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Overcoming Difficult Trials

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Our Longing For God

_Long for God

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:1-2 (NIV)

“At night my soul longs for You, indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” Isaiah 26:9 (NASB)

Our longing for God should be greater than any craving that consumes us. We need to be passionate, to the point of being overwhelmed, in our desire to sit in His holy presence. The scriptures compare our yearning for God to that of a deer panting for streams of water. To yearn for God means we long for His fellowship.

God is our friend. However, it is up to us to cultivate this precious relationship. He already knows us inside and out. He is waiting for us to get to know Him. If we don’t spend time with God, we cannot expect to know Him intimately.

Some of us are satisfied with friends who are simply acquaintances, surface friends who don’t require much time or effort. Acquaintances are great for small talk and chit chat, a friendly hello over the backyard fence, but these friends are superficial.

Then there are friends who take. They take our time, our energy, and a lot of our patience. They take and we give, and give, and give. The relationship is not balanced and we see them more of a ministry than an equitable friendship. I wonder if God looks down on us and see us in this same light. We take and He gives and gives… and gives.

True friendship is an investment of time and energy. It requires an open heart. God created us as relational beings, with a need for love and a desire to be understood. Since we were made in the image of God, it makes sense to conclude, although He does not NEED our love and understanding, He DESIRES our love and fellowship. He wants to be with us, and share His wisdom, love, power, and beauty. He wants US to know HIM intimately.

Are we so in love with God that we desire nothing else? Do we eat, breathe, and dream of Him? Are we so passionately desperate for His presence that we cry out for Him like a parched desert crying out for rain? Do the things of this world hold little worth when compared to KNOWING God? What are the secret desires in our heart? Are our hidden desires for heavenly treasure, or are they tied to earthly passions and belongings?

Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You.” Psalm 73:25 (NIV)

 I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah” Psalm 143:6 (NKJV)

When we are in love, it is hard to be parted from the one we adore. In fact, many have suffered a broken heart from loosing the love of their life. Should we not have the same yearning love for our blessed Savior?

My soul breaks with longing for Your judgments at all times.” Psalm 11:20 (NKJV)

“With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” Isaiah 26:9 (NKJV)

God wants us to seek Him and He wants to be found! He does not want to play HIDE AND SEEK and remain hidden behind the sofa. Never far away or out of our reach, He rewards the seeker.

How does He reward the seeker? What is the reward? Dear Friend, it is with treasure. Our treasure is God, yes, God alone. What more do we need?

“So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him though He is not far from each one of us” Acts 17:27 (NKJV)

“I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me diligently will find Me.” Proverbs 8:17 (NKJV)

“The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the SOURCE of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may love he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever.”

“O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, The Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing. I thirst to be made more thirsty still.” (P.14 The Pursuit Of God by A.W. Tozer)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVQmZCK4Fiw

During your quiet time pray about your relationship with God. Do you long for His presence? Do you yearn for a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him?

My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in Your word.” Psalm 119:81 (NIV)

“I long for Him more than sentinels long for the dawn.” Psalm 130:6 (TLB)

God’s Unfolding Plan For Our Life

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God’s plan for our life is one that continuously unfolds. Minute-by-minute, day-by-day, and step-by-step He guides, all the while unfolding His glorious intentions. His wonderful blueprint for our lives was designed before we were even born. Every detail was considered when He assigned our mission, duty, responsibility, and occupation (s). He created and set circumstances into place that would refine our gifts and engage our specific attributes. Always, ALWAYS is our service for His glory and the blessing of His people. Moses is a wonderful example of this fact.

“Then the Lord said to Moses,  “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon.  Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for Myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.” Exodus 14:1-4 (NKJV)

Pharaoh and his army pursued the Israelites, and overtook them as they camped by the sea.As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord.” Exodus 14:10 (NKJV)

The Israelites later turned on Moses and questioned why they ever followed him into the desert. They were prepared to return to Egypt and once again become slaves. Their faith in God’s power was weak and they saw no way out of their trap. The Red Sea was an apparent roadblock, but God would use that roadblock for His glory. Nothing is impossible for God! On that day the Israelites witnessed another incredible miracle of God’s provision and faithfulness as they walked on dry land, through the Red Sea, to safety.

Do you see how God’s plan unfolded? God gave Moses directions, telling him to encamp by the sea. God also told Moses that Pharaoh would pursue the Israelites. Furthermore, God revealed that He would gain glory for Himself through Pharaoh’s assault. But God did not tell Moses the Israelites would panic and turn on him. God often unfolds His plan measure-by-measure. He tells us enough to get us moving in the right direction but then, there are tests of obedience and faith that He intertwines in our journey.

Moses obediently camped by the sea and was not surprised by the appearance of the Egyptian army. Trusting God would faithfully deliver His people, Moses did not allow the Red Sea to become an obstacle. He remembered God said, “But I will gain glory for Myself through Pharaoh and all his army,” and so the parting of the Red Sea fulfilled this prophesy.

God wants us to depend on Him daily. Moses did not have directions for the next week or month. He took one day at a time. He had to train his ear to LISTEN for God’s voice.

Now consider the apostles. Their lives were a continuous unfolding. After Jesus rose from the dead, He told His friends to go back to the city and wait for the Holy Spirit.

I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49 (NIV)

Jesus did not tell them what the promise would look like. He gave them only the directions they needed, go back to the city and wait. Obediently, they waited in the city for the promise to be clothed with heavenly power. Once the Holy Spirit arrived, they learned to discern His leading. They healed many in the name of Jesus, spread the gospel, established churches, and wrote words of encouragement that are now known as the LIVING Word of God.

Jesus told Peter to “Feed my sheep.” He did not give Peter detailed instructions on how to accomplish this request, but He did equip him. Every apostle went out and shared the good news. Apostles were persecuted for their faith, unfolded as part of their Christian race. God taught them to be content in times of plenty and times of want. They gave Him continuous praise as they knew He was ever present and in control.

Other examples of walking with God and trusting Him to unfold His plan include Abraham: Leave you homeland

Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.  I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ ” Genesis 12:1-3 (NKJV)

Joshua: March around Jericho

Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” Joshua 6:1-5

God has a purpose and service for each one of us. Maybe it is in the prayer closet. We might not see the fruit of our labor, but the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Prayers are ALWAYS answered in God’s time and for His glory. God unfolds how to pray and who to pray for by using the Holy Spirit to direct us while on our knees.

We are all called to share the Good News. We must look for the opportunity and trust God to give us the wisdom and knowledge to share His love. Maybe we will help a stranger and God will unfold the best way to witness. A neighbor might need of a ride somewhere and you hear God say, “Drive!” After you obey this unusual request, God might unfold His real purpose for your service. Every day unfolds new mysteries of God’s love for us.

Wait on God to fulfill His promises. Wait for the Savior to unfold His plan for your life. He is equipping you now for what lies in the future. Patiently wait and remember that God looks for willing servants who say, “Lord, send me!”

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153044654302949&fref=nf

“Today I know that such memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do. ”                        ~ Corrie ten Boom

“Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you who He is.”                                  ~Oswald Chambers

It’s Friday…. BUT EASTER SUNDAY IS COMING!

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” 1 Co. 15:3-4 (NIV)

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Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YByT6wfdhJs

 “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.  Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” 1 Co. 15:20-27 (NIV)

 

Our Love For Father God

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You might doubt the Father’s love for you, but John 3:16 should clear away all your worries. And IF the love of God is hard for you to accept, meditate on what He has already done. Then you will see how great the Father’s love for us.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.John 3:16 (NKJV)

Ask yourself this question. Why did the Creator of all things step out of His spiritual realm and live with mankind if He had no care for us? Would He have willingly faced crucifixion (in order to be that living blood sacrifice) to cancel out our transgressions once and for all, had He not love? Victorious over sin through His death and resurrection, He restored our fellowship and position with God. He lives as our constant friend and mediator before God. Why would He intercede both day and night on our behalf if He did not truly love and care for us? We are the now adopted children of a King, His treasure!

How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son and make a wretch His treasure

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aAjLBh_1Og&sns=fb

His wounds paid for our ransom and by them we have been healed and restored to righteousness. Our righteousness comes only through Jesus who now lives within us. We are a new creation if we are born again. The old man is a thing of the past.

But what of YOUR love for God? How do YOU express it? Is it a daily expression or an after thought at the end of a weary day? Do you make time for Him, He who is jealous for you? He longs for your fellowship and waits for your attention. Are you seeking Him out or do you just expect Him to find you?

Believe it or not, He IS speaking to you all day long. Unfortunately, if you have not learned to ABIDE in Christ you are missing much of His love conversation. We must be seekers and draw near to God if we expect to grow in our spiritual intimacy with Him.

Synonyms for ABIDE (Google) include: obey, observe, follow, keep to, hold to, conform to, adhere to, stick to, stand by, act in accordance with, heed, accept, respect

Thus, we show our love for God by seeking Him out and abiding in Him.                 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”  John 15:10 (NKJV)                           We show our love for Him by keeping His commandments.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.1 John 5:3 (NKJV)

Additionally, 1 John 2:6 explains we are to walk as Jesus walked. He is our role model and we should follow His lead. But how can we walk as Jesus walked if we do not know what is in the Word? Me must seek it out and learn how our Savior loved sinful man? He tells us to love as He has loved.

“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”                       1 John 2:6 (NKJV)

And because His dying breath brought me new life…

I will not boast in anything, No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward, I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom”

Rather than boasting in the gifts you were given by the Father, use your gifts to glorify HIM. Surrender all your plans and your self-will. Permit God to make you a “holy experiment” for His purposes. Oh, the joy of becoming a living vessel that honors God! Live today and every day, with the purpose of blessing His holy name with your love and gratitude!

MEDITATE ON THE FOLLOWING WORDS/SCRIPTURES BELOW AND CONSIDER WAYS YOU CAN BETTER DEMONSTRATE YOUR LOVE FOR GOD.

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”                     John 15:12 (NKJV)

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15 (NKJV)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”             Romans 12:1 (NKJV)

“The only thing I can give to God is ‘My right to myself.’ If I will give God that, He will make a holy experiment out of me, and God’s experiments always succeed.”                       ~ Oswald Chambers.

“Give yourself to God. Give Him everything you are, everything you hope to be, all your dreams, visions, hopes and desires. Make everything His, and He will demonstrate His power through your life.”  ~ UNKNOWN

Interview With God

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http://vimeo.com/8898059

“So you would like to interview Me?” God Asked

“If you have the time.” I said

“My time is ETERNITY. What questions do you have in mind for me?”

“What surprises you most about humankind?”

God answered, “That they get bored with childhood. They rush to grow up and then long to be children again. They lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health. That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live in neither the present nor the future. That they live as if they will never die, and die as if they had never lived.”

I asked “As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons You want Your children to learn?”

God replied with a smile….

“To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. To learn they cannot make anyone love them. What they CAN do is let themselves be loved. To learn that a RICH PERSON is NOT one who has the most, but is one who needs the least. To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and it takes many years to heal them. To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness. To learn that there are persons who love them dearly but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings. To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently. To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others. But that they must forgive themselves.”

“Thank You for Your time” I said humbly. “Is there anything else You would like Your children to know?”

“TO LEARN THAT I AM HERE…. ALWAYS.”

Go Out Into The Wilderness & Face The Dark

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Sometimes, if you want to see the stars in all their glory… you have to go out into the wilderness and face the dark. The stars remain during the day but we can’t see them. Only when darkness falls do we see their magnificent splendor. 

http://www.godfruits.com/8003/how-does-god-help-those-who-are-depressed-the-answer-will-may-surprise-you.php?fb_action_ids=10204549827480336&fb_action_types=og.comments

“And the Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him on the mountain of God, and kissed him.” Exodus 4:27 (NKJV)

“I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.” Ezekiel 34:25-27 (NKJV)

Unbreakable!

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I went to see the movie UNBROKEN today. It was worth facing 18 degree weather and icy roads. It is one you should make a point to see. I will be pondering the life of Louis Zamperini for a long time.

A while back, I felt the Lord asked me “Will you die for me?” I was not real quick in my response but I said, “Yes Lord… but I am fearful.” My fear was NOT of where I would go, eternity and heaven are my blessed assurance. No, it was the fear of PAIN and that it could be a part of my journey. I survived a brain tumor, I know the physical and emotional pain that comes with a severe illness.

However, as I watched the life story of Louis Zamperini play out before me on the movie screen, I was struck by his amazing will to SURVIVE. He faced horror after horror and I kept thinking… it would be easier to give up and die. Go home to God.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And so…. now I have head another question. “Cheryl, will you LIVE for Me?” “I thought I was doing that Lord?” Living for Christ is facing the unknown…. including terrors and pain and suffering. We will not have all the answers to our “Whys” down here. But in heaven, we will understand how the suffering we endured worked for our good and the good of all mankind.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     I will LIVE FOR GOD even if that means facing adversity, persecution and “little deaths” as Mr. Zamperini endured. My word for 2015 is ABIDE (Last year it was Perspective). If we ABIDE in Christ we can overcome all trials. Our victory is by the blood of the Lamb. Jesus is the victor and our strength. We live in dark times and they are only going to get darker and harder for Christians. Will you remain faithful to God… even if He requires “little deaths” with no explanation?

Is It Well… With Your Soul?

 

*It Is Well
The hymn “It is Well with My Soul” has always been a favorite. This worship song is just beautiful. It reminded me of the sovereignty of God and His faithfulness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDNi5C0eDS8

History Behind “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus” Will Inspire You!

*Follow Jesus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTNy674setQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvZp87bIxU8

“I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” is a Christian hymn originating from India.

The lyrics are based on the last wordsof a man in Assam, north-east India, who along with his family was converted to Christianity in the middle of the 19th century through the efforts of a Welsh missionary.

Called to renounce his faith by the village chief, the convert declared, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” In response to threats to his family, he continued, “Though no one joins me, still I will follow.” His wife was killed, and he was executed while singing, “The cross before me, the world behind me.” This display of faith is reported to have led to the conversion of the chief and others in the village.

The formation of these words into a hymn is attributed to the Indian missionary Sadhu Sundar Singh. The melody is also Indian, and entitled “Assam” after the region where the text originated.The fierce opposition is possible as various tribes in that area were formerly renowned for head-hunting.  

An American hymn editor, William Jensen Reynolds, composed an arrangement which was included in the 1959 Assembly Songbook.

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Have_Decided_to_Follow_Jesus

Plumb Sings I NEED YOU NOW

*Need
“And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”   Romans 16:20 (NKJV)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkig2dttSNw&feature=youtu.be

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