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If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night“.
These days of evil are growing worse as the light of truth is nowhere to be found. So many people are caught up in the deception as they become lovers of themselves and of the gold of this world. The laws of God are disregarded by those who have given in to the lies. Sin has been dressed up and labeled as choice and tolerance. Abominable acts are not only accepted by this generation, they are now encouraged. And darkness swallows the truth!
As most continue on the wide path to destruction, those who work to stay in the race for the Kingdom of Christ are finding themselves suffering trials and heartache. It is difficult to understand.
We are living in ending times, dear friends. God is allowing believers to be shaken beyond their own strength to find out who truly belongs to him. The days of trouble are bringing to light those who truly belong to Christ. It is for that reason that you must stand your ground and let God do his work of refining you for an eternal kingdom.
In 2 Corinthians, Chapter 1, we read that Paul suffered through depression as he was spreading the gospel of Christ. He said in verse 8-9, “For we do not want you to be unaware brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” Even the apostle Paul had to suffer for Christ to the point of wanting to give up and die. How much more are we struggling in the end times as Christ is coming quickly to take us from this wicked earth? Without a doubt the enemy has stepped up his game as he initiates attacks from all sides upon believers who are shining the light of the kingdom to the lost.
We should not be surprised that we are facing trials of every kind. While the enemy wants to destroy us with his lies and deception, we are being proven to be soldiers of worth in the army of the living God. In the book of James, the disciple tells us that the testing of our faith produces a steadfastness which God is perfecting in us so that we will lack nothing of value. Have no doubt that God’s angels are surrounding you at this moment. They are ministering to you in your heartache and strengthening you in your fears. They have been given orders from the Throne of God to guard your pathway to him. You cannot be defeated.
As the earth gives way to the enemy’s lies, we suffer through financial problems, sickness and disease, marriages failing, addictions and all forms of bondage as danger lurks on every corner. We cannot escape the battle launched by the spiritual forces of darkness; however, believers are guaranteed victory through it all.
Those who don’t give in to the deception of this world have hope that eternity with God will be a reward that will last forever. Don’t allow your painful trials to make you take your focus from the truth. You need to understand that your purpose in God’s plan has been set before the world ever began. You cannot be shifted in your position by the slings and arrows of the enemy. You will never be taken down! Surrender your weariness to the One who always has a way to give you hope through your problems. He can lift you above them all until and hold onto you until he has filled you with his peace.
The darkness is quickly filling up this earth, my friends. The deceiver is leading a brutal attack against believers. He wants you to forget that your destiny has been sealed by the blood of Christ! Stay strong and don’t lose sight of the blessed Hope which never fails. Pick up your shield and let the armor of God be your protection. Nothing of value can ever be taken from you in this perishing world. You have been guaranteed a royal future. The book of life has your name in it! What can flesh do to you?
Take heart, dear friends. This message is for you as well as me. It is the truth from God’s word that he will always be with us in everything and through all the storms we face. We are never alone. We are being sifted like wheat by the enemy but Christ is with us so that we will not fail. No matter what you are going through, it is being seen by the eyes of heaven. You are not alone and never without hope.
I pray for all who need to hear this message. I lift up all who come to this site. May they understand that you care about what they are going through and that you have a plan to help them even if they can’t see it now. May you bring them peace and strength to endure. May you help them to know without a doubt that you are working out the perfect plan for their lives that cannot fail. I pray for those who are facing struggles and who feel like they are alone. Please draw near to them, dear Jesus, and comfort them so that they can feel your Presence with them. Shine your light in this dark world and let your people know that you will soon be with them.
I pray for Israel and her people. May you bring her leaders the wisdom needed in this time of deception. Protect Israel, the apple of your eye, from the evil of her enemies. I pray that the eyes of the Jewish people will be open to the truth of Christ as their Messiah.
May you help our persecuted brothers and sisters who are suffering for their faith. Bring them peace through their pain and help them to stay strong and shine the light of your love. Help them and the families of those who are imprisoned for their faith in you. I pray for Pastor Saeed, imprisoned in Iran, and all those like him to be released and brought safely back to their families.
In all things, I pray for America to turn from the lies that have filled this country. I pray for salvation and blessings on this nation. As you changed the hearts of the people of Nineveh and saved them from destruction, I pray you will pierce the heart of America and let her once again be a great Christian nation. That is our only hope.
In the powerful name of Jesus, I lift up these requests. Amen
He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. (Psalm 23)
There is nothing more painful than to be on your knees pouring out your heart to God only to watch as your dreams being crushed before your eyes. If you are a true believer, you know by faith that God heard your cries for help. He has said in his word that he would never leave you nor abandon you. Yet despite knowing that God is aware of your struggle, you still feel left with nothing but a broken heart, eyes that can’t stop crying and a question within as to why he would allow you to go through this pain.
It is difficult to understand when you are overwhelmed, but your attitude in times of trouble is an indicator of where your faith lies. When you face a trial in your life, it is a struggle to believe that God will be there to help you through it. You feel alone. Yet, the more serious your problem, the more grace he extends to you. You are never left to fight a battle on your own. We can all trust God when we have some control in the situation. But when the problem is impossible for us or anyone else to help, that is when our faith is put to the test.
Jesus told us in John 16:33, ” In this world you will have trials and tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” It doesn’t matter what we face for all things are under the sovereign authority of Christ. It is his will that prevails in the outcome of every problem we face. If you will try to understand that truth, it will bring you peace when all hope seems gone. Your struggle is actually the transforming power that reveals God’s strength. It is always his purpose to bring you through your heartache and reveal more of himself to you. Your battles are won long before they start because Christ paid the price for your victory. That may seem difficult to comprehend when your heart is breaking – but that is the truth.
You were created for God’s glory and his purpose. He has made ready the royal robes that those who trust in Christ shall wear one day in his kingdom. All things are being orchestrated in God’s magnificent plan for your life. As a sparrow does not fall to the ground apart from the will of the Father, I pray that you also know that every tear you shed is before God and subject to his ultimate authority. Your heart cannot be broken beyond our Creator’s hand to heal. It just can’t happen. There is no situation you face that can ever empty out the future God planned for you. Although you may not feel it now, your life is filled to overflow with God’s unending power and purpose. His angels are surrounding those who belong to him. There is nothing that has been left to chance.
You can enjoy quiet peace in spite of your pain when you stop trying to control the way God deals with your situation and let him work it out his way. You can take rest knowing that whatever God allows in your life, he has planned it long before you were born to use it for your good. His ways will always be higher than ours, but his ways are the only path to victory. Surrender your pain to Christ who will heal you and give you back abundant hope from the ashes of your broken dreams. We read in James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
We are all going through the battle of our life, dear friends. No one is exempt from the sufferings of this world. Whatever you are facing, there is always hope when you belong to Christ. There will be a time for your trial to end; and if you have held out in faith to the end, you will be rewarded in this life and the next. Why does God allow us to go through heartache and pain? It is only in the crucible that we gain an eternal perspective of the power of the God we serve. It is there that we see that Christ does meet us in every trial causing it all to work according to his perfect plan. It is there that we are strengthened as he draws us near to him.
Finally, believers who can praise Christ through the pain and keep their eyes on him no matter what storm surrounds them are proven to be the true sons and daughters of the King. Remember the words of God in Isaiah 26:3, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.” That is a promise from God.
I am praying for those who need to hear this message. May you know that your tears are not in vain. You still have hope regardless of what you are facing. This world is perishing and yet those who belong to Christ shall never be destroyed. Let him work out your problem and restore your peace. Don’t settle for the lies of the enemy. You were meant for more!
I would also like to remind those who visit to keep Rob Bohning and his family in prayer. Rob is battling a rare, incurable thyroid cancer ( Read article: Tried In The Furnace of Afflction on this site) but he is living each day in the power of Christ. He trusts that Christ is bigger than the cancer he has. He is an inspiration to me and to others who watch his faith in action. And God has gifted him as one the best artistic photographers I have ever seen! ( www.robbohningphotography.com)
In an update, Rob announced that he has to go back to Texas for more testing. He is still thanking God for all that he has done to keep him going. He has a prayer request that he would be grateful if we would pray for him on:
Friends, I have one big prayer request this month..
I go back to Texas the final week of September. September 25th and 26th are days packed with bloodwork, EKGs, CT scans, and 4 hours worth of MRIs.. then on Thursday, the 27th, I meet with Dr Sherman to discuss where I am in the big picture. September 27th is my wife’s birthday. Would you please pray that I return home on that day with good news… for her? Please would you make that your prayer? I would appreciate it SO MUCH.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Rob
Rob knows the power of the God we serve! Please lift him and his family up in a big way. May God bless all who take the time to pray for Rob.
If we are truly followers of Jesus Christ, we will face trials of every kind. We are a tested people and each trial has been designed for the purposes for which God allows. We are all being made ready to wear the regal robes of eternal royalty. Christ is in each storm we face and it is his power that is causing all things to work for our good.
It is especially trying in these dark days as believers endure trials of every kind marking the countdown to Christ’ return. The faith of all is being put to the fire. None of us are exempt. Are you willing to stand and believe in spite of all that is happening in your life?
The above photo is one of the remarkable works done by a man named Rob Bohning. If you click on the picture, you will see the true majesty of his work. He has captured God’s creation as no one I have ever seen. Rob is a godly, loving husband and father. He is an amazing photographer. He has two gorgeous young children. And, he has a rare incurable cancer called Medullary Thyroid cancer. But Rob is not about to give up! What makes this man stand out is that he has unwavering faith that God cares about his affliction and is more than able to bring him through it. Rob is in the fiery furnace of testing but he knows full well that his Savior, Jesus Christ, is with him!
Rob and his wife, Lori, had emailed me after visiting my blog. I can say from my heart that I am blessed to have them now as friends. When writing to me of his cancer, Rob said, ” All I know is God is good and wastes nothing! That includes this cancer.” It was shortly after his forty-second birthday that Rob received this cancer diagnosis. Sadly, that was not all. The following day, Rob’s dad died from another kind of cancer. How does Rob keep his faith so strong while facing surgeries and treatments that he must endure?
My dear friends, the reason that Rob can have peace despite his affliction is because his faith has been tested and proven to be real. He understands that God’s will is good no matter what form it takes. He is a man who knows the God who created him and is willing to serve him in any way that he is called to. In his weakness, he has found God’s strength!
True sons and daughters will suffer for Christ. It has been written that blessed is the person whom the storm drives to God. It is only there that you will find true happiness. The worth of a soldier is never known in times of peace. It is only in the battle that the true strength and courage of a believer is revealed. Faith is not faith until it has been tested! Those who draw near to God in times of trials will find that they cannot leave his Presence without receiving his strength.
God has put a lot of wonderful people in my life through this blog. Rob Bohning and Lori have touched my life in such a way that I will never be the same. When I recently wrote about how I was going through some painful struggles of my own, Rob wrote again asking me how he can pray for me! I am humbled by this man’s faith and dedication to God. He has taught me that trusting that God is with us in our problems is the greatest honor we can give to him.
Rob will be having his first chest surgery on February 22nd to remove some nodes. I am humbly asking all of those who come to this site to please pray for Rob’s surgery. Please also keep him, Lori and their children in prayer. We are all in the battle as long as we are on this earth. But God never leaves us to fight alone. I am asking for the army of God’s people to rally for Rob. I am sure that he prays for all of us here on this site too. We are members of Christ’ own body. We cannot be defeated. There are no casualties in God’s army. We are performing the purpose for which he has created us. This body of death will not always be with us. Our victory has been declared. Christ has set us free!
What should you do in times of trouble? Rejoice! Great trials bring out God’s greatness in you.
Rob had his surgery. The doctors were able to take some large nodes out but had to leave some with hopes of going back later. He needs our prayers still. He is determined to fight and he continues to hold on in faith that his God is going to take him through this. I believe him.
Recently, on the Caringbridge site, Rob’s wife, Lori, wrote this on March 2nd:
Many of you have not known my husband until now, many of you have known him, but not when faced with such adversity. We have been hit by bad new after another, to the point where I physically get a reaction whenever we walk into a small doctor’s room. Nothing will ever explain the feeling when I sat in one of those rooms, waiting for the surgeon to give me the status of Rob’s surgery. Nothing. Four walls and words of little or no real hope. Words like, “aggressive” “spreading” “tumors of concrete” bounced off the walls as I sat there an hour after the surgeon had left the room. I crumbled and couldn’t find my breath, as you can imagine. A few hours later I was able to see Rob in post op. There he was looking at me and holding my hand. I took a deep breath just seeing him so strong, only a few hours after surgery. We were together for a few days in the hospital room, and when night hit, the demons lurked in and took over my fears. That’s when Satan plays on my thoughts, at night when I am at my weakest. Rob talked and prayed with me all night long that first night, as I cried. He would wake up, on and off throughout the night, praying for me and for the fears to go away. That’s my husband. The same husband that would sing to me when we went through infertility. He is an amazing man, and the strongest person I have ever met in my life. I adore him and he is my life. He won’t be defeated and he will fight this beast of cancer. We are never defeated if we have the Lord, there is always victory. Through the storm, we have the peace of knowing that “all is well” and we keep our eyes on our Savior.
Rob’s Caringbridge address for those who wish to send him good wishes: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/robbohning/guestbook
My heart and my prayers continue to go out to this family whose faith has inspired me so greatly!
I pray for all who visit my site. You matter to me and I thank God for bringing you here to see the messages he gives me for you. I hope you will find peace from the truth. I am blessed to have met so many prayer warriors who also teach the good news and hope through Jesus Christ. One of them, Charles Woodruff has a powerful blog that I visit everyday. I never leave his site without gleaning strength and hope from his biblical teachings. I urge you to visit his site, CyberWord of Truth, and be blessed. He never fails to pray for me and for all those who visit him.
”Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22)
I know that times are tough and everyone is being hit with seemingly endless trials and tribulations. As the devil realizes that his time is growing short, the furor of hell has darkened this earth. We are living in a time of deception when many are compromising the truth. In an attempt to mollify those who just want to hear what tickles the ear, false teachers have watered down the gospel to the extent that even the devil isn’t offended! It is no wonder that as life’s storms grow fiercer, many people are having difficulty trusting that God’s power is enough.
The absolute truth to this is that Christ will always have the authority over everything that touches your life. God does not take a walk to the other side of heaven and forget about your pain and heartache. He sees each tear you shed. He has a full view of all that concerns you. All the storms in a believer’s life are permitted for an eternal reason. You are being made stronger and powerfully equipped for battle as you grow in your understanding of God’s limitless power.
It was with this knowledge that Job was able to cry out , “I know my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth” ( Job 19:25). Despite losing his children, his fortune and his health, Job still believed that God was with him! He said of God, “When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:9-10) You don’t have to see God to know that he is with you every second and leading you on the path that he has chosen for you long before the foundation of the earth. The devil himself can see God’s presence and protection surrounding you. One thing I have said before but is important enough to say again and that is that everything that comes against you MUST bow to the will of God for your life! You have nothing to fear for God will be with you to the end.
The perfect love of Christ breaks the bondage of fear. You belong to Christ and his will for your life cannot be hindered by any of your problems or weaknesses. Neither the world, the flesh nor the devil can alter the purpose and plan of God for you. There are no impossible situations for God. You need to look past the fiery furnace of every affliction and see the presence of Christ who is there to protect you. He alone has the final word on what happens to you in every circumstance. Problems increase when you start doubting that God will help you. It always leads to failure when you can’t wait on God and try to work things out your way. Nothing will prevent Christ from completing the job he started in you. Your pain will not crush you and it has no power to destroy you. When you shrink back in fear over your problems, you allow the lie of Satan to rule in your life.
I know that you may be feeling overwhelmed by all that is causing you pain right now, but don’t give up. You need to remember that Jesus paid the price for you to have an abundant life in spite of all the troubles you face. As he was dying on the cross for us, he cried out with his last breath, ”IT IS FINISHED!”. That means that nothing on this earth can keep you in bondage! You have been set free. Anything that opposes God’s will for you has now been rendered powerless. The impact of those words should stay in your heart always. Victory is living within you and the power that raised Christ from the dead is now your strength. The trial you are in cannot take you from God’s sight nor stop him from helping you.
In order to defeat the enemy, you must know the truth. In James 4:7, we read, “Submit yourselves; then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you“. The main command is to “submit yourselves to God” first. It is by humbling yourself before him and trusting that he will help you that you get all the strength that you need to make the devil and his schemes flee from you! The forces of hell shudder at the sight of one believer in prayer who trusts that God can do all things.
YOU are that believer! Let go of the lies and begin to trust in the power of God. He will keep you in his perfect peace beyond your power to understand. You can take God at his word who says: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you.” ( Isaiah 26:3)
God is with you and I will be praying for you. You are never alone!
Let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably (Hebrews 12:28)
To those of you who visit this site during the holy season of peace, I wish you blessings and happiness. But, I know that it is difficult for some of you to have a spirit of joy during these holidays because you are experiencing struggles and pain in your life. It is not easy to praise God when your world is crumbling around you, but it is then that you must. All that God allows for you will always be for your best interest. I have struggled many times with my problems and yet not one of them defeated me, even when I felt I was literally drowning in a sea of trouble. The truth is that God’s purpose for allowing you to endure this pain is always to bring you higher and to have a greater knowledge of the God you serve. Believers will always find that God was with them in the midst of every storm they faced.
The Apostle Paul knew first hand that when your faith was in Christ, all things that you endured were allowed by Christ for a reason. Because of his faith, he knew that even though he was suffering in jail for witnessing to others, Jesus had a divine plan to work it out for Paul’s good and for the kingdom. Paul understood that nothing was going to happen to him apart from the will of God. Paul wrote:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
God knows what you need and he is able to provide for all that is good for you. So many times you may forget how many things God has taken you through. When a trial in your life takes you down, your attitude in dealing with it depends on whether you trust that God will take you through it. Our hope is secure because God’s promises never fail. That does not stop the devil from trying to fill you mind with lies and fear. Don’t give in to them for they come from an enemy who was defeated by the cross of Christ. All things will work out in God’s way and in his timing. He is not going to let you be destroyed by the storms of this world.
Paul endured a hardship in prison but his God never left him. He knew that he would suffer for a while for the purpose that God planned but that he could not be destroyed by this time of pain – he could only be made better and stronger! That is what happens when you can give thanks in ALL things including those trials that you don’t understand why God would allow. You can give praise and thanksgiving in all things knowing without a doubt that God’s grace is the force that will take you to victory.
You may be feeling weary and overwhelmed right now because your situation may seem hopeless. That is not true. Nothing is beyond the power of God to work out. There are no impossible situations with God. He who spoke the worlds into existence and who breathed into the dust and made man has no boundaries or limitations. He can do all things and he will move heaven and earth in his perfect plan for you. You just need to trust him and put your complete faith in him.
It doesn’t matter what you have done in your life or how far you have run from God. The only thing that matters is that he wants you with him. You have tried every other way to bring happiness in your life but all you were left with was the consequence of bad decisions. Only the path that God set for you will give you peace and joy despite your struggles.
This holiday season and always, give God praise and honor for all things . Be thankful for what God has given you thus far and put your trust in the future he planned for your life long before you were born.
This season of peace and joy is also a time when many people are struggling with finances, marriages failing, health issues, sin bondages and thoughts of depression. I am praying for all who are in pain right now. I pray that you will make your presence known to them in a very real way. Please help them to know that you are going to be with them in their struggle and will take them to victory. My prayer, dear Jesus, is that you will meet them where they are right now and take them to your peace. I pray that everyone who is overwhelmed and defeated to know that your perfect plan for their life will not fail. Most importantly, I pray that each one who visits here will know the depth of the love that you have for them. If there are any who do not know you as Savior and LORD, I pray that you will unveil their eyes and give them the knowledge of who you are. I pray this in the precious name of Jesus. Amen
It is hard to understand the ways of God when the battle is raging and you are surrounded by the enemy. Going through a painful trial or heartache can bring you down lower than you have ever been. It can seem unbearable and crushing especially when you don’t understand why God would allow this struggle in your life. How can the torment that you are experiencing be part of God’s perfect plan for you? It just doesn’t make sense.
We read in James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him”. Each struggle brings an opportunity for God to manifest more of his power in you. It is his strength to take us through to the end and our training for the royalty that awaits us in heaven. Yet, there are still times when the answer to our prayers for help seems so far away.
Even knowing God has a purpose for our trials, the things that come against us in this world will never make sense to us. However, the divine purpose for all we endure must complete its work in us. Even Jesus knew that he had to endure great pain that we might be redeemed. In Luke 22:43-44 we read that Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to pray before he was to be crucified. With great anguish over what he was to suffer, his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Yet as he obeyed his Father’s will, an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. Jesus understood that there were eternal implications in all that he had to endure. He willingly gave his life that we might be saved.
As a believer, you should understand that God will also send his angels to strengthen and comfort you as you grow weary from the battles of this world. He will never let you stand alone and carry burdens that are much too heavy for you. The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from their trials. His purpose in allowing pain in your life is to develop you into the image of Christ and to actually make you stronger for the journey set for you. In 2 Corinthians, God’s word says that you may be hard pressed on all sides but never crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but never abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. The storms of this life can rock your boat but Jesus has promised that you will get to the destination that he planned for you before you were born. When you can trust God despite your broken heart, you defeat the father of lies who wants you to forget that Jesus paid the price for your victory. All the troubles that we must face are obtaining for us an eternal reward that will last forever. You must keep your eyes on Jesus who is able to keep you in his peace even when you don’t understand the purpose for your pain.
Scripture says that after losing his children, his wealth and his health, Job cried out, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him” (Job 13:13). God had a purpose in allowing Job to go through such a trial. Ultimately, Satan was defeated and Job received a great reward. He was given beautiful children, greater wealth and a longer life because he trusted God when even when all was taken.
God’s purpose and plan will forever stand though the earth may be shaken. God’s ways are much higher than the logic of this world so you must trust him even when you don’t understand. There is nothing you are suffering that God didn’t plan in advance to take you through. May it help you to know that there are believers praying for you right now and that God’s love for you will never fail!
Dear Lord, I am praying now for those who are enduring great hardship and pain in their lives. Although they are struggling to stand in their faith, they have become weary and need a touch from you. I pray that you will give them a very real sense of your presence in all that they are going through. I pray that you will fill them with your peace and will open their eyes to know that you are with them despite the fierce storm that is all around them. Help them to continue to walk in trust knowing that you will never fail them and that your divine purpose in their lives cannot be stopped by the enemy of this world. Amen
( Picture by Francesco Cosi)
It is way too hard to hold on in this perishing world by your own efforts. Anyone who is trying to do so will fail. All of our force and all of our strength comes only from our relationship with Christ who has promised to give us all that we need. It is for that reason that we can have hope knowing that our life is being worked out by divine hands!
Struggles and storms are filling the lives of everyone. No one is exempt from the dark skies that have filled this world. As time grows short, the enemy has stepped up his attacks and they are brutal. Even the strongest Christians are being tossed by the winds of trouble. There is no air, land or sea to go where the war for souls is not fiercely raging. The enemy is relentless. Yet, the truth remains that there is a place of peace to rest when we are weary from the battle. That is the hiding place of Jesus Christ and in his mighty promise.
I have never witnessed such evil and darkness as I do in this present time. Believers are experiencing testing of all kinds as they are proven to be true sons and daughters of the living God. Jesus left us a promise that needs to be understood. He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33) Your problems are ALL being worked out in the plan that he has set for you. Nothing you face comes as a surprise to him. You may not understand now why he is allowing you to suffer as you do, but you must continue to trust him despite what you feel. Every word in Scripture is utter truth and written for you to use as the power to stand against the attacks you face. When Jesus was tempted in the desert by Satan, he did not use physical force to defeat him. He could have turned him to ashes with just a look. Instead, he used the powerful, unfailing word of God for which Satan had no power over! Jesus wasn’t just proving his strength to the enemy, he was showing us that we also have that power to overcome all obstacles that stand in our way. As bad as it now appears, the light of Christ is still a consuming fire with power to overcome all obstacles of battle.
There are many people suffering oppressive financial problems all over this world. The forecast is bleak as homes are foreclosed and many have to do without the basic necessities to live. Marriages are collapsing like dominoes as the lie of the enemy fills homes and destroys families. Health issues are increasing as families must deal with loved ones who have serious or terminal illnesses. My heart breaks to watch so many fall into the trap of addictive substances and literally exist to get their next fix. Pornography is destroying many and making slaves to those who are caught in its deadly obsession. Not even Christians aren’t exempt from this trap.
In addition to all this, we are facing wars and threats of wars, earthquakes, severe weather conditions and pandemic diseases. Through it all we may wonder, is Christ still sovereign when bad things are happening to good people? Can we still trust God to get us through all of these problems? The answer is a resounding yes! We can still rely on God to help us no matter what is happening in this world. He will never let the faithful in him be destroyed!
Psalm 34:19 tells us, “ A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.” God will not fail in his promises to us. All circumstances of our lives have been predestined to work out for our good. There are no conditions that Satan puts in our lives that have power enough to take from the promise that Jesus died to give us. It may be tough for you now, but these times will not last. When the purpose for which they were allowed has been fulfilled than God will raise you above the waters and take you up the mountain of victory. You can’t lose if you keep your trust in the One who paid the price for your redemption.
The point is not whether or not you can rely on Christ to take you through these turbulent times. The truth is that you must rely on him and trust him even when all of your hope is gone. Your trials in this life are merely the workings of your transformation into the image of Christ. If God can create the heavens and the earth with just a word, he surely can move the mountains that come against your marriage, finances, health and everything else that stand in the way of what God has promised for you!
Those who wait upon the LORD will never be disappointed. God’s promise says in Psalm 72:26, ” My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” You may be down but you are not out. God still has a plan for your life. It is my prayer that those who are struggling in a trial will know that God will make a way!
Every problem and troubling situation believers face in this life is allowed by God for a specific purpose. He is working out something far greater than what appears to be happening as he guides the process of transforming you into the image of Christ. Your faith is being sharpened as a sword to equip you for the battles of this world. The path of victory has already been set and there is nothing that can destroy a believer who has put his faith in the cross of Jesus. We are commanded to be anxious for nothing and no one. But, is that still possible when the darkness of the storm surrounds us?
The truth is that the strength to endure every painful trial is with you in Christ. If your eyes were opened to view the spiritual battle that is raging, you would see the grand army of the living God totally surrounding and protecting you with powerful weapons far greater than those against you. Though you will still endure the attacks of the enemy, your hope of victory is secure because of the cross of Christ. You may be feeling weary and completely overwhelmed but the bible tells us that God is close to the broken-hearted and he is near to us in our pain. He does not abandon you when your situation is bleak. As you lift up your fears to him in thankfulness and prayer, you allow his power to be unleashed in your life as he takes your struggle and makes it work into his perfect plan for you. God knows your weaknesses and has seen your failures yet his power is more than enough to take you safely through. You may be wounded but you will never be destroyed!
The Apostle Paul knew that each step of his journey was put in place by his Savior. He learned how to wait on God for all that he needed. He was able to be content even in suffering and persecution because he trusted in Christ. He never thought that God forgot about him when he was without food or money. He was willing to endure whatever it took for his purpose in Christ to be fulfilled. The thorn in his side was not to take him down but to remind him that it was all for God’s glory. Paul expressed his trust in 2 Timothy 1:12 when he said, ” For I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that he is more than able to care for that which I give to him for this day“. That is faith in action!
God is not late to help us even when all hope appears to be dwindling down. Even the timing of Christ’ suffering and death on the cross was planned long before the world was formed. It happened at the perfect, precise moment that God chose it to be. There was no detail left undone as Jesus completed the work of redemption for a lost world. Sin and death was overcome by the cross as Jesus uttered this powerful promise saying, “It is finished!”
Take heart, dear beloved, and know without a doubt that your situation is not dead. It is being worked out in the timing of God who already knows the outcome. There is an eternal purpose for your suffering. You are not waiting for God to show up for he already has. You are holding on for the perfection of the plan he is now working out in your life.
The struggles and trials you suffer are always an opportunity for God to reveal his power to you. Each time a painful situation brings you to your knees, use that position to give glory to God! It frustrates the devil when you do. Never let the enemy convince you to surrender in the heat of battle for you are nowhere near being defeated. You have been made more than a conqueror through Christ and he is not about to let you fail.
Dear Lord, I pray that you make your promise and your hope real to those who are struggling in a painful circumstance. Help them to know that you are with them no matter how weary they become. Strengthen them in your will and give them your peace to hold onto the truth. Amen
How effective are you for the kingdom of God?
In order to be a follower of Jesus Christ, you must choose to walk as he did and make choices that may make you unpopular with this world that is perishing. Jesus said that he would set up his kingdom and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. He spoke of how we must pick up our cross daily and seek his kingdom until he comes. It is not enough to simply say we believe in Jesus. Our lives should bear witness to the change that was made in us as we accepted the gospel of Christ. We must walk as disciples in our faith as the Holy Spirit works in us to repent and turn from our old ways. There is no such thing as an “almost” believer.
In chapter 19 of the book of Acts, we read about the seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who went around driving out evil spirits. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” One day, the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know and I know about Paul, but who are you?” (emphasis mine) Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped and overpowered them all. He beat them so badly that they ran from the house naked and bleeding. They lost out to a demon and there is an important message for us here.
Only God can be omnipresent, or everywhere at all times. Not even Satan or his demons can be all places at all times. When the sons of Sceva tried to drive out an evil spirit, the demon said he KNEW Jesus, he KNEW ABOUT Paul, but he had no idea who these seven guys were. Why was that? Obviously, these guys were not a threat to Satan or his demons. Sceva’s sons had heard about Jesus through Paul, but they never made Jesus their LORD. These men did not have the power of Christ to battle the spiritual forces of evil and they were badly injured from trying to do it on their own. They were an easy mark for the unclean spirit who came against them.
You can apply this same truth to your life. Is your name known in hell? Are there demons who have heard about you and the work you are doing for Christ? Have you become a thorn in the side of Satan as you try to reach the lost with God’s love? Or have you settled into complacency in your Christian walk which makes you comfortable in this world? If the enemy of your soul does not consider your faith a threat, perhaps you need to examine yourself to know if you are truly saved!
I understand that all believers are a work in progress by the Holy Spirit and we each are at different levels in our walk. Even long-time followers in the faith can suffer a period of backsliding. But those who belong to Christ should experience true heart change as his love compels you to seek what is right. Jesus said in Matthew 7:16 that you will recognize a tree by its fruit. Those who belong to Jesus have crucified the sinful nature and now live by the power of the Spirit. You became a new creation as God’s light shines through you.
If you live for Christ, you will experience grief in all kinds of trials as your faith is proved genuine. Jesus said that all men will hate you because of him as darkness hates the light. The spiritual forces of evil will come against you for the work that you do for the kingdom. But in the end, the indescribable reward that God has for you will far outweigh any suffering you endure now. It is a reward that will last into eternity.
If your name is written in heaven, it should be known in hell!
Although we are living in troubling times, Jesus has promised believers that he would be with us and that his peace would be our comfort. For this very reason, Christ suffered and died for us so that nothing would have power to defeat us. Yet it is sad as many continue to live in the bondage of the enemy’s lies when Jesus gave us the truth that set us free.
The trials and struggles of this earth are getting more perilous as each day brings additional trouble. But we serve a risen Savior who has said that he would be with us always, even to the end of the age. He foreknew of these times and the pain that we would have but he has an unfailing way to take us through every single one of them.
Unfortunately, it is hard to keep your eyes on God when you are facing a serious medical issue, a crumbling marriage, financial difficulty, an addiction or any overwhelming problem that just won’t go away. But it is in the midst of these painful issues that you must keep your faith for they are working in you a greater glory that is going to strengthen you in this life and bring you a reward that will last through eternity.
In Daniel 3:16-18, we read of three Jewish boys who refused to bow down to a false god knowing that they would be put to death in a fiery furnace for their faith. They replied to King Nebuchadnezzar that “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it….But even if he does not, we want you to know, O King, that we will not serve your gods”. That is faith tested to the extreme. These young men were thrown into the furnace bound tightly. But when the king looked into the furnace, he said “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods”. When he approached the opening of the furnace and called for the young men to come out, amazingly, not only had the fire not harmed them, but they did not even smell of smoke.
The Jewish boys who were bound and thrown into a furnace heated seven times hotter were brought safely through their ordeal.God could have kept them from going into the furnace but instead, he chose to take them through the fire! His glory was revealed even greater as he showed that absolutely nothing, including fire, had any power over believers who trust in their God. They were walking around in those flames, unbound, unharmed and in the presence of the Son of God who had never left them.
This is a very real truth for all of us today. The fiery affliction that you may be going through has no power to destroy you! The bondages that are hindering you and bringing you pain will be loosened and removed by the love of Christ who has a perfect plan for your life. You will come forth from that impossible circumstance and be restored by the right hand of God who has promised you the victory. If your faith is in Christ Jesus, there is no force that will ever be greater than his power to sustain you.
With his sacrifice on Calvary, Jesus defeated all of our enemies including death. Though you may grow weary in the problems of this world, he will renew your strength and give you a future. Stay in the peace knowing that Jesus will always meet you in your pain and bring you to victory. That is a promise he died to give you!
He can give you rest and peace no matter what trial you face
The darkness of these current days can appear abysmal. There are wars, earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes in the news. We watch helplessly as people throughout the world and in our own country face uncertainty as they try to rebuild their disaster devastated lives. So much is happening and some may wonder if God really cares.
The answer to this lies in God’s word. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus says,” And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. God’s word says 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you”. There is nothing that is happening that God is not sovereign over. If he is allowing it, there is a purpose. Scripture tells us that though now you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, it is so that your faith may be proved genuine. The winds that blow through your life as a believer are never meant to weaken you but rather to strengthen you in your walk with God. In the book of Genesis, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and ultimately unfairly imprisoned for many years. But God was with him. Prisons then were dark, damp and filthy and the prisoners did not get much food. After all those years Joseph should have come out of prison emaciated and sickly. Instead, Joseph emerged from prison to be appointed second highest in command in Egypt. He had the energy and the sound mind to rule despite what he had endured. God was perfectly able to keep Joseph’s mind and body strong during his time of trial and to use the evil done to him for good to accomplish the saving of many lives.
God is still with us during our struggles to lift us up above our circumstances and to use them for our good. He tells us in Psalm 41:13, “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you”. Those who have hope in the shed blood of Jesus have nothing to fear from this world. Hebrews 7:25 tells us that Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for them. Jesus gave his life for you so that you can have life to the fullest. He cares about your hurts, your pain, your injustice, your addictions and anything that seeks to bring you down. He left us his peace so that we can have joy no matter what trial we have because we know that Christ is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us.
This world is not our home and Jesus has promised to go and prepare a place for us. Nothing you have done can stand in the way of Christ’s forgiveness and mercy if you call on him. For now, there will be problems and disasters on this earth, but we have the hope that God will one day wipe away every tear and bring us to eternal life with him.
In the course of our day, we go through a series of choices. What time to get up, where to go and what to eat are just some of them. But the most important choice we make each day is whose voice will we listen to?
In the bible, God says in Deuteronomy 30:19 “ I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life”. That is a decision you alone must make. The enemy comes around like a roaring lion seeking to destroy you. If you allow Satan to have a foothold in your life, you are allowing the thief entry to steal your joy.
Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly”. Jesus never promised that we would not have problems. He promised that despite our struggles, he would still be able to give us peace and joy in the midst of them and to those who endure, blessings for having gone through them. There is not a circumstance in your life that Christ cannot turn and use for your good. It doesn’t matter what pain, addiction, illness, financial problem or relationship heartache that you are going through, the power of Christ can and will take you through it.
The enemy wants you to believe that your situation is hopeless and there is nothing that can help you. The truth that sets you free is the knowledge that God has a perfect plan for you life. Those who have put their faith in the shed blood of Jesus need to know that the enemy has no power over your life. The trials you face are only the winds that God allows as you sail toward the reward he has for you in eternity.
What Satan sends to harm you cannot crush you. A child of God can never be defeated! Satan already knows this so his job is to try and convince you that you that your battle cannot be won and that no one cares. That is a lie from the father of lies. Remember that it was God who sent his only Son to save us so that none should perish. It was God who loved us before we first loved him and who works all things out for our good. And it is God, through his Son Jesus, who will never leave us alone but has promised believers an inheritance in eternity. The only promise the enemy can fulfill is one of pain and despair. He has no other power.
Each day begins as a gift from God. You have a choice to walk in the light of truth which comes from the word of God. It is a life full of promise and joy in the midst of your problems and a hope that God will fulfill his purpose for you. Finally, it is the strength to turn from the voice of the enemy who seeks to destroy you and to live the life that Christ has already won for you. The victory is yours. Choose life!