I heard a sermon that climaxed with a message of perseverance. Life happens and we attempt to “do our best” to “help God out.” Our faith in God becomes superimposed by our human goals to handle circumstances with human interventions rather than relying on God’s Word.
It all starts out with a God-given blessing by way of a message of promise, Divinely ordained just for you to experience, whereby lives will forever be affected in a Godly manner and God’s glory is magnified. The problem arises when you have to contend with facts that obstruct a human understanding of how the particulars will happen. You become inundated with doubts, uncertainty and pessimism all because you can’t understand how the promise from God will become a reality. It is completely natural to rely on human intervention that can aid your heart felt desire to realize this dream that you now have. But if human intervention supersedes God’s power then you have mistakenly focused on the problem. The God-given dream you so desperately want to realize will not be fulfilled without FAITH. When you focus on the fact that God’s Word is ABSOLUTE, then you have unmistakably focused on the promise – by faith in HIM the dream becomes a reality.
SOVEREIGN FACTS:GOD NEVER FAILS! GOD MAKES THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE! GOD MAKES WAYS OUT OF NO WAY! GOD CAN DO ANYTHING BUT FAIL! GOD IS OUR ALL AND ALL!
The character in the Bible that personifies this life issue is Sarah. In Genesis 15 God promised Abram a son. He was old and she was old and barren. Fact! In Genesis 16 Sarah has assessed the facts and comes up with a plan that is devoid of faith in God’s promise but instead based in the prospect of human intervention. “An old man can still produce sperm. If I give my husband my hand maiden and they have sex then she will conceive the baby that God promised. THIS MUST BE WHAT GOD MEANT!” The message of how our minds take over what our spirits discern is truly telling for our personal spiritual maturity. This is why Paul writes in Romans 12 “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…..” Sarah was an enterprising, beautiful woman as she utilized surrogacy way before it was politically correct. 🙂 But all of these efforts were contrived in her mind because she was focused on the FACT that she was old and barren. Her faith in God became superimposed by her human goals to problem solve with human interventions rather than relying on God’s Word.
All the while God said what He said and the act was done. Ishmael was born. By Genesis 18 God specifically promises that Sarah will have a son. Sarah was eavesdropping and, motivated by her knowledge of the FACTS, she doubted God’s Word inwardly and laughed to herself. Be mindful of the elements of sarcasm today. God knows the intents of the heart along with His Divine plan. Sarah is confronted with the reality of this when she must consider the question, “is there anything too difficult for the LORD?” Her conclusion must have been NO because Hebrews 11:11 declares ” Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” In Genesis 18 we see her move her focus from the problem (the facts). Her attempts to use her intellect and human intervention were designed to get her to accept in her heart and mind that if God said it He CAN do it! She focused on Him as the all powerful, all knowing Creator of the Heaven, the Earth and mankind. Her faith in the promise changed her life and is still changing lives today.
We contend with our human nature on so many levels. Consider this in response to the contention: God created you and ALL that is around you. He can not and WILL not be overtaken by a problem. He is the Creator who created something out of nothing – you were formed from the dirt of the earth. If you realize there is destiny for your life but the facts are overwhelming your belief in His promises, tell yourself, “self, there is NOTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD!
- Stage of Life (apropheticwalk.wordpress.com)
- Faith Sight (rockchristiancenter.wordpress.com)
- Getting to Yes with God (josephcastleberry.com)
- Passage of the day: Hebrews 11:11-13 (standingatthedoor.wordpress.com)
- Nothing is beyond the reach of God… (archbishopsmith.blogspot.com)
- Tilling the Soil (drewdowns.net)
- Contradict (tos4god.wordpress.com)
- Faith without Fear (mycampuschurch.info)
There is nothing better in life than getting the big payoff. All of the struggle, heartache, difficulty, uncertainty and sleepless nights become a learning curve when you get to the solution. What happens as a result of the payoff is the purpose of the perseverance. You learn that the very thing that you were struggling to realize – “winning” – and all the effort required was NECESSARY for you to grow. No matter what the test, if you hang in there and keep the faith, GOD IS USING EVERYTHING HE MUST TO MATURE YOU INTO WHO HE WANTS YOU TO BE.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
When you like the results – THANK GOD!
When you DON’T like the results – THANK GOD!
When you are confused about the results –
THANK GOD ANYHOW!
THE MORE THANKSGIVING GOD GETS,
THE BIGGER THE PAYOFF.
IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER!
- Perseverance, Character, & Hope (truewarriorsofgod.wordpress.com)
- “You also have to have perseverance – and maybe that’s the hardest thing, to persevere and to believe…” (idonethis.com)
- Perseverance (staceycollege.com)
- The Four Primary colors of living: (Phil 1:1-8) (tithebarn.wordpress.com)
Try Jesus. He satisfies!
(A Short Story from the ConquerorShotMaker.)
Darrin was leaving the sanctuary that was releasing over 6000 attendees from the Sunday morning worship service. His spirit was elated with the Heavenly fruit of the Spirit and the joy of the Lord was upon him. In transit towards the west wing exit, he was met by one of the brothers from the church choir. Arthur was notorious for being a zealous soul, full of gratitude for His Savior’s love. On this day Arthur’s head was hung low as he walked directly into Darrin’s right arm. The meeting was surprising to Darrin as he embraced Arthur to slow him down. In the moment that Arthur realized it was Darrin now holding his arms firmly as he saw his lips moving but was unable to hear the words. Arthur was overwhelmed by the noise in his mind as the thoughts of terror associated with the loss of his life-savings plagued him thoroughly. He too was in the same service.
How is it that 2 Christian men can be in the same church service and leave with 2 different realities?
The dichotomy is associated with the condition of each mans’ heart spiritually. We all are inundated with the human conundrum of the mental and emotional contributions we receive from our heart. From a Biblical perspective we learn the following about our hearts’ human potential:
Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Pro 18:12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.
Pro 19:3 The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.
Pro 19:21 There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Matthew 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 15:20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashed hands defileth not a man.
The verses are clear. A human heart absent of the blood of Jesus is permanently darkened with these conditions. No matter how “good” you may be, your heart is subject to manifest itself as described above. The reason why is because God said so, not me. Many people have such a darkened heart that they REFUSE to receive this truth. Arthur is struggling with this truth as he and Darrin interact in the vestibule. Darrin is startled as the reality of Arthur’s distractions are immense. He continued to look into Darrin’s eyes with a blank stare absent of the presence of joy. Darrin was not inclined to let go of his arms. Despair and anguish were written all over Arthur’s face. At that moment Darrin’s spirit awakens him with the truth of the Word of God:
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like…………
and 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ‘s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Gal 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Arthur was overwhelmed with a heart that was actively being humbled as a result of the affairs in his life. Today he was made to realize how sin sick he had become. He was a hard worker and quite successful at making a living. His long-term relationship with his wife and children ended abruptly as they were killed in an accident. He was left with a brain injury from the accident that rendered him disabled. He was no longer able to drive himself around after the incident. Public transportation and help from others were his transportation options after years of self-sufficiency being mobile. He was learning to live alone without any direct interaction from family after years of having direct family involvements. And now, in the past week, he learns that a man, who he met in church and trusted to manage his life savings, took all his money and now his life’s brokenness includes financial hardship.
Arthur was overwhelmed with the internal dynamics of the “how” and “why” questions. His heart was consumed with grief and his flesh wanted to retaliate in some way. In fact, he desperately needed to escape this pain by any means necessary. He was perplexed with the thoughts of how he could end it all and go home to be with the Lord. Yet, he was determined to trust God. In the church service they were leaving, the pastor delivered a powerful message.
The sermon confronted his heart’s condition as he heard the pastor deliver the point that God allows suffering “to
make somebody feel less important: to make somebody feel less proud or convinced of his or her own importance.”
That stung Arthur’s heart but good! Arthur’s trust in God included regular church attendance. The payoff for his commitment initiated. In the midst of all his loss and his need for human involvement after loosing all family ties, his heart was still egotistical, prideful and driven by a spirit of human arrogance. With all the loss, he still had a human will to “be strong and never let them see me sweat” attitude. In his alone time he was consumed with anger, envy, hatred, wrath, strife and the works continued to manifest. His current living conditions, coupled with a regular spiritual battle with God’s unending love, was a recipe that called for God’s intervention. The pastor proclaimed, “GET LOW BEFORE CALVARY AND FIND HUMILITY.” Arthur was stunned with the truth in the power of the cross.
The pastor’s final words were: “God’ knows how to use our circumstances to get our hearts right before Him. Will you give Him yours today?”
Arthur was too weak to answer but troubled nonetheless. He stayed in place throughout the rest of the service. The time came to exit. He walked aimlessly through the vestibule in fear of what he would do to himself if he left the building. The fear and uncertainty became so overwhelming as he made up his mind to go. Just then he ran into Darrin who grabbed him and would not let him go.
Darrin knew this warfare between flesh and spirit all too well himself. With a discerning spirit, he began to sing in the space of the vestibule they occupied,
“Give me a clean heart. So I may serve Thee. Lord, fix my heart so that I may be used by Thee. For I’m not worthy of all these blessings. Give me a clean heart and I’ll follow Thee.
I’m not asking for the riches of the land. I’m not asking for high men to know my name.
Please give me Lord a clean heart so that I may follow Thee. Give me a clean heart and I’ll follow Thee.
I am up sometimes I am down. Sometimes I am almost level to the ground.
Please give me Lord a clean heart so that I may follow Thee. Give me a clean heart and I’ll follow Thee.”
A song that Arthur sang in the choir years ago, that would illuminate his zealous spirit so many times during choir rehearsals and worship services, was now ministering to Arthur’s troubled heart as the inhabitants throughout the vestibule – transient and gathered – joined in on the singing of the chorus. Arthur was now standing upright, his head held up and his facial countenance being restored through the illumination of the Holy Spirit. The tears streamed down his face as the joy of God’s presence lifted his heart and his arms were now lifted up high above his head as he sang to the Lord, pleading for God to fix what was broken. Arthur’s sorrow, as he was obediently yielding to the truth of his inferiority and need of God’s superiority, allowed him to find the willingness to modestly and respectfully stand in the presence of God and receive the healing his heart desperately was in need of. The praise in the worship service continued in the vestibule as the unity of the saints worked together with the Spirit of Christ and a humbled heart found the grace and love of God in due time. Arthur’s commitment to trust God resulted in newness of life that day. like Darrin,his instinctual fervor for a conqueror lifestyle is serving him and others today. God is good ALL THE TIME.
- Pride Destroys, Humilty Restores (saintlysages.wordpress.com)
- Humility is Beautiful (peacefulwife.com)
- Mistaking Pride for Humility (justlanita.wordpress.com)
- Attitude Check….. (wordofgodspeaktome.wordpress.com)
- Humility Hinders Our Walk (highlyfavored74.wordpress.com)
- Power of humility (egwquotables.wordpress.com)
- Humility vs Pride (graceandgritforlivinglife.wordpress.com)
Mostly everyone has a light switch on the wall of an entryway into their home. When you come in at night it is customary to hit the switch to “light up” the darkness of the dwelling. This action is an unrealized willingness to exercise faith in what you can NOT see. Electricity is the source of power that runs through the domiciles of the world to provide a “power source” to run appliances, heating/air conditioning gadgets and the most important element – light. What does electricity look like?
A building without electricity is like a dead body. On the outside it looks fine – absent of decay – but on the inside there is no activity because there is no power. Unseen electrical currents in either source provide for the presence of power and the opportunity to experience life. We come to rely on the power of electricity so heavily that we pay for it no matter what the cost. We need power to run our homes, businesses, churches and society. Conversely, we NEED the power of the Spirit of God to experience the abundant life Jesus spoke of. Joh 10:10 “10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy ; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”NASB The power of God is confirmed daily and the abundant life is possible because of the finished work at Calvary.
Like electricity, we can NOT see God. Yet, as Christians, we exercise a faith in His presence from day-to-day. We come to rely on His presence through the affirmation of His power revealed in us and through us. His power is most assuredly realized through the gospel of the Grace of God. Titus 2:11 says “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” Romans 1:16 adds For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” NASB Human beings find it easier to trust in electricity more than they can trust in the power of God.
For nearly 20 years, June 15th marked the beginning of a series of annual celebrations for me – marriage, birthday and Father’s Day. Today, like last year, the celebration is no more. The affects of divorce have taken the celebrations I learned to anticipate. Instead, there is a willingness to “show up” and live life one day at a time, a desire to realize the love of Christ which enables me to experience a “conqueror lifestyle,” and a spirit of liberty which fuels a pursuit to “accept what God allows” everyday. I thank God that in the midst of my losses He is my gain. A summer breeze confirms His power.
Change is difficult sometimes but the results of the difficulty are “working together for the good of them who love the Lord;to them who are the called according to His purpose.” It(change) has given rise to darkness and uncertainty on many occasions. I love the song Amazing Grace for many reasons, all of which consume my spirit with a realistic appreciation and gratitude for God’s uncensored grace abounding richly in my life.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see. ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed!Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.
The heat in Atlanta can be brutal. When I moved here from the north, a conversation with a deacon in the church about the lack of cool breezes during the hot summer days enlightened me. At that time I had a large amount of grass that I would maintain in the afternoons. Deacon Knuckles told me that I was going about it all wrong. I had no clue and so he offered me some of his Georgia bred wisdom. His explanation yielded a new-found awareness and appreciation for the early mornings and late evenings in which we inevitably experience a breeze outside. His recommendation was to rearrange my schedule for landscaping to coincide with these times of the hot summer days. It worked.
A breeze made all the difference in my experiences working outside. A few years later, the tribulation of having major surgery changed my life forever. During the first 6 months of recovery, and learning how to walk again, it was a time of darkness. I was overcome with despair, grief, heartache, uncertainty and an unusual amount of physical pain. My days and nights were consumed with loneliness, fear and anxiety. Even though my children, wife and mother-in-law were there with me, they could NOT offer me any power. They tried by being there and doing for me the simplest tasks that I could not do for myself and I appreciate them immensely. But I needed more.
My home therapy included using my walker and walking in intervals of 5 minutes. Over time I was up to 15 minutes. That progress allowed for me to exercise some courage to go outside to my driveway. There I would work to increase my walk time. The backyard is decorated with an assortment of tall trees – oak, dogwood, cedar and maple – in the large wooded area. Prior to my recovery, I only appreciated their response to wind when stormy weather hit our neighborhood. The motion in the trees would “speak” to me in a way that I knew when the weather pattern was threatening.
One day while struggling to walk my routine I experienced the blessing of a confirming breeze. I was stuck physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As the tears rolled down my face on the beautiful summer day while standing in my driveway on my walker, God’s presence was once again realized as the cool, confirming breeze swept over our subdivision. The natural response of the trees yielded a heralding sound of the leaves response to the force of the breeze. The trees began to sway with ease as the unclouded sky revealed the splendor of the sunlight. It was majestic, unlike all of my earlier exposure to the outside elements. It said to me “I am here…..fear not…..”
My tears dried up and my body was overcome with a spirit of amazement as I realized God’s presence being confirmed in the breeze of a summer day. It forever heightened my appreciation for God’s grace. You can’t see the wind but the breeze makes itself known through the responses of all the matter of the earth. You can’t see God’s presence but you can experience all the fullness of His power that can change your entire prospective and outlook on life. God uses change to confirm His presence, His power and His grace. I made it back inside and picked up my dusty Bible and the Lord’s confirming power was further revealed in this popular passage:
Ephesians 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. KJV
Experience the blessing of a confirming breeze.
- There But For the Grace of God… (themiracleisaroundthecorner.wordpress.com)
- Reflections on Grace: God as the Great Evangelist (gracesatisfies.wordpress.com)
- Sanctification…the sacred theme of the Bible (ptl2010.com)
- The Christian Faith (paulmarcelrene.wordpress.com)
- That Awkward Moment When We Speak the Gospel (pjcockrell.wordpress.com)
- God’s Role in Salvation: God Awakens Sinners (gracesatisfies.wordpress.com)
- Song of the Day: His Grace (beingrebekah.com)
- A look at LightSwitch (stadium.blog.twenty57.com)
- 3 Powerful Bible verses in attaining holiness (christianongtangco.wordpress.com)
- Are you switched on to yourself? (godinministry.wordpress.com)
- Beth Massi Builds Apps with LightSwitch in Studio 11 (dotnetrocks.com)
- Brahman asks: “who is this I?” (jrfibonacci.wordpress.com)
- Gravitas, the light of the Son (prodigalnomore.wordpress.com)
Every year during Christmas time at the workplace, there was always a department in the hospital that sponsored a grab bag. The first time I encountered the event, in my teens, I was totally attracted to this concept of gift giving. The requirements were simple –
- Shopping with a cap amount
- Wrapping the gift
- The event
The person who directed the affairs of the event was ALWAYS happy and full of cheer. Even on the most chaotic days at work, if you called or visited him/her regarding the event, cheer was present. The entire grab bag experience was a happy occasion from beginning to the end. Everyone who participated in the event was unified, working together as well as independently honoring their commitment to secure their gift in the grab bag. Shopping was taken seriously most of the time.
The best part about the experience to me was the gift giving being anonymous. I learned how to gauge from facial expressions who might have purchased the gift while we all opened our gifts one at a time. This was a simple task whenever someone responded negatively to a gift. Conversely, I always worked on my poker face when the gift I submitted was chosen. There was a sense of fulfillment that is indescribable as the recipient immediately “loved” the gift I chose. He/she was actually happy they received it and they were going to hold on to it and use it. It implied that I was good at gift giving at this level. The recipient was “HAPPY” with their gift. That in turn made me “HAPPY.”
What makes a grab bag “great” is that every gift contained in the container maintains a purpose to the recipient that will NEVER disappoint. Ultimately, upon receipt of the gift his/her life will will be changed for the better. King David and others, while composing the Psalms, always acknowledged the characteristic of being “BLESSED.” This Biblical principle offers readers the continuous opportunity to participate in a lifestyle that NEVER disappoints. The gifts of forgiveness of sin and eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, make “Happiness” possible from day to day. Any time you read the Psalms you participate in the Great Grab Bag as a recipient.
“The blood of Jesus will never loose its power. It reaches to the highest mountain and flows to the lowest valley. The blood, that gives you strength from day to day, will never loose its power.” (The Blood Will Never Loose Its Power, Andre Crouch, 1962) The power of the blood that keeps on cleansing children of God is the GREATNESS in the GIFT BAG of forgiveness. You don’t have to wait for an annual event to experience the happiness of all the gifts contained in Christ Jesus. They are ALWAYS available.
Here are some samples – ENJOY!
How blessed is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked,or stand in the pathway with sinners,or sit in the assembly of scoffers! Psalms 1.1 How blessed is the one whose rebellious acts are forgiven, whose sin is pardoned! How blessed is the one whose wrongdoing the LORD does not punish, in whose spirit there is no deceit. Psalm 32.1&2 How blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD and does not seek help from the proud or from liars! Psalm 40.4 How blessed are those who live in your temple and praise you continually! (Selah) How blessed are those who find their strength in you,and long to travel the roads that lead to your temple! Psalm 84.4&5 How blessed are the people who worship you! O LORD, they experience your favor. Psalm 89.15 (NET Bible)
- Thoughts On Psalms: “Arise, O Lord” (orchardministry.wordpress.com)
- Favor Of God (pureglory.net)
- Spirit Vs.Flesh (destinedtocreate.com)
- Don’t be Blind to The Blessing (pttyann2.wordpress.com)
- You are favoured by God (bummyla.wordpress.com)
- Blessed is the man who maketh the Lord his trust (servehiminthewaiting.wordpress.com)
- Once it was the Lord, Now it is the Blessing (sethsoasis.wordpress.com)
The New York Subway system is great. There is a fundamental element associated with traveling from downtown to uptown. When I was a child, per my cousin Gary, there were two trains that got the task done. From Penn Station you could catch the “A” train, a local route making many stops throughout the entire boro of Manhattan. Mostly everyone used this one because of its frequent regular schedule during the day. But if you knew what you were doing and your goal was to get uptown, you could travel up a steep flight of stairs, wait a while and get on the “AA” train instead. This express line offered you the freedom to arrive at your destination in a fraction of the time uninformed/impatient passengers realized on the popular local route. Today it is known as the “A Express.” On a good day you can get from 42nd street to 168st in 4 stops.
The Serenity Prayer offers us the same advantage.This prayer is like an express train to my core. On the exterior, when I find myself honestly appealing to God‘s Sovereignty over my life as I face some sort of issue, this prayer acquaints me with the dilemma’s affect on me. It also provides me with a Divine solution – PEACE! Philippians 4: 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Each request in the Serenity Prayer is significant.
At the point when I am “boarding” this train, my spirit cries out “GOD.” Now I must tell you that I had to learn how to interpret this instinctive cry and utilize this prayer. I can vividly remember my twenties, when I was SO overwhelmed by life and too afraid to ask for help,I thought/BELIEVED I was supposed to be able to know how to handle all of the things going on around and in my life. Asking for help seemed like a weak, spineless cop out. In essence, the lies had me fooled and I was destined to experience all of the calamity and blessings that God OK’d. I am so thankful for the Old Testament because my consistent pursuit into that portion of scripture, during my twenties, gave me this level of clarity as my twenties came to a close. However, I did not realize God’s sovereignty until my 30’s.
I take my “seat” on the train as my spirit declares “Grant me the SERENITY.” In other words, my peace has been disrupted. Some person, place, thing or situation has interrupted the harmony within me that fuels my purpose. It’s obvious to me now that at this point I have conceded to myself that I am in need of help – GOD’S HELP – in order to arrive at His desired will for my life. Somehow, someway I have gone astray and I NEED to be restored.
“Accept the things that I cannot change” – Action occurs as the train speeds towards the next stop. Acceptance is in motion. What characterizes the motion experience like that of an actual subway ride is how I adapt to the bumpy segments between stops. When you ride the subway it can sometimes be a rough ride. So it is as I have to get myself to this acceptance of whatever it is that has interfered with my peace. The plea for acceptance directly calls into focus what I CANNOT change. Here is where the bumps get intense. Who cares to admit that they can’t do something when they are so engrossed in the prospects of consistently looking good on the outside. The prayer quickly challenges every aspect of my ego. Summarily, everything that goes on outside of me that affects my core – people, places, things, situations – are BEYOND my control. Acceptance gets me into an awareness that God controls every aspect of what goes on outside of me PERFECTLY (whether I want to believe it or not) and I AM NOT GOD. The doors close and the train leaves the stop quickly speeding towards the next one.
“Courage to change the things that I can” – Finally something that I can do. The action of acceptance does not stop. In addition , I now call on God to provide what I can physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually utilize to affect change in effort to achieve peace at all these levels – COURAGE. It enables me to honestly assess all that is going on at my core – what I am feeling, how I am thinking and most of all HOW MUCH I AM TRUSTING IN GOD VS TRUSTING IN ME OR OTHERS. Courage is necessary in order for me to make whatever changes that are necessary within me that puts God back in His proper place -1st.
Why is this such an important life principle? All month I have delved into courage to gain a greater willingness to get all that courage affords me. I am a fearful being on so many levels. So to arrive at the place where I can honestly seek the Lord’s presence from day to day, and continue to experience the power that His presence does supply, offers me a vast supply of courage. The courage I write about is based in TRUST, HOPE AND FAITH IN THE CREATOR OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH, who created me. It just seems so apparent to me that one of the biggest problems we face in our core is keeping God engaged in our day to day affairs. A daily surrender to the finished work at Calvary is not an obstacle when you realize your need for a Savior. The Apostle Paul made a simple but profound declaration in Philippians 4:13 “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHICH STRENGTHENS ME.”
The train doors close again as it speeds towards the destination. Along the way, my countenance has changed. I am now eager as I realize I am almost there. It is amazing at how quickly I have gone from 34th – downtown feeling all out of sorts and “off” – to 168th street – uptown Harlem – on top of my game, resting in the peace of God which is far beyond what I can possibly understand. Peace is at work because I called on God, requested “serenity now”, actively engaged acceptance and willingly utilized courage. But as the doors open at my final destination I am still in need of “The wisdom to know the difference.” Having the blessing of peace continuously at work in and around me requires a continued presence of wisdom. Wisdom to assess those things that are in my control and out of my control. The wisdom to know when I need to get back on the “aa” train.
- Pray Without Ceasing (thechestnutburr.com)
- The Serenity Prayer (midlifekrisis.wordpress.com)
- Daily Recovery Reading – April 30,2012 (12stepsthinkaboutit.org)
- Prayers/Praying (myshare06feb94.wordpress.com)
- 12 Steps of AA & Prayers (isabelladurante.com)
- The Power of the Serenity Prayer for Everyday Life: Part 1 (practicalpsychology.wordpress.com)
- Serenity prayer (dailymomprayers.wordpress.com)
- One close to my heart – The Serenity Prayer (bafedilemafologele.wordpress.com)
- Daily Devotional | Living In The Peace Of God (thelivingwordministries.wordpress.com)
- In the Midst of Darkness (substanceovershadows.com)
- What’s robbing you of your joy series-Faith (pastormikesays.wordpress.com)
- Serenity Prayer? I have better. (lifeofthrees.wordpress.com)
In my lifetime I have been accused of being full of s_ _ t for various reasons – where I was, who I was with, what I was doing, what happened……… Sometimes I was even accused of this status even though I was as sober as a judge and telling the God‘s honest truth. It then occurred to me that this expression is a cliche’ and not necessarily a response that I needed to take to heart. It gave me the wisdom to “consider the source.”
That consideration has prompted me to examine the statement “full of courage” today. When have you ever used this expression in describing someone? Try saying it – “You (are) full of courage!” The tone and expression of this observation begs the question – “How is this possible?” You must admit that when you stumble upon someone that is endowed with courage it can be confrontational to you as you perhaps are entangled in a fear-driven reality. If honesty is present, and you are willing to acknowledge this person’s courage and inquire about how to attain it personally, the act of inquiry opens up your spirit to the opportunity to become “full of courage” yourself. BUT YOU MUST CONSIDER THE SOURCE!
2Corinthians 5:6 Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth we are absent from the Lord —
5:7 for we live by faith, not by sight.
5:8 Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.(NASB)
The person is the example but the source of courage which fills the person is the BLESSED ASSURANCE OF THE HOPE OF THE GLORY OF GOD THROUGH THE POWER OF CHRIST THE RISEN SAVIOR AT WORK IN HIM/HER BY THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
The theme of Paul’s writing deals specifically with the spiritual reality of the GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN WITH CHRIST and the human struggles associated with living on Earth with all of its daily issues we face. This human reality is apparent to all- no matter what their socio-economic status may be. However, the spiritual component is what seperates “the men from the boys.”
Paul in this chapter defines being “full of courage” as a standard design for living as an Ambassador for Christ. It comes, not because of ANY attainment of status in the flesh (the flesh is to experience the continual “dying” process he defines in Galatians 2:20) which humans aspire towards naturally. When Christ was here on Earth performing all of the duties of His Earthly ministry, His most substantial acts were the death at Calvary, His burial and resurrection. By these acts, He secured the benefit to mankind for a “continued presence of His spirit in us” thereby relieving man of any need to please Him in the flesh. PERSONAL COURAGE IN HUMAN ABILITIES IS FUTILE FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE. IT’S JUST NOT ENOUGH!
A thorough persuasion of the “fear of the Lord” is at work in this instance. This reverence is the bedrock of our “walk by faith, not by sight.” It yields the assurance of the appointed time which God ordained before the foundations of the world whereby we must all appear before the “Judgement seat of Christ.” Notice that there is no hesitation for this great appearing. It is a bold statement that infers a “Blessed Assurance” that “Jesus Paid It ALL” at Calvary. Therefore, all of the blessings associated with His “Finished” work at Calvary cultivates a fullness of courage deep within our spirits that garners a great expectation for our Eternal Life over any human expectation for our Earthly life. And so, we are FREE then to experience ALL of the FULLNESS OF OUR EARTHLY LIFE through the “good works that God foreordained that we should walk in them” during our lifetime while we “look forward to that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” eternally.
Stop trying to fix yourself with human effort and let God create your NEWNESS through His spirit at work in you today.
The fact remains WHETHER YOU BELIEVE IN CHRIST AS YOUR PERSONAL SAVIOR OR NOT you will STAND before HIM in eternity. You can stand before Him at the Great White Throne IN FEAR OF THE ETERNAL OUTCOME or you can BOLDLY STAND before Him at The Judgement Seat of Christ FULL OF COURAGE! This earthly life you are blessed with is afforded to you as an opportunity to GET IN WHERE YOU FIT IN.
Jesus Christ is the Way!
- Heirs of Grace Through The Blood of Christ! (psalmsofpraisewomensministries.wordpress.com)
- The Real Miracle (beingrebekah.com)
- ‘Identities Foundation’ for a believers of Jesus Christ: (representers.wordpress.com)
- The Greatest Gift of All (lifereference.wordpress.com)
- BE STRONG and BE COURAGEOUS (pastorswifelife.com)
- Courage (escapedfromoz.wordpress.com)
- The Fear of the Lord (dadvotionals.com)
- The true Gospel of Jesus Christ. (welcomingjesus.wordpress.com)
- Death Has Been Defeated…Are You Victorious? (photosbykdotorg.wordpress.com)
- Joshua’s Leadership Style: Be Strong and Courageous (richardburkey.wordpress.com)
- The Spirit and the New Birth (briancoatney.com)
- Courage (hotpinkshimoda.wordpress.com)
Does it ever feel like God has stopped talking to you? How do you react to that? Do you panic? Do you pray louder? Are you tempted to quit believing altogether? This time of silence is very common, but rarely talked about. Some refer to it as a “wilderness experience.” Others call it the winter season of life. The best descriptive term I have heard is “The Dark Night of the Soul.” It can last days, months, or even years. It is often misdiagnosed as depression, but it goes much deeper because it doesn’t just affect your mind or your emotions; it affects your soul. Here are some of the symptoms:
1. What used to work doesn’t work anymore
When I was a young Christian, I felt God’s presence all the time. If at any time I didn’t feel His presence when I thought I should, I would just pray harder or read my favorite passage of Scripture or listen to Christian music or anything else that gave me goose bumps and helped me feel God again.
One day I realized that I had not felt God’s presence in quite a while. I tried all of the remedies that used to work, but I felt nothing. During this time, God taught me that I can’t press a button and find God; that would make ME God.
2. Basic disciplines like prayer, reading the Bible, and going to church actually make you feel worse
I have heard people complain that they “can’t hear God” or “it feels like God is far away.” Often well-meaning people advise them to pray more or read the Psalms or go to a soup kitchen. Though this is generally good advice, during the Dark Night these things might actually make you feel worse. That doesn’t mean you should stop praying; it just means that it has become an act of faith just to pray because it no longer energizes you and you don’t feel like God is listening. God is letting you mature by holding back that conditioned response that used to motivate you to do spiritual things.
Think about it. As a child, you had to be bribed to eat your vegetables. As an adult, hopefully you learned to eat broccoli even if it looks and tastes like tiny trees. Or maybe as a child you would only drink your medicine if it tasted like bubblegum. As an adult, you take your medicine even if it tastes like, well, medicine. You do these things because they are good for you – even if it might even hurt a little. It is the same thing for your spiritual health. There comes a point in time when you don’t like doing spiritual exercises, but know you need to in order to become stronger.
3. One or more “Christians” have told you that you have lost your faith
“I haven’t seen you at church in a while. Did you backslide?” “God never stops talking; you just stopped listening.” “Turn that frown upside down. Today is the day the Lord has made!” Christians can say the stupidest things or the right things at the wrong moments. If it bothers you at all that God might have stopped talking to you, then that proves you care. You’re still saved, but you’re going through something that some Christians can’t relate to. Don’t worry about it. Sooner or later, they’ll go through something similar.
4. You have begun questioning everything you believe in – even the basics like “Does God exist?” “Are all my sins forgiven?” “Does God really have a plan for me or has He forgotten about me?”
Though many experience it in different ways, the Dark Night of the Soul is nothing new. Peter wrote about it to the persecuted church in 1 Peter. While many were wondering whether they should give up and abandon their faith, Peter said it was actually through their faith that God’s power was shielding them. (1:5) To drop their shield of faith would not only lead to their destruction here and now, but they would also be giving up their inheritance (heaven). He encouraged them not to give up “the living hope” that they had from Jesus’ resurrection – not a wishful hope like “I hope it doesn’t rain today” but a living hope that since God already raised Jesus from the dead, we can be sure that He will raise us from the dead to be with Him forever in heaven. Peter then explains,
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Notice three things about this passage.
If you are going through the Dark Night, know that you are not going through it alone. God walks with you and only lets your hand go so your faith can grow as He leads you through the stormy valley silently. Though you cannot touch Him or hear Him to know for sure that He is there, know that He is by your side protecting you the whole time while your faith is proven genuine and grows like it only could during such an experience. Remember Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. (Psalm 23:4)
You would think only so much can go wrong
But our Hope endures the worst of conditions
How do we comprehend peace within pain?
But our Hope endures the worst of conditions
Emmanuel, God is with us
(“Our Hope Endures” performed by Natalie Grant)