Comfortable, Or Wonderful?

Comfortable, Or Wonderful?

If you had to pick between the two which would you choose? Comfortable, or wonderful? I know that I would be inclined to pick comfortable. But I also know that I’d be making the wrong decision. Let me explain. Better yet let the apostle Paul explain:

2 Corinthians 12:1‭-‬10 ESV “I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Paul was made very uncomfortable (by God) through a tormenting messenger or demon from Satan. This was necessary for Paul to continue experiencing many great and wonderful things. Jesus knew just the right amount of suffering (uncomfortableness) needed for Paul to keep him from becoming conceited and destroyed because of his many wonderful visions and revelations.

Imagine yourself as Paul. You’re going through something that feels so bad you 3 times plead with the Lord to take it away. The Lord says, ‘No. You have my grace Paul. That’s all you need. My power is made perfect in your weakness.’ Wow. It’s moments like this that you find out whether you really believe God knows best. Paul did believe it. Instead of raging against the Lord for not making his situation more comfortable he accepted Jesus’ decision saying, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Paul learned the secret of his sufferings. What awesome submission to Almighty God! Bravo!  😉

Of course you know that God is not partial. And He disciplines all of His children He loves. (Hebrews 12:5-11) He knows just the right amount of training we individually need. Will we accept our discipline from the Lord like Paul?

Matthew 16:24 KJV “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Matthew 10:38 NIV “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

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Home

Home

Ahh, the American dream. Many folks are learning just how hard it is to hold on to their homes these days. Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, fires, etcetera, have caused many to become homeless over night. These folks had nice homes, jobs, cars, etcetera, and suddenly it’s all gone. Some will get these things back again. Others won’t be as fortunate.

But there is a home that is eternal. A home that is unaffected by what we call natural disasters. These homes have no rent or mortgages. There’s no costs for utilities. No homeowner’s insurance. No yearly taxes to pay. These homes are built by God for His children. And He has many of them.

John 14:2-3 KJV “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. [3] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

As you read the next few passages try not to just read them, meditate on what they’re saying. They’re talking about your home child of God. A home that you will never lose. A home that you will never have taken away.

Philippians 3:20 NIV “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Revelation 3:12 BBE “Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the house of my God, and he will go out no more: and I will put on him the name of my God, and the name of the town of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my new name.”

Matthew 6:19-20 BBE “Make no store of wealth for yourselves on earth, where it may be turned to dust by worms and weather, and where thieves may come in by force and take it away. 20 But make a store for yourselves in heaven, where it will not be turned to dust and where thieves do not come in to take it away.”

Matthew 19:29 NLT “And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.”

The apostle Peter knew from experience that the Christian life was one of a sojourner, a pilgrim. He knew that nowhere here on earth is really our home. Which is why he wrote:

1 Peter 2:11‭-‬12 ESV “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

This next passage applies to Peter and all who have gone home to rest in the Lord.

Hebrews 11:13-16 “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. [14] People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. [15] If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. [16] Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”

It’s almost time to go to our true home y’all. Hang in there.  😉

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“David Was A Crying Man”

David Was A Crying Man

Psalm 6:6-7 NIV “I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. [7] My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.”

Psalm 42:3 NIV “My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” ‘

Psalm 119:136 KJV “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.”

Psalm 42:5 NIV “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

When I first became a believer God gave me a friend and mentor who was in my life a very short time. He was an older gentleman who I believe was an angel from God. He once said, “David was a crying man. Whenever it gets so rough you feel like you can’t take anymore, just cry out to God like David did and say, “Oh Lord!” ‘ I didn’t understand what he was talking about back then but over the years I have been learning.

Sometimes the pressure feels so great you don’t know what to do or say. But that’s when it’s high time to do what my dear friend told me to do: cry out to God! Have a good old cry to him. Don’t worry about what to say. Just cry out, “Oh Lord.”

Romans 8:26‭-‬27 ESV “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

Haven’t you been hurt so much that it’s too deep for words to explain? When we groan and cry to God in these moments we are praying in the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit intercedes for us in ways our words can never express. God still hears us because He knows the mind of the Spirit who is interceding for us. This I believe is one the most powerful forms of prayer. Because when praying like this a person is crying out from the depths of his/her soul. And the Spirit who is interceding for us is way more powerful than our minds, or any words that we could ever think to say.

I am not saying we shouldn’t pray with our minds, or in intelligible words we understand. I’m simply saying that we should pray in the Holy Spirit too.

1 Corinthians 14:15 ESV “What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.”

My friend I told you about was teaching me how to pray in the Holy Spirit, not just with my mind. He knew there were turbulent times ahead for me and this was something I needed to know. In fact when we first met he told me, “You don’t pray in the Holy Spirit yet.” I didn’t know what he was talking about but he was right. He told me many other things about myself that no one else could have known but God. I look so forward to meeting him again.  😉

I hope this short piece encourages you in what to do when times get so tough you feel like you’re gonna pop. God; our Father,  🙂  has unlimited power, and He willingly shares it with all who humbly come to him.

James 4:6 NIV “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NLT “Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. [8] Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. [9] Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. [10] That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Isaiah 40:30-31 NIV “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; [31] but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Psalm 34:17 NIV “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”

Yes, David too was a crying man. But he was also a man after God’s own heart. (Acts 13:22)

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It Only Takes A Little Faith

It Only Takes A Little Faith

Matthew 17:20 KJV “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

Don’t you just love the way Jesus teaches us? Can you imagine the looks on His disciples faces when he said, ‘You can tell this mountain to move from here to there and it will move?’ Jesus wants us to be mountain movers too.

Hebrews 11:6 KJV “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

God loves rewarding those who seek Him diligently. And He loves demonstrating how powerful our faith in Him is. Faith goes beyond anything in this world. It is not from this world. It is of God.

Hebrews 11:1 KJV “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

The natural mind doesn’t understand faith. ‘How can there be evidence of things not seen?’ they may ask. To answer such a question I’ll give an example: you believe that wind exist, right? But can you see the wind? No. But you do see evidence of the wind in everything from a sailboat to a hurricane. Likewise those who have faith in God and His mighty power don’t have to see everything physically to know that He exist. But they can also see the invisible qualities of God through the things He has made.

Romans 1:20 KJV “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”

FAITH MOVES MOUNTAINS/GIANTS TOO

To illustrate faith further a young boy named David was moved by his faith to boldly confront a battle tested champion named Goliath. David wasn’t a soldier. He was a young shepherd boy who herded sheep, and wrote songs and poems about God. A highly unlikely candidate to take on a warrior of Goliath’s stature. Oh, I forgot to add; Goliath was a nine and a half foot giant! Had David ever fought a nine and a half foot giant before? Had he ever SEEN or experienced this? No. So what evidence did he have that emboldened him to take on such a task? Was this boy just nuts? Let’s let David answer these questions in his own words.

While asking King Saul for permission to fight the giant this is what David said:

1 Samuel 17:34-37 NIV “But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, [35] I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. [36] Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. [37] 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.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

What a man! I mean, “boy.” Hah hah hah! David was something else. And yes, he was successful in striking down and defeating the giant Goliath. This great victory of faith has become known for thousands of years. Do you SEE what faith can do for you?

Like David we can do things too we’ve never done or seen before. What evidence do we have of things unseen? What mighty acts have we witnessed our heavenly Father do? To whom can we compare our God? To no one! He is the King of the universe!

2 Chronicles 16:9 KJV “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.”

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I Know Both?

I Know Both

Philippians 4:12-13 KJV “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

What powerful words! They are inspired words of God spoken through a man who really knew what he was saying. The apostle Paul experienced the best of times and the worse of them. But through them all he maintained his faith. That’s not as easy a task as some might think. It is a constant battle.

True​ Faith is not a possession of all people. (2 Thessalonians 3:2) Jesus Himself prophesied many would turn away from the faith. (Matthew 24:10 1 Timothy 4:1) And He encouraged many to believe and hold on to what they have. (Revelation 3:11) What makes people like Paul stay true to the faith despite going through the harshest persecution? They desire God more than anything else. They don’t put any other gods before Him, including themselves.

People like Job, Jeremiah, folks like David, Daniel, Deborah, and the best example Jesus Christ, valued their relationships with God more than anything else. Studying their lives shows us how to win the fight for the faith.

1 Timothy 6:12 KJV “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

Jude 1:3 KJV “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

“I CAN DO ALL THINGS?”

So often we hear people use the phrase, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” They are quoting Philippians 4:13. But many don’t know what verse 12 says. Verse 12 gives us the context of what verse 13 means. Paul by the Holy Spirit was saying that whether he was having it good or bad, whether well fed or hungry, he knew how to serve God acceptably in both circumstances. Not all people will serve God if they are hungry or in need. But a person with true faith will.

Are we willing to do and go through, “All Things,” for the name of Christ? Do not even true friends go through the good and bad times together? Isn’t this the test of a good marriage? Human nature teaches us that folks are willing to suffer for whatever they want. The question is, how much do we want God? Do we really believe in Him? Do we believe His word?

As we hold on to our Faith in our Lord and Savior ALL THE TIME, THROUGH BOTH GOOD AND BAD TIMES, we too will be able to truthfully say like Paul, ‘I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me.’ Jesus gives us the secret to success in the next passage:

Matthew 7:24-27 NIV “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. [25] The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. [26] But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. [27] The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Did you catch the secret to success? Yes, we must hear Jesus’ words and put them into practice. That means we must study His words. They’re found in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The person who diligently studies God’s word and genuinely puts them into practice will have a healthy faith. He/She too will be able to say like the apostle Paul, ‘I can do all things through christ who strengthens me.’ “I KNOW BOTH HOW TO BE ABASED, AND I KNOW HOW TO ABOUND.”

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