Strength

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8 NIV

Have you ever been at the end of your rope? Barely hanging on and not able to go on? Trials and circumstances seem to be pounding into you like waves. God where are you? I need help I can’t do this. You are not alone. You are in good company. Last week fear was gripping me and saying all of God’s promises just didn’t help. I believe Gods words and I can quote many of them but that wouldn’t make it go away. I was trying to write in my book and ignore what was going on in my mind. I felt God said to write on strength. God is an ever present help in trouble. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. So I wrote and God spoke. When I was almost done he told me something really important that would help. Praise! Whenever you need victory stop. It isn’t that God’s not there. It isn’t that you don’t deserve help. It isn’t that God doesn’t want to help you. Be still and know that I am God. The only way to do that is to be open up and be in his presence. Because in his presence is fullness of joy. Something I didn’t have right then. Where can you find his presence. Correct, he inhabits the praises of his people. So all week long I plugged in my ear buds and turned on praise music and sang along letting each word fill my head. He is good and he knows what he is doing even though I don’t. I don’t have to know the outcome because he is trustworthy. I look back over my life and can not think of once when he failed me. He is never late or unable to meet my needs. I could talk all day about his great and mighty wonders and barely scratch the surface. I think, “what is the worst that could happen?” Death, well if I’m dead, I’m with him, so not death. Job was probably one who holds the record for bad days. He lost everything his children, servants, possessions, his wealth, even the respect of his friends and his wife. They blamed him and told him it was his fault. While he sat in ashes wishing he was dead. His wife told him to just curse God and maybe he will strike you dead. But Job was a good man and could never do that. Even if God was to slay him he would always serve him. Worrying and being anxious doesn’t do anything. Can we change anything ourselves? No! Seek him and his presence and wait. This too shall pass. This week I am back to blessed and victorious. And I know a week of his presence helped.

Where does your strength come from?

Satisfaction

“I have food to eat that you know nothing about. My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” John 4:32&34 NIV

When you are passionate about something you will find so much satisfaction in doing it that you can forget other things. I sold homes when I was younger and I would get so busy that meal times would come and go and what I was doing was so satisfying that I wouldn’t even notice that I had missed a lunch. I felt I was making a difference in someone’s life and that kept me going. That wasn’t anything that was life changing but it was important to someone. Right now I am so close to God and seeing him do so much. I am so amazed that he is willing to let me be a big part of what he is doing and now I am making a difference. God is so good and I want to do all I can for him. In Matthew it says, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.” Whenever I think of doing God’s work I get excited. I’m saying, “Send me, send me.” I want to be a part of when God is moving. It brings so much satisfaction. He is so busy in so many peoples lives and I just love being a part of it. So many people are busy worrying about what they need or want. “What about me?” When I started running after God and making a difference in others’ lives. Especially wanting to see people growing in their walk with God life got so much more exciting. I didn’t even think much about my needs but they are always being met and exceeded. So many others needs are being met and exceeded also. It is all consuming. I get so excited that I just want to see and do more. Before my stroke I just didn’t get it. I didn’t get involved and I didn’t have a special relationship with God. He might move in a service that I was in and I would see it but I didn’t really understand. Now everything is different. I will never forget the time the music we were singing just lept off the page and I saw every word and what it truly meant to me. I sit up on the front row during worship and the passion and emotion of the worship team seems to flood over me like a tidal wave on the beach. I get so emotional and God’s love is so strong. I just want to be more involved. It is never enough. If I have been praying or given money for a certain need I am so blessed when God moves.

Do you want to be a worker too?

The Journey

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord'”Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven .” Matthew 7:21 NIV

We are all on a journey. Each and everyone of us who are alive are on this journey to discover first ourselves, then God, and the true meaning to this life we have been given. This life is but a snapshot of the long journey we are on. Our life here is approximately 80 years. Some more, some less. But it is very brief compared to forever. We all go somewhere after this life is over. That is determined by the small life we live here. To describe eternity is difficult. Throughout this life God is always calling us. Whether you were born into a Christian Family that went to church every Sunday, or were born to a Muslim family or a non-religious family who did not go to church. You are given life by God and he loves you. Everything around you tells of his glory the fact that there is a great creator is around us daily in all we do. You will know someone who knows Jesus. And will hear about him. But whether you accept or reject these feelings is up to you. You will make a decision to believe or not. If you don’t want to think about it you have already made your decision to reject Jesus. Back to eternity. Heaven will be a wonderful place. There will be no pain or trials anymore . Everyone will have perfect bodies and perfect minds able to know everyone by sight even people you have never met. Like Moses, King David, or the Apostle Paul. It will be a perfect joyous place. Where your happiest memory on earth is just multiplied and goes on and on forever. Or darkness and isolation , surrounded by flames of fire closing in on you all around. Fire that touches and smells overwhelming you but never consuming and never ending. There will be no parties in heaven and your friends may be there but you will never know because you are isolated. No one to hear your cries. How we live our lives and where our heart lies is so important. The only way to heaven is to let go of your past, your pride, your hurts, hate, anger and reach out to Jesus he is the only way. He is already reaching out to you. He knows you are lost and since all man has sinned we are separated from God. We need a savior to forgive us. He will with just a word. Then you can know what it is to really live. Blessed and loved. Forever.

God Is Good

“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness.” Nahum 1;7-8 NIVp

God is good. He cares for his children and always hears when we cry out to him. He does not like to see his children hurting. Especially at the hand of wicked and evil people. That’s how he is , He always brings punishment on those who are evil, sinners. Eventually judgement will come. Nineveh was a very worldly and corrupt city. Their reputation preceded them. That is why God asked Jonah to prophesy the destruction he had for them. But Jonah said no way and ran the other way. God sent a big storm to follow him . God always knows what we are up to. You can not hide from God. When the people found out he was running away from God they had no choice but to get him out of their ship. They still cried out to God to forgive them for throwing him overboard. But the minute he was out of the ship the seas grew calm. God is powerful. They were stunned. Well we all know what happened next. After three days in the belly of a fish yelling at God he agreed to go to Nineveh . He had not wanted to go because he knew God to be very merciful and loving. He knew if he warned them then they would cry out to Him and he would stop from sending judgement . They were so wicked that he thought they should pay. Well the minute he agreed to go, poof, he was on dry land. He headed for Nineveh and poured his heart out to the people letting them know all God had told him. Well you know what happened? They cried out to God for forgiveness and turned from their evil. And he forgave them. Jonah knew it. He was so upset he went just outside the city and sat down to pout. “Just kill me, I knew you would do that. I would be better off dead.,” he said. Well God let him sit there and fume for a while, but God sent a plant to grow up over his head to shield him from the burning sun. The next day when he woke up a worm came munching on that plant and it died. Well now Jonah was real mad. But God asked him why he was so angry? You didn’t make that plant. It was just an old plant so why should you care. You see that city is full of thousands of people that I made. Some were good and some were bad but I loved them. That’s why I had to warn them. Even when we are evil sinners. God still cares about us. If you come to Him and ask him to forgive you for bad tings you have done, even if they are really bad. If you are sorry for those sins he will forgive you.

Don’t you want to be on God’s side?

Gods Word

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NIV

It has been the number one best seller for a long time. The most read book out there. It is in more homes throughout the world and is written in many different languages. it is our owner’s manual for living a full and abundant life. When we buy a new car or an appliance they come with an owner’s manual telling you everything you need to know to keep it running at its best. Trouble-shooting tips for every problem. Things you need to do and not to do. Who knows that item better than the one who designed it. I can remember when microwaves first came out. Oh, I had to have one. Just heating up a glass of water was an exciting experience. We tried everything that book said. We read all about this new invention. Learning what to do and what you should not do. We lived by that little book. Well the Bible is alive and active. It gives guidance for our most important possession, our life! It has advice, wisdom, what things to do and not to do. Things to do to get along peaceably with those around us. The more you do what it says the happier you become. It can tell you that it is normal to want what you want when you want it. Our flesh desires many things but not all are good for us. Even if they may satisfy for a moment. From the day you are born you want food when you are hungry, comfort when you are uncomfortable, and pleasure when you are bored. We want whatever will make us happy. There are billions of people living on this earth and we all need to live happily together. We all want to be happy and loved. God has promised each of us that he wants to give us the very best life, full and abundant, but we need to listen to him to know how to have that. He knows each and every one of us. He knows just what can make us truly happy. He can show us when others need help. Living by rules and commandments seems so rigid but it is more than that. It is a loving father wanting the very best for his children. Not wanting to see them hurting or struggling. Wanting the best for them always in this scary and dangerous world. God is A God of perfect love for he invented love. He loves each of us completely no matter who we are or what we have done. He wants to really get to know you and for you to really know him. He has things we should do and not do because he cares and if we just get to know him we will want to do them out of love knowing they are what is best. He has offered a free gift to everyone that will accept it. It is the way to life. Perfect life. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I am learning more every day and happiness is ours for the asking. Power like you have never known. He doesn’t expect us to just obey. On our own we can’t. He promises to help us each step of the way. I have never known a friend so sweet.

Will you get to know him through his words?

Fire Down In My Soul

“…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 NIV

This is a very comforting verse. But it is sometimes quoted as just the last sentence alone. But by doing that we are missing so much. It starts mid sentence with and. It tells us to be sure to put both sentences together. It’s important to know that when we obey everything he commands us, or strive to, that then he will be with us ALWAYS. Through the good, the bad, and everything in between. It’s easy to think we are alone in the hard times. But he tells us that he will NEVER leave us ever. He is right beside you, or maybe he’s carrying you through it. When I am faced with trials I have learned to make a fist. It reminds me that he is holding my hand. Together we are unstoppable and WILL prevail. I have been doing everything I can lately to feel his presence. It has become so important that I cry out for more of it. Going to church on Sunday’s and hanging out with good Christian friends, listening to excellent praise and worship music, and great words spoken by our church leadership is great. But when I come home to my little room all alone I want to feel that joy still. I hunger and thirst for righteousness and a song we sang comes back to me, Set a fire down in my soul, that I can’t contain and I can’t control. These are great words and I have cried out for this in my own life for a while. But any time you ask for more you have to be willing to take a step forward to seeing it happen. I love to listen to praise music. The words are so powerful. It’s exciting to sing words that you feel so strongly. I am not a songwriter but it seems like I could have said them. I wish I had. I love to watch good Christian movies, read good Christian books, devotionals and my Bible. All of these things can bring me into his presence when I am alone. I can pop my earbuds in and turn the music up while I’m playing games or doing a puzzle but I hear the words and I can’t help but sing along with passion. Like right now I am listening and ‘How I Need You ‘ is on. My heart just can’t help but join in. Some of the greatest times in his presence are right here in my room all alone. But never alone. I have a missionary from my church who is in prison in India and we have been praying for his release. This morning it hit me. The reason why the Apostle Paul could have so much peace while he was in chains, was because he knew what I have found. You can be lifted up where ever you are when you are in his presence. Even if you have no radio you can sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and praise till you are filled with his love. It doesn’t take money or things to attain. Just a fire down in your soul that just won’t quit.

Do you want that fire?

Be Still

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NIV

If you are following the Lord there are times you need his input. The most important place to be is in his presence. So many times when I go through changes and trials I just need to know that he is there. He is always with us but I can deal with anything when I feel he is with me. Life can get busy and complicated and at times I know he is saying, be still.

A couple of years ago I had to have a planned surgery. It was just supposed to be a couple of days but I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and I got really sick. It was touch and go and I ended up in the hospital for two weeks. When I got home I was very week so I spent a lot of time in bed resting. It also was a very dry time because I was too weak to pray and read my Bible.

I was just sleeping so much. I don’t really remember a lot of it. What I do remember is the enemy attacking my mind and trying to convince me that I was dying and even God couldn’t help me. I was on my own. Well that is not true but at the time he had the upper hand and it was tough.

I was in and out of it and really just wanted to sleep and not feel anything. When I started feeling better I managed to start praying and reading a little of my Bible . I had missed that sooo much. The words brought so much peace to my soul. But I really just liked to lay there and feel him reminding me of his love for me. Verses came to mind. Telling me how much he loves me and how much I can do for him.

When I got back home after what seemed like a month. I still slept in till 10 or 11 am every day but always spent the last hour or two in prayer over everything that mattered to me. I would just lay there listening for a while and resting, but I really started to like these times with God. When we are busy crying out to God. Whether well are trying to get him to give us just what we want or disagreeing about how to handle an area of our lives, God can’t get a word in sometimes.

We need to just be quiet. Time to hear just what he has for us. He is the supreme and mighty God of all the earth. He knows all. What he has to say is very very important. It may be as simple as, “trust me”. We usually want more info but we don’t always get it. Those two words remind us just who he is. He has told me in his word that what he wants, he gets. Nothing is impossible for him. He also promises to work everything for my best.

I know he’s got my back. I know he is very trustful. Sometimes he will give me a verse and my mind will dwell on it. So many positive thoughts will run through my mind and get me excited. Something to write about. He might remind me of things I need to do that day. Something I can do to help in a certain situation. Something I may have been worrying about.

Last week he said get your earphones out. I put them in when I got up and turned some music I had been listening to before on. While I was playing games I began listening to the words and ended up praising and worshiping for a while as the words sunk in. It was a great time really uplifting to me. Awesome morning. Thanks God.

He can encourage so much in such simple ways but we have to give him time in our busy schedules to just “be still”. It’s hard to just sit there. My mind has a tendency to wander but he still speaks when I’m not speaking. These times are becoming more and more special every day. At times I can’t sleep in the night and I will get my praying over so I can just rest in his presence.

The more you do it the more enjoyable it becomes. Do you remember how much it meant to just hit the snooze button when you just wanted a few more minutes before work? Well that few more minutes with him in the morning is a hundredfold better.

Will you take time today to let him talk to you?