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God is not Dead

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so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

I am not sure where to start so let me just say…GOD IS NOT DEAD! I was sitting alone in my office wondering what I would name this blog when Newsboys came on Pandora and God just spoke to me. Next thing you know; here I am.

I have been looking for an outlet for my thoughts for some time. I have been using Facebook but quite frankly, I am afraid that people will soon begin to click on “unfollow this person” and it will all be for nothing. All I want is for God to be able to use me in some small way to touch the life of someone, somewhere, sometime. I will probably never know whom I have touched or how it has impacted His kingdom, but impact His kingdom it will. I have faith that He will use me in some way to get His message out.

A little information about me…(my testimony will come in time) I am 51 years old and have a beautiful supportive wife named Merilee. We have been together now for 15 years and my only regret is that we did not meet earlier in life. We have five wonderful children; Jonathan who is 27, Curran is 24, Alex is 22, Lily is 19, and Faith is 10 going on 20. She has grown up in a house full of teenagers so let’s just say that she come fully equipped with attitude.

We are currently attending Grace Pointe church in Conway, AR. It is a wonderful church filled with more loving people than I could ever deserve. They never stifle the Spirit and I have seen wonderful things happen here in the short time that we have been attending. God is definitely moving there and I see a great revival on its way!!

I graduated from Nazarene Bible College in 2013 with a degree in Pastoral Ministries but have been struggling the last several years as to where and how to use it. This has been a real struggle for me since I know He called me to full-time ministry yet here I sit with no real direction as to how to use it for His kingdom. I can only continue to pray and believe that He will reveal himself to me in His time. For we all know that God is rarely early…never late…and always on-time.

Dear Father in Heaven. Thank you for this opportunity to be able to express your words through my thoughts here. I pray that you will bless these words and bless the receiver that they may find comfort in you and that Your will be done here. Amen.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,    (Ephesians 3:20)

Where Will You Build Your Altar?

In ancient times, altars were often built to commemorate a divine action or deliverance. They were also used to offer sacrifices to God for remission of sins. Cain and Abel built altars for sacrifices; Noah built one to remember God’s deliverance; Abraham built altars to remember God’s promises. These altars were to help later generations remember how God had delivered them but were often times forgotten and new altars to other gods were built.

Now it came to pass when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had come back, they sent for him and called him to the congregation, and made him king over all Israel. There was none who followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only. I Kings 12:20

 When Solomon sinned against God, He declared that He would take the kingdom from Solomon’s son and so it was. Jereboam was made king of Israel according to God’s plan. However, Jereboam became afraid that if the Israelites traveled back to Jerusalem to worship, they would turn against him and follow Rehoboam. So what was his answer to this dilemma? He built two golden calf altars for the Israelites to worship at.

If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.” Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!” I Kings 12:27-28

As I was reading how this story unfolded, it occurred to me that we too often times build our altars in the wrong place and for the wrong reason. Altars are an act of worship and remembrance so when something happens in your life, do you build an altar for your circumstances or because God delivered you? Are you fearful and build your altar to false gods? What type of altar is it?

We must also remember that our altars stand as a testimony to others. So when our altars are not of God, we lead people astray. Jereboam led the Israelites away from God when he told them to worship the false altars. I personally want my future generations to remember me as one that worshiped God alone. What testimony will you share?

An Altar of Pride

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have laid something at the foot of the cross and then went back for it because I was impatient. I allowed my sinful pride to tell me that I could surely fix it myself only to find that I made it worse. Perhaps you are in a similar situation right now. Are you facing something in life that you are trying to fix alone? This is called the Altar of Pride. We build an altar to our achievements and to our abilities instead of giving God the opportunity to teach and bless us.

We get caught up in what the world expects us to be that we become prideful that we must deliver to meet their expectations. We take pills to lose weight, we seek out the wrong people to associate with, we look for status symbols to fill our lives and bring them meaning.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.      I Peter 5:6-7

God calls us to Himself and tells us to be humble. How can I ever think that I know better than the God of all creation; the God that split the Red Sea; the God that created man from the dirt? This altar is easy to destroy if we simply humble ourselves and ask forgiveness for our prideful ways and allow God to have control of our lives.

An Altar of Fear

We all experience fear of one type of another. I know that often times I find myself fearing the future. It’s the “not knowing what God’s plan is for me” that makes me fearful sometimes. I find that I weigh myself down with worry and anxiety and soon I build an altar of fear which prevents me from allowing God to work.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. II Timothy 1:7

This is probably one of my favorite verses and one that I go to often in times of stress. I find myself becoming anxious about something that I may or may not have done and it prevents me from worshiping God. It is very easy to become a slave to fear and before you know it, there it stands. An altar built out of fear. God wants to tear down that altar of fear and replace it with His power and love.

 An Altar of False Happiness

 This is an altar which can creep into our lives without realizing it is there. We find ourselves in a situation where we are experiencing fear and anxiety so we turn to the things that give us temporary relief. I am talking about drug or alcohol addictions, pornography, adultery, lustful thoughts, and hateful thoughts. We seek out these things because the world makes them so easy to have. We believe that we will attain happiness from them but in reality they only take us farther from God. We are soon worshiping at the Altar of False Happiness. These altars take us away from true worship and the only One that can ultimately provide us happiness.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Most of us have heard the old song, “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” Well when we stray from the path of righteousness, we never truly experience happiness but only an empty promise from the enemy that we will find peace. Do not allow yourself to be drawn to the things of this world that only work to widen the gap between us and God. Drown yourself in the Word of God instead of alcohol; Feel the awesomeness of His presence instead of turning to drugs; Spend time in prayer with God building a relationship instead of looking for it in pornography, adultery, and lustful thinking. Those relationships will never last but the one that you have with God will last an eternity.

The altar also was split apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord. I Kings 13:5

God sent a prophet to Jereboam and told him that God would spill out the bones and ashes from his altars because of his sin. Jereboam was caught up in his own fear and forgot about following the will of God. God destroyed his false altars just as God is willing to tear down all your altars to false gods and spill out the ashes.

Jereboam raised his hand and called for the prophet to be arrested but instead his hand shriveled. He asked the prophet to pray to God to restore his hand and God did just that. All you have to do is ask and God will be more than willing to tear down your altars and heal you. Jereboam became trapped in his own fear, anxiety and pride, but in the end all he found were empty altars. Where are your altars built?

Dear Father in Heaven, I want to thank You for placing this message on my heart. For showing me that I need only serve the one true God and worship Him alone to find the happiness You promised. I thank You for tearing down my altars and allowing only one to stand in Your presence. I ask that You be with every person that reads this today. Touch them in a special way and show them if they have erected any altars in the wrong places. I know that You are willing and able to tear down our altars if we only allow You to work in our lives. I ask that You continue to search my heart and show me any sin that remains so that I may not be distanced from You. I will continue to give You all the glory forever. Amen.

Five Small Stones

Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine. 

1 Samuel 17:40 (NKJV)

We all know the story of David and Goliath. If you grew up in the church, you learned about it in Sunday School. It is a story of faith and the mighty power of God to deliver us in times of need. What great faith it must have taken for David, a small shepherd boy, to walk out onto a battlefield to face a giant. We are all called to have that kind of faith in every situation.

The Israelites battled against God’s will for many generations. Each time He would deliver them into the hands of their enemies and then He would send a judge to lead them back to God and righteousness. Their faith was not strong but rather dependent on the outcome. It would not linger long but would dry up and fly away in the wind at the first sight of trouble. They had no patience or faith that God could sustain them.

Samuel, the last judge of Israel, was old and had appointed his two sons to be judges in Beersheba. Only, like Eli’s sons, they were perverting the Law and using it for their own selfish pursuits. When the Ammonites threatened to attack, the Israelites turned to Samuel and asked for a king to rule over them. Samuel goes to prayer with God and finds that God is displeased with this request since once again, they have rejected God. They were only focused on the outcome that they desired instead of the outcome that God had plans for. Their focus was misplaced.

And the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day–with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods–so they are doing to you also.”  1 Samuel 8:7-8 (NKJV)

When Samuel went to the people of Israel and gave them the warning that God had given Samuel regarding their king, they did not care. They wanted to be like every other nation and have a king over them. Are we not the same way at times? We want to be like everyone else and have what they have and not worry about the consequences. We focus on our desired outcome instead of what God has planned for our lives. We lack the faith it takes to allow God to work in our lives no matter how long it takes. We forget that we are called to be different from the world.

“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.” Deuteronomy 7:6 (NKJV)

So Saul was appointed as their king and led them into battle with the Philistines. David happened to be there, being duly appointed by God through Samuel, to take food to the men of the army and to see his brothers. He was to take news back to his father of the welfare of his brothers.

Goliath was the champion of the Philistines who challenged the army of Saul. David watched in amazement as the army fled from him. David said, “Why are we running from this man? Are we not the army of Israel who God is with?”  See, David knew the outcome and did not rely upon it to battle the giant but rather had faith in God that He would deliver the Philistines into their hands. Saul tried to dress David in armor, but it says in verse 39 that David had not tested the armor. He did know however the strength of the full armor of God!

David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off. 1 Samuel 17:39b (NKJV)

David chose five small stones from a brook to battle the Philistine. So we have to ask, if David had such faith, why did he not just take one stone? Did God specifically tell him to pick up five stones as opposed to one? The text does not say that God told him to, but David was preparing. Goliath was surely not the only giant in their midst. As a matter of fact, in 2 Samuel we find that Goliath had four brothers. So perhaps David was preparing for his battle with one stone for each because he knew that God would direct each stone to where it should go.

David was not held hostage by the outcome of his faith. He did not have the kind of faith that only works when we know how the story ends. He knew that God would deliver them into his hands he just did not know how that would happen. God does not lay out his plan in front of us so that we can make the right choices in life to reach the desired outcome. No! He calls for us to have faith without knowing the end result.

He calls us to live a life that is a reflection of our faith. He calls us to have faith all the time not just on Easter or Christmas; not just on Sundays or Wednesdays. He calls us to have the kind of faith that meets you on Monday, that brings you through Tuesday, that goes to work with you on Wednesday, that gets you through Thursday, that fights with you on Friday, and that sits with you on Saturday. Our faith is not dependent on how it works for us but how it works for God.

 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Do you only pull out your faith when you are faced with an insurmountable task? We are called to have faith even when we do not know the outcome of our medical procedures, even when we are facing unemployment, even when we are faced with late notices from the bank and we are on the verge of losing our home, even when our children still do not know respect. If you have that kind of faith, God will work miracles in your life. You will see blessings from heaven and know that God is still on the throne! David walked out onto that battlefield armed only with the full armor of God and five small stones. He had faith that God would deliver them into his hands because he knew the promise of God not because God said that He would. Put on the armor of God and go face your giant!

 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)

Dear Jesus, I thank You for Your continued grace and mercy that You pour out on us each and every day. I thank You for the way that You teach me how to have faith like David’s. I am thankful that You didn’t just give it to me but made me work toward it. I have learned so much about Your great provisions. I ask that You touch each and every person that reads this today that they too may find the faith that You require of us. I know that this is not an easy task, but Your grace will allow us to learn to wait upon You and not be held hostage by the outcome. I pray that You will continue to teach us how to grow our faith daily. I will continue to give You all the glory forever. Amen.

 

 

How Do You Measure Up?

For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12 (NKJV)

Have you ever had to measure something and could not find a tape measure or ruler? Have you ever measured something with the wrong tool? Would you measure a piece of paper with a yardstick? Would you measure a room with a twelve inch ruler? You have to measure your project with the appropriate tool. It is the same with our value as a human being and as a child of God.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

We often times sell ourselves short and measure our self-worth by the tools of the world. We try to measure up to something that has no spiritual significance at all. We tend to measure ourselves by what the world expects us to be. We are bombarded daily by advertisements telling us how to be the perfect person. We are told that this pill will fix all that ails you. It can make you thin, bring back your hair, make you stronger, or make you more of a man. These are all tactics of the great deceiver.

When Eve was tempted by the serpent, she was told that she was not good enough but that if she ate of the apple she could be more than she was meant to be. The truth is that God created us in His image and therefore we should be measuring ourselves by His standards and nothing else. As a matter of fact, God’s tape measure is larger than you can imagine because He knows what you are capable of. He knows that we can grow in Christ and therefore have no need to measure ourselves by the world’s standards.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

I often lose sight of what is important and begin to fix my eyes on what the world wants me to be. I find myself condemning myself for the way I look or my inability to speak eloquently. I blame all the things that I cannot have on the fact that I am not good enough. However, God gently reminds me that I am not to look to the world for any confirmation of myself but rather look toward Heaven and seek the prize that awaits me at the end.

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 (NKJV)

When you are feeling like you are not good enough, remember that God does not make mistakes. If you live your life and measure it by the only appropriate tool, you will find that you are called a Child of God and therefore are a perfect creation. You are complete in Him.

and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:10 (NKJV)

You and I were not created to be approved by man by rather to be a servant of the Almighty. In that, we should be looking to Him for approval of the things we say and do. We have been given the Holy Spirit to help us on our journey by guiding us in the right direction. He has prepared a place for me in His presence and I do not need the approval of this world to get there.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10 (NIV)

Dear Jesus, I want to thank You for Your many mercies that you pour out on me. You alone are worth of all my praise. I humbly ask that each and every person that reads this today will find that they need to throw away the world’s yardstick and measure themselves only by You. I know that it is not always easy to ignore what the world throws at us daily, but you did not give me a spirit of fear but rather a spirit of sound mind that I can see that what the world offers is temporary and empty. You are my refuge and strength and to You I look in times of need and You will lay mine enemies at my feet. Please bless those that may have found even the smallest amount of truth in this and multiply it within their heart. I will continue to give you all the Glory forever. Amen.

 

Mountains Will Move

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.  Matthew 17:20 (NKJV)

What mountains do you have in your own life? What seemingly impossible climb are you experiencing that seems to have no end? How can you be sure you will reach the other side?

I know that I have looked at my mountains and thought “there is just no way.” Or I would get half way up and then think there was a better path to go around and right back to the bottom I go looking for an easier way. I am sure that this is a common occurrence in life for many Christians. However, Jesus shows us in this verse that we have, within us, the capability to overcome anything that comes our way. That mountain was not put there by accident.

God does not want us to suffer and not prosper in life. In fact, Jeremiah tells us that He has a plan for each and every one of us. There are no exceptions. God knows what mountain you will face before you ever face it and He already has a plan for you to overcome and grow spiritually. After all, Christian growth is the journey that we all are on.

The mustard seed, is the smallest of all seeds so it is no wonder that Jesus used it as an example. Once this seed is planted, it grows into one of the largest herbs. That small little seed must endure the elements in order to grow and actually uses those elements to grow. Just like the mustard seed, we too have to have a beginning, but once properly nourished, can grow and expand into something wonderful. We too have to grow our faith and then we can overcome anything in our path.

Perhaps your mountain is pride, addiction, a struggling marriage, or even growing a ministry. Whatever the case, God has given each of us the tools necessary to overcome. But faith does not come easy or is often free. We have to endure those mountains in order for our faith to grow.

Remember that when Jesus healed, it was faith that healed them. He did not heal them and then ask for faith. No! Faith had to be applied first in order for the healing to take place. The walls of Jericho fell because of faith and Daniel did not get eaten by the lions because of faith. Here’s a huge mountain for you–the furnace that was heated seven times hotter than usual. It took a real leap of faith to walk through those doors after seeing the guards die just from the heat at the door.

Faith can move mountains in your life but, like anything else in you, it has to be exercised in order to grow strong. Those mountains you face today will one day end up behind you and then you can look back over your journey and see God’s hand in your life. My God is my guide through those mountains. He leads me on the right path to overcome them but it is ultimately my faith in God that gets me there. It is not I overcoming the mountain but rather God helping me to overcome it.

The Bible is full of examples of great faith. Do you think that is a coincidence? How are you saved? Through grace by faith. That is your beginning. What you do with it from there will ultimately determine how your journey will end. God calls each of us into a faithful relationship with Him. The Worthy Lamb paid a debt I could never pay and He did it all out of love for me. He did not do it so that I would have to suffer through life–He did it so that I could HAVE life.

Dear Jesus, I pray that You would have Your hand on each and every person that reads this today. I pray that You help them to increase their faith so that the healing may begin. I know, Jesus, that You did not do all of this for nothing. You love each and every one of us and want us to be happy and prosperous–to have hope. I ask that You continue to work in my life to overcome the huge mountains I have in front of me. I know that You will help to guide each of us through our mountains to strengthen our stamina for the journey. I love you Jesus. Thank You for paying a debt I could never have paid. May we all continue to give You all the glory in all that we accomplish. Amen.

Go climb your mountain!!

Obstacle or Opportunity

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”  James 1:12 (NKJV)

We all face stressful situations in life, but how we choose to deal with them will ultimately set us apart form the world. As human beings born into a sinful world, we are prone to “grumble.” The Israelites did it for generations. Every time you turn a page, you find the Israelites grumbling about something and God has to straighten them out. Are we not sometimes the same way? How often do you complain about traffic or the line at the grocery store? I know I do it more often than I would like to admit. So how are we to handle our stressful situations?

It is all in the way we look at them that will determine how we approach the solutions. Do you view them as an obstacle in life or an opportunity to grow? This is a key question that we have to learn to ask in every situation. If we can master this question and answer it honestly, we can be on the road to learning more about God’s character and ours as well.

Obstacle is defined as “a thing that blocks one’s way or prevents or hinders progress.” We tend to look at life’s challenges as obstacles in achieving what we believe we need in life. When we hit this point in our lives, our natural instinct is to fight to overcome or find another path. The latter is usually not an option so we continue to fight our way through the challenge as though our lives depended on it.

Now an opportunity is defined as “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.” When we are faced with an opportunity we carefully weigh our options and make a decision based on emotion and prosperity. These are sometimes so much easier to deal with. We often experience a lot less stress and find that making a decision brings a sense of peace to our hearts. However, for those who jump at every opportunity without considering the consequences end up creating another obstacle from an intended opportunity.

Because of free will, life is full of choices so when God allows something to take place in our lives, He is giving us a chance for personal and spiritual growth and discovery. We can learn to look at them as an opportunity or an obstacle. Is this an opportunity for me to grow in my faith and prayer disciplines by turning to God for answers or will I simply grumble that yet another obstacle is in my way?

God desires for us to use these situations as opportunities to come closer to Him and in return, He will draw closer us (James 4:8). What a marvelous opportunity to come into a fuller relationship with God! In order for this to happen we have to learn to trust and have faith that He will lead us in the right direction.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

The evil one will jump on every situation if we allow him to. If we decide to look at the situation as an obstacle it only gives him opportunity to use it against us. But, if we look at it as an opportunity, he will find an obstacle in his path. Rest assured that God has a plan for your life but you have to be willing to allow it to happen as He intended.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

It is oh so easy to get caught in a trap of looking at life as an obstacle. We all have desires and dreams that are rooted in our own wants and needs. It is only when we learn to let go of the world that we can ever learn what it is to be truly free. God has promised endurance, strength, courage, and wisdom in our times of need. All we have to do is ask for it.

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.”     Isaiah 30:21 (NKJV)

Dear Father, I come before You today humbled by the fact that only You can rescue me from all that this sinful world throws my way. It is only by Your amazing grace endless mercy that I am here. I thank You for each and every person that reads this today and I ask that You will be with them as they face whatever trials and temptations are thrown their way. May they learn to turn to You for the answers they seek in their lives and may they only find those answers at the cross. You are a faithful God and only desire for us to be happy and abide in Your presence. May we all continue to give Your Son all the glory forever. Amen.

Walking the Tightrope

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

Have you ever seen a high wire act? I always think to myself, “That must take a lot of confidence to step out onto that wire every time with nothing except a stick.” It becomes even more incredible when they perform without a safety net in place. That takes real courage.

The movie The Walk, is about a French aerialist named Philippe Petit who walked a tightrope between the twin towers. He was suspended in midair with nothing between him and the ground and in the movie; he does it all with a hurt foot. What an incredible amount of faith he must have had to take that first step.

In order to get to this point, he first had to train. So that he would gain confidence, he had to have a safety net below him because he would inevitably fall. Even when we learn to walk as children, we fall down before we learn to keep our balance and walk. Our parents walk along side of us holding our hands so that we do not fall but it is only when we do fall that we learn to stand on our own two feet.

Our lives in Christ are much like a tightrope walker. We walk through life never fearing because we have God as our safety net. We become complacent and this makes way for spiritual laziness. How can we ever expect to build our faith when we always have that net to catch us when we fall? So, in order to teach us real faith, God sometimes takes away the net and still expects us to take the first step. It is a lesson in humility meant to teach us faith.

I have been out on that tightrope and looked down only to find no net is there. I cry out to God to reveal Himself to me but my voice echoes back to me from the silence. God has withheld Himself in order that I may learn to walk with nothing more than just my faith. He may be silent but He is never absent. How can we ever really learn faith while we always know that He will be there to bail us out? We can’t.

I am not suggesting that God will abandon us, because He has promised that He never will, but rather He pulls away from us to teach us. St. John of the Cross called it a Dark Night [of the Soul]. These dark nights are necessary on any journey toward Christ. They build our character and at the same time God reveals more of His character to us through them.

At the time of creation, God decided that we were to be created in His image; therefore we work to build our character to be like His. Even in the tough times, we look to Him for strength and refuge from the storm. God has not abandoned me; He is simply allowing me to learn to trust Him more. He tests my faith and strength by allowing me to walk alone for a short time.

Perhaps you are experiencing a dark night of the soul right now. Perhaps you are struggling with many of the things that life throws at us daily. Rest assured that God has promised His continued support and love. He has demonstrated His love time and time again. He did not send His Son to the cross for no reason. He did it because He loves us so much that He wants to spend eternity with us. So the next time you feel all alone and that God is not listening, just remember to “Be still and know I am God.”

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.   Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)

And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.                                               2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.  Isaiah 12:2 (NKJV)

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for your great mercy and grace. I thank you for all the glorious things You have done for us. You created us in Your image and placed us amongst the rest of Your creation so that we may enjoy it. You give us grace even though we do not deserve it, and You even sent Your Son to shed His blood on Calvary for us so that we would not have to be separated from you by sin. I thank you for always being there when I need You. You may not always speak to me like I want, but I know that these are the times that You are teaching me to walk upright in faith. I pray that you bless each and every person that reads this that they may experience You the way I do. There is no greater joy than to serve You. In all things, I will give You the glory forever. Amen.

How Do You Spell God?

How many times have you turned something over to God expecting a miracle and yet nothing seems to happen? Does this frustrate you? Does it cause you worry whether God heard your cry or just has not acted upon it? Well, you can be sure that God heard your prayer and that, if properly motivated and is within His plan; He will answer your prayer in His time. But how often do we take it back and then start playing tug-of-war with God? We give it to Him only to take it back because He is not answering it fast enough for us or that we often times think we can do it better.

There is no “I” in God.

I wouldn’t normally put this out there for all to see but I cannot let my pride get in the way of making this point. I lost my job about two weeks ago. Of course, the first things that run through my mind were “How will I provide for my family?” and “How will I be able to feed them or pay rent or…?” and the list goes on and on. I became caught in a trap of “I’s.”

I was in prayer one morning when He spoke to me and told me that I cannot feed my family and I cannot provide shelter for them and I cannot be the provider but only HE can do that. He provides for my family…HE provides us shelter…only HE is the Provider. I broke down and cried and turned it over to him and have not waivered in my faith since.

Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.  Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.  Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?  And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?  Luke 12:22-26 (NKJV)

So what prevents us from turning these things over to God? Why are we not able to see that He alone provides for us and allow Him to work the solution out in our lives? How is it that our faith does not outweigh the doubt in our lives?

  1. There is an “I” in sin.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 (NKJV)

Sin separates us from God. Although we are all born into sin, from the age of accountability on it becomes a choice. You have seen me say before that “life is full of choices” and the reason being is that He gave us free will. He wants us to choose Him and to choose Him to abide within us. The Israelites were God’s chosen people and when they were given the law they had to make a choice between life and death. We are given the same choices today but when we choose sin over God we alienate Him from our lives and therefore prevent Him from working in us.

  1. There is an “I” in pride.

When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2 (NKJV)

Pride is probably the easiest trap to get caught in. It is so easy for us to say “I can take care of it” that we end up pushing out the One that actually can. My pride was getting in the way of Him providing for me. I became scared of how others might perceive me as a failure so I kept it to myself. I was so caught up on how I would make everything happen that I pushed Him out of the picture. I alienated myself from Him but thankfully He is full of grace and mercy.

Pride prevents us from experiencing God and allowing Him to reveal His nature to us. We live in a world of “instant” everything. Everything is at the swipe of a finger anymore. We can always find answers to our issues. Why do we need God? Because only through His redemptive grace can you ever experience life to its fullest. You may think that you are living it now, but believe me God has a lot more in store for you than anything this temporary residence which we call Earth can ever offer!

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10 (NKJV)

When you begin to remove the “I” from the equation, you should prepare for a battle. I’m talking about a real spiritual battle with Satan himself. He will try to come at you from any angle and even sneak into your camp and attack you from within. He will use anything you allow him to. That is why we are called to put on the full armor of God. As with any battle, if you are not careful you can allow your shield to become damaged and all Satan needs is a crack to sneak in and attack.

Since I have become unemployed with only $594 a month income, Satan has tried to convince me that there is no way to provide for my family, he has attacked my dreams at night, he has attacked my family and tried to create doubt in me through them, and he has even tried to hit me with depression and despair. However, I am strong and rebuke him in the name of Jesus Christ whose blood was given for my life. He has nothing that can battle that and he loses every time!

Sometimes in the mornings when I feel a weight upon me and I just want to cry, he tries to make me believe that if I do, then I am not being faithful. The Lord spoke to me today and reminded me that even Jesus cried when He was saddened over the pain that His friends were feeling over Lazarus’ death even though He knew He would raise him back up. I believe I am human and that I will still experience sadness and fear, but I cast them upon Him and He reminds me that He is still on the throne. I sing praises to him throughout the day and continually thank Him for what He has given me.

I realize that this will probably get worse before it gets better and the Lord will allow that to bring me closer to Him or to possibly bring my family closer to Him. I am already seeing Him work this to His good through my wife. She has turned all her fear and doubt over to God and He has given her the “peace that surpasses all understanding.” I will praise His holy name and will continue to give Him all the praise and glory.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

Dear Father in Heaven. My Jehovah Jireh. I come before you today humbled to be in Your presence. I thank you for you incredible mercy and grace that before I was even born, you sent your Son to die for me so that I would not have to live in sin but I would be able to spend eternity in Your Glory. I ask that you continue to work with me to remove any remaining pride or sin in my life that would separate me from You. I thank you for continuing to reveal yourself to me daily. I ask that you be with each and every person that reads these words that they may continue to turn to you. I pray for every person that may not know you as their personal Savior, that you place someone in their path that can share a message of hope with them. I will continue to give you all the glory in all that I do. I pray in Your precious Son’s name. Amen.