Thursday, December 06, 2012
As I was walking yesterday morning in the heavy fog it seemed as if I was surrounded by a warm cocoon. Even though the temperature wasn't all that warm, the cocoon seemed to encircle me in it's safety. As I walked and prayed I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “turn your negatives into positives”. It was at that point that I began thinking about the old saying that says, “there's a silver lining in every dark cloud.” Isn't that what we all want to see in every unfortunate situation? Another idiom is “this, too, shall pass”. Even though both of these idioms are not directly found in the Bible their principles are. Both of them pertain to the perspective we hold about what we are experiencing in life.
Sometimes it seems as if life closes in around us just like that cloud of fog that I was in as I walked. We can't see past the exterior boundaries of the fog. It seems as if there is no world outside of what we are experiencing right now. As I think back through the years I am convinced that had I not pressed through the boundaries of what I was experiencing to touch the future in a real way that I would have been consumed by the fog of adversity at that particular moment. We often think there is nothing good that could come from the trial in which we are involved.
There is a song that was originally recorded by the McKameys called “God Will Make This Trial A Blessing”. I couldn't find a really good video of it, but I wanted to share the lyrics with you because they speak so well of the trials that we experience in life and how God turns them for our good.
I've just come into a valley one like I've never been before
I keep searching for a way out seems like padlocks are on the doors
Oh there must be another sunrise another sunset that I'll see
God will make this trial a blessing that's the love He has for me
God will make this trial a blessing though it sends me to my knees
Though my tears flow like a river yet in Him there's sweet relief
There's no need to get discouraged there's no need to talk defeat
God will make this trial a blessing and the whole wide world will see
I was not the first one to come into this place
You see every child of God this test he must face
It is here that God will mold you and make you what you ought to be
God will make this trial a blessing just be patient you will see
Now I'm standing on the mountain looking back and I can see
When I was in that lowest valley His strong hand was leading me
Oh it's good to see the sunshine and to taste sweet victory
God has made this trial a blessing oh the grace He gives to me
I am reminded of some of the Bible characters that experienced extreme hardship in life and how God turned it around for their good. I think of Joseph and how his brothers sold him into slavery and He spent 13 years away from his family in Egyptian exile. When speaking of what his brothers did to him Joseph replied:
Genesis 50:19-21 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to save many people alive. “Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
Joseph realized that God was in charge of his life and he willingly endured the evil that his brothers had brought upon him knowing that God had a bigger plan than what he had experienced at their hands. He knew that God would turn his trial into a blessing if he patiently endure the adversity.
Think about how many difficulties the Israelites experienced at the hands of their oppressors, the Egyptians, and how God turned their trial into a blessing by bringing them out of bondage and taking them into the promised land.
The disciples watched their beloved Jesus be put to death at the hands of the Roman soldiers. When Jesus was crucified it was the darkest day of their lives. They couldn't see past the cloud of heartache that they were experiencing. But on the third day God raised Jesus up out of that grave to new life. He was alive! Peter ran to the tomb and marveled at what he saw there; an empty tomb.
John 24:12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stopping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
God turned the trial that they experienced into a blessing for all mankind. If Jesus had not been crucified we would not have salvation through His blood to save us from our sins.
We don't always understand why we go through difficulties except that Jesus told us that in this world we would have tribulations.
John 16:32, 33 “Indeed the hour is coming; yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to this own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
In the world we will experience difficulties, but in Christ Jesus we have peace in the midst of the storm and victory as we overcome through His strength.
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There is no trial or adversity that can come against you that can separate you from God's love. He is always there to turn your trial into a blessing.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
My friends, you can be assured that God will not allow what you are experiencing today to be more than you can handle, and He will make a way of escape for you. He will turn your trial into a blessing just as He has done for so many others. Job lost his children and all his possessions in a matter of about nine months and this is what the scripture records about his outcome:
Job 42:10 ; 12-13 And the LORD restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning, for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters.
God turned Job's trial into a blessing. He will do that for you as well.
Father, I thank You for taking the bad things that we experience in life and turning them for our good. We don't always see what You are doing in our lives and can't always understand why we go through the difficulties, but You promise in Your word that You have a good plan for our lives and that You will show us Your favor as we trust in You. Thank You, Father, for turning my trials into blessings.
I pray for my friends, this morning, who are going through adversity right now, Father. They don't know how this will turn out, but I ask You to show them the silver lining in the dark cloud of adversity. Help them to see past today to the good that You have planned for their future. Draw them close to You, Father, and wrap Your arms of love around them. Carry them through the dark valley into the sunshine of tomorrow. Father, I thank You for protecting them from the evil one and for restoring all that the devil has stolen from them through this adversity. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Psalm 19:1-6 NLT The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is silent in the skies; yet their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to all the world. The sun lives in the heavens where God placed it. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat.
I got up this morning to a foggy morning. The fog is so thick I can't see off the mountain. It is in these times that I am reminded of the greatness of my God. He is awesome. Every day is a new experience in Him. He varies the weather from one day to the next. His majesty is marvelous and mighty. He is alive, still controlling the days and nights, the weather and our lives. It is because of Him that I have hope for tomorrow because I know that My redeemer lives!
Psalm 121:1-8 NLT I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD, who made the heavens and the earth! He will not let you stumble and fall; the one who watches over you will not sleep. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never tires and never sleeps. The LORD Himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not hurt you by day, nor the moon at night. The LORD keeps you from all evil and preserves your life. The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.
There are times when I am reminded of the brevity of life. How fleeting our time is here on earth. And yet I know that when this life is over I will move on to the next, as simply as walking from one room to the next. For life as we know it comes to an end but our spirit lives on. The only thing that dies is the fleshly body that covers our spirit man. He lives on into eternity as mortality puts on immortality.
1 Corinthians 15:53 NLT For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die.
I look forward to that day when my earthly body will no longer suffer under the effects of time and the aging process. There is a day coming when the body that I wear will be immortal, never growing old, never decaying, always young and vibrant. It is because He lives, that I live! It is because of Jesus taking all the sin of the world on His shoulders and nailing it to the cross that I can look forward to eternity with Him, in a land where I will never grow old. Praise the Lord!
Do you have the surety that you will spend eternity with God? There is a day of reckoning coming where the book of life will be opened and if your name is not in it, then you will have to spend eternity apart from Him. The one thing that I do not look forward to is that day when I see friends and loved ones who have not made the decision to live for Jesus be turned away from His presence all because they did not make the choice that gives them life eternal with Him. I pray that if you have not made that decision that today you will choose Jesus. He loves you; He died for you; He longs for you to know Him.
Father, I thank You for providing for my salvation through the blood of Jesus. I know that He paid the price that I might be forgiven for my sin and given new life in Him. Father, I pray for my friends and family that may not have made that decision. I pray that You would knock on their heart's doors and convict them of their need for Jesus to be their Savior and Lord. Holy Spirit I ask that You would go out and bring them into the family of God that they might spend eternity with Him. Father, I pray that You will continue to be long-suffering in the return of Jesus to give all who will an opportunity to come to Jesus. Even as much as I long for the day when evil is put away from us, I long more for the salvation of mankind. I pray that none will perish, Father, but that all will come to repentance and receive Your free gift of salvation. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Friend, if you haven't made the decision to follow Jesus, please do before it is too late. It's a free gift; all you have to do is receive it. If I gave you a gift it wouldn't be yours until you take it, open it and make it your own. It is the same with salvation. Jesus bought it for you, but you must reach out and receive it and appropriate it into your own life. You must say “yes” to Him in this life while you are still living on this earth in order to receive an eternity spent in heaven with Him and those who have made that choice. Please don't delay for we are not promised tomorrow. Life is short and some are snuffed out before it is expected. We do not know what our life on this earth will be over. Be ready; be prepared for eternity!
If you would like to receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord just pray with me this sincere prayer and mean it in your heart.
Father, I come before You recognizing that I need to make the choice to follow Jesus. I know that I am a sinner for You have said that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I have sinned simply because I was born a sinner, but I have also chosen to live my life my way, choosing sin over the righteous found only in You. I ask You to forgive me of my sin, to cleanse me and to save me. I know that You gave Jesus to die for me; You raised Him from the dead and He is alive. I ask Jesus to come into my heart to live within me and to be my Savior and Lord. And I thank You, Lord Jesus, for saving me. I promise to live my life for You from this day forward. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Luke 15:10 “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Exodus 14:10-16 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD. Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt,have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? “Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, 'Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? For it would have been better for us to served the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.” And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. “The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” And the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. “But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.”
The Israelites had been in bondage for 490 years when God delivered them from the hand of the Egyptians. They had a bondage mentality that caused them to not be able to see anything good that the Lord would do in their futures. They also could not understand God's love for them and His ability to protect them. They were afraid and because of their fear they were willing to continue in the land of bondage, serving their enemies.
Many times people who have lived in an abusive situation have this same mentality. They can't seem to shake the fear the comes when they think of doing anything different, being anywhere different or living a life of good instead of evil. They can be led out of bondage, but only God can deliver them from the bondage mentality. This takes time and consistency in Him showing them that He is for them, not against them and that He will protect them. Immediately after Moses led the people out of Egypt they saw the enemy coming up behind them and they were afraid. They could not imagine anything but defeat because of the bondage mentality that they lived under.
“And when Pharoah drew near......they were afraid.” Is the enemy drawing near to you this morning? Does it feel as if he is closing in on you? The Israelites cried out to the LORD in their fear. They were so afraid they couldn't move forward. They saw the Red Sea before them and the enemy behind them and they felt trapped. Sometimes we feel the same way when the pressures of life close in around us. We feel trapped, like we are between a rock and a hard spot. We can't turn back because the enemy is there and we are afraid to go forward because there is an insurmountable object in front of us. The unknown awaits us and we don't know how we will overcome it.
Moses told the children of Israel “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today you shall see again no more forever.”
Once we face our fears they no longer have a hold over us. David said in Psalm 56:3 “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You”. God goes before us into every situation. He is able to deliver us even when it looks like an impossible situation. God makes a way for us to cross over the insurmountable objects ahead of us. We can trust Him to protect and provide for His children. He has promised us in Hebrews 13:5, 6 “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5, 6 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do t me?”
We can boldly proclaim in the face of fear that we don't need anything but the LORD! He is the One who goes before us into every situation. We can boldly say that we do not have to fear anything that the devil throws at us because our God is able to take care of us.
As a believer in Christ Jesus, we are children of the New Covenant. Now, if God protected His children under the Old Covenant recorded for us to read in the Old Testament, how much more will He protect those who are His under the New Covenant. It is said in Hebrews 8:6 that Jesus is the Mediator of a better covenant which was established on better promises. God has not changed from His power to protect from the Old Testament to the New; He has promised His covenant to us, even as adopted children; a covenant of protection and provision.
Romans 8:31-32 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
God gave His only begotten Son that we might inherit all His promises; that we might be delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love.
Colossians 1:13, 14 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
The enemy has no hold over a child of God! We do not have to fear what the devil can do to us because our God is able to deliver us, to protect us and to provide for our every need. When the enemy comes to you with his threats of destruction you can look him right in the face and tell him to get away from you because your God is standing between you and him. Command the devil to get behind you because Your God is able to deliver you. Stand still today and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf!
Father, I thank You for being our God. I thank You for going before us into every situation and for defeating the enemy on our behalf. You are great and greatly to be praised. You are well able to deliver us from any foe that comes against us. If You are for us then who could possibly stand against us. Thank You for providing for our deliverance from whatever enemy we are facing. Thank You for bringing us through the sea that may be ahead of us. You are God; there is nothing too difficult for You. Father, I pray for my friends this morning who may be afraid. I rebuke the enemy in their lives right now in the name of Jesus. I speak to that mountain that may be ahead of them and command it to move right now in Jesus' name. I declare that they will win the battle because You are defeating the enemy on their behalf. Thank You, Father, for the victory that You have assured us of when we are in Christ Jesus. To You be the honor and the glory for it. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen
Monday, December 03, 2012
Psalm 55:1-8 AMP LISTEN TO my prayer, O God, and hide not Yourself from my supplication! Attend to me and answer me; I am restless and distraught in my complaint and must moan [And I am distracted] at the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression and threats of the wicked; for they would cast trouble upon me, and in wrath they persecute me. My heart is grievously pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling have come upon me; horror and fright have over-whelmed me. And I say, Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Yes, I could wander far away, I would lodge in the wilderness. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
I love to read the Psalms because they show the humanity of the Psalmists as they experience life. This is a psalm of David, written as he was experiencing a storm in his life. It is written to show the humanity that we all experience as we go through trials and tribulations. It is not wrong to feel like David felt, that you want to run away from the current situation at hand. There's so many emotions that we see in these verses; so many things that we can identify with as common feelings when trouble comes.
The Psalmist writes “I am restless and distraught in my complaint and must moan”. How many times have we felt this way? Restless, not knowing what to do in the midst of the storm; moaning about what we are going through? I think our first response when we enter into difficulties is to moan and bewail the unfairness of our situation. Oh no, why me, Lord? Why has this trouble come upon me?
The next thing we see the Psalmist saying is that he is distracted at the noise of the enemy, because of their threats and oppression. One of the most difficult things to deal with in any trial are the thoughts that the enemy sends into our minds. It is always a thought of the worst case scenario. This is going to be the trial that gets the best of you, that overcomes you and that you will not be able to recover from. The noise of the enemy.....is the voice of discouragement and defeat that we hear while going through any difficult situation. But this one thing we can be assured of.....if God be for us who could be against us? (Romans 8:31) The voice of the enemy must be silenced by the voice of the Lord! God's word will silence the voice of the enemy when we focus on it and speak it out!
Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD.
God promises us that we can silence the voice of the enemy. We condemn those voices that rise in judgment against us. This is said to be the heritage of the servants of the LORD. If it is the heritage of His servants how much more so is it our heritage as His children, as His friends?
John 15:15, 16 “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”
We are friends of Jesus, no longer His servants. He has given us the privilege of praying to the Father in His name that we might receive of Him what we need for fruitfulness. If we are constantly under the oppression of the enemy how can we be fruitful? We need to take our rightful place in the time of trouble and silence the voice of the enemy through speaking out the truth of God's word in the midst of the storm.
The psalmist goes on to share the feelings of fear and pain that he is experiencing and his desire to fly away and be free of the trouble that is tormenting him. How many times have we felt the same way? When the first sign of trouble comes, my first inclination is to run away; to get away from it and avoid going through the heartache of it. The Psalmist wants to fly away into the wilderness where no one could find him.
Psalm 55:7, 8 Yes, I would wander far away, I would lodge in the wilderness. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! I would hasten to escape and to find a shelter from the stormy wind and tempest.
I have thought so many times during trials that if I could just run away where no one could find me I could be at rest; away from the problems that try to overwhelm me. But that is not the answer. Running away from a problem or difficult situation does not make it go away. The answer is in running to the Lord.
Psalm 55:16-19 AMP As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon will I utter my complaint and moan and sigh, and He will hear my voice. He has redeemed my life in peace from the battle that was against me [so that none came near me], for they were many who strove with me. God will hear and humble them, even He Who abides of old—Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!--because in them there has been no change [of heart], and they do not fear, revere, and worship God.
David knows that the answer is in calling upon the Lord. It is God alone who can save us and rescue us from danger. Running away takes us away from the One who wants to help us; the One in whom we find refuge and safety from our enemies. Evening and morning and noon David cried out to God to deliver him from his enemies. He found refuge under the shadow of God's wing.
Psalm 57:1 AMP BE MERCIFUL and gracious to me, O God, be merciful and gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge and finds shelter and confidence in You; yes, in the shadow of Your wings will I take refuge and be confident until calamities and destructive storms are passed.
We have a refuge, a place of safety, in our relationship with the Lord. It is in His presence that we find confidence and strength to meet the winds of adversity. God is gracious and loving, not allowing anything to come into our lives that He is not able to deliver us from.
Psalm 34:17-19 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
We do not have to fear trouble. God is watching over us to deliver us from the afflictions that come upon us. Yes, we may have to go through them, but we have the assurance that we will be delivered. Sometimes it is a miraculous deliverance and sometimes it is through strengthening us for the battle and showing us how to overcome until we win. But God has assured us that we will come out of them victoriously when we run to Him for refuge!
What difficulty are you experiencing today that is trying to overwhelm you? Are you running to the Lord or away from Him? The refuge is in the shadow of His wings.
Father, I thank You for Your delivering power. I thank You for promising us deliverance from our enemies and victory in our battles. You have already prepared the safe place for us to run to in Your presence to gain strength for the battle. Thank You for keeping us safe from the enemy and for granting us deliverance. Father, I pray for my friends who may be in the midst of a storm right now. I pray that You will show them how much You love them. I ask You to reveal Your provision for them and enable them to rise above the fear and discouragement that the enemy is bringing against them. I pray that they will take the offensive and begin to speak to the enemy, to the problem to move the mountain so they can be victorious over it. Thank You, Father, for showing us the way out; for giving us the victory for You have said in Your word that You always lead us to triumph in Christ Jesus! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Sunday, December 02, 2012
Father, I thank You for Who You are to me. I thank You for making a way where there seems to be no way and for doing the impossible! You are Elohim, the Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth and all that is within it. You are Jehovah, the Great I AM, the self-existent One, Who is ever-present with us! You are the God Who is more than enough, El-Shadai, the all-sufficient One! You are Jehovah-Jireh, the God who provides for my every need! You are Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals! You are El Elyon, the Most High God! You are El-Roi, the God who sees everything that we go through! You never sleep and You never slumber, but You are always aware of what we are experiencing. You are Adonai, my Lord and Master! I praise You this morning because You are worthy to receive my praise!
As I think back through the years and ponder on my relationship with God I can't help but think about the impact that the Bible Study “Lord, I Want To Know You”, by Kay Arthur, had upon my life. It was through that Bible Study that I came to know the Lord through learning about His names and what they mean. I learned to depend on Elohim, the Lord our God, the Mighty God! Elohim, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. One in essence and character, but three persons united as One.
It was through this study that I learned about how God revealed Himself to the Hebrews in their time of need. God came to them and revealed Himself to them as the solution to their problem by the name that He was known as. When they needed healing He revealed Himself as Jehovah Rapha, the Lord Who heals. It was at each of these times that they needed Him that He came as the the One who held that answer within His character and nature. He is Jehovah-Jireh, the God Who provides!
It is this God that I know, that I love and that I serve! He is worthy today of all praise, glory and honor! And I choose to worship Him in spirit and in truth!
As I got up this morning this song was running through my mind. Regardless of the sadness of heart that I feel today in Gerald and I having lost a friend, I am reminded that nothing is too difficult for my God! He is worthy of my praise and worship and I choose to do that!
Get An Email Alert Each Time AVANELL Posts