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  I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? (Psalm 121:1-2)

We have all suffered setbacks in our lives. In this time of uncertainty,  our personal struggles can bring fear and doubt into our lives.  It is hard enough to survive much less have any hope for the future.  We are told in Scripture that God sends the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  Why is that?  I mean if you are trying to live and do what is right, why must you endure  such the same hardship as  evildoers?

God always has  a plan.  For believers, whether you are experiencing a time of peace in your life or enduring the heat of a painful struggle, you have the assurance of knowing that all things are being directed by the hand of God.  When it seems as though you are being defeated, it just means that your victory is near.  There is nothing to fear in any battle  for the war of life has already been won at the cross! Jesus has made you a conqueror over all that comes against you. For that reason,  the enemy’s tactic is to fill your mind with despair and hopelessness since he knows that you can never be destroyed.  He is attempting to kill, steal and destroy the hope you have been given in Christ.  Never surrender to him what Christ has paid a price to give you!

While we await the return of Christ, we are going to face trials of every kind.     Although you may be feeling overwhelmed in your pain,  God is always in control with full authority to bring your sufferings under submission to his will. Everything, big or small, is  being worked out for the best for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.   If you become anxious and hopeless in the midst of a trial, it is because you are listening to the lies of an enemy who has no power over you.  There will never be a need too great or a heartache so painful that the amazing, never-failing love of Christ cannot heal.   

The consequence of sin and evil is all around us.  Sadly, most people have become lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.  But even as darkness fills the earth for all creation, God has provided a way for the righteous to escape.  In the days of Noah, we read in Genesis 6:5, “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only for evil. “   Although the rain flooded the earth killing everything that walked on it, Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD and he and his family was spared.  God knows how to rescue the righteous from their troubles no matter how impossible it may seem. 

Those who put their hope in the things of this world will perish with it. No one is exempt from the trials of this world, but the faithful who trust in the cross of Christ shall never fall.  God has a deliberate, eternal purpose in allowing trials in the life of believers.  You are being molded and shaped for the world to come.  He is preparing a place of royalty in heaven for you that will more than compensate for your momentary troubles here on earth.

David was a young man anointed by God to be King of Israel.  Yet for many years he had to live his life in hiding from King Saul who wanted him dead.  In Psalm 23, David wrote, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”  He was a man who believed that God could keep his promise to make him King even though things looked bad.  He  continued to trust his God and not his circumstance! David knew that  God was with him despite the fact that Saul’s whole army was out to kill him. 

Your battles are not yours to fight when you surrender them to Christ.  Whatever valley of despair you may be in right now, remember that it is not your permanent location. It is actually a meeting place where you come to the knowledge and understanding of the God of all your strength.     

David trusted and knew that his struggles were just an opportunity for God to show his power.  In Psalm 18:18, David wrote: “ He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters”.  

Whatever deep waters of problems that you have, take hope knowing that Christ died to give you a future.  He reached down and took you this far and he has the power to take you to the end!

 

Dear Lord, I pray for all who visit here to understand the truth of this message.  May  you lift up those who are struggling and bring them to a place of your peace.  May they know beyond a doubt that you are always with them.  Amen

We are in this world but not of it

 As the world news reports the crisis situations of wars, famines, floods, tornadoes, and every evil under the sun, there emerges a question that each person must ask and that is,  “Who am I following?”.

Your whole life comes down to a choice in this world that is perishing right before our eyes.  Whatever occupies the majority of your thoughts and your time  is a key indicator of where you are in your relationship with Christ.  We who belong to Christ are called to live as aliens on this earth. Those who seek the  kingdom to God are never satisfied with the pleasures of this world.  The temporal riches in life can bring more problems than happiness.  True joy comes from serving God as only those things which you have surrendered to him will last.  As each day brings another set of difficulties,  your faith will soon come with a  price.  Jesus tells us  about this in John 15:18-19:

 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

For you to belong to Christ, you must seek the things of his kingdom.  If you are too comfortable with the ways of this world, you may need to examine your relationship with Christ.  Many people live as if this earth was all that mattered.  They are deceived into thinking that they can conform to the world and still be a follower of Christ.  You can’t serve two masters.  One will always trump  the other. It is only the narrow path that leads to eternal life.  The enemy will always try to lead you down the wide road of destruction as he compromises the truth to fit your lifestyle.  It is a life that will never bring you joy and blessings.  You can’t be “almost” saved to get to heaven.  When Christ reveals himself to you, there is a radical transformation as your heart of stone is replaced by a  heart of flesh that seeks after the will of God.  And while there is a process of learning to walk in the ways of righteousness; a man born of God will turn from evil as his renewed spirit is led to follow Christ. 

My dear friends, if you truly want victory in your life, there is just one way to have it.  It is only by living the crucified life of Christ that you find peace and joy despite your troubles.  It is at the foot of the cross that your weaknesses have been made strong and your burdens have been lifted.  There is no bondage that can hold a believer who has been set free by the blood of Christ.  All of your struggles are working out an eternal, divine purpose to equip you for his good work.  In every battle, you are surrounded by the army of the living God who has given his angels charge over your welfare.

As I write this message, there are fellow believers living in restricted and hostile nations who do not have the freedom to worship as they please. They have chosen to risk their lives for Christ.  They are not looking for seeker-friendly churches with watered down gospel messages.  They are searching for the pure truth despite the consequences.  Some have watched as family and friends have been tortured or killed for their faith.  Through it all, they do not waver in their resolve to follow the way of the cross.  That is true victory!  That is the power of Christ making strong those who are willing to suffer for him.  That is the kind of faith that defies all understanding. 

I know that there are those who visit this site who are enduring trials and heartaches of every kind.  The increase of evil everywhere has darkened this world,  but nothing can quench the fire of a believer who trusts in the promises of Christ.  The fact is that your problems are never able to destroy you.  They are allowed by Christ only to take you from where you are to where he is!   As difficult as it may seem, you must not grow weary and give up.  In your struggle, don’t look at your circumstance, look to your God! You have reason to hope because the One who gave you life holds your future in his hands.

In a time when nothing is certain, you must choose to follow in the ways of truth.  Jesus is coming to take those with him who have shown themselves to be true daughters and sons.  You need only look around you and watch the news to understand that he is coming soon! While there is still time, give your heart to Christ.  Surrender all you have to get all that he has for you.  Your eternity depends on it!

I am praying for all who come to this site who are uncertain of their future.  May you understand that with Jesus there is a way to know for sure.  If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at: commish07@zoominternet.net.   Let Christ lead you to the truth.  You are never alone.

 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.(Psalm 108:28-29)

WHERE DOES MY HELP COME FROM?

 
Without a doubt, the immense struggles of these ending days can weigh your spirit down.  Scripture assures believers that we are not alone in our problems nor are we ever without help.  Although you may want to believe this promise, there are troubles that can leave you feeling totally helpless and defeated.  The raging storms of life brings many questions:  Where do you turn when you have just been given a diagnosis that your illness is terminal? What do you do when your spouse leaves you for someone else?  How do you continue to support yourself and your family now that your job has been terminated?  How do you break free from an addiction that is keeping you in bondage?  Our trials are getting more difficult.  It is one thing to trust God to get you to the Red Sea.  It is quite another to believe that he will part the waters and bring you safely across.
 
We are in a time when our faith is being tested to the limit.  The truth is that even though the storms are getting fiercer, we serve a God who remains the same.  His power to save and restore our lives has not changed.  Nothing can defeat a child of God for whom Christ has redeemed!
 
If you are facing serious medical issue, I pray you will understand  that this message is for you.  Your fear and uncertainty is before the eyes of God and he is with you.  It doesn’t matter what diagnosis your doctor gave you. The only one who knows what is going to happen to you is God.  It was he who has numbered your days before one of them came to be. Our God has the power over all sickness and disease.  He doesn’t care what stage your cancer is in.  He can heal a stage 4 as easily as a stage 1.  The only fact that matters is that his perfect will for you cannot be stopped by bad medical report!  God has planned what is best for you in this life and he will not deny you anything good. If he chooses to heal you now, his power can completely cast out all traces of illness and restore you to health.  But yet, whenever the time comes for you to leave this earth, you can take comfort knowing that even then the love of God will be with you.  It is my belief that those who belong to Christ will never die scared.  In chapter 7 of the book of Acts, we read about the faith of Stephen.  He was willing to be put to death for Christ.  As they were getting ready to kill him, Stephen shouted with joy, “Look”, he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God!”  At those words, the angry crowd stoned him to death.  What is amazing  is that Stephen saw Christ standing at the right hand of God.  All through the bible, Jesus is always seated at the right hand of God – so why then was he standing?  I believe with all of my heart that Christ stood ready to greet Stephen as he came to his eternal home.  Christ, the Son of the living God, is ready to meet with you when you leave this earth!  He will be faithful to you to the end.  When you are absent from the body, you are present with him!  You have nothing to fear from death.  God hears your prayers for family and loved ones and he can take care of them.
 
In any trouble, God is still sovereign.  His authority defeats impossible situations  Your serious financial problems cannot destroy you unless you believe that God is not enough.  Whether you have plenty or are in need, he is working all things out for the purpose for which he created you.  It is difficult to remain calm when you may be losing everything you own, but you must learn to trust that God is able to restore all that was taken and more. Everything on this earth and in the  heavens is his to give!  King David wrote in Psalm 37:25, ” I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous begging for bread,”  God knows how to give you what you need if you will just believe and wait upon him!
 
You may suffer for while when your heart is broken by a betrayal  in a  marriage or relationship, but God is able to heal your heart and renew the future  of all who trust in him. Your pain cannot crush you when Christ holds your heart.    Believe the truth and not what your emotions tell you. There will come a time when your pain will be just a memory and  a remembrance of how God was faithful to bring you through it. 
 
My prayer for those who are shackled to deadly addictions is that you will reach for the hand of  Jesus who is willing to pull you from the mire and set you on high ground!  There is no bondage that the cross of Christ cannot  release you from.  You do not have to live as a slave to destruction if you are willing to surrender your weakness to gain Christ’ strength!  Jesus paid the price for your freedom.  It is yours for the asking.
 
In all things, God is more than able to give you the victory.  He is the Author and Finisher of all life.  There is nothing out of his control.  Whatever you are facing, remember that Christ came to give you life.  Let not your heart be troubled by the cares of this world for the love of God will never fail you!
 
I will be praying deeply for all those who are in pain and need to understand the truth of this message.
 

Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard” (Daniel 10:12)

Probably one of the hardest steps of faith is believing that God hears and will help us when we call on him in prayer.  We are still living in a world that has dimensions and boundaries and our finite minds have limits to our understanding in difficult matters.  We, therefore, need a measure of faith to see past that which is seen and go deeper into that which is unseen.  The only way to please God is by trusting him despite the storms that we face in a world that is literally being destroyed by sin.  Although it is not visible to our eyes right now, there is a battle that is taking place all around us in the heavenly realms.  Darkness is covering the horizons in every corner of this world as evil is seeking to destroy everything in God’s creation.  So when we are faced with a painful trial, it is easier to believe what we can see than what we can’t see.  Yet, it is at our lowest point of a struggle that we must lift our eyes in prayer and believe that our God is not going to let us be devoured by the enemy of destruction.

It may seem impossible to live with a  heart that is breaking but God has promised us in  his word that He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3)   He is not slow to help and he will never fail you even when it seems that you are being crushed by the weight of your pain. If you could see the very real battle that is taking place all around you, you would understand that you are being guarded by the forces of heaven. Every step you take as a believer is guided by the hand of God who knows the path you must take to victory.  Every prayer that you present to Christ is heard and he knows what is right and perfect for you.  Your whole life is before his eyes and he is answering you in ways that for now, you may not understand. The solid truth is that Christ never stops working all things out for your good!  When you lift up your prayers and petitions, you are surrendering all of your struggles to the will of God.  You are seeking his strength and his power to help you stand in faith believing the God who saw your unformed body in the womb and who numbered all of your days before even one of them came to be.  Nothing of your life is hidden from him.  Your fear and despair in a trial stem from not understanding the power of God and his unfailing love for you. Never will his eyes leave you for one second! Why can you not understand that you are worrying about things that Jesus already has worked out?

I have been through a lot of pain in my life but I can now rest in the fact that the purpose and plan God has for my life cannot be stopped. I can trust that he is right next to me when I pray and that he always hears.  No pain can consume my life because my God will always be bigger than anything I face.  I believe that God will go ahead of me in every battle and lead me into victory against my enemies.  I know that God is faithful and that I can take him at his word.  My future is in his hands and he is the joy of my life.  At the moment of Christ’ death, the temple veil that enclosed the holy of holies was torn signifying our new access to the throne of God in every prayer!  Believers are right there with Christ in every petition that is made to him. The devil can’t stop our prayers nor can he hinder God from answering them.

My dear friends, I say all this to encourage you through the trials you are facing.  You can still have a future despite a broken marriage or a relationship that is not working out.  Your financial struggles are not going to be forever.  Job situations and serious health issues are still under the sovereignty of God. My greatest lesson in God’s love came when I trusted him at a time when I had no strength of my own in an impossible situation.  His power is greater than a painful struggle or addiction.  His strength is perfected in any weakness that we surrender to him. We can trust our God in every area of life and we can trust him in death.  There is nothing good that he will ever withhold from those who belong to him. Never let the silence make you think that God is not doing something for your cause. Remember that Elijah had to wait on the mountaintop for the quiet whisper of God after he faced the powerful wind, the earthquake, and the great fire. No matter how or when he chooses to do it, never doubt that God will show up and fight against that which is coming against you!

Dear Lord,  I am lifting up those who are going through a storm in life that is making them weary. They want to believe that you will show up in time to help them but the enemy has been filling their minds with lies.  I pray that you will give them your peace that passes understanding and open their hearts to know that you are with them right now. They don’t have to see you or feel you in order to know that you are there.  Show them that their prayers are heard by you and you will resolve the issues they face. Let them know that you will never leave them to fight against the battles of this world alone.  I pray that they will listen for that small whisper of hope that you are ready to give them.  Lord Jesus, I believe your promises never fail.  Amen

 

                I HAVE COME THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE, AND HAVE IT ABUNDANTLY

( John 10:10)

We were all born sinners in a lost and perishing world. Our rebellion made us enemies of God and the price was eternal separation from him. Yet despite our weaknesses, the bible tells us: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal love” (John 3:16) That is love beyond measure! Christ left the splendor of heaven to walk among us and give us hope for a life with him. The night that Christ was born, we read in Luke 2:8-11 :

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

What an awesome message to receive! Imagine being in that lonely field and seeing the the glory of God shining all around. Shepherds were considered low class, they were not trusted as witnesses in a court of law, and they weren’t well educated. They lived and worked outdoors, they typically were not able to keep the ceremonial law the way the priests did in the city. As a result, they had a reputation for being unclean. Yet God deemed them the perfect ones for him to witness the birth of the Savior of this world.

Christ became flesh to walk with his creation. He came to bring hope and joy despite the fact that there are many troubles in this world. His birth was the greatest gift that this world has ever known. Jesus came to defeat death and bring new life. He came to shine  a light in a dark world. And he came to show profound, amazing love to a world that would reject him.

There is nothing else that we need in this life for Jesus brought us the free gift of salvation and friendship with God. We no longer have to be imprisoned to sin and destruction. He offered us power over all the storms of this life and the promise of glory in heaven. Struggles and pain can no longer defeat those who accept Christ as Savior. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you have done, Jesus brought forgiveness and abundant life for all who seek him.

The enemy wants you to believe that you can live your life apart from Christ and still be okay. That is a lie from the pit of hell for you will face destruction if you reject Christ as Lord and Savior of your life. You will never have victory any way other than the path that God prepared for you before the foundation of the earth. Jesus is the only way to eternal life.

I pray that you will understand that despite what you have done, you can still have a life with promise if you start now to put your trust in Jesus. You have to want to live according to his ways and to turn from the ways that keep you in bondage. Your weakness can be made strong in Christ, and by his power you can overcome all obstacles in your life.   But time is growing short and you need to choose to live for Jesus now!

Let this Christmas be the one where you decide to live in the victory of Jesus! That will be the best gift you could ever get and it is one that will last into eternity! 

Merry Christmas to all who read this.  Whatever you are going through, your God is already there, willing and able  to help.  Please know that I am praying for you!

            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.

                       lifting-up-hands                                                 Knowing that God will rescue you

Where is God in all of our struggles?  We are living in unbelievably difficult days and it does not appear to be getting any better.  Trying to hold on in faith while the darkness surrounds our situation can literally seem impossible.  In our finite minds,  it doesn’t make sense that God  appears to wait so long to come to our rescue.

The pain of a trial in life can be overwhelming.  A troubled marriage can turn your life upside down.  Financial problems seem to have no end in sight.  A serious illness can interrupt your life in a big way.  Addictions to alcohol, drugs, pornography or  any bondage can bring total havoc in your life.  There are just too many problems to deal with as utter darkness covers the earth.  Where is the peace that surpasses understanding that Jesus promised us believers?  Sometimes it may take all the effort you  have just to get out of bed in the morning and face life.  Without a doubt, we are living in troubling times.  So what can we do?

We are told in God’s word that then enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking to devour you.  He is seeking to kill, steal and destroy all that you have.  But, the truth is that the enemy cannot take anything from one whose faith is in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  All that he can do is convince you of a lie that his power to destroy you is bigger than God’s power to rescue you.  You must remember that the tomb could not hold back the Holy Spirit’s power to raise Christ from the dead and that same power is living in you!  For that reason, you cannot be defeated no matter how wounded you are in the battle you are fighting.  Christ has conquered death and the power of evil.  Though the enemy can wage war all around you,  you will not be a casualty of a battle that has already been won.  Don’t look at your circumstances –  look at your God!  Our weakness comes when we take our eyes off the Source of our power.  Jesus does not take cover in the attacks of the enemy.  He is our fortress and a very present help to us.  The weary can find safety in his shadow and experience peace in his never-ending love.

By knowing and understanding the God you serve, you are able to rest and trust  him to get you through the storm.  If Jesus tells us to take joy despite our problems, he must have a way for us to do so.  We know by all that is true that God cannot lie.  In every one of our troubles, God is present and working them out.  You don’t have to feel him or see him working to know that he is causing all things to be used for your good.  It is by faith, which is greater than silver or gold, that we trust despite our pain.  My friends, you must understand that while this earth is not heaven, it is here that God is getting us ready to be royalty in a glorious place that will never end!  It is difficult to endure the hardships that surround us each day, but it is not impossible.  The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross gave us hope that our future is secure.   If he has the hairs on your head numbered, he surely is not going to forget to help you when you need him.  In his timing, you will understand that he never left you for one second!  The Apostle Peter took his eyes off of Jesus when he was walking on the water and began to sink.  But understand this – JESUS NEVER TOOK HIS EYES OFF OF PETER!  Jesus was able to lift Peter up from the sea because his power did not cease even when Peter doubted him.

God’s love and power for you are real.  If you are struggling it is because you are listening to the lies of the enemy and have taken your eyes from Christ.  I know that your financial problems are real and that your marriage may be in serious trouble.  All that I am saying is that God is not going to fail you.  You may think he is not with you now in your pain but the truth is that he is.  Even in your fear and weakness, he is not going to abandon you.  His love is just so amazing that it will meet you wherever you are.  He knows how to lift you from your sea of trouble and he will not let you drown.  God can make a way even when there is none.

Let the amazing love that Christ has for you be your strength in the battle you are facing.  Get into his word and let him fill you will the knowledge of his power so that you will not be afraid of what the future holds for you.  The words that God gave to his people long ago are for you today: “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”. (Isaiah 41:13)

   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

                                    

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. 

 

 

 

     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!

                                                            

 

The hope of victory in all of the battles you face in this world starts with absolute surrender to Jesus Christ.   It is only when you are willing to trust him with your weaknesses that he can make you strong in his power.  Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “For when I am weak, then I am strong-the less I have, the more I depend on him”.  Paul understood that he could not endure on his own all the persecutions and hardships he suffered.  His strength came from knowing that Jesus was using the pain he suffered to overcome his weaknesses.  Paul was made stronger with every battle that Jesus took him through. He knew that even death had no power over him.  For that reason Paul was able to say in Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is for Christ and to die is gain.”

 

It is only by the strength of Christ who lives in us that we can overcome all the forces of evil that try to defeat us everyday.  There is no stronghold in your life that can destroy you when you have put your faith in Jesus.  He is all that you need because he alone can do all things.  By his death and resurrection, Jesus has freed you from the chains of bondage to sin.  You now can have peace in the midst of a storm because you know that God’s purpose for your life cannot be stopped.  The enemy cannot steal your joy when you are in a painful trial because Jesus is always with you and he has promised you a reward that far outweighs all that you are going through.  Although we live in a lost world, we can stand firmly in the hope that Christ has made us joint heirs with him in a kingdom that will never be destroyed. 

 

The struggles of this world may make you weary but they are no match for the promises of God who has made us more than conquerors.  The enemy roams this earth trying to fill you with his lies of hopelessness and defeat.   But Jesus came to bring light and truth to a dark world so that we can live without fear knowing that he will bring us through all of our problems.  You need to know that you have an eternal hope in Jesus Christ and he will never fail you.  It does not matter what heartache or pain you are in, his love is able to heal and comfort you.  The peace that God brings can sustain you in even the darkest storm if you are willing to trust him. We read in 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him”.  Jesus is the only force you need to stay strong in the battle because his blood on Calvary paid the price for your victory

 

The best thing about the love of Christ is that he is willing to meet you where you are. He wants to give you his power to overcome your weaknesses.  He wants to restore your life and give you a future. He wants to give you victory over all that comes against you. And most importantly, Jesus wants to give you eternal life with him in heaven. Your problems and failures can never stop God from restoring you to wholeness and giving you a future despite the hopelessness of your situation.. He will always make a way when there is none!

 

Salvation is found only in Jesus. There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)  It is my prayer that you will call upon his name today. His love will be sufficient to do the rest. 

 

 

 

                         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!

 

He can give you rest and peace no matter what trial you face 

 

The darkness of these current days can appear abysmal.  There are wars, earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes in the news.  We watch helplessly as people throughout the world and in our own country face uncertainty as they try to rebuild their disaster devastated lives.  So much is happening and some may wonder if God really cares.

 

The answer to this lies in God’s word.  In Matthew 28:20, Jesus says,” And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. God’s word says 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you”. There is nothing that is happening that God is not sovereign over.  If he is allowing it, there is a purpose.  Scripture tells us that though now you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, it is so that your faith may be proved genuine. The winds that blow through your life as a believer are never meant to weaken you but rather to strengthen you in your walk with God.  In the book of Genesis, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and ultimately unfairly imprisoned for many years. But God was with him.  Prisons then were dark, damp and filthy and the prisoners did not get much food. After all those years Joseph should have come out of prison emaciated and sickly. Instead, Joseph emerged from prison to be appointed second highest in command in Egypt. He had the energy and the sound mind to rule despite what he had endured.  God was perfectly able to keep Joseph’s mind and body strong during his time of trial and to use the evil done to him for good to accomplish the saving of many lives.

 

God is still with us during our struggles to lift us up above our circumstances and to use them for our good.   He tells us in Psalm 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”.  Those who have hope in the shed blood of Jesus have nothing to fear from this world.  Hebrews 7:25 tells us that Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for them. Jesus gave his life for you so that you can have life to the fullest.  He cares about your hurts, your pain, your injustice, your addictions and anything that seeks to bring you down.  He left us his peace so that we can have joy no matter what trial we have because we know that Christ is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us.

 

This world is not our home and Jesus has promised to go and prepare a place for us.  Nothing you have done can stand in the way of Christ’s forgiveness and mercy if you call on him.  For now, there will be problems and disasters on this earth, but we have the hope that God will one day wipe away every tear and bring us to eternal life with him. 

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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