A man once went to a minister for counseling. He was in the midst of a financial collapse. “I’ve lost everything,” he bemoaned. “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve lost your faith.’ “No,” the man corrected him, “I haven’t lost my faith.” “Well, then I’m sad to hear that you’ve lost your character.” “I didn’t say that,” he corrected. “I still have my character.” “I’m sorry to hear that you’ve lost your salvation.” “That’s not what I said,” the man objected. “I haven’t lost my salvation.” “You have your faith, your character, your salvation. Seems to me,” the minister observed, “that you’ve lost none of the things that really matter.”
Your faith, your character and your salvation are of utmost importance but there is something else that matters just as much in this life and that is to find the secret of being happy and satisfied; free from worry or restlessness. That secret, my friends, is called contentment. Contentment comes when we can honestly say with the apostle Paul, “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (Phil. 4:12). Contentment is learned. It isn’t natural. We’re not born with it. It is not a gift. We tend to look for things that will make us content – a new partner, a new house, a new car or a new job rather than putting forth the effort it takes to learn how to be content in the present with what we already have. Contentment isn’t denying our feelings about want and desire, but instead it provides a freedom from being controlled by those feelings. Contentment is the peace that comes from knowing that God is bigger than our problems and that He works them all out for our good. When we are content we have joy in spite of our circumstances because our joy is not based on anything external but rather on the contentment of our heart.
Do you know the secret? It all comes down to two things – your focus and your trust. If your trust and focus are both on your own abilities and the things you possess, then you will never ever be content. If your focus and trust is in Almighty God, He will give you the strength to be content regardless of the circumstances you are in. What about you? Are you someone who struggles with contentment? Have you been looking for contentment in all the wrong places? “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt 6:33).
Who do you turn to when your car is broken? Do you go to a plumber or a TV repair man? No you go to a car mechanic to find out what is wrong with your car. So the first thing you must do when you have a problem is know who to turn to. The first action for many people is to call their friends to let them know how bad the situation is. The need for sympathy seems to be a source of comfort, but as a Christian you have the right and the privilege of being able to turn to God. God will listen to your worries and He is waiting for you to ask Him for help. 1 Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
All of us can easily point to a day when everything went wrong. Perhaps it was a sudden heart attack or the sudden death of a spouse or loved one. It could have come with a personal financial crisis, or the diagnosis of a medical problem. Bad things will happen to each of us during our lifetime, but it is important that you remember who God is and the problems you have do not change the nature of God or God’s love for you. Friends are important and are there to help you in any way they can but they are limited in what they can do – God is not. Allow your troubles to push you towards the one person who will not only have an answer but the best answer for you.
So if your first thought is to call a friend in your time of need, think about the friend that you have in Jesus. Cast your cares upon Him and trust that He will always be there for you. It could be that it’ll be years before you understand the “why” of a tough time, or the underlying reason behind a crisis, and it could be that you’ll never know the answers but God is good and He will never leave or forsake you. When you have a problem don’t go to the phone go to the throne.
If our lives are going to be meaningful and rewarding we will have to give some thought to what doors God has opened for us that present opportunities planned specifically for us. If you find yourself in a situation that is unexplainable and you know that there is no way you got there on your own, just know that God has supernaturally made a way for you to achieve something incredible.
You must give some thought as to the best way to make the most of the opportunities that are available to you. In Ephesians 2:10 the Bible says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Pay attention to the words “which God prepared in advance.” Those words are significant because it clearly means that God has a plan for your life and that plan was put in place while you were still in your mother’s womb and it has not changed. God already knows the opportunities He is presenting to you. He’s made all the preparations for it to happen and everything that has happened to you up to now has prepared you as well. Ephesians 5:16 “…making the most of every opportunity…”When opportunity knocks, don’t let those occasions pass you by. Seize the opportunities that God has planned for you. Don’t allow another day go by without acting on what you know in your heart to be true – that God wants you to be happy, successful and effective in what He has called you to do.
To make the most of opportunities that come to you, you must know and understand what God’s will is for your life. Think about it and if you don’t know ask Him. Pray that God will open your eyes so that you are able to see the hand of God at work. Ask God to let you see the big picture of His purposes and then understand how your immediate circumstances fit into His plan. Trust me when I say that God is working all things together for your good. I believe that He is orchestrating events and circumstances to build your faith in Him and at the same time conforming you to the image of Christ.
Do not be afraid of the open door in front of you. Yes, you will be challenged, there is no doubt about that but you can count on God to provide everything you need to go where you have never gone before. Take my advice and do not fear the problems, but focus on the opportunities while they are there. Seeing an opportunity from your rear view mirror is not good. Take a step of faith today and walk by faith and not by sight. Put your hand in the hands of the God who holds your future because He, and He alone, knows where you are going.
Have you heard the saying that “a winner never gives up and a person who gives up never wins.” As you probably know by now winning is never easy and winning does not happen automatically. The act of winning is not always easily recognizable because sometimes winning is a personal victory over a personal situation that perhaps cannot be seen by anyone other than God. It feels good to win, winning is great and seeing a winner gives hope to others that perhaps they too can win.
Becoming a winner entails the strength to stay at a task even when you feel like giving up. It is the will power to keep on keeping on when you would rather quit. All too often people are defeated not because of a lack of ability, but because they quit too soon. Many people lose heart and throw in the towel before the game is finished. Your journey on this earth will involve real pain, real problems, and real frustrations, but we have a stabilizing force within us to prevent us from cracking under the pressures of life. God’s desire is for us to remember that we were made in His image and we have what it takes to run our race successfully.
God wants us to persevere and endure and one way to do this is to change our perspective – see our circumstances from God’s point of view. In the kingdom of God nothing is impossible. Are you able to look at your problems with certainty knowing that there is a solution and that God will reveal the solution to you at the right time? You do not have to fear. The only thing you must do is believe that God is bigger than any situation you will ever face. The challenges and pressure you face will have its perfect work and you will become stronger in the process.
The key is to depend on God at all times and for all things. The end result of trying to solve your problems on your own is frustration. Shake off selfishness and put on dependence – total dependence on your heavenly Father. That’s what God desires and that is what you must accept. The Bible tells us that the race is not given to the swift but to the one who endures- the one who doesn’t quit too soon. Make that your goal and you will be rewarded in this life and in the life to come.
We all will become discouraged at some point in our lives simply because certain things will not turn out for us as we had hoped or planned. So the question is what are we to do when we find ourselves dealing with shattered dreams, deferred hope or over-whelming fears? Life is filled with many uncertainties, but children of the Most High God have many guarantees, and one of them is that no matter what our problem, the Word of God is guaranteed to contain your answer. Romans 15:4 says “for whatever things were written before were written for our learning that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
Discouragement is a spirit that comes from Satan. Christians don’t bring it upon themselves; nor does the Lord send it. Such attacks usually have nothing to do with any specific sin or failure on the believer’s part. In other words, the spirit of discouragement is one of Satan’s most powerful weapon against God’s children. Satan will try to convince us that we have brought God’s wrath upon ourselves because we don’t measure up in some way or another but that is just another lie that we must cast down. We must see discouragement for what it really is. It is a fiery dart that Satan shoots at us to get us to doubt ourselves. Satan will bombard you with lies to make you think that you will never be good enough. We should always talk to God about our feelings of failure; about our foolish mistakes or about our sins. God is a loving Father and He will be tender and compassionate with us, but we are never to allow Satan’s lies to settle in our hearts! It’s important that we are patient with ourselves, with others and with God. It takes time for us to overcome obstacles; don’t get discouraged from the struggle. You have not failed until you stop trying.
Following are the modern day Ten Commandments which you should adopt as a way of life for the rest of your life:
- You shall not worry for worry is the most unproductive of all human activities.
- You shall not be fearful because most of the time what we fear never comes to pass.
- You shall not cross bridges before you come to them for no one has yet succeeded in accomplishing this.
- You should face each problem as it comes. You can only handle one at a time anyway.
- You shall not take problems to bed with you for they will make poor bedfellows.
- You shall not borrow other people’s problems. They can better care for them than you.
- You shall not try to relive yesterday for good or evil. It is forever gone. Concentrate on what has happened in your life and be happy now.
- You shall be a good listener for only when you listen do you hear ideas that are different from your own. It’s hard to learn something new when you are talking.
- You shall not become bogged down from frustrations for 90% of it is rooted in self pity and will only interfere with positive actions.
- You should count your blessings. Never overlook the small ones for a lot of small ones add up to a big one.
Happy New Year everyone and I would like you to believe what I believe and that is no matter what you are going through the best is yet to come! You might think that you are stuck in a rut and that today is going to be just like yesterday and nothing will ever change, but hold steady because the promises of God are real and waiting on you if you have faith to believe. You may say I’ve been here for all these years and it hasn’t come yet, but hold on the best is yet to come. You may seem to be in a bad situation, and seem to be down and out, but you have to remember that the best is yet to come.
One key principle you must live by is to submit your life to God and don’t try to fix your problems yourself. If you do that, you will make things worse, but if you let God take control everything will be alright. Don’t ever believe that you are in a situation that you cannot get out of. The Bible says that when Jesus was nailed to the cross every sin that we have ever committed was nailed to the cross. Our sins have been bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus. There is an old song that says I know it was the blood that saved me. So you see God has already set us free. Jesus is good at making a way out of no way. In fact, I don’t know of any other person who is capable of that but once again it takes faith. Believe that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. Don’t confuse God with the people you know and expect Him to have limitations. Nothing is impossible with God.
There is a Bible story about some of Jesus’ disciples who were fishermen. The Bible says that as Jesus preached along the lake He saw two ships, and He chose the ship of Peter. He told Peter to go out in the lake a little further so that He could preach to the people. As time moved on He finished his sermon, and looked at Peter and told him to cast out his net. You see before Jesus came, Peter and the others were having no luck catching any fish. Jesus looked at Peter and told him to drop his net and try to catch some more fish. I can imagine Peter looked at Jesus with confusion and said to him; I am a real fisherman and this is what I do, and you are going to tell me how to run my business. But nevertheless he dropped his net and when he pulled it up he had so many fish until his boats couldn’t hold them all. You might be good at what you do, but God has blessings that you don’t even have room to receive.
Join me in standing on the promises of God and believe with your whole heart that the best is yet to come in 2016.
I really believe that the Christmas season should be celebrated all year long. We should be kind, generous and loving each other every day and not just during the Christmas season. The Bible tells us that wise men came to Bethlehem to worship and present gifts to Jesus Christ. They were guided by a bright star and found the one that would change the life of all who sought Him.
Wise people are always seeking direction. They are looking for the light; maybe not a star but they are looking for a light that will make them successful and give their life meaning and purpose. You are a wise person if you seek the Lord Jesus Christ and make a decision to follow him. You will find Him in the Word of God and be able to understand that He came to this earth to give you life and life more abundantly. The guidance you will receive if you follow Him will lead to a life that will please God and ensure you of spending eternity with Him. God wants to give you this type of insight that you can get only by being close to Him just like the wise men. You will feel fulfilled and not have to live in confusion but have a peace that surpasses all understanding.
God wants you to understand that He has given to all men a light, a light that will draw you to Him and will guide you every day for the rest of your life. God wants to be your friend. He doesn’t want you to be in darkness. He doesn’t want you to be in fear. He wants you to have peace. He wants you to grab a hold of the most amazing gift you will ever receive. This man called Jesus is still calling wise men and women to come and follow Him. If you have not yet seen this light, seek Him with all of your heart and you will find Him and when you find Him, you will also become wise.
At Christmas time we find ourselves getting all wrapped up with the business of the holiday rather than the true meaning of what Christmas is all about. Many people will be content to go through the motions. They will endure the busy activity of the season without ever experiencing the miracle of Christmas. They will go through all the decorating and buying presents and preparing elaborate meals, but somehow forget the reason for the season.
This Christmas season spend some moments reflecting on the significance of Christ’s birth. The coming of Christ into the world was not a matter of chance or coincidence. His coming was part of God’s divine plan established before the foundation of the world. This Christmas I pray that we can focus on the greatest gift of all, the gift that God sent to us, and if you need a miracle in your life, Christ is the greatest miracle you will ever receive. Just when we need Him most, He is there. God knows exactly what you are going through. He knows exactly what you need. At just the right time He will come to you and provide what you need for the moment. His timing is always perfect.
Christmas time has become a time of worry, fret, and hassle but God’s gift to you is one of salvation and peace. Jesus said in John 14:27 “peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” The peace found in the world depends upon your circumstances; it depends upon the people you know and how much money you have. All of that is temporary but the gift of peace that God gives is eternal and found only in a relationship with Him.
To the Christian, Christmas means that their Lord and Savior came to this earth to establish God’s kingdom here on earth and His peace and power to overcome the world was bestowed upon them. Christians celebrate God’s gift by sharing the good news with everyone they meet. Yes they buy gifts for others and even put up a Christmas tree, but they carry within their hearts the love of God for all people all over the world.
What does Christmas mean to you?
I’m sure you have discovered that some days are more challenging than other days, but we don’t have to be miserable, frustrated and unhappy in difficult places. There always seems to be different things happening that can affect our plans. We must learn that our joy is not based on our circumstances. We have to find a way to stay happy, even when our circumstances don’t suit us or we don’t get a breakthrough as quickly as we’d like. God will always give us the ability to get though our circumstances with joy because His grace is made available to us each and every day. If God asks us to stay in a situation, then He is going to give us a special grace, for a special season, to experience His peace and joy despite the circumstances. It’s the kind of grace that causes other people to look at us and think I’m just amazed you are able to do this and still have so much joy and peace.
As Christians, I believe the attitude we live with and the level of joy, peace and stability seen in our life is what will speak to the people around us much more than if we try to preach to them. It’s about how we live our life in front of them, especially when things are not going perfectly for us all the time. The same way we receive Christ is the same way we are supposed to live each day of our life in total, complete dependence on God. Too often we struggle with ourselves and our weaknesses, but what we really need to do is just give our situations to God and learn to trust and wait on Him to work things out for us. The Bible tells us that all things will work together for our good if we are called to His purposes and by casting our cares upon the Lord, the things we are concerned about will just dissipate because of the power of God in our life.
Think about the good things in your life and be thankful and grateful for them. Spend time in prayer just thanking God for all He has already done for you. It’s so easy to spend time asking God for this or that but make it a point to say ‘thank you’ each and every day. No matter how difficult your situation may be, someone wishes that they had it as good as you do. God is good and God is faithful. Don’t lean to your own understanding on why things are the way they are. Praise God for who He is and grab a hold of His amazing grace. Walk in His light and experience His joy and His peace no matter what is going on in your life. You have a lot to be thankful for and if anyone asks tell them that the joy of the Lord is your strength!
Everyone wants to be loved because without it, we feel worthless and unimportant. In our society today, we base how important a person is by their appearance, their achievement, their wealth and by what other people think about them. The problem with that is none of those four things are constant. They all will change depending on circumstances. Appearances will change with time; wealth can come and go; people might like you one day and disapprove of you the next. Therefore, you must never base your self -worth on the things you possess or on the opinions of other people. You are to build your self- image and self- worth on what God thinks about you and not on what other people think about you. If you really understand what God thinks of you, it will change the way you see yourself.
No matter how badly you feel when no one else seems to notice you, know that Jesus will notice you. You might think that God has forgotten you, but truthfully, God has never taken His eyes off of you since you became His. God has seen every step you have taken. He has seen every mistake you have made and for sure. He is looking at you at this very second! Don’t relate God to man. In our eyes, no one really cares about us or the challenges we face every day because everyone has their own problems. And, perhaps we get so busy that we don’t pay that much attention to God except on Sunday morning, so it’s easy to think that God doesn’t care but you matter so much to Him. Jesus said in Luke 12:7 ‘why even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Fear not, you are of more value than many sparrows.’ Do you know that the deepest expression of love is attention? When you give someone your attention, you are giving them your love. When you can’t depend on anyone else loving you, you can depend upon God’s love.
In the art world, there are two kinds of artwork; there are prints, which are mass produced, all identical to each other; and there are masterpieces – one of a kind. You are a masterpiece – one of a kind – uniquely made for God’s purposes and if you are the owner of a masterpiece, you watch over it and take special care of it. Masterpieces never lose their value, they increase in time. Think about that for a moment – you are increasing in value to God each and every day. Some of us have come from not so good backgrounds; some very bad things have been spoken to you; you might have been told that you would never amount to anything. The only way to get over all of that is to replace those negative things with the truth that you are special to God despite what others might have told you. The world can put you down but God will lift you up!
It might be hard to believe or accept but no matter where you have come from, or what you have done, God still wants to have a personal relationship with you. The fact that God wants a relationship with us tells us how much God loves us and that He wants us to come to Him just as we are no matter what condition we are in. Never think that if we go to God with all of the dirt in our lives that He will reject us. Satan wants you to think that way, but nothing could be further from the truth. You are valuable to God and stop letting the opinions of other people make you feel worthless. John 15:9 says ‘as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.’ You won’t need a second opinion after you have received God’s appraisal of you.