Cheri's Blog

Where Can We Find Help

Hi. If you are new here, let me invite you in. I’m Cheri Strange and I am delighted you are here. This is one of my favorite reading plans. It speaks to me in my need. I pray it will meet you in yours.

Let me give you the rundown of how these plans work on the blog. Often I will make an introduction and then let you know I post the Scripture first and then begin the devotional material for the day. The only reason I would deviate is if I wanted to embed the passage into the material, but you will receive it either way.

Now let’s get to it. May God richly bless the study of His Word.

Day 1: Where Can We Find Help?

Scripture

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Palm 121:1-3

 

Devotional Material

There are seasons of real discouragement that firm, passionate Christians experience.

I know enough to recognize you and I are not that different. Oh, the circumstances will vary. The particular difficulties will fluctuate. But it’s the same internal sense. Sometimes we can be in a season of gloomy despondency. We can almost feel a heaviness like a smothering blanket settling across our hearts.

It could stem from relationships. The gravity of discord between those closest to us weighs on us, festering daily so that we cannot escape.

There may be a particular burden. A worry. That situation that just won’t work out or refuses to go away.

Your job or the lack of securing one could be the culprit. Or there might be tension within your family.

There’s also that sense, although you have been faithful to God’s call on your life, you remain here while life is happening around you. Maybe things have not turned out like you thought they should or believed they would.

It is possible, you’ve been diligently doing your thing morning after morning. Truth be told, you are weary, on the verge of giving up. Life wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Where can we go? What can we do when we find ourselves…here? Sometimes our lives filled with serving the Lord and loving Jesus–doing what we know to do– can involve such heaviness and dark places. It can cause a person to want to quit.

Hold on!

First of all, please know, you have permission to be in this uncomfortable emotional and mental spot. We don’t want to stay here, but there is nothing wrong with you in terms of being lesser in the Kingdom for finding yourself here. Scripture will make this crystal clear. So take heart. It’s okay, as long as we go to the right place for help when we find ourselves in a season of discouragement like this.

Where can you and I go for help? Psalm 121:2-3 tells us:

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.

Right now, would you invite the presence of the Lord into your quiet space?

He keeps you. He will meet you in the middle of your discouragement and not let your feet be moved.

With much affection,

 

 

 

The Dungeon Experience

Day 5: God Can Restore the One Having a Dungeon Experience

You have just about made it. It’s the final day. But it’s probably my favorite. I love it because it’s unexpected and yet so needed. I pray God speaks clearly to you today in whatever capacity you need to hear from Him. It has been a blessing to travel this path with you. God can, indeed restore what needs to be restored. He is your faithful God.

Many blessings as you read today about His restoration through our dungeon experiences.

Scripture

Matt 11:2–6; 7-15

Isaiah 35:3-6

Devotional: God Can Restore the One Having a Dungeon Experience

Have you ever trusted in a product or service later to find out you had been duped? You buy bottled water for its purity only to discover it’s from a tap in Milwaukee. Or you wear an armband promising better balance along with intellectual clarity, sounder sleep and agelessness. You want to believe it’s all true, but reality tells a different story.

That’s what happened in the case of the Piltman Man, the archeological finding that promised to provide the “the missing link” for evolution. In the middle of the twentieth century, this landmark discovery was found to be a complete hoax. The skull that was celebrated as a human mediary between ape and man actually originated from an orangutan. It had all been a farce to perpetuate the authenticity of a desired outcome.

John the Baptist finds himself in a dungeon, fearing just such a predicament. Everything that was once transparent and absolute becomes clouded. The herald of the Savior questions his own calling and judgment. Did he make a mistake? Because sitting in a dungeon is not how he calculated fulfilling his purpose.

To settle matters, John sent his disciples to Jesus. He wanted to know if he’d been duped by a con-artist or if Jesus was the Savior he announced.

John was locked up in a dark, flea-infested, stench-filled dungeon indefinitely. It’s the kind of place you and I have likely only read about. But we can sympathize with how he acquiesced into questioning everything he’d ever known and believed. What is important to note is the response from Jesus. In essence, he calls upon John to compare what the Scriptures declare the Messiah will do with reality. Yes! John got it right even though he couldn’t see through the darkness of his own experiences.

Sometimes life takes turns and swivels we never expected. We can have our own dismal dungeon experiences of life. I have a friend today whose life took an unexpected turn. She left town with the children, quit her job and returned few calls. I don’t know details, but that woman is having a dungeon experience of epic proportions.

Of this I am certain: if God can restore John the Baptist, shaken in the dungeon about the very identity of Jesus, He can restore my friend in her catastrophe.

Whenever you find yourself in a dungeon experience, your God will restore you.

 

Cheri

If you would like to go to the beginning of the plan, click here.  

Check this plan out on YouVersion (or Bible.com) here. 

 

Other popular reading plans

 


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God Restores the Fearful

Day 4: God Restores the Fearful

So far, you and I have learned how tenderly God cares for His people. Maybe you are hurting due to your own missteps, or maybe it’s just the natural consquences of living in a fallen world. We can know, so far, He is faithful. And He is continuing to show us how far-reaching He goes to demonstrate his love and care. Today’s study is not different. It’s exactly what I need. God restores the fearful.

Let’s get on with the day.

Scripture

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:22-27

Devotional: God Restores the Fearful

Last year a man hid in our bushes awaiting someone unaware to abduct. Fortunately, we were aware. We learned he had been hiding in a nearby field for weeks. The perpetrator had made two unsuccessful attempts at snagging women the previous weeks, and had a previous criminal record, so a personal description was established. But our guard dog had died and my spouse moved to another city for the year. When a real Boogie Man is at the end of your driveway a different level of alarm presents itself than when it’s a hypothetical beckoning to lock your doors!

Scripture speaks to fear and calls us out of it. Simply stated, you and I are commanded not to fear. It’s not a suggestion and my situation is not an exception. Neither is yours. The Bible never tells us, however, that there is nothing legitimate of which to remain afraid.

Hands down, I could be the poster child for fear! My fears have spanned my years and could fill a closet for variety. They have invaded my sleep and left me breathless. Some of my fears are more irrational like avoiding the dentist for my routine teeth cleaning; but I also understand what it’s like to fear for your life and the lives of your children.

The disciples found themselves in a life and death situation, terrified and helpless. Doing exactly what Jesus had asked them to do, these experienced fishermen were losing the battle between man and the sea. It began to look like all hope for survival was gone.

That’s when they saw Him! Instead of providing hope and comfort, the sighting of Jesus walking across the waves escalated into paralyzing shrieks of fright! It had to be a ghost!

Instantly Jesus met them in their urgent need. Jesus saw them. He spoke to them, and literally went out to them. When cries were heard, Scripture tells us it was Jesus who immediately offered them His courage, assuring them of who He was, and that they need not be afraid.

It’s the same for you and me. Jesus sees you in your fear or in what is paralyzing you. In the middle of your hurricane-like situation, let His Word speak volumes over you. He knows it’s scary. But your Savior stands ready to give you His courage to restore you out of fear to trust Him through your storm.

Cheri

Click here to read Day Five.

If you would like to go to the beginning of the plan, click here.  

Check this plan out on YouVersion (or Bible.com) here. 

 

Other popular reading plans

 


after reading Increase your Bloom Ability read can God restore me
after reading the fight for radiance read can God restore meafter reading waiting well read can God restore me

God Restores the Heartbroken

Day Three: God Restores the Heartbroken

Welcome to Day 3. It’s one of my favorites because it demonstrates such tenderness from God. In the midst of hurt and loss, it can feel like normalcy will never return. And perhaps it won’t. We would at least like the gaping wounds the loss or destruction has created would heal to a degree we can move forward again. So we end up asking this big question: Can God do it? Can he heal and restore the heartbroken? And is He willing to do it in me?

Let’s see what He has to tell us in the Bible. Again, I will fit the verses into the devotional.

Scripture

Ruth 1:1-5; 20-21

Psalm 34:18; 147:3

Isaiah 61:1

Joel 2:24-26

Devotional: God Restores the Heartbroken

My sweet friend has a life story no one would guess and none would envy. Tragedy began early with the death of her brother in a drowning accident. The loss was bitter for her family, but this would only mark the beginning of tragedies to come. After she married, her husband experienced a massive heart attack leaving her alone with three small children. She soon buried her parents. But in the middle of heartache, God graciously introduced her to a gentle soul who, too, had experienced suffering. They married and together raised the children.

My friend has experienced heart-wrenching calamity resembling that of Naomi’s in Scripture.

Ruth 1:1-5

In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.

After the son married, his wife experienced an aneurysm while pregnant. The baby, alone, survived. The son remarried, still in his twenties, but passed away all too soon. If that were not enough, his second wife became ill and died, leaving this grandson an orphan. When the grandson grew up, his car was struck by a drunk driver, instantly killing the young man.

Ruth 1:20-21

She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” 

Both realities beg the question: How does one live through such heartbreak without bitterness or psychotic depression? I didn’t know my friend during those years, but I can imagine she responded much like Naomi. The emptiness would be unbearable. Choosing to get up in the morning or stop crying or feel again become legitimate struggles. There are no psychological quick fixes or human solutions for how to push through cavernous wounds loss creates. But we can be certain God is close to the brokenhearted. He saves those who are crushed in spirit, and He heals them.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;a
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound Isaiah 61:1

I asked my friend how she got through all the loss and brokenness. She said, “I don’t know exactly. I just know, God was with me every step.” I couldn’t get out the door for her battery of blessings she needed me to know. “I am so blessed!” she said. How could she say such a ludicrous thing after all she had been through? It was as if I had opened a pipe plugging Niagara Falls. “Let me tell you…The Lord has seen me through everything…!” And I sat down to an afternoon of wonder and awe.

I don’t know what you need in your life, but I know God is faithful to His Word.

He can replenish what the locusts have eaten.

The threshing floors shall be full of grain;
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
 I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you. Joel 2:24-26

He will be with the brokenhearted every step of the way.

Cheri

Click here to read Day Four.

If you would like to go to the beginning of the plan, click here.  

Check this plan out on YouVersion (or Bible.com) here. 

 

Other popular reading plans

 


after reading Increase your Bloom Ability read can God restore me
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God Restores the One Who Messed Up

Day Two – God Restores the One Who has Messed Up.

Hey there! Welcome. I’m so glad you are here. We are on the second of a five-day reading plan investigating the question: Can God restore me? Today we are looking intently at who God restores, particularly the person who has really messed up. Thankfully we have plenty of biblical examples.

Let me tell you about the structure. First, you will be introduced to the Scripture for the day. The devotional material will follow. Today is I am deviating somewhat. I have listed the references and embedded the most important verses within the text as you read. It just seems to flow better. At least you have a choice.

You can also enjoy a version of Can God Restore Me? at Bible.com or on the app, YouVersion. The benefit of finding it here is that we have the flexibility, added Bonus Material, and community with one another.

Let’s get on with the day.

Scripture

Exodus 24:9-11; 32:21-24; 27:21; 28:1-3; 29-30; and Exodus 39:27-30

Devotional: God Restores the One who has Messed Up.

The Bible is chock full of narratives portraying individuals who really messed up. Today our focus turns to Aaron, the brother of Moses. Why look at him? Well, Aaron is more like us than we would like to think. He blew it, and he knew better.

Aaron was what we might call a Spiritual Elite. God had chosen him to lead. He was serving in a prominent position, and the people revered him. Scripture describes him as the mouthpiece between Moses and Pharaoh. Privileged was this man to be on the platform as one announcing the Word from the Lord. If all this were not enough, previously Aaron had been selected to go up the mountain into the very presence of God (Exodus 24:9-11).

Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank. 

Aaron in the Midst of the Awesomeness

It was in the midst of all that awesomeness and honor that Aaron blundered (Exodus 32:21-24).

Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” And Aaron said, “Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.” 

This trusted pillar botched it to the degree we would have exercised church discipline at a minimum, unfriended him from all social media platforms and blocked his number. Within a short stent of leadership, Aaron caved to the people’s demand to forsake the Lord and made idols for them to worship. He was like a sympathetic substitute teacher who allowed his class to run amuck, subsequently aiding their bad behavior. Then he lied about his participation in the theatricals to cover up his failings.

A Lousy Leader

Aaron proved to be a lousy leader and undeserving of responsibility involving the worship of God. Ironically, in the middle of Aaron’s gross offense, God was preparing to give him the priesthood (Exodus 27:21; 281-3,29-30)!

You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn. In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the LORD. It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout their generations by the people of Israel. 

“Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests—Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood.

So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment on his heart, when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them to regular remembrance before the LORD. And in the breastpiece of judgment you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron’s heart, when he goes in before the LORD. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the LORD regularly.

God in the Midst of the Blunder

Oh, how I wish we had the backstory! I want to hear the exchange. Can’t you imagine Aaron’s own repulsion of his wickedness? Think of the shame, the embarrassment and the problems that could haunt him for the rest of his life–all stemming from his weakness demonstrated in those nauseating moments? There is no possibility of being restored from his perspective. He is too far gone.

But there in the midst of his shattered shards of failures and regrets poses the infinite wonder of a God who forgives more than He should and entrusts more than we would.  Where we brand ourselves “Unworthy,” wallowing in shame and defeat, God offers restoration. Aaron is given a new identity: Holy to the LORD.

And they also made the coats, woven of fine linen, for Aaron and his sons, and the turban of fine linen, and the caps of fine linen, and the linen undergarments of fine twined linen, and the sash of fine twined linen and of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, embroidered with needlework, as the LORD had commanded Moses. They made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote on it an inscription, like the engraving of a signet, “Holy to the LORD.” Exodus 39:27-30

For those of us who have experienced the weightiness heralded by our own blunders, thinking our use to God is null and void, there is hope.

God restores people like Aaron who really messed up.

He will restore you, too.

Cheri

Click here to read Day Three.

If you would like to go to the beginning of the plan, click here.  

Check this plan out on YouVersion (or Bible.com) here. 

 

Other popular reading plans

 


after reading Increase your Bloom Ability read can God restore me
after reading the fight for radiance read can God restore meafter reading waiting well read can God restore me