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Rejoice. Always.

“Don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.” Satchel Paige, 1974

Being consistent in your prayer life can be hard. I know that it is something I have been struggling with a lot. Like the above quote implies; we need to pray when the going is good as well as when it is rough. I know and understand that the Lord hears my prayers; He has proven Himself to me so many times. I know that I am very guilty of what the quote implies. When life is going good, I realize now that I do not go to my Lord in prayer as often as I should. As I encounter events in my life that find me desperate for comfort, I notice that I am very quick to run to my Lord. I am both ashamed and glad to say that. I am so thankful that I do have a Savior that I can go to in times of need. He asks us to come to Him and make our request known to Him.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6).
I find myself feeling ashamed as I run to God with my requests because I know that I have neglected Him when the going was good. I was doing everything on my own. As soon as trials came along I needed and searched for something that would comfort me; naturally I run to God, He is always there for us.
Recently I have found myself in a place where I feel so disconnected from God. I accept that I am the only one at fault for this. I am finding it so hard to trust God, to believe that He has everything in His hands. I constantly catch myself trying to get through everything on my own. And I have had to remind myself time and time again that I need to Rejoice always. In times of goodness and in times of trial; I need to always trust and Rejoice in the Lord.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
I can not honestly say that I am rejoicing always for the things that I am going through. It is my greatest desire to achieve that mindset. I know that God is for me, and that He is leading me on a path that is the best for me. I cannot see where I am going, nor can I understand why I am going there; but one day when I stand with my Jesus I will look back and see that long road; a road that has many smooth stretches, but there are times when the road looks rough and hard to get through, but I will look at my Savior and thank Him for every mile He lead me through.

Jesus Cries

“Jesus wept”  one of the shortest verses in the Holy Bible, found in John 11:35. One noun and one verb – the sentence could not be simpler; yet, the complexities of its meaning defy human comprehension. The realization that He wept is always something that speaks to me and intrigues me. Jesus our Savior crying, why? Although I cannot fathom as to what our Lord must have felt in the moment that this verse speaks of; I have found those 2 words so encouraging this last week.

Jesus stood in the midst of the people mourning the death of Lazarus. He heard their cries of pain and loss, as the stench and ugliness of death engulfed Him Lazarus had died four days ago. It must have been a chilling scene. In the midst of this dark moment of weeping and sorrow, Jesus felt intense pain, in the loss of His friend and we are told that He groaned in the spirit and that He was troubled (John 11:33) and then He wept. I ponder the moment of my Savior crying at the grave of Lazarus, I seek to understand the reasons for His grief.

An important point to remember: throughout this ordeal, Jesus knew that, in a matter of minutes, He was going to be raising Lazarus from the dead.  John 11:4 speaks of Jesus acknowledging that it would all be for the glory of God, and that the Son of God would be glorified through it. He was aware that He would be performing a miracle. If Jesus knew that Lazarus would soon be alive again, why the tears? Why would He feel such deep sorrow just before He was due to perform a joyous miracle?

I believe that Jesus felt a deep love for Lazarus and all mankind, and when you love someone, you empathize with that person’s pain. This verse speaks volumes of the extraordinary love of Jesus Christ for each soul that He created. He felt the heartbreak of those around Him. Such feelings would be painful enough, but I believe His pain and sorrow went even deeper than that single moment in time.

The heart of Jesus was sensitive in itself, but He was also aware of the thoughts of all the mourners around Him. We are told often throughout the bible that Jesus perceived the thoughts of those who were near Him. He felt the pain we all feel when someone we love dies or when we see others suffer, but, I believe, that pain was multiplied many times over as He also felt the pain of the dozens of people surrounding Him. It was as if the grief of each person present was laid upon the heart of Jesus. The heavy burden of their anguish would have been agonizing to the loving heart of Christ. Jesus was being bombarded by an incredible, overwhelming sense of loss that brought Him to tears.

This sense of loss He felt for Lazarus’ death was intensified as He considered the impact of death on mankind. This was just one situation out of countless millions throughout the world and across centuries — in which death seemed to be declaring a victory. Jesus had come to this earth to bring life, to trample death underfoot, and to bring eternity into the hearts of men and women. Yet, here He stood, observing the power death still had on men. The depth of His sorrow must have spanned the ages, past and future, and He wept for every soul who would ever lose a loved one to death.

After the display of Jesus’ humanity, love and empathy He spoke the words “Lazarus Come Forth!”. Jesus conquered death through His sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary. The resurrection and eternal life in heaven are promises for all who believe on His Holy Name.

As long as we live on this earth, we will be subject to all the sadness that surrounds us. It may not be something as final as death. But we all go through times that we feel sad and we just want to cry. To me the most comforting thought is that Jesus knows when I am sad and I believe He still feels our pain like He felt the pain of the people mourning Lazarus’ death. I truly believe that Jesus empathizes when we cry, and He picks us up in His loving arms and we feel His precious love anew again.

Worry Wart

It seems like I have spent the last few days worrying. Its like the whole day I am consumed with worry about things. I have been finding it so hard to trust God in certain areas in my life. I feel like I need to sort and figure everything out by myself, instead of giving the control to the Lord.

The Bible clearly teaches Christians to avoid worrying. In Philippians 4:6, we are commanded,

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

In this Scripture, we learn that we should bring all of our needs and concerns to God in prayer rather than worry about them. Jesus also teaches believers to not worry. He encourages us to avoid worrying about our physical needs like clothing and food. Jesus assures us that our Heavenly Father will take care of all our needs (Matthew 6:25-34). Therefore, we need not worry about anything.

I have tried so hard to overcome my worries. But how? In 1 Peter 5:7, we are instructed by the Lord to:

“cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

God does not want us to carry around the weight of problems and burdens. In this Scripture, God is telling us to give Him all of our worries and concerns. Why does God want to take on our problems? The Bible says because He cares for you. God is concerned about everything that happens to you. No worry is too big or small for His attention. I think that that is often my problem, I catch myself thinking that God doesn’t need to bother with all my worries. Now when I think of it I am ashamed that I do not trust the Lord with everything. When we give God our problems, He promises to give us His peace which surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7).

If there are worries in your life today, I encourage you to give them to Jesus. Jesus says,

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).

That verse brought me to tears last night. We have such a caring Saviour, and to have Him ask me to come to Him with my worries is a wonderful feeling. And the incredible promise that we will find rest for our souls.

I am trying so hard to apply this Journal to my own life. I almost feel weird posting this Journal today because its something that I am dealing with and I have a long way to go in this area. I feel that God always inspires these journalsand I hope that someone out there can be as encouraged as I am as I write them.  I love all of you that actually take the time to read these.

He Goes Before Us

I do a lot of random Journaling and this is something that I thought I could share.

It is so common to encounter painful times in our lives where God feels distant. It feels as though we walk the hard road alone, and no one understands the struggles we are going through. When disappointment comes, it floods our lives all at once, and defeat slowly creeps in until we feel like giving up.

Personally, I have been struggling with discouragement and wondering what God wants for me. I catch myself buying into the lies that Satan desperately wants me to believe. He wants me to give up. He wants me to think there is no hope for my life. I admit that I have been neglecting the Scriptures trying to find answers in other things , and I know all the answers can be found in one book; Gods word can give me so much hope. I know that He desires to build character within my life, and mature me, so I can be more available to do His work. …and to think that someone cares for me as much as God does overwhelms me so much.

Romans 5:3-5 says,

 

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Even during the hardest and most discouraging times in our lives, God is creating Christ-like character within us. Suffering is a part of God’s plan to make us more compassionate and loving. I often find myself asking why God would make us go through hard times… I mentioned earlier that I have been feeling discouraged and I found myself asking God once again why He was making everything so hard. However, He does not make us go through the struggles alone, but walks with us every step of the way, and gives us strength to keep moving forward despite opposition. In fact, in

Deuteronomy 31:8, we learn,

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Right after I had asked God “why?” I noticed a church bulletin on the floor of my room and that was the verse on the front of the bulletin. I know now that it was God trying to give me special encouragement.

God also tells us not to give up because His plan is far beyond our comprehension; If something doesn’t work out the way we expect it to, we must recognize God’s sovereignty, knowing He never shuts one door without opening another, which is far better according to His plan for each of us! This whole concept is far beyond my comprehension… God knows exactly how our life is going to turn out, yet he gives us the freedom to make our own choices….this just blows my mind.

I don’t know if anyone else ever feels the way I do but I just wanted to encourage anyone that might be feeling discouraged. You are not alone in your trials. In fact, Jesus himself knows rejection greater than anyone else. He wants to mend your heart and restore you, so He can use you for something incredible!! Even if you don’t understand why at the time, just wait, because He knows what is best for you!