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 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.

heavens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THIS IS GOD’S HOUR

by A.B. Simpson

Cast down, but not destroyed2 Corinthians 4:9

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

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

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

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

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

job suffering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Dear Lord,

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

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

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

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

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

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.

                       Jesus said to him,”What do you want me to do for you?”

 Sometimes it seems like Jesus will never get around to helping you out of your struggle.  You have prayed and waited but nothing seems to have changed. Does he even see your pain?  Why is it taking so long? You soon feel lost and alone in the darkness of your troubles. 

In Mark 10:46, we read about a blind man named Bartimaeus.  He lived in Jericho where all he could do was sit on the side of the road and beg for help.  But on this one day, he heard the commotion of a crowd coming by.  “What could be causing the people to be so excited?” he probably wondered.  Someone  then told him that it was Jesus of Nazareth who was heading this way.

Bartimaeus must have been overjoyed knowing that Jesus was nearby.  I can only imagine how his heart quickened and his pulse raced as hope began to fill his heart!  He had heard about this man.  Many were made whole and healed of all their diseases by his touch.  Some were set free from demons and others brought back to life.   All he knew was that he needed to get to Jesus before it was too late.  But Bartimaeus was blind and the crowd sounded large. What could he do?  He didn’t have his sight,  but he did have a voice.  He cried out with all that he had , “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”.   Many people in the crowd rebuked him, telling him to be silent.  Silent? That would never happen!  The King of kings was near.  This blind man had no intention letting a chance to be touched by the Great Physician just pass him by.  He called all the louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  The Scripture then tells us that Jesus stopped and he said to those near to call him up.  When Bartimaeus heard this, he threw off his cloak and sprang up and came to Jesus!  Jesus asked him,” What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said, “Rabbi, let me see.”  And Jesus then told him to go his way saying ” Your faith has made you well”.  And immediately, Bartimaeus received his sight and followed him on the way.  This day had changed his life.  He not only received his sight, but he was forgiven of his sins.   All this happened because he believed that Jesus was all that he needed.

My friends, do you feel like you are in darkness as your troubles leave no light of hope?  The truth is that if you belong to Christ, he will always find a way to meet you in your struggle and draw you to himself.  He will reach through the crowd and take you to a place of healing and peace.  Nothing is impossible to him who knew you before you were born.

 Never lose sight of the truth that in each battle you face, you are completely surrounded by angels dispatched from God to protect and guide you.  Your cries do not go unanswered.  He hears your every plea and he cares.  The redeemed of the Lord cannot be destroyed by the slings and arrows of the enemy.  Every single detail of your life from birth to death has been arranged and made perfect.  You cannot fail.  The enemy may taunt you with oppression and lies but you are protected by heaven’s royal guard!  That  is the truth that sets you free.  Christ became your burden-bearer when he conquered the world and deprived it of its power to  crush you. 

Whatever trial you are facing, beloved, remember that it is all under the authority of Christ.  Let God accomplish the work that he has begun in you.  Whatever time he deems necessary for you to continue in your struggle is specifically designed to equip you for the  work he has chosen  for your life.  It is a royal assignment and not without merit.  All those whom God has chosen to do his greatest work have  received their  power as they patiently trusted him during a time when all hope seemed gone.   You must remain steadfast and stand the test in order to receive the crown of life that Jesus has promised to those who love him.   You are never alone and never without hope!

Dear Lord, we are living in ending days as the enemy increases his efforts to cause trouble and pain in the lives of your people.  Help us to hold on even when we feel weary.  I pray for blessings and strength for those who are facing hardships and trials of every kind.  I pray for marriages and relationships  to be restored.  I lift up all those who are facing financial struggles and see no end in sight.  I pray for you to help those who are under bondage to addictions and sin issues that are draining them of life.  I pray for those who are lonely and brokenhearted.  May they feel a very real sense of your presence and love.  I pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith.  May you give them a sense of peace  and joy in the midst of their suffering for you, dear Lord.  Protect and bless Israel and her leaders.  I pray for the eyes of your people to be opened to the truth of Christ as their Messiah.   Lord, may you work all things out for good to those who love you.  Show them that you are very near and that you will not fail.  To those who do not know you as Lord and Savior, dear Jesus, I pray for you to reveal yourself to them in a very personal way.  Help us all to stand in faith as we patiently wait for your return .  Give us your strength to fight the good fight and stay in the race.  Amen

I am praying for all who come to this site.  May you take rest knowing that Christ has a message just for you.

              Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD  (Psalm 33:12a)

                          I

I want to say a few words today as we celebrate in America the birth of our nation.  We have been a people who have been blessed by our God and he has shed his grace upon us.  I am  fortunate to live in a nation that was founded by men and women of extreme courage and dedication.  I am grateful for all those who are in service to America and who risk their lives  so that we may live and worship in freedom .  We can never truly thank them enough.  I pray God’s blessings and favor upon them all.

With all that said, as we watch as darkness and evil fill this earth, the question still  remains “Are you truly set free?“.   The bondage of sin can cause havoc and destruction in your life no matter where you live and how much money and power you  have.  Each day I watch with sadness as people choose to live their life in the chains of the enemy who has blinded them to the fact that they are perishing as they walk the path of death. They are not free.  They are deceived! Without Christ, there is no freedom for your life.  You can have all you think is good but you will never be truly happy because your hope to be victorious in this world comes only in being surrendered to Christ!  He is the one who sets the prisoners free so that we no longer have to be held captive in the trap of sin.  Christ is our power over the darkness and our hope when we come to the end of ourselves and have nowhere else to turn.  There is always a way for God to help you.  You can never fall too far that his grace cannot lift you.

What does it serve you to live in a worldly freedom when you come to the end of your life?  It is only when your life is in Christ that you can have peace no matter what you face.  He has conquered all of your enemies and death no longer has any power over you.   Money, fame and even earthly freedom can never give you that!

I want to include a few quotes from our Founding Fathers that show the heart of those who once led this country with truth.  Read them over and ponder how far we have come from this once ideal.

And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”  Thomas Jefferson, Signer and Principal Author of the Declaration of Independence; Third President of the United States.

Is it not that in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? – that it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation?  Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?”   John Quincy Adams: Statesman; Diplomat; Sixth President of the United States.

“One of the beautiful boast of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is part of the Common Law…there never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundations… I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society.” Joseph Story: U.S. Supreme Court Justice; “Father of American Jurisprudence,” Placed on the Court by President James Madison.

” We are a Christian people…not because the law demands it, not to gain exclusive benefits or to avoid legal disabilities, but from choice and education; and in a land thus universally Christian, what is to be expected, what desired, but that we shall pay due regard to Christianity?” Senate Judiciary Committee Report, January 19, 1853

Who is fighting for those ideals now?  Too many people are being deceived by the enemy. My friends, our freedom has been bought at a price of the blood of Jesus Christ.  All that we have and the future with hope that we aspire to has been given to us by Him.  You can make a choice today to have real freedom that releases you from the bonds of every pain, addiction and trouble that the earth sends your way.  This world is passing away.  Only those things that stand the test of fire shall live on.  Only that which we surrender to Christ can we keep.  Be blessed this day.  You no longer have to be sold out to the enemy and live as a puppet of his schemes.  You have a choice.  Choose to live in the freedom of Christ.  No one can take you from his hands or rob you of the destiny he planned for you.  That is a freedom you can celebrate!

                                                     

Dear Father,  I lift up to you those who are struggling to be free.  I pray for those who are suffering in trials of every kind and who need to know that you can meet them in any situation and that you have the power to take them to victory no matter how impossible their situation seems.  Give them your peace this day, dear Jesus.  Let them understand that your love is enough and that you will never fail them.

I pray also for those are in restricted nations where to be a Christian is a death sentence.  I pray for you to touch those who are persecuted, tortured and imprisoned for their faith.  I pray that you will reach them with a joy that surpasses their understanding.  May they know that you are with them to the end. 

Lord Jesus, show those who come to this site what real freedom in you can mean.  Amen

 Are you willing to surrender all you have to get all that Christ has ?

God has given me a love for all those who visits this site. I believe that  He has a purpose for bringing all of you to the messages that he gives me to write.  It is for this reason that I take seriously my burden to pray for each of you.

A few weeks ago, a young man visited my site and then emailed me with a question. He seemed troubled and yet I could see that he had faith.  I want you to read what he wrote:

“I was on the internet one night and I came across you.  I really liked it.  My name is Christopher.  You see, I don’t understand life. God says He loves us, but yet, he took away the people I love.  I only just started going to church.  I enjoy it but life is still tough for me.  My heart belongs to God.  I know that, but it is so hard to walk away from my friends.  I want to serve and give my whole life to Him, but I am going to lose my family and friends. Advise please.”

I responded to Chris and explained about the surrendered life to Christ. When you are a believer, Christ is first in your life and you must be willing to give him all that you have and allow him to work in you.  I explained a lot of things to him and told him to keep praying for his family and friends but that he must move ahead with his new life in Christ.

I did not hear from him that month, but last week, I received an email from his sister.  She told me that her family had no idea that her little brother was going through this.  She went on to tell me that Chris was no longer with us.  When I asked her what happened, she told me an amazing story.  She said that her brother had made a decision to follow Christ.  He stood firm in this decision despite the fact that his family and friends did not like it and thought he totally lost his mind.  He even left a  girlfriend of three years because she chose alcohol and her lifestyle over a relationship with Christ.

About two weeks after writing to me, Chris was driving on his way to church.  Just before he arrived, Chris got into a very serious accident which left him dying.  His last words to his family was a plea for them to accept Christ as Lord and Savior.  He whispered that Jesus was near to him right then and that he was not afraid to die! With that, he left this earth.  What a bold testimony of faith he had! Because of his faith, that 20-year-old young man is now with Jesus in heaven.

By the power of Christ alone, Chris was able to choose to do what was right.  He made the hard decision to leave all that he had to get all that Christ had to give him. He was willing to go wherever Christ would lead him.  That young man had no idea when he wrote to me for advice that he had only a few weeks left to live!

I am humbled that God brought Chris to my blog.  I prayed for him and his family.  Christopher’s sister wrote that his  death changed everything for them.  Now the whole family wants to honor Chris and his prayers for them, so they decided to start attending the local church.  One young man with the courage of his conviction and a faith that stood the test was able to impact his whole family with the Good News of Jesus Christ!

After his death, the grieving family went through Christopher’s things and found his diary and the email he sent me.  I was sent a copy of something that he had written in his diary.  It brought me to tears. My dear friends, please read what this young man wrote from a heart that had been radically changed for Christ:

I’ve been in love before, but in love with God is nothing I’ve ever experienced in my life.  A friend who I didn’t know existed and who was always around anytime 24/7.  I don’t regret my decision.  I regret not making this decision earlier.  I always thought people who went to church are all perfect and holy.  But no, they are just as broken as I am.  God knows best.  I pray that my family and friends will soon experience the love of God.  I don’t have a dad.  Never met him, never seen or heard from him.  But I stopped looking  for him and wondering what a father is because I just found a Father of all fathers—-God! “

My beloved friends, I don’t know where you are right now or what you have done. The truth is that Jesus wants you with him.  He has known your name long before he formed the world.  His love is true and he is faithful.  He has a way to bring you to victory no matter how impossible it may seem now.    Your weakness is now made strong by his power.  Christ can give you a future with hope and an eternity with him if you will surrender your heart to him.

The power of Christ gave a young man the courage to stand for his faith despite the outcome.  He gave him hope for a future and an unconditional love that he had never know before.  Chris never met his earthly father.  But the God of all heaven was a Father  to him whose eyes never left this young man for a second.  His life was cut short, but Chris made the decision for Christ that would last into eternity!

Have you made that decision to follow Christ?  You don’t have to wonder about it anymore. I am praying for you and I am here to talk to you if you have any questions.  My hope is that those who need to hear the truth will be open to receive Christ as Savior and Lord. It is a free gift that is yours for the asking.

I am lifting up Christopher’s family in prayer for comfort and healing.  I pray that they will continue to seek Christ and surrender to the only truth that matters! Just as Chris was not afraid to die –  no believer ever has to fear death.

                  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.

This is the fourth of July and all around America people are celebrating this holiday with fireworks and family picnics.  That is a good thing but I sometimes wonder how much we all know about our heritage?  I recently visited  CyberWord of Truth by Charles Woodruff, who is a special friend and a man on a mission to bring the truth of Christ to the world.  I read the article he posted below and felt that it is a message we all need to see.  Please take the time to read this powerful story about the strength and faith of Patrick Henry and pause to think about how it applies to our country today. 

FOR PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF THE SON OF GOD

 
A true story of Patrick Henry. Adapted by Charles Woodruff.
 
Over 30 years ago I came across this account of Patrick Henry, that great champion of liberty, of his defense of some Baptist field preachers, who were being threatened by the government authorities. Since we are approaching Independence Day, July 4th, 2011, I felt it would be a good time to republish this article that has blessed me and others. I have revised and expanded some things  that complement the story. Be sure and follow all the links for some interesting reading. Our America is not as it once was. I am praying for revival. But, in this day we see many things that Christians and American patriots have held dear disappearing before our eyes. Only God can change this pattern if He is pleased to do so. If He is not, soon the “land of the free and the home of the  brave” will be a memory. Pray with me, in Jesus name, that God will turn the tide. Amen!
 

Spotsylvania County, Va.-June 4, 1768. Patrick Henry, in defense of three Baptist preachers, John Walker, Louis Craig, James Child, dragged before the magistrate and indicted with disturbing the peace.

Patrick Henry heard about it and decided to defend them and aid in their acquittal.  The indictment brought against them was “For preaching the Gospel of the Son of God contrary to the statutes in that case provided and, therefore, disturbers of the peace.
 
The clerk was reading the indictment in a slow and formal manner. . .”For preaching the gospel”. . . when a plain dressed man entered the courtroom and sat at the bar. He was known to the court and lawyers, but a stranger to the mass of people who had gathered on the occasion. 
 
This was Patrick Henry. He had ridden some 50-60 miles from his Hanover County home to volunteer his services in their defense. He listened to the reading of the indictment with marked attention.  The first sentence which had caught his ear was “For preaching the Gospel of the Son of God”. (1)
 
When the indictment had been read and the prosecuting attorney had submitted a few remarks, Henry arose, stretched out his hand and received the paper and then addressed the court.
 
“May I please, your worship, I think I heard read by the prosecutor as I entered this house the paper I now hold in my hand.  If I have rightly understood, the King’s attorney of this colony has framed an indictment for the purpose of arraigning and punishing by imprisonment three inoffensive persons before the bar of this court for a crime of great magnitude as disturbers of the peace!
 
May it please the court. . . What did I hear? Did I hear it distinctly or was it a mistake of my own? Did I hear an expression as of a crime that these men whom your worship is about to try for a misdemeanor are charged with what?”
 
(Low and heavy tone)
“. . For preaching the Gospel of the Son of God!”
 
Pausing amidst the most profound silence and breathless astonish­ment of his hearers, he slowly waved the paper three times around his head and lifted up his eyes to heaven with extra­ordinary and impressive energy exclaimed “Great God!”
 
The exclamations, the action, the burst of feeling from the audience were all over powering.
 
Mr. Henry continued: “May it please your worship in a day like this when truth is about to burst her fetters, when mankind is about to be raised to claim their natural and inalienable rights, when the yoke of oppression which has reached the wilderness of America and the unnatural alliance of ecclesiastical and civil power is about to be dis-served. . .a period when liberty, and liberty of conscience is about to awake from her slumberings, and enquire into the reason for such charges as I find exhibited here today in this indictment.”
 
Another fearful pause with the speaker alternatively casting his sharp piercing eyes on the court and the prisoners and resumed: “If I am not deceived according to the content of the paper I hold in my hand, these men are accused of preaching the Gospel of the Son of God! (looking up to heaven again).
 
Great God!”
 
Another long pause during which he again waved the paper three times around his head while a deeper impression was made on the audience.
 
Resuming the speech “May it please your worship, there are periods in the history of man when corruption and depravity have so long debased the human character that man sinks under the weight of the oppressor’s hand and becomes his servile, his abject slave! He licks the hand that smites him!  Bows in passive obedience to the mandates of the despot! And in this state of servility he receives his fetters of perpetual bondage. But may it please your worship such a day is passed away.  From the period when our fathers left the land of nativity for settlement in these American wilds; For liberty, for civil and religious liberty, for liberty of conscience to worship their creator according to their concepts of heaven’s revealed will.  From that moment they placed their feet on the American continent, in deep imbedded forests sought an asylum from persecution and tyranny.  From that moment despotism was crushed.  Her fetters of darkness were broken and heaven decreed that man should be free – free to worship God according to the Bible. But may it please your worship; permit me to enquire once more, For what are these men about to be tried? This paper says for preaching the Gospel of the Son of God.
 
Great God! For preaching the Saviour to Adam’s fallen race!”
 
Another pause . . . loudly-“What law have they violated?” Then for the third time in a slow dignified manner, he lifted his eyes to heaven and waved the indictment around his head. , .

The pitch was at its height . . . The judge said: “Sheriff-discharge those men!

(From the original article in Western Voice, July 29, 1949. This magazine is no longer published).

 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18

God has taken me through many struggles and trials that have come against me on every side.  Every time I feared the worst, God has shown up and brought me to safety. I believe  that is true in some aspect for everyone.  So why is it  when a storm cloud looms overhead that we forget the power of God?  Why do we cower in fear when a painful situation is out of our control?  The truth is that there is no battle we face that Christ has not overcome for us.   In our desert time of need, there will always be  Living Water of hope for those who believe.  The promises of God will never fail!  Christ covered the cost for victory in every single conflict we endure. His merciful, loving, immeasurable grace is sufficient.

In a world that is pouring out lies and perverting the laws of God, it brings us rest to join with other believers who will run with us in the race that was set for us.  One such friend is Rev. Bill York whose blog, concernedx2, is one of my favorites.  We both agree that we are living in the ending days and that our blessed Savior is coming soon. I want to share with you the  poem below he wrote  that speaks to my heart:

                                                                                                                                   FAINT TRACES OF GRACE

While only a child, I looked through the pages
Of books written down, compiled through the ages
This is the way, by Mom I was told
We have a good record of heroes of old

I discovered an old book, so ragged and worn
The pages were dog-eared, so tattered and torn
Among my great writings it could not abide
With theologians and scholars, I tossed it aside

The years passed so swiftly and now I am old
I opened the old book of long, long ago
There on crumpled pages I learned about life
I learned about hope and I learned about strife

When no trace of goodness in me could be found
I learned of my fate, to where I was bound
Then I learned about love and I learned about grace
I discovered a hero who had died in my place

Faint traces of grace upon me have fallen
My hope is secure, I’ve heeded the calling
I bow at his feet, I look on his face
Reflecting in me, faint traces of grace

by Rev. Bill York  

 The words of this poem remind me that despite our struggles and pain, we always have a future if our trust is in Jesus and the work of the cross.  There is nothing that can bind you or keep you down when the strength of Christ is with you.  His grace is all you will ever need.  Those who live in fear and strife do not have an understanding of grace.  It is not about performing or being right and good enough for God.  It is coming just as you are  to the throne of mercy and surrendering your utter weakness and depravity to Christ who offers you a future with promise.  Who are we that the grace of God should abound when we are at our lowest point?  And yet Jesus, who knew us before the foundation of the earth, has deemed us to be co-heirs of his kingdom and  to receive all that is good despite our unworthiness!  If the enormity of that grace could set into our finite minds, we would be  forever on our face in total shame for our sin. 

I know that many of you may be dealing with a trial in your life that is difficult and causing you to falter in your faith.  My prayer is that you look beyond your pain and focus on your God whose eyes are on you now. Be in peace, dear friends.   Always and in all things, faint traces of grace will carry you through the unfailing promises of God for your life.

I want to bring  a message of truth for those struggling in this lost and perishing world.  If you belong to Jesus Christ, you must stop acting as the world does every time a crisis happens in your life.  We are children of the Promise and nothing can change that or destroy the purpose God has for our lives.  Don’t let a little shaking of the ground or the darkness of the storm around you cause you to take your eyes off the One who ransomed your life for all eternity!  It is nothing less than blasphemy against your God to let the enemy see you giving more credence to his lies than to the truth of Jesus Christ!  How many rivers and seas does God have to part before we will believe that he has all the power we ever need to fight our battles?

It takes true faith to trust that God is actually going to work your struggles out for your good.  God never fails and he is faithful but the silence can be tormenting as you wait on  his promises to be  fulfilled.  The enemy will taunt you to make you doubt God’s faithfulness, but the truth is that he is a  defeated foe whose only weapon is his lies.  The purpose and plan of God for your life have been settled long before you were created.  Every single detail was known by God and he provided a way through every one of them.  All it takes is for us to keep our eyes on him and trust him, but so often we forget what he has done for us in the past.

Each trial brings fear and anxious thoughts.  The devil always has a way to make you see the worst of each situation.  For that reason, you are to take captive every thought and line them up to be obedient to the teachings of Christ.  He has told us that he can rescue us from any situation.  God’s has already planned in advance to supply the power that is needed for his people to climb the  hills and survive the valleys in this life.  There is not a single struggle you endure that he has not seen long before the world was created.  Why then do we still worry that God is not going to show up in time to help us?  Do we actually believe that the Creator of this world and everything in it  is going to forget  a single detail of our lives?  Our hope is secure and the battle is won in every area of our lives.  All that we must do is surrender our weaknesses to the one who can work them all out for our good.  It means waiting and trusting while the battle rages on knowing that we are victors.  There is no such thing as a defeated Christian!  Stop carrying around burdens that are not yours.  Worry is a tool that the enemy uses to deflect the truth from believers.  He can’t steal your joy so don’t just hand it over to him when problems arise.

The fact is that God will always take you to the edge of the water so that his power will be revealed as he makes a way to cross when there is none. You need to get to the end of your own strength before you can understand the immeasurable power that God has.   Weary believers need to wake up and realize that God ‘s plan for your life cannot be hindered by your impossible situation.  There is never a time when he leaves you to work things out on your own.  It is for his good purpose that he allows the storms in your life.  He is working out a perfect plan for you that has eternal rewards.  You usually won’t understand the reason for all that happens to you but your faith should still  not waver.  Jesus is truth and he has said he will not forsake you!

Jesus said to his Apostle Thomas in John 20:27, “Stop doubting and believe.”  That is his command to us today. Your problems can’t destroy you unless you let them.  God still knows how to part the waters, move the mountains and hold back the sun to help you in the battle you are facing.  To give up is to give in to the lie of a defeated enemy.  That army of the living God has surrounded the camp and is taking back what was stolen from you!  You are a force to be reckoned with because Christ is your leader.  Never forget that your life was redeemed by the righteous blood of Jesus and he is not ever going to let you lose this fight!

Dear Lord,  for those who are struggling and in a painful trial, I pray that you will help them to see that this message is for them!

It doesn’t matter who you are for the rain falls on the unrighteous as well as the righteous. This world is perishing and Jesus will soon come to gather his people unto him. The difficulties we face as we await his glorious return are achieving an eternal purpose as daily we are being transformed into the image of Christ.

We know that we will suffer and endure hardship while on this earth, yet each painful trial brings with it an opportunity to trust God for what he has promised. That is not always easy but it is something that Christ empowers us to do as we grow in our understanding and belief. It takes a willing vessel, emptied of self, to maintain hope in the face of disaster and say, “I know my Redeemer lives!”{Job 19:25}

The testing of our faith is the tool that God uses to strengthen us for the battle. Each time we pass through the valley of our difficulties, defying the enemy as we stand unwavering in trust, we are giving an awesome testament to the power of God. The gates of hell are shaken every time a believer can praise God in the midst of heartbreaking pain and loss. Such was the faith of Horatio Spafford, an attorney in Chicago in the eighteenth century.

In November of 1873, Horatio decided to send his wife and four daughters ahead of him to Europe where he would later join them. He settled them in a cabin aboard the French liner, the Ville Du Havre, and then kissed them and said good-bye.

The grand ship glided upon the water for a while but then it tragically collided with another vessel. As water began filling the ship, passengers were being swept away into the torrents of an icy ocean. Loved ones were torn from each other as they sunk beneath the darkness of the water. The fatalities included the four daughters of Horatio. Mrs.Spafford was later found unconscious and clinging to a piece of the ship’s wreckage. After she was rescued and taken to dry ground, she cabled her husband with the sad news, “Saved Alone”. In a very short time, all of Horatio’s children were taken from him in death! A few years earlier, his only son had succumbed to scarlet fever at the age four. How could he still trust God in the face of such grief and loss? How could anyone?

But God has the power to transcend our understanding and to fill us with his peace even in hopeless tragedies. Horatio quickly booked passage on a ship to be with his wife. While onboard during a bitter cold December night, the captain called to Horatio while pointing out the spot where the Ville du Havre sunk. As he peered into the watery grave where his daughters perished, Horatio was filled with immense grief. With tears, he went back to his cabin and said to himself these faith filled words, “It is well; the will of God be done.” Such incredible trust! He later wrote the famous hymn entitled, It is well with my soul.

My friends, you need to know that Horatio did not have an extraordinary life, but he had an extraordinary faith! He lived his life in such a way that acknowledged his belief that God was in complete control of all that happens. He trusted even through this tragedy that the perfect will of God could not be stopped. He surrendered the pain of his breaking heart as a sacrifice to give honor and glory to God. He absolutely refused to believe that God had failed him.

Is there a struggle in your life that is making it difficult to stand in your faith? Trust is a process that the Holy Spirit takes you through one step at a time. He always knows your weakness and he knows the path to bring you to peace. If you can surrender your pain to God for his glory, he will fill you with joy and peace as he works all things out for your good.

God will never fail you and the tragedies of life can never destroy you. Because of Jesus Christ, all can be well with your soul!

                               The faith of a dying young man will live forever

 

When Thanksgiving comes around each year, it brings to my mind a very special young man who showed me the real meaning of trusting God. 

 

Two months before Thanksgiving in 2000, I was told that the Sutton family from our church had a seventeen year old son that had inoperable cancer and was not going to live long. I decided to visit this family and see if I could help out in any way.  As I was heading over to the house to visit and meet Chris, I remember wondering what I could say to this young man who was dying.  It was one of the most difficult things I ever had to do. I entered the house and found Chris lying on a hospital bed in the family room with his mother by his side.  He looked up as I came in and gave me an awesome smile.  Then suddenly as if reading my mind he looked right at me and said, “Don’t worry about me.  I’m going home to Jesus and I am not afraid”.  His calmness and sense of joy took me by surprise. He was working on a present that he wanted to give to someone who was special to him and he asked me for my opinion.  It didn’t seem to affect his enthusiasm that he was weak or that his one eye was patched because the cancer, now in his brain, had damaged the eye.  Amazingly, Chris still seemed to radiate hope and light despite the fact that the cancer was destroying his body.

 

 I found out later that Chris never wavered in his faith despite the pain and the treatments he had to endure. He continued to encourage the young people of the church to trust in Jesus and many came to believe because of him. He stayed strong to the end even writing an encouraging eulogy that he wanted read at his funeral. His bible was engraved with the words, “No fears, no regrets” and that was how he lived.  Shortly before his death he asked his mother to order a sword to be put in his coffin with him.  Chris always trusted in the sword of the Spirit of God and even in death he wanted to honor the Savior that he loved so much. 

 

On Thanksgiving day, 2000, Chris Sutton went home to be with the Lord.  His years on this earth were so short but the legacy of faith that he left will live on until the Lord comes back.  To the ending hours of his life, Chris never feared dying and never stopped trusting in Jesus.  He understood so well what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain”.  The peace that was with him to the end could only be from God and he taught me that this peace is for anyone who has put their faith in the finished work of the cross. 

 

Each Thanksgiving when I reflect on all that God has done, I remember and give thanks for Chris Sutton who proved that Jesus is with us at all times. Not even the throes of death can steal the joy of a true believer for God’s love will be with you to the end. 

 

God is with you now.  He knows your fears and will be all that you need. 

 

I am praying now for all those who needed to hear this message. 

 

 

 

                                         Seeing the victory ahead

 

Standing strong when troubles overwhelm you is the key to trusting God. It is having eyes to see the victory ahead despite the darkness that surrounds you. The hope we have in all of our problems is found in Jesus Christ who paid the price for our peace. He has promised us that the afflictions of this world cannot destroy us because his power to save us will always be greater than any weapon used against us to bring us down. There is no reason to fear when Jesus has promised to light the way out of the darkness of every painful trial.  Through him, you have the power to demolish strongholds and bondages in your life.  By God’s own command, angels are dispatched from heaven to surround you and to help you when you fall.    

 

 In  2 Kings 6:16, we read of the prophet Elisha who was in danger from the King of Aram.  The king totally surrounded the city with horses and chariots in order to attack and kill Elisha.  When Elisha’s servant saw the great number of the enemy around them he was afraid.  Elisha told him not to fear because “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them”.  Then Elisha prayed that God would open his servant’s eyes to see and understand this.  When the servant looked again, he saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire from heaven ready to defend them. Elisha was saved that day by his faith as God defeated his enemies.  As in the battles that we face today, God’s power will always be more than enough.

 

Those who give up when life gets hard have fallen into the enemy’s trap.  They have believed the deceiver who says that God is too far away to hear your cry, or that your situation is impossible even for God. As time goes by, he will even try to convince you that God will not show up in time to save you.  But through your pain, you must remember that these lies all come from an enemy who has been defeated at the cross of Christ.  He wants you to focus on your problem instead of your God.  You must decide in your struggle if you are going to believe what you see and what you feel or stand in your faith and believe the truth of what God says he can do.

 

Through it all, you must not lean on your own understanding but trust that God’s ways are higher and that he has a better way.  Even his timing has a specific purpose that will help you to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of his love for you. He knows your past and he can see your future.  Most importantly, he knows how to rescue you from your problems and pain and give you back the future that the he planned for you.

 

In the 23rd Psalm, King David wrote in verse 4,”Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”  David learned to trust God even as he had to run from those who were trying to kill him.  Despite the danger he was in, David kept his eyes on God because he knew that God would never fail him. He understood that God had a power that would always be greater than that which came against him. 

 

God is always with you in any battle that you face in this life. Whatever burden you are carrying, it is my prayer that you will have peace in the knowledge that God is always in control.  

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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