God Is In Control

Deuteronomy 29:9

Almighty God reserves the right to reveal some things and conceal others. Although we may not know why natural disasters occur, the biblical truths we do know with absolute certainty allow us to trust the Lord even in times of great suffering. Because of the Bible, we can be certain:

God is in control (Psalm 103:19). Nothing in heaven or on earth is outside of His rule and authority. He does not react to events but sovereignly ordains or permits them to run their course. Although we cannot know for certain if He has sent a catastrophe or allowed it, we can trust in His goodness and wisdom.

The Lord loves people and wants them to be saved (John 3:16-17). Giving His Son for the salvation of the world proves without a doubt that He loves each person. This truth stands firm despite the fact that many reject the Savior. He cares for us, even when we can’t feel it or won’t accept it.

God works circumstances for His good purpose (Isa. 46:10). Though we can’t fully comprehend what He’s doing in each incident, every disaster is a wake-up call for humanity. God is alerting us to the need for repentance—so the lost can be saved and the saved can be revived to live totally for Him. The Lord wants to get our attention, and catastrophes open our ears to hear from Him.

The One who loves us perfectly is in full control, working everything out according to His plan. Knowing this should fill us with hope, even in the midst of crisis situations. The Lord promises to turn disaster to good for those who “are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

The Power of The Holy Spirit

Romans 8:26-27

God’s Spirit indwells believers at salvation, which means His power is available from that moment (Eph. 1:13). God created a simple way for us to access that strength every single day.

First, we must accept the truth that in and of ourselves, we are powerless to live out God’s will. No matter how capable we may be, our own strength and wisdom are insufficient. Sometimes Christians become prideful about the good they have done or the number of years they’ve been saved. Imagine how much more we could serve the Lord if we would humbly get out of God’s way and let Him work through us.

Second, we surrender our entire life to the guidance and governing of the Holy Spirit. In other words, we choose to conduct our spiritual walk—as well as our vocation, finances, family, and relationships—as God desires. His Spirit is not going to release supernatural power into a life that is continuing in rebellion.

Third, we exercise faith, which means demonstrating belief and trust in the Lord. Faith is the “switch” that releases the Spirit’s power. It’s like saying, “I believe You’ve got a plan, God, so I’m going to trust You to give me what I need in order to do Your will.” Then He will move heaven and earth to provide for your need, whatever it may be.

Merely memorizing and reviewing the steps isn’t enough. Instead, commit to these principles as a way of life. Get used to thinking, I can’t but God can— I’ll submit to His will because His plans are for my good and His glory. That’s the kind of life that overflows with the Holy Spirit’s power.

Travel Plans

Travel Plans

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15

When deciding whether or not to go on a long vacation with a friend, a few things are carefully considered, including interests, expectations, and personalities. After all, we want to enjoy the trip and keep the friendship intact.

As we travel through life, our minds know that we have God traveling with us, but it is easy for our hearts to forget and feel disconnected, especially when our requests are not fulfilled.

Jesus understands. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that the cup would pass away from Him and it did not. Although Jesus surrendered to the sacrifice, it was difficult beyond words. Whatever situation you find yourself in, He is with you. Like the thief hanging on the cross beside Jesus, we can cry out to Him in the midst of any mess or consequence we find ourselves in, whether or not we caused it. He is here. The winding journey of our lives can bring us closer to Him, if we will allow it to.

We weren’t meant to be somebody—we were meant to know Somebody.
John Piper

The Gift of Faith is Pure Gift

The Gift of Faith is Pure Grace
1 John 5:4 (WEB)

The Vibration (s) of Our Lives

The Vibration of our Lives
Everything that manifests in your life or anybody else’s life that
you are observing, is nothing more than an indication of your
vibrational frequency.  It is an INDICATOR.  Indicators are
manifestations of what you have been doing vibrationally. Period.
So if wonderful things are happening, you are receiving
indications of the vibrations you have been sending out. If things
have been out of control in your life, then you’ve got negative
manifestations of what you have been offering vibrationally.

Indicators are just that – indicators.  You don’t want to kill the
messenger. You don’t go to the gas station when the gas gauge is on
empty and lay your head on the steering wheel in utter despair and
say, “Oh look at what I have done. The gas gauge is on empty but I
kept driving. My life is a mess”. The gas gauge is an indicator and
you know you have to do something about it.  You don’t paste a
happy face sticker over the gas gauge because it is depressing to
see you are on empty.  And you don’t usually wait until you are
completely out of gas and standing on the side of the road. You
fill it up don’t you?

That’s what we are talking about here. We are talking about your
indicator that lets you know what your habit of thought has been.
And if you have been feeling pretty crummy lately then it is time
for a fill up. If things are not going the way you want them to –
it’s time to change your thoughts about it.  It’s time to offer
some more deliberate thought. It’s time to seek a better attitude.
It’s time to stop blaming yourself and others, stop feeling sorry
for yourself and become more positive, even in the smallest way.
Don’t blame your “indicator”. Instead, train your mind to look for
the good things in your life and you will find them.

Today will bring you a new awareness, a lesson or a manifestation
that you are making progress – IF YOU LOOK FOR IT!  No matter how
large or small, please record it in your Evidence Journal. It will
only take a few moments and will AUTOMATICALLY put you in the Flow.

DJS

 

Loneliness Kills

Loneliness Kills

If you’re not careful, loneliness might kill you.

Everyone feels lonely at predictable times, like when a special friend or relative dies. But doctors are quick to point out that it’s the continuing, persistent kind of loneliness that carries very real health risks.

In a 2010 AARP survey, 35 percent of all responders reported feeling lonely. Of those, nearly half said their loneliness had persisted for at least six years. That’s a lot of time for a harmful condition to unleash its dangerous effects.

Here are just a few of the consequences of persistent loneliness:

Studies suggest that loneliness is more dangerous than packing on some extra pounds. Yet Americans spend billions of dollars on diet products and often make little effort to address their loneliness.

  • Loneliness increases the risk of premature death by 14 percent.
  • Loneliness affects not only our current mental health—think depression. One recent study also suggests it increases the risk for dementia later.
  • Loneliness often brings fragmented sleep, the choppy kind that seriously affects health.
  • Loneliness can increase inflammation throughout the body, which carries its own risks. That inflammation can also exacerbate existing conditions like arthritis and heart disease.

Mother Teresa—the impoverished nun who spent her life helping the poor—described loneliness as the “most terrible poverty.”

Time with friends

The July 2014 issue of the Mayo Clinic’s Health Letter suggested strategies for combating loneliness, including these ideas for nurturing friendships:

  • Reach out: An unexpected phone call or email, even just to say hello, is a meaningful gesture.
  • Be positive: Think of friendship as an emotional bank account. Make deposits of kindness and approval, keeping in mind that criticism and negativity draw down the account. Nonstop complaining also puts a strain on a friendship.
  • Listen up: Ask what’s going on in your friends’ lives. Let people know you’re paying close attention through eye contact, body language and reaffirming comments. When friends share details of hard times they are experiencing, be empathetic.
  • Extend and accept invitations: Invite a friend to join you for coffee or lunch. When you’re invited to a social gathering, say yes. Contact someone who recently invited you to an activity and return the favor.
  • Respect boundaries: Don’t overtax the friendship with your own needs. Remember that friendships require both give and take.

Need more friends? That same Mayo Clinic article offers these ideas for finding new friends:

  • Attend community events: Get together with a group of people working toward a goal that you believe in, such as an election or the cleanup of a natural area. Find a group with similar interests in an activity, such as reading, sports, crafting or gardening.
  • Volunteer: Offer your time or talents at a hospital, place of worship, museum, community center, charitable group or other organization. You can form strong connections when you work with people who have mutual interests.
  • Take up a new interest: Take a college or community education course to meet people who have similar interests. Join a class at a local gym, senior center or community fitness facility.
  • Join a faith community: Take advantage of special activities and get-to-know-you events for new members.
  • Take a walk: Put on some good shoes and keep your eyes open. Chat with neighbors who also are out and about, or head to a popular park and strike up conversations there.
  • Think beyond two legs: Whether it has four legs or even wings, a pet can provide many of the same companion benefits as human friendships can.

I’d add to that list “Activate old interests.” I’ve made new and interesting friends, thanks to signing up for weekly hospice visits to the  sick and shut-ins.

Every list I see about maintaining wellness invariably includes a recommendation for staying socially engaged. It’s good for body, mind, and spirit. Communicating via email and cellphone is nice—and certainly convenient. Still, there will never be anything like the real thing: spending time—together, face to face—with other people.

(DJS)

Trusting God’s Plan!

Trusting God’s Plan!

Do you feel as though God is distant? Sometimes, when we can’t sense His presence, we wonder if He has forgotten us. Some people even believe God is merely a third-party observer and is no longer involved in the world. To them, He set the earth in motion long ago but is now uninterested in our daily lives. 

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep (John 10). He promised to protect and provide for us, and we misunderstand Him if we think He doesn’t care.

Our spiritual lives are full of highs and lows, valleys and mountaintops. But some people panic, or grow bitter and angry, when they face a disappointing situation. They ask, Where is God? Why hasn’t He answered my prayer? Why is He silent while I’m hurting? Many believers become disillusioned and hopeless. And instead of seeing a valley, they see an endless tunnel with no light at the end.

This is a dangerous mindset, because it causes a person to lose confidence in the Lord. With such an attitude, trusting that the pain will end becomes increasingly difficult.

But there is a reason to trust in God.

If you are at a low point and feeling hopeless, be encouraged. The Good Shepherd, who is the Sovereign of this universe, is with you. You may not always sense His presence or see how He’s working, but He’s there. The Lord loves you unconditionally and is ready and willing to help. All you need to do is turn to Him.

God does not send anyone into a valley, but He may allow us to enter one to teach dependence upon Him. One day, perhaps you’ll look back and think, Thank you, God, for never leaving me, and for carrying me through the low place. You’ll never be able to thank Him enough.

So why do we get discouraged in dark times? I believe there are four reasons.

1. We don’t have a solid belief system.

What do you believe about God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the whole spiritual world? Many people accept a little of this or that, but not the whole witness of God’s Word. You could say that their theology is “all over the place.” If we don’t have a clear understanding of the truth, we won’t be able to live an authentic Christian life and will have a difficult time making wise choices.

Some people may say, “This is over my head.” But we don’t need to be intimidated by theology. It simply helps us know Who God is and how to understand the Scriptures.

Knowing God’s character is a must. Failing to do so can cause us to panic in difficult times, and could lead us to make destructive choices.

2. We don’t understand the ways of God.

Evidence of confusion about God is everywhere. For instance, some people think God shouldn’t allow His followers to suffer. They believe that if a person experiences pain or illness, it is because of sin or a lack of faith. They think that if you trust and obey God, you won’t get sick and will never be in want of anything.

But the Word of God doesn’t teach this. Not all suffering is punishment for sinful actions. Take a look at the life of the apostle Paul. God saved him on the road to Damascus and called him to preach the gospel. And yet he experienced much suffering in his life as a believer. Paul wasn’t living in sin when he was stoned in the streets or imprisoned. Because he persevered through each hardship, we are blessed with the epistles he wrote during those times.

3. Our faith is based on emotion.

Sometimes we think, I can trust Him as long as everything’s going my way. But this leaves us feeling hopeless when things go wrong. We cannot base our faith on emotion, personal judgment, or perception—it must be grounded in the Word of God. When we feel discouraged, we need to ask,What is the clear teaching of Scripture? You won’t come across any kind of valley experience for which God doesn’t provide an answer in His Word.

4. We don’t know God’s promises.

How can we feel hopeless when the Father promises to love, protect, and guide us throughout our lives? If we commit the Scriptures to memory, He will bring them to mind whenever we need encouragement.

Closing Thoughts

There are many things that happen in a valley, and God allows us to experience them for a number of reasons. The truth is, we tend to learn far more from the low points in our lives than we do from the high. When do you learn the most about trusting God? Too often we take the good things for granted. It’s in times of trial that we learn how to lean on the Lord.

If you haven’t discovered who God is and how He operates, then start now. Spend time reading the Bible each day, learning his promises and committing them to memory. Remember to trust Him with all your heart, and don’t lean on your own understandings—or emotions (Prov. 3:5). Follow Him, and He will walk you—and you will never be alone again.

(DJS)