Archive for the ‘discouragement’ Category

The cross, look over your shoulder.

November 9, 2012

Two brothers were walking down a dirt road on their way to heaven. One brother says to the other, “I would have never thought that this life in Christ would be so rough and difficult with all these struggles and battles, defeats and victories.” The other brother turns to him and says, “Well, was not Christ our example? Did he carry his cross skipping, whistling and singing the whole way? How about the Apostles? How about all those you have read about in the book of Hebrews?”

Then there was a pause and it was quite as they walked down the road.
Finally, the other brother says, “Stop!” They stop together. He says, “Look over your shoulder. What do you see?” The brother says, “A CROSS”. “That’s right”, says the other brother. “And you will be carrying it your whole life. Whenever life gets real hard and you wonder what’s this all about, STOP AND TAKE A LOOK OVER YOUR SHOULDER AND SEE THE CROSS THAT YOU ARE CARRYING and remember the words of Jesus, “Whoever will not carry his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple”.
The brother looked at the other and said, “Thanks brother. I needed to be reminded of that.”
They left walking down the road, carrying their crosses. Occasionally, they would STOP AND LOOK OVER THEIR SHOULDER and smile at each other. Joy would fill their hearts as they looked forward to heaven someday. In the mean time, they carried their crosses down the dirt road of life.

A “Hit and miss” life

January 28, 2012

But the “Hit” is always temporary.

What’s the definition of a “Hit and miss” life? Going through out life and always trying something new. Always running after something different. Always waiting for the weekend and thus miss living through out the week. Going from one job to the next. Going from one house to the next. Going from one relationship to the next. Always wanting, but never finding true peace, true contentment, true joy and satisfaction. In the end, it will be a wasted like.

Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and that they may have life more abundantly” (Jn.10:10b). The “abundant” life is living for God and experiencing Him while your on this earth. Then life takes on real peace, contentment, joy and satisfaction. It’s the only way to have and to experience it.

Christ has borne it all

December 23, 2011

Some of the “all” that Christ has borne for us is found through the Prophet Isaiah.

One such example is found in the 53rd chapter, verse 4a. It reads, “Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows;”. Let us take a look at the word, “griefs”. The Hebrew meaning is “malady, anxiety, calamity, disease, grief, sick (ness). If you are like me, I saw the word “malady” and said, “what’s that?” According to Webster, it means, “sick, bad condition, an unwholesome condition”. Now, when I consider “an unwholesome condition”, it brings a lot with it, does it not? When you talk about this kind of condition, the sky is pretty much the limit, isn’t it?

I believe that we could also include “demon possession” into this “unwholesome condition”. Let us turn to the book of Matthew. Here we will see one of the many cases where Jesus healed. But, there is something to notice here besides just the physical healing.

Let us start with verse 14. “Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them.” Here we see the physical healing of the fever. But, what is next? Starting with verse 16, we read, “When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick,”

Here we see that “many” were brought to Him who were “demon-possessed”. He casts out the “spirits” of demons that were in them, and He healed the sick. Together He did them both. He didn’t say, “tonight we are going to heal the sick, then tomorrow we are going to cast out the demon spirits. No, they were done the same day. We won’t take the time to read the many other accounts were Christ healed and casted out demons at the same time. Physical healing and the casting out of demons run hand in hand.

Now, check this out. Why was this done this way? Verse 17 explains. “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” Here he was speaking about Isaiah 53:4. Even though the quote is worded a little different here in Matthew, it’s meaning is still the same. The word, “infirmities” here in the Greek means, “feebleness (as in body or mind)”. By implication it means, “malady”. Bingo! Where did we see that meaning before? Right. The same as the Hebrew word, “griefs” found in Isaiah. The definition goes on for “infirmities” with, “frailty, disease, sickness, weakness”.

In the end, we can safely say the Christ bore everything that was “sick, bad or any unwholesome condition.” This includes “Demon-possession”. Christ also bore this in his humanity for us. Isn’t this awesome! Nothing is left out! CHRIST HAS BORNE IT ALL FOR US!

Now, I can’t leave without asking the question, have you personally believed that Christ has borne it all for you? Whatever you have carried in your life to this point, be it “abuse”, be it “self-hatred”, be it “anger”, be it “unforgiveness”, be it “addictions” of any kind, Christ has borne it all. But, we must give it ALL to him, personally. He has already carried it, but you have to give it up. You can’t hold back and keep some, or part of it. All must go for Him to bare it all.

“God doesn’t answer my prayers”

November 26, 2011

Or, “I’ve tried God, it didn’t work for me”.

In ministry, I have heard many people make these kind of remarks. Basically, whenever they were in need, or had a crisis in their life, they cried out to God for his help. When they became desperate they needed or wanted God. This is common when we as human’s need something, or someone.

It is certainly not wrong to cry out to God in times of need. This is how most people come to have a relationship with Him. Most come when their backs are against the wall, so to speak. He does allow difficulties, and He also does cause them in some cases. Of course, when you mention “cause” that is very touchy ground. If I were to say that He caused some kind of tragedy, or unfortunate circumstance, most, if not all would run away from God, not towards Him. We of course, can’t know for sure whither He allowed it or cause it. In any case however, God is over all, and he is in control of all. Nothing happens in one’s life without Him not knowing, and not knowing why and how.

Everybody would jump on board if God was a “Santa Clause” God. If all he did was treat us like spoiled children and give, give and give without no obedience, no acting right, what kind of people would we be? I guarantee we would be as a people, way worse off than we are now. If there were no restraints with God? What happens with children when they are spoiled and given everything they want? What happens when they become adults? The answer is easily available, take a look around.

So, it’s hard to confront the reason why “God doesn’t answer our prayers”. Why? Because you have to deal with the most honest, difficult and hard realization there is. What is that? SIN. Nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody wants to bring it up. It’s offensive. It gets more personal than anything else you have to deal with in life. It’s the “hardest of hard”.

Now, there are two classes of people. Those who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and have trusted him for the forgiveness of their sins, and have allowed Him to be Lord of their lives. Then, there are those who have not yet believed and received.

In this post, I am not going to take the time to address “God not answering my prayers” to those who have yet to receive Christ. If you are one of these, this of course must be your first step. He is a God who does answer our prayers. But, the prayer He is waiting to hear from you, is that of crying out to Him in repentance (wanting to turn and give up sin) and asking for forgiveness for the offences that you have done against Him. It’s hard, but it must be done.

For those who have received Christ at one time, but are not currently living for Him and allowing Him to be above all in their lives, this is for you.

The Prophet Isaiah very clearly and pointedly puts forward the key for God answering our prayers. We would all agree, that one would have to first be able to “hear” our prayer before one could answer, right? So, the question would go out, why doesn’t God hear my prayer?

In the passage of Isaiah 59:1-3, it very clearly speaks of being separated from God. While the passage can also be used to teach us that sin separates us from God, when we are outside of a relationship with God, it also speaks to those who may have at one time had that relationship and walked with him. However, because of sin, they have become strayed from Him, and the wall of separation is being built, brick (sin) by brick. Where they might have had a one time relationship with Him, there is now no “hearing” from God for their prayers.

One must ask, “why is this the case!”. “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers!” These questions could very well be the best ones to ask. They could lead to finding the answer as to why doesn’t He hear me.

Isaiah speaks:

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities (perversity) have separated you from your God; and your SINS have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity.”

It’s a hard passage, but true. It gives the answer as to why God will not “hear”. Again, he has to hear first to be able to answer.

So, if you want your prayers to be answered (and of course, answered according to the one who knows best what our needs are) or more importantly, heard, so He can began to move, repair, make new etc. his will for you, turn in prayer towards Him. Cry out to Him for help. Really desire to turn from sin. Realize that you are bound up in it, and that you cannot turn from it on your own. You want deliverance!

For He has said, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the sinner forsake his way, and the unrighteous person his thoughts; let them return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Isa.55:6-7)

There you have it. Come to the God of Mercy and Pardon. He is waiting to Forgive.

God speaks through songs

August 8, 2010

I heard this song this morning on my way to work. I have heard it a few times before, but never really caught hold of the words. Or, possibly it wasn’t the right time. I know that God speaks through songs/music for sure. Like I have said recently, He has been speaking to me a lot through them.

For anybody that doubts the fact, take a look at the Book of Psalms. David wrote many songs through his life experiences. We read them and tend to forget what he went through that caused him to write them. Good songs always come from the heart and from the experiences that the songwriter has personally gone through.

When we hear songs that speak to us, it is because we can relate to some or all of what’s being sung. It hits a cord within our heart. It can make us sad or happy. It can cause us to cry or smile, but never the less, it speaks to us.

For most people, life has dealt them some form of pain or loss. While it can be viewed by others as not really much loss or pain, it is to them real. Why? Because they are the ones who went through it personally. Nobody can know the exact pain or loss that they personally went through. There are lots of similarities in loss and pain, but it still does not take away from the personal experience. We are all different individuals which process our suffering, grief and pain differently.

In this song, it can speak to one through several ways. Just a couple of examples could be:

Maybe one has built a beautiful house, or had a business that they started from scratch, and in a moment of time it was gone. For some, a flood, earthquake or storm has taken away their house. Or maybe, the storm of a financial collapse has taken away their lifelong savings.

Maybe one has dreamed of someday being able to live with someone who really loves them. They have dreamed for years to no avail.

Maybe one has been praying for years that someday there will be a cure for their child who cannot walk because of a birth defect.

Maybe someone has loved their wife or husband for years and years, only to see them be taken away because of cancer. Or one who has been faithful to their spouse for years, only to find out that their spouse has been unfaithful.

Whatever the loss, pain, hurt or grief, this song does have determination built into it. It speaks of, “Build it anyway”, “Dream it anyway”, “Do it anyway”, “Believe it anyway”, “Love em anyway”, “Sing it anyway”.

Through it all we must have a foundation to stand on when like the song says, “life ain’t good” because of what we are experiencing or what we have experienced. At any rate, there must be a foundation to stand on when the storm comes. Most will turn to drugs and or alcohol to cope when the storm hits. This will not help cure the pain, only nullify it to help make it comfortable. Only to wake up to it the next day and start it all over again.

Our foundation must be found in God through Christ. Nothing in this world is for certain. Our jobs, our houses, our children, our spouses, our boy friends, our girl friends etc. can be taken from us in a heart beat. As I have said, “people can let us down, but God will never”. We must not put our faith in people. If we do, we could be setting ourselves up for real pain and disappointment. Our faith must be in God alone.

I remember years ago, hearing from a friend about his friends lost. This man had a lovely wife and three small kids. One day, the wife takes the children out in the car to go get some food to eat. She meets with an oncoming car head on. Both the wife and the three small children are taken out into eternity. The husband comes home from work, and after a while, begins to wonder what is taking the wife so long. (this was back before the “cell phone”). Finally, he gets the unthinkable knock on the door…….

Life is not fair. For some it is much harder than for others. There is no known reason as to why some do really suffer and others suffer little. But, in any case, suffering is suffering. Pain is pain. Grief is grief. Heartache is heartache. To the one who is experiencing it, it is real.

Let us have more compassion on others and what they have or are going through.

I can relate with pain, loss and heartache. I can truly say that if I would have not been found on the Rock, I would have been sinking deep by now. I am so thankful for all of God’s help over the past two years. I do give him all the credit for being the Rock for which I can stand on. Without him there is no real hope, especially when we consider eternity.

After reading these words, listen to the song at the end and see if it speaks to you. If you know God through Christ, may He continue to give you determination to press on and “Dream”, “Build”, “Do”, “Believe”, “Love” and “Sing”. If you don’t know God, may you turn to Him and put your faith in Christ. May you be blessed!

SONG:” Anyways” By Martina McBride

You can spend your whole life buildin’

Something from nothin
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway

You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway

God is great but sometimes life aint good
And when I pray
It doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway

This worlds gone crazy
And it’s hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway

You can love someone with all YOUR heart
For all the right reasons
And in a moment they can choose to walk away
love em anyway

God is great but sometimes life aint good
And when I pray
It doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
Yeah I do it anyway, yeah,

You can pour your soul out singin’
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they’ll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yeah sing it anyway, yeah, yeah

I sing
I dream
I love anyway, yeah.

“You raised me up”

March 26, 2010

There is nothing like waiting in silence until He comes………

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

There is no life – no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

Selah. Written by : Brendon Joseph Graham and Rolf  U Loevland

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sza4rh1YzsM

“The Superiority of a life lived in and for Christ”

December 8, 2009

“because of these outside darknesses that our inward light has an opportunity to shine so brightly.”

I found this on a weekly update that I get from Living Waters ministry. Hope you are blessed as I was.

“In a word, we are to live victoriously, truly, nobly, sweetly, cheerfully, joyfully–in spite of whatever may be uncongenial in our condition!”

“This is the lesson of all Christian life. We should not let the outside darkness into our soul. We should seek to be delivered from all morbidness and all unwholesomeness. We should not allow anything to crush us.”
JR.Miller

“Remember, your task in living–is to keep sweet, to keep your heart gentle, brave, strong, loving, full of hope–under the worst that the years can bring you of injustice, hardship, suffering, and trial.
Is your general attitude in life one of joy and sweet gratitude or of bitterness and frustration? I know a pastor who is a great inspiration to me. He says that the reason Christians get cancer, get laid off work, and loose loved ones, is to show the superiority of a life lived in Christ. It is precisely because of these outside darknesses that our inward light has an opportunity to shine so brightly! Remember the grief and anguish and crushing weight of injustice and suffering that brought Jesus to sweat great drops of blood in the garden? Outwardly our Savior was broken and bruised by his circumstances, but inwardly He was hopeful and strong. He knew who was in control. And he knew why He was being treated this way- because His Father had a plan. Despising the shame, our Savior drank the bitter cup of horrendous circumstances His Father had appointed for Him, and boldly took hold of eternal life and glory for those His Father had given Him. Don’t let your circumstances get you down. Take hold of the opportunity to show the superiority of a life lived in and for Christ.”
Kirk Cameron

Bitter over circumstances of life

December 7, 2009

He said several times as the bus approached, “don’t pray for me”.

This morning as myself and another lady where taking about Christ as we waited for the bus, I looked across the street and noticed a man walking. I yelled out to him, “God bless you today!”. He replied, “God doesn’t exist!”. I watched him walk over to the next bus stop across the street.

His bus came and I noticed that it parked there for a bit. I couldn’t see him because the bus blocked my view. Then the bus left, and there he stood. I heard him cussing to himself and the bus drove off.

I had been relating to this lady how a lot if times if we will listen to someones story we will begin to understand why they don’t want nothing to do with God.
Then I noticed the guy starting to come our direction towards the stop where we were waiting.(he was a ways down the road and unable to hear me). He immediately began to complain about how his bus wasn’t going to come for a while and that he would now have to take a longer route to get to where he was going.

I said that I was sorry that he couldn’t catch the bus that he wanted. He went into talking about how that God is mean and that he is the cause of all his problems. I assured him that that was not the case. He said that God is like a person who has a magnifying glass and goes around burning up ants. Such was his feelings towards God because of things that have happen in his life.

Then he said something that really let open the flood gates. He said, “where was God when my wife of 26yrs. cheated on me?”. He said that he had been a member of the “seventh day Adventist” church all that time. I assured him that it certainly isn’t about religion. He went on and complained some more about his problems.

Again I said that I was really sorry about his situation and tried to let him know that God loved him and is wanting him to turn back to him for his help. About that time, his bus showed up and I said that I would be praying for him. He yelled out to me, “don’t pray for me!” and got on the bus. I told the lady who was next to me, “well, he can’t stop me from praying, thank God for that”.

This is just one case of many people that have become bitter over circumstances of life. They have blamed God and have become angry and bitter toward him and anyone or anything that reminds them of Him.

These are tough situations to come across. It is all to common. People who have had experiences in life where people have hurt them or have let them down, basically have two choices in life.

1. They can turn to God and receive His forgiveness and thus be free from bitterness towards people that have did them wrong. Forgiveness can only be found in Jesus.
2. They can choose to not turn to God and hold on to that bitterness and thus become a person who is eaten up with all the cancer of bitterness.

All of us have had circumstances in our life that we could have chosen to become bitter over. By God’s grace that he gives us we can stay free from bitterness. Praise God!

Please remember this man in prayer. Thank you.

“looking unto Jesus”

September 30, 2009

What is the “cross” that you bear? It may take time to come to your own personal realization of what your cross to bear is, but in following Christ you will have a cross to bear. And not only to “bear”, but to take it up and follow Him. To follow His example of bearing the cross.

By a “cross”, I do not mean something in our life that comes and goes such as little aches and pains. Little difficulties that we all have in life is not our cross in which we are called to bear. A cross that was given to us, was not something that we sought out to find one day.

It was given to us by God, by no choice of our own. It was personally designed for us to bear. Why? So that through it we would become all that God has and wants for us while on this earth. This would be a pain, a burden, something tangible for us to continually take to His cross and there die to it daily, or in some cases, moment by moment.

It is easy for us to look at someone else and see their cross in life. Some are very obvious for all to see. Others are mainly unseen to outsiders. Does one persons cross carry more weight than others? Good question isn’t it?

However, we only get to walk in our shoes in this life. We can only truly relate to what we have experienced. What we have gone through. This is why it is such a blessing when we come across someone that has gone through similar circumstances as we have. And I say here, “similar”. That is because, each cross may be very similar, but it is still very different. Why? Because each person is different. Each circumstance is different. Each cross is different.

God knows us way better than we know ourselves. He alone knows what we can handle in life. He also knows, that in what stage of life could we handle this cross. We may have gone years and years in our life with no real cross to bear. Life up to this point has been relatively easy and good. Oh, there has been some real difficulties, some real challenges to face and overcome, but when “the cross” comes, it out weigh all previous crosses that we thought were tough.

This morning when I was thinking about my cross, I was blessed to have God encourage me with his word. In time of need, there is nothing like His Word and Spirit to uplift us and give us the strenght to carry on.

God gave us his Son for many reasons. I would think that they would be countless if we tried number them. But one good reason is that He alone was our example to us who are in this flesh. He also lived on this earth and lived in this flesh. He knows better than anyone else, what “cross bearing” is like. Why? Because he is “the cross bearer”.

He yells out at this moment, “come unto me all ye” that have crosses to bear! “place them upon me!”

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,” (Heb.12:1). If we are temped to take out the violin and start a “pity party”, we must go to the scriptures and check out those who have gone on before us. Hebrews the 11th chapter is a good place to start.

“let us lay aside every weight,”. Every care, every concern, every burden and every cross.

“and the sin which so easily ensnares us,”. Any and every sin must go, if we are to go forward in this life. Why? Because it “ensnares” us. It traps us. It ties us up and we are soon in bondage again. We are to “lay” them all aside at the feet of “The cross of Jesus”.

“and let us run”. Wow! Now that we have done all of the above, we can “run”. The weight has been taken off. No longer a back pack full of bricks.

“with endurance the race that is set before us”. Christ alone gives us the endurance. We all have a personal “race” set before us. A personal course that includes a cross. A cross that we are called to “take up” and follow Him. (12:1)

And now for the key!
“looking unto Jesus, the author (originator) and finisher (perfecter) of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured (where have we seen that word before?) the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (12:2)

Here is our example! Jesus The Christ! Author and finisher of our faith!

How did He “endure” the cross? How are we to “endure” the cross?
Through “the Joy” that is set before us!
Father increase the Joy! We must have this “Joy” to be able to “endure” this cross!
The true joy that we will someday sit at Jesus’ feet at God’s throne. That’s joy unspeakable and full of glory!
Amen!

I’d need a Savior

September 12, 2009

Not only do we a Savior to save us from our sins which would lead us to death, but there are times in our life when we suffer loss, pain and sorrow, and we need a Savior for that too. Christ bore it all on the cross for us, because of God’s love for us.

“What would I say if you brought down the rain and everyday I walk through the pain. My heart would still say…….
You’re what I hold on to; I knew that you brought me through
All the days of loss, to the cross you knew
I’d need a Savior”

May you be blessed.
P.S Check out “Mike’s” comment below. He represents the band.