Featured Posts

4 Reasons for a Faith Mindset in 2023

No matter what happens in the coming year, it can be a happy one when you stake your hopes for the future on the 4 reasons for a faith mindset outlined below. The chaos of the past three years cannot help but give us pause...

Anxiety and Giving Up Control

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6 ) Why is it when we try to give control over to God as this verse instructs, we still find ourselves worrying? The problem is that we are...

When It’s Time to “Move On!”

A fact of life is that times and seasons change. Sometimes brooks that sustain us dry up requiring us to leave things behind if we are to possess God's best. Is God drying up things in your life? Is He causing you to look...

Check Out My Book on Prayer!

My book on prayer can be purchased on Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites, plus a Kindle version is also available from Amazon. IGNITING AN IMPASSIONED PRAYER LIFE – How to Develop the Energized, Extended, and Sustainable Life of Prayer You’ve Always Wanted. Do you wish...

Strength to Meet the Challenge 

Comments Off on Strength to Meet the Challenge 
March 1st, 2023 · by Tom Stuart · Overcoming

Do I Have What it Takes?

Getting stuff done and pressing into everything God has for us are not without their challenges. The question we all ask ourselves is “Do I have what it takes to meet and conquer the task before me?”

The following verse is God’s answer, promising we’ll have the strength we need to rise to the challenge. “The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days” (Deuteronomy 33:25 NIV). In other words, you will have what it takes when you need it! This is a blessing spoken by Moses over the tribe of Asher for their protection and provision, just prior to facing the perils of conquering the Promised Land. It is an assurance we all can claim as followers of Christ.

Strength for the Weary

Seven hundred years later God reiterated this promise of infusing His people with the strength they need, through Isaiah the Prophet. This was when he wrote “He gives strength (ability) to the weary and increases the power (might or vigor) of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29 NIV). The verse addresses two types of people, each exhibiting a different debilitating condition which we all are plagued with and tempted by.

First, he is speaking to those who have been in the battle for some time, are tired and weary, physically and emotionally fatigued, and ready to quit. These people, clinging steadfastly to a hope or a promise are ready to faint under the weight of some affliction, delayed deliverance, or unanswered prayer. In response Isaiah promises that God will give them, and us, the necessary strength and ability to persevere and ultimately triumph.

Vim and Vigor for the Weak

Secondly, we see in the last half of the verse that the prophet is also speaking to those who are so weak and mentally fatigued that they lack the energy and initiative to even start. These are people with whom we all can identify, whose “get up and go, got up and went.” Frozen through inertia, lack of might or vigor, and apprehensive of what will be required of them, they find themselves powerless to do anything. In response, Isaiah promises that God will inject them with the necessary vim and vigor to get them up off the couch and “Just do it!”

His Grace is Sufficient

Fast forward another seven hundred and fifty years and we see this same principle at work in the New Testament. In the famous passage where the Apostle Paul is beset by weakness and incapacitated by a “thorn in the flesh,” God speaks to him with a breakthrough promise: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Not unlike Moses’ blessing of Asher that his “strength would be equal to his days,” this promise of God’s sufficiency in the face of whatever may be holding you back, is a game changer to get and keep you moving forward.

Father, thank You for the sufficiency of Your grace in the face of my weaknesses. I confess them to You and in exchange choose to receive Your strength. I thank you for Your protection and provision in my life. I therefore confess confidently that the bolts of my gates will be iron and bronze and my strength will be equal to my days. Amen

Casting Excuses Aside

Comments Off on Casting Excuses Aside
February 21st, 2023 · by Tom Stuart · Life Balance, Overcoming

We are all good at coming up with excuses for not taking on daunting or demanding tasks. While some reasons are rooted in plain old laziness, many are tied to much more subtle, inner workings of our soul such as perfectionism or fear of failure. These tendencies, as old as humankind itself, were addressed in the ancient wisdom book of Ecclesiastes – “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap” (Ecclesiastes 11:4 NIV). This verse implies that perfect conditions and timing may never come for doing what we must.

Just Do It

Excuses for procrastinating, “watching the wind” and “looking at the clouds” have too often kept us from accomplishing the tasks (planting or reaping) on our to-do list that in the end promise us great benefit or profit. Nike in a genius attempt to sell shoes, with the pretext of helping couch potatoes get out on the road, court, and gym – cashed in by calling out this tendency in all of us with its “Just Do It” slogan.

The truth is that only faith and the gumption to take that first step necessary and make a start will break us free from our malaise and get us moving toward the blessings God has for us. And here is the key to success – God actually promises to strengthen us in our resolve to please Him and to do what is right. “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him” (Psalm 37:23 NIV). In other words, His grace will abound in strengthening and establishing each step, however halting, that we can muster the courage to begin to take.

Try Won in the Battle of Can’t

My high school Latin teacher, ever encouraging her listless class to apply ourselves in learning that dead, but classical language, drilled into us what I now know to be a faith principle – “Try won in the battle of Can’t!” If you are battling procrastination in tackling some to-do list item that is haunting you, this could be just the nudge you need to cast all excuses aside, try, and begin.

Father, help me to cast aside my excuses in waiting for perfect conditions and timing to seize this day to make a start. Knowing that every journey begins and progresses just one step at a time, I purpose to trust You today to take the next step of faith that lies before me in my pursuit of realizing all You have for me. Free me from every hesitation and the things holding me back from confidently following Your lead in my life. Amen

The Upward Call of God

Comments Off on The Upward Call of God
February 13th, 2023 · by Tom Stuart · Overcoming, Relationship with God

Those who desire to follow Jesus must be ever attentive to what the Apostle Paul refers to as “the upward call of God.” Answering it is a lifelong process of continually choosing to separate ourselves unto Him. It necessitates leaving behind everything that hinders us from fulfilling His purpose. In the book of Hebrews, we are given insight into this separation process at work in the life of Moses, as he was being prepared to fulfill his calling as the deliverer of the Israelites out of Egypt. “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27 NIV).

Supernatural Help

If you read the preceding verses in this passage, you see that Moses, in his heart, was separating himself from Egypt long before he actually left. It led him to sacrifice fleeting earthly enjoyments to pursue unseen eternal rewards. With all the allurements of the world around us, that is not a choice that comes naturally or easily. But Moses, like each of us who desire to separate ourselves from such things, had supernatural help. We are told that the key to his perseverance was that he saw “Him who is invisible.” When God draws back the veil in our lives, allowing us to see Him as our creator and the lover of our souls, a God who has a plan for us far exceeding our wildest imaginations, choosing to leave all else behind becomes a “want to” and not a “have to.” It is a transcendent, life-changing experience, just as it was for Moses. It launches us into and sustains us in a life of serving Him and His divine purposes. It’s been said that “only those who see the invisible can do the impossible.” That is why we find the confession in this familiar praise chorus so faith-affirming.

I have decided to follow Jesus, No turning back, no turning back.
The cross before me, the world behind me, No turning back, no turning back.
Though none go with me, still I will follow. No turning back, no turning back.

Forgetting What Lies Behind

Choosing to follow Jesus and saying “yes” to “the upward call of God” begins by casting off the shackles of our past. Paul explains this saying: “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 NASB).

“Forgetting what lies behind” is only possible through the grace of His forgiveness. That alone enables us to make peace with our past failings. Breaking the restrictive power of our past is necessary to effectively leave it behind. In doing so, it frees us to reach “forward to what lies ahead.” Moses had to do this in reckoning with his false start in trying in his own strength to be Israel’s deliverer when he killed the Egyptian, who was persecuting his countryman. Having done so, during his exile in the back side of the wilderness, God then appeared to him in the burning bush and renewed His “upward call” upon Moses’ life. Just as it did for Moses, that call has a way of reprioritizing everything in our lives as we are called higher into His purposes.

The Power of “One Thing I Do”

Is God calling you higher into His purposes? His goal for us in pressing forward is for you and me to discover our true nature in Him. The Apostle Paul describes this as being “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV). Choosing a “one thing I do” singleness of focus on God’s calling in our life has the power to transform us into the person we were created to be and position us to be used by Him to transform the lives of others.

Father, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of Your upward calling in my life. Take me, mold me, fill me, and use me for Your purposes today! Amen

February 7th, 2023 · by Tom Stuart · Overcoming, Relationship with God, Relationships

Sometimes being too quick to defend ourselves, our interests or our opinions, draws us into battles we regret fighting. Escalating into no-win situations they waste our time and energy, and rob us of peace rather than secure it. Being drawn into fighting battles we are not meant to fight is a temptation we all face. A better way to approach such battles is to take Moses’ advice given to the Israelites when Pharaoh and his army were breathing down their neck at the Red Sea. “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 NIV

Only Be Still

The phrase “only be still” literally means “to be deaf and dumb to the adversary.” Choosing to be still is a real test of faith in trusting God. But it can provide a huge sense of relief in letting God fight our battles for us. Living a life of faith sometimes requires us to do nothing. This is counterintuitive to the natural tendency to do something and have our say. It can be difficult, and even unreasonable, to hold our peace when the Holy Spirit is nudging us to be still. However, the victory is won through setting aside our reasoning, impulsive reactions, and self-assertions. Choose therefore to be still. Let the Lord fight your battles for you. This old praise chorus is a great confession to make when faced with the temptation to fight rather than “only be still.”

Victory oh victory it is mine.
Victory oh victory it is mine.
If I hold my peace, let the Lord fight my battles
Victory oh victory it is mine!

Trust God to Fight for You

Are you confronted with a conflict? Are you in a battle over your head? Are you fighting a battle that is simply not worth fighting and has no gain – like winning an argument but losing the relationship? In such cases, to quote Shakespeare, “wisdom is the better part of valor.” In other words, do not fight the battle.

Jesus said “My peace I give you” (John 14:27). The peace He promises is not gained by earthly conquest. It is a gift He gives to those who choose to cease striving and simply trust Him to fight their battles for them. The peace He gives is an internal tranquility of heart that is independent of external circumstances. In the midst of a conflict, your sure guide to victory is His peace. Seek it. Value it. Guard it.

Lord Jesus, let Your peace that passes all understanding, rule in my heart and mind in the midst of the conflict around me. Keep me in a place of rest and give me Your wisdom and direction from above, to fight only those battles You have ordained for me to fight. Amen

What to do When You’re in Over Your Head

Comments Off on What to do When You’re in Over Your Head
January 11th, 2023 · by Tom Stuart · Overcoming, Relationship with God

In over your head? Jonah was. His testimony is a classic description of that predicament. “The waters engulfed me to take my life; the watery depths closed around me; the seaweed wrapped around my head” (Jonah 2:5 BSB).

We All can Identify with Jonah

It’s easy to identify with Jonah if you think back to situations in which you made decisions and commitments that you regretted. They were times when you realized the price being extracted from you was more than you had the wherewithal to pay, and you were sinking into hopelessness and despair. Maybe you are experiencing something like that right now.

In Jonah’s case, the circumstance engulfing him in which he was fighting for his very survival, was because he had chosen to run from something God had asked him to do. But more often the messes we find ourselves in are a result of simply choosing to do something God has not asked us to do. And to be honest, sometimes, even when we are doing God’s will, the circumstances we face can overwhelm us.

A Key Truth about the Nature of God

No matter what the cause, when fighting, yet failing, just to keep our heads above water, desperation sets in, as it did for Jonah. What he did, despite the shame and regret for the error of his ways, in the face of what would seem to be their just consequences, reveals a key truth about the nature of God and Jonah’s relationship with Him.

The pivot point for him, as it should be for anyone drowning in such a distressful predicament, was his choice, despite whatever got him there, to humble himself and call out to God for help. Here in Jonah’s own words is what he did, and God did in response. “In my distress I called to the LORD, and He answered me. From the belly of Sheol I called for help, and You heard my voice” (Job 2:2 BSB).

It illustrates how a humble cry for help, in whatever distressful situation we may find ourselves, will always be heard and answered by God. In response God not only removes the stigma of our guilt and shame, but also extends His hand to deliver us from whatever hell we may feel ourselves sinking in to. God is not a respecter of persons and is merciful to all. His promise of deliverance is to all who call upon him. Three different places in the Bible plainly declare this truth about God. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32, Romans 10:13, & Acts 2:21).

Let Nothing Prevent Your Cry for Help

We must always be mindful therefore that things can never be too bad, nor can we ever be too bad, for God not to answer our cry for help. “Nothing,” the Bible tells us, “can ever separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus” So, never hesitate to “call upon the name of the Lord” if you find yourself in over your head, in circumstances of your own making or from causes beyond your control.