Monday, April 21, 2014

With Problems and People: Let Your First Stop Be God

By Judy Douglass

Last week I was speaking to a group of 100 women about Living a Better Story. I was rushing to pray with the program team. I had my computer, my speaking notes and a very important sweater to complete my outfit-all in the passenger's seat. So I decided to go around to get it all, put my keys in my purse and added it to the pile-and did what I always do-I locked the door and shut it.

Sigh. Locked out!

I could speak without everything but the sweater. It took about 15 minutes to find someone who could break into my car, another 10 to accomplish the deed. I missed the prayer time, but had plenty of time before I was up to speak.

Stuff happens. Problems occur. Many are minor, but some cause anxiety, frustration, strained relationships, financial struggles; others are even life threatening. It all adds up to stress. And stress takes a terrible toll on our health, our attitudes, our energy.

We each have our own ways to handle stress: worry, talk to a friend, go shopping or get some chocolate, take a walk, work harder.

When the stress rises in my life, I usually want three things: peace in the midst of it, wisdom to know what to do and power or strength to handle it. Only one person can provide these things.

God knows how to handle each problem, every stressor-and he is willing to tell us.
May Webinar
Register today for our May webinar "Reclaiming Eve: The Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God"

Peace: He urges us not to worry, but to rejoice, give thanks and tell him all about it, in all situations, every time. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7.)

Wisdom: He has it-supernatural wisdom. Just ask and he will share. "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." (James 1:5)

Power: So many situations are beyond my abilities. But God gives us his Spirit, living in us, filling us, enabling us to draw on his supernatural power for every circumstance.

How do we access these amazing provisions? Let your first stop be God.

King David tells us he was always in constant, uninterrupted conversation with God,
April Web
Purchase the previously recorded webinar "With Problems and People: Let Your First Stop Be God" by clicking here!
that's the key. "I keep my eyes always on the Lord.  With him at my right hand, I will
not be shaken."(Psalm 16:8)

Talk with God as you walk through your day. When a problem comes, when anxiety
grows, when stress increases, let your first stop be God. Talk to him: Tell him all about it. Thank him. Even rejoice. Ask him for what you need-even as you keep walking, or talking to someone else, or begin dealing with the issue.

When we make God our first stop, he will give us the peace, wisdom and power for every problem.

Judy Douglass is a graduate of the University of Texas with a degree in journalism. She has been on the staff of Cru since 1964, serving with various publications. Judy currently assists her husband, Steve, in giving leadership to Cru. Her primary focus is Women's Resources. She is the author of four books, Single and Complete, He Loves Me,What Can a Mother Do? and Letters to My Children: Secrets of Success. Judy has written for numerous magazines and blogs regularly at

Monday, April 14, 2014

I would NEVER... unless of course I would

By Elisa Morgan

I like to think of myself as one who dwells on the mature side of life choices. You know, I would NEVER steal, hate, lie etc. After all, I've been a follower of Jesus for some - what - forty years? I remove my hand from the bag of chips. I zip my lips on a snide comment. I muster up the guts to apologize to my husband for the more-than-tacky comment I do let escape. Through this, that and the other kind of mess, I've learned to scoot over and make room for what Jesus wants.

Yup - that's me. I would NEVER...unless of course I would.

Same for Peter who swore his loyalty to Jesus one night in a garden: "Even if I have to die with you, I will NEVER disown you." (And by the way, all the other disciples said the same in Matthew 26:35.) Later that very night - in the wee hours where nothing good happens - Peter's "I would NEVER" becomes his "...unless of course I would."

Peter denied Christ. Not once. Not twice. Three times.
May Webinar
Register today for our May webinar "Reclaiming Eve: The Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God"

I can remember my first jaw-dropping pass in this text in Matthew 26:69-75. What? Such a lack of self-censorship! What weenie faith! What fear. In the very guy who Jesus said would be the rock of his church. Loser.

Then flipping to John 21:15-25 where Jesus "restores" Peter, I'm stunned that somehow Jesus still thinks him leader-worthy. Even today, I go to the text expecting Jesus to wag his finger and pronounce Peter a screw up. Instead, Jesus invites Peter to believe that Jesus loves him - not once, not twice, but three times - and to demonstrate that Peter believes this by loving Jesus back.

In recent years, I've come to recognize - and embrace - the very real presence of my own "...unless of course I would" soul holes. I'm broken. I mess up. I sin. Even
Buy your copy of The Beauty of Broken today in the FullFill Store (click here)
after walking with Jesus for nearly a lifetime. Over and over again.

And every time, Jesus invites me to believe that he loves me - and to demonstrate my belief in who he is and what he says by loving him back.

Elisa Morgan, MDiv, ( is the author of The Beauty of Broken: My Story, and Likely Yours Too, a speaker and the publisher of FullFill (