Don’t Worry – Be Happy! – James 1: 12-15

James 1:

[12] Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

[13] Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

[14] But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

[15] Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (KJV)

Why are we tempted?

Many people believe that God, as a loving God, should not allow bad things to happen to his children.

It is true that God loves us and doesn’t want bad things to happen to us, but when the enemy comes along with a temptation, we have the God-given right (free-will) to either go with it or stand against it.

We should never accuse God of bringing trials upon us. He does not tempt us – the enemy does!

We need to be very careful. Satan tries hard to keep us in sin. In many instances, when temptations come along, we find ourselves giving in, and then the problems start.

Our desires tends to put us on a path, where we no longer rely on God, but on ourselves, believing we are capable of getting everything we think we need. Usually these temptations are “wants” rather than “needs”. We accept the temptation and then blame God when they get too heavy to carry.

An example: We want a new car and the financing doesn’t work out. What do we do? We go desperately in search of getting our own financing and sure enough we get it. God knew we weren’t in a position to handle a new car payment, but we wouldn’t listen, the desire and temptation were very strong.

Soon the payments become heavy enough that we turn away from God, blaming him for not helping us in the first place and now for not getting us out of the situation that we are in.

James (the half-brother of Jesus) is writing to people who are struggling. Although they are Christians, they are miserable and find their lives full of hardships. They are blaming God!

James is telling them that the problems they suffer are due to their own selfish desires. He continues telling them that God himself is not enticed by temptations and that temptations do not come from Him.

He encourages the people; that instead of moaning about the difficulties, be joyful that they are learning important lessons.

James tells them to turn to God in faith and gain strength from Him to deal with all they are going through.

Those who can live in joy and peace, and continue to depend on Christ, in all circumstances, (good and bad) will be rewarded for their faith.

These faithful believers will be blessed with a crown of life (eternal life) which God has promised to those who love Him.

Jehovah – Shammah – The Lord is There

Father,

I confess that I have been enticed and lured away from you on many occasions. In those times I have wanted something that seemed never coming and so I have chosen to follow a wrong path to “make it happen”.

Over time and through many trials, I am now maturing in my walk with you. Do I always make the right choice? No. But I am learning and I thank you Lord for your love and grace as I grow.

I am finally at a point where I realize:

1.That I will be tempted.

2.I know that I must be prepared for temptation.

3.That I am susceptible towards sin and I must learn to overcome temptation.

4.And I know that I must assume personal responsibility for the choices I make.

5.I know that on the times when I may fail, that I must repent and stand strong in faith, without complaint.

6.I know that I must put on a happy face. I am not to moan and groan and complain about my situation but to be happy that I am learning a valuable; albeit hard lesson.

7.I know that during these times I must not turn away from you because that gives the possibility of me going down the wrong path, one that would lead me away from you altogether and bring me eternal death.

8.I know that I must turn immediately to you, especially in times of temptation. Staying close, with faith in You, regardless of my situation, will give me the crown of life – eternity with you.

Thank you Lord.

In the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen

An unknown author wrote:

Happy are those who remain faithful under trials because when they succeed in passing a test, they will receive as their reward, the life which God has promised to those who love Him.

Am I Feeding the Flesh? – Romans 13: 14

ROMANS 13:14

Paul is reminding Christians that we should be living our lives for God and not for our own earthly lusts and desires. Paul’s words encourage us to serve as Jesus served, walk as Jesus walked, love as Jesus loved: to literally put on the persona of Jesus.

Paul is telling Christians to look towards what happens after this life has ended and he challenges the Christians (even us today) to be found in faith to the Lord, when Jesus returns.

The final advice that Paul leaves for Christians (of all times) is that we need to be careful not to cater to the desires of our flesh (over-eating, over-drinking, over-indulging in anything and/or everything) as these are the desires of the enemy.

We need to be following Christ, everyday; with purpose!

Father in Heaven

Thank you for being such an awesome God. Thank you that you sent your Son to us so that all those who accept Jesus will enjoy an eternal life with you. And thank you that your Word gives us awesome examples of people and situations, like the apostle Paul.

Although the spiritual battles I will face today are not mine to fight, I have a part in it; by walking right, living right and not living just for my own desires.

I need to be careful not to over indulge in the provisions you bless me with each day. If not careful, I can fall into the enemy’s trap (that is, believing that I can control the enemy by myself) and in that I will fail miserably.

Father, I know that time is running short and so I pray that all Christians become aware that the enemy is working very hard right now to capture our ways. I pray that eyes are open to the schemes that Satan uses to sneak into our lives. By living for Jesus, we will not fall for satan’s ways.

Thank you Father for all you do for all and for all you are, the one and only true God.

In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I pray,

Amen.

Hallelujah

When We are Burdened – Matthew 11

I have used these same verses on the blog “Pray for Salvation” but felt the Lord urging me to take it in another direction. I find it fascinating that God’s Word can touch so many different aspects of our lives.

If we are still carrying heavy burdens by ourselves it’s because we have not given them over to The Lord. He will always help us, but we must ask. At times we either forget God or immediately turn to others instead. The worse situation is when the enemy gets into our space and convinces us not to trust The Lord. In all of the above situations, we then continue carrying the burdens, hoping for a solution of our own making.

I have heard people say “Just give it over to the Lord” or “Let God carry it for you” or ” Trust in the Lord”. I wasn’t sure how to do that, so I asked God how I could accomplish it.

This is what He told me… He loves me in a way that no human could ever love me. He loved me before the foundation of the earth and will love me into eternity. Because of his great love for me, when I ask for help, he will take my hand and guide me. He will help me learn how to handle my problems, however; he will NOT just take them away.

As I began reading and studying scripture and learning more about Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God,  I came to realize that in ALL times and in ALL circumstances, I am to talk to God, and thank him for whatever I am going through; good or bad. No that’s not an error, we must be thankful for the difficult times as well as the good. The difficult situations are the times of growth, something (believe it or not) that we usually end up being thankful for.

Knowing all of this, I tried to lean on Him. “Just let it go” was not easy for me. I liked to plan and have everything happen in the order I thought it should. I wanted to stay on my time line, from beginning to end, without complications. I had a plan B,C,D and E as well. I always believed I had everything covered. Lol. But every time my plans failed, (as they did quite often) panic would set in.

I really thought that I was giving the burdens over to God, but unfortunately, I was still holding onto them (or at least some of part of them.) After years of trying and failing, I got so frustrated one day that I gave up and said (from deep inside my soul) “Okay Father, you do it!” It was at that point I finally realized God would truly lead me and guide me and I learned let it all go.

Now when I encounter a challenging situation, I take a deep breath and attempt to relax.

I coax myself not to panic, but to remember that God is in control and I am his child. He knows what is happening and that gives me the confidence to follow wherever he leads me.

Most often that leading takes me straight to the Bible, to his Word. I look up passages regarding my situation and I read, meditate and pray over them until I feel a peacefulness come over me.

The more I take in his word, the easier it is for me to believe for a good end to the situation, even before I see it with my eyes. (Using faith) If I slip up and say or think something like “I’m not sure this will work” I immediately command the thought of non-belief to leave me immediately and I thank God that he is in control.

I repeat Bible verses like “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and I listen to and sing songs that speak the word of God. (The Casting Crowns – “The Voice of Truth” always works well for me). As I lean on the words they go deep into my soul and I find it much easier to rest in the Lord.

I also do exactly what my Heavenly Father tells me to do, no matter how strange it may appear to me. (Please don’t take this to mean something that goes against the Lord’s Will because that is not what I’m saying).

However, if God leads me to walk to an ice cream shop and to stand outside the door on a freezing cold day, I’ll do it. It may not make sense to me but God may have me bump into someone who has just the perfect answer to my dilemma.

Sometimes I follow God’s lead and nothing APPEARS to happen. I’ve now learned, that’s okay too because God works in mysterious ways. I would just go home when feeling I should. However I keep the faith that something DID happened, even though I didn’t see it with my eyes.

God may place a commercial or a magazine article or any number of other methods which may lead us in the direction he wants us to go. Our job is to keep our eyes, ears and souls open for signs.

Sometimes our burdens are just meant to draw us closer to Him. Every situation is different. I believe that everything we go through; good or bad, has a reason and will add value to our heavenly bodies, one day.

So to recap

1 – Accept Jesus into our heart. Allow him to be our Lord and Saviour. We will never regret our decision.

2 – Pray and tell the Lord what our exact needs are. He already knows but maybe he wants us to pray, so that we can learn to separate our needs from our wants. Are our wants according to his will?

3 – Thank God for working on our prayers and tell him we will wait on him to lead us, regardless of how long it takes.

This does not mean to sit at home waiting for a job to drop into our laps. It means to go out and look for a job but also to watch for messages from God.

4 – Be careful what we think. We must not listen to the negative thoughts we may encounter. We must put a stop to them immediately.

Cast them out by saying something like “I am a child of God and in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I command you to shut up and leave me now”. Then replace those bad thoughts with good ones, like… “Thank you Lord for watching over me and working on my situation. I will wait in peace.”

In the hard times we are to ask for help and for understanding and to pray that we can stand strong in all circumstances. Wearing the Armour of God every day helps us to do just that.

5 – Be happy as we wait! Important part!

Being happy shows us and others that we have faith in the Lord: that even when we are going through possibly the worst time in our lives, we can have faith that God will bring us through it.

Many people believe you are never to talk about what you are going through and that you should be fake in your happiness. It does NOT mean that at all. If we need to talk to someone about our situation, do it. However God does not want us to walk around, dragging our feet, telling absolutely everyone all of our problems and looking like the world is collapsing in on us. It may be doing just that, but when others see a Christian downtrodden, they immediately may think “hey, where is their God now?” Of course, it depends on the degree of the circumstance – losing a job doesn’t even begin to compare to losing a child, but overall I believe it’s better for us not to be sad and glum. Rejoice in the Lord!

Fake enthusiasm is not to be used. By knowing that God is in control we don’t have to “fake” feeling good in all times, because we will truly have a peace that passes all understanding.

6 – Praise the Lord for what he is about to do. Sing to him. Praise him. Thank him for working in our lives and for helping us to stay focused on Him, instead of on the problem.

Remember that God does NOT bring the bad times on us. We are living in a world of sin and there will be consequences. However God does use our trials, to teach us important lessons. Sometimes our situations seem as though there will never be an end to the bad times. The important thing to remember is that God IS aware of what we are going through and it will be much easier if we learn to lean on him at all times.

In difficult times we are to ask for help and for understanding and we are to pray that we can stand strong in all circumstances. Wearing the “Armour of God” everyday (LINK PLEASE) helps us to do just that.

Just because we are God’s children and have prayed, does NOT mean that our Heavenly Father will remove the burdens. It means that he will continue to stand right by us, (he will share our yoke) while we go through them. Having the faith and the support of God, will allow us to not to be weary but to have rest.

7 – When the situation has been resolved we should give praise and thanks to the Lord!

He never leaves us alone. He is ever present and knows exactly what is happening and will give us the strength to get through it all, when we lean on him.

Jesus is willing to help us bear our load, if we are willing to give it over to him?

Heavenly Father

You are an awesome God. Every day you look after all of your children. You lead us, guide us, watch us and monitor our situations. We are so blessed Lord, thank you.

I pray Father that this message will touch people’s hearts and that they will understand that we can stand solid even during times of tribulation.

Is it easy to lean on God? At first, absolutely not! Can anyone do it? Absolutely yes! We need to follow your Word and we will learn that with you God in our corner, we can stand strong against any situation.

Thank you Father for loving and giving me peace and faith in you, each and every day.

All for the glory of God!

In Jesus’ name.

Amen

Learning Through the Scriptures – Romans 15: 4

Romans 15:

[4] For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (KJV)

romans-15-4

The author, Paul, is saying that the Old Testament scriptures weren’t written for only the people of that time frame but were written for the teaching of all people, regardless of the era.

God has kept the Bible (Old Testament and New Testament) alive and well read for centuries. Why? He intended for all people to learn from his Word, finding comfort through the reading of events and experiences of others.

The Bible demonstrates how God’s people stood rooted and learned to praise him in all situations. With biblical understanding, we can also grow in His ways and learn to keep a smile on our faces and hope in our hearts, as we walk through all phases of life, with peace.

Dear Father in Heaven

Thank you Father for leaving the Bible for us. It is full of information that teaches us, through accounts of people’s lives and their stories, how we are (and sometimes are not) to handle all the different events of our lives, good and bad.

By reading the scriptures I can see where mistakes were made and how some people grew through their choices and some didn’t. However I can definitely see your hand at work in every situation of every generation written about.

Help me Father to continue studying the Bible and learning through the lessons I read. Help me to listen and be guided by the Holy Spirit, to live as Jesus taught and to always remain close to you in prayer.

Thank you for loving me as you do. In the name of Jesus.

Amen

hallelujah

When Scared, Praise God – Habakkuk 3: 17-19

79d85802e2a12500fd704dafe0055483

Jacob had 12 sons. Juda, the 4th son, became the leader of one of the 12 tribes of Israel, which eventually became a nation. The bible speaks more of the tribe of Juda than any of the others.

Habakkuk, a prophet of the tribe of Juda, was given a very graphic vision of disaster, one that made him almost collapsed at just the thought of what was to come upon the people at the hand of the Babylonians.

Habakkuk saw everything dead or taken. There was no food, no water, nothing that could keep the people alive. Thousands upon thousands would die.

Every vine, every crop taken and the rest burned to the ground. All livestock gone. All possessions ransacked, with the Babylonians taking what they wanted. What they didn’t take, they completely destroyed. Habakkuk saw that there was absolutely nothing left. And then at the end of this pillaging, the Judean’s would become the captives of the Babylonians. Habakkuk is in agony knowing what is coming.

Habakkuk knows that this destruction is from God and that it will happen. He knows the people actually deserved a time of judgement because of the way they have fallen away from God. What worries him most of all is that God is going to use the Babylonians to show them just how far they have drifted; to use people who are known to cause total destruction and take captives, and he worries knowing it will come at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar’s army.

Although Habakkuk is devastated by his vision, he knows that if God is bringing this type of judgement, then the people deserve it. He knows there is nothing he can do to stop it, even if he calls out for God’s help.

So what does Habakkuk do? He praises God!

“How can he possibly do that?” we ask. Habakkuk has faith that God is a just God and although he is not happy with what lies ahead, he can find peace that God is a sovereign and just God and so he begins to praise Him.

Habakkuk has no idea when these events will happen but he has prophesied the events to the people and will now praise the Lord in spite of what the future holds.

He wants to give the people the hope of better things to come, so he praises God and speaks of trust in Him. He wants to encourage the people to have hope, even when everything looks disastrous. He wants them to have the attitude of “not my will, but your will”.

Habakkuk rejoices in the Lord, declaring that God is his strength. He claims that he will not slide, but will have a good foothold and will stand strong. He wants to lead the people by faith.

The last verse (and he will make me to walk upon mine high places) may mean that God is taking the people to places they didn’t want to go, but they can have a good foothold and stand in faith and strength, knowing that God will deliver them from their trials.

The NIV interprets it “He enables me to walk on places I could not go without his help.”

Rejoice

Almighty God,

I bless your holy name. You are the eternal King. It is my desire, like Habakkuk, to praise you and glorify you in all times and situations because you know what is best for me, even when I don’t. You know what is truly buried in my heart and what needs to be worked out.

I know Father, that in your holiness, it is impossible for your children to live in sin and rebel against you. I know, that although it grieves you, you are willing to allow me to go through troubled times as well as the good times.

By allowing the Babylonians to go through a time of disaster, I’m sure many of them realized that they needed a shaking up. I’m not meaning to belittle what happened to them, but I do know that many times after we come out the other side of a situation, we can see your reasoning very clearly.

Like Habakkuk, may I always find the strength to praise you, no matter what I’m going through. Help me Father to never slip so far away that I need a lesson like the tribe of Juda needed.

In the name of your blessed son, Jesus Christ, I pray

Amen.

hallelujah

Peters Advice to Believers Regarding the End Times – 2 Peter 3

2 Peter 3 17-18

Peter is writing to a group of righteous people (those who believe in Jesus). It is assumed to be the same people he wrote to in 1 Peter. He is telling them to stay strong in their faith and to beware of scoffers!

We, the righteous of today need to follow this same advice that Peter gave the believers in his day.

In the first part of his letter Peter reminds them what the prophets spoke of regarding the last days and to think about the things that he and Paul have written to them in the past.

Peter tells them to watch out for the scoffers (the ungodly) because they don’t believe that God’s word made creation nor that God’s word flooded the earth and removed all sin. Peter reminds them that non-believers walk in their own lusts and will try to convince others to join in their disbelief of God and his creation and judgements.

Peter writes that in the end times, the heavens, the elements and the earth will all die by fire and the ungodly will die along with them.

Some people reading this might wonder why Peter was telling the people of his day to watch for the end times. The reason: because everything is done according to God’s timing, we can never know exactly when Jesus will come again. It could have happened in Peter’s life time, it could have happened at any point during the past 2016 years or it may not happen for any amount of time into the future. What we can know for sure is that because God’s word says it will take place, it WILL happen.

The end of times depends on many factors and even we are probably a part of them. How?

While we wait, are believers studying and gaining knowledge of God’s word so that we won’t be caught in the claws of the evil one or by the scoffers?

Are we standing strong and keep our faith alive? Are we sharing our knowledge with others on a continual basis? Are we staying holy in our conversations and walking in godliness? Do we pray for people to come to salvation? Do we tell others of the good news of Jesus Christ?

We need to be doing these things and helping others to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

Our Father is the only one who knows when the end of times will begin. He is not slack or lazy (as scoffers might say) but it is because God is such a loving Father, he will wait as long as he can, and when all of the people have heard about Christ, and those who will accept him, have done so, then (according to the word) God will send Jesus to earth again. God is waiting because he loves all people and doesn’t want anyone to perish into the flames.

So knowing it’s all in God’s timing (hands), the believers (of every generation) must be completely prepared. There will not be time to “get ready”! Every generation must be “good to go” at all times.

At some point, the heavens WILL pass away with a loud noise and the elements will melt with the fervent (almost boiling) heat and yes the earth and everything on it, will burn up, taking all sin and the sinful people along with it.

As sad as that may sound to some, Christians should always be looking towards Jesus’ return and for the new heavens and earth that God will set in place. A new earth where the godly will dwell forever, praising Jesus (God) and giving him glory forever and ever.2013-06-158

Heavenly Father

Thank you for the Word of God. Thank you that many of your servants (like the Prophets and Peter and Paul) took the time to listen to you and wrote it all on paper. Throughout the centuries every generation has had the opportunity to know, hear, learn or read about you. Thank you Father that you chose to give us the knowledge of the times coming: good and bad.

Thank you that many times, I don’t understand what is written and I have to go deeper into my studies. It’s during those times that I really get to know you better (and you, me). That was exactly what Peter wanted the people of his time to do. Have a relationship with you!

Studying, gaining knowledge and knowing you is what keeps us steady in our faith and sure footed in our walk. If we are knowledgeable of you and your word, then scoffers will have a harder time twisting your words to the extent that we might believe them, over you.

Thank you Father that I believe, without doubt, that you will come again. It may or may not be in my lifetime but regardless, you will come!

Please Lord, while I wait, help me to stay strong in faith, to always keep my eyes fixed on you and to be waiting with anticipation, for the arrival of the worlds Saviour, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

To you Father, all the glory, now and forever.

In the name of your son, Jesus Christ, I pray.

Amen.

hallelujah

Perseverance – 1 Peter 1: 6-9

Perseverance 1 Peter 1:

[6] Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
[7] That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
[8] Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
[9] Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (KJV)

Peter is saying that living on this earth is just for a season, not really long in the scheme of time.

Even though, we (who are living now) have never seen Jesus, we have all that we need to know in the Bible. It explains how to keep the faith and believe that Jesus is exactly whom the Bible tells us he is.

Yes the Bible tells us that we will go through difficult situations but those are allowed as a teaching tool to build our faith in Jesus.

We are to stand strong, knowing, with faith, that he watches over, leads and guides us through the good and the hard times. We can rejoice that we know the Lord and know that he is always in control of all things.

Faith is more precious than gold. Gold can be melted and so at the end of time it will mean nothing and have no value. But as long as we keep our faith, the Lord will never fail us and our faith in him will always remain valuable.

Upon His return to earth, Jesus, the King of all kings, will call to those who have believed and kept the faith in Him and we will follow Jesus and live eternally with him.

Divine Lord,

Thank you that you are who the Bible says you are. You are God our Father, the creator of the entire universe and beyond. You are Jesus, the son of God and the Saviour of the world. You are the Holy Spirit that leads and guides us, reminding us right from wrong and how to use Gods word to fight the enemy. Many, many people cannot believe in you because they cannot see you.

Some may say “well I asked him for something and I didn’t get it” or (and this I believe is the most common) “I asked him to show me a sign of his existence” and nothing happened.

The Bible says those who can believe without seeing are blessed. A lot of people want proof before they will believe but God, you want our hearts first.

When we believe with faith, you Lord fill our hearts and souls with your love and we are transformed. In our love and joy for you Lord, we can’t help but believe with a deeper faith. It’s a never ending circle of love.

Then on that day when Jesus returns to earth, our faith will be rewarded and we will be swept away with Jesus (in His full glory) and we will live forever in His presence.

Thank you Father that I can have faith in you right now without seeing you in the person, knowing that that time is coming soon when everyone (both believers and non-believers) will see you for who you truly are. God!

I will praise your mighty name now and forever.

In the precious name of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, I pray.

Amen

Perseverance – James 1:

James 1:

2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (KJV)

James is addressing some of the men of the twelve tribes. He is telling them that they will be going through trials but in their faith in Jesus, they can count on these trials as good things.

James is saying that although things may look bleak, they can always find some silver lining in their lives. Or they can remember the trials that they have already gone through and remember that at the end, when they looked back on it, they are able to see how patience, trust, faith, belief and love could been seen as a result of it.

James is encouraging them to stand strong and telling them that although they should be patient, they should not be standing still waiting for the trial to end but moving forward, with the faith that everything will work out for the best.

My Lord,

You are in control of all things in my life and I know that includes the times of trials and temptations.

You don’t cause them but you allow them and when they happen, it’s always for a reason.

Knowing that trials are allowed to bring patience into my life, I’m supposed to count it as a joy when trials appear. It doesn’t say I’m supposed to be joyful but I am to remain positive to get through them without grumbling and complaining.

As I do this my faith will grow. As it grows, I will become a more patient person in other areas of my life.

It’s a tough job to stay positive and remain happy and in faith, when everything seems to be closing in around me.

I need to remember that you said WHEN trials come, not IF trials come. This shows me that they will come and I need to be prepared and stand in faith through them.

If I grumble and complain then I’m not learning and growing. Lord, you didn’t say I’d have to BE happy during these times, only that I should count it as happy and grow in these times in patience.

It’s my job to turn to you and thank you for all that is happening in my life at all times, whether good or bad, knowing that the trying of my faith works patience.

Father, this is a tough one to get through, so I pray that whenever I’m am in a situation that I don’t like, let me feel your love, despite what I am seeing and going through. Help me grow through the experience.

Thank you Father that you allow me to go through trials which help me become a better person.

I praise you that you always know what’s best for me and love me enough to help me grow.

In the precious name of my Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray.

Amen.