Rushing through the airport, running and dodging people, hurrying to get to your gate before the plane departs, arriving only to find you missed it! Oh man!!! Or how about, driving in an unknown city, trying to find your destination. The GPS is giving directions, but somehow you miss the turn. Now all you hear is "Recalculating, make a u-turn!". Perhaps you've had to take detours because of road construction. No matter what type of dilemma you encounter when trying to reach your destination, anxiety and frustration can set in. Trying to get to a specific location, only to experience delays, mishaps, or plain and simple miscalculations is very challenging. This type of confrontation in daily activities can be disconcerting. Yet to have it occur in our spiritual life is even more exasperating.
Being on a set path toward the plan or call of God for our life can get interrupted. We all know 'life happens'. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 3:8-9 of his 'encounters', "We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed, we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed." His experiences in the face of danger didn't deter his completing the mission. It's easy to become distracted or off track in our course. Hurt feelings, troubling news, or pressure situations can deflect us, causing us to get sidetracked.
You or someone you know might be confronted with an intense dilemma. But the key to overcoming them, is to not lose heart or focus on your destination! 2 Cor. 4:16-17 the Apostle said, "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction which is but for a moment is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Regardless of what's going on in our life, we CAN remain steady and secure, even in the midst of turmoil and trouble. This situation we're in, is temporary, what is happening is "helping us gain an eternal glory. That eternal glory is much greater than our troubles" (vs. 17 ERV).
We must keep our eyes on Jesus and the Word! They are never changing, keeping us grounded and balanced. 2 Tim. 3:16 (ERV) "All Scripture is given by God. And all Scripture is useful teaching and showing people what is wrong in their lives. It is useful correcting faults and teaching the right way to live." Allowing feelings to influence us to make wrong choices only gets us deeper in darkness. Can you hear the Holy Spirit saying, "Recalculating, make a u-turn"? Because emotions can sway us, meditating on God's Word will strengthen our faith.
Also God has placed people in your life to speak encouragement. Don't disregard their conversation. And the lives of men and women of faith that have gone before can inspire you to be unshakable. Heb. 12:1 says, "We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall."
Child of God, you may have veered off the track for a minute, but don't allow it to cause you to be disheartened. It's time to quit thinking you're a loser and stop believing the lies of devilish thoughts. They don't govern who you are! Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back on course, pressing towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ! Forgive yourself and ask God for forgiveness.
Micah 7:8 "Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.
It's that time of year for trick or treat, scare fests, haunted houses, ouija boards, and creepy movies. I sometimes ask myself, isn't there enough going on in the world that brings fear? Why do people want to deliberately make themselves afraid? We've heard testimonies of children that were so frightened that all of their hair fell off their body, eyelashes and eye brows included. What about horror, intrigues people? Is it because they want to see how brave they can be in the face of fear? People of God, this kind of fear is NOT a good thing! This is NOT of God. 2 Tim. 1:7 (Amp) "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control." It it not good to subject ourselves to fearful events that invite evil. Terrifying things do not come from God. The devil is the one that brings fear. He's the thief that steals, kills and destroys. In 2 Tim. 1:7 Jesus said, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Fear brings torment (1 John. 4:18). Torment is NOT from Jesus.
If we are a born again, spirit filled child of God, there is no place for us amongst the darkness. Col. 1:13 "[The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love," Love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18) There is not one good reason why a born again believer should participate in devilish events. Eph 5:11 says, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them..." Participation in things that bring fear only avails us to the devil and his ploys. Think about it, if you've ever gone to a scary movie or haunted house, afterwards you may have encountered nightmares or skittish feelings.
1 Peter 2:9 says, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." We are called to give praise and glory to Him through our actions. What we do, is a confirmation of what we believe. (Mat. 6:21) Although the world believes these are harmless activities, we must not succumb to the deception that this type of fear is alright.
If you have been involved in any demonic activity you can loose yourself from the enemies hold of fear by: 1) Repenting. Decide to never participate again. 2) Renounce the devil. Verbally refuse and reject him and all forms of witchcraft. and 3) Submit entirely to God and His Word. A decision to deny involvement in devilish activity and let the Holy Spirit govern your life is the best choice you can ever make! James 4:7 "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
1 John 2:15 "Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him."
Growing up on the farm, my cousins and I use to play house. We would trample the tall weeds architecting the floor plan, playing for hours acting like we were grown ups. We would cook pretend meals and drive imaginary cars to work. In all our make-believe, it didn't make us adults.
Just like playing house didn't make us fully grown, 'playing church' does not make us spiritually mature. How does one 'play church', you ask? Going through the motions pretending we're something we are not. We talk the talk, but we're not walking the walk. We might be saying we love God, but our behavior depicts otherwise. Mat. 15:8-9 "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me...." We cannot deceive the Lord God. Jer. 17:10 (TLB) "Only the Lord knows! He searches all hearts and examines deepest motives so he can give to each person his right reward, according to his deeds—how he has lived."
With the Lord there is no grey, no middle of the road. It's either, yes or no, black or white, hot or cold. There is no mediocre. Rev.3:15-16 "I know your work that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue you out of My mouth." It's time to make a decision to go all in for God! As Mr. Miyagi, in The Karate Kid, said, "Walk on road, home? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later get squish just like grape.."
Many people go day to day with the pretense, that one day, down the road, when it's convenient they will live right. At that specific time, when they are done partying, sleeping around, lying, cheating, and basking in the pleasures of life, they will stop and serve God. In all our years of ministry, we've seen a lot of people living rough and careless, end in tragedy. Others justify their behavior, believing they aren't doing anything wrong, or have grounds for their actions. While many in the latter years of life wish they could have a 'do over'. There are no 'do overs'! We only get one life - yet we get many opportunities to turn our life over to God. 2 Pet. 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." However, countless people continually reject His urgings. Heb. 10:26 says, "If we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins." It's possible for one to be educated in truth of the Word, attend church, but not allow the Word to transform him. That's called rejecting the Truth, which is a deliberate sin.
Rom. 12:2 tells us, don't follow the trends of the world by being like them. Drinking, cursing, using God's name in vain, dressing scantily, or following the crowd, are enticing tactics of the flesh to be popular. Trying to fit in or be accepted is a ploy of the devil to trap us in the world. We are to be transformed, metamorphosed, like a caterpillar changes into a butterfly, by the renewing of our mind. Rom. 12:2 (EXB) " Do not be shaped by [conformed to; pressed into a mold by] this world [age]; instead be changed within [transformed] by a new way of thinking [or changing the way you think; Like the renewing of your mind]. Then you will be able to decide [discern; test and approve] what God wants for you [is God’s will]; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect." Deciding to accept and believe the Word brings transformation. Search your heart, have you rejected the Truth or even just part of it? If so, you can decide right now to believe with your heart and confess with you mouth.
Make a decision today to be transformed! Pray this prayer, then purpose to study God's Word and go to a Spirit filled faith church, to learn and grow. Prayer: Father, today I decide to change! I no longer want the desires of the world to control me. I choose to follow after You and Your desires. I repent for my sin and ask for Your forgiveness. I want to live for You! I am self-controlled and resisting the devil steadfast in faith. Amen.
What is the most valuable possession you have? If you had to choose only one item that you could keep, what would that be? One usually evaluates what's most important by deciding it's worth. A rare painting might be worth more than an expensive piece of jewelry. However, the price of something does not always equal it's worth! A good reputation, excellent health, or a long lasting friendship could far out weigh the value of that rare painting. And there are things that are priceless, like the birth of a baby, forgiveness for a wrong, or long anticipated love. Placing value on something reveals the character of our heart. Mat. 6:21 (KJ) "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Society today has reduced the value of God or service to God. Attending church on a regular basis no longer seems necessary. Plus if people DO go to church, they want one that doesn't infringe upon their lifestyle. They search for a church that agrees with their sin, their comfortability in nonchalant attitudes, and has 'drive thru' services. No longer does church serve God, but it serves or accommodates the people. We are finding fewer and fewer churches preaching and teaching the Truth of the Word. It's all about 'tickling the ears'. (2 Tim. 4:3-4 (NKJ) "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.")
The media is desensitizing humanity towards righteous living, depicting corrupt family values, exonerating addictions, and ridiculing morality. This type of behavior has infiltrated our homes, infecting us to believe and act upon them. 2 Tim. 3:2-5 (ERV) says, in the last days, "People will love only themselves and money. They will be proud and boast about themselves. They will abuse others with insults. They will not obey their parents. They will be ungrateful and against all that is pleasing to God. They will have no love for others and will refuse to forgive anyone. They will talk about others to hurt them and will have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. People will turn against their friends. They will do foolish things without thinking and will be so proud of themselves. Instead of loving God, they will love pleasure. They will go on pretending to be devoted to God, but they will refuse to let that “devotion” change the way they live. Stay away from these people!"
Today we present a challenge for you to check yourself. Ask yourself what value have you placed on the Lord? 2 Cor. 3:5 (AMP) "Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]..." Do you find that you condone the use of swear words, blame God for what's happened in your life, indulge in drinking, or illicit sex? Have you recently defended your reasoning for not going to church, not reading your bible or not praying? Are you currently drawn to associating with others that are displaying all these mentioned attributes?
If you can attest to any of the above, we appeal to you to make a 180 degree turn. Repent and ask for forgiveness, (1 John 1:9) and decide to change your ways. Begin by placing value on the price of Jesus' life that was paid for your soul. Get right with God and start living for Him today! He is coming soon, "Watch and pray that you will be counted worthy to escape these things that shall come to pass and stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:36 NKJ) It's our responsibility to be ready without sin or fault. (2 Pet. 3:14)
Father, I come to you today realizing that I have sinned and strayed from the path of life that you have for my life. I repent and decide to turn from these fleshly desires and place my desires on You and Your Word. I will seek first Your Kingdom. Holy Spirit I ask for your guidance and direction in staying on the straight and narrow for God. Thank you Lord for forgiving me of my sins and cleansing me from all unrighteousness. I stand before You cleansed and whole. Amen.
Do you find yourself worrying or fearful about the trouble that's plaguing the world? Dreadful reports dominate the news. Severe adversities are attacking friends and family members. What are we to do? Paul wrote in 2 Tim. 3:1(Amp) "But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]." Difficulty is inevitable. We're going to face it. The real question is how?
One of the primary ways to victory in the storms of life is being a doer of the Word. Jesus said in Matthew 7:24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
If you ask some people, they will tell you they 'tried' that 'doing' thing! What they are saying is, we did it a couple of times, and we didn't see anything change. Thus they stopped and went back to their old ways.(Like that was working!) People of God, we can't just try on the Word as if it were a pair of shoes and discard it because it was uncomfortable. The Spirit and the flesh are enemies. Gal. 5:17 "For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do." If we want persevering victory in troubled times, we must put into practice the concepts every moment of every day. Then when the tempest comes, we won't be moved, because our trust in God and His Word anchors us against the storm.
You might say, how do I DO the Word? Some elements of 'doing' the Word are as follows:
1) Do NOT worry! Mat. 6:25, 27, 31, 34
2) Be forgiving. Mark 11:25
3) Love others. Luke 6:27; Gal. 5:14; Eph. 5:2
4) Do NOT look like or act like the world. Rom. 12:1-2
5) Behave like a Christian. Rom. 12:9-21
There are hundreds more directions in the Word to show how to 'be a doer' of the Word. Take time to search the scriptures to learn and apply them to your lifestyle. First we must dwell in the secret place of the Most High and trust the Lord to set in motion His protection. Activate the power of the Word of God by putting into practice His teaching, which will give you strength to persevering victory in troubled times. Don't give up, stay steady and consistent. The price of constant victory is constant watchfulness. (1 Pet. 5:8,9)
Romans 15:13 (Amp) "May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope."
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."