This life, right here right now, is your time for "choosing".
Will you choose "yourself", and all that this world has to offer you (both pleasures AND struggles), or will you choose to "surrender" yourself to Christ and live a life of obedience to God? You are free to make this choice. That's how God wants it, as He doesn't desire slaves, but rather faithful servants who are willing to carry out His will here on Earth.
Howevever, with this choice comes consequence. If you choose the things of this world, you are putting yourself ahead of God. What does that say to Him? It says, "I can do just fine on my own. I know what decisions are best for me and, quite frankly, I don't NEED you." If you're telling God you don't need Him during this time of choosing, then why would He think you'd want a relationship with Him for all eternity when this life is over? Answer: He wouldn't. God will honor your decision, not only now, but forever in fact, unless you repent and ask for His forgiveness. Have you thought about what a billion lifetimes would be like in the "absence" of God? I wouldn't even want to ponder what a world would look like where evil was left unchecked by God's goodness. A world without love. A world without light. A world where only despair and regret remain.
Not my world (thank you Jesus).
On the other hand, by choosing to make God your focus in this lifetime, you are telling Him that you DO desire a relationship with Him, both now and forever! You're saying that you acknowledge His love for you. A love so great that He sent His only son down from heaven to suffer and die for the forgiveness of your sins and to provide you a path to salvation. You're saying that you CAN'T do it all on your own and that you NEED His help in this life.
What does this choice require of you? Asking. Just asking Jesus to come into your heart and begin to guide your NEW life with Him at the center. A NEW life where you'll want to love others as He has loved you. A NEW life of spreading the "good news" to all those you encounter who are still struggling in darkness and unbelief. A NEW life where, once completed, you'll enter into an eternity of unimaginable joy with your Heavenly Father. This, all because of the choice you are making today.
Sounds like a pretty good "life" to me.
Don't let today, nor anything in your past, get in the way of making a choice to follow Jesus brothers and sisters. This is by far the most important "choice" you'll ever (and I do mean EVER) make .
"If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10: 9-10)
Only through a personal relationship with Jesus can one be saved.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8)
It has become popular nowadays to believe there are multiple paths to heaven. Even some quote/unquote "Christian" churches have began to be swayed by this notion. "If I'm a good person, surely God will let me in" or "there are so many different religions that there can't be just one way to heaven and it's arrogant for one religion to think that." Oh, how this must grieve our Heavenly Father.
From the beginning we have rebelled against our Creator. Yet, God so loved us still, that He sent His only son down from heaven to die for the attonement of our sins and provide us a pathway to salvation. Folks, there is only ONE way to an eternity in heaven. It is not through our good works or being a generally good person who loves others, but through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Repent of your sins today, invite Jesus into your heart, and BELIEVE that God raised Him from the dead and you will be saved! Not through anything you did, or can do, but through God's grace.
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)
"Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf." (Hebrews 7:25)
Only through Jesus can the divide between us and God be bridged. "And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:10) With Jesus' death on the cross for the forgiveness of OUR sins, a pathway to salvation was created. Are you on that path? Repent and surremder your life to Jesus. For when you do, your old life will die, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
A new life you will have, "Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault." (Colossians 1:22) You will now be "sinless" in front of God on judgement day, no matter WHAT your past. This in no way could have been "earned" on your own, but it instead was a gift to you through Jesus' sacrifice and God's grace.
"For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law--I stopped trying to meet all its requirements--so that I might live for God." (Galatians 2:19) It isn't about trying to live a "perfect" life. Good thing, because that would be impossible! When you accept Christ, "Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace." (Romans 6:14)
You will still stumble, but that's okay, "I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (Galatians 2:21) Jesus not only died for your past sins, but also those of today and the ones yet to come. You will fail at times, but guess what? He NEVER will! For even, "If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is." (2 Timothy 2:13)
Live a life of love and promote God's glory in ALL that you do. For it is said, "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)
I think too often we say "God is all I need", but then when we get to a deep and dark place in our lives, we despair and it becomes apparent they were simply words we said.
"LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure." (Psalm 16:5) David knew God was all he needed. Not only that, but David knew that if he had God, everything else in his life would be "secure". Actually, God promises just that, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) It seems at times though, as we encounter difficulty in our lives, we think that "we" need to fix it. That we NEED whatever it is in our lives that now may be absent. Maybe it's money, a close friend, or even a spouse. Instead of "elevating" that need above God, take a deep breath and remember that God is all you TRULY need.
Instead of wallowing in despair or self pity, turn it over to God as He's commanded. "Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." (Psalms 55:22) and "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." (1 Peter 5:7) Then wait, "Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD." (Psalm 27:14) Remember, this difficulty is happening for a reason. You don't need to understand "why", but you do need to accept it as it's God's will for you right then, "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
What can you do if you are still struggling in the midst of the storm? Keep seeking God's face. "I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken." (Psalm 16:8) God is always faithful, so know that He is working out what is best for you. It may not resolve how "you" want it to, but trust that God knows what's best. And even though you may "feel" shaken during these struggles, keep the faith. As, "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Hebrews 11:6) Lastly, trust in God's promises and words to you during these times, "For no word from God will ever fail." (Luke 1:37)
God loves you. God will never abandon you. God is always faithful to those who love Him. God will provide all your needs. God will support you at all times. God sent His only son to die for the forgiveness of your sins, and to provide you a pathway to eternal life with Him in heaven one day.
Do you really need anything more than that?
I often want to immediately see the good that God promises, but sometimes God’s good answer is “not yet.” There is a timing to everything.
You may be living under a promise of God but not yet see the fruit of that promise. You might pray for something that hasn’t happened yet and even see no hope of it ever coming to pass.
Though we may not understand, we must trust God’s timing is perfect.
Our God is a God of completion. He makes promises and then He fulfills them. Even if we don’t see it in this life — He will complete what He has set out to complete.
Father God, thank You for reminding me today that I can trust You in my wait. When my circumstances and my own weary heart beg me to believe You have forgotten me, help me remember You are still very much at work. Even in the silence. Even in the unknown. Even when I can’t see anything on the horizon. I want to trust You more and more each day — knowing that not only are all Your ways perfect, but Your timing is perfect too. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
When satan was cast out of heaven, he didn’t go alone. Along with him, went a third of God’s angels who also rebelled against the Lord. So, where are they all now? They are demons here among us. Each day satan and his hoard are working to capture and then “keep” your soul from God. Once Adam and Eve rebelled against their Father, we became sinful beings. We can't help it, which is why it’s so easy for satan to keep us in darkness. Through our hatred, pursuit of money, lustful thoughts, selfish pride, etc., the devil has many tools to keep us out of God’s light. The more we concentrate our thoughts on worldly “things”, the easier target we become for evil’s strategies. But, all is not lost.
“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3). Remember, only a third of God’s angels were hurled from heaven. That means two thirds remained faithful to God and are being commanded by the none other than our Lord and Savior. We don’t have to fight evil on our own. “The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm." (Exodus 14:14) and “Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” (Deuteronomy 3:22). I don’t know about you, but I feel pretty confident with “GOD” in my corner as I enter the battlefield each day. What must we do? Resist temptation and live a godly life. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). By living in God’s light, He will fight our battles for us when satan and his demons come calling. Acknowledge, profess and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and God will be with you...ALWAYS!
As you rise in the morning, give glory to God for another day, and all the blessings He’s bestowed upon you. “Also, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6: 13-17).
Upon thanking the Lord for all you have, and suiting up in His armor, you are now ready to take on the day. Even if you do find yourself under attack, remember this, “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 1:8). “And if God is with you, who can stand against you?” (Romans 8:31).
Certainly NOT the devil!
What do you think the disciples where thinking the day after Good Friday when Jesus was crucified? Just think of the thoughts that must have been racing through their heads that day. “He was the Messiah, how could this have happened?”, “What are we supposed to do now?”, “Where are we going to go, because if they recognize us, we may suffer the same fate?”. You want to talk about sitting in God’s waiting room! Not understanding, not only what just happened in your life, but also WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW?
In life, we are going to encounter times when something happens that we just don’t understand. Maybe a sudden job loss strikes, marriage difficulties arise, there's a bad medical diagnosis, or we lose a loved one, where we find ourselves looking skyward asking, “Why? I don’t understand!”. Therein lies the test. The time we spend in between these situations and a resolution is the “wait”. We can handle the “wait” in two ways. We can search around for answers and evidence for why this is happening to us, in hopes of then coming up with a verdict as to the “why,”…OR…we can trust that God knows the “why” and that He knows what He’s doing. That is what we call FAITH. When we approach difficult issues with FAITH, we “begin” (not end) with the VERDICT. We may say something like, “God, I may not understand what’s going on right now, but I know that YOU do, and that’s good enough for me.” That is showing God we can’t handle these difficulties on our own and we want Him to help us.
When we are in God’s “waiting room”, that is waiting for His next move for us, there are some things to remember. First and foremost is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Even if the situation resolves itself in such a way that we didn’t desire, remember it was God’s will and there IS a reason for it. Isaiah 55: 8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” What this means is that we might not understand the “why” at that moment, or maybe even in the years to come, but in the end God will use the outcome for our good “and” for His glory down the road. Next, trust God’s timing, as it will be perfect. God is omnipresent, meaning He already knew the "outcome" before you even knew of the difficulty! So, TRUST in the wait, no matter how long it takes for the answer to appear. Lastly, remember that you are NOT in the waiting room all alone. God is always with you, God is always for you and God is always good.
Waiting is never easy. Struggles are never easy. Waiting for an “answer” during a struggle is a double whammy. Are you patient in your struggles or are you running around trying to fix everything all by yourself? If you’re doing the former, stop it. Lift up your concerns to the Lord, pray for His guidance in resolving the situation, and then “wait”. Just wait. Watch for His “nudgings” as He begins working on your behalf, but don’t try to “force” the issue yourself. Remember, this journey isn't about knowing all the answers and then trusting God, but rather it's having faith in God FIRST and then He'll reveal His goodness and plan for you.
As the old saying goes, "an idle mind is the devil's playgorund." Now whether you have an idle mind at the moment, or it's going 100 miles an hour, remember this, satan and his minions will take you down mentally whenever they can. Why? Because when you are feeling down, you are a MUCH easier target for their attacks.
When a relationship isn't working out, someone at work is trying your last nerve, or you keep thinking about past mistakes, you tend to think of activities that will give you an artificial "pick me up". Unfortunately, many of those "pleasures" tend to be the very tools of the enemy. Whether it's alcohol, drugs, sex, or even simply turning to anger and lashing out at all those around you to make YOURSELF feel better, these behaviors will just make you feel worse when the "high" wears off. The bottom line is NONE of these selfish activities will give your mind any lasting peace, and NONE will remove the negative thoughts that satan has planted there.
A much better way of handling these attacks is to do the following. First, recognize what the enemy is up to. When you find yourself "`dwelling" on a situation, or something in your past, know that satan is up there, planting away his seeds of discontnent and despair. Don't get me wrong, we will definitely encounter struggles now and then, but the key is to deal with them as soon as we can, and then let them go. Second, when under attack, turn to God through prayer, scripture and song. Once you feel a situation getting the better of you, turn to the Lord for comfort and strength to pull you through it. Lastly, know you are ALWAYS loved by your Heavenly Father, "no matter what" you do, say or are feeling. Don't be fooled by the devil and his tactics of making you feel unworthy, ashamed or unwanted. God loves you so much that, "He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
The enemy may be able to manipulate your mind, but there's NO room in your "heart" for their lies if Jesus is living there. Has He taken up residence yet? If not, know this, Jesus is at the door to your heart and is knocking. All you have to do is open it and let Him in.
Proverbs 31 Ministries -
"They say hindsight is 20/20. We can sometimes look back on our life and clearly see what God was up to in the middle of confusing and hard seasons. But it’s easy to forget It's easy to forget that God is working behind the scenes when we are walking through our next valley season.
Romans 8:28 tells us that “in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him."
God will work ALL things for our good… not just some things. Not just the good, but also the bad, the hard and devastating circumstances we face in our lifetime.
There is power in tracing God’s faithfulness from the past so that we can believe He will be faithful again in the future.
Is there a situation you have walked through that felt like utter devastation in the moment, but looking back you know God used it to shape you into the person you are today?" - Proverbs 31 Ministries
My comments -
Amen. I'm now grateful for that difficult season in my life as it lead to my very salvation. Certainly was no fun at the time, but the reward was (and will be for all eternity) "sooo" worth it.
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
Just because you don’t see God working does not mean He isn’t. Jesus said, “My Father is always working” (John 5:17, NLT). The writer of Hebrews notes: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36, NIV).
I wonder how many times I’ve missed the blessing because I stopped too soon. Perhaps you’ve wondered:
* How much longer will I have to wait until God brings my prodigal home?
* How much longer will I have to struggle with my unbelieving husband?
* How much longer will I have to endure this dead-end job?
* How many more laps will I have to walk around Jericho before the walls come tumbling down, and I can take hold of my Promised Land?
I don’t know the answer to the question of how much longer, but I do know this: Tomorrow could be the final lap. Don’t give up too soon.
Lord, sometimes I just want to give up. As a matter-of-fact, I am tempted to give up on something pretty important right now. Fill me with the power of the Holy Spirit on the inside, so I can persevere on the outside. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Think about the people you encounter in your life. Ever notice how some are life-givers and others are life-takers?
Every opportunity we have with someone is an opportunity to influence that person for the good. To give life, not just take it. Because whether we realize it or not, people are watching us. What we say and what we do matters. When we live with purpose, we can make a difference that can leave a lasting impact.
Are you taking enough leaps of faith in your spiritual life that you put what you have on the line so God can show up in a big way? I know it can be hard to do, but it’s always worth the reward. Often, we live so cautiously that we never give God a chance to come through.
You don’t have to have a dream to play professional sports or rule the world. Risk what you have for the sake of helping other people and see what God can do in your life and in others’. Put yourself out there, and do something that might terrify you or make you uncomfortable … like sharing your testimony for the first time or telling a stranger God loves her.
Remember that whatever you do, your main audience is God, not others. That’s why in Colossians, the Apostle Paul reminds us to put our whole heart into everything we do, with God’s purposes in mind. We’re called to live life for God’s glory, as Colossians 3:23 explains: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”