Monday, July 31, 2023

Trouble is Normal

Monday, July 31, 2023

I have told you these things so you may have peace in Me. In the world you will have much trouble. But take hope! I have power over the world. John 16:33 (NLV)

Trouble is Normal

As Christians, we are confused and sometimes even hurt when bad things happen in our lives. We believe for some reason, that because we are believers, bad things shouldn’t happen to us. Some of us have an unspoken expectation that we should breeze through life with no resistances at all, but even Jesus said we would have trouble. He told us we would have trouble, but we can find peace in Him and trust Him because He has already overcome it all.

Jesus tells us that we will have trouble, so we should not be surprised or be fearful and we shouldn’t let it take us out either. The easy part is knowing this, but the hard part is living it out in the middle of trouble. It is a part of life on earth and there is just no escaping it. The best news is that Jesus has all the power. He has power over the world, and He has power over everything in it and in our lives – even trouble. If we can focus on that and cling to Him, we can have peace in the hardest times. 

Many things in life can steal our peace, such as financial strains, relationships, conflicts at work, etc. Satan would like us to believe there is no peace to be had. We know in our hearts that Jesus overcame the world so that we could have this peace, but why don’t we feel this peace that we “know” we are supposed to have? We may feel abandoned or discarded by God in the middle of the struggles. It can be difficult to understand why He allows some things to happen. Our feelings are very real, but we cannot allow them to snuff out the truth of who God really is, and what He has done, and will do for us. In the face of such difficult times and intense feelings, we have to tell ourselves what we know is true, regardless of how we feel.

No matter where we look, we will never find peace until we turn to Jesus. He is the only one that can give us true and lasting peace. Often, we will spend a lot of time and money trying to find peace in all the wrong places. We think if we can just numb enough, we can forget, and the pain and troubles will go away. The truth is that we have just compounded our troubles. Everything that is not Jesus, and falsely promises peace, will let you down every single time. 

We have the amazing grace, mercy and love of a Savior; a Savior from sins, a savior from diseases, a savior from pain and best of all, a savior from ourselves, considering we make a lot of trouble for ourselves. If it were up to us to find peace ourselves, we would be totally helpless and hopeless. He is the reason we can have peace. There is absolutely nothing we can do to bring peace to ourselves besides lean into and trust in Him. We can have peace because He came, because He brought Salvation, and along with it, the gift of peace. For all of us, when we are tired, and life feels hopeless and peace is nowhere to be found, He is our Prince of Peace and we can only find peace in Him. 


Sunday, July 30, 2023

Forty-five Minutes at Sixty-Three Feet

Forty-five Minutes at Sixty-Three Feet 


A.   Trouble is normal


“I have told you these things so you may have peace in Me. In the world you will have much trouble. But take hope! I have power over the world!” John 16:33 (NLV)


B.   Get a game-plan for dealing with trouble.

1.    Turn to God first

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1Peter 5:7

2.    Grab perspective.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear… Psalm 46:1-2

3.    Engage your memory


Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— Psalm 103:2

a.    Remembering has advantages. 

1)    Remembering refocuses us in the heat of life’s battles. 


2)    Remembering prompts God awareness.


3)    Remembering reminds us that God is not taken by surprise by the troubles we’re currently facing. 


4)    Remembering drives


a)    Gratefulness


b)    Confidence


c)    Courage


d)    Encouragement


e)    Hope


f)      Love for Him


5)    Remembering reinforces the truth that I’m not facing life alone.


b.    Forgetting has liabilities.


Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Deuteronomy 4:9


1)    Forgetting encourages going back to our hard-wired preset of trusting ourselves.  


2)    Forgetting breeds anxiety about the present


3)    Forgetting feeds fear about the future.


4)    Forgetting intensifies the feeling that I might be facing life alone

... “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid…” Hebrews 13:5-6



Friday, July 28, 2023

Prayers of Lament

Friday, July 28, 2023 

Prayers of Lament Submitted by Kay Crumley

A dictionary definition of lament is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. I have been in a Bible study, “When You Pray”.  I will be sharing some of the highlights of what I’ve learned.  This week’s study was on prayers of lament by Jennifer Rothschild.  I have been one who has avoided Lamentations and not spent much time studying the prayers of lament in Psalms. They seemed too sad, too whinny for me. However, I have gained a new understanding and appreciation for this form of prayer that I want to share with you.


We will be focusing on Psalm 13. I think of lament as complaining or grumbling however, true prayers of lament are groanings.  Grumbling is emptying our trash cans while groaning is emptying our hearts to God. Grumbling shows a lack of trust and obedience to God, but groaning is the way to express the same deep ache from a heart of trust. Grumbling insults God. Groaning is what God does through us as His Spirit prays for us in our weaknesses with groanings too deep for words.  Jennifer divided Psalm 13 into three parts that she titled Steppingstones.


Ps 13:1-2 - How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?

 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?


1.  I Feel - Lament is a place to put our feelings.  David felt abandoned, rejected, in despair, sorrowful, and anxious.  He guarded what he said to others but told all his feelings to God.  David knew God’s character. Taking our feelings to God is a safe place to process those feelings.  To know God’s character is a sacred place.  Psalm 34:18 tells us that God is close to the broken hearted.  He is our rescuer, our safe place.

Ps. 13:3-4 - Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

2. I Need – We need to know that we are heard, we are seen, we are in His care.  Just as a child needs our attention and to know we value them, we need that same assurance from God.  We need to know He hears our cries, that He understands our pain.  Habakkuk cried out to God in chapter 1 verse 2 begging Him to answer, asking how long he must wait.  Then in chapter 3 verse 18-19 he commits to being joyful because the Lord is his strength.  His circumstances hadn’t changed.  He recognized the character of God and had his eyes opened spiritually. It is our relationship with God that is truly satisfying.  We are assured in Hebrews 4:16 that as we approach His throne of grace, we will receive His mercy in our times of need.

Ps. 13: 5-6 - But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.

 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me. 

3. I Will – David is no longer relying on or trusting in his feelings or his situation.  He now understands that all the time he was walking the path of lament God was looking after him.  Isaiah 46:4 assures us that God will carry us, sustain us, and rescue us.  He never forsakes His children.  As we cry out to Him in despair, He knows how we feel, He hears our plea, and we are to respond with praise to Him.  He is the Lord God of our salvation.  

Our lament should build into worship.  Jesus paved the way for our prayer of lament in His prayer as He prepared for the cross. 

When we don’t lament, we stuff and then we get stuck.  Naming your feelings and needs in prayer can keep those feelings from cementing in your soul, making you heavy and stuck. Naming your emotions is important and healthy.  It is the way to prevent getting stuck in your emotions so you can’t move forward in your faith.

Ps 30:5b – Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.




Thursday, July 27, 2023

Avoiding Temptation

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Avoiding Temptation

I recently saw a poster with Charlie Brown saying Most things in life are easier to get into than to get out of.  It really impacted me as I thought about it. This statement is so true, especially with bad situations, relationships that are wrong, jobs, or any number of examples of things we find ourselves locked into with no easy way out.  For example it is so much easier to gain weight than to lose it.  It is way more satisfying in the moment to eat chips, ice cream, and cookies than it is to exercise and eat healthy foods and the pounds certainly go on a lot easier than they come off. 

Let’s face it, most things that are bad for us are pleasurable in the moment - drugs, sex outside of marriage, yummy food, etc.  We all know people, or at least know of people, who are living lives full of sinful behavior yet it seems they have no problems and their life is perfect. There is an old movie quote that is very compelling and goes right along with the trap of sin that we can find ourselves in. It goes something like this: “Satan allows us to live in sin problem free. He allows us to go along and doesn’t bother us because he knows that we may turn to God when things get hard and the consequences of our sin start to break down our lives. He does not want us to turn to God or need Him."  But living in sin, even problem free, is like living in a jail cell.  God leaves the door wide open so we can choose to leave, get out at any time, but we don’t. We wait and then the door slams shut and then it is too late.  We are locked in the jail cell of sin.”  At that point, it is really hard to get out, but it is possible.  

Like the scripture above says, Satan is watching and waiting to catch us with our guard down.  We may even find ourselves in situations we never thought we would be a part of.  People get involved with drugs and the wrong people associated with drugs.  They may at some point decide they are going to quit and get their life together, but addictions are much easier to get into than to break the habit.  It is easy to have a drink or take the drugs your friends are offering, thinking you are rock solid and can partake once or twice and be ok.  But that is often not the case.  Satan may get his foot in the door with that one time and he begins to chip away at your life.  The addiction consumes you, the “friends” control your life and when you try to get away it can even be dangerous.  

The same goes for many other situations. It is easy to succumb to temptation in the moment and have to pay consequences for a long time. Sometimes you are not the only one affected by the situation.  Other people get hurt in the crossfire. God knew how easy it would be for us to fall to temptation and that is why He gave us these words. He wants us to be alert and of sober mind always, using extreme caution and discernment before getting involved in something we shouldn’t’ be a part of.  Think before you act because Satan is cunning and clever.  He can trick us.  He knows our weakness and he wants us to fail.  Before you blink you can be right where he wants you.  

There are many things we can do as Christians to protect ourselves.

·         Read the bible and pray – of course the number one defense is to have a relationship with God.  Praying and reading your bible to help you grow and to bathe your life in God’s word will certainly be helpful when you are going down a path you don’t need to be on.  

·         Associate with the right people – Go to church, worship and fellowship with other Christians.  We need this connection in our lives.  Surround yourself and spend time with people who help you do good things, not people who entice you to do anything that goes against God’s word.  There may be other Christians who cause you to stumble, pressure you into some form of sin.  They can twist God’s truth and the reality about the sin to try to make you feel like it is not wrong.  But just think of what the Bible says.  It is pretty black and white.  God’s word is always true and needs to be our ultimate resource in life.  
Note – yes, we are to love people who are sinners and try to reach them but that does not mean that we have to hang out with them and take part in what they are involved in. 
     Guard your heart – In Proverbs it tells us to guard our heart, for everything flows from it.  We have to be vigilant.  Satan knows that he has already been defeated at the cross and that his time is running out.  He is desperate.  He has tried and true strategies for luring us into temptation and he wants to do everything he can to turn us away from Christ and the truth that He is the only way, truth, and life.  

Satan does have his schemes to trick us but he cannot make us do anything.  He is clever but not all powerful.  Only God is all powerful.  He owns the power over Satan, sin, life and death.  We have to be alert and sober of mind, careful.  He is prowling and he does rejoice in every believer he can trick.  

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Who does Jesus want to find through you?

Wednesday, July 26, 2023 Some material taken from Who Found You by John Strappazon

And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  Romans 5:19-20

Who does Jesus want to find through you?  

Can you think of a time when you were in a strange city, and you lost your way? Being lost is a terrible feeling. When we are lost, we have wandered away and cannot find our way back. As Christians, when we speak of being lost, we are speaking of being spiritually lost and separated from God and not knowing how to find our way to Him. Jesus came for the sole purpose to find us and save us. He came to seek us out and rescue us. He also has a purpose for us as His children to spread His Good News and lead others to salvation in Him. 

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. Luke 19:10

God has a plan for every person’s life and that plan includes a plan for our salvation. He has already planned exactly how it will go and who will be involved in the process. John Strappazon shared with us this past Sunday some points to remember about how God wants to use us to help others find salvation in Him:

You are strategic in God’s plan for eternity.

As Christians, it is His purpose for our lives to go and make disciples. We should always be aware of the people in our lives that God may have placed there on purpose. We are always influencing those around us, whether we realize it or not. People are watching how we live our lives, and our lives are a living testimony to His Gospel, grace, and goodness. He places people in our path that we can influence for His kingdom. 

You are just the right person for someone.

There is someone in your life now, or who will be in your life later, that you are the perfect person to deliver the good news of the Gospel to them. You are God’s plan for them. This person may be in your life right now and you may not like them at all. You may avoid them, but God may have you there for a purpose. Try to see them through His eyes. You may be that someone for them. 

You can play a role in: 
Changing someone’s trajectory. 
You could play a role in redirecting the path of someone’s life, a path that leads to death to a path that leads to life.

Changing someone’s legacy. When a person is saved, their legacy changes. They are no longer leaving a legacy of sin and death, but one of eternal life. Their decision will impact their family, which could change their legacy too. 

Changing someone’s destiny. When someone becomes a Christian, their destiny changes from one of eternal separation from God to eternal life with Him. 

Jesus was very clear when He left the disciples and ascended to heaven that we were to go and make disciples. One day we will stand before the Lord and be judged on how we have spent our lives. 

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Corinthians 3:12-13

We can be saved and still have our works burn up. That is a sobering thought. We will be held accountable for how we have spent our lives as His children. We are called to be good stewards – with our whole lives, not just money. How we spend our time, energy, and money matters, not just in church, but every hour of every day.  Our “job” while here on earth is to spread His Gospel to all we can and we have a limited amount of time. We should look for, and take every opportunity to be the person that Jesus uses to find others.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

From Alienated to Reconciled to Free from Accusation

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. Colossians 1:21-22

From Alienated to Reconciled to Free from Accusation

When we are alienated from someone, it means that we are estranged from them, or indifferent or hostile to them. We are isolated from them. Sin alienates us from God before we become Christians. But God sent Jesus who reconciled us through His death on the cross. He cleansed us, restored us, and redeemed us which made it possible for us to have a relationship with Him.

God created us for relationship with Him. He desires that and takes pleasure in His creation – created in His image. He pursues us with the promise of new life, but we have the free will to choose Him or to reject Him and stay dead in our sins. He offers us the gift of salvation and eternal life – reconciliation with Him through the shed blood of His only Son, Jesus. When we choose to stay dead in our sins, we are alienated from Him. Our alienation is caused by a debt we can never pay. If you have ever had debt, you know the crushing weight of it. Imagine insurmountable debt you could never pay back. It leads to hopelessness and despair. But we do not have to stay in hopelessness and despair because God made a way for us. 

Jesus paid it all – all our debt. We are not only reconciled to God in relationship, but as His children. We are adopted as His sons and daughters when we believe through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Without the shed blood of Jesus to cover our sin debt, we would stay alienated from God forever. When our debt is paid in full, we are free. The weight is lifted, and we are free from accusation, presented holy in His sight, without blemish. We are clean. Free. Unbound. Unfettered. We have a new life in Him. Without Him we are hopelessly alienated but He made a way for us so we do not have to stay that way. What will you choose? 

Monday, July 24, 2023

One Lost and Found Sheep

Monday, July 24, 2023
So, he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.  Luke 15:3-7
One Lost and Found Sheep
Have you ever lost something really important to you?  It is a terrible feeling but when you find it, it is such a feeling of relief and joy.  Joy. That is how it feels to find something that you thought might be lost forever.  I was lost at one time, and now I am found, and the One who found me is rejoicing that He found me.  
In the passage above, Jesus tells a parable about a man who owned 100 sheep, but one had strayed away from the rest and was now lost.  The shepherd would leave the 99 sheep to find the one that was lost.  When he found the lost sheep, he was rejoicing with his friends that he had found the one sheep.  The lost sheep represents you and I and the shepherd, Jesus.  The one lost sheep would not find its way back without the shepherd. You and I are lost forever without Jesus.  A lost sheep is defenseless and vulnerable without its shepherd. Without Jesus we are like a lost sheep waiting to be devoured, vulnerable and defenseless.  
When we look at ourselves,  we may see unworthiness, finding it hard to believe that He would pursue us and rejoice in us.  But He looks at us with different eyes. He sees a lost sheep that is worth rejoicing over!  He rejoices we are found and we are His.  The devil will work hard to make us feel unworthy and that Jesus would never rejoice to have you.  That feeling will keep you from fulfilling His work for you in your life. Satan whispers in our ears and reminds us of our sin and shame, desiring us to believe that our shame is where our true identity is found.  But our true identity is found in Christ the day we make Him the King of our heart. You did not find Him, He found you, and He rejoiced with great joy when He did.   

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11 

Sunday, July 23, 2023


For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

Amazing Grace


Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found…


1.   What does it mean to be lost?

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.Colossians 1:21




2.   What does it mean to be found?

But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — Colossians. 1:22





3.   All of us were lost.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins…  All of us also lived among them at one time…Ephesians 2:1-3





4.   Who did Jesus use to find you?



5.   Who does Jesus want to find through you?                                                              And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  Romans 5:19-20




A.   You are strategic in God’s plan for eternity.



B.   You are just the right person for someone.






C.   You can play a role in


·      Changing someone’s trajectory



·      Changing someone’s legacy.



·      Changing someone’s destiny.

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