For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Cor 12:8-9)~~ We love to hear that God can and will answer prayer. We’re all smiles as long as He’s saying ‘Yes’ to our requests. But sometimes God says “no” to our most heartfelt requests. This is sometimes painful and for some of us, possibly downright disheartening! As you look about yourself on things, have you discovered this to be true in your own life? So, does this mean we just give up because we think God’s just going to say ‘no’? Does this mean we just quit praying since He’s probably not even listening to us? Surely not, the devil IS a liar! Don’t EVER give up on God, even when He says ‘no’; in fact, we should pray MORE because in Him saying ‘no’, He may be growing us for a later or different ‘Yes’. Sometimes He’s just saying “No, because I love you too much”. Because God loves us, He will tell us ‘no’ to protect us…sometimes from ourselves; to keep us humble; from being exalted above measure…keeping our ’selves’ in check; and denying certain desires to be fulfilled and even allowing some spiritual burdens to be ordered to cure spiritual pride. Irregardless, The Lord of the universe isn’t under obligation to say “yes” to every prayer. That’s a good thing considering some of the things we request! God does answer every prayer; sometimes the answer is ‘No’. When He does, just say ‘Thank you Lord, I won’t complain’; take it in stride and accept what God allows. He knows for sure we are better off for it!
For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Rom 7:19, 23-24); Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me (Ps 142:7)~
The knowledge of our own sin and shortcomings produces levels of guilt within us that can be so strong as to make us feel like God would rather discard us by the wayside than have us under His hand. Some of us have gone to the extremes of even imposing certain punitive acts upon ourselves whether in guilt or as our misunderstood interpretations of penance for our failings. When we sit down to think it over, the lies of the enemy will drive us to self-hatred and self-destruction as we look at ourselves as undesirable and unusable to God.
Friend, be comforted! You are NEVER beyond the love of God (Rom 8:38-39) for the Word says there is NO condemnation to those that are in Christ (Rom 8:1). There can be NO situation so distressing or dangerous, in which faith will not get comfort from God by prayer. Rather than show our troubles too much to ourselves, dwelling on them, which does us no service; we find comfort, by showing them to God, that we might cast the cares upon Him who cares for us, and thereby ease ourselves. NEVER should we allow any complaint to ourselves or others, which we cannot make to God. When our spirits are overwhelmed by distress, and filled with discouragement; when we see snares laid for us on every side, while we walk in His way, we may reflect with comfort that the Lord knows our path. Those who in sincerity take the Lord for their God, find Him all-sufficient, as a Refuge, and as a Portion: every thing else is a plot of the enemy; a refuge of lies, and a portion of no value.
It is our duty and of our interest to beg of God to set us at liberty from our transgressions, that we may run the way of His commandments. The Lord delivers us from the powerful persecutions of sin, and yet deals bountifully with us! He raised the crucified Redeemer to the throne of glory, and made Him Head over all things in Heaven and Earth. Now we, the convinced sinner have His salvation over our cries for help, and we are brought to praise the Lord in the company of His redeemed; delivered from this evil world, from sin and death, to worship our Savior forever!
Have not I COMMANDED thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest (Josh 1:9). When soldiers are in battle, they are commanded by their leader to move forward without any fear, but with boldness and steadfastness! The leader doesn’t say go forward if you’re not scared, they don’t say go forward if you’re courageous enough. When a team takes the field, their captain expects them to perform to the best of their ability, with no regard to what may happen if they don’t perform good enough. The team that does this the best and most consistently throughout the season, becomes the overall winner, or champion! This is modeled after what God expects from us when we walk in faith of Him. Be steadfast, unmovable, fearless, moving forward in His name! These are not options.. but ‘commands’! God says that we need not be afraid or worry.. because He’s with us and for us. And if God be for us, shall be against us (that we need to even be worried about)?? Sure, it’s gonna be tough sometimes, but He’s got us! We’re gonna slip up and stumble and lose control sometimes, but He’s holding us up! People will oppose you and turn against you…but HE will never leave you out to dry and in fact: The Lord said, Behold, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts (Ex 33:21-23).. God will set you in a place where you will experience His greatness, be covered from His wrath and as He allows you to go forward, know that in waiting on Him you can be assured that He has gone before you. He’s got you coming and going and He commands you act like you KNOW it! You are NEVER alone; so don’t doubt what He has created in you; but stay grounded and focused… in strength and courage – go get your blessing, though come what may; trusting Him all the way! Let your faith in Him then take you!
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. —Ephesians 4:32
There are a lot of things God knows about any of us that we wouldn’t want anyone else to know. God has enough on any of us to bury us! But no one will never know any of it because God won’t tell.
This is precisely how you and I are forgiven: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12). Our sins are “wiped out” (Acts 3:19). It is as though our sins don’t exist anymore— in fact they never existed…they are gone, gone, gone, gone! Insofar as our standing and security with God are concerned, they will never be held against us.
Joseph is sometimes referred to as Christ-like. A person in the Old Testament who, long before Jesus came along, displayed characteristics of Jesus Himself. Despite his imperfections, Joseph was indeed like Christ in many ways. His ability to forgive his brothers as he did foreshadows Jesus’ actions toward His disciples. Scared to death and ashamed over the way they had deserted Jesus when He was arrested, they were huddled behind closed doors when the resurrected Jesus turned up unexpectedly and declared, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:21). The disciples were totally forgiven—and they knew it.
We all have skeletons in our closets; some are known to others, many are unknown. It is comforting to know that God freely and totally forgives all of our sins and will never tell what He knows. That is the way Joseph forgave. And that is the why we are urged, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).
What’s the benefit you ask? What about what they did to me you ask? As if the examples above weren’t enough – that Christ Himself forgave those who deserted Him, that Joseph forgave his brothers. Consider what Pastor Tony Evans shares with us:
The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold. – Job 42:10 –
If you are familiar with the story of Job, you will recall that Job’s friends were not that friendly to him at all. In fact, when Job was at the worst of times, his friends judged, griped, criticized, accused and more. For Job, praying “for his friends” involved a lot more than asking God to bless those he loved and considered dear. It involved a significant amount of forgiveness, acceptance, humility and love. It also involved faith.
It wasn’t until after Job showed grace and kindness to those who had brought him pain during his greatest moments of pain that God restored him.This is because Job had obeyed the law of love and asked God to give His goodness to others. When Job did that, God gave goodness to Job as well.
See the lesson here is that forgiveness is FOR the one who GIVES it! Forgiving releases the bond you have on that person but it also sets you up for healing, restoration and peace over the pain that was inflicted on you.
So, you want to be over it? You want to move past that pain? ForGIVE it away and watch what God does FOR your GIVING!
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well (Ps 139:14)~~ All too often people call us a failure because we’ve failed to be who they think we should be, or do what they think we should do. A classic example is the father upset because his son didn’t play some sport or choose the right profession (meaning doing what he does). These things aren’t about the son, they’re about the father. We get the same thing from teachers, friends, and employers. Most of us get it from our wives, and from our kids saying we don’t do this or that like the “classic man” down the street does. Everyone has an idea of who we should be, or how we should do, and most brand us as a failure if we don’t do what they think we should. Again, these things aren’t about you at all, but the perception of the person “judging” you. The people who did this to you in the past have shaped how you are today to some degree, and unless you’ve dealt with it they still affect you. However, it doesn’t end there, because you still have people today who see you as a failure or a mistake or a bad choice of some kind. Do you see those people in your life, the ones who say you’re a failure? How do you react to them? Are you too upset by them, or can you let it go. Listen: Nothing about you is a mistake. In fact, you’re a masterpiece – God’s masterpiece! You were not an accident or a mistake but very much a figure in the plan of the Creator of the Universe! Even though we may get off track and we don’t always feel like a rock-star in every area of our life every day, God has a very specific and individual design intent for our life. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” says the Lord, “thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer 29:11). Friend, it’s key to remind yourself who you are and whose you are. Your identity comes with a divine promise from God. Remember, creation became by His word: “And God Said….” (Genesis 1). God used His word to speak life into being, and His word never returns void. He Himself declares it (Isa 55:11) and as He speaks, so it is and it is prosperous within! Yes, His word accomplishes His purpose and it does so WELL… and Failure is not part of God’s vocabulary!! So, when you feel defeated, just remember that the same power that conquered sin, death and the grave… lives in you! Remember that you are not a failure because God made you and He doesn’t fail!!! You are the living manifestation of God’s spoken word in the flesh, and you will accomplish the purpose for which you are sent; and do it WELL! Never doubt who you are. That’s the number-one trick of the enemy—to make you feel inadequate or incapable of doing what God purposes for you so that you seek the alternative… unbelief and sin. When it gets tough or when you start getting pulled back by your past, remember that God’s appointment and promises have no expiration date. Child of God, the devil is a lie! You are not a failure, you are not a mistake! Friend of God – Remember who you are! God’s Masterpiece!
Jesus said unto them. I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst (John 6:35)~ You know that you’re missing something. You want so much to be happy. Occasionally you find things that meet a need and walk away feeling good, on top of the world- but within a short amount of time, the feeling is gone. It has faded. The reason it faded is because it was only a temporary source. If you and I find ourselves never satisfied and always looking for the “next big thing” we will always come up empty handed. The pleasures of this world are only temporal. When we seek a counterfeit source to meet a God-given need that can only be fully satisfied by our Savior, we will always want more. It is only when we allow Christ to meet our needs as only He can that we are truly fulfilled. What Jesus offers you is so much more of a life than you could ever find or make on your own. No matter how good you think you have it, Jesus has something better for you. No matter how bad things are, Jesus has an answer! Jesus answered and said unto her: “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14). Are you willing to change the water you drink for the water He gives?