I know that sometimes spirits get down and some of you are struggling with things that others can't even imagine. I just want to encourage you with God's Word, after all, it is our foundation and authority. In James1:2-4Jamestells his readers to count it joy when they go through trials. Now I will be the first to admit that this is easier said than done. He goes on to tell them that the trials bring endurance to make us complete. He then goes on in verse 5 to tell them if they lack wisdom in the midst of the trials to go to God Who will give that wisdom generously. It is okay to question God with the right questions; What are you going to teach me through this Lord? How can you use this for your glory? He then goes on to say in verse 12 that the one who perseveres is blessed and will receive "the crown of life which is promised to those who love Him." There are many applications that we can take away from this as we all go through trials. My goal was not to be "preachy" but rather to build you all up. I hope this is received in the spirit that I am typing it. Remember that God values you so keep your hands to the plow as you do what God has for you. Also know that it is through trials that He molds us to His image. You never know how your example in the midst of a trial can impact others.
"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies announce what his hands have made. Day after day they tell the story; night after night they tell it again. They have no speech or words; they have no voice to be heard. But their message goes out through all the world; their words go everywhere on earth." — Psalm 19:1-4a The orange hue of a harvest moon on a cool autumn night, the dark silhouette of trees backdropped by the pink and purple glow of dawn, the black of night dispelled by the shimmer of millions of stars on a clear night—all of these scenes reflect the glory and majesty of their Creator. I am often left awestruck by the vastness and beauty of creation. In fact, one of my favorite things to do is to sit and bask in the wonders of God displayed through the very works of His hands. A work of art will always point back to its creator. I always enjoy hearing the silent stories that art will speak. I find it fascinating just how much can be said through silence, and honestly, I believe that the silence of art is often more powerful than audible words. As I was driving home from a friend’s house the other day, I saw a sign outside of a firehouse that read, “Peace is seeing a sunset and knowing Who to thank.” The verses above state that creation is constantly speaking of God’s glory through its worship-inspiring beauty. It is impossible for me to witness the beauty of creation without acknowledging its Creator. While some may disagree, there is no doubt in my mind that God, the Creator of both the heavens and the earth, eternally encompasses the title of Divine Artist.
Proverbs 16:1(NCV) “People may make plans in their minds, but only the Lord can make them come true.”
David Jeremiah, Turning Points Magazine, pg. 36(10-10-06) “To have a dream, then endure the death of that dream, requires great faith” “If you’ve endured the death of a dream, don’t give up. Seek God to discover what His purpose and plan are. It may take time and adjustments, but it will be better in the end.”
The ability to live and still have a dream
After failing in life isn’t as hard as it seems
To some they may feel like your life is over
Your luck has ran out, no more four leaf clovers
But, there is One who still dares you to dream
No matter what has happened, He’ll wipe the slate clean
And give you the strength to begin life again
Letting you know this situation is not the end
As long as He gives you breath to begin each day
He has a devised wonderful plan that will go exactly His way
Trust Him, repent, do whatever the Lord asks
He will surely give you the power to complete the task
For any “nay-sayers” who try to destroy your dream
Keep praying to the Lord and focusing on the unseen
Surely there will be things that constantly attack your mind
Satan knows you want to be free, so he’ll constantly press rewind
To remind you of when and how you (or things) did fail
Applying great pressure hoping that you will bail
On the dreams that God has set and devised for you
If you just have faith in Him, God will see you through
Don’t quit trusting, I pray, just keep believing
Today is the day—God wants to see you still dreaming
Romans 8:28(NCV) “We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people He called, because that was his plan.”
Prayer- Lord, I cannot stop dreaming. I can’t say I have not lived up to my end of the bargain, because You were never bargaining with me. You had and have a plan for my life. That plan includes me being submitted to You and bringing You the glory that all of creation is supposed to bring You. Lord, I love You for Your faithfulness. Your kindness, correction and staying power are all testaments of how much You care for me. Thank You for allowing me to keep dreaming. Satan, the world and even my past failures, cause me to have many nightmares, but You Lord, through Your Word, people, ministries and miracles continue to give me a reason to keep dreaming.
God doesn't want you to stop dreaming; as long as He gives you the ability to see another day, He is giving you the opportunity to recieve His grace and to start living the life He has designed you for. Don't be discouraged by any failure or obstalces that you are facing; know that God wants you to S.T.A.R.T. NOW with living your dreams.
Sometimes we give simplistic answers to this very deep/thought provoking question; according to the Bible, there is only one way to know God, “Jesus answered, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.” (John 14:6) As Christians we believe that there is only one way to knowing God and that is through faith in Christ. We believe that Christ didn’t die on the cross for sins He committed, we believe, “he was wounded for the wrong we did; he was crushed for the evil we did. The punishment, which made us well, was given to him, and we are healed because of his wounds. We all have wandered away like sheep; each of us has gone his own way. But the Lord has put on him the punishment for all the evil we have done.” (Isaiah 53: 5, 6)
We also believe these Holy Spirit inspired passages that remind us to, “remember the message that I preached and that you believed and trusted. You will be saved by this message, if you hold firmly to it. But if you don't, your faith was all for nothing. I told you the most important part of the message exactly as it was told to me. That part is: Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say. He was buried, and three days later he was raised to life, as the Scriptures say. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; CEV)
I say we give simplistic answers to questions about knowingGod because while there is only one way to having a relationship (knowing) with God, we all arrive to this one way (Christ Jesus) in many different ways. I came into my relationship with God, while reading the book Serprico, in a security booth in Jessup, Maryland. He changed my life that night; I realized my life was not luck that night; I proposed to my girlfriend at the time (now my wife, Tricia) that night; my life has never been the same since that night. I guarantee you that the road, method and means God used to reveal His truths about His Son to me, are different than most people. The one thing that was the same was what God has made known to me and everyone who enters into a relationship with Him, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast (brag) about it.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9; NLT).
How Can Knowing Who God Is Help Me Understand Who I Am? I Don’t Even Know If God or Anyone Cares I Am Alive!!! I Really Want to Know…
Does God Care???
Yes, God Does Care. God Wants to Hear about Your Problems, Pains, and Plans for Life.
Are you stuck in that place where no one knows?
That place where fear, animosity, and bitterness grows
That place where you believe “no one cares”
When you are hurting and upset, but no one is there
To meet your needs or pull you through
You are looking for help, but you don’t know what to do
Or where to turn as life continues to turn up the heat
Dying inside—you just wish there was someone for you to meet
My God is right there, He is reaching out to you
You may not know it, but He is the one who got you through
The bad night, the argument—the moments of depression
The hurt heart, crushed dreams and emotions you’re repressing
Give all you worries and cares to God—Yes He does care for you
See that play, hear that song—trustthat friend He is reaching out to you
He wants you to know that He has saved many from this place
Those with bad thoughts, loneliness and despair—have all received His grace
1 Peter 5:7 (NLT) Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
If God Knew My Thoughts and Problems, He wouldn’t Accept Me
Food, Faith, Fun, Lost, Lust, Love...
God Knows Your Thoughts & Weaknesses; He Made You
Hebrews 4: 15-16 (CEV)Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.
He Knows My thoughts and He Still Wants to Know Me??
God Doesn’t Hold Grudges—So We Don’t Have to Hide Who We Are or What We Do from Him
Psalm 103:9-14 (CEV)The LORD won't always be angry and point out our sins; he doesn't punish us as our sins deserve. How great is God's love for all who worship him? Greater than the distance between heaven and earth! How far has the LORD taken our sins from us? Farther than the distance from east to west! Just as parents are kind to their children, the LORD is kind to all who worship him, because he knows we are made of dust.
Knowing God is more than knowing Scripture verses. Knowing God is more than knowing when the church service will begin or end. Knowing God is a personal matter that He reveals to each person that believes what He says to them; not their mom, dad or the preacher. Knowing God for me was when He revealed Himself to me and let me know that my life was not luck and He wanted me to believe in Him and what he had done for me.
How do you know you know God? When and how did He reveal himself to you?
Proverbs 14:10(NCV) “No one else can know your sadness, and strangers cannot share your joy.”
What if you saw the insides of my heart today?
If you looked deep inside of me I wonder what you would say
Would you be excited about the love that I have
For my God, my family, even the enemies that back stab
Maybe you would admire me for my love and dedication
To the Bible and God’s people; who I will serve without hesitation
You would probably be impressed by my faithfulness to my friends
No matter what comes I will be true to them until the end
You will smile when you hear that I trust Jesus and have avoided God’s wrath
That I delight to shun the broad way I try hard to stay on the narrow path
You will appreciate the part of me that is convicted of sin
Oh yeah, don’t forget that inner part that desires godliness within
But if you looked into my heart you would surely see the scars
That travel back to when I was young and my thoughts were my bars
You would see the part of me that was used to being laughed at
Whenever an awkward situation came up I never knew how to act
Trying to fit in and just feel like a normal human being
But no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t shake that awful feeling
If you looked into my heart you would definitely see
That sinful side that is always out to destroy me
You would see those things I hate to do when no else is around
Those things that we all swear would never bring us down
You would recognize that I always have struggles on the inside
A desire to always do right and hide my sinful side
And if you keep searching you will find something that permeates every part
From the beginning I always had a desire to make Christ home my heart
You would see that I am not willing to ever let go of the hand of my King
My Savior and Redeemer who has taken away death’s sting
If you looked into my heart you would see someone who is driven by God
To walk through this life even though it will be very hard
You would also see someone who is thankful for the gift of being alive
You would recognize that Christ is the reason I have so much drive
To keep smiling and living out His Words that give peace
For in my heart I fully recognize I am one of His sheep
1Corinthians 2:11(NCV) “Who knows the thoughts that another person has? Only a person’s spirit that lives within him knows his thoughts…”
Will Gilmer- I don’t have enough time to tell you about my heart, but if you hang around me long enough, I will show it to you.
William L. Gilmer
Knowing God can help you understand who you are, why you think the way that you think, where you are going and what you are doing. You may not know when and how you are going to get there, but if you grow to know Him, your understanding will become clearer and clearer.
1.So, who are you?
2.Why do you think the way you think (how do you form your opinions)?
3.What are your dreams, desires or plans for life (what do you want to be and what led you to this decision)?
4.How are you going to accomplish your dreams or goals?
Made your mother and other family members proud by achieving something they asked you to do?
Been your teacher’s favorite?
Done something before a family member or teacher asked you to do it?
Been a leader in school, some sport, or your group of friends?
Have you ever been on T.V.?
Who Has Problem Child Traits?
Have you ever been punished?
Have you ever talked back to your parents or teacher?
Interrupted a class because you just felt like doing it?
Have you ever said, “I don’t care what anyone thinks?”
Have you ever been chased by the police or spent a night in jail?
Made your mom or dad mad just because you wanted to?
Who Has Lost Child Traits?
Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in with your family?
Have you ever said, “You just don’t understand me” to someone?
Have you ever fantasized about being someone or something else?
Have you ever felt intimidated by other people’s looks or talents?
Have you ever been afraid to go somewhere because of what others might say about you?
Have you ever felt like quitting or giving up just because you don’t like your life?
Who Has Class Clown Traits?
Have you ever acted like you were/are dumb to fit in?
Have you ever made fun of others so people wouldn’t make fun of you?
Have you ever worn something so people can pay attention to you?
Have you ever become jealous of someone else because they were the center of attention?
Who are You???
What Makes You, You and Me, Me?
The things we do?
The people we hang out with?
The schools we go to?
The music we listen to?
The shows we watch?
The people we know?
How do you become the person you are/are becoming?
PEOPLE, RELIGIONS, NEIGHBORHOODS, PARENTS, FRIENDS AND OTHERS HAVE AN IMPACT ON WHO YOU ARE. WE ALLOW THESE PEOPLE TO AFFECT OUR BEHAVIOR, WHAT WE WEAR, AND WHO WE HANGOUT WITH, BUT NONE OF THESE PEOPLE CAN MAKE YOU WHO YOU REALLY ARE…
ONLY GOD CAN DO THAT
Romans 12:3 (The Message Version) The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what (who) God is and by what he does for us, not by what (who) we are and what we do for him (God).
IN THE BASEMENT
Does your life ever feel like a child in a dark basement?
You know where you are but you don’t have secure placement
You are afraid to walk through it because of what may get you
Others have said it’s not that bad, but you don’t think you will make it through
In the basement it’s dark and filled with creepy things
You can’t always see what’s going on, but you are always ready to scream
You hear a noise and wonder, “what is that over there?”
You bump into an object and wonder if it is a person or a chair
You stumble over an object while straining to gain your sight
You walk briskly through the basement trying to find the light
In a panic you rushed into something that you could have missed
And now you are not only scared, you are also miffed
Mad that others told you the basement “was not that bad”
Distraught because you don’t seem to have the wisdom they had
So in a fit of rage you scream “can somebody help me?”
“I’m overtaken by the dark and I cannot see”
At that moment you are scared and feel all alone
And then your Dad turns on the light and you realize you are home
He calms your fears by letting you know that He was always there
He rushes to your side, hugs you, just to show you He cares
He lets you know that without Him you cannot reach the light
And if you go into the basement, just ask and He will give you sight
“You never have to worry about being in the basement alone
As long as I’m your Father and this place is my home”
Psalm 116:1-6 (NCV) “I love the Lord, because he listens to my prayers for help. He paid attention to me, so I will call to him for help as long as I live. The ropes of death bound me, and the fear of the grave took hold of me. I was troubled and sad. Then I called out the name of the Lord. I said, ‘Please, Lord, save me!’ The Lord is kind and does what is right; our God is merciful. The Lord watches over the foolish; when I was helpless, he saved me.”
Doesn’t life feel like this at times, dark, scary and lonely? You are not quite sure where you are going, what or why you are doing what you are doing, how you got to this place in your life, when you will understand many of the questions and things you struggle with in life, and most importantly, you look inside and cannot figure out who you are. You are confused one day and excited the next. Some mornings are filled with fear, anxiety and stress, while others you are bursting with joy, anticipating the things you are going to do or be involved in. Life can be a confusing journey at times, but with the guidance of the Lord (and the people He has placed in your life), He will be the Light that clears up much of the fog that covers those areas of life where we are challenged and confused.
So, who are you? How did you figure this out? Let’s talk about who you are.