When sadness comes into one’s heart what can you do? Call on the Lord! Yes, call on the Lord. Thank you Lord for your grace, we thank You Lord for your righteousness. We thank You Lord for sending Your only begotten son who without sin died on the cross for our sins. Continue reading “Overcoming feelings of helplessness”
5 For even when we arrived in Macedonia, our bodies had no ease or rest, but we were oppressed in every way and afflicted at every turn—fighting and contentions without, dread and fears within [us].
6 But God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking, comforted and encouraged and refreshed and cheered us by the arrival of Titus.
Sometimes, I awake to my day, my body unrested, my thoughts contentious and fears trying to oppress me. Whether it is physical aches and pains or emotional and mental ones that have kept me from rest, I awake with dis-ease.
This dis-ease will follow me throughout the day if I let it. It is like a perfect storm brewing. No rest, anxious thoughts, and a migraine lead me to the perfect storm of discouragement. Yet, this day is my God destination. It is His plan, for He carried me through the night and allowed me awake here. I am in this day by God’s hand just as Paul was in Macedonia.
This moment in Macedonia for Paul was a very heavy moment. The body of Christ in Ephesus, where he had sown and ministered for about two years, had not only chosen to walk in sin, but also to question Paul’s authority and integrity when he tried to bring correction. He had sent Titus with a letter for them. Titus didn’t return when he was supposed to. I imagine Paul was afflicted with many tormenting thoughts about those he had loved and nurtured and the letter he had written. Add to that the weight of constant opposition from many other sources. He must have felt like he was sinking in oppression and discouragement.
BUT GOD…….I love those words. God’s “buts” are always the best!
In this gloom and doom moment God buts in. He brings Titus. A man carrying the comfort, refreshment, encouragement and cheer that Paul needed. God always brings what we need, when we need it. I imagine Paul eagerly looked for Titus. He was expecting him because they had to arranged to meet in Troas.
2 Corinthians 2:12-13
12 Now when I arrived at Troas [to preach] the good news (the Gospel) of Christ, a door of opportunity was opened for me in the Lord,
13 Yet my spirit could not rest (relax, get relief) because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave from them and departed for Macedonia.
How many times have I, like Paul looked for what comforted me and not found it? So I press on but my heart is still heavy. I keep looking for that comfort and finally the moment comes when I find it. Just like Paul’s “BUT GOD” moment, mine comes when I see my “Titus.” Sometimes it comes in an email, sometimes it comes in a devotional I read. Sometimes, God uses my husband and children. He always has a “Titus” for me.
HE ALWAYS HAS A TITUS FOR YOU, TOO!
Do you feel depressed? Sinking in despair? He is the God who comforts you, encourages you, refreshes you, and cheers you. You may not see your “Titus” in the place you planned or expected but God has him or her on the way to you. Take courage and be encouraged!
Attitude of the heart is everything…
Things you regularly say are clear indicators of the attitude of your heart.
Pointing out the faults of everyone else won’t erase your own.
We all are guilty of it sometimes, but if we aren’t careful, it will take over our heart. We are at war with the spirit of this world…gotta stay alert and keep each other encouraged.
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking,be put away from you, with all malice” Ephesians 4:31″Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8
Lord, today I ask that you give me grace to allow your Word to penetrate my heart…and cut away the uncleanness that’s in it. Help me to speak only words of encouragement. Help me to live by example in Jesus name.
God intends for his grace to be the only source of my ability to do anything.
The greatest blessing you can pray for someone is to pray for grace & peace from the Father be upon them.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: John 1:12
The power is God’s GRACE to live!
We notice that there’s a colon at the end of that verse, so we must continue on….
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14
If Jesus is full of grace and truth, what should we also be full of?
And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. John 1:16
The more we yield to the will of God, the more grace He provides. He only uses what we yield to Him. It isn’t God’s will to wrestle with us until we give in to His will. He is seeking those that will just let go.
What have we to fear in letting go? The devil?
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19
The devil can’t do anything to me that the Father doesn’t allow (remember Job?). We aren’t vulnerable to the devil. Our God is not frail and weak. He causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). So anything that the devil throws at you is intended to grow you toward God.
God loves us so much that He will allow things to happen just to get rid of the parts of our nature that separate us from Him. Those attacks should be reminding us to humble ourselves, to seek God and to live a repentant lifestyle.
You can’t fear God & the devil at the same time.
Job was doing fine as long as he continued to worship God, but then he began to claim he didn’t deserve what he was going through. Saying, “why me, I don’t deserve this trouble” is a way of blaming God for it.
We blame God when we can’t see past what’s happening to see what God really is doing.
How do I love God during trouble? Grace through faith.
Grace helps us to have the right attitude during the worst storms.
Credit to Bishop Chester Wright. This study can be found on YouTube by searching his name and “grace”
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Want to know if you are spiritual? What percentage of your prayer is about eternal things?
The average Christian prays – IF they pray – for God to alter the temporary pain, problems and pressure of their life. Many Christians live in the natural with spiritual things sprinkled in for flavor when God wants us to live in the spiritual with the natural sprinkled in.
Is prayer intended to change things we don’t like or is it intended to get us to the place where we can be at peace with what’s going on in our life?
The reason Jacob wrestled with God was because he didn’t like what was going on in his life. He wrestled until God took his ability to fight away (touched the hip). Jacob didn’t win that match. You can’t out will God!
Now, let us look back at Hebrews 4: 15-16:
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
The words “let us” implies that is it a CHOICE and “boldly” means with confidence.
Crying in brokenness in prayer is fine, but begging God….as in “poor me, God why don’t you feel sorry for me” just isn’t necessary.
In the OT was mercy, but in the New Testament Jesus Christ brought grace. (John 1)
Mercy = God doesn’t give me what I deserve.
Grace = God gives me what I don’t deserve.
Mercy = Deals with my past
Grace = Never considers my past
Mercy does NOT deal with the future or present tense, it is the removal of past transgressions.
You can’t hold on to your past and expect to have a future at the same time. We must first accept God’s mercy and then receive grace (Hebrews 4:16).
To “find grace” means to pursue it until it has been found.
Anyone that claims to have the grace of God at work in their life but has not repented of sin is not walking in biblical grace.
The clearest definition of grace can be found in Philippians 2: 12-13
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
So, what phrase is most misused in Christianity? “saved by grace”
It has become the anthem of unrepentant hearts. “God understands my hang ups. I’m saved by grace anyway.” Or “I don’t have to do all those good deeds. I’m saved by grace.” What about, “Boy, I messed up big time. Oh well, I’m under grace. I’m forgiven.” But not sorry and never repented……Or even someone saying they are so thankful for grace in their life, yet living with a shopping addiction.
Grace does NOT excuse us from obeying God. It is not a salve for our conscience. Grace is actually the means by which we are able to obey and do the works that we previously weren’t able to do.
Lord, I’m thankful for your mercy. It is Your mercy that heals the past so my scars no longer have to be wounds. Today I am casting all the unhealed wounds on You, Jesus…because you promised to comfort all who mourn. Today I accept the unconditional love of God into my life so that I can begin/continue to be made whole. I understand that upon repentance, I find mercy and I then can obtain grace. I know that when I come to the end of my own strength & ability that I can go to the throne of Grace w/ confidence….and repent for trying to do it on my own in the first place…..then Jesus will give me grace to do what needs to be done.
I will seek God FIRST so that I will already have empowerment from God to do what I cannot do myself. By grace I can choose healthy foods, by grace, I can exercise, by grace I can apologize, by grace I can forgive, by grace I can get the job done, by grace I can seek a holy lifestyle-separated form the things of the world, by grace I can succeed!!! Today I receive God’s grace by faith and today is a GOOD day in Jesus name!
Credit: Chester Wright
When the Word of God is revealing to me that my heart isn’t what it ought to be, rather than despair, I can rest assured that God understands.
Hebrews 4: 14-16 “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
How presumptuous of us to believe that we wake up, breathe, get dressed, move and work all by ourselves. Do we think that we do this all on our own because we don’t take time to pray about every little thing?
There is NOTHING I can do by myself. I am stealing glory from God if I don’t acknowledge the fact that it is in Him that I have my being.
God is limitless in what He will do through someone He can trust to give Him the glory.
So, how do I know if I am taking God’s glory?
When I wonder what people think about me after I sing, helped in outreach, witnessed, gave testimony, taught a lesson, and preached a sermon…..
How do I know if I am giving God the glory?
When what I do changes people’s opinion of God and causes them to want to get to know Him better.
So…that having been established….
This ain’t heaven.
God never promised to make our life pain free or pressure free.
In fact, it seems as if He always leaves an amount of trouble in our life so we will always remember that we need Him.
It doesn’t matter how long we’re here on earth. What matters is whether or not we allow God to complete the work He started [that is intended] to equip us for eternity.
What’s more important…what you can see, or what you can’t see?
2 Corinthians 4:5-7 “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
Notice….”we preach not ourselves.” The reason is, because whoever is supplying the power is getting the glory.
If I’m living my life myself, then I’m not out of the way for Him to manifest His life in me.
I can’t save anybody. I can never come up with a good enough method or program or outreach strategy to do anything.
Acts 9:5 “And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
An ox goad was a stick with a pointed piece of iron on its tip used to prod the oxen when plowing. The farmer would prick the ox with it to steer it in the right direction. Sometimes the animal would rebel by kicking out at the prick, and this would result in the prick being driven even further into its flesh. In essence, the more an ox rebelled, the more it suffered.
What I have to do is put myself out of the way and depend on Jesus to order my steps through the empowerment of His grace….it takes FAITH to walk that way!
Credit to Bishop Chester Wright
Get liberated from the inability to obey God’s Word.
Living “for” God, working “for” God is not scriptural.
It is tradition.
It is religion.
The bible tells us to STOP living altogether.
Galations 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
If I’m not living any more then I don’t have to do anything “for” Him….He is doing the living FOR ME!
He can’t live through me until I’m first dead to self. How do I die to self? By discerning my thoughts & intents and coming to the end of myself.
Everything God requires of me is impossible – on purpose.
Colossians 3:3 “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
Things God wants me to learn about Him:
- He is gentle – He will never force Himself on me, never violate my will. He gave me a choice and will not take that away.
- He is humble – This doesn’t mean that He thinks low thoughts of Himself. This means that He doesn’t have to keep proving He is God just because someone ignorantly says He is not. He is humble enough to be patient with me even when I shake my fist in His face during a moment of weakness.
- His first desire is to forgive, heal & restore – Judgment is never his first desire. His longsuffering is NOT an excuse to keep the same old attitudes.
Credit to Bishop Chester Wright
Our guilt is not a problem with God, but our shame is.
Guilt is only a problem when we don’t recognize it and repent.
Micah 7:19 – He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Psalm 103:12 – As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Isaiah 38:17 – but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.
If you are condemning yourself, you won’t believe that God has forgiven you either.
You cannot move forward if you are still living in your past. If God has so readily forgiven you, why do you feel the need to continually repent for the same thing that He’s already forgiven you for? Shame tells you that you weren’t forgiven when you repented.
This is how it works:
I sin. I go to God and repent. I feel better. The accuser comes & reminds me of what I did. I didn’t repeat the offense, but suddenly I feel unforgiven. This is NOT of God! It is shame. But if I don’t recognize that it’s shame, I will think it’s guilt. I repent again. I don’t feel any better this time. The enemy tells me it’s hopeless. Do you know why God didn’t forgive me the second time?
BECAUSE HE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT! He put it away from Himself the first time I repented!
1 Timothy 3:7 – Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Reproach here means “insulting treatment”
Believing the lies of shame will bring your thoughts into captivity to the enemy.
2 Timothy 2:25 – In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
Oppose themselves….they are against themselves…..A person with shame is their own greatest enemy.
When you are living with the lies of shame, you’re in a state of delusion (lacking reality). The lies may feel true (I always fail, I never accomplish anything, I’m a quitter), but they are LIES.
Recovery from this must be taught. Consider this:
Lazarus, a friend of Jesus, had passed away. Four days later, Jesus came and called him forth out of his grave.
John 11: 44 – And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Lazarus walked (or probably hopped) out of his grave still bound by his graveclothes. Jesus SPOKE to the people that were there and told them to loose him.
The thing that identified Lazarus as dead still had him bound, even though he was alive. Jesus raised him, but charged the church to loose him.
It is our job to loose the bound once they have been resurrected from the dead.
1 Peter 5:8 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Sober = to be discreet, clear thinking
Lies & accusation of shame impare the thinking just like drugs or alcohol…shame causes you to think wrong things: (I always fail, I never accomplish anything, I’m a quitter).
Jesus was God manifest in flesh. He was human, but why wasn’t he subject to satan’s lies & accusations?
John 14:30 – Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
Nothing in Jesus belonged to satan. It is God’s will for you that there be nothing in you that satan can claim as his own.
We MUST identify & deal with the things in us so that satan cannot stake claim to us. Unhealed (or not dealt with) wounds are open doors for the adversary to come in and make you afraid, cause you to stumble or make you ashamed.
Forgiveness of yourself and others closes that door.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Galations 3:27 – For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Here’s another one to consider:Luke 17: 12-19 – And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole. Ten men were healed but only one came back to worship the Lord. Jesus made him whole. Wait a minute….if Jesus had already healed him of leprosy, what did Jesus heal him of the second time?
Being a leper meant that the men were outcasts. They had to stay away from everyone else. If they were walking along and saw someone approaching them along the way, they had to yell out “unclean!” And the person approaching would most likely steer way clear of them.
The first time Jesus healed him of the disease.
The second time, Jesus healed him of the shame of being a leper.
Many of us come and get healed of spiritual leprosy (sin) but never come back to be healed of our shame.
2 Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” (Luke 4:18)
It is God’s will for you to be made whole.
(credit to Charles Wright & Tabernacle of Joy..you can look this study up on YouTube)
When lions hunt, don’t they usually seek & catch the weaker, slower ones in the herd?
(1 Peter 5:8)
Beware of who and where you seek to receive comfort. It may seem right at the moment, but it could be the enemy hunting you for his prey.
(Lord knows I’ve fallen for his sneaky tricks too often…haven’t you? And I’m not talking about just getting mixed up with the wrong people…I’m also talking about getting mixed up in situations that seem right, but are so wrong that only God Himself can fix it.)
Anyway, he wouldn’t be a very good hunter if he came right out and told you what he really is, would he? Don’t fall for it!
You will only be able to “out run” the enemy if you are strong. How do you become strong?
“Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”
You get strong by studying His Word…getting to know God. When you know God, you will know what’s truly right…then, even when you are weak, HE is strong for you! (2 Corinthians 12:10)
I could go on & on….you probably didn’t read this far down anyway.
But here’s a little more just in case you are…sometimes we find comfort in food, drink, talking about problems nonstop, shopping, or many other forms of self comfort…consider this:
Philippians 3:19 says “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.”
Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”
Remember that Jesus left us after His resurrection so that the Holy Spirit –the Comforter—could come?
THAT’S where we are supposed to turn!! Nothing of this world will ever satisfy our heart desires. There’s a God shaped hole in us all and only Jesus can fill it!
I hope this helps someone in some way. It surely has helped me to remember that in order to recognize the “hunter” I must study God’s word, put my hand over my mouth, watch out for my stomach and call on Jesus instead!
Love ya bunches, Percy