Let me just say “WOW” in my lifetime; I have never witnessed anything like this, as I have seen in the past few weeks. As I have watched the news, I have seen firsthand how fear and panic, has gripped the nation more and more each day. I, too, was one of the crazy’s last week that saw everyone buying up food and filled my buggy to the rim out of pure fear. I knew when I went to six different stores and could not find toilet paper; we were in trouble, my poor little mind started going bananas. Just like everyone else, I am concerned because I have a rare lung disease and certainly do not need to catch it, or it could be very devastating for me, sending me into even more panic.
I found myself telling my daughter, “go get food, go get toilet paper, find wipes for the baby.” Then telling my husband, “don’t go anywhere but to work and home, do not pass go, do not collect $200.00 (ha-ha).” I was calling my mom until she was the shopping fanatic online looking for toilet and water for days; I was just making myself crazy. Then, this morning because we could not go to church, we watched it online. The Pastor was sharing a scenario about a man walking by a house and seeing a BEWARE OF DOG sign. The sign made the man instantly have a fear of a big ferocious dog coming out and biting him. But, as he approached the house, a little 4-pound chihuahua runs around the house, wagging his tail happy to see the man, the man then breathes a sigh of relief. The man replied to the owner, “that dog can’t do a thing,” and the owner responded, “no, but the sign can.”
You see, just seeing that sign instilled fear, which is precisely what is happening all around us today. We see a sign by watching the news, looking on Facebook, listening to others, watching others, and their craziness in buying a store out. Then, that fear rolls over on all of us because we see everyone else in a panic, that “beware of dog sign.”
2 Corinthians Chapter 1: 2-11
2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11 And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.
We must understand that being “comforted.” It can also mean receiving strength, encouragement, and hope to deal with our troubles. If you are feeling overwhelmed, allow God to comfort you. Our Pastor this morning, shared these four things:
1. Fear breeds fear
2. Fear clouds our judgment (like going and buying out Walmart)
3. Fear re-directs energy
4. Convert fear into faith
I think that is the best advice ever, let’s convert our fear into faith. Do not let the sign CORONAVIRUS shake who we are in Christ. Let Jesus be the bigger story here and in your life, just sit back and watch how He takes care of all of those who believe in Him, and even to those who don’t.
Cling to the scripture, Matthew 6:26
26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
We continue to pray for you and your family,
Ronnie and Christie Bruce
Keynote Christian Speaker and Author
Christie Musso Bruce
Hope Knows Your Name Ministries
This is a long post, but it is, from my heart, vulnerable and authentic, so it is worth the read. A lot of people find it hard to talk real with other people about struggles in their life, but not me. I have always been an open book and try to be as real with others as I can to help other people, which has been my calling for a very long time. The last five years of my life have been some of the hardest times I have ever gone through. Including our move to Chattanooga where we tried to start our lives all over again, making new friends, finding jobs, finding a new church, trying to leave behind everything that happened here in Birmingham when my husband shot himself in the courthouse in 2012. When this happened, I had so many labels put on me; it tore my life and who I was apart. It wasn’t enough that I had to handle what he had done, and grieve his loss, but to be blamed for him doing it because I was the new wife was more than I could bear. Because of it being such national news, my face and name were everywhere, on every news channel national, and local.
I could not go out anywhere that people would walk up to me and say “ you are that woman whose husband killed himself in the courthouse” and that became my new identity. All the people in the federal courthouse where he worked were calling me a gold digger, the black widow, and saying things I could not even begin to tell you. When Ronnie and I were fixing to get married, he worked at Bruce’s office supply. The federal courthouse was one of his clients, he went there, and they told him they had heard he was marrying me and told him not to do that. “ You don’t know what kind of gold-digger and monster she is, she is known around here as the black widow.” They didn’t even know me, and they had never yet met me, they talked about how many times I had been married before, but the one thing they never knew was my past and why I may have made some horrible decisions in my life. They never knew I was just a woman due to my history looking to be loved. They didn’t know as a child I spent many years in very abusive girls home, locked up for months at a time a dog, naked, and kept in the dark for months at a time. They didn’t know I had been sexually abused as a child time and time again. They didn’t know that I didn’t have a father in my life, then at age 30, he finally became a part of my life after he had been in a motorcycle wreck paralyzed from the neck down needing me to care for him. They didn’t know years later, he was murdered in my home, and I still never heard, I love you from him, I had forever lost my dream of ever being daddy’s little girl. They didn’t know that it caused me so many issues that I left a long marriage of 16 years. They didn’t realize it tore my kids apart when I left my husband and our stable home that on New year’s day in 2005, I was all alone, my kids not speaking to me, and found myself in a fetal position in my bathroom floor contemplating suicide. They didn’t understand after my suicided episode on New Years I finally had a year of extensive counseling and became involved in a program called Celebrate Recovery.
I was saved at Celebrate Recovery and got into leadership there and started a singles ministry called Alabama’s Circle of Friends. David came to my ministry is how we met. I ran this ministry for five years, pouring my soul into singles and setting up activities and events every Saturday night. I was speaking everywhere, and my book came out; Hope Knows Your Name. I was the butterfly that got put in a box by what happened, and when you put a butterfly in a box, it dies, which is precisely what happened to me. I ended up closing the ministry that I had worked so hard for, due to my social anxiety, PTSD, depression, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts. I started an extensive program at UAB due to becoming so withdrawn and depression. I was back to where I was at in 2005 wanting to end my life.
I had lost everything now, who I was, the social butterfly I was, all of my friends who had disappeared after David’s death. The close friends I did have; I shut down on them, I wanted to be alone; I did not want any friends anymore, I tried to ultimately shut down anything and anyone that had to do with David. Due to my shutting down as I did, I lost some of the best friends I have ever had. They had stuck with me through this whole situation and helped me so much to get through it all, and I just completely shut everyone out of my life and stayed to myself. I had just married Ronnie, and he didn’t know what to do with me. He felt so secluded, and what a way to start a new marriage. He did everything he could to help me and was watching me sit there dying and becoming so secluded from everyone. I could not feel anymore; David’s death had taken so much from me, and so did other people. We decided to move out of Birmingham due to all I had to deal with, I was still getting facebook messages that it was all my fault, and just everywhere we went something would happen, or someone would say something. I felt like the most horrible person in the world; I did not want to become involved with anyone ever again. I did not want any friends, did not want to go to church, never wanted to go anywhere, or do anything which has continued the last five years. We felt a new life in another city would be the answer. But, even moving off to somewhere new, you are still with you. My problems only worsened due to leaving family, losing my ministry, my best friends, wow had my life changed.
In Chattanooga, I did the same thing; I had so much social anxiety that I could not get involved in too much of anything. I started working, and that helped to feel I was doing something again. Then my back issues happened, and I had to have major surgery, due to not being able to go back to work sooner than I did, my boss fired me. Once again, leaving me to feel worthless, and I went back into my shell. Through this whole situation, my husband is the one who has suffered the most. I have not been able to be the wife he has needed me to be. He has been the one to try and pick up the pieces after David’s death. I have even held him at bay, being able to get to close to me. I have shut out and hurt the people I have loved the most. Then, Ronnie ended up taking a job in Texas, so we move 13 hours from home and with me still needing more surgery on my back. I fell in July off of a stool, and I have two tears in both hips, which I am still waiting on surgery.
We had only been in Texas 6 months when the radio station Ronnie went to work for closed down. Now, we were 13 hours away, no family, no friends at all, and what were we going to do? We ended up moving back to Birmingham and lived with my mom for five weeks. We finally got our place two weeks ago, and we are enjoying it. I am back to getting help with my depression, PTSD and social anxiety. I have had a rough time being back due to running into people I may know, or hearing what I heard five years ago. I am still at a place of not wanting to go anywhere or see anyone. I have been trying to go to the store and get things for our apartment. I find myself sitting in the car for 30 to 45 minutes before going in someplace due to this anxiety of running into people. Ronnie really wants to get back in church, and my fear is going and seeing someone I know or someone recognizing me. I am so withdrawn still from everyone; I want prayers for being able to love Ronnie like I need to and not be afraid of letting someone into my heart again, I need prayer for this social anxiety that I still deal with. I need prayer for making friends again and not being so afraid; I need prayer for forgiveness from those friends that I did hurt so bad from withdrawing from the relationship. I need prayer for a renewed mind, a new ministry and for God to be able to use me as a vessel again. I need prayer to let others in my heart again, to know yes I am back as a cacoon, but one day I will blossom back to a butterfly. I need prayer that I can forgive those who have said some of the cruelest things about me that have changed my life forever. What they don’t know is these last five years of my life have been affected by what they did, what people have said, how I was treated through his death. I am glad I got to share where I am at and some very vulnerable moments for me. I want me back; I want my life back. I want to love my husband as he deserves to be loved. I want to forgive others and forgive me. I am currently not able to work due to my health, so please pray that God provides us as we live on one income now. I do believe what Jeremiah 29:11 I know he has plans for me, and I know he has hope for my future! I am so thankful for a husband who has stuck in there with me through some of the hardest years of my life.
Ronnie and Christie Bruce
Contact Christie to speak at your next event
Wow, so much has happened in our lives these last six months. We were living in Chattanooga, TN where we both had great jobs. I was fired from my job while I was out for my back surgery and in rehab. Then, my husband took a job offer, in Texas which he thought would be better for our family in the long run. Trust me; I went kicking and screaming the whole way. After my back surgery and neck surgery, in Chattanooga, the surgery with my back did not go as well as planned. I was out of work from the time we moved to Texas until now. We had only been in Texas for six months when my husband’s boss announced to him that they were closing down the radio station on Friday, and he was told this on a Tuesday, leaving him with no time (3 days) to find a job. Now, we’re stuck out there alone and with no family or friends. That moment when Ronnie told me what had happened I was so angry, and I had just a panic of fear. Security has always been the one thing I need since my childhood. Now, that was gone, who was I going to trust, who would pay our bills, how would we get groceries? All these fears consumed me for months; we have both felt hopeless. I kept thinking, how could someone wreck someone’s life that bad? How could someone move us 12 hours from home knowing their business was on the verge of closing down? Ok, where are you, God? For the first time in our lives we seriously did not know what we were going to do. Long story short, we ended up moving back to Birmingham, AL and moved in with my mother, which has had to be our lowest point ever. I have sat and watched my husband feel less and less of a man because he has had so much trouble finding a job. I have watched him crying just out of sheer despair. I have watched him first-hand being torn down, and kicked in the mouth by other people, even by our family. All the while continuing to trust God, knowing He will provide, and knowing God has just the right job and people that he will cross paths with all in God’s timing. We are now going on four months that he has been without a job; it has been grueling. To have a stack of bills you cannot pay, you don’t have your own place to live anymore; you can’t go out and do the things you once could do. You know who you thought you were the closest to, acting like they never knew you when we needed a place to live. Being in the place where we are right now has made us cling only to God and not other people. We are trusting Him to get us out of our situation. Now, we are hanging on to the promises in His word, that is all we have. We have learned not to take anything for granted anymore, such as having a home, a kitchen to cook in, a bed to sleep in, your own bathroom, and just the comfort of knowing you are in your own home. I will always appreciate having an apartment or a home now. When we can get a place of our own, I will thank God every day for the blessing of having a roof over our heads we call our own. We are letting go of all of those people who let us down in one of the hardest times of our life, and trusting God to bring us new friends, those who stick closer than a brother. I am just so proud to see how my husband has witnessed to me through this time in staying so faithful, never losing hope, and his true dignity and respect he has shown to those who have just beat him down. He still showed them Jesus. I have to say my best friend since childhood has been here for both of us. Her belief in us and her encouragement is just amazing. I realize it is better to have one true friend like her than 20 who turn you away when you’re in trouble. She has always been a light to me in some very dark places I have been. Even though some of our fights throughout our lives, I always knew if I needed her she was there. What a comforting feeling, a true friend who is as genuine as nothing I have ever seen in my life. Her name is Jenny, so please pray for her and her family, thank God for putting her in my life, thank Him for giving me the comfort of knowing and seeing what a true friend should look like, ask Him to bless her beyond measure. I know pretty soon Ronnie will get a job offer, I know we will once again live out on our own. I know God is going to bless him abundantly just due to watching how He has just clung to the Lord through all this. Please continue to pray God will direct him to the job He wants him to have, where he can minister to others who are going through life and have so many issues just as we have had. We have a precious friend in ministry, and his logo is “God Did It” and that is one thing we are going to say on the other side of this trial, GOD DID IT! If you too are going through something in your life that is way beyond your control and you to don’t see a ray of hope, hang in there. Just ask God what it is He wants you to learn as you’re walking through your trial. Hang on to the fact, things cannot get any worse, so they have to get better. You’re not stuck. God has the answers He is just wanting us to be still and know He is God in these moments. Thank you all for continuing to pray for Ronnie and me, and we would love to hear from you how we can pray for you. We want to do this thing called life with you and continue doing life together.
Ronnie and Christie Bruce
To book Christie for your next event, please go to hopeknowsyourname.com and you will find a part of my story and how to contact us.
When you go into a grocery store and head to the produce section to get some fruit, how many of you would be grossed out if you saw apples that had brown spots all over them? How about if the grapes were all smashed and squishy? What if you went to get some strawberries and you saw mold all over them in the container? I doubt many of you would make the purchase and take any home to your family to consume. That would be disgusting. When you buy fruit, you want to purchase what looks good and ripe. We would not consider buying fruit that looks gross because we want value in the fruit we buy and consume.
Just as others would be turned off to a gross produce section of fruit in a grocery store, they are also turned off when they look at our lives and see bad fruit. This is a terrific parable from Christ. Do you desire people to see good or bad fruit in your life? Well…duh….of course you want people to see good fruit. However, many of us live our lives in a way that shows bad or moldy fruit. The problem is we tend to let so much from the world enter our minds and hearts and we allow our tree (bodies) to become saturated with mold and then our fruit looks gross. How can we expect others to want to know Christ if our fruit looks bad? Whatever we are storing up in our hearts and entertaining in our minds will come out in our words and actions. If that is good fruit, then we will be productive and show Christ’s love. If it is bad fruit, what we do will not be desired by others.
There is probably not one of us who would say we desire to have bad things come from our lives. We desire and strive for what is good and will glorify God. It is that daily battle with sin that we all struggle with. We just have to decide if we are going to be strong in Christ and let Him lead us and guide us so that we show the good fruit and not the bad. In order to grow, we must be in His Word daily and grow from His teachings. There is no way around that. We simply cannot expect to show good fruit in our lives if we are not daily growing in His commands. There is no way we can expect to show the good fruit of His love if we are not taking the time to grow through His Word. It is not gonna happen.
It is my prayer and desire that we all live better lives for Christ and strive harder to show good fruit in our lives. We need to keep our tree full of good fruit. If bad fruit grows, we need to take care of it and get rid of what is causing that bad fruit to grow. God will prune us so that we can grow the good fruit. It might be painful, but well worth getting rid of in order for the good fruit to grow so others can see Him through us.
Are you bearing good fruit or bad fruit?
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
Take some time to think about this. Do an inventory of your own life and answer this question honestly. Would others want what you have by what’s coming out of your mouth and how you live your life?
Have a blessed day, Ronnie and Christie Musso Bruce If you are looking for a Keynote Christian Speaker for your next event, go to our website Hopeknowsyourname.com Or, Email us at: email@example.com Phone: 205-960-4245
Jeremiah 29:11 New Living Translation (NLT) For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Continue reading “Good or bad fruit? Which one does your life represent?”
This morning I was sitting outside and just thinking about selfishness, and thinking about how it shows up in my own life. I started thinking about how I could get better in this area and how I could help others in this area. It is sad to me to see people so self-absorbed these days. On your phone all the time, facebook, social media, putting your kids in front of video games for a babysitter, families sitting in a restaurant on your phones, living room on your phones, bedroom on your phones, instead of just simply communicating with each other as we did before cell phones. It just makes my stomach turn that people cannot even call and talk to people these days; they are texting all the time. You cannot even call somebody these days that they are not on their phone, or computer, not even listening to a word you say. Wake up people…TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE, YOU ARE MISSING OUT ON YOUR LOVE ONES LIVES, AND TRUST ME LIFE GOES BY WAY TO SOON.
So, let me ask you, are you a person that obsesses about how things are in your home that you can’t even enjoy life because everything has to be so perfect, you wear yourself out cleaning all the time? Do you worry about a speck on the floor, or, are you glad that someone is there with you to put a speck on your floor? Are you someone that talks about yourself all the time, or, do you take the time to get to know others and ask them about their lives? Do you even know the people in your lives, have you even taking the time to get to know them, do you know anything about their life, or, is the conversation continuously about you? Are you the person that is continually complaining, grumbling, looking for something wrong to be able to gripe at somebody about, or, are you the person that possesses the fruits of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
Let me say; I too was that person that wore myself out cleaning all the time, but not anymore. Not saying you should be a pig or anything, but just be able to enjoy life without making yourself so freaking crazy, you have got to get your priorities straight! I love to have my children come, we get flour everywhere baking cookies, I love seeing their footprints on my hardwood floors, at least they were there to make a mess, and now I have the memories we made together instead of worrying about my house so much. Now, the sweetest things in my life are seeing my little grandson Kyler’s fingerprints on my T.V where he stood eating his cheerios. When he was at my house in Chattanooga and he put his little hand at the bottom of my T.V. I usually would have been the first one to get the Windex, but not anymore. I left his tiny fingerprint on the bottom of the screen of my T.V. so now every time I look at it, I just smile at the memories of him being there.
Let me just say, in this move we just made, I have learned that all the “stuff” we packed into about 75 boxes it is just “stuff.” I wanted to have an estate sale before we moved and sell off everything in the house, so we didn’t have to move it. I told Ronnie, you know all this “stuff” is not what is important; we cannot take it with us when we die. Well, guess what “news flash,” everything in your home will one day end up at a dump or a thrift store, think about that. I concluded that I want to declutter my life, and I want to focus on what is important to me, such as my family. I want to see my children more, and I want to see my grandkids more. I want to do in life what matters, which is family and helping other people. I want to lift people up, I want to encourage people, I want to be a light in a dark world. I want people to see Jesus in me, and I want people to see when I walk into a room a light and hope.
Now, ask yourself, when you die, what do you think the essential part of your life will be that you left behind for others to remember? What will they say about you at your funeral? It is what we do in between the dash that matters. 1963 -2090 hahaha I am going to live forever. If this is the case, I would be 127 years old. So, what is the most critical thing in the dates on your tombstone? What you do in that dash is up to you, you have one life and two choices. 1. Stay stuck in your past, carry bitterness, hate, guilt, shame, and whatever other baggage your carrying. Or, 2. Use your struggles for God’s glory in helping others, never quit, no matter how many times you fail. Learn that in bad times, God still has a plan for your future. Learn how to compliment others lives and make them better. Let someone life be changed because they crossed your path. My choice is to choose life, and we are going to get a home when Ronnie gets a job….But God, this is going to happen! I am going to declutter my house, our life, and everyone that has been a cement brick around our leg that drags us down daily.
So here is the next step. We need to die to self and work on no longer try to get our own way or try to get people to look up to us. We need to stop offering unasked-for advice as if in self-importance and thinking, we always know better than others. We need to let go of trying to make a good impression on others. We have to find freedom from self-focused life. We need to stop spending our lives conjugating three verbs: to want, to have, and to do. Quite simply, when we die to self, we’re no longer obsessed with self.
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. (Php 2:1-4 NLT)
The Bible says that we are created in the image of God. You! You are made to be like Him. If you embrace that, then you will realize you were made not to be selfish, or self-absorbed, you were made to serve, to help, and to be there for others.
Here are some scriptures for you to hang on as you are going through the process of change.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 (ESV)
Could I honor others above myself (Romans 12:10)? But this issue went even deeper: Could I be secure in God’s love without public recognition? Could I let God be in charge of my reputation? Was God’s approval enough for me? After this early exercise in dying to self, I eventually found myself relying on God more in small things. I was finding life–the companionship and partnership with God that I longed for.
Here is an excellent story that will help get this point across:
The story is told of a wise Cherokee brave who sat quietly at the side of his grandson. The grandfather and the boy sat in the warm glow of a small campfire. Perhaps the older man had noticed a spark in his grandson that a wind might stir into an uncontrolled blaze. There is a battle fought inside the heart of each man,” the grandfather said. “It is a battle between two wolves. “One wolf is evil. It is filled with hatred, envy, greed, impatience, deception, despair, fear, and rage. “The other wolf is good. It is filled with love, gratitude, generosity, peace, joy, honesty, patience, hope, and kindness.” The grandfather paused and waited. The grandson’s locked his gaze on the fire. The grandfather watched out of the corner of his eye. He could see the boy thinking. When the right amount of time had passed, the grandson turned his eyes toward his grandfather’s and asked, “Which wolf wins?” Their eyes still connected; the grandfather offered this simple answer: “The one that you feed.”
So, here are some good habits of love that will help get you started. There are seven habits to cultivate to the selfless, self-sacrificing love that God gives us:
1. Choose love. Make a conscious choice every day to love. As you start your day, receive God’s love with gratitude. Invite God to cultivate His kind of love in your heart by His Holy Spirit Thank God for loving you enough to allow His Son Jesus to suffer and die for your sin. Thank God for reaching out across the universe to rescue you from being lost forever, and to bring you home to live with Him for eternity. And savor the simple blessings you receive each day, like air to breathe, clean water to drink, and food to eat.
2. Welcome love. When we’re expecting guests in our home, we spend extra time cleaning. We want to give our guests a warm welcome. We want to show them respect. That’s one way we show we care about them. When we choose to love, we’re inviting God to send His Spirit as a guest into our lives. The apostle Paul said our body is a temple for the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). The Bible records God’s instructions for the care of our body temple, including what to think about, what to listen to, what to watch, and how to eat. Following these instructions equips our brain to work better, making it easier to manage our thoughts and emotions so we can love more.
3. Contemplate love. Spend time each day, observing perfect love in action. Read the Bible and witness the amazing love of God for humanity. The most significant expression of God’s love is seen in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. My favorite is John because it reads like a love story. But evidence of God’s love can be discovered on every page of the Bible. Look for it, find it and dwell on it.
4. Practice humility. Choose the smallest piece of the pie. Give someone your seat. Apologize for your mistakes. Forgive people who wrong you. Do work that is “below your pay grade.” Pride is the most significant barrier to receiving and giving love. We tell ourselves we don’t need love. We convince ourselves others don’t deserve our love. We need to receive the mind of Jesus Christ, who acted as if others were more important than He is (Philippians 2:2-7). To obtain the mind of Christ, we need to stop resisting it. We resist the mind of Christ by persisting as if our way is the essential way.
5. Practice kindness. Compliment your spouse and your children. Pick up someone else’s dropped item and return it to them. Allow the car alongside you to merge into your lane. Kindness softens our heart toward others. The King James Version of the Bible uses the word “gentleness” instead of “kindness” when describing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
6. Practice patience. Patience requires that we accept that some things are out of our control. Patience also requires that we not try to control others. And patience sometimes requires us to wait and allow things to move at their own pace. To accept something is to acknowledge that it is what it is. It’s like gravity–no matter how much you want to change it, it’s going to be there as much as it was before you tried to change it. Accept that your family isn’t going to be ready for church at the same speed as you. Accept that you and others will not learn at the expected pace, and will forget stuff and make mistakes. Accept that the traffic will move at the same speed, no matter how much you honk the car horn or how hard you slam your hands against the steering wheel.
7. Give generously. Give someone else the last piece of the pie. Pay for your coworker’s lunch. Buy that one thing your spouse has been wanting, instead of that new gadget you’ve been dreaming about. It’s been said that real generosity is measured not by how much we give, but by how much we have leftover.
We hope you get something out of this devotion,
Ronnie and Christie Bruce
Keynote Speakers and Author
Ministry Leaders at:
Hope Knows Your Name Ministries
Depression is not something that magically disappears when you slap a band-aid on it. Sometimes the last thing you want to hear is another Bible verse or an encouraging word from someone who has not walked in your shoes. We all have moments when we need someone to grab our hand and help pull us up out of the depths of despair. It’s the moments when we cannot even reach back for the extended hand that is hardest to get through. No matter what you are facing today or tomorrow, or what you went through yesterday, there is hope for you. Psalms put words to the hardest seasons of life when it’s hard to find words to pray.
I’ve been there in the dark season of depression. I know what it’s like to wonder if this thick cloud that seems to surround me will ever lift. I’ve sat in the waiting rooms, read the articles, and attempted to talk about the moments that made me question if I was ever going to be ok again.
There are a few Psalms that helped me through some of the darkest moments, and I want to share them with you. The Psalmist conveys my feelings in ways I could never verbalize on my own. I have prayed these Psalms many times while asking God to deliver me from the struggle at hand. Every time I read them, I am reminded again of how amazing and alive God’s Word is. While I love the entire chapter of each of these Psalms, I included the highlights that speak directly to my heart. For more in-depth study, read the whole chapter.
If you are encouraged by one of these, it’s your turn to hold out your hand to a friend and pull her up. Be an encourager and pass this on!
A Psalm for the fearful heart
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall, I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” Psalm 27:1,14
Fear is gripping. It’s the feeling that starts small but grows and seems to take us down faster than we want to go. But God gives us big truths to cling to from this psalm. He is our light! He is our strength! When fear grips us, we know where to go to find light in the dark and strength when we feel depleted. It’s not that we immediately jump for joy and have miraculous physical power, but remember where the light comes from, helps lead us in the right direction when we are in the depths of the dark.
A Psalm for the waiting heart
“I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.” Psalm 40:1-3
Seasons of depression go by slower than other seasons of life. The days linger and the nights seem never to end. But the psalmist here reminds us that God pulls us up out of that terrible place and gives us steady ground to stand on. When we feel like the night will never end, this gives us fresh hope to rise with a new song for a new day.
A Psalm for the discouraged heart
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation, and my God.” Psalm 43:5
The question why is one that is hard to answer in seasons of depression. Sometimes there is no right answer. But we can always find a solution for where to find hope. This psalm spells it out for us and walks us toward God with praise and thanks for salvation.
A Psalm for the grieving heart
“I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes. Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer.” Psalm 6:6-9
Grief changes us. It forces us to stop and acknowledge the pain of the world around us. Loss ushers us into an emotional cycle that we can try to ignore only to be hit harder when the next wave of grief overcomes us. Tears are not a sign of weakness, and they prove a person is letting him or herself come face to face with something difficult. The hope we hold is that God hears the cries of His children and He gives us words to help express the deep ache of a heart in grief.
A Psalm for the overwhelmed heart
“God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains are moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah. Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, and I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:1-3,10
Life is paralyzing when struggles surround us. There is no shame in being still, and this psalm gives us the very tangible value to slowing down the soul and letting the season of struggle be a gift rather than a curse. Being still and allowing God into the depths of the overwhelm is perhaps a key to finding the help we need to make it through another day.
A Psalm for the terrified heart
“Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” Psalm 56:1-4
Life is complicated when people let us down or hurt us on purpose. But there is one person who is always steady, faithful, and true. If you are worried about what might happen next or afraid of what people will do or say, know that God is gracious, merciful, loving, and kind. He wants to hear you pray the words of the psalms.
A Psalm for the desperate heart
“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth, I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:1-2
Walking through depression isn’t something I want to do, but I am thankful for the season when my heart is faint because I experience God’s presence like never before. These Psalms give me prayers to pray when I have no words. Wounds of life run deep, and sometimes, my mind is filled with fear and despair.
No matter what you are going through or how hard life may be, speak these simple psalms to the Lord today and let Him meet you right where you are. May God bless you and begin to give you a glimpse of hope.
Email us questions you may have, subjects you would like us to talk about, or, what it is you are struggling with. We want to hear from you!
Love, Ronnie and Christie Bruce
As Ronnie and I have been going through a life changing event, our faith has really been tested. I have not been able to work the past six months due to my back surgery, now we both found ourselves out of work, here is our story. In November of 2018 the general manager contacted Ronnie about a job in Texas as the morning show host, and production manager. Ronnie was going to be able to make one of the five stations a Christian station. He was so excited to get back into ministry on the radio. He accepted the job, and left for Texas. I stayed behind in Chattanooga, TN. until our lease was up in February. While I was packing, I just had a uneasy feeling about this move. I continued to pray up until the day Ronnie came home to move me. Still, I had a nagging uneasy feeling. Two weeks after I had been there, they fired the general manager that brought us here. The new GM came in and told Ronnie he did not want any of that “religious” music played on any station. All the hard work Ronnie had put in to get a Christian station started was now in the past, and the hours of logging in Christian music, were just in vain. After a few weeks the new GM walked out, leaving Ronnie to run all five stations. Several weeks later, the new GM that walked off the job called Ronnie and told him he was coming back to work. He came in on a Tuesday and told Ronnie that they had sold the stations, and his last day would be Friday. Wow you talk about questioning God. We had so much fear, we are 12 hours away from home and family, when Ronnie finds out they had been in negotiations to sell the stations before they had brought him to Texas. We we’re beside ourselves. So, how were we going to handle this life changing event? We turned to God more than ever. We were staying in the word, and in constant prayer. We came across Psalms 27:14. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
Wow…,we often run to God when we experience difficulties. But David sought God’s guiding presence every day. When troubles came his way, he was already in God’s presence and prepared to handle any test. Believers can call to God for help at any time, but how shortsighted to call on God only when troubles come. Many problems could be avoided or handled far more easily by seeking God’s help and direction beforehand.
This really made us stop to think, how could we have handled things differently? Well do you remember that gut feeling I had before we moved? That’s when we should have prayed through this more, seeking His guidance and not our own. If so, we probably would not have moved. I say all that, to say this, we need to listen to the holy spirit, when he is giving us those uneasy feelings. While your waiting on Him to show up in your situation, keep your eyes on Him. When we keep our eyes on Him, it is evidence that we’re really trusting Him. If you just “mouth” the words “I trust you” while anxiously trying to make things go your way, your words ring hollow. Instead, you can wait expectantly in hope-full trust, keeping your antennas out, to pick up even the faintest glimmer of His presence.
You have turned my mourning into dancing, You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy that I might sing praise to you and not be silent. I, Lord my God, will give you thanks forever.
Ronnie and Christie
Joy is coming in the morning!
Do It Again is a song of hope breaking through into the hopeless; of joy breaking through into disappointment. How does this anthemic worship song suggest that we break out of the depths of despair? By remembering what God has done before:
I’ve seen You move, You move the 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
We have all faced mountains and overcome. Deuteronomy 31:8 declares that God ‘will not leave you nor forsake you’. By remembering what we have overcome with Jesus on our side our faith is stirred & our courage is strengthened as we face the challenges ahead.
‘God has delivered us from such deadly peril, and he will deliver us again’ (2 Corinthians 1:10).
In this Scripture Paul is sending the same message as this song, that is:
If He has done it once, He can do it again
With this declaration ringing in our ears we can boldly make the declaration at the end of the song:
You never failed me yet
I never will forget
You never failed me yet
And I never will forget
When we see the glory of God break through into the darkest parts of our lives, we cannot let ourselves forget about it. When Jesus answers our prayers, when He reaches out His hand to pull us to safety, we must remember what He has done.
Be sure to check out the song below. Spend some time reflecting on the lyrics and remember that if God has done it once, He can do it again.