Saturday, July 30, 2016

Lessons from a Summer Storm: Finding Joy Again


Life can be like stormy weather. Instead of “living the dream,” you feel like you’re living the nightmare.

He broke up with you. She disappointed you. You got fired. Or, for whatever reason life hasn't turned out as you planned.

You never thought you'd be ______. (Fill in the blank.)

You may be asking yourself, “How did I get here? How will things ever change?”
Whether you’re overwhelmed, sad or downright depressed, hold on. Hear this and have hope:

It was a hot July day, and from my patio door I could see ominous gray clouds gathering. It looked like the end of the world.

Suddenly, the sky released pelting rain. Lightning cracked like gunfire, and thunder rolled and rolled.

Hours passed.

Finally, the clouds broke, revealing a luminous blue sky. Bright sunshine sparkled on wet grass like dew diamonds. It was clear again—so clear.

Sometimes life feels like a tumultuous summer storm. It’s dark and scary. Things change around us suddenly, swirling like the unpredictable winds of a tornado...and the sadness--like the storm--seems to stay forever.

But thankfully storms pass.

Just like a strong wind clears away storm clouds, the Holy Spirit blows a fresh and purposeful wind of hope through your soul storm.

After the rain, sunshine; after life’s storms, renewed calm and joy. 

Lord, it feels like a storm in my heart, a hurricane of emotions swirling about. I am so sad; I feel defeated. Where has my hope gone? Yet, here I am. Thank you that You hear my cries, even my unformed words. Please help me. Please heal me. You are my strong hope. I take comfort knowing You are near and You care. You have the power to blow away the storms in my life, and be my steady anchor in the midst of them. I ask for Your help. In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hope and Encouragement for Today's Christian Singles

Hi friends!

Just wanted to let you know that I also write a blog for singles of all ages called "Living Single."

Check out some of the latest posts to help you navigate dating and this crazy thing called life. I think you're going to enjoy them!

How to Have a Great First Date: Essential Do’s and Don’ts

Living Empowered: Discovering the Power of God in Everyday Life

Low Self Esteem? 3 Keys to Recalibrating Your Thought Life

6 Reasons Why You’re Not Married Yet

If you'd like, share links from "Living Single" and "A New Day Café" with friends and your social media.

For me, it's all about helping people to know God better, and providing hope and encouragement to help people live with more joy, hope and peace.

Jackie M. Johnson

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Confidence Builders: The Truth About Who You Really Are

We all experience times when we lack confidence and wonder if we will ever be "enough".

What if I’m not pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, strong enough? What if he doesn’t like me? What if I don’t measure up?  

What if…what if…what if? 

That’s a whole lot of fear and worry we were never meant to bear, and it can be exhausting to live that way.  

Thankfully, you don't have to.  You have choices.  

You can choose to stay in an anxious place, dwelling on yourself, and what you can or cannot do in your own strength. Or, you can choose to believe and live the truth about what God says about who you really are.

What does God say about your true identity? Here are just a few things:
You are… 

   accepted by God – Romans 15:7
   loved dearly – Colossians 3:12
   chosen - Ephesians 1:11
   blessed – Matthew 5:2-12
   a friend - John 15:15
   the Bride of Christ – Revelation 19:7
   a Child of God - John 1:12
   His workmanship - Ephesians 2:10
   a Citizen of heaven - Philippians 3:20
the Light of the world - Matthew 5:14
   His co-worker - 2 Corinthians 6:1
   victorious - 1 Corinthians 15:57

   Now there’s something to ponder.  
Instead of relying on what others say or finding confidence in yourself, you can build “God-confidence” by remembering that He can do what you cannot.  
God is at work in you and is working through you; you don’t have to do this hard and messy life on your own. 
One of the most memorable characters in the Bible lacked confidence. Remember the scene at the burning bush? God called to Moses and asked him to go to Pharaoh, the head of Egypt, to get the people of Israel of out that country.  
Instead of thinking “God can” he fretted “Can I?” and basically said, “Please send someone else.” (Ex. 4:13).
He felt totally unqualified; he wasn’t eloquent enough and was slow of speech (4:10).  Moses wasn’t looking at what God could do, he was fearful of what he was not.  
Today we read that story and wonder why Moses was so uncertain. I mean, in that dialog alone God showed him three miracles: a bush that burns but does not burn up, a staff that turns into a snake and back again, and Moses’ own hand that God turned leprous and then back again.  
God even said, “I will be with you…” (3:12).  
After all that, you’d think Moses would believe God and not be afraid. But he doubted again and again. Despite all that happened, God used him mightily.  
When we feel ill-equipped or inadequate, that’s the time to totally rely on God and what He can do through us. 
Things change for the better when we know—and believe—the One who loves us most and trust Him.  “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure” (2 Samuel 22:33).  
So immerse yourself in God’s truth and love, and you will find insecurity fading and confidence building. 
When we see with the eyes of Christ, we see who we really are.