Tag Archives: God

Whose Voice Are You Listening To? A Call to Walk In Love

In this world, we are bombarded by voices and messages from the media and other individuals. It can be pretty overwhelming. And, there is a voice that seeks to subtly affect us every day of our lives. It’s the devil!

Satan is the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10) and seeks to bring ruin and darkness to our lives. He wants to deceive us into thinking things that are out of line with the Word of God, especially about God’s love and how He sees us and other people. He wants us to feel condemned with shame and condemn others as well.

Romans 8:1 TPT says: “So now the case is closed. There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One.”

God is saying we are free from accusation and condemnation. But we must pay attention to what we are paying attention to! Are you spending time in the secret place getting close to God and hearing His heartbeat? Are you reading the Word more than you are listening to and researching the news? In this challenging time in the world, let us remain grounded in what is pure and true. May we listen to the voice of God and receive His love for us and others. Scripture states others will know God by our love (John 13:35). What a high call to walk in love!

May you listen for His still small voice and discern His loving, patient, kind voice over the accusing, negative, unloving voice of the Enemy today.

Copyright 2020 Marie Lorah

Refining Fire and Mental Health

Is God refining you in this season? I believe in this season God is doing a new work in each one of us to make us more like Him and to prepare us for what is to come.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19

God is making all things new, and it starts with us. He is making a way for us through the valley and wilderness. Do you not perceive it? I know it may be hard to see if you are in the depths of depression or anxiety, but God is up to something new and different. It may not be super clear, but He is doing it. Part of what He is doing is refining and purifying us from things that are not of Him, including idols, sin, and the like. He is calling us back to Him as our First Love, and is making a way for the new things to come into our life by asking us to let go of the old. Has God been nudging you to let go of some things in this season? Is He calling you to let go of lesser things for the better thing? Is He calling you to a radical step of obedience that will put you outside of your comfort zone?  Is He rearranging your priorities right now?

If the answer is yes, perhaps He is refining you. Perhaps He is even calling you out of some false comforts that we can fall into when we have mental illness. For example, God is calling me out of the false comfort on leaning on people too much for encouragement and care. Let me be clear — it is extremely wise to have a support system; however, it is not wise to make them an idol and become emotionally dependent on them to feel okay. Mental illness often lies to us and tells us we aren’t capable of doing things that we actually are capable of. Perhaps in certain seasons, this may be true, but as we continue in our recovery, we need to learn to get our eyes off of ourselves and onto loving the Lord and others. We slowly have to step out of our comfort zone and grow up in the Lord. This process is not easy, but stepping out of false comforts causes us to be strengthened and empowered. We can step up and out and begin to serve. Let me give you some words of encouragement as you go through this process:

“The furnace may be hot, but not only can I trust the hand that lights the fire, I can also have the assurance the fire will not consume but only refine.” (Streams in the Desert, p. 166.)

The refining fire of the Lord may be upon you right now, but take heart that it will not consume you. Rather, you will be purified in God’s love to be more equipped to serve Him and build His kingdom. As you step outside of yourself, you will see the many needs around you and the opportunities the Lord is placing before you.

What opportunities is God placing before you right now? What is He asking of you? If you don’t know, I’d encourage you to ask. If nothing else, just do what is before you, until He shows you the next thing. Take heart, friend, He is doing something new in and through you. Trust His purpose and timing!

Copyright 2020 Marie Lorah

Having Compassion for Yourself During COVID-19

Having a hard time coping with the quarantine right now? If so, I get it. Yesterday, I ended up being hard on myself for struggling, and that spilled over into today a bit. I was beating myself up for areas of struggle I still have, in spite of the fact that I have made a lot of progress recently. Our tendency seems to always go to the negative, doesn’t it?

In fact, research shows that we are hard wired to go toward the negative. Kristen Neff, in her book “Self Compassion” discusses this tendency and for our need to be kind to ourselves when we are suffering. She explains the importance of supporting and loving yourself in difficult times as you would support and love a friend. Sound selfish? Actually, Scripture discusses that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And how can we love our neighbor if we don’t love ourselves? It first starts in receiving God’s love for ourselves, then we can love Him and others.

Are you feeling less productive during this time? Are you dealing with depression or anxiety right now? Be encouraged that’s it’s okay to feel this way. We are facing many new challenges in different ways right now. Personally, I am used to getting out of the house regularly to help ward off depression and anxiety. So, I have had to adapt and find new ways to cope. But, not every day is perfect – and that is okay. I am making myself a note to put in my office, “I give myself permission to be where I am.” I usually get myself into trouble when I start ruminating on thoughts about how I should be further along than I am. If you’re struggling right now with those feelings of “not enough” or “failure,” try to show yourself some grace and kindness. God is patient with you; so you can be patient with yourself too. I know, easier said then done. Here’s another way to look at it: how would you treat a friend that was struggling with something? Would you say sternly to try harder and suck it up, or would you show compassion and listen with kindness? I’m sure you would listen and love with compassion. We are all on a journey of learning to show this same kindness to ourselves.

We all have a relationship with one person we can’t get away from, and that is ourselves! So work on your self-talk today. Try to think of a bigger perspective of what’s going on right now. Tell yourself that you are doing the best you can and that you accept yourself just the way you are. After all, God accepts you just the way you are. But take heart, that He is not done with you and is going to complete the work He began in you! Good things are coming, friend. Reach out to God and ask Him for His help right now. He is with you, and He will help you! Receive His love and compassion for you, because you are DEEPLY LOVED.

Copyright 2020 Marie Lorah

Expectation and Hope

As we approach Resurrection Sunday and Easter, we may be experiencing some difficultly preparing for this day. It feels so different, right? All cooped up in the house, unable to go to church services and other family events. It all feels so far from normal. But, what if this day could be more meaningful because of this still pause we have in this pandemic?

What if we could be filled with expectation and hope for the good that God is going to bring from this time? What if we could be filled with expectation and hope for what God is specifically doing in our lives from this trial? What if we could believe that God’s resurrection power is here today, to work in our very own lives?

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Lamentations 3:21-26

This scripture states that we are not consumed because of the Lord’s great love. In fact, we have a hope because of His great compassion and faithfulness that is new every day. We wait for Him because our hope is in Him. We trust Him because we wait for Him with an expectation of something good. What have you been expecting lately from the Lord? May this Easter be one where you are filled with hope and expectation as you wait on the Lord to fulfill His promises for you. He is alive, and He is inside of you!

Copyright 2020 Marie Lorah

Praise or Plummet

Are you praising or complaining through this time of crisis? Now, I totally understand if you’re struggling – this is an unprecedented time, and God is oh so gracious and gentle with us. Might I then gently encourage you though to press into praise right now?

In a previous difficult season, the Lord told me that I needed to “praise or plummet.” It wasn’t meant to be a discouraging thing, but rather an invitation of obedience to Him. He always gives us a choice. And in this case, He was showing me the cost of not praising Him. If I didn’t take time to worship and praise Him, I knew He was telling me that my mental health would deteriorate over time. I have held on to this word and have felt it extremely purposeful in this current crisis. Praise is the antidote to worry, fear, depression, stress, etc. Worship changes your focus and mindset. It has had to be, at times, a radical choice I make in spite of my feelings. What would it take to make that radical choice today?

Philippians 4:4 says: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Paul reminds us to always rejoice in the Lord. Not when we feel like it, but always. I’m not saying every day you’ll feel goosebumps as you worship, but this obedient act glorifies God and helps you shift perspective, even if for a little bit. So give it a try today, and see if it doesn’t change things!

Copyright 2020 Marie Lorah

Life is a Trust Walk

Life is a trust walk.

Sometimes it is through the dark.

Life is a trust walk.

And we must trust in how He walks.

Life is a trust walk.

We cannot see the road ahead.

So we nestle ourselves against His chest.

We want easy answers, quick fixes.

But we rarely get these requests.

God wants us to walk this walk

And learn to talk the talk-

That is the talk of trust.

And the heart position of surrender.

We may not know where we are going.

But we know the One who is leading us.

So we can trust this One, knowing He will hold and shepherd our hearts,

Leading us to the right destination.

The final result is in His hands.

So let’s trust in His plans.

Life is a trust walk.

 

Copyright 2019 Marie Lorah

 

Being Real About Your Feelings for the New Year

At this time of year, we often are focusing on our goals and New Year’s resolutions. Many have new hope, excitement, and motivation for the coming year. That is all well and good, but what if you are facing deep fears about the coming year? What if all you can see is darkness and have no hope?

Maybe you are facing a looming diagnosis or a strained relationship. Perhaps there are just some circumstances that you don’t know will ever get better (at least that’s how it feels). You’re feeling doubt and worry, and then, on top of that, guilt for feeling doubt and worry.

Well, friend, take heart. You are not the only one going through this. I think through all the glimmer and glammer of the holidays, we place this expectation on ourselves that we should be happy, excited, and hopeful for our New Year. But, what if it’s been a really hard year and there’s not one single piece of hope in your heart? What if depression is heavy upon you, and you are just out of steam?

I want to encourage you, whatever you may be facing, that God is still good, and God is still with you. He’s not mad at you that you aren’t feeling all the good things that others around you may feel. He’s not looking at you as a failure for having some doubts and fears about the coming New Year. If nothing else, you can hold on to who God is no matter what you are feeling or experiencing. Don’t give up on the One who does truly hold it all together, even when it doesn’t make sense. Perhaps find a song that brings you some hope or solace. Practice gratitude – I know gratitude is a hard one when you’re overwhelmed by circumstances, but even just the act of trying to think of some good things is helpful for your mental health.

No New Year’s resolutions? That’s okay. But maybe one might be to trust God with the unknown and the hurting places of your heart this year. Remember to keep Him in the center of it all, no matter how difficult the circumstance. Don’t give up on Your God – He will not give up on you. May God lift any burdens on your heart and give you eyes to see from His perspective.

Copyright 2019 Marie Lorah

Thankfulness in the Midst of Pain

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Artwork Copyright 2018 Marie Lorah

It’s that time of year. The holidays. Thanksgiving. Christmas. We are bombarded with messages of happiness and that it is “the most wonderful time of the year.” But what if you are experiencing heartbreak, discouragement, or illness? What if you can’t even look in your partner’s eyes with love this season? What if life just doesn’t make sense right now?

First, I want to validate the pain you may be feeling at this time of the year with whatever you may be facing. Trials are difficult themselves, let alone dealing with them during the holiday season. So be gentle with yourself. When I need to encourage myself of certain truths or reminders, I break out my index cards and write those truths and reminders on them. One truth I have as a painting is: “Be gentle with your heart.” Isn’t is so easy to be down on ourselves and literally beat ourselves up emotionally over the troubles we are already facing? So take heart, lift up your head. There are things to be thankful for. Remember that. Just take a moment to think of even the simplest things you are grateful for. It might not feel like a lot, but I pray this simple exercise will bring at least some relief. You see, when we are in pain, it is hard to get our focus off of ourselves. We can spiral into negativity, which breeds more negatively. Thanksgiving is a way to help you get back on track. And remember, you don’t have to be thankful for everything, but in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18). In other words, God is saying He wants us to always choose thankfulness, even if it doesn’t all make sense or seem good. So we can thank Him in our distress, as opposed to for our distress. He isn’t the one who sends distress (that is from Satan), but He will use it for our good (Romans 8:28).

Can you trust God with your pain today? Take a step toward Him, be gentle with your heart, and find a little something to be thankful for. Praise God that we have Him as our hope, an anchor for our soul.

Copyright 2018 Marie Lorah

You Are on Your Own Journey

You are on your own journey.

God sees you as worthy.

You are on your own journey.

You don’t have to be in a hurry.

You are on your own journey.

There’s no need to worry.

God has set your path out.

So you can rest and shout.

You are on your own journey.

It is worth the learning.

Open your eyes.

And take your time.

See the jewels and gems

In the learning,

Rather than comparing to what others are doing

Focus on who you are

And where He is taking you.

And watch the fruit of life grow in abundance

And your heart will come alive as you take your own journey.

You are on your own journey.

Is His Yoke Really Easy?

Recently, God challenged me if I really believed the Scripture that His yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30, NIV). My flesh screamed with thoughts like, how could that be true when my life feels so hard? Yet, in this moment, I felt Him whisper, “If it’s not easy, it’s not God.” Now, keep reading, because I’m not in any way saying life is never hard or we don’t have to put effort into things – let’s unpack this and see if we can’t find a balanced, Biblical view of this verse.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

The first part of this scripture is an invitation to come to Jesus. Then, He gives us a promise of rest, followed by another invitation to take on His yoke and learn from Him. He then makes a statement of His character of gentleness and humility. Again, He promises rest. Finally, He makes an unfathomable statement: “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

So if we are to take on His yoke, it is easy. Really? How could that be? What if we radically believed that statement and applied it to our lives?

I don’t think easy means perfect or that it means we won’t face suffering. This scripture is an invitation to come to Him for rest and comfort IN our times of hardship and distress. God promises we will have trouble in this world, but there is an easier way. And, this scripture points to that easier way.

Do you hear Him tugging on your heart to lean into Him and find rest? I pray you would find that peaceful, true rest that only HE can give. Take comfort in Him today. Ask Him to show you what it means to rest and take on His easy yoke. He’s waiting!

 

Copyright 2018 Marie Lorah