The Joy of the Lord

choosing-joyHave you ever wondered how some people can be so happy and carefree one minute, and then become totally ticked and angry at the slightest dispute the next? It’s because the happiness that they display when everything is going well is a result of their emotions. And our emotions can and do change, just like the weather. Continue reading

Prayer Can Delay Judgment!

breaking-threadThere has never been such a need for Christians to pray as there is today! Our lives are literally hanging on a thread and if that thread snaps, then the plunge we take will be deadly. But if we can secure that thread in time, we will prevent the fall. And there’s still time to call upon God in this 2016 presidential election! Continue reading

Where do You Run When Problems Get You Down?

stock-photo-a-guy-grabing-his-hair-with-angry-3211190When the trials and temptations of this world overwhelm you with stress and frustration, where do you run to get away from them? Many of us feel the need to run to someone for help and it’s not always to the one we should. It’s no secret that Jack Daniels has been seen lurking in the shadows cuddling unbelievers as well as Christians in their hour of need, or that inside the clouds of smoke we’ll often find people searching for a way out. When problems get you down, where do YOU run?

The trials and tribulations that Christians suffer in this world are part of this world and so it’s useless for us to turn to the world for help, and yet many of us do. We need to change our thinking and get our help from someone who has overcome the world and who can give us peace while we wait on the answer. We need to trust someone who has the knowledge and that ability to help us.

That person is Jesus.2544952310_6458b28874_m

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” …John 16:33.

So for Christians to have problems in this world is not a new or unusual thing because Jesus said that we would have problems.  BUT He also said that He would give us peace during these times if we would turn to Him. He has overcome the world and there is nothing that He can’t do.

5578273602_79073a7036_mOn the cross Jesus suffered every pain and affliction that could come onto us, and although He was tormented beyond words He did it, and He took all of our “sin” to hell and left it there. Jesus stood in our place for our sin since He didn’t have any himself and he beat it; Jesus overcame it all. He overcame the sin and corruption that we live in and that’s getting us down. We need to call on Him and follow Him because He has been there, done that – AND He overcame it.

There is no one else who better qualifies to help us than Jesus.

We need to realize that Jesus has already defeated every problem that can come against us, and we have to trust Him that He will help us to overcome each and every problem that we face in life. And then we will be filled with His peace that will surpass all understanding. In the meantime, we wait.

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We don’t do anything to attack the problem when we don’t know what to do. So, we read the Bible and become strong in the Word; we praise and worship Him to build up our faith; and we wait for His direction. It will come. God works through confirmation in our heart if He wants us to do something, and He works through other people who He will send across our path. The answer to every single one of our problems will come if we will just wait on God and trust Him for the answer.

The world will refute us; it will mock us and call us fools because the world cannot experience the peace of God since it does not know God. The people of this world depend only on each other for help because their trust is in themselves. They cannot accept that we trust in something that they cannot see and they cannot know the peace of God when they don’t know Him.

“There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked”….. Isaiah 57:21.

When we need help the only arms we should run to are the arms of Jesus. He’s standing nearby waiting to comfort us; to give us peace; to give us the answer. He first opened His arms to us on the cross and He continues to be our shelter and our refuge in our time of trouble.

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“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” … Psalm 46:1

 

Hurting Words

3460403278_8e2cb549f8_mWe’ve all been there and we’ve all done it. We’ve said things that we wished later we hadn’t said. Our emotions overcame us and we spoke hurting words.

When we’re hurting inside and we can’t deal with the things that have come upon us, sometimes out of frustration we’ll shout out or speak words that are hurting and harmful. The sorrow within us takes over our own censors and we say things we wouldn’t normally say.

The tension and animosity that could stem from these trying times can be prevented when we can separate ourselves from the situation and turn to Jesus.

When We’re Hurting…

“I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart.” … Psalm 38:8.

We’re told in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all our care upon Him because He cares for us. When we’re hurting we need to find ourselves a quiet, private place like a closet or a bathroom if we have to, so that we can honestly get alone with Jesus and talk to Him. We need to tell Him what we’re feeling and we need to seek after HIS peace.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” … Philippians 4:7.2407960698_667f19de7b_m

Why? He’s omnipotent, so doesn’t He know what we’re going through? Yes, Jesus knows what we’re going through; in fact, He knew what we’d go through before it happened. But He wants us to WANT to talk to Him about it.

“Do not hide Your face from me; Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation.” … Psalm 27:9

He won’t just invade our privacy and snap His fingers and say, “I’m here, let’s talk.” He will wait for us to invite Him to talk – The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart.” … Psalm 34:18.

And then He’ll stay with us and never leave us. – “…For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” … Hebrews 13:5.

When We’re Trying to Comfort Someone Who is Hurting…

We need to always focus on the love of Jesus, and when hurtful words are spoken by someone who is beside themselves with grief or pain, we need to just let it pass and NOT take it seriously. If we do, then we just add more unhappiness to a situation that’s already filled with grief and sorrow, and that can be quickly turned into one that’s led by hostility and anger.

Jesus tells us to pray for each other and help each other get through the hard times. Whether we’re praying for healing physically or emotionally, we need to lift each other up to Jesus and pray for HIS intervention, for HIS peace, for HIS healing.

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” … James 5:16love

We aren’t told to be judges and get angry or condemn another person because they say something hurtful or cruel when they are hurting with a grief that is literally tearing their heart out. We need to be compassionate and help them through their sorrows by showing them the love of Jesus.

“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” … Ephesians 5:2

If God judged us for every word that came out of OUR mouth when we were hurting, we would be in a very bad situation and our future might not be as bright as we think. But God judges our heart and He knows what we’re going through, so if HE can let the cruel words pass, then we should let them pass, as well.

“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” … 1 Timothy 6:11

The only way to get through these horrendous times of grief and sorrow is to turn to Jesus and let Him take the burden from us and give us His peace in return …. and then we can get past the hurting words.

2142655281_596427963d_m“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” … Isaiah 40:31.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith Overcomes The World

The problems we face in this world can be very tangible and require very tangible solutions.  Whether it’s physical healing, financial relief or the many other problems that we face, often something physical or tangible has to happen before we see the answer.

If our needs require financial solutions then we’re looking for money to bail us out, and if it’s our bodies that need healing then it’s physical health that we are looking for. Regardless of what our issues are, they all require that we have faith to believe in something as we search for an answer.

When we put our faith into the world to solve our issues, we usually get only temporary solutions that come with a cost.

We can take out a bank loan and consolidate our bills so that we have one convenient monthly payment and a designated time frame in which to pay our debts off. This appears to be a good solution because now we can afford to pay our bills and still live. But the cost to borrow is not free and we’re charged an interest rate that is sometimes overwhelming, but we have to subject ourselves to it because it’s the only viable worldly solution. And that monthly bill doesn’t go away just because we are laid off of our job or are too sick to work.

When we’re ill, medication is a good solution for both quick and permanent relief to the symptoms, but a lot of the pharmaceutical meds that we take only offer us the ability to cope with these health issues. They don’t cure them, and we’re told that we will have to take them for life because there is no cure. For example, people suffering from diabetes or high blood pressure will take meds for the rest of their lives, and these meds enable them to live somewhat normally but only because they are changing their bodies with the drugs that will affect other parts of their body. And then they will have to take more meds to deal with these changes. None of these meds are curing the diseases or healing our bodies; they’re just weakening them and causing us to be addicted to the prescription drugs.

But there IS a cure when we take our eyes off of the world and put them on God. There IS a cure when we direct our faith to the God who created us, to the God who knows our bodies and what our issues are, and to the God who says, “ask and you shall receive.”

Faith doesn’t come with conditions. It has one focus and that is to overcome! When we have health issues and we direct our faith to God, He does not give us a temporary solution. He does not prescribe meds that only deal with the symptoms or that destroy other parts of our bodies. He does not heal only part of us because God has only one vision – the big picture.

When Jesus took our sickness upon Himself at the cross, He took them ALL – every disease, disability and sickness that ever was or ever will be. He didn’t give us a temporal solution and He didn’t cure only some of our health issues. He cured them ALL. And He did it with NO side effects and with NO cost to us.

When we look at His ministry on earth, the Lord healed the sick, made the lame to walk and the blind to see – and He rose the dead. And the only thing He asks of us is “to have faith“.

We need to have faith in the Lord; faith that He can and faith that He will set us free. He’s already done it for us. We don’t have to wait for Him to finally get through the busy line-up to us so we can be healed. It was accomplished on the cross and all we have to do is get that truth down into our hearts so we can accept it and believe it and then this truth will set us free. (John 8:32)

And when we’re free, we’ll see that our faith in God is enough for us to overcome anything that the world can give us. It may be a new problem for the world and even for us, but it it’s old hat for Jesus because He already dealt with it and overcame it.

When we put our faith in God, that faith is enough to give us the complete victory over our problems and we can overcome anything the world can give us.

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” … 1 John 5:4

 

Faith Builds Character

Faith is the substance that links us to God and makes us who we are. It goes along the same line as the old antic, we are what we eat. The more we learn about God, the more faith we have and the more like Jesus we become. Knowledge leads to conviction which leads to faith which causes change and builds character.

People place their faith or trust in different things to help them get through life. Some people rely only on themselves while others depend on drugs, alcohol, sexual activity and even food. The essence of all of these dependencies is that their decision on where they’ll put their faith is one that forms their character.

But faith or trust in worldly substances or in oneself is deceptive and leads to destruction because they don’t build Godly character through the conviction of God’s Spirit. Instead, they give a false security to those who follow them by giving only temporary courage to perform their jobs, face the world or deal with their problems.

Faith in God builds character. As we study the Bible, our knowledge of God grows and our faith gets stronger. And the more we put our faith to work the more developed our character becomes.  And the more our character develops or matures, the more we are convicted in our hearts, and this leads us to change from our old ways so we can become more like Jesus.

What are the characteristics of someone who does not know God?

Galatians 5:19-21 describes worldly characteristics this way: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” It goes on to say that these characteristics prevent people from inheriting the kingdom of God because they don’t know God.

What are the characteristics of Jesus?

Jesus’ characteristics are referred to as the “Fruits of the Spirit”, and they are found in Galatians 5:22-23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,meekness and temperance.”

Our character is not developed over night. It’s built as we grow in faith and it’s comparable to a child attending school. She begins in the first grade and is taught and tested and then she goes on to the second grade and is taught and tested on that level, and then continues until graduation. At that time the child has had to learn and be tried for everything along the way. Each test was more intense than the last and required more studying.

And it’s the same principle for faith. We study God’s Word and then we’re tested on it. The only difference is that in school the tests come automatic and we have no choice but to do them. In real life, however, we can choose to test our faith or not. God presents the opportunities – the tests – and we can accept them or opt out and go the way of the world.

King David said that God tries us like silver, “For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.” Psalm 66:10

All these tests add to our character. If we don’t put our faith to the test as we grow, our confidence and trust in God is very limited and our character remains weak because we’ve got some characteristics of the world and only some characteristics of God. If we put our faith and trust in God and test our faith as we grow, then we build our character to become like that of Jesus, and we become strong in faith and a useful vessel in God’s ministry.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” … Romans 12:2

Need another challenge?

There are times when it seems as if the challenges just keeping coming at us. We turn on the TV to get away from it all and the focus there is another horrifying climatic disaster such as a deadly earthquake and another murder that grieves our hearts.

We get anxious and uptight because it appears as if everything around us is falling apart. But then finally, we remember to open our Bibles and read God’s blessings, and a peace comes over us. God is with us and He sees everything and He knows everything, and He reminds us that we are His main concern.

Praise God for the peace that He gives us!

The peace of God…shall keep your hearts and minds.”…Philippians 4:7