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You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

It is  hard to release all of our hopes and fears and trust that God has a better way for our lives. When you try to work things out as the world does, you are headed for failure.  Charles Spurgeon once wrote:  “You cannot grow in grace to any high degree while you are conformed to the world“. That which you won’t surrender to God will be the foothold  that the enemy uses to take you down.   All that you have that is good has been given you by God. There is nothing that you can keep except that which you give up. 

Jesus calls for us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds and yet that is very difficult to do when you let the influences of this lost world cloud your judgment.  The darkness of these present times can fill you with fear when it seems like God isn’t showing up in time to help you through a crisis. Some  people are suffering with the pain of a serious or terminal illness. Many are  facing monumental financial difficulties as they battle to survive past the list of endless bills.    Marriages are under attack as Satan has targeted families for destruction.  Drugs and alcohol are literally robbing people of their future.  Pornography is a deadly addiction that poisons and  imprisons its victims.  Sadly, lies from hell are being traded for the truth by the lost everywhere.  Many in our country and in the world are now accepting evil as good.

Yet, despite the battles that rage all around,  Jesus promised believers that he would fill them with the peace that surpasses all understanding.  That peace only comes by trusting and following the path of Christ.  You cannot seek out the riches and glory of this world and expect that God’s peace will reign in your heart. I can’t put it more clearly than to say outright that if you live in rebellion to God, you will never be happy!  You will always be searching and never be satisfied.  The true joy that comes only from a relationship with Christ is found nowhere else.  Nothing that you can attain on this earth will last forever or prevent you from dying one day.  But those who seek Christ and his kingdom, all that is good will be added to their life.  As a believer you understand that  death has no power except to release you to be with God in his kingdom forever.

While all will suffer in this life, God works everything for the good those who belong to him.   The temporary struggles you face have divine ramifications as the hand of God uses them to form and shape you into the image of Jesus.  We read in 1 Peter 5:10, “And the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast“.  After you have been through your painful trial, God himself lifts you up and restores you to wholeness.  You can’t lose in the battle you are in so hang on and know the power that lives in you.  Never surrender your joy no matter how dark your situation may appear.  God always has a way to take you through it if you will believe and wait on his timing   God ‘s power is  more than enough for all that you need.  You should  keep that truth in your heart!

Dear Lord, I know that many are struggling in areas of their lives and they wonder if you truly care about what they are going through.  I pray that you draw near to them in their pain and give them the strength they need to believe that you will not fail them.  May you give them a very real sense of your peace as  you work out all their difficulties and make them strong, firm and steadfast in their faith.  I pray this in the power of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen

    Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life (Psalm 138:7)

Have you ever been in a painful trial in life which made you feel like you were all alone?   The storms you face in this world can sometimes make you feel isolated and without hope.  And, although well-meaning friends want to help you, there often  is little that they can do.  You really want to believe that God is with you in that battle, but that may be hard to do when the enemy surrounds you on all sides!  When you come to these lonely places, it is then that you must take all thoughts captive to the truth of the promises of Christ!

In Scripture, David told King Saul that he would go against the giant  Goliath who was threatening to kill the Israelites.  Although he was only a young man alone, David knew that the force and strength of his God would be with him.  As David ran toward the giant armed only with a sling and 5 stones, he was confident that he would be victorious against the enemy – and he was.  David won this battle before he even started because his hope was steadfast in his faith that God would not fail him.  He never hesitated by allowing worry to have entry to his mind.  He knew the God that he served enough to take him at his word.

All of the battles that you face as a believer are fought on holy ground because the power of God is with you.  You are in the company of the army of heavenly forces who know well how to deal with the enemy. You are never left to fight alone.  As David understood that God was giving him his victory, so must you know that you are a conqueror against all that comes against you.  You must never let your situation cause you to be anxious.  Worry is nothing but the whispers of lies from a defeated enemy!   Satan wants you to make you feel alone and hopeless so that he can get a foothold into your mind.  Don’t give him access.

The truth is all the force that you need to defeat your feelings of hopelessness.  Your financial struggles, marriage problems,  health issues, addictions or heartaches are all under the power of a Sovereign God who knows how to take you safely through them. Your weaknesses are not hidden from the eye of an omniscient God who offers you his strength when you have none of your own.  He is never limited by the scope of your impossible situation.  His power is not confined to boundaries and it supersedes the scientific laws of this world.  Most importantly, your painful struggle was seen by God long before you were born and he prepared a way to take you to victory.  He has not forgotten you now and he never will.  

It is the lonely places that put you next to the heart of your God.  For it is when you have nowhere else to turn  that you realize that God’s power was all that you ever needed.  Jesus paid the price so that those who believed would be made more than a conqueror in all the battles of this world.  Never surrender your joy no matter how bad the problems in your life seem.  Though you may not understand it now, Christ is working it all out to fit into the perfect plan that he ordained for your life.  The One who keeps all your tears in a bottle will not let you drown in despair.  Jesus said “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs on your head are numbered.  So don’t be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows”.(Matthew 10:29-31)  There is nothing you must face that will not be measured and timed by God’s own hand. 

Whatever is overwhelming you in your life right now has a purpose to bring you closer to God.  The winds of trouble and the storms of  your life must all submit to the will of God for you.  Your battle will never be stronger than the refuge and strength of your God!  The bible tells us, “Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning”. (Psalm 30:5)  That means that every painful struggle has a timing for it to end.  And it is only then that you will understand the power of  God whose love for you  never failed.

  

I pray that those who are struggling or in a painful trial will know the peace of God that surpasses understanding.  No matter what is going on in your life, please remember that it will never be bigger than your God!

Those who are with us are more than those who are with them  (2 Kings 6:16)

How big does the storm in your life have to get for you to take your eyes off of Christ and put them on your circumstance?  Although God may not respond to your prayer the way you thought he should, that surely does not mean that he failed you.  Your cries in the night for help are not going unanswered for they are always heard by a God who knows how to provide for your need.  He has created a course for your life and the twists and turns you must take are not meant to hinder you but rather to get you ready for something far greater. Scripture is filled with verses where God’s strength is revealed in those who trusted him.

We read in Exodus in the  Old Testament where the Israelites were led on a forty-year journey in the desert to get to the land God promised to give them.   But because their hearts were  hardened and unbelieving, God directed them the long way around.   His plan was to give them peace from their enemies and  a land that was overflowing with every good thing.  However, most of them did nothing but grumble and gripe to God.  Their faith was not in God but focused instead on only that which their eyes could see.  They did not have faith that God could give them what he promised  though every day he provided them with all that they needed.  It was  for that reason most of them died before they ever got to the land.  They thought the giants in the land were bigger than their God!  They were dead wrong.  Only Joshua and Caleb had faith enough to trust God and they led their people to win over the enemy in the land given them. 

In Genesis, Joseph was thrown into a pit by his brothers and then sold into slavery.  As dark as it was in that pit, God was using this injustice against Joseph to get him ready to rule in the palace of Egypt!  Joseph had to travel as a slave in chains to Egypt.  He was sold to a commander there named Potiphar and forced to work in his house.  Joseph then was thrown into prison after being falsely accused of a crime.  Here is a man who went from the pit, to chains, to slave and then to prison.  Where was his God?  As painful as it was for Joseph to endure all this, God was using this trial as training.  He was equipping this young man to be the top royal commander second only to Pharaoh.  That was quite an elevation for just a young shepherd boy.

 The truth is that God will not promote you to a higher calling without first equipping you to succeed.   The pain that you are experiencing  is the chisel God is using to perfect his plan for you.  You are literally becoming a work of art in the kingdom of God!  Your struggles never had any power to destroy you.  God knows well how to cause all things to work in harmony with the purpose he has ordained for you.  All of your troubles are unfolding into his perfect plan  to bring you to victory.  You are not going to lose this battle if you can keep your eyes on Christ and in his mighty power. 

Though you can get weary as the pain of your situation overwhelms you, there is hope knowing that there is a divine purpose for your momentary problems.  It should help you to know that God saw these stumbling blocks in your path before you were born.  He could have led you around them but instead  he has chosen to use them to make you stronger as he takes you over and above in strength and glory.   His plan is to make you royalty in a kingdom that will never end.   It was for this exact purpose that Christ died so that you might have an abundant life even while facing the wind and the waves of the raging sea of life.  

My prayer is that you understand that all God allows in your life, he allows for a specific purpose.  He will never send you alone in the battle for he is always with you.  Nothing can defeat you.  Your marriage problems, health issues, financial crisis or any struggle you face  cannot keep his purpose for you  from being fulfilled.  The days remaining in this perishing world are numbered and known  by God.  He sees the beginning and the end and all that goes on in between.  He is with you right now.  You must never let the lies of the enemy make you feel defeated.  If you are a child of God, that can never happen!  Don’t be like the Israelites wandering in the desert  who  did not have faith that God could take them where he promised.   God can and will do abundantly more than anything you can ask or imagine!  

Cease striving, my friends, the battle is won.  The enemy knows it and you need to know it too.  If your trust is in Christ, he already has your situation worked out.  All you have left to do is to have faith and take him at his word!

Dear Lord, I pray that those who are facing trials and pain in their lives right now may know that you are working them out for a purpose that is good.  Help them to stand in faith through this storm knowing that you are with them to the end.  Amen

                         Knowing by faith that God will not fail you 

Every problem and troubling situation believers face in this life is allowed by God  for a specific purpose.  He is working out something far greater than what appears to be happening as he guides the process of transforming you into the image of Christ.  Your faith is being sharpened as a sword to equip you for the battles of this world.  The path of victory has already been set and there is nothing that can destroy a believer who has put his faith in the cross of Jesus.  We are commanded to be anxious for nothing and no one.  But,  is that still possible when the darkness of the storm surrounds us?

The truth is that the strength to endure every painful trial is with you in Christ.  If your eyes were opened to view the spiritual battle that is raging, you would see the grand army of the living God totally surrounding and protecting you with powerful weapons far greater than those against you. Though you will still endure the attacks of the enemy, your hope of victory is secure because of the cross of Christ.  You may be feeling weary and completely overwhelmed but the bible tells us that God is close to the broken-hearted and he is near to us in our pain.   He does not abandon you when your situation is bleak.  As you lift up your fears to him in thankfulness and prayer, you allow his power to be unleashed in your life as he takes your struggle and makes it work into his perfect plan for you. God knows your weaknesses and has seen your failures yet his power is  more than enough to take you safely through.  You may be wounded but you will never be destroyed!

The Apostle Paul knew that each step of his journey was put in place by his Savior.  He learned how to wait on God for all that he needed.  He was able to be content even in suffering and persecution because he trusted in Christ.  He never thought that God forgot about him when he was without food or money.  He was willing to endure whatever it took for his purpose in Christ to be fulfilled.  The thorn in his side was not to take him down but to remind him that it was all for God’s glory. Paul expressed his trust in 2 Timothy 1:12 when he said, ” For I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that he is more than able to care for that which I give to him for this day“.  That is faith in action!

God is not late to help us even when all hope appears to be dwindling down. Even the  timing of Christ’ suffering and death on the cross was planned long before the world was formed.  It happened at the perfect, precise moment that God chose it to be.  There was no detail left undone as Jesus completed the work of redemption for a lost world. Sin and death was overcome by the cross as Jesus uttered this powerful promise saying, “It is finished!” 

Take heart, dear beloved, and know without a doubt  that your situation is not dead.  It is being worked out in the timing of God who already knows the outcome.  There is an eternal purpose for your suffering.  You are not waiting for God to show up for he already has.  You are holding on for the perfection of the plan he is now working out  in your life.

The struggles and trials you suffer are always an opportunity for God to reveal his power to you.  Each time a painful situation brings you to your knees, use that position to give glory to God!  It frustrates the devil when you do.  Never let the enemy convince you to surrender in the heat of battle for you are nowhere near being defeated.  You have been made more than a conqueror through Christ and he is not about to let you fail.

Dear Lord,  I pray that you make your promise and your hope real to those who are struggling in a painful circumstance.  Help them to know that you are with them no matter how weary they become.  Strengthen them in your will and give them your peace to hold onto the truth.  Amen

   Being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see!

In Psalm 69:1, David cries out to the LORD , “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck, I sink in the miry depths where there is no foothold.  I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help.”  How many of us feel like that right now?

Even those who have put their faith in the cross of Christ can  find it difficult to survive in this fallen world where there is bad news after bad news and each day brings another set of problems.  It is truly heartbreaking to watch so many people struggling financially.  Those who were once secure in their homes are now  facing foreclosure. Disease and sickness is affecting every family in some way.   We now have a  lethal flu that is threatening to become pandemic. Homes are broken as the enemy seeks to destroy the family and deceive our children.  Disasters of every kind are reported in countries all over the world with increasing occurrence and severity.  Immorality is rampant and accepted.  The ways of God are perverted as we now label sin as “choice”!   Paul tells us in Romans 1:25, “They exchanged the truth for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised.”   Sadly, God has been thrown out of  decisions made by our government leaders as they give in to the clamor of the lost.  Mankind now believes he has a better way than God to do things.  That is a lie from Satan himself who somehow convinced one third of the angels  in heaven and in the presence of the true and holy God that there was something better!  He is the father of lies.  Ask yourself, who do you believe when troubles surround you?

The truth is that Jesus died to give us hope with a promise that he will be with us to the end.  You may be hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted and struck down in your life but you can never be destroyed!  There now is no power to defeat those whose trust is in the cross of Jesus Christ.  Though the world is darkened as evil fills the sky, believers will always have a light to shine on the path they are to take.  It is by faith that we know that God will complete the good work that he started in us.  We need unwavering trust to believe and not doubt that Jesus has a plan that cannot be stopped by the problems of this world.  It does not matter how impossible your situation is or how painful your heartache,  God  knows how to move mountains and part the waters of trouble so that you can get to that place in your life that he has ordained for you long before you were born.  The trials and struggles that you face are merely the wind that he uses to transform you into the image of  Jesus Christ!  He can still save your marriage, give you victory over addictions, heal your body, and restore your finances.  There is nothing too hard for him who first loved you.

All that you need to survive in this world is within you if you have put your complete trust in Jesus and have made him Master of your life.  It is not in saying a certain prayer but by surrendering your life to his perfect will.  There is nothing good that you can do to save yourself but Jesus finished the work of our redemption when he gave his life for us.  He is alive to intercede on our behalf and he has prepared a place for us in heaven.  He did not die and leave us to fend for ourselves.  He is with us now.  He knows your name.  He sees your face. He hears your voice.  His strength is always with you.   And while others are standing on the sinking sands of a lost earth, you are standing on the promise of Jesus Christ who will not fail to keep you in the victory that he won.  You must stand and believe to the end.   We have nothing to fear from this world for our citizenship is in heaven, guaranteed by the blood of Christ.

My friends, I give this message because these days are very difficult and painful.  There is so much to deal with.  I just pray that you can trust that your hope is secure.  Christ will never fail you.  Even the enemy knows that we are more than conquerors through Jesus.  Believe the promise, mighty warrior, for the reward is yours for eternity! 

Dear Jesus, there is just  so much stress to deal with in our struggle to get through each day.  I pray that you will comfort those who read this message and give them your peace that will fill them with hope.  I pray that marriages will be healed; sickness cured and bodies made whole; strength to overcome bondage and addiction; healing for those who hurt; and, help in financial  struggles.  May they understand that the enemy is trying defeat them with his lies but that he has no power to destroy them or take them from you.  Help them to know that you are always can find a way for them.  I pray for favor for those who need a miracle right now in their life. We humbly bow and trust that you will not fail us.  We give thanks and praise in your name.   Amen

He knows how to provide for your need

It is so difficult to watch the television reports each night as bad news just seems to get worse.  The economy is grim and has taken its toll on just about everyone. So many people are now without jobs and fear of losing their homes.  The struggle of this bleak forecast is causing us all to take a closer look at how we spend our money.  People everywhere are now having to worry how they will survive in these dark days.

As tough as things are in this world, we serve a God who is the provider of all that we need.  He planned long before the world was formed to take us through every battle and every storm.  He knew what we would face and he has a way in his perfect plan to take us through no matter what the economy dictates.  But I wonder how many can continue to trust God when the bank is foreclosing on their home?

In Luke 12:22, Jesus said, ” Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear.”  He then says in verse 31, “ But seek first the kingdom of God and all things will be given to you as well”.  Worrying about your finances is not going to change them.  It is only going to take years from your life.  Jesus did not leave us on this earth helpless and alone for he is with us in every struggle that comes our way. Your faith must not grow weary when times get tough.  Our God is the same in the night as he is in the day.  The darkness of your situation does not limit his power.  He is ruler over all things and he can bring peace into your life with just a word.

Despite your difficulty,  it is important to remember that God is always in control.  He is working all things out for his purpose.   The things of this world are perishing and will not last.  Although you may be struggling just to make ends meet,  your faith can be earning for you a  reward that far outweighs anything you have to endure.   The evil of this world will increase but believers have nothing to fear.  Jesus paid that ultimate price for our victory and nothing can destroy his plan for us. Christ has overcome the world and the enemy has been defeated. That means that you can have joy despite the storm you are in because we serve the Master over the wind and he will not let you perish.

Never let your problems or financial difficulties make you doubt the power of your God!  He owns the sheep on a thousand hills and all that is created is his. He is so much bigger than anything that comes against you.  He is limitless and cannot fit within the confines of your finite minds. His will prevails in all situations.  It is the enemy of your soul that wants to fill your mind with fear and doubt that God will help you.  Don’t give him a foothold.  Take those thoughts of defeat captive and line them up with the promises of God. He hasn’t taken you this far in your life just to have you fail now.

Keep in mind that you are alive and breathing right now because of  God’s power.  Your heart is beating because he tells it to beat.  He put the sun in the sky; he tells the waters where to stop; he calls the stars out by name and he spoke the worlds into existence.  Do you still think it is too difficult for him to find a way to help you work out your financial problems?

My friend, God cares about the struggles you are facing.  Ask him to help you to stand in faith until he has brought you the victory.  Don’t give up when the prize is just ahead.  Psalm 32:10 tells us, “The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts him“.   That is his promise to you.

Dear Lord,  I know that many are having financial problems that seems like it is going to destroy them.  I stand in the gap for those who need a touch from you in the area of their finances.  I pray for jobs to be restored to those who have lost them.  I pray for new and better opportunities to come about.  I pray for you to provide homes for those who need them.  I pray for you to provide them the food and transportation that they need.  I pray that you will be able to keep families together along with their pets.  I pray that they will keep their trust in you no matter how hard it gets.  Lord, help them to understand that you will not fail them.  You will come through for them at the perfect time and in the perfect way.  My heart is with them, Lord, and I know that your love will keep them.  Amen 

devil tempting                                                     Fear is a lie from hell

One of the greatest weapons that the enemy uses against us is doubt.  The devil himself knows the truth that believers are victors and mighty warriors in the army of God.  He knows that God has a plan for us that cannot be stopped by anything or anyone.   That means not by our weaknesses, not by our rebellion, not by our past and certainly not by the enemy whose power was overcome by the cross of Jesus Christ!

The strength to walk in victory  comes with a realization that God’s power will always be enough.  If you can understand that his plan was made long before we were created and he foreknew the struggles that we would face, then you can trust that he can rescue you whatever your situation.  Our Savior knew of the plans that the enemy had to destroy us and he knew how to take us through to victory.  A painful trial or circumstance in our life has no power except that which you give it.   If God already had knowledge of what you would have to endure and gave his power to overcome all things, why would you ever allow your problem to make you anxious?  When you give in to fear, you are giving in to the lies from a defeated enemy!

You have to know who your God is.  You must seek for an understanding of his love that covers everything.  There is no bondage that can stand against the cross.  Jesus finished the work of salvation and he is alive and  intercedes for us every day.  Christ will always be sovereign over all that comes against us.  Everything in all of creation must submit to him!  Anything that he allows in your life is for a purpose and must conform to the plan that he has for your life.  Remember that God made us into his image from the dust.  He knows where you are and he knows your pain.  He created the 70 million trillion stars and calls them out by name each night.  There is no place you can go that can make him forget you.  The hairs of your head are numbered by him and he saw the length of your days on this earth before one of them came to be.  There is nothing in your life that is impossible for him.

feeling aloneIt is not always easy to trust when you are in a battle with the spiritual forces of evil that fill this earth.  The days are dismal and filled with more problems.  Financial difficulties are hitting everyone.  Who can think about the future when it is hard enough to get through a day?  Yet that position is right where you need to be.  Christ will see you through all things but he will take you through one day at a time, sometimes minute to minute.  You won’t be able to see  where he is taking you so you must trust him with all of your heart.  Jesus did not die to lose you now!  Beloved, you will never be destroyed by this lost and crumbling world for you will be taken above it by the Spirit of  Christ who lives in you.  You aren’t standing on the perishing earth, you are standing on the Promise which is Jesus Christ!

My friends, I want you to understand one very important truth.  It does not matter where you are, what problems you have or how low you have fallen.  If your hope is in the cross of Jesus, you will come through every battle as a conqueror.  The victory has already been won.  Never let the enemy or your painful situation convince you that God’s power is not enough.  It is more than enough.  The enemy of your soul knows this.  You need to know it also.  If you ever believe anything, believe this:  JESUS WILL NEVER FAIL YOU!

Dear Lord, I know the times are hard and people are struggling with the problems that this dark world brings.  I pray that you will open their eyes and affirm in their heart the truth that your power and love will take them through all things no matter how impossible it may seem.  Jesus, help them to know that you are the light which has conquered the darkness.  Let them know that whatever illness, bondage, marriage problem, financial issue or heartache they have, you always have a way to give them your peace.  You alone paid the price for our victory.  Jesus, I thank you for being all that we need.  Amen

         We do not need to understand, just to trust

 We serve a God of all hope who has an unfailing plan for all that he has created.  Those who have put their trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ are now called children and co-heirs in the kingdom of God.  Yet as we hold on to this truth and live for Christ, the darkness of this present world can overwhelm even the most seasoned Christian.  As much as we trust and believe that God has  a purpose in all that comes against us, why is it so difficult to understand it when troubles besiege us?

The word of God tells us plainly in Isaiah 55:8-9,

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORDAs the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Our finite reasoning can never align with God’s judgments.  His ways are perfect.  We are the dust of the ground who only have worth because we are loved by our Creator.  For the same reasoning, who can understand the love of a pure and holy God who would send his only Son to suffer and die to pay to redeem a lost and ungrateful people?  It is a love that knows no boundaries.  It is an all consuming love that never fails. God is never hedged in by our ways or our thoughts.  He knows the right and perfect way and he alone has the power to make it happen. 

When Jesus left this world,  he promised to send us the Holy Spirit who would be our helper.  He knew that there would be many problems for us while we are here and he knew that we would need his Spirit to get us through.  Day by day we are being transformed into the image of Christ by the Spirit’s power.  Our daily battles are fought and won by God’s right hand.  However, painful trials can make us question if God is really with us.   It is not an easy task to trust him when you watch as a loved one suffers.  It takes every ounce of strength to keep your eyes on God instead of your pain.  Many believers had to endure financial difficulties, marriage strife and heart aches of every kind.  Jesus did not say that we would be without these struggles.  He said that he would always be with us and give us the victory.  All that he allows is for a divine purpose.  He alone knows what it will take to fulfill the plan he had for our lives long before the earth was formed.  He knew every storm we would face while we were in our mothers’ womb.  He had a way to part the sea and move the mountains that would try to stop us.  And he knew that we would not understand his ways.  It would take an uncompromising faith in him that defied our reasoning to believe when we have no power to do anything else.

Paul tells us in Philippians 1: 29,” For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him“.   Who among us  can know the mind of God or understand his judgments?  Jesus said that we would not even comprehend the beauty of heaven until we got there.  No one in all of Scripture that God used for glory ever understood how or why God made them take the path that he did. Human logic certainly can’t explain it.   The fact that remains is that you will not ever understand why God allows evil at times to prosper while the righteous suffer.  That is when we have to trust in the unfailing love of God.  This love that we learn of when we are in the furnace of our affliction is the power that is going to take us into glory.  If we can trust and believe when the ground around us is crumbling, then we have shown ourselves to be true sons and daughters of  the living God!  And God has said that he will give an immeasurable reward to those who hold on and trust to the end.

You don’t have to understand the ways of God.  You only need to know of his unfailing love.  By his own word, God has promised to withhold no good from those whose walk is righteous.  That means that if you belong to Christ, every struggle, pain, heartache and suffering that you withstand is ordained and timed by him and will be used for your good.  You can’t lose because with Christ, you will always be more than a conqueror! 

Dear Jesus,  I lift up all those who are going through a painful time in their life.  I pray that you will give them the peace that they need to stand in trust knowing that you are with them.  Help them to know that you have a purpose and a direction for their lives that cannot be stopped by their circumstance.  I pray that they will understand that in you, there is always victory.  Please comfort them now with your love and hold them close to you.  Amen

 

 

 

Eastern Sierra by Rob Bohning  God will always be bigger than that which comes against you

(Photo by Rob Bohning)

We are living in a season of change and a pervading darkness is rapidly filling this earth.   People are struggling financially, physically and with each other as more than half of marriages end in divorce.  Satan has blinded the eyes of most and it is sad to watch people caught up in the bondage of alcohol, drugs, pornography and every form of deception.  Crime has increased and prisons are filled with lost souls.  The truth has been compromised as the enemy seeks to blind the world and destroy it.  Has he succeeded?

The Apostle Paul warns us in 2 Timothy 3 that there will be terrible times in the last days.  Believers must keep watch as the enemy seeks to weaken them and make them ineffective for the kingdom.  The days are growing short and our strength is only in the power of Christ who lives in us.  He has promised to never leave us and to help us in time of distress.   Our hope in times of testing is to magnify the Lord to see him as he truly is – which is always bigger than our problems.

Though God is always with us, we will have to suffer in this world.  If it is the storms of this life that cause us to grow in our faith, then God must allow this struggle to reveal his power and give us the knowledge of who we are in Christ.  His purpose and plan for our lives cannot fail.  You may feel alone in your time of pain but you never are.  You belong to him and  he has given his angels charge over you.  If you can magnify God and trust him in all things, he will prove himself faithful as he takes you through the furnace of your affliction and bring you safely to a place of his peace.  He has power over all that comes against you and there is always a purpose in what he allows in your life.

The strength to hold on is having knowledge of the God who created you.  His power cannot fit into the confines of our finite minds.  So what is impossible for us is never impossible for God.  Get hold of the fact that you aren’t going to completely understand the ways of God.  Who could understand why a holy, loving God would send his only begotten Son to die for the sins of an ungrateful world?  There is nothing good that you have that was not given to you by his power.  Yet we constantly just dwell on the question of why God allows bad things to happen to good people!  It is because this world is not heaven. This world is perishing and there will one day be an end to those who love evil.  But for now, we are aliens in a lost civilization and Christ has been sent as our only hope for salvation.  He has given those who believe in him the right to become joint heirs with him in a kingdom whose wonder cannot be described.  As unbelievable as it sounds, many are choosing to sell eternity with Christ in absolute perfection to the highest bidder of the perishing things of this world!

Trusting that God will work everything out and give to you all that he has promised can be difficult as the shadow of the enemy permeates this earth.  For that reason, it is so important that you see and understand the God who had no beginning and no end.  He is the source of all that is good and he withholds nothing of benefit from those who love him.  You have to know that God is bigger and stronger than all of the evil that is happening.  He sent Jesus to die for you so that you will have a future with promise.  He defeated death and made us more than conquerors in the battle of this world.

Remember always that the trials that assail you will one day end.  God has a plan to dry your tears and give you life everlasting with more beauty than your mind can comprehend.  The truth that sets you free and that gives you victory in every area of your life is the cross of Jesus Christ.  Because he loves you with an everlasting love, he was willing to pay the price for your debt of sin.  He doesn’t care how far you have strayed or how badly you have failed.  He has a love that will cover it all.

My friends, if you are reading this message and don’t know Christ, I hope that you will seek him now and ask him to reveal himself to you.  My prayers will be with you.  I may not know who you are or what problems you have, but God knows your name and he knows how to rescue you.  Your life matters to him. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Light.  He is stronger than the enemy and his plan for you will never fail. That is the promise he died to give you!

Do you really believe that the love of Christ is all you need?

The Scriptures say in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. Those are powerful words! God SO loved us that he was willing to give his Son as a bloody sacrifice to save us while we were still lost in our sin. That speaks of a love so all-encompassing that it defies our understanding.

Within that love that God has for us is his ability and willingness to provide all that we need. He did not just die and save us then leave us to fend for ourselves. Jesus paid the price so that we would be victorious in all of our circumstances. He is more than able to cause all of our problems to be used for our good. There is no trial we suffer that takes him by surprise. He has a plan for our lives that was made long before the world was formed. When Christ defeated death at the cross, he crushed the power of any force to destroy us. It is finished! Jesus fulfilled the debt so that believers can have authority over sin and the bondage of this dark world. We have been set free.

Sadly there are those who still walk in the chains of the enemies lies instead of the truth of an all-powerful Creator. They go stooped in doubt to the throne of grace and cry out in their painful trial when the answer is already with them! The reality is that though you may not physically see God or audibly hear his voice, his presence is always with you. He is with you right now. The best part is that he knows your heart and understands your fears. You just need to submit them to him.

In Mark 9, a man came to Jesus to heal his son who had an evil spirit that was trying to kill him. Jesus told the man, “Everything is possible for him who believes”.  Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief”.

Your trust in God’s Sovereignty is the key to overcoming every impossible situation in your life. God is not limited by any boundaries that this world puts on him. Your problem is not too hard for the God who spoke the world into existence and who breathed into the dust to form man!

Jesus is all that you need in this fallen world and he is willing to take you past your fears and unbelief. The only questions that remains now is will you take him at his word?

Dear Lord Jesus, I lift up all those who are reading this message filled with pain and a heavy heart. I pray that you will open their eyes to the truth that you are able to take them through the trial they are experiencing now. Help them to trust you with their financial problems, failing marriages, serious health issues or any situation that is keeping them in bondage. Please give them your peace and comfort them as they learn that you will never fail. Amen

                                                                                                             

      How effective are you for the kingdom of God?

 

In order to be a follower of Jesus Christ, you must choose to walk as he did and make choices that may make you unpopular with this world that is perishing.  Jesus said that he would set up his kingdom and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it.  He spoke of how we must pick up our cross daily and seek his kingdom until he comes. It is not enough to simply say we believe in Jesus. Our lives should bear witness to the change that was made in us as we accepted the gospel of Christ. We must walk as disciples in our faith as the Holy Spirit works in us to repent and turn from our old ways.  There is no such thing as an “almost” believer.

In chapter 19 of the book of Acts, we read about the seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, would watch as the Apostle Paul would drive out demons from those who were afflicted. They decided that they wanted the power to do the same.  They heard of a man who was possessed by an evil spirit and thought they would go and help him even though they were not followers of Jesus Christ.

They went to the man’s house and said to the demon, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” One day, the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know and I know about Paul, but who are you?”  Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped and overpowered them all.  He beat them so badly that they ran from the house naked and bleeding.  They lost out to a demon and there is an important message for us here.

Only God is omniscient and omnipresent, meaning all-knowing and all-present.  Not even Satan nor his demons can know everyone and be all places at all times.  When the sons of Sceva tried to drive out an evil spirit, the demon answered and said that he KNEW Jesus and he KNEW ABOUT Paul, but he had no idea who these seven guys were.  Why was that?  Obviously, these guys were not a threat to Satan or his demons.  Sceva’s sons had heard about Jesus through Paul, but they never made Jesus their LORD.  These men did not have the power of Christ to battle the spiritual forces of evil and they were badly injured from trying to do it on their own. They were an easy mark for the unclean spirit who came against them.

You can apply this same truth to your life.  Is your name known in hell?  Are there demons who have heard about you and the work you are doing for Christ?  Have you become a thorn in the side of Satan as you try to reach the lost with God’s love?  Or have you settled into complacency in your Christian walk which makes you comfortable in this world?   If the enemy of your soul does not consider your faith a threat, perhaps you need to examine yourself to know if you are truly saved!

I understand that all believers are a work in progress by the Holy Spirit and we each are at different levels in our walk. Even long-time followers in the faith can suffer a period of backsliding.  But those who belong to Christ should experience true heart change as his love compels you to seek what is right.  Jesus said in Matthew 7:16 that you will recognize a tree by its fruit. Those who belong to Jesus have crucified the sinful nature and now live by the power of the Spirit.  You became a new creation as God’s light shines through you.

If you live for Christ, you will experience grief in all kinds of trials as your faith is proved genuine.  Jesus said that all men will hate you because of him as darkness hates the light.  The spiritual forces of evil will come against you for the work that you do for the kingdom.  But in the end, the indescribable reward that God has for you will far outweigh any suffering you endure now. It is a reward that will last into eternity.

If your name is written in heaven, it should be known in hell!

 

 

Our power is from God

     Your God is with you!

The times we live in are difficult and a lot of us pass the day just hoping for the strength to get through it. There seems to be so much to do and so little time to get it all done. It is a financial struggle just to make ends meet and the future holds uncertainty.  Sickness and trouble are everywhere making it difficult to stand and believe.  Marriages and relationships are being attacked and addictions increase as truth is thrown to the ground.  Through it all, we become so weary and wonder if God is really with us in the storm.

God is with us and he does care about our pain.  He has promised through his word to be our strength in all of our trials and sorrows.  In 2 Chronicles 16:9 of Scripture we read, “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him”.   The battles of this world belong to the Lord and he is able to keep us in the victory that was won by the cross of Christ.  Jesus told his disciples in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you”.  That means that he will bear our burdens and carry our sorrows.  No trial that we endure in life is a surprise to God for he knew from the foundation of the earth what struggles we would have.  He has promised that he would be the way through all of our problems and he is faithful.  The peace that Christ left us is divine, unchanging and perfect.  It is the assurance that God gives us that he will walk with us in mighty power to overcome all obstacles in our life.

There is not an addiction, an illness or a struggle we may face that is stronger than the God who loves and rescues us.  Not even death can separate us from the love that Christ has for each of us.  By his blood,  he paid the price that guarantees us victory over the darkness and the forces that seek to take us down.   Jesus told us to come to him and he will give us rest as he works all things out for our good. He is the Author of life and he can fulfill the perfect plan that he has for you.

This world and all that is in it is passing away, but the word of God is forever.  For that very reason, we must keep our eyes on the only thing that matters….eternity with Jesus Christ.  You must remember that today’s pain can never stop tomorrow’s promise bought by the blood of Jesus.

In Job 19:25-26, we read that after losing his wealth, his children and his health, Job still cried out, “ I know my redeemer lives and he shall stand one day upon the earth.  And after my skin is destroyed this I know, that in my flesh, I shall see God.”  There is no greater faith than to stand on God’s promises when all seems lost.  Finally, in Psalm 46, we read that though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, God is still our refuge and strength and an ever-present help in trouble.

The battles of this earth can make you feel weak and weary, but the truth is that God’s love for you will see you through until the end. It was God’s hand that formed you and it is God’s strength that can keep you in his perfect peace.  You don’t have to wait for Jesus to find a way to help you, he is the way!  Take heart, my friends, for God is with you in your battle.  You can’t lose!

 

                                    God will always make a way

 

Although we are living in troubling times, Jesus has promised believers that he would be with us and that his peace would be our comfort.  For this very reason, Christ suffered and died for us so that nothing would have power to defeat us.  Yet it is sad as many continue to live in the bondage of the enemy’s lies when Jesus gave us the truth that set us free.

 

The trials and struggles of this earth are getting more perilous as each day brings additional trouble.  But we serve a risen Savior who has said that he would be with us always, even to the end of the age.  He foreknew of these times and the pain that we would have but he has an unfailing way to take us through every single one of them.

 

 Unfortunately, it is hard to keep your eyes on God when you are facing a serious medical issue, a crumbling marriage, financial difficulty, an addiction or any overwhelming problem that just won’t go away.  But it is in the midst of these painful issues that you must keep your faith for they are working in you a greater glory that is going to strengthen you in this life and bring you a reward that will last through eternity.

 

In Daniel 3:16-18, we read of three Jewish boys who refused to bow down to a false god knowing that they would be put to death in a fiery furnace for their faith.  They replied to King Nebuchadnezzar that “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it….But even if he does not, we want you to know, O King, that we will not serve your gods”. That is faith tested to the extreme.  These young men were thrown into the furnace bound tightly.  But when the king looked into the furnace, he said “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods”.  When he approached the opening of the furnace and called for the young men to come out, amazingly, not only had the fire not harmed them, but they did not even smell of smoke.

 

The Jewish boys who were bound and thrown into a furnace heated seven times hotter were brought safely through their ordeal.God could have kept them from going into the furnace but instead, he chose to take them through the fire!  His glory was revealed even greater as he showed that absolutely nothing, including fire, had any power over believers who trust in their God.  They were walking around in those flames, unbound, unharmed and in the presence of the Son of God who had never left them.

 

This is a very real truth for all of us today.  The fiery affliction that you may be going through has no power to destroy you!  The bondages that are hindering you and bringing you pain will be loosened and removed by the love of Christ who has a perfect plan for your life.  You will come forth from that impossible circumstance and be restored by the right hand of God who has promised you the victory.  If your faith is in Christ Jesus, there is no force that will ever be greater than his power to sustain you.

 

With his sacrifice on Calvary, Jesus defeated all of our enemies including death. Though you may grow weary in the problems of this world, he will renew your strength and give you a future. Stay in the peace knowing that  Jesus will always meet you in your pain and bring you to victory. That is a promise he died to give you! 

 

 

Times are tough and the days are growing short.  It is difficult to stand in faith as the darkness fills the world.  Sometimes the pain we experience is just too much for us to bear.  Many may wonder if God is truly with them in all things. For instance, where is God when a loved one dies or when bad things happen to innocent people? This question and other similar ones have troubled believers everywhere.

 

The truth that remains is that God is with us in everything and anything that comes against us.  God’s plan was for us to live in paradise with him forever, but because of man’s sin, death and destruction came into our world. But the love of God never left us.

 

Sin is rebellion against God and it allowed Satan and his demons to roam this earth seeking to destroy us.  We were doomed. “But God so loved the world that he sent his only Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16)

His love for us was so great that he was willing to sacrifice the blood of his Son Jesus to bring us back to fellowship with him.

 

God’s love for us continues even though we are sinners who turned from the ways of God.  To the ends of the earth, God has sent his word to seek out the lost and offer the free gift of salvation through the cross of Jesus. And though this world is perishing, those whose hope is in Christ will never be destroyed.  Death that can take the body can never touch the soul of a believer.  Jesus said in John 5:24, “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” That means that no sickness,financial problems, divorce, pain or even death can end God’s promise for us of victory and eternity with him. 

 

Life on this earth is fleeting.  Eternity with God is never-ending and it is there that you will understand that the storms in your life were only the winds that brought you closer to the reward that God has prepared for you.  You will know then that God never left your side despite what you had to suffer.  The strength to endure and not to fear was always with you and that his power was manifested in your weakness.

 

There will always be death and evil on this earth until Jesus comes back.  That is why as believers we must not conform to this world but be set apart.  We must live different lives and not react as those who have no hope.  The sickness or loss of someone close to us may tear at our heart, but our strength must come from the hope that God has given us.

 

Our life on this earth is not the end.  Innocent people will continue to suffer at the hands of evildoers and sickness will take loved ones from this earth, but God’s justice and purpose will always prevail.  We must trust that God will use for good all that comes against us.

 

The Apostle Paul suffered torture and pain in his life, but he knew that it was all going to be used for the glory of God.  For him, to die was gain but to live was for Christ.  He knew that God had an eternal purpose for everything that he had to endure.

 

When we don’t understand the reason God allows pain and suffering in our lives and those whom we love, we must have faith that God is always at work in us, and that those who endure to the end will receive the reward that far outweighs it all! The trials of this earth are temporary, but the reward of God is eternal.  For now, I pray that you understand that God will be with you in your pain and will take you through the valley of your tears.  He is always faithful!

 

Dear Lord,  the pain and burdens of this world can bring us to our knees.  Sometimes we falter in our faith as we struggle against the war that the enemy is waging against us.  I pray that those who may have experienced a loss of a loved one or who is being overwhelmed by a situation that seems hopeless.  Fill them with your peace and love.  May they know that no problem is bigger than the God that they serve. Help them to understand that your ways are higher and better than ours.  Give them the strength to persevere in the battle and to keep their eyes on you.  Your perfect plan for their life will never fail!  We give you praise. Amen.

 

(Photo by Rob Bohning)

God’s love is with you at all times!

 

 

It is easier to trust God in the good times.  It takes much more faith to keep that trust during painful trials.  Tough times happen to everyone.  It is sometimes difficult to believe that God is willing to take you through the impossible situations in your life.  But faith is the most important thing that you must have in this age of crisis and turmoil  The peace of God that transcends all understanding is predicated on believing that God’s word is true.  Without faith it is impossible to please God because faith is the key to all the strength and power that God has to give us. It simply means that you believe that God is bigger than your problems.

 

Scripture records the miracles that Jesus performed while on this earth.  In Matthew 9:29, two blind men asked Jesus to heal them.  Jesus replied, “According to your faith will it be done to you”, and their sight was restored. A ruler came and asked Jesus to put his hand on his daughter that she might live.  Because of the ruler’s faith, Jesus brought his daughter back to life. The Apostles also worked by faith.  In Acts 14, Paul looked directly at a crippled man and saw that he had the faith to be healed. He called for the man to stand and he was healed. Many people were saved and their bodies healed as they took that first step to trust that Jesus was truly the Savior of the world. 

 

True faith always honors God. It is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. It is unbridled belief in the Son of God who gave his life for us.  There is nothing that God won’t do for those who put their trust in the finished work of Jesus on the cross.  It was Jesus who called us to lay our burdens at his feet.  Perfect peace is given to all who are willing to trust him with everything.  Though it may be difficult to stay strong when your world is crumbling all around you, the name of Jesus will always be your shield.

 

 

 In Mark 9:24, a man with a son possessed by a spirit asked Jesus for his help.  When Jesus asked the man if he believed that he could heal his son, the man answered, “I do believe Lord; help me overcome my unbelief!”.  Jesus is so merciful to remember that we are weak.  He will never hold it against us if we ask for his help to believe him through our struggles. 

 

 

 Striving to work out impossible situations will never succeed. It is only the power of God that can rescue us from the storm.  You may have a serious health issue, financial problems, drug or alcohol addictions or even a broken heart but nothing is too hard for our God who created the heavens and the earth and everything in them.  We are told by God in Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you”. That is a promise that Jesus bought for us at Calvary. 

 

Whatever trial or pain you are in, remember that God’s love will never leave your side. Call on him right now to strengthen you to overcome your unbelief.  He will help you take that first step in trust so that you will know that God is big enough to conquer all of your problems.

 

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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