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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.

 

 

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.

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

 

 

storm

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night“.

(Psalm 139:11)

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.

in darknessWe 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.

                                Dear Jesus,

Jesus loves youI 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

God will make a way

light through the tunnel

Of what value is faith that has not been tested?

It is not always possible to see the light at the end of the tunnel when the darkness of your troubles overwhelms you.  How quickly your dreams and hopes can slip away when an impossible situation sends a crushing blow.  Will you ever recover? Tough times bring forth tested faith.  It is easier to see God in the brightness of day than it is to trust him in the darkness of night.

You are not going to understand why God allows storms and heartache in your life but that should not make you doubt his love.  During those times when you are stopped by the furnace of affliction, the sea of trouble and the mountain of despair, remember that it is not a holding place but a resting place.  God is keeping you near to his heart and revealing more of himself to you. Only there can you understand that at the end of your weakness is his limitless strength.

In Scripture, we read about the life and struggles of David.   Although he was anointed by God to be King, David first had to fight against those who were trying to kill him.  For years he was forced to wander throughout the desert and seek shelter in caves.  That time of struggle brought David to the understanding that his future was ordained by God and no one could stop him from accomplishing what he started.  David wrote in Psalm 28:7,  “The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped.”  In the midst of David’s troubles was a faithful God providing all that he needed for victory.  The same is true for us today.

God’s plans sometimes work in mysterious ways. A friend and I went to visit a death row inmate this past week whose execution date is set for next month.  He told us that he had become a believer shortly after he got to prison. He then explained to us through tears that on the day that the judge imposed a death sentence for his conviction, someone had given him a package.  When he opened it he found an engraved bible along  with a letter from the mother and sister of a man he had killed.

gods-love-doesnt-leave-usThe writer explained to this inmate that although his actions had taken away her only brother and the only son of her mother, they both had forgiven him.  Even while their hearts were  still crushed with unbearable pain of loss, they had enough love of Christ within them to not only forgive him but to pray for him to come to the knowledge of salvation!  They implored him to seek Christ and receive the gift of eternal life that could never be taken from him.

Imagine the power of that forgiveness!  Because of their faith,  this family was able to surrender up to God any bitterness toward this man and instead share the hope of Christ with him.  It was that amazing love that brought this inmate to his knees, broken and submitted to Christ. For him, he had received a gift of mercy he did not deserve.   Such depth of  forgiveness can only come through Christ.  I cannot remember a more powerful testimony!

When I read the letter that these women had written, it was clear that this all surpassing power was from God working through them.  It was faith tested to the limit and yet shining through like light from heaven.  That day a new life began in the heart of that inmate all because two believers decided to let the will of God guide them to bring unconditional love to a man who was condemned to death.

There is nothing that God cannot do in your life if you are willing to submit to his will.  All the pain and struggles you face are simply the elements God uses to mold you into greatness.  He has not forgotten you.  Your trial is set for a time and soon your tears will turn to joy.   There are no losers in the body of Christ. We are all on a path designed by him long before we were born.  He has the plan and it cannot fail.  Are you ready to give up your control to get God’s divine blessings?   Don’t worry over your circumstance for the outcome has been decided in advance.  For believers, the war is won and we are the victors.  The devil himself knows that.  You now need to know that too.

Dear Lord,  I am praying for all who are going through a fiery trial and who may be filled with pain and uncertainty as to whether you will be there for them.  I pray that you will draw them near to you and bring them your peace.  Please help them to know that their grief is before you and you are working it all out despite the fact that it seems like it will never end.  Comfort them, dear Jesus.  Show your love to them in a very real way.  Give them hope that can only come from you.  Amen.

May God’s wisdom and  peace be with Israel and her leaders.

valley

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

( Psalm 62:5)

None of us enjoy the prospect of waiting on God’s timing when we are in the midst of a painful trial.  It is so hard not to look at our impossible circumstance and still believe that God is working all things out.  It is especially difficult when the enemy uses our emotions to make us think that we have no hope and that it is out of our control.

In God’s word, we read that being out of our own control is actually a victory.  Every time God led his people to victory, he had to first render them powerless in their own might.  Job lost his children, his riches and his health but God was still able to bless the second half of his life more than the first.  Gideon’s army of 32,000 was reduced to just 300  men who had no weapons, yet with God’s power they were able to take down the Midian army and make them flee. King Hezekiah was no match for the vast Assyrian army who was coming against the Israelites. However, during the night, the angel of the Lord went through the enemy’s camp and struck down 185,000 Midianites.  The Israelites rose the next morning to find that the entire army was defeated by the hand of God.  Remember that the outcome of every battle you face is always victory when you are in Christ!

You will still have enemies to fight in this perishing world but they have no power to destroy you. All they will do is reveal that you have been declared a conqueror through the power of your God.  Because of what Christ has done for us, you have reason for hope knowing that your future is established in heaven.

boat-stormWhen Peter saw Christ walking on the water,  he spoke out, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” ( Matthew 14:28) Jesus told him to come, and Peter got out and began walking on top of the water.  Yet when he saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink.   What made Peter afraid?  The same wind and waves were there when he got out of the boat.  Somehow, as he walked on the water toward Christ, Peter took his eyes from him.  As the wind blew and waves rose, Peter stopped believing that Christ alone  could keep him safe on the water and started to think that he needed to do something to stay up there, too.   Once you believe that Christ is not enough for your impossible situation, you begin to sink.  You look to your own power and strength to overcome your struggle and it will never be enough.  It is only in surrendering completely your weakness that you gain Christ’s strength!  Your faith is revealed when you trust that you do not have to see the answer to your prayer to know that it is before the throne of God and under his authority.

Victory over all of your trials comes when you can trust that God’s timing is right and that his will is perfect. Peace comes from knowing that God will never fail you no matter how impossible your situation seems.  He takes no pleasure in having you wait but each one of your struggles is a divine appointment with a merciful God who wants to reveal more of himself to you.  The testing of your faith produces a steadfastness that will have its complete effect that you may be perfect, complete and lacking in nothing. ( James 1:4)  There is a purpose for your pain.  It is working out a greater good.  It is preparing you to be royalty, reigning with Christ in a kingdom that will never end.  Though the days grow dark and filled with evil, believers have nothing to fear for their future is one of power.

We are told in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding,”  “Although God’s ways may be hard to figure out, remember that he took you this far and he is more than able to get you to the finish line!

Don’t let your heart be troubled by the problems of this world.  Christ is coming back soon to make all things new.  Keep your eyes on Christ and focus on what is true and right.  The lies of the enemy have no power to steal your joy so don’t willingly give it up to him.  Hold on to the heritage that you have because of what Christ sacrificed for us.  Stand strong to the end knowing that God’s plan for you will work out not only for today but for ten thousand years down the way when you shall still find ways to praise him for all he has done.  God’s faithfulness will never end.

storm approaching

I will praise you in the storm and I will lift my hands; for You are who You are, no matter where I am.

We are literally watching prophecy unfold before our eyes as the recent events with Palestine and the U.N. are setting the stage for the coming apocalyptic storm. Changes are taking place all over this world and the darkness of evil as the hearts of most have grown cold.  Is there hope for those who have put their trust in Christ or will we be destroyed along with the rest of the unbelieving world?

The blessed truth is that there is a perfect plan unfolding for those who refuse to be moved from their position in Christ.  You may feel like you are too overwhelmed to continue in the battles you face, but the power of God is always the conquering force within you in all of your struggles.  There is not a moment that your future is ever compromised by  problems in your life.   You have been given the guarantee of victory in all things.  God is working his divine, eternal destiny through every single one of them.

We read in Isaiah 40:31, “but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles.”   Those who can trust that God is still sovereign in their darkest struggle and pain shall not go unrewarded.  He will give you the power and hope you need to stay in the race and not give up.   It was by his grace that you were taken this far and he will not let you be destroyed now.   Surrender your fears and frustrations to God and let him give you his peace to endure.

As the news brings stories of wars, famines, earthquakes, and fierce storms of every kind, we rest in the knowledge that God is using it all to fulfill his plan of salvation to the very end of time.  It is a troubling time for everyone but your prayers for help are being heard by Christ who knew your name long before you were ever born.  In Daniel 9:18, Daniel lifts his voice to God saying, ” For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness but because of your great mercy.”    It is the love of God that we call upon in times of trouble.  He sees beyond our weakness and failure and is willing to help us in spite of it all.

Do not be surprised at the evil going on for we are told in God’s word that there will be a spirit of deception that will fill this earth in the ending days.  Those who belong to Christ have nothing to  be anxious over for your future is secure as God has ordained every one of your days.  Jesus told us that we would still be able to have joy despite our many problems because he has overcome the impact of every single one of them.  By his authority, all things that come against you must work into the plan that he has for your life.  You cannot lose when you belong to Christ. This world may be perishing but believers have a royal heritage that transcends the boundaries of this life.  We are being tried and tested as the refining fires are molding us into the image of Christ.

It may seem like your prayer has not been answered or that your struggle is getting worse but the God who calls out each star by name without losing one is certainly not going to lose you in any battle that you face.  You are a winner and your destiny is sealed.  Don’t let your pain weaken your faith.  There is always the hope you need to carry on for your steps are guided by the hand of God.  Lift up your eyes to the hills from whence comes your help. Hold on, dear believer!  Your God sees where you are and he will rescue you.

We are nearing the end of the race.  Christ is coming soon to bring us to our home with him.  The increase of evil is a sign that the devil is growing anxious knowing that his time is short.  God’s power and authority are unchanging.  He is still in control of everything. All things will work out according to his purpose.

My heart and prayers are with all who are going through serious problems and struggles.  You may feel like you are alone but you never will be! 

 I am humbly asking all  who visit here to remember and pray for our brothers and sisters in restricted nations who are being persecuted for their faith.  We must stand with them for they are one with us in Christ.

 The heavens declare the glory of God  (Psalm 19:1)

Whatever you face, God will make a way to take you through it!

God’s word stands true and he fulfills every promise despite the problems we face. This world is not our final destination but only a place of preparation for what is to come. In this life, we are going to endure hardships of every kind until Jesus returns to make all things new.  He has defeated death and made us victors in all that we endure.  No matter how fierce the battle, believers cannot be defeated by the fiery slings and arrows of the enemy.   I trust in the promises of Christ.  He is my stronghold and my very present help in time of need.  I believe in prayer and know that my God hears my every plea.

With all that said, I have to share with you that my faith has been severely tested and stretched to the limit during these past months as I face a powerful battle in my life.  There are times when I feel completely overwhelmed.  Yet no matter how weary I may be, God has given me the grace to endure. I will never give up or lose hope.  All the trials that  I have faced in my life only taught me that God has been my help through every single one of them.  He sees my tears and knows my pain.  He is not far away leaving me alone.  Scripture says, ” The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit”(Psalm 30:18).  I don’t have to see Christ or feel him to know that he is my hope and strength to get me through anything I must endure in this world.

Sadly, for quite some time I have been living with the pain of a failing marriage.  Despite doing all that I could,  it is apparent that I cannot change the outcome. Even though I have been praying night and day for God’s strength and guidance, things have gotten worse.    All I can do now is to continue to pray and surrender my will to Christ. He alone knows the outcome.  It breaks my heart to say that I cannot make someone stay and love me when he has chosen not to. I feel betrayed and hurt facing an uncertain future. But as difficult as this has been for me, I know that God still has a plan for my life.

I want to make it very clear that without any doubt,  God has authority over all that we face.  He can and will do mighty things to help his people and that is why I always advise those struggling in failing marriages to pray and not give up.   I am still praying for all who are going through troubled marriages. We have good reason to hope that God can  reach the wayward or unbelieving spouse. Sometimes he takes them to the end of their own strength so that they have nowhere to turn but to him. However, I know that it is hard to understand the times when that doesn’t happen.  It does not mean that God doesn’t care.  The truth is that he cares much and he grieves with us in our pain. Unfortunately, we are living in a lost and  perishing world and the enemy has blinded most to his schemes.  His main target is to break up homes and destroy families evidenced by the fact that over half of all marriages end in divorce. What a sad statistic that is.  Yet God  still has the power to give you a future with hope.

 When you do all that you can and it seems like you are being hard pressed on every side, remember that in Christ, you cannot be crushed. He will take  your broken heart and your fallen dreams and use them to build you up for his purpose. It may not seem like you will ever recover from your pain or that your tears will never end – but that is not true.     King David wrote in Psalm 69 “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck, I sink in the deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters and the flood sweeps over me.  I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.”  And yet David kept trusting his God even when all hope seemed lost.

Our problems and struggles do not dictate our future.  It is planned out by Christ Jesus who will not fail to help those who trust in him.  I know that my pain has no power to destroy the hope I have through Christ.  Despite what I face in this life, my God will always be bigger.

And then, in spite of all I have been going through, I recently discovered that my one cat, Bella,  has cancer.  I am always rescuing animals and my pets are like family to me.  I am tearful and saddened by this diagnosis for I know that she does not have long to live.  In a time when my heart  is broken over my marriage, this just added more pain to my life. Is the will of Christ even in the death of a pet I love? The answer is “Yes!”  Christ has a plan for all things! Nothing happens apart from his knowledge and permission.  Each day, the enemy wants me to believe that God has failed me or that he doesn’t care.  He tries to convince me that I am alone. Yet, I know by faith that I will never be alone.  Psalm 23 reminds us that, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”   All of our enemies, our struggles and our pain has been rendered powerless to destroy us.  Christ has a way to heal and make us whole no matter how broken we are.  I trust him.  My Bella may be gone soon, but  I know that even then that Christ will be with me and help me through it.

My friends, I pray you understood all that I said.  No one wants to go through a divorce but  unfortunately that is not always a choice.  If you get to that point, you need to draw even closer to Christ and rely on his strength to get you through.  All of your trials and struggles were known to God even before you were born.  He can use all things and cause them to be used for good and the purpose he has for your life.  Nothing is impossible for him. If you can keep trusting him despite your struggle, you will not be conquered.  You will have the victory in everything even through your pain.

I am praying for all who are facing a similar situation and don’t know where to turn.  You future is uncertain and it is difficult to understand how you are going to ever get through this.  It is only in knowing your God that you can have peace despite your heartache.  When people ask me what they can do for me during this painful time, I ask for their prayers.  I know that this battle is going to be tough but it is not my own strength that is going to take me through it.  I take hope from Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. 

God’s promises of mercy and grace are new to us every morning.  He does not fail us and he never leaves us.  No matter what trouble you have in life, there is always going to be the help that you need through Christ.

My dear friends, I pray for all of you who come to this site.  I thank you for your understanding during this difficult time in my life and I appreciate those who are praying for me. Because I belong to Jesus, I will not drown in my tears. He will help me.  

 I am  humbled that God continues to give me his messages to write.   God bless you and please keep his  truth in your heart.  There is no pain that you have that the touch of his hand cannot heal.

UPDATE ON MY CAT, BELLA

 As I wrote, I had found out during the time of my divorce that my cat, Bella, had bi-lateral kidney cancer and would not live long. Kidney cancer like hers kills quickly. I would hold her every night and pray that God would let me keep her just two years longer. I was in the middle of a painful divorce. I was watching my marriage die and at the same time I was watching Bella die. I kept praying but I trusted that God could take me through it.  No pain we suffer is beyond God’s ability to help.  I knew that and I believed that but I prayed for more time with Bella.

Sadly, my divorce went through. That does not mean God did not answer my prayers. It just meant that in this fallen world, he was allowing my spouse to have free will in his choices. It was tough on me but I never felt that Christ was not with me. I surrendered my brokenness to him daily. He was all I had and he was more than enough. I was not destroyed but made stronger for what I endured.

The strange part is that after I wrote this article, my Bella started to eat again. She gained weight and seem happy and comfortable. Each morning I would go see how she was doing. Each morning I would praise Christ.  Two years after my divorce, Bella became ill again and died peacefully in my arms.  As sad as I was to lose her, I knew that Christ was the one who gave her the two years more of life that I asked. The Vet said he could offer no explanation as to how she lived that long with cancer.  I knew exactly Who allowed her to live two additional years.

The bible says all of our days are numbered before one of them come to be. Jesus said not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from the will of the Father.  God has a will and a plan not only for us but for all that he has created.  Cancer could not take my Bella until Christ ordained it to happen. He is merciful and he knows what is best. Even the sting of death is under the authority of Christ who conquered its power. He will either heal you or allow you to die to be with him. Either way, if you are a believer, you can’t lose. He has the perfect plan.

Take heart, dear friends. This message is meant for you. I am praying for all who come to this site. You are loved so much more than you could ever know.

 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!

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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