Matthew 6:10 NIV - your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
What is God’s kingdom, and what does it mean to pray for its arrival?
Luke 17:20-21 NKJV Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Jesus’ answer was that the kingdom of God was not coming in the manner the Pharisees were expecting. The kingdom would not be inaugurated with spectacle or splendor; there would be no great and magnificent leader who staked out a geographical claim and routed the Romans; rather, the kingdom would come silently and unseen,
Matthew 13:24, 26-33, 38-50 NKJV Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ” Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
In fact, Jesus says, the kingdom had already begun, right under the Pharisees’ noses. When Jesus said that “the kingdom of God is within you.” He was certainly not saying that the kingdom of God resided within the Pharisees’ hearts. The Pharisees opposed Jesus and had no relationship with God. The better translation would be “in your midst” or “among you.” Jesus was telling the Pharisees that He brought the kingdom of God to earth. Jesus’ presence in their midst gave them a taste of the kingdom life, as attested by the miracles that Jesus performed.
There are three popular interpretations of Jesus’ words in Luke 17:21 that the kingdom of God is within you (or among you): 1) the kingdom of God is essentially inward, within man’s heart; 2) the kingdom is within your reach if you make the right choices; and 3) the kingdom of God is in your midst in the person and presence of Jesus. The best of these interpretations, it seems, is the third: Jesus was inaugurating the kingdom as He changed the hearts of men, one at a time.
The kingdom of God is not something that is part of the political systems of this world. No government on earth truly represents God’s kingdom. Instead, Christians are citizens of a kingdom that will one day arrive in consummate glory. Our hope is not that the governments of this world will transform into the kingdom of God, but that the kingdom of God will come from heaven to earth in power and glory.
In Scripture the kingdom of God must be understood as something that is already here on earth but not yet fully present. In other words, the kingdom of God has been inaugurated but not yet consummated.
This kingdom arrived with the coming of Christ, who urged his hearers to repent because the “kingdom of God is at hand.”
Matthew 4:17 (NKJV) From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Christians are now part of that kingdom. As Paul stated,
Colossians 1:13-14 (NKJV)13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
Thus, even though we await the full expression of God’s kingdom that will come in glory and power at the return of Christ, we are at this time living under the reign of God as his people—we are citizens of that kingdom.
You Bring God’s Kingdom To Earth
by Randy Robison
What exactly is a kingdom?
The classic definition is “the territory subject to the rule of a king.” But there is another definition equally as operative in the Greek for the word basileia, which is used in the biblical phrase “the kingdom of Heaven.” It is a “royal power, kingship, and dominion not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom.” In other words, a kingdom isn’t necessarily a tract of land or a collection of cities. It is a sphere of influence under the authority of a sole ruler.
When Jesus was brought before Pilate, just before His crucifixion, Pilate asked Him if He was indeed the King of the Jews. Jesus told him,
My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm. — John 18:36
Christ’s kingdom is one of influence and authority, not borders and cities.
Another telling characteristic comes from Paul’s assertion that
the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power. — 1 Corinthians 4:20
The proof of His kingdom doesn’t come on Sunday morning when the congregation is watching. It comes during the week when you’re alone. It’s not about how loudly it’s declared, but how soundly it’s lived. It’s easy to make a show of it through forceful words, but the real measure comes in the quiet times. When transgression takes hold, discord sets in, discontent reigns, patience evaporates, and every other fruit of the Spirit withers, the kingdom of heaven is not present. Even so, it is still near. It’s just a matter of changing our mind and renewing our spirit.
The way we live indicates whether we are abiding in His kingdom. Paul encouraged believers to
walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. — 1 Thessalonians 2:12
He goes on to say that we do this by receiving His word. This evidence that we have received it comes when it “performs its work” in us. Its work is changing our minds. When our minds change, aligning with His truth, it changes everything – the way we think, speak, and act. This enables us to spread His kingdom by expanding His influence.
This is not a call to abandon the temporary because of the eternal. In fact, just the opposite. Those with an eternal view are far more suited to steward the temporary. We just understand that there is more than what we can touch, see, and hear. We build our lives on more than the earth on which we live; we build it on an unshakeable foundation.
God’s kingdom is here and it’s for you.
You need not die to enter into His kingdom. It’s as simple and profound as, “Your kingdom come.” It comes when “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). It brings peace, joy, and righteousness. His kingdom in your life impacts those around you. It can be beautifully shocking to people, like a blind man who suddenly sees. The promise of power in the Holy Spirit means you can touch others with the supremacy of His kingdom, showing them the entrance.
You are the welcoming party for those ready to enter the kingdom of God.
Jesus begins his ministry with this reading from the prophet Isaiah.
Luke 4:18-21 NIV “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
His claim about its fulfillment almost got him killed on the spot. Why? Because he applied this promise of radical healing and freedom not only to Israel, but also to the surrounding nations.
John 10:16 NIV I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
In fact, he subtly suggested that Israel’s hard-heartedness toward him would cause them to forfeit this promise altogether.
Luke 4:24-30 NIV “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way. (emphasis mine)
Whether it was ethnocentrism, nationalism, or something else all together, they could not handle this message. Today, we also are tempted to limit the benefits of God’s kingdom to people who look like us, share our nationality and our status. It is surprising how easily we contort the gospel so that it fits into our worldview, which supports our particular way of living, thinking, acting and feeling. But Jesus blows up the boundary lines we draw: God’s blessings are for all people. Who do we feel tempted to exclude? To judge or look down upon? To avoid and ignore? Jesus is announcing a day of the Lord’s favor where precisely those who are poor, blind and enslaved (both physically and spiritually) are invited to experience God’s grace, life, love, justice and mercy. That offer is for every person who has not accepted it. For those who have, we must ask: How can we, as Christ’s body, show his love to such people in our lives?
“Diversity is the one true thing we have in common. Celebrate it every day.”
Unity in diversity is more beautiful and more powerful than the unity of uniformity. When their diversity unites in worship to God, the beauty of their praise will echo the depth and greatness of God’s beauty far more than if the redeemed were from only a few different people groups.
Psalm 96:3-4 NIV Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. (Emphasis mine)
The beauty and power of praise that will come to the Lord from the diversity of the nations are greater than the beauty and power that would come to him if the chorus of the redeemed were culturally uniform.
In the prayer model that Jesus described to His disciples He said;
Matthew 6:9-10 NIV “This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
That kingdom has no geographic boundaries.
The last thing that Jesus said to his disciples was to go into to all the world not to a single nation or special group of people, and make disciples who would become citizens of God’s Kingdom.
Matthew 28:18-20 NIV Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Psalm 44:1-26 (NLT2)1 O God, we have heard it with our own ears— our ancestors have told us of all you did in their day, in days long ago:2 You drove out the pagan nations by your power and gave all the land to our ancestors. You crushed their enemies and set our ancestors free.3 They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them.4 You are my King and my God. You command victories for Israel.5 Only by your power can we push back our enemies; only in your name can we trample our foes.6 I do not trust in my bow; I do not count on my sword to save me.7 You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies; you disgrace those who hate us.8 O God, we give glory to you all day long and constantly praise your name. Interlude
9 But now you have tossed us aside in dishonor. You no longer lead our armies to battle.10 You make us retreat from our enemies and allow those who hate us to plunder our land.11 You have butchered us like sheep and scattered us among the nations.12 You sold your precious people for a pittance, making nothing on the sale.13 You let our neighbors mock us. We are an object of scorn and derision to those around us.14 You have made us the butt of their jokes; they shake their heads at us in scorn.15 We can’t escape the constant humiliation; shame is written across our faces.16 All we hear are the taunts of our mockers. All we see are our vengeful enemies.17 All this has happened though we have not forgotten you. We have not violated your covenant.18 Our hearts have not deserted you. We have not strayed from your path.19 Yet you have crushed us in the jackal’s desert home. You have covered us with darkness and death.20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread our hands in prayer to foreign gods,21 God would surely have known it, for he knows the secrets of every heart.22 But for your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.23 Wake up, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Get up! Do not reject us forever.24 Why do you look the other way? Why do you ignore our suffering and oppression?25 We collapse in the dust, lying face down in the dirt.26 Rise up! Help us! Ransom us because of your unfailing love.
A Plea For Justice
Believe it or not this Psalm is a song of Israel’s complaint against God. It is the only Psalm that actually rebuks God blaming Him for the nation’s defeat. The the trouble that the writer alludes to he attributes to God and not because of the nation’s disobedience or sin. The writer believes that God has the power to help but doesn’t.
The psalm begins by recounting the blessings of the past and moves quickly to boasting in God for the victories they have accomplished.Victories were achieved because of God not their power or abilities.
God had now abandoned them for some reason.Because He didn’t go with them their enemies had forced them to retreat.
Psalm 44:9-11 (NLT2)9 But now you have tossed us aside in dishonor. You no longer lead our armies to battle.10 You make us retreat from our enemies and allow those who hate us to plunder our land.11 You have butchered us like sheep and scattered us among the nations.
The writer accuses God of turning His back on them. He makes sarcastic remarks saying that God had made a bad bargain in selling His people for nothing.
Psalm 44:12 (NLT2)12 You sold your precious people for a pittance, making nothing on the sale.
Afterall, in the opinion of the psalmist they had remained faithful.
Psalm 44:17-18, 20-21 (NLT2)17 All this has happened though we have not forgotten you. We have not violated your covenant.18 Our hearts have not deserted you. We have not strayed from your path. 20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread our hands in prayer to foreign gods,21 God would surely have known it, for he knows the secrets of every heart.
He then pleas for justice.
Psalm 44:23-25 (NLT2)23 Wake up, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Get up! Do not reject us forever.24 Why do you look the other way? Why do you ignore our suffering and oppression?
25 We collapse in the dust, lying face down in the dirt.
After all the complaining and sarcasm the psalmist ends with a plea for mercy because of His unfailing love.
For Us Today
As the writer says, in this instance, Israel had done nothing wrong but their enemies had defeated them. This happens to Christians today. Because of the evil of this fallen world bad things happen.
Why does God let it happen? He allows it to make us strong.
Romans 5:3-5 (NLT2)3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
James 1:2-4 (NLT2)2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
When we were young we often heard our parents and teachers who urged us, when we became successful, to never forget where we came from. That was a very prevalent comment for those of us who are African Americans, from the south, and over 65. They would tell us that so that we would always remember that someone helped us and that we should look back and help those from our communities become successful too. However many of us, when we became successful in our careers and professions did forget. It became all about us and what we had to do to become even more successful. Sometimes people would catch a coat tale and remind us where we came from and the struggle of those still there. We might feel guilty for a moment and do a little bit for a short time, but because it’s all about us we forget again. In fact we often look down on those who are in the same shape that we were at one times in our lives. We might even think that they're in that condition because they have no ingenuity or drive. What we forget is that we had examples yet we refuse to become an example.
It's the same thing with us Christians., once we have been saved. We look down our noses on the unsaved. One of the biggest dangers we face as Christians: becoming exclusive with the grace of Jesus Christ. We have forgotten where we came from. The Church is not a showcase for saints, but a place where people of all backgrounds can come and say “I need Jesus”. Neither is God’s love ours to withhold, nor are we more deserving of His mercy than the stranger off the street. In fact, the Bible is pretty clear that Jesus made a habit of knocking “Holy” individuals down to size:
Luke 7:44-50 (NLT2)44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair.45 You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet.46 You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.47 “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”49 The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?”50 And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Paul reminds the Corinthians where many of them came from.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NLT2)9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
John Upchurch also talks about it in his article “Sinners Gonna Sin”. I hope it causes you to remember where you came from and encourages you to go back and provide that example for others that need it so that they can join you in the family of God.
Sinners Gonna Sin
by John UpChurch
“For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.” Philippians 3:18-19
We should never be surprised by sin. Humans run to it, fill their hands with the dripping filth, and smear it over their bodies. From birth. From conception (Psalm 51:5). It’s the natural state of what it means to be a fallen Homo sapiens.
Often, though, it’s easy to forget our own dip into the slop. Years of following Jesus can make that mud bath indistinct and alien in our memories. We were, but are no longer (Romans 6:6). The times we plunged headfirst into sin no longer seem real. We forget how arduous the road has been that’s brought us here—the struggles, the temptations, the urges to turn around and dive back in. We forget that each victory came with wounds. We forget why we have the scars.
With that newness of rebirth comes the temptation to compare everything and everyone with where we are now. Our filth cleansed, we see clearly. And what we see are those pitiful figures still flailing in the dirt, still covering themselves with sin.
It’s easy to be disgusted. The mud seems much dirtier now than it was when we were in it, more putrid to our nostrils. Certainly we would never do what they do—those still wallowing, those whose god is their every whim and desire. There’s nothing very attractive in the mess.
But when you think of what will become of those who blindly grope in the sludge, when you consider the destiny of those who glory in their own shame, you start to see something else. God looked into just such filth to find a struggling wretch—one that looked just like you. His love wasn’t deterred by all your caked-on grime. His compassion wasn’t stopped by the junk that clung to you. He yanked you from the pit and put your feet on the rock. Then, He washed you clean.
Sin comes naturally to humanity. But love that looks past the grime to share the hope of the gospel? That’s the hard thing. That’s the thing worth doing.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Those who are enemies of the cross, as Paul describes them, will sin. They’ll do so in small ways, and they’ll do so blatantly and defiantly. And from outside the mud bath, it’s easy for us to wrinkle our noses in disgust. “Sure, we all sin,” we might tell ourselves, “but they’re reveling in the stuff.”
But compassion, the kind that rolls through 1 Corinthians 13, peers ahead to the future destiny of those writhing in the filth and peels back the layers of grime. There, we see humans destined for destruction. They may not want help, but they need it. And you’re called to offer it to them.
This is a time in the history of the United States where truth is taking a beating. Truth doesn't seem to matter at all; truth has become relative rather than absolute. Even Christians try to twist truth to make it fit a certain philosophy whether conservative, liberal, or progressive; Truth is determined by the person who is saying whatever. We are even told to not believe truth even when we see and hear it.
But Truth Matters
The truth can be a funny thing. While not always valued by others, it is most certainly favored by God and our hopes of ensuring wholesome relationships. We may think we are clever enough to fool other people, God, or even ourselves, but little do we know of the ultimate consequences of our attempts to deceive reality. However painful or awkward the truth may be, it is “truly” our only opportunity to create harmony and receive God’s grace. The Bible reminds us of the power of truth quite frequently and we’d be wise to follow its advice. These Bible verses about the power of truth are just what I needed today.
Here are 20 brilliant Bible verses about the power of truth from God Updates. (Emphasis mine)
Bible Verses about the Power of Truth
John 17:17 ESV
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
Psalm 145:18 ESV
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
2 Timothy 2:15 ESV
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
Ephesians 6:14 ESV
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
Proverbs 12:22 ESV
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.
John 4:24 ESV
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
1 John 3:18 ESV
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Psalm 119:160 ESV
The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
John 1:14 ESV
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
1 Corinthians 13:4-6 ESV
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; love is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Bible Verses about the Power of Truth: Enlightening Scripture
John 8:32 ESV
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
John 14:6 ESV
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 16:13 ESV
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Psalm 25:5 ESV
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
James 1:18 ESV
Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
John 18:37-38 ESV
Then Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world-to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice." Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, "I find no guilt in him.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
John 1:17 ESV
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 4:15 ESV
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
1 John 5:20 ESV
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
THE TRUTH MATTERS!!
Those of you who follow this blog and my Facebook and Google+ pages know that I have published a number of post, lead three Bible Studies, and preached a sermon over the last couple of months on Christians and depression, This is in addition to a number of posts over the last year on not allowing ourselves to become trapped by discouragement.
In my posts, Bible Studies, and sermon I talk about what the Bible says about stress, anxiety, worry, depression and discouragement. I caution my readers and listeners that I am not a physiatrist, psychologist, or trained counselor. I am merely giving you what the Bible says along with information from things I read from healthcare professionals.
Over the past week I have been reading the YouVersion Reading Plan,”Victory Over Depression With and Without Medicines” taken from a book written by Dr. Bergina Isbell a Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins trained Psychiatrist. The following is the last devotion of that Plan.
The World Health Organization estimates 350 million people suffer from depression globally, and depression knows no religious, racial, gender, or economic boundaries. But, depression does have boundaries in terms of how it affects your life!
When a wound is first inflicted, touching it can be very painful. As the wound heals, it becomes no longer painful, though a scar may remain. Healing from wounds inflicted by depression is possible. Focusing on positive and encouraging material actively changes your mind and your brain over time. As believers we know that the Bible promises healing of all sickness, illness, and disease. We are told to ask in prayer for healing and then give thanksgiving in faith for what we asked (1 Thessalonians 5:18). King David did this often. He began many songs, or Psalms, with an honest account of his feelings, but then he seems to abruptly turn the focus from himself to his God, offering praise for things that God had already done and for the future things he had faith that He would do. Many have noticed benefit from turning their hurting hearts towards helping others. Again, this takes the focus off of you, ultimately helping with your healing process and that of others. For some, you will experience healing swiftly. For others, the process may take longer and a medicine or other intervention is helpful.
The story is told of a man who needed surgery to repair a badly injured knee. The man asked the surgeon “how long would it take the knee to be completely healed after the surgery?” The surgeon replied, “I will do the surgery, but it’s up to God to do the healing.” I think that was a wise response. There is a limit to modern medicine. Providers do the very best we can by our patients, but we do not have all of the answers. I believe that where we end in our abilities, that is where God begins. There are a host of scriptures on healing of illnesses recorded in the Bible, including wise sayings about depression. Meditate on these scriptures until they are engrafted in your mind and on your heart.
Philippians 4:6 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Isaiah 53:5 NIV But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Psalm 147:3 NIV He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Jeremiah 30:7 NIV How awful that day will be! No other will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.
Psalm 107:19-20 NIV Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.
Matthew 15:30-31 NIV Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
The YouVersion Reading Plan “Victory Over Depression With and Without Medicines” is provided by Growing in Grace, LLC from the book Victory Over Depression With and Without Medicines by Dr. Bergina Isbell. Dr. Isbell is a Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins trained Psychiatrist who helps others transform their lives by developing a mindset for growth and purpose.
The word burnout means “the reduction of a fuel or substance to nothing through use or combustion.” It can also mean “physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.” Both definitions are applicable when it comes to ministry burnout
Have you ever gotten tired of ministry I don't mean ministering; I mean going from this meeting to that meeting, this program to that program, visiting this person then that person, answering the phone in the middle of dinner, answering the phone in the middle of the night, getting a phone call on vacation, etc., etc., etc. There seems to be no time for yourself or your family.
You’re headed for “burnout”.
Burnout can be experienced in a variety of ways. Because our bodies, souls, minds, and spirits are integrated parts of a greater whole, the following types of burnout often come together and have a compounding effect on each other:
Rest and Pray
by Sarah Young, from Jesus Calling: 50 Devotions for Comfort
*Full scriptures added by me
Rest in Me, My child.
Give your mind a break from planning and trying to anticipate what will happen. Pray continually, asking My Spirit to take charge of the details of this day. Remember that you are on a journey with Me. When you try to peer into the future and plan for every possibility, you ignore your constant Companion, who sustains you moment by moment. As you gaze anxiously into the distance, you don’t even feel the strong grip of My hand holding yours. How foolish you are, My child!
Remembrance of Me is a daily discipline. Never lose sight of My Presence with you. This will keep you resting in Me all day, every day.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 139:9-10 NIV If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalm 62:5 NIV Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
Let Me show you My way for you this day.
I guide you continually so you can relax and enjoy My Presence in the present. Living well is both a discipline and an art. Concentrate on staying close to Me, the divine Artist. Discipline your thoughts to trust Me as I work My ways in your life.
Pray about everything; then leave outcomes up to Me.
Do not fear My will, for through it I accomplish what is best for you. Take a deep breath and dive into the depths of absolute trust in Me. Underneath are the everlasting arms!
Psalm 5:2-3 NIV Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, Lord , you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
ISAIAH 26:4 AMP “Trust [confidently] in the Lord forever [He is your fortress, your shield, your banner], For the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].
Deuteronomy 33:27 NIV The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemies before you, saying, ‘Destroy them!’
Rest in My Presence, allowing Me to take charge of this day.
Do not bolt into the day like a racehorse suddenly released. Instead, walk purposefully with Me, letting Me direct your course one step at a time. Thank Me for each blessing along the way; this brings Joy to both you and Me. A grateful heart protects you from negative thinking. Thankfulness enables you to see the abundance I shower upon you daily. Your prayers and petitions are winged into heaven’s throne room when they are permeated with thanksgiving. In everything give thanks, for this is My will for you.
Matthew 11:28 NKJV Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Colossians 4:2 NKJV Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;
in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB
Excerpted with permission from Jesus Calling: 50 Devotions for Comfort by Sarah Young, copyright Sarah Young.
I know a lot of people,and you may be one, who say that you should never question God. After all He’s omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and eternal. He’s sovereign and can do whatever He wants whenever He wants. (However there are some things that He can't do. Read my post “There Are Some Things That God Can’t Do”). But I haven't found anywhere in scripture where God says that we shouldn't or can't ask Him questions.
Questioning doesn't mean doubting.
Isaiah 1:18 (NLT2) “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.
In fact there are a number of places, in scripture, where people ask God questions and sometimes they ask for proof. Let me be clear I’m talking about questioning not doubting.
When we question God, we aren't saying that we don't believe due to our limitation, we are saying I want more information. I wrote and published a post several years ago where I said that doubt doesn't equally unbelief (Faith vs. Doubt The Battle of Our Lives). It's OK to question God as long as our motivation is not about us. It's about God. We don't question God to say we think he is making the wrong decision. We are questioning God to help us understand. We are asking God for more details and a clearer direction.
Deuteronomy 29:29 NIV The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.
When we do question God we can let him know we are frustrated and upset. Even David cried out to God with anger.
Psalm 22:1-2 NIV My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.
We can tell God what we like and don't like about the situation. We can even tell him we are afraid. But bottom-line, in it all we have to come to that place of trust. God chooses to reveal what he wants, when he wants. Asking God keeps us in a balanced relationship with God, whereas doubting keeps things one-way.
A feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction. Depending on your maturity in Christ, we can often doubt God. We might question what he is doing in our lives. We see things happen around us and we can get so blinded by the enemy. We don't see how God is going to help us out of the situation. We simply settle on man's best vs. God's best. Because God doesn't work on our timetable we give up, losing our trust in him.
When we doubt, we become very self-focused. You forget how God has come through in so many other situations in your life, or how he is going to come through in the future. We doubt God when we truly do not believe who he says he is and what he is. We have to learn to trust God, to be obedient, no matter what. Please understand, if God has appointed you, he has then anointed you; he will equip you and always provide. This is God's process with his children, his heirs. Because of this truth, we have no need to ever doubt. Doubt comes from the enemy, not from God, whereas questioning can be from God.
I'm not talking about those times we are asking for guidance or permission like David and others Kings asking if they should attack their enemies and if they did if He would guarantee victory. I'm talking about questioning one of God’s decisions of asking for proof the He really meant what He said.
Gideon asked for proof and he asked twice.
Judges 6:13, 15-15, 17-18, 36-40 NIV “Pardon me, my Lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” “Pardon me, my Lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.” And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.” Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised— look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.
Jeremiah questioned God.
Jeremiah 15:15-18 NIV Lord , you understand; remember me and care for me. Avenge me on my persecutors. You are long-suffering—do not take me away; think of how I suffer reproach for your sake. When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty. I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone because your hand was on me and you had filled me with indignation. Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? You are to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails.
Jeremiah 20:7-8 NIV You deceived me, Lord , and I was deceived ; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long.
Habakkuk questioned God.
Habakkuk 1:2-3 NIV How long, Lord , must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.
The problem is many people often question God with a rebellious untrusting heart not truly trying to get an answer from the Him.
They try to attack the character of God because God allowed something to happen. Attacking God’s character is dangerously close to blasphemy.
We can’t see the future so we don’t know what God has planned for our lives, and we can't see the things He’s doing behind the scenes. Sometimes we might say, “why God” and later find out the reason that God did this and that.
It’s one thing to ask God why and another thing to doubt His goodness and His existence. In confusing situations pray for wisdom and expect an answer.
James 1:5 (NLT2) If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
Give God thanks daily and trust in the Lord with all your heart because He knows what He’s doing.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
It all goes back to motive. If it’s because we are trying to delay obedience to the Lord, if it is coming from a prideful heart that says, 'I know better than God,' if we question God's authority, those are the wrong motives.
If, however, we question because we desperately want to know the answer, because we desperately want to know who our Lord truly is, because we need to see the light in the midst of our own confusion, those are right motives.
There’s a significant difference between questioning that brings wisdom and a fuller understanding of God and the kind of questioning that simply seeks to validate your own thinking.
Was He Really a Doubting Thomas?
By Greg Laurie
Thomas, one of Jesus' disciples, had the nickname Doubting Thomas, but I think that is a bit unfair. I have always thought of Thomas as more of a skeptic than a doubter. After all, Thomas did not ask for a special revelation from Jesus. He simply asked for the same proof the other disciples had (see John 20:25). Thomas was the kind of guy who wanted to know for himself. He was his own man. He would not let others do his thinking for him.
What did Jesus do with such a man? He made a special resurrection appearance for him. He condescended to Thomas and his desire to know for himself. What amazes me about this is that Jesus came to Thomas on his level. He didn't rebuke him. He didn't humiliate him. He could see that deep down in Thomas's heart, he really wanted to know God. Jesus came to him and said, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing" (John 20:27).
I like Thomas, because by nature I, too, am a skeptical person. I have never been one to believe something just because someone says it is true.
You might be someone who is a bit skeptical, a bit unsure of your faith. You may have a lot of questions. Deep down inside, you want to know God. You want to know for yourself. The risen Lord has something for you. He can turn your skepticism into belief.
Just come to Him with your questions. Come to Him with your doubts. You, too, will be able to say, "My Lord and my God!"
Taken from "New Knowledge for the Skeptic" by Harvest Ministries (used by permission).
God Is Omnipresent
Man is limited by a physical body, and can be only in one place at any one time. God, however, is spirit and can be everywhere in the universe at the same time. This attribute, is also related to His unlimited power to act and to know. God is present everywhere in the sense that everything everywhere is in His presence - He can see, know, and act in all places at once.
Psalm 139:7-10 (NKJV)7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.
God Is Omniscient
If God has the power to do whatever He chooses to do, it makes sense that He also has unlimited knowledge and wisdom.
Psalm 147:4-5 (NKJV)4 He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.
God Is Omnipotent
Man and other created beings have limited power over other created things. Only God has unlimited power over all creation. Absolutely nothing is impossible for Him.
Job 42:1-2 (NKJV) Then Job answered the LORD and said:2 "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
God Is Sovereign
God is in control of all things, including human decisions.
Psalms 135:6 (NKJV) Whatever the Lord pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places.
Ephesians 1:11-12 (NKJV) In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
But There Are Some Things That God Can't Do
These attributes of God show us that He is Almighty God and can do anything that He wants to do, anywhere and anytime. God is also, good, holy, faithful, loving, just, patient, and righteous, and since these things make up God’s character there are some things He can’t do. What????
Maisie Sparks believes in the omnipotence of God, yet she has come up with a list of 101 things God cannot do, including lie, forsake his own, despise a contrite heart, allow anything to separate us from his love, or let our prayers go unanswered.
Here are 20 of those things from her book 101 Things God Can’t Do.
20 Things God Can't Do
It is because God is unable to do these things, that we can do all things through Christ.
“That by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” – Hebrews 6:18
Can’t Leave You
“And, behold I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” – Genesis 28:15
Can’t Forsake You
“I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5
Can’t Despise a Broken Heart
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite hear, O God thou wilt not despise” – Psalm 51:17
“Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” – Psalm 121:4
Can’t Stop Loving You
“I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” – Jeremiah 31:3
Can’t Go Unnoticed
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” – Psalm 19:1
Can’t Bear Sin
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” – Isaiah 59:2
Can’t Leave Work Unfinished
“Being confident of this very thing, that He which begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6
Can’t Forget You
“Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.”- Isaiah 49:15
Can’t Get Tired
“The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary…” – Isaiah 40:28
Can’t Make Losers
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ.- 2 Corinthians 2:14
Can’t Be Silenced
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” – Matthew 24:35
Can’t Be Imperfect
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48
Can’t Be Second
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” – Exodus 20:3
Can’t Be Divided
“I and my Father are one.” – John 10:30
" I am the Lord. I do not change." - Malachi 3:6
Can't Be Destroyed
“Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.” – Psalm 145:13
Can’t Break a Promise
“My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips” – Psalm 89:34
Can’t Be Selfish
“He that spareth not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” – Romans 8:32
Exodus 33:15-16 CEV Then Moses replied, “If you aren't going with us, please don't make us leave this place. But if you do go with us, everyone will know that you are pleased with your people and with me. That way, we will be different from the rest of the people on earth.”
One of the major reasons of burnout is stress. We put too much pressure on ourselves. We believe that we have to get everything done today, and that it has to be done our way. When we put that kind of pressure on ourselves and we can't get it things done then we stress out. Too much stress and then we burn out. When we burn out we are of no use to our sales on anyone else. The best way to relieve stress is to delegate. without sounding condescending to God what I mean is that the things that we are responsible for we let God handle. You feel comfortable in delegating something to someone else when you have confidence that they will accomplish the task. If we say that we have faith in God and trust him we have confidence in him. We all can quote the scripture that nothing is impossible for God. What if that's the case then let him do it. We've seen the bumper sticker to let God Drive. well let him drive and let him relieve the stress. and when we turn the wheel over to him we should not be back street drivers just let him take us to the places that he wants us to go.
Proverbs 3:5-6 CEV With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow.
Lord Jesus, Please Lead Me. Take The Wheel. Take The Whole Car! Take My Life. No More Pushing To The Front Of The Line For Me. I Want You, Jesus. I Want More Of You.
Let God Take the Driver’s Seat
By Rick Warren
“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; Iam” (Matthew 16:24 The Message).
How do you let go and let God? First, you have to make Jesus the manager of your life.
The problem is, we usually want to be the manager of our own lives, and so we argue and disagree with God. We think we know what’s best. The reason you’re under a lot of stress is that you’re constantly fighting God in your mind — “I know God says to do this, but I want to do that instead!”
Every morning when you wake up, you have a decision to make: Who’s going to be in charge of your life? Who’s going to be in control — you or God? Who’s going to call the shots — you or God? Every day, moment-by-moment, you are making that decision. When you choose to make yourself the manager of your own life, it causes conflict, confusion, and stress.
Jesus says in Matthew 16:24, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; Iam” (The Message). Here’s what Christians tend to do: When we become believers in Christ, we give him the driver’s seat and then promptly hop into the backseat and become backseat drivers. We’re constantly giving him “advice,” like, “No, turn this way. Stop. Wait. Faster! I want to go that way. I want to see that sight.”
Many years ago Kay and I took dancing lessons from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. The instructor told us that one of the biggest problems couples have is letting the other lead. When they’re both trying to lead, they’re stepping on each other’s feet all the time, and it doesn’t look very pretty.
Your life doesn’t look very pretty when you’re trying to lead with God at the same time. You just need to let God be God and make Jesus the manager of your life.
This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.