Don’t Blame God

In God’s original plan for mankind, He created Paradise for us to enjoy. He delighted in fellowshipping with Adam and Eve in the cool of the Garden (Genesis 3:8). He never wanted us to experience one bad day in our whole lifetime.

In his rebellion and pride, mankind decided as he always does, to “do it his way”, and rejected Our Father’s ultimate plan for his life. Adam sowed to the flesh and reaped destruction, toil and hardship for us all.

Adam forfeited dominion on the earth to the devil when he sinned. Until Jesus comes again to take His rightful Kingship over the earth, Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). Sin and destruction are his specialty.

Even creation is cursed by the effects of sin in this world. All creation groans for the unveiling of the sons of God to bring God’s total glorification back to the earth (Romans 8:19-22).

All of the misery, trials, disappointments and loss we suffer in this world are spawned by Satan. We are reaping what Adam and Eve sowed by their rebellion and pride.

So if something bad is happening in your life or in the life of some good or godly person that you know, don’t blame God. The “credit” actually goes to Satan. In salvation, God gives us back both now and in eternity what Satan stole from us.

God knew mankind would not appreciate His generosity; so He planned to become a man to pay for our sins, to redeem us back to Himself and to prove His unconditional love for us (John 10:30).

By providing a way for our salvation, God gives us all a chance to choose eternal life (John 3:16-17). If anyone refuses to believe, we condemn our self to hell in this life on earth and also in eternity (John 3:18).

If you repented of your sins and came to Christ for salvation, you are now a Saint (1 Corinthians 1:2). The Good News is that God will restore His Saints to Paradise in just a short vapor of time (James 4:14).

Prayer:
Father God, when we consider eternity, the 6,000 years of mankind’s toil on this earth are just a brief era. In Your perfect timing, Jesus will take His rightful place as ruler of this world and restore the Kingdom under Your government and order. There will be no more crying, toil, pain or hardship there (Revelation 21:4).

Those born on the earth during the following 1000 year Millennium will also have a chance to choose or reject Jesus’ Lordship; so that everyone will be allowed to exercise Your gift of free will (Revelation 20:3-7). All of those who stay faithful to You through to the end will serve You and enjoy Your blessings throughout eternity (Revelation 22:3; John 12:26, 30).

Thought for the Day:
God rejoices over us with singing, and He delights when His Saints pass from this world through death’s portal, and enter eternity to dwell forever in His presence. -Zephaniah 3:17; Psalm 116:15

Life’s Disappointments

Considering the disappointments of our past, the uncertainty of our future and the unexpected surprises which meet us with each new day, we often feel frightened by a world that can be very overwhelming.

We always wonder why God allows bad things to happen to good people. We search our soul to discover if we did something to deserve the trials we are experiencing. We shrink from the pain and suffering inflicted upon us.

Regret and anger over our past mistakes, depression and loneliness in our current experiences and hopelessness and fear concerning the future make us regret the day we were ever born.

Yet, when we allow God to open the eyes of our understanding and to open our hearts to His eternal love, our life takes on a whole new meaning.

Our compassionate Lord experienced the same degree of suffering and degradation, which we do; and He understands how we feel. He suffered so much more than we ever will and He did it all for us.

He uses the sin-caused circumstances of daily living to strengthen our character, perfect our patience and draw us ever closer to His bleeding heart (James 1:4-8).

He is our hope, and our expectations are in Him alone. Apart from Him, there is no joy and peace in this life. He satisfies our longings and fills our empty soul (Psalm 107:9).

He heals broken hearts, answers our doubts, calms our fears, strengthens our endurance and gives us hope for a tomorrow filled with His presence, regardless of our circumstances.

Prayer:
Father God, we depend on your mercy to see us through this life, on Your grace to make us victorious over every negative experience, and Your goodness to give us a miracle from every trial. From Old Testament examples and New Testament encouragement we realize that You are the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

You help us to remain faithful regardless of our experiences, never losing hope, never slandering Your name and always walking in Your righteousness; so we do not cause anyone to doubt Your goodness. Nothing can ever separate us from Your love except the distance that we put between You and us (Romans 8:35-39).

Thought for the Day:
As we are fully aware and present in each moment of life, we see how God is weaving them into a beautiful tapestry for us to enjoy.

Redemption Story

On Calvary’s cross, Jesus paid the ransom for our sins and gave us freedom in Him (John 8:36). As our Refuge, He is our redemption and He replenishes, rejuvenates, re-establishes and restores us.

When our soul is in anguish and we see no way out, or when we are lost in a cave of darkness and are chilled to the bone, our God is right there with us (Hebrews 13:5).

Sometimes, our determination wanes and our body grows weary (Psalm 31:10). We may cause our self to suffer physical illness, if we do not surrender our disappointment and stress-filled life to God.

As we weary of living with the consequences of our mistakes, we stop attempting to live life for our own purposes, with our human resources and in our own power and effort (Psalm 31:14-20).

When we learn not to take even one more step in our human strength, we cast all of our cares on God and He proves His care for us by changing our life for the better (1 Peter 5:7).

Once we are surrendered to Him, even when our pillow is drenched with tears caused by physical, mental, financial and emotional suffering and disappointment, God is in control (Psalm 56:8).

We totally surrender to God, not holding back or relying on our self in any way. Then, our God of grace restores us and re-establishes our life in the center of His will (1 Peter 5:10).

We often look for fulfillment on this side of Heaven. We may succeed in certain areas, but complete fulfillment only happens for those who totally surrender to God and walk in His Spirit.

Sometimes, for His glory, God allows us to walk in continual trials until His ultimate healing in Heaven (John 9:3). Even then, we have the power of His Spirit within us to find His joy and contentment in our circumstances.

When we place our faith in God’s faithfulness, His presence within us gives us His peace, wisdom and power, and He strengthens our body to accomplish those tasks, which He calls us to do (Proverbs 31:17).

Prayer:
Father God, Your Word is our truth and our hope (Psalm 119:114). Keep us safe from destructive people and accusing tongues (Psalm 31:20; Proverbs 29:25). Watch over us and shade us from the fiery darts of the enemy (Psalm 121:5). Continue to provide a refuge for the poor and needy all the days of our life (Isaiah 25:4).

When we serve You with our whole heart, mind, spirit and energy, You lift our burdens and bring us continual new life. We offer back to You the gifts, which You give to us, and we ask you to empower us to perform every ministry, which You lead us to do. Remind us to breathe out life’s stresses and to breathe in Your calming presence all throughout the day.

Thought for the Day:
In this world, we are guaranteed to have problems at home, work and in society; but as we trust Christ’s complete redemption, His joy is our strength, and He is our refuge and fortress forever. – John 16:33; Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 18:2, 91:2

Our Strong Tower

As an infant, most of us are properly cared for by our parents; although, more often in these days in which we live, children are no longer cherished and nurtured.

Regardless of our upbringing, however, life rarely pulls its punches. It deals out a lifetime of hard knocks, abuse, neglect and disappointments.

We learn to keep more to our self, in order to give people and circumstances fewer chances to hurt us. We want to stay safe from a world, which often frightens us.

We continue to reach out to other people, and to help them in any way we can; but suspicion taints the way we view people and opportunities, which come our way.

We are programmed to believe that the good times will never last, because they never did in the past. We stop looking forward to things; and we never believe promises, because they rarely if ever happen.

We miss opportunities, which we would enjoy, because we are afraid to trust the leading of God’s Spirit. We stay home rather than to take risks to meet new people and to share God’s love with them.

We learn to build walls to hide behind in an attempt to protect our self. However, these very walls only serve to keep us restrained in the confinement of our own making.

We try to escape these walls through addictions, the wrong friends and mate, busyness, hobbies, projects and over-achieving in areas, which do not really matter.

We imprison our true self behind those walls, which were meant to keep us safe. We can never live a full life as long as we continue to hinder our whole body, soul and spirit from living free in Christ (Galatians 5:1).

Prayer:
Father God, we wall up our heart, because vulnerability makes us susceptible to victimization and neglect. You advise us to guard our heart from sin, but not from other people. You actually expose us to disappointment in this life to show us the magnitude of Your continual love and nurture for us.

Remind us that when we are the weakest and the most vulnerable, then You are the strongest and closest to us in order to fight on our behalf (2 Corinthians 12:9-11; Exodus 14:14; Deuteronomy 3:22).

Therefore, we can entrust our body, soul and spirit to You and Your protection and care (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7). We can run into the safety of Your everlasting arms (Isaiah 41:10).

Thought for the Day:
We fear vulnerability; therefore, we hide our true self behind walls of our own making; but God protects us from our enemies and is a strong tower into which we can run and be safe. – Psalm 18:2, 10

Divine Appointments – The Fruit of Obedience

For my 15th birthday, my parents bought me a guitar and some lessons at the local community center. This started a love affair for me, which lasted until this day.

The smooth surface, richly colored wood and shiny strings melt my heart every time is see a guitar. I love the moving melody, which flows from the guitar’s inner chamber, and the fact that I can praise God and play the guitar at the same time.

After Christ saved me and renewed my spirit, I continually played the guitar and worshiped Him. In the wee hours of the morning, when everyone else was asleep, I went down to the basement and sang at the top of my lungs until the floor joists rattled.

When I discovered classical guitar, I felt led to take lessons. With three small children, a pastor husband and a church full of people, I looked beyond reason and common sense and signed up for classes.

My young instructor was very talented and inspiring; yet, what he showed me would take hours of practice; and I knew there were not enough minutes in the day for me to dedicate to learning this skilled art.

That week, I did my guitar class homework, but I prayed about whether or not to continue taking lessons. The Lord told me to go to one more class and to take my young instructor the book, “Evidence that Demands a Verdict”.

Confused, but wanting to walk in the Spirit, I did just that. My instructor politely accepted the book, gave me another lesson and promised to visit us at our church some time.

Many months went by and I forgot this episode in my life, as I immersed myself in the hustle and bustle of life. Then, one epic day, my former classical guitar instructor rocked my world.

He entered our church facility and pulled me aside. He told me a tale, which caused me to cry the whole time he related it:

His girlfriend broke up with him several weeks after my last lesson, and he had to move. In the midst of packing, he decided to end his life.

He removed his gun from his dresser drawer and placed it on the coffee table in the living room. Leaning back on the couch, he contemplated his life and exactly how to terminate it.

As he blankly stared straight ahead, his eye noticed the book I brought him those many months before. He leaned forward and opened it to a random page and started reading.

The page he opened to answered the exact question that had been gnawing at him for half of his life. He read the page twice and then continued to read, opening Josh McDowell’s book to random pages over and over again.

Eventually, he fell on his face before the Lord, repented of his sins and rose to walk in a new life. He came to our church that day to hug my neck and to thank me for listening to the Spirit and buying him that book.

God not only spared this young man’s life, but He set his feet on a new path of leading worship in the blessings and glory of the Lord. That one divine appointment had a ripple effect, which changed many lives in the future, including mine.

God has divine appointments for all of us (Acts 16:9-11, 25-34). He will even use strange and unattainable desires in our heart to direct us to the right place, at the right time, to the right person, whose life He wants to impact for His Kingdom.

Prayer:
Father God, there is nothing too small or too great for You. You use our lives for Your purpose, to grow Your Kingdom and to draw the world to Your unconditional mercy, love and grace. Fill us in all of our being with all of Your fullness, so that we may have the richest measure of Your presence and become Your Body wholly filled with You (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Help us to discern the leading of Your Spirit through each moment of our life, and anoint our body, soul and spirit to make a difference in the lives of those You bring our way. Teach us to humble our self under Your mighty hand and use us for Your honor and glory (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6).

Thought for the Day:
“Disappointment = His-appointment. Change one letter, then I see that the thwarting of my purpose is God’s better choice for me.” —Young

School of Hard Knocks

Life often sends us through a crash course at the School of Hard Knocks. We feel overwhelmed and hopeless, because of the weight of disappointment smothering the life right out of us.

As authentic Born Again Believers, we have Father God, Brother Jesus and their Spirit – who defend, protect, advise, guide, provide for and love us, so much that Jesus laid down His own life for us (1 John 2:1; John 14:16, 15:13).

We can have faith in God’s faithfulness, because He proves His love for us each moment of every day. He provides a miracle to accompany every trial, such as: spiritual growth, lessons learned, or blessings, which come in spite of our suffering.

In our trials, God surrounds us with His ministering angels, provides for our needs, builds our faith, gives us wisdom to share with others, and uses us as an example of one who maintains faith in God (Hebrews 1:14; Philippians 4:19; 1 Peter 1:7; Luke 22:32).

God’s Spirit uses trials to shape in us the fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, faith, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith (Galatians 5:22-23; James 1:3).

God also teaches us contentment, which fills our heart regardless of the severity of the circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12). God continually abides in us through everything we ever experience (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27).

At times, Satan tempts us to blame God for our losses and to feel anger towards Him for what we perceive as Him letting us down. However, God sees the big picture and He allows trials for our ultimate good.

Prayer:
Father God, as we live through the school of hard knocks, remind us to adopt an attitude of joyful acceptance and thanksgiving. Help us to focus on Your sovereign purpose in everything we experience (Romans 8:28). Remind us to trust in Your foreknowledge and grace (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 4:16).

Your infinite ways exceed our finite human understanding; therefore, we can always trust that You have our good at heart.
We trust in Your faithfulness to fulfill all of Your promises, even when the circumstances appear hopeless.

Thought for the Day:
Praising God in and through trials helps us to feel contentment in spite of them and gratitude for His presence in us through each one of them. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18; John 17:23

The Problem with Happiness

Happiness is a fleeting emotion, easily interrupted by negative thoughts, words and actions. Humans can experience the switch between the heights of euphoria and the depths of depression in a matter of seconds.

When we seek happiness from areas such as: circumstances, people, events, pets, career, home, gardens, hobbies, and church, we can experience both elation and disappointed.

In disillusionment, we even give in to fear and anxiety. We feel apprehensive about the future. God taught me to find freedom from fear by not focusing on more than one moment at a time.

Fear will dispel happiness quicker and put us in a deeper depression than any other emotion, especially if we suppress the anger, which we feel along with it.

We have the right to pursue happiness, but we cannot maintain it. However, there is good news in the midst of this negative prognosis.

We can continually dwell in an emotion deeper than happiness. This emotion is spiritual and depends solely on the presence of God in our life. It is a fruit, which God’s Spirit works into our nature.

It is also our strength to traverse the negative path we experience in life (Psalm 28:7). There is no earthly issue, which can ever shake us from this positive outlook on life. It is called JOY.

Even during dire circumstances, the Body of Christ world-wide, both in times present and past, is an example of a people who love and trust our amazing God for His constant provision.

Living in continuous joy depends on our focus and attitude. If we focus on the negative circumstances, it affects our attitude and dampens our joy. If we keep our mind on the delight Christ sets before us, we abide in His joy (Hebrews 12:2).

Prayer,
Father God, You reach down Your arms and hold us until our grief and fears are gone (Psalm 68:5). You walk within us and guide us through the depths of grief, distress and insecurity. Regardless of the negative circumstances, Your peace and joy are our constant companions.

You love each of us the same amount and in the same way, regardless of our sinful past. We are confident of Your continual, unconditional love for us (John 3:16-17). This one fact gives us all the joy we need to traverse the worst circumstances we will ever face.

Thought for the Day:
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy always comes with the dawning of each new morning. – Psalm 30:5