Tag Archive: faith


Praying for Peace And It Does Not Come

  • I’ve been a committed Christian for over 40 years.
  • I’ve served in vocational ministry for over 30 years.
  • I’ve earned a master of divinity and a doctor of ministry.
  • I’ve preached over 1,000 sermons.
  • I’ve memorized hundreds of Scriptures.
  • I practice spiritual disciplines such as prayer, solitude, and fasting on a regular basis.

You’d think that with that spiritual pedigree, I should always experience God’s peace or at least when I lack it, should immediately regain it through prayer, quoting scripture, etc.

Not so in my experience.

One of my all time favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:6-7:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

That verse, as do many others, implies that when we feel anxious and lack peace, if we turn to the Lord, cast our anxiety on him, pray, and yield our wills to His, then emotional peace should readily follow.

When I’ve done these things, sometimes I have regained His peace. At other times I haven’t. Not only have these experiences perplexed me, but when I faced difficult times with our oldest daughter’s rebellion and chronic illness with our youngest daughter, no matter how hard I prayed and quoted scripture, peace would sometimes elude me.

When peace didn’t come, an accusing voice inside me would add to my misery by suggesting that something must be wrong with me.

Maybe I didn’t have enough faith (so I would try to muster more of it).

Perhaps unconfessed sin was in the way (so I’d confess any unknown sins that I may have somehow missed).

Possibly I didn’t pray correctly (so I’d reframe my prayers).

Mostly these techniques failed. So I soldiered on, figuring something was still wrong with me.

My neatly packed theology hit a brick wall. It was like when Neo in the movie The Matrix said, “Something was just not right, something was missing, something was lacking, something bothering me like a splinter in your mind.”

My spiritual coping strategies fell short. I don’t mean to imply that we reduce Christianity to pragmatism. We love and obey God simply because He is God and is worthy of our worship and allegiance. Even so, I finally allowed my honest questions to bubble to the surface.

Why, if I did the right things, did peace not come?

Then… I began to understand how our brain works.

I began reading about the brain and enrolled in a master’s program in neuroleadership (a process that applies neuroscience insights to leadership principles). I began to understand that our brain is not simply like a computer, but also like a pharmacy. It’s constantly releasing chemicals into our blood that profoundly affects emotions like peace, anger, fear, and anxiety.

I’m learning that I can be right with God in all respects, and yet not feel emotional peace in the current circumstance. What a relief to learn that lack of peace does not necessarily mean I’m messed up.

As a result of these new insights, I have begun to see how we can use this incredible gift from God, our brain, for healthy living and productive leadership.

Have you ever struggled with this issue? How are you dealing with it?

This week’s article is written by Charles Stone (www.charlesstone.com), author of the book, People Pleasing Pastors. Submitted by Russ Olmon, President of Ministry Advantage, and Deb Mertin, certified Ministry Advantage coach. For more on this and other helpful subjects, go to www.ministryadvantage.org.

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If you have been trying so hard to fight your own battles, but kept losing in the process, then you need to rethink your strategies. I am not telling you to sit back, and have others walk all over you. However, you have to get to a point in your life where you allow God to fight your battles for you. He will not put you in the front line. Instead, He will take all the darts, while shielding you. He is capable of facing your battles better than you do. Accordingly, the fight is not against your neighbors, co-workers, spouses, friends, children, families, or others you may meet along the way. The fight is against the ruler of darkness.

As the scripture highlights, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore, your real enemy is not those around you, but satan himself. He is a spirit, and the ruler of darkness. He sets out to use anyone he can recruit against you, in order to have you defeated, depressed and discouraged.

Considering this, you are up against a spirit of darkness. Therefore, when satan knocks at your door, just say, “Jesus, can you get that for me?” Leave your battles up to the Lord. He will fight for you (Exodus 14:14). I used to try to fight my battles for myself; however, I have come to a point in my life where I have Jesus fighting for me. Consequently, I have been gaining a lot of victories. 

When satan realizes that you are not taking matters into your own hands anymore, he will feel like you have given up. Notwithstanding, you have not given up, but have secretly given your battles to the Lord.

Exodus 14When you have done what you can, God will do what you can’t.

Don’t Run From Your Trials

Everyone faces many trials; however, these trials are not in vain. God uses them to do a work in us, developing us into mature Christians.

In James 1:2-4, we are told, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. In other words, God uses the tough times in life to sharpen us, making us mature and complete Christians.

Furthermore, God will not permit you to remain in the same trials all of your life; in His proper timing He will deliver you. Psalm 34:17 says, The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

So don’t run from your trials, because the testing of your faith develops you into a mature and complete Christian.

Contributed: Christ Notes

As we continue to move forward into 2016, the excitement of the new year may have finally begin to subside. Alternatively, some people might have already become complacent. In any event, if you are not thinking about boosting your passion, in order to propel into your purpose, it’s now time to move forward.

God has not called the already equipped people. He equips the people He calls. You might have been worried about your finances and your busy schedule; however, God wants to see your faith (Hebrews 11:1). If God has given you a vision, it’s now time to act on this vision. More importantly, you should pray, fast and ask the Lord for His directions.

Do not let the enemy whispers lies and doubts regarding your ability.  God knows that you are trying to come up on the road side of the mountain. Be that as it may, when God has already sanctioned your walk; all you have to do is to ask Him to guide your steps.

Listen to this inspirational song, and hold to God’s powerful hands, as you propel into your purpose.

“And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown” (1 Corinthians 9:25) NKJV. 

Royalty

The idea of being successful in this world today is to acquire power and position, which comes with financial gains. Everyone is competing for the next big break to win a crown.  Notwithstanding, there’s nothing wrong with trying to achieve success. What is wrong is when people become overly greedy and zealous in putting all their emphasis in the material things of this world. These things are temperate, meaning that they are not lasting. The crown that one will win is a perishable crown. For people who are committed to their faith, know that they run a race for an imperishable crown. This crown will take you beyond life on this earth.

Our culture glorifies celebrities, power, position, money and material things; however, these people and things are not lasting.  “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36) NKJV

On this earth, one has to strike a balance. You can aim for the sky, but understand that at the end of your journey on this earth, you have a report and accountability for how you spend your life while here. What will your report be? Have you fulfilled your God-given purpose? Or were you more caught up in the perishable crown phenomenon?

Let’s strive for an imperishable crown today. 

You Shall Be Delivered!

Are you going through sickness, demonic oppressions and attacks, as well as various tribulations?

You shall be delivered. I hear the prophetic voice saying, “Deliverance has come!”

Praises be to God for his tender mercies towards you. It’s not over until God says it’s over. I would like to speak deliverance into your life, as you battle the strong-hold of darkness.

The enemy can’t win, because greater is He who is in you, than He who is in the world.  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).

The spirit of darkness is powerless before the Spirit of light. As I pray over each and every circumstance that hold you captive today, I want to declare that the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17).

I declare liberty in your life today!

Be free in the name of Jesus! Be free in the name of Jesus! Be free in the name of Jesus!

free

Your mountainous problems are not too big for God to handle. Use faith to conquer fear, and confidence to conquer doubt today.

Have you ever felt that God isn’t with you? That when life became tough and darkened God abandoned you? Such a feeling is common to many Christians. However, you must not rely on feelings; instead, you must rely on faith, knowing that God is always there—you just may not always be able to see him in your circumstances. That’s why faith is so important.

Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. For example, if a family member dies, you may understandably question whether or not God could possibly be with you during such difficult times. However, by faith, you can be certain of what [you] do not see—certain that God was there watching over the whole situation.

Romans 4:19-21 describes how Abraham had faith even though it looked like God could never do what he said he would: Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

In his dark circumstances, Abraham could still see God—he had faith. That’s the same type of faith to which God is calling you.

Contributed: Christ Notes

Exodus 14 records the story of how the Hebrews escaped from bondage and slavery in Egypt. On their way out of Egypt, they camped in the desert near the Red Sea. They thought God was leading them out of Egypt. However, Pharaoh led the Egyptian army to where the Israelites were, and he trapped them against the sea. The Israelites must have felt betrayed by God, for it looked as though he didn’t follow through on his plan to lead the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt. But God was faithful to his word — he didn’t let his people down. He led them through the Red Sea and delivered on his promises.

You have probably faced times when you thought that you could never do something, never complete a particular task, or never make it to the finish. However, if God has promised you something, then you can be confident that God will get you through the difficult times in order to bring about his promise.

This is true in Joseph’s life. God took him through years of pain and suffering for an ultimate benefit; Joseph realizes this and, in Genesis 50:20, says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” God had a bigger plan for Joseph’s life, and God didn’t let him down. God led Joseph through his struggles.

This principle is also true in your life. Even though you may be going through extremely painful times, do not fear for God will get you through the hard times you face (see Psalm 23:4). If God took you to it, He’ll get you through it.

Contributed: Christ Notes

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