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This is a repost of a message that I wrote 7 1/2 years ago. At the time I wrote it, I had no idea that one year later I would be going through a divorce and that a few years after that, my beloved brother would die.  With that said, I had to face many trials since then and yet this message of hope is more relevant than ever. I could not have gotten through all the pain in my life if Christ were not with me. I have always said that if you knew how effective your prayers were against the powers of darkness, you would never get off your knees. Prayer would be the one stronghold that you relied on for peace and strength in every battle. Life is tough and that is not going to change but God is faithful to the end. Please read this message again and let the truth of God’s amazing love and power fill you will hope despite your struggles.  There is always hope because Christ lives to intercede for us. That’s a promise that will never fail. 

Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard” (Daniel 10:12)

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 a 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 than 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 mountaintop 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 in order 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

 

Picture above post by Diana Simumpande

  In Christ alone. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

Acts 4:12

We are told in 2 Corinthians 13:5 that we must, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless of course, you fail the test?”

 

Being saved is not a matter of repeating a prayer and claiming salvation.  True salvation is a radical heart change.  In Ezekiel 11: 19 God tells us that when we are saved, “I will give them an undivided heart and will put a new spirit in them: I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.”  It is a process of learning to follow in those ways because our flesh is constantly battling with our spirit, but it is the power to overcome our sinful nature and to choose to do right.  When you are truly saved, you have been set free from the prison of sin.  The bible tells us in 2 Corinthian 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”  As a new creation, you are in Christ and his power is moving in your to do good and to choose righteousness.  You have a new relationship with sin.  You now see it as a detriment to your relationship with Christ.  You seek after the light instead of following in the ways of darkness.

 

Jesus told us in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”   Only a few find it!  Why is that?  The reason is that many people want to get to heaven their own way.  They feel that if they are “good” most of the time that they are saved.  Others believe that they can continue to sin as they did before and that God will just understand that they are only “human”.  Those people are wrong!  It doesn’t matter your weakness or how good you think you are; the only thing that matters is have you made Christ your Lord and Savior?  Have you surrendered your life to him?  No other way will save you.  You can’t be half saved.  You cannot live with one foot on earth and one in heaven.  You must give it all to live in Christ.  Even when you fall into sin, a truly saved person will repent and turn from that sin and let God’s power lift them up.  When you are saved, the love of Christ compels you to love others and to do what is right.

In 2 Peter 2:19-21, we are told that “…for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.  If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.” 

Finally, we read in 1 John 3:6 that “No one who lives in him (Christ) keeps on sinning.  No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”  And in verse 9-10 of I John it continues, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning because he has been born of God. This is how we know that we are children of God and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”

 

We all have sinned against God and are deserving of hell.  Jesus came to give us life and to set us free from our bondage to sin. For that reason, those who follow Christ have been made new.  They have been given a future with hope. Their sins have been washed by the blood of Christ and God will remember them no more.

 

Is Christ living in you?  Have you surrendered to him and made his Lord and Savior of your life? In Psalm 139, David prays, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts.”  Examine yourself!  Ask God to search your heart and to lead you to him.  That is a prayer He always answers.

“I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.” Psalm 6:6

People who face painful trials and trouble in their lives can feel defeated as they experience the sorrow of weariness. In Scripture, King David wrote Psalm 6 crying out to God, “My soul  also is greatly troubled. But you, O LORD – how long?”.

I believe most of us have asked God the same question. As time grows short it is obvious that the devil has stepped up his attacks on believers.  Popular revivalist, Vance Havner, once wrote that added trouble by the enemy is  “evidence that we are making progress and have aroused him”. He adds that in our discouragement, “A sense of things present will come doubly strong and heaven will seem far away“.  We will feel more like sighing than shouting.

The truth is that if you don’t have faith in the darkness of trouble, then it is not enough for the light of good times. Our faith is proved to be genuine only when it is tested! We all grow weary in the battles of this life. It may even appear that the evil is overcoming the world.  We are not in a losing battle. Our victory is guaranteed! The devil already knows that we have been declared conquerors. Once you fully understand that God’s plan was put in place long before he formed the world, you can have peace knowing that he has prepared a way to take you through every bondage and get you to where he wants you to be.

In Scripture, King David had many enemies who attacked him and yet his trust was in his God. In Psalm 31:14-15  he cries out,“But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God’. My times are in your hand.”  David’s strength came from the fact that he understood that his battles were being fought and won by God’s power. He knew he wasn’t alone. That truth kept him in perfect peace.

The world is growing in rebellion to the ways of God. Do not fear the coming darkness. We are told in Matthew 24:12, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold”. Sin is rampant and you need only watch the news to see a new form of iniquity abounding each day.  Truth has been replaced by a lie as evil is called good and good evil. The persecution of Christians is surging all over the world. Even in America, Christianity is being marginalized and laws are being made to punish those who believe the Bible is God’s word.

Betsie Ten Boom and her family were put in death camps for hiding Jews in their home during the Nazi occupation in Holland. In that place of misery she never doubted God. She said to her sister, Corrie, “There are no ‘ifs” in God’s world. And no places are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety.” Betsie took God at his word.

My friends, nothing can ever separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. We are covered for each and every pain and struggle that we face. When things seem like they are not working out and that your prayers are not being answered I implore you to put your faith to the test. Let the hope of God fill your heart He has not allowed anything to happen in your life that will not fulfill his purpose for your good.

It may not seem like it right now but one day it will be the unshakable hope that fills your heart. You will know that you were never forsaken and that each petition and every tear were before the throne of God and answered in his perfect way. His mercy was always with you. You need to understand that the will of God for your life is good. He is preparing you for the royalty of an eternal Kingdom.  In I Cor. 2:9, we are promised, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

If your struggle is lasting longer than you feel you can bear, please take heart and seek God out in his word. It is there that you will find the peace you need to hold on. You will see that even when God appears silent, he is actually preparing your heart for his perfect answer. The wait has a purpose and is part of the plan. Don’t give up.

 

Source: GOD WILL FIGHT YOUR BATTLES

Source: SHALL WE ACCEPT THE GOOD FROM GOD AND NOT THE BAD?

 

Knowing without a doubt that Christ is in the midst of all that you are facing and that He will take you through to victory.

I wrote an article five years ago that I called, “Wounded Warriors” and I remember when I wrote it that I wanted to truly believe all that I said.  I was going through a painful divorce at the time and while I struggled to make sense of it all,  I knew by faith that in the end, my struggle would bring me closer to the truth of Christ.  And at that time, it did.

Recently, I lost my brother to cancer. Growing up in a dysfunctional family, my older brother was my guide, my mentor and someone who watched over me. He always protected his sisters.  While in my battles, I would seek the will of God first, but sometimes I just needed to hear my brother’s voice encouraging me and standing with me. He was definitely my gift from God.

I prayed for my brother to be healed for over a year. I pleaded and cried to Christ to save him both spiritually and physically.  I loved my brother. I truly would have given my life for his.  But God had other plans. His ways are higher.  I must trust his will. And through my tears, I do.  God did answer my prayer, my brother put his trust in Christ.

For some reason,  this article of mine came up and I re-read what I wrote  five years ago. The words were made alive to me and I felt like I was truly understanding the truth of what I wrote. My pain is in God’s hands. His purpose shall be fulfilled.  I pray that if you are going through a struggle that you also will understand that Christ did not leave you nor forsake you. He is with you right now and if you can hold on and trust a little longer, he will give you the crown of life.

Please read this message and let the truth of Christ’s love fill your heart with hope.  I am praying for you.

 WOUNDED WARRIORS

You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again. (Psalm 71:20)

The battles we face in this world are making all of us weary.  The enemy’s attacks are getting stronger as the forces of evil seek to wound and discourage those who belong to Christ.  Many believers are crying out for Christ to return soon and save them from all this darkness.  We are indeed in the devil’s crosshairs and he is not backing down.  His plan is to kill your hope, steal your joy and destroy your future.  His arsenal is filled with weapons of lies and discouragement aimed toward every believer.  His fiery darts of fear and doubt can pierce the hearts of struggling saints causing some to wonder if God really hears their prayers.  We are all suffering the effects of a fallen world as we endure hardship of every kind.  As difficult as it may seem, the truth remains that the victory of Christ is at the core of a  believer’s every trial.

I read a great quote by Christian singer Wintley Phipps which said:

It is in the quiet crucible of your personal, private suffering that your noblest dreams are born and God’s greatest gifts are given, in compensation for what you have been through.”

That  profound truth should give hope to those who are going through serious trials.  Keep in mind that all  we fear is under God’s sovereign authority and plan.   Our battles have been won, and although we still must fight the good fight, believers are guaranteed the victory.  Those who belong to Christ are already standing in the winner’s circle surrounded by God’s angels.  We are not alone nor left to fend for ourselves.  We are a chosen people who will one day rule with Christ in heaven.  The forces of hell and the darkness of this world cannot stop the royal future that Jesus died to give us.  He has gone to prepare a place for us so wonderful that our finite minds cannot begin to comprehend the beauty that awaits us.

As great as that promise is, it may sound hollow right now when all you want to do is cry.  Your painful trial is causing you to bow your head in sadness. Trouble seems unending.  But true believers must trust their God no matter how impossible their situation seems.  The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:12 that as we face trials we are to “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”   That is what sets us apart from the world. We have faith that in all things, our God is enough.  He will not leave us alone or allow us to perish.  In the book of James, we are told, “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. ”   You can have peace even when it seems that all hope is gone when you understand in your heart that in the end, God has the plan!  He is not waiting for you to be stronger, wiser or holier before he will help you.  He already has the plan worked out.  Tomorrow is in his hands and he will accomplish his purpose for you.

In Exodus 14,  God led Moses and Israelites away from Egypt as Pharaoh and his army pursued them.  As the army approached, the people of Israel feared greatly.  They had come to the bank of the Red Sea and had no way to cross . Moses saw the enemy too but he told the people, “The Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent”.   God then told Moses to lift his staff over the sea and divide it. After that, God did something amazing.  All through the desert, the Angel of God, who was Jesus, led the Israelites by going in front of them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  However, when they got to the Red Sea, the Angel of God, who was in front of the Israelites moved and went behind them. The pillar of fire also stood behind them coming between the army of Egypt and the people of Israel.  God had the Israelites back!  He protected them as the enemy drew near. There was no way that Pharaoh was going to destroy God’s people.  In the end, God led his people to safety from between the parted water and used that same water to destroy the Egyptian army.  God made a way where there was none!

Wounded warriors, never doubt that God is going to make a way for you too. He has your back covered!  Your impossible situation is under his authority and he knows how to make it work out in his perfect plan for you.  I don’t care how bad it seems right now, there is always hope if you will surrender it to Christ to do as he pleases.  Be strong and believe.  Remember discouragement is a lying spirit which ushers in doubt.  Take your thoughts captive and line them up with the truth.  We are so close to the glorious appearing of Christ.  He is with your right now – you have only to be silent!

Dear Lord,  make this truth clear to those who need your help now.  

 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1

It has been said that the peace of God rests where the peace of God reigns.  If you are living a life of wavering faith in the power of Christ to help you, you are selling out your joy to the lie of the enemy. You are believing that your problem is bigger than your God.

The question remains that if Christ just saved us from the flames of hell, then where is the abundant life that he promises to those who put their trust in him?

The truth is that all things in the life of a believer have been ordained and purposed long before the foundation of the world. God is not surprised by the battles that we may face.  Christ who calmed the raging sea with just a word can certainly speak peace into your troubled life. He is the Maker of all things new. He is the Restorer of life and the Giver of all things good. He knows what you need and when you need it and for that reason, you can have rest in times of trial. When you surrender all of your fears to God, you are allowing him to take over and work things out according to his perfect plan. Your weakness is overcome by his strength.

Too often we want to have total control of our situation and have it done our way. We want to be assured that the outcome will happen the way we want and in our timing.  That, however, is not how God works.

In Judges, Chapter 7 of the Old Testament, we read that Gideon was to lead the Israelites in battle against the Midianites. But God wanted his people to trust that he alone was the one who would give them the victory. He allowed only 300 men to go with Gideon and fight the large army of the Midianites. Even though the enemy was bigger, Gideon’s men carried no weapons! He put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars with torches insides the jars. Imagine having to trust that God could give them the victory with only a few men who had no weapons. Yet God was with them. When Gideon gave the order, the men, stationed on all sides of the camp, blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands.  They cried out, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!”  And with that, the enemy fled in great fear. That is the power of God who can use your faith to destroy all that comes against you.

I don’t know what you are dealing with in your life, I only know that our God is bigger.  It may seem like your situation is impossible and that you have no way out, but God is not limited by any limits or boundaries. He sees the beginning and end of your life at this moment and all things have been worked out. He allows you to endure trials so that he can reveal more of himself to you. As painful as it may be at the time, you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.( 1 Peter 4:13)

This life is just a vapor. Keep your focus on the prize for which you were called. Don’t give up when all the strength you need to stay in the race is yours in Christ. He isn’t going to fail you.  You can’t lose.

My dear friends, you would have no fears in life if you only understood how much God loves you. He created you for a purpose and your weakness does not stop his plan. He knows how to get you from where you are to where he is. He understands your trouble. His eyes are always on you. If you are struggling to believe that he cares for you in the situation that you are in, I pray you will seek Christ out in Scripture.  He will strengthen you and give you hope as he speaks to you through his word. Whatever you are going through now can’t destroy you despite how bad it seems. Even the sting of death has been destroyed.  Take joy and remember that Christ has overcome the world. He will help you.

If you are here reading this now, please know that I am praying for you. This message was given by God for you. You are not alone.

What to do when God takes you to the end of yourself in order to get you to trust him with your life.

In Psalm 139, King David prayed, “O LORD you have searched me and known me!”  He fully understood that God had complete knowledge of him inside and out.  His weaknesses were not hidden from God yet he proclaimed in verse 14, “I praise your for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Too often we let our circumstances rob us of our joy. It is as though we can only trust that God is with us when things are going good in our life. In Isaiah 43:2, God tells us, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall  not overwhelm you; when you walk throught he fire you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you.”  I can assure you that pretty much covers the pain of everything you can face on this earth. God is telling those who believe on him that he is just as powerful in the darkness as he is in the light. Nothing can defeat you when your hope is in Christ. He can always bring you out of the storm.

We are living in a world that is in a great upheaval. Right has been called wrong and evil is replacing good. To stand for truth means persecution and consequence. Your future may seem like a blur when you are uncertain how to take the next step. Take a leap of faith. Now is the time to let the world know who you belong to. Show your faith in action believing in your heart that God is enough to help you.  Anyone can claim to trust God when things are going well. But it is in the time of battle that the worth of your faith is being proved genuine.

If you belong to Christ, all that you endure is part of the unspoken plan that has been designed for your victory. You have reason for hope because Christ lives to intercede for you every second of the day.  God will not fail to take you through the troubled seasons of your life. Every one of your tears is precious to him.   There is not a step you take or a thought in your mind that is not seen and guided by Christ. He is the light on your path to glory.

The devil of this world cannot overcome God’s authority.  Only Christ can complete the number of your days and fulfill your destiny.  If he leads you to a mountain or to a raging sea, he has a purpose and he knows how to get you to trust him alone.  He is your stronghold and a very real help in need.  He won’t let you down. Let him finish his work in you. Remember he is getting you ready for royalty in an eternal Kingdom.

When you feel like you have no strength to continue in your life, that is when you must surrender your weakness to Christ and take on his strength.

Lord I come, I confess

                  Bowing here, I find my rest

                                Without You, I fall apart

                                             You’re the One that guides my heart

storms

 

Believers are set apart for Christ and the work of his kingdom. We have been made holy because the Spirit of God lives and works in us to do good. We have been made righteous. Why is it then that God continues to allow painful trials and distractions in our lives? Wouldn’t it be easier to do his work if he could make our path clear of the same suffering the perishing world endures?

That is something I have thought about many times. I have seen Godly men and women work tirelessly to help bring the lost to Christ only to watch as they suffered hardship and sickness unto death. Persecution of Christians is increasing and believers are being tortured and killed every day. It just doesn’t seem fair. And yet, Scripture tells us that God must allow anything that happens in the life of a believer. In Psalm 84, we are told that “No good does God withhold from those whose lives are righteous”. All those who are in Christ have been made righteous by his blood. So why then is it good that his people suffer?

My friends, I write this message to give hope to those who are facing a battle in life and struggle to believe that Christ is still with them. The enduring love of God never leaves you for a moment in the midst of your trial. He sees your pain and counts your tears. Your cries for help are being heard. He has not forgotten you. He knows how to heal your breaking heart. He can and will make you whole. But, do you trust him enough to let him do it his way and in his timing? It is not easy to hold on in the battle, but to do anything less would be to surrender to the enemy.  Don’t sell yourself short. God is sovereign over all. His plan for your life was perfected long before the foundation of the earth. You were bought at a price. He is not going to let you fail after taking you this far.

trialsEvery believer in Scripture had to suffer pain and hardship in their walk of faith. They had to trust that God was always with them even through their greatest fears.

In Genesis, Joseph had to endure over 10 years of bondage in a prison which had no light. He had shackles on his neck and feet night and day. And yet he had to trust that his God was still in control. For all those years, he had to wait on God who was preparing him to be the top Commander in the army of Pharaoh. He had no idea God was making him ready for such royalty. He was a young man when he went into prison and for years he mourned the memory of his family. Why did God allow him to withstand such a test? It was because God’s plans for Joseph were greater than any ideas Joseph had for his life. He had to be molded and shaped into the man of God who had the faith needed to do his will. God was going to use him in a mighty way.

And God had a plan. The royal robes that Joseph wore as ruler in Pharaoh’s kingdom were like rags compared to the robes of glory awaiting Joseph when he died.

When Jesus told his disciples what they would have to do to follow him, many of them grumbled and left. Jesus turned to his Apostles and asked them if they were going to leave also. Peter said to Jesus,
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”(John 6:68) Peter was exactly right. Those who stayed with Christ trusted that he was greater than their doubts.

No matter what black cloud is filling your life, there is no one greater than the God who gave you life and who has the power to cause every second of your pain to be used for your good and for his glory. Even if you don’t see God’s hand in your struggle now, you need to know that he is in full control of all that you face. You don’t have to see or feel God to know that he loves you enough to do what is good for you. Let him finish the work he started in you. Don’t doubt him. Those disciples who walked away from Christ had no idea they were leaving their only source of hope in this world. They left the One who could give them everlasting life.

Your situation is timed. Your pain is being monitored. And you are not going to drown in your tears. Christ has a way to take you through your fears and pain. He grieves with you in your trouble. He has a reason for you to face this mountain.

My friends, we are too close to the coming of Christ to give up now and walk away. Cling to the truth. Let your faith be proven genuine. Keep your eyes on Christ. He will never fail you. Even when things are not done your way, trust him with your life! He gave his life for you.

Who can take from you what Christ has died to give you?

 

I am praying for all who need to believe that Christ is with them in their pain. If you are struggling with your faith, I am praying that you will have the strength to surrender your doubt to Christ and ask for his strength to believe. May you know that He loves you more than you could ever know. He has promised to never leave you, not ever, no matter what you are going through. God is close to the brokenhearted. His word is true. He is with you now. Let him work this out but trust him with the details. Your faith shows the world that you belong to Christ. May God give you his peace and may you know that you are not alone. 

sky opening

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.(Romans 15:13)

Amidst the chaos of a world that is filled with darkness, it is challenging to focus on the promises of God. In your painful trials, problems can appear insurmountable with the victory through them seemingly unreachable.

The Apostle Paul warned us in 2 Timothy 3 that there will be terrible times in the last days as people become lovers of themselves and not interested in the ways of God.  The nightly news is filled with death, destruction and evil as people are turning to their own way of doing things. The enemy is dividing people against each other to cause confusion and doubt and in far too many cases it is working.  The hearts of most have abandoned the fear of God. The ways of truth are being blurred by the evil desire of the flesh that is being called “choice”.  And as Scripture tells us, lawlessness is on the increase as the hearts of most grow cold.

While that is a sad commentary, we are not without hope. There is a place of rest where you can have the peace of Christ despite your struggle.  That promise was given by Christ as he said in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Do you trust that Jesus is true to his word?

Your faith is being tested in every trial you face, but the reward is great to those who do not grow weary and give up. In 2 Kings, the prophet Elisha was surrounded by a great army who wanted to kill him. When Elisha’s servant saw the massive army, he grew greatly alarmed. Elisha addressed his fears saying in verse 6, “Do not be afraid,  for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” With that, Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened and he was amazed to see the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire from God surrounding their enemy.  That is the power of God in action. Even now, there is no battle in your life that is stronger than God’s ability to take you through it.you are not alone

Jesus left us the Holy Spirit to help us in our weakness. The same immense power that raised Christ from the dead lives in the heart of every believer.  There is nothing that is able to destroy a child of Christ.  All that we face is the driving force bringing us closer to God.

Troubles of this world don’t define us.  They are the necessary tools to mold us into the image of Christ and perfect us in the plan he has for our life  The evangelist A.W. Tozer once wrote: “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has wounded him deeply”. Tozer understood that the trials allowed by God are meant to bless and equip the soldier of Christ for victory against the adversary of this perishing world.The believer must die to self in order to have the fullness of God’s power. Whatever weakness you hold onto in your life will become the foothold that Satan uses to take you down.

isaiahThe Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:17″For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison”.

No matter how bad your situation seems. you must never lose hope. You have no idea what greatness God has planned for your life. You don’t have to feel Christ to know that he is with you. While it is difficult enduring the trials that bring brokenness, God knows the work he must do in your life. He who began a good work in you knows how to complete it.  His ways are higher than ours. He knows the length of your days and has your next step prepared for you.

My friends, you need to understand that heaven’s royal army is standing by you right now to protect and defend you.  God’s plan for you cannot be hindered by your heartache, struggle, sickness, addiction, divorce or financial problems. You can’t fail. He knew what you would face and the answer to it all is being set into motion even now. His love for you will not stop. Just stand in faith and see what God can do.

Looking at horizon

But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor.15:57)

It is easy to lose hope when your troubles surround you. Uncertainty and doubt can fill you with fear especially when there seems to be no way out of your pain.

Jesus told us in his world that we would have many troubles here on earth. He knew the times and what was to come.  However, Jesus also wanted us to know that despite our problems, we can stand firm knowing that he has overcome the world. He is the Hope of all things impossible. He is the restorer of dreams and the power to overcome. There is nothing that can crush a true believer because all the force of heaven lives in the heart of those who belong to Christ. A royal army stands ready to fight for you.

Jesus is the strength to overcome all that comes against you so it is sad to watch as people turn instead to substance abuse to silence their pain.  Many good people have sold out their future to alcohol or drugs. They becomes bonded to the poison that is destroying their lives and that of their families. It can happen to anyone. Some of the nicest people are secretly coping with an addiction.  They feel lost and out of control because they are trying to carry this burden on their own. That will never bring victory because Jesus never meant for anyone to fight their battles alone.

We are told in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful;” he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

The truth in this verse is that we are all weak in our flesh but we have hope through Christ. He will provide the way out so that you cannot be destroyed by your struggle. He is always the strength you need to overcome.  We are told in Scripture that God’s power is manifested through our weakness. We have been made victors over all of our battles when our trust is in Christ.  He is the only power you need to conquer all that comes against you. He will not fail to take you through your pain and bring peace in your life.  Nothing is impossible through the One who paid the price to give you an abundant life through every storm.

In Isaiah 26:3 we read. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trust in you”.  Your weakness cannot stop your future.  There is no impossible situation that can stop his purpose for your life. Jesus gives you victory over all of the obstacles that stand in your way. He has given you life and he will take you to the end of your life according to his perfect plan.

No matter what troubles or addictions that you face in this life, remember that Jesus has indeed overcome the world and all of its struggles. Put your complete trust in him. By surrendering your weakness to the power of Christ, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

My dear friends, I understand that you are facing many painful trials in this life. We all are. Take hope for Jesus has overcome the troubles of this world.. While we are waiting on him to meet us in our struggle, he is working out a deliberate, divine, eternal plan for your life. You are not forgotten nor are you ever without hope. Have faith and stay in peace knowing that in the eternal plan, it is already worked out. Cease striving and rest. Your God will not fail you. 

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Though he slay me, yet will I hope in Him. (Job 13:15)

When all hope seems lost, remember that it is not all lost to the God of the impossible. He can take you through your weariness and pain and bring you to a place of peace. We are in a fallen world and not all things will work out as we hoped.  We do not know the future or what is going to happen. Therefore,God has promised that in spite of your struggle, he will work out all things for your good. That is truth.

Your cirucumstance, however painful it might be, is only the path that God is using to reveal more of himself to you. Your troubles cannot defeat you. They may appear to be taking you down but actually they are helping you to rise above them. You are made stronger for having gone through them.  Nothing can be taken from you without God’s permission. It is His to give and His to take. But remember, no good will God withhold from those who love him. (Psalm 84:11)

Dear friends, what God removes from your life is part of his plan to give you so much more.  You have to learn to trust him. You must stand in faith no matter how great the storm that overwhelms your life. The Lord brings the tide in and he takes it out. He controls the wind and the rain. The sun rises at his command. He certainly can perfect his purpose for your life and provide for what you need.

 Don’t let your weariness make you think that God does not care when your prayers seem unanswered.  His mercy and love are with you even now. He knows what he is doing in your life. He sees your tears and he holds them in a bottle. He does not forget your name or where you are.  He is the God of all possibility and ultimately all things must bow to his will for your life.

The days are growing short and evil is abounding. Take joy knowing that even through the tempest, the hand of God is in full control. He will never fail you nor will he let anything in this world destroy you.

don't give upBe strong, my friends. Jesus died to give you peace no matter what happens here. Even the death of a loved one cannot impede the purpose he has for you. He knew your name long before the foundation of the earth. Trust that even in death that God will be with you.  That is the hope that separates believers from the rest of the world.

 The article below was found posted on the blog Standing for God.   A.B. Simpson was a man of God who understood that the problems of this world are the tools to mold the believer into the purpose of God.

THIS IS GOD’S HOUR

by A.B. Simpson

Cast down, but not destroyed2 Corinthians 4:9

How did God bring about the miracle of the Red Sea? By shutting His people in on every side so that there was no way out but the divine way. The Egyptians were behind them, the sea was in front of them, the mountains were on both sides of them. There was no escape but from above.

Someone has said that the devil can wall us in, but he cannot roof us over. We can always get out at the top. Our difficulties are but God’s challenges, and many times He makes them so hard that we must get above them or go under.

In the Providence of God, such an hour furnishes us with the highest possibilities for faith. We are pushed by the very emergency into God’s best.

Beloved, this is God’s hour. If you will rise to meet it you will get such a hold upon Him that you will never be in extremities again; or if you are, you will learn to call them not extremities, but opportunities. Like Jacob, you will go forth from that night at Peniel, no longer Jacob, but victorious Israel. Let us bring to Him our need and prove Him true.

Rob Bohning pic

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

I meet a lot of people on this site and have been blessed in so many ways as God brings some of his best to my blog. In addition, each person that I get to know gives me more insight to the love of God.

One such person, Rob Bohning, was  a man of faith who showed his trust in Christ as he battled a terminal thyroid cancer. I talked to Rob and his wife, Lori, via email and phone calls and their faith amazed me. They both believed that God was with them through this cancer and that his will would be done. They both touched my heart.

I write this through tears because last night the Lord took Rob home to be with him.

I remember Rob telling me that he trusted Christ no matter what happened despite all the pain and suffering he endured. His only struggle was that he loved his wife and children so much and he wanted to stay with them as long as he could. For that reason, he valiantly fought the good fight and withstood the treatments and their painful side effects for as long as he could. He never gave up. He lived by his faith until the end touching numerous people with with his faith. He showed all of us that to face death is to fear no evil. He knew that God was with him.

Rob was an extremely gifted photographer among other things. He captured the beauty of God’s creation in a way that I have never seen done. His photos would make me forget the darkness of the times we now live in. He will be missed by so many people all over the world. His story touched a lot of suffering people. He made a difference in this world as he served the Kingdom of God.

I am re-posting the article from 2/18/2012 that I did on him. I pray that you will be blessed by his story and that you understand that God did not fail Rob. His suffering is over and eternity in heaven is his heritage.  Rob is in the face of Jesus Christ right now. His work on this earth was done.

TRIED IN THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION

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?

Rob and LoriMy 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 bohning art

Photo by Rob Bohning

 

 

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away, blessed be the name of the LORD. (Job 1:21)

job suffering

You can have victory in your life despite the struggles that you face when you  understand that God is working all things out for your good and his purpose for your life.  Too many times we feel that God is unaware or unconcerned with our painful trials but nothing could be further from the truth.  He has a divine eternal reason for each and every thing that you endure.  He has a timing for it all and if you belong to Christ, it is all part of the perfect plan.

Understandably, it is easier to trust God when things are going well.  How much more difficult is it to believe as God allows unfair trials of every kind to happen when he has the power to stop them.  How can he look down on the suffering of his people as seemingly he remains silent.  But is that really true?

Job suffering 1We look in the Old Testament to the trials of Job.  He was a wealthy man with a wife, children and servants. He honored God with all he had and held nothing back from him.  Yet God allowed Satan to attack Job and take his children, his wealth, his servants and his own health.  Job was reduced to a painful existence living outside of his home since he was deemed unclean because of the infestation of boils that was afflicting his whole body.  His own wife told him to ” Curse your God and die”.  What did Job say to her remark?  He answered, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”(Job 2:10)

That is a questions we all need to ask ourselves.  Is it okay with us to take the good from God and then turn away from him in times of trouble?  Does God owe us anything?  It is by his grace, unmerited favor, that we receive all the good that we have.  We are in his hands and he has determined the best way to get us from where we are to where he is.  He does not look away from us for a second.  We always have hope in the midst of the darkest storms because Christ lives to intercede for us.  He commands his angels to guard our path and guide our steps.  We are not left to fend for ourselves when darkness comes. With Christ, we have all the hope and peace needed to get through the pain as God works through it to reveal more of himself to us. No battle is too big for him because he has authority over everything.  The outcome is always in his hands and his will.

When you grow in faith, you get to a place of victory in your life because you know that  you do not have to understand God’s ways in order to trust that he always is working for your best interest. For that reason, you are able to have joy through  the many troubles in this world because Christ has overcome the world and your enemies have been rendered powerless to destroy your future.  Just because you can’t see how God is working in your life through your trials does not mean that he is doing nothing. Heaven and earth are being moved by a faithful God who has already determined the outcome of your situation.

Your pain grieves the heart of God but we are living in a perishing world and believers are being transformed into the image of Christ.  Let God do his work in you.  Your struggle will not last forever but the hope you have will last into eternity.  Fear and uncertainty are weapons the enemy uses to discourage you. Never let his lies steal your hope or convince you to surrender up your joy.  Nothing is impossible for the One who holds eternity in his hands.

Whatever you are going through, stay focused on the fact that God can always make a way to help you.  God gives and God takes but it all is part of the plan to give you eternal life in a Kingdom that will have no end. And because of that promise, we can praise God in every situation. Christ is coming back soon to make all things new. That is a Hope that is worth waiting for.

 

Dear Lord,

You never leave anyone alone to carry their troubles.  I pray that you will give hope to those who are overwhelmed with trouble and who feel that they have no strength to go on without your help.  I pray that you will heal the pain of those going through marriage problems and financial issues.  For those who are suffering through illness and serious health problems, I pray for a  complete healing and may you give them peace as they wait on you.  I pray for your strength to overcome for those who are dealing with addictions of every kind. 

May you provide for those who need a job.  I pray for favor and blessing on those who are struggling to keep their homes.  Bless  and heal those who are suffering from mental problems and dementia.

I pray for the persecuted all through the world.  May God give them his peace to endure.  Protect children everywhere who are hungry and sick.   I pray for Saeed Abedini and all those who are imprisoned in other nations for their faith.  May God have mercy to bring them home and give them strength to hold on.

I pray for the peace of Jerusalem and protection for Israel. May our Lord guide the hand of their leaders. I pray for America to repent and turn back to God! 

For these requests and all those not mentioned, may the power of Christ and  his love provide for our needs. Amen

This world is perishing but God still holds your future!

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We are living in times of evil.  The hearts of most have grown cold and trouble abounds everywhere.  Marriages are disintegrating before our eyes and homes are broken leaving only pain and confusion in it’s place.  Children are being sold down the river with lies from hell being taught in the very schools we support with our taxes.  There is no creation, everything just evolved from nothing.  Homosexuality has become a choice that you better agree with or face the consequences for your intolerance.  Sometimes that consequence may include imprisonment for your belief that homosexuality is an abomination to God, the Creator of mankind! His design for a man and a woman doesn’t fit in with the will of the people who clamor for their “right” to do as they please even when it includes redefining marriage! God is homophobic it has been said.  Imagine the audacity of the created to shake their fist at the Creator and tell him to get lost!

Abortion is another choice.  It is my body, right?  Well how about the innocent child whose only crime was to be conceived by  selfish, irresponsible people who have deemed that this child does not fit in with their agenda.  The fetus is just a clump of unformed cells, you might say.  The truth is that at the point of impact of the sperm and the egg, all the DNA that the child will ever have is now present! The hair color, the eye color the sex of the child are set at that point.  God told Jeremiah in Chapter 1 that, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”  That wasn’t just a statement for Jeremiah. That is a truth for all those conceived in the womb.  We have decided now that God cannot tell us to keep a child we don’t want.  And as evil as that is, there are children who live through the abortion only to be killed off or left to die!  In  the Old Testament, Gehenna was a valley by Jerusalem, where apostate Israelites and followers of various Baalim and Caananite gods, including Moloch, sacrificed their children by fire.  That evil practice of sacrificing their children to the false god, Moloch, is no worse than ripping a child from its mothers womb during an abortion!  That is a fact whether you like it or not.

As nation rises against nation and famines, earthquakes and wars increase, the enemy is spewing hate and lies to make people think that God does not care or else that God is dead!  I assure you by the holy word of God that Christ is alive and making ready his plans to return in judgment and to make all things new.  Whether you bid him to come or not, He is coming back!

No matter what struggle you are facing, remember that if you belong to Christ, it is all working his purpose and his plan for your victory.  It might not seem like it but God has promised to withhold no good from those who love him.  Let your heartache and pain work out that for which God has allowed it in your life.  He is not uncaring in all that you endure.  This world is not heaven.  One day you will see the reason for your struggle.  You will also know that God was with you every step of every day.  His eyes never left you. He grieves with you in your pain but he sees the end result of your suffering.  He knows you intimately.  He will not fail you.  Never surrender up your heritage in the Kingdom of God to a defeated enemy of hell.  Christ put all your enemies beneath his feet. He rendered them powerless to defeat you.  The devil himself knows that.  It is my prayer that you will understand it, too.

Please watch the trailer of the movie God’s Not Dead. It will be coming out this spring and we all need to support such an awesome movie.  Keep the truth in your heart and hold on.  This world is perishing but God still holds your future!

My prayer is for all who come to this site.  May you know that the peace of Christ is yours for the asking.  There is nothing he cannot or will not do to help his people.  Your strength may wane but the power of God is always greater than your biggest storm.  He is with you right now.  No matter what you are facing, he will take you through. 

If anyone needs prayer, please know that I am here to pray with you.

Marianne Bernard

Marianne Bernard

I seek first the kingdom of Christ because everything else in this world is perishing. All that I have is from God who is always faithful. I have worked hard all my life and will continue as long as God lends me breath. The mistakes and bad judgments I made in my life all stemmed from me trying to work things out by myself. I have learned the hard way that the victory over all of my problems and the answers to all of my desires lie solely in my Savior, Jesus Christ. It is now my desire to share the words that God gives me to encourage and give hope to others who need the strength that only faith in Christ can give.

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