We are 7 days away from the release of Tea for Two: A 30 Day Devotional!!!! Pre-order your copy now!
We are 7 days away from the release of Tea for Two: A 30 Day Devotional!!!! Pre-order your copy now!
Hebrews 5:8 (NKJV)
“though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.”
I don’t know about you, but lately life has been nothing more than a combination of a Debbie Downers and a Negative Nancys. It hasn’t been your typical “life happens” moments, but off the wall, crazy experiences that suck the life and energy out of you. Before you can recover from one hardship, there’s another one waiting for you around the corner. I often find myself wondering, “When does it end, when do I get a break?”
Just like our lives are a challenge, when Jesus walked this earth He suffered greatly and experienced countless hardships. Throughout His ministry He was ridiculed and mocked. The Pharisees made it their sole purpose to find fault with Him and plot ways to kill Him. One of His closest friends betrayed Him for some money. He even suffered a gruesome, painful death even though He was innocent. And we complain about how difficult our lives are!?!? Yet despite all of the suffering, all of the disappointments, all of the hurt and pain, not once did Jesus get caught up in the flesh. Not once did He react to the injustices committed against Him. Not once did He throw a pity party.
How is that so? How was Jesus able to stay true to His nature despite all of the pain He experienced? Hebrews 5:8 tells us that through Jesus’ suffering He learned obedience. It was through the pain, the heartache, the sadness that Jesus learned how to stay committed to God. He did not allow the tough times to cause Him to become bitter and resentful. He did not allow criticisms, mocking, betrayal, and physical pain to cause Him to turn His back on God and step out of God’s will for His life. Instead, He remained faithful to God and walked in obedience even to the point of death. He allowed His suffering to teach Him obedience.
That is what God wants us to develop in our suffering: a willingness to walk in complete obedience to Him. James 1:2 tells us to count it all when we fall into various trials. The reason why we can find joy in our pain and suffering is because our suffering pushes us closer to God and helps us to learn how to follow His will for our lives. So instead of letting challenges and pain cause us to get caught up in the flesh, we need to draw closer to God and allow Him to use our suffering to mold us for His purposes.
“…So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” -2 Peter 3:17b-18
This morning during my quiet time with God, these verses stood out to me. Everyday this world seems to get worse and worse. Yesterday, my city, San Bernardino, CA, experienced what appears to be a terrorist attack. It seems like everyday there’s some kind of mass shooting or bombing or some other horrific tragedy. When these tragedies occur, we often hear people say, “Where was God in all of this or why did God allow this to happen?” The thing is that God is there with us in the midst of all of this; however, we live in a fallen world. We live in a world that is ruled by wickedness and evil. I believe that is why we are told to “be on guard”. It’s discouraging and heartbreaking to see or hear about another mass shooting, and, if we’re not careful, we can allow what we see to shake our faith to the core and cause us to doubt God or question whether He truly cares about us.
Since we are living in the last days, we are going to see more and more tragedies because the enemy knows his time is almost up. This is why we as Christians have to be alert and stay woke. We can’t afford to be lackadaisical in our relationship with God. We need to pray and intercede for this world more, we need to share the Gospel more, we need to show this world Christ and truly be the light and salt of the earth. The enemy is counting on us getting tired and growing weary, but we can’t give him that satisfaction. We also need to ask God to give us a strong spirit of discernment and wisdom. The enemy is looking for any opportunity to take out as many Christians as he can because he doesn’t want us to reach the lost. We’re a threat to him. We must be alert 24/7. If we’re off our “spiritual game”, then the enemy will have a field day causing much chaos, confusion, and devastation. When we feel an uneasiness in our spirit, we can’t afford to ignore the Holy Spirit. I’m not saying to live in fear, but I am saying to use wisdom and if something doesn’t seem right, speak up and say something. A friend of mine made an excellent point about Christians using their discernment. He brought up how the neighbors of the suspects involved in yesterday’s tragedy thought something wasn’t right and had suspicions, but they didn’t say anything. As Christians, if the Holy Spirit is revealing something to us, we need to say something because God may use us to prevent certain things from happening. However, if we’re not in tune with God like we need to be, we will not have a strong spirit of discernment and God won’t be able to use us.
I know living in these last days is not easy. I know seeing tragedy after tragedy is discouraging. I know you’re tired. I know you’re ready for Christ to return. We must continue to press forward and keep with the mission that Christ gave us. We are His ambassadors on this earth (2 Corinthians 5:20). We have work to do. One day we will get to spend eternity with Him with no worries, no pain, no cares, no tragedies, but that day has not come yet. So until then we must do our part. We can’t become spiritually lazy. We need to seek God more, pray more, spend time with Him in His word more, and witness more.
I love you all and am praying for you all. If you have any prayer requests or questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey guys! God put it on my heart to share my testimony. Some things have happened in my life within the last 1-2 years that most aren’t aware of. God delivered me from some things and has been doing some great things in my life. I broke the video down into two parts or else it would’ve been way too long. I was hesitant about posting the second part because I share some personal things that I went through in 2013-2014 and made some mistakes that I’ve just now been able to forgive myself of. I was worried that those who know me and know what I stand for were going to judge me, but God asked me, “Are you doing this for man’s approval or for my glory?” Since I’m doing it for God’s glory, it honestly doesn’t matter what man thinks of me. With all that said, please keep any negative or judgmental comments to yourself. I pray that this blesses you and ministers to you. God bless!
Have you ever been in a season where you are being bombarded by attacks from the enemy? I mean as soon as you try to recover from one attack, another one occurs. There’s no rest from these attacks…you’re getting hit from the left and the right. You’re crying out to God, but there’s still no relief. You feel as if He’s forgotten about you…as if this season of storms will never end. You can’t help but wonder why…what did you do to deserve this??? It’s to the point that you’ve cried so much that you wonder if you even have any tears left. You’re not sure how much more you can take before you break. What do you do in the midst of a season like this? Has God forgotten about you? Do you have to bear this storm on your own?
It’s in these seasons that we have to stand on God’s Word. There will be times when it feels like we are on our own, but we must remember God’s promise to us “…He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut. 31:6).” Even when we feel as if He’s not there, He’s there. We just have to trust Him to keep His promise to us and by faith believe that He is with us in the midst of the storm.
We also need to ask God, “What are you trying to develop in me in the midst of this season?” I know for me personally, God has used various seasons to develop the fruits of the spirit in me. I struggle with patience like crazy so usually He uses various seasons or storms to develop patience in me. Ask God what it is He’s trying to teach you and He will show you. This will honestly help change your perspective. Instead of wallowing in your sorrows, you will focus on the lesson God is trying to teach you. Trust me these lessons are valuable and will prepare you for the next season of your life. Let the stormy season develop character in you not defeat you.
“For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.”
I love this scripture because it’s basically saying there will be good and bad seasons in our life. Yes, the bad seasons hurt and they beat us to a pulp, but they develop the character that God wants us to have…they make us more and more into His image. Like it says in Isaiah 48:10, “I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering”, God uses stormy seasons to help us mature as Christians and to make us more and more like Christ. These stormy seasons also strengthen our faith. Think about it: If your faith was never tested, how would it get stronger? Think about it this way, how do children learn to walk? Do they just get up and start walking one day? No! They have to strengthen their muscles. They start off lifting their head and chest, then they start crawling, then they start standing and holding onto the side of the coffee table until finally they can stand and walk on their own. Is it an easy process? No! Do they get frustrated? Yes! But unless they “strengthen their muscles” and “use their muscles”, they will never learn how to walk. Faith works the same way. You have to use it in order to strengthen it. With all that said, stop dreading stormy seasons. Yes, they hurt like heck. Yes, you will cry. Focus on what God is trying to develop in you. Whether it’s the fruit of the spirit, preparation for the next season of your life, or strengthening your faith, take James’ advice in James 1: 2-4, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” So when the storms start raging and the enemy is attacking you left and right, find joy in the fact that God is molding you and strengthening you!
This morning did not start off the best. There were some disappointments and unexpected changes happened. I am one who does not do well with change. This is possibly due to my slow to warm temperament. God has helped me tremendously in this area. In the past, I would shut down completely if there were any changes in plans, especially last minute changes. This morning God helped me to just go with the flow and not react…no attitude or anything…just go with the flow.
While in the shower this morning, the Lord ministered to me. I don’t know about anyone else, but honestly the best conversations between God and I, and when I hear Him clearest, are when I’m in the shower or when I’m locked in my room sitting Indian style in the middle of my bed. This morning while I was talking to Him about how my morning began and just thanking Him for keeping me calm, He said to me:
“Beloved, just like when an anchor is dropped to keep a ship still and in its place, is the same way I keep you still and calm in the midst of a storm.”
This is what Jesus does for us. Life is not perfect. Nine times out of ten something is going to go wrong. The unexpected will happen. People will disappoint us daily. Things will be lost…relationships broken…but in the midst of all that, Jesus is there to keep us grounded…to keep us from losing our minds…He overwhelms us with His love and peace…His joy…He is our anchor of hope.
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…”
According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, the Greek word for hope is elpis, which means “favorable and confident expectation.” In Hebrews 6:19 it refers to how hope is expressed “in endurance under trial.”
Jesus is the anchor of our hope in that we put our “favorable and confident expectation” in Him during trials, and by doing so we persevere through these trials.
I am so thankful that I have Jesus as the anchor of my hope…I honestly could not make it in this life without Him keeping me grounded daily. Seriously…I would have lost my mind or been dead if it wasn’t for Him.
When everything that can go wrong goes wrong, lean on your Anchor of Hope…allow Jesus to keep you grounded in the midst of your storm. Everything around you can be complete and utter chaos, but as long as you have your Anchor of Hope (Jesus), you will be still in the midst of that storm and you will be calm and grounded.