Friday, March 24, 2017
God understands our pain. It is good to share your heart with Him. Tell Him how you feel, and what you need. He is a friend to us, and is ready to listen to us.
Reflect and ponder: Has your faith decreased or your ability to trust God lessened because you have been waiting for God to come through for you?
Counselor’s Corner: I love to read through the book of Psalms. I often can relate to many of the Psalms that cover deep heart issues whether questions are posed to God like, “Where are you God?” or “ Don’t let me be ashamed because of my enemies.”
I would suggest writing out your own “Psalm” to the Lord. There is great benefit in writing out what is in your heart so what is hidden can be exposed to the light of truth, hence for healing.
Here is an example of a “Psalm” that I wrote:
Lord, how long will you keep me this way? I am desperate for breakthrough. My heart has many desires that have gone unfulfilled. Lord, I have waited for you, let me not be ashamed for waiting on you.
Do you hear me Lord? Are you there? Don’t you see how my enemies have taunted me? I have seen my desires upon my enemies. Grief has struck me like a tidal wave, and my eyes have grown tired from crying. My heart aches for your promises to be fulfilled in my life. I am desperate for your touch. Lord, how much longer will you keep me this way?
God, I hurt so deeply at times, and feel misunderstood. I have been rejected by family and friends. Why are you so afar from me? Why has your presence left me? What have I done Lord, just show me so that I can make this right. Who on earth can I run to but you Lord?
Can you make this pain stop? Can you restore me God? Hope deferred makes the heart sick, God my heart is sick. My hope has vanished like the night air. I don’t have the strength nor the faith to even pick myself up again, but I know you can Lord. I believe you can make these dry bones live again.
Lord, have mercy on me. I have grown weary from the continued trials and testing of my faith. I have felt like Job at times, and have wondered will you restore the things that have been taken from me? I want to believe that I am waiting for restoration like Job and Ruth. I have waited for years for your promises to be fulfilled in my life. I have waited for you Lord. I have never lost hope in you Lord.
I am desperate. I am afflicted on every side. Troubles have come my way as I wait on you Lord. I have been broken, refined by the fire, taken into the wilderness, and pruned over and over again. Is it over yet Lord? Oh, Lord, I have waited patiently for you.
I feel alone and abandoned, but yet Lord, I know you have never left my side. Why does it feel like I have been forgotten at times, looked over? Do others know what I have been through, do they even care? Do they even ask if there is anything they can do, or offer to take me for a coffee? Or do they judge me for the things they do not know, and offer unsolicited “words from the Lord” to me? Does anyone truly see me but you Lord? And Lord if you fail me, where shall I turn? God, what shall you have me to do? Please Father, not another day waiting in brokenness.
Father, I trust you, even though I don’t understand your ways for me most of the time. I have felt the stings of rejection since my youth, and I have felt I have lived more cursed than blessed at times. I have felt misplaced and misjudged, and have seen my enemies get the very things that I have been praying for. I have felt “slapped in the face” so many times, yet, I still hold onto to you Lord. I have lived with shame because my prayers go unanswered for a time, while my enemies get the desires of their hearts. I have waited in thanksgiving and waited in offering sacrifices of praise. But now Lord, my waiting is becoming like a vice grip to me, and it is strangling the life from me. The enemy has tried to get me to turn from you, and say, “Your ways are not good.” I know that is a lie.
Thank you Lord that I can come to you and share my heart. I know you have not forgotten me. I will wait for you. You alone are my hope. You are a good and faithful Abba Father. You are good all the time.
Cry out to the Lord in your desperation. He hears your cries. Talk to Him like your very best friend. He is waiting to hear from you today.
MEDITATE ON THESE SCRIPTURES:
I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and He heard my cry. Psalm 40:1
Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.
Thursday, March 23, 2017
What a “season” this has been spiritually. It has been a time for planting in the harvest, a time of refinement, a time of cutting away from the former things of the past for many true followers of Christ. It has been a long and difficult season, and so many people of God are ready for change and transition into their new season. For many Christians there has been a “wilderness” journey that they have been on. The wilderness is lonely, discouraging and at times depressing. The wilderness is a place of change and a place of cutting away those things that have hindered our walk with the Lord.
Before entering into your new destiny you must purge and remove the things of the past completely. Let go of things and relationships that have not worked and caused you great suffering and heartache. Let God bring forth the relationships, ministries and outcomes during this time. Don’t hold on to the things of the past. Let God finish the purging and refining work He has started.
Reflect and Ponder: How would you describe the “season” that you have been in? Do you believe it is time to transition into the “spring season?” The “spring season” brings new life and what was laid dormant in the “winter season” now is spouting up with newness.
Counselor’s Corner: A fresh wind of the Holy Spirit is coming forth to bring life to the hopeless and reveal truth in the midst of darkness. It is a time like no other. A time to be born-again and to enter into His kingdom. Many have prayed for loved ones salvation, the return of prodigals, and the return of loves ones who have walked away from the Lord. They will have to make a choice soon which master they will serve, and you will know very clearly their position.
Time is near for the end of the kingdom here on earth, the kingdom here that is ruled by satan and his cohorts. Preparations are being made for the return of the Messiah. Do you discern the times we are in? Let nothing get in your way of watching and looking for the return of the Messiah. So many Christians are living stressed, burdened, and troubled lives, but look away from those things of the world and focus on His return and preparing for His return. Have you repented from sin and turned away from your sin? Have you forgiven yourself and others? Not all people will accept this way of life. To enter His kingdom is narrow and many will choose the wide path or gate. The wide path seems easier, but it leads to death. His kingdom will have no end and will go on for eternity.
Jesus is preparing a place for all of His believers. The enemy knows his time is short on earth and he has assaulted, distracted, discouraged, destroyed and annihilated a lot of followers of Christ. But arise today, you are part of the chosen generation, a royal priesthood and you will arise to complete the finishing assignments to your life and destiny. Do not be distracted by the ones who call themselves Christians, but follow after their own lustful desires and live continually disobedient to Christ and His word. Do not be deceived by them. The ones that follow Christ will be known by their fruit. Let Jesus do the work in the lives of the ones who are not following Christ, otherwise you will get entangled and trapped in their endless needs, issues, and problems. You will know those who truly follow Christ, they will repent of their sins and turn away from their sins. Turn away means not to repeatedly engage in the sin. Those that live in continual bondage to sin are not true followers of Christ. They may know Christ, they may even know the Word, but they don’t follow Christ. There is a tearing away of the “wheat from the tares.” You may be noticing the tearing away and you may be noticing you are undergoing changes. Hold fast, be unwavering in your convictions for Christ and He will bring you through this time. It is a time like no other. For such a time as this.
Our ultimate destiny is our eternal home with Christ. For true followers of Christ, our destiny is being prepared. Arise, your destiny awaits you. The world will soon be dissolved and we will rule and reign with our Messiah in the New Jerusalem.
MEDITATE ON THESE SCRIPTURES:
Therefore, rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows he has a short time.
The devil begins to step up his persecution because he knows his time is limited. We are living in the last days, and satan’s work has become more intense. Even though he is very powerful, as we can see by the condition of the world, he is always under God’s control. One of the reasons God allows satan to work evil and bring temptation is so that those who pretend to be Christ’s followers will be weeded out from Christ’s true believers. Knowing that the last great confrontation with Jesus is near, satan is desperately trying to recruit as great an enemy force as possible for this final battle.
And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.
I John 2:28-29
The visible proof of being a Christian is right behavior. Many people do good works but don’t have faith in Jesus Christ. Others claim to have faith in Jesus Christ but rarely produce good works. Those who claim to have faith and consistently do what is right are true believers.
Beloved, we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we should be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
1 John 3:2-3
The Christian life is a process of becoming more and more like Christ. This process will not be complete until we see Christ face to face, but knowing that is our ultimate destiny should motivate us to purify ourselves. To purify means to keep morally straight, free from the corruption of sin.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Have you been given your share of heartaches and trials in life? Sometimes life just is not fair!
Maybe you thought by having a relationship with Jesus or serving God would somehow make your life fair or easier. You may have had some expectations for God, and when those expectations did not come through as you had hoped; disappointment in God slowly creped in. I know it is not easy to talk about when you feel disappointed by God, but the truth is He already knows what is in your heart.
What about the statement, “God never gives you more than you can handle?” What happens when you feel you did get more than you thought you can handle? Or what about,” Just pray and have faith and it will all work out?” What happens when things don’t work the way that you thought?
Sometimes children die, your parents’ divorce, miscarriage and infertility occurs, or you have years of stressful circumstances.
Life just doesn’t seem fair sometimes! Why do bad things happen to good people? Of course the right answer is we live in a fallen world with evil abound, but if you have struggled with this question, you are not alone. A closer look at this question calls for a deeper response-At the core there is a deep-seated belief that God is not fair and that He has not been good to you. There are underlying reasons that you battle with believing God is good to everyone but you. Most likely you like justice and want God to balance the scales of justice and fairness in your life, and because He has not in the way you would like; you make a judgment about God: He is not fair.
I recently saw the movie, “The Shack,” in this movie the main character’s young daughter was brutally murdered and He asked God some tough questions about where God was and how He could be a just and loving God. You know the ending of the movie if you have seen it, but if you have not seen it go and find out how beautifully God’s love and mercy is explained in the movie. One of my niece’s best friends was murdered 3 years ago, and just this week her killer was found. The parents of this young girl said, “Finally justice is served.” My niece’s friend was an only child, was in her junior year at college, she loved God, and was one of the sweetest and kindest people that you could ever know. How was her murder fair, or how was it fair to her parents being she was their only child? Now they are robbed of seeing their daughter finish school, get married or have grandchildren. Fair? Absolutely not! Sometimes life is difficult and there are events that happen in our lives that leave us breathless. Yes, we have free will and unfairness will result when free will is a part of our humanity.
We all what fairness and justice. We all want life to be fair, but when it is not we can struggle with disappointment and an overall dissatisfaction in life.
Reflect and ponder: Do you feel that your life is not fair or that life in general is not fair? Ask God to expose the “roots” of why you feel life is unfair. Do you feel God has let you down, or not come through for you in a particular situation? What do you believe about your life?
Tips to remember when life is not fair:
1. What happens in you is more important than what happens to you. Joseph in the Bible went from the pit to the palace because he choose to concentrate his energies on being the person that he could be for God in whatever circumstance he was in.
2. There are times that God tests us to see what “spills” out of us when we go through unfair circumstances. God desires to “clean-up” what has contaminated our spirits such as bitterness, anger or envy.
3. Accept the reality of your situation, not “woe is me.” After you begin to accept your situation, you can control your reaction to those things that have harmed you.
4. Seek out the lessons and the strength’s that you now have because of your hardships.
5. Rise up and become a victor not a victim over your circumstances. No more wallowing in self-pity and asking, “Why me?”
Life is not fair, and you may not get everything that you want in this life. You may endure more than some people, but God can use those times to strengthen your relationship with Him and your faith has a chance to be purified. God does redeem our losses. Keep believing that God will cause good to come from your tragedies.
MEDIATE ON THESE SCRIPTURES:
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you.
2 Thessalonians 1:6
He will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Bitterness is displaced anger, and resentful cynicism that results in intense antagonism or hostility towards others. You can get hurt so badly in life that you become cynical and hard. Bitterness can affect one experiencing profound grief, and is the state of mind which willfully holds on to angry feelings, ready to take offense, and able to break out in anger at any time. A person who is bitter is often resentful, cynical, harsh, cold, and unpleasant to be around. An expression of these characteristics is sin against God.
Bitterness happens and most often is a normal response to hardships or sorrowful situations. However, we should see to it that we deal with any bitterness in our lives, for if we do not it can cause a host of other sins, such as, hatred, cruelty, antagonism, self-pity, vindictiveness, and prideful ambitions. Bitterness motivates complaining. People who habitually complain are bitter people. When we allow bitterness to fill us with occupation with self, with life, and problems, we are on dangerous territory.
Bible examples of bitterness:
Women who are bitter because they cannot have children (1 Samuel 1:10)
A foolish son is bitterness to his mother (Proverbs 17:25)
Suffering causes bitterness to people who do not give priority relationship to God (Deuteronomy 32:24)
Ruth asked that her name be changed to “Mara” meaning bitter because of her losses (Ruth 1:20-21).
Job’s complaint to God, “Why does God let this happen to me,” is a statement of bitterness (Job 9:17-18)
Reflect and ponder: Do you struggle with bitterness? Ask God to show you what the “roots” are to your bitterness, and begin putting the “axe” to the roots one by one by confessing each one.
Counselor’s Corner: When a Christian is bitter, there is a loss of close fellowship with the Lord. Bitterness becomes sin when we do not forgive others that have hurt us, (Ephesians 4:13), when jealousy and selfish ambition occurs (James 3:14), and when we allow a bitter root to grow (Hebrews 12:15).
Roots of bitterness that need to dealt with and pulled up out of our lives:
1. Unforgiveness of wrong-doing by others.
2. Animosity and anger towards others and even God.
3. Not trusting God’s sovereignty and His plans for our lives.
4. Getting hung up on why something has happened in your life.
5. Feeling that life is just not fair (at least not to you).
Bitterness shows up in (3) ways:
1. Directed against God. You feel He could have protected or prevented unpleasant and harmful things from happening in your life. You feel angry and ask, “Lord, if you love me why did you allow this to happen?” or “Lord, why have you not answered my prayers?”
2. Against other people. You have been hurt, mistreated, used, and rejected by others. This kind of pain usually happens with the people we are the closest to. You might say,” I forgive them,” but your heart says “I will hang onto this hurt a little while longer to make them “pay” for hurting me.”
3. Against yourself. This comes in the form of not being able to forgive yourself, which in turn can cause you to live in self-pity. You believe you deserve whatever has happened to you, or that you are being punished by God and “should take it.”
Bitterness is often caused by people, most of the time by people we love, or people we cannot confront, or people we trust. Grace includes the ability to look at people and see them as God sees them, and includes the ability to let them live their lives as directed by the Lord, and trusting that God will make His way clear to them. Grace allows people to make mistakes without judging them. Forgiveness is the key to right relationships with others, it will promote joy and peace in your lives. Does it matter how many times someone has hurt you? No, forgive as often as it takes. Do not allow unforgiveness to fester, and allow grudges to grow. Bitterness is also caused by hardships and sorrows in our lives. Realizing that your happiness does not depend on people or circumstances can be very freeing.
Trust God in the things that you do not understand. Easier said than done, but relinquish your plans and your desires to the Almighty.
MEDIATE ON THESE SCRIPTURES:
My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint to myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.
Monday, March 20, 2017
We all have good qualities, strengths, and areas that we excel in, but when you believe the worst about yourself it can produce a negative outlook and attitude. Most do not intentionally desire to think the worst about themselves, but between failures, mistakes and the big one-what people think of us; these all can really hinder our ability to think good about ourselves.
When you do not believe the best about yourself, you tend to have faulty lenses that cause you to look at yourself negatively. God certainly does not view you in the worst, in fact, He sees you as valuable and worthy. The reality is no on is perfect, and most of us try the best that we can to be decent, upright, and respectable.
Many have been damaged by the actions and opinions of others. If we know in our hearts that we did not intentionally try and harm someone, and have sought forgiveness of the Father with any part we played; it would not be beneficial to continue to believe negative about yourself. Holding onto what you could have or should have done differently in a situation can lead to a negative view of self. We will fall short on occasions, but God’s grace and forgiveness covers those times. The problem becomes when we live in a continual state of thinking our mistakes define who we are. We are not defined solely by our mistakes, failures and sins. God bestows upon us His unmerited favor in times when we fail. When we honestly turn from our shortcomings, He can use our failures to help us grow and learn.
Reflect and ponder: Do you believe the best about yourself, even when you fail, make mistakes, or have a weak moment? Are you able to forgive yourself fully and completely the way that Christ forgives you?
How you can believe the best about yourself:
1. Write down your good qualities and strengths. Focus intentionally on your positive attributes.
2. Accept yourself just the way that you are-failures, weaknesses, and all your shortcomings. This does not mean that you don’t ever desire change but your primary focus is embracing the reality of who you are.
3. Forgive yourself completely of all your past regrets. Ask God to forgive you of any past or present sins and accept that God does not think of your sins and weaknesses any longer, so why should you?
4. Surround yourself with supportive people, one’s who build you up and encourage you, not deflate and deject you.
5. Watch your “self-talk,” Don’t agree with the lies that the enemy would like you to believe, and stop replaying your past failures and mistakes.
6. Besides God, be your best “cheerleader.” Praise your accomplishments, speak good things about yourself, and believe God looks at your heart not just your actions. Stop condemning yourself for things that are already over and you have been forgiven for.
Scientific evidence points towards a significant link between how you feel about yourself and your overall health and sense of well-being. CHOOSE today to forgive yourself. Accept yourself and embrace the person that God created you to be. CHOOSE to believe the best about yourself.
Even if you have made thousands of mistakes and made really poor choices in your life, you are more than your flaws and failures. Look deep inside at your heart and see the person that you really are. Stop replaying what others have spoken about you, and start believe what God sees and thinks about you. You are so much more than all your faults. See past the wrong in you, and push through to see the goodness that God has given you. If you are a child of God, THERE IS GOODNESS IN YOU! If God believes that through Him you are good, than who are we to believe anything less?
MEDITATE ON THESE SCRIPTURES:
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7
For you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
As Christians we know to love others but we can find it difficult to love ourselves. You can’t give something away that you don’t have yourself. When you can fully love yourself, it will be easier to love others.
Do you accept yourself, including your faults and weaknesses or do you withhold loving yourself until you are a perfect version of what you would like to be? Be aware that not everyone will love you and accept you, but that does not mean that you cannot love yourself if others don’t.
Reflect and ponder: Do you love yourself unconditionally, and do you give yourself grace when you fail or make mistakes? Do you take care of yourself and nurture yourself?
How to love yourself more:
1. Start telling yourself what is good about yourself. What are your strengths? Your victories? Focus more on your good qualities than what is wrong with you. Say out loud while looking in the mirror daily, “I love myself.”
2. Do not condemn, reject, or blame yourself when you do make a mistake. We all make mistakes and have plenty of weaknesses. Give yourself plenty of grace when you do fail. Ask God to forgive your sins, and make sure you forgive yourself.
3. Don’t strive to be perfect because you will ultimately set yourself up for failure and self-hate. No one does everything perfectly all the time-NO ONE! Be gentle to yourself when you don’t do something perfect.
4. Stop comparing yourself to others and wanting everyone’s approval-not everyone will approve of you.
5. Stop the mental negative self-tapes that are played in your mind to you to condemn. Renew your mind with what God thinks of you, not what people think of you. Be mindful of what you say to yourself as well, don’t repeat the lies of the enemy or call yourself demeaning names.
6. Put the “oxygen mask” on yourself first before attempting to help someone else. Set boundaries as needed with needy and exhausting people.
7. Accept and appreciate yourself just as you are, and come to terms with those aspects that you can’t change-realizing that God will bring about the needed changes in you in His time. Don’t stress about the parts of your personality that you can’t change, God made you and your quirky personality.
8. Don’t neglect your needs, if you need rest or a day to refresh-then do it!
9. Begin to love yourself without any conditions, such as when I do this or stop doing that than I can love myself.
10. Treat yourself as you would your best friend, with compassion, empathy, kindness, attentiveness and forgiveness.
11. Don’t live in regret of your past or what you should have done or could have done.
God is love, so He wants you to love Him, your neighbor and YOURSELF! Don’t neglect loving yourself, others will benefit from you being kind, gentle and nurturing to yourself. You can exhaust yourself if you give love to others and neglect loving yourself. When you don’t love yourself, you don’t take care of yourself.-this includes rest, eating properly, exercising, having fun and enjoying life.
MEDITATE ON THESE SCRIPTURES:
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.
To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish understanding will prosper.
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