... Jesus cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink."
... Jesus cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink."
When we understand that our true identity comes from our relationship with Jesus and that it does not change with circumstances, we are successful and prosper in whatever we do. We are who God's Word says we are and not what we feel based upon what we have, where we are at any given time, or what others say about us. The only thing that matters is what God says about us because we are His children and our identity comes from Him.
As we find our delight in the Lord, in knowing and understanding His Word, we can reign in life through Jesus and live as we read in the verses below.
As we get our strength from the Lord, by having our roots deeply planted in His Word and the Holy Spirit constantly supplying us with living water, we are prosperous in everything we do.
The supply of living water our heavenly Father has for us is not limited. He has rivers of living water that never run dry and does not want us to thrive only from time to time. God has given us all we need to be continuously well supplied and hydrated, living in healthy bodies. He wants us to have abundant, fruitful lives and to know that we have a well-defined purpose in this world. When we know what our true identity is, everything will follow that truth, because we are the result of who we think we are. If we know that through Jesus we are prosperous, rooted in the love of the Lord and fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit, meant to bless others, we will praise God more, sin less and be much happier.
In God's economy we first give and then receive. Let's not forget that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7b). Charity helps us not to attach our heart to possessions and not to rely on our wealth. If we trust that our Lord is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides, we can give with joy, because we know that the Lord takes care of our needs.
God does not simply want us to become financially rich so that we will have more worries, spend all our time making more money and thinking that we are self-sufficient. On the contrary, He wants to teach us to do everything from the position of being His children, who love Him, glorify Him for everything and bless others. God did not create us to dedicate all our time to our career and work, but to be "God's fellow workers," communicating and being in permanent contact with Him. He blesses us and prospers us to live according to His will, fulfilling the plan He has prepared for the life of each one of us. Additionally, when we live under the Lord’s direction, we do what He wants us to do, and He helps us finish everything we start. When we are led by the Lord and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, we do not waste time, resources or energy, and we can enjoy life to the fullest.
The Bible does not say that blessings fall from heaven while we do nothing. On the contrary, the Bible says many times that Father God blesses and prospers the work of our hands. If we do our part, the Lord does His. The Lord is Omniscient and rewards all that we do for His glory, with the right heart.
The righteous have their sins forgiven, are clean before God and can enter into His presence. If our deeds are pleasing to the Lord, we will do well, we will prosper and we will lack nothing, as the Lord promises us in His Word.
With His death, Jesus paid the penalty for all our sins and to save us from poverty. Jesus became a curse for us on the cross, to free us from the curse we inherited from Adam’s fall. Jesus became poor for us, taking our poverty upon Himself that we might become rich in Him. He took our sicknesses so that we could be healed through Him. He took all our sufferings so that we could live an abundant life through Him. Jesus told us that if we know the Father and Him, we have eternal life, His life, the true life.
Being prosperous does not mean that we no longer go through hard times. It means that the source of our strength is the Lord not us. He is a source that never fails and is there to always help us overcome every difficulty and obstacle we face.
God sets no limits to our faith or to the infilling of the Holy Spirit. We impose limits by what we believe. God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us.” We must allow His full power to work in us without doubt and limitations. the Holy Spirit The more we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, the more He can do for us. The level of our prosperity is relational to the limits we place on the Holy Spirit as well as the faith we have in what God wants for us.
As we pass from one year to the next, it seems natural to reflect on the past year’s achievements and make plans for the coming year. But how much attention do we pay to our spiritual state? Do we think more about material or spiritual achievements? If we are happy in our relationship with Jesus, it means that we had a good year and that all the challenges, difficulties and “light affliction, which are for but a moment, are working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," (2 Corinthians 4:17).
The Christian life is not without suffering or failure, but if we choose to put things in the right perspective, we can find something good in every trial or pain. There are many verses that urge us to set our eyes upon Jesus, so that we “do not lose heart,” and become discouraged and fall into the trap of the evil one. There are also several verses that show us that the Lord brings something good for us even out of suffering. One of the most wonderful examples is seen in the way Paul talks about suffering, calling it “our light affliction, which is but for a moment,” in the second epistle to the Corinthians. Then to the Romans he wrote “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18). The list of sufferings and trials that Paul went through, from 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 show that he put everything in the perspective of eternity, which means even decades count only as a moment. It was certainly not easy for him, but his love for Jesus and his desire to help as many as possible become saved, made him consider all the achievements and gains of this world as “loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus His Lord.” Then Paul goes even further by saying, that for the Lord “I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).
When we understand that “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20) we can “set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth. For we died, and our life is hidden with Christ in God.” And by doing so, we can “seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1-3).
How often do we get upset, sad, and frustrated by so many things that will not matter in a few months, or sometimes even in a few days or hours? If we get into the habit of thinking that all our frustrations will mean nothing a thousand years from now, we can get over the little things much easier and have more peace and joy.
Our heavenly Father has called us to His eternal glory, through His Son, and to get there He gives us grace after grace. The Lord does not enjoy seeing us suffering, but if we trust Him, He uses any suffering to help us become more and more like Jesus, He establishes us and gives us the strength to handle trials and helps us able to stand no matter what. God wants us to succeed and if we continue the good fight of faith, He helps us finish the race and be with Him forever. What a wonderful future we have waiting for us in heaven and by keeping it in perspective, we can choose to rejoice in our Lord every moment of our journey on earth, even in the hard times. And as Paul says, we know that if we leave this world, we will receive the heavenly, glorious body that is eternal, and we want to be found worthy to be clothed with our “heavenly habitation.” If we are too comfortable in our physical bodies, we are not close to the Lord, because our hearts are full of the things of this world. But if we walk by faith, we are happy and full of confidence, waiting to leave this world to be truly at home with our Lord. The believer seeks to be pleasing to God while they live in this world, in order to arrive where his eternal home is, with the heavenly Father.
There were shepherds nearby at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. And the Lord had an angel bring word to them of the great news.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
There was a gentleman who lived in America in the 1800’s. He was a writer and a poet in Massachusetts. His name was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The 1860’s were very difficult times. He had lost his wife in a fire and was severely burned himself trying to save her. He said the grief from that alone was enough to put him in an asylum. His oldest son Charles was terribly wounded in the Civil War and almost paralyzed. And the division, pain and suffering from the war, was horrendous all throughout America. On Christmas Day, 1863, Longfellow, the widower and father of Charles and 4 younger children, heard the Christmas bells ringing. His heart was full of despair. He wrote a poem that in time, has become a famous song. In it he penned,
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said:
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
While Longfellow’s heart was deeply hurting, his faith was still in the Lord, He rebounded just like King David did in many of his psalms. Henry Longfellow then recorded the next section of verses:
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth He sleep!
The Wrong shall fail, the Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Longfellow found his comfort in the Lord. He heard in his heart what the Scripture and the bells are all about. The question for each of us, like the song we know today from Longfellow’s poem, “I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day,” is, can you hear the bells and their message?
The problems in this current world, could fill anyone’s heart with despair if we let it. The Lord sent His Son Jesus to be our Savior. His peace is available to all who will receive it. In Christ, we all have a hope and a future, even if the world would grow darker still. We must get our eyes off all the toils and troubles of this world, and on the Prince of Peace. The following are the lyrics to the song. Can you hear the message?
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on earth good will to men
And the bells are ringing (peace on earth)
Like a choir they're singing (peace on earth)
In my heart I hear them (peace on earth)
Peace on earth, good will to men
And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men
But the bells are ringing (peace on earth)
Like a choir singing (peace on earth)
Does anybody hear them? (peace on earth)
Peace on earth, good will to men
Then rang the bells, more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor does He sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men
Then ringing singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men
And the bells they're ringing (peace on earth)
Like a choir they're singing (peace on earth)
And with our hearts we'll hear them (peace on earth)
Peace on earth, good will to men
Do you hear the bells they're ringing? (peace on earth)
The life the angels singing (peace on earth)
Open up your heart and hear them (peace on earth)
Peace on earth, good will to men
Peace on earth, peace on earth
Peace on earth, good will to men
Here is a link to a beautiful rendition to the song by a group called Casting Crowns.
This is a collection of thoughts on the life and power of God’s Word for Christians. When we read and take the Bible into our hearts, it is transformational.
Faith comes from “hearing” the Word of God. The Lord has said that if anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. When we “hear” what the Lord has to say and His Word works in us, we are given more comprehension and as we hear more and apply it, we continue to grow in faith and understanding. This is not just hearing with the outer ear but hearing inside our hearts. (Mark 4:23-24, Romans 10:17)
Finding out the true character of God. Most of us come to be Christians with preconceptions about who God is. Only when we grow in our relationship with Him, and read and study His Word, do we find out who the Lord really is. His character, His heart, His ways, His will, etc. If He is to be our Lord, then we must know whom we serve. (2 Peter 3:9, 1 John 1:9, 1 John 4:8, Matthew 4:4)
We are to be Christ-like. How can we be like Jesus without knowing who He really is? By reading and studying about Jesus in the Gospels and additional Scripture, we can do our best to please the Father, honor Him and be true ambassadors of Jesus Christ to those around us. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
By learning what sin is, we can keep from error. How can we “not sin” if we do not know what “sin” is? Society’s definition of sin is often quite different from the Lord’s. Perhaps we were raised with parents who taught us wrong and unless we realize it, we might continue in something sinful. Learning “what sin is” from God’s Word, is the only definition that can be trusted! (Psalms 119b-11, Hebrews 4:12)
God’s Word not only shows us “what not to do,” but “what to do!” We need guidance on the road of life. The Bible not only shows us stop signs but which way to turn and how to proceed. (Psalms 119:130, Ephesians 5:8b-10)
Without the renewing of our minds, we would never make it. As Christians, we all have an “old man” that has a “sinful nature.” And being spiritually born-again, we all have new hearts that want to please God and live wisely. By the renewing of our minds, we can overcome that “sinful nature.” The old man has evil thought patterns which were developed in the process of time and are not God-centered thoughts. When we read and apply what we learn from God’s Word, we learn and develop new patterns of thinking with Christ as our center. (Romans 12:2, John 17:17-19)
In learning and knowing the truth, we can recognize deception. With the Bible as absolute truth, we can know truth from error. The world teaches tolerance of sin and often wants us to embrace it. By knowing the truth of God’s word, we can recognize the lies. We can love people without condoning or embracing the sin. The truth always exposes what is counterfeit. (2 Timothy 3:13-17, John 8:30-32, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6)
In knowing the Lord and His Word, we can have the courage to stand up for what is right, even in the face of an enemy. There are many situations in life that can make one fearful. But in knowing the Lord and the Bible, we ascertain the confidence to stand strong, even if the price may be expensive. (Ephesians 6:10-11, Psalms 27:1, Deuteronomy 31:6)
Through God’s Word, we learn that we have authority over Satan and his demonic forces. By knowing who we are in Christ and the power He has given us, we can stand against all darkness. (Ephesians 6:12-13, James 4:7, Mark 16:17-18)
By knowing God’s plan for us, as found in His Word, we can abide in Him and He can abide in us. And in so doing, we can be pleasing to the Lord and even have our prayers answered. (John 15:7, Psalms 91:14-16)
Abundant and eternal life are gifts for those who forsake sin and believe upon the Name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The Lord provides an abundant life now and eternal life forever. Father God and the truth of His Word, set us free from the bondage of sin and provide the direction to have a blessed life. By knowing and applying the truth of the Gospel, we find true life, now and forever! (John 11:25-26a, John 10:10b)
Great benefits of reading and studying the Bible have been presented here, but there are many more. Thank the Lord for so masterfully creating the Bible through so many people and over so many years. As it has been said, many books can inform you but only the Bible can transform you. For those who do not learn and apply God’s Word, they fail to mature in the Lord. Without the truth of the Bible working in their lives, they easily fall prey to the tricks and lies of the devil. By not abiding in Christ or allowing Him to be their true Lord, they miss out on the covenant relationship with God. Therefore, He is not obligated to hear or answer their prayers.
Repenting and believing upon the Lord for salvation is just the beginning. Becoming a Christian is not a small thing or to be taken lightly. The word disciple and discipline come from the same base word in Greek. We are to put the Lord first above everyone and everything, including ourselves. It is an honor and a privilege to be a child of God and have His Word to help us. When we realize and learn of the Lord’s love and grace for us, we cannot help but love and seek to honor Him. We find that the Bible is the best instruction manual for life and the standard of measurement for our lives. We are thankful for it and want to grow in it more and more.
In America, Thanksgiving Day is always the fourth Thursday in November. Many want to deny or taint the history that Pilgrims of Christian faith, came to America and that the Indians helped them. In fact, many Pilgrims died arriving in harsh cold weather and the ones that survived, did so by the help of a Native American Indian name Squanto, who had been taken into slavery where he learned English but by the grace of God, made it back home. Squanto was not only able to help the Pilgrims, but he also helped them communicate with other Indians of the area. Estimates vary, but it is believed to be about 10 million of the people in America today, descended from this little colony. On a global scale, they are believed to have about 35 million descendants worldwide. Only 53 of the Mayflower’s 102 passengers and about 30 crew, survived the first winter in America.
In the autumn of 1621, the colonists celebrated their survival and harvest by sharing a feast with some of the local Native American Indians that they had established relations with.This was the first "Thanksgiving," and over time has become one of our biggest national holidays. And while many people all over the world have given thanks at harvest time, the celebration of Thanksgiving in America has been seen more and more by many because of modern travel and communications, and even personally experienced. And in so doing, many others also have started to have their own special days of Thanksgiving and special dinners.
As Christians, we must always maintain hearts of humility and thanksgiving. And what a blessing it is, to have a special day like Thanksgiving when we all take the time to count our blessings and work together for a special meal with traditional favorites. No matter how easy it is to get caught up in all the work or festivities, let’s not forget to take time and count our blessings and give thanks to the One from whom all blessings flow. Without the Lord, we would not even exist and without His blessings upon us, life would be unimaginable. From salvation through Jesus Christ, to our skills, talents, opportunities, health, families and loved ones, food and shelter, to waking up to another day, education, churches, jobs, freedoms, transportation, pets, and all the many blessings that surround each of us, we all have much to thank the Lord for.
Here are some of the things that we are thankful for in our family:
Salvation and being able to pray to a God who cares, hears, and answers in His wisdom
A great Bible in a language we can understand
A great church with a wise pastor and our church family
A cup of coffee in the morning
Sweet tea in the day
Birth family, married family and adopted family
Chocolate and other wonderful sweets
Not only food in the pantry, but food we like and also being able to eat out
Clothes, not only do we have clothes and shoes, but more than enough. There was a time when some of our grandparents had only two sets of clothes. One for every day and one for church or town. And went barefooted much of the year and then had to put newspaper or cardboard in their shoes until they could do better.
A good toothbrush and toothpaste
Good water, hot and cold water as needed
A loving spouse that loves the Lord too
Wonderful children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews
Blessed to be in the body of Christ and the ministries the Lord has me in
Sunrises and sunsets
Seasons including spring and the wildflowers, fall and the leaves turning
Living in a free country
High speed internet
Education, reading, writing, arithmetic and all the extras
Being able to see
Living in the country
Vehicles that not only run and are paid for, but were answers to prayer
Work with income
Instruments and music
Having a Lord so worthy of worship and being able to worship Him alone and with others too
Living in a climatized home
Parents that taught me right from wrong and good work ethics
A sense of humor
Cell phones and computers
And YOU if you are reading this!
Have you ever heard it said that there is a place in all of us that only God can fill? For certain, we all have a void that needs to be filled by the presence of God, via the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives. But it can also be filled with the wrong thing or things. Many of us know from personal experience that when we first become believers, we find pure joy and a peace from the Lord that surpasses any other kind of peace.
It is life-changing when we turn from self-lordship and submit our lives to Father God as true Lord. We go from lost to found, from the bondage of sin to freedom in Christ and no longer wanting to sin. We go from hell-bound to heaven-bound! And those of us with this experience, know that in time, if we are not careful, we can lose that wonderful peace and true joy we acquired. The old selfish nature longs to creep back in. And the devil and his evil forces want us to stumble more than ever. The world and the people of it, would pull us back into it with the blink of an eye. We learn that we cannot serve the Lord and this world too. Our hearts, if not guarded, can have less of the Lord in them and more of things they shouldn't.
Becoming born-again is just the beginning. We must guard our hearts from the old nature by denying it daily (crucifying it). We must keep our distance from being pulled back into the world and follow the Lord closely, keeping our ears open to Him and shut to the enemy. We have to learn God’s Word so that it can be effective in our lives and so it’s truth can guide us and in knowing it, we can recognize the lies of the enemy.
Even though I have been a Christian for many years, I recently fell into a trap of the enemy by allowing myself to become more full of something else than the Lord. As spirit beings, our spirits are invisible. But we are guided by them. If we are in submission to the Lord, then the Holy Spirit guides us from there. If our hearts (which are really the centers of our spirits) can get distracted enough, we can lose that incredible peace and joy we once had and if not corrected, can even go astray. I did not consciously choose to forsake the Lord, but I allowed a distraction in my life that became all consuming. I literally felt like it was trying to take over lordship. This problem is not unique to me. For many, it comes in the form of a cell phone, gaming, Facebook or even something as seemingly innocent as working out. None of these are bad in themselves, no more than my hobby was… until, it became all consuming. I began to work on it in all my spare time or I was thinking about it night and day. Someone else might get carried away by work or ambition. Or perhaps another person, a spouse or love interest. But no person or thing, should ever become more consuming in our hearts than the Lord.
In John 15:1-8, the Lord Jesus explains how we need to abide in Him and He will abide in us. He also explains what happens if we do not. He loves us and wants us to find our life in Him. Then He goes on to say more in the following verses.
We must abide in the Lord. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches that come from Him. I believe the Holy Spirit in us, is the life-giving force we need spiritually, just as a physical vine needs to be alive with its sap and the nutrients within to live. A poor source naturally would produce a poor vine. But a thriving vine, must be thriving internally to be the best.
We must have the Holy Spirit in us and be full of Him, and not ourselves or anything else. I like to think of our hearts as having a throne upon them. And the question is always, who is on that throne? Lordship means total submission to whoever or whatever is lord. It could be self, good works, alcohol or drugs, another person, a career, anything, even a ministry. I found out the hard way that even a hobby could become all consuming.
We must keep the Lord first. It is the greatest mistake and a horrible sin to forsake Him. And as we see in this verse, He is the fountain of living waters. And when we allow anything else to take us over, it is like we choose broken cisterns in place of the Lord, that cannot even hold water. And it is not only bad for us, but it is an insult to the Lord.
As you can imagine, I repented and threw myself upon the mercy of the Lord. But my heart had become so dry, I needed a miracle to even start to refill again. Praise the Lord that He helped me even to do that. As I started singing and worshiping the Lord from my heart, I could feel my heart begin to soften and as I yielded to the Holy Spirit, healing and refilling began. Paul in his letter to the Romans said the following to them.
We cannot overflow with something we do not have. If we are full of anything besides the Lord, that is what we will overflow with. Jesus said that the mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart. Bless the Lord, He never gives up on us. I hope and pray that your heart is filled with the Lord today and if not, that you too would put out anything that has come between you and Him. The greatest peace and joy, belong to those who choose to heed the Word of God and the voice of the Holy Spirit!
God looks at our hearts. What matters to Him is that we are willing to keep our hearts pure and surrender it all to Him. Obedience should be the result of a heart that loves God fully and is not self-serving. Paul was saying in 1 Corinthians 13:3, “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” Our good actions done with a wrong heart do not really please God and have no eternal value. Our relationship with God must be based on sincere love and all we do should be the result of it. The original Hebrew word translated “life” in the verse from above is “chay” and it means “as consisting of earthly felicity combined (often) with spiritual blessedness” (“Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon”). So, when we love God with all our hearts, minds and strength, we can have a truly happy, abundant and fulfilled life. The promised land, that “good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey”, that God promised to His people in Exodus 3:8, for us today is the life fully surrendered to the Lord, following His guidance and receiving all His blessings.
God loves us so much, that He desires to lead and guide us step by step. He wants to participate in every decision we make and help us fulfill His amazing plan for our lives. He created us in a certain way, so that we fit perfectly in His plan and have whatever it takes to live a happy life while doing His will. The Lord’s plan for each of us is so uniquely designed that we must adhere to the one for us and not fall into the trap of copying others because we will miss out on God’s best for us.
The Lord wants us to depend on Him and be the one we call on in times of trouble. Whenever we think we are self-sufficient and can handle everything in our own strength, we get in trouble and step out of our Lord’s will and plan for our lives. When we start our day asking God what He wants us to do and follow His to-do list, we have more joy and peace. How many times have we planned our day without seeking the Lord, to only end up getting very little accomplished or going right? Life is full of unplanned interruptions and because we are affected by the actions of others, we can end up frustrated, unhappy and suffer a loss of our peace. Thankfully God knows what we do not and if we call on Him and trust His guidance we can accomplish more, keep our peace and be happier.
When we become born-again, we are just babies in Christ and we need to grow and mature spiritually. God loves us enough to not allow us to step into ministry before we are ready to handle the good and the bad of interacting with people and spiritual reality. It takes time for that to happen. We have to be transformed, by renewing our minds with the Word of God, to change the way we think, view life and make decisions God’s way. And that takes time. The more time we spend with our Lord, studying and meditating on His Word, and changing our character to become more like Jesus, the sooner we are ready to do what God called us to do.
Whenever God is everything to us, we are in the best place we can ever be. God is not selfish in asking us to love Him, on the contrary, it is in our best interest. When we love God we want to please Him, we care about what He likes or dislikes and we start to desire the same things as the Lord does. We love people more and we want them to be saved and our whole perspective about life changes. And to be where God wants us to be, we need to do what the following verses say.
And then we need to go deeper than that, by becoming a living sacrifice.
To crucify our flesh and become a holy sacrifice is impossible in our own strength. Our flesh is our natural evil nature and contrary to our born-again spirit. And as we live in human bodies, it is easier to follow its desires than to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who became one with our spirit since we became born-again. It is not easy to change and stop living as we did in the past, but the more we desire to do it and ask God to help, it is do-able, praise God!
Even if the Lord’s words sound harsh, losing our lives for His sake is the best thing that can ever happen to us. To let our God, who knows and can handle everything, lead and guide our steps is wonderful because it takes all the pressure off our shoulders. The only care we should have, is to please Him, listen for His voice and direction and to be obedient. In living a surrendered life, we have so much more joy and peace, and are blessed with the abundant life that Jesus desires for each of us! Hallelujah, thank You Lord!
Several years ago a lady by the name of Kimberly D. Henderson, sat down on a regular Sunday morning and typed out words she felt the Lord was impressing on her heart. They were words of encouragement written for a loved one who was going through an incredibly difficult season of life. It has ended up being the most shared writing she ever put out on social media, which has told her that it really was for far more than just the person she wrote it for. She has graciously allowed us to re post it here.
Please know that she has posted it on a permanent page on her blog – in case someone needs it that it can be easy to find. A link to that page will be posted at the bottom of this blog. Please know her words are not in any way excusing or allowing for abuse or neglect. Nor is her message about standing idly by while people are hurting. These words are for those times when you have prayed for yourself or for someone else and God has responded, “Trust Me.”
Please be encouraged by her powerful message:
I would have pulled Joseph out. Out of that pit. Out of that prison. Out of that pain. And I would have cheated nations out of the one God would use to deliver them from famine.
I would have pulled David out. Out of Saul’s spear-throwing presence. Out of the caves he hid away in. Out of the pain of rejection. And I would have cheated Israel out of a God-hearted king.
I would have pulled Esther out. Out of being snatched from her only family. Out of being placed in a position she never asked for. Out of the path of a vicious, power-hungry foe. And I would have cheated a people out of the woman God would use to save their very lives.
And I would have pulled Jesus off. Off of the cross. Off of the road that led to suffering and pain. Off of the path that would mean nakedness and beatings, nails and thorns. And I would have cheated the entire world out of a Savior. Out of salvation. Out of an eternity filled with no more suffering and no more pain.
And oh friend. I want to pull you out. I want to change your path. I want to stop your pain. But right now I know I would be wrong. I would be out of line. I would be cheating you and cheating the world out of so much good. Because God knows. He knows the good this pain will produce.
He knows the beauty this hard will grow. He’s watching over you and keeping you even in the midst of this. And He’s promising you that you can trust Him. Even when it all feels like more than you can bear.
So instead of trying to pull you out, I’m lifting you up. I’m kneeling before the Father and I’m asking Him to give you strength. To give you hope. I’m asking Him to protect you and to move you when the time is right. I’m asking Him to help you stay prayerful and discerning. I’m asking Him how I can best love you and be a help to you. And I’m believing He’s going to use your life in powerful and beautiful ways. Ways that will leave your heart grateful and humbly thankful for this road you’ve been on.
© Kimberly D. Henderson, 2017
The link to Kimberly's permanent post, I Would Have Pulled Joseph Out.
We all go through seasons in life when we need the encouragements written in Psalms 91. Many Christians quote the verses about the protection and victory that God promises us, but only few realize what is needed for them to become real in our lives. God loves us unconditionally and all He asks us to do is for our own good. But if we choose to doubt the love of God, fear the hardships, and worry about what will happen, we miss out the protection and blessings that are already in store for us.
Many theologians believe that Moses wrote this psalm, because he is mentioned as the author of the previous one and it has similarities with his writings, but even if we are not sure of the identity of the writer, we can be sure that his inspiration was the Holy Spirit. The first 2 verses, as well as verses 9 and 14 show who may benefit of the promises of this psalm. This protection from evil is not for those who just visit the presence of the Lord on rare occasions, especially when in need, or are desperate. These promises are for those who remain, and even dwell, in the shelter offered by God. To dwell in the presence of the Lord means having a constant relationship and resting in Him. The NIV and some other versions, translate the Hebrew word for “abide” with “rest,” and I can understand why. We need to feel so comfortable under our Lord’s shadow that we can rest. We give Him our worries, fears, problems because we are sure that He has the best solutions for everything.
The words we speak are very important. Let us remember that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21a) and the quality of our lives depends on what we say. When we declare and believe that the Lord is our place of safety and that we trust Him, we have what we say. Knowing that our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He cares and helps us solve every problem we have, we can live relaxed and enjoy life. To get to where we rest in the Lord, we must know Him and trust that He saves us from trouble, surrounds us with His protective walls, and wants our good even more than we can wish for ourselves.
Verse 3 says that the Lord will not let us fall into the snares of the evil ones, and protect us from the contagious diseases and their consequences. God's truth is a strong shield that protects us, but we must choose not to fear any evil of the kingdom of darkness or of the world we live in. Even if there are thousands of victims around us, if we choose to sincerely love the Lord, live in His presence, and trust His protection, we will be safe and only watch how expensive disobedience is for the wicked ones.
If we do not understand how this kind of amazing protection is possible, verse 9 reminds us.
How wonderful it is to know that we can have a safe place in the Lord, where we are protected from the destructive attacks of the enemy. We continue to see that God commands His angels to guard us in everything we do according to the will of the Lord, and even if we have to go through difficult situations, we will be victorious.
And the ending is even more wonderful:
Our Almighty God says that He saves and protects us from evil, because we love Him, we know who He is and how powerful the proclamation of His Name is. Our prayers are heard, the Lord is with us, for better or for worse, we are never without Him, because He lives in the heart of every born-again Christian. The most amazing thing is that He does not only saves us from evil, but also honors and blesses us with long lives and saves our souls.
What can be more beautiful and desirable than to love God and be loved by Him? Let us know that if we trust in the Lord, we can rest in His presence, be guarded from anything that could destroy us and in any difficult situation, not have to fear.
With Jesus, even if we leave these physical bodies we still gain, as Paul said:
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. – Philippians 1:21
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34
If God's mercy (kindness, patience, grace and compassion) is everlasting, it means that it never ends, and that our heavenly Father is on our side and has the best feelings for us at all times. The Lord truly deserves all our praise, love, and gratitude.
In difficult times, that seem to have no way out, the Lord reminds us of how important it is to praise Him. When we praise God for who He is and for all the wonderful things He has done for us through His Son, Jesus Christ, our problems no longer seem so serious. Why? Because we remember how good the Lord is, that nothing is too hard or impossible for Him, and that He does not leave us alone not even for a moment. Let us not forget what Jesus said in John 10:10: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” and that we were created for love, joy, peace, and all that results from the presence of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the born-again Christian (Galatians 5:22-23). Thoughts that lead to negative emotions, whenever we are worried or afraid of something that may or may not even happen, do us no good.
King David understood the power of praising God very well, as through praise and worship he was able to get through difficult times in his life. The psalms he composed inspired by the Holy Spirit have helped and comforted believers of all times.
When those around us see that we choose to praise God no matter what we go through and that we have the right attitude in any situation, they will want to have what we have. Personal example is the most effective method of evangelism. We do not only obey God, but we can also keep our peace and joy in hard times and help those around us to trust the Lord and desire to become His children.
If we wait to be happy and rejoice only when everything goes our way and we accomplish all our plans, we may not have much joy. Is there any benefit in being sad, depressed, unhappy, or frustrated? Do we solve anything when we are worried and lose sleep thinking about things we cannot change or bad memories from the past?
And Jesus concluded by saying: “But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Luke 12:31). When we are focused on what the Lord wants us to do and what pleases Him, we can keep our hearts pure, because we no longer seek the things of the world or what can hurt us. Everything God wants for us and what He expects from us is always for the best. The more we love the Lord, the more we will praise Him and the happier we will be.
Life with Jesus is a happy life here on earth and for all eternity in His presence. When we choose to praise the Lord, we rise above the problems and allow Him to show us the best solution for our situation. A thankful heart is a happy heart that lives in God’s will and utilizes this key for a blessed life and making it to heaven!
Since we became Christians, the authors of this site, over the decades, with the help of the Holy Spirit, have learned deeper biblical truths and how to have a closer walk with Christ. Through the websites that we are writing on, we try to share with the readers who might be interested, messages about living life with Jesus Christ as Lord.