For many Christians Jesus ceases to really be their hero. Instead they feel a part of a faith community (tribe) and mentally assent to who Jesus is and what He’s done, but there’s no heartfelt reality and application of the Gospel until they experience a real sense of helplessness, hopelessness, and powerlessness.
God is always with us, but sometimes we don’t sense His presence in our lives because we’re so busy with our own decisions, solutions, and plans. That’s why it often takes a crisis to get us face to face with God.
God often brings us or lets us get to a place of helplessness because He wants us to let go and let God. He wants to be our Hero who comes in and saves the day. All we have to do is let Him do what He does so well.
Heaven rules in spite of the situation you face. The problem is not yours. The battle is the Lord’s.
Fire and brimstone sermons are rarely preached anymore. Why? Has God changed or were they inappropriate then as they are now? Some argue that they use fear of hell as a motivation to follow Christ rather than the love-based motivation of God’s love and grace. Which God would you rather follow?
Perhaps many preachers presented it that way but God has not changed. We follow and trust a God who is a consuming fire and loving.
We prepare for the severe side of nature–why ignore the severe aspect of God? When a man builds his house or ship strongly to withstand the elements we do not say he is a victim of fear. Instead, we say he is prudent.
Likewise, when I appeal to the severity of God–to His fire, His sword–I am not preaching mere terrors of the Lord to move people by alarm rather than by love. I am simply being faithful to the facts–I am reminding you that God is not less complete than the season He made. I am asking you in the summer of His mercies not to forget the winter of His judgment.
Many people think they’ll be happy when something good happens to them. But it’s actually not the case necessarily. Good things tend to happen to those who are already happy. Isn’t it truer that a happy person will create a happy marriage, rather than become happy through a good marriage.
Happiness is putting the cart before the horse. Real happiness, the kind that comes from God, can only be found when we have hope–the anticipation that something good is coming. It’s the happy feeling we get when we think about the good things God has planned for our future, especially in the context of His plans for a redeemed world.
Since college I have tried (mostly successfully but not perfectly) having a “Daily Quiet Time” with God. I try to sit quietly, pray, read a little Scripture and journal. It’s not always easy.
Why DQTs are painful:
- It teaches me discipline…daily!
- It forces me to prioritize God first.
- By praying daily I’m confronted with the concerns that are on-going, not easily answered. God rarely, if ever, gives instant results.
But they are a blessing.
Why DQTs are a blessing:
- I get to spend time with the Creator of the universe!
- It makes me feel loved in His presence.
- I learn more about God and myself.
- Sometimes I realize God answer prayers.
- I’m learning patience and perseverance.
- I receive strength for the coming day.
In the midst of suffering or grief I turn to the only place I will find lasting hope and purpose. God wants to meet in that valley and He promises to. I go to Him and recite His words in my heart that I will be transformed.
- God is with me every step of the way (Psalm 23:4).
- Even when I can’t go on, God is my strength (Psalsm 73:26).
- God will bring the healing I need (I Peter 5:10).
- Suffering isn’t meaningless (2 Corinthians 4:17).
- In the pain, Christ is gain (Philippians 3:8).
- In the hardest moments, God is fighting for us (Isaiah 43:2).
- There is a purpose to pain even if we never know what is clearly (Romans 8:28).
- In the end “all sad things are untrue (Tolkien)” (Revelation 21:4).
Isaiah 46:4, “The Lord says, ‘I am He who will sustain you.'”
My grandma Sophie barely finished eighth grade. She never learned how to drive and never worked for a living. Her husband died young. She had poor health a good portion of her life. She lost one baby boy early in his life. She knew heart ache.
More importantly she knew her Lord and God. I vividly remember her retreating to her room to pray (she lived with us). This sacred time revealed her loving, trusting relationship with God. Grandma Sophie spent that time with her best friend not only sharing what was on her mind but quiet time listening with her heart. How many victories did her prayer life win? Too many to count…
My grandmother is a reminder of God’s promise, clearly spoken through the prophet Isaiah. God never abandoned her, nor will He any of us.
Sometimes the Spirit speaks clearer and louder to us than other times. Those times typically correlate with how much time we’ve been spending with Him and depending on Him.
So it’s crucial when we are prompted by the Spirit to talk to someone, help someone, serve somewhere, WHATEVER IT IS, that we do it! When we don’t, we’re not depending on God and that prompting will be a little less clear next time. When we do depend on God we join God’s adventure to see what He’s going to do THROUGH US and it will be clearer next time.
The disciples heard Jesus’ public teaching just as the crowds did. The difference was that the disciples weren’t content with just hearing him teach and seeing his miracles. As awe-inspiring as all that was, when the opportunity came, they said “yes” to the intimate personal relationships with him, relationships that changed the trajectory of their entire lives…and of the world.
John 1:38-39a, “Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’ They said, ‘Rabbi’ (which means ‘Teacher’), ‘where are you staying?’ ‘Come,’ he replied, ‘and you will see.’
Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
The best way to start the day is by talking to God. Before you even leave your house for the day, there are certain things you need to ask God for to help you with your day.
Althought we can’t predict the future we can ask God to prepare us for whatever life will throw at us that day. After all, God knows even the smallest details of our lives before they even happen.
- Pray for strength to turn away from sin. Life will throw many subtle but sinful things at you through out your day. you may not even realize that you’ve stumbled over them! Things like gossip, negative thoughts, jealousy, are easy to fall into without even knowing it. Pray for God to give you a conscious mind to turn away from the things that displease Him.
- Pray for others to see God through you. One of our missions on earth is to witness to other people about God’s redemptive love. If we’re not radiating the love of Christ to the world around us, then we’re not doing our job as followers of Christ! We should be excited to talk to others about the things God is doing for us that He, too, can do for them.
- Pray for energy. We could all use some extra strength to get through our day.
- Pray for resilience. Resilience is the ability to recover readily from adversity. Not every day is filled with hardships, but when that day comes that is filled with adversity, God can empower us to get through it. When we pray for resilience, God will give us the mindset of perseverance, and the ability to approach these situations confidently and courageously. When we change to a mindset of resilience we turn these difficulties into mountains that God can move!