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We are in this world but not of it
As the world news reports the crisis situations of wars, famines, floods, tornadoes, and every evil under the sun, there emerges a question that each person must ask and that is, “Who am I following?”.
Your whole life comes down to a choice in this world that is perishing right before our eyes. Whatever occupies the majority of your thoughts and your time is a key indicator of where you are in your relationship with Christ. We who belong to Christ are called to live as aliens on this earth. Those who seek the kingdom to God are never satisfied with the pleasures of this world. The temporal riches in life can bring more problems than happiness. True joy comes from serving God as only those things which you have surrendered to him will last. As each day brings another set of difficulties, your faith will soon come with a price. Jesus tells us about this in John 15:18-19:
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
For you to belong to Christ, you must seek the things of his kingdom. If you are too comfortable with the ways of this world, you may need to examine your relationship with Christ. Many people live as if this earth was all that mattered. They are deceived into thinking that they can conform to the world and still be a follower of Christ. You can’t serve two masters. One will always trump the other. It is only the narrow path that leads to eternal life. The enemy will always try to lead you down the wide road of destruction as he compromises the truth to fit your lifestyle. It is a life that will never bring you joy and blessings. You can’t be “almost” saved to get to heaven. When Christ reveals himself to you, there is a radical transformation as your heart of stone is replaced by a heart of flesh that seeks after the will of God. And while there is a process of learning to walk in the ways of righteousness; a man born of God will turn from evil as his renewed spirit is led to follow Christ.
My dear friends, if you truly want victory in your life, there is just one way to have it. It is only by living the crucified life of Christ that you find peace and joy despite your troubles. It is at the foot of the cross that your weaknesses have been made strong and your burdens have been lifted. There is no bondage that can hold a believer who has been set free by the blood of Christ. All of your struggles are working out an eternal, divine purpose to equip you for his good work. In every battle, you are surrounded by the army of the living God who has given his angels charge over your welfare.
As I write this message, there are fellow believers living in restricted and hostile nations who do not have the freedom to worship as they please. They have chosen to risk their lives for Christ. They are not looking for seeker-friendly churches with watered down gospel messages. They are searching for the pure truth despite the consequences. Some have watched as family and friends have been tortured or killed for their faith. Through it all, they do not waver in their resolve to follow the way of the cross. That is true victory! That is the power of Christ making strong those who are willing to suffer for him. That is the kind of faith that defies all understanding.
I know that there are those who visit this site who are enduring trials and heartaches of every kind. The increase of evil everywhere has darkened this world, but nothing can quench the fire of a believer who trusts in the promises of Christ. The fact is that your problems are never able to destroy you. They are allowed by Christ only to take you from where you are to where he is! As difficult as it may seem, you must not grow weary and give up. In your struggle, don’t look at your circumstance, look to your God! You have reason to hope because the One who gave you life holds your future in his hands.
In a time when nothing is certain, you must choose to follow in the ways of truth. Jesus is coming to take those with him who have shown themselves to be true daughters and sons. You need only look around you and watch the news to understand that he is coming soon! While there is still time, give your heart to Christ. Surrender all you have to get all that he has for you. Your eternity depends on it!
I am praying for all who come to this site who are uncertain of their future. May you understand that with Jesus there is a way to know for sure. If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at: email@example.com. Let Christ lead you to the truth. You are never alone.
Probably one of the hardest steps of faith is believing that God hears and will help us when we call on him in prayer. We are still living in a world that has dimensions and boundaries and our finite minds have limits to our understanding in difficult matters. We therefore need a measure of faith to see past that which is seen and go deeper into that which is unseen. The only way to please God is by trusting him despite the storms that we face in a world that is literally being destroyed by sin. Although it is not visible to our eyes right now, there is a battle that is taking place all around us in the heavenly realms. Darkness is covering the horizons in every corner of this world as evil is seeking to destroy everything in God’s creation. So when we are faced with a painful trial, it is easier to believe what we can see than what we can’t see. Yet, it is at our lowest point of struggle that we must lift our eyes in prayer and believe that our God is not going to let us be devoured by the enemy of destruction.
It may seem impossible to live with a heart that is breaking but God has promised us in his word that He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3) He is not slow to help and he will never fail you even when it seems that you are being crushed by the weight of your pain. If you could see the very real battle that is taking place all around you, you would understand that you are being guarded by the forces of heaven. Every step you take as a believer is guided by the hand of God who knows the path you must take to victory. Every prayer that you present to Christ is heard and he knows what is right and perfect for you. Your whole life is before his eyes and he is answering you in ways that for now you may not understand. The solid truth is that Christ never stops working all things out for your good! When you lift up your prayers and petitions, you are surrendering all of your struggles to the will of God. You are seeking his strength and his power to help you stand in faith believing the God who saw your unformed body in the womb and who numbered all of your days before even one of them came to be. Nothing of your life is hidden from him. Your fear and despair in a trial stem from not understanding the power of God and his unfailing love for you. Never will his eyes leave you for one second! Why can you not understand that you are worrying about things that Jesus already has worked out?
I have been through a lot of pain in my life but I can now rest in the fact that the purpose and plan God has for my life cannot be stopped. I can trust that he is right next to me when I pray and that he always hears. No pain can consume my life because my God will always be bigger that anything I face. I believe that God will go ahead of me in every battle and lead me into victory against my enemies. I know that God is faithful and that I can take him at his word. My future is in his hands and he is the joy of my life. At the moment of Christ’ death, the temple veil that enclosed the holy of holies was torn signifying our new access to the throne of God in every prayer! Believers are right there with Christ in every petition that is made to him. The devil can’t stop our prayers nor can he hinder God from answering them.
My dear friends, I say all this to encourage you through the trials you are facing. You can still have a future despite a broken marriage or a relationship that is not working out. Your financial struggles are not going to be forever. Job situations and serious health issues are still under the sovereignty of God. My greatest lesson in God’s love came when I trusted him at a time when I had no strength of my own in an impossible situation. His power is greater than a painful struggle or addiction. His strength is perfected in any weakness that we surrender to him. We can trust our God in every area of life and we can trust him in death. There is nothing good that he will ever withhold from those who belong to him. Never let the silence make you think that God is not doing something for your cause. Remember that Elijah had to wait on the mountain top for the quiet whisper of God after he faced the powerful wind, the earthquake and the great fire. No matter how or when he chooses to do it, never doubt that God will show up and fight against that which is coming against you!
Dear Lord, I am lifting up those who are going through a storm in life that is making them weary. They want to believe that you will show up in time to help them but the enemy has been filling their minds with lies. I pray that you will give them your peace that passes understanding and open their hearts to know that you are with them right now. They don’t have to see you or feel you to know that you are there. Show them that their prayers are heard by you and you will resolve the issues they face. Let them know that you will never leave them to fight against the battles of this world alone. I pray that they will listen for that small whisper of hope that you are ready to give them. Lord Jesus, I believe your promises never fail. Amen
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
God has taken me through many struggles and trials that have come against me on every side. Every time I feared the worst, God has shown up and brought me to safety. I believe that is true in some aspect for everyone. So why is it when a storm cloud looms overhead that we forget the power of God? Why do we cower in fear when a painful situation is out of our control? The truth is that there is no battle we face that Christ has not overcome for us. In our desert time of need, there will always be Living Water of hope for those who believe. The promises of God will never fail! Christ covered the cost for victory in every single conflict we endure. His merciful, loving, immeasurable grace is sufficient.
In a world that is pouring out lies and perverting the laws of God, it brings us rest to join with other believers who will run with us in the race that was set for us. One such friend is Rev. Bill York whose blog, concernedx2, is one of my favorites. We both agree that we are living in the ending days and that our blessed Savior is coming soon. I want to share with you the poem below he wrote that speaks to my heart:
FAINT TRACES OF GRACE
While only a child, I looked through the pages
Of books written down, compiled through the ages
This is the way, by Mom I was told
We have a good record of heroes of old
I discovered an old book, so ragged and worn
The pages were dog-eared, so tattered and torn
Among my great writings it could not abide
With theologians and scholars, I tossed it aside
The years passed so swiftly and now I am old
I opened the old book of long, long ago
There on crumpled pages I learned about life
I learned about hope and I learned about strife
When no trace of goodness in me could be found
I learned of my fate, to where I was bound
Then I learned about love and I learned about grace
I discovered a hero who had died in my place
Faint traces of grace upon me have fallen
My hope is secure, I’ve heeded the calling
I bow at his feet, I look on his face
Reflecting in me, faint traces of grace
by Rev. Bill York
The words of this poem remind me that despite our struggles and pain, we always have a future if our trust is in Jesus and the work of the cross. There is nothing that can bind you or keep you down when the strength of Christ is with you. His grace is all you will ever need. Those who live in fear and strife do not have an understanding of grace. It is not about performing or being right and good enough for God. It is coming just as you are to the throne of mercy and surrendering your utter weakness and depravity to Christ who offers you a future with promise. Who are we that the grace of God should abound when we are at our lowest point? And yet Jesus, who knew us before the foundation of the earth, has deemed us to be co-heirs of his kingdom and to receive all that is good despite our unworthiness! If the enormity of that grace could set into our finite minds, we would be forever on our face in total shame for our sin.
I know that many of you may be dealing with a trial in your life that is difficult and causing you to falter in your faith. My prayer is that you look beyond your pain and focus on your God whose eyes are on you now. Be in peace, dear friends. Always and in all things, faint traces of grace will carry you through the unfailing promises of God for your life.
I HAVE COME THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE, AND HAVE IT ABUNDANTLY
( John 10:10)
We were all born sinners in a lost and perishing world. Our rebellion made us enemies of God and the price was eternal separation from him. Yet despite our weaknesses, the bible tells us: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal love” (John 3:16) That is love beyond measure! Christ left the splendor of heaven to walk among us and give us hope for a life with him. The night that Christ was born, we read in Luke 2:8-11 :
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
What an awesome message to receive! Imagine being in that lonely field and seeing the the glory of God shining all around. Shepherds were considered low class, they were not trusted as witnesses in a court of law, and they weren’t well educated. They lived and worked outdoors, they typically were not able to keep the ceremonial law the way the priests did in the city. As a result, they had a reputation for being unclean. Yet God deemed them the perfect ones for him to witness the birth of the Savior of this world.
Christ became flesh to walk with his creation. He came to bring hope and joy despite the fact that there are many troubles in this world. His birth was the greatest gift that this world has ever known. Jesus came to defeat death and bring new life. He came to shine a light in a dark world. And he came to show profound, amazing love to a world that would reject him.
There is nothing else that we need in this life for Jesus brought us the free gift of salvation and friendship with God. We no longer have to be imprisoned to sin and destruction. He offered us power over all the storms of this life and the promise of glory in heaven. Struggles and pain can no longer defeat those who accept Christ as Savior. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you have done, Jesus brought forgiveness and abundant life for all who seek him.
The enemy wants you to believe that you can live your life apart from Christ and still be okay. That is a lie from the pit of hell for you will face destruction if you reject Christ as Lord and Savior of your life. You will never have victory any way other than the path that God prepared for you before the foundation of the earth. Jesus is the only way to eternal life.
I pray that you will understand that despite what you have done, you can still have a life with promise if you start now to put your trust in Jesus. You have to want to live according to his ways and to turn from the ways that keep you in bondage. Your weakness can be made strong in Christ, and by his power you can overcome all obstacles in your life. But time is growing short and you need to choose to live for Jesus now!
Let this Christmas be the one where you decide to live in the victory of Jesus! That will be the best gift you could ever get and it is one that will last into eternity!
Merry Christmas to all who read this. Whatever you are going through, your God is already there, willing and able to help. Please know that I am praying for you!
FOR I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED ( 2 Tim.1:12)
Dear friends and visitors to this blog,
I want everyone who comes to this site to know that I have a burden for those who are in pain, feeling troubled and who come looking for a message from God. I never cease praying for those who have asked for prayer. I take all of your prayer requests very seriously and they stay on my heart. And God cares for each of you through your pain. He is not going to leave you in your struggle.
Remember that no matter what you are going through, God will always be bigger and he cares! He has a way out and above every single situation that you go through. To those who have put their trust in the finished work of Christ at the cross, your future is sealed and the enemy cannot steal it away. Don’t let any of the devil’s lies and frustrations make you doubt God’s perfect plan for your life. If you could see with spiritual eyes, you would know that if God is allowing a trial in the life of a believer, he has a plan to not only take you through it but to make you better for having gone through it.
Most importantly, I want you to remember that no situation is impossible for the true God who spoke the worlds into existence! Never let anyone tell you that you circumstance is beyond all help. That is a lie. There is nothing that God cannot and will not do for those who belong to him.
I care very deeply about all whom God sends to my site. You matter here! It was no coincidence that you stopped by for God has a message in one of these articles just for you. He is the one who has inspired these truths for me to write.
God bless you for now. Stay in peace and take your stand in the battle. Your God is very near and he is fighting for you!
It is obvious that so many believers are growing weary in these dark days of oppression that we live. Struggles surround us at every corner and it is hard to stave off the growing fears of uncertainty. We were told in Scripture that these times would come and test the faithful, but how do we keep standing when the ground is trembling and darkness is filling the sky?
Fear is a tool that the enemy uses to take your focus from the truth. When you understand that your hope in Christ is secure, you can cease striving. There is nothing that is going to destroy a believer who is holding onto the promises that Jesus died to give. Your future is never determined by your circumstance. Trials that you face are only the wind that brings you closer to God. Every single one of your struggles are used by God to equip you for the battles that come against you.
Throughout the bible, God allowed his people to be taken to the end of their own strength but yet they were conquerors over all that came against them. It was in the lion’s den that Daniel watched as his God shut the mouths of the lions and brought him safely out. The three Jewish boys were bound and thrown into the furnace for refusing to bow in worship to Nebuchadnezzar.(Daniel 3) Yet it was there that they came face to face with the Son of God who protected them from even the smell of fire and smoke. Young David ran against the giant, Goliath, in the power of the God in whom he trusted. He never doubted that his God could save him as he killed that heathen Philistine with just a stone. King Hezekiah cried out to his God for help when the Assyrian army was surrounding his people on all sides. He had no power to face this mighty army but his God did! We are told in 2 Kings 19:35, ” That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning – there were all dead bodies!” It was God who fought their battle and saved them. You need to understand clearly that when you are in Christ, you are a force to be reckoned with!
Beloved, you must understand that no battle you ever face is hopeless. You don’t need to run from your problems; you just need to turn to your God! Never lose faith when you get to the end of your ability for it is at that point that you discover the all-encompassing power of God. Jesus paid the price for our redemption and to give us a future with hope. The enemy may prowl around trying to rob you of your joy but he can never steal the future that Christ paid with his blood. Death has no sting for Jesus overcame the grave. All of your momentary trials are working out a divine purpose to prepare you for the royalty that awaits you in eternity. Your painful situation has a time to end. God knows how to take you from your distress and into his peace if you will just surrender to him.
We are living in a time like no other. We are watching as wars, famines, floods, severe weather, poverty, sickness of all kinds of evil are permeating this entire world. The hearts of many have grown cold as marriages are failing, evil and violence are increasing and all forms of perversions are becoming common. The only hope we have is the enduring love of Christ who will never fail. He is called Faithful and True and he is ready to return and gather those who love him.
May you know this day that you are never out of God’s sight for a second. Whatever you are suffering is before the eyes of God. Remember, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. (Psalm 34:18)
Dear Lord, I am praying for those who are struggling with a painful situation in their lives. They feel like they are losing in the battle that they face. I pray for your peace and strength to fill them. Let them know without a doubt that you are with them to the end. For those who have financial problems – may you meet them and provide for what they need. Those who have marriage and relationship problems – may you join them in peace and restore their families. I pray for you to heal the pain of those who are sick or who have lost a loved one. May you comfort and heal those who are in serious bondage to alcohol or drugs. I pray for your favor in their lives in all that they need. And may they know that you will not fail them no matter how impossible their problem is to them. Amen.
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)
It is hard to release all of our hopes and fears and trust that God has a better way for our lives. When you try to work things out as the world does, you are headed for failure. Charles Spurgeon once wrote: ”You cannot grow in grace to any high degree while you are conformed to the world“. That which you won’t surrender to God will be the foothold that the enemy uses to take you down. All that you have that is good has been given you by God. There is nothing that you can keep except that which you give up.
Jesus calls for us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds and yet that is very difficult to do when you let the influences of this lost world cloud your judgment. The darkness of these present times can fill you with fear when it seems like God isn’t showing up in time to help you through a crisis. Some people are suffering with the pain of a serious or terminal illness. Many are facing monumental financial difficulties as they battle to survive past the list of endless bills. Marriages are under attack as Satan has targeted families for destruction. Drugs and alcohol are literally robbing people of their future. Pornography is a deadly addiction that poisons and imprisons its victims. Sadly, lies from hell are being traded for the truth by the lost everywhere. Many in our country and in the world are now accepting evil as good.
Yet, despite the battles that rage all around, Jesus promised believers that he would fill them with the peace that surpasses all understanding. That peace only comes by trusting and following the path of Christ. You cannot seek out the riches and glory of this world and expect that God’s peace will reign in your heart. I can’t put it more clearly than to say outright that if you live in rebellion to God, you will never be happy! You will always be searching and never be satisfied. The true joy that comes only from a relationship with Christ is found nowhere else. Nothing that you can attain on this earth will last forever or prevent you from dying one day. But those who seek Christ and his kingdom, all that is good will be added to their life. As a believer you understand that death has no power except to release you to be with God in his kingdom forever.
While all will suffer in this life, God works everything for the good those who belong to him. The temporary struggles you face have divine ramifications as the hand of God uses them to form and shape you into the image of Jesus. We read in 1 Peter 5:10, “And the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast“. After you have been through your painful trial, God himself lifts you up and restores you to wholeness. You can’t lose in the battle you are in so hang on and know the power that lives in you. Never surrender your joy no matter how dark your situation may appear. God always has a way to take you through it if you will believe and wait on his timing God ‘s power is more than enough for all that you need. You should keep that truth in your heart!
Dear Lord, I know that many are struggling in areas of their lives and they wonder if you truly care about what they are going through. I pray that you draw near to them in their pain and give them the strength they need to believe that you will not fail them. May you give them a very real sense of your peace as you work out all their difficulties and make them strong, firm and steadfast in their faith. I pray this in the power of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen
Have you ever been in a painful trial in life which made you feel like you were all alone? The storms you face in this world can sometimes make you feel isolated and without hope. And, although well-meaning friends want to help you, there often is little that they can do. You really want to believe that God is with you in that battle, but that may be hard to do when the enemy surrounds you on all sides! When you come to these lonely places, it is then that you must take all thoughts captive to the truth of the promises of Christ!
In Scripture, David told King Saul that he would go against the giant Goliath who was threatening to kill the Israelites. Although he was only a young man alone, David knew that the force and strength of his God would be with him. As David ran toward the giant armed only with a sling and 5 stones, he was confident that he would be victorious against the enemy – and he was. David won this battle before he even started because his hope was steadfast in his faith that God would not fail him. He never hesitated by allowing worry to have entry to his mind. He knew the God that he served enough to take him at his word.
All of the battles that you face as a believer are fought on holy ground because the power of God is with you. You are in the company of the army of heavenly forces who know well how to deal with the enemy. You are never left to fight alone. As David understood that God was giving him his victory, so must you know that you are a conqueror against all that comes against you. You must never let your situation cause you to be anxious. Worry is nothing but the whispers of lies from a defeated enemy! Satan wants you to make you feel alone and hopeless so that he can get a foothold into your mind. Don’t give him access.
The truth is all the force that you need to defeat your feelings of hopelessness. Your financial struggles, marriage problems, health issues, addictions or heartaches are all under the power of a Sovereign God who knows how to take you safely through them. Your weaknesses are not hidden from the eye of an omniscient God who offers you his strength when you have none of your own. He is never limited by the scope of your impossible situation. His power is not confined to boundaries and it supersedes the scientific laws of this world. Most importantly, your painful struggle was seen by God long before you were born and he prepared a way to take you to victory. He has not forgotten you now and he never will.
It is the lonely places that put you next to the heart of your God. For it is when you have nowhere else to turn that you realize that God’s power was all that you ever needed. Jesus paid the price so that those who believed would be made more than a conqueror in all the battles of this world. Never surrender your joy no matter how bad the problems in your life seem. Though you may not understand it now, Christ is working it all out to fit into the perfect plan that he ordained for your life. The One who keeps all your tears in a bottle will not let you drown in despair. Jesus said “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs on your head are numbered. So don’t be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows”.(Matthew 10:29-31) There is nothing you must face that will not be measured and timed by God’s own hand.
Whatever is overwhelming you in your life right now has a purpose to bring you closer to God. The winds of trouble and the storms of your life must all submit to the will of God for you. Your battle will never be stronger than the refuge and strength of your God! The bible tells us, “Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning”. (Psalm 30:5) That means that every painful struggle has a timing for it to end. And it is only then that you will understand the power of God whose love for you never failed.
I pray that those who are struggling or in a painful trial will know the peace of God that surpasses understanding. No matter what is going on in your life, please remember that it will never be bigger than your God!
In Psalm 69:1, David cries out to the LORD , “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck, I sink in the miry depths where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help.” How many of us feel like that right now?
Even those who have put their faith in the cross of Christ can find it difficult to survive in this fallen world where there is bad news after bad news and each day brings another set of problems. It is truly heartbreaking to watch so many people struggling financially. Those who were once secure in their homes are now facing foreclosure. Disease and sickness is affecting every family in some way. We now have a lethal flu that is threatening to become pandemic. Homes are broken as the enemy seeks to destroy the family and deceive our children. Disasters of every kind are reported in countries all over the world with increasing occurrence and severity. Immorality is rampant and accepted. The ways of God are perverted as we now label sin as “choice”! Paul tells us in Romans 1:25, “They exchanged the truth for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised.” Sadly, God has been thrown out of decisions made by our government leaders as they give in to the clamor of the lost. Mankind now believes he has a better way than God to do things. That is a lie from Satan himself who somehow convinced one third of the angels in heaven and in the presence of the true and holy God that there was something better! He is the father of lies. Ask yourself, who do you believe when troubles surround you?
The truth is that Jesus died to give us hope with a promise that he will be with us to the end. You may be hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted and struck down in your life but you can never be destroyed! There now is no power to defeat those whose trust is in the cross of Jesus Christ. Though the world is darkened as evil fills the sky, believers will always have a light to shine on the path they are to take. It is by faith that we know that God will complete the good work that he started in us. We need unwavering trust to believe and not doubt that Jesus has a plan that cannot be stopped by the problems of this world. It does not matter how impossible your situation is or how painful your heartache, God knows how to move mountains and part the waters of trouble so that you can get to that place in your life that he has ordained for you long before you were born. The trials and struggles that you face are merely the wind that he uses to transform you into the image of Jesus Christ! He can still save your marriage, give you victory over addictions, heal your body, and restore your finances. There is nothing too hard for him who first loved you.
All that you need to survive in this world is within you if you have put your complete trust in Jesus and have made him Master of your life. It is not in saying a certain prayer but by surrendering your life to his perfect will. There is nothing good that you can do to save yourself but Jesus finished the work of our redemption when he gave his life for us. He is alive to intercede on our behalf and he has prepared a place for us in heaven. He did not die and leave us to fend for ourselves. He is with us now. He knows your name. He sees your face. He hears your voice. His strength is always with you. And while others are standing on the sinking sands of a lost earth, you are standing on the promise of Jesus Christ who will not fail to keep you in the victory that he won. You must stand and believe to the end. We have nothing to fear from this world for our citizenship is in heaven, guaranteed by the blood of Christ.
My friends, I give this message because these days are very difficult and painful. There is so much to deal with. I just pray that you can trust that your hope is secure. Christ will never fail you. Even the enemy knows that we are more than conquerors through Jesus. Believe the promise, mighty warrior, for the reward is yours for eternity!
Dear Jesus, there is just so much stress to deal with in our struggle to get through each day. I pray that you will comfort those who read this message and give them your peace that will fill them with hope. I pray that marriages will be healed; sickness cured and bodies made whole; strength to overcome bondage and addiction; healing for those who hurt; and, help in financial struggles. May they understand that the enemy is trying defeat them with his lies but that he has no power to destroy them or take them from you. Help them to know that you are always can find a way for them. I pray for favor for those who need a miracle right now in their life. We humbly bow and trust that you will not fail us. We give thanks and praise in your name. Amen
(Photo by Rob Bohning)
We are living in a season of change and a pervading darkness is rapidly filling this earth. People are struggling financially, physically and with each other as more than half of marriages end in divorce. Satan has blinded the eyes of most and it is sad to watch people caught up in the bondage of alcohol, drugs, pornography and every form of deception. Crime has increased and prisons are filled with lost souls. The truth has been compromised as the enemy seeks to blind the world and destroy it. Has he succeeded?
The Apostle Paul warns us in 2 Timothy 3 that there will be terrible times in the last days. Believers must keep watch as the enemy seeks to weaken them and make them ineffective for the kingdom. The days are growing short and our strength is only in the power of Christ who lives in us. He has promised to never leave us and to help us in time of distress. Our hope in times of testing is to magnify the Lord to see him as he truly is – which is always bigger than our problems.
Though God is always with us, we will have to suffer in this world. If it is the storms of this life that cause us to grow in our faith, then God must allow this struggle to reveal his power and give us the knowledge of who we are in Christ. His purpose and plan for our lives cannot fail. You may feel alone in your time of pain but you never are. You belong to him and he has given his angels charge over you. If you can magnify God and trust him in all things, he will prove himself faithful as he takes you through the furnace of your affliction and bring you safely to a place of his peace. He has power over all that comes against you and there is always a purpose in what he allows in your life.
The strength to hold on is having knowledge of the God who created you. His power cannot fit into the confines of our finite minds. So what is impossible for us is never impossible for God. Get hold of the fact that you aren’t going to completely understand the ways of God. Who could understand why a holy, loving God would send his only begotten Son to die for the sins of an ungrateful world? There is nothing good that you have that was not given to you by his power. Yet we constantly just dwell on the question of why God allows bad things to happen to good people! It is because this world is not heaven. This world is perishing and there will one day be an end to those who love evil. But for now, we are aliens in a lost civilization and Christ has been sent as our only hope for salvation. He has given those who believe in him the right to become joint heirs with him in a kingdom whose wonder cannot be described. As unbelievable as it sounds, many are choosing to sell eternity with Christ in absolute perfection to the highest bidder of the perishing things of this world!
Trusting that God will work everything out and give to you all that he has promised can be difficult as the shadow of the enemy permeates this earth. For that reason, it is so important that you see and understand the God who had no beginning and no end. He is the source of all that is good and he withholds nothing of benefit from those who love him. You have to know that God is bigger and stronger than all of the evil that is happening. He sent Jesus to die for you so that you will have a future with promise. He defeated death and made us more than conquerors in the battle of this world.
Remember always that the trials that assail you will one day end. God has a plan to dry your tears and give you life everlasting with more beauty than your mind can comprehend. The truth that sets you free and that gives you victory in every area of your life is the cross of Jesus Christ. Because he loves you with an everlasting love, he was willing to pay the price for your debt of sin. He doesn’t care how far you have strayed or how badly you have failed. He has a love that will cover it all.
My friends, if you are reading this message and don’t know Christ, I hope that you will seek him now and ask him to reveal himself to you. My prayers will be with you. I may not know who you are or what problems you have, but God knows your name and he knows how to rescue you. Your life matters to him. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Light. He is stronger than the enemy and his plan for you will never fail. That is the promise he died to give you!
Amid the frenzy of holiday shoppers all vying for the best sales on gifts, it is apparent that the real reason for Christmas is now just a detached story from the past. The truth of why the Son of God came down from heaven to be born in a manger has become commonplace as retail stores decide to take the name of Christ out of Christmas in their advertising verbiage lest someone be offended.
The fact is that over 2000 years ago, God so loved this world that He sent his one and only son to this earth. Jesus was called Immanuel or God is with us. He chose to leave the splendor of heaven to walk on this earth to bring hope to those who have none and life to those who are perishing. He came to suffer and die so that he might purchase our salvation and offer it as a free gift to anyone who calls on his name. He brought light and truth and showed the way to eternal life. His work here bought us freedom from the bondages of sin and oppression.
Jesus said in John 8:32 that if you hold to his teachings then “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”. No longer do you have to be a slave to sin and destructive behavior. If you are a believer, you have the power to overcome all that seeks to destroy you. John 8:36 says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. There is no power stronger than that of Jesus Christ who died for us and was resurrected. He is alive and his power and strength are there for you if you put your trust in him. There is nothing that can defeat a child of the living God. Nothing can overcome you or destroy you for your redemption was made at the cross. You may stumble as the storms in this life come against you, but you will only fall into the hands of the Savior who has promised never to leave you. Painful trials can only strengthen and refine you in the race that God has set for you. They will always be used for your good for there is power in all that God allows in your life. You do not need to understand the reason; you just need to trust that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 1:6)
You must always remember that the God who created you did so with great love. He knew in advance what your failures and weaknesses would be. He knew how you would sin and rebel against him. He knew that you would defy him. Yet there is absolutely nothing you could do that would ever stop his love for you. It was this love that sent Jesus to this earth to humbly be born in a stable. And it was love that made Jesus die so that we may live.
We may not be able to stop those who attempt to take Christ out of Christmas, but by God’s own promise, they will never be able to take the love out of Christ!
When Thanksgiving comes around each year, it brings to my mind a very special young man who showed me the real meaning of trusting God.
Two months before Thanksgiving in 2000, I was told that the Sutton family from our church had a seventeen year old son that had inoperable cancer and was not going to live long. I decided to visit this family and see if I could help out in any way. As I was heading over to the house to visit and meet Chris, I remember wondering what I could say to this young man who was dying. It was one of the most difficult things I ever had to do. I entered the house and found Chris lying on a hospital bed in the family room with his mother by his side. He looked up as I came in and gave me an awesome smile. Then suddenly as if reading my mind he looked right at me and said, “Don’t worry about me. I’m going home to Jesus and I am not afraid”. His calmness and sense of joy took me by surprise. He was working on a present that he wanted to give to someone who was special to him and he asked me for my opinion. It didn’t seem to affect his enthusiasm that he was weak or that his one eye was patched because the cancer, now in his brain, had damaged the eye. Amazingly, Chris still seemed to radiate hope and light despite the fact that the cancer was destroying his body.
I found out later that Chris never wavered in his faith despite the pain and the treatments he had to endure. He continued to encourage the young people of the church to trust in Jesus and many came to believe because of him. He stayed strong to the end even writing an encouraging eulogy that he wanted read at his funeral. His bible was engraved with the words, “No fears, no regrets” and that was how he lived. Shortly before his death he asked his mother to order a sword to be put in his coffin with him. Chris always trusted in the sword of the Spirit of God and even in death he wanted to honor the Savior that he loved so much.
On Thanksgiving day, 2000, Chris Sutton went home to be with the Lord. His years on this earth were so short but the legacy of faith that he left will live on until the Lord comes back. To the ending hours of his life, Chris never feared dying and never stopped trusting in Jesus. He understood so well what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain”. The peace that was with him to the end could only be from God and he taught me that this peace is for anyone who has put their faith in the finished work of the cross.
Each Thanksgiving when I reflect on all that God has done, I remember and give thanks for Chris Sutton who proved that Jesus is with us at all times. Not even the throes of death can steal the joy of a true believer for God’s love will be with you to the end.
God is with you now. He knows your fears and will be all that you need.
I am praying now for all those who needed to hear this message.
Your God is with you!
The times we live in are difficult and a lot of us pass the day just hoping for the strength to get through it. There seems to be so much to do and so little time to get it all done. It is a financial struggle just to make ends meet and the future holds uncertainty. Sickness and trouble are everywhere making it difficult to stand and believe. Marriages and relationships are being attacked and addictions increase as truth is thrown to the ground. Through it all we become so weary and wonder if God is really with us in the storm.
God is with us and he does care about our pain. He has promised through his word to be our strength in all of our trials and sorrows. In 2 Chronicles 16:9 of Scripture we read, “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” . The battles of this world belong to the Lord and he is able to keep us in the victory that was won by the cross of Christ. Jesus told his disciples in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you”. That means that he will bear our burdens and carry our sorrows. No trial that we endure in life is a surprise to God for he knew from the foundation of the earth what struggles we would have. He has promised that he would be the way through all of our problems and he is faithful. The peace that Christ left us is divine, unchanging and perfect. It is the assurance that God gives us that he will walk with us in mighty power to overcome all obstacles in our life.
There is not an addiction, an illness or a struggle we may face that is stronger than the God who loves and rescues us. Not even death can separate us from the love that Christ has for each of us. By his blood, he paid the price that guarantees us victory over the darkness and the forces that seek to take us down. Jesus told us to come to him and he will give us rest as he works all things out for our good. He is the Author of life and he can fulfill the perfect plan that he has for you.
This world and all that is in it is passing away, but the word of God is forever. For that very reason, we must keep our eyes on the only thing that matters….eternity with Jesus Christ. You must remember that today’s pain can never stop tomorrow’s promise bought by the blood of Jesus.
In Job 19:25-26, we read that after losing his wealth, his children and his health, Job still cried out, “ I know my redeemer lives and he shall stand one day upon the earth. And after my skin is destroyed this I know, that in my flesh, I shall see God.” There is no greater faith than to stand on God’s promises when all seems lost. Finally, in Psalm 46, we read that though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, God is still our refuge and strength and an ever-present help in trouble.
The battles of this earth can make you feel weak and weary, but the truth is that God’s love for you will see you through until the end. It was God’s hand that formed you and it is God’s strength that can keep you in his perfect peace. You don’t have to wait for Jesus to find a way to help you, he is the way! Take heart my friends, for God is with you in your battle. You can’t lose!
When you are in the struggles of life and your strength is weak, the testing of your faith seems even more difficult. Though believers are in this world but not of it, there are times that we can still be brought to our knees by fiery darts of the enemy. It is then, in those painful times, that we must strive to focus on Christ who is always with us. Yet, when the storm darkens our world and waters come up to our neck, even the faithful can cry out in anguish, “My God, are you really with me?”
The heaviness of despair can blind you from hope when your heart is breaking and your tears can’t stop. Does our Savior Jesus, who told us that he has overcome the world, have a purpose in the pain of your situation? When you can’t see him or hear him, does he hear you?
The reality of this matter is found in God’s word. You won’t always feel God working through your trial to rescue you, but he is. God tells us in Isaiah 43, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze”. Those words give us a powerful truth.
God is telling us with all certainty that there is no disaster that can overtake those who put their faith in him. This world cannot come up with a trial that can alter the course of the path Christ died to give you. He will always be your way out and your way up from every painful struggle. There is no medical issues, marriage problems, addictions, financial struggles or any of life’s storms that God cannot keep from destroying you or the plan he has for your life.
In John 20, we read how Mary Magdalene went to the tomb of Jesus after his death; but when she saw that his body was not there, she began to cry. She did not realize that Jesus was standing right behind her. He said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Then he called her by name, “Mary”, and suddenly she rejoiced as she realized that it was Jesus.
Friends, I want you to understand the impact of these verses. Jesus asked Mary why she was crying and who was she looking for. He KNEW why she was crying and that she was looking for him even though he was there beside her all the time. Even now in our heartaches as we search for Jesus through our tears, he knows our pain and he is standing right with us even if we don’t fully understand it. As he calls us by name, he will never leave us alone in our struggle or trust anyone else to help us work it out. For only Jesus is a very present help in time of need. He has the power to restore us to wholeness as we hand him the pieces of our broken heart.
Whatever burden is causing you to stumble in your faith remember that Jesus is there with you. His voice is softly saying, “Why are you crying? Who are you looking for? I am with you and I will never leave you. My love will cover all of your problems and with my right hand, I will lift you safely above them.”
Rest in the peace knowing that Jesus Christ paid the price for your victory in each and every situation you encounter. I pray that God will help you to understand and trust this message that he provided just for you!
Standing strong when troubles overwhelm you is the key to trusting God. It is having eyes to see the victory ahead despite the darkness that surrounds you. The hope we have in all of our problems is found in Jesus Christ who paid the price for our peace. He has promised us that the afflictions of this world cannot destroy us because his power to save us will always be greater than any weapon used against us to bring us down. There is no reason to fear when Jesus has promised to light the way out of the darkness of every painful trial. Through him, you have the power to demolish strongholds and bondages in your life. By God’s own command, angels are dispatched from heaven to surround you and to help you when you fall.
In 2 Kings 6:16, we read of the prophet Elisha who was in danger from the King of Aram. The king totally surrounded the city with horses and chariots in order to attack and kill Elisha. When Elisha’s servant saw the great number of the enemy around them he was afraid. Elisha told him not to fear because “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them”. Then Elisha prayed that God would open his servant’s eyes to see and understand this. When the servant looked again, he saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire from heaven ready to defend them. Elisha was saved that day by his faith as God defeated his enemies. As in the battles that we face today, God’s power will always be more than enough.
Those who give up when life gets hard have fallen into the enemy’s trap. They have believed the deceiver who says that God is too far away to hear your cry, or that your situation is impossible even for God. As time goes by, he will even try to convince you that God will not show up in time to save you. But through your pain, you must remember that these lies all come from an enemy who has been defeated at the cross of Christ. He wants you to focus on your problem instead of your God. You must decide in your struggle if you are going to believe what you see and what you feel or stand in your faith and believe the truth of what God says he can do.
Through it all, you must not lean on your own understanding but trust that God’s ways are higher and that he has a better way. Even his timing has a specific purpose that will help you to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of his love for you. He knows your past and he can see your future. Most importantly, he knows how to rescue you from your problems and pain and give you back the future that the he planned for you.
In the 23rd Psalm, King David wrote in verse 4,”Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” David learned to trust God even as he had to run from those who were trying to kill him. Despite the danger he was in, David kept his eyes on God because he knew that God would never fail him. He understood that God had a power that would always be greater than that which came against him.
God is always with you in any battle that you face in this life. Whatever burden you are carrying, it is my prayer that you will have peace in the knowledge that God is always in control.