Even if social media suggests otherwise, we all experience problems. A common reaction to struggles could include searching the internet, asking friends for advice, and complaining. If we are really feeling faithful, we might even take to prayer. But how often do we think to praise God in the midst of our troubles? Yet, that reaction is more appropriate.
James 1:2 tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of all kinds. Scripture goes on to tell us tests produce perseverance, character, and hope (see James 1:3, Romans 5:3-4). While you may not consider present troubles worthwhile enough to render perseverance, character, and hope, know that God does. These qualities are highly valued in the spiritual realm. When you have earned them, you can consider yourself wealthy and commendable in the eyes of God because these qualities increase our compassion for others and trust in. It keeps us from becoming lukewarm believers.
The next time you encounter a problem, say to yourself, “It is only a test. God, I thank You for this test. I know that through this circumstance You will make me stronger in my faith. That is important to You so it is important to me. Help me to overcome this trial and make You proud of me.”
God is sovereign. He can always prevent the Enemy from attacking or tempting, but even His Son was tempted and attacked by Satan. He could have rearranged circumstances so that you could have avoided the adverse side effects of sin from someone else, but even Jesus suffered from the Judas’ greedy decision. In the end, would we have wanted the Father to have prevented all of Jesus’ suffering? No, because He worked it together for our good. He used Jesus’ death on the cross for our salvation. Likewise, there is purpose to your suffering. You may not see it, but it is truly valuable to God. In fact, you are truly loved and valuable to God.
God wants you to depend on Him ALONE to provide money. That means it is wrong to manifest, use the law of attraction, feng shui, or name it claim it. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.’ “
God wants you to depend on Him ALONE to provide knowledge. This means He does not want you to rely on enlightenment, channeling, angel cards, tarot cards, meditation (except on His Word), astrology, or chanting. James 1:5 states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
God wants you to depend on Him ALONE for guidance. This means He does not want you to call on angels, saints, spirit guides, ancestors, or any other thing or being. Deuteronomy 18: 10-11 says, “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.”
I say these things to you in love-not in judgement for the Lord will judge us all according to the motivations of our hearts, but if you were innocently practicing these things, you can no longer do so because now the Lord has sent this message just for you. Draw near to Him who loves you and has provided ALONE for the salvation of your soul for eternal life through Jesus Christ’s blood and death on the cross.
Lord, Your hands measure out the oceans,
You weigh mountains and hills on Your scales,
Lord, You can make dry bones live again,
Let Your will be done; let Your mercy prevail.
Dry bones, hear the Almighty Lord speak,
Receive His breath, and come to life,
March out of the valley and onto the peak,
Hope is restored; All hail Jesus Christ!
God, transform them; renew their minds,
Set their thoughts on things of the Spirit,
Show them You love people of all kinds,
Assure them when they pray, you will hear it.
Protect them from the Enemy’s darts,
Move them to seek You with all their hearts.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” —Ezekiel 37:5
Lord, we have been hurt and suffering,
Restore, confirm, and establish us,
Satisfy our hunger and thirst with good things,
In You, Almighty God, we put our trust.
Help us to stay woke to the wickedness and corruption,
that seek to force their way in,
and also the corruption and persecution,
bring gang and drug violence to an end.
Remind us we are in a war for our souls,
and for the souls of friends and loved ones,
forgive us for being proud and sinful,
have mercy on our daughters and sons.
Lamb of God, we await the hour,
when You will return with glory and power!
Isaiah 61:3 promises “…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…” It is merely an act of our will to claim this gift daily. We tend to put on ashes every time our circumstances become unfavorable—when we are dashed on the rocks of rejection or come face-to-face with trouble or tumble down a hill of disappointment. Yet we forget to put on the crown of beauty every morning and embrace our identity as children of the living God. Even if we have to go through the motions of physically putting on an invisible crown to receive that identity, we should because we embrace our new nature when we do it.
And continuing with Isaiah 61:3, “the oil of joy instead of mourning…” In the same way, we can choose to put on daily the oil of joy. Bathe in it! Shower in it! The stores of heaven are full of joy, vats of it, and it has been given to you. Receive it. Joy has a sweet aroma of life that will attract others who operate in a spirit of depression.
Similarly, let us put on what is in the next verse… “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” We can cry with those who cry, but then we can lay that down at the cross with all of our earthly problems and put on that garment of praise in the midst of those challenges. Let us lift His Holy Name in praise when we are troubled.
And finally, let’s turn once more to the promise in Isaiah 61:3, “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” When I was unsaved, even my good intentions had bad outcomes, my decisions were poor when I was able to make a decision at all, and my free time was used up entertaining myself. That was my rotten fruit. With the Holy Spirit in me now, even my accidents have good outcomes, my decisions are based on the omniscient Lord’s guidance, and my free time is dedicated to being obedient to the One who loves others. That is my good fruit. The Lord has planted us to bear good fruit and not for our sakes or even for others, but for His own glory—for the display of splendor of Him who loved us first.
Christians who are already wearing the armor of God can also put on the crown of beauty, oil of joy, and garment of praise. Then we have don’t rock on the waves of circumstance but stand firm on our identity and reflect the attitude that comes with being a child of God.
Lord of all mankind, nothing is too hard for You,
Thank You for saving me and washing me of my sin,
I know You are real and Your Word is true,
Now I come before You for my friends and kin.
Open their eyes to see they strayed,
Let them repent of sin and comprehend,
Cause them to feel shame and disgrace,
So they’ll reach out for You before their life’s end.
Let them reach out for You and see You’re near,
You are knocking at their door even now,
You’re speaking to them — let them hear,
Let them open the door — show them how.
Show them that those who seek will find,
Reveal the depth of Your love and grace,
How Your Son died for the sins of mankind,
Illustrate how His punishment took our place.
Let them ask for and receive the Holy Spirit,
Like a kind Father, it’s Your good pleasure to give it.
*I pray in agreement for the salvation of your loved ones. In Christ’s Name, Amen!
But(t)s belong in the ashtray,
“But I only wanted to have fun,”
“But I am really a good person,”
That’s what people in hell say.
Ewes (You’s) belong to the Good Shepherd,
“You forgave all the sins of my life,”
“You sent Your Son as a sacrifice,”
That’s how those in heaven are accepted.
“’I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.'”—John 10:14-15
It can be tempting to justify ourselves when talking to God with “But I.” However, it is futile to justify ourselves at all. We only have hope in God’s mercy. Do you ever try to justify yourself before God?
You, Believer, are a pure white vinyl fence,
Crowned with ornate posts secured in concrete,
Against sin, you have premium resistance,
Yet you are single and feel incomplete.
If you take an unbeliever as your spouse,
Your fence will be finished in wood with gaping holes,
Every kind of sin will rush into your house,
Your lover will delight in being exposed.
You will scream and rage about the ambush,
The sin that rushed in, and the pain it evoked,
Haven’t you read the warning in God’s book?
With unbelievers, do not be unequally yoked.
If you haven’t already made this mistake,
Prefer to spend your time among God’s people,
God will send you someone — please patiently wait,
Then you will be a superior fence with no equal.
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” —2Corinthians 6:14
It is right to spend some time showering God’s love on non-Christians, but our close relationships (tight friendships and love interests) should be with Christians who are equally devoted to God as we are. Which friends in your life should you spend more time with?
When one studies men throughout history,
one must befriend their own mediocrity,
he must confess his grievous apathy,
and admit his pathetic passivity.
He must go to God humbly,
and say, “Lord, do what thou will with me”
for I am weak and unsatisfactory,
and You are strong and mighty.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” —Romans 12:1
Sometimes we forget God has a plan for each one of us, and we try to create our own legacy for our own glory. Do you have ambitious plans that you need to let go of so that God can accomplish His great plan for your life?