God’s Promise of Restoration

God’s Promise of Restoration

The heaviness in my heart was palpable, dampening my spirit, and darkening my mood. In a word, I felt defeated, reflecting on the loss of relationships, time, and even hope. Why? I wondered why I continued to pour myself into things that offered little freedom, healing, or benefit. I needed help and I turned to the promise of God’s restoration.

Settling in to listen to the Sunday message at church, weariness blanketed me like a fog. My sacrifices over the past months weighed heavy on my heart and mind. I wondered if they’d bear any tangible fruit.

My heart wailed, “What’s it all for? Why, Lord, am I going through this?” A full-blown self-pity party threatened to overtake me and I wondered if the Lord had any encouragement to offer.

He did.

Divine Restoration in the Bible

A visiting missionary delivered the sermon that morning—it was a captivating message of God’s love and provision. He pointed to divine restoration in the Bible and shared personal stories of God’s care and generosity. His message proclaimed the love and care of our Heavenly Father who poured out compassion in the most distressing, hopeless situations.

I felt I was in a distressing, hopeless situation too. Would the Lord show me His mercy?

The missionary shared countless Bible verses but one delivered a spark of hope to my hurting heart:

“And everyone who has left houses, brothers or sisters, father or mother, children or friends because of My name will receive 100 times more and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29 HCSB).

God’s Promise of Restoration

The Lord sees our sacrifice. He is keenly aware of what we give up for Him and will replenish our dry cisterns. God allows hardships but promises restoration.

He promises it.

What does it mean to be restored by God?

My mind traveled to Job of the Bible who lost his servants, children, livestock, livelihood, and his health. In the early chapters of this book, we’re given a glimpse of Job’s estate. It included 7,000 sheep 3,000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a very large number of servants (see Job 1:2).

After all the tragedy and loss Job endured, we see God’s restoration and learn that He doubled Job’s prior possessions. “The LORD blessed the last part of Job’s life more than the first. He owned 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters” (Job 42:12-13, HCSB).

The Meaning of Restoration in the Bible

Unquestionably, the new possessions did not erase the horrific pain of prior loss, but God generously restored even more than Job’s sacrifice, and through the journey restored his hope and peace. The Lord counted Job’s cost. He measured it, and He restored it in double portion. To restore, in a Biblical sense, means to complete, to make amends, and to prosper. Just as we see in Job’s example. Or through the promise of Joel 2:25 (shared below). And we also see it in personal examples of our daily lives.

As I listened and reflected on the missionary’s testimony, I realized the question is not if God will reveal blessing, but when. I felt the Holy Spirit providing assurance that the offering I considered sacrificial would bear Kingdom-sized fruit in God’s perfect timing— and lasting fruit at that.

My heart found refreshing rest in the promises of Gods Word. I received and embraced the encouragement I believe He meant for me.

God’s Word says that when we walk in obedience, He will “restore your fortunes, have compassion on you, and gather you again…” (Deuteronomy 30:3, HCSB)).

The promise of Joel 2:25a (ESV) says,
“I will restore  to you the years
    that the swarming locust has eaten, 

Personal Examples of God’s Restoration

I began to recall personal examples of times God has proved this to me in the past:

God’s Restoration of Time

It’s not uncommon for me to wake in the morning and think, “I have too much going on today, there’s no time for Bible devotions.” On days when I listen to that logic and forgo my time in the Word, my day is nearly always in disarray with one appointment crashing into the next. I run late, experience conflict, and I’m not on my best game. But when I get on my knees before the Lord—even when I feel I don’t have time— I see a level of efficiency and grace throughout my day that I recognize as God’s blessing. It’s no coincidence. God restores the sacrifice of time.

God’s Restoration of Finances

There are times when the Lord prompts us to financially give beyond what we feel we can afford. When we allow human logic and a glance at our bank account to lead us to a decision, we struggle to make ends meet. But when we obey the Lord’s direction, our needs are met in every instance. It’s no coincidence. God restores the sacrifice of financial giving.

God’s Restoration of Sacrifice

When we’re asked to give our time serving others, I’ll admit I’ve grumbled on occasion. After all, my own yard needs a tremendous level of attention, yet God asked that I help someone else with theirs. It’s humbling in such times to see God’s hand of returned blessing when a neighbor plows the snow from our very long driveway. It’s no coincidence. God restores the sacrifice of obedience.

God loves us with an everlasting love. He gives us all that we need at the precise moment that it’s needed. It blesses Him to restore our sacrifice with a lavished bounty. That’s a bit hard to grasp, but we see it played out.

 

Hope for Today

If you are struggling as we all do sometimes, wondering when the Lord will restore what you have sacrificed, I encourage you to abide in the Lord and trust. God sees everything that you are doing. He knows your heart, your motivation, your level of weariness, and your breaking point. He’s right beside you, providing strength and perseverance to go the distance. Hang in there and wait with expectation. In the fullness of time, He will reveal His plan and show you the fruit of your faithfulness.

Maybe you’ve walked a similar journey and have seen the Lord’s generosity. Your story is sure to encourage others. Please share it with us!

 

 


Calm Anxiety with the Truth of God

Calm Anxiety with the Truth of God

It seems that more people are feeling anxious than ever. The truth is, to stop fretting from the uncertainties of today’s world, we can all calm anxiety with the truth of God.

I certainly need wisdom to learn how to give my anxiety to God. Each post in this series points to what God says about anxiety and uses Scripture to help embrace His truth. The Bible allows us to focus on God as the authentic Source of our peace.

Hope for Today—a Bible Verse for Anxiety

Today’s Bible verse for anxiety is one that, at its surface, almost sounds too good to be true.

John 14:1 (HCSB)
Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.

It can seem as if these words of Jesus are oversimplified. How do we gain freedom from a troubled heart by simply believing? God provides a glimpse of His powerful intent for these words. If we desire freedom from a troubled heart, we must believe in God and His Son. That’s what it looks like to calm anxiety with the truth of God.

Before this Bible verse could have it’s powerful, calming impact in my life, I had to analyze what I believed. During past periods of hardship and anxious thinking, I began to believe some incorrect things about the Lord. Those thoughts clouded what the Bible teaches is true. For example, when experiencing past trials:

  • I’ve believed God was no longer for me,
  • Or that He stopped caring about the people I love.
  • In the past, I’ve believed that my sin was too great to be covered by the blood of Jesus,
  • And that I was too disgraceful to receive forgiveness.
  • I believed that the Lord abandoned me
  • Or that I was being punished.

Each statement is completely untrue. If I believe false truths about Jesus, I have no hope to calm or overcoming anxiety.

Calm Anxiety With the Truth of God

To calm my troubled heart, I must believe the truth about God and that truth is found in His Word. When I believe that His love covers a multitude of sins, including my own, then I receive hope for a blessed future walking in the Lord’s favor. By believing that He is a loving Father, I can embrace my identity as His child and know that He is for me. When God allows struggles into my life, they are filtered through His loving kindness.  With the belief that God has a good plan for His children, I know  He is always working for my good and His glory.

It’s not enough to believe in a God about whom I’ve formed my own perception —especially one based on emotion and disappointments. Complete peace comes when I believe in the God of the Bible—when I believe who God says He is in His Word. The more I read His Word, the more I begin to know and understand His character, His nature, and His ways. A deeper connection and relationship with my Heavenly Father emerge out of the time that I spend with Him. There, I find perfect peace that calms anxiety.

How Do I Overcome Anxiety?

Part of the formula I’ve discovered to calm anxiety is to remain mindful of it. I’ve learned that I cannot allow it to run rampant through my heart and mind or my anxious thoughts will continue to multiply within me.  I must tame my thought patterns, and that requires smothering them with the truth of Scripture. When my mind is filled with God’s truth, there’s no room for it to wander off into negative, anxious, and destructive thinking. The Bible is filled with God’s wisdom and instruction that deliver His authentic and unwavering peace. By relying on Him, I can calm anxiety and embrace joy in my jumbled life.   May you discover our holy God through His Word today,

The Journey of Calming Anxiety

If you’re wondering how to calm anxiety fast, I invite you to read more through other posts in this powerful series:

Calm Anxiety with God’s Power2 Timothy 1:7

How to Calm Anxiety and Find SleepPsalm 4:8 and Proverbs 3:24

Finding Peace Through Humility1 Peter 5:6-7

Calming Anxiety Through GratitudePhilippians 4:6-7

Calming Anxiety Through SurrenderIsaiah 41:10

Calm Anxiety with Focus on ChristIsaiah 26:3

 

 

 

 

Calm Anxiety with the Truth of God

Calm Anxiety with Focus on Christ

Calm Anxiety with Focus on Christ

Anxiety, whether common anxiety over life issues or an anxiety disorder, is something that plagues our minds. It takes root in our thought lives and can disrupt so much more: our energy levels, concentration, eating habits, sleep, communication, relationships, you name it! The real struggle is in what we ponder. That’s how we can calm anxiety with a focus on Christ, and why today’s verse is so powerful.

Isaiah 26:3
You will keep the mind that is dependent on You
in perfect peace,
for it is trusting in You (HCSB)

 

The more we focus on God, the more we receive His peace. The HCSB says peace comes when our minds are dependent on God. Other Bible translations use the terms “stayed,” “fixed,” or “steadfast.” Each points us in the same direction. When God is the center of our focus, we trust in Him and He brings peace. Perfect peace. That peace is unwavering and able to withstand anything that comes at us.

 

How to Calm Anxiety with Focus on Christ

How do we focus on God? Is there a way to develop a steadfast thought life that holds Christ in the center? It takes practice, first and foremost. And we start one step at a time. Here are some practices that help me when my thoughts threaten to take a dangerous path of worry and anxiety:

 

Read more of God’s Word.

My aim is to read Scripture every day. I don’t give myself a set assignment like reading an entire chapter or three. My days are too sporadic for that. Sometimes I have lots of time to read and other days it feels like my feet are running on a treadmill before I ever even get out of bed. As I read daily Scripture, sometimes it’s one verse. Sometimes it’s an entire book of the Bible. It truly doesn’t matter. If I’m reading His Word, it is an aid to keep my mind fixed on God.

Pray and ask for focus.

As I turn my mind to focus on God, I’m trying to accomplish a spiritual discipline. Accomplishing a spiritual discipline is not possible with fleshly strength. It’s important to ask for the Lord’s help in my endeavor and accept His supernatural and divine help. I am not alone in this task; God is by my side, aiding and equipping me along the way.

Place visual and electronic reminders.

It helps a LOT to have a Bible verse taped to the bathroom mirror, or to my dashboard, or as wallpaper on my phone. Another tool is setting an electronic alarm as a reminder to take a break for 5 minutes and read or re-read a verse or passage each day. Lastly, when making the bed, I sometimes place my Bible on my pillow to remind myself to read the Word once again before I drift off to sleep.

Listen to podcasts or watch videos that pertain to the Bible.

I find this a great way to use my drive time or chore time to help my thought habits. ** If you’d like to listen in, I have a FREE daily video devotion series on YouTube.**

Find accountability.

Often, I’ll ask a friend, mentor, or even my husband to check in with me from time to time and ask if I’ve been in God’s Word each day. If I know I’ll have to answer to someone, even casually, I’m much more diligent in my efforts. Accountability can go a long way in strengthening my thought life and fixing it on God.

 

Which of these tips do you find most helpful? Are there practices that you use that I didn’t share? Please tell me about them in the comments. I’d love to hear!

For additional inspiration about calming anxiety, be sure to read the rest of this 7-part series.

May you find great peace today as you fix your mind on Christ,

 

 

 

 

Calm Anxiety with Focus on Christ

 

 

Calm Anxiety through Focus on Christ

 

 

 

Calm Anxiety Through Surrender

Calm Anxiety Through Surrender

Mamas tend to worry. It’s what we do. We face more anxiety about our children than we ever dreamed possible, but we can calm anxiety through surrender to God.

 

I remember seasons when my kids were off to college, wrestling with feeling utterly out of control. And that’s because I was. We can teach, guide, counsel, and influence our kids until we’re blue in the face. But when it comes right down to it, they’ll make their own decisions. As parents, we have no way of controlling that.

 

I lost a lot of sleep in those college days, wishing I could be with my kiddos to guard and protect them and worrying over them because I couldn’t. There’s not much that’s fun about the early empty nest years, especially the tremendous concern that floods our hearts.

 

I’ll never forget a phone call during one of those heavy seasons. I talked with my son who said, “Mom, look up Isaiah 41:10. My coach showed it to me while we were on the bus to our last game.”

 

Once I looked up the verse it became a staple in our home. I cling to it often when I slip into my fearful, worrisome, and anxious tendencies.

 

Isaiah 41:10
Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand (HCSB).

 

How to Calm Anxiety Through Surrender

In his own way, my son was reminding me that God was tending to us both. The Lord was watching over me and guarding my troubled heart. He was also holding my son in the palm of His hand, caring for him in ways that I never could. The Lord would also watch over my daughter when it was time for her to move away. This verse reminded me of that and helped me rest in God’s protection.

 

Even when my kids are beyond my reach, I can trust that the Lord is caring for me, loving them like the gracious, protective, and tender-hearted Father that He is.

 

The Holy Spirit calls Isaiah 41:10 to my mind often, reminding me to surrender to God’s shielding care. It helps me release the protective hold I imagine that I have over my family and trust that God will handle all the details. I am not to be afraid because He is God, He is with me, He is with my family, and He helps and strengthens us all.

 

As you work to calm anxiety and worry today, take a moment to intentionally surrender your cares to God. Hold your hands in front of you, palms up, and relaxed, symbolizing that you’re releasing your grip on the things that trouble your heart. Then name them, one by one, and tell the Lord that you surrender each point of concern into His strong and loving care. Ask that He show you, moment by moment, how He holds you and your worries in His righteous right hand.

Be sure to read more of this 7-part blog series about calming anxiety!

May you find comfort in God’s Word,

 

 

 

Calming Anxiety Through Surrender

 

 

Calm Anxiety with God’s Power

Calm Anxiety with God’s Power

For many people, a change of seasons is a time to look back with satisfaction and look forward with eager expectation. But for some, it can bring an onslaught of anxiety. We can calm anxiety with God’s power, even during a time of transition when we cast off comfort and familiarity, trading them for the new and unfamiliar. Sadly, things we look forward to can bring dreadful feelings of uncertainty, insecurity, and apprehension—but they don’t have to!

By trusting in God’s power, we can calm anxiety naturally so that we can enjoy—rather than dread— things like new goals, challenges, jobs, upcoming family changes, the anticipation of forthcoming weddings, births, milestone birthdays, and other celebrations.

Focus on God to Calm Anxiety

During any time of year, one significant way to calm anxiety is to fix our focus firmly on the Lord. It’s important to remember that when we feel anxious we’re allowing our circumstance to take a higher priority in our lives than the character God and our relationship and reliance on Him. The solution is to refocus and allow God’s truth to fill our hearts and minds. This allows us to calm anxiety now. 

How to Calm Anxiety Naturally

Today we kick off a short blog series to discover how to calm anxiety naturally by leaning on the truth of God. In each post we’ll examine how the Bible can calm anxiety, providing a daily Bible verse in which the Holy Spirit points to peace and calm in the Lord’s presence.

Today’s Bible Verse About Fear and Worry

2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment (HCSB).

In different Bible translations, the term fearfulness is expressed as fear, timidity, and even cowardice. It conveys a lack of bravery, courage, and confidence. The Lord did not give us such a disposition. Instead, as this verse teaches, God provides us with a spirit of power, love, and sound judgment.

The verse says that God has given us power. We do not find power in our own strength, but through the power of Jesus Christ that resides in us. This is the same power that raised our Lord from the dead (see Ephesians 1:19-20). Such power is capable of far more than we can imagine, giving us the strength to face all circumstances, and even calm anxiety.

God also gives us love, which is the greatest of Christian qualities. It’s not fleshly, emotion-based love, rather it’s the perfect love of Christ, which as 1 Corinthians 13:7 states, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (HCSB).  This love helps us withstand trails, difficulties, fears, and anxiety.

Lastly, God provides sound judgment, sometimes translated as self-control. This encompasses our thoughts as much as our actions. Although it seems out of reach, we have the divinely-given ability to see ourselves as Jesus does: powerful and able as we walk in His strength.

Overcoming Anxiety with God

As your stay mindful today to calm anxiety with God’s power, work toward memorizing 2 Timothy 1:7.  Write it on a notecard or in your journal, then say it repeatedly until it begins to sink deep into not only your mind but your spirit. As you do, the truth of God will wash over your anxiety and bring you His perfect peace.

This post is part of a series. In invite you to read the next article about calming anxiety before bed.

Have a blessed, calm, and peaceful day as you allow the Word of the Lord to give you strength.

 

 

 

The Power of a Single Word

The Power of a Single Word

Overflow.

 

It was my “one word” for 2018. Not as part of a trendy fad, but as a gift from Jesus, the Living Word. It entered my life through Scripture-soaked encouragement from a friend. The Holy Spirit entwined the word into my heart. He helped it take root in the depths of my soul until it sprouted into anticipation of a generous harvest. I worked it, watered it, and tilled it with prayer, meditation, and expectancy.

 

I believed I was cultivating a lush garden where I could rest in tranquil shade. That’s when the storms arose. When we closed the calendar of 2018, I looked back on a year of overflow that was a sharp contrast to what I expected. I was still numb and slightly nauseous from twelve months of turbulence.

 

The Power of a Single Word

 

Throughout the year, our family enjoyed mountaintop highs. First came the glorious news of our daughter-in-law’s pregnancy. Then my daughter surprised us with victory over a lengthy struggle with infertility. Our first two grandchildren were miraculously born four weeks apart, bringing an overflow of indescribable gifts. We saw the Lord’s astonishing provision and relished in our resulting exhilaration.

 

But there were devastating lows, too. We plummeted when a colleague’s life was taken from him in an instant. Later in the year, my husband faced forced retirement from his job after three decades of faithful service. These events, steeped in loss and grief, brought overflowing confusion, sorrow, and brokenness.

 

It was a blustery season of rejoicing and despairing, of celebrating and mourning. The storm monopolized my focus until it was all I could see. Jesus seemed more distant than I could recall in recent memory. Even worship—when I’m usually most connected to Him—felt superficial at best. While my lips sang lyrics like “Yes, I will sing for joy when my heart is heavy,” my heart expressed fear and doubt to God. Read more. . .


 

I wrote this article for The Joyful Life Magazine where it is featured in its entirety. I invite you to join me there to read the full article and discover how the Lord used a year of turbulence to draw me closer to Him and envelop me in His unshakable joy.

Read the full article here

 

 

 

 

Word of the Year

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