Cheri's Blog

Responding to Times of Trouble

times of trouble

Responding to Times of Trouble

Welcome to the She Prays on Friday edition, spotlighting Scripture and praying it over you. My aim is for your strengthening and equipping making this the most encouraging FIVE MINUTES of your day.

This week I am celebrating my thirtieth wedding anniversary. That man and I have been through some stuff across the years. There have been moments I would not trade for anything. Lots of them, and for these, I am ever grateful. There is no one on the planet I would prefer to do life with. But as you can imagine, married life has not always been a string of blissful days and nights. Yet, as I look back on our history together, the difficulties have been necessary to make us into the people we are today. And a right response to the times of trouble, various trials, and difficulties, as I look back, is gratitude.

Trouble and Blessing

Your life and mine can reflect this same combination of trouble mixed with blessing. Can you think of a time when it seemed everything was wrong or there was no way out? But God was present, showing Himself faithful. Or maybe you can recall a time when you were in a bad spot (emotionally, or physically) and you felt His presence or His working in the midst of the badness, walking you through the mess? On the other side, you can now recognize how your God has been with you, to strengthen you, mold you, prune what needs to go away, and refine you by means you and I likely would not choose.

These seasons or situations often leave us more fervent and faithful, equipped with a faith we didn’t have before. You and I come to know more of God, His character, and presence in our lives we would otherwise miss. What, then, should be our response to this sort of testing?

What Should be our Response for Times of Trouble?

Consider Psalm 66:5-12. It’s as if the Psalmist is writing to another person, like the dialogue you and I experience today. He is passionate and succinct, using just a few words. So, in these moments we have together, I want to pick up on that passion, sharing these words with you, for our prayer and your encouragement.

Scripture for Responding to Trouble

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

Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.
For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
And you brought us into the net;
Laying a crushing burden on our backs;
you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance. Psalm 66:5-12

A Right Response to Times of Trouble

Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. (vs. 5)

From the outset, the writer beckons the audience in close, to see with their minds and hearts what God has accomplished in their midst. They were not there to experience these wonders – but they have been the benefactors. These didn’t see the people cross the Red Sea or walk across it themselves, but they are a part of the community that came from that legacy.

Then he brings the situation closer to home, helping the hearer raise her eyes upward. Bless God and let Him hear your praises. Then he gives us some reasons that are not locked away in a history book or grandpa’s storytime.

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

Praise God for keeping you alive

Think of all your near misses with calamity and death. Personally, I’ve walked away from a plane crash, a few car accidents, and tornadoes. From what I understand, I wasn’t even supposed to make it out of the hospital alive as an infant. I’m sure you can think of similar accounts. If you are breathing, it’s on purpose for a purpose. Girl, Praise God!

Praise God for the Testing

The Psalmist moves to something you and I don’t always like to reflect upon or raise our hands in the air to celebrate: the hard good.

For you, O God, have tested us; And you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net, laying a crushing burden on our backs;
you let men ride over our heads, we went through fire and through water; (vs. 9-12)

times of trouble storiesIn other words

In other words, the writer expresses how God has put them through adversity. Trouble that has been at times, unbearable, varied, and seemingly constant, like one hard thing after another. I wouldn’t have done it His way. I might even say, “I don’t like His way.” It’s been awful at times. Crushing, painful, and difficult. Problems and predicaments out of our control, like fire and water. Let’s not skip over it and pretend it never happened.

This is not a complaint. We know this because of verse 12.

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

I don’t believe the Psalmist is pointing to a particular location on this planet absent of drama, problem-free, with no more nets. He knows these things are necessary. Through the experiences, there is abundance. Reliance on Jesus through the mess–looking upward rather than focusing on what doesn’t last is the key. It’s a change in focus to look beyond the test.

This one is a prayer that turns our eyes upward, speaking these things back to God. And if we are in the middle of difficulties, we can ask Him to be true to this word. We can also pray this right response to times of trouble over someone else, which is what I aim to do for you.

Praying a Right Response in Times of Trouble

she praysLord,

Today, at this moment, I bless your Name. I 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 listening. 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.

And to more ready her and equip her – to show her to Whom she belongs – you have tested her. And You may be testing her now – allowing her to experience untold difficulties, strains, and struggles we cannot alleviate. Right now, Lord, I pray that you give her the strength to rely on You, to see through to the end,  to keep her eyes bend upward, to not give up or give in to discouragement–but to see on beyond the trouble toward Your abundance whatever that looks like from Your perspective.

In the glorious and unmatched name of Jesus.

Amen

For His Glory,

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Boundless Gratitude YouVersion Plan

Boundless Gratitude

Boundless Gratitude

By Cheri Strange

One week from today Boundless Gratitude will release on the YouVersion app, or Bible.com.

This is a 7-day plan, perfect for preparing our hearts for this season to focus on being thankful, rather than scoot past it. I’m going to host a group on the app, so be looking for the LINK INVITATION. We will go through the plan together as soon as it comes out, leading up to Thanksgiving. Boundless Gratitude is set to release November 19, 2020.

In addition to the 7-day FREE plan, I have created a printable PDF journal to go with it. You can access it Here, which also enables you to become a subscriber AND gain access to the new She Yearns Community Facebook Group. These two places are where I will be supplying more free stuff to subscribers, like the Conversation Starter Cards that also accompany this plan. And this is only the beginning of the benefits you will receive. So jump on it and sign up!

I am looking forward to being with you as we do Plans Together (remember – BE LOOKING FOR THE LINK – on MY FB PAGE). And don’t forget to sign up for the free journal to become a subscriber. (If you are already a subscriber – don’t worry, it will be coming to you in an email. Just another perk of being a part).

The countdown to Boundless Gratitude begins now.

For His Glory,

Cheri

5 Practical Ways to Practice Gratitude

5 practical ways to practice gratitude

5 Practical Ways to Practice Gratitude

by Cheri Strange, PhD

Hey there,

I am super excited because on another screen behind this one I am turning in a new YouVerison reading Plan to release EXACTLY ONE WEEK BEFORE THANKSGIVING, called BOUNDLESS GRATITUDE. The focus is purely spiritual and I cannot wait to get to it with you. So today I wanted to offer something of a practical nature. Weird as the may be this year, the holidays are closing in. I don’t know about your traditions or experiences, your successes, or when you have hardly glossed over the foundational purposes of this time of year, expressing gratitude can get lost in the other seasonal activities. We lose ourselves in family time, shopping, the 24 hour Hallmark channel, and football. I am guilty. There is so much going on. But it’s a new day and you and I are going to have a plan to focus on being thankful in our going. Today we are going to focus on five practical ways to practice gratitude.

5 Practical Ways to Practice Gratitude

 

Way #1: Practice gratitude in your prayers

With my mouth I will give great thanks to the LORD; I will praise him in the midst of the throng. Psalm 109:30

Pray without ceasing; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

Sometimes being thankful is simply a matter of keeping a list and knowing what words to place on it. The Bible is helpful in providing the words I cannot always generate alone.  You can practice this independently, but also include others in your family. One simple idea is to take those small paper place holders and have each person write something they are thankful for on the inside every time you sit down for a meal. Leave a stack in the center of the table. Every time you come together, have someone pray over one.

At my house, This might sound like, “Thank you that Tate made a new friend at school. Or Thank you that Zoe has a family.” Or something like that. It doesn’t have to be super scholarly and theological. What are you thankful for? Then let’s tell Him.

Another way we have made this idea fancier is to write these on some sort of cut out, such as a leaf. Punch a hole in it and hang it on an arrangement of branches in a vase with ribbons like an accent piece. It’s a meaningful piece to display that serves as a constant reminder of the reason we celebrate.

Way #2: Recount what He has done for you

When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
3The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad. Psalm 126:1-3

The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him. Psalm 28:7

You might ask how #1 differs from #2? I think it is more testimonial toward others. Allow me to explain. Absolutely we can throwback at the Lord what He has done for us. Whatever your season has been like and how He has been there for you, you can tell Him about your gratitude and Your God will be delighted. That would be #1.

#2 would be to then tell someone else. I cannot see His Power in your life, necessarily until you tell me what He has done for you. So much of what we do every day happens under the radar. You know it does. We don’t tell anyone. Outside of those few people on your fb feed who tell all, most of us are private, especially about things we need or ways we are struggling or doubting we don’t want anyone to know about. But Then God does something amazing in your life, and we keep it to ourselves.

Let’s not do it this time. Instead, decide what it is you want someone to know you are super thankful for. Think about sharing it in 3 situations:

  1. Tell a family member
  2. Talk to a friend
  3. Tell a coworker – or someone in another environment that you are engaged in, like at church or something.

You can never know how your experience can impact someone else. What if they are secretly struggling and you have the exact encouragement they need? Take the risk. Recount for someone what God has done for you. Who knows the impact your gratitude will have?

Way #3: Plan Gratitude-Inducing Activities

Beyond the risk-taking you and I are going to participate in, there will likely be opportunities to influence others toward practicing gratitude. Here is an idea we use at the Strange house. You can find it pinned on my Pinterest Page under Fall Ideas.

The M&M Thanksgiving Game

This game is for beginners on up and is irresistible because it uses chocolate candy! So easy, one person passes out a handful of M&M’s of different colors. Depending on the color, each person must share something for which they are thankful. For instance, if you pull out a green one, then you are asked to name a food you are thankful for. If it’s blue, you must talk about a person you are thankful for. The game is basic and nonthreatening. If you are surrounded by people who have not even thought about what food that might be thankful for, this is a good place to start, regardless of age.

Way #4: Praise him

Praise offered up to God is all over the Bible. Play music. Sing out loud.

There are so many things we are doing with our mouths that would not be considered praises to God. This would be a great opportunity to stop one thing and begin another. When I find I am listening to my own negativity, not even saying things out loud, I turn on the praise. I drown it out because I cannot be doing damage to myself or any other relationships when I am singing praise and worship songs. I fins my mind shifts and my countenance literally softens. Then I can begin to do Psalm 34:1

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1

This season, let me challenge you. Turn from yourself to praise your God. It’s a surefire way to express gratitude.

Way #5: Be joyful

And finally – express your gratitude by being joyful. I understand this may not be a natural response to 2020. Regardless of our circumstance, read what the Psalmist says about it:

Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.b
5For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.c
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

6As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
7By your favor, O LORD,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.

8To you, O LORD, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
9“What profit is there in my death,d
if I go down to the pit?e
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me!
O LORD, be my helper!”

11You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever! Psalm 30:4-12

This Psalm bursts with joy, even though the word “joy” is not in it. We feel it. That is what your life is to look and sound like to those around you. Not the sourpuss too overburdened with the responsibility of the season I tend to be. Not to girl done with 2020. Let’s choose to be women adored by God, truly loved, and cherished.

Here is one more idea that I really like because it points to joy over what might be missing in our lives.

The Reverse Bucket List

You know how you can make a mental or actual list of what you want to accomplish in your lifetime? There are some positive aspects about having a bucket list, but it can create a sense of how God is not coming through for you and how everyone else’s life is passing you by–and here you are. Still not doing what you wanted to do or accomplishing what you wanted to accomplish.

This idea is to turn that negativity around. Instead of focusing on what HAS NOT YET BEEN explored and accomplished, center on WHAT HAS BEEN. What has God done that has completely taken you by surprise? How has delighted you in unexpected ways? What have you experienced that was not in the plan, or maybe it was and you are indeed living that part out now?

Think about it

Think about these elements of your life, and write it down. What an unbelievable story that will make.

I would love any highlights you are willing to share.

I believe this history with God takes on very much what this Psalmist articulates that leads him to utter and complete joy.

My prayer for you and for me this season is that we lose our stress find our gratitude. I pray that you and I work through each practical possibility for showing our thankfulness and truly become a more thankful people. Not simply for our own hearts, but so others can see God more clearly. May He looks more reliable, more faithful, more irresistible because of our expressions of who He is and what He has done in our lives.

He is worthy of our gratitude. Many blessings to you as you walk these practical ideas out in your own life.

For His Glory,

Cheri

 

5 Tips for Cultivating Gratitude

5 Tips for Cultivating Gratitude

Podcast #77

5 tips for cultivating gratitude

 

Welcome to the Podcast–5 Tips for Cultivating Gratitude

Ready or not the season for giving and being thankful is upon us. I don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get when it comes to PRACTICAL HELP. So that’s what I thought you might need, too. In this episode, 5 Tips for Cultivating Gratitude, we are talking about some practical ways to help you focus on the meaning of the season. In our short time together, I’m going to share five tips for crafting an attitude and atmosphere of thankfulness, with encouragement and ideas to make this season more than football games and shopping.

Remember, soon and VERY SOON, this podcast is moving soon from THE SHE YEARNS PODCAST to STIRRING FAITH WITH CHERI STRANGE. That means it will have a new RSS. If you are a subscriber you will need to subscribe to the new podcast. Stirring Faith will contain the same type of quality content and messaging — just in a more clear package to help people find it. Be looking for these changes to come by the end of November and into December. For now, we are headed into our latest episode, 5 Life-Changing Resources, right here at the same RSS, She Yearns Podcast. Thanks for listening and being a part of the community! Find more on this episode there

Also, we just opened a Facebook Group exclusively for Prayer — She Yearns So She Prays. It is a closed group so you can feel free to share and connect, pray and benefit from the group in this business of prayer. I plan to post regularly and share resources there for you!

Enjoy!

Don’t forget about The Show Notes!

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If you are already a subscriber to the She Yearns Updates, you will begin receiving a link to a pdf. But this is different. By signing up here, you will ONLY RECEIVE Show Notes for the podcast. There is nothing to download unless there is some sort of bonus offered.

You can also use this resource to take with you to coffee with a friend or sit with a small group and talk about the topic together. It’s a quick low prep to no prep way to have a deep discussion about relevant Gospel-centered topics that matter to your everyday lives. So don’t wait! Sign up today!

Besides, 5 Tips for Cultivating Gratitude, — Your God is For Me is one of my favorite recent episodes. You can find it here if you are interested.

You can now check out the latest episodes from iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher, iHeartRADIO, or SoundCloud. Just click on the links below! As always, you can scroll down and listen right here!

soul care

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And if you have not already become a subscriber to the podcast, allow me to invite you to become one for the She Yearns Podcast by going to any of the providers and signing up for the RSS feed to have it automatically updated to your device! It’s basically ONE CLICK! And it doesn’t use any extra memory and really makes life easier.

If you enjoyed this episode, 5 Life-Changing Resources, or found it helpful, please leave a comment or review in your hosting provider service. I also love it when you post below! It really helps us here and anyone who visits the page. We cannot do it without you! The only way the word goes out further is with your help. Please share it as you feel the leading.

Thank you for listening,

 

8 Ways to Practice Gratitude

8 Ways to Practice Gratitude

Podcast #41

Series: Psalms of Thanksgiving

 

Hey! Welcome to the She Yearns Podcast! If you are looking for practical ideas to express gratitude to God and others, this is your episode! You and I are supposed to be thankful and able to articulate our gratude. But sometimes it’s just not so simple. Sometimes we are simply unable to articulate it or express our thankfulness adequately. Forget helping others do so when we are in such a rut! Not anymore! Get ready for 8 Ways to Practice Gratitude from the Psalms, where we will discover the richness found in the Psalms on how to do this; and also find osme Pinteresty ideas for expressing our thanks in creative, yet meaningful ways.

Links to the ideas mentioned in this podcast are below!

If you missed the first two episodes of this series on the She Yearns Podcast called Psalms of Thanksgiving, you can find it here, No Longer Invisible, focusing on what I view as my own personal Psalm of Thanksgiving; and here. The second episode in the series, 7 Reasons to be Thanksful, draws us beyond our indifference to help us see more clearly how our hearts and minds can be truly thankful.

This series, Psalms of Thanksgiving, reaching down and grabs us in the heart of our deepest needs, highest hopes, and greatest longings. You can now find today’s episode, 7 Reasons to be Thankful and other episodes of the She Yearns Podcast from iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher, or SoundCloud. Just click on the links below! As always, you can scroll down and listen right here!

Listen to Stitcher

Links to Ideas Mentioned in Episode

Gratitude Game

Gratitude Scavenger Hunt

Gratitude Conversation Starters

M & M Thanksgiving Game

Reverse Bucket List

Allow me to invite you to become a subscriber to the She Yearns Podcast by going to any of the providers and signing up for the RSS feed to have it automatically updated to your device! It’s basically ONE CLICK! And it doesn’t use any extra memory and really makes like easier.

If you enjoyed this episode or found it helpful, please leave a comment or review in your hosting provider service. I also love it when you post below! It really helps the ministry. We cannot do it without you! The only way the Word goes out further is with your help. Please share it as you feel the leading.

Thank you for listening.

Cheri

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