Have you ever been so defeated, you have told God, “I’m tired of ______________!”?  You fill in the blank of what you are tired of doing or being.  Maybe you are tired of running away from God.  Maybe you are tired of fighting your battles alone. Maybe you never stop to rest, and you have exhausted yourself with the busyness of life.

The demands of this world makes us feel defeated and worn.  We are exhausted from meeting the world’s standards that we want to give up.  These are the moments when we need to stop and realize we are doing things under our own power rather than God’s.  We are working in the flesh.  If we were working under God’s power, we would live in victory rather than in defeat.

It comes a time when we can only do so much through our own strength, and we have to say to God, “I need You!”.  We have to allow God to be on the front line of the battlefield and take the lead in our circumstances and emotions.  We must get up, dust ourselves off, and try again.  We do not stay down, but we stand up to the challenge.

Instead of saying, I’m tired of depression, heartache, disappointment, and anxiety, say I’m tired of feeling defeated, broken, and unworthy by the devil. I encourage you to declare that over yourself today. You can defeat satan by telling him he has no room in your life to make you miserable.  Crush the devil’s schemes by empowering yourself with God’s truth.  What does God say about who you are?  What does God say about the situation you cannot seem to have victory in?  Instead of being defeated and depressed, be bold and stand strong on God’s Word!


“Ishmael” Moments

We are all guilty of making rash decisions that affects our future in a positive or negative way.  In Biblical terms, a rash decision is sometimes called an “Ishmael” moment.  It is a moment when we act on our emotions and impatience and force something to happen prematurely.  We do not pray before acting in our flesh.  We do not think about the consequences of our actions.  We live in the moment and deal with the consequences later.  The only problem is it requires God’s grace and mercy to clean up our mess.  These rash decisions have ripple effects in our lives as well as those around us.  It is a moment that will change our lives forever.  It changes who we are and leaves us with regret.

In the book of Genesis, Abraham and Sarah made a rash decision without consulting God first.  Sarah was barren and became impatient to give her husband a son.  One day she decided to allow Abraham to sleep with her Egyptian slave, Hagar.  Hagar conceived immediately and had a son named Ishmael (Genesis 16:1-4).  This caused many issues in the family, and Sarah began to resent Hagar out of jealously.

In chapter 17, God declares to Abraham that he “will be the father of many nations” (v. 4).  Even after Sarah and Abraham acted on their own emotions and created Ishmael, God still promised them a son.  God told Abraham He would return “this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son” (Genesis 18:10).  Sarah was listening outside the tent, and laughed in disbelief because of their old age (Genesis 18:10-15).  In Chapter 21, Sarah “became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham…at the very time God had promised [Abraham]” (v. 2).  Abraham named him Isaac (Genesis 21:3).

Even though God gave them their promised child, Isaac, He still needed to deal with Hagar and Ishmael.  Hagar and her son continued causing problems in Abraham and Sarah’s life even after Isaac was born.  In Genesis 21, Sarah sent Hagar and Ishmael away.  Sarah told Abraham to “get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac” (v. 10).  Abraham hesitated at first, but God comforted him by promising Abraham Ishmael will be over a nation just like Isaac because he is your offspring.  The next morning, Abraham helped Hagar and Ishmael get ready for their departure.  Hagar left with her son into the desert of Beersheba (Genesis 21:14).

God still cared about Hagar and her son even though it was not in His original plan for her to have a child with Abraham.  “God was with the boy [,Ishmael,] as he grew up.  He lived in the desert and became an archer” (Genesis 21:20).  God provided for Hagar and her son in the desert with food, water, and protection.

Abraham still had to face the consequences of his actions for having Ishmael.  Ishmael married and had many children. He is recognized as an important prophet and patriarch of Islam.  He became known as “under the name Ishmaelite, or Arabs, the people of the desert” (https://therefinersfire.org/ishmael_and_isaac.htm).  He became a great leader of a nation just like God promised.  The friction between Sarah and Hagar and their sons Isaac and Ishmael created hate between the Jews and the Arabs up to present day.  The jealousy and resentment in this story caused a ripple effect for us today.

Even though God intervenes in our situations, the “Ishmael” moments stays with us and has a ripple effect on our lives.  God comes to our rescue in the moment, but we have to live with the consequences of our actions.  We have to see the ripple effect it caused in our family and friends lives.  We have to take responsibility of our actions and ask God to clean up the mess that we created.  God may protect us from seeing all the damage that we can do in one rash moment, but others may see the affect for the rest of their lives.

God can heal any situation, but every situation has it’s consequences.  The next time you make a decision that will affect the people around you, including yourself, go to God in prayer and wait for His response.  Then, with God’s permission, make your choices wisely.  The choices you make in life determines your future.  It determines the future of those around you.





Obedience to God

There are times in our Christian walk when God asks us to do something that puts fear into us.  We immediately resist his commands and try to sway God on why we do not think it is a good idea.   We make up excuses and tell God this is an impossible task.  We convince ourselves that there is no way we can accomplish what He is asking of us.  We try to bargain with God to let us off the hook and go about our business.  We can try every excuse in the book, but God will not let us miss an opportunity to grow in our faith.

Fear tells us that we cannot do something because of past hurts or the unknown.  We do not want to tread unfamiliar territory.  We want to stay comfortable and know our surroundings.  Being comfortable is okay for a season, but there comes a time when God asks us to be uncomfortable.  He sees us squirming in our seat and filled with doubt. He is a compassionate God who understands our fear and hesitation.

But, God is a Father figure in everyone’s lives, and every parent must push their children out of comfort into the unknown.  If they don’t, their children will never experience new things and be well rounded.  These experiences develop and shape us for who we are today.  We grow as an individual and spiritually when we embrace something new and use it as an opportunity.  We grow in Christ when we step out of our comfort zone and walk in faith.

This week, God is asking me to take a step of faith and be obedient to His Word.  I have asked God, “why this” and was trying to persuade Him on why this was a bad idea.  Let’s just say, I did not sway God to change His mind.  Instead, I started asking for the courage to step in faith in this matter.  I asked God to increase my faith so I can be obedient to Him.  My prayers shifted when I realized God is not taking no for an answer.

Sometimes we do not know why God asks us to do something.  That is where faith comes in and gives us the courage to obey Him, no matter His request.  If God is asking, He will give us the courage to take a step of faith and walk into the unknown.  He will provide for our needs and concerns as they come.  We are not alone in this journey.  He is in front of us preparing the way.  All He asks of us is to be obedient when He says, “go”.

Maybe God is asking you to do something that you are fearful of.  It makes you uncomfortable to even think about it.  I encourage you to be in prayer and always seek God for courage to do the impossible.  Remember, what we think is impossible is possible with God.