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            The righteous cry out and the LORD hears them (Psalm 34:17)

It is obvious that so many believers are growing weary in these dark days of oppression that we live.  Struggles surround us at every corner and it is hard to stave off the growing fears of uncertainty.  We were told in Scripture that these times would come and test the faithful, but how do we keep standing when the ground is trembling and darkness is filling the sky?

Fear is a tool that the enemy uses to take your focus from the truth.  When you understand that your hope in Christ is secure, you can cease striving. There is nothing that is going to destroy a believer who is holding onto the promises that Jesus died to give.  Your future is never determined by your circumstance.  Trials that you face are only the wind that brings you closer to God.   Every single one of your struggles are used by God to equip you for the battles that come against you.

  Throughout the bible, God allowed his people to be taken to the end of their own strength but yet they were conquerors over all that came against them.  It was in the lion’s den that Daniel watched as his God shut the mouths of the lions and brought him safely out.   The three Jewish boys were bound and thrown into the furnace for refusing to bow in worship to Nebuchadnezzar.(Daniel 3)  Yet it was there that  they came face to face with the Son of God who protected them from even the smell of  fire and smoke. Young David ran against the giant, Goliath, in the power of the God in whom he trusted.  He never doubted that his God could save him as he killed that heathen Philistine with just a stone.  King Hezekiah cried out to his God for help when the Assyrian army was surrounding his people on all sides.  He had no power to face this mighty army but his God did!  We are told in 2 Kings 19:35, ” That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning – there were all dead bodies!”   It was God who fought their battle and saved them.  You need to understand clearly that when you are in Christ, you are a force to be reckoned with!

Beloved, you must understand that no battle you ever face is hopeless.   You don’t need to run from your problems; you just need to turn to your God!  Never lose faith when you get to the end of your ability for it is at that point that you  discover the all-encompassing power of  God.  Jesus paid the price for our redemption and to give us a future with hope.  The enemy may prowl around trying to  rob you of your joy but he can never steal the future that Christ paid with his blood.  Death has no sting for Jesus overcame the grave.  All of your momentary trials are working out a divine purpose to prepare you for the royalty that awaits you in eternity.  Your painful situation has a time to end.  God knows how to take you from your distress and into his peace if you will just surrender to him. 

We are living in a time like no other.  We are watching as  wars, famines, floods, severe weather, poverty, sickness of all kinds of evil are permeating this entire world.  The hearts of many have grown cold as marriages are failing, evil and violence are increasing and all forms of perversions are becoming common. The only hope we have is the enduring love of Christ who will never fail.  He is called Faithful and True and he is  ready to return and gather those who love him. 

May you know this day that you are never out of God’s sight for a second.  Whatever you are suffering is before the eyes of God.  Remember,  “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. (Psalm 34:18)

 

Dear Lord,  I am praying for those who are struggling with a painful situation in their lives.  They feel like they are losing in the battle that they face.  I pray for your peace and strength to fill them.  Let them know without a doubt that you are with them to the end.  For those who have financial problems – may you meet them and provide for what they need.  Those who have marriage and relationship problems – may you join them in peace and restore their families.  I pray for you to heal the pain of those who are sick or who have lost a loved one.  May you comfort and heal those who are in serious bondage to alcohol or drugs.  I pray for your favor in their lives in all that they need.  And may they know that you will not fail them no matter how impossible their problem is to them. Amen.

                               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. 

 

 

 

                                                  He has a way to take you to victory

 

Fear and discouragement are two of the most powerful weapons that the enemy uses to bring believers down.  Although the power of Christ lives in us, the storms of life can fill us with hopelessness and anxiety as the lies of darkness attack our soul.   These fiery darts of evil attack our mind to magnify our problems and diminish the power of our God.  It is a lie from the depth of hell!

 

As difficult as it is to stand your ground in times of trouble, the fact is that Jesus is a powerful stronghold and a strong tower to run to for protection from the battle.  You absolutely cannot be defeated from an enemy that has been rendered powerless through the cross of Jesus Christ.  His death and resurrection finished the work of redemption and bought for us a promise of eternal life with him. 

 

In Psalm 107:28-28 we read, “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper, the waves of the sea were hushed”.  Jesus alone has the power to still the storms in your life and quiet the waves of your troubles.  The darkness of your situation cannot diminish the light of Christ whose power has no limits.  The world around you may be crumbling but God will lift you out of your difficulties and set your feet upon a rock.  As you trust in him, your cries will be changed to songs of praise as you watch the right hand of God bring victory in your life and give you strength to stand in faith. 

 

As the days grow short and evil increases, the destroyer will try to rob you of your hope.  He will attempt to fill your mind with anxiousness and fear as you endure the struggles of this life.  If he can discourage you with his lies, he can make you ineffective for the kingdom of God.  Satan wants to make you feel defeated when Christ has made you more than a conqueror. That which comes against you is filtered through the Savior’s hand and he knows the good that he can accomplish through it. He can do what he says he can do.   

 

 There is nothing in this life that can stand against the purpose and plan God has for you.  It does not matter what the doctor’s report says for God alone has determined the number of your days. He does not care about what stage your cancer is in, his power will always be greater.  Your financial struggle is no match for our God who owns the world and everything in it. The pain and heartache you suffer will bring you nearer to God for he is close to the brokenhearted.  He will dry your tears and give you his perfect peace if you will keep your eyes on him.  God is the restorer of homes and families and he can heal your brokenness. Christ who died to give us the victory is a mighty force to be reckoned with. Years of addiction and bondage can be healed as you surrender your struggles to the nail pierced hands of Jesus.  He won’t fail so you can’t fail!

 

In the wake of all that you are going through, never surrender to the enemy!  Just trust and hold on to the nail pierced hands of Jesus who always has a plan and a promise you can trust.  He is with you right now.  You are never alone!

 

 

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.

 

                                              Promises of Christ

 

All things in this earth will pass away and only the kingdom of God will endure forever.  Each day of your life you have to decide if you will serve the temporary pleasures of this fallen world or store up riches in the never ending kingdom of heaven that is to come.

 

Those who endure until the end will receive the unspeakable reward which Christ has prepared for those who love him.  We are given only a glimpse in Scripture of what it will be like to be in the presence of God in heaven forever because our finite minds could not possibly comprehend the magnificent beauty that awaits believers.

 

For now on this earth, we must face the battles that each day holds as we continue to trust in the unfailing strength of our God who provides all that we need.  We serve a God who alone has the power to turn a curse in our life into a blessing (Deuteronomy 23:5).  No stronghold has power over your life as a believer but what you give it. You only grow weary in the battle when you empower your situation instead of magnifying your God who has the power to crush all of your enemies. You can believe the lie that says your situation is hopeless, or you can walk in the truth that says by faith you can literally move mountains.

 

No struggle or trial is beyond the strength of the Creator who spoke all things into existence.  He who breathed life into your body can assuredly breathe new life into your broken dreams and restore what the enemy took from you. Your situation can never separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus.  Have no fear when it seems like the ground all around you is crumbling.  You are not standing on the sinking sand of this earth but on the promises of Christ who will hold you and keep you standing while those around you are perishing. 

 

Every believer is given a future with promise and a plan to succeed in all that God has called you to do.  You cannot be robbed of your inheritance as a child of the King of Kings.  Jesus came to this earth to die for us so that we might have eternal life with him in heaven.  Your weaknesses and failures cannot stop the promise of God who reconciled us to himself in Christ not counting men’s sins against them   Through Christ, we have become the righteousness of God.  God’s word tells us in 1 Cor. 6: 11, ”But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God”.  We were made clean and right standing not by anything that we could do, but only by what Jesus did for us on the cross.  He paid the price that gave us victory over death and set us free from the bondages of this world. We only need to believe that Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. 

 

If you are unsure of your future and want assurance of eternity with God in heaven, now is the time to call upon the name of Jesus and ask him to reveal himself to you in a personal way.  He is only a prayer away and his great love for you will do the rest. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christ is the reason we can have hope in our lives despite the storms we face. .  He is the promise for all good things and the strength to endure the trials of this life. 

 

The promises of God are real and his faithfulness will never fail us.  We have nothing to fear as believers because the power of God is always with us.  Yet at times those words may ring hollow when you are in a crisis situation.  You may be enduring the effects of a serious illness for which there is no cure. You may be struggling with financial difficulties and don’t know where to turn. You may be suffering the pain of a broken marriage or relationship and have lost all hope for the future.  Whatever the struggle, it can be hard to stand in your faith when your circumstance seems hopeless.

 

We read in Proverbs 24:10, “If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!”.  The truth is that those who believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ have limitless power to defeat anything that comes against them.  In 1 John 5:4, we are told that everyone born of God overcomes the world.  The forces of evil cannot conquer a child of God. The devil himself knows that he is unable to harm a hair on your head but only what God permits.  And God will only allow that struggle or pain for which he has prepared in advance to bring you through to victory. Each trial we endure is permitted to help us to develop the perseverance that we need to stay strong in this life so that our faith may be proved genuine.  Christ did not suffer and die to lose the battle.  His death paid the price for our victory and it cannot be taken from us.  It does not matter what trouble you may be experiencing, God is willing and able to bring you through it. He alone can turn a painful situation into something that will be used for good with a reward that will last forever.  God’s promise in Isaiah 61:3 is to give you beauty for ashes and gladness instead of mourning. 

 

Those who have Jesus as their Savior have a living hope.  It does not matter how weary you may feel for it is Christ who will fight your battle and he knows how to rescue the godly from trials.  He has made us more than conquerors which means we cannot fail despite our weaknesses.  The Apostle Paul understood that all he had to suffer was permitted for a purpose.  He believed that God’s grace was able to meet all of his needs despite the pain he had to endure.  For that reason, Paul was able to be content in any and every situation, good or bad.  He said in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”.  That is the kind of faith that honors God and defeats the enemy.

 

You can have the peace that surpasses understanding if you will keep your eyes on Christ instead of your problems.  There is nothing that is impossible for him.  He cannot fail you because it was by his great love that he created you.  He overcame death and left us a promise that he would always be with us.  Jesus will make a way through the mountain of your problems because his perfect plan for your life cannot be stopped.  Remember, the love of Christ will always defeat your enemies and keep you in his perfect peace. 

 

It is my prayer that you understand that it doesn’t matter where you are or what you are going through for Jesus will be there to help you.  You are never alone.  That is the promise Christ gave to us at the cross  when he cried, “It is finished”.   All things are under his authority and approval and for that, we have nothing to fear!

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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