You Are Not the Only One

You are seen. You are heard. You are not alone.

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“. . . knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” 1 Peter 5:9

Sadness.  Sorrow.  Pain.  Sickness.  Disappointment with others.  Disappointment with yourself.  Hurt.  Betrayal, and more, can make anyone feel like they are living on an isolated island of despair.  While others may be physically near, the trials and troubles we encounter in this world can often make people feel alone, as if they are the only ones going through anything adverse or hard at the moment.

But the truth is, no matter the smile that splits across a face, and no matter how a social media post may read, people, every day, are suffering behind the façade.  Some are excellent at grinning and bearing it, while others will show you only what they want you to see.  Different people handle their different circumstances in different ways, but it does not mean they are not going through hardship or dealing with adversity.

It is easy to feel alone in the midst of trials.  The enemy would like nothing more than for you to think this way because when we feel alone, we tend to pull back into hiding, and we pull back our trust.  We don’t share with others what we are going through, carrying the burden and the weight of the moment on our own shoulders.

The beauty of the Bible is it does not hold back.  It shows us the good and the bad and lets us know the reality that comes with this life, that whether they show it or not, there are perhaps others around you who are experiencing afflictions of their own.

Jesus gave us no illusion that every day would be an awesome experience.  He said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation . . .” (John 16:33; emphasis mine).  We may not like to say or think about it, but there may be some things that come your way that will not put a smile on your face.  It may even leave you wondering, crying, “Why is this happening to me?”

While the words “you are not the only one” may not make you personally feel better, know that any affliction you face for your Lord will come with a promise that you are not alone (Hebrews 13:5).  It comes with grace and strength to say, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

In times of personal pain, all of this may be hard to digest.  And I, for one, never want to brush off the realness of what others are going through.  But I do hope to encourage you, dear blessed one, that you are seen, you are heard, you are not alone regardless of what it feels like, and you matter so much to our heavenly Father.

What you are going through is not a trivial thing and we are not brushing it under the rug of Scripture or a well-placed verse.  But I personally pray that your heart will be full, knowing God’s love for you, and knowing the body of Christ is rooting for you.  We love you, dear one, and God loves you more.

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The Confidence of the Cross

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

I hope this great truth never escapes our attention or is put on the back burner of familiarity, dimming the bold message coming from it: for us to gain life, Jesus had to lose His.

But life is now the promise of today and all days, and that day that is to come because of the precious gift our Lord secured for us.

His love for you and me would not settle with allowing brokenness, sin, and destruction to continue to litter the pathway for our existence here on this earth.  No, when He laid down life it was to regain life – when He gave up everything, it was that we may gain even more.

Imagine a love that is so on fire for you that He will go to extreme measures so that you will get to heaven, so that you will get to be with the Father.  He already knew what this was like, and nothing would stop His pursuit to make a way for you and me to experience it too.

Life is the confidence of the cross.  The enemy’s purpose is to destroy life, but Jesus’ purpose is to give everything heaven has to offer, everything the enemy is working so hard to prohibit: LIFE.

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” John 11:25

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5:12

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The God-Placements | Carriers of the Ministry

What does effective ministry look like to you?

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“This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things:” Numbers 4:4

Every believer has a place in the calling or ministry of God. There is no such thing as someone who has been saved by grace that is not equipped in one or more ways to operate in a particular gift (s) by His grace (Rom. 12:6). And while the area you are called to work in may not look like the ministry of another (1 Cor. 12:4), it is no less critical in its impact for God’s kingdom.

Like a well-functioning body, every member is needed to step up to the plate with their gifts (comp. 1 Cor. 12:12, 14). While the spotlight tends to fall naturally on those in the front, there are many behind-the-scene positions, if they were not managed by capable persons working in their gifts, then whatever is going on upfront would not be going on at all.

After watching a good movie, especially one with multiple twists and turns, I love to scroll through the credits to see those who participated in the making of the movie. My goal is to see who the writer is. Many eyes may be drawn to the main characters, but the real star of the show is the one who wrote the story. The one who allowed him or herself to spend much time in relative obscurity, working their gift to pull the story off according to their specific design.

There are no wasted behind-the-scene moments when working to help the service of God go forward, when helping to get His story out there. There is no work that we do for our heavenly Father that is to be considered unimportant if we are working where He has called us to work. There is great value in every calling (1 Cor. 1:26, 27).

And it was God who called the Kohathites for a special job. In the days of their wilderness wanderings, when the people were ready to journey, and the tabernacle had to be disassembled into its specific pieces by the priests, it was the sons of Kohath who were commissioned by God to be there to help in the process by being carriers of the holy vessels that were inside (Num. 4:15).

Because they were not priests; because they were not the upfront guys, the items would first be covered (for their protection) so they could not see or touch them (4:17-20), but they were still called upon to help carry the things of God, to help carry the ministry.

Where they were needed to work for the kingdom of God may not seem glamourous (after all, they didn’t get the special garments, with the special office of preparing the special offerings), but the work was helpful in successfully moving the articles of the tabernacle from one location to another.

Friends, your position of performance may not include being front and center. There may be certain parts your calling cannot participate in. But wherever God has placed you, it is important, and your service to Him is valuable.

1 Corinthians 12:18 states, “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” This is what I call the God-placements. According to His divine purpose and design, God has a special place for each of us, and every place we serve is essential and profitable for the Kingdom’s work.

While we may put much emphasis on those who are holding the microphone, speaking at large gatherings, singing to multitudes, and writing bestsellers – we forget the joy of being called where God knows we fit. Where God knows we can make the most difference.

We forget the importance of just doing. Doing what we do best for Him, for God. No matter how small or insignificant it may seem to others, it makes a difference for His kingdom.

One psalmist said, “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Ps. 84:10). Whichever way you want to interpret that verse, I would rather participate in the humblest of positions in the will of God than out, for in it I will find the richest of all experiences.

Everyone has a place. Everyone in their place can do something amazing that would help this work continue to grow and spread. If it is to hold a microphone, so be it. But if I only get to be a carrier for Him, let me carry the ministry God has instilled in me with all my might and strength, knowing there is no work, big or small, that is done in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).

Your reward may not come now with the applause of men (which is a heavy responsibility that produces low returns), but when performed for God, for His glory (1 Cor. 10:31), it will come with a “well done” (Mt. 25:23) from Him, the highest reward and applause we should seek.

Lord, though our flesh may desire to see more, do more, and touch more, let our spirit rest in the truth that if we are called to only be carriers of the ministry, we are called according to Your beautiful pleasure and placement for our lives. Help us to serve in that calling, with all grace, working to please our God and heavenly Father. AMEN!

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The Gates of Glory

Your beauty, O God, cannot be compared. I pray for many souls to be able to experience Your gates of glory. To walk through the doorways of heaven and to have their eyes feast on the sight of wonders beyond compare.

I pray for hearts to feel the embrace of love as everything in heaven welcomes them home. I pray for many to know what it is like to leave all the worries of this world outside those doors and to celebrate total freedom from all that tried to hold them down.

On this side of those gates, we can only imagine what that day will look like. But over there, the rich fulfillment of every Scripture-breathed promise will be seen, known, and felt, beautifully overwhelming us with the glory of our God.

Oh, that day is coming, dear friend. All will be revealed, and we will wonder no more. No, because there, we move from wonder to experience and this experience is its own reward.

Father God, thank You that You have prepared such a glorious place for us to dwell with You for all eternity. Beyond those gates, You welcome us into Your heavenly throne room. You welcome us into Your presence forever, no more to be separated by sin, death, and every failing thing this world offered. “In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11). Beyond the gates of glory, our souls will take in every beautiful thing that You are without hindrance or obstacle. Beyond those gates is where I want to be, and I thank You for this salvation You have secured for me. It is my heart’s desire for many souls to be blessed to enjoy Your presence. In the mighty and matchless name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray, AMEN!

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Is the Familiar Holding You Back?

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Is the familiar holding you back?  Has the comfort of where you are now satisfied you into a state of complacency and false ease?  Has fear paralyzed your progress forward?

Unknown.  Unfamiliar.  These words are areas that we don’t know like the place where we are now.  But the plans of our life and the order of our steps were never really ours to begin with (Proverbs 19:21; Psalm 119:133).

I will admit, there are some things where I wish the curtain were opened a little wider so that I can see more of the picture hidden behind.  But that is not what faith demands (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Faith asks for trust (Proverbs 3:5-6).  And faith asks for our obedience to move forward even if we don’t quite know all the steps or how it will turn out in the end.

The familiar is all around you every day.  It can snuggle you like that comfy blanket you drape over you when you want to settle down for the evening and have a nice read or watch a favorite show.  But settling is not a place to set up shop when you feel God calling you for more.

 

Do you feel Him calling?  If so, seek His face for guidance, ask Him for help, and when He prompts you to, walk forward in faith.

Blessings to you on your journey to break the chains of familiarity.

More Inspirational Articles to Encourage Your Journey:

“Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone”

“You Don’t Need to Know Everything!”

“Be Progressive”

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The Beauty of Life

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Father God, I thank You for the beauty of life.  Everywhere we look around us in our world we see evidence of the goodness You planned for us from the beginning. 

As the winds blow and the trees sway in their breeze, we see the natural changes of weather You put on display. 

When the birds chirp and cover their babies in the nest, we see the natural order of caring to provide for the life of the young ones.

The squirrels gather to sustain them through winter and their antics put a smile on our faces.

The rain pours to water the greatest cities and the most hidden gardens, gracing us from on high.

The mountains stand at attention showing the extraordinary work of the Almighty.  And the valley below invites us to meander in its meadows and enjoy the life God has blessed us with.

The heavenly lights glisten in the sky, reminding us of the grandeur of this marvelous design.

In this life, You have given us so many wonders to behold.  In this life, Your Spirit is loving on us from above.

While evil and confusion may try to paint an ugly picture, the beauty of this life cannot be marred because its beauty comes from You, and there is no blemish in Your great goodness, in the original creation You meant for all this to be. 

Today, we look past the wrong and see everything God designed to be right.  If you look, you will see the beauty.  You will feel the beautiful life God wanted you to have from the beginning.

Every breath that we breathe is a joy, and it speaks with His love that life is here, and today, I declare, it is beautiful!

Come closer. Enjoy the experience, and “taste and see that the LORD is good . . .” (Psalm 34:8).

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” Psalm 23:6

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By the Seaside With Jesus

“And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.  And he taught them many things by parables . . .” Mark 4:1, 2

By the seaside with Jesus. To sit under His words. To hear His gentle yet commanding voice. The stories He told were more than just stories. They unfolded the realities of life. More importantly, they opened the truth of the Kingdom of God.

“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear,” He speaks (Mt. 13:9), knowing the choice will always be up to the individual heart.

He will plead for you to listen. He will die in case you do. For no story is worth more than the story of love played out in the life of this beautiful Savior who sees us, knows us, and still decides to lay it all down for us regardless of what our choice may be.

Sitting with Jesus beside the sea is a beautiful scenario. But sitting with Jesus within heaven’s walls is even more glorious. It’s a story whose chapters never end, being read through eternity is the love we have found in this Friend.

Don’t settle for the here and now, look for Him then. For by the seaside, those stories lead to a marvelous end.

I would love to sit with Jesus, with my toes in the water, but on this earth, I don’t want to loiter.

Those stories, those words, put a seed in my soul, and I declare today, on good ground, it was sown.

The call of the sea is beautiful to me, but more pulling is the call, with Him, to spend eternity.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:3

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God stretches our faith . . .

God stretches our faith, pulling us to follow Him through what seems to be desert wildernesses. His fulfilled plan is on the other side, yet to get there we have to venture out into the unknown territories where He calls us, step by step in our own walk of faith.
May we, through this day, venture forth where God is leading with a heart of faith that refuses to turn back.

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“Walk In Peace!”

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee,” Isaiah 26:3

Peace is something that may seem far out of reach for most.  It is greatly desired and sought after; yet, many will never lay hold of it.  Why is that?  The answer is because of where it is found.  It is found in a made-up mind centered on who He is and a devoted heart that believes in the promises He has made.  “Perfect peace” speaks of the character of God at work.  Wherever He operates and whatever He delves into is marked by perfection.  That means when He established something that He wants to offer to all mankind He does so without there being anything wrong with it.  No fault in it whatsoever.  And He does here also.  As a matter of fact, the only thing that can mar this “perfect peace” that He is so willing to give is how man (the human race) accepts it.

When one’s mind is focused wholeheartedly on an idea, then that becomes the single vision of that person.  Once the picture of the mind’s eye is narrowed in one direction, that’s where one will be led to follow.  Now imagine a time of being in the midst of arduous and severe trials and tribulations.  Where there are sorrows and disappointments that seem to do nothing to encourage one’s focus on God, only working to tear away at one’s faith.  Yet, through it all, that person takes a stand within them and says, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

The person who is able to stir up his faith in this manner as a defense and a shield to his mind, using the focus of God at work in his life and verifying it through His Word, will be kept in “perfect peace.”  He has made an on-purpose decision that no matter how bleak and dismal it may seem right now, God is greater than all, and “His tender mercies are over all His works,” (Ps. 145:9).  “How is one able to do that?” you may be crying out in frustration.  I answer you with Abraham’s example as referred to by Paul in Romans 4:20-21, where it says, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”  Simply put, as our verse in Isaiah 26:3 says, “Because he trusteth thee.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” That is including, “perfect peace.”  All His promises are in His Word and the one who bases the foundation of all that he believes on that one rock-solid truth will be upheld and kept through the worst of storms.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

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The View That Will Change Your Life Forever

Some views will change your life forever.  The scenic wonder as you look out over the mountaintops. The sun that sets below the horizon daily.  The waves that crash on the ocean shores where land and sea collide.  Seeing and feeling the peace of a forest walk as nature saturates your senses.  When our eyes meet with places like these, there seems to be an extraordinary pull within us that longs for us to want to relive that experience day after day.  What your eyes see and what you experience has a way of affecting you on the inside.

But what about what your heart sees?  How do you respond to the vision of Jesus before you today?  When you look at Him, who do you see?

One day Jesus had a private moment with His disciples. In that moment, He wanted to know what they saw, not with their eyes, but with their hearts.  After asking about the opinions of others (Mt. 16:13), He wanted to know what those around Him thought for themselves: “But whom say ye that I am?” He asked (Mt. 16:15). 

With that questioning digging into their personal understanding of Him, only one spoke in revealed truth that centered itself in his very being and wouldn’t let go.  Only one man, by the name of Peter, saw Jesus for so much more.  “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” (Mt. 16:16) he said without hesitation or flinching, being fully confident in his answer.

In Jesus, I believe he saw not just the miracles, and wonders, and powerful teaching.  He saw Him for who He was: “The Son of the living God.”

When you see Jesus for who He really is, your life will be filled with wonder in a way you have never experienced before, and you will be changed forever.  When the veil of truth is pulled back and revelation dawns upon your knowing heart, and heaven shows you the Son, things will never be the same. 

As your eyes of faith look upon Him and your soul is drawn to Him, you find in Christ what you have been searching for all your life.  Forward you walk.  Closer to thee, O Lord, I must be, becomes the craving of your inner man, and it cannot be satisfied with another.

I know how the world views Him.  They call Jesus many things and have many opinions.  But as I rise this day and every day, I see your glory.  I see Your hand in the very details of my life.  I feel you in my heart, and as with Peter, I see the Son before me.  That is a view that has changed my life forever. 

Blessings ~

Father God, we are praying today for many souls to see You for who You are.  We are praying for eyes and hearts to be opened to the eternal truth: salvation can be found in no other, but only in Jesus Christ can lives be truly changed forever (Jn. 14:6).  May many grab hold of this truth today and believe and receive Him for themselves.  In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray, AMEN!

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