Is Your Soul Thirsting?

Have you ever gone for a walk outside in the heat? I have. Once I went for a walk early one morning at 8 am, but It was already hot, hot, hot outside. The prediction that day was 95 degrees by noon! Just about every neighbor had sprinklers on, splashing like crazy, hoping to protect their lawns. I felt like running through them but didn’t want to look too silly, so I kept on walking. (Although running through and then jumping up and down in the sprinklers would’ve been a lot of fun!)

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I’d left the house after drinking a full glass of water, but didn’t bring a bottle of water with me. Likely should have, but didn’t feel like carrying one, thought I’d get home quickly, and my knapsack was broken. Excuses, excuses, excuses. We all know how to make them, right?

After walking in the heat for a while sweat started to drench me, (I think that’s how God cools us off) but I was still over a mile away from home. I could sit in the shade or keep going. I thought to myself, Why did I not bring my water bottle?! When I’m feeling thirsty, I need to quench it! When I got home, I sat down. I wasn’t panting, but I felt parched. I really should’ve brought that bottle along instead of leaving it at home. I felt exhausted, and I forgot to take along my replenishment source.

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Time to parallel this walk in the heat without water, to spiritual replenishment and sustenance necessity. When I ask God to fill me up, He saturates my soul. When you ask God, to saturate yours, He will. When I attempt to walk throughout my day, without pulling God’s reservoir into my time first, I’m giving the enemy an opportunity to drain me. If or when you do the same thing, that rascal will drain you too. Don’t let him! If I don’t spend time with God, every day, I will face a drought. Likely, so will you. When I choose to spend time with Him and ask Him to sit near, I am His, He is mine, and I feel at peace, loved, and quenched. That’s what God wants for you too. The world’s heat isn’t always right. It is often a distraction especially when we don’t call God near to water us.

Admit you need God. GRACE

Got it? Got God?

Good. Prepare to receive His blessing!

When I walked outside that hot morning, I stopped in shady spots. Again and again. Shady spots are cool and comfortable! I’d look at my shadow and think, There you are Helo, keep walking and next time, for Heaven’s sake, bring a water bottle! Water is necessary, and sometimes we need more especially in the heat! Here we go with another parallel. This world has lots of heat. And I don’t only mean heat that comes from the sunshine. I mean “heat” that comes with adversity and challenges. You know, like job loss, not enough money, loss of a loved one, confusion, irritability, anxiety… and the heat list continues.

God-time is amazing, and we never need less of Him. We always need more. The more we thirst His presence, the more He quenches. And the more He quenches our soul, the more we realize how important it is to keep Him near like a love bottle who can always quench our thirst. With real love. Real peace. Real joy. And His assurance.

So how do you let God saturate your soul when you’re thirsty?

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Crave His presence.
Call Him near. Make it a habit. Talk to Him a lot. And discover loving Him is contagious and that He that authentically knows how to quench our insatiable moments. “And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”
(Isaiah 58:11).

Spend time in His Word and Believe it!
“He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures said, ‘From His innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”
(John 7:38).
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Believe He is our sustenance and quencher.
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”
(John 6:35).

Drink up!
Quench your soul-thirst and stand firm on our faith-Rock. God doesn’t want you to stand still in a drought. I don’t think you do either. So drink up! “He opened the rock and water flowed out; It ran in the dry places like a river.”
(Psalm 105:41).

Wow. Just writing this is making me thirsty. Did you know that the terms ‘thirst’ and ‘thirsty’ are used in Scripture over 55 times? God sure knows how to quench it. In His enduring presence, God promises His children, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst.” (Revelation 7:16). In Heaven, we’ll live on forever, quenched with a redeemed soul, but until then, you and I need to remember Who quenches our soul.

Admit you need God. Discover REDEMPTION

I’m thirsting for time with God now. Got to go drink up. I’m praying you’ll do the same. God bless you!

Hope in Him,
Helo

Keeping Life’s Rollercoaster Steady

It’s climbing. Breaths are held. Not going to exhale yet. Anticipation starts building. Hearts are racing. SWISH. Arms are raised or gripping onto the rail. We’re going down. Made it! Time to exhale. Wait! No! We’re going up again!

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Ever felt like life is a rollercoaster? Up with joy — Down with sorrow. Up with success — Down with failure. Up with busyness — Down with boredom. Up with conquering — Down with challenges. Being pulled from all ends by people who need your time — Feeling forgotten. And the ups and downs keep going. At times life feels like a rollercoaster soaring through a whirlwind or abruptly coming to a stop. Some standstills are soothing. Others are exasperating.

What should we do when life gets crazy, and the ups and downs leave us feeling like we might face derailment?

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Beloved, spend time with God in prayer and get into His Word. The Bible is the sweetest love letter ever written. In it we can find life solutions — God breathed, God directed, God immersed. Sanctified and real. No other user manual works as well as His does. No mechanic other than God can fix our souls and help us avoid derailment. In His presence, we can find eternal hope, uninhibited joy, unconquerable love, and steadfast faith. We simply need to let God grip our hearts, directing us to stay steady.

For example, Psalm 46:10 is sound, captivating, stabilizing direction. God calls His children to, “Be still and know that I am God.” Now, He’s not simply saying, “Child, be still, sit down for a second, then get up — hurry up — and continue with your day like you typically do.”

I don’t think God wants us to stay “busy” in this hectic world… all the time.

When He asks us to be still, He means it. Dear friend, take the time to breathe. Inhale hope — Exhale His promise. His promise that He is always present and He loves us. But we need to take the time to focus on stillness. We all have a to-do list. It’s taken me a while to learn that “being still” needs to be engraved or scripted at the top of my to-do list every single day.

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For me, it may mean closing something. Here are a few examples.

Closing a door — Sitting down, letting the kids do what they want to, laughing while they make a mess in the kitchen because food preparation and consumption is on their minds. I need to go behind a door, close it, and ask God to sit with me.
Closing my eyes — Sitting in a parking lot before going to the grocery store to join the crowds and lines. I need to keep the car door shut and ask God to join me.
Closing my ears — Telling myself, “Don’t answer that phone, don’t respond to that computer ‘ping.’ Close your ears, Helo.” Take time out for God and listen to His voice.

Beloved, put “BE STILL” at the top of your to-do list and read on.

In Psalm 46:10, God doesn’t stop with, “Be still My child.” He adds “AND” for a reason. See, if we don’t finish reading the entire verse and adhere to it, we’ll be still for a moment, sometimes only a split second, lose sight of His wise direction, and start engulfing ourselves in busyness again.

So we’ve got to put the “Be still” direction into action. Are you quiet, reflective, and focused now? Good. So am I.

Now let’s break it down. What follows “AND”?

KNOW I AM GOD.

Okay, great, He is God. Can I go now, Helo?

No, my friend, not yet. Now that God has your attention stop and think about who He is.

God is our Comforter. Sustainer. Redeemer. Healer. Strengthener. Provider. And all that He is never ends. Who is God to you?

Believe fervently

I promise you, the more time you spend with Him, the more you will fall in love with Him, and the more you fall in love with Him, the more you will stand in awe. And the rollercoaster life will steady because you understand what God is directing you to do. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).

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We all need God more — never less.

Hope in Him,
Helo

 

 

Reigniting Faith

It was the Fourth of July. Sparklers were held lighting up the darkness surrounding us. Then we looked up. We marveled at the colossal versions of what we held quietly in our hands. Fireworks. Colorful, noisy, captivating fun. We were celebrating freedom, passionately.

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It made me wonder, What if God’s children believed, loved, hoped, trusted … and made His light shine like that? You know, the kind of display igniting the sky and Heavens that no one can miss and everyone stops to take notice of. In wonder. Captivated.

Recognize this song sung in Sunday schools everywhere? “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine…” It’s been around since 1920! The words are simple, yet strong. Composer Harry Dixon followed the theme found in Matthew 5:16:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”

Not only does this song tell the world that God’s children should want to make His love shine, it goes on to say, “Won’t let Satan blow it out, I’m going to let it shine.” And later… “Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine… let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

But how do we keep God’s love shining? I think we need to keep it ignited by believing. Sometimes this means reigniting it. Especially in our world today where there is so much darkness displayed by lies, hopelessness, doubt, indifference, anger, and hate.

Perhaps we need to display His love by rekindling it instead of focusing on the world’s attempt to extinguish God. In case you’re wondering, our Heavenly Father is omnipresent and powerful — and will never be extinguished. Still, as His children we need to let others know how much He loves each one of us, because we all need love. Showing it to others makes that little spark turn into a light that authentically shines. Bright.

Let us not extinguish God’s presence, let’s ignite it, sharing who God is. Everywhere. With everyone. If we all made our Light shine, more people would come to know our Father. And more people would understand how much He loves them.

How do we let our light shine? 

Ignite truth. 

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” (John 14:6). Now this is freedom. Freedom everlasting. Through His loving sacrifice we are forgiven and made new. In Him we can find hope, redemption and grace. Unmerited yet everlasting.

Ignite hope.

Hope begins with a prayer. When hopeless, pray more. If you want to quit, by God’s grace quit giving up! Remember, God can take shattered moments and create blessed ones when we let Him handle the restoration. Look up and let God’s love captivate. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31).

Ignite trust. 

Trusting God with your all, means letting go. Giving it up. Letting Him take your burdens and self-imposed control. When you do, recognize that you’ve just given your all to the Almighty! Stand back amazed, because you just ignited trusting Him. That is faith unleashed. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  (Proverbs 3:5).

Ignite bold faith. 

Choose to believe. Igniting your faith boldly reveals something different. Something captivating. Someone different — because He is love.  A love found in no one else. It’s that contagious faith destined and determined to make a difference. It brings joy to the joyless. It’s compassionate faith not just talked about but walked. Ignite it! Share it. “Now faith is the confidence of what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see.”  (Hebrews 11:1).

Ignite prayer. 

Hope and faith begin with a prayer. Prayer means talking with God. And you know what is so amazing about your Heavenly Father? He listens, all  the time! In fact, He already knows what you’re going ask or talk to Him about, before you even open your mouth! He may not answer everything exactly the way you want Him to. He doesn’t work like that. He is wise. But He never closes His ear to you. So keep on praying. “Pray without ceasing.”                    (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Ignite compassion. 

Help others. Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12). Time to remove the spotlight focused on ourselves and reach out to someone else. Generosity will come back to you ten-fold. Promise. Give big. Give what you can. A smile, time to listen, buy the groceries for the person in front of you or behind you in line. You never know if you’ll need it yourself someday. But if you can now, go out of your way and do something kind for someone else. Watch how good it will make you feel. Especially when you expect nothing in return.

Ignite peace. 

Ever had a moment when you got angry or grumpy and someone loved you in spite of your momentary reckless behavior? It softens it right? This world needs peace. Attaining it will likely take strong and powerful God-driven leadership. But for many of us, we don’t have that kind of influence or commanding authority. We can only ignite peace in small portions. But I think peace has a contagious and beautiful component. So ignite it and know that authentic peace comes from Jesus. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

Ignite love. 

The Bible says, “Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14).  Wow! Love is contagious and if we all ignited love and followed this instruction, do you have any idea what a change we could all bring to this world? I’m jumping up and down just thinking about it!

Ignite joy. 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).This isn’t always simple because at times life isn’t easy. But even in the midst of anxiety, sorrow, challenges, and adversity, we can find a glimmer of hope — a little sparkle. Bring God into that dark place and ignite joy! “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” (Psalm 94:19).

Ignite gratitude. 

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”                    (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Complaining is contagious but so is the opposite including thankfulness and gratitude. Time to ignite thankfulness, recognizing everything He has done and will do for you and His children.

I could keep going on with igniting so many different areas of our lives… but this article is running out of room. And I need you to get off your computer, stop reading this, and start igniting your own life.

Before you go, sing to yourself, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine….” And if you don’t have a good voice, no worries. Sing it anyhow. Sing it loud and ignite the presence of our Father our Light in this dark world.

Hope in Him,

Helo

 

What Gives Us Peace and Joy – If we feel like hope is hidden?

Jesus promised peace. He appeared to His followers, the disciples, after His resurrection. He explained the Gospel to them, and told them to go and make more disciples. He reminded them of the “Greatest Commandment” — love God wholeheartedly — then gave the “Great Commission” to preach the good news and to serve people lovingly (Matthew 22:34-40).

Jesus explained, “I have told you these things, so that in me, you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). But if Jesus promised to leave behind peace and joy, then why do we still experience so much pain? 

He wasn’t necessarily promising “world peace” — the absence of war — or “peace and quiet” — the absence of noisy distractions. He was promising to be present with us.

His presence is our peace. His presence is our joy. Hope is found in Him.

His presence is a gift that gives us peace.

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I can only imagine the joy God feels when He welcomes us into a relationship with Him. We get to accept his Grace — His immeasurable hope, peace, and joy. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t deserve to receive this gift.

And I don’t. But that’s the very definition of Grace: unmerited favor. God’s love is so great that He generously grants us peace and joy.

Jesus is called “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). He expects His people to be peacemakers, too. For example, in the famous “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus was teaching people about who God is, what He does, and how we should live if we love and follow God. He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

This is joyful news! We get to be part of God’s mission to rescue, redeem, and restore.

So, we should pursue peace and joy. But that’s hard to do sometimes, right? Think of a conflict that you had this week, or even today — a hard or hopeless conversation with a loved one, a friend, or a co-worker, perhaps.

You had to try to “get on the same page” and see things from the other’s “point of view” while still communicating your opinions, dreams, and aspirations. You didn’t want to disregard the dreams and hopes of the one in front of you. Communicating, collaborating — that’s a type of peacemaking. And it can be hard.

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When it’s hard… when it feels painful to seek peace and joy … why should we keep trying? 

Jesus gave us a mission. He’s on mission with us. He is present, and His peace gets poured into us and then conveyed to others. We might not “feel” peaceful, but let us not lose heart! Jesus is present with you, and His presence is the only true peace and authentic joy.

Picture this: Jesus is near. Accept His love and trust that He is with you.

Oh, how He loves us!

Hope in Him, Helo