His Peace Outweighs My Anxiety


Read: Judges 6:1-16

Anyone who’s struggled with fear and anxiety understands the difficulty of overcoming these emotions. Gideon was a man who experienced great apprehension because he lived when Israel was being oppressed by the Midianites as a result of their rebellion against God.

Conditions had become so desperate that Gideon was threshing grain in a wine press so the enemy wouldn’t think to steal it. It was at this low point in his life that the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and told him to deliver Israel from the Midianites. Imagine his stress! He didn’t see himself as a great warrior and felt totally inadequate for the task.

Gideon’s problem was his focus. Despite being reassured that God was with him, Gideon observed the situation through human eyes and concluded that the Lord had abandoned Israel. Then he looked at himself from that same perspective and listed all the reasons why he was not the one to deliver Israel. But the Lord again responded by saying, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man” (Judg. 6:16).

Like Gideon, we too are prone to focus on our own weakness and inability rather than count on what we know to be true about the Lord. We can think of a thousand things to worry about instead of remembering God’s past faithfulness and the certainty of His future promises. 

Persevering through anxiety is easier when we know God intimately, believe His Word, and trust Him explicitly. In the process, we’ll discover that our anxiety is outweighed by His peace.

Prayer: 

Lord I ask you to comfort me and remind me of your peace. I ask of your  forgiveness, for not believing in who you say you are. Encourage me, and remind me each and everyday of your sovereignty and truth. I pray this in Jesus’ Christ name, amen.

A Different (and hope-full) Take on Life’s Difficult Seasons

A Different (and hope-full) Take on Life’s Difficult Seasons

 
 

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We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10

The Christian faith walk can be likened to the life of a grape. Let me explain. I once heard a pastor begin her sermon with this statement: “We are all grapes”. Her words seemed a bit comical but little did I know that I was about to hear one of the most profound sermons in what was one of my most pressing seasons. The Holy Spirit began to pierce my heart with truth and revelation, and that is my prayer for you today.

Grapes and wine are referenced several times throughout scripture, and Jesus himself used this staple of Jewish life and tradition to illustrate who he was and who we are. Once the grapes are ready on the vine, they are picked and piled into a large winepress. In ancient times this was done with their feet in shallow limestone presses. The moment the juices touch the skin of the grapes, fermentation begins. Often the presses were on a hill and the fermentation pit would be at the bottom, so all the juices would run down, where they would bubble and ferment. Let me stop and say that fermenting smells really bad.

Have you ever experienced a “crushing” in your life? A time when you felt persecution, alienation or inadequacy? Nobody likes to feel that way but the Bible says that what the enemy meant for evil, God turns it for good (Gen 50:20). In Psalm 37:25, it says that the righteous have never been abandoned nor their children begging for bread. No matter what life is throwing at you, God sees you and he WILL turn it around. Just cling to him.

Continuing, a separation of the sediments and the wine take place and then the wine would be poured into clay jars or into wineskins and would be set out of the sun for several days. Even in winemaking today, its best when the wine is placed in a sealed container in a dark room without light because of the lactic-acid bacteria, which flourishes in the dark. This can affect flavor of the wine too. In some cases, the longer the wine is stored in the dark on a shelf the better it becomes.

There have been really long seasons in my life where I was that wine and let me just say that lactic acid bacteria was flourishing hundred-fold. I felt so alone, so forgotten, so abandoned, so overlooked. It was extremely painful but by the grace of God and a community that prayed for me, I persevered and the Lord brought me out of that seven-year season. Maybe you are walking in that wilderness, maybe you sense God bringing you out of that time, or maybe you’ve never experienced a season like this before- at some point we will all experience a wilderness season BUT being on the other side of it, I would say don’t waste it. I had some profound cherished moments with the Lord in the wilderness. I wouldn’t ever want to repeat it but I know that if God so leads me, he’ll be with me.

Jesus bring new wine out of me.

In light of the wine-making process, the request for Jesus to bring new wine out of us seems a whole lot less appealing. You see part of being a disciple of Jesus is becoming like Jesus, it is picking up our cross and following after him in every area of our lives.

Being a disciple of Jesus is about loving the Lord, seeking first his Kingdom, loving our neighbor, making disciples AND as we do all these things, God, through the power of the Holy Spirit is working on making us righteous; he’s refining us. Our mindsets change, our behaviors change, our speech changes; we begin to transform from the inside out!

Maybe you are going through a hard time in this season. You’re facing some big challenges, you have some giants ahead of you, some mountains that you seem to circle, and you’re feeling like that crushed grape; you’re feeling alone and in darkness, but be encouraged. The Lord’s presence is not determined by your feelings or your ability to sense him. God is omnipresent and he is with you, you just have to call out to him. He will not turn his eyes from you, for those who are seeking him or who need him will find him.

Please don’t give up. I’ve been there before; I’ve had the mental and emotional breakdown and I know you may feel like you’re losing yourself. Seek counsel if you need to AND know that God is for you no matter what anybody says or thinks-including what you say and think over yourself.

God is at work in your life. Real change is the transformational power of his love and presence. What a witness to the world of the power of the Lord!

Jesus bring new wine out of us!

 

Father God,

Thank you for your loving kindness towards me. Before the formation of the earth, you were thinking of me. Lord, you know my thoughts, you know my desires; I choose to fix my eyes on you alone.

As difficult as it may be, I will choose to walk with you because your word says that even when I walk through the waters, you will be with me. You will make a way where there is no way, and you will deliver me. My inheritance is secure, I need not worry because I am your child, a co-heir with Christ.

Jesus would you teach me how to live like you did. Would you teach me how to walk through the wilderness? No matter the cost, I want to be so rooted in the truth of your word that I will not be shaken by the things of this world. Refine me. Transform me. I will not be crushed because you are standing at my side. The victory has been won; I need only stand and endure.

Today, I dispel the lies of the enemy and the temptation to take the easy way back to comfort that is not of God. I will not give up on you Lord because you have not given up on me. I will finish the race set before me.  I adorn my head with the helmet of salvation, and take on the mind of Christ as a son/daughter who is being sanctified daily for the glory of the Lord.

 I pray this in the mighty name of Jesus Christ! AMEN

God’s Light in Us

God’s Light in Us

 
 

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Written by Kat W.

We have free will and live in a fallen and broken world. That is why we have temptations, sin, sickness, death, heartbreak, etc. I’ve been in a season of struggle, a struggle of belief and focus on what’s the truth. I felt lost in the sense if what I’m doing and if the direction I’m heading in is truly my calling. Anxiety had been overwhelming me in waves where I couldn’t even look up anymore. The word failure kept repeating in my thoughts.

This is what the enemy loves to do. He keeps picking at the same weakness and wound. He does it until it captivates your complete focus on that sin, on that problem, feeling, drama, on that mistake you made. The devils main purpose and goal is to make you believe in a lie, something entirely opposite from God’s truth.

The enemy will attack your identity because you were created in the image of God. He will attack your life calling with distractions so that you cannot do the will of God. He will attack your joy with selfishness and pride so that you cannot have the gifts God has given you. He will attack your thoughts with lies and so that you cannot live out in God’s truth.

It is very easy to let darkness in and consume us. As  Christians we need to say no to darkness and walk in the light. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) If God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all, then He should be and is our source of light. He is the deliverer from all darkness and obstacles to joy.

Yesterday, I was encouraged at the thought of being a light to someone in darkness. I believe that is a huge part of our calling as believers in Christ Jesus. God is light, therefore we are the children of light. God is with us and in us, His light should shine out of us each and everyday.

Today I want to encourage you in your struggle and whatever darkness might be surrounding you. YOU ARE LIGHT BECAUSE IN YOU IS THE LIGHT. Remember to keep your focus on God and His truth. Today start thinking of how you can show God’s light in another persons darkness. It might even be as simple as giving someone a compliment or even praying for that person.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light”-Ephesians 5:8

Keys to Your Divine Promotion

God’s plan for us is that we move from glory to glory, according to 2 Corinthians 3:18. As we grow and mature, God will move us into new assignments, or promote us. There are keys to divine promotion.

David is an example of a man who was promoted. David was the youngest child to Jesse, who tended the sheep for his family. His father did not even summon him when Samuel came looking for the son who would be king. David learned many lessons during his life. He learned to protect the sheep from wild animals. In his days of shepherding he learned how to abide in God’s presence. In time, he moved to the palace where he played his harp to soothe King Saul. He learned how to minister to the king even during fits of rage. When Goliath began to threaten the Israelites, David refused to listen to the taunts of the enemy and went out to defy him. David defeated Goliath with the 5 smooth stones and the power of God. He ended up in the wilderness running for his life as Saul tried to kill him. Even during this wilderness time, David refused to retaliate when he had the opportunity.

Eventually, David became King, just as Samuel prophesied. But in every season of his life, David overcame many obstacles and matured and grew in God. Even when David sinned against God, he repented and came back into right standing with God. God called David a man after His own heart. We can see from David’s life that as he overcame in each season, God promoted him to his next season.

Another key to promotion is humility. James 4:10 says that if we humble ourselves before the Lord, He will exalt us. That means that even as we have successes in life, it is important to stay humble and let God will promote us. Trying to promote ourselves is ineffective. If we manage to manipulate circumstances to promote ourselves, we will have to continue to use the same tactics to keep ourselves there. It is important to trust that God will promote us at the right time, when we’re ready. Proverbs 3:5,6 says, “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.”

Promotion comes when God determines that we are ready. As we are faithful to do what He has given to us each day, He is ever molding and creating us into the image of Christ. It is our Christ-likeness that He is looking for in us. Psalms 1:1-3 illustrates this well. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Our prosperity and promotion are connected to the way we conduct our lives. When our hearts are pleasing to God, He can trust us with more. Psalm 20:4 says, “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire and fulfill all your purpose.”  As we walk through his process of preparation, our hearts are changed and made ready for promotion. And as we wait upon Him, He promises to renew our strength so that we will be ready for the next season.

Are you ready to unlock your promotion? Check out Isik’s guide for additional scriptures and prayer points!

Is it possible to heal from childhood sexual abuse?

Today, people everywhere are struggling through life with damaged emotions and broken hearts. They’ve endured a lot of negative things, causing untold damage that needs to be dealt with. But too often, these hurts are simply swept under the rug in an attempt to make them go away.

Through my own life experiences, and from helping others through this process, I’ve discovered that although God wants to help those who really want emotional healing, there are some very important steps these individuals must take for themselves. If you want to receive emotional healing, one of the first steps you must take is to face the truth. You can’t be set free while living in denial. You can’t pretend that certain negative things didn’t happen to you.

I’ve come to realize that we’re experts at building walls and stuffing things into dark corners, pretending they never happened.

I was four years old when I was sexually abused from a fifteen year old boy. It was a dark memory that I kept suppressed for about twelve years, until I confronted the truth of what happened. For years I made myself believe that it must have been a bad dream or even something I saw on tv by accident as a kid. I finally made the decision to ask my mom about this memory that I couldn’t shake.

Why don’t we want to bring things like that into the open? We’re afraid of what people will think. We’re afraid of being rejected, misunderstood, or unloved by those we care about or that they might have a different opinion of us if they really knew all about us. The feeling of unworthiness and filth is overwhelming. That’s what the devil wants, he wants you to keep quiet. His goal is to make you feel alone and unloved. That is why it is vital for you to speak up and allow light into the darkness.

There’s something about verbalizing it to another person that does wonders for us, but use wisdom. Choose someone you know you can trust. Be sure that by sharing your story with someone else, you don’t simply put your burden on that individual’s shoulders. Also, don’t go trying to dig up old hurts and offenses that have been buried and forgotten.

When I finally worked up the courage to share with someone what had happened early in my life, I actually began shaking and crying in fear. It was an emotional reaction to the things I’d kept buried within me for so long. Now when I talk about my past, it’s as though I’m talking about somebody else’s problems. Because I’ve been healed and restored, my past doesn’t bother me anymore.

Nobody can be set free from a problem until they’re willing to admit they have one.

Do you want to be free of the shame and trauma of your past? Download our prayer guide from Dr. Frank Meadows here!

Even though our problems may have been brought upon us because of something done against our will, we have no excuse for allowing the problem to persist, grow and even take control over our entire life. Our past experiences may have made us the way we are, but we don’t have to stay that way. We can take the initiative by taking positive steps to change things, and most importantly we can ask for God’s help.

I encourage you today to get whatever hurt you have out in the open. Find someone to pray with. Don’t just let them pray, pray yourself for your own healing out loud. Remember the devil wants you to stay quiet. Fight it with God!

Face the truth—it can be the beginning of a happier life!

Shame and Self-Contempt: Embracing God’s View of Me Instead of the Lies

Shame is an insidious liar, hiding in memories and early foundational messages sent to us by our enemy even as children. Shame whispers to us that we are a mistake, without value, marred and damaged property. This message can derail us from reaching our fullest potential and from walking in true freedom.

God’s intent for us is that when we fail or sin, our heart will feel the guilt of unrighteous behavior, causing us to seek cleansing and giving us motivation to make things right. Jesus made a way for us to be cleansed by His blood, to receive His forgiveness, and to be restored into fellowship with Him. 

Shame however, causes us to hide. Shame makes us feel unworthy, without value and beyond the reach of love. But shame is a liar. This message that has been imprinted on our soul can be difficult to discern, but it is one of the biggest lies that the enemy sends us. Shame can come as a result of rejection and abandonment, especially when parents or persons of authority in our lives do not fulfill our greatest needs of nurture and bonding. It can come in upon abuse, neglect, or dysfunction.  When we experience severe trauma, especially at a young age, we may subconsciously come to the conclusion that the fault is ours, due to some flaw in us.

There is a way to be set free from shame. God always has a path to freedom. The way to freedom is to partner with Holy Spirit and the word of God to reveal where the lie became our reality. Holy Spirit can take us to a memory where we received that lie, and we can use the word of God to replace that lie with truth.  As we recall those painful moments, we can ask Him to reveal His truth. We must receive that truth and allow it to replace what the enemy planted in us. It is the truth that we receive and apply that will make us free. God desires that we live in the freedom for which He paid dearly. Cooperate with Holy Spirit and be set free!

 

Additional Resources on this topic:

Jesus, Healer of the Brokenhearted by Frank Meadows

Releasing the Power of God

God has mandated that we walk in the power and authority that He gave us when we became His ambassadors in Christ.  Genesis describes how God created man in His image, and tasked him with stewarding the earth realm. Genesis 1:28 says, “God blessed them and told them, ‘Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.’” When Jesus paid the price for our freedom from sin and death, He charged us to continue His work on the earth. Matthew 10:1 describes this charge. “Jesus called His twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness.” Jesus gave believers a mandate to continue to establish His kingdom here on earth, and He gave us His authority to do so.

How do we come into agreement with this mandate? We must become a conduit of the power of God through Holy Spirit. Paul spoke about this in Romans 15. “I have won them over by the miracles done through me as signs from God- all by the power of God’s Spirit.” Paul was able to convince the gentiles of the Good News of Jesus Christ by the signs and wonders that followed him.

Read, pray and declare scriptures in Isik’s Prayer Guide!

Jesus began to speak of this mandate before He went to the cross. He spoke over His disciples, releasing His authority to them. We see this in Luke 9:1. “One day, Jesus called together His twelve apostles and gave them power and authority to cast out demons and to heal all diseases. Then He sent them out to tell everyone about the coming of the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Matthew 10:8 said, “heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received.”  It is clear that Jesus’ power did not cease when He returned to heaven, but He gave the command to continue the work that He began and equipped us with His authority and power to do so.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we can access all that He paid for us to walk in. As we extend our faith, we can connect with the power of God to see deliverance, healing and miracles. In Ephesians 1:19, Paul urges us to embrace this truth. “I pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him. This is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” This is resurrection power! As we believe, it will be done according to His word. In Mark 16:20, we see that the disciples believed Jesus and began to fulfill His mandate. “And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.” It is God’s plan that we walk in His power and authority and bring His kingdom to manifest on earth as it is in heaven.