easter by attending church services. Easter day is known as Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday by some.

We celebrate Easter Sunday because God showed His love towards us by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, Our Savior, who knew no sin, to die in our place. Jesus rose again, and now, advocates for us before the Father. When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, and when we confess and repent of our sin, God is faithful and forgives us from all our faults (1 John 1:9). Do we understand God’s gift of love?

His love is a gift because we could never earn his love. It is by grace that we are saved (Eph 2:8); we have been bought with a price (1 Co 6:20). When we understand the true meaning of God’s gift of love, we will rise up from our feelings of sadness, loneliness, fear, and hopelessness and receive the gift of love that God so earnestly wants us to receive. Most of all, we will refuse to live in the past, and instead, embrace the hope and future that God has prepared for us before the foundation of the world (Jer 29:11).

May God richly bless you this Easter season.

Joan M. Blake

Learn three Reasons why You Should Rise up

I want to define what I think Rise up means and why you should rise up.

Rise up, for me, is taking a close look at yourself: what you have done in the past, where you are currently and establishing goals for your future.

If you are in an abusive relationship, for example, you should first, rise up to the reality of the situation and do something about it. You should seek out a counselor, with or without your partner, someone you can trust.

Secondly, if the situation becomes unbearable, you need to seek another level of care where you can be safe. You may need to move from your premises and get legal protection.

Thirdly, do not submit to a feeling of loneliness. Remember, you are not alone, for God is always with you. You are God’s and He is yours. Your strength and courage come from Him (Joshua 1:9).This is the time to pray as never before. Join a support group where you can share and obtain support from others who are going through similar struggles.

If you will like to get more tips on how you should rise up, read my book, Rise up: How to Overcome Your Battles Utilizing Faith and Belief in God. Log on here to obtain your copy.

Life-the Reason for the Season

According to John’s Gospel, Jesus is the Word who came into the world and dwelt among us. Because Jesus was the light that brought life (John 1:1-4)  and freedom to us, we need not settle for a life of bondage.

Instead, we should experience a life filled with the fruit of the Spirit, which includes love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Gal 5:22). When we release the fruit of the Spirit, we experience newness of life.

During this Season, let us renew our minds and imitate Christ by living a life of peace, by loving others and by our acts of kindness. Only then, we can say:” It is with joy that we celebrate the birth of Jesus and that He is the reason for the season.”

May you have a wonderful season of blessings, as you interact with family and friends.

In Christ,
Joan M. Blake

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated annually, on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States. What the pilgrims started in the seventeenth century to give God thanks for a plentiful harvest, has continued even in the 21st century by all of us.

We give God thanks not only for the life that He has given us, but the strength to go through tough times, for His manifold blessings, for the faith to overcome our struggles, for God’s provision, for His favor, for His faithfulness,  for the hope He has given us, and most of all, for His love.

We thank God for His love, because we can be assured that nothing can separate us from His love Rom 8:35. When everyone has turned their backs on us or when there is pain or suffering, God is there. He promises never to leave or forsake us Jos 1:5; we serve a mighty God. Thank Him today for who He is.

Success is a Journey through Life

Many of us have had to make decisions as we travel through life. We become frustrated with our decisions in college, work, business, and other situations. We felt that we arrived at success only to start again. The frustration comes from viewing success as an actual destination. According to John Maxwell, in his book, The Success Journey, success is simply a journey, not a destination. Today, I will define success, discuss life-changing circumstances that tend to hinder our success, and finally, relate stories of two women who were faced with adversity, who instead of living defeated lives, chose to live successfully.

Success is a journey where you acquire skills overtime and know your purpose in life. Everyone has a purpose in life and everyone is on his/her own success journey. Failures and disappointments are catalysts to your success. You have a goal and you have decided to accomplish it regardless if you fail and become disappointed. When we view success from the angle of wealth, possessions and power, we are assuming that everyone should arrive at success this way. Some people are not always happy even with wealth, and we hear of traumatic incidents with people having wealth. Those incidents happened to people because they failed to know what their purposes in life were. Others have life-changing circumstances that hinder their growth and goals.

Life-changing circumstances could include an empty nest, where children have left for college, a divorce, loss of a job, a failure of a business, past abuse by family members, lengthy sickness of a loved one, a death of a loved one; they may tend to cause people to stop pursuing their dreams. According to John Maxwell, these failures or disappointments are catalysts to success. This means that your failure or disappointment should give you an opportunity to be successful at something else. Although we are human beings and we feel pain, we must rise to the occasion and move forward to success. We are given this life to make a difference in the life of others and if we become depressed, sluggish, or inactive, we simply cannot know our purpose in life and achieve success.

The following stories relate to two women who have touched my life in significant ways and whose disappointments changed the course of history and they not only touched other lives but became success stories.

I first saw this story as a documentary on television. It’s about Jessica Long who came from Bratsk Siberia. She was one of several siblings, who at the age of 13months, was orphaned in Russia, because her parents could no longer care for her because she had a rare illness called Fibular Hemimelia. Her lower legs were amputated when she was 18months, but that did not prevent her from being adopted by an American couple from Baltimore, Maryland. Living as a double amputee, Jessica began swimming and became a gold-medalist with 13 or more world records that she received in the Paralympic sports. Her success did not end there. Jessica’s purpose in life was to go back to her roots, that she never knew, and reunite with her parents and siblings. Without hate for her parents or siblings, without the pain of abandonment, but with joy, she finished her journey by re-uniting with her parents and siblings, and was able to assist them financially.

Joni Erickson Tada, at the age of 17 loved to ride horses. She also enjoyed swimming and went to swim with some friends and thinking that the lake was deep, dove right into a shallow lake and broke her neck, paralyzing her body from the neck down. For two years she stayed in rehabilitation wondering how she would make it. She contemplated suicide and asked her friends to help. Her hopes were gone; she didn’t want to live. She found a friend in the rehab that helped her find the answers to her questions in the Bible. Joni went on to get married and she and her husband traveled everywhere telling her story. She wrote books using a pen in her mouth. She has written over 13 books. Although she felt helpless, she knew her purpose, which was telling her story and bringing the gospel to others.

I want to encourage you, that whatever you are going through, know that the situation cannot change who you are, and cannot alter your purpose. Success is not a destination, but a journey, which comes about when you know your purpose and when you can rise up to every challenge that comes your way.

I Can Overcome Hills and Mountains

Over the hills and mountains, I climb,
Persevering to see my Savior and to draw close to Him.
Sometimes I slip, sometimes I fall,
But He is always faithful to pick me up.

He provides the hills and the mountains as challenges
To show me how excellent He has been to me.
He has shown me daily that the mountains I can overcome,
And the valleys I can be lifted from.

This poem was taken from Prayer and Meditation: Finding Comfort, Hope, and Purpose in the Midst of Your Storm by Author Joan M. Blake Copyright 2011 all rights reserved. Published by Key to Life Publishing Company.