Winning the Battle over Afflictions!

I want to encourage you to read all of Psalm 34 as it’s theme is that God pays attention to those who call on Him and praise Him, but when reading  Psalm 34 today, verse 19  stood out to me. We often wish we could escape troubles – the pain of grief, loss, sorrow, and failure or even the small daily frustrations that constantly wear us down. God promises to be “close to the brokenhearted” and to be our source of power, courage, and wisdom, helping us through our problem.  Sometimes he chooses to deliver us from those problems.  When trouble strikes, don’t feel frustrated with God. Instead, admit that you need God’s help and thank him for being by your side.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” Psalms 34:19

David is writing this Psalm as a form of worship to the Lord. David calls others to experience the goodness of the Lord in verse 8 when he says; “Taste and see that the Lord is good, how blessed is the man that takes refuge in Him!” Even among all of the wonderful praise that David gives the Lord in this Psalm, he still acknowledges that there are things that give him trouble. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous…” shows that David is aware of all of the things that are constantly present in this world that try to steal the joy of the Lord.

If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that there are times when small insignificant things steal our joy and pull us away from the Lord. It has been said before that admitting that there is a problem is the first step in overcoming the problem. David is admitting that there are constant problems in the world that cause us pain, distress and suffering. When we realize that these things exist in our lives, the solution to overcoming these things is much clearer. David’s solution is found in the second half of verse 19. “But the Lord delivers him out of all of them” shows that a true reliance on God’s power is the only way to fight against our afflictions. The things that cause pain, distress, and suffering will always be present in our world. The good news is that the solution will also always be present, and His name is Jesus Christ.

So what does this mean for you and I today? This Psalm tells me that I have a chance to win the battle over my afflictions. My own strength is worthless against the things that cause me pain, distress and suffering, but the strength of my Savior is powerful enough to remove any of the things that seek to cause me harm. As you go through your day today, pray that the Lord will make your afflictions known and deliver you from each and every one of them.

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Remember that even when you feel weak, the Lord’s strength is still as mighty and powerful as it has ever been.

You are the light of the world

you are the light of the worldYou are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)

You cannot make yourself the light of the world. Jesus says you are the light of the world because of your relationship with him. “The God who said, ‘Out of darkness the light shall shine!’ is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts, to bring us the knowledge of God’s glory shining in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

God speaks the light of Jesus into our hearts, and his light shines so powerfully through us that we are like stars in the universe that point the whole human race toward real life (Philippians 2:15-16).

This is a portrait of discipleship. Jesus, who is the light of the world, re-creates us into the light of the world. We are light, not because of anything in ourselves, but because we are in a supernatural union with the light of the world. He calls us to follow after him, and he says, “Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness” (John 8:12)

Our focus must always be on the light, humbly trusting Jesus to reveal the light through us. Prayerfully remember –My influence and visibility is a result of who lives in me, not because of what I do. It is God who puts me in a place of influence and visibility. I am merely a steward of my influence and visibility, so it is important I get out of the way and let Jesus work through me.Only God can measure the significance of my influence and visibility. I may influence one person who will then influence the world. My focus is on following Jesus wherever he leads.

Why me God?

Why me? Why this? Do you ever wonder why? Do you feel guilty for even daring to ask? I think we all have had times when the loss was so great in our lives that we cried, not upon our pillow in a quiet voice in the silence of our darkened bedroom. No we screamed it with all the angst and heartache and brokenness our voice could muster in the public streets for all the world to see. At times, our why was resolved with the still small voice of God and a touch of warmth from the Comforter pouring Himself out upon us. Other times, our felt alone, abandoned. The psalmist did the same. Prophets have cried out. Kings.

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent. BUT You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:1-3. Image

It’s odd that we, who think our God does not hear us in the darkness of our nights and the bright light of our grief and pain, continue to cry out. If it were so futile, if God was so deaf, if God was so far away, why would we bother? Because deep in the recesses of our tribulation, emptiness and agony, we know that God is God and God is steadfast and sure. We may question our circumstances, our losses, our trials–but we know that ultimately our answers are in God. And we cry out in search of them. We may not feel our God hears, but all scripture denounces that lie of Satan. We may not think God is present, but Jesus, our King, says differently. “Lo, I am with you always, even to the ends of the world.”

With every “why” I’ve ever voiced, my God’s assurance has answered. With every darkness I’ve ever encountered, God pierces with Light and gives me faith to dispel the doubts of my human fraility. So when you wonder why, remember we may never know all the answers. We have the Answer–Jesus is Lord of all and has overcome the world.

Really Trusting in God!

Trusting in God is one of the hardest things to do as a Christian. Life seems like a mystery and as we observe life around us…sometimes we wonder if God is even involved with us at all. It’s not easy to believe and trust Him with everything going on with us. Is He REALLY listening?

We want to believe in Him, but why is it so hard? Trusting in God is vital to our spiritual lives, yet our faith is so weak. If we only knew the amazing way that the Lord would open up to us if we would just open up to Him in belief. And the Lord has done an interesting thing…the more we trust in Him…the more He rewards us and reveals Himself to us. But when we doubt Him and don’t have faith, nothing ever happens. He doesn’t try to prove Himself or surprise us with a revelation to show us that we’re wrong.

You see the point is…it’s all up to you. If you don’t believe that God will do much for you… then guess what…He pretty much won’t. You’re life will likely stay the same old way for a long time. But if you trust in God to come and make your life new…be ready for Him to come in like gang busters. It’s very exciting.

This is the key: Belief and trust…and keep on trusting regardless of what is going on around you, even if things seem hopeless. Relinquish your mind’s control over all situations.Take your hands off and let go of your fear & unbelief. Stop trying to figure things out. TRUST GOD TO WORK.trust god no matter what

Devotional

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful, in prayer”

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful, in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

Hope means to believe, desire or trust. Anxiety and worry stifle hope. Some days it’s hard to hope. Oftentimes we hardly dare hope because we might be disappointed, but to be joyful in hope? If God is our hope then hope is well founded. Instead of nail biting hope, we can choose instead, to be joyful, in hope.

Patient means long-suffering; quietly and steadily persevering. Do you ever feel like the most impatient person on the planet? Some days I do. God doesn’t take afflictions from us. They’re common to us all. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Through the presence of His Holy Spirit he dwells within us, casting out fear, helping us to move deeper into the waters of uncertainty knowing that as we strive for patience he will guide us through the times of waiting.

Faithful means constant; reliable. Prayer is the key to joyful hope. Prayer is the key to patience in trials. Prayer brings us into the very presence of the Almighty God, the creator of all things, the ruler of all. He draws close to listen to you this day.

Dear Father God, thank you for the sacrifice of Your dear Son whose precious blood was shed for us. Thank you for the indwelling presence of your Holy Spirit who guides us each day. May we be encouraged as You teach us how to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer, Amen.

If you meditate on this verse from Romans 12:12, how will it change your day?

Encouragement

Encourage people in the spirit! Love in the spirit! Give in the spirit! Understand what Jesus said when He said, Love Thy Neighbor- that’s everyone! We are here to help others and love others and make them thirsty for Jesus! The Living Water! Jesus was a friend of sinners (us)… food for thought! Don’t worry about what others think… just do it like Jesus would!

Remember non-Christians don’t read the Bible; they read Christians!

TRUSTING GOD THROUGH THE STORM!

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The Apostle Paul knew that each step of his journey was put in place by His Savior. He learned how to wait on God for all that he needed. He was able to be content even in suffering and persecution because he trusted in Christ. Paul expressed his trust in 2 Timothy 1:12 when he said, ” For I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that he is more than able to care for that which I give to him for this day“.  That is faith in action!

God is not late to help us even when all hope appears to be dwindling down. Even the  timing of Christ’ suffering and death on the cross was planned long before the world was formed.  It happened at the perfect, precise moment that God chose it to be. There was no detail left undone as Jesus completed the work of redemption for a lost world. Sin and death was overcome by the cross as Jesus uttered this powerful promise saying, “It is finished!”  

Take heart, dear beloved, and know without a doubt  that your situation is not dead.  It is being worked out in the timing of God who already knows the outcome.  There is an eternal purpose for your suffering.  You are not waiting for God to show up for he already has.  You are holding on for the perfection of the plan he is now working out  in your life.

The struggles and trials you suffer are always an opportunity for God to reveal his power to you.  Each time a painful situation brings you to your knees, use that position to give glory to God!  It frustrates the devil when you do.  Never let the enemy convince you to surrender in the heat of battle for you are nowhere near being defeated.  You have been made more than a conqueror through Christ and he is not about to let you fail.