We know that we serve a powerful God who has devised a perfect plan for us: a plan to prosper us not to harm us. Yet, many times, we stray from the perfect path. Why?
God’s will can seem tiresome, too difficult or not flashy enough. Or else our own hearts tempt us to wander. During these times, it is best to ask for WISDOM.
Wisdom can be defined as knowing God’s Plan for your life and having the courage and the strength NOT TO STRAY from the Plan despite temptations, trials and fatigue.
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1: 5-8 NLT
Is there anything more difficult than waiting patiently for God to reveal His wisdom?
Can you change your circumstances without sin and without crime? If you cannot, you are commanded to stay in the uncomfortable circumstance without allowing the circumstance to control your mood, your outlook, your actions. In other words, you are told to be CONTENT.
Contentment means living independent of circumstances and conditions. Even when your surroundings are miserable, you must remember that you are still in control of your response to these conditions.
Our lives are not dictated by our surroundings. Instead, our lives, our next steps are dictated by a loving God.
So how do we suffer being abused at home, at work, at school without complaint or bitterness or retaliation? How do we suffer from lack of food, clothing, shelter and not become depressed, angry, violent? How do we suffer physical illness, mental instability without becoming catatonic or suicidal? How do we live in a wealthy state without forgetting about God?
How can we live without allowing our good, bad or uncertain circumstances to affect our joy, peace, work ethic or ability to love?
Developing a Godly Perspective is Key.
Circumstances change. This is a fact. One season you are on top of the world and another season later you are under water. Dancers have learned that during a pirouette they must fix their gaze on an inanimate object to avoid dizziness or imbalance. It is the same for us. During a crisis, we must fix our gaze on the only inanimate object in our lives. This is not the time to recall your savings account balance, or your fabulous boyfriend, or your beautiful children or your great job. (these are blessings but they can change in an instant) Instead, this is the time to remember God’s promises to us. God does not change. His promises do not change. These are facts that we can count on.
Before you take matters into your owns hands at work, rob the Savings & Loan, or over indulge in an effort to manage a difficult situation, I invite you to remember God has not abandoned you. And He will step in to help.
As you wait on God, continue to take (fair and legitimate) steps to improve your situation and when things are at their worse, remind yourself of a few simple truths.
Our most difficult challenges cause us much turmoil.
But each time we overcome a bad habit, perfect a difficult relationship, confess a sin, forgive an enemy, humble ourselves and pray we become more and more like Christ. We move up a little higher.
Therefore it is up to us to constantly encourage ourselves and others through and over life’s circumstances. The result is NOT contentment WITH the world and its folly but instead contentment IN the world.
It is a process, darling. But the sooner we begin the journey, the happier we will be!
This earthly world is crystal clear. We see it, hear it, feel it, smell it, touch it. This heavenly world on earth is veiled. Our five senses are not sufficient. We can't understand God's world using this world's reasoning and rationalizations. An easy way for me to visualize this is to think of "rose colored glasses." When I don these cheaters, I am able to see life here on earth through a Godly prism.
How can you see the world through rose colored glasses? You must actively seek guidance from GOD!
Chip, a minister with Living on the Edge Ministries explains in detail how to pursue GOD in our new Lives.
Step 1: Get an Alarm Clock
Get up every day and commune with GOD. Every day! (Whew...this is hard and will require you to change your behaviors the night before...to enable you to perfect it! But, remember, we are not alone...ask God to help you make this commitment and it will be done.)
This is so important. Even Jesus the Christ sought direction from God every day! Jesus-rose up a great while before the day- went out and departed into a solitary place to pray. Mark 1:35
What was he praying about? He had to make a very important decision. He was at a crossroads with His ministry. He was at the end of his first year of preaching and it had borne little results even though His miracles were drawing huge crowds. The question he wrestled with, "Should He continue to put the emphasis of His ministry on the preaching of the gospel or performing miracles?" Our answer without divine wisdom and guidance might be to continue performing miracles. Everyone wants and needs a physical healing. God, the Father directed Jesus to put His emphasis on PREACHING and TEACHING. The lesson here is, we can not make good Godly decisions without God! It simply is not possible.
We must first be disciplined enough to seek GOD daily. We will be rewarded with wisdom that supersedes the ways of this world on earth. God's wisdom will enable us to glide through this world with a JOYFUL and HAPPY heart.
What is faith, darling?
Well, allow me to take a moment to talk about what FAITH is NOT.
Faith is NOT taking matters into your own hands unless directed to do so.
This is BIG.
At my core, I am really a risk taker. I may not mountain climb or parasail, but I take risks all the time with my career, with my finances, my projects. For example, I will readily spend my last dollar on a pair of sparkly earrings if I needed them for a specific event, photoshoot or a present for a friend. My reasoning would be, “surely God will send more resources for rent, car insurance, groceries. Everything will work out for the good. Right?” Well…not always, darling. Read the fine print.
There really is a difference between FAITH and FOLLY.
Remember the God that we encounter in the Old Testament is the same God we encounter in the New Testament. Our God is a God of order. Every occurrence has its season. There is a time and place for everything.
For example, when it comes to giving, there is an appointed time.
We are told to give to Caesar his due. Meaning we must pay our debts.
14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Is it right to pay the imperial tax[b] to Caesar or not?
15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”
But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.”
16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him. Mark 12 14-17
We are told to pay our tithes to the church.
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:8-10
We are told to take care of the poor.
There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. Deuteronomy 15:11
“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.’ Leviticus 23:22
‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. Leviticus 25:35
….Back to those sparkly earrings….
Faith in God to provide all that we need or want necessitates that we will not deviate from God’s rules in order to have our own way. In other words, even though I want/need the sparkly earrings, job promotion, car payment, food for the week, I may not take matters into my own hands outside of God’s laws to obtain them. In fact, I am bound by the Laws of God. Faith means that I must trust God to provide me with the desires of my heart in His own way and in His own time.
We are told to ask God for whatever we want. Then wait on Him for the victory.
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:14
If I want sparkly earrings, I should ask God for them. I should then do my part to prepare for the blessing (research who makes the best sparkly earrings, where to purchase, how much they are, what I will wear with them). And finally, I must cultivate a lifestyle that will enable me to listen to God for direction as to how and when to obtain them (e.g., I must go to Him in prayer daily in order to develop a listening ear).
Taking matters into my own hands…deciding not to pay rent to afford sparkly earrings, orchestrating a plot to steal them, refraining from giving to the poor to justify them, or failing to take care of my family to obtain them is not FAITH. This is FOLLY and it is not God’s way.
All we have to do for a VICTORY on Earth is to ask a benevolent GOD…wait in Faith…and do our part (pray and study the Word of God)!
It is a promise, darling.
We are commanded to love GOD, to keep his commandments & to obey his directives. But what happens when your feelings get in the way of and even work to thwart your compliance?
It is essential that we figure out a way to battle certain feelings especially those feelings that cause us to act contrary to God’s law.
Where do these feelings emanate? How can they be overcome?
Let’s start with a few basic truths about feelings.
1 Feelings are essential to Christians. Recall that God commands us to love him with all of our hearts, our minds and our soul. When we read his word, when we confront His great works in nature, science and the heavens, we are moved. We FEEL awe, wonder, joy.
2 Feelings cannot be created or commanded. You cannot conjure a genuine feeling. And really, the more you try, the more miserable you may become.
3 Feelings change because they are based on variables that change from day to day moment to moment. Physical conditions affect us. Hurtful comments affect us. Lack of money or over abundance affects us. Encounters with certain people affect us. The “mean reds” can creep in for no apparent reason. Yesterday you may have been perfectly content only to find that this morning, you are despondent.
Because feelings ebb and flow, we must not allow them to control us.
Instead we must seize control!
We are commanded to REJOICE. (But, notice “rejoice” does not mean “be happy.”) You can not conjure up happiness at will. But you can make yourself REJOICE.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
So put on a praise song and PRAISE HIM! Regardless of your circumstances. REJOICE in the Lord for something, for everything. Dance and sing until your spirit lifts.
2. STIR UP THE GIFT
2 Timothy 1:6
For which cause I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee through the laying on of my hands.
When that dastardly mood descends, initiate a dialog with your fabulous self.
Say to yourself, "DARLING, I am not going to allow you to descend into that pit today." Remind yourself of who you are, what you are and to whom you belong. Then get outside and take in the sights and sounds of the most perfect Creator.
They replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household.'
Remember his promises. You may not be able to make yourself happy, but you can remind yourself of your belief in a God who can do ANYTHING. This is where all those bible stories come in handy. Remember how Jesus raised Lazarus? Remember Jacob wrestling all night with the pre-incarnate Christ? Remember the promises of God never to leave us. Remember that he sent a Holy Spirit to dwell inside of us to comfort us. Remember that he has prepared a place for us. Remember that we see through a glass darkly on this side but it will be revealed in God’s time.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you.
Do not worry about your feelings.
Blessed (truly happy) are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness- not happiness.
Do not continue to seek thrills. Instead seek to be more like Jesus. Seek to live righteously. Seek to be holy.
Go directly to God and seek His face. Dive into his word and search for His truth. The revelation thwarts feelings of despair.
AND PLEASE REMEMBER THIS:
“I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”
As you approach a new year, don’t dwell on the past-past feelings, past failures, suffering, loss. Instead, leave those feelings of negativity buried in 2010.
Go boldly forward into 2011 remembering that GOD holds the new year in HIS HANDS in trust for us.
If you commit to doing things HIS way, He will guide you one day at a time. HE PROMISED, Darlings.
Spiritual Depression Its Causes and Its Cure by D. Martin Lloyd-Jones
But, how can you trust God if you do not know Him?
When you read the word of God, you learn about the character of God (His likes and His dislikes). You learn about the behavior that is pleasing to God. You learn how God delights in giving His children the desires of their hearts. You learn that He will not abandon his people even when they make mistakes. You learn how to identify the people of God in a fallen world. You learn about the miracles of God that occur even now.
And GUESS WHAT? Over time, you learn how good God is. The more time you spend talking to God and learning of God, the more you realize that God only does good things. And then you start gradually relying on God more and more. First you assign God small tasks, e.g., assistance paying bills, healing for a friend, a path forward at work. Soon you learn to pray more and more effectively and then you start to see God move on the things you have entrusted to Him (not always in the way you want but always in a good way). Now, you start to relax. You are now eager to abandon your strategies for success opting to let this Awesome GOD take the lead.
And darling, at that moment (the moment you move over to the passenger seat), you will be AMAZED at what God Power will do for you and for those you entrust to Him.
A few years ago, a very close friend asked me whether I truly believed that Jesus was the Son of God.
Now, the question itself was not odd. But, it was oddly timed. We were not talking about spirituality or theology at the time the question was posed. Rather, we were actually discussing career plans and the minutia of the day.
When my friend posed his query, I looked at him intently for a moment. I wondered, seriously, if this was a test of some kind. And then, after a beat, I answered as succinctly as I could.
“Yes, I do believe Jesus is the Son of God.”
I also believe that Jesus is a perfect example of what man can do when he commits himself to learning about God and following His precepts.
Imagine the possibilities if we would get in sync with God and the Holy Spirit. If we worked to become like Jesus, we would become super spirit filled heroes. We would be transformed from frail humans to miracle working paragons of faith. We would be able to face death without fear. We would be full of knowledge of God. We could even die and be resurrected again.
Today, is Easter Sunday, the day in which we celebrate the resurrection of the Son of the Living God. It is the day when the finality of death was forever erased.
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[h]
55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”[i]
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 55: 51-58
When Jesus died, He became the ultimate sacrifice. This sacrifice was needed to atone for the sins of the world. It is because of His death that we can even approach the Holy God with our petitions and requests.
Remember, the God in the Old Testament is the same God in the New Testament. This means that God’s nature has not changed. In the Old Testament, no one was allowed to approach near unto the place where God dwelt without being clean and making a blood sacrifice (an animal). Today, thanks to Jesus, blood sacrifices are no longer required. Now, we can approach God whenever we desire to do so - even when we have made a mistake. Jesus’ sacrifice makes this possible!
I am ever grateful to Jesus for His selfless act.
Yes, Jesus is real. He is the Son of God. He is the Holy Lamb of God.
I never find much comfort in the grim reality of the daily grind. If given the chance, I’d prefer to live in an animated tv series with a perfectly green lawn and butterflies to greet me every morning.
Alas, life on this side of glory is not always joyful. It is not always fun. I realize this. But thanks be to God there are ways to navigate this world with joy and laughter.
Paul speaks about a Power that enables him to thrive despite a series of setbacks that would cripple just about anyone.
I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. 24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.[a] 27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. 2 Corinthians 11:23-27
Paul believes that it is the Christ in Him that makes all the difference. In other words, he is able to survive prison, betrayal, beatings, depression, illness not because of his mental prowess, intellectual reasoning, strong will, financial resources; but because of his partnership with Christ that actually completes and perfects him.
Where Paul is weak and flawed, Christ makes him strong and perfect.
Likewise, if I develop a strong relationship with Christ, I will be strengthened in all the places where I am deficient. I too will be made perfectly suited to handle the stresses, health crises, epidemics, terrorist threats, economic instabilities, and mean spirit-ness of this world.
Notice that the Power that Paul speaks of does not manifest itself as a sense of resignation. Paul does not wallow in the fact that the world is evil. Paul does not hunker down in isolation with an intent to bear the world’s trials without hope. Instead Paul continues on his mission. He continues to live his life in the face of tragedy. He gets up every morning with a sense of Joy that he is not alone and that the victory is already his.
Why worry about the hardships that confront you when God has promised to provide the inner Power to deal with each and every tribulation come what may. Not only can God work miracles but God can change your countenance so that the things that used to perplex and debilitate you no longer have any effect on you at all.
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Phillipeans 4:13
It is a promise, darling.
And 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
To me, faith is the result of eliminating doubts by simply reflecting on what God has done for you and others.
In other words, faith shows itself when you are able to confront your doubts with a counter narrative based on God’s promises.
I can recall exercising this type of faith when I broke my leg in 3 places back in December 2014. The break was so severe that it was questionable whether I would regain complete movement in my leg/ankle. The drugs were so strong that I could not manage my law firm. And since I could not work, I had no income for a year.
In this broken state, I was confronted daily with negative thoughts that if left unchecked would impede my ability to heal and thrive.
Thanks be to God that my parents are strong prayer warriors. And they (along with my family, and my church) prayed for me. They asked God for healing and He answered them saying, He would heal me and He would restore all that I had lost. Once I received this message, it was up to me to activate my faith even when it did not really make sense to do so.
How? I wrote down a series of responses that I would recite whenever a doubt invaded my consciousness.
If I began to think: “you will never be able to wear your Barbie pink satin Oscar platforms” I would respond with, THAT IS NOT TRUE, God said
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
If I began to think: your disability insurance provider will never approve your request for an insurance payout and you will have no income - where will you live, what will you wear?, I would retort, God said,
25Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns— and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26
This act of reliance on God Power is TRUST. And you can only rely on God Power if you have faith.
We are told to ask God for whatever we want. Then wait on Him for the victory.
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:14
It is a promise, darling.
If you can read the thoughts of the FATHER, then you know HIM.
My God is complex, magnificent, demanding, loving, kind, powerful and baffling.
What baffles me the most is His timing.
In my heart and in my mind, I know that God can work miracles and that He will answer prayer. But oh, the wait can be excruciating. Bear in mind that I am impatience personified. I am the one who would rather walk 30 minutes than wait for a bus that comes every 15 minutes. The wait makes me want to run in every direction without shoes.
Yet, God constantly asks that when we ask Him to engage, we wait for the answer. It is only when we are given our marching orders that we are commanded to GO!
How can we blame God for our fatigue level when we RUN ahead of him without waiting for his aids?
"13 Still I am certain to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14Wait patiently for the LORD; be strong and courageous. Wait patiently for the LORD."
Wait on the Lord, darling. He will give you the plan and the strength to see it through. It is a promise.
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