Seeking Joy and Peace

In Christ, our joy and peace have nothing to do with our circumstances! Our hope, joy, and peace have everything to do with Jesus! He is our hope, He blesses us with His peace, and He supplies us with unending joy even in painful, difficult times.


What’s trying to steal your joy today? Is a painful circumstance or a challenging situation threatening to rob you of your joy and peace?


The God of hope wants to fill you with all joy and peace! He wants to fill you so completely with His joy and peace, there isn’t any room for worry and fear! He wants you overflowing with His goodness.


Pray and seek Him! His strength is sufficient and He is stronger, bigger, and more powerful than whatever you are facing. He can bring healing, restoration, reconciliation, and peace, and He can bring those things in an instant.


He may remove the situation, He may fix it, or He may teach you through it, but He will supply you with the strength and peace you need. Trust Him believe Him, and watch Him do great things!


Hope, peace, and joy


Lord, would You strengthen me to believe You and trust You in every way, in every circumstance. In the power of Your Holy Spirit, would You replace my fear and doubt with assurance and fill me with all joy, peace, and hope in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Deliverance From Distress Through Faith in Him

“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distress. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.” (Psalm 25:17-18, ESV)

My friend, are the troubles of your heart looming largeand threatening to rob you of joy and peace? When painful trials and difficulties arise, you still have hope. You are not alone to fight for yourself. You have a Champion, a Savior, a Warrior King who is fighting for you…and He is already victorious over this world!

Turn to God and ask Him to turn to you. Speak your fears and concerns–He already knows anyway!–but when you begin to list your struggles and seek His help, your situation may not immediately change, but you will!

Your fears will be replaced with trust, your doubts will fade, and faith will arise. Your weakness will be replaced with His strength when you rest in Him.

God knows what you are facing today and He alone can deliver you from distress. Turn to Him and let His peace and love hold you, comfort you, strengthen you, and sustain you to endure and overcome!

in Christ~*~

Father, please turn to me and be gracious. I am hurting and this situation is more than I can handle. I need You. I need Your presence, Your wisdom, and Your love. You know every detail and You know the best path forward. Please surround me and fill me with Your presence and reveal to me the next steps I should take, even if it is to remain still. Teach me to abide in You. Increase my faith and forgive my doubts and fears in the name of Jesus, Amen!


Stop Helping the Enemy~Trust God for Victory!

Trusting God for Victory

Believer, our strength and power come from the Lord. Our hope and joy come from the Lord. No one–no power on earth or hell–can ever take that away!

But…we can give it away. Piece by piece, moment by moment, we can let the enemy bind, steal and destroy that which God is building in us. We can let busyness distract us from God’s call and purpose of our life.

Why would we choose to give away our hope? Our joy? Our strength?

We would never intentionally choose that!  Yet, we do it every day. Every time I allow fear to creep in and overshadow God’s promises of security; every time I let doubt overshadow God’s promises of wisdom; every time I allow busyness to drown out the voice of God–each and every time I listen to the world over the Word of God I give away a piece of my inheritance.

No MORE! The enemy cannot have even a shred of my hope, my joy, my strength, or my promises of God! Not even a shred! What the enemy has intended for my harm, God will use for my good.

The enemy will continue to fight me, but I will no longer help him defeat me through my own lack of faith, understanding, or blindness.

I will fight!

  • I will study God’s Word.
  • I will believe and trust in the promises of God.
  • I will stand strong in the strength of His might.
  • I will daily put on my armor.
  • I will not be naive to the schemes and lies which my enemy, the father of lies is using to try and destroy me. I will not believe his lies.
  • I will believe the Lord.
  • I will believe Scripture as the living, breathing, inerrant, holy Words of God, and I will continually and faithfully apply them to my life.

Beloved, we are in a battle whether we engage or not. We can have victory right here and right now when we trust God. We will have problems. We will have struggles. We will have pain.

BUT God…He will bring life-changing good from each and every moment of our lives if we let Him.

Join me today in saying, “No more!” We will not help the enemy through our unbelief or fear. We will not live distracted. We are not helpless victims being tossed around. We are warriors with divine weapons–let’s fight!


And it all begins with prayer:

Lord, Your Word is truth and it is my weapon against the lies of the enemy. Open my eyes to deeper understanding of Your Word, give me an unquenchable thirst for Your Word–to know it, love it, savor it and trust it! Thank You for the divine weapons You have given me. Now, would You strengthen me to daily pick them up, and use them with boldness, in Your power and in the strength of Your might. You have already overcome this world. I believe Your Word and I trust You. Help me live victoriously, bringing You honor and praise in Jesus’ name. Amen.


 I pray you are abundantly blessed with the fullness of Christ.

Love and blessings,


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Faith N’ Friends at Counting My Blessings

Jesus Changes Everything

Jesus called His first disciples simply by saying, “Come, follow Me.”  He found them, loved and accepted them right where they were, and offered them a new life, a new beginning with Him.  Before they could even understand the magnitude of their decision, they knew they should accept…and follow Jesus.

Jesus offers the same exciting, life-changing adventure to us.  He simply and lovingly extends His hand and says, “Come, follow Me.”  We don’t have to meet any requirements or standards or make any changes.  The simple decision to follow Him is all we have to do and He will lovingly guide us, teach us, and direct us as He takes care of the rest!

Absolutely everything changed for the disciples when they chose to follow Jesus, and He offers the same transformational power to us.  In Jesus, we will spend eternity in heaven with Him where there will be no more evil, no pain, no tears.  But He has not left us alone here on earth until then.  He has sent the Holy Spirit and offers a life of abundant joy and peace, right now if we will just follow Him, trust Him, and obey Him.  He offers rest for the weary, freedom for the captives, strength for the weak.  He offers perfect peace, perfect love, and perfect joy.  We do not have to live burdened and consumed with fear, worry, regrets, or shame.  Jesus changes everything!

Yes, He makes us into completely, brand new creations.  And then, once He heals us, cleanses us, and brushes off the hurt, pain, and dirt of this world, He says, “Go, share my love with others.”  We are not meant to just enjoy His love for ourselves.  We are supposed to be completely transformed, renewed, and remade, and then go teach others how to find that same love and peace.  
Wherever you are in your journey with Christ, whether you are brand new and just getting to know Him or have walked with Him for years, He is holding out His hand to offer love, support, and comfort.  I pray you will grab hold of Him right now, let Him hold you, and be overwhelmed with His love for you.  And don’t keep it to yourself.  Someone in your path today needs that same love and encouragement–and you are the one God is asking to show them, to help them, to lead them to Jesus!  So if you follow Jesus, bring someone along with you and show them the way!  Jesus makes all the difference!
Thank You for loving me Jesus!  Holy Spirit lead me, teach me, and guide me to a life that brings You glory.  Help me abide in Christ in every moment and teach me to share Your love with everyone I meet!  May Your radiance and glory be so evident in my life, it is unmistakable that I am Your follower.  In the name of Jesus, amen!

photo credit: sun in the trees. via photopin (license)

God’s Perfect Timing and a Grandslam

***(Reposted from May, 2011.  Such a sweet memory from a painful time that was filled with God’s hope, peace, and love!)  
It was Garrett’s second to last game of the season and he came up to bat with bases loaded. He got a great hit, right over the 2nd baseman’s head into the outfield. The centerfielder threw it in to the infield who threw it to the catcher just a second or two too late- Garrett slid and was safe for a grandslam!! The whole team went crazy and hugged him and James high-fived the coach- we were all so incredibly proud of him! He even got the game ball! Just that afternoon, Garrett had talked about how great it would be to hit a homerun- “maybe even a grandslam” he said. Well, he did it!!
I think God gives us little encouragements and “God hugs” along the way to remind us that He cares and to encourage us with a smile and hope. Garrett has been practicing hard and hitting great, but the timing of his grandslam is from God!  God never left our side throughout everything with Connor. It has been incredibly difficult and emotional, but there have been smiles and joy along the way too, and peace beyond understanding. The nurse in the ICU that could one-hand clap and actually made us laugh for a moment; Garrett drawing on everyone’s faces and hands and bringing a smile to everyone; small things, seemingly insignificant, but God knows just when we need those things, and brings them at exactly the right moment- just to remind us He loves us!
Garrett has been so incredibly brave and supportive of Connor during this time. When the doctors were sure it was going to be leukemia, Garrett said he would give bone marrow without hesitation even though he knew it might hurt. When Connor was so weak he couldn’t even walk around or play, Garrett sat on his bed and played the Wii with him. Garrett has prayed for Connor every night and wanted nothing more than for Connor to be healthy again.
We are so proud of Garrett and the young man he is becoming! He loves his family and shows love and kindness to everyone around him and he always brings a smile to everyone’s face with his joy and humor. We are proud of his grandslam and will never forget it- but we are even more proud of his love of God and love of others! 
Way to go Garrett!! 🙂

Heavenly Confidence

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; 
though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. (Psalm 27:3)

Confidence, true soul-deep, unshakeable confidence, comes from God.  We can create a sense of earthly confidence, smugness, put on a confident air, but genuine, stand-strong, no matter what, confidence is a gift from our Father when we stand in His protection.

Many of us aren’t often surrounded by armies we can see.  But, the Bible tells us in Ephesians 6, our true battle is not against flesh and blood.  Our enemy is unseen, but his attacks are felt.

Thankfully, our weapons are not of this world and we do not need to live in fear.  We can “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” (Eph. 6:10).  

In the ever-shifting, growing turmoil in the world around us, we can yet live in peace; we can share the love of Christ with those around us because in Him, we are confident of His great protection and love and we need not fear. 

So today, if worry or fear begin to creep in, raise up your Shield of faith and start swinging your Sword of the Spirit (God’s Word) and remember Who you belong to.  Stand strong and confident in the knowledge that our God is stronger than he who is in the world!

Father, strengthen me to stand strong today in You. Give me a new and deeper understanding of Your Word and help me see Your protection surrounding me.  Widen my view beyond myself and help me share Your love with those around me today.  In the name of Jesus, amen!

Jesus Peace

Peace… what a beautiful word!  It brings to mind moments of calm and tranquility, serenity and beauty—and of course, peace and quiet!  It is truly a beautiful word and even more beautiful feeling—yet one that can be elusive at times. 
In Christ, we can have true peace, lasting peace, even in the middle of a fierce battle or storm raging around us, when our most natural reaction would be fear and chaos—we can be filled with indescribable peace deeper and greater than anything we can understand–Jesus Peace!
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”  (John 14:27).  He has given me His peace!
What does it mean to have the peace of Jesus? 
·        It means that when the storm is raging, I can still be calm.
·        When my world seems to be caving in, I can be strong.
·        When nothing around me makes sense, I can rest in my knowledge of Him who is my rock and higher then me.
·        No matter what—I can have peace!
The world does not give selflessly or freely.  Nothing in this world is truly free without a hidden cost or expected return or favor.  Jesus, though does not give as the world gives!  He has given us peace that cannot be earned or bought and its not meant to be borrowed—it is meant to fill us and sustain us and carry us through every storm. 
We can ignore His peace though.  In the same verse, He warns us not to lose our peace.  He says, “do not let your heart be troubled nor let it be fearful”—I have some control over how much peace I feel–the peace is there but I can miss it if I let myself be troubled!  

How do I keep from being troubled or fearful?  My focus must be on the peace-giver!  Just as He grabbed Peter and kept him from sinking, His hand is outreached to me (and you) and He offers peace—real, lasting, powerful peace!
Grab His hand today and let Him hold you and guide you through whatever this day brings and never let go!  Enjoy the peace He gives and He will carry you through the roughest, scariest waters!

Father, thank You for the peace You have given us through Your Son, Jesus!  Fill me today with Your perfect peace and help me stand strong against the waves, the wind and whatever would try to steal it.  Keep my focus on You as You lead and guide me today in the name of Jesus, amen! 

Enjoying the Light of Life

Job suffered horrible pain and loss.  He could have simply given up and lost all hope–his friends even encouraged him to do just that.  Yet, he trusted God, and in the end his faith was rewarded with more than he started with–but the real reward was his relationship with God and his renewed faith.

We don’t always understand why we suffer and why bad things are allowed to happen.  But if we hold to the Word of God and remember that God is good and loving, and wait patiently, HE will work all things out for good for those called according to His purpose.

God has a plan of redemption and grace, and it is in our darkest, weakest moments that He is the closest!

Are you hurting right now or watching a loved one suffer? Don’t lose hope!  Turn to God and let Him comfort you with peace and renew you with His love.


  • Dig into His Word and let Him bring you words of comfort and even understanding.  
  • Spent time in prayer–even when you don’t have the words, the Holy Spirit intercedes for you–“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” (Romans 8:26)
  • Turn to a friend and bless them with the chance to pray over you and for you–and remember that suffering is only for a time and joy is coming!  
  • We must learn to enjoy the light of life by remembering the pits we have already been delivered from, and trusting God even while we are yet in one!
For His anger lasts only a moment,
but His favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5

The Gift of Purpose

Have you ever felt useless or unimportant?  Ever felt like you don’t matter?

We all have–you are not alone.  This tactic of the enemy is a common one, but it’s a lie–a trick–an attempt to weaken us and make us ineffective.  We all have had at least a moment of being unsure of where we fit in or what our purpose is–but feeling worthless is an absolute and complete lie we don’t have to accept!

You have purpose–You were hand-crafted and meticulously designed with a deeper and greater love than we can even comprehend!  You are loved, cherished, and treasured–God rejoices and signs over you! (Zephaniah 3:17)

Ever believer has a unique and perfectly designed plan from our Creator and we are priceless and an irreplaceable part of His Kingdom.  From the largest, loudest mouthpiece to the smallest supporting ligament, each and every one of us matter and we are important–not just as a group, but me, you, and every single individual person–we matter!

Don’t let the enemy steal one second of your peace and joy–rest in the assuredness and strength of God and let Him show you how much you are loved.  Serve Him with gladness and let Him lead you and guide you to your perfectly designed place in His Kingdom–you are needed and necessary and incredibly loved!  

Heavenly Father, please guide us to our purpose.  Flood our lives with Your love, Your perfect peace and Your complete joy as we serve You and Your people.  Show each one of us where we belong and teach us to use our gifts for Your glory!  Lord, use me as You build up Your body and help me attain the full measure of the fullness of Christ!  In His name, Amen!

To equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.  (Ephesians 4:12-16)

The Beauty of Hope

We need hope—without it, life can become unbearable, but with hope comes renewed energy, positive thinking, and determination.  Hope is indeed a beautiful thing!
Over the last few years our son Connor has faced very serious health problems with countless doctor’s visits, procedures, hospital stays and life-saving surgery.  Facing these dangers and situations has been scary, but the fact that doctors would rarely offer us much hope made it all the more difficult.  Specialists had no idea what was going on and were very clear with us that they had no idea what could happen.  We have continually heard words like “interesting” and “anomaly” but rarely words of encouragement or hope. 
After the life-saving decision to remove his spleen in 2011 and then a frightening stay in ICU, Connor miraculously began to improve—and we rejoiced!  But his doctors told us, “We have no idea what caused this, so we have no idea what to expect…he may never have another problem or he could develop serious complications or other problems at any time—we just don’t know.”  These are very scary words and when all you can do is rely on God for the next breath, that’s exactly what we have done. 
But the incredible fear that can come from the unknown especially in the absence of hope can be debilitating and overwhelming!  Through it all, God has always been faithful and gifted us with incredible peace beyond understanding!  He truly knows the best plan for us and we have learned to enjoy each day.  It’s amazing the perspective you gain when you are forced to constantly be aware of the possibility of fewer—or no—tomorrows!
We are now 3 weeks post-op from Connor’s most recent surgery but this time everything is completely different.  We have hope!  The doctors believe they have found the underlying problem and Lord willing, this surgery has fixed it!  Yes, we have no written guarantees and must still watch, wait, and trust God—but the difference hope has made is indescribable!  We are preparing for the future in exciting ways and talking about amazing possibilities…not what if’s—and those are two very, very different things!
The hope we have and the difference it is making in our lives is incredible and it reminds me how precious our hope in Christ is—it makes all the difference day-to-day and for eternity!  We are never, ever hopeless with Christ—rather we have abundant, never-ending hope that continues into eternity!
We don’t have to face tomorrow—even a scary tomorrow full of every sort of challenge and difficulty—with fear.  We can look forward to an eternity of joy, hope and love and be filled with indescribable peace even in the midst of the deepest pain.  This is the faithful gift of Jesus!

Are you facing a difficult or challenging situation?  Please leave a comment and let me know how I can pray for you!  Have a story of hope?  Please share it as encouragement for anyone facing a trial right now and share how God has blessed you with hope!

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your peace in the midst of painful and scary trials and situations!  Thank You for loving us and protecting us and never leaving us alone in this world of sin and struggle.  Thank You for the incredible hope we have in Jesus, Amen!