Archive Tag:Salvation

What’s Your Story ?

 What’s Your Story? How did you come to know Jesus Christ? That is your testimony, and every Christian has one. Some stories be more radical than others, but every testimony is significant. Perhaps you have heard the testimony of some person who came from an extreme background tell of how they were delivered from drugs or alcoholism. They were a gang member or a prostitute. They served time in prison. I received an e-mail from a man who came to Christ at our crusade in 1991. He writes: “On that divine Thursday evening in 1991, God took this lost, suicidal, hardened, 15-year-old member of the Crips and radically transformed me. My life was instantly revolutionized, and I’ve never been the same since. Next month, I will celebrate 23 years in the Lord. By God’s grace I’ve had the privilege of ministering His Word all around the world. Had I not gone to the Harvest Crusade that evening, I’m confident that I would now either be dead or in prison!” What an amazing testimony! However, his testimony is no better than yours. Just different. When I was a young Christian, I remember a girl telling me she was going to go back into the world because she wanted a “more dramatic testimony.” She never came back. Listen, not everyone’s story may be dramatic, but everyone’s conversion is drastic, because when you get down to it, God essentially does the same thing for all of us at conversion: We were all separated from Him by sin. We were all going to hell. We all come to salvation through the cross. And now we are headed for heaven. Everyone’s story is legit. Why? Because we all essentially start from the same place and we all experience dramatic change at the hand of God. And no matter how different their circumstances may be from yours, those who listen to your testimony can recognize that they too are sinners and need change—they can see a part of their story in yours. When you share your faith with others, one of the best tools in your evangelistic toolbox is your personal testimony. But it should always be a bridge to share the gospel. Your story points them to the greatest story ever told: the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, what’s your story? By Pastor/Evangelist Greg Laurie

Trial of Our Faith

The afflictions of serious Christians are designed for the trial of their faith. God’s design in afflicting his people is their probation, not their destruction; their advantage, not their ruin: a trial, as the word signifies, is an experiment or search made upon a man, by some affliction, to prove the value and strength of his faith. This trial is made upon faith principally, rather than any other grace, because the trial of this is, in effect, the trial of all that is good in us

 

Rejoice in this, even though for a little while you may have to experience grief in various trials. Even gold is tested for genuineness by fire. The purpose of these trials is so that your trust’s genuineness, which is far more valuable than perishable gold, will be judged worthy of praise, glory and honor at the revealing of Yeshua the Messiah.

Without having seen him, you love him. Without seeing him now, but trusting in him, you continue to be full of joy that is glorious beyond words. And you are receiving what your trust is aiming at, namely, your deliverance.  1 Peter 1:6-9

The apostle grants they were in great affliction, and propounds several things in mitigation of their sorrows. 1. Every sound Christian has always something wherein he may greatly rejoice. Great rejoicing contains more than an inward placid serenity of mind or sensation of comfort; it will show itself in the countenance and conduct, but especially in praise and gratitude. 2. The chief joy of a good Christian arises from things spiritual and heavenly, from his relation to God and to heaven. In these every sound Christian greatly rejoices; his joy arises from his treasure, which consists of matters of great value, and the title to them is sure. 3. The best Christians, those who have reason greatly to rejoice, may yet be in great heaviness through manifold temptations. All sorts of adversities are temptations, or trials of faith, patience, and constancy. These seldom go singly, but are manifold, and come from different quarters, the effect of all which is great heaviness. As men, we are subject to sorrows, personal and domestic. As Christians, our duty to God obliges us to frequent sorrow: and our compassion towards the miserable, the dishonour done to God, the calamities of his church, and the destruction of mankind, from their own folly and from divine vengeance, raise, in a generous and pious mind, almost continual sorrow. I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart, Romans 9:2. 4. The afflictions and sorrows of good people are but for a little while, they are but for a season; though they may be smart, they are but short. Life itself is but for a little while, and the sorrows of it cannot survive it; the shortness of any affliction does much abate the heaviness of it. 5. Great heaviness is often necessary to a Christian’s good: If need be, you are in heaviness. God does not afflict his people willingly, but acts with judgment, in proportion to our needs. There is a conveniency and fitness, nay, an absolute necessity in the case, for so the expression signifies: it must be; therefore no man should be moved by these afflictions. For yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto, 1 Thessalonians 3:3. These troubles, that lie heavy, never come upon us but when we have need, and never stay any longer than needs must.

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Sweet and Salty Speech

 

Behave wisely toward outsiders, making full use of every opportunity — let your conversation always be gracious and interesting, so that you will know how to respond to any particular individual. Colossians 4:5-6 CJB

A friend once urged me to try a new drink at my local coffeehouse rather than the hot chocolate I usually order. When the barista cracked some sea salt on top of a mug of caramel hot cocoa and its mounds of whipped cream, I’ll admit, I was skeptical. But I trusted my friend’s advice and tried it and … Oh. My. Word. Who would’ve thought?

On the periodic table of elements (which I haven’t looked at since high school) it’s sodium chloride — NaCl. Salt is the number one flavor enhancer in the world and used in numerous cultures. In fact, over a quarter billion pounds of salt are produced each year.

Diners put a dash of salt on their casseroles, sprinkle it on piping hot potatoes and add a pinch or two to a bowl of soup. Salt is even added to sweet things to intensify their sweetness, thus the deliciousness overload of the salted caramel hot cocoa. My father always puts it on his slices of melon. And have you ever tasted dark chocolate with sea salt? Heavenly.

One time I forgot to add salt to a mint brownie recipe. When I tasted a bite, there was plenty of mint and cocoa powder, the two main flavors of the dish, but somehow it just didn’t taste right. Even though the recipe called for only half a teaspoon, omitting the salt ruined the normally delicious treat. It takes only a little salt to coax out the wonderful flavor of other things around it.

In  Colossians 4 we see our speech should be seasoned with salt and gracious. And we’re told to know how to give the right answer to everyone. Might it mean that we should ask ourselves if we are bringing out sweetness in both our choice of words and in our conversations with others — especially online conversations where we not only start a conversation but often give answers?

In the Sermon on the Mount, at one point, Jesus states: “You are salt for the Land. But if salt becomes tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except being thrown out for people to trample on.” Matthew 5:13 CJB

100 Truths About Jesus

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. – C.S. Lewis

 

1) Jesus claimed to be God – John 8:24 8:56-59 10:30-33

2) Jesus created all things – John 1:3; Col 1:15-17

3) Jesus is before all things – Colossians 1:17

4) Jesus is eternal – John 1:1, 14 8:58

5) Jesus is honored the same as the Father – John 5:23

6) Jesus is prayed to – Acts 7:55-60

7) Jesus is worshipped – Matthew 2:2, 11; 14:33; John 9:35-38; Hebrews 1:6

8) Jesus is called God – John 1:1, 14; 20:28; Colossians 2:9; Titus 2:13

9) Jesus is omnipresent – Matthew 28:20

10 Jesus is with us always – Matthew 28:20

11) Jesus is our only mediator between God and ourselves – 1 Timothy 2:5

12) Jesus is the guarantee of a better covenant – Hebrews 7:22 8:6

13) Jesus said, “I AM the Bread of Life” – John 6:35, 41, 48, 51

14) Jesus said, “I AM the Door” – John 10:7, 9

15) Jesus said, “I AM the Good Shepherd” – John 10:11, 14

16) Jesus said, “I AM the Way the Truth and The Life” – John 14:6

17) Jesus said, “I AM the Light of the world” – John 8:12; 9:5; 12:46; Luke 2:32

18) Jesus said, “I AM the True Vine” – John 15:1, 5

19) Jesus said, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life” – John 11:25

20) Jesus said, “I AM the First and the Last” – Revelation 1:17; 2:8 22:13

21) Jesus always lives to make intercession for us – Hebrews 7:25

22) Jesus cleanses from sin – 1 John 1:9

23) Jesus discloses Himself to us – John 14:21

24) Jesus draws all men to Himself – John 12:32

25) Jesus forgives sins – Matt 9:1-7; Luke 5:20 7:48

26) Jesus gives eternal life – John 10:28 5:40

27) Jesus gives joy – John 15:11

28) Jesus gives peace – John 14:27

29) Jesus has authority – Matthew 28:18; John 5:26-27; 17:2 3:35

30) Jesus judges – John 5:22, 27

31) Jesus knows all men – John 16:30

32) Jesus opens the mind to understand scripture – Luke 24:45

33) Jesus received honor and glory from the Father – 2 Peter 1:17

34) Jesus resurrects – John 5:39; 6:40, 44, 54 11:25-26

35) Jesus reveals grace and truth – John 1:1,; John 6:45

36) Jesus reveals the Father – Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22

37) Jesus saves forever – Matthew 18:11; John 10:28; Hebrews 7:25

38) Jesus bears witness of Himself – John 8:18 14:6

39) Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself – John 5:36 10:25

40) The Father bears witness of Jesus – John 5:37; 8:18; 1 John 5:9

41) The Holy Spirit bears witness of Jesus – John 15:26

42) The multitudes bear witness of Jesus – John 12:17

43) The Prophets bear witness of Jesus – Acts 10:43

44) The Scriptures bear witness of Jesus – John 5:39

45) The Father will honor us if we serve Jesus – John 12:26; Colossians 3:24

46) The Father wants us to fellowship with Jesus – 1 Corinthians 1:9

47) The Father tells us to listen to Jesus – Luke 9:35; Matthew 17:5

48) The Father tells us to come to Jesus – John 6:45

49) The Father draws us to Jesus – John 6:44

50) Everyone who’s heard & learned from the Father comes to Jesus – John 6:45

51) The Law leads us to Christ – Galatians 3:24

52) Jesus is the Rock – 1 Corinthians 10:4

53) Jesus is the Savior – John 4:42; 1 John 4:14

54) Jesus is King – Matthew 2:1-6; Luke 23:3

55) In Jesus are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge – Colossians 2:2-3

56) In Jesus we have been made complete – Colossians 2:10

57) Jesus indwells us – Colossians 1:27

58) Jesus sanctifies – Hebrews 2:11

59) Jesus loves – Ephesians 5:25

60) We come to Jesus – John 5:50; 6:35, 37, 45, 65; 7:37;

61) We sin against Jesus – 1 Corinthians 8:12

62) We receive Jesus – John 1:12; Colossians 2:6

63) Jesus makes many righteous – Romans 5:19

64) Jesus is the image of the invisible God – Hebrews 1:3

65) Jesus sends the Holy Spirit – John 15:26

66) Jesus abides forever – Hebrews 7:24

67) Jesus offered up Himself – Hebrews 7:27 9:14

68) Jesus offered one sacrifice for sins for all time – Hebrews 10:12

69) The Son of God has given us understanding – 1 John 5:20

70) Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith – Hebrews 12:2

71) Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest of our confession – Hebrews 1:3

72) Jesus is preparing a place for us in heaven – John 14:1-4

73) Jesus cleanses us from our sins by His blood – Revelation 1:5; Romans 5:9

74) Jesus is the Light of the world – Romans 9:5

75) Jesus has explained the Father – John 1:18

76) Jesus was crucified because of weakness – 2 Corinthians 13:4

77) Jesus has overcome the world – John 16:33

78) Truth is in Jesus – Ephesians 4:21

79) The fruit of righteousness comes through Jesus Christ – Philippians 1:11

80) Jesus delivers us from the wrath to come – 1 Thessalonians 1:10

81) Disciples bear witness of Jesus Christ – John 15:27

82) Jesus died and rose again – 1 Thessalonians 4:14

83) The Christian dead have fallen asleep in Jesus – 1 Thessalonians 4:15

84) Jesus died for us – 1 Thessalonians 5:10

85) Jesus tasted death for everyone – Hebrews 2:9

86) Jesus rendered the devil powerless – Hebrews 2:14

87) Jesus is able to save completely – Hebrews 7:25

88) Jesus was a ransom for many and to serve – Matthew 20:28

89) Jesus came to be a high priest – Hebrews 2:17

90) Jesus came to save – John 3:17; Luke 19:10

91) Jesus came to preach the kingdom of God – Luke 4:43

92) Jesus came to bring division – Luke 12:51

93) Jesus came to do the will of the Father – John 6:38

94) Jesus came to give the Father’s words – John 17:8

95) Jesus came to testify to the truth – John 18:37

96) Jesus came to die and destroy Satan’s power – Hebrews 2:14

97) Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets – Matthew 5:17

98) Jesus came to give life – John 10:10, 28

99) Jesus came to taste death for everyone – Hebrews 2:9

100) Jesus came to proclaim freedom for believers – Luke 4:18

Be Aware: Occult Symbolism that is Hidden in Plain Sight

Over thirty years ago I was involved with Menconi Ministries, an organization founded on keeping parents involved in their children’s lives. The purpose was to aid parents and grandparents in connecting communicating with their children and grandchildren so they could instill family values and lead them to Jesus. One of these ways was to be informed as to the music these children were listening to and to share with them the dangers of the modern day musicians. As most of you know, Lucifier, (Satan) was the Worship leader in Heaven. He  is now the worship leader of the Earth. Not of Christ Jesus, but to himself. This is a perfect example:

There are many symbolisms and occult references that stand out in the music culture today. From historical artifacts, to the music artists today, it seems the occult world has never really gone away, but in fact has become more flagrant and blatant. The problem is that many are unaware of the meanings behind what many consider to be just artistic entertainment that appeals to the senses with no real hidden meanings, or agendas behind them. There are many artists that promote their music through occult influence. The evidence that will be provided will show striking similarities with occult ideologies that are synonymous with many artists in the music industry.

Kanye West is a popular musical artist who promotes music and imagery with deep occult meaning, which is rooted in Freemasonry. The pictures presented will parallel historical pictures from ancient cultures to recent ones. There are too many similarities for it to be just coincidence. The music culture has aligned itself with something much more than just poetic lyrics and sounds, but is progressing into something much bigger that is symbolic of the veil that is thinning between the physical and spiritual realm. It is important to be aware of the occult agenda that is manifesting in greater force these days.

The representation of the pillars behind Kanye West are ubiquitous with many cultures as an entrance, or gateway which holds the key to power and enlightenment. Kanye West is pictured at the gateway as the chosen one to represent the hidden rulers of the world that reside behind him.

The ancient Egyptian god, or deity known as Horus was considered to be the Sky god, which represented the symbol of the single seeing eye. The one eye is the most well known in occult symbolism as the all-seeing-eye; the Great Seal of the United States originates from Horus

The symbolism of Horus is very important in Freemasonry. The path of the initiate, through the Masonic degrees, is described as the process by which the Eye of Horus is opened.

The pillared gateway is for the exclusive illuminated ones. Kanye West is wearing a Horus pendant, which has importance and significant meaning not only in ancient Egyptian culture, but in Freemasonry as well.

The horned females next to Kanye represent two goddesses ofancient Egypt, Isis and Hathor. Isis was the goddess of nature, magic, and motherhood. Hathor was the goddess of music, dance, and fertility. They are known as the protectors of the dead as they journey into the afterlife.

In the occult, the initiate symbolically dies and is reborn. Kanye West is standing under the sword of Damocales as part of a Masonic ritual to obtain the 33rd degree. The rite happens in public; the more there are witnesses, the more power is given. In a metaphorical sense, Kanye West kills off his former self and is reborn to receive power right in front of the eyes of the public audience.

 

Eight Ways Jesus Suffered for You

1. He was betrayed by His disciple Judas. Jesus’ pain was not just physical. Can you imagine the sorrow He felt when one of His own trusted friends became the ultimate traitor? We aren’t exactly sure how to calculate the modern value of 30 pieces of silver, but many scholars suggest about $950. All the pain Jesus endured on Good Friday began the night before, when Judas took blood money to have his Master arrested.

Think about it: There’s a bit of Judas in all of us, and we all betrayed Jesus to get our own way. Yet He chose to forgive us!

2. He was abandoned by His other followers. We often focus on Peter’s denial of Jesus. But the Scriptures remind us that all of Jesus’ disciples “left Him and fled” after His arrest (Mark 14:50, NASB). Jesus had to suffer alone. All the men He had taught and invested in for three and a half years abandoned Him in His hour of need.

Think about it: Jesus paid it all. He accomplished His work of redemption without our help. But He forgave us for our denials!

3. He carried the burden of the sins of the world. Jesus’ greatest agony didn’t start on the cross. It began at Gethsemane, where God laid on His Son the sins of the world. Jesus agonized so intensely in those moments that He sweat drops of blood (Luke 22:44). Scholars say He probably developed a condition known as hematidrosis, in which blood is emitted through the sweat glands because of intense stress.

Think about it: Your sin was transferred to Jesus’ account, and He bore the punishment you deserved!

4. He was falsely accused and rejected by Jewish leaders. Can you imagine the heartache Jesus experienced when the very people He was sent to save spat in His face, blindfolded Him, cursed Him and accused Him of blasphemy? The Sanhedrin set up a kangaroo court and sentenced the Son of God to death.

Think about it: Jesus did not open His mouth in self-defense when He was falsely accused. Now, when Satan accuses you, Jesus argues your case and declares you not guilty!

5. He was mocked and abused by Roman guards. After Pilate caved into pressure from the Jews, Roman soldiers flogged Jesus with a whip, drove a crown of thorns into His scalp, beat His head with sticks and mockingly pretended to worship Him. The flogging alone—which would have involved leather cords with pieces of lead or bone attached—would have drained much of Jesus’ blood.

Think about it: Jesus could have called on angels to stop His torture—but He chose to endure the pain because He loved us!

6. He was crucified between two thieves. We cannot even fathom the pain of crucifixion. Metal spikes were driven into Jesus’ hands and feet, and He had to slide His mangled body up against the wood of the cross in order to catch His breath. And because it was the habit of Romans to crucify criminals naked, Jesus endured the ultimate shame. What’s more, He hung on that crude cross next to two men who had been convicted of crimes—while He was completely innocent.

Think about it: We should have been on death row, not Jesus. But He took our place!

7. His body was pierced with a spear. Even after Jesus took His last breath, a soldier jabbed a spear up through the chest cavity—most likely to make sure Jesus was dead. John tells us that blood and water spilled out (John 19:34), evidence that the spear pierced the pericardium, the sac around the heart. Jesus’ heart was literally broken for us.

Think about it: Just as Adam’s side was opened to bring forth the first woman, Jesus’ side was opened to bring forth the church. His piercing produced a fountain of life for us!

8. He tasted death for all. This is the most horrible reality of the cross. Christ did not die metaphorically or symbolically. He died literally. The Son of God, who had never sinned—and who was least deserving of death—died so we could have life. His heart stopped beating, He stopped breathing and His spirit left Him. First Peter 3:18 says: “For Christ also died for sins once and for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God.”

Think about it: Because Jesus died in our place, we no longer have to die. Eternal life is His free gift to us!

This Easter season, ponder the steps the Savior took from Gethsemane to Golgotha. Look at His nail-pierced hands and feet. Take a careful survey of His wondrous cross, and thank Him for hanging there six hours for you.

 

God’s Plan of Salvation From The Begin

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Genesis 1:1 CJB

In Hebrew: In the beginning…
Barasheet “B’reshit
Tav Yod Shin Aleph Resh Bet
Bet (House or Tent)
Resh (Head-First or Highest Person)
Aleph (Ox or bull, the first, the Ultimate Strength, God)
Shin (Teeth-To Destroy, To Consume)
Yod (Arm, Hand-My Hand, My Effort, My Work)
Tav (A Cross- the Mark, the Covenant)
Bet-Resh (Ben) = Son of
Bar in Aramaic = Son of
The Son of God will be destroyed (killed) by His own effort or Hands on a cross.

But he was wounded because of our crimes,
crushed because of our sins;
the disciplining that makes us whole fell on him,
and by his bruises* we are healed.  Isaiah 53:5 CJB (700 BC)

Everyone living on earth will worship it except those whose names are written in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb slaughtered before the world was founded.  Revelation 13:8

 

In Hebrew: Created…
Bara (to Create)
Bet (House)
Resh (Head)
Aleph (God)
Bet-Resh (Son of ) in Aramaic (Bar)
Aleph (God)
All things were created by the Son of God.

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

All things came to be through him,

and without him nothing made had being.

John 1:1-3 CJB

He is the visible image of the invisible God. He is supreme over all creation, 16 because in connection with him were created all things — in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, lordships, rulers or authorities — they have all been created through him and for him.  Colossians 1:15b-16 CJB

 

Be Persistent

Preach the word [as an official messenger]; be ready when the time is right and even when it is not [keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome]; correct [those who err in doctrine or behavior], warn [those who sin], exhort and encourage [those who are growing toward spiritual maturity], with inexhaustible patience and [faithful] teaching.

2 Timothy 4:2 AMP

Persist:

When it seems the anointing has run completely dry.

When it seems heaven has forgotten you’re alive.

When you feel uninspired. Tired. When you’ve been fired.

When your faith shows no results.

When your obedience has not paid off.

When your prayers seem like wasted breath.

When your bones feel dead–and so does the Word.

Persist. Jesus is on His way. Your anointing has not run dry. Heaven has nor forgotten you’re alive. You have not believed for nothing. The results of your faith will soon sprout from that fallow ground. Just a little more rain. Just a little more thunder. Your obedience will pay off. You have not wasted a single breath on prayer. There is still life in your bones and, child of God, there is still life in His Word. Persist!

God Is Good

The Lord is good (Nahum 1:7),

That is a basic foundation of theology that we must, all of us, incorporate into our own understanding. God is good. If you don’t know anything else, know that God is good. It’s important that you know that, and that is something that I accept by faith. Believing the word of God, I accept by faith that God is good, because not always would my circumstances indicate that God was good. And Satan is constantly assailing the truth of the goodness of God. And so often, as I’m looking at adverse situations, I’m prone to say, “If God is so good, then why is this happening?” Don’t you hear that so very often from people, “If God is good, why are there so many people starving in Cambodia? If God is good, why does He allow this to happen in the world? Why does He allow a little nine-year-old girl to get kidnapped if God is good?” There are always those challenges to the goodness of God that are thrown at us. Satan is always challenging that truth. And thus, I need to have that truth deeply, firmly ingrained within me. God is good, that I know.

There is a very interesting Psalm, it’s about the seventy-third Psalm, where the psalmist begins by the declaration, “Truly the Lord is good unto Israel, and unto all those that fear Him.” And he begins that psalm with that basic premise. But then he said, “As for me, man, when I tried to understand the world around me, I was almost wiped out, my foot almost slipped when I saw the prosperity of the wicked and I saw how well they got along. I looked at my own problems and everything else, and here I’m trying to serve God. I’ve tried to have a clean heart. I’ve tried to do the right things, and everybody’s just pushing me down, and I’m in trouble. Here are these guys cheating, lying, stealing, blaspheming, and they seem to have no problems at all. Everything seems to fall in line for them. When I sought to know this,” he said, “it was too painful for me; I almost was wiped out!” Satan can really play games with your mind. Especially regarding the goodness of God. He challenges that continually. The psalmist said, “I was almost wiped out when I tried to understand it,” he said, “until I went into the sanctuary of God. And, then,” he said, “I saw their end. I was jealous of the wicked; I was jealous of the ungodly man. It seems he has everything, until I went into the sanctuary of God.” And then what happened? His vision was corrected. In the sanctuary of God that nearsightedness was corrected, and he began to get the long view of things. You see, the goodness of God is that which is always challenged by our nearsightedness, when we are only looking at the immediate things that surround us. It is then that I’m prone to challenge the goodness of God. Things are going bad for me today, “If God’s so good, how come things are going so bad today?” See, it’s today, and it’s my hurt right now, and it’s the pain I feel right now. I don’t look down the road; I’m only looking at that which is right in front of my face. “Until I went into the sanctuary of God, and then I began to get things in perspective, and then I began to get the eternal view, and the sight of eternity comes into view, and somehow in that eternal view things begin to balance out.” That’s our problem is that we don’t have the long-term view, and we get confused. Satan can really upset us. But how many of those things as you look back in your own life that you thought were disasters, now as you look at them, you can see the hand of God and realize how important they were for your development, or how important they were even for your future. God put me in some places that you just can’t believe. I mean it was just plain tough. And in those situations, down on my knees before God, the questions, the challenging of the goodness of God, “God, if You’re so good, why do I have all these problems? Why did You put me here, God, in this place with these people?” And yet, now as I look back on it, oh the invaluable lessons that God was teaching me. How important those lessons that I learned. I could not have the ministry that God has given to me today had I not gone through those experiences. There were things that God had to work out of my own life before He could really use me effectively. And though I cried, and though I just went through torture mentally, yet as I look back, now I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything, for the lessons and the value that they’ve brought to me. As God was working though, I could not see it and I could not understand it. Now I look back and I say, “Oh, the Lord was so good to me!” But I sure didn’t think so at the time. I thought He had forgotten me, forsaken me, and yet, God is good. I need to remember that. Don’t forget that. “And all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). Not only is God good, the prophet said,

[He is] a stronghold in the day of trouble (Nahum 1:7);

God doesn’t promise that you’re never going to have trouble. In the book of Job it says, “As sparks fly upward, so man was born for trouble.” Now, I don’t know of anybody who hasn’t had trouble some time in their life. Trouble is just a part of life itself. In Psalm we read, thirty-four, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.” Somehow, we think because we’re righteous we should never have any affliction, everything should go well, after all, I love God and I’m trying to do the right thing, everyone should love me and treat me nice. Nothing evil should ever happen to me because I love God and I’m willing to serve God and I’m wanting to please God, therefore everything should always be wonderful and beautiful around me. Well, it wasn’t so with Jesus was it? Jesus said, “Hey, if I being your Lord, and they haven’t received Me, they persecuted Me… Servant’s not greater than… They’re not going to receive you. They’re not going to open up and accept you with open arms. The world’s going to hate you because you love Me!” You’re going to have trouble. But whenever the trouble comes, the Lord is a stronghold. I’ve got a place I can run, I’ve got a place where I can find strength, I’ve got a place where I can be protected. The Lord is a stronghold to those that are in trouble. The thing is, if you’re not a child of God, when trouble comes, you have no place to go. But the child of God always has a refuge. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” Then he declares,

and he knoweth them that trust in him (Nahum 1:7).

God knows those that are trusting. God knows you, isn’t that great? God knows me. Not only does He know me, and of course, this is just boggling to my own mind, and it’s just, again, that gap between the finite and the infinite, and the ability for… inability for us to really bridge it. But God not only knows me, He’s thinking about me constantly. That just blows my mind. That God would be constantly thinking about me. David said, “And if I should number thy thoughts concerning me, they are more than the sands of the sea.” How I love to go down to the beach and just take and pick up sand and let it run through my hands and watch the little grains make a little pile on the beach there. And as I do, I think, “Every one of those grains of sand there is a thought that God is thinking of me.” Fabulous! Then I look up the beach and I see all those grains of sand. I think, “Oh, God, who can fathom Your love, and Your wisdom, and Your glory, that You should think of me?” How many grains of sand are there in the earth? Someone has estimated there’s ten to the twenty-fifth power. That’s an awful lot of thinking. It’d take an infinite God to have that many thoughts. God is thinking about you. God knows you. God knows the situations that you’re in. God knows the trials that you have. God knows the problems that you face. Really that’s all that I need to be reminded of when I’m in trouble and I start to despair. All someone has to say is, “Hey, don’t worry, Judi. God knows all about it.” Oh, thank you. I needed that. God knows the way of the righteous. His ears are open to their cries.

 

Lose Yourself to Gain Yourself

When I was dealing with despair I noticed that it was because I was putting my focus and trust in everything else besides God. I was constantly dwelling on my problems and taking my eyes off of God.

When you do this that gives the devil an opportunity to tell lies such as God is not near you and He will not help you.

Please don’t listen to these lies. I found out what I was doing wrong and I went into prayer mode.

Take your eyes off the things of this world. Allow difficulty to bring you to your knees in prayer. Fight off those lies by crying for help. Trust in the Lord, not your circumstances.

The key to overcoming despair is keeping your mind on the Lord, which will keep your mind at peace.

Take your eyes off the things of this world. Allow difficulty to bring you to your knees in prayer. Fight off those lies by crying for help. Trust in the Lord, not your circumstances.