In my sermon and Bible Studies on depression I say one of the signs that you may be heading toward depression is having unrealistic expectations or others. It’s easier to blame somebody else than ourselves. They are the ones with the problem not us. That’s the way depressed people act sometimes and I can tell you that it’s true I have firsthand experience. We should stop asking God to change the other person, because He won’t in most cases, but ask Him to change us and our attitude. If we always maintain a victim mentality always blaming others we will never walk in the victory that Jesus promises.
We also have an unrealistic desire to be liked by everyone. Well everybody is not going to like you so don’t sweat it. Everybody didn’t like Jesus and we can’t let what others think about us dominate our lives we should be seeking the approval of God and not man.
Psalm 118:6-7 NIV The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.
If we are always concerned about the way others interact with us, always maintaining a victim mentality, and always blaming others we will never walk in the victory that Jesus promises (read my post “Do You Have A Victim Mentality”).
Establish some healthy boundaries, with Jesus within them.
This is for a very dear friend of mine.
A Prayer For Healthy Boundaries
By Debbie McDaniel
Life is precious. Yet all too often, we may find that much of our time is spent around negative, toxic people, draining the life right out of us. Sometimes they’re co-workers, friends, or sadly, even family members.
God never intends for us to spin our wheels, waste our days, trying to make others happy who can never be happy. Because in reality, it doesn’t depend on us. It’s not up to you. They may want you to think it does, as if you possess the power to improve the value of their existence, but that’s not a burden meant for you to carry.
God’s greatest desire is to set us free. And sometimes what propels that change is for some brave soul to be willing to say, “Stop, no more.” One who will choose what is better, and learn to set boundaries that will protect and limit the control an unhealthy person might be placing on another’s life.
Sadly, when we look deep into the mirror of our souls, we may realize that we are the ones who have some unhealthy tendencies that God wants to change. Today’s a good day to stop wasting time in toxic patterns of living. For he has better in store for us.
He can accomplish great things through your prayers. He can move mountains. He can change hearts. Anything is possible through his great power. Understand that though it is never up to you to make someone different, he’s set you in their lives for a purpose, for a reason.
He loves you, he cares for you, and he has good in store for your future.
“So If The Son Sets You Free, You Will Be Free Indeed” (John 8:36).
Lord, Protect Me From The Abuse And Harm Of Toxic People. I Know You Desire To Set Me Free—Free From The Hurt Of Others, But Also Free From My Own Sin And Bondage In That Sin. Help Me Have Eyes To See Toxic Behavior Around Me And In Me… And Give Me The Strength, Courage And Resilience To Break Free From That Toxicity And Choose The Path Of Life. Thank You For Always Protecting And Guiding Me Lord. Thank You For Always Being Good, Gracious, Kind And Loving. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Editor’s Note: Much of the following content is from the post “The Fruit Of The Spirit Inside Will Produce The Outer Fruit Of God’s Presence” published on this blog June 1, 2018.
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Start your day by choosing to show the fruit of the Spirit in everything you do.
What is the fruit of the Spirit you ask?
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is the result of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the life of a Christian.
Romans 8:9 (NKJV)9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
1 Corinthians 12:13 (NKJV)13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13-14 (NKJV)13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
It is the Holy Spirit's job to conform us to the image of Christ, making us more like Him.
Romans 8:29 (NKJV) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
The “fruit” of the Spirit is the expression of our renewed nature as it is seen by others.
Matthew 7:15-23 (NKJV)15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is in direct contrast with the acts of the sinful nature.
Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV)19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
This passage describes all people, to varying degrees, when they do not know Christ and therefore are not under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Our sinful flesh produces certain types of fruit that reflect our nature, and the Holy Spirit produces types of fruit that reflect His nature.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
An important point is that the word fruit is singular, and emphasizes the unity of the life in the Spirit as opposed to the instability of life in the flesh. The singular Fruit of the Spirit flows from love of God which produces the character of Christ in the believer..
1 John 4:8 (NKJV) He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV) And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Galatians 5:6 (NKJV) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
John 15:11 (NKJV)1 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
1 Thessalonians 1:6 (NKJV) And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,
Romans 14:17 (NKJV) for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
John 14:27 (NKJV) Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 4:1-3 (NKJV)1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
Colossians 3:12-13 (NKJV)12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
Matthew 12:35 (NKJV)35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
Galatians 6:10 (NKJV) Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Luke 12:42-44 (NKJV)42 And the Lord said, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.
Titus 2:9-10 (NKJV)9 Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back,10 not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
1 Corinthians 4:2 (NKJV) Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
Matthew 5:5 (NKJV) Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Titus 3:1-2 (NKJV)1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
Galatians 6:1 (NKJV) Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 (NKJV)6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
It’s a New Day: The Choice Is Yours
by Max Lucado, from Let the Journey Begin
It’s quiet. It's early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming.
In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met. For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I must make a choice.
Because of Calvary, I’m free to choose. And so I choose.
I choose love. No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.
I choose joy. I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical… the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.
I choose peace. I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.
I choose patience. I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite Him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clenching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.
I choose kindness. I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.
I choose goodness. I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.
I choose faithfulness. Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.
I choose gentleness. Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.
I choose self-control. I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.
Powerful, life-changing messages for a vital time in life. Graduation is a time of excitement and uncertainty. For graduates the question is, will they face the future with or without God? Let the Journey Beginrepack is filled with godly wisdom, encouragement, and guidance from bestselling and trusted author Max Lucado for students about to embark on new steps in their life journey. Graduates will be reassured that they are not alone—God is with them every step of their way. This bestselling book will include thirty-two additional pages of new content, all consisting of excerpts, quotes, and scripture as well as an updated interior design to appeal to a new generation of graduates. Included are pages for personal goals, favorite verses of scripture, and prayers. $14.99
Enthusiasm - strong excitement about something : a strong feeling of active interest in something that you like or enjoy. : something causing a feeling of excitement and active interest
Enthusiasm is it’s one of the greatest words in the English language. It is a word that is built deeply into the spirit of man. The word enthusiasm is derived from two little Greek words, en and theos, with theos being the Greek word for God. So "enthusiasm" literally means, in its root concept, "full of God." Maybe that’s why enthusiastic people are so often creative and joyful!
The Bible uses several different words for this idea of being filled with enthusiasm: ardor, zeal, wholeheartedness, or my favorite eager. When you’re eager, you’re enthusiastic. In the New Testament. We are told
1 Peter 5:2 NIV Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; (emphasis mine)
1 Corinthians 14:12 NIV So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church. (emphasis mine)
2 Corinthians 8:11 NIV Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. (emphasis mine)
Romans 8:19 NIV For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. (emphasis mine)
Titus 2:11-14 NIV For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (emphasis mine)
God will help you maintain enthusiasm. He will help you overcome all difficulties, all tragedies, all sorrows, all heartaches; He will give you victory. The word itself tells us that people with enthusiasm will be full of God and will, consequently, create a better world and have a better life individually. Enthusiasm makes life exciting and creative; enthusiasm helps a person accomplish things.
Enthusiastic people are Triumphant people.
2 Corinthians 2:14 NIV But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.
A Prayer For Enthusiasm
By Rick Warren
In order to reach your goals, you have to figure out how to maintain your enthusiasm over the long haul.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great is ever accomplished without enthusiasm.” I believe that with all of my heart. I have found it to be true in my life. You’ve got to have passion, you’ve got to have enthusiasm, or you’re never going to make it to the finish line.
Most people would consider me an enthusiastic person, and I am. But I haven’t been an enthusiastic person for a week or a month. My enthusiasm has not waned over a year or five or 10 years. I have been consistently enthusiastic about the goals that I’ve set for more than 30 years.
How do you do that? How do you stay enthusiastic day after day in spite of delays and difficulties and dead ends and problems and pressures and criticisms? How do you stay enthusiastic for more than 30 years?
Positive thinking is not enough. Pulling yourself up by your psychological bootstraps is not enough. Talking yourself into optimism is not enough.
The way you stay enthusiastic for a lifetime is found in the word “enthusiasm.” The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek word en theos. En is the Greek word for the English word “in.” Theos is the Greek word for “God.” So en theos means to be “in God.”
When you get in God, you will be enthusiastic. It’s the kind of enthusiasm that isn’t affected by the economy or the weather or your circumstances. It’s eternal because you are tied to the eternal God. You are in Christ.
Paul tells us how to do this in Romans 12:11-12. He says, “Never be lacking in zeal,but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (NIV).
If you want to reach your goals this year, you need to get God’s power by being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.
Pray this prayer today:
“Dear God, I don’t want to go another day without you in my life, controlling every part of my heart. I offer you my body. I dedicate myself to you. In light of all you’ve done for me, I give myself as a living sacrifice to you as a spiritual act of worship.
“I humbly admit that I need help. I want you to help renew my mind. Help me to think the way you want me to think. Please forgive me for my pride. I don’t want to think more highly of myself than I should. My faith needs to grow, and I need your help to set goals that can be measured so I can manage them. Forgive me for trying to change on my own. “I want to fill my life with love. I want to fill my life with you. Help me to get group support. Help me to take delight in honoring other people, to focus on giving my life away so that you can take care of my needs. I want to nurture my enthusiasm by being in you. Help me to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. I give myself to you. In your name I pray. Amen.”
Editor’s Note: A Prayer For taken from the Daily Hope devotional, How to Stay Enthusiastic for a Lifetime written by Rick Warren.
God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Bear Is Not In The Bible But He Will Help You Stand In Temptation
Editor’s Note: The following is taken from the post “That’s Not In The Bible - “God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Bear” published on this blog in August 2016.
There are a lot of quotes and sayings that well meaning people, even Christians, believe are in Bible but aren’t. We’ve heard many of these things over the years in church, from our parents, other relatives, friends, and other people we respect. Most of these quotes are not bad in themselves most of them are meant to encourage and inspire, but some of them are direct contradictions of scripture. Sometimes what we don’t really know about what’s in the Bible can actually hurt us when we confuse something that “sounds like it came from the Bible” with biblical truth.
A lot of things that you hear Christians, even Christian leaders, say that are in the Bible are not there, and if they are not there they don’t carry the authority of Scripture.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Psalm 119:89 (NKJV) Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.
Isaiah 40:8 (NKJV) The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever."
One of those quotes or phrases that we hear a lot is; “God will never give you more than you can bear”. That sounds like something that would be in the bible doesn’t it? Certainly God, who we know loves us wouldn’t let us go through situations that stretch our abilities as human beings to handle or understand. Things like being struck with a debilitating illness in the prime of life, one of our children dying young, losing a job right after you go into major debt, the promising start-up company that hires you to lead their growth suddenly close down, facing foreclosure, why is your spouse saddled with chronic illness ending in death, and all this happening one right after the other? All of these things happened to my wife and me.
Those are things that we really can’t bear, but since we have been taught that we shouldn't question God or ask why, we try the find something in the Bible, or what sounds like scripture so that we can try and make sense of what’s happening, and to rationalize it.
Well I hate to tell you this, “God will never give you more than you can bear”, isn’t in the Bible it is a misquote of;
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV) 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.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (MSG) No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.
The Greek word Paul used is that is translated temptation is peirasmos which can also be translated “testing.” or “trial”. Practically speaking, this term could be translated “temptation and testing.”.
The statement that “God will never give you more than you can bear” is wrong because God does not bring or give, His children, temptations, trials, or tests. Every temptation is a test; every test is a temptation and while God allows them they don’t come from Him.
James 1:13-15 CEV Don't blame God when you are tempted! God cannot be tempted by evil, and he doesn't use evil to tempt others. We are tempted by our own desires that drag us off and trap us. Our desires make us sin, and when sin is finished with us, it leaves us dead.
Temptation and sin constantly test us today so we look to the Bible and in it we find that Paul told the Christians in Corinth that God is faithful and that He give us the ability, through the power of the Holy Spirit, that is in us, to withstand the temptation and the consequences of sin.
This is not an escape from temptation, nor simply a hope of strength to overcome in the future, but a present power to endure in the midst of temptation, a glorious promise for the sorely tried. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
He does make a way of escape the temptation through the power of the Holy Spirit who is in us.
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.
Romans 8:11 (NKJV)11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Hebrews 2:17-18 (NKJV)17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
Temptations are a lot different for the trials and tribulations that come upon us, often without warning, in this fallen world. Some, in fact many of them, come as a consequence of our own actions. The premise of this saying suggests that a God who loves us would never let us get past the breaking point. When some well meaning person says to us “God will never give you more than you can bear” and the reality is that you have reached the point of exhaustion and are about to lose it, you start to think that God is either a masochist, doesn’t really know how much you can bear, or that there is something wrong with you because you’re overwhelmed and God isn’t helping.
Here is what Paul was telling the believers in Corinth;
God will not allow you to be tried above the strength he gives you; but as the trial comes, he will provide you with sufficient strength to resist it. You can be sure that there is a way out, just as there was a way in; and that the trial shall never be above the strength that God shall give you to bear it. When Paul says he won’t give what is beyond what you are able, he means, not beyond what you are able with God’s help. Those of us who are helped are not independent of the power of God. He will never let us stumble or fail so that we don’t recover. In other words, he will never let a test or trial cause us to lose our salvation. We know that because of a couple of other things in Scripture..
John 6:39 (NKJV)39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.
Philippians 1:6 (NKJV) being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Luke 22:31-32 (NKJV)31 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
2 Corinthians 9:8 (NKJV) And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
1 Corinthians 15:10 (NKJV)10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
The Question Then Is What Do You Do When Things Get Too Much To Bear
Jesus tells us to come Him;
Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
David, who we know had all sorts of problems in his life told us to give them to the Lord;
Psalm 55:22 (NKJV)22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
He tells us to help each other;
Galatians 6:1-5 (NKJV)1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who arespiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.5 For each one shall bear his own load.
It’s pretty clear that God doesn’t expect any person to handle everything that comes to them alone. The Scriptures never say that God won’t give you more that you can handle what they do say is that if you trust God He will be with you through it.
God Will Help You To Stand In Temptation
Editor’s Note: This section is from the YouVersion Reading Plan Uncaged by Pastor Jud Wilhite from his book Uncaged: Released to live in the Freedom of God’s Promises.
One of the greatest obstacles to enjoying the uncaged life is our ongoing struggle with temptation. No matter how spiritually mature or devoted we are to following Jesus, as human beings, we will always face temptations. Understanding and appropriating God’s promises, however, can empower us in this battle. We can accept his grace and live in his power to find freedom.
We’re all baffled at our own behavior at times. Maybe you need to control your temper, stop tearing into people, or blowing up. But then that person starts driving you crazy again, pushing your buttons. You know that guy or girl is no good for you. You know you should get to church on the weekend. You know what you should do, but you are constantly tempted to cave. Paul bottom-lines it for us: “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong” (Romans 7:21). The struggle with temptation is baked right into life. Wanting what’s right but doing what’s not right. But Paul gives us the ultimate solution to our sin problem: “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25).
Our freedom has been won on the cross, but we still struggle to live in that freedom. It’s a battle to grow into the person you really are in Christ. But you don’t resist temptation to hang onto your salvation. You resist it to grow, thrive, and receive all of the good things God wants to give you. That’s why I’m grateful for this promise of God: I will help you stand in temptation.
God is aware of the temptations you face. I don’t believe he leads you to sin, but he does allow temptation and testing. In fact, the term temptation can also be translated “trial.” God sees to it that no temptation will be too much for you to bear. He always shows you a way out. Resisting temptation is not like flipping a switch. You’re caught in a spiritual battle! You have a spiritual adversary who wants to hold you down in destructive habits and make you lose sight of God’s promises. And you don’t have to look for the fight—the fight will find you. You will find yourself facing difficulties you don’t understand. Yet, difficulty teaches humility, which empowers your future victory. Don’t let the testing become a ground to give into temptation. Stand firm on the promise that he will show you a way out and that victory is possible.
Live free in the promise: I will stand with you in temptation
Romans 7:21-25 NIV So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 NIV So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Ephesians 6:12 NIV For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Matthew 6:25-34 NLT “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today".
A few weeks ago I preached a sermon, “Live One Day At A Time”. In that sermon I said:
1) We Can’t Control Tomorrow
Proverbs 27:1 says,
Proverbs 27:1 NIV Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.
Here's the way it's written in The Message paraphrase of the Bible;
Proverbs 27:1 MSG Don’t brashly announce what you’re going to do tomorrow; you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.
No one is assured of a tomorrow because God holds the times and seasons in His hand.
Proverbs 16:9 in The Message says
Proverbs 16:9 MSG We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it.
That is why we need to commit our today and all our future plans into God’s hands.
2) There Is Enough Trouble For Today
Not only can’t we control tomorrow, we don’t even know what may happen today. There are two possible ways people could wake up in the morning. One group cheerfully says, ‘Good morning, Lord”, while the other says, ‘Good Lord, it's morning’! Therefore, let’s place our todays in God’s hands for He is always in control.
Sadly, many people are either living with regret over the past or with anxiety over the future.
Here is something for those with regret over the past;
Philippians 3:12-14 NIV Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
This for those worrying about the future;
Philippians 4:6-7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Yes, each day has troubles of its own, but remember;
Psalm 68:19 NIV Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
Jesus taught us to pray that God meet our needs daily;
Matthew 6:11 NIV Give us today our daily bread.
3) Once today is over its not coming back
A day that ends can never be reclaimed.
Let’s say someone deposits $86,400 a day to your bank account. The only catch is that you have to spend it all the same day. If you don't spend it they will take it back. Now most of us won't hesitate in spending the money every day. Well God blesses us with 86,400 seconds every day, which can never be re-claimed. So let's use the time wisely.
4) God Will Meet Tomorrow’s Needs
This is so true if we are willing to give Him the first place in our lives. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”.
Our future is totally secure in Jesus!
God usually doesn’t show us what tomorrow holds. Maybe it’s simply because He wants us to trust Him for tomorrow.
Let’s learn to live “one day at a time”, completely trusting our Lord Jesus Christ! Let's not miss the opportunities God gives us every day. Let us ask, “Lord, what will You have me do today”?
Don’t Stress Out! Trust God to Provide for You
Since he did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us all, won’t he also surely give us everything else?”(Romans 8:32 TLB).
The major cause of stress in your life is worry. You worry because you wonder if you will have what you need when you need it. But anytime you expect other people to meet your needs instead of God, you’re going to be frustrated and disappointed, because nobody on Earth can meet all your needs. Only God can do that.
If you want a cure for stress, learn to look to God to meet your needs.
Some people find their security in their job, and when they lose their job, they lose their peace of mind.
Others put their security in their marriage. Then their spouse dies or they go through a divorce, and they ask, “Who am I? What is my identity?”
Or maybe you put your security in your money. There are a lot of ways to lose your money.
I recommend that you never put your security in anything that can be taken away from you. You can lose your job, your health, your reputation, your spouse, and your mind. But you cannot lose your relationship with Christ.
When you put your security in that promise, you can trust God to meet all your needs.
Romans 8:32 says, “Since he did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us all, won’t he also surely give us everything else?”(TLB).
If God loved you enough to send Jesus Christ to die on the cross, don’t you think he loves you enough to take care of every other need in your life? Yes! Of course he does.
Every time you start to get stressed out, pause and say, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want”(Psalm 23:1 ESV).
God’s going to provide. He’s going to take care of you. Instead of stressing out, look to him to meet all your needs.
A Prayer To Stop Worrying
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT, second edition).
It takes more than willpower to stop worrying. You already know that, because you’ve already tried it. You’ve thought, “I shouldn’t worry about this,” and yet you just keep on worrying about it.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:32, “People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things” (MSG). If you don’t have a relationship with God, you have every reason to worry. You’ve got to get to know God! As a believer, you have a heavenly Father who has promised to take care of you. You are God’s child, and children get special privileges. When you worry, God says, “You’re my child. Why are you acting like an orphan?”
Matthew 6:31-33 says, “Don’t worry at all about having enough food and clothing …. Your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and he will give them to you if you give him first place in your life and live as he wants you to” (TLB). Any time you take God out of the center of your life and put anything else there — no matter how good it is — you’re going to worry.
The Bible says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34 NCV). If you’re worrying about tomorrow, you can’t enjoy today. You miss today’s blessings. It’s OK to plan for tomorrow, but you have to live for today. Also, when you’re always worried about tomorrow, the future gets overwhelming. But God will give you the grace and strength you need when you get there. Right now, you only need enough power for today.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT, second edition). How do you do that? One way is to memorize God’s promises in the Bible. They’re like an insurance policy for believers. When you know something’s covered, you don’t worry about it anymore. Another way is to pray. If you prayed as much as you worried, you’d have a lot less to worry about.
Pray this prayer today: “Dear Father, I Admit That I Often Forget That You Are With Me. I Often Forget What You’re Like. Would You Please Forgive Me For That? I Need To Get To Know You Better. I Need To Get To Know Your Word And Your Promises Better. Help Me To Put You First In Every Area Of My Life. Help Me To Live One Day At A Time. Help Me To Not Worry About Tomorrow But Instead Focus On What You’re Doing In My Life Right Now. I Want To Trust In Your Promise To Take Care Of Every One Of My Needs — Financial, Relational, Physical, Social, Spiritual, And Emotional. Help Me To Trust You More And Worry Less. I Pray In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
Editor’s Note: “Don’t Stress Out! Trust God to Provide for You” and “A Prayer to Stop Worrying” written by Rick Warren
The loss of a loved one always hurts even when you know that the likely outcome of a terminal illness is death. You may even have some idea of when death is expected. Although we do everything we can to prepare it doesn't stop or ease the hurt and sorrow. I know this from personal experience with my wife, who is now with the Lord.
Ruth had lung cancer which had metastasized and was spreading through her body. We were told that she would likely not survive. Yes, we prayed and believed for her healing, but we also prayed that God's will be done realizing that His will for her may be that she be with Him, and that's what happened. Ruth died from cardiac/pulmonary arrest because of pneumonia, a complication of the lung cancer. Although I knew that Ruth may die soon I was not ready. Trust me you will never be ready to lose a loved one.
Now consider someone who got the news that their loved one had died suddenly in an accident, had a heart attack without any history or diagnosis of a heart issue, a murder, or a suicide. There’s shock and unbelief that’s almost unbearable. If the loved one was, as was Ruth, born again and now with the Lord, we would have great joy in knowing that they are with Jesus enjoying the best days of their eternal life, but it doesn't stop the empty feeling that comes with them no longer being here.
If you are experiencing a grief like this, take this prayer to a quiet place, land let your soul speak to the One who always hears his children’s tears.
A Prayer For The Grieving Heart
By: Jennifer O. White
Romans 8:26 (HCSB) In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings.
If you are experiencing a grief like this, take this prayer to a quiet place, light a candle or two, and let your soul speak to the One who always cares.
You Are Immanuel, God With Me. Thank You For Being With Me Now As I Mourn This Loss. You Are The God Of All Comfort And I Willingly Receive Your Comfort Now. I Do Not Know What Your Comfort Will Look Like Or Feel Like, But I Trust It Even So.
My Heart Is Broken But You Are Near. My Spirit Is Crushed, But You Are My Rescuer. Your Word Is My Hope. It Revives Me And Comforts Me In Especially Now. My Soul Faints, But You Are The Breath Of Life Within Me. You Are My Help, The One Who Sustains Me. I Am Weak But You Are Strong. You Bless Those Who Mourn, And I Trust You To Bless Me And My Family With All That We Need. You Will Rescue Me From This Dark Cloud Of Despair Because You Delight In Me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Editor's Note: This prayer is taken from Jennifer White’s article, 4 Simple Prayers for the Grieving Heart.
From Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships YouVersion Reading Plan
Wouldn't it be nice if life was like a neat little Hollywood movie?
A problem would present itself...there'd always be a short time for the problem to run its course...there'd be a neat and tidy solution to the problem...everybody involved would learn a powerful life lesson...people would see the folly of their ways and instantly become a much better person...the situation would have a dazzling happy ending...and everyone would get along and live happily ever after.
Sounds nice, doesn't it? Just writing that makes me wish a few trials I'm presently going through would experience the cheesiness of a Hollywood movie ending!
The thing is, that usually is not what happens in majority of people's lives.
• conflict happen within marriages and families
• illness sometimes cannot be healed
• a child rebels and moves out regardless of how much their parent loves and treasures them
• a person gets laid off no matter how much good they've invested into their job
• people are rejected and mistreated by family and others no matter how hard they try
• people disappoint us and we disappoint other people
• terrible tragedies happen everyday
We live in a fallen world filled with fallible people...and we are fallible ourselves. Life can be frustrating.
So how do we change things to make life better?
It's not what you think...
We think we must change other people or our circumstances to find our happy ending...but the truth is, our focus needs to be:
1. Delighting in God
2. Doing our responsibilities
3. Waiting on God to work in HIS time in HIS way
Psalms 37:4 NLT Take delight in the Lord , and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Difficult to do...Especially when your world around you is falling apart.
We desperately want our situation(s) to change. We want our loved ones to do the right thing. We want a great life. We greatly desire harmony in our marriages, families, and relationships. We want justice for the times we have been wronged.
We want to meet our goals, be successful, and also be valued for our work by our employers and colleagues. We want a better financial situation. We want family and friends to love and value us. In short...we all want the silver lining in every area of our life!
What if we never are given our silver lining? God has one question for us: "If our lives..or circumstances..never changed, would we still love Him and continue to be devoted and loyal to Him?"
On the journey to God's best for our lives, we must first seek God. As we learn to love, obey, treasure, and delight in Him..regardless of our circumstances, grief, or losses...we find He is the true treasure we've always needed.
One of the best promises God gives to us is that He will be making up for all the heartache, pain, tears, frustrations, and failures we experience in life.
Joel 2:23-27 NLT Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring. The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil. The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you. Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the Lord your God, who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced. Then you will know that I am among my people Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other. Never again will my people be disgraced.
God is all powerful. Sometimes, He will give us the desires of our hearts here on earth...other times, He has us wait...and waiting is HARD. It goes completely against our human nature and tendencies.
I can guarantee you this: One day, all of God's children WILL experience the happy ending they crave. God has a purpose and plan through EVERY situation.
It's our job to love God and be loyal to Him, continue to do our God-given responsibilities, and to wait on Him to work out every intricate detail of our lives.
Matthew 6:33 NLT Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Editor’s Note: Some content for this post is from Grief Bites: Finding Treasure in Hardships YouVersion Reading Plan
All gifts from God have great value.
James 1:17 NLT Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
We Christians love to quote this verse. We quote it when we're praying for a material blessing, a spouse, a child, healing, a promotion, and other, what we call “good stuff”. We quote if again when our prayers are answered exactly the way we wanted God to answer them. It's like the letters we wrote Santa Claus at Christmas and hints or out-and-out requests to our parents for our birthday when we were kids.
When we got what we asked for we were filled with excitement. We jumped for joy hugged our parents and told them how much we loved them. In much the same way we give God high praise...when we get the good stuff we asked for.
That joy and praise is even greater when we get “good stuff” that we didn't ask for. Our parents, or God, gave it just because they love us.
Have you ever received a gift you did not like...only to see the gift's true value later on?
What about the time you asked for a video game and got a book, or you asked for a bike and got a bible, or a doll and got an Audible Bible? Were you happy at the time? Did you jump for joy, hug your parents, and tell them how much you love them? I'm sure that some of you did but I know that you're a small minority. When you look back over the years my guess is that while at the time you were disaster, you now consider those among the most valuable gifts you've ever received.
Video games get old when the next one comes out, bikes get old and you lose interest, you outgrow dolls, but those other things never get old in fact they become more valuable.
We tend to focus on the gifts we didn't want or like
Isn’t that how we ALL are with God at times?
He gives us marvelous gifts EACH & EVERY DAY…gifts we didn’t earn or deserve: His unconditional love & forgiveness, family, friends, health, jobs, homes, appliances to make our lives easier, churches, food, nature, laughter, music, cars, vacations, FUN, electronics, phones, everything good…yet we become angry, resentful, and distant when He gives us (or allows) something we didn’t want or ask for.
“Gifts” you received from God or more accurately, He allows, that you didn't ask for, like grief and being sick may be the most treasured gifts you will ever receive. Sometimes, the gifts you don’t want will often have great value…later on.
Psalms 30:11-12 NLT You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!
Think about a “gift in disguise” you didn’t want…something you resent God for. Ask Him to show you the gifts He has for you through your personal trials. Sometimes, you will not know the worth and value of a gift until you get to heaven…but sometimes, they may end up being exactly what you need at a future date in life.
Isaiah 61:1-3 NLT The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord ’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
Never discount any gift God can offer you…even the ones you don’t want.
Philippians 4:6-7 NLT Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
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.