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

Wait until Your Change Comes

Hello friends:

I want to encourage everyone who is going through a test in his/her life, to trust God. He does not lie (Numb 23:19). Wait on him regardless of how long it takes, for God is faithful (Deut 7:9). He promises never to leave or forsake you (Deut 31:8). Wait until your change comes.God has given me patience to wait on Him and I am so grateful that I have come to this point.

Now, I want to encourage you not to give up. God loves you and me and in the process of our difficulties, He is doing a makeover. Even when our problems are still unsolved, He is drawing us to himself, building our character, our faith, our patience, our love for one another and producing the fruit of the Spirit  (Gal 5:22-23) in our lives.

May God be praised.

In His Service,
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.

Understanding why we should pray

We should pray because prayer is approaching God in a spirit of worship, magnifying and exalting Him for who He is. Rev 4:11 states that God is worthy to receive honor, glory and power, for he created all things and by His will they exist and were created. He is Holy (Ps 99:5), the mighty God and the God of all Gods (Deut.10:17). He is faithful and just (Deut 7:9), the forgiver of our sins (Matt 9:6), our deliverer (Ps 18:1), and our sustainer (Ps 121:5), the one who opens doors that no one can shut (John10:9), our provider (2 Co 9:8), our healer (Ps103:3), and to Jesus our supreme authority, monarch of the universe, the giver of eternal life (John 17:2), to all who would believe in Him. You and I pray because God listens to our prayers (1Pet 3:12); He delights in our praises (Ps 22:3); He answers prayers according to His will; and change occurs. We recognize that we can do nothing without God and our earthly existence is dependent on Him.

Hope in the Midst of Despair

In the past months and prior, there has been tension in the USA and abroad over the killings of innocent people. You are wondering where is God in all of this? Do we still have hope?

My dear friends, God is still supreme in the midst of disaster; the plans He has for people and nations never change. We can go back in history and we notice that God’s plans for his people Israel didn’t fail. It started with Joseph, Jacob’s younger son, who was sold by his older brothers to the Ishmaelites, and who became a leader to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s captain of the guard. Joseph was put in charge of Potiphar’s household but Potiphar’s wife saw that as an opportunity to get close to Joseph and when Joseph didn’t respond to her advances, she had him put in jail.

But God gave Joseph favor in prison and the warden put Joseph in charge of the prisoners, and he interpreted dreams for the cupbearer and the baker who were previously employed by Pharaoh. The cupbearer was reinstated to his position while the baker was hanged. Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him, but two years past and nothing happened until Pharaohhad a dream and no one can interpret it. Joseph told him that there would be seven years of harvest followed by seven years of draught.

Joseph was placed as Governor of the whole region to oversee the food storage. Eventually, his brothers came from Canaan to purchase grain and recognized who he was and reconciled with Joseph. The entire family and other Canaanites moved to Egypt because of the economy, but Joseph had died and a new king was placed who did not spare anyone. When the Israelites had no livestock to barter for grain, they were forced to work as slaves. God heard their cry when they cried to God for help and this was the basis for the long road from Egypt back to Canaan.

God used Moses, with the rod, someone who couldn’t speak well, to speak to Pharaoh and tell him “Let my people go.” All the perils the Israelites experienced, including hunger and thirst, God provided with manna and water in the desert. The rod was used to bring about plagues in Egypt as well as to part the seas so that the Israelites could walk on dry land as well as bring the seas to its original place so that Pharaoh’s armies could be destroyed.

The Israelites were not a perfect people. They sinned by being angry, doubting God, and worshiping idols. Some died and never made it to the promised land. God has always given them as well as you and I, a second chance. His words were and still are: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and move from their wicked ways, I will hear their cries and heal their land.” God is saying this to us today. Will we hear his voice and turn from our wicked ways? If we do, He will heal our land. Prayer is the hope we have in God.