Because He Lives…

Just take a moment to fill in the blank, “Because He lives, I can __________ __________!”  This truth has to be more to us than the familiar lyrics of an old gospel song.  Because Jesus lives and death couldn’t keep Him and the grave couldn’t stop Him, there is power to live your life by.  His resurrected life enables us to do what we could not otherwise do.  Not only that, but because of His life, we are able to have a life.  What I mean is that we exist, only because He exists.  Think about it, if God somehow stopped existing this moment, so would every form of life, including human life.  The apostle Paul said,

The reality of our lives is that we are God-sustained and not self-sustained.  He is the One who gives us breath and keeps our hearts beating.  He is the One who holds all things together.  Because He lives, and only because He lives, I can face tomorrow.  I can get up in the morning.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Because He lives, I can go beyond my natural abilities and do what only can be done in His power.  I can love those who are not so loving.  I can forgive those who have wronged me.  I can walk where God wants me to walk.  I can endure what life throws at me.  I can love my neighbors as myself.  I can be the witness He wants me to be.  I can survive the fiery storms and I can walk through the valley.

Because He lives, I can face the giants that threaten.  God is your enabler!  Yes He is, because otherwise you would have quit a long time ago.  The reason you are still going and giving and loving and haven’t become bitter and angry and isolated is because of God.  His life means everything to the disciple of Christ.  Because He lives, you can go to bed tonight and have sweet rest.  Because He lives, you can live in complete confidence that He sees you right where you are, knows where you’ve been, knows how you feel and knows what you need.  Because He lives, I can believe and know that everything is going to be alright.  Because He lives, I can lift my head up and march on in the name of Jesus!  March on!

Overcoming Uncertainty

One of the scariest places to live on planet earth is in you own universe of uncertainty. What will be happening in the coming year or the coming weeks?  Who is telling you the truth about what is taking place in the world with the virus and job losses and all the prophetic voices?  Whatever happened to the bands of people coming to the southern borders and how about the stimulus change thrown at the American people while millions go into foreign accounts?  Instead of a $2,000 stimulus, why not $5,000 or $10,000 since the national debt doesn’t seem to be a big deal?  When you reach the peak of uncertainty in a world that at one time made some kind of sense and seemed somewhat normal, you have only a few options left. You can panic. You can prepare. You can pray.  And you can rehearse what you know is true. Don’t panic, but pray, prepare and rehearse what you know is true.

1.  God is in control of all things and even the things that are out of control. John 19:11

2. God loves me and wants me to live as close to Him as I can. James 4:8

3. The power of God’s peace has no impact on me unless I live in a personal relationship with Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

4. God is for me and not against me. Romans 8:31

5. Jesus is coming again.  John 14:3

6. God is my protector and provider. Philippians 4:19

7. The government can’t do for me what God can do. Acts 5:38-39

8. I know I am His, and He is mine. Song of Songs 6:3

9. I know my time here is short.  James 4:14

10. I know God ultimately wins because He has never lost. Luke 24:6-7

Don’t live in uncertainty, but move towards what you know (The One who) is true.

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

The Prince of Peace

His name shall be called—“The Prince of Peace.”  Is it even possible to have peace in such a noisy and chaotic world?  Say, Yes!  At the moment the Messiah was born, the prospect and power for peace was made possible.  With great excitement and in concert, a host of angels announced to nearby shepherds the birth of the “Prince of Peace.”  They declared, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Real peace is not possible without the presence of the “Prince of Peace” in your life.    

Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

There is One who rules over life’s greatest dispositions.  It is Jesus, “The Prince of Peace.” He makes peace possible to anyone, at anytime, and in every place and circumstance you could be in. His peace overrides the fearful and worrisome circumstances around you by supplying a greater understanding of the sovereign One who lives in you.  His peace shows up only where He is—a job interview, a classroom for an exam, a doctor’s office waiting for a report, a prison cell separated from family, and even a cemetery mourning a loss.  His peace is so powerful that when the world falls apart around you and panic strikes the hearts of men, you do not fear because the “Prince of Peace” is the Prince of your life.  You’ll never control the circumstances around you, but you can always draw near to the “Prince of Heaven” who lives inside you.  

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep [him] in perfect peace, [Whose] mind [is] stayed [on You,] Because he trusts in You.”

This, You Must Do!

1 Samuel 30:6 “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” After returning from a battle, David and his solder found their homes burned to the ground and the wives and children taken captive. Those solders were following their leader, but exhausted and now completely grieved by their loss to the point of stoning David to death and David was aware.

David had a choice, just as we do today when it seems everyone has turned on us and you have no strength to take another step. David chose to strengthen/encourage himself in the Lord. And maybe that’s what you need to do in this moment. Don’t wallow in defeat and don’t wait for those around you to come and lift you up and strength you. Many times remaining weak is a choice, and being strengthened is up to you. You may be down today with everyone against you, but if God is for you, you can renew your strength. You can play the leading role in your own encouragement. How? Where do you begin in strengthening and encouraging yourself in the Lord? Start by praying to God and confessing the truth about how you feel at this moment. After that, talk to God about what you know God would have you live and engage with those around you. You can strengthen yourself in the Lord by speaking the truth over your life out loud. Listen for a moment to uplifting praise music. Ask God to give you a word to repeat through you day, or a phrase like, “God is for me!” Believe deep in your heart that God alone is the strength of you life. Do not live long in the defeat of a moment, but rally yourself in the name of Jesus, because the enemy has not won. Strengthen yourself for the sake of those held captive. After David strengthen himself in the Lord, he lead 600 men to go on a rescue mission to take back their wives and children. Two hundred of those men didn’t have enough strength in themselves to go all the way, but David with 400 men took back what was stolen. Today you can count your losses and lay down or you can strengthen yourself and go on a rescue mission for what has been stolen from you. No one can decide this for you. Only God can renew your strength.

Signs You are Stuck

  1. The scenery of your life never changes.
  2. You are busy, but you constantly complain.
  3. You have no joy and are seldom happy.
  4. You have stopped dreaming.
  5. You get annoyed by people who are not stuck.
  6. You want everyone else to be stuck with you.
  7. You have stopped asking God to change you.

People get stuck in life for many reasons. Many people have this experience, so if that is you, you’re not alone. There is hope. After I realize I’m stuck, I want to know how to get unstuck, and sometimes that depends on how stuck you are, right? If you’ve been bogged down for years, it may take a little longer to get you free than for someone who has only been stuck for 6 months, but whatever the case, don’t live stuck. No one intentionally gets stuck, we try to avoid the areas of life that can potentially capture us. But the reality of life is that none of us are great navigators and there is quicksand everywhere. So if you’re stuck, understand the possibility of living out your life that way. Understand also that the enemy you can’t see is all about trapping you and leaving you there. So, if you’re stuck, take this seriously and take the following steps to be free.

  1. Realize you will need help.
  2. Ask God to help you get free.
  3. Ask God to send you help to get free. God may send you a person or an opportunity or even a problem, but believe that if you are asking God to help you get free, He is all about that!
  4. Start changing the way you think by positive words. Being stuck is mental, emotional and spiritual, so those are your three focus points of change. How can you start thinking differently? 1. Know that your thoughts have a point of origin, they come from some place. 2. Start determining the point of origin your thoughts come from. Romans 12:2. “And do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on things above, not on things of the earth.” You must become consciously aware of the thoughts in your mind if you want to be free. You must make room for the truth of God’s word to be in the circuit of your thoughts to take down the lies the world and what the enemy speaks. If you can’t detect or tell the difference between a thought that is a lie and one that is truth, you can’t be free. John 8:32. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” To determine the origin of the thoughts in your mind, you have to make a conscious decision about what you watch and what you listen to as far as media is concerned. Cut off the music, videos, movies that feed the lies and keep you stuck, and plug in and turn up the volume on music, videos and movies that give you the greatest advantage of being free.
  5. Start changing what you do. Change does not come easy because we all get comfortable when we get stuck, but begin new and greater efforts to spend time in fellowship with God. That means give God something to work with, like an extra 30 minutes in prayer or listening to worship music and meditating on His word.
  6. Look for the glimpses of joy and resurgence of life in your life. Take note and give God thanks for the little changes that are taking place.
  7. Lastly, give glory to God and get a dream from God. God still has something for you to do and it’s big and life-changing in itself. Jesus Christ has come to “set the captives free,” and not just those captive to their sin, but those of us who have been stuck in circumstances we had no control over. Get unstuck! Get free!

Plugged in on Both Ends

Wednesday afternoon my iPad got down to 10% power and I plugged it in.  While I was waiting for it to charge a little bit, I went on with my business texting some people on my phone.  After about fifteen minutes, I felt like the iPad should have had a descent charge so I touched the screen, and to my surprise, it was at 1%, and the screen went black.  I knew I had plugged in the iPad, but when I pulled the charger cord, I saw it was not plugged into the source of power on the other end.  Initially, I never checked. I just assumed it was plugged in.

Unfortunately, this same thing happens in the lives of many people who plug in on one end, but never plug into the power source on the other end.  They plug into religion and a belief system and religious activity and even places of service, but never to the real power of God.  God is all-powerful, He is the omnipotent God, and nothing is impossible with Him.  His power is meant to flow in us for our lives to be transformed into the image of His Son.  His power flow in us all by the connection Christ made on the cross. 

The Bible says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.”  2 Timothy; “He is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal life.”  Hebrews 9:15 and Hebrews 12:24 “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things that than of Abel.”  Jesus is the only spiritual electrician able to make the connection between the power source and the outlet.  We are like God’s outlet in this world, but if you’re not plugged in, nothing happens, just religious activity.    

Paul warned Timothy about this tragedy in 2 Timothy 3:5 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”  Having a form of godliness means they show up to church on Sunday, bow their heads in prayer, sing with hands lifted high, but there’s no sincerity in their hearts.  They have the form of godliness, but not the substance or the power.  They look good and sound good, but there’s no real change on the inside. 

Let me ask you, is the power of God flowing through you?  It was no big deal for me to make the mistake of not checking to see if my iPad was plugged in.  But if you are not plugged into the power of God, all the religious activity in the world will never take its place.  Plug in through prayer and through a surrendered heart.  Plug in asking God to show you the charge and change taking place in your life.  Make sure both ends are plugged in so that His power is flowing through you.

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