Cheri's Blog

Praying Through Times of Testing

Times of testing

Praying Through Times of Testing

Sometimes you can read a chapter or a passage of verses in the Bible that feels like the person writing is sitting near you, telling you a story. That’s how Psalm 66 lands on me. It’s conversational as if the writer is talking to an actual person, and he’s telling the account passionately in just a few words. In these moments we have together, I want to pick up on that passion by sharing his words with you, and then use them as a framework for a prayer you and I can pray through times of testing.

Psalm 66:5-12

Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
6He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
7who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah

8Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
 Psalm 66:5-8

The Invitation

The first section calls the friend or audience to come in close. He wants you to see with your mind and heart what God has accomplished. No. They were not there to experience the wonders described, but they have been the benefactors. They didn’t watch the people cross the Red Sea, but they are a part of the community that came from that legacy.

Because of what God has done (that which we did not see but can experience the effects) the writer drawer on the listener to raise her eyes upward. Stop and praise the Lord in a manner He can hear it from you.  Then he gives us some reasons that are not locked away in a history book or grandpa’s storytime.

9who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.

God has kept you alive.

Think of all your near misses. Do any come to mind? Personally, I have experienced more than enough to legitimize this point. I’ve walked away from a plane crash in was in, car accidents, and tornadoes. From what I understand, as an infant, I wasn’t expected to make it out of the hospital alive. I’m sure you can think of similar accounts. The bottom line is this: If you are breathing, it’s on purpose for a purpose. Girl, Praise God!

Then our writer does something you and I don’t always like to reflect upon or raise our hands in the air to celebrate.

10For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
12you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;

God uses tests, nets, and enemies

According to Scripture, there are times in our lives when God tests us. He brings us “into the net.” Not that He leads us into situations so that we will fail or will be destroyed, but He will allow circumstances, difficulties, bad guys, and impossible situations access to us without intervening. In other words, God allows adversity that has been at times, unbearable, varied, and seemingly constant–just one thing after another, on purpose.

I wouldn’t do it His way. You and I might even say, we don’t like His way. It’s been awful at times. Crushing. Painful. And difficult. Yet, the Psalmist is not finished:

yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

Times of TestingYes, we go through the times of testing, but He does not leave us there in the net, or in the storm, fire, or dying under the weight of it all. I don’t believe the Psalmist is saying there is a particular location on this planet this side of heaven that is absent of drama, problem-free, with no more nets. But there is abundance in reliance on Jesus through the mess, looking upward at Him through the difficulties rather than focusing on what doesn’t last and cannot save. And it’s right here for us to use as we pray.

This one is a prayer that helps turn our eyes upward, speaking these things back to God in gratitude. If we are in the middle of the difficulties, buried under the weight, we can pray for Him to be true to this word. Also, we can pray for this victory and the presence of God over someone else, which is what I am about to do for you.

A Prayer for Times of Testing

Lord Jesus,she prays

In this moment, I bless your Name. Thank you for the mighty works you have done to get us here today, praying, and able to know your Word freely. More specifically, I thank you for the life of my friend reading. For Your perfect purposes You have preserved her. Help her live in complete assurance and freedom. There is no accident, coincidence, or mistake that You have provided for her presence, her abilities, her availabilities, and her positioning.

We know that to ready her, equip her, and to show her to Whom she belongs, You have tested and will test her. In fact, You may be testing her now, allowing her to experience untold difficulties, strains and struggles we cannot alleviate. So Lord, I ask that you give her the strength to rely on You. Help her to see through to the end, keeping her eyes looking upward, and not be given to discouragement. Give her eyes to see beyong the testing toward Your abundance–whatever that looks like from Your perspective.

In the glorious and unmatched name of Jesus.

Amen

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How Do You Face Disappointment

disappointment

How Do You Face Disappointment?

Guest Post by Rebecca Barlow Jordan

When disappointment knocks on your door, how do you face it?

I remember when a phone call brought me to my knees. “He’s gone.” I never got to say goodbye to my father.

And the time my gynecologist’s brow furrowed as he placed his stethoscope to my abdomen and frowned: “There’s no heartbeat.”

And that’s only a few.

Maybe you’ve experienced your own dilemmas and disappointments:

A betrayal. A job loss. A prodigal. And so many other disappointments too many to mention.

I haven’t always responded the way I wanted to when disappointment arrived at my doorstep. But through the years, God has taught me some awesome things about His character and His activity in my life—and in all our lives.

What would your faithful Father tell you if you talked to Him about your disappointment? Does God really care about your concerns? Is He too busy to listen?

Does God Care About Your Disappointments?

Throughout the Bible, God offers encouragement when disappointment tries to steal our hopes, joys, and dreams. How do respond at those times? As we turn to Him, based on His Word and His attributes, I wonder what our faithful heavenly Father might say to us personally. Here’s what I imagine Him saying to me.

My child, disappointment can creep into your life like an unseen enemy. Just like in a marriage or a family, when you hold on to misplaced expectations, you will meet frustration head-on. Imperfect people will let you down; circumstances will cloud your perspective, and life will disappoint you. Sometimes you even get angry with Me if My answers are not what you expected or if I don’t come through like you thought I would. But I will never withhold My love or anything good from My children.

I am the One who never disappoints. And I always know what’s best for you. How you choose to respond is up to you. But instead of giving up, try giving your discontentment to Me. Are you afraid that I will disappoint you if you place your life and circumstances in My hands? I’ve always been faithful. My Holy Spirit has flooded your heart with My love and security. When you open your heart to Me, placing your hopes and expectations in Me, I have promised you a wonderful love relationship with Me—the One who never disappoints.

You can read my answer and prayer response to God in my new book, Day-votions® with Your Faithful Father: 90 Days with the One Who Wants to Meet All Your Needs.

What Does the Bible Say About Your Disappointment?

Here are only a few of the Bible verses in God’s Word that verify His care for us in times of disappointment: 

Those who believe in him will never be disappointed. Romans 9:33 TLB

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:5 NLT

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NLT

God’s Word reassures us and encourages us to respond in a way that draws us closer to Him. He is, after all, the only One who never disappoints.

DAILY TRUTH:

Disappointment is only an appointment to trust God more.

facing disappointmentChallenge

Here’s a challenge for you today to help you plan your response the next time you face disappointment:

Write down any recent disappointments you’ve experienced. How did you react? Do you see any misplaced expectations? One by one, turn them over to God and ask Him to renew your life with joy. How would you like to respond to disappointments the next time you encounter them?¹

Rebecca

¹© 2022, Rebecca Barlow Jordan, adapted from Day-votions® with Your Faithful Father: 90 Days with the One Who Wants to Meet All Your Needs, All Rights Reserved. Parts of this blog post were first published as When Disappointment Comes.

From Rebecca

What if your needs were special invitations from God to experience His faithfulness in a greater way? Would you like to discover more about your faithful Father and how He longs to meet your needs? Whatever your need, He has the supply and IS the supply!

facing disappointment

 

Day-votions® with Your Faithful Father is a 90-day spiritual and devotional encounter based on God’s attributes and activity that will help you renew your hope, joy, peace, and trust in the One who is faithful and unchangeable—the One who wants to meet all your needs. Through intimate prayer conversations with your heavenly Father, focused Bible verses, powerful truths, reflective Bible study questions, and even journal pages, this book will guide you to deepen your relationship with Him. Use it as a devotional, prayer book, personal or small group Bible study, or a devotional prayer journal.  You can find it here or on Amazon.

 

 

Guest Blogger Rebecca

Rebecca Barlow Jordan is a day-voted follower of Jesus whose passion is helping others find intimacy with God. A bestselling CBA inspirational author, she has written 13 books, including Day-votions® with Your Faithful Father: 90 Days with the One Who Wants to Meet All Your Needs, and Day-votions® for Mothers, winner of the Serious Writer 2021 Book of the Decade. With the pen of a poet and the heart of a disciple, Rebecca encourages others from years of Bible study and teaching experience, in over 2000 greeting cards, devotionals, online articles, and other inspirational books. Rebecca is a minister’s wife, has two children and four grandchildren, and lives in Texas. Connect with her on her website and encouraging blog at rebeccabarlowjordan.com.

I am grateful for Rebecca sharing with us today. Be sure to check out her resources!

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 when to quit

The Source of All Comfort

source of all comfort

The Source of All Comfort

by Cheri Strange

Not long ago, I met some new friends because we were sharing the platform to tell our stories about how loneliness has impacted our lives. We were going to share the couch and testify to how God has liberated us from the bondage of it looking at it from our own perspectives and experiences. Their stories were moving. Even tragic at times. All cried when we heard them for the first time. We each had been living different lives, some single, others married, some without children, others with, well a lot, but it became clear there was a common theme: God is the source of all comfort when the days are dark.

Between our first meeting and actually sitting on that stage, one of our own in this ministry and a dear friend experienced her own calamity and will bury family members unexpectantly. Another dear friend said goodbye to her father on this planet the following day. And those are the things I know about in my circle.

These women are living out 2 Corinthian 2:3-4 from the marrow of their bones.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

We knew God as the source of all comfort

We knew it like our own pajamas. But none of us wanted to know it or to have the ability to comfort others based on our experiences. No one wants the testimony that requires us to need this kind of comfort. Not one of us wants the know-how to be able to give it to someone else in need.

Once in an interview, I heard Steven C. Chapman’s wife put words to this sentiment. The interview came after losing their five-year-old daughter, Maria, in a tragic accident. She said that people would say things like, “God has a plan,” “Just remember, ‘All things work together for good,’” and “Just think of all the people you will be able to help.” Her response was spot on. She said that she knows and that she gets all that. “I JUST WANT HER BACK.”

On the couch

On the couch beside me sat a powerhouse of a woman who lost her spouse in a calamity none of us would sign up for. She said something similar. In essence, she said, “I want my old life back. I don’t want to be on this couch.” She quoted these verses from 2 Corinthians and talked about how she didn’t want to be able to do this for people. But God absolutely showed up for her, as The source of all comfort when comfort seemed unreachable–just like He promised. In her worst unimaginable reality, God demonstrated Himself to be who He says He is: The God of All Comfort. The God who has been there at every turn.

I don’t know what you are facing or will face tomorrow. Regardless, we need to know Who He is. The God of the Bible is the God of all comfort, the God of all sympathy. He is THE SOURCE of every comfort we need. Unequivocably, He just is.

He is the Source of Every Comfort

God of all comfortWe may not want to need Him to be this for us, but aren’t we thankful He is this kind of God?

These verses come to us as a prayer. A prayer that looks squarely into the deep neediness of the human condition, aiming it to the only One who can meet such need. And that would be enough. The request, then, continues, as if to say, “Lord, don’t make all this awfulness of what we must endure be for nothing. Use it. Use it to serve another who is going through what we have gone through. Let the journey be a testimony to who You are, and what You can do in our worst situations.”

Because this is a prayer, I want to pray it over you—the one who needs to be reminded of The Only True Source of Comfort that exists. The one who can do more than we ask and meet our neediness.

A Prayer for the Source of All Comfort

she praysLord God, I come to You right now thanking you for being what no one else can be, and for doing what no one else can do. I pray for my friend reading that she might begin to understand and know you as the Father of sympathy. That you will be for her, the God Who is the Source of every comfort, every consolation, and every encouragement.

I ask that you will encourage her, comfort her, console her in every trouble or calamity or affliction she may be experiencing or will in the future. And that when you have done so, give her the strength and wisdom to take what she has received  and give it to those who  desperately need it. Heal us to see those around us who need Your comfort, Lord, and move us to act on your behalf.

In the Name of Jesus, and For Your Glory, Amen.

For His Glory,

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The Journey Toward Waiting WellConquering Chaos

If you like She Prays for battling fear you will like finding light

Be sure to check out the Stirring Faith Podcast, where you will find encouraging episodes like this one:

If you like Truths Jesus Taught you will like finding light

 

 

 

 

 

You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

 when to quit

A Prayer for Strong Hands

strong hands

Prayer for Strong Hands

She Prays on Friday with Cheri Strange

Several of my daughters are “grown and flown,” off other places, doing what God has called them to do in this season of their lives. Within the last week, each of them has called to mention how tired they are. There is still much work to do, but little to no drive or energy to do it. Today I want to focus on a Scripture to pray that provides for this need of strong hands to finish what we have been called to do.

These interactions with my girls reminded me of the first time I ran a marathon. I’m not an athlete, but I can put one foot in front of the other for a long time. The training program required long runs each weekend leading up to the race, up to twenty miles. One race day, I put one foot in front of the other for my twenty miles, and realized, there were 6.2 more to go. For slowpokes like me, that left another hour of running, and I was out of steam. In those final miles, my energy was so depleted, I didn’t know if I needed to cry, use the restroom, or spit. My inner drive was gone, my body spent—just like you might feel today.

What can we do when we are exhausted or emotionally empty, and there is still more responsibility before us?

Scripture for Strong Hands

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? Hebrews 12:3-5

 Therefore, lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:11-12

The writer of Hebrews is familiar with our pain.

He has spent the greater part of the letter lovingly warning his readers not to drift away from a fervent relationship with the Lord. The first verses speak of Jesus, “Consider him who…” This passage is coming on the heels of a series of testimonies about those who demonstrated tremendous faith. He knows we need their example to help us stay on course in our own spiritual races, enduring to the end. And it’s about mile 19.

Those entrusted to him are getting tired. He knows it. They are wanting to quit. So, he points them to Jesus to make sure they are clear on the standard, rather than some lesser measurement.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself

The writer makes a point. “I know you are tired. I know it’s been hard. You don’t think you can take much more, but don’t throw in the towel! Don’t go sit the bench! Do not quit! Don’t walk away thinking this is never going to work just because you haven’t seen it work yet!” Instead, look to someone who has made it across the finish line and now cheers you on to keep going.

Consider Jesus

Jesus did not quit. He did not sit out on the hard plays. Jesus didn’t fake an injury or tell anyone where they could shove their nails. He put one foot in front of the other (so to speak) until He crossed the finish line.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.

strong handsA couple of years ago, (before the world shut down), my daughter, Sophia, and I met up with a group in Kenya to go on safari. But it was quite a drive from Nairobi out to the reserve. We were closed inside a  vehicle driving down the center of what looked like solid pavement when suddenly and often, the driver veered off the path to the right or the left to what was NOT a road. Constantly we would bounce around that dirt path until the driver crossed OVER the nice paved road onto the opposite side to do the same thing. We did this back and forth up and down weaving in and around on dirt, through mud and rocks for five or six hours.

There was a straight path available, we just didn’t take it.

Sometimes life can feel like my trek into the savannah. We need this Word to be living in us. Today, let us begin asking for it.

she praysA Prayer for Strong Hands

Lord, I come before you today on behalf of my friend who is reading. I ask that You remind her of the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, and what He endured for her. The jeering, the torture, the scorn, the brutality, the reprehensible treatment He willingly received without so much as a jerk. Give her a picture of what He has done for her so that she will gain strength from His perfect love and obedience. Do not let her quit because she’s tired and spent.

Lord, invigorate her with Your strength. Enable her to lift her hands once again, and bring power to her knees. She cannot do it on her own. She needs You. And even though she might see the straight path and cross over it a few times, make her feet to stay on it, so that the rocky places that have hurt her and caused her pain in the past will be healed.

In the glorious and powerfully able Name of Jesus,

Amen

For His Glory,

You can download these four prints today to accompany The Journey for Waiting Well, gain access to all of Cheri’s free resources, AND begin receiving regular encouragement in your inbox.

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When you sign up, you will receive 4, 5x5 Waiting Well digital printables. I look forward to meeting you inside the community! 

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Don’t forget to check out the latest FREE reading plan available from YouVersion?

She has over TWENTY different reading plans for you to choose from. Just click on the images below to check it out:

The Journey Toward Waiting WellConquering Chaos

If you like She Prays for battling fear you will like finding light

Be sure to check out the Stirring Faith Podcast, where you will find encouraging episodes like this one:

If you like Truths Jesus Taught you will like finding light

 

 

 

 

 

You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

 when to quit

Hear My Prayer, Lord

hear my prayer, Lord

Hear My Prayer, Lord

She Prays on Fridays with Cheri Strange, PhD.

This is the She Prays on Friday edition of the blog, which hopes to be some of the most encouraging five minutes of your Friday. Each week on the She Prays on Friday edition we examine a portion of Scripture for the sole purpose of praying it over you. My desire is that each aspect provides for you an additional tool for you to use in your own prayer life. Our plea today is simply, “Hear my prayer, Lord.”

I cannot really explain the burden God is placing on me to pray over you. To me, it’s as important as asking God to move in revival across the land. This is how God works. Just as He did in the awakening that took place in America in the 1800s, an unprecedented movement began and spread with prayer. One person. One nobody praying and asking God to move. One person yearning, desiring to see more of God in their everyday life, and the lives of those in their midst.

Suppose you and I commit to doing the same?

Today, I bring to you two different Psalms that carry a similar theme. In fact, they almost read the same, but I want to present the words to you in both places so you can feel the authenticity request.

Scripture to pray.

Hear my prayer, O LORD;
let my cry come to you!
Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress!
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call! Psalm 102:1-2

O LORD, I call upon you; hasten to me!
Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! Psalm 141:1-2

Why should I pray these verses?

Both of these cries by the Psalmist carry an urgent plea for God to listen to the petitioner. They want to be heard. We don’t know the exact circumstances or problems, but if we read on in Psalm 102, they are enormous. The writer forgets to eat. He groans. Apparently, there are many foes against him. This person needs help. And he needs it now.

The second example doesn’t feel as dire from the tone, but the request casts a similar feel of gravity when he writes, “Hasten to me!” In other words, “Please, Lord, can you shake a leg, will ya? Hurry up. I need you to hear my prayer!

Not only does the person want God to hear him licked-spit, he wants the Lord to answer quickly! On the double! This Scripture illuminates when it is good and right to ask for your God to listen to you, AND to ask for Him to move quickly on your behalf. Depending on His ability to come through for you. Expecting a response.

You and I need to know that this Scripture is here. The reality remains, we are free use it ourselves in our own situations. With this in mind, allow me to pray this need of God’s ear and his attentiveness to your life, over you today.

Hear my prayerA Prayer for you

Lord,

I ask you to hear my friend’s prayer. Let her cry come before you. Don’t hide your face from her in her day of trouble or difficulty or delay. If it were possible, move in closer to her. If you could, put your ear all the way down by her head. Help her to know you are listening. And allow me to boldly ask on her behalf that You do not delay in responding. Answer her quickly whatever that looks like! There is urgency here in the need, so I ask You–the only One who can meet it to be her Sufficiency; and that she will recognize Your hand as You give it.

Thank you in advance for what You are about to do.

In the Name of Jesus, and For Your Glory, Amen.

Be sure to stop by FB or Instagram and say hello!

Thanks for stopping by. I pray we meet again soon.

For His Glory,

 

 

Have you discovered Cheri on YouVersion?

She has over TWENTY different reading plans for you to choose from, such as:

If you like the Journey you will like Finding Light

If you like She Prays for battling fear you will like finding light

   

Be sure to check out the Stirring Faith Podcast, where you will find encouraging episodes like this one:

If you like Truths Jesus Taught you will like finding light

 

 

 

 

 

You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

Becoming a Stronger You when to quit

 

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