by Julia Bruce
On an employee bulletin board someone in management posted a flyer that said, “In case of fire, flee the building with the same reckless abandon that occurs each day at quitting time.” Thankfully in the “fires” of our life, Jesus doesn’t leave us with reckless abandon to handle it on our own. Instead, His great faithfulness gives us strength and he acts as protection to us against the evil one (Satan).
In the Bible, an Old Testament poet writes of his own struggles of learning about God’s faithfulness. Because of Israel’s sin, God had predicted through the prophet, Isaiah, that the nation would be conquered and the people carried off. What was left behind was a destruction so devastating that it was hard to believe it had been caused by mere humans. The strong, fortified city walls laid in ruins. Buildings, great and small, had been toppled and lay scattered on the ground. Everywhere, there was death and mangled bodies. The few not dead yet, moaned in pain from their injuries. Others would be dead soon. From this scene, we find our poet staggering out. As he looks around him, the utter horror and devastation he sees is clearly etched in his face. Everything he has ever known in life is gone. He sinks to his knees as gut wrenching sobs pour forth from the deepest part of his soul. As the small remnant of people still alive and able to move begin emerging from their hiding places, more sobs fill the air.
When people seek counseling, therapists often will encourage them to journal their thoughts to help them process what has happened to them. Our poet doesn’t have a therapist, but he begins to process his emotions as he puts his thought in writing in the form of a letter to the other survivors. In it, he expresses his grief, attempts to work out his thoughts about God, and tries to make sense out of what has happened to them all. In Lamentations 3:1-20 you can hear his utter heartbreak, but you will also learn that he is a believer who told others about God even though they laughed at him. In total honesty, he writes of his own disillusionment with God and acknowledges that what had happened to them was the work and hand of God. God didn’t just allow it to happen – he had planned it. Orchestrated it. Caused it to happen. It was his judgement on a nation that chose idolatry and worship of false gods while turning their back on the One true God who had called them out and chosen them for His very own.
The hurt and devastation for our poet doesn’t end there. He also feels that God is angry at him and against him. As a result, he feels he has nothing left to pin his hopes on for a future different from his new reality. He is depressed and he is in shock. What’s more, our poet is none other than one of God’s own prophets – Jeremiah – and his letter has been persevered as the book of Lamentations in our Bible.
Maybe at some point in your life you have been able to relate to Jeremiah. Maybe your are there now. As a resident of Florida with our share of hurricanes, many have seen destruction such as Jeremiah did. I think of how just a few months ago Dorian sat over the Bahama Islands and the photos that began to appear on the news of the destruction that hurricane left behind. Those photos, to me, represent the utter destruction that Jeremiah saw in his day. Maybe the utter destruction you have faced wasn’t a physical one, but an emotional one – such as a cancer diagnosis or the accidental death of a child. Maybe for you, it was several things in your life back to back that left you wondering if God was angry with you. Whatever, your utter destruction is, the effects are the same and your emotions and feeling are/were probably very similar to Jeremiah’s.
Despite it all, Jeremiah kept his focus on one truth that kept him going even in the darkest moment of his life. This truth became his weapon against depression and despair. He held nothing back in his letter of how he felt. He expressed anger, grief, and shock and then he writes Lamentations 3:21-23:
“Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!”
These verses can become your weapon against the emotions that threaten to drown you too. Fear, anxiety, depression, hopelessness. None of them can stand up against God’s mercy and faithfulness. It never runs out.
The Thessalonican church in Paul’s day was birthed in the midst of Christians being persecuted. Paul wrote to them knowing, they of all people, would understand how he was being persecuted. He asked them to pray for him so the the Lord’s message would spread rapidly and be honored. He also asked them to pray that he would be delivered from the wicked and evil men who intended to do him harm. This request was then followed by the following words of encouragement to the Thessalonian church:
“But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen and guard you from the evil one.”
When we go through trials, persecution, or difficulties, it can be easy to forget all the times that God has been there for us in the past. Our mind is so focused on the “right now moment”, the pain and suffering that we feel, the grief and sorrow, the fear and anxiety, the uncertainty in the midst of it all, that it can’t recall God’s faithfulness. (Click to tweet) It can be helpful to keep a journal of all the times that God has been faithful to us in the past.
If you have ever sung the old Hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, then you are familiar with the following lyrics: “here I raise my Ebenezer.” But what’s an Ebenezer? Samuel recognized the importance of being able to recall God’s faithfulness. In 1 Samuel 7, he takes a stone and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen and then he named it Ebenezer and said, “The Lord has helped us to this point.” From that moment forward, every time he or the people saw the stone, they were reminded of God’s faithfulness to them.
By keeping a journal of the times God has been faithful to you, it can help you remember his faithfulness to you when your mind is so devastated and torn by grief that it can’t recall it. As you pull out the journal in those moments and read through your entries, you can find peace and comfort and know that God will be faithful again. You will also find reassurance that He’s also right now working in the present situation…even if you can’t see it right now. So praise Him through this storm too, know that He is in control and He’s right now working all things out for your good and for His best plan for you.
Take a moment and think about the lyrics to the 1923 Hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness (© 1923. Ren. 1951 Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188. www.hopepublishing.com):
O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not
Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been
Thou forever will be
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
And all I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me
And a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer
And to guide
Strength for today
and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord every morning new mercies I see
And all I have needed Thy hands hath
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me
Take some time to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to recall the previous times where you’ve seen God’s faithfulness to you…where He has given you strength when you didn’t think you had any left…where He’s protected you. Where He has provided for you. Where He has healed you. Start your own Faithfulness Journal and write each remembrance down. Now take a few moments and praise him for his faithfulness, protection, and strength.
#verseoftheday #greatisThyfaithfulness #Ebenezer #merciesneweverymorning #WCM
If you would like to be a part of the God-sized dream we call Wellspring Christian Ministries, you can help with your one-time or monthly tax-deductible contribution. Now, with two ways to give, you can help us grow and expand our ministry. To donate to our general ministries, you can now make a contribution through our website. We are also seeking the perfect 200 (or more) acres of land on which we will build and do the various ministries God is leading us in. To make a donation towards Phase 1 of our Land and Building campaign, you can give at buymeacoffe.com. We like to think of ourselves as “Distributors of Living Water” …and for just the cost of a copy of coffee, you can be one too through your contribution that will have an eternal impact as we lead others to Christ, help Christians develop passionate relationships with God, and help couples connect and reignite their marriages. Who knew the cost of a cup of coffee could do so much? Donate today to become a Living Water Distributor
You can also make a contribution to our general ministries as we grow and expand our ministry as God leads through our website. To donate to our ministry expansion, click here.
- Every gift will be acknowledged on our “Donor Wall” on our website. Just leave your name the way you wish it to appear in the message box as you make your gift.
- Every $50 will receive a free signed copy of Julia’s book, “God, Love & Marshmallow Wars”
- Every $500 or more gift will receive the “God, Love & Marshmallow Wars” Couple Event for their church with Julia’s speaker fees waived (host site is still responsible for travel expense and other costs of the event).
Wellspring Christian Ministries is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization.
Thank you for helping us grow!
#growingintoourfuture #fundraiser #buymeacoffee #WCM
This event helps couples understand why the daily activities found in the book will equip them to build a stronger marriage and the book provides them with 365 intentional activities to take what they learn at the event and apply it on a daily basis. Through the event, couples will discover the Biblical “why” behind the categories of activities found in the book and the “how” these activities are important to building a stronger marriage. Focus points of the event includes :
- How memorizing scripture together and studying God’s Word together as they study, meditate and apply scriptures related to marriage and life issues will help them develop marriages that honor God.
- Why utilizing fun conversation starters that spark meaningful conversations will keep interest alive as they continually learn new things about each other.
- Why keeping romance alive is essential to intimacy and connectivity.
- How making memories and working together builds relationship investment bonds and how these investment bonds can become the knots that keeps them together through the tough times.
- How they can understand what they are or are not contributing to the marriage as well as how they might be contributing to problems or potential problems within the relationship through the use of targeted, intentional personal reflections
- Why it is important that couples never stop dating and how group dates with Christian friends can be both an encouragement and accountability to their own relationship.
During the event, couples will be given an activity from each focus point to do together, making this event an interactive, fun, and engaging event with practical, hands-on learning. Unlike other couple events that are over when the event ends, couples who attend the GLMW event will be able to apply what they learn when utilizing the book on a daily basis for a year. Since the book is not dated, couples are able to reuse the activities year after year to continue being intentional in strengthening their relationship with each other and with God as they strive to live out God’s design for marriage every day.
Learn more about hosting this event at your church or conference site by clicking here.
About the book: The GLMW book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
#GLMWcouplesevent #GLMWbook #intentionalmarriage #Godlymarriage
T-shirt Fundraiser: We have a new product line of Christian apparel and accessories available in our Teespring Store and our new Spreadshop Store. You’ll find tee shirts, hoodies, tanks, socks, leggings, tote bags, mugs, iphone cases and more.
All proceeds go to the advancement of Wellspring Christian Ministries.
Thank you for helping us grow!
#fundraiser #tshirt #teespring #spreadshop
Looking for a speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
Book with us now.
Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities, regardless of size.
Or call us at 904.524.8073
#JuliaBruce #speaker #keynote #author
Affiliate links for The Case for Christ by Lee Stroble:
|The Case for Christ, Updated and Expanded, Mass Market
By Lee Strobel / Zondervan
If you were a journalist, how would you investigate the top story in human history? Join the award-winning former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune as he cross-examines scholars to uncover incontestable evidence supporting Jesus’ claims. Includes updated archaeological material, an interview with Strobel, and more. A powerful defense of the Christian faith! 464 pages, softcover from Zondervan.
By Pure Flix Entertainment, LLC
A hard-driving journalist, Lee Strobel was exactly where he expected to be at work: on top. His award-winning investigative reporting recently earned him a promotion to legal editor at the Chicago Tribune. But things weren’t going nearly as well at home where his wife Leslie’s newfound faith in Christ went against everything Lee believed—or didn’t believe—as an avowed atheist.
Utilizing his journalistic and legal training, Lee begins a quest to debunk the claims of Christianity in order to save his crumbling marriage. Chasing down the biggest story of his career, Lee comes face-to-face with unexpected results that could change everything he knows to be true.
Starring Mike Vogel (The Help, Cloverfield), Erika Christensen (Parenthood, Flightplan), Faye Dunaway (The Thomas Crown Affair, Chinatown), and Robert Forster (The Descendents, Jackie Brown). Rated PG. Approx. 113 minutes.
Includes Blu-ray, DVD and CD
- “The Heart of The Case for Christ” Featurette
- Intro to the Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC
- 11 Music Videos from “The Case for Christ” Album
- Interviews with Lee & Leslie Strobel, Cast, and Crew
- Deleted Scenes
- English and Spanish subtitles
Bonus CD included:
- The Case for Christ – Songs Inspired by the Original Motion Picture