It is time to live in His Grace

 

It Is Time To Live In His Grace

I must admit for much of my adult life, I did not live under God’s grace. Instead I chose to live under guilt, regret and condemnation. Constantly re-living my mistakes and sins. Continuing to condemn myself instead of living in God’s grace through Jesus.

Actually guilt, regret, fears and living in condemnation can be an addiction. Making it very difficult to stop living and thinking that way. For some it is nearly impossible to break this cycle if it were not that “nothing is impossible with God”. For me, without allowing Jesus to redo my thinking, I do not believe I would have ever been delivered from this life sucking negative way of thinking.

So how do we live in His grace? How do we stop the cycle? We simply start by turning around and going the other way, our Lord’s way. How? Baby steps, yes baby steps and through prayer and reading God’s word.   Yes, God’s word needs to be ever present in your heart and mind or instead of going His way you will go your way and will end up back on that same road of despair.

Here are three scriptures that will show you how to begin walking with the Lord:

James 4:8: “Come near to God and He will come near to you.”

Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Isaiah 30:21; “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

You need to trust these scriptures. Here is a little nugget of truth: Don’t try and make grand leaps on this journey. Just keep thinking baby steps. Why? Because I have found, at least in my life experience, that when I tried to make grand leaps in my progress of anything, it did not go as well as expected and I was discouraged. Often that would create a setback or failure to reach a goal. This can easily happen, especially at the beginning and you become so discouraged you give up. Let the scriptures, not your mind, be your guide and your support on this journey.

Going hand and hand with walking in our Lord’s way is to understand what Jesus has already conquered for us, sin, guilt, fear and condemnation. The victory that you walk in now is because of what Jesus our Lord and Savior did for us on the cross. So, while we are walking His way we also need to have the right mind set. Here are two scriptures that you need to meditate on day and night while following this new path of freedom under Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:24; “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

And Hebrew 8:12: “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Believing and trusting in these two scriptures is imperative to getting you on the right path of living in His grace.

Just think about if you had to run a 10k race, which is 6.2 miles, and all that time you kept telling yourself;

  • You are not strong enough to walk that far.
  • Your legs are hurting already so you will never make it.
  • You are so out of shape that it is going to be impossible to even walk 1 mile.

Do you think you will reach that goal and walk the 5 miles? It is highly unlikely. It is the same with walking in His grace. If we keep dwelling on our sins, our weaknesses and the past, we will not make the journey of living in His grace.

We must begin with the key truth of Christianity. We must know and believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. If you do not believe that Jesus, our Lord and Savior, died on the cross for our sin then that is your real first step. Acknowledging that you are a sinner and that Jesus Christ died on the cross to take FULL punishment of your sins. After that you need to understand as it reads in 1 Peter 2:24 in addition to taking on the punishment of our sins, we need to know that, “by his stripes we are healed”. His stripes are speaking about the deep cuts and wounds that were on Jesus from being whipped and beaten.

When we acknowledge these truths and keep them in our hearts and mind, the negative thoughts of guilt, regret and condemnation must leave our mind. There is no room for such negative thoughts.

Now, to the second scripture I gave you above. In Hebrews 8:12, the Word tells us that God remembers our sins no more. Did you hear that? I meant it. This is very important. God remembers our sins no more. This is very powerful. In fact I believe this is the most important scripture when it comes to living in God’s grace and no longer living in guilt, regret and condemnation.

It is so important that it is worth repeating. Hebrews 8:12: “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

So, I ask you the same question I ask myself all the time. If God does not remember our sins, why do we? If God does not remember our sins, why do we bring them back up in our minds? If God does not remember our sins, then how can guilt, regret and condemnation of those sins continue to control our mind and our actions? If we really believe these truths of God’s word and act on them then all those negative thoughts can’t control our mind. If negative thoughts still continue in your mind that is not from God but from the devil who wishes to keep your life in this negative frame of thinking. Or it is from you because you want to live that way.

If God, through Jesus Christ’s dying on the cross for our sins, does not remember our sins, then quit calling God a liar and quit telling our Lord Jesus Christ that his act was worthless. Forget them all and forgive yourself because God already has!

I know accusing you of calling God a liar is a very strong statement. That continuing to dwell on the past and live in guilt and condemnation is saying Jesus dying on the cross was worthless. Does that bother you to read those words, Jesus dying on the cross was worthless? Does it make you very uncomfortable to even think that? Good, that is a great start. Yes, they are very strong words but maybe you need to hear them to shock your thinking into rebuking these negative thoughts and start living in His grace.

If we can truly forget the past, and know in our heart, mind and soul these basic Christian truths: that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, by his stripes we are healed and that God remembers our sins NO MORE! Forget your forgiven sins and your journey will take us to living in peace, free of guilt, regret, condemnation, and walking with our Lord at our right side.

What is it like to live that way? I think one of the best visualizations of this is in Psalms 1:3 “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.”

So let’s begin our journey of being set free and living in His grace.

Lost and Lonely People

There are several scriptures that keep reminding me that I need to help more people in need. That I need to be more aware of my surroundings because someone right next to me could be in such emotional pain or need and I just walk by. There is a song by Casting Crowns titled” Does Anyone Hear Her?”

It is powerful. I tear up every time I hear it. I love to sing and I have yet been able to sing this entire song without breaking up. The link I have above is a music video of the song. I hope it speaks to your heart as much as it does for me.

So why is lost and lonely people the subject of this week’s lesson? Because God’s word talks alot about lost and lonely people. Also about the sick, the needy and more.

Matthew 25:31-46 covers it all in a very powerful way. As we go through it, I hope that it will convict you as much as it has convicted me to do something. Anything but ignoring it.

I encourage you to read the entire Chapter 25, because in the entire chapter Jesus was talking to his disciples and the crowds of people who came to listen to him. He talks about the kingdom of God and being ready for it. You will learn so much.

Starting on verse 31 is where Jesus is talking about when the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the angels with Him and He will sit on His glorious throne. It goes on to talk about the Son of Man separating the people as a shepherd would separate his sheep from the goats with the sheep on the right and goats on the left.

Let’s pick up what Jesus is saying in verse 34,  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

That is important so I am going to repeat that last part. “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” I have always wondered what I could do for Jesus because I am always asking him what he can do for me. Then when I read this I have my answer. It’s pure and simple. You now know how to do something for our Lord.

If helping the lost, the lonely, the needy, the stranger, the sick and those in prison is not motivation enough. Then perhaps doing it for our Lord hopefully will get us moving in the right direction.

I do not mean this in a condemning way. Trust me when I say, I am not just talking to all of you but also to myself on this.

I need to ask God to keep me more aware and to hear from His Holy Spirit and see these lost and lonely people. In the song I mentioned above by Casting Crowns, there is a line “Does anybody hear her? Does anybody see? I know I am missing many of them. But if I were perfectly honest, there are one’s I do hear and one’s I do see. And I do nothing. Have you been there also?

Oh I know, we had our reasons why would could not help them at that point in time. Some of the reasons were very valid. We were on the way to work or picking the kids at school. But again if I am being honest with myself, thee were other times where I could have stopped or could have gone to help someone. It was more of just an inconvenience. So I would come up with some reason or excuse.

Why do we do that? Are we embarrassed, afraid of the person? Why? Perhaps if we know the reasons, it might help. We need to be true and honest to ourselves if we ever want to grow in life and in the Lord. We need to examine our hearts and ask the Holy Spirit to show us how we can help these people. There is one positive thing we can do. Something that may help us to get involved, to help the lost and lonely, hungry, needy, sick and in prison.

Bring some Christian friends along. I have found that when a group of Christians get together they are more willing to go to places when by themselves they would be uncomfortable or unsure. With a group people, many are more willing to move out of one’s comfort zone. This is scriptural. Matthew 18:20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”   Now there is the perfect way, you, Christian friends and Jesus helping the least of His brothers and sisters. You just can’t go wrong with that. Praise God.

Thank you Father for this word. I pray that all of us listen to your instructions and help those in need.

Breaking through Fear

instagramfearFear is a word that in some way connects to all of us. I have not met anyone who did not, at some time in his or her life, experience fear. I’m talking about the fear that grabs hold of you and will consume your every thought. I know I have dealt with it.

In my observations, fear can be categorized into many types. The one I want to talk about for this lesson is fear of something that is actually happening. This type of fear is very understandable. The doctor tells you that you have a serious life threatening disease and fear can be the first reaction. There is a terrible storm that hits your area, flooding, power outages, and winds, again fear can be one’s first reaction. You are out of work, you have no money, and you could be homeless in a week if things do not change. I know that in these situations, it is scary. I believe financial issues are the most common fear people deal with in their lives. Here are some reported facts from a recent survey that support this:

  1. 76% of American’s live paycheck to paycheck
  2. 56% of Americans say they have less than $1,000 in their checking and savings accounts combined,
  3. Nearly a quarter (24.8 percent) have less than $100 to their name.

The 2013 U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there are just over 242 million adults living in the United States. Applying this population number to the above facts it shows us that:

  1. 184 million American’s live paycheck to paycheck.
  2. 135 million Americans have less than $1,000 in their checking and savings accounts combined.
  3. 60 million have less than $100 to their name.

Are you one of those in this type of situation? If so, with ¾ of the adult population in the same boat you are not alone. Or are you just wondering what might happen if we, in the US, are just pushed over this precipice of no money and mountains of debt. Does that create fear in you? It does in me.

With this fear, our lives can be in total turmoil. We don’t sleep. We worry. Our family relationships suffer. We can’t concentrate on much but the fear of being one paycheck away from losing it all. If you remember in my lesson on the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus himself was fearful and scared. In Mark 14:33-34 it talks about Jesus going to pray in the garden. It reads “He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” He was literally scared to death because at that time, Jesus was fully human because he needed to be human to die for our sins. What Jesus did is what we need to do. Pray to our Lord and ask for help and also for the ability to get through troubling times.

In fact, here is exactly what Jesus did and prayed in Mark 14:35-36, “Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 3Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

He basically said, Father everything is possible for you. You can make it so I do not have to do this. You can get me out of this situation. But it is your will that I want in my life, not mine. Jesus knew that God his Father and our Father could get him out of that situation. But Jesus also wanted to do God’s will not his so he knew that, if he did have to go through this situation, God would give him the strength and the ability to get through it.

Can you see what I am saying? This is important and key to overcoming fear.  God can change the situation and get us out of it or he will give us the strength and ability to get through the situation. In either way, he has our back. We will make it through.

Sounds easy huh? No it is not. At least for me it is not. The biggest battle is with our own thoughts. It is then that you need to use God’s Word to get through this. Yes I said use God’s Word to get through it. I think people sometimes forget that in living God’s Word, you actually have to not just know it, your really do have to live it AND use it. For example, 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Using prayer, trust and God’s Word, we can take our thoughts of fear captive and make them obedient to Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Again, I know that sounds impossible right now with what might be happening in your life. I am sure you are asking, how is taking all my thoughts captive and obedient to Christ going to help me with my situation?

It can. I promise you it can. To better explain, lets look at some facts, from a study at the University of Minnesota, on what the impact of fear and anxiety does to our mind and body.

“People, who live in constant fear, whether from physical dangers in their environment or threats they perceive, can become incapacitated. Living under constant threat weakens our immune system and can cause cardiovascular damage, gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, and decreased fertility. All of these effects can leave us unable to act appropriately. Other consequences of long-term fear include fatigue, clinical depression, accelerated ageing, and even premature death.”

“Fear can impair formation of long-term memories and cause damage to certain parts of the brain. This can make it even more difficult to regulate fear and can leave a person anxious most of the time. To someone in chronic fear, the world looks scary and their memories confirm that.

Moreover, fear can interrupt processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and other information presented to us, reflect before acting, and act ethically. This impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. “

“Let’s look at that last part again. Fear interrupts our thinking processes in our brain that allows us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cue and other information that is presented to us. This study tells us that when we are in a state of fear and anxiety we can’t think straight and we cannot make rational decisions.”

We can’t even see opportunities and information that could show us a way out.

And that is important. Often times, having the ability to think rationally and clearly about a problem allows us to actually find a solution, a way out!

Again, lets look at 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

When we do this, and again LIVE God’s Word, we allow God’s Word to end the fear arguments and thoughts that we, or others are saying, in our minds that cause us to worry and panic. We let the knowledge of God, which is what we read and know from His Word, take every single fearful thought captive and let our minds be guided by our Lord Jesus Christ.

What happens then is we are in a state of peace and calm, not fear. Our mind is not racing with fearful thoughts. Our inner voice is not in panic mode. In this calm peaceful state, God allows us to clearly think about the situation in a way that He can show us His way out or His plan for us.

You know I am not just writing to this as a lesson to all of my readers. I am writing this for me also. In fact, this lesson was not a lesson at first. It was an effort by me to search the Bible and try to understand from God’s Word how I can get a hold of the fear in my life. In many areas, I was letting fear dictate how I acted. Dictate what decisions I made for my family and myself when it came to finances, health, and our future. I needed to get ahold of the fear and panic in my life. And I knew the only true and lasting way was in living God’s Word.  

So I prayed for God to bring alive His Word in me and help me with my fear. And as a faithful and loving Father, He is helping me. Every word, in this lesson, was written for me too. And it is my plan to learn from it even if I have to read this lesson over again several times. I am going to memorize and claim that, 2 Corinthians 10:5 , can work in my life. I am going to find more scriptures that I can get into my mind, soul and spirit to help me take captivity over fear. Will you do the same? Let’s win this victory over fear together.

I leave you with this. 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

The Armor of God

armor-of-god

The purpose of this week’s lesson is to help you learn and understand the Bible so that it can guide you and equip you in your spiritual walk with the Lord and in your every day walk in life. It is also interactive and if you would like to participate in the interactive part feel free to send my your answers to gary@Godmadebubbles.com.

God’s word tells us, in Ephesians 6:10-18, that to be strong and mighty in His power we need to put on the full armor of God. Therefore, I can think of no better way to achieve our goals, in this Bible study, then by beginning the small group with studying about the Armor of God.

Ephesians 6:10-18  – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devils schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Let’s break down the various aspects of the armor of God.

  1. Stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around your waist
  2. Have the breastplate of righteousness in place
  3. Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace
  4. Take up the shield of faith
  5. Take the helmet of salvation
  6. Take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Let’s think about someone dressed in armor and what each part would do in a battle.

The armor, as in all battles is broken up into three parts, firm foundation, defensive equipment and offensive equipment. First, if you are going to be in a fight, of any kind, you need to try and be as sure footed as possible. If you are off balance, it will be both hard to fight and it will make you vulnerable to being thrown to the ground. Secondly, you have to account for defending yourself when attacked. And finally, when you have to go on the offensive, and you need to attack the enemy, you need to be properly equipped and trained in the use of your armor and weapons.

Let’s first discuss having a firm foundation, which sometimes, can also include some discussion of defense. Imagine, if you had armor on and the breastplate was loose and moving around, and your belt, that was supposed to be holding everything together, was missing. Or you had improperly fitted boots for your feet. You are already at a disadvantage and you’re not even in the battle yet. That tells us how important truth; righteousness and the Gospel of peace are in preparing for a battle. If you are not firmly rooted in all of these you are not ready for any battle.

Find at least three scriptures that talk about each of the following:

  1. Truth and how you think it can help you stand firm and hold the rest of your spiritual armor in place.
  2. Righteousness and how it can act as a breastplate to protect you. Remembering that the breastplate in a battle covers and protects your vital organs. Organs that if struck could easily led to death.
  3. The gospel of peace. Find examples in the words of Jesus Christ that teach us that peace is the way to be firmly planted on solid ground. And that being firmly planted in peace will keep most Christians from ever having to go on the offensive.

Now to the other two are key pieces of the armor needed to defend you in a spiritual battle. You need a shield which gives you the ability to block weapons coming at your from many different directions and you have a helmet which is protecting you head, or better put is protecting your mind from negative thoughts. I believe it is important to see why these two parts of the armor deal with faith and salvation. The devil knows how to get to us mentally and two of the most common ways is through challenging our faith and challenging our salvation.

Find at least three scriptures the talk about the following:

  1. Faith and how our faith can build us up and defend us against doubt, fear, anger, and many more.   Try and show how the faith scripture counters a negative attack and what that negative attack is.
  2. Find scriptures that, to you, best show the definitive truth of how we are saved through Jesus Christ and how knowing we are saved acts as a spiritual helmet.

Now, to the last part of the armor taking the offensive. When you get to a point in a battle that you need to strike down your spiritual opponent, you need to have a very powerful weapon. A sword when used properly, and effectively, can strike down your opponent very quickly. You notice I said when used properly and effectively. Think of a Samurai and how efficient they can be with their sword. Often times, it is one or two strikes and their enemy is defeated.

That is why the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Nothing is more powerful and effective in defense or taking the offensive in a spiritual battle then the Word of God.

Find at least three scriptures that show the power of the Word of God.

It is very important to understand that in order to use a sword properly you have to know the sword and how to use it. Again think of a Samurai. If you go into battle and you have never handled a sword before or you just understand a few aspects of it, you could not only lose the battle but you could hurt yourself or others.

How does that apply to the sword being the sword of the Spirit and the word of God? If you are up against a battle with the devil or someone else that is trying to take you away from the Lord and you never read the Bible, or do not have some of God’s word rooted in your mind, spirit and soul, you could be in big trouble and ill equipped for any battle.

Or if you know some scriptures but because you have not read and understood how those particular scriptures work in context with God’s Word, you use the scriptures the wrong way and you hurt yourself, or someone else or, worse, you cause them to doubt their own faith and salvation.

Take three of your favorite scriptures and tell me why it is your favorite and then show how it is in context with the scriptures before and after it.

In closing, the Bible is the gospel of peace and the Word of God, so it is imperative that knowing the Word of God is a necessary part of the armor of God and a necessary part of our walk with the Lord. In fact, as it reads, in Psalms 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path.”

Without God’s word, we walk in darkness. Try fighting a battle in darkness.

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Why do we pretend to God?

Why do we pretend to God

It reads in Psalms 139:1-4 says “O Lord, your have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.”

This being true, then why do we pretend to God? As if we can keep a secret from him. As if he does not already know what we are thinking?

This was one of the most disconcerting parts of my relationship with the Lord for a very long time yet it finally became the most liberating part. Once I was able to grasp the fact that I cannot hide anything from God, I was then able to REALLY talk with Him in my prayer time.

It is key that you understand you cannot hide anything from God. More proof is in Hebrew 4:13 – “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

Think about that for a moment. Everything you think, everything you desire he knows. Let’s get a bit more personal, every one of those thoughts of lust, greed, anger, jealousy, fear, and more, He knows you are thinking it.

AS YOU THINK IT.

On the other hand, He also knows and sees every act and thought of love, peace, kindness, joy, generosity, and love for Him.

Yes we have a direct connection to God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ but how we use that direct connection dictates how productive our prayer time is with the Lord. Let’s look at this concept another way. We all have, sometime in our lives, been talking to one of our children, or our husband or our wife or a close friend and they are telling you a story about something that happened. And in this case, you already know about the whole situation and what really happened. So as they are telling their story, they are telling it different from how it really happened. They are completely unaware you know what really happened or how they really think. Most likely they are telling it in a manner that puts them in a better light and/or takes the responsibility off of them.

Now while they are telling you their story you are thinking to yourself “this is not what happened” or “why are they holding back parts of the story”. Then at sometime in the conversation they ask for your advice or for help. Perhaps it is a financial need and they are asking you for money.

Now knowing all that you know about the situation and knowing that they are keeping a lot from you, how do you feel about helping them or giving them advice? Possibly you would be thinking “how can I help this person when they won’t own up to the whole truth and facts about their lives.” Well that is basically what our Lord experiences with a lot of us day to day.

There were, and I admit still are, times I will be praying to God and my thoughts are the opposite of my prayers. I may be praying “O Lord, I praise you, I give you thanks for all that you are doing in my life” yet in my mind I am thinking “God why am I struggling financially. I am a tither, why am I broke. I do not understand what you are doing in my life.”

Let’s move from thoughts to actions. Most of the time your thoughts are much different than your actions. Some thoughts are pretty out there especially some of the lustful ones. And many Christians seem to be able to control their actions better than their thoughts. Not all though. God sees all our actions even if we do them in private.

Please understand this lesson is not written to condemn you or hold you in condemnation but it is written to set you free, to liberate your relationship with our Lord and Savior.

If there would be one thing I would want you to take away from this lesson, it is the fact that no matter what you are really thinking or doing God does sees it. And if He sees it then we need to be honest and open with him at all times. Believe it when God’s Word says in Matthew 6:4 …. “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you”; and in 1 Samuel 16:7 …..”People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Now if you believe this is true, then act and pray that way. If our Lord looks into our heart and knows every single feeling and thought we have. If our loving Father sees every thing we have done in secret, then I challenge you to be very blunt and honest when you are talking with Him.

I can guarantee you, yes guarantee, that the next time before you start to pray or talk with God, and you truly believe that He has searched you and knows you that you many not even know what to say, your prayers will be much different.

When you finally realize, that He knows when you sit and when you rise; He perceives your thoughts from afar. He discerns your going out and your lying down; He is familiar with all your ways and before your speak a word He knows it completely, your perspective on praying will completely change.

In your prayer time, you may try and say something but, knowing that God knows everything you are going to say and everything your thinking, you begin to realize that you may not even have to say anything. And then you have reached that intimate zone with God, the zone that I call the “Be Still” zone. When you are their, just do what the Bible says in Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know I am God”.   Just listen or let the Holy Spirit pray for you, as the Word says in Romans 8:26 – “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

And, at those times that you do pray with words, you will be set free in your prayer time knowing, that he knows all your thoughts and actions. You can talk with him and say things like, “Lord you know that I am angry, please help me with it.” Or “Lord you know I’m doubting your help with my finances, please help me with this unbelief.” Or “Lord you know what I did earlier. I need to stop that. Can you show me what to do, where to go for help or how your Word can set me free.

I’m sure for many of you right now as you read this; there are thoughts and actions that you have not been honest with God about. And yes He knows that already so quit pretending He doesn’t. Again don’t be condemned instead talk with Him about these things. Bring them out into the open when you are talking or prayer to our Lord. The burden will lift from you when you openly and honestly talk with God about all those things you think your are keeping to yourself. I know I have repeated that many times but it is only because I want you to feel the liberty and peace you can have when you talk with God knowing He knows everything about you.

And that takes us to the final portion of this lesson, the fact that He knows everything about you. If our Lord knows everything about you, then who better to help you in your life when facing your own demons, so to speak. Or when you are fearful, sad, angry, and lonely or you have major decisions to make in your life. He can help you and counsel you better than anyone.   And He can guide you in the way you should go for help. You just need to trust Him and be yourself and quit thinking you can keep secret from our Lord.

Praise God for the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever.

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You are not alone.

You are not aloneAs I write this lesson someone very dear to me is struggle to find joy. Her struggle and those of many others right now is why I feel God gave me these words to tell all of you going thru some tough trials.

You are not alone. Jesus will never leave you.

Right now are you so down now that you don’t believe that. Are you thinking that is nice but it is just something I am saying? God promises this in His Word, where He tells us, He is always there and will never leave us.

Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” And Isaiah 41: 10 – “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

In addition to our Lord always being there with you, He is holding your right hand. We can see this in these two scriptures, Isaiah 41:13 – “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you. Do not fear; I will help you” and in Psalm 139: 10–11 – “Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light round me will be night.”

I cannot tell you how many times when going thru trials that I just simply reached down with my right hand and squeezed the hand of my Lord Jesus. To many this may sound silly but to me God’s Word is truth and it bring life to our very soul.

Lets look at it another way. You are down, depressed, and weary. You see no relief from your troubles. At that time spiritually, and definitely mentally, you’re at that proverbial “fork in the road” and you have two ways you can go. If you go further down the road of depression and despair, God only knows what might happen to you.

And that is the point!

God does know what you’re going to do. Psalms 139:1-4 says “O Lord, your have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.”

So if God knows and if God is “I Am”. WOW, what power in those two words. “I AM”.

If God, who told Moses his name is “I Am”, is right now, through our Lord Jesus Christ, standing right next to you holding your right hand, don’t you think you should trust him and grab tight and let him lead you? Let him take you down the path he knows is best for you. Trust God at His word when He says in Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

My loving wife is always sending me scriptures especially when she thinks I need encouragement. We all need it at some time in our lives. She sends them because she knows that God’s Word will grow within me and strengthen me. And I have learned that some times, I need to literally speak out the scriptures because my mind is filled with so many thoughts that just reading it does not get through to me. But when I speak it out, and my ears hear the Word, my mind stops thinking and hears the Word of our Lord speaking to me.

The other day my wife sent me a verse out of Psalm 23. I know you all know that one. Everybody knows that one.  You hear it at many funerals but I thought, yes I know it, but perhaps I should read it again.

Here is a little nugget of truth. One of the best tricks of the devil is to get you so familiar with certain scriptures that you no longer hear the message. You just say in your mind, oh I know that one, it is about walking through the valley of death and you go on to thinking about other things. So lets stop and lets look at the message of hope and strength that God gives us in Psalm 23.

Verse 1 – “The Lord is my Shepard, I shall now want.” A Shepard is responsible for his sheep. It is his job, to make sure we are protected and have all we need to be safe, sound and nourished. It tells us in Isaiah 40:11 that our Lord is the Great Shepard. It reads “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

Verse 2-3 – “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters. He refreshes my soul.” Have you ever had the chance to lie down in a lush green field by a nice quiet brook? It is so relaxing, and yes refreshing. Such is the place our Lord will bring you to in the times you need it. A place so peaceful and quiet, a place that you can trust you will have the time to lie down and your soul will be refreshed.

Verse 3- 4– “He leads me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for your are with me.” Our Lord will actually lead us on the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. Literally this means he will guide you on a path that brings glory to His name. Pretty cool! Your life and what you do will bring glory to His name.

The second part of this again talks about God holding us with His right hand and leading us on the right path. In verse 4, our Lord is assuring us that when we are in those dark valleys, when fear, stress, worry and depression are getting us down, and for some, to the point of thinking death would be better, that He is telling us to not be afraid, He will get us through the valley and He will always be with us.

Verse 4 cont’d – “your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Shepherds carry a rod and a staff. The rod is normally use to protect the Shepard and the sheep and for gentle correction. The staff is used to care and manage the sheep. It had been used to help pull a sheep out of trouble. Think of how wonderful our Lord is that even his correction will comfort us and His staff will helps out of trouble.

Verse 5 – “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” In biblical times, and still the custom in many countries, after a peace treaty or covenant was made with one’s enemy, they would sit down and have a meal together to signify the peace between them. In this verse, God is telling us, He will make peace with our enemies for us even if the biggest enemy is ourselves.

Verse 5 cont’d – “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows” In the Bible, the custom of anointing the head of someone with oil was reserved for honored guests. And a cup overflowing means you will have more than you will ever need and your can share your blessings with others. So God is saying that He treats us as an honored guest and will give us overflowing blessing so that we can also be a blessing to others.

Verse 6 – Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Simply put God’s blessing and love will follow us. We cannot out walk or out run God. Like it says in Psalms 139, he really does know where we are at all times. This verse also reminds me of a wonderful Christian song that I love to hear Kari Jobe sing.

The refrain or chorus is so powerful, I sing it out loud to feed my mind, soul and spirit. I recommend you do the same. Let me end this lesson with the words in the chorus.

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me.

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