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You have done many good things for me, Lord, just as you promised. Psalm 119:65 (NLT)

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

As I write this post our nation is watching as fires of epic proportions and disastrous flooding inundates our beautiful countryside. From a distance we watch the devastation unfold. To most of us, it’s a news story with little or no personal connection. To those connected in anyway it will be remembered as one of the darkest periods in their lives as memories and perhaps even lives are wiped away in an instant.

As I read Psalm 119:26 the words of the old hymn “Count your blessings” came to mind. Counting your blessings is easy when you are removed from hardship. When life is good, the bills are paid, the kids are behaving and your spouse is understanding and helpful, counting your blessings is fun. Oddly enough, counting your blessings is more important when life is hard than when it is good.

When the hard times of life come and you see no hope remember what the Lord has done for you. When sleep evades you and you lie awake at night, use that time to think back over the positive things that God has brought into your life. Sometimes it will be difficult. Other times it may be impossible. The last thing the enemy wants you to do is to count your blessings because counting your blessings destroys despair.

The Psalmist knew the secret power of praise. He knew that looking back was the best way to move forward because looking back showed us the reality of God’s presence in our lives.

I can’t imagine the devastation of standing hopelessly by and watching my home and all the things I’ve worked for go up in smoke. I’ve been blessed thus far in the fact that a flood has never washed away my dreams. But I’ve seen the devastation of divorce. I’ve struggled with job loss, with financial devastation and poor choices. In the midst of those times when the memories of the past threaten to paralyze my future, I can look back and see that even in those darkest times my Heavenly Father has never left my side.

“You have done many good things for me Lord, just as you promised.”

The promises of God are unchangeable. The promises of God are not influenced by natural disaster or political grandstanding. The promises of God are unlimited. He will never leave us or forsake us because of his great love.

PRAYER: Father, today my prayer is simply the prayer of the psalmist. You have done many good things for me, just as you promised, and for that I praise you. Amen.


It is God Who covers me with strength and makes my way perfect. Psalm 18:32 (NLV)

The wild fire roared through the farmstead destroying every thing in its path. The storm of flames left behind the charred remains of the farmer’s livestock, his home and his out buildings. Although his family was saved, his entire livelihood was gone.

As he shuffled through the dust and ashes he looked towards a still smoke-filled sky. “Show me one sign that you want me to continue on, “He prayed to his God. As he continued on his foot kicked against a blackened lump in the dust. What turned out to be the charred remains of a hen skittered across the ground and then flipped over. A small, yellow chick struggled from the midst of the ashes of its dead mother.

“I have covered you with my strength” the young farmer heard almost audibly. His sign delivered, he looked again at the farmyard and began to think of his future, a future build on God’s protection.

God’s protection doesn’t always come to us in a physical way. Indeed, all our senses perceive can be taken from us in a flash. But His strength goes beyond our senses. His strength goes beyond our understanding.

The clothing of the Middle Eastern person in Biblical times was never complete without a girdle, a piece of clothing that offered strength to the loins as they walked the wilderness paths. It kept them physically protected, kept their robes in place and offered a place for a sword if necessary.

This is the picture the Psalmist gives us in Psalm 18. Like the chicken that protected its young, God’s protection completely engulfs us. The rest of the world as we know it may fall away. All we hope for may be dashed upon the rocks. But God’s protection goes beyond whatever is attacking you today.

Regardless of how bad things seem now. No matter how much desolation, hopelessness and devastation you may see right now in your finances, your relationships or your health remember that your strength was never intended to see you through. Overcoming the obstacles of life always comes from God’s strength.

The young farmer could have looked out over his fire-swept farm and given up. But he sought one small sign, a struggling, chirping chick and from that rebuilt his farm as well as his faith in an almighty, protecting God.

PRAYER: Father, it’s hard to see positive things in the midst of all the trials of my life. Thank you for your promise of protection. Gird me with your strength so that the battles of my life will not overcome me. Amen


The worst of my fears has come true, what I’ve dreaded most has happened. Job 3:25 (The Msg)

Ever gone through day or a period in your life when absolutely EVERYTHING seems to go wrong? I don’t just mean little things like burning your toast in the morning, being late to work because you were stuck in traffic or having a flat tire on the interstate in a driving rain.

These are difficult things to go through but nothing compared to Job. He’d lost his children, his wealth, the position of respect in his community and his health. Even his wife had withdrawn from him at his deepest time of need. He was all alone and in physical, emotional and spiritual agony. To top things off he had three visitors who claimed to be friends. They took on the self-appointed position of judge, pointing out all the things that they knew about how ‘wrong Job was’!

While few of us have ever gone through the devastation Job endured there are times in our lives when things are so bad that we are unsure that we will be able to go on. The death of a dearly loved family member or friend; the end of a relationship in which you thought ‘everything was fine’; financial collapse; watching a loved one die of some disease, or finding out you are dying from some disease. All of these and more can cause us to lose all hope in ourselves, God or others.

While there aren’t any easy, quick fixes to the pain and despair that life deals us, there are a few things that may help ease the pain for a time.

  • Don’t instantly blame yourself. Job lived a nearly perfect life in God’s eyes yet endured unheard of pain. Take stock of the situation. Sometimes we have to admit that the things we are going through are consequences to our own choices. Ask Jesus to forgive you for your part and to give you strength to make it through the time of ‘discipline’ we call consequences.
  • Realize that sometimes the pain we go through has nothing to do with us. It could be God’s way of strengthening us for the challenges we face tomorrow. It could be God’s way of empowering us to help those who have gone through similar devastation.
  • Listen carefully to friend’s advice and measure it up against what you know. Sometimes even the most well-meaning friends are just plain wrong! Even pastors and spiritual leaders can be wrong sometimes. True, Christ-following friends won’t be critical or harsh. They will love you and support you and gently walk with you through the darkness.
  • Don’t just go looking for people to agree with you. But remember that it is God who judges and He alone knows the reason for your pain. Continue to grow in your relationship with Him. Don’t abandon Him. In the darkest night He is the only true light.
  • Most importantly, in spite of your pain and anger and despair, don’t turn your back on God. Even though things seem impossibly painful God DOES love you and has the power to see you through anything, ANYTHING life throws at you.  Talk to Him. Read His love letter to us (the Bible). Ask Him for wisdom and strength to make it through life’s challenges.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I’m about at the end of my strength. I’ve even thought of just ending it all because I’m not sure I can go on. You say you are there and I want to believe it but sometimes the darkness is too overwhelming. Please help me to see you in all this. Empower me through your Holy Spirit to sense the peace and love that passes all understanding. Right now I need to feel your love. Amen.

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