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Surrender and Trust in God

We all have things that we are dealing with.  Some of those things are small and then some of them are large.  But those struggles can be a little easier when we just stop and take some simple steps.  I would like to say that I discovered these a couple of weeks ago, but the truth is that the bible points out time and again these are steps that we should be taking.

You say WHAT there are steps that can help in the struggles of life?  Yes there are steps that can bring peace and comfort in the middle of the struggle.  I am in the middle of a struggle to get guardianship of my Mother that has Alzheimer’s but I have had roadblock, after roadblock because of her boyfriend.  Just to understand he has been living with her for 15 years for free, so he is afraid he will lose a place to live.  So because of his fear he has not been willing to work with my sister and I on appointments that we needed our Mother to go to.

My Mother is at a point where she is very confused and does not understand things, so someone has to make appointments and take her to all of them.  It took 2 months before I was able to get her to a lawyer appointment, but I really just want you to understand some of the ongoing struggle.  Two weeks ago my husband so kindly called to talk to her boyfriend and to see if he had made a doctor appointment for her that we needed, so that we could go to court for Guardianship.  He said No, and she is not ready for that, and I am not going to do that to help you out.

When my husband got off the phone he looked at me and said he is not going to do anything to help you in this process.  I looked at my husband and said we need to pray.  He looked at me and said yes, like OK we will later on tonight.  I again looked at him and said we need to stop and pray.  My husband looks at me and said “Oh you mean now”.  I said yes NOW, God knows our hearts and God knows the situation.  This is something that we are unable to change, but God can change this situation.  I said this needs to be Gods will not our will, even though we want the best for my Mother.

At that moment we stopped everything we were doing and got down on our knees.  I prayed fervently and called out the truths of what God had shown me.  But I said I surrender this to you Lord and I trust that you will take care of everything.  I said Lord you know our hearts and I know you will do what is best in your plan for this situation.

The next day I was at a Youth Conference and the first speaker has a message about when Jesus walked on the water and Peter stepped out of the boat.  Now I have heard these verses discussed in many different ways, but that night it was different.  Jesus told the disciples to get in the boat and that he would meet them on the other side.  Even though he was not in the boat he never said that he would not be with them.  Suddenly I had an aha moment.  You might say WHAT!!!   Jesus had told me to get in the boat on this journey with my Mother, and he said that he had laid my path to walk.  But he never said that it was all going to be easy, in fact the BIBLE says we will face trials and tribulations.  But that does not mean that Jesus is not walking with us and it surely does not mean that he won’t be on the other side of the lake.

The rest of the weekend and into the next week I kept thinking about these things and I would continue to talk to God and reaffirm that I trusted that God had this situation with my Mother taken care of.  Then less than 5 days later I get a message from my Mother’s boyfriend.  He is being driven by fear which I know is not of God, but I know God allows confusion just like what God did with the Egyptians when the Israelite’s were fleeing Egypt.  Suddenly he has made a doctor appointment for my Mother and he is desperate for me to go to court to get Guardianship for my Mother.  In fact he was telling me I needed to go to court as soon as possible.

The hardest thing for many of us to do is to stop and surrender what ever is going on in our life.  We want to help our kids find salvation, we want to see our families do better, the struggles of life are many.  But what if you stop struggling and stressing about those things, you start getting on your knees and surrendering them to God.  God knows your struggles, but if you are anything like me you want to fix things yourself.  It can seem really hard to just stop and surrender.   But I think that if we would all stop trying to fix things ourselves and instead we would get on our knees and surrender things to God we will see change.  Stop trying to make everything our will and instead ask God to interject his will into our struggles.  We may start to find peace and comfort.  We may start to find out that life is not as much of a struggle.  We may really discover what it means to rest in the Lord.

TOP TEN FREE FAITH MOVIES TO WATCH ON PUREFLIX

For when you are trying to find some safe movies to watch.

jesussocial

Let’s face it: Over the past few decades, films touted as “faith-based” have gained a reputation for being less interesting and lower quality than their secular counterparts. In some cases, such criticism has been undeniably warranted.
Thankfully, all of that is changing.
Today, faith-based and inspirational films are some of the most successful at the box office; the Pure Flix original “God’s Not Dead” was made for the low amount of $2 million and raked in more than $140 million in international revenue. Similarly, made on a meager $3 million budget, the Kendrick brothers hit “War Room” made over $12.6 million opening weekend.
While the numbers speak for themselves, many recently-released faith-based films have also received increasingly positive feedback from secular critics and viewers. Last year, “The Case for Christ” film, based on the best-selling novel of the same name from ex-atheist-turned-Christian author Lee Strobel, scored a rare “A+” audience…

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God That Makes The Impossible, Possible

We have a powerful and loving God that looks at us as his children.  Our God is the creator of all things and there is nothing that is impossible for his power.  For there is nothing that is more powerful than the one True God.  Just take a moment and think about the power to be able to speak creation into existence.  The song “So Will I” says our God that has no reference that was there before the beginning of time.  God that spoke and galaxies were formed, planets came into existence.  There is no one or anything else that has the power of creation, only our wonderful, amazing God.

The word of God never comes back null or void, God is always faithful and keeps his promises.  When we seek God and we hear his promises they will be returned but we must keep our faith and trust in God.  When God makes promises he does not say that we won’t hit rough spots along the way, but the word says that we keep our Faith and believe that God will be there at the end and in the middle.  In Matthew 14 is the story of Jesus walking on the water.  In this story Jesus tells the disciples to get in the boat and to go to the other side.  This are instructions, and with these instructions he does not say the sailing will be smooth, he just instructs them to get in the boat and go to the other side.  Does not Jesus do the same thing with us in our lives?  That is where faith steps in.  When Jesus sent them to the other side he implied he would meet them on the other side.  They had just seen Jesus feed the 5,000 with a few fish and some bread.  Yet doubt still stepped in when the seas were rough and they saw Jesus walking on the sea.

As I have gone through life there have been many times that I had to get in the boat and sail across the sea.  On those journeys some of them have been smooth sailing and others have been on rough seas.  However, when I have hoped on what God has told me and I keep my faith that he is good to his word and that all of his promises are AMEN, I have made it to the other side.  Jesus never tells us that things will always be rosy and uneventful on our journey through life.  But he does tell us to keep on our Faith in him.  When we keep our eyes on God then in the middle of the storm the path that seemed impossible suddenly becomes possible.  Suddenly there is a solution, a ram is provided for the sacrifice because you trusted God and his word just as God did for Abraham.

I have watched in my own life God turn the completely impossible that I could see no solution at hand.  But when I stopped trying to do it on my own.  When I stopped and humbled myself to the Lord God.  When I called out in my brokenness that I can’t do this but you can.  When I surrendered control over to the higher power of God.  Then light would begin to shine on the storm I was in.  The winds would calm, the seas would calm and I could see Jesus standing there taking control.  Reminding me that he never breaks his promises.  I have openly said to God I know you will provide a way and suddenly there was evidence that he was listening as I watched things change suddenly before my eyes.

Life is full of storms, trials and tribulations.  Some of them are small and some of them are enormous.  But this I know God can make things change that seem humanly impossible.  When we surrender our control, God will amaze you every time. Sometimes we look with expectation for a major change when we should be celebrating with thanks and reverence the small things that are happening, that will lead to the major change in our battle.  I speak of these things from experiencing first hand the ways that God has done this in my life.

I should not be amazed but every time I am.  I can see time after time that God has brought a solution and breakthrough.  But, first I had to surrender my battles to him.  I have had to learn to trust on the Lord, to go to his word that tells me he is faithful and he is always good to his promises.  Time and time again God shows his Glory, Love, and Grace as things change on this journey of life.

I watched in 2012 as I was looking for a job clear across the country and trying to sell my house.  I put my faith in God, and I prayed every day that he would make things happen.  Then on the day that I declare “I have Faith that you will provide a job and that you will sell my house”, I received a job offer and I received an offer on my house.  Yes it took 6 months instead of my 6 weeks but God was faithful along the way and I always kept my faith.  In 2015 when my husband and I said God we will go where ever you send us, we trust you and will go no questions asked.  Bam!  Suddenly my husband gets a job offer for a temporary job, that then turned to a permanent job.  When we said we will sell everything we have to follow you Lord.  God started to send people to our house and they would walk through the house and buy things as they went.

God is amazing and powerful, nothing is to great for God to handle even the craziness of the world.  Remember God is overseeing everything, even the governments of the world.  Maybe we should stop focusing on everything that is wrong with government and start praying for God to bring change and reform to our government.  When you are having struggles with that person at the office, or the family member, maybe you should ask God what he says about the situation.  Then hand over the control to the true authority and let God take care of things his way.

I just can never say enough about the goodness of God and his faithfulness.  I have seen over and over the impossible achieved and I am left with no explanation other than it was God at work.  Open your hearts and cast all your fear and worries at the feet of Jesus.  Let Jesus handle those issues, those struggles, relinquish control.  There are some things that are just flat-out humanly impossible to change, but God can always make changes.

Nothing Can Separate Us From God’s Love

This is such a good truth and at times I think some struggle with grasping this truth.  It is written “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”  That is right God is for us and he has always been for us.  God has been for us since the beginning of creation.  God has such a strong love and desire for us that he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all.  With that said I believe that God’s greatest desire is to have us in right standing with him.  If Papa God our wonderful Heavenly Father did not want us as his children he would never have sacrificed his only son to bring us into freedom and right standing.

As you read in Romans 8 so many good and wonderful truths are revealed.  Romans 8:31-39 speak of just how true it is, nothing can separate us from God.  We have been chosen for his own.  God has put us in right standing when we are followers of Christ.  Christ Jesus died for you and me.  But then he was raised to life and he now sits in a place of honor at God’s right hand.  I like to think of Jesus as a brother but also as my lawyer pleading my case before God.  When we are washed by the blood of Jesus we are pure.  Our sins are washed away.  There is no longer a record of those sins.  When Father God looks at us he sees us through Jesus and we are clean and pure.

Just because we face trouble, calamity, are persecuted, hungry or destitute, in danger or threatened with death we are not separated from the love of Christ.  No it is written “No, despite all things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”  I know that no matter what may come my way it is not going to separate me from the love of Christ.  Jesus paid the ultimate price for you and me.  Jesus would not do that if he was going to abandon us in our struggles whatever they may be.  No instead Jesus stands strong with us and no matter how things may seem in the world, in the heavenlies Jesus is battling for us.

As it is written in Romans 8:38-39 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.  Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If you had any doubts about God’s love those words from Romans should be confirmation of how great that love really is.  If Papa God did not love us he would not have sent his only son to be a sacrifice to bring us into right standing.  As I read the words above I am reminded that things that go on around me are not caused by God, but by other powers in the world.  However, I have a great and powerful God.  I am not separated from God even when I am facing trials and tribulations.  In fact, because I am in right standing with God my Faith grows stronger during those trials and tribulations.  For instead of cowering in fear I stand tall and lean in to Jesus.  I reach for the word and I apply the truth of God’s word in my heart.  I lock God’s word in that special place in my heart.  Then I pull it out and use it against the lies that come against me.  When that does not seem to be enough I reach out to my sisters in Christ who will pray and speak the truth of what God says, not partner with the lies of the enemy.

I don’t know about you, but I am going to stand on the truth that Paul writes in Romans.  Here is someone who had his life radically changed after encountering Jesus.  Paul discovered just how good the love of Papa God is.  Paul speaks of the overwhelming victory that we have through Christ, who loved us.  Paul realized this love first hand as he saw where he had been to where Christ had taken him.

When I think about the love that Paul writes about I see a picture of a waterfall of love falling down from Heaven.  I am standing in the waterfall and the love of God is falling upon me.  I feel the loving arms of the Father hold me close when I face fears and worries of the world.  It is this love that gives me strength to stand strong.  It is this love that brings hope and joy into my life.  It is this love that makes me want to shout from the mountain tops that I am a child of God.  The love of Christ is unending, it cascades down around us filling the voids in our lives.

Stand strong my sisters and brothers in Christ.  For we were chosen.  Papa God has given us right standing.  No one can be against us when we have Father God for us.  We stand in victory of the things that come against us.  And above all else remember that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.  NOTHING, and I mean nothing.

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Did God Create Evil?

I had a young student ask me that question the other day at our youth group.  She was being honest when she asked me “Did God create evil”.  It caused me to pause and to think carefully about how to respond so that she would understand.  God is a good and loving father.  God did not create evil and sin, those are something that our enemy Satan is responsible for.  She was trying to process when sin was introduced through the Serpent because God created everything.

This made me think about giving her a good response so that she could understand but this morning it made me think that others may be just as confused.  No God did not create evil or sin.  Evil and sin were introduced in that moment when Eve ate from the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.  But it was Satan that brought sin and evil into the world.

Yes God created everything including the angels.  Yes Satan was an angel that was cast out of heaven.  But this I know God is good and loving.  God is constantly fighting to win us back into relationship with him.  Just as Jesus said “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed.”  The same would be true for the Kingdom of Heaven as for the Kingdom of Darkness.  God did not create sin and evil just so that his glory could be shown when it was overcome.  No just as Jesus says “For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods?  Only someone even stronger – someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.”

Our strong and mighty God is more powerful than Satan, and it is because of this that sin and evil can be overcome.  It is the light of our powerful and mighty God that puts out the darkness that sin and evil linger in.  It was pride and a desire for power that caused Satan to be cast out of heaven.  It was not because God created evil or sin.

I may not have all the answers and the only one that does is the Holy Spirit.  But this I do know, God is Good and loving.  God created man so that he could have a relationship with us.  That relationship was broken with sin.  But ever since sin entered the world God has been trying to bring his children back into right standing with himself.  God introduced the law and the 10 commandments after rescuing the people of Israel from Egypt.  This was done to bring freedom, but as it says in Romans 8:3-4 “The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.  So God did what the law could not do.  He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have.  And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.  He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.”

Yes the law of Moses was unable to bring the salvation we needed because of our sinful nature.  But when we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our lives it leads us to life and peace.  The control of sin is broken, and we change our thinking not because we are forced to but because we are children of God, and we desire to walk in right standing with the Father.   I don’t know about you, but I know that this is true.  When I was allowing  my sinful nature to control my life it brought so much suffering into my life.  But when I started a relationship with Jesus that all started to change.  It was not anything that was forced, but a gradual change from within.  I stopped thinking about sinful things and my thoughts changed to Godly things.

I also know that God does not desire for us to be punished for doing things that are wrong or sinful, rather that is the consequence of our own actions.  God does always give us the option that will provide a better outcome and keep us in right standing but it always really comes down to our free will.  How will I handle my free will?  Will I allow the Holy Spirit to guide me in making good and wise decisions with my free will, or will I allow the enemy to guide me in making poor choices and unwise decisions with my free will?  I once was a slave to sin, but now I am a child of God.  That is my declaration that I make over myself.

When you choose to follow Jesus then you have become a child of God.  Yes you are no longer a slave to fear or sin.  But you are now an heir of God’s glory.  When you choose to follow Jesus you start to change, you find that shift in your thoughts.  It is a gradual change but it can be a radical change as well.  We have a powerful and mighty Father in Heaven.  He is the God that makes impossible suddenly become possible.  He is the God of miracles.  He is a loving and caring Father that chose you and I long before anything was even created.  Yes you were chosen before creation.

Ask Holy Spirit to help you have a deeper understanding of the goodness of Father God, and the truth will be revealed to you.  Holy Spirit will take you through the word and will reveal the truth to you.  Remember those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  But those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things.  “For the sinful nature is always hostile to God.  It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.”  But if you belong to Christ then you have the Spirit of God living in you.  The Spirit gives you life and freedom.  It is the power of Christ that helps you to overcome your sinful nature and to put your sinful nature to death.

 

What are you saying yes to; Jesus or the World?

We have all heard the story of Adam and Eve and how sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden, but let’s take a closer look at how choices affect us.  There Adam and Eve were, they had the perfect relationship with God.  Think about God walking with them in the Garden and spending time with them.  The Lord God placed man in this wonderful garden that was watered by the rivers running through it and water coming up from the ground.  I can see a wonderful love that God had for man, that he created a wonderful and perfect place for man to dwell.  There was just one simple restriction.  Do not eat from the tree of good and evil.

Then the snake comes along and starts to talk to Eve.  Now really think about this, if a serpent comes along and starts talking to you, do you think this is really who you want to listen to?  I liked the way our Youth Pastor put it this is like a scene in a horror movie that everyone is saying don’t do it.  At that moment it came down to making a choice.  The first choice was to have conversation with the serpent.  Do you see the yellow hazard lights flashing as this is happening.  Warning alarms going off saying this may not be a good idea.

But Eve did not heed the warnings and she had the conversation with the serpent.  She listened to the truth get shifted that 1%.  She already had a perfect relationship with God, and God had provided everything for them to live.  They had dominion over the animals and birds.  But when that seed of un-truth was planted it caused her to wonder, even though I am sure warnings were blaring in her spirit Eve choose to ignore them and she didn’t check up even when the red flashing lights were saying stop don’t do this.  She took a bite of the forbidden fruit and sin was introduced into our lives.  One small act brought sin upon the world.  Those are some heavy consequences for your choices.

As I think about this we all face similar choices as we go through life.  Oh I really want to go to that movie because everyone else is.  Ignoring the warnings in your spirit that it goes against your moral compass.  When you are in that relationship or marriage and you choose to look at someone else rather than your spouse.  When you make that decision you are saying yes to something but you are also saying no to something.  When Eve said yes and ate the forbidden fruit she choose sin over God.  With that choice came consequences for her actions.  The same thing happens for us in our lives.

For every one of us our moral compass may be slightly off kilter because of how we were raised and the influences we have had in our life.  But when you spend time around fellow Christ followers.  When you spend time reading your bible so that you know the difference between right and wrong choices.  Then your moral compass begins to align with God.  As your spirit comes into right alignment with God you start to think differently about things.  Your spirit helps to guide you in the decisions that you make.

I heard it put so well the other day listening to Priscilla Shirer, she called it our knower.  And we know when our knower thinks it is a bad idea.  When your friends say hey let’s go watch the latest horror flick, or something that is filled with raunchy language or sex scenes, will you say yes to what they are saying or will you say yes to Jesus.  I am not telling you what to do, I am just asking you to start thinking about how Jesus would react.  What choice would Jesus make if he were asked the same question.  What is your knower in the pit of your stomach saying to you.

As we walk with God things that used to be acceptable no longer become acceptable.  It is not because we are forced to change it is because of a willingness to change.  I can speak for myself that as I have grown in my relationship with Jesus it has changed me from the inside out.  No I am not perfect and I still stumble along the way, but the stumbles change over time.  I know that things that were acceptable to me 5 or 10 years ago are no longer acceptable to me.  I have gotten where I choose to say yes to Jesus more than I say no to Jesus.  As I do that my moral compass has changed and my spirit gives me warning signs when I might be making a bad choice.

Yes everything you do in this world comes down to choices.  Just think about the choices that you are making.  Who are you saying yes to and who are you saying no to.  What are the consequences of my choices.  Ask Holy Spirit to show you areas in your life where you may be making incorrect choices and choosing the world over Jesus.

Father God I ask you to bless the readers with wisdom and understanding.  Lord bring them into a new awareness of you.  I pray that they will start to ask the simple question “What would Jesus do”.  Fill their lives with hope and wonder as they go through their days.  Amen.