Unanswered Prayer?


Unanswered yet the prayer your lips have pleaded
In agony of heart these many years?
Does faith begin to fail? Is hope departing?
And think you all in vain those falling tears?
Say not the Father hath not heard your prayer;
You shall have your desire sometime, somewhere.

Unanswered yet? Nay do not say ungranted;
Perhaps your work is not yet wholly done.
The work began when first your prayer was uttered,
And God will finish what He has begun.
If you will keep the incense burning there,
His glory you shall see sometime, somewhere.

Unanswered yet? Faith cannot be unanswered,
Her feet are firmly planted on the Rock;
Amid the wildest storms she stands undaunted,
Nor quails before the loudest thunder shock.
She knows Omnipotence has heard her prayer,
And cries, “It shall be done”–sometime, somewhere.
–Miss Ophelia G. Browning

How do you recover from heartbreak?

Most of the time we want to avoid heartbreak if it all possible. But what does the Bible say about heartbreak?

Heartbreak is defined as “crushing grief, anguish,broken_heart_by_starry_eyedkid or distress.” In a wider sense, brokenhearted usually describes someone who has suffered a failed relationship or loss of a loved one. But we can have a broken heart due to any kind of disappointment in life such as loss of possession, loss of job, shattered dreams, etc.

How are we to handle heartbreak? The world advises medication (antidepressant) to numb the pain instead of dealing with it. Or we try to solve it in our own strengths by going on a shopping spree, getting a makeover (face, hair, nails done). Or some encourage positive thinking. Do they work? Not really. They are temporary things, so they work temporarily! It does not heal the broken heart. Brokenness is on the inside. How could any external thing heal the internal problem?!

The real cure is time. It takes time to heal. We cannot rush it.  I’ve seen this to be true in my one life whether through losing a loved one (my mom), or through broken (dating or friendship) relationships! I want to be done with it fast but it doesn’t work that way. I am not a very patient person when it comes to anything going slowly. I am a go- getter type person :)! But God is teaching me through my own brokenness that there is no shortcut. We are to go through it in His strength!

The world’s focus is on the feelings and getting rid of those feelings but God looks at the heart (1Sam. 16:7). A non-Christian may sense a little lessening in intensity of heartbreak overtime. But Christians can experience complete healing/recovery because we have access to the power of God’s Spirit who alone “heals the brokenhearted and binds up the wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

Think about Job in the Bible. In one day he lost his children, his possessions, and his health. What was Job’s response? “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD'” (Job 1:20-21). Job was heartbroken. Yet, he worshipped God and remained faithful. He had doubts as to God’s goodness during this difficult time, but he still grew closer to God through God’s revelation of Himself (Job 42:1-5) in the midst of his trials. Job teaches us that we as believers can learn through heartbreak—that God is faithful and good and trustworthy. When I got the news about my mom’s death, God immediately reminded me of Job 1:20-21, that God gives and takes away and He led me to thank Him for the years we’ve had my mom as His precious gift!

David is another example. He was a man after God’s own heart; he suffered many heartbreaks. Each time, he recovered by strengthening himself in the LORD (1 Sam. 30:6). As a result he became even stronger man of God. Psalm 34 gives an example of how David overcame heartbreak by calling on God: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4). David knew “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). He expressed a confidence in God’s love: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). David was pursed by Saul and his own son even! What a hard life he lived.

David and Job are great examples in overcoming heartbreak by calling on God for help and having confidence in His love for His children. It is not always easy to look to God when you are in the midst of an intense heartache/heartbreak, but just saying “Help” will do! I’ve done that at times. That’s all I could say. Then I slowly turn to God’s Word and His promises. Through prayer I try to look at my circumstance through the eyes of God/through His promises. When I do that, then I am not looking at my pain directly.

Like me, you may have wondered at times, “God may have helped people like Job and David, but does He care about me today?  Or why don’t we see miracles like people did in the OT and NT times?” The truth is “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8). He does care; He is able to do miracles today! That is the truth. My feelings may tell me otherwise but God’s Word is the ultimate Truth! Cling to it! God has so many promises for us: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). What a comfort to know that God “will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). God is always near to comfort His children: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). God, who never lies, has promised to go through our trials with us: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2).

God never ever failed anyone when they cried out to Him, and He will not fail the brokenhearted who cries out to Him today. He may not always answer exactly in the way we would like, but He always answers according to His perfect will and timing. While we wait for His answer, His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). It’s a fact, it’s already there. We just need to reach out for His grace in our trials. Remember while you are enduring heartbreak that God loves you and His love for you is unconditional!

One thing that helps me in my brokenness is to know that Jesus sympathizes with my pain and weakness (Heb. 4:15). What amazing love! He is always there to comfort the brokenhearted and restore the joy! Open your heart and let Him into your pain! He waits for us until we let Him! As you open up to Him, May He soothe your souls, for He is the Balm of Gilead, your Healer (Jer. 8:22)! Amen!

Freedom to sing

A little bird I am,

Shut from the fields of air,
bird-in-a-gilded-cageAnd in my cage I sit and sing
To Him who placed me there;
Well pleased a prisoner to be,
Because, my God, it pleaseth Thee.

My cage confines me round,
Abroad I cannot fly,
But though my wing is closely bound,
My soul is at liberty;
For prison walls cannot control
The flight, the freedom of the soul.

I have learnt to love the darkness of sorrow; there you see the brightness of His face.
—Madame Guyon

Broken Dreams

As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my friend.

But then instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.

At last I snatched them back and cried,
“How could you be so slow”
“My child,” He said, “What could I do?
You never did let go.”
– Author Unknown

How can we overcome sin?

As I mentioned before, through Adam’s sin, sin entered the world. But God found a solution for our sin: When Jesus died on the cross, He took upon Himself all the sin of the world: “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:21; “He himself is the sacrifice that atones (literally at-one-ment; to make amends; to supply satisfaction) for our sins–and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.” 1 John 2:2.

Look up Col. 1:20-23 where Paul talks about how God has brought us into his own presence and we are holy and blameless as we stand before Him without a single fault. Also look up Colossians 2:14, Paul say that Christ by taking the punishment for our sin, He cancelled the debt that each of us owes God. He removed the debt against us that condemned us. He also reversed the curse of our old natures, which keeps us enslaved to sinful passions and desires. (Gal. 3:10,13)
How can I overcome my sin (including habitual sins)?

1. The 1st thing to consider in overcoming sin is to realize the transformation that takes place within us when we are saved. When a person is saved, a transformation takes place. In our case it has already taken place. Paul says now we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). From the moment we believe in Christ, we are in the process of sanctification (“sanctification” means a separation unto God, holiness (positional holiness in Christ; its practical, progressive). We are positionally holy (“set free from every sin” by the blood of Christ, Acts 13:39), we know that we still sin (1 John 1:10). God started the work of making us like Christ, and He is continuing it (Philippians 1:6).
Through the process of sanctification we are conformed by the Holy Spirit into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Sanctification in this life will never be fully complete which means that believers will always struggle with remaining sin. Paul describes this battle with sin in Romans 7:15–25. Even though he desires to do what is good in the eyes of God, he often does what is evil instead. He does the evil he doesn’t want to do and fails to do the good that he wants to do. In this, he is describing every Christian’s struggle with sin.

James says we all sin in different ways, “For all of us make many mistakes” (James 3:2). Some sins are easier to overcome than others. Some struggle with anger, others with gossip, and others with lying, adultery, murder, abortion. Often times, we don’t even think about attitude, or tongue or hidden, dirty thoughts to be sin. The point is that each of us has a sin (or some sins) with which we struggle. We have habits that we developed during our lives as unbelievers and these require more grace and discipline to overcome. Be patient with God and with yourself as you work through these.
Paul says, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). When Paul says, “Consider yourselves dead to sin,” he is telling us to remember that, in coming to Christ, the power of sin has been broken in our lives. We were at one time slaves to sin, but now we are slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:17–18). At the cross the power of sin was broken, and, in becoming Christians, we are set free from sin’s rule over us. Now when we sin, it’s because we have willfully submitted ourselves to sin’s dominion (Galatians 5:1). Look up Gen. 4:7 where God is talking to Cain about his sacrifice because he didn’t do what is right, he didn’t give his best to God as his brother Abel did. So God tells Cain if he doesn’t do what is right, sin is crouching at the door (it lies there waiting for an opportunity) and it desires to have you but you must rule over it! God is telling us the same thing today. Watch your words, actions and attitudes, sin desires to have you and rule over you but you must master/rule over it because Christ has given you freedom from the dominion of sin! Embrace it and thank God for that freedom and walk in that freedom daily! Don’t submit (be subject) to sin but submit to Christ and His leadership!

2. The 2nd thing in overcoming sin is to recognize our inability to overcome sin and our need to rely on the power of God’s Holy Spirit, who dwells within us. In Romans 7:25, Paul says, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” We need the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul later says, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11). We overcome our sin as we submit ourselves to God and refuse the temptations of the flesh, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:7–8). Sumbit, Greek word hupotasso. The hupo means “under” and the tasso means “to arrange.” full meaning is “to obey, put under, be subject to, submit oneself unto, put in subjection under or be under obedience or obedient to.” The word was used as a military term meaning “to arrange troop divisions in a military fashion under the command of a leader.” It means to arrange oneself under the command of God rather than to live according to one’s old way of life based on a human way. It is a process surrendering our own will to our Father’s.

3. 3rd thing we need to do in overcoming sin is to change the habits that cause us to sin. We have to adopt the attitude of Joseph who, when tempted by Potiphar’s wife to come to bed with her, left the room so quickly that he left his cloak in her hands (Genesis 39:15). We simply must make every effort to run from the things that tempt us to sin, if it’s overeating that you struggle with, then don’t buy those foods, and if you are tempted to sexual sin,then stop watching anything or reading that leads you to it. Instead run as far as you can. If it’s gossip, lying and etc., then practice for 3weeks (21 days) living in truth, using your tongue to praise God, to uplift and encourage others. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Eph. 4:29). That’s what God created our tongue for originally. Jesus tells us to cut off our hand or pluck out our eye if they “offend” us (Matthew 5:29–30). This means removing from our lives anything, even those things close to us, if they tempt us to sin. So we have to change the habits that lead to habitual sin.

4. 4th thing in overcoming sin is we need to immerse ourselves in God’s Word. If we think we are saved by grace, but sanctified by our own efforts, we fall into error (Galatians 3:1–3) just like the Galatians did. Sanctification is God’s work! When we think the sin/problem occurs because of our weakness (we are unable to stop the particular sin), it indicates our lack of understanding and lack of trust in God’s power/strength. When we do not understand His power to save, forgive, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness as it says in 1 John 1:9, we can get caught in a destructive cycle of sin, guilt, and fear, which leads to a lack of joy in our salvation, which leads to more sin. In Psalm 51:12, David pleads with God, “Restore to me the joy of my salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” He wrote this after he had fallen into the grievous sins of adultery and murder. It is interesting to notice that he asks God for a return of the joy of his salvation. Joy is key in our victory over sin. It is also important that we understand that God sustains us “with a willing spirit v12.” God takes joy in saving us. Our salvation does not depend on how much or how little we sin, how much or how little we evangelize or repent or do good works, how loving or unloving we are, or anything else about us. Our salvation is entirely dependent God’s grace, love, and purpose. It is His gift to us (Ephesians 2:8–9). This is important to understand. The joy of salvation comes from accepting the fact that God’s grace covers us, that He will change us and conform us to the image of Christ, and that it is His work, not ours (Romans 8:29; Philippians 1:6; Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:20-21-God is working in us what is well pleasing in His sight through Christ. Once we truly grasp this reality, sin loses its power.

Psalm 51:17, David writes, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” What is a contrite heart? “A contrite heart is one in which the natural pride and self-sufficiency have been completely humbled by the consciousness of guilt.” The Hebrew and Greek words often translated “contrite” actually mean “crushed, crippled, or broken.” It’s a picture of a conscience that is crushed by the weight of its own guilt. Contrite heart stops justifying the wrong choices, and realizes the depth of the human depravity, and humbly accepts God’s righteous condemnation of sin. A contrite heart offers no excuses and shifts no blame. It fully agrees with God about how evil sin is. A contrite heart throws itself upon the mercy of God, knowing that it deserves nothing but righteous wrath (Isaiah 6:5; Psalm 41:4).

In Psalm 51:17, David is saying here that there is nothing we can offer God to appease God when we have sinned. No sacrifices. Instead God desires true repentance. Many of us miss this truth. Rather than repent, we try to “clean up our acts, give more, pray more, or keep ourselves busy in all kinds of religious activities hoping that God will finally get over being mad at us. God wants none of that. External religious activity cannot replace internal, heartfelt contrition/repentance (1 Samuel 16:7). One thing God desires more than anything else is our brokenness over our own sin. When we agree with God about how bad our sin is, we take the first step toward reconciliation with Him. Jesus illustrates what a contrite heart looks like in Luke 18:10–14. The humble repentance that God desires is contrasted with self-righteousness in the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Look up Hebrews 10:10, 14 where the author reminds us that we’ve been sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ and by one offering He has perfected/made perfect forever those of us who are being sanctified/made holy. As we understand the depth of these truths, we will serve our God in faith, in love and joy rather than out of fear or duty.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with Paul’s charge to the Corinthians: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:56-58). Stand firm in the truths you know about your freedom in Christ and let Christ rule in your lives, instead of allowing sin to rule over you.

What is the key to victory when struggling with sin? Let me say it again, the key to victory in our struggles with sin lies not in ourselves, but in God, in His promises, in what He has done for us to free us from sin’s dominion through His Son’s death on the cross and His faithfulness to us: “The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth (Psalm 145:18; see also Psalm 46:1) And always remember this truth, “God has delivered us and will continue to deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:10). Amen!:)

Can we be free from sin?

When you hear the word “sin” what comes to your mind immediately? Darkness? Impurity? Something hidden in the deepest part of your inner being?

According to the biblical dictionary, sin can be defined as “any thought, action, or attitude that falls short of God’s holiness” “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23. Sin has many layers. Specific actions or thoughts are sinful. Such as murder, adultery, and stealing and etc. Even the desire to commit murder, adultery, and theft are sins according to Jesus: “Anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28.

But sin goes even deeper than that. We commit sins because by nature (Adamic nature) we are sinners. Adam and Eve’s first sin in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-6) brought sickness, sorrow, shame, and death into the world. We still bear the consequences of that sin today (pain in childbearing for women, hard work for men with the cursed ground) Gen. 3:16-19.

We all have inherited a sin nature from Adam. Psalm 51:5: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Rom. 5:12: “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.”
We cannot help but sin because it is our nature to do so. Think about a baby…s/he does not have to be taught to be selfish, wanting their own ways. That comes naturally.

However, here is an important truth to remember: we were not created to be sinful. We were designed by God in His own image: “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27. We are God’s masterpiece: “For we are God’s masterpiece/handiwork/workmanship. “He has created us anew in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. This was the original plan of God for humanity! Not only that, but also He gave us responsibility over His creation! What an honor!
“What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than heavenly beings and You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.” Psalm 8:4–6
We were designed to live in perfect fellowship with our Creator.

God found a solution for our sin: When Jesus died on the cross, He took upon Himself all the sin of the world: “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:21. “He himself is the sacrifice that atones (to make amends; to supply satisfaction) for our sins–and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.” 1 John 2:2.
Col. 1:20-23: “…and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. 21This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. 23But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.”
By taking the punishment for our sin, He cancelled the debt that each of us owes God: “He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” Col. 2:14.
Jesus by His death on the cross removed the debt against us that condemned us. He also reversed the curse of our old natures, which keeps us enslaved to sinful passions and desires: “But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law. 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” Galatians 3:10, 13.
“Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” Romans 7:25. “For you are a slave to whatever controls you.” 2 Peter 2:19.

The moment we believed Jesus as our Savior, we were given a new nature that has been freed from sin: “Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.” Romans 6:18. “And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Rom. 8:2.
The entire chapter of Romans 6 explains this in detail. Verse 14 says, “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

Can we be free from sin? Proverbs 20:9 asks the question “Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin?” We can all identify with that. If we are honest with ourselves, we know we still sin. So why does Romans 6:18 say, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness”? Is this a contradiction? Does God’s Word contradict? Never! But God’s Word convicts us of sin every day. To be free from sin means that we are no longer enslaved by sin. Through the Holy Spirit, we have the power to live victoriously over sin: “.. thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” Romans 8:35-37).

Just like we once followed fleshly desires, now we follow the Holy Spirit: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” Romans 8:14; “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24.

We live in a fallen world and in our flesh, we will still sin. But we have a remedy for that: “Confess you sins….” 1 John 1:9. “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.” 1 John 2:1. Also take a look at, Romans 7:21–25. Those who follow Christ do not make sin a lifestyle choice: 1 John 2:1–6: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” 1 John 3: 6-10 talks about Christ coming to destroy the works of the devil! It is done! Finished for us!

Romans 6:2: “Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” In Christ, we have received a new nature. Our old nature drew us toward self-pleasure, the new nature draws us toward holiness: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Sin has no longer power over us. Freedom from sin allows us to offer ourselves as willing slaves/servants of Christ, who continues to work in us to make us more like Him: “Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.” Romans 6:18.

Christians still sin even after being saved. The difference is that we no longer love our sin; we hate sin. Praise God for the victory we have in Christ: “The word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one” (1 John 2:14). The better we understand how much Christ went through to offer Himself as a perfect sacrifice on our behalf (to set us free) the more we will hate our sin. Jesus, the only innocent Man, shed His blood to save us from our sin. Our sin caused His death. Our sin nailed Him to a cross. And “we turned our backs on him and looked the other way” (Isaiah 53:3). Once we understand the price Jesus paid for our salvation, we will love Him even more, and we will hate what caused His pain and death. We are made to love, obey, and glorify our Maker. Sin disables our God-given potential. Once we realize God’s original plan for us, we want to live for Him and to be dead to sin. Satan is the originator of sin (Ezekiel 28:15). As believers, we still face Satan’s temptations and struggle with the “old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires” (Ephesians 4:22). When we “gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Romans 13:14), we are siding with the devil’s spirit, not God’s.

Here is great news: Jesus helps us in our battle with flesh/sin today: “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:13. In your struggle with sin, remember the words of this song, sing it aloud by faith!

“Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me.” (Lord I need you song)

And pray daily Psalm 19: 12-14: “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
13Keep your servant from deliberate/willful/presumptuous sins!
Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
And innocent of great sin.

14May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

Amen!

Why Do I Sruggle With Faith?

We all struggle with our faith in different areas of our lives. The reason we struggle with a lack of faith is that we follow our perceptions, our feelings rather than what God’s word says to be true. At least that is my experience. We struggle because we don’t see. We are prone to live by sight. It is hard for us to believe in what we cannot see. The Bible says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for (proof of God’s promises), the evidence (the convincing proof) of things not seen.” “Faith” means to be certain, to believe in, to trust, and to rely. Faith comes from the root word “to unite, to bind”. We are united with God by faith in Christ!

Struggle with a lack of faith is not something new. The most committed and godly leaders in the Bible also have struggled with doubts, fear just like everyone else. Elijah experienced such struggle even after the great miracle with the prophets (1Ki. 18:36-38, 46). After that event he was depressed, wanting to die in a cave (1Ki. 19: 3-5). John the Baptist also struggled with faith at the lowest point in his life when he was sentenced to death (Luke 7:20). He doubted Jesus’ identity, wondering if he was truly the One sent by God. Jesus did not rebuke him; instead He sent Him a message of hope (Luke 7:22). We also know Abraham and Sara’s story of doubt and fear (Gen. 16-21). There are many more stories in the Bible…

We see from these stories that God is patient with us (Ps. 147:11). The only cure for doubt and fear is God’s Truth. In addition to this, you can read the biographies of faith heroes, listen to sermons on doubt and fear, or pray with a friend. When God looks at our lives today and sees our fears, and doubts, He sends us the same message of Hope through His word. When I am in doubt, I challenge myself to turn to God’s Word. It is not always easy. But I open the Word even when I do not feel like reading it. My flesh wants to turn the TV on and numb my pain but it does nothing to build up my faith. Only His Truth calms the storm and builds up my faith. There are times when I cry out as the man cried to Jesus, “I believe. Lord, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Jesus did not rebuke the man for his lack of faith. Instead, He healed his child. Jesus was pleased with this man’s desire to grow in faith. We can cry out to Him! It is Ok. He did not judge those, who were with Him and saw Him, and still doubted Him. Instead of rebuking them, He sent them a message of Hope (Lk. 7:22). God understands our inability to exercise the faith we need at times. We can take great comfort in this that we are not alone in this struggle. It is a part of life!

We need to continually keep in mind Paul’s exhortation to walk by faith rather than by sight (2Cor. 5:7). We see a contrast here: truth and our perception—what we believe to be true and what we perceive to be true. When we struggle with faith, the real truth is that we do not know God. Can you trust somebody that you do not know? You won’t trust him until you get to know the person. It’s the same with God. If we do not spend enough time in His Word getting to know Him more, we won’t be able to trust Him. We need to remind ourselves what Christ has done for us daily. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Our faith is built up as we continually remind and preach ourselves the Gospel. It is in difficult times that we can easily forget all that God has done for us, because we are blinded by our emotions. The Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Genuine Faith is to believe the Word of God and act upon it, not responding to our perceptions, or our feelings. God knows that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mark 14:38). That is why He said “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Mark 14:38). We are encouraged to fight the good fight of faith until the end (1Tim. 6:12).
Let us live in the reality of God’s promises!

Salt & Light

Matthew 5:13: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” Salt was used to preserve food by 1st century people In the Middle East, esp. meat which would quickly spoil in the desert environment. Today, we, as believers in Christ are preservatives to the world, “preserving it from the evil/wickedness all around us through the Gospel. We are to influence the world for the good! We are to be peacemakers! “”Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. ” Matt 5:9. We are to be careful in what what we say and how we say it! “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Col. 4:6!

We also use salt to enhance the flavor of our food. I love my real sea salt😄 I could not survive without it! In the same way, we are called to enhance the flavor of the world we live in by allowing Christ to live His life through us! If we are guided by His Spirit and are obedient to Christ, we will influence our world for good, as salt flavors our food. Where there is strife, we are to be peacemakers, to be the ministers of reconciliation (2Cor. 5:18); where there is sorrow, we are to be hands and feet of Christ, binding up wounds, and where there is hatred, we are to example Christ’s love, returning good for evil (Lk. 6:35), for Love is kind, patient, and is not self seeking! (1Cor. 13)

We all know that what is happening around us has to do with the heart issues, sin issues! Paul said that our fight is not against flesh and blood but against the powers of spiritual darkness (Eph. 6). Racism is not from God. God says I created one race-human race-with different ethnic groups! And each ethnic group is valuable in His eyes, created in His image. But we, human beings, have messed it up. We messed up God’s original design, intent and purpose for humanity! We were created to love and serve one another in humility, to live in unity (Gal. 5:13)!

We are to be the Light of the world. Our good works (deeds of Kindness, compassion, mercy, gentleness) are to shine brightly for all to see! ” Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matt 5:16.

Our presence in the world should be like a light in the darkness. Picture darkness…what happens when the light is turned on??? Everything is bare! We can see everything, even the tiny dust!:) Our good deeds must be evident to all, esp. to those who don’t know Christ yet! Are those who look to us today, glorify the Father as in verse 16?! If not, then what is preventing us from being His salt and light? I think we know the answer….We are losing our saltiness and light by accepting the way of the world, identifying ourselves more and more with them without even realizing it. Our thinking is influenced by the world, by media and by what we see and hear. “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” What are the concerns of God today? The same as in the past, the Spirit filled, Spirit-led lifestyle of genuine discipleship! That’s what God is concerned about the most! His heart is after the lost! And that is what He wants to burden our hearts with! We can continue to be the salt and light to our world only by remaining focused on Christ and being obedient to His call in our lives! He is the Solution to all the problems we are faced with today! Let us focus on the “concerns of God” as Jesus asks us! Let us not be a stumbling block to Jesus and His life in us! He wants to manifest His life through us freely! Lord, have Your way in us!

Simple Prayer

Being perplexed, I say,
‘Lord, make it right!
Night is as day to Thee,
Darkness as light.
I am afraid to touch
Things that involve so much;
My trembling hand may shake,
My skilless hand may break;
Thine can make no mistake.’
Being in doubt I say,
‘Lord, make it plain;
Which is the true, safe way?
Which would be gain?
I am not wise to know,
Nor sure of foot to go;
What is so clear to Thee,
Lord, make it clear to me!’

“Neither know we what to do; but our eyes are, upon thee” 2Chr. 20:12 Mrs. Cowman

Waiting!

Waiting! Yes, patiently waiting!
Till next steps made plain shall be;
To hear, with the inner hearing,
The Voice that will call for me.

Waiting! Yes, hopefully waiting!
With hope that need not grow dim;
The Master is pledged to guide me,
And my eyes are unto Him.

Waiting! Expectantly waiting!
Perhaps it may be today
The Master will quickly open
The gate to my future way.

Waiting! Yes, waiting! still waiting!
I know, though I’ve waited long,
That, while He withholds His purpose,
His waiting cannot be wrong.

Waiting! Yes, waiting! still waiting!
The Master will not be late:
He knoweth that I am waiting
For Him to unlatch the gate.

Written by Mrs. Cowman.