Hold on to hope despite and during the pressing

NOTE: Wow, it has taken me longer than anticipated to return to this blog. Thank you for your grace and patience with me.  I am still waiting upon clarification for how I am to write in the New Year, but felt pressed to share this message with y’all this morning.

Life is not an easy journey, is it?

We might feel that we are in a clear sailing season, until the waves begin to swell, the sail gets torn, the rudder cracks and the compass starts to spin in circles.

It never seems to be one thing which tries to press us, does it? Because you and I? We could easily handle one isolated thing happening at a time.  But as we all know, it never rains, it seems to pour.

We are not as separate from our situations as we would like. 

Lose that job? No savings to fall back on? Fear decides to lay itself on top of these, and drive our emotions into hyper frenzy in a split second.

Lose a confidant? Best friend moving away? Mentor moving on? Graduate from your program? Anxiety over your future to come without the safety net of your usual support network can spiral out of control.

Lose grip on your staff? Kids acting up? Mom or MIL pressing your buttons and spiking your blood pressure? Stress can drive us to seeking quick fixes or hiding our head in the sand to avoid uncomfortable conversations or enforcing our boundaries?

Neither are we as alone as we think.

I am reminded this morning in Psalm 3 that David can relate to much of what we are facing most days.  The youngest of a brave bunch of men, he lost a job He was good at (shepherd) to follow God’s lead to become king.  And it was not smooth sailing!

When King Saul turned against him? He couldn’t run home, he had to leave his wife and best friend behind. He had limited resources, lived with a motley crew for years on the run as he waited for God to deliver him. Literally.

He is restored into position but not until his father in law had already given his wife to another, his best friend and brother in law died, and the kingdom was spinning in turmoil from all the drama.

Then in the palace? David’s many children by his several wives were jockeying for position and following their passions no matter what.  One tried to oust him, another raped his half-sister. His first born from a lustful affair dies soon after the court’s prophet outs his hidden secret.

This is a real man with real issues, one whose story we can relate to one way or another.

And he never stopped seeking God when he was being pursued or came face to face with his sin, in each space between the rock and the hard place penning him in.

Psalm 3 is a perfect example. (You can read it online in the Message version here )

  1. He doesn’t pull back from telling God what he needs from Him.
  2. He acknowledges when God does move.
  3. He praises Him for the rescue yet to come.

What does this mean to you and I?

It’s a reminder that God will never stop looking out for and caring for His children – NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO.

For David – the man referred to as the man after God’s heart – was not perfect.

  1. He was flawed, just like you and I.
  2. He tried to hide his mistakes, just like you and I.
  3. He sometimes stepped out before he thought about the path he would be heading on, just like you and I.

The one thing David did do right?

He kept letting God catch him, clean him, restore him and set him on the right path. Over and over again.

And here is the wonder of this true story – God not only never stopped reaching for David, He never stopped looking out for Him.

For His love is a never ending torrent designed to fill us, wash us clean and lift us up to where we were always meant to be…

Close to Him.

If you feel like you are smack between a rock and a hard place right now?

  1. Know that God is right there beside you to hold you close in this painful moment.
  2. He will never stray from your side, no matter what might have brought you to this place.
  3. He is for you, and has only good things in mind for you in your future.
  4. You can get through this, with God’s help.

Like David?

  • Keep calling out to Him as you hold on tight during the pressing.
  • Ask Him to move.
  • Thank Him when He does.
  • Proclaim His might will move in your future.
  • Rest in His embrace when He brings you out on the other side!

hope between rock and a hard place

 

 

 

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Oops I did it again!

Hi all,

I have been having difficulty posting, as I disconnected access to my site from my phone.

And then have been pulling crazy 60-70 hour work weeks on the go.

Sooooo….. I am taking some steps to sort things out.

But until I do?

Know that He absolutely adores you, so much He sent Jesus to come to earth and become one of us.  God with us, Emmanuel.

I still get a thrill of hope from that line, and I hope you do too!!

Until my site is fully back up and running properly, please connect with me on social media. @hopenhispresenz

Cheers,

Karla

Love overcomes

This past week was a whirlwind of highs and lows, and if I had not been purposefully looking for His love throughout my days? I am not sure I would have come out unscathed, or feeling as free!

Early Sunday morning, I heard a bridge of a song as I was driving to worship team practice.  I made mention of it to the worship leader before the service, and then put it out of my mind.

The speaker that service preached on moving forward, and closed almost exactly with the words of that same bridge He has put on my heart in the car.

What I realized in that moment?

His love is more than enough to help me overcome the things which try to bring me down, whether enemy based, unkind words or battling my own desires to sin. For His love is sustaining me as it actively moves on my behalf to help see me through whatever I may be facing.

And the song lyrics He used to remind me of this aspect of His love?

“I see You move, You’re moving mountains. And I believe I’ll see You do it again. You made a way where there was no way, and I believe I’ll see You do it again.” – Elevation Worship

By remaining focused on His Love, I am seeing His hand more clearly moving throughout the moments I live.  I am hearing Him remind me, over and over, of His Love. I am sensing His love for me, no matter what, as I tune in to His voice.

And by doing so this past week? It has made me realize I never want to stop focusing on Him!

#hopefortheharddays #focusedonLove

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love and kindness go hand in hand

A speaker who deeply impacted me as a new believer, Graham Cooke shared how when He met God, he discovered not only His love, but the kindness person he knew.

Somehow, love and kindness are designed to go hand in hand.

“Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 TPT

I’ll be honest. This verse delivered me quite the punch when I read it this morning. Because although I try to be loving and kind, I often fail to do so.

We were never designed to love without Him, for He is the source of all Love and Kindness, as I first heard from Graham Cooke.

I was recently listening to Amanda Cooke (which I do not think is a coincidence today, but His way of grabbing my attention) and the following song caught my eye:

And these lyrics firmly secured this idea of love and kind being intertwined:

“You are kind. Your love is a fury all its own, sweeping the dust and turning feet towards home, carrying the orphans and resetting broken bones. Cause Your love is a fury all its own – You are kind.” – Amanda Cooke, “Kind”

So today God?  Not only did You remind me how loving and kind You are, but how You are able to help me to be loving and kind to those about me when I depend on You to show me how.

For as the Kindest and most Loving person I know, I know You will not let me down when I come to You!

#hopefortheharddays #focusedonLove

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taking a closer look at His love – let the adventure begin!

There is usually no better place to start than at the beginning of love.  But love doesn’t always follow logical paths, does it?

I have found the Bible to be a love letter written by our Creator to His creation – us.  And the love which God has poured out became completely focused in one main event which shot His love about all the universe.

The love of Jesus.

I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19 MSG

His love has a dimensional aspect that is beyond our first glimpse to comprehend. It not only loves us with a passion and permanence which take our breath away with wonder, but frees us from sin in an amazing display of glory across time, earth and heaven.

But His love doesn’t end there!

It fills, surrounds and covers us… each one who accepts His love, and somehow allows us to connect with God in a way we never imagined yet can now delight and rest in! We become the place where His love lives!

As I continue to unpack His love for the rest of this month, I would love for you to join me.

Would you too ask Him to show you how much He loves you, and what that can mean for you each day?

For the one thing I do know about God;s love?  It is designed to change us for the better.

I can’t wait to see what He has to say about His love tomorrow!

#hopefortheharddays #howHelovesus

Overflow in this place!Fill our hearts with Your love,Your lovesurroundsus!

 

 

taking a leap of faith, knowing He is there to catch you

Guard your heart out there. All are love-worthy. Not all are trustworthy. Authenticity with all. Transparency with most. IntimacFriend, we are called to not only guard our heart, but to simultaneously love those about us.

The relief to me when I read the quote above? HUGE!

You see, I was…

  • The girl a best friend described as the homeliest girl she’d ever me.
  • The girl the guys turned to to be tutored in English, genetics or French.
  • The girl who was taken advantage of.
  • The girl who worried more about what others thought of her than what she knew about herself.

But I was also the girl who God hardwired to be faithful. The girl who loves to learn, read, sing, laugh and write.

I hid myself behind my wall of hurts as a girl and teen, not trusting that those around me were safe with my stuff.

Looking back, I can see how remaining behind the walls was a very lonely place to be, but how it also kept me bound there.

Then His love broke through.

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With God, all things are possible. – Matthew 19:26

And God has set out to prove this verse to be true in my life ever since I first encountered Him!

I have a family I am closer to than I could ever imagine as I stepped down the aisle on my wedding day.

I now have a safe circle of friends whom I can entrust with my heart, who God immensely blessed me with as He brought them into my life. They not only encourage me but kick my butt when I need it, as they remind me we are designed for community.

I have a church family who are there to support not only me but my family, who remind me I was primarily designed for relationship with You.

I am also blessed with wise bosses and coworkers who help me use my gifts to the best of my ability, and remind me the importance of team work and excellence.

I am learning how to live out being genuine and authentic with everyone, transparent with those holding me accountable, and intimate with my closest loved ones, as I fully trust in Him every step of the way. 

Not only am I to show everyone His love, I am to also love myself as He does, and let Him love up on me as I trust Him to be my solid foundation.

The girl I was before I met God?  She is learning to leave the worst behind and embrace the best He is replacing them with – His Spirit within me.

Instead of living behind that wall of isolation?  I now (more than ever before) am enjoying the wide open space within He is freeing me to enjoy along side Him!

With Him, this expanse of freedom has been made possible!

#hopefortheharddays

 

 

 

 

 

 

why rebuild your foundation upon the Word

When your world turns upside down in a good way, it can be a bit daunting to step back into familiar roles.  Even though you know God is with you.

I draw quite a bit of comfort from the Word, but today I felt prompted to read a familiar chapter and saw it with a fresh set of eyes: John 1 MSG

That’s when I saw it. As if it was the first time, in verse 14.

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.

WOW! God can relate to how I am feeling, because not only did He put on flesh and bone, and move into our neighborhood (earth), He brought His Kingdom down with Him in how He shone among us.

As awesome as that verse is, I realized that knowing that fact was not enough.  Knowing God is close by and glorious is only part of what I need to see, touch, taste and experience as I am learning to become a new me.

John 1-14 MSG

As I went back and reread John 1, I was then thrilled to discover the following verses 9-13:

The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering Life He brings into Light. He was in the world, the world was there through Him, and yet the world didn’t even notice. He came to His own people, but they didn’t want Him. But whoever did want Him, who believed He was who He claimed and would do what He said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selvesThese are the God-begotten, not blood-begotten, not flesh-begotten, not sex-begotten.

God Himself makes me become new!

My part is to come to Him and offer up my fears, failures, false beliefs and flaws .

He then takes them and fantastically forgives and sets us free in exchange.

But God goes even one step further than that.

He makes us family.

His blood not only frees us from sin, it reveals who we are meant to be!

His children, now able to show their Father’s image!!

Feeling a little unsure of your steps following a major leap forward into your freedom?

Keep pressing in to His Word.

Allow Holy Spirit to draw you to the Word He has for you to discover each day, as you invite Him to do so!

Word of God speak. Would you pour down like rain, washing my eyes to see Your majesty. To be still and know that you’re in this place? Please let me stay and rest in your holiness. Word of God speak…

#hopefortheharddays

 

 

 

 

 

 

when the weight of your brokenness weighs heavy upon you

A week ago, I got a tidbit of revelation in the middle of a Cleansing Stream class I am taking. I wrote it down, and planned on bringing it up for prayer at the retreat next month.

Little did I know at the time that tidbit would become the gateway for the enemy attacks last week.

It became apparent to me this might bigger than it seemed, so I asked God for more revelation. In His grace, He downloaded it into my spirit at church Sunday morning and prompted me to deal with it before I left.

Because He knew that the person who needed to lead me out of this situation was there that day.

Unsure whether this was indeed His direction, I brought the situation to someone I trusted would wisely guide me. They agreed they felt it was the right next step.

So I did.

And that moment from almost 25 years ago which the enemy has used to whammy me has now been transformed into a moment of great victory! The formerly faulty foundation is now firmly on the Rock, and the bitter root & pain uprooted and replaced with His love, mercy and grace.

What was it, you may be wondering?

It really doesn’t matter, because any thing that we agree with which is not from Him can cause us harm. And each of us can arrive on our knees before Him from a million different situations, each needing His touch.

If you too are feeling broken and heavy burdened by the weight of knowing you did something, unknowingly or not, you shouldn’t have?

  • Run to His feet.
  • Tell Him what’s wrong.
  • Invite Him to speak.
  • Trust He has your best in mind.
  • Follow His lead.
  • Welcome His loving touch.
  • Receive His healing.
  • Get up and walk out your victory!

THERE IS NOTHING YOU CANNOT BRING TO HIM, at ANY TIME!

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

The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17 NLT

If we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—He won’t let us down; He’ll be true to Himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. 1 John 1:9b MSG

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15

#hopefortheharddays

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When the cries need to start pouring out

Just today, I heard about two more people being diagnosed with major cancers, a friend still recovering from a major concussion, a former customer’s best friend losing her mom, a coworker who may have a serious illness, and another musical influencer passing away.

All before lunch.

And each of these people have loved ones who are hurting about these situations.

I love how God often reassures us in His Word that He is there for us.

But not just there.

God cares to get involved.

He wants to hear the details from us, even though He already knows them.

Because He knows we need someone we can not only run to who can take the brunt of our pain, handle our snotty sobs, and hear our wordless cries.

He knows we need to know someone cares. Someone is listening. Someone who is in our corner 24/7, every day, all day and night.

So on the days like today where all the news I am hearing grieves me?

I pull up a chair. I bow down before Him. I find quiet place where He can meet with me.

For God invites me, and you, to come and pour it all out – honestly & openly – before Him.

And each and every time I do? I find rest for my soul.

Not because He immediately fixed the situation.

But because the Maker of Heaven & Earth, the Lover of my soul, the King over all, my Creator?

He’s present.

  • With me.
  • With the hurting ones.
  • With the lonely, broken and grieving ones.

Every. Single. One.

As each night watch begins, get up and cry out in prayer. Pour your heart out face-to-face with the Master. Lamentations 2:19a MSG

#hopefortheharddays

find rest…

We are all looking for that soft place to land upon when we fall.

We tend to keep ourselves busy to distract ourselves from the fact something isn’t right.

We all need rest.

And some of us need to stop running so we can find it again.

Saying yes to some priorities means saying no to some things we may love, but aren’t important in the big picture of life.

Rest- both physical and spiritual- is near the top of my list.

We are called, actually reminded in the Word, that to rest.

Psalm 62:5 tells us we can find our rest in Him.

Time spent in His Presence brings an inner rest and peace in the quiet place where we meet together….and that connectiveness helps keep me calm when the storms of life hit.

Because we all know storms come and go, as do the sunny days.

My soul needs to be supercharged with rest to help keep me seeking Him despite what is ahead, just around the bend.

Relationship problems?
Work problems?
Health concerns?
Financial stresses?
Relocations?
Death of a loved one?
Unprovoked aggression?

All of these can be seen throughout the Bible….and none more clearly than in the life of Jesus.

Jesus took Himself away from the crowds, even his best friends & family, and sought God in the quiet place.

To seek His face,
to be reminded of His love,
to remember who He really was,
to find rest despite the hard road ahead.

Unsure of things going on in your life?

Press in to the One who is ever present and never changing.

Press in to Him for the rest you need, which only He can deliver.

Respond to His invitation to come and be with Him.  For the rest you are looking for is found on His Presence.

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