Archives for category: Comfort

epiphany-blog

The day of Christmas, as the world celebrates, has come and gone.  Trees have been stripped and tossed out.  Music has been returned to it’s holding location on the playlists, until next year.  The gifts that were given to one another have been used up, washed, exchanged, or returned.  Some have even bought themselves the gifts they wanted and didn’t get.  You know, like the advertising slogan “you deserve to give yourself the gift.”  People have used words like “I’m over Christmas, now let’s move on to Spring.”  Sadly, this cynicism overshadows the entire Season of Christmas and the joy of Jesus’ birth has been missed by way too many.  Have we really stopped to look at Jesus in the Manger?  Have we really listened, and heard the Words of love and grace spoken by God the Father, because Jesus came to earth?  Have we stopped to look at why Jesus had to come?  Have we really heard the full message or have we overlooked the Unexchangable, Unchangeable, Irreplaceable Gift of Christ?

It’s not just the world that get’s all crazy busy and cynical about Christmas.  Many a Christian gets caught up with all the business and busyness of the world’s version of Christmas, you know that one day a year on December 25.  Needing to have the exact gift, the best dinner, the most events to attend, that “needed” trip, and in the end all the real Hope and Joy of Christmas gets lost.  The ancient church didn’t start out just celebrating on the 25th but did the Twelve Days of Christmas, which ended with Epiphany.

The season of Christmas, was designed to examine one’s self and look to the Christ Child – the Hope of All Nations and the Joy of our salvation.  The early church took time to Stop, Look, and Listen to the Savior.  It wasn’t business as usual, to hurry up and get on to the next thing on the calendar.  It was a time to truly reflect that Jesus had to come to save all people from the wages of sin and death. It was looking to the Father and thanking Him for loving His people so much that He would send His only Son to live and die for us, His enemies. Time revisiting the Scriptures to grasp that without the Holy Spirit working in Mary and Joseph, their would be no Christ.  It was a time to earnestly seek the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.   You see, Jesus came to bring us many gifts so let’s stop, look, and listen, so we don’t miss these four big gifts:  Forgiveness, Hope, Salvation, and Eternal Life.

In Isaiah 62, we see part of these gifts being foretold.  We see that we are to be watchmen and not rest until the day of salvation comes. God’s people are called to not be silent until the day God shows His righteousness.  For the ancient church they could easily see a time when they had been without God’s gift of Jesus Christ, so they had no trouble sharing the gift once they saw Jesus had come and fulfilled the Father’s plan.  They found real Hope and Joy in times of disaster and persecution because they had seen the Salvation of the Lord.  God’s chosen people, Israel, waited thousands of years for this Hope to be fulfilled.  Let us not forget that each of us has had a time, because we are all born sinful, that we have been without Jesus.  Let us not forget the marvelous gift as we await Christ’s second return. No matter what may come, how people fail you, how dark the night, with Jesus comes lasting Hope. This is a gift beyond compare.

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, (Isaiah 62:1–6, NIV).

The gifts we gain from Christ, Forgiveness, Hope, Salvation, and Eternal Life, are gifts we cannot purchase, cannot earn, and definitely don’t deserve.  Out of God’s infinite mercy, grace, and love, He gives them to us in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4–7, NIV84)

On Epiphany, we non Jews, celebrate with gusto because this is when the gift of Jesus Christ was presented to all of mankind.  It was no longer a promise for just a chosen, select group, but for simple, common, ordinary, gentiles.  So the next time cynicism, darkness, despair, betrayal, busyness, business, and whatever else try to invade not only the Season of Christmas but in your life, STOP, LOOK, LISTEN and DON’T MISS the gifts that Christ brought that first Christmas and continues to bring until the day He returns to take His children home for all of eternity.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:1-14 NIV

4577acda4bb3fb9aedb5097cb97eb514Right now, depending on the setting you are in, the word faith is being bantered around. Olympic Athletes are talking about the faith their parents, coaches, and/or teammates have had in them.  Others are talking about their lack of faith and confidence in the US political system and the Presidential Nominees.  Still, others use the words “just have faith” as feel good comment to try and encourage people who are going through difficult and tryng times.  So what is this “faith” thing and what might it look like?

To get a better handle on things, we first need to define what we mean by faith. The dictionary has several explanations and depending upon if your eyes are world focused or God focused will determine the outcome.  If you take faith in a simple explanation, faith can be a strong belief in someone or something.  In other words strong conviction and/ or loyalty.  If you take a higher definition, faith is belief and trust in and loyalty to God:  firm belief in something for which there is no proof:  complete trust.  There is quite a contrast between the two.

The worldview will always leave us short because people fail, convictions and loyalty are often sacrificed to get the next promotion, more influential circles, or higher positions of power and politics.  Even in the Olympics you hear of athletes and coaches who will sacrifice their faith in the system of hard work and perseverance and throw it away to “juice” and try and beat the system to get a medal.  When your back’s up against the wall and there is no where to turn, will a piece of metal part the pathway for you?  Will that “golden calf” deliver you?  When your body is failing and your heart is broken under the weight of trials, will that medal sustain you?  This is not the faith we want to aspire to.  We want to talk about God’s Gold Medal of Faith.

Faith, loyalty, and trust in God is a firm belief, for eternity, that will never leave us wanting more.  God never disappoints and more than a gold medal, He promises and delivers so much more.  The Lord not only gives us more than we deserve in faith, but He is the one who gives us the faith in the first place.  Once faith is given to us, what we do with the faith is up to our own free will.

Will we work at faith and relationship with God?  This work that we are talking about is like an athlete that learns the routines, exercises faithfully, eats right, submits themselves to the coaches teachings, and continue, to strive even when it gets difficult.  As Christians this means we should desire to move beyond the infant stage of only wanting the “milk” and move on to the solid food of all of God’s Word. We should desire our faith to impact every area of our lives and rid us of those sins and actions that are not in line with God’s Word.  Our lives should reflect the abandonment of the world and show the signs of loyalty to God at all worldly cost.  Faith that is rooted in God and watered by the Word produces stronger faith so we can continue to run the race of Jesus with endurance.

This life on earth is hard on Christ Followers and that is nothing new. This has always been the case because Satan wants us to fail and lose the crown of glory that God has waiting for us at the end of this race that finishes in heaven.  All we have to do is look at Scripture and see the difficulties that the faithful have endured.  When we look at this same Word of God we see what a rich reward faith offers.   By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them. By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews 11:17-12:3 esv

As you can see, Faith in  Jesus is “Risk Taking” by worldview and it will stretch you, but just as Jesus was big on the walk in loyalty to the Father’s plan of Salvation, may we follow in His footsteps and be ever faithful even unto death for His namesake.  No matter what comes may faith be our defining moment. 

Want an extra shot of encouragement?  Take a listen to New Songs’ hit “Defining Moment”.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fF64-zFONzk

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Alfred E Neuman was known for the phrase “What Me, Worry?”  If you don’t know about Alfred, you might want to look him up for a blast from the past.  He might have said this phrase but if you know the history of this comic, fear and worry and obstacles were a big part of his life.   There is nothing different from our real, non-comedic lives.  So, let’s take a spinoff from Alfred and ask “What is it that gives you anxiety, fear, and/or worry?”  Why do we struggle so much, even as followers of Christ?  Where can and do I go when fear sets in?  What does the Bible have to say about fear?

To tackle the first two questions we need to understand that fear and worry is very personal and it varies.  Some people seem to be calm, cool, and collected in times of trials and others seem to fall apart and are consumed with what seems to be just simple, ordinary tasks.  What might not worry one person can just rock the foundations of another.  Often times, in our situational anxieties, we seek out people to help console us and many times that backfires.

In our sinful humanness fear starts kicking in because we look at our situation/s expecting all of God’s promises to be fulfilled right now and when our expectations don’t meet up with God’s action we start to worry and fear and mistrust.  We are looking for the invisible with only human eyesight.  In our quest to have the answer to “Where can and do I go when fear sets in”  We often times go seeking a human answer to something only faith can do.  This is where our faith comes in to practice.  As C S Lewis said in A Grief Observed “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”   Faith is believing in God’s full promises when we can’t see or feel them.

In our times of fear and doubt we cling to the rope of faith as we hang off the precipice and life dangles us.  As much as we seek people to comfort us, it so often times ends up backfiring with one simple sentence. The phrase “Don’t Worry” is like a sledge hammer crashing down on you.  We have all been guilty of trying to pacify someone, or our own uneasiness about a situation, and we throw out a cliché response.  Trust me, these have all visited my home,  when you offer false hopes or easy answers to someone in a crisis situation like  cancer, divorce, and death, the “Don’t Worry it will be ok” phrase is just adding to the fear and worry.  Instead of balm for the soul and mind it’s like dousing a fire with gasoline.

The balm we must offer to ourselves and to others is God’s Word.  God’s Word is the only answer that fits our first question as well as all of our others questions. There are said to be 365 pieces of scripture to help us combat our fears and frustrations.  The verses cover the things in our lives that just seem impossible.  If we look at our scripture text we see God being with Abraham in a time of fear. God always meets fear in scripture with words of comfort and peace.  After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. -Genesis 15:1-6    God stepped out and gave comfort and reassurance to Abraham that though he did not see the answer yet, the answer was still there.

You see, our God is the only God of the Impossible.  He sent His only Son to buy us back from sin, Satan, and ourselves. Paying the impossible debt that we cannot ever pay.

He hands to us the Incredible.  There is nothing more incredible and powerful than the Holy Spirit sent to each of God’s children to give them the power to understand God’s Word and empower us to fight and ward off fear.  Other gods rule by fear but not the Triune God.  He wants us to fear/respect/have awe of Him.  When we truly grasp the Holiness of God and how sinful we are there should be a healthy fear but He assures us that He alone is with us.  Our God is the only god who dies for His people.  That is more than Incredible.

So the next time fear knocks, and it will knock, let Faith answer the door instead of human frailty and reasoning.  Put on the full armour of God and let the Holy Spirit fill to you with God’s Word and cling to the rope of faith.  Stay connected to worship, prayer, and Bible study so you can be strengthened and seek out caring Christian friends who will encourage you with God’s love and Word when you don’t have the strength to fight.

All Powerful Lord, in these uncertain days, strengthen Your peoples’ faith to Trust You in the impossible, to be our invincible, incredible power to fight all fear.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen

To help you in your journey, here are seven verses to look up, memorize, and cling to.

Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 56:3, Philippians 4:6-7, 2 Timothy 1:7, 1 John 4:18, Isaiah 43:1, and Psalm 23:4.

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In America, especially around the month of July, we really like to focus on our FREEDOMS.  We like the thoughts that come to mind when we hear about how free and liberated we are, not only in the US, but also in the realm of Christiandom.

Most of us know the words Jesus spoke and were recorded in Luke 8:26 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  The freedom from SIN, because of faith in Christ’s death, resurrection, and fulfillment of the Father’s plan is a liberation that none can compare.  In this Freedom of Faith, it can be easy to forget what we are free from and that the Fruits of Faith charges us with some duties.

Does it seem odd that Freedom brings about Responsibility?   In our sinful world, freedom is generally broken down to the least common denominator: “I can do whatever I want without any care or thought of anyone else.”  “I want it at all cost.”  “If it feels good do it.”  However, as a Christ Follower, this flies in the face of what God’s Word teaches us and what Jesus teaches.

In Galatians 6:1-10 there is an abundance of care and responsibility that is entrusted to us because we believe, trust, and follow Christ.  Let’s take a quick look and see what runs up the flagpole of Faith and Freedom.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Let us NOT grow weary – Do NOT Give up – Reap – Restoration – Accountability Partner-Burden Bearers – Keep Watch and Test Yourself – Do NOT Boast in self – Do NOT Compete with Others – Share with your Teachers – Do NOT be Deceived.  That is a lot of Fruit from Faith and not all of the points to this passage.  It might even be an overwhelming thing when you first take a look but when we realize that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, enables us to do and act, then this is a great thermometer to gauge our Christian Liberties and Freedom.

Because we know that God is the Lord of the Harvest, we can keep being faithful to His call because He will give us the skills to plant so that there will be a harvest to reap.  If the harvest is looking weak or weedy, then we need to test the soil and see if we are reaping for ourselves and our sinful desires and then be accountable to Christ Alone.  We don’t just give up because it is hard, we keep on keeping on with the Mission of Christ.

Since, we love one another and are called to be a Burden Bearer, we stand ready to walk side by side to encourage our fallen brothers and sisters so they can be encouraged to leave the sin that has taken them by surprise.  In the same fashion, we need to not think to much of ourselves because we need other loving Christians to help us when we are overcome by sin. As long as we are on this earth we are both Saint and Sinner and we need Accountability Partners to encourage us along this treacherous road as we walk in the world that is so ready to steal our eternal freedom.

This is all part of testing ourselves and to test ourselves we have to be in God’s Word and let it permeate our every ounce of body, mind, and soul.  God’s Word is our litmus test to see what we are reaping in our lives as well as His Kingdom.  God’s Word will also keep us from being deceived by the world, ourselves, others, and Satan.  It’s easy to want to compare ourselves to others because it can inflate our egos but God cannot be deceived or mocked and He knows who we really are: we are the ones CHRIST came to SAVE!

Since we have been saved, then we should be overfilled with gratitude and want to share with others. We are called to love and not miss the opportunity to care for one another in the Body.  Sometimes an opportunnity only comes about once, so let’s be on guard to care for others.   Part of the “others” we are called to share with are those that have taught us along our faith walk.  Our Faith Teachers and Encouragers need us to help them as they carry the load of serving in God’s ministry.  They sacrifice more than most would know because they firmly believe God’s mission and Call on their lives is to enable others to see and know Jesus Christ at all cost.

Above all, in our celebration of FREEDOM let us not forget that we only have True FREEDOM because CHRIST bought us at the Full Payment of His LIFE.  In reality, we are DEPENDANT on Jesus for our Independance from SIN.

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:15-16

 

Links of Chain

Life is full of many events and situations.  The days are filled with good, bad, joyful, and trying times.  We find ourselves moving from one moment of time to the next and often we don’t give much conscious thought because life seems to be ok.  Then there is a major event and we find ourselves consumed.

We don’t like the struggle, we don’t like the pain, we don’t want the situation to continue and we pray for the suffering to end, the addiction to cease, the sick person to be healed. We pray for the wayward child to come home, the marriage to be restored, the mind to be at peace. Sometimes we even ask God to deliver us from the sinful lifestyle we have chosen because we just want it all to cease.  We are looking at the abyss and we cry out.

That is very much like the man at the Garasenes tombs.  He had been tormented for years and nothing ever worked or held the demons away until when Jesus stepped out of the boat and confronted the problem.  Then [Jesus and his disciples] sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. Luke 8:26-33

Jesus always confronts.  He always steps up, addresses the situation (Satan, the world and our own sinful choices) and gives Himself as the answer to restoration and healing. Jesus is the only way to drive away the demons and the allure of the world that takes hold and posses us.

When we are standing at that abyss and pain and destruction are all around, Jesus doesn’t turn away, He doesn’t ignore, He is right there wanting you to call out to Him to in true repentance. He wants to be Your Savior and more than just for the quick moment to relieve your situational pain.  He confronts you to a LIFE CHANGE.

But for many, the word CHANGE is not very welcome. We might want the benefits of a circumstance to change but we don’t want the permanent bonds to be broken.  We miss the life changing opportunities that Jesus brings because we are more afraid of the pain of change than the pain of living like we always have. Instead of fighting Satan and his minions, fighting our selves, and fighting the lies of the world we fight the only Person who has defeated Satan and death and the only Person who can save us from it all. We are fearful of the miracle that Jesus will perform and then we act like the towns people who have seen the demon possessed man healed and send Jesus away.   When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned.  Luke 8:34-37

If we only look to creature comfort for the moment we will miss the biggest Miracle of all, the Miracle of Forgiveness, Change, and Restoration.  When that Miracle Moment comes you are given the world as your stage to tell Your Story of how Jesus rescued you from death, Satan, and the bondage of Sin.  You, just like the Healed Man of Garasenes, have an eye witness story to tell.  So embrace the change God has called you to and go tell the Story of how Christ rescued you from the abyss.

The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:38-39

Often times we are caught in the currents and crashing waves of chaos in our lives and the out of control world we live in. In times of distress, despair can crawl deep in our bones. Our feelings and thoughts start swirling and it only adds to the intense pain of our situation. In these times, we cannot trust our thoughts and feelings because they lie to us. We feel as if no one else has ever experienced what we are going through.

Not only does our own flesh lead us astray, but satan himself uses it against. He wants us helpless and hopeless. He wants us to buy into the things that get our guts grumbling and our thoughts thrashing. You know these lies ” no one cares”, “you are alone”, “just give up and quit trying.”

If you are experiencing the pain of life and your thoughts and feelings have you isolated, afraid, alone, or perplexed, let read the following words as if God wrote them for you. You see, God did write this story about you and for you! He wants you to know He does come to visit in our every day lives and in our deepest times of despair and need.

Luke 7:11-17

Soon afterward [Jesus] went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

Jesus said, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. [Because] in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (Jn 16:33).

John tells us: Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes (Rev 7:16-17).

The songs of heaven will always be sung by those who have felt the pressure and turbulence of human history. They will be sung by people who know they did not suffer in vain. Those songs will be sung by believers who put their trust in God, and found that God was worthy of their trust. Read the rest of this entry »