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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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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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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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!

Above image by David Mark from Pixabay

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While We Were Yet Sinners . . .

Forgiveness is something none will make it to heaven without.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what one has done in life, from the highest to the lowest, without accepting the life Christ offers through His salvation and forgiveness, we will not make it in.  The Bible records, “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?  But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared” (Psalm 130:3-4).

Who could stand?  Absolutely no one! (See Romans 3:10). Without His covering and remission of sins, the pathway to heaven will be blocked; access denied!  It doesn’t matter if one’s walk of life is a Pharisee or a prostitute, there is no an individual who is worthy enough to enter the gates of glory without Jesus’ forgiveness.

Question: What would happen if today God sat down and took account of all the wrongs we have done?  What would it be like if we stood before Him unable to pay what we owe?  We were there!  Jesus knew the predicament that humanity was in.  He knew that mankind could never get himself out of the debt of sin, so through Him, we obtain that freedom along with grace, mercy, and compassion as people who don’t deserve it.

The Bible reminds us, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8).  I guarantee if we were to look at ourselves, we could not fathom how many times our accounts would have gone unpaid had it not been for the blood of Christ. But thank God, He acted in love to save us!  Not just us – but everyone who comes to Him in faith regardless of the background of sin.

The price has already been paid.  You are free to turn to Jesus today and accept Him for yourself:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” John 3:16.

“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.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6:23.

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” Ephesians 1:7.

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” Colossians 1:14.

“While we were yet sinners,” Jesus fulfilled the requirements the cross demanded on our behalf.  He paid the price we could never pay.  He didn’t wait for us to “get our act together,” for without Him, without the power of His Holy Spirit, we were never able to do this on our own.

So, with the preciousness of His life, He laid it down, so that we can experience what it is like to unload the heavy burden of sin from us and live joyfully in grace knowing how much we are loved by Him.

Adapted from the previous article: Sunday School Lesson – “Saved by Faith” Luke 7:36-50 

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A Song in Us!

I sit and I hear the birds calling out to one another.  One sings his melody, and another responds.  The beauty of this conversation puts a smile on my face as I hear the rhythms of nature in their song.

In the heavens, where our eyes cannot yet see, there is a song more glorious being called out: “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts . . .” (Isaiah 6:3) as the seraphim cry out to one another.  The adoration and praises of God fill the atmosphere of that heavenly realm.  There, all give Him the glory.  All recognize His splendor and majesty.

What are our hearts crying out for today?  Is it more of what the world offers, or do we have something within us to offer Him?

Do we feel a calling out within us, stretching us to give Him praise?  Are we welcoming Him in our lives and days, laying things down that we might raise a shout of “Hosanna” (Mark 11:10) in our hearts?  Are we making room for Him, lauding Him as Lord over everything?

Or, have we allowed silence to be louder?

Redemption has instilled a song in us.  Our salvation has enlightened us to be quicker with a heavenly melody of our own.  Our own words of adoration come alive, wake up, take a stand, and shout of His unrecoiling love.

A love that has spared no expense to save me.  A love that has looked hurt and pain in the face that one day I can hear those songs of heaven for myself and let my heart be joined with them when my feet stand before Him.

Yes, in that future we will praise in a beautiful way we have never experienced before.  Until that day, I open my mouth and my heart today and praise the God of my salvation.  I will let the glory of who He is roll from my lips, and let my heart sing her song with rejoicing.

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Like a Tree!

“He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalm 1:3
 
Father God, We are praying today for the fruitfulness of Your people. May Your hand of prosperity be upon them. May You cause the works of their hands to increase and bring forth abundance. May the increase of their ministries, work, and lives be forever blessed, in Jesus’ name, AMEN!

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I will remember . . .

Taking time to remember all God has done for you, where God has brought you from, and all that God has delivered you through is always a good idea. “I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.” Psalm 77:11

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Standing on the Edge

Sometimes you may come to a place that seems impossible to pass.  This is a place that edges the border of what we have been delivered from to where we are being brought to.  It is in situations like these, when God shows up, there is no doubt that His hands have been working something extraordinary through it all.  The waters may crash on the shores before and the enemy’s army may be rolling behind, but God sees you, standing there on the fringe, in a world where these two impossibilities meet, yet in Him, there is nothing impossible.  In Him, there is always a way.  In Him, you are not in a helpless position.  In Him, the victory is already won.  Before you ever came to this place, He already knew what He would do.  So rest, weary one, in His sovereignty.  Rest in His plan.  You may not understand it, but He does.  You may not know how it will work out, but He does.  This will be performed by His strength, His wisdom, and His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6), not by anything we say or do.  In getting past this place, all glory, honor, praise, and credit go to God.  He is the one who will get you to the other side in peace and wholeness, with singing and rejoicing (Exodus 15:1-21).  To you who are standing on the edge, in Him, you are not standing alone.

 “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.” Exodus 14:13-18

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