This world is so messed up. Many Christians say we are living in end times. But, you look through history that has been said many times by many important leaders in the Christian world. My only concern is to live for Jesus today and to be prepared for when He does come again. For me at least, studying the signs of the end times does not teach me how to live for Him today, to be used by Him to reach others. What I want to know about is how to find His power to be set apart from the world for Him.
Seeing as the last series I wrote from was all about suffering. Where we learned God is in control of the good and the bad I thought it would be good to move on to a series on strength. How do we find power that can only come from the Lord?
We start out with an act of submission. What do you imagine when you see someone on their knees? I can picture a man on their knees with others pointing guns at them. They are being forced into submission, give up their power to these men that have the power to kill them.
Where to find strength
Now, God does have the power to take our lives. But God is not about scaring us into submission like that. He wants us to submit of our own free will. To chose Him and submit to His will for us. I remember when my husband and I separated back in 2007, I was devastated and fell to my knees praying to God. I was angry, hurt and confused. I had no where to turn and finally said, “ok, God I give in! I submit to You, only You can get me through this.” I have to admit that my selfishness, fear, controlling nature took many more years for Him to break but when God did enough in and around me it did finally break.
Where to find strength
That deep submission to God and His ways is where I finally found His power to face anything that comes at me. Now I and my husband were allowed to buy a home that is a fixer upper. We have financial burdens that before my full submission would have me a ball of anxiety. I may not be physically falling to my knees, but I do know who to talk to when my anxiety wants to rear its ugly head. I stop everything I am doing and speak to God, even if it is just a few words sending my fears to Him. Letting Him know I cannot do this alone I need Him to show and do it for me. So, where to find to find might is by giving up our own power to replace it with His might.
Locked out and unable to succeed is the enemy’s plan, not God’s
For some reason yesterday I was having strange issues with this website. I was able to view what was on it, but I was not able to add a post or make any other changes to the site. I suspect it is because I changed the theme (the layout) of the website, so that put a wrinkle on being able to log in. I tried logging in with Google and couldn’t remember my password. After three times it locked me out and told me to “try again in a few minutes.” I decided to wait until today, and as you can tell by this post, the problem has been resolved.
As I reflected on this frustration and just kind of lingered and stewed in it for a little bit (as we all do sometimes) I realized something amazing and cool. God never locks us out. Our sin might, but our access to God through Jesus is not restricted at all. We are granted full access by the King of Kings to the throne room of almighty God. Wow!
Our log in my might be “Lord I need you” and the password is “Jesus”
Praise the Lord and pass the praise. Thank you, Jesus, for granting us access to this throne of grace.
Yesterday was Sunday and the discussion in my family centered on prayer, and asking the Jesus for things. We watched Kerry Shook message on the tv together. He was talking about the need to pray for things we want. How if we do not ask for we will not get. That started me thinking, what about when God says no? We ask but He says no. That led to a little study we did together on serve the Lord with gladness.
serve the Lord with gladness
You see in my family we are, and have been asking for many years, for a home for my husband our son and I. We have our ideas on how this could happen we ask the God for it every day. But, in the little study we did taught us something about how to ask. It brought out our motivation for what we ask for.
Are we asking for a home to make us comfortable, or are we asking for a home that will serve the Lord? One idea we have is to add on to my in laws home and my husband and I live with them. But is this to make things easier on each of us, or is it to serve the Lord? What is our motivation behind it, and how will we handle it if He says no?
Could you imagine God calling you serve Him in some of the most dangerous places in the world? To be associating with people who live with death every day? That is what Danny Gold’s article is about. How Pastors associate with gangs in El Salvador, even live among them. Would you be willing to risk your life for the Lord, the lives of your children? Could you find joy in that?
serve the Lord with gladness
With my husbands and my background, our life experiences we may be asked by the Lord to associate dangerous people. I cannot deny that. God surrounded us with a loving supportive family but the fact is still there, our past actions. Those actions lead us to having a history that many dangerous characters share. But, God lead us out of that history, redeemed us and now could God lead us to an area to help others find a way out? Would I feel safe, would I find joy in living among, associating, friending people with such histories?
I think it all hinges on how much I trust the Lord. Do I trust that no matter the bad things that could, or would happen He would take care of us. Just how uncomfortable am I willing to be to serve Him? Can I trust Him to keep my child safe? Or, could the experience my child lives through while serving the Lord be needed? Be needed for my child to build His testimony in the Lord?
serve the Lord with gladness
How about you? How uncomfortable are you willing to be in order to serve the Lord? How far are you willing to go for the Lord? Have you ever thought about it? We are asked to build our treasures in heaven, not here on earth. Is what you are doing now today accomplishing that?
The Amazing Exchange of Grace for Sin
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”
There is a lot of irony in the words above. Think about it. At one point I was lost, but not any more. Now I am found, like a lost sheep that the shepherd has rescued from the attack of the enemy. Even more ironic is to go from being blind to now being able to see. This is a total transformation.
But what caused this transformation? Was it our abilities? No. We didn’t make ourselves be found. We didn’t come looking for us. We didn’t just suddenly figure out, “Hey, I can see if I just make up my mind to do so. After all, its all about me and my abilities. Maybe I could even say “You know, I never was blind in the first place.” Well, we could say that, but that wouldn’t make any sense.
No, dear reader, the transformation was made at God’s initiative when He sent Jesus to die for our sins, in our place, as our substitute. It is all about grace. It is all about God. It is all about Jesus.
May God help us all to realize the incredible gift of grace and of eternal life, brought to you by the blood of God’s son, Jesus Christ. Thank you, Jesus, for grace.
Jesus was numbered with the transgressors sin
Eph. 2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourself. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”
God did what we could not do. He traded our sins for His righteousness.
I am acceptable in Christ
I want to share five scripture passages that talk about the way to be acceptable in Christ. See what you think.
1.) Titus 3:5 – “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
2.) Eph. 2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
3.) Rom. 5:8 – “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
4.) Acts 16:31 – And they said “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
5.) 1 John 5:13 – “These things have been written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Important scriptures relating to Salvation, Assurance, Obedience, and Peace
Several years ago a friend of mine in Africa sent me a list of scriptures relating to the topics above – salvation, assurance, obedience, and peace. Today I am going to share the first four. I post these in an effort to get people focused on the gospel and the relationship we have in Christ. The first is the most famous.
Obedience and peace
John 3: 16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Rom. 3:10 – “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one.”
Rom. 3:23 – “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Rom. 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”
Obedience and peace
The scriptures above speak of a relationship that is broken (because of sin), but can be restored through the gift. We go from the wages (well earned, well deserved wages of sin), to the gift (freely given, never earned, not deserved.) That is quite a contrast – earned vs. given, wages vs. gift, sin vs. grace. Oh how we need that grace, and how freely it is given.
In this chapter Jacob arrives at his relatives property and meets Rachel at the well. As he spends time with them he falls in love with Rachel. But when it comes time to marry her he is tricked and ends up with Leah. I am not really sure what was meant by saying Leah had bad eyes. Maybe that she was not as pretty as Rachel? Does not matter though because we see here that she is feeling unloved by husband.
But God sees this, how she is being treated unfairly and He blesses her. The blessing may not be an easy blessing for her to live with. After all God cursed women with painful childbirth. Then raising all the children while Jacob is out in the fields. One thing that gets me though, if Jacob did not love her then why did make it so that she could have so many children? What was his thinking? I guess maybe it was that in culture back then they did not have a way to divorce yet. He was just doing his duty as a husband.
Feeling Unloved by Husband
If he was just doing his duty just think of how devastating it was to Leah’s ego, her self worth. God knew she needed comfort. He also knew the bond between child and mother. To give her the love she yearned for, to show her that God sees her, He gave her many children.
I know when I felt unloved by my husband, even by the world I yearned for a child. I felt like at least that way someone would love me. But, the truth of the matter is that kids are hard work! Giving birth hurts more than some of the worst physical pain that is out there. Then raising them to be responsible adults takes every inch of energy out of a person.
What kind of blessing is that then? It is one of the best blessings I think. I feel I need to acknowledge those who cannot have children though. I know He has blessings for you that are beyond what anyone could imagine. He has a plan for everyone who believes in Him.
Feeling unloved by husband
Let’s go back to Leah though. She has not suffered through child birth and has all these kids to raise. I am pretty sure as she is human that at times she wondered if she could really make it through some days. She already was self conscious I am sure because of her looks and how Jacob complained about marrying her. Now her husband only sleeps with her out of duty and these kids are underfoot all the time. Even resenting her as I am sure all kids go through those feelings at times.
feeling unloved by husband
Even through these struggling circumstances the Bible says God kept blessing her. He did not change the situation, maybe He even compounded it. But, because He had a plan and He saw she needed someone in her life to love her. He gave her child after child.
What I take from this chapter is that sometimes God’s blessings can add more responsibility. When that happens we may turn to grumbling against God. But if we can be like Leah and see each and every new child as God’s blessing what better attitude could that give us. Maybe God has you living in some poor conditions. If we look past the circumstances and see even the small blessings can help make things more bearable.
Are you able to look past your circumstances and see some positive. Something, some how see God’s hand is there with you still? If you need someone to pray and talk with you I am here for you.
Prayers requested for myself and for all site members
Please spend some time in prayer for myself and all site members. I am having some occasional hip pain. I don’t know whether it is muscle, nerve, or the hip (right now it’s the right hip. Sometimes it’s the left one. I will be on Medicare on Aug. 1 and plan to set up a “welcome to Medicare” appointment. I have been without insurance for 13 years and the Lord has sustained me through it all. I think the Medicare will help a lot.
Site members, I haven’t forgotten about you. As I am reminded of your needs, I pray for you. I know of needs you, your neighbors, and your families. So many others have needs far greater than mine. We all need the Lord’s help, and that comes through prayers for wisdom, peace, provision, healing, and whatever else the Lord wants to do in and through us.
God says in the Bible over and over do not fear, but sometimes that emotion is beyond our control. What do we do then? Do we just give in to our feelings? Allowing them to keep us from experiencing all that God has for us? Or, do we keep pushing forward beyond our fears? For me I lived by my feelings, they limited my life for so long. My anxiety held me back, and to sooth my fears I would eat. It became so disabling. I could not fully experience what God had for me.
is fear holding you back
Let me list a few of the Bible verses on what God says about fear:
Isaiah 35:4 New Living Translation (NLT)
4 Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.”
John 14:27 New Living Translation (NLT)
27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
Joshua 1:9 New Living Translation (NLT)
9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Matthew 6:34 New Living Translation (NLT)
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Isaiah 43:1 New Living Translation (NLT)
The Savior of Israel
43 But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.
Psalm 34:4 New Living Translation (NLT)
4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
is fear holding you back
I could list many more verses but there are too many for this article. God mentions fear over 500 times according to a Google search I just did. So this subject is huge in His eyes. Why do you think that is? What I think is that fear is what holds us back from fully experiencing God. He wants to bless us, to give us a life of peace and joy but if we let our emotions control us we cannot experience those positive aspects that can only come from God. We are not able to acknowledge the free gift thuat Jesus’ pain has given us.
is fear holding you back
Right now in my situation I could stay where I am and not let God help me grow more. The Lord is being faithful to the promise He gave me and leading my husband and I to our own home. But the details are so scary. I have been living under government assistance for all my adult life. Now my daughter is an adult and she is on my housing voucher with me. When I move I need to take my name off the voucher so she can use it on her own. The fear is that when I do that will I have to move right away. If I do, the house is not ready to be lived in. In order to look for apartments for my daughter to live in my name has to be off the voucher so landlords can see she has a legitimate way to pay rent. If we wait too long to look for an apartment for her she may not have one when she and both need to move out of our current apartment, then where will she go?
There are so many small details that have to work out just right for both of us. Details that only God can make just perfect. What I need to remember is that GOD IS IN CONTROL! God says do not fear so many times in the Bible. We are His creation, His precious people who He loves and cares for. He brought us to this, He will bring us through it.
What do you fear today? Is it holding you back from doing the next best thing the Lord wants you to do? How do you handle the emotion fear? Lets discuss this in the comments below or in our Life Group on Facebook.
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