When We Go Through Tough Times

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I Corinthians chapter 10, verse 13 states, “Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But, God keeps his promises, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm at the time you are put to the test.  He will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.”   This verse states  two things to me.  It says that God is in control — he will not allow me to be tested beyond my power to remain in him.  It also states that God will give me strength to endure it.  This is good news! I have found that the worse thing I can say to myself during difficult times is, “I can’t cope because I feel hopeless.”  The bible tells me to challenge that type of thinking no matter how difficult things get. 

Nowhere in the bible does it state we will be spared of discomfort.  John chapter 17, verse 15 states, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the evil one.”  Wow…what does that mean?  It states that God is in control.  He knows how much I can endure.  He will not let me be tested beyond my power to remain firm.  He also tells me he will give me the strength to endure it. 

I need to watch my attitude.  If I base my attitude on how to get through difficult times on 1 Corinthians, 10 verse 13,  I would take the attitude that, “God has given me this test, so I just want to through it as quickly as I can and get going.”

But, I read in James 1, verse 2 -4 that he has presented to me the attitude I should be adopting.  “Consider it a sheer joy, friends when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.  So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed , not defiant in any way.”  I learned that my attitude had to change.  My thinking of difficulties as a curse is to be avoided.  The saying, “Don’t get out of anything prematurely,” has really made a huge impact on me; on how I think about the whole process of difficulties.  God has shown me he wants to use every difficulty I go through to develop my faith. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  When I am going through difficulties, I think they will surely destroy me, and I cannot understand why I am going through them.  But this verse tells me to trust and  rely on God. 

“We need to trust in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose.”

After reading this verse (Romans 8:28) I realize that God knows his plans for me and what he is doing is for my good.  I don’t have to understand everything, I need to trust him like a child trusts his Father.  God shows me that I need to stop complaining to others, I need to tell them that God is giving me strength and his word to go through the difficulty, and to grow in my trust and faith in him.

Philippians 4:8 tells me to stop worrying about what I am going through.  So I fill my mind with Praise: things that are true, noble, pure, lovely, and honorable. I then recall times when God has answered my prayers, especially the difficult times when I had to rely on God for each moment.   These are the times I know that God has been closest to me, and demonstrated his power to me.

So for me, finding verses that cause me to think, to trust God, to make a decision to accept them, and to apply them to my thoughts will make a difference in my difficult times. 

It is not easy to change the way I think and act, but with the power of the Holy Spirit, I believe I can make these changes in my life and to trust God when I am going through those difficult times.

Blessings,

Erme

The 23rd Psalm

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I memorized the 23 Psalm when I was a little girl.   It meant so much to me even then.  But, now that I am older, I realize the true meaning of this powerful Chapter known as the 23rd Psalm.  I would like to share with you what I have learned. 

He makes me lie down in green pastures

How many times have we been through stressful times when we did not know what to do?  I remember many such times.  But I heard God’s voice telling me to “lie down.”  Often, we don’t realize that we are walking in our green pastures, and we can’t see it because we don’t allow ourselves to lie down and be at peace. 

Even though I walk through the valley of death

The valley of death is just a shadow.  God is walking with us, guiding our steps out of the valley.  Keep following him and he will lead you to the mountain top where you will be able to find peace and relief.

God’s rod and staff will comfort you

Every shepherd carried a staff for the sheep and a rod for the wolves.  A rod is a symbol of authority and a staff is an instrument of support.  God gives us both.  He has power over us which means nothing, or no one person, or any situation can harm us, or take us from the love of God.  He will bring us through and support us through the valley.

He anoints our head with oil

The shepherd anointed the sheep’s head with oil for protection.  The sheep stuck their heads in holes in the fields which had serpents in them.  Because the sheep’s head was anointed with oil the serpent would strike but could not penetrate the sheep’s wool.  For us, the oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is our helper, who gives you the power to be able to go though the valleys and climb to the mountain peak.  This means we never have to walk alone, or feel like we have to do everything in our own strength, which is limited to us.  We can rely on God’s power that always is at work in us and for us.

But I must point out that the declaration, “I will fear not evil“, is what speaks to me the loudest.  Just to say it satisfies the soul, what a declaration of independence!  What a soul-stirring heralding of absolute truth.  Proof positive of the resident anointing of Faith in my heart.  To face perilous times with the firm and absolute conviction, come hell or high water, “I will fear no evil.”   The scripture states “the enemy goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.”  The purpose of the roar of the lion is to paralyze his opponent; to terrorize them and to leave them  helpless in fear.  The animals that are able to stand in the face of  fear forget to run because they are terrorized by the roar of the lion.  If the devil is seeking for someone to devour there has to be someone who he cannot devour.  

I have learned the difference  that those that can be devoured and cannot be devoured is based on how we react to the roar.  When life roars at you and you react in utter terror, forgetting who you are and whose you are, forgetting what God gave to you, and you forget where God brought you from, then we become a victim for the lion’s dinner.  But if we remember whose we are and what we are and refuse to be intimated by the lion’s roar than we can evaluate where we stand and become the victor in the test.  Remember the devil thrives off of our fear just as God moves off of our Faith. 

The devil does things in our life to terrorize us.  Anytime the devil does anything against you, he will make sure you hear about it.  Because worse than the event, is the terror that rises up inside your heart because he is seeking whom he may devour.  But, our God sends us out as sheep among wolves.  I ask myself, why would God make me a sheep when he knows I have to walk among wolves?   And then,  not even allow me to fear or be in terror?   He also reminds me that he has not given me “the spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.”  God says “I am the good Shepherd.”  So whenever some thing comes against you to terrorize you, or intimidate you, never forget the 23 psalm.  Because the 23 psalm is a lethal weapon in the hands of a believing sheep.  Because it has Power to deliver!

Blessings, Erme

Why Pray?

I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in His Word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning; I say, more than they that watch for the morning.  Psalm 130:5,6

Like many others, I pray at bedtime.  A few days ago, I was reviewing the many prayer requests I listed on behalf of others and myself. I heaved a sigh and thought, why pray?  It just hit me that I was repetitive in my prayers before God each night. Hadn’t he already heard these prayers and acted on them?  And, what about the prayers I say each morning such as ask ing  God to give us direction, to protect us from harm, to give us opportunity to witness?  I just wondered why we have to mention our requests every night?  It wasn’t as if I considered it hopeless, I really wanted to know the reason.

I got my answer quicker than I thought. I was actually surprised at the Holy Spirit’s response which came immediately after I had stated “why pray?”.  I have learned that when you ask a question of God, no matter how deep or trivial, He does listen and respond.  It’s just that this evening I wasn’t really talking to Him.  I was just reflecting on God’s order of prayer to myself.   Jeremiah 29:12 states, “Then shall you call upon me, and you shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you”.  He was listening.

He asked me, “What season is it?”  I answered, “Winter”.  He then said that all things follow a certain order such as the sun rising and setting.  He followed this stating something profound, “Time was made for man so that he remains focused.  I have your prayers before me”.  It was a simple statement, but that was all I needed to hear to teach me the reason why we pray continuously about certain requests.  1 Kings 8:59a states, “And let these words that I’ve prayed in the presence of God be always right there before Him, day and night, so that He’ll do what is right for me.. (MSG)” .   My friend, once you have made your request to Him — He has those prayers before Him.  Really, there is no need to repeat ourselves again. 

So, why do we pray every day with the same requests?  I am not talking about those prayers we mention and know in our hearts that they are answered or prayers during times of immediate need.  This is faith. I am talking about those prayers we say on behalf of family, friends, work,  church, or nation. For example, I pray each night for the protection of all my children, that their dreams will be directed by God and that they will have a peaceful sleep.  I pray each morning that my steps will lead me to a higher understanding of His will for me and others.  These are the prayers that keep us focused. 

God doesn’t need a calendar to keep track of when to answer prayer.  Heaven is a different dimension where things happen on another plane.  Here on earth, we must keep watch on over the things that matter to us on a daily basis.  (By the way, what matters to us matters to Him.  See Matthew 6: 25-34).  As we pray daily we renew our hearts and realign our minds in accordance to God’s plan.  It keeps us focused.  I hope this blog helps lead you to a better understanding of how prayer works.  Pray daily, often and always. 

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