Rejoice

~Psalm 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;

It’s one thing to say that you will be glad and rejoice in the Lord, but quite another to have the drive and purpose to do so. As I strive to encourage myself in the Lord, I find that this effort is not only on-going but is progressive. Total encouragement does not happen over night. However, there are immediate results when we begin to exercise our encouragement muscle.

As I look at Psalm 31:7, I noticed that David was glad and rejoicing in the Lord’s mercy. I love looking up the definitions of words used in the King James Bible using Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. Today’s definitions of these same words are so diluted. Noah’s definitions put Psalm 31:7 into a more meaningful light. Let me show you the difference:

The Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of the word mercy:

kindness and forgiveness shown towards someone whom you have authority over

Noah Webster’s definition of the word mercy:

1. That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.

The Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of the word considered:

an opinion or decision that someone has reached after a lot of thought

Noah Webster’s definition of the word considered:

Thought of with care; pondered; viewed attentively; deliberated on; examined.

~Psalm 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities; 

After reading Noah Webster’s definitions for mercy and considered, it reveals a more compassionate Father and One who cares for us intimately. David knew that God not only viewed his troubles attentively but God also pondered over them and examined them. God knew all the “in’s and out’s” of David’s troubles. David did not have to worry about a thing because His Heavenly Father had everything under control.

Furthermore, the Father knew David’s soul in his troubles – again this shows us that God knew David intimately. No wonder David was glad and rejoicing in His mercy! There is nothing more comforting than to be able to turn over our troubles and leave them in the Lord’s capable hands. The same God who helped David and knew him intimately, is able to do the same for us!

Let us rejoice and be glad in God’s mercy toward us!

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Oh What Comfort!

Hebrews 13:5b …for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

What precious words these are to the Christian! Can one say for certain that their child will never leave them or forsake them? Can it be said of a dear friend? I’m sure we can all say that a friend has abandoned us at the worse time in our lives! But not so with the Lord.

My friend, Christ promises to always stay with us and never forsake us. Noah Webster’s definition of the word forsake is as follows:

1. To quit or leave entirely; to desert; to abandon; to depart from. Friends and flatterers forsake us in adversity.

We can feel as though we have lost our way and that God would never forgive us, but the Word says otherwise. If I were to re-phrase Hebrews 13:5, I could say that the Lord will never leave us entirely – or the Lord will never abandon us – or the Lord will never depart from us. I don’t know about you, but this is eternal security in a nutshell!

There is nothing more encouraging to me when I am discouraged than to remember that the Lord is right there with me. My position in the family of God once I am born-again is sealed, according to:

Ephesians 4:30. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

 Noah Webster says that the word sealed means:

Furnished with a seal; fastened with a seal; confirmed; closed.

My salvation is confirmed in Heaven and the matter is closed! Enough said! My Father in Heaven will never leave my side, His Son’s Spirit lives within me and will never leave me – no matter what state I am in.

~Matthew 28:20 …and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 

Praise the Lord that I can encourage my heart by dwelling on the permanency of my salvation!

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Rough Day?

~1 Samuel 17:37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee. 

~1 Samuel 17:45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 

~1 Samuel 17:47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands. 

As I lay in bed reading last night, this account of David and his battle with Goliath just jumped off the pages and encouraged my heart so much. We have all heard this account numerous times, some of you preachers have probably preached on it several times. But have we truly stopped to think about the little details the Lord has given us?

I once read that David was approximately 15 years old when he killed the 9-foot Goliath. Several things impressed me about this account.

  • He had already killed a lion and a bear
  • He recognized that God brought him through that and he was confident that God would bring him through the trial with Goliath
  • David was so confident that he confronted Goliath with the statement showing he was not afraid of Goliath’s sword because he had God on his side
  • David recognized that God’s solutions are not with the sword and that the battle was the Lord’s

David saw the trial ahead of him — a 9-foot soldier with the armor to match his size. How many 9-foot giants have we had in our own lives? Each trial seems to be greater than the last. We’re just now overcoming our battle with discouragement. I didn’t even get a feeling at all that David was discouraged over his upcoming battle with Goliath, did you? I only noticed confidence on David’s part in this account.

Will we look at our next trial in the same manner David did? David recognized Who helped him with the lion and the bear. So much so, he had confidence that this same God would help him with the next trial. Also, he didn’t keep that confidence hidden away in his heart. David had a testimony before the people. They were able to see where his confidence came from.

David announced for all to hear, including his nine-foot giant, that he had the Lord of Hosts on his side and that the battle was the Lord’s. Our bout with discouragement was quite a trial in itself. No, it isn’t fighting lions and bears or nine-foot giants, but the circumstances sure did feel like it, didn’t it? But God brought us out of this discouragement. Our hearts have been encouraged once again. We need to glean from this account and realize why God looked at David as the apple of His eye.

It is this same Lord who brought us through our discouargement. It is this same Lord who encouraged our hearts and helped our eyes to look up. The battles in our lives belong to the Lord, my friend. There is great comfort in that. Discouragement was our Goliath. But it is the same God of David who helped defeat our Goliath and gave us wonderful peace and joy once again.

~Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. 

My Shepherd cares for my every need
In my life and along life’s way

He gives me such peace with every trial
Reviving my weary heart each day

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Rough Day?

~1 Samuel 17:37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee. 

 

~1 Samuel 17:45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 

 

~1 Samuel 17:47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands. 

As I lay in bed reading last night, this account of David and his battle with Goliath just jumped off the pages and encouraged my heart so much. We have all heard this account numerous times, some of you preachers have probably preached on it several times. But have we truly stopped to think about the little details the Lord has given us?

I once read that David was approximately 15 years old when he killed the 9-foot Goliath. Several things impressed me about this account.

  • He had already killed a lion and a bear
  • He recognized that God brought him through that and he was confident that God would bring him through the trial with Goliath
  • David was so confident that he confronted Goliath with the statement showing he was not afraid of Goliath’s sword because he had God on his side
  • David recognized that God’s solutions are not with the sword and that the battle was the Lord’s

David saw the trial ahead of him — a 9-foot soldier with the armor to match his size. How many 9-foot giants have we had in our own lives? Each trial seems to be greater than the last. We’re just now overcoming our battle with discouragement. I didn’t even get a feeling at all that David was discouraged over his upcoming battle with Goliath, did you? I only noticed confidence on David’s part in this account.

Will we look at our next trial in the same manner David did? David recognized Who helped him with the lion and the bear. So much so, he had confidence that this same God would help him with the next trial. Also, he didn’t keep that confidence hidden away in his heart. David had a testimony before the people. They were able to see where his confidence came from.

David announced for all to hear, including his nine-foot giant, that he had the Lord of Hosts on his side and that the battle was the Lord’s. Our bout with discouragement was quite a trial in itself. No, it isn’t fighting lions and bears or nine-foot giants, but the circumstances sure did feel like it, didn’t it? But God brought us out of this discouragement. Our hearts have been encouraged once again. We need to glean from this account and realize why God looked at David as the apple of His eye.

It is this same Lord who brought us through our discouargement. It is this same Lord who encouraged our hearts and helped our eyes to look up. The battles in our lives belong to the Lord, my friend. There is great comfort in that. Discouragement was our Goliath. But it is the same God of David who helped defeat our Goliath and gave us wonderful peace and joy once again.

~Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. 

My Shepherd cares for my every need
In my life and along life’s way

He gives me such peace with every trial
Reviving my weary heart each day

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Cheer Up!

~Matthew 14:27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

What a blessing this statement must have been for the apostles to hear from their Saviour! Here they are in a storm and see Jesus walking toward them. They thought they were seeing a ghost! I don’t know about you, but as I place myself in their situation, I would have been afraid also. There are times in our own lives where we don’t “see” the Lord working. Our problems become insurmountable and we focus on the circumstances before us instead of focusing our eyes on the Lord.

Deut. 6:6-8, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.”

Have you ever worn a sweat band? I am always aware of that sweat band being around my forehead. It gets damp, it gets itchy and although it provides a purpose, I am always aware of its presence upon my forehead. A frontlet is similar to one of these bands. Can you imagine if God’s word was as this sweat band between our eyes – constantly making us aware that It is there? If our eyes are focused on the Word, how can they also be focused on the circumstances surrounding us?

Praise the Lord that we have the precious 1ord of God to read and memorize! We can encourage ourselves daily and be of good cheer when those days come and we don’t see the Lord clearly there beside us. The Word comforts us and assures us that He is there right within view and we should not be afraid. Granted, we may not recognize the Lord in our situation, so we need to really “look” for Him. We find Him in the Word, we find Him in the brethren who encourage us, we find Him in a kind note, we find Him in the beauty of creation surrounding us, etc. Need I say more?

The Scriptures should be constantly upon our foreheads, reminding us of God’s promises and of His presence. We are to be comforted by this and allow it to cheer us up and encourage us. When we do so, it removes all fear of those trials and circumstances.

Be of good cheer, the Lord commands
I’m Your Guide as well as Friend
Do not let your heart be troubled
I’ll be near you til the end.

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psa 139:14) My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. (Psa 139:15) Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psa 139:16)

I’ve been doing a study on the use of birth control pills. I was reading how some versions of “the pill” prevented the egg from implantation into the uterus and how sometimes the egg has already been fertilized. This began to bother me so I did the study. Not because I need to convince myself that life begins when the egg is fertilized, but because some Christians don’t seem to know when life begins. God’s Word is the only tool we should use to convince ourselves as well as others. Man’s opinions are many, but God’s Word should be final to the believer.

I noticed in God’s Word that He refers to man’s “seed.” I often wondered why God chose the same word for plant seeds as man’s seeds. I researched the plant seed and when the seed comes to life (germination). This quote was taken from http://www.fastplants.org:

Germination is the awakening of a seed (embryo) from a resting state. It involves the harnessing of energy stored within the seed and is activated by components in the environment. Growth represents increase in size, number and complexity of plant cells and organs. Environment and genetics play fundamental roles in regulating growth. The energy for growth comes from photosynthesis

As you can see, a plant’s seed life cycle is no different from the human’s seed life cycle. We can almost take the same quote and replace germination with fertilization, etc. In fact, let’s try that:

Fertilization is the awakening of the embryo from a resting state. It involves the harnessing of energy stored within the seed and is activated by components in the mother’s body. Growth represents increase in size, number and complexity of the fetus’ cells and organs. Environment and genetics play fundamental roles in regulating growth. The energy for growth comes from within the mother.

As you can see, I did not have to change much in that quote to convert it to a human seed definition. I have said all of this to make the following points. Please bear with me.

Christians today believe that taking birth control pills is a “private and personal” matter. They believe that the fertilized egg is not yet alive since science says the heart begins to beat at the earliest at 12 weeks. These same Christians back this belief with Leviticus 17:11 which says that life of the flesh is in blood. Therefore the Christian believes the fetus’ life does not begin until at least 12 weeks because that is when the heart begins to pump blood. Let’s pick that apart a bit.

I think we can all agree that NO cell can reproduce if it is a dead cell. Ovulation usually takes place in the middle of a woman’s cycle. The egg can only be fertilized at this time. If the egg is fertilized, it will travel to the uterus and implant into the uterus. The woman will then miss her cycle and begin to suspect pregnancy. By the time she has missed her cycle, the egg has been growing for about a week or so.

If the egg is not fertilized, the egg is released with her next cycle. As well, if the egg is fertilized but the cells within it die, whether prior to implanation or afterwards, a miscarriage occurs. It stands to reason that the fetus does not continue to grow if the cells have died.

With that said, how then, can these same cells separate, divide and reproduce prior to 12 weeks prior to when the heart begins to beat if they are not alive? These same living cells are conducting “business as usual” prior to the heart even beginning to beat. This is science, plain and simple. One cannot refute this scientific fact. But does God’s Word state the same facts? Should the Christian depend on science to know when life begins? Or should the Christian depend on God’s Word to guide and direct in this area?

What then does God’s Word have to say about when life begins? Psalm 139:16 states that God’s eyes see our substance, yet being unperfect. The Greek word for unperfect is H1564 golem meaning unformed mass. The verse goes on to say that the members are written in Heaven when as yet they had no form. Each of our members are written in heaven. God has recorded in Heaven whether this baby’s index finger will have a freckle on it or not or whether his big toe will curl in like its father. According to the Word, this fetus continually grows until birth.

Read the end of verse 16: when as yet there was none of them. Is God referring to the egg prior to fertilization here? I don’t think so. This surely sounds like a fetus in its early stages having no form yet – no feet or hands – no heart or heart beat. When as yet there was none of what? Of them – the members! God’s Word says that He has written in heaven everything about this fetus even when the members were not formed – even the heart! If God did not regard a fetus at conception through 12 weeks as a living soul, this verse would not be in the Word as it would be in direct contradiction.

God’s ways and thoughts are not the same as ours. The knowledge of man and his science are taken as law amongst God’s own. Just because man says that life does not begin until the fetus is at least 12 weeks does not mean that it is so according to God. God’s Word says that His thoughts are not the same as man’s. In fact, God wants to make it so perfectly clear that He emphasizes it by stating it twice, one right after the other! For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. (Isa 55:8) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa 55:9)

Some Christians will probably read this and say, “Well, what about the other 50% of the time where the egg is not fertilized?” OK, this is true … but can you pick the time? How can you be sure that in the time one takes the birth control pill that an egg won’t be fertilized at least once? Christian, are you willing to keep this baby from implantation into the mother’s uterus? Are you willing to take the chance of losing a living soul that God has given you? That baby’s members are written in heaven. That baby, yet unformed, is seen by God. That baby’s cells started splitting and duplicating and separating the day the egg was fertilized. The day that egg was fertilized, life began because cells started separating and forming.

I pray that as Christians read this, they will realize that science has deceived the Christian into believing their agenda of convenient conception. Science conveniently can say that a cell is alive when it is splitting but then contradicts itself by saying that a fetus can be aborted because it has not been born yet. The “conservative” Christian says that the fetus IS alive but only when the heart begins to beat. But science and God come together and agree that when a cell begins to split, it is alive. It’s not often that the Word and the world’s science agree but they do agree on this point. Why then does the Christian say the fetus isn’t alive prior to the heart beating? Please, Christian, won’t you study the Word for yourself? I pray my study encourages you to get into the Word and study for yourself.

God’s Word says Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psa 139:16)

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Peace

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

Jesus promises to give us peace as born-again Christians. What a lovely and wonderful thing to give someone. Can you give peace to someone else? The only way I can personally give peace to someone else is by not making their life miserable, I suppose. But this is not the peace that Jesus is talking about here. This peace is a rest and quietness from within which goes beyond what a human being can give another. I cannot provide rest and quietness to anyone’s heart. Only the Lord can do that.

How can we as Christians receive this peace that Jesus promises to give us? This peace starts out in our lives the moment we repent and ask Jesus to save us. This peace is knowing that we will never have to worry about going to hell! There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)

But there is more peace to follow – Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (Mat 6:31) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (Matthew 6:32)

Are you afraid, Christian? What are you afraid of? Unpaid bills? Not knowing what the future holds? Enemies of the cross? Oh dear one, nothing can happen to us without the Lord knowing about it.

1 Pet. 3:12-15, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. (And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; (But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”

Discouragement comes from lack of trust. Have you ever noticed some believers who never let anything get to them? When everything seems to go wrong in their life, you would never know it by their actions? Yet other Christians seem to live a life of constant defeat. What is it that makes the difference? I believe there are two important things a Christian must do to rid himself of discouragement.

(1) Trusting the Lord to take care of one’s problems, no matter how desperate the situation appears, is one key to ridding ourselves of discouragement. The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. (2 Samuel 22:3)

(2) Filling ourselves with the Word of God is the second key to ridding ourselves of discouragement. Christian, are you stricken with an illness which will be with you until the Lord takes you home? Fill yourself with the Word of God – take comfort in the Scriptures! Encourage yourself with the Word – this was the greatest achievement of the author of Psalm 119, in my opinion. No matter how desperate the circumstances were in his life, he encouraged himself with the Word. DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. (Psalma 119:25) This man’s spirit was so down (down in the dumps, if you will) but he knew that God’s Word would quicken him (make him alive) again.

As born-again believers, we have received the Holy Spirit to not only teach us but to comfort us. It is the Spirit that makes us alive in Christ. If we feed the spirit, we will be encouraged in our spirit. However, when we feed the flesh and dwell on our circumstances, we reap discouragement. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)

You may believe that this is easier said than done. However, Job was stricken in so many ways yet God encouraged Job to remember who HE was. Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? (Job 40:9) God knows exactly what you need – so much so that the Holy Spirit prays for you when you just can’t! What a loving God we have! Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Rom 8:26) God knows our troubles and sorrows to such a depth that He provided His Spirit to make intercession for us because He knew that we would not be able to put into words just how discouraged we are! What love the Father has for us!!!

Be encouraged – Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? (Job 40:9) This same God is looking out for you!

All the way my Saviour leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

Fanny Crosby

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Discouragement

Romans 5:3-4 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; (3) And patience, experience; and experience, hope: (4)

Have you ever noticed that discouragement is not brought on by happy times? Nor does discouragement appear in our lives while we are having a sweet walk with the Lord. Discouragement always comes when we are in the midst of some kind of trial. These trials come in various forms: long-term physical problems, relationship problems, work-related problems, family problems, money problems, etc. There is not a human being that has ever lived who has not been through trials or tribulation.

How, then, can we overcome these trials? Not everything in life has quick solutions. Nor are there answers to every question. However, the Bible says in Romans 5:3-4 that we should glory in our tribulations. I remember reading this and thinking to myself, “Is Paul nuts here?” There is no way that I can glory in this trial! I do not believe that Paul is asking us to do that. We must read the entire verse to fully understand what Paul’s intentions were. I believe Paul was telling us that we can glory in our trials because trials work patience in our lives. Why patience?

Let’s take the trial of being over weight and dieting. Dieting is not an overnight success. It’s an arduous and difficult thing to do. The weight loss is gradual and at times painful – especially when exercise must be done :-) Because of the amount of time it takes to lose weight, we can safely say that we have learned to be patient with the fact that we will not lose 20 lbs overnight. Many trials help us in the patience department.

I think of being persecuted by unbelievers at work as being a trial. Our patience with our co-workers will be a testimony to them when they think about how we did not fight back when we were criticized or when they poked fun at our christianity. There’s also the trial of being married to an unbeliever. The saved spouse surely learns patience as he/she tries to live harmoniously with that unbelieving spouse. That patience, again, is a testimony to the unbeliever.

Another difficult trial for the believer is the one of waiting on the Lord to answer our prayers. God does not always answer yes or no, or even answer quickly. If your trial today fits under this category, remember to trust the Lord. The first blog on “discouragement” touched on this. If we get discouraged because God has not answered our prayer yet or He did not answer it in the way we wanted, we are saying that we do not trust Him. Any of you who have children would be heart broken to see your child in a state of discouragement only to find out it is because he has sat up worrying or wondering if you were going to take care of him! Wouldn’t your response to your child be “You can trust me, honey.” My friend, your parenting skills cannot surpass the Lord’s parenting skills. How much more will He care for you?

Then Paul says that patience brings about experience. Experience, in my opinion, is the best teacher. Throughout my 26 years of salvation, I have seen God’s hand in each trial. You’ve heard the saying, “Hind sight is 20/20.” This should be true in the life of the believer. We should look back after each trial and recognize God’s hand in that trial. We should give Him the glory and honor for bringing us through it. When we recognize His work in our lives at the time of each trial, we form a pattern of history, if you will. Then when the next trial comes, we know through experience that God will take care of this one as well. How can we be discouraged if we know through experience that God will take care of us during this trial?

Paul ends the verses saying that experience will bring hope! Oh what a wonderful word! Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)

We hope in the fact that God will take care of our trial. We can’t envision how He will do it, but He will do it. If we have no hope, the Word says it is because we are not in our Bibles. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17

You shouldn’t have to wait on your Pastor to preach to you. The Holy Spirit should be preaching to you daily through your Bible reading. The only way to build your faith according to Romans 10:17 is by the Word of God. Do you have little faith? Then get in the Word, my friend. Faith is like a muscle, it must be exercised through the reading of the Word. Little faith equals little reading of the Word. Strong faith equals much reading in the Word. You will get what you put into it and more according to the Word. It is similar to the sowing & reaping teaching. You plant one kernel of corn and you reap a stalk with 3-4 ears of corn with about 800 kernels per ear. You sure do get a lot more reaping than what you have sown! God cannot be out done. If you trust Him, He will bless you. He will not leave you nor forsake you! Heb. 13:5

There are many Christians who are able to overcome trials and they do so because they are in the Word faithfully. They do not neglect the Word when times get rough. Going to God only when you’re in “need” is not the way to build your faith. It’s like only getting fuel for your car once you’re stalled out on the road. By that time, it’s too late. The problem is at hand. You get fuel before the fuel light comes on and avoid running out of gas on the side of the road. It’s the same with discouragement. Don’t turn to God only at the time of discouragement. You should be “fueling” yourself in the Word of God every day. This will prevent you from getting to that point where you feel like you can’t go on. Wouldn’t you hate it if your son or daughter only spoke to you or came to you when he/she was in trouble? On top of that, that same child would not trust you to be able to handle the problem? Again, the Lord is a much better parent than you could possibly ever be.

If you have a problem with discouragement, my friend, then the best scriptural advice I can give you is to get into the Word faithfully. You, too, will be able to say, “But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.” (Psa 73:28  )

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Troubled

~2 Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

As I read this verse, it amazed me how consistent Paul was in his walk. Have you ever been troubled on every side of your life? Usually, we have troubles in one or two areas but there is at least some stability in the other areas. But Paul states that he was troubled on every side.

I’ve been in this situation once or twice in my Christian walk and it was a very difficult time in my life. However, I remember drowning myself in the Book of Psalms and feeling the Lord’s presence through it all. Psalm 27 was especially a blessing to me during these difficult times. My discouragement lasted but a short time and was replaced with that peace which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Paul said that although he was troubled on every side he was not distressed. The Lord brought him through – a peace was evident by his testimony in 2 Corinthians 4:8. Can you say that about your trials?

Paul continues to say that although he was puzzled and perplexed about the situations around him, he was not in despair. As he looked at his circumstances, he was not without hope because Paul knew that the Lord was in charge no matter how much chaos was in his life. Can you say that, dear Christian? What did Paul have that you don’t have? Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3) [underlining to stress my point]

There’s the word “trust” again. When we trust in the Lord to take care of each situation in our life, He provides us with a peace that is perfect. Isn’t that just like the Lord? He does not provide just a little peace or just enough to get by at the moment. The Lord provides that perfect peace. What do we need to do to receive that perfect peace? Our minds must be stayed on the Lord. Noah Webster says that the word stayed means “fixed; settle; sober.” That depicts a heart that is focused on the Lord; a heart that has been reading the Word and is not swayed by life’s billows. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)

The Christian’s life is like an ocean. There are times it is calm and beautiful. There are also times of storm where the waves come crashing down. But remember, my friend, the Lord Himself calmed the seas (Mark 4:39) – He is the Creator of those same seas. He can and will calm the troubled seas in your life. You must trust in Him and lean on Him during these troubled times. Again, that word trust comes into play. When we try to figure out our circumstances on our own, we are overwhelmed by it all. We become consumed with our own problems. The Lord doesn’t want us to be in this state of turmoil. God will work in your situation – it may not be the way you think or expect, but He will work in your life! That is why He tells us to trust in Him and not try to figure things out for ourselves. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

Remember that God’s ways are not our ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9) Our Father in Heaven sees the big picture. I once read that if we viewed a train running down the tracks from an airplane, we would be able to see where the train had been and where it was going. This helps us to visualize how God sees our lives. He can see where we’re going – in fact, He knows the beginning, middle and end of our lives. It cannot get any better than that. The Lord wants to help us through our trials – He knows the outcome and is capable of providing just what we need to make it through! What great comfort that is!

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

I cannot stress enough how discouragement can be alleviated in our lives if we just spend more time at the Saviour’s feet. How? Get in the Word, Christian! It is the Source for healing!

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Wheat and Tares

~Matthew 13:24-30 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

How many times have we heard messages on this topic? But have you ever stopped to really think about where you stand on this passage? Do you consider yourself a wheat or a tare? If you are truly born-again, you are considered wheat. But does your life, and more importantly your heart, reflect that of a born-again Christian? Today’s devotional is not written to cause you to doubt your salvation but to confirm your salvation! Why? Because there are many out there who claim they are saved but their hearts speak another matter.

I thought today’s photo was a beautiful depiction of what I’m trying to write about. We were out in the country and this tree had been overwhelmed by weeds. The weeds are so intertwined with the tree, one can hardly distinguish between the two. But notice the beautiful flower growing on the weed’s vine. I likened it to the unsaved person who is trying to live the life of a Christian. It’s part of the tree just as a professing Christian is part of a church. It even has a pretty flower just as a professing Christian would “do and sound” like a real Christian. But, alas, it is merely a weed – an unsaved person merely professing to be saved.

A good example of what I’m trying to convey comes from my very own church, long before I ever joined it. The first Pastor to ever pastor my church was married and served with his wife for many years. During a revival, after almost 20 years of serving, she walked the aisle for salvation! She could no longer live her life as someone who was “supposed” to be saved! The fear of dying and going to Hell was great and she heeded the Holy Spirit’s call! \o/ She could no longer live the lie of deception. I believe this is what Paul referred to in the following Scripture:

~Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Many call the name of Jesus but never come to a saving knowledge of Him. No where in Scripture do we see someone praying a little prayer to “be saved” – it just cannot be found. However, you see salvation in action because of repentance! People’s lives changed and their actions proved what happened in their hearts.

~Acts 19:18-20 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. 19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all [men]: and they counted the price of them, and found [it] fifty thousand [pieces] of silver. 20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

Verse 20 totally depicts the results of this repentance. The change was so great that God’s Word grew and prevailed. That’s what brought about the great revivals in our history. There was a true Holy Ghost change in people’s lives and that testimony changed other lives. Today, however, we see the product of the “professing Christian” and what this produces:

~Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Some of my Christian friends and even my own family members are offended when I bring up this topic. I’ve often wondered why they would be so offended when I was encouraging them to search this matter out and make certain that they didn’t just blab a prayer with no repentance to back up that prayer. God’s grace cannot be separated from repentance. The verses above are very clear in this matter. I totally the churches of today’s spiritual condition in those verses. They do things in the name of Jesus but their hearts are far from Him.

What would have happened had that Pastor’s wife not heeded the convicting power of the Holy Spirit in her life? She would have died and gone to Hell – even after a wonderful life as a Pastor’s wife, serving in her church! Christian, this is serious business. I am not asking you to doubt your salvation but to make sure you are saved. Did you pray a prayer and then your life is one of trying to live like a Christian? Or did you pray that prayer and intentionally live your life repenting of known sin and leaving them behind? Is your Christian walk and spiritual fruit greater today than when you were first saved? If not, then it is time to do as Paul exhorted us to do and “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” There is nothing wrong with doing moral inventory as that is how the fruit of the Holy Spirit can grow in our lives.

Don’t be like this Pastor’s wife who lived a lie for almost 20 years! Think of all that she could have done for the Lord had she heeded the Holy Spirit from the beginning! Instead, listen to the Scriptures and submit yourself to the Lord for in them you will find peace! 🙂

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