Perplexed, but not driven to despair

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Righteous are you, O Lord, when I complain to you; yet I would plead my case before you. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive? You plant them, and they take root; they grow and produce fruit; you are near in their mouth and far from their heart.
Jeremiah 12:1‭-‬2 ESV

Jeremiah is asking the Lord some bold questions here in verses 1-4. Jeremiah has just learned that the men of Anathoth, Jeremiah’s hometown (Jer. 1:1) schemed to have him killed. They ordered him not to prophesy, or he would die by their hands. Just wanted you to understand Jeremiah’s state of mind and how brokenhearted he must have been.

I don’t know about you, but anytime any form of persecution comes whether it’s rejection or the most severe cases giving our life to follow Christ. I believe it still hurts the worst when it comes from your community, friends or family.
It seems that our enemy loves to stir up those in a community against each other. I believe every single snare or pit that is dug for the body is to get us to pick each other apart to the bone. Sometimes we do it innocently, and I have done it. I know we all have. I believe once we know and see it, we can change it, of course through The Holy Spirit.

I suppose I am more tender to it because I am in a calling of my own that the enemy loves to persecute me whenever he gets the chance. That is a part of the territory and believe me the Lord is and has brought this tender-hearted girl long ways. I would do it over and over a thousand times over, because persecution keeps you humble, full of humility, and honest in front of the Lord, in my opinion. I believe that is why in the book of James it says during various trials and tribulations count it as joy! It is refining your faith.

So, Jeremiah is complaining to the Lord why does he allow this to happen! Then he says, Lord! You know me, you have seen me, you have tested my heart toward you (Verse 3).

So he went from complaining to pity party in a matter of seconds! We do the same thing. We feel like everything is wrong, when in fact God is strengthening us. It is okay! It’s our flesh dying! It is not ever going to feel good.

I love verse five which caught my eye because in Hebrew five means grace. How fitting! His grace is sufficient. Here is God’s reply to Jeremiah (Jer. 12:5)

“If you have run with the footman, and they have wearied you, Then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, In which you trusted, they wearied you, Then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan? For even your brothers, the house of your father. Even they have dealt treacherously with you; Yes, they called a multitude after you. Do not believe them, Even though they speak smooth words to you.

Last thought, when you are following Jesus, and He has called you to something that even leaves you with your mouth wide open. Don’t be thrown for a loop when the enemy of our souls stirs up persecution. Unfortunately, he will, but down deep in your soul know this. No matter what remember that God is allowing it to happen to purify your faith. He is allowing hard situations to test your heart toward Him; He is strengthening you spiritually so you will be able to run against the horses of our enemy. We are warrior’s, and we have to be cross-trained. Remember that we do not wrestle against people, but we fight against our enemy Satan. Eph. 6

It Took a Broken Foot to Run For God

My pastor recently gave a message describing how Jesus is our Good Shepherd. Being different than a hired keeper who might run away in the face of danger, the flock belonged to the shepherd who would stay and defend them. He had a genuine loving concern for what belonged to him. Jesus is that loving protector and caretaker for His flock. Jesus, the good shepherd’s purpose, is to give life and protect from destruction.  And although this next imagery may make those of us animal lovers shudder, it helps to confirm that sometimes love is shown in ways we don’t always like.  A shepherd would often break the leg(s) of his sheep to prevent them from running off into danger.  He would then carry that sheep over his shoulders down the path each day until its injuries healed.  While being held, the sheep grew to love and rely on the shepherd like never before.

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Oddly enough, I believe Jesus did this very thing to me.

Five years.   I had been living in this small town in Western Kentucky for five years and had yet to make any meaningful relationships.  I not only avoided bonding with the people; I also lacked a REAL one on one relationship with God.  I was, what I like to call, a “baby Christian” who had a history of anger and atheism, with little to no guidance and the life choices to prove it.  I had always been very independent and didn’t really care about having friends because I didn’t trust people.

Feeling convicted about not being a part of a church family, my husband and I began visiting some in the area and knew we had been led to the one we now call home.  After just a few weeks of attending, the Lord brought several women into my life that completely changed my heart.  My relationship with them grew stronger and stronger as I began to experience what can come from real love and encouragement.

One Sunday morning, one of those women invited me to a Run for God class. I wish I could illustrate the facial expression I made. You see, my words say one thing, but my face speaks from the heart. I laughed and said, “The only time I run is if something is chasing me.” With persistence from my friend and growing pant size, I conceded.  The way I understood it was that it was basically a couch to 5K training program with a devotional.   Little did I know that God was putting something into motion that would altogether transform my life.

I showed up for class each Saturday morning, bright and early (also outside of my character).  With each devotional and time spent running with God, it finally clicked. I can run because I am doing it for God.  I can make real friends because I am doing it for GodWhat would happen if I did everything in life, FOR GOD?

Ten weeks into the class, we all registered for a 5K in our town that promoted to suicide awareness.  As my first race ever, I had zero expectations for my outcome.  I just wanted to finish.  As they were calling out awards for age groups, they called my name as the third place winner.  It took me by surprise, but it didn’t take long for my pride and competitiveness to kick into overdrive.  I was already plotting the demise of the two women who beat me for first and second place.  Just as the Lord revealed what life could be like when you do it all for Him, He let me know very quickly what can happen when you begin to do it for yourself.

The very next day, I fell down a flight of stairs and broke my foot.  I would not be able to complete the 5K for our Run for God group.  Even though I was discouraged, I continued to go to class.  While others ran, I sat.  I sat and encouraged them as they struggled13237875_10208110454498173_1769253948085201728_n through the long runs. I SAT and read the Word.  I SAT and prayed.  I SAT, growing closer to God every day.

While still in what I called “the dreaded boot,” I sat and cheered as all of my new friends ran past me to complete their race.  My heart was full.   God had set me on a different track.  A race towards Him and onto the path He had planned for me.

We quickly started a second class, and I was asked to help instruct.  Still unable to run, I knew God meant for me to focus on the “God” portion of Run for God. To show others that training to run successfully mirrors training ourselves to walk successfully with Christ.  It takes work, commitment, sacrifice, discipline, and occasionally a boot.

Learning to put God first and dedicate all I do to Him, the ability to stand before a group and teach due to the confidence I gained through the Spirit, the forever friendships that I have made, are just a glimpse into how God transformed me…. all through a broken foot.

John 10:11-18

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

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New PODCAST!!!

 

 

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Great News! We have started a PodCast!! You can listen to us, while on your way to work or while dropping those kiddos off to school. https://anchor.fm/songstrengthministries

We are looking forward to serving you in different ways. I am excited to be on this journey with all of you. Thank you, for allowing me to serve you in this way. It is truly an honor. I am seeking better ways to connect with my online audience, of course, you can reach out to me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and send us your prayer request or questions.

Here is the link to Song & Strength Podcast:https://anchor.fm/songstrengthministries

I hope you will follow, will be uploading new podcast daily.

 

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In His Service,

Kimberly Ferren

 

 

Down Deep In My Soul

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We all feel discouraged or forgotten about at times. We can get so discouraged in our walks with Christ that we can forget His promises to us. That He will be with us until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). That He will never leave nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5/Deut. 31:6) He never promised that it wouldn’t be hard or that it wouldn’t be painful but, He did promise to use ALL things for good. Eventually, with time, He will use even the bad things in our lives for our good (Romans 8:28), He promises that His love for us is everlasting. (Jer. 31:3) Yes, in this verse He is directly talking to Israel, but since we are now the spiritual descendants of Abraham we have all of God’s promises, it is truth and grace, and it is beautiful. We are grafted into Jesus. (Romans 11:17). Because we are grafted in, we are spiritual descendants of Abraham (Galatians 3:29)
If you feel the least bit of insecurity/ rivalry or discouraged/forgotten about. Cry it out to the Lord, listen He already knows what is eating away at you. He knows why, when, where, what, and how it all started. We just have to speak it out to Him so that He can affirm and make us secure in Him again.
I received encouragement from an incredible woman Friday! Someone who I greatly admire and mimic in the faith, which is scriptural. Hebrews 13:17 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
She gave me a Psalm to read, just thought I would pass it on.
Psalm 18:28-39
28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall.
30 As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
and your right hand sustains me;
your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet,
so that my ankles do not give way…
39 You armed me with strength for battle
No matter where in the journey we are with God we need two crucial things in our lives we need:
 *Regular prayer time/relationship with Jesus
*Word of God
*A few spiritual mentors who spur us on & encourage us, correct, and teach us.
I might not have it all, but what I do have I am incredibly thankful for.

Are You Shipwrecked?

 

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God, often sends us through the storms so that we will be shipwrecked and washed up to the place that will change us, but more importantly will change a whole island of people.

~Kimberly Ferren

 

We must hold on tight and trust Him. We are being tested to be entrusted with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith is being brought forth through many trials and, tribulations so our faith, love, and hope may strengthen as we grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. James 1:2, Matthew 5:12, Romans 5:3, 1 Peter 1:6 and, we know that in the book of James God says to not just be hearer’s of the Word but doers (James 1:22).

So, let us rejoice and be joyful in our suffering because we have a higher hope in Jesus Christ. The most profound scripture that is most precious to me in the midst of trials and tribulation is:

Romans 8:18

I consider that our present sufferings are not comparable to the glory that will be revealed in us.

When there is a corporate storm that inflicts many, and several others are going through the hurricane with you and around you just remember to breathe and know He is God alone. Every single one of us handles storms differently, and there is always a temptation to play the blame game.

Listen, we have to remember who and where our trust and hope remains; that is in Jesus. God always speaks to us, we have to be careful not to leave His word. The word of God is how He speaks and guides us along with confirmation, and meeting us in his word.

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If we are not careful, our flesh will tempt us to give way to the storms and let the wind have its way! No, that is not who we are in Christ! We can stand in the rain without giving way, through Jesus Christ.

In Acts 27:25 Paul says: ” Do not give way to the raging storm I believe God is faithful and I trust Him to complete His will just like He told me!” (my version check it out for yourself) Shipwrecked on Malta is the title.

Maybe, you are shipwrecked? Not understanding and wondering

” What in the world is going on here?” “Where are you, Lord?”

In Acts 28 we see the title ” Paul’s Ministry on Malta”

Maybe, just maybe the shipwreck that landed you on what seemed to be a deserted island is exactly right where The Lord intended you to be?  (Read Acts 28)

Verse 3 says But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

So, Paul just had been through a storm that busted up the ship he was on, Paul, drifts on the shore alive, just like God had said. Now He is gathering up sticks and a deadly snake bites him. What does Paul do? He shakes the snake off and continues.

Just like Paul, we as Christian’s will be bitten by the enemy.  Paul, didn’t sit down and start screaming saying: ” God, why have you forsaken me?” Paul shook that bite off. Paul was bitten, but not bitter about his circumstances. We can do the same thing. We can choose to trust Jesus when it seems all hell is breaking loose.

Further down we see suddenly why Paul was shipwrecked on Malta. We see that God knowingly had a purpose and a mission to save a whole island. Read the whole chapter to see for yourself.  The whole island was saved because of a storm that shipwrecked Paul.

Are you in a storm? Are you coming out of a storm only to find yourself shipwrecked and abandon with unfamiliar surroundings? Can I pose this question to you? What if God intended for you to be at a physical place but the only way you were going to get there was through a hurricane that was going to wash you ashore only to be bitten by a deadly snake bite of the enemy? What if through it all, it was God’s will so a whole island could be saved? Would your temporary discomfort be worth many souls?

So don’t give way! Don’t compromise! Remember though the valleys and the mountain tops you have been guided.

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For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

There is a great temptation in our flesh also to play the blame game, and we should remember as children of God sometimes the storms of life are merely to blow us to where God wants us. Whether that’s physically moving us, or spiritually moving us, we put our trust in God and know he is faithful to complete the Good work He has started in you!
I want to leave you with these verses. Luke 1:45 and Psalm 107:20

 Psalm 107:20

He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.

This verse is my life testimony! Jesus delivered me into eternal life and out of bondage! Praise God!

Luke 1:45
And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.

Thank you, Father, for rejoicing over me! Thank you, for guiding and speaking to me! Lord, let your hand be over my life to guide me today and land me right where you need me! Let your Word lead and guide me in all your ways, Lord, help me to hide your word in my heart so, that I won’t sin against you. Lord, give me the wisdom and understanding to apply and adhere to your Word through the Holy Spirit. Place me right where I can live out the promise you spoke into my life years ago! Lord, help me to honor and glorify you! Lord, we love you and bring our minds hearts and souls to you! In Jesus beautiful name Amen!