GOOD NEWS FROM THE HEART
Relevant blogs about living as a Christian in the world today.
Life seems to be getting more complicated and we seem to be hearing more and more bad news. There are so many things that could cause us to fear, that we must increase our efforts to rejoice and stay faithful. But the Lord knows best about whatever we are going through, and that is why there is so much encouragement in His Word, that is applicable, regardless of the historical period in which anyone lives. The verses below are timeless in such manner.
If we study God’s Word, we learn that God is love and He wants what is best for us, even more than we do. If we choose to live in obedience to the Lord, we can have the most beautiful life, because we can fulfill the plan that God created and equipped us for.
Because we are the Lord’s children and have His light, we can be sober and know what is happening not only around us, but also in our hearts and minds. In the first verses of 1 Thessalonians 5, we are warned that the Lord Jesus will come as unexpectedly and suddenly, “as a thief in the night,” the comparison referring to the element of surprise. Jesus said, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming,” in Matthew 25:13, as well as in Matthew 24:32 and Mark 13:32. Based on the signs of the Lord's coming, which we read about in the books of Isaiah, Joel, and in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we can know when the coming of the Lord is near, but no man will know the exact day, much less the hour when Jesus will appear on the clouds.
That is why we should be spiritually awake, always seeking to put on “the breastplate of faith and love," and to protect our minds with the "hope of salvation," as a helmet. Faith in God is the only shield that can stop the arrows of doubt and the lies of the devil. We are also the ones who choose to love God and people, and to receive the love that the Lord has for us. If we want to understand the love of our heavenly Father, the Holy Spirit will reveal it to us. A good way to get to know more about the dimensions and depths of God's love, is to pray as the apostle Paul prayed, in Ephesians 3:14-21.
Because our mind is a battlefield, in which the enemy can slip thoughts of doubt, discouragement, temptation, and more, trying to get us to fail and forsake the Lord, we need to continuously have “the hope of salvation" as a helmet to guard our minds. The helmet is meant to protect what we think. If Jesus is our true Lord and we are convinced that His sacrifice is enough for our salvation, then we are saved. The Lord will never leave or forsake us, as He has promised us in so many Bible verses. But, we can forsake the Lord, because He does not force us to become or stay His. Therefore, we must persevere and endure to the end.
The light exposes everything that is hidden and can harm us. We do not solve any of our problems when we try to "hide them under a rug" or ignore them, on the contrary, whatever we do not take care of will cost us later. We are the ones who must choose to take and protect ourselves with the “breastplate of faith.”
We know that that God's purpose for us is to succeed, and always remain His. Jesus chose to die for our sins so that we may be with Him forever. This truth is the most wonderful and powerful encouragement for every Christian. Let us not forget that God created man so that he will have a people to be with Him forever!
Therefore, let us not be afraid and never doubt the love of our heavenly Father and that He will always take the best care of us. Jesus chose to die for our sins, to redeem and reconcile us with God and He lives in the sincere hearts of those who made Him Lord and live to please God. We are never alone and no matter how hard the circumstances are at certain times; Jesus is always with us and will always see us through. If we can say like Paul, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21), we have nothing to fear. Physical death means instantly entering into the presence of the One for whom we have lived, and for Christians, the One is Christ.
Let us not forget that,
Whatever the Lord taught the disciples, is still very useful for us too, no matter what age we live in. Jesus did not give the same instructions to the disciples, every time He sent them to minister, because the factors involved, differed from situation to situation. In Luke 9, we read about Jesus sending out of the twelve disciples to preach about the kingdom of God and to heal the sick, after they received “power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases" (v.1). At the beginning of chapter 10, we read that after a while, “the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them out ahead of Him, two by two, into every city and place where He was about to go” (v.1). At this time, the Lord reconfirmed to them that He would take care of their needs and then He continued with another important teaching that was beneficial for them, and it is still beneficial for us today.
Because the Holy Spirit lives in us, as born-again believers, we have the real peace of the Lord, which is, “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.” This peace is not just a feeling of peace or a greeting. According to the “Thayer’s Greek Lexicon”, the original word for “peace,” from Luke 10:5 means “security, safety, prosperity, felicity (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous).” So, the greeting actually means: “Let peace and blessedness, come to this household.” But only those who are “of peace,” who have a good heart can receive and enjoy this spiritual peace. That is why the Lord said that His peace will remain where we enter, if there is “anyone of peace,” who is sweet-spirited and hospitable. We all know that God is omnipresent, meaning that He is present everywhere, but this form of His presence, only manifests where His children are.
It is wonderful to know that our presence, as temples of the Holy Spirit can change the spiritual atmosphere when we go places. You may ask why this statement is not always true. Whenever we have a pure heart and we desire for the Holy Spirit to manifest His presence in and through us, those around us will notice, even if they do not understand what is different about us.
We are called to bear the presence of the Lord and the fruit, that the Holy Spirit produces in us, wherever we go. The more we are aware of this truth, the greater our impact will be on the lives of those around us. Also, our lives can be so much easier and peaceful, if we realize that because of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, we can change the spiritual atmosphere wherever we go. I think we can all say that there are places where we go happily, where we feel good and things go smoothly; and also the opposite, there are other places which we prefer to avoid, because we feel pressure, sadness and where nothing there seems to go right. From the following verse, we learn the cause of darkness and oppression in certain places:
That is why it is so important to keep our hearts pure (to ask for forgiveness as soon as we sin) and to equip ourselves with God's armor (Ephesians 6:13-17) to win the spiritual battles, as bearers of the peace, love and joy of the Holy Spirit.
Then Jesus said something else very important:
No matter how spiritually mature we are, if we continue to enjoy close relationships and spend a lot of time in dark places with those who are not God's children, it may cost us dearly. There might be times when we have no other choice, but to be in such places, but if we trust God and pray for a way out, the Lord will help us. Jesus has said that we should cut off all ties with those who continue to reject Him, so that we will not be drawn back into darkness. It seems a drastic measure, but it is necessary. We cannot afford to flirt with sin, if we want to have the peace of Jesus. The more we love Jesus, the less we like the things that we used to like and do with the worldly friends we used to have. If we continue to long after the sinful way of living, we have a problem and we need to come before the Lord and ask Him to show us what we have not given up to and what we need to change. The Lord is faithful and will help us, because His desire for us is to succeed and be His forever. Thank You Lord!
Let us not forget that the peace of the Lord is in us wherever we go and we can enjoy its presence as we let the Holy Spirit to lead us and ignore the thoughts and emotions of our carnal nature.
Has anything good ever come from worrying? Have you ever solved any problems when you focused on the negative aspects and could not see the way out? The Bible teaches us the opposite approach, which is the most effective way for solving all situations.
These verses are easy to say, but not so easy to do, aren’t they? Let’s consider the previous verses:
To be able to always rejoice, we must continuously choose joy over sadness, discouragement or any negative emotions. "Rejoice" is a verb, which implies our action. We are able to rejoice more as we make the choice to smile even in difficult circumstances. It also helps to realize that it is valuable wisdom to resist thoughts and thought patterns that make us sad. We can also avoid conversations and situations that rob us of our peace.
Gentleness is the opposite of harshness, anger and a companion of joy. Jesus is the perfect model of gentleness and meekness. He always had the right heart and attitude, without sinning, no matter what His circumstances were. The Bible shows that people came boldly to Him knowing that He would to treat them kindly.
Most of us realize that there is no point in worrying and suffering over things we cannot change. It is true that it is important to realize and consider our mistakes, so that we do not repeat them, but we only hurt and torment ourselves with thoughts like: "if I would have only done this or only that..." or "if they would have only done this or that...". If we pay close attention and guard what we think, we can reject negative, and destructive thoughts, that bring no good, and instead, choose to meditate on what is constructive, beneficial, and true, according to Scripture, we can be so much more happier.
The apostle Peter tells us to cast all our concerns upon the Lord, because He cares for us in all areas of life:
God loves us unconditionally and always wants what is best for us, even more than we do. The Lord wants us to give Him all our worries. We know that there is no problem that He cannot solve for us. The Lord wants us to give Him our worries, to trust that He will solve them, and to be obedient to His directions and ways in handling things, so that He can work in our behalf. The child who has a loving and devoted father, does not doubt his protection, help and care. If an earthly father inspires his child to have so much confidence, how much more should we trust in the care of our heavenly Father, who is Almighty and for whom nothing is impossible or too difficult? When we love God, we seek to please Him, and we can be sure that He takes care of everything we need, because through. faith, the promises from His Word become real in our lives.
The apostle Paul shows us what we should meditate on, so that we may enjoy our daily lives.
When we respond to circumstances in our flesh and not lead by the Holy Spirit, the result will be stress, confusion and worry. As we choose to focus on what is good and right, we can resist the negative emotions, because the key to peace is not in what we feel, but in what we think.
How can we be free of the fear that comes from focusing on the problem that worries us? The most effective way is to find the Bible verses that solve the problem or show the truth of Scripture on the subject. What we think produces the emotions we feel. If we want to have peace and joy, it is up to us, to make the effort to stop negative, destructive thoughts and choose to think about what Philippians 4:8 says to think about, or to do as the following verses tell us to do:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
There is no doubt, that these verses are very personal to anyone who reads them. Recently, they have taken a deeper meaning to me.
Could it be that the Lord is not just asking us to take His yoke, but is asking us to “switch yokes”? The yoke that comes from the bondage of sin is a heavy yoke, a very, heavy yoke. And whether one is lost and yoked up with sin and the devil, or a Christian that a pitfall sin has found its way in (especially if it is a secret sin), the load is heavy!
We are all born into sin, meaning we are all born with a fallen nature. Only when we become born-again, do we go from darkness into the light. We go from “sin lordship” to “Jesus lordship.” When we go from the darkness into the light, we literally become new beings in Christ. Now, inside us, is the nature of Christ and the residence of the Holy Spirit. I remember, that before I became a Christian, I thought I would die if I became a believer, not being able to cuss, or in having to turn the other cheek. But an amazing thing happened when I gave my heart and life to the Lord, I no longer wanted to cuss or return evil for evil. A clean heart that exudes clean conversation, that glorifies the Lord, became my desire, and it is a privilege, to turn the other cheek. It is the least I can do for the One who not only took it on both cheeks, but His whole body for me.
The wonderful thing about being yoked with the Lord, is that He is strong and good-hearted. He wants to keep us from being overwhelmed. He is forever with us, to help us. When we were lost, we did not seek the Lord’s help, but faced our troubles with any other resources we could find. And the enemy (the devil and his host) were always there to help us fail, trip us up, feel miserable, etc. Any benefits the devil ever offers anyone, are short-lived and damaging. And just for the record, anyone who ever thinks the devil is their friend, is sadly mistaken. For every soul hurt and destroyed, to enemy, it is a strike against God.
The freedom we have, that comes from being forgiven, and staying that way, is the greatest relief and joy I believe anyone can ever have. When we fall into a habitual sin, or a pit resulting from a sin or trauma, we find ourselves being heavy laden again. Only when we take the Lord’s offer, on the way up and out, can we truly get “unyoked” from it, and back to where we belong, with the Lord leading the way. When we are yoked with Jesus Christ, it is a happy yoke, a yoke of relief. Real life is found in the purity of the relationship with our loving Lord. A dreadful life is found in rebellion to Him.
To “those who labor and are heavy laden,” the Lord offers “rest for our souls.” The Amplified Bible says, “all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened.” I looked up the words “labor and heavy laden” in the original language, and it seems to mean those who are fatigued and weary from carrying a heavy load. If a person has already given up self (sin) lordship to Jesus, they know well what this means. If not, a person really needs to get to the point where they realize the truth of this. Any yoke we share with anything or anyone besides the Lord, is not going to go well, even if it glitters like gold at first. Sooner or later, any other yoke besides the Lord, will fail us. Once we shuck that yoke and take the yoke the Lord offers, we begin true life! We find the “rest for our souls.” The meaning of “souls” ranges from heart, spirit, to mind. I think that without the Lord, we get weary mentally, spiritually and even physically, in looking for our own solutions and with the results we get ourselves into. But, with the Lord’s yoke, and Him leading us, we can rest in knowing that His love and goodness will always see us through.
The Lord says He is “gentle and lowly in heart” and to “learn from Him.” If the One who has it all and owns it all, is gentle and humble… how much more do we need to learn from Him. The Lord has given us His Word, sent us His Spirit and is closer to us than our own breath. He offers to teach us His ways and even help us to follow Him.
Does this mean we never get into trouble? Perhaps we struggle with forgiving someone in a horrible wrong-doing or struggle with our weaknesses, such as alcohol, drugs, other bad habits, sexual temptations, temper issues, etc. I guarantee you, that if you live long enough, you will be tempted in all areas that you might be weak in! But I also guarantee you, that the Lord makes a way for those who call upon Him and to resist temptation. If we seek His help, He is faithful to help us. He truly is a good, good Father. As long as we keep “getting back up,” we are not defeated! But we must not do it, in our own strength. We have to stay yoked with the Lord’s help and leadership. We have to listen and learn from Him, about how to overcome life’s issues.
The choice is to carry our burdens or take Him up on His offer. Praise the Lord, for the reward is rest for our souls! Praise the Lord, for we do not deserve His grace and goodness and yet He blesses us. Hallelujah, His call goes out to all, to “whosoever will,” just as His love does.
Are you a thankful person? How much do you grumble and complain? For me, this is a serious situation, as my carnal nature is a real grumbler and complainer! My born-again nature is extremely thankful. And whichever one is ruling me, wins the prize.
Having an “attitude of gratitude” is quite popular, even in the secular world, as being a better way to live. For a Christian, it is fundamental to our faith. It is part of the godly way we live. A positive attitude is wisdom, and spoken of in the books of Psalms and Proverbs many times. It is seen there in black and white, as well as, in underlying ways.
The opposite attitude, ungratefulness, is a true fruit of a godless nature.
All a person has to do to be carnal, is follow the fallen nature we are all born with. People can try to harness or overcome it, for being immoral or not smart, but the only real way to overcome it, is by being born-again. Once our spirit is re-birthed into the light, we receive the nature of Christ and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us, as living temples of the Lord, this is when real change happens.
As Christians, we always have the option to grumble and complain, just as we have the option to commit any sin, but the new nature in Christ is thankful. And we are thankful to be born-again and saved from the wrath we deserve! We are thankful God is merciful, loving and kind. The Creator of everything, has given us a beautiful earth to live on. We are thankful that Jesus came and paid the price for our sins, and overcame the devil, so that we can have a true relationship with God. We are thankful that a holy God, can come and live in the hearts of ones such as us. There is so much to be thankful for.
It is utterly amazing, that the Lord makes all things work together for good, for His true people, as told in the verse above. Even hard circumstances and actions are turned for good, as we see in the next verses.
It is interesting that “being thankful” and “being merciful” are intrinsic to each other. A heart that is truly thankful for God’s mercy, knowing that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” shows mercy to others. And their respective opposites are intrinsic to each other too. Most people who are unthankful are unmerciful too. By unmerciful, I mean harsh, resulting in being critical of others. Once, when I was going through a bad season, I heard someone say that “fault finding is the devil’s job.” He is the accuser of the brethren. And when we are critical of others, we are actually helping the devil do what he does. This stung me like a bee. When I catch myself being critical, I often ask myself, who am I helping?
While this is the time of the year for Thanksgiving, as Christians, we need to be thankful every day. We also need to be gracious to others. We must maintain a thankful, gracious attitude internally and also share it. If we catch ourselves becoming unthankful or ungracious, we need to stop, repent and get back on the right path. Even while God was blessing the children of Israel with daily manna, they still fell into the pitfall of grumbling and complaining in the wilderness, and it is still an easy sin for us today.
Through His Word, the Lord teaches us His ways. Consider these next verses, as part of the direction, for a great life in Christ.
Let’s look again at our first Scripture in this blog, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). This is the will of the Lord for us. No one desires the best for us, more than Jesus Christ, and His will for us, is to give thanks in all circumstances. And the Lord set a great example for us to follow. Even while on the cross, He considered all the good that would come from His sacrifice and it was worth it to Him.
We can always find the silver lining, when we are the children of the Lord. His Word is true and amen. Let us follow the Lord and the example He set for us. In so doing, we have the best life possible!
When I was young, I thought I was so smart. Does anyone else know what I mean? One of the first “articles” I ever wrote was “Life is what you make it.” I was about 14 years old. I listened to my elders and looked at older people and realized that for certain, we get out of life, what we put into it. And that if I wanted to be successful at anything, that I better do my best at it. I thought of what career I would choose and how I would work to attain those goals. I considered negative factors too such as not “hanging around with people” going “wrong directions,” so that I would not be deterred. Not that I would snub others, but they would not be part of my inner circle.
I finished school and was ready to pursue those dreams and goals. But I had met the man I would marry and life would take me in other directions. It has been a great life. Only it really would seem that the life I thought I would make, turned into the life that made me. I am today, the result of right turns and wrong turns, opportunities and shut doors. That man that became my husband, can make a great argument that “you are what life makes you.” You rise to occasions, you go through mountains or around them. Sometimes you retreat or get the wind taken out of your sails. But through those pressures and circumstances, you are forged.
To the secular world, they might say that we are both right or a combination of both ideas, is somehow true. But to a person with godly wisdom, they know that the most important element is missing. God is our Creator and He is the center of everything for all of us, whether we realize it or not. Each of us are uniquely created for, and by the Lord. We are not accidents, and we are not our own. God gives us a measure of free will, but it is not unlimited. God does not just start us off in life, to then abandon us. King Solomon through his book of Proverbs, has said much about us as people, and God as God.
We can make all the plans we desire, but someone above, has plans for us too. Many people have made the most determined plans for things, and were allowed by God, only to be redirected in various ways or with serious readjustments. In reality, every step of the way, God is keenly aware of what is best for us and is working within the system He set up, to help us, and He constantly considers how all the circumstances involved, will not only affect us, but others too.
Even if one never read or heard, Proverbs 3:33, one would know in their heart that it is true. Sometimes it looks the opposite, like the evil ones are getting ahead and we are not. But wisdom still rings true.
If we never read or heard the following verse either, we still know in our hearts that God is aware of us and our motives, and the resulting actions.
We are purposed. And the Lord considers our purposes, corporately and individually.
The Lord said of His people, pertaining to the remnant that was taken away to Babylon, that the season there would pass and that He would deliver them once again. And I believe His heart is that way for all of us. For all who will yield to Him and put their lives in His hands, can truly have a purposeful and blessed life. The Lord works with every individual during their lifetime, working to help them. Only He knows when it is best to intervene or not. The Lord is not just good, He is goodness. The Lord is not just wise. He is wisdom. The Lord is not just loving, He is love. “He is” every attribute of the Holy Spirit. And just as good and evil cannot truly mix, only Jesus and the pardon He offers, can bridge that gap. Only by repenting, seeking the Lord and His ways, do we find the best in life and that life eternally in Him.
Life is what we allow God to make it and life is what God shapes and fashions of us. Even for those who reject Him and His best for them, in so doing, it is still true.
God wants to give His power to those who spend time in His presence and have soft hearts. Jesus’ disciples were with their Lord day and night, they did everything together, they spent many nights listening to Him and telling Him what was in their hearts and they were the ones who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and started His church. But before the power came, they had intimacy with Jesus. This truth has never changed, power can come only after intimacy.
While being in God’s presence we start to understand ourselves better, as He shows us how we truly are, what is good and what needs correction in our character, heart, mind, speech and actions. Oftentimes the image we have about ourselves, is distorted, as we perceive ourselves based on our past, experiences, emotions and the circumstances we face. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to show us what needs to be changed. It is not easy to sit at Jesus’ feet, as Mary did and do nothing. You might think that you need to do things for the Lord to please Him, but Jesus put things in a different perspective when Martha asked Him to make her sister help her serve:
Can you “hear” Martha’s possible thoughts? “Lord, what are You saying? You encourage laziness? She does nothing! I already worked so hard and you say my sister made the right choice? And she will even get to keep it? If I would sit there with her, there will never be any food on the table!” It is good to be like Martha and there are good results for our labor, but the more we learn to rest in God’s presence and receive from Him, the more productive we become while we do our work and the more we will enjoy our walk with Christ.
But how do we enter in His presence? The first step is to find a quiet place, where no one will disturb us. Then we need to quiet our minds and focus on the Lord. It is not easy to stop thinking about stuff, or even worrying and planning what we should do next. For many of us this can be done best by listening to worship or “soaking” music inspired by the Holy Spirit. We need to choose to open our hearts and receive what the Holy Spirit has for us and what He wants to do in us. As we start to praise God and thank Him for what He has done for us, His presence will start to manifest. The more often we do this, the sooner we get to sense His presence. Once we change our lifestyle to where we do our best to spend quality time with our Lord on a daily basis, the more we grow and mature spiritually and we can become more effective in God’s Kingdom. To learn to hear God’s voice, we can read the Bible asking the Holy Spirit to reveal its truth to us and to continue do it until what we read becomes real and speaks to our hearts.
You might say that God is omnipresent and that is true. He is everywhere all the time, but it takes effort and determination for us to be able to step out of our flesh and reach to Him in the spiritual realm. We need to get to where we silence our physical minds and senses, to allow to our born-again spirits to take control and the Holy Spirit to manifest. The more time we spend in God’s glory, the more we learn to live led by the Holy Spirit and not by our flesh.
To get to know someone takes time and effort. A strong relationship develops in time, as the two persons involved in it are sincere, devoted and love each other. We need to be the same in our relationship with God, as He is perfect in every way and already did all it takes for us to be His beloved.
The Lord is calling us all: “Come up here! All is much better, more beautiful and you will find perfect rest for your souls.” This is what getting in His presence does for us, we get to taste God’s love and goodness at the highest level, we get rest and strengthen our faith. And as we spend more and more time with Jesus, loving on Him and He loving on us, we become more and more like Him: more loving, kind, patient and merciful towards others. So much so, that others will delight to be in our presence and will start to desire what we have. This is the best evangelism method! As soon as we choose to turn our attention to the Lord, we start to think about the spiritual things and realize they matter more than the physical world around us. The spiritual world becomes more real and that helps us to tune our spiritual senses into seeing and hearing what God wants us to receive. In Colossians 3:2, we are urged to “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” and in Ephesians 2:6, it says that God “… made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” This means we are already in the spiritual realm, but we need to turn off the physical senses and turn on our spiritual ones to perceive it! Hardships, sadness, hurt and losses cannot overcome God’s presence and peace, as long as we truly love and seek God. Whenever we are hungry and thirsty for God, He will show up to infill us! When we choose to surrender it all unto the Lord, He can work for us, fix our problems, heal and restore us, take care of our needs, give us favor and even set a table for us in front of our enemies (Psalm 23:5).
When we enter in God’s glory, we are in His shelter. The more we enter into it, the more protected we are and the more we can live led by the Holy Spirit and not by our flesh. Thank You Lord for this wonderful gift!
There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience…
The salvation we receive through Jesus Christ means much more than eternal life. Jesus wants us to give Him our burdens, worries, fears, needs, and He gives us His rest in return, as we read in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
The Lord wants us to choose to enter into His rest. We must want to lay everything at His feet and relax, trusting that He cares for us. When we choose to praise the Lord, to thank Him for who He is and what He has done for us, we can enter into His presence and be filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to continually do this on a daily basis, because the challenges of everyday life can drain and exhaust us. And an exhausted Christian is more easily irritable, and more vulnerable to temptation. Isn’t it the truth? We are the ones who limit the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in us. Our heavenly Father fills us with as much as we allow Him to. The more we thirst and seek to have fellowship with the Lord, the more we receive.
King David understood the importance of spending time to soak in God’s presence as shown in Psalms 16:11b, "In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." The joy that fills our hearts when we spend time with the Lord, transforms us and the deeper we understand what we have in Jesus, the greater our joy can be. This is the joy of salvation, of belonging to the heavenly family. We no longer doubt the love of God, and realize that He is in us permanently, no matter what we go through and that He provides all we need to become what He has created us to be.
The Lord has the most wonderful blessings and perfect plan prepared for every single one of us. But in order to enter into His rest, we must stop struggling to solve everything on our own and give it all unto Him. If we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, learning to listen to His voice and obey Him, we will be able to take possession of all the best that the Lord has for us.
Sometimes our dream vacation can turn out to be an ordeal, but the vacation we can have in the Lord, on a daily basis, by entering into His rest, relaxes us, frees us from burdens, fears, frustrations, stress and physical fatigue. In trusting that our heavenly Father is doing everything for our best, we rest and find peace. We can have a fulfilled and fruitful life if Jesus is truly our Lord and we realize that He loves us and never leaves us or forsakes us!
We can rest when we know that the universe functions just fine without our help. We must not lose our peace worrying about what will be or not, and what will happen locally or globally. On the contrary, if we spend time more daily with the Lord, we can rely more and more on His love, help and protection, and will be much more able to keep our peace, sleep better, and be more physically and spiritually rested. Let us enter and remain in the rest of our Lord!
For many years, I was under the impression that we are like glasses. And we need to be full of the Holy Spirit. As we decrease, He can increase and we can be full of Him. It is important to be full of the Holy Spirit, but using the glass analogy, may not be the best analogy.
In reality, we are mainly two parts, spirit and flesh. We are all spirit beings living in human bodies. Some would say that we are three parts and we may be, but I want to address the flesh and the spirit. As Christians, Paul has said we are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16).
The spirit world, for most of us, is invisible. Granted, God does allow dreams, visions and spiritual experiences, but most of us do not normally see in the spiritual world.
While we do not see in the spirit, the spiritual world is still very real. Secular education would have us all think that the physical brain is the center of everything. But in reality, the physical brain takes direction from the spirit. One might say, the spirit is like the heart. It is our deepest place. The apostle Paul has called it the “inner man” in Ephesians 3:16.
The truth is that we are not like mere empty glasses, but that we are spongy. We soak up whatever is going on around us. Every day we take in and soak up what we see, hear, feel, touch, reason, etc., most of the time consciously, but still much of the time, we do it without even realizing it. We are like sponges.
Since the Covid -19 outbreak, I have heard people talking about being stressed, depressed, frustrated and some even with despair, and I am talking about Christians feeling and saying these things. Much of it, is because of what is heard of on television and every form of media we have. The fear that has overtaken many hearts, has been anywhere from disturbing to overwhelming and any measure in between. I have heard people say they cannot shake it off. I believe it is because they have absorbed too much heaviness.
So how can we fight it? Praise God there is a way! Instead of directly soaking it all up, we have a filter that God has provided. We can filter everything through Him. But how? We cannot just sing and praise all week like a church service. We have to work and manage our responsibilities, but we can refuse to absorb anything without God’s filtration. I will explain how.
Think of it like this. Let’s say we live in a city with dirty water from the public water supply or get well-water but the source is not the cleanest. A person can add their own “filtration system” and by the time it comes out the faucet, one would never know that is was originally bad water but run through their home filtration system. With the Lord, we do not need a savings account or a loan, to acquire an expensive filtration process. The system He has available to us, never needs cleaning and never fails. Through His filtration, we can eliminate the toxins of daily life.
So let’s look at some of the ways we can filter the everyday issues and stresses through the Lord. The first step is to not just hear and receive things. As we hear things that are disturbing, we take it to the Lord first, then process it. It is not hard to do at all. Some people are doing this already, but for those who are not, as we hear what is rough, we just stop and give it to the Lord as they occur daily (examples will be given shortly). After awhile, it becomes second nature. Another step in the filtration process, is to consider what the Bible has to say about the issue at hand. Circumstances might say, I should tell someone off, but God’s Word says to “love my enemy” and keep my patience. God’s Word also says, “a soft answer turneth away wrath.” We must apply God’s Word to all situations. An important part of filtration is to trust the Lord foremost. Some might call it having faith but I prefer to call it trusting the Lord. I trust His Word, His timing, His provision, His help and everything I deal with is not unknown to Him but He saw it ahead of time and will be making the way for me, even if it means through fires, floods and storms. We need to be soaked in His Spirit (meaning filled of the Spirit) and when we operate our daily lives from being prayed up and in tune with the Holy Spirit, we will be much less vulnerable to the enemy.
So what might be a simple example of this filtration system? I heard today my cousin Bill got the virus. What is the first thing I do? I fret or freak out? No, I pray. Even while I am getting the news, in my heart, I am going “oh Lord” not as a term going nowhere, but unto the Lord. And I start praying for Bill and all his family. I see what I can do to help. But I need God in between the circumstances and myself.
Instead of: “Me – circumstance.”
It is now: “Me – God – circumstance.”
Instead of just accepting the news and praying about it tonight or later, I include the Lord as it happens. I can still pray more later, but I do not just accept it without the Lord. God is with me and the more I lean on Him, the less stressful it is for me.
Another example: I just found out I lost my job. And my husband already lost his two months ago. I say, “Okay Lord, I know You will continue to show Your amazingness in seeing us through this crazy time.” Then, I just get still before the Lord. I refuse to drink in the despair. I stand of the fact that the Lord has always seen us through. Even when we made bad financial decisions before, He still in His mercy made a way for us. It was not easy, but He was with us every step of the way and saw us through. He has not changed. We are still His.
And when I do not just accept the bad news, but filter it through the truth of God’s faithfulness, it truly makes a huge difference.
One more example: More riots and looting are going on in our city. I have to go out to get a prescription filled or food that we really need. What if I run into people acting crazy? I pray in my heart as I am considering my circumstances, “Lord help me to have Your wisdom and turn the other cheek if necessary or protect myself and family if necessary. Help me know what to do, and when, as situations occur. Lord, I thank You that Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my eyes. Holy Spirit, show me Your way as I go forth.”
These were just three examples, but everyday life is full of challenges and issues. So let’s not just receive whatever this world has to offer and directly drink in the heaviness of the circumstances and news around us.
Let’s call on the Lord first in all that we encounter. Let’s always remember that the Lord has faithfully taken care of us. Let’s keep in mind, that the Bible is our instruction manual for life, especially in troublesome times and circumstances.
Thank the Lord that we can refuse to just take in and soak up all the negativity that is comes at us. When we choose to include the Lord and all He has given us to filter life with, we can operate from a position of strength instead of getting weighed down and frustrated.
These are trying times, but for those of us anchored in Christ, we have the huge benefit of being His.
Life has seemed surreal for many of us all over the world since the outbreak of Covid 19. Some would say it has been like living in the “Twilight Zone.”
I believe with all my heart, we are all caught in the middle of the battle of good and evil. I believe the evil are trying to birth their global plans and in order to do that, they are implementing many strategies that they have worked hard on for some time.
America as a constitutional republic, stands in their way. True Christians stand in their way. True conservatives who believe in individual liberty and a free flowing commerce, stand in their way. All who are are deemed “enemies of their agenda,” are considered just that: enemies. And as they increase in power, all who are their enemies will feel and know it more and more.
Many years ago, this would be considered conspiracy theory. But the globalists are not in hiding any more and their agenda is seen easily by anyone who looks.
As Christians, no matter where we live in the world, we must all be firmly anchored in Christ and His Word, the Bible. We must set our hearts now, that if things do no go pleasantly or even if they go harshly, to hold on to our faith. Because we are the children of the Lord, we know we have His favor, but just like Christians living in China today or how all people were affected globally by World War 2, we as believers, will have to endure hard times ahead. This is not gloom and doom, this is saying to get one’s ship in order and be “anchored for stormy times.”
As big a hurry as America was in after Pearl Harbor was bombed, she still sent every soldier through boot camp. There are basic instructions that are important for every soldier to learn and then additional instructions for their unique military positions.
We as Christians, need to accept that we are living in the last days of the last days. Whether one is pre, mid or post rapture, or “Second Coming only” believers, it does not spare us from the hard times we are in or possible harder times that may be ahead.
So what can we do? We can get closer to the Lord. Read His Word and pray more. In the natural, we can pay off debts as much as possible. We can keep a little more extra food and supplies on hand. The evil anarchists of this world are not playing softball, they are playing hardball. The punches they are throwing are real.
This means Christians will overcome the attacks and persecution by 1- being born-again, 2- the spoken words of their testimony and 3- being willing to lay their lives down for the Lord.
I believe the apostasy has started, and if not, it cannot be far away.
So, my message today is “draw close to God” and be “securely anchored in the Lord” for stormy seas are here and perhaps stormier ones on the horizon.
The Lord is the only Anchor that truly holds.
Information about salvation can be found at this link: SALVATION
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