Triumphing in Christ

help-566365-mI know a chunk of you are dealing with major health concerns. Our faith and emotions can be dramatically affected by how we feel physically. If you’re struggling to keep your head up, or even if you lack the energy to keep treading, may you find encouragement in today’s devotion, written by multi-published author and brain tumor survivor, Lillian Duncan.

Note: Lillian is giving away an ecopy of her novel, Betrayed. Winner will be chosen randomly from the comments left on this post. 

For those of you dealing with chronic illness, after you read Lillian’s devotion on triumphing in Christ, I encourage you to read my post on Pushing Through.

What a Day That Will Be! by Lillian Duncan

2nd Corinthians 2: 14

Now thanks be to God who always leads in triumph in Christ.

 Do you believe the Bible to be true, holy, and God’s words? I’m going to assume your answer is yes, then what about the above verse? It says God always leads us in triumph.

Really? That doesn’t always seem to be the case to my human way of seeing things.

I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors not quite two years ago. Since then I’ve had treatments and side effects that have left me completely deaf in one ear, partially deaf in the other with the possibility of still losing it completely. I also have permanent balance issues unless God chooses to heal me supernaturally. In the last 14 months, I’ve been on a strong steroid for 7 of them. I don’t have time to tell you what kind of havoc they’ve wreaked on my body.

Doesn’t sound much like triumph, does it?

And yet through Christ I have triumphed.

I haven’t lost my faith. I’ve grown closer to God. And in spite of my health issues, I managed to write 2 full-length novels and 3 novellas, received 2 new contracts, and just had a book released.

Not bad if I say so myself. But all the glory and credit goes to God. Without Him I couldn’t have accomplished any of that. praying-for-you-946931-mEach day, I depend more and more on Him in all things.

But that’s not the triumph, I want to talk about today.

Life happens, tragedies happen, people get sick, people die. God never promised us a life without difficulties, and yet the promise that we will always triumph through Christ remains true.

Our triumph may come in this world, but it may not. Most of us are too attached to this world we live in. We become short-sighted and think that if God doesn’t answer our prayers here and now, He doesn’t love us. That His words and promises aren’t true.

But this world is not our home!

People don’t like to think about it, but our triumph may not come in this life, we may have to wait until we get to the Promised Land—to heaven.

But oh what a joy! What a triumph it will be when we see Jesus! What a day that will be!

Betrayed_h11347_300 (1)Betrayed:

Witness Protection Program claims they can keep anyone safe if only they follow the rules so Maria follows the rules–every rule. She’s given up everything–her friends, her family, her past, even her name to ensure her daughter has a future.

Reborn as Veronica Minor in the sleepy little town of Sunberry, Ohio, she struggles to rebuild their life amid the beauty of her flower shop. A life where her daughter can have a happy normal childhood. A life where her daughter will never know that her father was a monster.

When a child disappears, Veronica prays it has nothing to do with her past, but what if she’s wrong? Not knowing who to trust, she trusts no one…and that’s her first mistake.

Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published writer who writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net.  She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com  as well as her personal blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com

LivingbyGracepicLet’s talk about this. Sickness, betrayal, financial upsets, and tragedies can rock us to our core. They can thrust into isolation and despair or into ever-deepening surrender. The choice is ours. Despair is a nasty, dark spiral to fall into, but surrender… there’s no better place to be.

What about you? How do you find and maintain surrender and a Christ-centered focus when your world shifts out of control? For me, I do best if I spend less time venting to man and more time praising God. I don’t praise Him for my illness, but rather, I praise Him for His presence and deep understanding. When I do that, something amazingly surene happens–He draws me close and fills me with peace, a peace that truly does surpass my circumstances (Phil. 4:6-7)

Additional resources you may find helpful:

Strength in the Struggle

Strength Under Pressure

Pushing Through

If God is in Control, Why Do I Have a Headache? by Debbie Taylor Williams

 

Relinquishing Control

Today’s reading: Proverbs 3:21-26, Isaiah 31:1-3, Habakkuk 1:11
Today’s focus: Surrender
This week’s memory verse: Proverbs 3:9-10

Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best of everything you produce. Then He will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.

LillianAmbition is good. Without it, infants would never learn to crawl and children would never master language. Ambition, when centered in Christ can be a wonderful thing, but, when centered in human pride and self-reliance, it can become our greatest weakness. Today multi-published author Lillian Duncan reminds us, no matter what we do or don’t accomplish, no matter how strong or weak we believe we are, God remains in control, and He wants us to rely on Him, not our gifts, talents, strengths, or accomplishments.

WHO’S IN CONTROL? by Lillian Duncan
Proverbs 3: 26
for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.

I’ve been thinking a lot about control lately.

If you ask me, who is in control, I would, of course, give the good Christian answer—GOD . If you ask me who is my provision, I would, of course, give the good Christian answer—GOD. If you ask me who the source if my confidence is, I would give the good Christian answer—GOD.

And I believe that but….

On the other hand, I like to think of myself as self-reliant. I started working the same week I graduated from high school in…cough…stammer…uhm 1973 . I found a job the same week and have worked since then with the exception of one quarter in college when I saved enough money to take a break.

I put myself through college along with a few grants and scholarships—no loans. ME and MY WORK. I save my money—bought my houses-bought my cars. ME and MY WORK

So, even though I say and believe God is in control, believe He is my provision, I’m not so sure I’ve ever depended on HIM the way HE wants. Because after all, for almost forty years, it’s been ME and MY WORK.

That is until lately.

I’ve been retired and only working part-time for the past few years. That was really awesome! I had time to write and enough money not to worry! And then it happened!

NO JOB! I actually didn’t freak out at first. I assumed something would come along at the last minute. But it didn’t.

The last check came and then it wasn’t ME and MY WORK anymore! Just me! Oh, that’s right, I admit it—I forgot about God for a few anxiety-filled weeks. I worried, I grumbled to myself. I was more anxious than I’d been in years!

And it was driving me crazy!

Suddenly, my peace and joy was replaced with worry and aggravation. A lot of it and I didn’t like it. But I didn’t stop me from doing it until one day when I realized by worrying I wasn’t trusting God. I was NOT placing my confidence in God as my provider.

HE had been my provider all along but as with us fleshly humans, I forgot that for a while..

So, now each time the worry comes back, I say a quick prayer: “I know You love me. You are all-powerful and I know you will work this out for my good.” Sometimes, it’s simpler and even quicker: “I need you or Your Will be done.”

The anxiety and worry are slowly being replaced by the peace and joy again. And that is wonderful!

We don’t, can’t, and won’t always know why things happen the way they do, but we always have a choice in how we react to them. We can choose to believe God’s promises. We can choose to believe God loves us and will take care of us. We can choose to stay in faith.

My life circumstances may still a mess, but as long as I keep my eyes on God, my faith remains steady. I now know that GOD truly is in control and my times are indeed in HIS hands.

Psalm 105:4
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

TheChristmasStalking_h11248_680CTHE CHRISTMAS STALKING by Lillian Duncan:

Overzealous fan or crazed stalker?

Country music superstar Destiny appears to have it all. Beauty, money, and fame. But it’s not all glitz and glamour. Being a celebrity comes with a price—loneliness, and now threats from an unknown stalker.

With Christmas approaching, and as the danger escalates in Nashville, Destiny has no choice but to disappear. She escapes to her grandparents’ cabin in the Adirondack Mountains near the tiny Village of Serenity & Peace. It seems to be the perfect choice for a hideout. Longing for the serenity and peace she experienced there as a child, Destiny sheds her celebrity persona and resumes her long-forgotten identity as Holly Stone.

Unfortunately, fame follows her to the tiny village—along with her stalker.

Lillian Duncan writes stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: http://www.lillianduncan.net. She also has a devotional blog at: http://www.PowerUpWithGod.com

***

Let’s talk about this. As I read Lillian’s devotion, I thought of my daughter. She’s in highschool, and if you remember your highschool years, I’m sure you’ll understand, things can get tough. Especially for a Christian surrounded by those engaging in promiscuity and drug and alcohol use. My Mamma-bear longs to yank her out–to keep her home where I can shelter her.

But I have to remember God’s in control. That’s hard. It’s hard enough to relinquish control of my own life, but it’s even harder to surrender my daughter to God. And yet, it becomes easier when I remember God’s nature and promises. (Aren’t you glad we’re memorizing Scripture? 😉 )

Let’s talk about this. How is God speaking to you through today’s reading? You can share your thoughts in the comments below or you can join our Yahoo Proverbs study group:


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Some questions to ponder and/or discuss:

What about you? What area is hardest for you to relinquish control?

What biblical promises might make this easier?

When have you been forced to surrender something, and what were the results?

As I read today’s devotion and thought about today’s focus, I was reminded of James 1:5-8.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

I also thought of Habakkuk 1:11.

“They sweep past like the wind and are gone. But they are deeply guilty, for their own strength is their god.”

This verse is talking about the Babylonians, but I suspect it could apply to each one of us as well.

One of our Yahoo study group members asked if I could provide a schedule for our upcoming reading. I figured some of you may appreciate having a schedule as well:

I plan to stay in ch 3 until the 10th; then we will read and focus on ch 4 on the 11th; chapter 5 on the 12th, 13th, and 14th; ch. 6 on the 16th, 17th, and 18th; reading ch. 7-8 on the 19th and focusing on ch. 8; chapter 9 on the 20th;
chapter 10 on the 22nd and 23rd; chapter 11 on the 24th and 25th; ch. 12 on the 26th & 27th; ch 13 on the 28th and 29th; ch. 14 on the 30th and 31st; ch. 15 on Feb. 1st and 2nd; ch. 16 on the 3rd; ch. 17 on the 4th, 5th, and 6th; ch. 18 on the 7th and 8th; ch. 19 on the 9th and 10th; ch. 20 on the 11th-13th; ch 21 on the 14th-16th; ch. 22 on the 17th; ch 24 on the 19th-20th; ch. 25 on the 21st; ch. 26 on the 22nd; ch 27 on the 23rd-24th; ch. 28th on the 25th; ch. 29 on the 26th; ch. 30 on the 27th; ch. 31 on the 28th.

I also suggest, for those of you wanting more reading, that you read the other suggested passages provided on the days when our reading from Proverbs is shorter. The reason I am doing this is so we have time to really digest and
apply what we are focusing on, hoping by doing so, it will be more likely to
become a life-habit. 🙂

You could also go back and re-read previous chapters or read ahead.