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Devotional- Comfort & Counsel

As I have been reading and studying the book of Job, I noticed that the friends Job had were not encouraging to him during his season of suffering. His friends instead tried to figure out what Job had done wrong that caused God to seemingly be ‘punishing’ him.

In the Old Testament days it was believed that if you were ‘upright and righteous’ you would find favor with God and He would be sure you ‘prospered’.

However, the scripture is very clear that Job was righteous and blameless; which is why Job was so distraught when he began losing all of his wealth, quickly followed by his family and his own health.

Job cried out to God asking ‘Why’; he was not trying to argue with God he truly wanted to know if he had done something that caused him to lose favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Job’s friends remained strong in their belief that Job could not possibly be righteous if God took away his prosperity. His friends ridiculed him and tried to convince him that he was not in good standing with God.

This upset Job and he made it clear that their words were foolish and that the Lord gives and takes away, but God is still good regardless.

Zophar tried to convince Job to repent for proclaiming his innocence and righteousness; scolding him that he does not have the knowledge or power to know God’s immeasurable or limitless being and wisdom.

This only confirmed Job’s complaint– God was not acting predictable according to their understanding of Him. Job rejected the faulty ‘wisdom’ of his friend, because He knew that God was ultimately in control regardless of what the circumstances may look like.

Job accused his friends of misjudging him and then stood up to them by making it clear that he is not inferior to them. Job dismissed their criticism and said that they were ‘forgers of lies’ and worthless physicians. (Job 13:4)

According to Job, his friends were speaking out of vain; they intended to offer him comfort in his spiritual distress but instead was passing judgement and giving faulty advise.

Job tells them a better expression of wisdom from them would be to ‘be quiet’. Their counsel was not helpful nor comforting to Job; it only further complicated his circumstances.

Job finally told his friends to basically stay out of it while he pleads with God.

See Job didn’t blame God or accuse him of wrongdoing; Job wanted to sincerely know and understand why God seemed to be giving so much attention to his being. He truly wanted to know why he needed to suffer so much when his faith was unwavering.

Despite all the questions Job cried out to God he remained firm in his belief that one day God would vindicate him; which is exactly what would happen. Job knew that no matter what life looks like his hope could only be in God.

If Job would have listened to his friends counsel and assumed God was punishing him and that he was in fact not righteous this could have led Job down a dark and depressing path, walking away from God instead of running into His arms for grace, protection, love, and justification.

When seeking comfort and/or counsel from someone we need to be mindful on who we are trusting. Although some may have good intentions they cannot give good sound advice regarding your circumstances if they have no understanding or lack Godly wisdom.

Our best bet is to take our questions and concerns to God and not allow those around us to influence our choices, actions, reactions, and especially not our faith.

Reflect

Have you ever felt like God was punishing you for something and that is why you are suffering? Did you seek comfort and/or advice from a friend? Was it helpful?

How does this example from the book of Job change the way you view suffering and who we choose to seek comfort in during it?

Is God telling you anything specific about your circumstances, suffering in general, or seeking comfort and counsel while reading this article?

Call to Action

Declare over your life that God is NOT punishing you and He is NOT mad at you.

Pray and Journal what God is speaking to you about current or past seasons of suffering.

Make a goal to be mindful on who you share your suffering with and be sure you always take it to God first.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

I thank you today for this message on suffering and choosing who we seek comfort and counsel from wisely. Lord sometimes we get so caught up in the hurt, suffering, and grief that we lose control of our words and tend to share to much with the wrong people. Lord I confess I am guilty of not seeking Your comfort and counsel first and allowing those around me to affect my actions, thoughts, and faith in You.

I pray that each person that reads this article will be moved by Your Words and have discernment when seeking comfort in others. Lord I pray that You would ignite a fire in each of us that would encourage us to seek You first above all else. Help us to remember that Your love, mercy, forgiveness, and justification does not come from our actions but from You and You alone. I pray that each would feel Your presence surrounding them in their seasons of struggling and know that You are with them.

I pray for protection over our minds and spirit from the words of those who are faithlessly giving us faulty advice. I pray that our hearts be protected by Your hand and that we remember You are the ultimate comforter and counselor. In Jesus mighty name I pray

Amen

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Devotional- Faith like Job

Struggling is a part of the sinful world we live in. Everyone will face times of struggle, trials, and tribulations regardless of their faith in God. The importance lies in how we react and handle life’s battles when they strike.

Job was a Godly man and had great faith and love for God, but Job faced a lot of suffering and loss. Job was a wealthy man who not only had a lot of money, animals, and ‘stuff’, but he also was in great health.

In Job 1 satan and God have a discussion about Job and his faithfulness. Satan basically says that Job only loves God and is so faithful to Him because God has blessed him and his possessions are great. Going on to express that if God allowed all of his wealth and possessions to be taken away, that Job would certainly curse God.

God allowed satan to have power of Job’s possessions and wealth but strictly told satan not to lay a hand on his body.

Satan left the presence of the Lord and went out to attack Job’s possessions.

Job lost his wealth, his animals, and all of his possessions. However, Job did not sin! Instead Job fell to the ground and worshipped God. In all that Job had lost and faced he did not sin nor did he blame God for any of it.

Satan tells God that all a man has in possessions he will give up for his life, but if He allows Job’s bone and flesh (health) be taken, that he will surely curse Him (God). So God allows this but strictly states to spare his life.

Job then loses his family, his friends, and his health. He is covered from head to foot in painful boils. Job still did not curse God or blame Him for what was happening in his life.

Instead Job cries out and curses the day he was born. (Job 3)

Job is a great one to look at for examples of how we should remain faithful in God during all seasons of our life. Job shows us that our love for God and our faith in God should not depend on how we feel He is treating us.

Satan is the author of pain, suffering, grief, and loss. He wants to use these things to separate us from the love and mercy of God. He wants us to remain bound by our feelings, allowing them to navigate our faith and love for God; keeping us from the awareness of God’s higher purpose for our life.

God is always near regardless of what our circumstances may look like or how we may feel, God is always good and near to us in our brokenness, pain, and sorrow.

Reflection

Do you think you would react the same way if God took away all your belongings, wealth, and health?

What is one thing God is telling you or showing you through Job’s suffering?

Do you allow how you feel God is treating you to affect how you feel about God?

Call to Action

What is one thing you can do moving forward to form a stronger faith in God, regardless of your circumstances?

I encourage you to set your feelings aside and seek the truth’s in God’s Word, allowing Him to guide your every step and trusting what He says over what you feel.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for being a faithful, patient, and loving God. For giving us the example of Job’s suffering so that we may see our own suffering in his story. Lord forgive us for falling trap to our feelings and allowing them to drive our actions and faith. I pray that each person who reads this will be touched by Your truth. Lord I pray you would expose our faithfulness or lack of to each of us, show us where we need to apply Your truth more and prune out the schemes of satan. Lead us in every area of our life. Open our hearts, ears, minds, and eyes to Your truth and protect us from the lies of the enemy. God I pray You would remind us of the example Job set when we face our own times of suffering and loss, help us to remain strong in Your truth and faithful to Your calling. In Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Devotional- Adam’s Guilt and Shame

Genesis 3

God gave Adam very specific instructions when he had his undivided attention in the Garden of Eden. Before God created woman– God was giving Adam the chance to live in full freedom through his obedience.

God saw that it was not good for man to be alone; He decided to create woman from one of man’s ribs to give man a partner or helper. Eve was what they called her. God blessed them for their perfect life together.

It was Adam’s responsibility to help Eve to understand God’s very specific direction’s regarding the Garden of Eden. (Do NOT eat from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil.) However, Eve was left susceptible and an easy target for the serpent to deceive– this is why ultimately Adam was held responsible for the sin that infected the human race.

Before Adam was confronted by God he already felt the inner feeling of awareness of wrongdoing. Adam was feeling guilty for having sinned and had a fear of his sin being exposed which made him feel shame.

These two key internal awareness’s were given to us by God as an internal corrective.

Some call this the still small voice inside telling you to do something or not to do something.

Instead of repenting and confessing his sin immediately Adam tried to cope with the feelings of guilt and shame on his own through denial (blaming Eve, who blamed the serpent) and avoidance (he tried to hide from God).

When we refuse to admit to our own wrong doing’s and confess our sins to God; we become bound by our sin–leading to excessive feelings of guilt and shame. The refusal to confess cuts us off from God’s redemptive healing and freedom.

Reflection

What do you feel God is speaking to you through the example of Adam’s guilt and shame?

Do you have a tendency to refuse to admit your wrong doing and take accountability for your actions?

What, if any, changes do you feel God is calling you to make?

Call to Action

Today is the day we stop avoiding and stop passing blame. Confess and own your sine to God and He is faithful and just to forgive! (1 John 1:9)

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord that you are a just and forgiving God. One who does not wish any of His children be bound by sin and stuck in their guilt and shame. Lord I confess that it is hard to confess and own up to the things we have done wrong, especially those things that have hurt others, but Lord through You I know I am forgiven. I pray that You would send Your Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and give us the courage to move forward towards healing, redemption, and true freedom. I pray Your guiding hand over each of us and ask that you expose any harbored feelings of guilt or shame, help us to lay each down at Your feet and move forward in victory.

I pray each person would seek to know Your truth, love, and forgiveness. I pray that each would rise above their sin and own their actions so that You may release the chains that bind them. I pray that each person who reads this will have open hearts, ears, and eyes for Your truth in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Daily Devo- A Cry for Help

The world is full of hurt, disappointments, fear, anxiety, depression, and the list goes on. I write this devotional today with a heavy heart from personal experience’s with the mentioned emotions in my own life and those that I love.

The struggle is real, the hurt is deep, and the fears can be paralyzing.

Depression, anxiety, fearful and negative thoughts plague us daily and are growing during this season of the pandemic. We are under attack physically, mentally, and emotionally. Many are feeling more disconnected today than ever before.

These are attacks from our enemy- satan- the author of lies and the father of it. The enemy that only comes to kill, steal, and destroy every aspect of our life and keep us from fulfillment in God’s purpose for our life.

God has already defeated the enemy. We can cry out to Him for help and He WILL rescue us.

We are not alone and do not have to face these difficult times alone– God is near to the brokenhearted!

Psalm 34:18 NIV The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 142:6 NIV Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.

I want to encourage each person that may be facing difficult times and emotions to reach out– Talk with a loved one, a doctor, a friend, or myself (faithanchored@yahoo.com)– just please ask for help. My heart is breaking for all those that are lost and are struggling alone.

YOU MATTER!

YOU ARE LOVED!

YOU HAVE GREAT PURPOSE!

YOU ARE NOT ALONE– GOD IS ALWAYS WITH YOU, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU DO NOT FEEL IT!

It is okay to not be okay. It shows strength and courage to seek help with your struggles especially those that are emotional and mental.

Trying to battle the feelings, thoughts, and attacks alone will only feed into the already difficult circumstances. Our enemy plants lies in our mind when we are aimlessly wandering in our thoughts– these seemingly small seeds can quickly grow into deep rooted beliefs about ourselves and our circumstances. Starting as a single negative thought then quickly spiraling into a playground of negativity and lies in our mind for satan to torture us and attempt to keep us chained by the lies, out of God’s will, and bound by our feelings.

Seeking help and facing our feelings along with the trauma that caused them is not easy, but it is necessary for total healing and freedom. Although learning to navigate through these seemingly never ending cycles of hurt, depression, and downward spirals of negativity is hard; it is possible.

God’s word tells us that He can take the impossible and make it possible– through Him ALL things are possible! (Matthew 19:26)

Take a stand for yourself and your future. Step up and step out. Admit that we are weak but He is strong. Hand each emotion, traumatic event, worry, fear, anxiety over to Him and let God do the work in you and for you.

It may seem hard to believe in the midst of the storm but God will help you through deep waters, He will comfort you, He will protect you, and He will save you from your despair. He did it for me and He can do it for you too!

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for Your Word and Your comfort in times of trouble. Thank you for the promises to never leave us nor forsake. For always being near to those of us who are brokenhearted and struggling with life’s storms. Lord God I pray that Your message be heard through these words. I pray You will be a light to so many during this dark season. I pray that those who are battling depression, fear, anxiety, and hurts from this broken world would turn to You. Soften their hearts, open their eyes and ears to Your truth. Lead each of us and protect us from the schemes and lies of the enemy. I declare in the name of Jesus chains be broken, people be truly freed in You, and that you will transform each one of us with the renewal of our minds through Your truth, grace, and love. In Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Daily Devo- The Weeping Prophet

In our culture, we often hear ‘big boys/girls don’t cry’. This may be well-intended advice to try to toughen our children up for the challenges they will face throughout life, but it teaches them that their emotions are a sign of weakness and they should repress them.

In Jeremiah 9 you will see that Jeremiah expressed his feelings clearly and loudly. His expressions of anger and grief teach us lessons about our emotions and ways that we can communicate with God.

Jeremiah knew when to cry, he was known as the ‘weeping prophet’. He preached the message of judgement, cried and mourned for the people of God, and allowed his words to come from a place of compassion.

Jeremiah’s message offers us a great example of balancing God’s compassion and God’s character. Even God’s harshest truth is never void of His love. God directed us to love the sinner and condemn the sin.

Jeremiah offers us a view of his intimate relationship with God. He never left out the raw feelings of hurt, anger, or doubt and he did not worry that his feelings would somehow offend God. Jeremiah was in touch and aware of his feelings which made him sensitive to God’s expression of disappointment and sadness.

Jeremiah made it a point to pray and express his feelings to God, especially when he did not feel like praying at all. We can pray and express our feelings to God in the same way. Ask yourself if you are being open and honest about your feelings when you pray or do you tell God what you think he wants to hear?

Openness and honesty with our feelings and needs are essential for a healthy emotional life. The more we learn to communicate with God, the more we will be open to the Holy Spirit, sensitive to His corrections, and we will grow in compassion for those in the world.

Read Lamentations 3:22-25

Emotions are strange and feelings come and go. Sometimes we feel like we can conquer the world, other times we feel as if the world has conquered us. How are we suppose to control the surges of emotion we feel? How do we hold on to our faith in God when our emotions are up and down?

Those that have a relationship with God can count on Him in every area of their life. God will help us exercise self-control over our emotions– if we ask Him and put our trust in Him.

God will not give us more than we can handle with His help

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it

God’s mercy and compassion is new every morning

Lamentations 3:22-23 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

When life’s circumstances begin to overwhelm you- wait quietly for the Lord’s help

Lamentations 3:25-26 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. 26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for your patience and forgiveness. Thank you for giving us your word to guide our paths and teach us what is right. Lord thank you for allowing us to come to you with our pure raw emotions, allowing us to express our feelings and frustrations to you. I pray that each person would hear Your message and take from it what You are trying to show them. Help us all to remain strong in our faith through life’s many storms. Lord, help us to be like Jeremiah aware of our emotions and seeking to know God’s heart. Remind us it is okay to weep when we need to weep, and that Your glory and mercy are new every morning. In Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Breaking Chains and Healing Trauma

We all experience events in life that are less than ideal. However, some events that people experience the pain and hurt goes much deeper than just the surface. Likely, we have all known someone that has been through a horrible loss or survived a difficult situation. When an event is so terrible that the pain and hurt cuts deep into our souls this is what counselor’s call trauma. Those who have had traumatic events happen in their life need help healing the wounds it caused. When healing is not sought after or completed for those that experienced the trauma– they are likely to grow up and damage others, including their own families.

There are two types of trauma– invasion trauma and abandonment trauma.

Invasion trauma is something that did happen to a person and caused damage.

Abandonment trauma is when something did NOT happen to a person that creates damage. (feeling unloved, not protected, or nurtured)

Both affect the four aspects of people’s lives: emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual.

Invasion Trauma

  • Emotional Invasion- when people feel criticized, shamed, or blamed verbally or nonverbally. It occurs when people are talked out of their feelings–‘Big girls don’t cry’ or ‘Christians don’t feel that way’. It can also occur when an adult authority figure reverses roles leaving the child to be a caregiver instead of receiving.
  • Physical Invasion- when someone is abused physically. This type of invasion can cause permanent physical damage. The emotional affect of this can also be experienced if someone lives in a home in which someone else is being physically abused.
  • Sexual Invasion- is when a person is touched or penetrated in sexual areas outside of a mutual relationship or marriage. This is a broad description as a person having consensual sex outside of God’s Plan can have traumatizing effects as well. This type of invasion can also occur if someone is teased or criticized about their bodies..
  • Spiritual Invasion- when a person is led to believe they are unworthy of God’s love and grace, even if well intended it could result in shame that many people can’t seem to shake.

Abandonment Trauma

  • Emotional abandonment- occurs when love, attention, care, nurture, and affirmation are not given. Resulting in loneliness.
  • Physical abandonment- happens when a person’s needs for food, shelter, and clothing are not met. People who do not receive positive ‘touch’- cuddles and hugs- can form what is called ‘touch deprivation’ Another form can happen when people do not receive the needed information for healthy physical self- care.
  • Sexual abandonment- occurs when parents or other responsible adults do not teach their children about healthy sexuality, not having the correct information can lead to devastating results.
  • Spiritual abandonment- occurs when healthy spiritual teachings are not available to children.

Sometimes in life the above categories can overlap. Damage in one part of a persons life can carry over to other areas, depending on the situation that caused the damage.

Effects of Trauma

Unhealed trauma can lead to symptoms like anxiety, depression, panic disorders, anger, loneliness, attachment disorders, and addictions of all kinds. Panic, anxiety, flashbacks, and anger sometimes are classified as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Trauma survivors can cope in a variety of ways- regardless if the trauma is remembered or not. Some may subconsciously seek to repeat the trauma in their adult lives, in attempt to have a different outcome. Some will create relationships with people who treat them poorly or some go the opposite way, and avoid and person or group of people who trigger their past memories of the trauma.

Healing Trauma

Trauma survivors need a number of things to recover from the trauma experienced

  • to have an education on the nature of the trauma- sometimes denial will need to be faced
  • need to have someone to listen that is comforting, accepting, and non-judgmental- someone that believes them and offers them hope of healing
  • need help in expressing their anger about their trauma- anger with the perpetrator and possibly God too. Education on how a loving God would allow trauma to happen could be helpful.
  • assistance on how to grieve the losses that the trauma has caused in their life
  • to understand that they did not deserve what happened to them and that they certainly did NOT cause it
  • assistance on developing boundaries so that the will not be further harmed in old, new, or existing relationships
  • to see the positive strengths that resulted from the trauma endured and the healing process
  • to find a way to forgive (the ultimate spiritual victory)- forgive the perpetrator, forgive themselves, and ask God to forgive them both

What the Bible says about trauma

Being a Christian does not guarantee you a pain free life. Sometimes our faith exposes us to difficulties and struggles we would not otherwise have been through. Here are a few note worthy things to know about life’s traumas:

  • Suffering is not always a punishment. God does allow people to suffer the consequences for their sinful choices, but that does not mean that every time we suffer it is because we are being punished. God uses suffering to strengthen us– to give us knowledge and life experience so that we can empathize with others– to shake us up when we are stagnant or losing our way– and sometimes God uses suffering to build our trust in Him.

    Psalm 46:1-11

46 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge

  • The key is to realize God does NOT leave us when we are suffering.

    Psalm 34:18
    The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
  • God will reward us for the suffering that we endure for His sake

    Matthew 5:10
    Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • God will heal you and bind up your wounds.

    Psalm 147:2-3
    The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.
    He heals the brokenhearted
    And binds up their wounds.

    Psalm 107:20
    20 He sent His word and healed them,
    And delivered them from their destructions.
  • God adopts us into His family- we are never truly alone

    Psalm 27:10
    10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
    Then the Lord will take care of me.
  • God will direct our paths, if we trust in Him and not our own ways.

    Proverbs 3:5-8
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    And lean not on your own understanding;
    In all your ways acknowledge Him,
    And He shall direct your paths.
    Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    Fear the Lord and depart from evil
    It will be health to your flesh,
    And strength to your bones.

True healing and trust in God comes when we can look at our trauma from a different perspective. Learning to ask what can I learn or how can I grow from this instead of asking why me.

God does not always remove us from the traumatic situation but He does always help us through. He is our strength, when we are weak; He is near to the brokenhearted; and He will never leave us nor forsake us. If we trust in Him, He will heal us and deliver us from our shame, our guilt, and all other fleshly feelings that bind us.

Seek His truth and a relationship with Him and He will set you free!

Notes from Mark Laaser on healing the wounds that bind you

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for Your safety and protection throughout all difficulties that we face in life. Lord I pray that each person who reads this and has experienced trauma and it has had a lasting effect on the their life, would find freedom and hope in this message. Forgive me for running from You and blaming You instead of trusting in You and seeking Your guidance. Lord I pray You would work in each of their lives and bring peace through You so that they will glorify Your kingdom. Touch each heart and be their strength to seek healing in You. Lord, I pray that each person would find forgiveness in their hearts for themselves and those who have hurt them. I pray that you would give them discernment in their thoughts and feelings, that they would know who they are in You and not fall prey to the lies of Satan. I pray every chain from the trauma in life that has bound us would be broke in the name of Jesus. Lord, teach us how to trust in You, guide our steps, and help us to not lean on our own understanding, but seek healing and answers through you. It is in Jesus name I pray

Amen

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Daily Devo- World Hatred in the Last Days

It is 2020 and the world seems to have lost its’ mind. From a global pandemic that caused a shortage of toilet paper– to riots, looting, and pure hatred for our president as well as accusations of a stolen election.

Hatred is at an all time high in America– we are slowly going from the United States of America to the Divided States of America.

There are many in our country who are pushing to turn things of evil into things that are acceptable and good. This comes from a place of pride, selfishness, and lack of knowledge of the truth in God’s Word.

Those who claim to be Christian are under great scrutiny right now. The world is watching every step we take and using our imperfect if we actions to draw conclusions about our perfect and loving Savior- Jesus Christ.

The Bible tells us that the world will hate us– just as they hated Jesus. Jesus faced many attacks during His time here and warns us that we are ‘no better than our master’. Meaning we should acknowledge that they hate us because we are not of the world– we are of Christ– who the world also hated. If we were of the world- they would love us.

If we are faithful servants and believer’s of Jesus Christ the questions is not if the hate and attacks will come, but when.

John 15 goes on to tell us that we are not alone– they hated Jesus without a cause– and they will do the same to us.

John 15:18-25 NKJV

The World’s Hatred

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’

We need to be prepared with the knowledge of truth in the gospel, so that when the attacks come– we can defeat each one in the name of Jesus. The Bible warns us in 2 Timothy 3 that in the last days perilous (full of danger or risk, exposed to imminent risk of disaster or ruin) times will come.

2 Timothy 3:1-15 NKJV

Perilous Times and Perilous Men

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

The Man of God and the Word of God

10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Are you prepared with the gospel of truth, and ready to take a stand for Jesus?

We are living in the last days and the hatred for the truth in God’s Word is growing. Many are putting their personal feelings as priorities over the truth- removing God from many areas of our life.

I have been told we must keep the separation of church and state as the reason as to why their feelings or ways are being discriminated against. I can agree there should be a separation of church and state but NOT a separation of Jesus and state– these are two completely different things.

One is a building with religious practices and rules; where as the other is a relationship and foundational base of our country. All moral principles and laws were made based on the truth in the Bible. (stealing is illegal, lying is wrong, cheating/adulatory is wrong, we are to respect our elders, and forgive those who have hurt us– the list could go on)

The Bible is our foundational truth– the truth that people should be using as their source to ‘fact check’ anything. Without the compass of truth and morals– there would be no laws to follow.

I encourage you today to start preparing yourself for the day Jesus returns. Prepare yourself for the battles that lie ahead and equip yourself with the truth of God’s Word.

If the world hates you because of your relationship with Jesus- you are not alone- pick up your cross and keep pushing forward. Fight for what is good and right according to the word of God.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for sending Jesus to be by my side and to go before me in each battle I face. Thank you for Your guidance through Your Word on the hatred in the world and the last days we are living in. I confess that I have allowed the hatred of others to affect my relationship and walk with You- forgive me Lord- and expose to me any hatred I am holding in my heart. Bring every thought and action in accordance with Your will for my life. I pray You would be my strength when I am weak and that in You I will run and not grow weary when standing against the hatred in the world. It is in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Daily Devo- Imagination

Imagination is define as the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses. There are three classifications of imagination– things we should not imagine– things we can not imagine– and things we should imagine.

Luke 1:51 NKJV
He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

Things we SHOULD NOT imagine:

  • Things evil in nature
  • Worrisome thoughts
  • Fearful thoughts
  • Lustful or perverted thoughts

Did you know?

Worry is a misuse of our imagination and it also activates fear.

Somethings we CANNOT imagine:

  • Heaven
  • Plans God has in store for us
  • Blessings
  • Miracles

Did you know?

Some people do not believe in Heaven, because they can not imagine it.

Things we SHOULD imagine:

To possess and exercise a healthy imagination makes the impossible things–possible.

Imagination is essential to living by faith. Hebrews 11:1 tell us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Great lives are built around great imagination God’s dreams are bigger than my dreams. Ephesians 3:20

Don’t plan your life and set goals around what you see or your circumstances. Let the size of your God, determine the size of your goals. Remember, God can make the impossible- possible. Let God’s spirit and His word guide you and fuel your imagination.

Satan comes to put doubt in our mind.

Mark 9:23-24 NKJV
23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”


Doubt is meant to be doubted and beliefs are meant to be believed.

– Pastor Phil Willingham Sermon 2017

As believers we have a helper in life– someone who is trustworthy and loyal– someone the world does not have because they do now know Him, and cannot imagine His existence.

John 14:16-17 NKJV
16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

The key to a stronger and healthier imagination is spending daily quiet time with God. Read His word– listen for His voice– study in your areas of weakness– and trust in His promises.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for being our helping hand and guiding as through Your word. Lord, forgive us for our times of doubt and for our misuse of our imagination. Open our eyes so that we can see the wonderful ways of Your law. Help us to understand so that we can meditate on Your works. I pray that you will stir up our spirits so that we will want to seek You more. I pray You will help us as we seek to have a stronger and healthier imagination. Guide our quiet time in Jesus name I pray.

Amen

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Daily Devo- A Desperate Call in Crisis

Racing thoughts- elevated blood pressure- body sweats- and the sinking feeling in your stomach are common reactions when a crisis strikes in your life. Everything as you know it is about to change- your fearful and overcome with emotion- what am I going to do?

There are two options in this situation- Trust God or Do not trust God. Hand it all over to Him and let Him work it out or frantically start trying to ‘fix’ the situation yourself.

I will give you- a hint one works and one causes a lot more hurt and only further complicates the situation.

In 2 Chronicles 20:20 Jehoshaphat was faced with a serious crisis when he was attacked by enemies on all sides. This was a great moment of desperation for him and he ordered the nation of Israel to worship God and call on Him for deliverance.

Jehoshaphat said, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established, believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”

He knew that he alone could not win the battle- so he focused the nations attention to the only One who really could deliver them- God.

The scripture goes on to explain that the Lord set ambushes against the people who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.

God does not always take us out of a crisis, but He will always see us through it.

If we put our full trust in Him and cry out for His deliverance- He will protect us and bring good to us through the battle. When we put our trust in the Lord- we can not lose- when God is in control we always win the battle.

A few years ago a crisis struck my life and shook my faith like never before! It was an extremely ugly custody battle over my son. I was being attacked on all sides- the court- my family- attorneys- work- and a toxic home life, I had yet to face.

To say it brought me to my knees would be an under statement. My son is my life. How would I go on if he no longer was with on a daily basis. I felt my world begin to crumble around me.

I began seeking and crying out to God like never before. I was a Christian but I did not know God like I do today. He began to expose many chains that had me bound. He exposed my inner self to me- He exposed the toxicity that I was living with daily from my father- He exposed how little trust I actually had in Him.

I have always said I trust and believe in God. That He is my Savior and watches over me. However, saying these things and truly living them with all your heart is two very different things.

As I began to seek Him for answers to the catastrophe of a life I was living- He answered! It was not the answer I wanted, nor the one I thought I would receive, but in the end it was exactly what I had been praying and begging God for.

He knows the desires of our heart and He hears every prayer- it is our job to listen to Him and trust in His response.

I thought I would share with you the battle prayer I wrote when going through some of the darkest- most difficult- times of my life.

My Battle Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Listen to me cry out for I am in desperate need. (Psalm 142:6) Lord God when they plot against me, they figure out how they can take my life, But I trust in you O Lord I declare “You are my God” you determine my destiny rescue me from the power of my enemies and those who chase me. (Psalm 31:13-15) Remind me you have not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) Indeed Lord God you are my rock and my fortress for the sake of your name lead me and guide me. (Psalm 31:3) Lord Jesus when I am surrounded by trouble you keep me safe you oppose my angry enemies and save me by your power, you will do everything you have promised. (Psalm 138:7) For when I am afraid I will trust in you, I praise God for his word I trust God so I am not afraid. What can human beings do to me?(Psalm 56:3-4) Lord God I pray for the blessing you promised of giving words of wisdom that none of my enemies will be able to prove wrong. (Luke 21:15) Lord you are there and know what I should do when I am ready to give up. (Psalm 142:3) Lord help us to remember the weapons of our warfare is not of the flesh but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. (2 Corinthians 10:4) Lord you said “the captives of warriors will be released and the tyrants will be retrieved for I will fight those who fight you and I will save your children” (Isaiah 49:25) and I pray this to be true over my life and my family. Lord God I pray you remind me of what you said in Isaiah 41 “Fear not, for I am with you, Be not dismayed for I am your God I will strengthen you, Yes I will help you , I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” “For I , the Lord your God will hold your right hand saying to you fear not I will help you” God I thank you for the blessing and power of prayer for Jesus answered and said, “Have faith in God, for assuredly I say to you whoever says to this mountain “Be removed and be cast in the sea” and does NOT doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you whatever things you ask when you pray believe that you receive them and you will have them. (Mark 11:22-24) I pray this to be true over my family and my current troubles Lord God. I pray you use this situation to turn bad into good to glorify your name and your kingdom. When we are feeling overwhelmed by all going on give us encouragement, when we’re running out of strength give us endurance. In spite of everything help us know your peace and joy. (Romans 15:5 14:7)If god is with us, no one can defeat us. But in all things we have full victory through God who showed his love for us. (Romans 8) Lord Jesus I pray you dress me in the armor of God having “girded my waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness and having shod my feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God’ (Ephesians 6:14-17) and stop all evil and allow your will to be done. Lord Jesus thank you for all these promises and all the guidance you provide. I pray this unto you in the name of Jesus.

– Amen

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Daily Devo- Truth Not Tolerated

In a world that is clamoring lies- God needs people stand up and speak the truth. Truth that is not the popular opinion but is God’s word. Truth that stands the same today as it did yesterday and as it will in the days to come. Facts and truth do not change- it is our perception of them that do.

The value of truth among the clamoring of lies is priceless. It takes great courage to stand up and declare the truth- knowing no one truly wants to hear it. People claim they want to talk and have open conversations about events in the world today- only to find they do not want to hear anything besides what agrees with their own thoughts and agendas.

People claim to want the truth but when they receive it- they reject it as lies because it does not agree with them. The intolerance for truth has grown far out of control.

Social media networks, big tech, and big media have all chosen to distort the truth and claim lies in attempt to turn the people of our country against one another.

They claim lies as truth and truth as lies. Fact checking every statement made. The problem is they are ‘fact-checking’ against lies instead of the truth- the absolute truth.

God’s people need to wake up and see the growing intolerance against God and the truth in His word. In an effort to “gain equality” for all they are stripping rights away from others. Simply shifting racism and discrimination from one group to another.

1 Kings 22 tells us about Micaiah whom was a prophet who would not tolerate anything but the truth and Ahab whom was the king of Israel who would not tolerate the truth.

Ahab and Jehoshaphat (King of Judah) were forming an alliance to go to war with Syria. This was a terrible idea to begin with. Ahab was an evil king who worshipped idols and surrounded himself with false prophets and Jehoshaphat had been a good king who led his nation back to God.

Jehoshaphat requested guidance from the Lord as to if they should go to war- so Ahab brought in 400 prophets who ‘prophesied’ great success. Jehoshaphat felt something wasn’t right with these ‘prophets’ and asked for a true prophet from the Lord.

Ahab knew a true prophet but hated him because ‘he do not prophesy good concerning him, but evil.

Micaiah was brought to the summit meeting- at first he plays along just to reveal how silly the kings were for seeking prophecies to confirm what they wanted to hear. When pressed for truth, Micaiah came through and predicted defeat for the kings and death to Ahab- if they went to war.

Micaiah was outvoted 400 to 1. The kings went to war and were defeated. Ahab tried to out smart the prophecy and disguise himself to avoid being killed.

But God’s word always stands.

Ahab was killed.

People in the world today are quick to tolerate anything and everything- except what doesn’t agree with them. The truth is the truth no matter what people may do to try to distort it.

Someone not believing what is the truth- does NOT make it any less true.

People need to hear the truth above all the clamoring of lies in the world. It is time to be intolerant of intolerance to the truth.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for giving us the truth in Your Word. Thank you for blessing us with the freedom to choose to seek it in a world that is hell bent on standing on lies. Lord forgive us for being quick to believe what those in the world say is true and not doing our own fact-checking against Your Word. Lord, I pray you would give us courage to stand up for truth. I pray for discernment for all to know when they are being deceived. I pray for wisdom to understand what Your Word says to be true. I pray that You would light a fire in each of our hearts so that we would desire to seek You above all things. I declare in the name of Jesus that Satan’s schemes and deception will NOT prosper. I declare Jesus Christ is our Savior and He alone will save us from the enemy. I pray for safety for our country and Your mighty protection over each of us in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen