Growing in a Hard Place

Last summer while on vacation with my husband, I witnessed one little flower after another growing in hard places—in the nooks and crannies of rocky formations above tree line in Colorado.

I spotted the flowers pictured above in the Mount Evans Wilderness area. The flowers found there (and in other alpine regions throughout the world) display a delicate but hearty beauty that seems to cry out, “Look at me! I made it! I’m growing in a hard place. I’ve survived harsh conditions and my beauty is declaring God’s glory!”

And today we each have an opportunity to be like the alpine flowers—we can grow in the hard places we find ourselves in.

Due to the current worldwide coronavirus pandemic, we have literally been thrust into harsh conditions—threat of illness and possible death of ourselves and our loved ones, social isolation as we join together separately to rob the virus of opportunity to spread, financial losses and loss of jobs for many, and an inadequate supply of medical supplies, food, and other product shortages as people panic and start hoarding. Most of us have also had to place certain plans or events on hold—some of them very important like graduations and weddings.

Some of us are dealing with living in other hard places at the same time. Some may be grieving the loss of a mate, family member, or friend. Others may be struggling to keep a marriage afloat. Some are living with chronic pain or long-term health problems and some are even battling cancer or other life-threatening illnesses.

As we each struggle with our own set of harsh conditions, let’s remember that if we hang on, the beauty will come. Persevering and overcoming struggles always serve to make us better, to help us grow. We will have the chance to declare to the world, “Look at me! I made it! I’m growing in a hard place and I’m declaring God’s glory!”

Hang on, friends. God will see us through—and oh, what beauty will come!

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 1 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV

*Are you seeing any beauty in your circumstances yet?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Amazon and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo

Marching Orders to Strengthen You

“March on, my soul; be strong!” Judges 5:21 NIV

I saw this verse years ago in one of Beth Moore’s blog posts. She was sharing scriptures about marching since it was the month of March, and I instantly fell in love with these simple yet powerful words: “March on, my soul; be strong!” And today in the midst of the national emergency we find ourselves in regarding COVID-19, these words take on new meaning.

Just reading or saying these precious words from the Word of God seems to infuse my soul with his encouragement and strength. I think most of us probably feel the need for such encouragement on a daily basis as we face the challenges of life, but there are times when the need for fresh strength eclipses everything else.

Are we faced with a difficult road to travel this month? Yes. Do fear and uncertainty loom ahead? Yes. Are we worried about the pandemic? Yes. And maybe some of us are facing other difficult roads as well. Maybe a continuation of an already difficult journey where no end is in sight.

Whatever the case, let’s allow the breath of heaven—the Word of God—to give us our marching orders and the strength to carry them out. Let’s march on!

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.” Psalm 84:5 NIV

*What has God done recently to strengthen you for a difficult road?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by NINXIVICreative Commons License

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Living a Life of Perseverance

My year-long blog series of sentence prayers inviting God’s power comes to an end today with our focus turning to perseverance. A fitting conclusion to help us all face the future and whatever challenges may come our way, right?

Perseverance is that quality, that determination we need to press on to achieve goals or to not give up in the midst of difficult life situations. And we will need it time and again throughout our lives. Some of us, depending on our situations, need it on an on-going basis.

May the following sentence prayers help you stand strong as you call on God to help you persevere. Be encouraged today, friends, and I pray that this blog series has been a help to you. May it bless you now and in the future as well!

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Living a Life of Perseverance

  1. Father, when I’m tempted to give up, remind me of all that Jesus endured and how he pressed on until his mission was completed. (Romans 12:3; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:51; John 19:30)
  2. Lord, empower me to follow your persevering example of love and forgiveness extended to all. (Psalm 89:28; Psalm 136; Lamentations 3:22-23; Matthew 18:21-22; Luke 6:36; Romans 8:38-39; Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:9)
  3. Father, encourage me in perseverance with powerful verses from your Word and give me the wisdom and the self-discipline to hide them in my heart. (Deuteronomy 32:47; Psalm 119:11, 28; Jeremiah 15:16; 2 Timothy 3:16)
  4. Lord, bring people into my life at just the right time to give the encouragement and help I need to not give up. (Exodus 17:8-13; Judges 20:22; Acts 15:32; 28:15; 1 Thessalonians 3;2; 5:11)
  5. Lord, help me keep my eyes on you and on the prize—the goal achieved, the finish line. (Hebrews 12:1-3; Luke 13:32; 1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 3:13-14)
  6. Father, protect me from Satan and help me stand firm against him when he tries to discourage and defeat me. (Psalm 31:8; 108;12; Ephesians 6:11, 13-18; 1 Peter 5:8)
  7. Lord, be my source of strength as I persevere in faith, in challenges, and in my life circumstances. (2 Chronicles 16:9; Psalm 18:1-2; 89:21; Isaiah 41:10; Ephesians 3:16; Colossians 2:6-7)

May God strengthen us all to live lives of perseverance for his glory!

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NIV

*Which of these prayers speak most powerfully to your needs today?

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by pocketwiley, Creative Commons License

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Spiritual Battles

*Fyi, I’ll be taking a blogging break the rest of the month. See you back here in early August!

As believers, we have an enemy and his name is Satan (also known as the devil). In Scripture we first see him in the Garden of Eden (appearing as a serpent) where he deceives Adam and Eve and convinces them to sin—to go against God’s instructions (Genesis 3.) And he has been attempting to deceive and tempt all humanity ever since. Even Jesus was not exempt from his attacks (Matthew 4:1-11.)

Since we need the very power of God to take our stand against Satan, this month’s installment of my blog series (featuring sentence prayers that invite God’s power) will arm you with prayers for spiritual battles.  

Satan is indeed a formidable foe but our God is greater. In fact, God proved that and won the ultimate victory when Jesus paid for all our sins on the cross and then was raised to life again. For now, though, we wait for Jesus’ second coming when he will put an end to Satan and his reign on the earth once and for all.

May the following sentence prayers help equip you for battles with the enemy. Be strengthened and blessed as you pray, my friends!

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Spiritual Battles

  1. Lord, when the enemy comes against me, surround me with your peace and your protection like the mountains surrounding Jerusalem. (Psalm 125:2; John 17:15)
  2. Father, remind me to daily put on the armor of God—the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with readiness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit which is your Word—so that I can take my stand against the evil one. (Ephesians 6:10-17)
  3. Lord, help me be alert to Satan and his schemes and to guard myself against them. (Ephesians 6:11-12; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 Corinthians 16:13)
  4. Lord, throw my enemy Satan and his demonic cohorts into confusion as they attack, trying to steal, kill, and destroy the good you are doing in and through my life. (Exodus 14:14; Joshua 10:10; John 10:10)
  5. Father, help me to resist Satan’s attacks with all the power you make available to me as your child. (James 4:7; Ephesians 1:18-20; 6:13)
  6. Lord, as I resist the attacks of the evil one, remind me to pray by the power of your Holy Spirit on every occasion, knowing that the power to gain victory lies in you. (Ephesians 6:18; Romans 8:26-27)
  7. Father, when I am in a spiritual battle, impress on fellow believers the need to hold me up in prayer. (John 16:13; Romans 15:30; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 1:19; James 5:16)

I pray that having these prayers at the ready will strengthen and comfort you as you face spiritual battles. And remember, Jesus is interceding for you too! (Romans 8:34)

“‘My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.’” John 17:15 NIV

*Which of these prayers do you most need to pray today?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out August 1st. One lucky subscriber will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.) p.s. If you sign up after 7-26, you will be included in all future Life Notes giveaways but not in this current giveaway.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo

Guest Blogger Debra Butterfield: Are You Fully Convinced?

What does it mean to be fully convinced—of anything?

It means to be absolutely certain, have no doubts, that something will be accomplished.

Are you fully convinced the sun will set tonight? I’d say so. You probably didn’t even give it a thought, otherwise, you’d be in a panic.

Stop and think about what being certain of something does for you.

You have no doubts. You have confidence in its occurrence. You have peace.

Are you fully convinced you’ll overcome any tough situation that might come your way?

Your certainty may have vanished before you finished reading that sentence.

When I landed in a hospital bed for six days back in December 2017, I came face to face with my anemic faith in God. I lacked any kind of certainty—beyond my salvation—in God’s Word. It was time for that to end!

I am a soldier. I had a soldier mindset before I joined the Marine Corps, and my time in the service fine-tuned that mindset. Now I am a soldier in the Lord’s army. Often when God teaches me something new, He does it through military analogies.

When Marines go into battle, they know they are not fighting alone. Every Marine in their unit is fighting alongside them. Additionally, they know they have the fire power of US tanks, warships, missiles, fighter jets, and bombers to back them up.

And when they fight, they fight intent on winning.

In Jesus’ day, Roman soldiers were told to come home a winner or don’t come home at all! They went into battle determined and convinced they would win.

We can enter any situation being fully convinced we’ll win!

“How?” you ask.

By knowing what the Bible has to say. But we can’t read a Scripture just once and be fully convinced. We must know that we know that we know. That’s what being convinced is.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8 NKJV, emphasis added)

To be fully convinced we must know what God’s Word says and spend time renewing our mind in that truth.

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2 NKJV). The New Living Translation puts it this way, “but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”

We are the body of Christ. (1 Cor. 12:27)

God’s power dwells in us. (Eph. 3:19-20)

Is there any power greater than God?

No!

Can God lie?

No!

Has He made promises?

Yes! And in Him all His promises are yes and amen (1 Cor. 1:20). If He failed to keep His promises, He would be a liar and would be breaking His covenant with Jesus.

We are not alone in our battles. God is always with us. And we are “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37).

Meditate on God’s Word so you can become fully convinced.

“I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me” (Psalm 16:8 NLT).

*What do you need to be fully convinced of today?

Debra Butterfield’s newest book is Unshakable Faith: Living Strong in the Kingdom of God, a Bible study designed to help readers leave their doubts behind and live a bold, confident life for God. She writes a blog for writers at DebraLButterfield.com, and is the editorial director of CrossRiver Media Group, LLC, a publishing house. You may also find Debra on Facebook and Twitter.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.