When God Seems Far Away!

Why me? Why this? Do you ever wonder why? Do you feel guilty for even daring to ask? You probably have had times when the loss was so great in your life that you cried, not upon your pillow in a quiet voice in the silence of your darkened bedroom. No. you screamed it with all the anger and heartache and brokenness your voice could muster in the public streets for all the world to see. At times, your why was resolved with the still small voice of God and a touch of warmth from the Comforter pouring Himself out upon you. Other times, you felt alone, abandoned. You’re not alone the psalmist did the same in these passages and prophets have cried out. Kings. Our Lord cried out on the cross. 

 “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. [caps and emphasis mine]

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” you ever voiced, our God’s assurance has answered. With every darkness you ever encountered, God pierces with Light and gives us faith to dispel the doubts of our human fragility. 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.

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Dealing with Adversity!

Either we are in adversity, just getting over it or about to go into it, or perhaps, all three at once. Living in this world is not easy and trouble comes with it. The issue is not whether we will experience it, but how we will respond to it. There are a number of reasons why you or I will experience adversity during our lifetimes. Some segments of the church today have been wrongly taught that adversity is a sign that God has removed His blessing. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Scriptures clearly teach us that trials are a part of a walk with God. 

If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength.” – Proverbs 24:10

No man or woman who has achieved much in the kingdom has been spared some form of trial or adversity. God gives specific reasons for some of our trials. Other times the purpose is to identify with the cross of Christ. We must view adversity as God does–as a means to conform us to the image of His Son. Making us more Christ like is the ultimate goal of all of our experiences with God.

Adversity is God’s workbench where He conforms us to His image.  No matter what God does in our lives as believers, we know that nothing happens without His foreknowledge and His planning. Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking that God is not aware of our circumstances. Suffering and adversity are parts of our heritage as sons and daughters of God. They come with the territory as parts of God’s refining process for every believer. Consider every major character in the Bible, and you will see that their lives had adversity. God never said we would not suffer as Christians.

Throughout Scripture God encourages us not to put too much emphasis on the here-and-now life, but to emphasize our future life in heaven. Whatever trials we will encounter here will not compare to the glory He will reveal when we get to heaven. Earth is a mere watering hole on the way to eternity. Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12).

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Dealing with the Pain and Darkness in Life?

I hope and pray that this message meets a need in your life. We are living in difficult and dark times for so many people. If you are one of them, I want you to realize that you are not alone. Maybe God wants to use you to encourage someone else battling the darkness. Hard times will come and the darkness will find each one of us. At some point in life, we all will face some kind of pit. It may be a pit that we have dug with our own hands of wrong choices or it could be a pit that has been uniquely designed for us by the enemy. 

“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Psalm 40:1-3,    

What can we do to find hope in the midst of the darkness? We can become bitter and blame God for the pain or we can give up and wallow in the mire and mud of that slimy pit. Some of you maybe guilty of plastering a smile on your face, gritting your teeth and denying that the pit even exists. However, the choice we should make is to trust God, knowing He will deliver us in and from the pit.   

God’s grace turns defeat into victory, tragedy into triumph and weakness into strength by providing real power over circumstances. People without Christ can’t muster up enough courage and human strength to get through a trial. God will not only enable us to survive the hard times, He wants us to thrive in and because of them.

Joy is not an earthly treasure but a heavenly gift from our loving Father who is committed to the joy of His children.Some of the most joyful people I know have suffered the most because they have learned not to live on explanations but on promises – the promises of God.

Jesus wants to give us a life of joy, pits and all. We need to remember that joy is the deeply-rooted confidence that God is in control and that our inner attitudes do not have to reflect our outer circumstances. We can find joy in the pit.

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Having the Mind of Christ!

The Word of God says, “Let every man be a liar, and let God be true.” Whenever God allows us to face the fiery furnaces in this life, our flesh nature makes it hard on us to trust in God. In our hearts, we still believe that God is good, and that He desires only good things for us. Life can deal us some serious blows that are very hard to endure, much less overcome. Wouldn’t it be so nice if Jesus would just protect us so that we would never have to have another bad day or hear an evil report? Wake up your daydreaming! We all live in a fallen world. Evil things happen to good people, and good things happen to evil people. 

 

 

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” 

~ Hebrews 11:6

 

You might be saying wait a minute; didn’t Jesus say that there was none good but God? Yet, God still gave His Son for us, and Jesus still gave His life for us while we were evil. Thank God He doesn’t just bless good folks, or we would still be lost with no hope. What you will find is this: there is no justice in this world, but God is just. More than that, God requires the just (Christians) to walk by faith and not by sight or feelings.

 

All you must know when facing a trial is what God is speaking to you by His Word and the Holy Spirit. When you have a Word from the Lord, and you know that it is impossible for God to leave or forsake you, the attack of Satan will only make you stronger in your faith, not weaker. God has predestined us to be conformed into the image of Christ. Therefore, when you go through what might seem like (hell) at times in your saved life know that the old man is being crucified, and the new man is emerging out of the flames of affliction.

 

The end result of your battle is victory over the Devil. You might be thinking, “I thought he was defeated at Calvary?” If you believe that, you are absolutely correct, but your carnal mind doesn’t know that yet. Our faith doesn’t give us so much victory over the Devil as it does victory over the mind that he offered to Adam and Eve when they sinned against God’s will in the beginning. We used to be alienated from the life of God because of the carnal mind. Once we pass through the fire and overcome the flood, our faith in God renews our minds and we become one with God in our minds as well as our spirits.


With each trial we are separating ourselves from the strongholds of this world and becoming one with Christ through our faith. Instead of trials taking us further from Christ, through faith, they bring us closer to Christ.

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Having Hope in God’s promises to be Fulfilled!

So many of us our waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled, but we must wait with hope and that is why we have God’s Word recorded for us, so that we might learn what God has done through others in the past. By studying how God has responded to others in the past, it gives us hope for how God will respond to us in the future. 

“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” Romans 15:4

Reading the story of the trial of Job should give us hope that God can turn even the worst situation around for HIS glory. Reading the story of Abraham having to wait 25 years for the birth of his son Isaac should give us hope when we are waiting on God’s perfect timing in our own life. Reading the story of Joseph and how he was betrayed and lied about gives us hope that God really does work all things together for HIS good for those who love HIM and are called according to HIS purposes.(Romans 8:28)

It is easy to hear verses out of the scripture and become dejected because they seem like they are impossible to fulfill. However, God did not just give us a bunch of dos and don’ts, He also gave us real live examples of those who demonstrated many of the principles on how we are supposed to live our lives. When we learn a principle out of the Bible, we will often find an example in the scriptures of someone who demonstrated that principle for HIS glory.

Our hope does not come from our own strength. Our hope does not come from our own talents and abilities. Our hope does not come from how good of a person we might be. No, our hope comes from our patience that we develop as we wait upon God. As we grow in our relationship with God, we learn just who God is and what HE has in store for us.

God desires our obedience more so than our sacrifices. God is not looking for how many rules you can set up for yourself so that you might be the most spiritual. God desires that you learn to maintain a right relationship with HIM and allow HIM to guide us every step of the way.

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Strength when you have none!

Whatever is overwhelming you in your life right now has a purpose to bring you closer to God. The winds of trouble and the storms of  your life must all submit to the will of God for you. Our battle will never be stronger than the refuge and strength of your God! The bible tells us, “Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning”. (Psalm 30:5)  That means that every painful struggle has a timing for it to end.  And it is only then that you will understand the power of  God whose love for you  never failed. 

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life (Psalm 138:7)

Have you ever been in a painful trial in life , which made you feel like you were all alone?  The storms you face in this world can sometimes make you feel isolated and without hope. And, although well-meaning friends want to help you, there often  is little that they can do. You really want to believe that God is with you in that battle, but that may be hard to do when the enemy surrounds you on all sides!  When you come to these lonely places, it is then that you must take all thoughts captive to the truth of the promises of Christ!

All of the battles that you face as a believer are fought on holy ground because the power of God is with you. You are in the company of the army of heavenly forces who know well how to deal with the enemy. You are never left to fight alone. As David understood that God was giving him his victory, so must you know that you are a conqueror against all that comes against you. You must never let your situation cause you to be anxious. Worry is nothing but the whispers of lies from a defeated enemy!  Satan wants you to make you feel alone and hopeless so that he can get a foothold into your mind. Don’t give him access.

The truth is all the force that you need to defeat your feelings of hopelessness. Your financial struggles, marriage problems, health issues, addictions or heartaches are all under the power of a Sovereign God who knows how to take you safely through them.

It is the lonely places that put you next to the heart of your God. For it is when you have nowhere else to turn that you realize that God’s power was all that you ever needed. Jesus paid the price so that those who believed would be made more than a conqueror in all the battles of this world.

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Viewing Adversity from God’s Perspective!

God uses adversity to mold us into the image of Jesus Christ. So why not tell the Lord, “Lord, I don’t like it, but by faith I rejoice that You are up to something good in my life”? Ask Him to reveal what He’s teaching you in the midst of your trial. Then, look for Scripture that encourages you and helps you focus on His truth. When we’re facing a trial in our lives, the last thing we want is someone telling us to rejoice! But James is not telling us to be joyous because of the trial. James assumes that his readers are committed to spiritual growth. When they understand that trials lead to more spiritual growth, he knows they’ll rejoice because of the end result—growth! The testing of our faith produces endurance. Endurance is a maturing factor. The term “perfect” carries with it the idea of maturity. When people are forced to endure hardship, they mature in some fashion. 

“Dear brother and sisters, consider it all joy, when troubles come your way. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4 

James warns us there is a way to interrupt this maturing process. He instructs his readers to “let endurance have its perfect result.” The implication is that by reacting to adversity incorrectly, we short-circuit the maturing process. I know of several people who are mad at God because of some adversity that has come their way. The tragedy in each case is that they have put themselves on the sidelines spiritually. You may be thinking, That’s ridiculous. How could anyone be so enthusiastic about growing spiritually as to rejoice when confronted with adversity? If that’s your attitude, this passage is for you:

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:5-8).

James realized it would sound strange to tell people to rejoice in the midst of trials. So, he followed it up by saying, “Hey, if you find that hard to accept, ask the Lord to make it clear to you.” That’s what He means by asking for wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to see things from God’s perspective. Many of us have trouble accepting this connection between adversity and growth. It is hard for us to accept that God is so intent on bringing us to maturity that He’s willing to let us suffer. But, in His economy, adversity is a small price to pay for the benefits of spiritual growth.

As we study the passages such as this one we will find the real issue becomes clear to us. Are we going to take God at His word and begin viewing adversity from His perspective? Are you persevering? Are you enduring? Or, are you resisting? Are you mad at God for what He’s doing? My friends, God wants to use adversity to mature you to the point where your character becomes a mirror image of Christ’s.

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