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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!

   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

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!

                                    

Amid the frenzy of holiday shoppers all vying for the best sales on gifts, it is apparent that the real reason for Christmas is now just a detached story from the past. The truth of why the Son of God came down from heaven to be born in a manger has become commonplace as retail stores decide to take the name of Christ out of Christmas in their advertising verbiage lest someone be offended.

 

The fact is that over 2000 years ago, God so loved this world that He sent his one and only son to this earth.  Jesus was called Immanuel or God is with us.  He chose to leave the splendor of heaven to walk on this earth to bring hope to those who have none and life to those who are perishing.  He came to suffer and die so that he might purchase our salvation and offer it as a free gift to anyone who calls on his name.  He brought light and truth and showed the way to eternal life.  His work here bought us freedom from the bondages of sin and oppression.

 

Jesus said in John 8:32 that if you hold to his teachings then “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”.  No longer do you have to be a slave to sin and destructive behavior.  If you are a believer, you have the power to overcome all that seeks to destroy you.  John 8:36 says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”.  There is no power stronger than that of Jesus Christ who died for us and was resurrected.  He is alive and his power and strength are there for you if you put your trust in him.  There is nothing that can defeat a child of the living God.  Nothing can overcome you or destroy you for your redemption was made at the cross.  You may stumble as the storms in this life come against you, but you will only fall into the hands of the Savior who has promised never to leave you.  Painful trials can only strengthen and refine you in the race that God has set for you.  They will always be used for your good for there is power in all that God allows in your life.  You do not need to understand the reason; you just need to trust that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 1:6)

 

You must always remember that the God who created you did so with great love.  He knew in advance what your failures and weaknesses would be.  He knew how you would sin and rebel against him.  He knew that you would defy him. Yet there is absolutely nothing you could do that would ever stop his love for you.  It was this love that sent Jesus to this earth to humbly be born in a stable.  And it was love that made Jesus die so that we may live.

 

We may not be able to stop those who attempt to take Christ out of Christmas, but by God’s own promise, they will never be able to take the love out of Christ! 

                               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. 

 

 

 

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!

 

     He will never leave you                                           

 

When you are in the struggles of life and your strength is weak, the testing of your faith seems even more difficult.  Though believers are in this world but not of it, there are times that we can still be brought to our knees by fiery darts of the enemy.  It is then, in those painful times, that we must strive to focus on Christ who is always with us.  Yet, when the storm darkens our world and waters come up to our neck, even the faithful can cry out in anguish, “My God, are you really with me?” 

 

The heaviness of despair can blind you from hope when your heart is breaking and your tears can’t stop.   Does our Savior Jesus, who told us that he has overcome the world, have a purpose in the pain of your situation?  When you can’t see him or hear him, does he hear you?

 

The reality of this matter is found in God’s word.  You won’t always feel God working through your trial to rescue you, but he is.  God tells us in Isaiah 43, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze”.  Those words give us a powerful truth.

 

God is telling us with all certainty that there is no disaster that can overtake those who put their faith in him.  This world cannot come up with a trial that can alter the course of the path Christ died to give you.  He will always be your way out and your way up from every painful struggle. There is no medical issues, marriage problems, addictions, financial struggles or any of life’s storms that God cannot keep from destroying you or the plan he has for your life.

 

In John 20, we read how Mary Magdalene went to the tomb of Jesus after his death; but when she saw that his body was not there, she began to cry. She did not realize that Jesus was standing right behind her.  He said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”  Then he called her by name, “Mary”, and suddenly she rejoiced as she realized that it was Jesus.

 

Friends, I want you to understand the impact of these verses.  Jesus asked Mary why she was crying and who was she looking for.  He KNEW why she was crying and that she was looking for him even though he was there beside her all the time.  Even now in our heartaches as we search for Jesus through our tears, he knows our pain and he is standing right with us even if we don’t fully understand it. As he calls us by name,  he will never leave us alone in our struggle or trust anyone else to help us work it out. For only Jesus is a very present help in time of need.   He has the power to restore us to wholeness as we hand him the pieces of our broken heart. 

  

Whatever burden is causing you to stumble in your faith remember that Jesus is there with you.  His voice is softly saying, “Why are you crying?  Who are you looking for? I am with you and I will never leave you.  My love will cover all of your problems and with my right hand, I will lift you safely above them.”

 

Rest in the peace knowing that Jesus Christ paid the price for your victory in each and every situation you encounter.   I pray that God will help you to understand and trust this message that he provided just for you!

                                         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.  

                                    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! 

                           He sees your broken heart     

             

There is a peace in seeking the counsel of God in prayer for we know that he is all-powerful and there is nothing that he cannot do.  But, it is very difficult not to get anxious when we don’t get an immediate answer from God after pouring out our hearts to him.

 

Scripture tells us in Psalm 84:11 that no good thing does he withhold from those who are his.  For that reason, it is the true believer who can hold on to the promises of God even when the darkness surrounds him.  No circumstance in life can stop our God who has promised that all things will be used for our good.  It is a lie from the pit of hell when the enemy tries to convince you that God doesn’t care about your situation.

 

Jesus did not come to this earth to save us from all of life’s pain and struggles but to help us rise above our difficulties as we are being transformed into his likeness.  He will always meet us in our pain and help us to carry our burdens.  There will never be true happiness in this perishing world, so we need to keep or eyes on the things above. Jesus will always be our source of strength and his grace will provide all that we need. When his silence is deafening and your heart is breaking, you need to know that he has not left you.

 

It is during that time in our struggle when God seems silent that he is doing his best work in us.  He is stretching our faith and equipping us to stand against the enemy and the evil of this world.  He is working out his purpose which he has prepared in advance to bring us to victory.  He has a future for you that is greater than what you can imagine and he alone has the power to make it happen.

 

If we can remain strong even when we don’t feel the presence of God, then we are shown to be true sons and daughters.  Nothing makes the devil flee quicker than when we can praise God in the midst of our painful trials knowing that his love will never fail us. Just remember that despite a financial crisis, a marriage problem, a health issue, an addiction or a heartache, or anything that is giving you pain in your life, God will not let you be defeated and will move the mountains and part the waters that stand in the path that he has set for you.

 

All those that God has used for greatness have endured the silence of God.  In Genesis, Joseph was sold into slavery and unjustly imprisoned for many years.  Yet Joseph held still unto the Lord during this period until the time of God’s plan in which he was made second in command of all of Egypt.  During that time, he was being transformed from just a shepherd boy to that of royalty. 

 

Moses endured 40 years in the wilderness.  Job suffered pain and heartache at the hands of Satan yet was restored as he trusted his God.  Daniel held on to God’s promise and survived the lion’s den. 

 

Jesus himself greatly suffered as he endured the Father’s silence on the cross. He was obedient unto death. Yet the silence of God only served to reveal the greatness of God! 

 

There is always power in God’s silence.  His word says that he will never leave us or fail us ever so we are never alone in our pain.  The stillness of God is his way of strengthening us for he has promised that nothing that comes against us will ever stop his purpose for our life.

 

God’s plan for us was so important that he sent his only Son to suffer and die for it.  Remember that the silence of God is always filled with his strength to take you through whatever comes against you. He will work out all of your problems and give you his peace in the midst of your pain.  You can never lose for you were bought at a price.  For now, all you need to do is just be still and know that HE IS GOD!

 

 

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)

                         The still, quiet voice of God will lead you

 

 

Believing that God can take you safely through all of the storms of this life can be difficult.God’s timing doesn’t always line up with our way of doing things and it may seem that we are alone in our battles.  Life can be tough, but God’s word says that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Our prayers in difficult times unleash the limitless power of God, who is the only one who can make things right and restore us to wholeness.  Believers have access to the Throne of God to present their request and the God who hears you will answer you and give you his peace. He knows how to rescue his people from trials.   

 

The still, quiet voice of the Lord is a strength that can be trusted.  In 1 Kings 19:11, the prophet Elijah was told to go out and stand on the mountain, for the glory of the Lord was about to pass by.  After Elijah reached the height of the mountain, a powerful wind tore the mountain apart and shattered the rocks; and after the wind there was an earthquake and then a fire, but the Lord was not in any of these things.  The Lord actually came to Elijah in a gentle whisper.  This is true for us today.

 

There may be times that you feel drawn by God to a position in life only to have your dreams appear to crumble. You felt sure that God was leading you in a certain area but now that situation has become difficult and you begin to doubt if you heard from God at all.  The truth in this matter is that if you want to avoid the valleys in life and just experience the mountaintop, you had better be ready for the high winds and earthquakes of life that can attempt to take you down.  There are many struggles we face in our lives, but if we can trust the still, quiet voice of God who never leaves us, there is nothing that will be able to defeat us or take us from the place that God has brought us.  Christ is the fulfillment of all that we hope for and there is always hope because he directs our steps.  Any dream or desire that he has placed in your heart, he will make a way! One thing we must remember is that God never changes.  It was God who parted the Red Sea to help save the Israelites and he has the same power to part the river of your tears that seeks to pull you under.  You may feel that you are drowning in your own tears but God has the power to give you the victory no matter what you are going through.

 

Whatever you face in this life, you will never be alone and God has promised you glory if you run the race he has set for you.  It is not always easy, but the prize of being in eternity with Christ is worth it!  You must always remember that there is no power that can defeat the Sovereign God who is over all things. 

 

Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil”.  Be wise and take the opportunity to read your bible each day and give to God more time in prayer.  Put your trust in Christ who has already paid the ultimate price for you.

 

The battle in life is not to be feared for God has already made you more than a conqueror through his son, Jesus.  You now have his power, his strength and most importantly, his love that will keep you from ever being destroyed.  This is the truth that Jesus died to give you.  Take heart, for he is with you today!

                                                       Power over your problems

 

Faith is the key to defeating all that comes against you.  In order for the hand of God to work miracles in your life, you must believe that he is able.  Your trials have no power over you except for what you allow.  For that reason, you must never let the fear of any painful situation in your life become bigger than your God. 

 

The bible tells us that Jesus came to set the captives free.  We who were once in bondage to the evil of this world now have the power over darkness.   The death and resurrection of Christ gave us the victory over anything that seeks to destroy us.  He paid the price for us to live life abundantly despite what we have to endure.  He became our strength to conquer all of our enemies.  He has put death and destruction under his feet.  Those who have a relationship with Jesus have nothing to fear from this world.  He alone is the hope for all that you need and he will not fail you. 

 

In Matthew 15, we read about how the Apostles were in a boat on the water that was being tossed around by the wind and the waves.  During the night, Jesus came to them walking on the water and they became afraid.  Peter asked Jesus to let him come to him on the water and Jesus said, “Come”.  Peter began to walk on the water but when he saw the strong wind and the high waves he was afraid and began to sink.  He cried out to Jesus who lifted him from the water and said, “Why did you doubt?”.

 

 The truth of this matter is that it was not the wind or the waves that brought Peter down, it was his fear!  Instead of keeping his eyes on his Creator who could save him from all things, Peter instead empowered the wind and the waves.  He feared that he would perish even though the Master of the universe was right there with him.  Jesus is over all that is in this world and even the wind must obey him. With just a word, Jesus was able to quiet the storm. 

 

Even now, there is never a situation that Jesus can’t take you through if your trust is in him. With just his word, he can give you peace in the trial that you are enduring. The power of the blood of Christ is able to meet you wherever you are.  It is not based on your good works but on his mercy. It does not matter what you have done or how far you have strayed, his love is able to reach out lift you from the waters of trouble and bring you to safety.  Jesus is always willing to forgive and give you a future that has promise.  For a believer, the strength to live in victory is always with you because Christ lives in you.  He alone can defeat your serious health issues, family problems, financial difficulties or any addictions and pain you may have.  Jesus alone has the power to heal your broken marriage and restore your family. That is your heritage as a child of the living God! Nothing is impossible for him who spoke this world into existence.

 

If you are feeling weary from the battle you are in, lift your eyes to Jesus who is the source of all strength.  He will not leave you alone and his plan for you will never fail. The enemy has been defeated by the cross and his power has been destroyed. 

 

Trust this day that God is able to keep you on top of the water despite what trouble comes against you. It is my hope that you understand that no matter what you are going through, God has people praying for you right now.  You are never alone and your situation is never impossible for the true God whose love will never fail you.. 

 

 

      There is never a heart so broken that the love of Christ cannot heal!

                        

 

What burden are you trying to carry that is making you feel hopeless and alone?   Is there a seemingly impossible situation in your life which has caused you to lose all faith and just give up?  Whatever the circumstance, if your heart is breaking and you don’t know where to turn, take heart for God has a word for you today.

 

In Psalm 34, God’s word says that he is close to the brokenhearted.  We are told in Psalm 58 that God has collected all of our tears in a bottle and recorded every one in his book. He cares about every aspect of our life and for this reason we can be comforted in any situation and know that God has a way for us to rise above every storm that we face.  His power has no limit and there is absolutely nothing that he will not do to help those who call upon his name in time of need. 

 

The enemy roams this earth and tries to blind us to the hope that Christ’s death and resurrection bought for us.  That hope is a promise from God that he will fulfill his purpose in our lives no matter what struggles we face.  Believers have the assurance that Jesus can restore shattered dreams and renew a future with victory and joy.  He is sufficient for all of your needs and he will never fail you. The devil knows well that a child of God can never be destroyed.

 

The Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength”.  Paul realized that it did not matter what he had to go through because he knew that the strength to endure and conquer all of his problems came from Christ.  That truth is also for us today. If you have put your trust in the finished work of Jesus, you now have his strength living in you.  You will never be alone and nothing you can do will ever defeat his perfect plan for your life despite the painful situation you may be in.

 

Jesus died to set you free and to give you a new life.  Before he formed the earth, he knew your name and had a purpose and a plan to bring you to him.  His love for you will never end no matter what you have done and all that you go through touches his heart first.  Although you may not understand why God allows pain in your life, you must remember that he has the power to cause all things to be used for your good no matter how hard it is at the time to endure.  Then you can grow in the understanding that the testing of your faith develops perseverance so that you will not lack any good thing.

 

Those who endure with Jesus to the end will reign with him in eternity.  We are not going to have all of the answers on this earth, however, we can live as conquerors and defeat the enemy if we stand firm and trust that God is bigger than any of our problems.

 

The assurance of all of God’s promises is yours if you simply pray and ask Jesus to make himself real to you.  He is willing to come and live in your heart and be the power to overcome in your struggles.  He wants to heal your pain so that you can live in the peace that he died to give you.  Jesus says in Revelation 3;20 that he stands at the door and knocks and that if you open the door, he will come in and be with you.  Today is that day.  Call upon him now. Your eternity depends on it. 

 

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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