Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Church Can Help You

The church, as God intended, provides supportive hands, wise minds, and loving hearts to help those who are hurting and in need. The driving force and the solid foundation of the church is Jesus Christ, who loves you dearly and without conditions. Even if some people in your church have pulled away from you, help is still available there.

"When you are going through a divorce, you feel like you are wearing the scarlet letter," says Warren Kniskern, "and everyone is shying away from you. To some extent that's true, but the worst thing to do is to withdraw from the people of God.

"This is a time more than any other time that you need to be with the people of God and receive their encouragement. Keep your focus on Christ instead of on your problems, or else you're going to sink just as surely as Peter sank when he walked on the water to Jesus."

In the Bible, Peter was on a boat one stormy night, and he looked up and saw Jesus walking on the raging sea. Jesus asked Peter to come to Him. At first Peter jumped up with joyful assurance and started across the water to Jesus. Then he became afraid, focusing on his inadequacies instead of on Christ's sufficiency.

"When he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!'

"Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?' And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down" (Matthew 14:30-32).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Live Victoriously

"I know that without the love of my heavenly Father, I would have been a statistic last year," shares Harriet, "but my Father loves me, and He's reaffirmed it in a thousand ways. So much so that today—a year after I found out that my perfect, wonderful, adoring husband was having an affair—I know that I'm going to live. I'm not just going to get by, but I'm going to live victoriously."

"At this point, I can look back at my experiences and truly understand in my heart that I am a stronger person now, and I am somebody who is worth knowing and worth being with regardless of whether my husband threw aside our love and marriage so carelessly. Every day the Holy Spirit reaffirms in me that I am somebody special, and it has nothing to do with whether or not I have a spouse because I'm God's child."

You, too, can live victoriously through Christ no matter what circumstances occur in your life. An abundant life in Christ is a life with deep roots and a strong foundation. The winds of life may blow strong and the waters may rise, but you can stand firm. Our prayer is that you will walk empowered by God's strength and confident of His love every day.

"ARISE! Shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!" (Isaiah 60:1 AMP).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Walk Forward with Confidence

"I know that regardless of what this world has to throw at me, I'm going to be okay," says Harriet, "because I have the mighty fortress of God around me. There is still a lot of rebuilding to do in my personal life. Nothing is ever the same when you go through separation and divorce; it's like you have to rewrite the script of your life over again.

"I'll be forty this month, which is kind of daunting, but you know what? I know that forty is going to be great because God tells me that I have value. I know fifty is going to be great, and so is sixty. However many years the Lord allows me to have on this earth are going to be good because He's the driving force in my life now; He is the one at the center of my life now. He's the one I worship, not my spouse. And I know there are limitless possibilities for me."

Walk forward with confidence in God. He will direct your paths if you ask Him and surrender yourself to Him. He has promised in His Word that He is working all things together for the ultimate good of those who love and believe in Him.

"The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Spiritual Mentors

If you have not already done so, finding a spiritual mentor will be a tremendous help and support as you move forward in your daily walk and spiritual growth. Your spiritual mentor should be a person who is a mature Christian, one who knows and studies the Bible, and one who understands the power of prayer. This person should care for you and desire that you grow in the Lord.

The best way to find a spiritual mentor is to pray that God will bring the two of you together and to actively seek out someone in your church. Then, make a plan with that person to meet together or have regular phone chats. Plan to pray together, ask questions, and discuss biblical truths that apply to the difficulties you are facing each day. This person should be one who encourages you to study your Bible, meditate on God's Word, and live it daily!

The Bible contains many, many examples of Christians helping one another to grow in the understanding and application of faith and the Scriptures. Aquila and Priscilla were faithful followers of Christ, who were mentored by the apostle Paul. Later, Aquila and Priscilla had the opportunity to mentor a highly educated man named Apollos. A good spiritual mentor is one who is strong in areas that you are not.

"When Priscilla and Aquila heard him [Apollos], they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately" (Acts 18:24-26).

Dear Lord, lead me to a person who can help me grow in my relationship with You and who will teach me how to live a life rooted in You. Amen.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Steps to Christ

If you would like to invite Christ into your life, here are a few simple steps to follow.

1. Confess your sin. The Bible says that everyone sins. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

2. Ask for forgiveness from God.

3. Move away from your sins (repent). "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord" (Acts 3:19).

4. Ask Jesus Christ to save you from the effect of your sin.

5. Give Jesus control of your life (as your Lord). "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).

By taking these steps, you are inviting Christ into your life as Savior and Lord. Savior means you acknowledge that He died in your place to pay the price for your sins. Lord means that you give control of your life to Him. Maybe you would like to invite Christ into your life right now. It can be done with a simple prayer.

Dear God, I've done things that are wrong. I've sinned. Please forgive me for my sin and help me to move away from it. I now ask Jesus to come into my life as my Savior, to save me from my sin and to be my Lord. I give You control of my life. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for giving Jesus to me. In His name I pray, Amen.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

The only stable thing in life is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The Bible says this can never be taken away from you. "For He Himself has said, 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you'" (Hebrews 13:5 NASB).

Bonnie Keen says, "There were many years when I thought God had turned His back on me. I would read in Luke: 'God is not slow to answer the cries of His people,' and I'd think, Yes He is. He's very slow. He's taking forever. I'm drowning over here. I began to realize that I needed to know Christ more intimately. So I began to study the life of Jesus like I never had before.

"I believe Jesus is the heart of God. He came into this world and found the most messed up, wretched, broken down people He could find to be with. God's never been afraid of the dirt and the mess people get into. God is saying to you, 'I created you. I know where you've been, and I know where you can go with Me.'"

Keep your eyes on Jesus, He is answering your prayers, and He's also urging you to draw closer to Him so that you can experience even greater answers than you could imagine.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).

Monday, September 6, 2010

Learn to Surrender to God's Will

God can use your experience to teach you how to forgive others. Remember, God does not cause bad experiences to happen to people, but He can use those experiences to result in good.

It is only through the power of God that you will be able to forgive other people when they have hurt you and wronged you.

"I'm finding more and more that I really do want to forgive these two people who have been responsible for almost destroying me," says Harriet. "If that doesn't tell you the power of our Lord, then I'm not sure what will."

James says, "There are two things you can do: You can either glorify God or you can glorify yourself. When I decided that I wanted to glorify God, that was when I finally said, 'God, I give up. I quit. I throw up the white flag and I surrender.' And I heard a voice say, 'It's about time because I have been waiting for you to do that for thirty-three years.'"

God wants you to surrender to Him because it is when you completely surrender your life, your agenda, and your definition of right and wrong, better and best, that you will be free. Surrender brings freedom; it brings power, and it ensures victory!

"And the presence of the Lord was with them with power, so that a great number [learned] to believe . . . and turned and surrendered themselves to Him" (Acts 11:21 AMP).