This is Only a Test! #KeepTheFaith ~

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (James 1:2-3); Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12)~ The crown of life is promised to all who have the love of God reigning in their hearts. Every soul that truly loves God, is rich in faith in Him; steadfast and unmovable; and shall have its trials in this world fully recompensed in that world above, where love is made perfect. Let us then that are this rich in faith, rejoice in the grace of God, which makes and keeps us humble; and in the trials and exercises which teach us to seek happiness in and from God. We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it. Who does not want wisdom to guide him under trials, both in regulating his own spirit, and in managing his affairs; and answer to every discouraging turn of the mind? This wisdom is what we receive when we go to God under a sense of our own weakness and folly and fully depend on Him. So my friend, Instead of complaining to or about God under our trials, let us open our ears and hearts to learn what He teaches by them. After all… Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from God. Nothing like wisdom to guide you through life’s challenges! When those trials hit… now you can look forward to the gift God is about to give you; AND you get to make the devil mad and confused because praising God in trials leaves the enemy dumbfounded! Knowing that I will praise EVERY chance I get!

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Stop Going #Hungry ~ Taste & See That The Lord is Good!~

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We live in a world that is hungry for so many things. We see people that are famished for fame, position, power and riches. But God is always looking for people who are hungry for Him. Jesus said “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35). This is our invitation to come to Him. Jesus said that the one who comes to Him would He by no means cast away. In fact, Jesus also said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matt 5:6). Kind of like how your natural appetite works, you have to eat when you get hungry to satisfy that hunger and eventually you will get hungry again; you have to have a regular and sustained portion of God to be satisfied. But unlike your natural appetite where you have to stop taking it in because you get full – You never get to a point in God where you will be so full that you will not need Him anymore. And while God is always satisfying us, He is also continually increasing our hunger and thirst for still even more of Him. The more you hunger and thirst for Him, the more will He reveal Himself to you and the more you will yearn for Him. With your food you get full and you get tired of it and it becomes boring and you sometimes get to a point of not even wanting to have that particular food anymore. But we will never ever be frustrated when we hunger and thirst for The Lord Jesus. As we hunger for Him more, He will fill us more. He will reveal Himself to us more and more as we thirst for Him. There is simply nothing more satisfying as the knowledge of who God is. Do you have hunger and thirst for the Lord? As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Ps 42:1-2). O Taste and see that the Lord is Good! – (Ps 34:8)

Jesus Promised and He Prayed: It’s Gonna Be Ok! #Believe ~

Did you realize that Jesus had a conversation about you and me? He wanted to keep a promise! He knew back then what we would all go through in our lives and He spoke to God the Father about it. YES! Jesus spoke to God about us! See, Jesus promised us that in Him we would overcome our tribulations – and He prayed about it to make sure if it! In Faith He went to His Father…

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:13-21)

Jesus, God in the flesh — the creator, sustainer and redeemer of all creation — made a promise! He shouts it in His Word – from Genesis to Revelation! He’s the only one who could make this promise — and keep it. And because He did, we have reason to hope. That doesn’t mean that the cancer will be healed, the relationship fully restored, the physical pain or emotional ache will go away in this life. It means that because He has entered and overcome our brokenness…we can live this life with real hope — a hope that knows one day everything will be set right forever in the life to come. Jesus made some reassuring and comforting points to leave His disciples with back then and us now. Above all, Jesus promises us that one thing’s for certain: IT’S GONNA BE OKAY…

#Forgiveness ~ Up The Rough Side Of The Mountain! ~

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(Love) It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Cor 13:5)~ 

How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time. Overcoming unforgiveness is a lot like that as well. It’s a process with small victories along the way. There may be moments when you feel you have forgiven someone, or yourself, only to rediscover through a trigger that those same raw emotions of anger, bitterness, fear and regret have risen once again to the surface. But at those times I want to encourage you not to give up, but to keep going – step by step. Because when you carry unforgiveness with you throughout your life, it affects you in more ways than you realize.

Maintaining healthy relationships becomes more difficult as your interactions and approaches no longer reflect the purity of who you are but rather the impurity of unforgiveness, even toward those who may not have caused you your pain. Small offenses can get blown up into much more than they were, or you can withhold love and generosity whether in words or actions as a way of trying to protect yourself from being hurt again. That’s one reason why it is critical, for your sake, to forgive.

Biblical forgiveness is the decision to no longer credit an offense against an offender with a view of enacting vengeance. It also involves releasing that person from a debt owed as well as the blame that they deserve due to an infraction or sin committed against you.

The best biblical defense for this definition of forgiveness is found in 1 Corinthians 13 where we read about love. In verse 5 we discover that love “keeps no record of wrongs.” (NIV) This is similar to how God forgives us. He doesn’t forget the sin in terms of losing memory of its occurrence, but He “forgets” it in that He chooses to no longer hold the offense against our account. We are not held in debt to Him to pay off something that we are unable to pay.  This is the point that we have to get to – and I say GET to because it’s a PROCESS – and it’s NOT EASY – in fact it’s VERY ROUGH – we don’t just GET there but we have to WORK TOWARD IT.  There are hurts that happened against me, even as a child, that I carry to this day but if I hadn’t and if I don’t continue to CHOOSE the forgiveness process one step at a time, the pain from those hurts will never go away.

My brother and I were estranged for many years because of childhood hurt and while I didn’t WANT to be angry at him anymore, I didn’t take the steps up that mountain of forgiveness for a long time.  I was fortunate enough to do it and when I last saw him, it was like a leap to the top because at that point, it was over. We truly reconciled. I felt complete forgiveness for him and that (what felt like) lifetime of stress of unforgiveness was gone.  I say ‘last saw him’ because that was the last time I would see him.  My brother died later that year.  I’m just glad we had that time – and although he’s gone, I’ve got peace over something that haunted my spirit for much of my life.  I have a cousin and an aunt and uncle that I recently did the same thing with. It’s Time! I’m back on that mountain headed for the top.  I pray we get more years than I did with my brother after the process!

If you don’t do it for anything else – climb that mountain – choose to forgive for PEACE – for yourself!

Thanks for reading! God Bless!

No Matter What or Who Changes, God’s Word – #IsWhatItIs –

For that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever (Rom 1:25)~ Since the beginning, God has determined what is right and wrong, and since our creation we have all sinned and fallen short of His glory, but rather than humble ourselves before Him we’ve decided that our ways are now okay and ‘sin’ is no longer sin, but is now the ‘choice lifestyle’! We look at the Bible and say it’s outdated and doesn’t apply to today’s world. We think that if enough of ‘the people’ are okay with it, it’s okay and even “right” to do. So someone that’s popular or famous or charismatic; and with man-regarded intellect comes out with their interpretation! And THAT makes our choices… Okay! I’ve got enough to give account for as it is, I won’t be trying to explain to God why ‘I’ changed the rules …

God calls Himself “I Am” – not “I could be depending on what you want.” The intent and meaning of God’s word doesn’t change with the wind or the times or to suit our choices! He is God and He changes…NOT!

Man of the House: Are you BEING the MAN? #ManUp #ServantLeader ~

For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body (Eph 5:23)~~ A key flaw in the mindset of many husbands is that being the “head of the wife” or the “head of the house” means they possess some title of greatness because of their ‘manhood’ and they can live like some lavish king being served by his subjects and catered to by his minions! Even if the truth is not as far gone as the example, the point here cannot be stated better than by Jesus Himself: “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant” (Mark 10:43).

Being the head of the household and/or the head of the wife means work, duty and great responsibility. The “head” is the one RESPONSIBLE for what happens in the house and in the marriage and in the family. Look at the verse again – yes, it says Christ is the head of the church, but He is also SAVIOR OF THE BODY! That means He is responsible for its well being! Think about your body! Through your head comes what makes the body work! Through the eyes you see where your body is going. Through your ears, you hear what your mind and body respond to. Through your nose, you breathe what keeps your body full of oxygen to live. Through your mouth, you eat what nourishes the body. The head has the MOST to actually DO to keep the body going!!

Husbands, you cannot enjoy the privileges of “headship” and not be willing to shoulder the responsibilities that come with it. Being in the role of ‘leader’ doesn’t mean you get to sit and dictate and be served – in fact, you are to serve and MOST OF THE TIME you will serve more than you will BE served! You can’t franchise, subcontract or outsource your husband responsibilities without hurting your wife and your marriage. You are accountable to God for the physical and spiritual welfare of your family. Make your wife’s life easier by carrying all of your responsibilities dutifully. Your wife was not created to carry out her role and yours at the same time. Your wife should not live like a widow while you are still alive. You are the man, the CEO, Priest, Provider and Protector of the family. Act like it. Be involved, be present, take charge, work hard, pray, plan and execute. Above all “husbands”, remember that your wife is your suitable helper, but you are her servant! Let her thank God that she is married to you! You are the “head” but are you “heading”? You are the MAN but are you BEING the man?

Stay The Course! #Faith #Commitment ~

And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them (Deut 28:14)~ In Odyssey, Homer’s epic work, Odysseus encountered the mysterious Island of the Sirens. The creatures inhabiting the island possessed enchanting voices that distracted sailors from their journey, driving them to disaster and ultimately their deaths. As Odysseus’ crew passed by, the creatures sang their beautiful song. But Odysseus knew the dangers. He put wax in his crew’s ears and ordered that he be tied securely to the ship’s mast to prevent him from being lured away by their seductive melody. Odysseus also commanded they stay true to their course no matter how bad their circumstances seemed.

Standing firm in faith in our culture has become transient. Too often we’ll stray from our beliefs at the first sign of difficulty, challenge or trouble. But God, through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, our “comforter” has established with us a covenant – a deeply binding commitment designed to help us weather our most difficult circumstances. But it requires us to “tie ourselves to the mast.” You have to dismiss the voices that try to lure you away from your faith or convince you that conformity to the ‘way of the world these days’ is the path to take. This requires commitment and true commitment requires strength and stability when faith encounters challenges. Unfortunately, many take an opposite approach when things turn sour or become a challenge that questions their faith or commitment – they run, rather than digging in their heels when commitment requires it the most.

Our society has developed a mentality that rushes too quickly toward easy alternatives instead of diligently working to maintain the stability of faith and commitment. We are more concerned about acceptance by a majority rather than sticking to our true beliefs. Life is full of things that try to push us down or take us off the course or our faith. We all face disappointments and setbacks. It’s easy to get discouraged or lose your enthusiasm or even be tempted to just settle where you are.

But if we’re going to see God’s best, we have to have a persevering, resilient “bounce back” mentality. That means when you get knocked down, you don’t stay down. You get back up again. When alternatives challenge you and question your faith, you stick to your faith! You have to know that every time adversity comes against you, it’s a setup for a comeback! Remember, as a believer in Jesus, the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives on the inside of you. There is no challenge too difficult, no obstacle too high, no sickness, no disappointment, no person, nothing that can keep you from your God-given destiny. If you stay in faith, even when it’s not the easier way or the ‘ way of the world these days’, then God will turn what was meant to be a stumbling block into a stepping stone, and you’ll move forward in strength, full of faith and victory!