Always Be Thankful

1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 NLT “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Bad things happen in life sometimes. There are times we do not understand what is happening or why. But we can always be thankful for many things: God loves us. Jesus died for us. Our sins are forgiven. Jesus has promised to never leave us. God is our Father and He is faithful. We have an eternal home in Heaven. In Christ, we are more than conquerors. We are redeemed from the dominion of darkness. We have access to divine healing and prosperity. We are joint-heirs with Christ. What we choose to focus on determines our attitude. While we may face problems, we do not have to let those problems become our focus. We can choose to give thanks and praise God for His goodness and faithfulness. Imagine how wearisome that will make Satan and his cohorts feel! Also, think of the pleasure it brings our Father God when we stay in faith and focus on Him, instead of being distracted by the stuff the devil does trying to steal our faith and joy. If you are always thankful, the bad things that do happen to you will lose their ability to really harm you and to determine the trajectory of your life. Giving thanks also reminds us of how much we do have. Human beings are prone to greed. We tend to focus on what we do not have. By giving thanks continually we are reminded of how much we do have. When we focus on blessings rather than wants, we are happier. When we start thanking God for the things we usually take for granted, our perspective changes. We realize that we could not even exist without the merciful blessings of God. So, be thankful always!

Trust in God’s unchanging character

Psalm 56:3 NIV “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

If you live long enough, life will bring you bad news. It may be the loss of a loved one, your health, your income, your marriage, your reputation, or other unpleasant situation(s). The psalmist wrote, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” When bad times come, you need to hold on to everything you know about God’s character. You must remind yourself that God is loving, caring, and worthy of your complete trust. Sometimes God will give you the answer; other times He will give you the assurance of His presence (Isaiah 43:2). In changing times, you must lay hold of the unchanging character of God. As the hymn says, “When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.” Does that mean denying your feelings and emotions? No. David said, “I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles” (Psalm 142:2 NLT). God is not asking you to deny the pain, the loss, and the reality of your circumstances. Even Jesus offered up prayers with “fervent cries and tears” (Hebrews 5:7 NIV). If you do not pour out your heart before God, you risk hardening your heart toward Him. Saint Augustine said, “For they are very deep in the deep, who do not even cry from the deep.” It is when you hit the bottom and turn to God that you discover He is there. It is by being shaken to the core that you develop an unshakable faith in God. When that happens, you can stand on His Word which says, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go” (Genesis 28:15 NIV).

 

When Things Fall Apart

John 16:33 NLT “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world.”

How do I trust God when it seems everything around and about me is falling apart?  Have you ever asked this question? Life is tough and unpredictable and sometimes does not turn out the way we plan. Jesus said that we will have tribulations in this imperfect world (John 16:33). Too often we ignore this truth and focus only on the good God’s Word promises. At times we experience inclement weather in the State of Texas with devastating effects, the kind we have never experienced in decades. Faith gives way to fear, worry, anxiety, and hopelessness. Where is God? Why is He allowing this to happen? Can we trust Him? Let me assure you that God is still on His throne, He is loving, and He can be trusted. If we focus on Christ and turn our attention to the voice of the Holy Spirit, we will hear tender words like a whisper in our ears, Trust me, I know what I am doing. This situation is subject to change, and it will not consume you. There is good ahead. Keep following Me and I will lead you there. Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). The way we can focus on Christ and turn our attention to the voice of the Holy Spirit, when things fall apart, is to act on this commandment, “Be not afraid, only believe (Mark5:36). That is when God takes over when things fall apart!

Your Faith Will Be Tested

Luke 8:25 “And He said unto them, where is your faith?”

Faith is the spiritual force that propels us to trust God to the point of believing and acting on His word. Faith is what pleases God (Hebrews 11:6).

However, we live in a world where we face trials that come against our faith on a daily basis. But that’s alright: because a faith that is not tested or tried cannot be trusted! It is the testing of your faith that produces a chance for your confidence and endurance to grow (James 1:3).

Jesus told His disciples that it was time for them and Himself to cross over to the other side of the lake (Luke 8:22). But when a storm came to test their faith in the word that the master spoke to them, they failed the test.  Peter was walking on the water (Matthew 14:29) until his faith in the word of the master inviting him to “come,” was tested.

Your faith will be tested. It is a matter of time. So be prepared!

Backward Motion

1 Timothy 4:1 NLT “Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.”

 

Sadly, there are many believers today who are going downhill in opposite direction to the profession of their faith in Christ Jesus: they are backsliding. A Christian in a backsliding state is living as a mere man. No one plans on doing it, but it happens. Show me any Christian who has fallen away from their faith, and I will show you a Christian who took a series of steps into gross or open sin before the time they fell. The Bible warns “those who think they stand, to take heed, lest they fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). The Bible specifically warns believers about falling away. The apostle Paul alerted Timothy about strange things and behavior of the last days (1 Timothy 4:1 NLT). We need to keep our guard up. We need to be careful, because any believer could potentially fall away spiritually. There are a lot of people who may be in church and think they are walking closely with the Lord. But in reality, they are backsliders. The Bible clearly warns against the sin of backsliding (Jeremiah 3:22 NLT, Jeremiah 2:19 NLT). Maybe you are one of those who are no longer as active today spiritually as you were some years ago. You still go to church, when you can find the time. You still read the Bible, when you can get around to it. And you still obey God, unless it conflicts with what you want to do. It is time to examine yourself, if you are still in faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). As Christians, we are either moving forward or backward. We are either climbing or slipping. And the moment that we stop progressing as believers will be the moment that we begin to backslide. Be careful!

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He is Risen!

Matthew 28:6 KJV “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

The death and resurrection of our Savior is the very core of our Christian faith. As believers, the resurrection of Jesus gives us hope for the life to come. Not only that, it also demonstrates and assures us of the power that lives inside us. On the morning of Jesus’ resurrection, the angel uttered these words to Mary Magdalene and the “other” Mary who was with her: He is not here, for he has risen. No, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ is not on the cross. He is also not in the grave. He was raised from the dead and he is now in heaven, sitting on the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1). He is set on the right hand of the throne of Majesty in the heavens, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come (Hebrews 8:1, Ephesians 1:20-21). This is a hope-filled statement. And if Christ be not raised, our faith is vain (1 Corinthians 15:17). Our hope is not in the crumbling world system, but rather in the One who defeated death for us and will return to take us home for eternity! Hallelujah! Jesus Christ is alive forevermore (Revelation 1:18). But is He alive in you? Is Christ’s light shining through you and visible around you so much that darkness cannot stand your presence? Is Christ’s life being lived through you so that men can see and experience His good works through you (Matthew 5:16)? Can He manifest His power through you in tangible ways? Is Christ’s love being expressed through you so you can love the unlovable? Jesus Christ is alive. But can you show with proof that He is alive in you? That is the critical question you and I need to answer as we celebrate His resurrection!

 

 

 

 

Simplify Your Life

Colossians 2:6 “As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.”

The Lord Jesus Christ came to deliver us from complications that Satan could potentially bring into our lives (Colossians 1:13). You are delivered from a complicated life into a simplified life in Christ Jesus (John 10:10). The key to maintain this simplified lifestyle is to “walk in him”; in order words continue to live your life in Christ. Over and over the scriptures instruct us to walk (conduct our lifestyle) as new creations in Christ Jesus. We are instructed to walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8) so we do not stumble; to walk in love (Ephesians 5:2) so we are failure proof (1 Corinthians 13:8); to walk in wisdom (Colossians 4:5) so we do act foolishly; to walk in the truth (3 John 1:3), so we are not deceived by the devil; to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), so we do not fulfill then  lust of the flesh. God wants us to walk worthy of the Lord, so we can be fruitful in every good work (Colossians 1:10). The ultimate is for us to walk in the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus, whom we have received as Lord. We have also been given the Holy Spirit to help us live a simplified life as we walk in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Let us put off the old man and put on the new man (Ephesians 4:22-24).  If we stop walking in Christ and in the fruit of the Holy Spirit), then we will start sinking into sin, carnality, and sadly become subject again to the power of darkness. God forbid!

Do You Believe The Love?

1 John 4:16 ESV “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

It is one thing to mentally assent that God loves you. It is another thing entirely to know and believe it. Do you truly believe that God loves you? If not, you should meditate on God’s Word until it becomes clear to you. You should think about the great price God paid to redeem you. This is foundational in your walk with God. You need to believe the love that God has for you. God delights in you! God rejoices over you! He truly loves you! And you need to believe it! What you truly believe is what you act on. Regardless of what people say, the truth is that we act on our beliefs. The reason people sin is because they believe that by doing so they will be benefited. Once a person sees the truth that sin is harmful instead of helpful, they can repent (which means a change of thinking which results in a change of behavior). People do not believe that God loves them, because they know they are not perfect. Can God love imperfect people? YES! Does He? YES! According to Scripture, all people are imperfect. Yet God loves us enough to die for us! Romans 5:8. In this powerful passage, it says: “But God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This verse beautifully encapsulates the essence of God’s love and grace.  Can we accept our experience as valid evidence that God does not love us? NO! We can believe that our mother still loves us even when we have had a bad day. Why can’t we believe God loves us even when we have had a bad day? Mediate on this scripture in Ephesians 3:18-19 (NLT). Choose to believe what the Bible says: God loves you.

 

When Things Fall Apart

John 16:33 NLT “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world.”

How do I trust God when it seems everything around and about me is falling apart?  Have you ever asked this question? Life is tough and unpredictable and sometimes does not turn out the way we plan. Jesus said that we will have tribulations in this imperfect world (John 16:33). Too often we ignore this truth and focus only on the good God’s Word promises. When unexpected devastating events happen to us or around us, faith can give way to fear, worry, anxiety, helplessness, and hopelessness. Where is God? Why is He allowing this to happen? Can we trust Him? Let me assure you that God is still on His throne, He loves you, and He can be trusted. You must trust God at all times, because He is the source of your peace in the midst of storm (Isaiah 26:3). If we focus on Christ and turn our attention to the voice of the Holy Spirit, we will hear tender words like a whisper in our ears, Trust me, I know what I am doing. This situation is subject to change, and it will not consume you. There is good ahead. Keep following Me and I will lead you there. Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). The way we can focus on Christ and turn our attention to the voice of the Holy Spirit, when things fall apart, is to act on this commandment “be not afraid, only believe (Mark5:36). That is when God takes over when things fall apart!

 

 

HOW TO LOWER YOUR ANXIETY LEVEL 

Psalm 55:22 NIV “Cast your cares on the Lord.”

The prevailing conditions in the world today coupled with unfulfilled expectations as we go through life’s challenges, can cause us stress and anxiety. When we are stressed, the surge of negative emotions can be overwhelming. And if we do not unburden our emotions before God, it is easy to make wrong decisions, succumb to wrong impulses, move in the wrong direction, and get angry at the wrong people. The Psalmist addresses this: “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NIV says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” The extent to which you consciously lean on God, drawing strength from Him, is the extent to which you will lower your anxiety level. It is no coincidence that many of the Psalms start with David crying out to God for help and end with him rejoicing because he vented his frustrations to the right person, God! Understand the fact that life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it. Your job, your finances, your marriage, your children, your health, and your future are all sources of anxiety, so you will never be totally free from the temptation to worry. The Lord Jesus Christ emphasized the futility of anxiety and worry in Matthew 6:27 NIV “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” But you can lower your anxiety level by following Paul’s instruction (Philippians 4:6 NIV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” The more you pray, the less you will panic. The more you worship, the less you worry. Worry about nothing but pray about everything!