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Posts Tagged ‘Worry’

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Beginning a new year can be both exciting and daunting.  If you have had a particularly trying and difficult previous year, you may enter a new year cautious and possibly even fearful.  Will that illness rear its head again?  Will my relationship be filled with pain again? Will I lose this job too? … the questions are endless depending on your situation.

Weary, worn and battle scarred … I have been there and I’m sure so have you.  You may be there right at this moment.  In those seasons, I have always found my strength in God, His word, and comfort.  When nothing else seems stable … When nothing else seems to make sense … When all seems lost … God is still God.  He is all knowing.  That, right there, has seen me through so many situations.  God is all knowing.  So, what I can’t see, He does.  What I don’t understand or know, He does.  My God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is omniscience, omnipresent, sovereign, full of Grace, full of Love and full of Mercy.  I can make it through, even in my lack of knowledge and pain, because He is God and I am not. In Romans 5:3-4 it states:

“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know suffering

Produces perseverance; perseverance, character;

And character, hope.”

As you move forward into 2016, move with confidence, move with perseverance no matter what you’re facing and you will find hope!  Not hope in fleeting things, but hope in Jesus Christ that prevails over all things past, present and future.

 

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We have entered the season of Advent. This is a time of year that I love and look forward to with anticipation … A time of family and friends … A time of gathering and fellowship … A time of celebration and a time of expectation.

Advent … “the expectant waiting for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus”; Latin, meaning “coming” … expectant, waiting, coming. Each of these words conjures up a sense that something big is about to happen. This Advent I will write a few thoughts and publish them here on what, to me, Advent is speaking in this season.

AdventCandles

I hear the words “Come and See” this Advent season. God in His infinite love and mercy has issued an invitation to “Come and See.” This isn’t the first time He has spoken these words. Throughout the scriptures we read this invitation. Some have accepted His invitation, others have not. This year, in 2015 Advent, God is yet again, issuing the invitation to “Come and See.” Will you accept His invitation? It will look differently from person to person, but will you “Come and See?” Will you “Come and See” His miracle power? Will you “Come and See” Him heal the brokenness within you? Will you “Come and See” God breathe life and restoration into those things that are withering and dead? Will you “Come and See” the hand of God reach out to you and touch you, lift you up and set you into the place of promise? Will you “Come and See” the babe in the manger and know that this is where Hope has been birthed? Will you “Come and See” the peace of God this Advent 2015?

Remove the blindness of culture, remove the blindness of hate, remove the blindness of apathy from your eyes and in this Advent season … expectantly and with anticipation,“Come and See.”

“He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”

~ John 1:39a ~

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When I read and study the scriptures I like to pull out and look at various translations of the text. I did that recently with Acts 2:26 and love how the Message Bible translation paints the picture for this scripture

“I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope.”

~ Acts 2:26b ~

It is very easy to lose hope theses days. ISIS killing innocent people because of their hate filled agenda. Nations around the world are being flooded with Syrian refugees who are fleeing countries where violence has escalated to unimaginable levels. Our country losing its Godly perspective that our forefathers built as a foundation for this nation. Diseases ravaging the bodies of loved ones. Bank accounts that are dwindling by the day because of unemployment. Yes, it is easy to lose hope when we look to the world around us.

But, my hope is in Jesus Christ. My hope is not in man and manmade things. I have chosen to “pitch my tent in the land of hope.” The imagery in this verse is beautiful. I dwell, I follow, I live … within the hope of Jesus Christ. He is God’s Son and the sender of the Holy Spirit. He never leaves us. His light of love, mercy and grace shines bright in a dark and disturbing world. I stand in His presence and luxuriate in the warmth of His Hope. No worry, no fear, no anxiety, no hate … only His love, only His saving grace, only His hope, His peace, His strength do I find “in the land of hope.” Today, pull up the stakes of your tent and travel from hopelessness to the land of hope; pitch your tent and dwell in the presence of Jesus and there find your breath of life … Hope!

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“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” ~ John 11:32b

How often do we accuse or blame God when bad things happen? Unfortunately the answer to that question is quite often if we answer honestly. In our scripture focus up above, we see Mary doing the same thing when her brother Lazarus died. You can hear the deep pain and the accusations in her words.

In our own conversations with God, when we are going through tough times, we too say “God if You had (fill in the blank) then (fill in the blank).” “If/then” statements work in mathematical equations, but they do not work in our relationship with God. Next time, why not delete the “if/then” and instead say; “God I don’t understand but I trust You.” … or … “God I believe in You and I choose to rest in You.” By choosing to trust and believe in God instead of choosing to accuse God, your situation already has moved from darkness to light, from pain to peace, from condemnation to freedom.

When we “draw near with confidence to the throne of Grace” it is there “that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

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I know that each of us who are called by the name Christ forget at times who we are, especially during times of repeated attack. It is when the war is long and arduous that we begin to waver in faith, in knowledge, in truth.   You may be going through a very difficult time right now and I want to remind you to whom you belong and who you are. You are God’s chosen.  You are the apple of His eye. God loves you. He has not left you. God is with you. He is battling right along side of you. Your battle is there to mold and shape you more and more into the image of Christ. However, also remember this:

“For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you,

for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.” Zechariah 2:8

Those who harm you, those who plunder you, those who come against you; God will bring about justice on your behalf. He loves you. He adores you. He delights in you. You are His and you are the “apple of His eye.”

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Accusations … false statements … those who don’t believe in you and would much rather taunt you. Theses are difficult situations to deal with. If you haven’t experienced this yet … hold on … because all of us at one time or another will have to endure such things.

So, how do you handle this type of situation? Our initial response is to defend ourselves against the falsehood. However, that is not the best course of action. The greatest example on how to handle your accusers is modeled by Jesus Christ in Mark 15:1-5 … Go ahead, take a moment to read these 5 scriptures … I will wait ……………

 “It Is As You Say” (Mark 15:26)

 

What do you do when faced with accusations and false statements?

  • Acknowledge the truth
  • Don’t waste time with the lies but keep walking in integrity and peace

When you do, others will marvel!

(Marvel means – to cause wonder, admiration or astonishment)

Better to astound than to defend.

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So many people are going through some difficult life struggles already this year. They have become disheartened that 2015 has begun in such a way. Whether it is at the beginning of a New Year when we want things to go smoothly to wipe out the negatives of the previous year or if it is at any other time throughout the year that life deals you a challenge, do not lose hope! If we base our hope on what is happening in our lives, our hope will diminish quickly and our lives will pull us into the chaotic whirl and dizzying sense that we are out of control and can only ride along. If we base our hope In Christ Jesus, we will find our hope is constant, our strength to bear up under our “present troubles” is more than we expected, and we will find that in Christ Jesus we will be able to not only bear up under the troubles of the day, but we will succeed in overcoming those troubles.

“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!”

2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT

When we overcome, we allow the glory of God to shine! With Jesus orchestrating and directing your way, life troubles will seem small and manageable. If you are facing some challenges in this new year, know that through Christ you will not only make it through, but you will overcome!

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