Finding Joy Through Hardship

Hi,

I was reading this article, and today especially it hits close to home because we all go through hardships and difficulties, we all go through trials and tribulations; what is always hard is finding the Joy through it all.

Finding Joy Through Hardship

Courtnaye Richard

 

www.insideoutwithcourtnaye.org

I’ll be the first to admit that maintaining your joy is not easy when life’s disappointments, tests and trials beat up against you. A part of you wants to go into isolation, be angry, depressed, and sad, but God doesn’t want us to go into those dark emotions. Instead, He wants us to renew our focus and trust Him for the overall outcome when we face hardships in life.

Most of us know that “joy” is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and it’s defined as a very glad feeling, a shout, triumph, cheerful, and a calm delight. I like that last definition – a calm delight. Because that’s what we need when we’re going through difficult and trying times. Now, what it doesn’t mean is that you’ll be smiling ear-to-ear or laughing when you hit a hard place in your life. Not at all. It just means that your mindset has to shift into a new gear.

In other words, a gear of having a better attitude and being thankful that no matter what, God is still faithful, sovereign, and loving. He is working things out for our good. It’s also about keeping our eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

 

I would say endurance is a highlighting factor, here. Think about it. Without it, Jesus could have jumped off the cross and said, “I can’t do this. It hurts too bad! Father, I don’t know where you are. I’m done.” But instead, He endured the hardship. He didn’t give up. He didn’t allow the trial of His life to sidestep God’s plan for salvation. He focused on the purpose and the joy that awaited Him. He endured it and then it was finished. And thank God He pressed through the pain – for us.

I want to take a minute to share with you a few practical things that you can do to find joy in the midst of hardship…

  • Pray (cry, talk to God about what you’re going through – He’s listening)
  • Renew your mind (change your attitude – try to think about good things and what God could be doing through it)
  • Put on a pot of coffee or tea and read on joy, getting through trials, let God minister to you through His Word regarding your particular situation, and journal what’s happening (pen your thoughts, prayers, and verses)
  • Call a friend to talk to and help you carry the heavy burden and then pray together
  • Do something that you enjoy to help take your mind off of the hardship as you wait on God to move in the situation
  • Look around and find something to be grateful for in the midst of it (1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all things, for this is the will of God concerning you in Christ Jesus.”)
  • Be intentional about finding joy
  • Trust Him

Listen sis, Scripture tells us to count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations (meaning various trials). That’s what the King James Version of James 1:2-4 says. Again, this doesn’t mean that you have to go around faking happiness. Because when hard things hit, it does hurt and sometimes you do have to cry, and sometimes you do wonder where is God in all of it. We are human. But what God is saying through this verse is that He wants us to see the bigger picture. He’s doing something greater – even though we can’t see it. And that is where the joy comes from.

He’s building character. He’s making you stronger. He’s increasing your faith. He’s maturing you. He’s building endurance for your good and for a later testimony.

So when things go wrong in your life or when your day just isn’t the best, choose to kick into another gear and say, “Lord, I need help down here. I need supernatural joy. I need help shifting my mindset.” Like I said earlier, I know it’s not easy. But don’t allow the situation to make you go crazy, act out of character, or cause you to lose faith, sis.

With that being said, I want to give you the verse in full from James 1:2-4. It states, “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”

************************************************************************************

 

Now that you too have read this article, don’t you feel that this hits close to home?

Always remember that we are tested in our faith.

Everything that we face is meant for us to grow in our faith and trust in GOd more.

Trouble will always come our way, as mentioned in the book of James, but this should be an opportunity for us to still find that glimmer of joy within the problems.

 

Thank you Lord for all that you do. Thank you for the challenges that I face, the hardships, because they bring me closer to you.  I thank you for the good days, for I can appreciate all that  I have lived and experienced to be where I am today.  AMEN.

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Unfinished

Philippians 1:6 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until he completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again.

 

 

Luke 4:4-12 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say,

‘It is not just bread that keeps people alive.’”

Then the devil took Jesus and in a moment of time showed him all the kingdoms of the world. The devil said to him, “I will make you king over all these places. You will have power over them, and you will get all the glory. It has all been given to me. I can give it to anyone I want. I will give it all to you, if you will only worship me.”

Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say,

‘You must worship the Lord your God.
    Serve only him.’”

Then the devil led Jesus to Jerusalem and put him on a high place at the edge of the Temple area. He said to him, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! 10 The Scriptures say,

‘God will command his angels
    to take care of you.’

11 It is also written,

‘Their hands will catch you
    so that you will not hit your foot on a rock.’”

12 Jesus answered, “But the Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’”[a]

 

Satan tries to deter you from what GOd has planned for you.  You cannot let him get to you.  In this second part of the series Mandisa elaborates even further.  Her testimony and illustration is below:.

Here is the 2nd devotional from Mandisa.

Unfinished
Devotional by Mandisa
I beat myself up…a lot. I would never talk to anyone the way I speak to myself sometimes. Ask me what my best qualities are and it would take me a long time to compile a list. But ask me what I don’t like about myself and buckle up, because I can rattle off that list in 3.5 seconds flat! I know I’m not alone in that harmful habit. I believe it is time for the children of God to stop wallowing in shame and regret, and start living lives of freedom, power, and authority. We do that by taking those destructive thoughts captive, and making them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
In Luke 4, Jesus was hounded by the devil in the wilderness. Rather than getting in a philosophical debate with Satan, each time Jesus was tempted, He simply spoke the Word of God and kept it moving.
“But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’ ” Luke 4:4 NLT
“Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.’ ” Luke 4:8 NLT
“Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’ ” Luke 4:12 NLT
If it worked for Jesus, it works for me! Now when I hear those negative thoughts in my head, I am learning to respond with the truth of God’s Word.
When I sin and want to pull away from God in shame, after I repent, I’ll proclaim that, “I confess my sin and know that God is faithful to forgive and cleanse me. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those that belong to Christ Jesus, like me. I am more than a conqueror, and nothing can separate me from the love of God!” (1 John 1:9, Romans 8:1, 37-39)
When I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see, I’ll declare that, “Because I look to God, I am radiant, and not covered in shame. I have a true beauty that goes beyond outward appearance, and shines from the inside out. My heart displays an unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” (Psalm 34:5, 1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Peter 3:3-4)
When I feel anxious and hopeless that I’ll ever overcome the struggles that I always seem to face, I’ll speak life by saying, “I celebrate the truth that God began a good work in me, and will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. I am not a mess. I am not a failure. I am not a mistake. I’m just unfinished.” (Philippians 1:6)

Tikkun Olam: Repairing the World

Tikkun Olam is Hebrew for repairing the world.

It’s Holy Week, Holy Saturday in fact. Yesterday Jesus died at the cross of Calvary. Tomorrow he will ride and leave his tomb empty.

Tikkun Olam. This is all I can think of. Why is this lil old Christian girl citing Hebrew words?

Tikkun Olam began as a verb “to make straight” in the Hebrew scripture. Rabbis have used this phrase, this saying in their legal discussions in the Talmud.

I am currently moved and inspire to write about how Jesus came in to my life in order to Tikkun Olam me. He set me straight, he saved me, he repaired me when I was broken, weak and in need. Thank you ABBA Padre.

Kaballist followers referred to Tikkun Olam as a concept of cosmic repair in the Middle Ages.

Today, some use the term Tikkun Olam in reference to social activism – to heal the world.

The Hebrew verb TKN (Tikkun Olam) is only found four times in the Scripture. Which means to make straight, establish, arrange, or repair.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, we see the verb TKN mentioned 3 out of the four times mentioned in scripture.

Before we get into those scripture let’s speak about the book of Ecclesiastes.

Purpose and Teaching:

The author of Ecclesiastes puts his powers of wisdom to work to examine the human experience and assess the human situation. His perspective is limited to what happens “under the sun” (as is that of all the wisdom teachers). He considers life as he has experienced and observed it between the horizons of birth and death — life within the boundaries of this visible world. His wisdom cannot penetrate beyond that last horizon; he can only observe the phenomenon of death and perceive the limits it places on human beings. Within the limits of human experience and observation, he is concerned to spell out what is “good” for people to do. And he represents a devout wisdom. Life in the world is under God — for all its enigmas. Hence what begins with “Meaningless! Meaningless!” (1:2) ends with “Remember your Creator” (12:1) and “Fear God and keep his commandments” (12:13).

With a wisdom matured by many years, he takes the measure of human beings, examining their limits and their lot. He has attempted to see what human wisdom can do (1:13,16-18; 7:24; 8:16), and he has discovered that human wisdom, even when it has its beginning in “the fear of the Lord” (Pr 1:7), has limits to its powers when it attempts to go it alone — limits that circumscribe its perspectives and relativize its counsel. Most significantly, it cannot find out the larger purposes of God or the ultimate meaning of human existence. With respect to these it can only pose questions.

Nevertheless, he does take a hard look at the human enterprise — an enterprise in which he himself has fully participated. He sees a busy, busy human ant hill in mad pursuit of many things, trying now this, now that, laboring away as if by dint of effort humans could master the world, lay bare its deepest secrets, change its fundamental structures, somehow burst through the bounds of human limitations, build for themselves enduring monuments, control their destiny, achieve a state of secure and lasting happiness — people laboring at life with an overblown conception of human powers and consequently pursuing unrealistic hopes and aspirations.

He takes a hard look and concludes that human life in this mode is “meaningless,” its efforts all futile.

What, then, does wisdom teach him?

1. Humans cannot by all their striving achieve anything of ultimate or enduring significance. Nothing appears to be going anywhere (1:5-11), and people cannot by all their efforts break out of this caged treadmill (1:2-4;2:1-11); they cannot fundamentally change anything (1:12-15;6:10;7:13). Hence they often toil foolishly (4:4,7-8;5:10-17;6:7-9). All their striving “under the sun” (1:3) after unreal goals leads only to disillusionment.

2. Wisdom is better than folly (2:13-14; 7:1-6,11-12,19; 8:1,5; 9:17-18; 10:1-3,12-15; 12:11) — it is God’s gift to those who please him (2:26). But it is unwarranted to expect too much even from such wisdom — to expect that human wisdom is capable of solving all problems (1:16-18) or of securing for itself enduring rewards or advantages (2:12-17;4:13-16;9:13-16).

3. Experience confronts humans with many apparent disharmonies and anomalies that wisdom cannot unravel. Of these the greatest of all is this: Human life comes to the same end as that of the animals — death (2:15; 3:16-17; 7:15; 8:14; 9:1-3; 10:5-7).

4. Although God made humankind upright, people have gone in search of many “schemes” (for getting ahead by taking advantage of others; see 7:29; cf. Ps 10:2; 36:4; 140:2). So even humans are a disappointment (7:24-29).

5. People cannot know or control what will come after them, or even what lies in the more immediate future; therefore all their efforts remain balanced on the razor’s edge of uncertainty (2:18;6:12;7:14;9:2).

6. God keeps humans in their place (3:16-22).

7. God has ordered all things (3:1-15;5:19;6:1-6;9:1), and a human being cannot change God’s appointments or fully understand them or anticipate them (3:1;7;11:1-6). But the world is not fundamentally chaotic or irrational. It is ordered by God, and it is for humans to accept matters as they are by God’s appointments, including their own limitations. Everything has its “time” and is good in its time (ch. 3).

Therefore wisdom counsels:

1. Accept the human state as it is shaped by God’s appointments and enjoy the life you have been given as fully as you can.

2. Don’t trouble yourself with unrealistic goals — know the measure of human capabilities.

3. Be prudent in all your ways — follow wisdom’s leading.

4. “Fear God and keep his commandments” (12:13), beginning already in your youth before the fleeting days of life’s enjoyments are gone and “the days of trouble” (12:1) come when the infirmities of advanced age vex you and hinder you from tasting, seeing and feeling the good things of life.

To sum up, Ecclesiastes provides instruction on how to live meaningfully, purposefully and joyfully within the theocratic arrangement — primarily by placing God at the center of one’s life, work and activities, by contentedly accepting one’s divinely appointed lot in life, and by reverently trusting in and obeying the Creator-King. Note particularly 2:24-26; 3:11-14,22; 5:18-20; 8:15; 9:7-10; 11:712:1; 12:9-14 (see also any pertinent notes on these passagoes link can be found in footnotes)

Outline of Ecclesiastes:

• Author (1:1)

• Theme: The meaninglessness of human efforts on earth apart from God (1:2)

• Introduction: The profitlessness of human toil to accumulate things in order to achieve happiness (1:3-11)

• Discourse, Part 1: In spite of life’s apparent enigmas and meaninglessness, it is to be enjoyed as a gift from God (1:12;11:6)

• Since human wisdom and endeavors are meaningless, people should enjoy their life and work and its fruits as gifts from God (1:12;6:9)

1. Introduction (1:12-18)

1. Human endeavors are meaningless (1:12-15)

2. Pursuing human wisdom is meaningless (1:16-18)

2. Seeking pleasure is meaningless (2:1-11)

3. Human wisdom is meaningless (2:12-17)

4. Toiling to accumulate things is meaningless (2:18;6:9)

1. Because people must leave the fruits of their labor to others (2:18-26)

2. Because all human efforts remain under the government of God’s sovereign appointments, which people cannot fully know and which all their toil cannot change (3:1;4:3)

3. Because there are things better for people than the envy, greed and amibition that motivate such toil (4:4-16)

4. Because the fruits of human labor can be lost, resulting in frustration (5:1;6:9)

• Since people cannot fully know what is best to do or what the future holds for them, they should enjoy now the life and work God has given them (6:10;11:6)

1. Introduction: What is predetermined by God is inalterable, and people cannot fully know what is best or what the future holds (6:10-12)

2. People cannot fully know what is best to do (chs. 78)

3. People cannot fully know what the future holds (9:1;11:6)

• Discourse, Part 2: Since old age and death will soon come, people should enjoy life in their youth, remembering that God will judge (11:7;12:7)

• People should enjoy their life on earth because their future after death is mysterious, and in that sense is meaningless for their present life (11:7-8)

• People should enjoy the fleeting joys of youth, but remember that God will judge (11:9-10)

• People should remember their Creator (and his gifts) in their youth, before the deteriorations of old age and the dissolution of the body come (12:1-7)

• Theme Repeated (12:8)

• Conclusion: Reverently trust in and obey God (12:9-14)

Now that we have an overview on Ecclesiastes, back to references of TKN:

Human endeavors are meaningless:

“What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered.”

Ecclesiastes 1:15 NLT

The author has described that we humans do not have authority to fully make things right, make things new, or repair. We are limited.

“Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?”

Ecclesiastes 7:13 NLT

Who are we? Can we really fix something that God has made, created? Allowed to happen? God has his reasons for why things go the way they do. We have to accept what we cannot change, we have to accept in our limited abilities and capabilities of the flesh. We do not have the power God has. We do not have God’s abilities.

“Keep this in mind: The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew. He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them.”

Ecclesiastes 12:9 NLT

We have to reverently trust and obey God.

““When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before.”

Daniel 4:36 NLT

In Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream, Daniel interprets it and Nebuchadnezzar‘s dream came to pass., he then exalted and glorified the lords name. Nebuchadnezzar was restored, straightened and renewed. TKN.

Consider what God has done: Who can straighten [Takkan] what he has made crooked?”

In the book of Deuteronomy we see where the concept of Justice and moral duty to society originates:

“Let true justice prevail, so you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

Deuteronomy 16:20 NLT

In the book of Amos we find a Hebrew prophet who condemned Israel’s disregard to Widows, orphans and foreigners in his time. Here he uses this reference towards doing what is rightness, to denounce Evelin, to love what is good, to turn towards justice for all the living.

“Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper, just as you have claimed. Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will have mercy on the remnant of his people. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.”

Amos 5:14-15, 24 NLT

Now that we have see. Peace, and setting things right or repairing with the Hebrew word Tikkun Olam, then came the concept of repairing the world peace. The Zohar, a book of Jewish mysticism, first appeared in Spain in the late thirteenth century. The author used tikkun olam to describe the cosmic benefits of when a Jew performs mitzvot.

A mitzvot is a commandment, referring to precepts and commandments commanded by God. According to the Torah there are 613 commandments. In the Bible we have 10.

Now back to the book Zohar, out of this book and cosmic benefits of following the commandments a new philosphy of thought emerged called kabbalah.

This new philosophy is birthed in the concept of how through the fall of Adam, the universe was “ruptured” in both the physical and spiritual realms.When a Jew carries out the mitzvot cosmic repairs are made in the invisible spiritual world. The benefits then “flow down” into the physical world and slowly repair the damage done on earth by the sin of Adam.

We know that through the fall of man in genesis, sin was born. Satan became the prince of this world. Willing and able to deter, destroy, manipulate all of God’s creation.

Kabbalist state with their philosophy of cosmic destruction due to the fall of man that God’s presence was scattered in the same way a clay pot is shattered and the shards scattered. These pieces were called “divine sparks.” Famed Kabbalist Isaac Luria (1534-1572) explained that the Jews were dispersed throughout the world in order to “elevate” these sparks and restore the unity of God’s presence.

As Christians we know that yes the fall of Adam and Eve birthed sin, yet the death of Jesus restore us, heals us, Tikkun Olam: Repairing the World, not the physical world but spiritual world.

For centuries Jews waited the arrival of the messiah, so a new Jerusalem can be formed, Where their king can ride up and rule for all eternity. The prophecy has been mentioned throughout the scriptures of hour our savior would come, live, be mistreated, pay for our sins and ride back up. (Isaiah 53).

Jesus did just that. The spiritual world is saved. Jesus repairs our hearts. Jesus repairs our souls, Jesus repairs our mind, Jesus repairs where we will spend our eternity…. as long as we believe in him, follow him, trust in him.

“The fact is, it was our suffering he took on himself; he bore our pain. But we thought that God was punishing him, that God was beating him for something he did. But he was being punished for what we did. He was crushed because of our guilt. He took the punishment we deserved, and this brought us peace. We were healed because of his pain.”

Isaiah 53:4-5 ERV

The phrase “tikkun olam” remains connected with human responsibility for fixing what is wrong with the world. It’s a trait that comes from within. People whom are passionate about fixing this world are invested in grassroot initiatives, working for the people, to stand up against anyone whom do not do right by the people. These people do community activism, work in social justice, some go into politics, go into health care, the legal system and even ministry, so that in the areas they believe and are passionate about they too can do right for the people. The problems of this world can be jeweled and mended if we all take the appropriate steps towards salvation. To love each other wholly they say the Bible reaches us. To respect one another as the Bible reaches us.

Jesus came to this world mend our hearts, save this world, to repair this world from the sin caused by the down fall of mankind. Jesus came by dying in our place for our wrongdoing, thereby wiping our slate clean and giving us shalom (peace)with God. Jesus is our Tikkun Olam, but what he comes to repair, is not this physical world but the spiritual world. Our battle is a spiritual battle. Our journey here on earth determines our spiritual journey.

Yet here we are today, Holy Saturday, and you are probably wondering where I am going with all of this.

When Jesus died at Calvary, his followers, his disciples were mourning, they felt broken, they were in pain. Some were probably questioning was this really the son of God? Some were probably questioning will he return? Some were just in pain. Loosing a friend, especially at a young age is never easy. They had to silently wait for what was to come next, while they mourned.

Put yourself in the place of Jesus ‘ disciples.

‘I just lost my teacher. I just lost my mentor. I just lost my friend. I just lost my best friend. I just lost my brother. I just lost my son, he was only 33.’

Let those words sink in for just a few seconds.

Have you ever lost a teacher you highly regarded and respected? A mentor who guided you? A close friend? Your best friend? Your brother or sister? Your son?

His disciples were in pain. Yes they believed his teachings. Yes they lived, breathed, witness and spoke of the miracles of Jesus, yet here, in this world, in this flesh, they were still in pain.

When someone dies, no matter how they die, at first it’s hard to accept that they are no longer with us in the flesh.

Recently I lost a dear friend. It was a freak accident in my eyes. In the eyes of the Lord, it was time. I do not need to know the why, the reason, no matter how much I question what did happen, how come he died, I have to accept that God has his reason, and his reason is not mine to know. Yet this death, hurt me, shook me to the core. This death shattered my home to a million pieces. This death caused pain we didn’t know exist. We lost a friend, a brother, a best friend, a teacher.

The pain was raw.

The pain was real.

The emotions were indescribable.

We have all lost someone.

Take these feelings and apply them to the disciples.

I was broken with my losses.

They too were broken.

We also become broken when we sin.

The day after the crucifixtuon of Christ , they too mourned. Their pain, their feelings were raw. Their anguish was real. They were broken. Despite their faith, despite knowing that the prophesy needed to be fulfilled, they were broken and in real pain, the same pain you and I feel when we loose a loved one.

Today, I can think of Tikkun Olam, Jesus repairing the spiritual world. Today in mourning, broken, in pain over the loss of our savior, channeling the pain the disciples must have felt today, I find hope, comfort and peace knowing tomorrow he will rise. Tomorrow he fulfills the prophesy. That tomorrow he proves that he is the messiah, that my sins have been forgiven, that he paid my debts. That I shall praise and worship his name because he has allowed me to have an opportunity to enter the gates of heaven. I have found the Golden Ticket…. my ticket is Jesus. He has repaired my world, he has repaired my spiritual battles, he has healed everything that was broken in me.

Jesus repairs. Jesus heals. Jesus mends. Jesus is my Tikkun Olam: he has repaired, straightened and healed me.

Thank you Lord for sending your only son to be our sacrificial lamb. Thank you for having him take my sins upon the cross. Thank you for allowing me salvation through your son. Lord this act has allowed us salvation. Allowed us a bridge and relationship with you. To be able to feel your spirit. To be touched by the Holy Spirit. To be loved and inspired by the Holy Spirit. To grow with you in our spiritual journey so we can join you when our time comes. Lord I know things will happen, temptations and test will come, the enemy will try to break me, but you have already repaired me. Today over two thousand years ago, the disciples mourned the passing of Jesus, tomorrow we shall rejoice and celebrate that we worship the one true living God. Amen

References:

https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/issues-v20-n03/tikkun-olam-repairing-the-world/

https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/tikkun-olam-repairing-the-world/

http://bible.com/116/ecc.1.15.nlt

http://bible.com/116/ecc.7.13.nlt

http://bible.com/116/ecc.12.9.nlt

http://bible.com/116/dan.4.36.nlt

http://bible.com/116/deu.16.20.nlt

http://bible.com/116/amo.5.14-15,24.nlt

http://bible.com/406/isa.53.4-5.erv

https://www.biblestudytools.com/ecclesiastes/

While we were still sinners….

bible.com/406/rom.5.8.erv

Think about the ultimate sacrifice God has made for you. He sent his son, to pay for our sins, even before you and I were born. Jesus was our sacrificial lamb. He has redeemed us. He died so we too can join his father our lord one day in heaven. He died so we too can receive salvation.

He rose from the grave to fulfill a prophesy, a promise from God. To show God’s love, compassion and grace. To show that God wants all his children with him, saved in heaven. Not subject to be lost in the catacombs of hell, not to be destroyed by the enemy. The lord gave us free Will, we freely choose whether we want to accept him or not. Our choices determine if we can achieve salvation.

Jesus death at the cross of Calvary is not something to be taken lightly. His whole experience, the torment he had to undergo, the suffering, the beatings, the tears, the agony of his flesh, the name calling, the shouts, the hatred that many had towards him. He went through all this so we, you and I shouldn’t. He paid our debts, so when you make it to judgement day, you can go debt free. All you have to do is believe and accept our lord as your lord and savior.

All you have to do is start anew. Repent, believe, follow Jesus. Follow him with all your heart and soul.

Pray with me.

Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

If you decided to repeat this prayer and repent of your sins and receive Christ today, welcome to God’s family. You are now my brother or sister in Christ.

Now, there are a few things you need to know to grow closer to Christ. Build your relationship with God. As a way to grow closer to Him, the Bible tells us to follow up on our commitment.

• Get baptized as Christ has commanded us.

• Tell someone else about your new faith in Christ.

• Spend time with God each day. It does not have to be a long period of time. Just develop the daily habit of praying to Him and reading His Word. Ask God to increase your faith and your understanding of the Bible.

• Seek fellowship with other followers of Jesus. Develop a group of believing friends to answer your questions and support you.

• Find a local church where you can worship God.

Good luck on your spiritual journey.

May God Bless you.

Application – day 6

 

As I mentioned in the previous post I am currently reading another devotional series.

This is a 7 day devotional entitled:  Seeking Wisdom‘ If you want to read the full devotional click on the hyperlink. If not just wait  because tomorrow is the completion of the 7 day devotional, feel free to check back to the previous posts about this devotional plan. I will post their devotional with my own reflection piece.

Associated scripture with today’s devotional:

 

 

 

 

 

“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4:9 ESV

One of the things I find myself doing ever more these days is applying the scriptures in my life. A few months ago I read a devotional book about having tea with Jesus. This book was so good, I was able to reassess my daily routine and apply the principals of the devotional in to my day. Then in one chapter specifically was about using bible verses to pray. Scriptures were listed and scenarios presented forth as how to use some scriptures in prayers. I began applying this notion to fortify my prayers, to incorporate god’s word in my personal prayers and hopefully in doing so strengthening my prayers with God. I also taught my children. They too apply this concept in praying.

In teaching my class I also apply our lessons to real time current day status and situations. I even bring up issues that are relate-able to them so that they can see that from the ages of 4-9, they can still apply the scriptures in to their lives.

So now to today’s devotional: Day 6 Mala Ministries:

Application

After four long years of medical school, the day had finally arrived for Ava Ann to step into her role as a medical resident. It was time for her to put into practice the vast amounts of knowledge she had received during her four long years at medical school.  Various pieces of information from over the years muddled together in her mind. Throughout the duration of the remainder of her career, she would be responsible for making crucial decisions, the results of which would drastically affect the lives of those involved.

She knew that she had been equipped; she was only unsure that she would be able to apply the information she had learned. She knew that the knowledge she had attained wasn’t enough; the accurate application of it was necessary in order to fulfill her responsibilities. The long days and nights of studying arduously would only pay off when that knowledge manifested itself in action.

The same could be said of any of our professions. The facts only get us so far. Applying the facts with the right technique is what results in a job well done. We consider this a common-sense concept when it comes to our secular lives; yet, applying this to our spiritual lives can sometimes be a daunting task.

Paul knew this all too well, which is why he repeatedly reminded the Philippian church that learning, receiving, hearing and seeing was simply not enough. He challenged them to “practice these things,” knowing fully well that they, just like we, are prone to simply being hearers of the Word, and not doers. Through his letter to the Philippians, he is encouraging us to look beyond the “what” and fervently seek the “how.”

If we ask God for patience, He gives us opportunities to be patient. If we ask God to increase our inclination for generosity, He gives us opportunities to be generous. In our quest for wisdom, then, we must ask ourselves: does God simply grant wisdom, or does He give us opportunities to be wise with the knowledge He has already granted us?

As you go about your day today, ask God to not only bestow you with wisdom, but to open your eyes to the many opportunities He will give you to apply it. And for those of us who worry about whether or not we will be able to apply the right knowledge at the right time, we need only to remind ourselves that “if any of [us] [lack] wisdom, [we] should ask God, who gives generously to all, without finding fault…” (James 1:5).

Prayer:

Father God I thank you for this day. Today is a new day where not only I can glorify your name, but that I could be used as a vessel to be of a blessing to someone else. Father I thank you. I worship your name. Father I ask for you to continue to provide wisdom so that I can continue to be a blessing to my self and someone else. Lord I want to edify others about your word. I want them to see that I too struggle, but in the midst of my struggles I too apply your word in my life. I too seek guidance. May we all be vessels of guidance and hope for one another. Amen.

 

Acceptance – day 5

 

 

As I mentioned in the previous post I am currently reading another devotional series.

This is a 7 day devotional entitled: Seeking Wisdom‘ If you want to read the full devotional click on the hyperlink. If not just wait daily  for the next  few days for the completion of the 7 day devotional. I will post their devotional with my own reflection piece.

Associated scripture with today’s devotional:

 

“In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.”

Ecclesiastes 7:14 ESV

 

One of my biggest problems is learning to accept when I can no longer do anything or seek answers to a specific question troubling me. Some battles are worth fighting, others you just need to learn to accept that it is what it is. The hardest thing to do sometimes is accept ones given circumstance.

This brings me to today’s devotional from this 7 day plan.

Day 5 Mala Ministries:

Acceptance

King Solomon came to be known as the wisest king who ever lived. Even with such a title and an abundance of wealth, he continually acknowledged the God of Israel as the source of all his blessings. But his acknowledgement of God didn’t stop there; in Ecclesiastes 7:14, we see that he also acknowledged the sovereignty of God when it came to the occurrence of unfavorable circumstances. Rain or shine, He acknowledged that God’s permission was extended to allow one as well as the other; so “no one [could] discover anything about their future.”

This concept of pure, humble acceptance was also evident in the life and character of Job. He was abundantly wealthy, and in the blink of an eye, it was all taken away from him. His response? “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

In this life, we may ride the waves of joy for one season, only to be hit with storms of despair and grief in the next. And while some situations call for drastic action, some others only call for godly acceptance. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon states that to be wise in one’s own eyes is foolishness. Socrates said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.”

To accept our lack of understanding and knowledge is to also accept the sovereign will and plan of God, which in most cases, is a mystery. “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).

Ask God today to help you reach this level of wisdom, which exemplifies godly acceptance. In the midst of struggle, may these lines by Reinhold Niebuhr be your prayer:  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

My conclusion:

Holy father, god of mercy god of love, I lift my hands in praise to you. Thank you for the challenges I face, thank you for the love, thank you for the lessons. Thank you for teaching me when to accept certain circumstances and when to challenge them. Lord thank you for the guidance. Thank you. Amen.

 

 

Assumptions – day 4

 

 

As I mentioned in the previous post I am currently reading another devotional series.

This is a 7 day devotional entitled: Seeking Wisdom‘ If you want to read the full devotional click on the hyperlink. If not just wait daily for the next  few days for the completion of the 7 day devotional. I will post their devotional with my own reflection piece.

Associated scripture with today’s devotional:

 

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:2 ESV

 

You know the saying not everything you see on TV (or on the internet ) is real. We cannot live assuming everything you read or see online or on TV is true. We are living in a society that people are manipulating data and facts to suit their own will and needs. Assuming that you can always accept the truth at face value is no longer viable in this day and age of alternative facts and fake news.

I have always been big on looking at the bigger picture, researching and testing theories to ensure if I can believe certain truths. My experiences has shown me that the biblical texts are true. God does love me. God dwells within me. I can feel his presence. I know this not because of something I read on the internet or saw on tv. I know this because I study his word. Meditate in his presence. I know this because I feel his love. I don’t need mans opinion to validate anything for me. I don’t need man to tell me something is without me looking into it myself. I don’t assume that what everyone tells me is true.

With this being said I am going to transition to today’s devotional.

 

Day 4 Mala Ministries:

Assumptions

Pray today that you will not be swayed by opinions that do not come from God. He is looking for you, and whenever you stray and return, you realize that He never moved. The world is filled with imitations and fads that come in the guise of wisdom but are actually snippets of evil disguised to give you comfort. No relationship crumbles because of a single blowout; almost all of them fail because we do not acknowledge the slow leaks that deflate us. Friends, be wise to the captivating assumptions of innocent wonder because you think there is no victim.

From the very first assumption in the Garden of Eden, man has always been susceptible to the negative influences of other people. Today, make a decision to question your own assumptions. “Why” you believe the God of the Bible is as important to the planning of your day as “what” you believe. Lean on Him to prevent the false promise within a false premise. Make a commitment that you will seek His will to overcome the assumptions that can be a roadblock to genuine wisdom.

One example of this is in the contemporary church. The biggest roadblock to contemporary worship is the doctrine and denomination that jeopardizes that worship. Worship is for God and not for the creator of the order of worship, or the one who is in charge of the bulletin. John Maxwell reminds us that we can indeed go to heaven sans a bulletin. The assumptions we make on what is holy, pious, traditional and ritualistic are sure to become obstacles if we keep looking to the “how” and not the “why.”

Today, meditate on the things you want to understand through the lens of God. When the lamenting prophet Jeremiah cried out to God, he was told, “Seek unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things you cannot comprehend.” God is reminding us to look away from the prejudices of our own assumptions and at the majesty of His promise that lies just outside our comprehension.

 

My reflection:

Father God I thank you today for your love and mercy. I give you praise for your daily bread. I thank you for being ever present at every moment in my day. Thank you lord for always guiding me and not allowing me to accept assumptions as facts. Thank you for the ability to comprehend details laid before me. Amen.