Cheri's Blog

When Your Happy Goes Missing

when your happy goes missing

Do you pursue happy? If you are anything like other Americans, you ponder and crave merriment more than success or true love. Happiness has been deemed our life passion as a culture. Tragically, studies show we are the most unhappy we have been in over 50 years.

The past few years have taken more than an emotional toll on most–the effects of which have been astounding. It’s left more than the melancholy lacking in the joy department. Lately, a handful of precious souls confided they had no joy. And they didn’t know what to do to get it.

What about you? Do you find joy elusive?

How important is being happy or finding joy to the Christian, anyway?

The longtime pastor and prolific writer, John Pipe, has written volumes on it, concluding that joy in God for the believer is an optional add-on for the Super Devoted, but an essential aspect of the Christian’s faith.

“The pursuit of joy in God is not optional. It is not an “extra” that a person might grow into after he comes to faith. It is not simply a way to “enhance” your walk with the Lord. Until your heart has hit upon this pursuit, your “faith” cannot please God. It is not saving faith. Saving faith is the confidence that if you sell all you have and forsake all sinful pleasures, the hidden treasure of holy joy will satisfy your deepest desires. Saving faith is the heartfelt conviction not only that Christ is reliable, but also that He is desirable. It is the confidence that He will come through with His promises and that what He promises is more to be desired than all the world.”― John Piper, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist

I can almost hear you cry, “YEEESSSS! THAT’S WHAT I WANT!”

Getting there is the more challenging phenomenon, isn’t it?

When you find your happy has gone missing, don’t feel all is lost. There is a proven way forward, but it will be a fight. There is nothing the enemy would like better than for you to question God’s promises, His reliability, His ableness, and His desirability – living dissatisfied and unhappy.

The First Step Back to Happiness

A first step in the right direction is to follow the lead of those who have gone before us. The Psalmist writes,

Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2Preserve my life, for I am godly;
save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
3Be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all the day.
4Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Psalm 86:1-5

Notice the fourth verse:

4Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.

I especially like it from the Amplified Version:

Make me, your servant, to rejoice, O Lord; for to you do I lift myself up.

When you find yourself unhappy or joyless, do what the Psalmist does. Pray. Ask God for what you don’t have. As you do, turn your eyes upward toward who He is. It may not seem possible today, but if you make this your own regular prayer – you will grow in finding Him desirable. It’s the very thing He wants for you.

For more on desiring God and joy – find a book by John Piper. He has dedicated his life to helping us in this glorious pursuit.

Today, allow me to pray this Scripture over you.

when your happy goes missingA Prayer Back to Joy and Happiness

Heavenly Father,

You know the heart represented here. Only You know what she has experienced. But I petition You on her behalf that she will find You the most desirable thing in all of life. I ask You to gladden her soul and make her rejoice because she belongs to You. Transform her heart. Lighten the load. Help her find happiness in You so much so that it cannot be contained.

For all of this I ask in the Name of Jesus, Amen.

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Praying for Work

Praying for Work Banner

Praying for Work

In case you are just finding us here, my name is Cheri Strange. Stick around and check out the rest of the site (Be sure to grab hold of the FREE Book Bundle before you leave). I’m so glad you are with me today. The purpose of the blog on Fridays is to take Scripture and pray it over you. Each week I select a short passage or verse from the Bible that is naturally as written, or that can be turned into a prayer. After a short discourse on the page of how the particular passage might relate to you and me today, I offer a prayer over whoever is reading. Today we are praying for work.

The reality is that you may not have people in your life praying for you. As a believer in Christ, I want you to experience the power of God’s Word spoken over your life at least one time per week. I am praying this is five minutes of encouragement just for you.

She Prays

That’s all there is to it. Every Friday you will now find us right here.

Today, I want to look at two verses I have been praying in my own devotional time for a long time.

Scripture for Praying for Work

Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:16-17

Moses is the author of these words, and he is praying over the people. The first thing we can take from his prayer is that it is well and good to ask God to show us what work He wants us to be about. I’m not talking about employment with pay, but rather any work, vocational or otherwise.

I recognize my own deficiency in this area. Frankly, I’m not smart enough to know what work is the most beneficial for the limited days He has granted me on this planet. I am not serious-minded enough to select the eternal over the superficial ON MY OWN. This prayer beckons me to bring my blank agenda before Him as I am praying for the day, and beyond, allowing Him to make my plan. Right here the Bible offers a precedent to ask, letting His work be shown to us, His people. But this unveiling is not simply for you and me. It’s also for our children.

When God does something incredible in my life, the event doesn’t happen in a vacuum. For sure, it can be a private matter. But I can ask that God be demonstrative with it, like Moses. I can ask that it be so flamboyant, in your face, apparent that God is working through me and my surroundings that my children can’t help but see His glorious power through it all.

When God moves in your life and those in the next generation witness the change, the experience builds their belief and trust in a God who is worthy of it. And if these two elements were not enough, Moses offers more we can utilize in our own lives.

Oh, Yes! There’s More

We can ask that He show us favor in these endeavors and that we not fail. Moses calls on God to establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! In other words, grow it down deep. Keep us from giving up. Give us what we need to do what He calls us to do.

Who doesn’t need a powerful and effective prayer that asks for God to establish your work, to make His power and presence in it to be recognizable, to grant favor in the working, and the strength to keep going until it is finished? What a gift we have in this Psalm.

Write these verses down. Get them into a place you can use them in your prayer time regularly. See what God will do when you begin to pray His Word back to Him. And do let us hear about it!

Praying for Work

Praying for WorkLord,

Today we bring to you our efforts, our agenda, and our life endeavors. I specifically life up my friend reading. Illuminate the work you have specifically hewed out for her using her skill set, background, deficiencies, along with her faith to rely on you for what she cannot do. Let it be known to her. Make your presence be so apparent that her spiritual and physical children cannot miss or deny your power through it all.

I ask for favor on behalf of this one. Whatever is standing in the way, clear it. If there are problems work them out. If she has fears, calm them. Doubts, reassure her. Give her the favor of the Lord our God and establish this work you are entrusting her to do. Establish it long and deep. Help her know it is from You, bringing with it a confident hope and a longing for Your eternal purposes for her life.

In the glorious and powerfully able Name of Jesus,

Amen

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Times of testing

Praying for Boldness

Praying for Boldness

Praying for Boldness

Did you know that the most popular foods in America are hamburgers? Hot dogs, French fries, and Oreo cookies fall in line right behind burgers. I’m sort of disappointed tacos did not make the top ten, but I find these statistical matters interesting. A researcher and question-asker, I am at the core, so it shouldn’t surprise you that today’s prayer focus resulted from hovering over some revealing data points. Today, more than ever, there is a need to pray for boldness.

In the past year, Pew released alarming findings on the number of people in the American population who have no religious affiliation. That segment has grown to 29%. This upswing results from an increasing secularization of society, which affects church attendance as well as beliefs and practices. In the past ten years, attendance has decreased by half. (I think those numbers might be askew considering Covid driving most to virtual participation, but I cannot ignore a significant decrease.)

With a rising percentage of those with no religious affiliation, there has never been more of a need to share our faith and be involved in discipleship. George Barna and his colleagues would agree. They found Christians avoid making disciples. A large percentage said they have never been asked, and another chunk confessed they had never given it much thought. Barna writes:

“Interestingly, a lack of external motivation becomes the chief obstacle for Christians who are being discipled themselves but aren’t helping someone else grow in the same way.”

In other words, they found Christians often just need a push to engage in relationships ripe for disciple-making. Among hesitations like feeling ill-equipped, they lack boldness. That’s where you and I come in.

How do we attain such boldness?

Boldness is not a magical quality in Christians just because you follow Jesus, but it is required. Paul and others recognized that to be a part of God’s work in making disciples, boldness was required and that they could not possess it on their own.

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 1 Thessalonians 2:2

So how did they possess it? Paul gives us a clue in his letter to the church as Ephesus.

Paul’s Request

and also (pray) for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, Ephesians 6:19

I get the rub. This is easier to write on a blog in the safety of my office than to walk next door to get flat rejected. But here is what you and I must determine: If we truly believe that Jesus is Who He says He is, and He can do in others what He has done in us, then we cannot remain timid but ask God to do something in us that is supernatural.

Today, let us follow Paul’s example to pray for a boldness we do not possess to proclaim the gospel wherever and to whomever God chooses (even the difficult neighbor next door). Pray for me and I will pray for you.

Praying for Boldness

boldnessFather,

As we near the celebration of our national independence, please hear this prayer of our dependence. There are so many in our midst that do not know Who you are or what you can do. In fact, there may be more than ever before. So, today, we take your Word and lift up this request for you to make us bold. Specifically, I am requesting a supernatural boldness for my sweet friend to possess and know how to utilize. Give her a confidence to engage in spiritual conversations, have a willingness to ask and answer the difficult questions that arise, and point people to Jesus. Let her be a strategic part of turning the numbers back on themselves—bringing those in her sphere of influence to the saving power you, alone, offer. Help her trust that You can do this. Give her opportunities. Remove her timidity and reassure her with your presence that You are worth any risk.

In the glorious and unmatched name of Jesus.

Amen,

Have you received my FREE gift to you? Get 3 resources to help you experience more of God in your everyday life. It’s filled with practical helps for living out what really matters.

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Get my FREE gift to you to help you experience more of God in your everyday life. You will receive two beautiful e-books (Awakening Hope, a 21-Day devotional, 7 Fundamentals for Navigating Relationships, and my Bible Reading Plan for a working strategy for reading the Bible month by month, day by day. You will also begin receiving more resources, news, and encouragement from me while gaining access to the Strange Library -- all of the resources I offer to members of the She Yearns Community without cost. Get your FREE gift today!

We respect your privacy.

If you would like to become a part of the private FB group, She Prays, we would love to have you. Click the image to join.

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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

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

Times of testing

A Prayer for Protection

prayer for protection

A Prayer for Protection

Do you pray for protection? I know many Christians who ask for protection over themselves, maybe a spouse, the new driver under their roof, their family, and even the car in a hailstorm? We are often enthusiastic about asking for divine intervention for health, wealth, success, and against all calamity. What about protection from the enemy?

The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. Psalm 121:7

Amid prayers like you and I often ask, we find the Psalmist offering a prayer of protection. He fills his poetic language with the assurance that God will keep you from all evil, and your life, which harkens back to a promise made by God, to the people of Israel in Genesis.

Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised to you. Genesis 28:15

What does it mean that God Keeps us?

Scholars find that this keeping is a guarding against whatever might threaten to harm you. God is covering all the bases. He is protecting His people wherever they go, and assures them He will not leave them until He fulfills His promises. The Psalmist wants the reader to know that He is also working at the individual level as our protector and provider. God alone gives us what we need to experience victory over sin and death.

Jesus prays using a similar language just before his death.

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. John 17:15

What does Jesus mean by Asking God to keep you and me from the evil one?

The death and resurrection of Jesus conquered the ultimate power of Satan. He no longer holds the keys of death. He lost that battle with the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, our Savior. So, what does Jesus mean by praying from God to keep his followers from the evil one?

Scholars understand what it’s not. Jesus is not asking that God shield from all sin, sundry evils, or calamity that might come. That’s our idea of protection. We are hoping for no problems, injustices, or brutality. Please let us sidestep the hurricanes, fires, drug addictions, car accidents, and miscarriages, become our cry. No, Jesus does not remove us from the brokenness which defines life on this planet. Bad things, even gross atrocities, happen to godly people, as well as the ungodly, every day.

Becoming More than a Conqueror

Instead, Jesus asks that the power of sin not have a death grip on us, literally. Oh, we will sin. Sometimes you and I will blow it so big, that we will want to die. This prayer of protection from Jesus is asking, by the grace of God, that wrong will not carry a damning quality with it. Jesus prays, not that we will cease to be tempted by the lusts that attract us to the world with all of its allures, but that we will not sink under these, and perish in them.

His is a prayer against Satan having any power over you and me. His is a request for victory in your life, now, and for eternity. Jesus is asking for God to step in and give you the protection you need to be that person who is more than a conqueror. Frankly, such pray over each one of us is necessary and for our greater good.

Honestly, such praying is not only necessary but encouraged in Scripture. If you have not been praying for protection from evil or from the enemy, today is a perfect day to begin. I like to use 2 Thessalonians 3:3 as my guide. Today, I want to pray this simple, yet powerful word for you.

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3

A Prayer for Protection

Prayer for Protection PinDear Lord,

Your word declares that You are all powerful, yet intimately in tune with the lives of Your children. I praise You for who You are and thank You for how much You love Your own. You are a faithful God. It is You who provides for our every need. You are familiar with all our affairs and know intimately our comings and goings. I ask that You keep my friend, that You protect her until Your plan for her life is perfected in heaven.

Protect her from evil. Do not allow her foot to slip. Shield her from following the things that are worthless, and give her only eyes to see Your goodness, Your delight in her, and Your ability to meet every single need. Draw her close to You so that the surrounding evils have no allure. And always make a way of escape from the sin that entangles, preserving her life for all eternity. Strengthen her as You lavish Your protection over her.

In the glorious and unmatched name of Jesus.

Amen

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Get my FREE gift to you to help you experience more of God in your everyday life. You will receive two beautiful e-books (Awakening Hope, a 21-Day devotional, 7 Fundamentals for Navigating Relationships, and my Bible Reading Plan for a working strategy for reading the Bible month by month, day by day. You will also begin receiving more resources, news, and encouragement from me while gaining access to the Strange Library -- all of the resources I offer to members of the She Yearns Community without cost. Get your FREE gift today!

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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

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

Times of testing

A Prayer for the Discouraged

prayer for the discouraged

A Prayer for the Discouraged

Are you a “glass is half-empty” or a “glass is half-full” kind of person? I often tease that my glass hardly ever has ANYTHING in it. Truly I am melancholy to the core. My serious nature is so acute that recently a stranger walked over to me, thinking I was discouraged, laid hands on me, and prayed against my demeanor in a heavenly language I did not understand. I welcomed the gesture because, with my pensive disposition, downheartedness shows up regularly.

Before my feet hit the ground in the morning, my thoughts bring me all sorts of negativity. Often, my mind swings open the door and rolls out the red carpet, welcoming all my past failings, current inabilities, and possibilities that will surely never materialize so that my glass of hope is turned upside down without hardly a drop remaining.

Other times, my discouragement springs from realities, just like yours. You and I can be bombarded with problems we can’t solve and relationships that will not heal. Some disappointments throw us back sixteen steps after we have only taken two forward.

Recently we visited with a pastor and his wife who are planting a new church in an unchurched area. Starting from nothing is challenging by itself, but all progress in the last couple of years has been lost due to a host of issues they cannot control. It feels like, in many ways, they are starting over. Again.

So often, discouragement can reign in our lives. But what I have learned (and continue to experience) is how very faithful God is to bring me out of those times, teaching me what to do when discouragement seeks to prevail.

Insights from a Discouraged Follower

The Psalms are replete with help for almost every human situation or emotion. When it comes to what ails my heart and mind, Psalm 42 meets me in my need.

My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
7Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
8By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
9I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

11Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:6-11

The Battle Against Discouragement

The author is distressed. He may be melancholy in personality, but he offers strong reasons he is in the dumps. Something bad has happened. Maybe a series of badness has found its way into his present. He feels as if God has gone silent and nearly vanished, and people are chiding him for it.

This writer does something in his torment you and I should do. He stops listening to himself and begins talking to himself.

Things are bad. He, too, has almost lost every drop of hope he possesses. But instead of listening to his own destructive thoughts, replaying memories of failures, unsuccessful attempts, previous defeats, and a host of inabilities, he stops the noise by talking to himself in truth.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:6-11

Winning the Battle Against Discouragement

When it comes to winning the battle against discouragement, preaching Truth to ourselves is our best offensive weapon. This is exactly what we observe from the Psalmist.

Why are you in the dumps? Don’t do that. It’s not going to help. HOPE IN GOD. I know you don’t feel like praising God — but you will. God will deliver you and give you the hope you need to rejoice, again.

Martin Lloyd-Jones, a renowned preacher of the 20th century wrote an entire book on this one Psalm called Spiritual Depression: It’s Causes and Cures, (Find it through the link provided. I highly recommend it.) He writes:

You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope in God,’–instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man, ‘I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God.

This soul is not out of the woods, yet. But he is making a way–believing God by preaching to himself what he is not currently experiencing and is struggling to believe is true. That, my friend, is the glorious help found in the trenches of Psalm 42.

To give you support in your battle against discouragement, allow me to pray this prayer over you.

A Prayer When You are Discouraged

prayer for the discouragedLord,

Time after time, You have shown yourself faithful. You are gracious in giving your Word through the Bible and through other godly people who rely on the Bible to guide us to wholeness. I am asking that you be true to Your character, doing this great work in the life of my friend, today.

I do not know what burdens she bears, but I ask that you help her become aware of her own tendencies. Help her to stop listening to the negativity, the bad news, and the destructive thoughts that ruminate through her mind. Equip her with truth so that she can defy herself, her environment, and the devil, himself, preaching the glorious realities of Who you are to her inner being until she can yet praise You, again.

In the glorious and unmatched name of Jesus.

Amen

Have you received my FREE gift to you? Get 3 resources to help you experience more of God in your everyday life. It’s filled with practical helps for living out what really matters.

FREE STIRRING FAITH BUNDLE

Get my FREE gift to you to help you experience more of God in your everyday life. You will receive two beautiful e-books (Awakening Hope, a 21-Day devotional, 7 Fundamentals for Navigating Relationships, and my Bible Reading Plan for a working strategy for reading the Bible month by month, day by day. You will also begin receiving more resources, news, and encouragement from me while gaining access to the Strange Library -- all of the resources I offer to members of the She Yearns Community without cost. Get your FREE gift today!

We respect your privacy.

If you would like to become a part of the private FB group, She Prays, we would love to have you. Click the image to join.

glimpses of she prays

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

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

Times of testing

 

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