God, Where Are You?

Let me just be really honest and upfront with you all right now: this post is a Preaching-To-Myself moment. I probably needed to write this more than anyone needs to read it.

Do you ever go through a season where it seems like God is a million miles away from you? I have been through approximately 1,724 of these seasons in my life (give or take a few). But is God really far away? Does he ever decide that he has simply had enough of your shenanigans and that he must take a hiatus from the chaos that is your life? Let’s see what the Word of God has to say about this topic:

And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands and territories. This was so that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grasp for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist [that is, in Him we actually have our being]
Acts 17:26-28A (AMP)

I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:20B (AMP)

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Psalm 145:18 (NIV)

When you feel distance between you and God, declare the unshakable truth of these scriptures over your doubt. Continue searching the scriptures on your own to find more promises concerning the nearness of God, and be comforted by the truth of the unlimited access you have to the Father because of Jesus Christ. God gave us this type of reassurance in His Holy Word because He knew the struggles we would face in life, including the lie of perceived distance between God and us, His children. The truth is, when you meet Jesus, you become filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of the Living God makes His home in your heart. I don’t think you can get much closer than that!

And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.
1 John 5:20 (NLT)

Paul’s simple prayer and declaration below in his letter to the church in Ephesus is a powerful weapon for times where God feels distant. Pray verse 16 over your uncertainty, and declare verse 17 with confidence. Christ has made His home is your heart, and he is never far from you, beloved.

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
Ephesians 3:16-17 (NLT)

Satan, the enemy of our souls and the adversary to our intimacy with God, will constantly whisper lies to you about your status, reputation and right-standing with God. Will you choose to believe the voice of the deceiver or the steadfast truths in the Word of God? I am choosing the Word of God!

~Lacey

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Are You Tired of the Devil’s ADD?

The past year has been a real struggle for me both emotionally and mentally.  At times it has truly felt like a war was being waged inside of my mind and heart, which, the Bible tells us WILL happen.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you WILL have trouble….” John 16:33

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

During this time, it has honestly felt like Satan is throwing everything he has at me: doubt, worry, fear, anxiety, depression, physical sickness, lust, even a kitchen sink! (No, really, it was a source of contention between my husband and myself about whether or not to replace the kitchen sink in a house we are trying to sell!)  I have many days, most in fact, where I feel like I am on an emotional/mental roller coaster!  Satan hits me with one fear and just as I begin to think I have reigned it in he hits me with another…I swear Satan has ADD!

But, that’s what he does, he keeps us in a state of confusion to distract us from the glory and grace of our most amazing Father in heaven.

Growing up, I don’t remember talking about Satan in church or at home (once I was old enough to truly understand, anyways).  It’s almost as though his name was viewed like the name of Voldemort from the Harry Potter series…just saying his name was a no-no!  But, with my on-going spiritual growth, I’ve come to truly believe in this thing called spiritual warfare.

Satan is intentionally deceptive, i.e. a liar!  He wants to make us feel defeated and alone or unique in our struggles.  Let me assure you right now…if you struggle with anxiety, depression, self-worth, doubt, or fear, and you feel like no one else in the entire world may stand up with you and admit this, I will…so I say again, you are not alone!  Other issues are not singular either…divorce, gambling addiction, drug abuse, etc.  It’s common to all of God’s children.  But, Satan wants us to think it only applies us…that way we feel isolated and alone.  Why is that important to Satan?  Because it’s easier to take down a lone lamb than an entire flock.  That’s why the body of Christ is so critical and communing together is so vital…it actually makes us stronger!  I use to attend church out of obligation, but now I want to go to praise God, and build relationships with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  No man is an island!

Satan also tries constantly to make us doubt our God, ourselves and others.  Now, doubt isn’t always a bad thing in life.  It actually keeps us safe sometimes, like when we doubt whether or not a rope swing will hold us, or if jumping off a cliff into a river is a good idea or not.  Doubt when it comes to the Word of God is not all bad, it is human nature after all.  Doubt challenges us in our thinking or rethinking, it forces us to do our own research and dive even deeper into the Word, and can actually strengthen our faith when brought to the Father.  But, we must ask for discernment from the Holy Spirit when facing doubt, so as to not allow it to transform into disbelief.

When you have doubts, seek a friend, or pastor, or someone you trust who can give perspective and help you think through things without fear of judgment.

Let us look back to the rest of the first verse from above…

“But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Spiritual warfare is happening all around us, and will continue to happen, but take heart, in other words, be courageous, brave, steadfast, assured…Jesus has overcome these troubles.  While it may feel like we will not overcome them, we will.  We will have the ultimate victory over our enemy because of what Christ Jesus has done for us when he became the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.  So tell Satan to get to stepping because you are the righteousness of God through Christ!

~OliviaXXX

What America Needs is a Vote for Jesus

It occurred to me the other day amongst all the political debates taking place that in order to see the “CHANGE” Americans want to see we need JESUS!   We need to vote Jesus into our life.  Americans want change!  Jesus will change you!  It does not matter who we have running our country what matters is whether or not we are living our lives for Jesus.  I encourage you if you are not living for Jesus to ask him into your life!  If you are Christian but just going through the motions each day I encourage you to be the witness so many people are needing.  I am going to leave you with some verses today.

Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

Acts 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

2 Timothy 1:9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.

Psalms 62:1 Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Romans 10:10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Mark 10:52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

1 John 5:4 For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Let’s take America back and vote Jesus into our life!  I encourage you all to take a stand for Jesus!

~Leah

On Being Found: What If You Were Never Really Lost?

Genesis 2:25 says, “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”

They felt NO SHAME.  Like a toddler running through the house naked, footloose and fancy free, Adam and Eve had no reason to be ashamed of their bodies. They didn’t have a reason to hide.  But then sin enters the world. Eve was tempted by satan to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  She desired to have the knowledge of God. In present-day times, I would equate this to our desire to be in control of our lives–our constant striving to plan and know our future. As I mentioned in my last post (if you missed that one, you can read it here), this was definitely me! I was consumed by my desire to have God’s divine knowledge and wisdom about every detail of my present and future life. I don’t blame Eve…after all, isn’t that type of knowledge appealing to all of us?

But alas, because of that one bad choice at the beginning of creation, shame enters the world. That is when Adam and Eve suddenly felt like they had to hide. They purposely tried to lose God by covering themselves with fig leaves.  What does that look like today? What are our “fig leaves?” We stop going to church, or fake who we are while we’re at church. We take pills, drink alcohol, find anything we can to hide behind or drown away our sorrows. We pretend to be someone we’re not. We disguise ourselves using our Facebook profiles–an imaginary world of happiness and perfection. Sure–we don’t literally wear fig leaves today, but trust me, we’re hiding behind a mask in hopes that no one, not even God, will really know our struggles. When we feel lost, it’s really because we are looking everywhere but to God for help and guidance.

But guess what. You are not lost. There’s the old line from one of everyone’s favorite hymns of all time, Amazing Grace: I once was lost, but now I’m found.  Let me just encourage you today by telling you that none of us are, or ever were, actually lost. Even if you have not accepted that Jesus died so that you could be forgiven and have a direct line of communication with God, He still sees you.  He’s still calling for you to come to Him.

God sent His only son here to earth to prove His love for us and prove His mercy and grace toward us. He sacrificed his son so that we would be able to have a relationship with Him. He loves YOU so much that He offered up the ultimate sacrifice so that you could come out of your hiding place and live abundantly. He desperately wants each of us to know that He is always right there, waiting for us to just admit our mistakes so that He can redirect our path and bring us closer and closer to Him.

Our God is omnipotent.  Our God knows everything.  That means He knows where we are at all times. See—God is actually calling out to us, just like He called out to Adam and Eve.  Genesis 3:9 tells us that God cried out, “Where are you?”  We know that He is an all-powerful God who knows everything…so we can rest assured that He knew exactly where they were.  Just like He knows exactly where we are. And yet—He is still calling out for each of us.  I can just imagine Him saying to me, “Jamie, why are you hiding from me? Why do you run from me instead of allowing me to be the ONE to protect you?”

When we “put on our fig leaves,” we are breaking our lines of communication with the one and only God who can remove the shame of our bad choices.  Because Jesus died so that we could be forgiven, God is not waiting to punish you.  He gave us THE WAY to come to Him. He’s waiting for you to come back to Him. Even when we feel like He is far away, He’s not. And it’s never too late to stop wandering.

If you declare 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

The Almighty Shepherd does not lose a single sheep.  However, His sheep may wander off. And when they do, He will cry out to each one. Listen for His voice, calling out to you to come back. Come close. You are not lost, but found. Take off your “fig leaves.” Stop hiding from God and making excuses as to why He can’t love you. Admit your mistakes and ask Him to forgive you.  Trust that His way is always better than your way. Make a choice today to follow Jesus right into the arms of your creator and heavenly father who is calling for you to come out from hiding.

 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2: 3-8

Be encouraged! “All who wander are not lost.”

Love,
Jamie