Rising Out of Brokenness: What does happiness look like?

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 ESV)
 
Pastor Patrick Coats
 
Every one of us wakes up in the morning and pursues happiness. In fact, everything that we do in our day is in line with this pursuit. Happiness can be defined as that moment when things begin to go our way or when an overwhelming burden is finally lifted and deliverance is in sight. Often times we chase happiness because we think those little moments will be enough to sustain us over time but, what if God is saying that happiness may look entirely different from the way that we imagined it? What if the answer to our most challenging moments in life is simply to trust and have unwavering faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? As we live, we always run into roadblocks, obstacles, and setbacks that are designed to set us up for what lies ahead. In this scripture, James is telling us that the happy person is the one who is able to remain steadfast under those trials. The path to happiness is in one’s ability to trust God and push through the pain. Happiness means to face the mountains of life with an extraordinary faith because the mountain for a Christian is not an obstacle. As Christians, we know that if it looks like a mountain then we are on the cusp of a blessing and happiness because at the moment that we confront our mountain, if we are able to just trust in God and push our way through then we can see our way to the other side. Anything is possible with God, but we miss this fact when we take more pleasure in the happiness than our loving God who is able to give us that and has promised much more to those who love Him. We all have our ideas of what happiness looks like, but true happiness comes from knowing that we have a life that pleases God.  “And calling the crowd to Him with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35 ESV)


Rise Out of Brokenness: A New Thing!

“I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick. But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.” (Isaiah 43:15-18 NLT)
 
 
Pastor Patrick Coats
 
God is not a God that created this world and disappeared. He didn’t just come and breathe breath into our bodies to turn and leave us on our own. That is not the God we serve. Our God is very much involved in our everyday living and cares deeply for us. However, to some of us it may seem as though God doesn’t care. Some have experienced so many different trials in life that they’ve given up hope that God can and will move on their behalf. But in this passage of scripture God gives some profound encouragement! He lets us know that not only is He for us, but He is working on our behalf in ways that will change our lives radically. In fact, even in the midst of whatever chaos we may be enduring right now, God is already planning to do something that will set us free and give us life anew. Sometimes, life circumstances can make it hard to understand or truly believe in our hearts that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We tell ourselves that God can do all things and make a way out of no way but when the time of testing comes, some of us don’t believe that God is going to do it for us. But we see here in Isaiah 43 that God will do it and already has done it many times before. We can’t allow new trails to overshadow the old triumphs that God has performed in our lives. The moment that we feel like we are about to give up is the moment that God will come in and flip the script on our situation. We have to remember that we live a Romans 8:28 life when we are in Christ. For He says in His word that His grace is sufficient for us and His strength is made perfect in our weakness! Everything that God does in our lives, He does so that He can use us to show Himself to the world, and we have to stop letting the rough patches in our lives get us so far down that we doubt if God can bring us back up. If God has shown you the plan that He has for you, understand that while victory is not in sight it is certainly eminent. God in all sovereignty, sets things up because He wants you to know that you have to go through it to get to it. It’s in the pressing, the beat down, and almost giving up that God works through you. And when He blesses you, He will do far more, exceedingly, abundantly, and above all that you could even ask or think. For THAT is the God we serve, a God of new things! “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19 NLT)
 
 
 


What You Do For Jesus Matters!

“But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” (Matthew 26: 10-13 ESV)
 
Pastor Patrick D. Coats
 
In the business world, there are two types of transactions. There are deposits and there are withdrawals. Most times, when we come to God it’s to make a withdrawal. We’re usually making our requests known and begging him to move on our behalf. The culture of making withdrawals from God is evident even in this story. The disciples were so used to people coming to Jesus to ask for something that they could not appreciate what Mary was doing for Him. Mary was a woman that did something extraordinary and unusual for Jesus, she came with an offering for Him. Essentially, Mary was making a spiritual deposit. This is profound because it means that Mary understood something that even Jesus’ disciples could not grasp. She recognized the value of God’s grace. She knew that she had a crazy past and in light of all that Christ had forgiven her for, she brought the best that she had to offer to give back to Him. Sometimes, we can’t see the activity of God because we are too busy standing around with our hands out waiting for Him to do something for us when in reality, it’s in our service to Him that we experience Him. What we do on this Earth should be synonymous with what we will be doing in Heaven. Heaven will not be a place of withdrawals. In Heaven, we will worship and praise God all day and all night crying Holy to the Lord God almighty! Likewise, on this Earth we should seek to do things that honor God and give Him glory. There are three practical ways that we can make spiritual deposits to God. The first is through prayer. Prayer doesn’t always have to be us coming to God with requests. Pray a prayer of thanksgiving and just tell your Father how good He is and thank Him for all that He has done for you. The second way is through praise. Remember that our God is great and greatly to be praised! The last way to make a spiritual deposit is to serve the Lord with gladness. Despite circumstances, heartaches, and the numerous trials we face daily, we should still have joy in our heart towards our Heavenly Father. We have to remember that what we do for God here on Earth matters and it’s only because of what Jesus did on that cross that we are able to do anything at all. 


14-Day Devotional Challenge, Day 14

Bless the Lord, Lest I Forget

You have forgotten yourself, therefore, you have forgotten me!

Remember who you are!

“Today, today is about understanding that life is like an intricate tapestry of which no part can remain unrealized if I am to experience its sublime totality. In this I realize that no one life is more or less significant than another; nor is any one of us more or less responsible, for in each of us lies a vital part of the wholeness of who we all are. I must assume the responsibility of actualizing my life by living as a fully functioning person. I must learn to celebrate the God in me, lest I forget to celebrate myself. The time to start is now. I can’t limit my desires to what I think I can have, I must start going after what I want in Him. I give myself permission to dream, risk and set myself free in Him to discover the celebration of life He has come to give me. I must act as if my success in Him is certain and my faith in Him is complete. I will remember who I
am,
because I will remember who HE IS! Now I’m getting out of my way so I can allow the life and love of God take charge. It’s time to celebrate!”
devo 14
Challenge Questions:

. . .forget not all His benefits. . .

Psalms 103:3  

Consider the ways in which you celebrate God. How do you celebrate the life of God in you?

What does your celebration look like? What can you do to improve your celebration?

 



14-Day Devotional Challenge, Day 13

Silence

devo 13 

 

But the Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth keep silent before Him.

Habakkuk 2:20 (ESV)

Silence in spirituality is often used as a metaphor for inner stillness. A silent
mind,
freed from the onslaught of thoughts and thought patterns, is a goal and an important step in spiritual development. Such “inner silence” is not about the absence of sound; instead, it is understood to bring one into contact with the divine, the ultimate reality of one’s divine nature. . .you find God. Silence allows intimacy with God to bloom. It is about change. It is time. . .that’s all!
“So today, I create time and space for silence. To walk into the inner spaces of my heart to exam and question as I discover more of Him in me and me in Him. To allow the silence to cease the storms raging within me. I am preparing to go to the other side of Him by going through me. Today, silence simply represents a very personal choice, a choice to design for myself a way of coming closer to God that works for me in the context of my real experiences and demands of my own life. Silence is my “love meeting” with God. It is a presentation of utter trust; a union with God that is beyond words, beyond reason, beyond thought. Today silence is a real surrender of myself to the burning intensity of God’s love.”
Challenge Question:

Silence is a developed practice.

What in my life needs to be surrendered to create my “love meeting” of silence with God?



14-Day Devotional Challenge, Day 12

Obedience

“. . .wherefore didst thou doubt?”

Matthew 14: 31

“Today, I create a heart and mindset to embrace all of

Christ as He comes to be with me in all the circumstances in which I could possibly find myself. To embrace the fullness of Christ and the power and possibilities to be realized, by me because of who He is. . .for He comes in power and authority. . .empowering me, as He bids me to come out of my comfortable place into the fray of  things. . . into the deep. The deep places where a new spirituality is required and spontaneous love is simple

obedience of doing what He says. . .not what He asks!”

devo 12

What we need is a desire to know the whole will of God,

with a fixed resolution to do it.

(John Wesley)
Challenge Question:

Where is your level of obedience?

 

 



14-Day Devotional Challenge, Day 11

It Only Takes A Spark

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

Matthew 5:16

devo 11

The spark divine dwells in thee: let it grow.

(Ella Wheeler Wilcox)

“Today, today is about waking up and remembering what lies within me; realizing the power and the potential of the magnificent soul that resides within every human heart. I have a calling to discover and to display, a soul and life for the world to see. Or will I allow it to lie dormant, neglected and overshadowed by a simple and shallow demonstration of my “self?” It’s not about e.g.o. or edging God out, but
instead, it is about realizing that within me is a “spark of the divine.” I carry within me an “earnest deposit” of the same awesome, creative and divine Life that formed the universe. God lives in ME!”
Challenge Questions:

What do I see within me?

What will I do with my “spark of the divine?”



14-Day Devotional Challenge, Day 10

Hiding When I Should Be Surrendering

 

The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.

Proverbs 20:27 New Living Translation (NLT)

“Today, I sit under the shades of His grace, as under a tree resting and renewing in the breeze of His spirit. In my
heart
I simply desire to yield to Him, His presence, like the palms giving way to the breeze.
He loves me!  As He is Lord over the tree that gives shade; the gentle breeze that gives life to the lisping palms. . .may He be Lord over everything that pertains to all of me. May I give yield and submit to the consistency of His moving spirit, the direction it guides and carries; moving in the rhythm He sets, to the beat He requires, establishes and even demands. . .the standard He sets. He loves me! I open my life to this creative God. Open to the allowing of His creative genius and power to express the beauty of His imagination in me, through me and on me as His canvas of glory. I am a reality of His faithfulness, goodness and power. He loves me!
devo 10
Challenge Question:
In spite of what you may think you are hiding, what are you willing to surrender?

 



14-Day Devotional Challenge, Day 9

The Day I Simply Breathed

devo 9

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Psalms 139:13, 14

 

“Today, I create a space in this present moment to acknowledge that God knows everything there is to know about me and yet, I am fearfully and wonderfully made in Him. For in this understanding is what my heart beats and longs for. To find a rhythm of God to rest in, resting in the here and now, never diminishing the fullness of God, His knowledge of, nor His love for ALL of Me! Then I breathed!”

“God possess ye my reins and be my truth from the inside out!

I am an expression of God’s creativity and awesome power”

 

 

Challenge Questions:

What thing do you need to accept and/or deal with about you?

What things do you need to present to God?



14-Day Devotional Challenge, Day 8

A Brooding and Hovering Spirit

devo 8 

In the beginning, God moved (hovered and brooded) upon the deep and this brought life.

“Today, today is about my awareness of the Holy Spirit rejoicing over me, because I am in the middle of myself. He knows I am looking for clarity that only He can provide. Clarity about me and who I am. As I search to understand that which tugs within me or rears its ugly head or amazes me or scares me or comforts me or causes me to question who You are. I simply know it is my spirit reaching for You and at the same time, trying to reach past the limitations of my frailty, my thoughts, my emotions, and my feelings. But, as I sit with myself, in the middle of myself, I must be honest. There are things that bothers me, scares me; things I see that I don’t like. Yet, I realize that these are the times You are guiding me to use this journey into myself as a time to discover within me those things You really wants me to see.”

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:3

 

 

 

Challenge Questions:

 

As God hovers and broods over the deep things of your life, what “new life” do you believe He desires to produce within you?

What needs to be purged and purified in you?

What will be your offering of righteousness?