When the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines; when the olive trees do not produce, and the fields yield no crops; when the sheep disappear from the pen, and there are no cattle in the stalls, I will rejoice because of the Lord; I will be happy because of the God who delivers me!
Habakkuk 3:17-18 MSG
How you view things in life is very important, especially as a Christian. The world will point out everything that is wrong, but it is up to us to see the good, especially in our own circumstances. I’m going to translate verse 17 of today’s scripture in modern language in terms of how life can try to get us down:
Though my bills keep pouring in and my bank account is in the negative;
Though my workload at my job is overwhelming and people are testing my patience;
Though my enemies are plotting against me and my health is declining; Continue reading
“… ‘The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.’”
1 Samuel 17:37 NIV
So often we forget what God has done in our lives when we find ourselves in a bind. We tend to only focus on why He isn’t working right then instead of remembering how He has come through for us in the past. God is always working whether you feel it or not. It’s times like these when you have to get out of your head and focus on what you know. Instead of giving into the pressure of what your circumstance may look like, think, “If God brought me out before, He can surely do it right now.” I even challenge you to add “God I am expecting you to deliver me.” In dire times, you need to focus on the solution (God) and not the problem. God is bigger than any problem that you can ever have. Continue reading
A few days later Felix and his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish, sent for Paul and listened to him talk about a life of believing in Jesus Christ. As Paul continued to insist on right relations with God and his people, about a life of moral discipline and the coming Judgment, Felix felt things getting a little too close for comfort and dismissed him. “That’s enough for today. I’ll call you back when it’s convenient.”
(Acts 24:24-25 MSG emphasis added)
People today would rather hear what sounds good rather than what will benefit them and help them grow. Sadly, telling the truth in this day and age is more like a sin than lying. Wanting to hear what always feels good does more damage than hearing the heartbreaking truth. We can only grow when we know the error of our ways and only hearing the truth will do this. People draw back when the truth is spoken. They withdraw from people, places (church), activities (Bible reading), and God when confronted. We love convenience too much to the point where we are in jeopardy of Godly living. We want to interpret and twist facts to help benefit our individual agendas. We actually stifle our own growth by doing these things. In today’s scripture, Paul was trying to explain to Felix how to live right before God and his people, discipline, and God’s soon coming judgment. Paul was sent away until a more convenient time because what Paul was telling him was hitting the wrong cords for Felix. When we do things like this, we are setting ourselves up to live a life of deception. Everything will not always be easy, and it surely won’t always feel good, but we’ll never grow in God if we don’t hear the hardcore truth daily. The more we run from the truth, the more the devil can use and deceive us. Ultimately, this sets us up to live a life of bondage. Continue reading
“The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get”
Proverbs 21:20 NLT
A lot of people’s stress comes from money problems, which can lead to stress in other areas of their lives. Some of our financial difficulties come from the demands of life, but honestly, most of the problems stem from not budgeting, living beyond our means, and not controlling our fleshly desires. We put a lot of unnecessary stress on ourselves for these very reasons. It really boils down to not wanting to do what the Bible says regarding money and wanting to spend whatever you want to spend. If you have this mentality you’ll have stress your whole life. Continue reading
“Sometimes you yourself can be your own worst enemy.”
The devil is not to blame for everything bad that happens in our lives. I know this is probably a shock to you, but it’s true. Now don’t get me wrong, he is responsible for a lot of what happens to us, but not everything. It is true that he is our enemy and he hates us. His main goal is to steal, kill, and destroy (see John 10:10), but he also has help with carrying out his mission. I know what you’re thinking, “If the devil isn’t always responsible, then who is?” The answer that no one wants to hear is YOU ARE! Yes, you can be responsible for your own chaos. I know society teaches us not to take responsibility and to pass blame, but that is not the Christian way. Believe it or not, you have a personal hand in aiding the devil in destroying you. Continue reading
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.
Acts 10:34 NIV (emphasis added)
You should never judge God for what He does for someone. You don’t know what that person had to do to get what they have, nor is it any of your business. God does not have favorites—He deals with all of His children accordingly. If you are not willing to put in the work God is calling you to do, you have nothing to say about how other people are getting blessed and your lack thereof. God has a different way of blessing His children, but He blesses us all the same and at different times. He might supernaturally bless someone, whereas you might have to take the long road to get your blessing. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to get what you asked for; it just means that God has a different avenue for you namely to develop your spiritual growth and deepen your relationship with Him. There is something to be learned on the way to your blessing. Treasure the journey and keep your eyes and mouth on what God is doing for you and through you. How you act in times of waiting has a lot to do with the timing of your breakthrough. Continue reading
“Go in through the narrow gate, because the gate to hell is wide and the road that leads to it is easy, and there are many who travel it. But the gate to life is narrow and the way that leads to it is hard, and there are few people who find it.
Matthew 7:13-14 GNT
Following Jesus requires total attention, surrender, humility, dedication, and perseverance. Anything that is worth having is worth fighting for. Once you make the decision to follow Christ, there will be a lot of changes that will happen in your life. It’s something about when God gets ahold of you, things start to happen. Everything that you used to give to your flesh to satisfy it that isn’t Godly will have to be surrendered. It is true that if you are a Christian there are certain things that you cannot do, but you need to understand that whatever God says to do or not to do is for your own good. He knows the beginning from the end, a concept that you cannot grasp in the natural, so He knows what’s best for you in every single situation that you will ever face. It may seem like you are giving up a lot and your life may seem “boring,” but it is better to be “boring” than to be on your way to hell. Continue reading
Even if good people fall seven times, they will get back up. But when trouble strikes the wicked, that’s the end of them.
Proverbs 24:16 CEV
As you begin and continue your walk with Christ, there will be times when you will miss the mark, also known as sin. Romans 3:23 states that we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. Missing God’s lead will happen and it’s best not to be condemned when it does. You’ll stumble at times and you may even fall flat on your face, but God is good and He is faithful to His children. He won’t let you stay down; He’ll pick you up and place you on the right path. Yes, conviction may come with it, but conviction brings growth whereas condemnation brings guilt. Conviction is from God and condemnation is from the devil. The devil will make you feel like you’re the worst Christian in the world because you can’t seem to stay on course. He’ll make you feel like God is mad at you and He won’t forgive you because you’re such a disappointment to Him. Luckily, God’s Word is true (see 1 John 1:9) and the devil is a liar (see John 8:44). When you know what the Word says about how God feels about you, it becomes easy to block out the lies of the devil.
God makes everything happen at the right time. Yet none of us can ever fully understand all he has done, and he puts questions in our minds about the past and the future. I know the best thing we can do is to always enjoy life (Ecclesiastes 3:11-12 CEV emphasis added)
Proverbs 16:4 tells us “The Lord has a reason
for everything he does…” (CEV). We never know what God is going to do and when He is going to do it. Because we are to live in expectancy, we need to just release our faith and go on about our day knowing that He will take care of our every need. Jesus said don’t be anxious about anything (see Philippians 4:6). Anxiety causes so many problems and zaps our joy. Jesus also said don’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow holds its own troubles (see Matthew 6:34). Most people live in anxiety and worry, which does not change anything and it doesn’t please or move God. Continue reading
Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose:
Romans 1:28 MSG (emphasis added)
Whether we want to believe it or not, we think we know how to handle our problems and run our lives better than God. We try to fix our own problems, make things happen in our own strength, and ultimately, we worry and stress because we’re too impatient to wait on God—our way is so much quicker. If God was really in control of our lives, we would live a life of peace and rest the way that God originally intended it. Instead, we operate outside of God and wonder why we’re so stressed, confused, frustrated, and exhausted. Then that’s when we want to blame God for our mess. If you pinpoint all the messes that you’ve had, I’m sure the key thing in each one is the absence of God’s involvement. Continue reading