A Life that Does Not Despair

A very terrifying feeling is a panic attack or an overwhelming feeling of despair. These experiences can be very real and awful to the one experiencing them. They can even be paralyzing to whoever is going through either despair or panic. These feelings and experiences are an evidence of our fragility and nothing to be ashamed of for they are not sin but rather they show us our desperate need for the Lord, our Creator. He made us and is aware of how fragile we are.

Psalm 103:14 For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.

He is mindful of our desperate need for Him and is a present help in time of trouble.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

He is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Jesus came for you and especially for those who are afflicted in the soul and spirit.

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;

He will help you and He will come to you. Put your trust in Him and cry out to Him.

Psalm 27:13,14 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.

Yes, let your heart take courage. You will see His goodness once again and it will be in the land of the living. Even though at the moment or at any particular time it may seem very dark and despairing it will not always be that way. You will see His goodness if you will trust Him, wait on Him, be strong in Him and let your heart take courage in Him. When you have nothing left then you are in the best position to trust Him for you will then see that you can not trust in yourself. It is when we trust in ourselves that we are tempted to turn away from the Lord.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 Thus says the Lord,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the Lord.
“For he will be like a bush in the desert
And will not see when prosperity comes,
But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
A land of salt without inhabitant.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
“For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.

He will come to you like the spring rain and water your life again. You will see life and new growth. Continue to press on to know the Lord and trust Him with all your heart.

Hosea 6:3 “So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.
His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
Like the spring rain watering the earth.”

 

A Life that Overcomes Depression

Depression is a struggle for many people and if we can not overcome depression then it can easily overcome us. The Lord wants us to have victory in every area of our lives and depression is one area that we can see His power and His love. First of all, He helps us in our depression.

Psalm 143:7,8 Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit fails; Do not hide Your face from me, Or I will become like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.

Depression can begin in our spirit and then go to our soul, which is our mind, will and emotions and then finally it can affect our bodies. Depression can begin in our emotions after an emotional high, (having a baby etc.) or physically (after physical exhaustion) and then affect us spiritually. Either way, when we are depressed then we are down and are struggling to get back up again. Just as our blood sugar can fluctuate and give us feelings of lethargy and tiredness so depression can do the same for our spirit. However, just as protein will keep our blood sugar more level if we eat protein in the morning, so the meat of the Word of God will keep our spirit more level and less prone to ups and downs if we spend time in God’s Word each morning. Just as when Elijah was depressed the Lord had the ravens bring him protein to nourish him. The meat of God’s Word will nourish our spirit and strengthen us spiritually.

I Kings 17:6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he would drink from the brook.

When we spend time in the Word of God in the morning then we will have a good measure of God’s lovingkindness and truth in our spirit and soul to begin the day so that we will be more ready for the trials throughout the day and the unexpected surprises.

Psalm 59:16 But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength;
Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For You have been my stronghold
And a refuge in the day of my distress.

When you learn the discipline of spending time with the Lord every morning then you will see that He is your strength and will be your stronghold all day long and your refuge in distress. Distress brings depression if there is no place that we can go to with our distresses. We need a refuge that we can run to anytime.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe.

Learn to come to Him in the morning and you will find yourself running to Him throughout the day. He will lift you up and you will know His secure arms around you holding you up.

Psalm 27:5 For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.

If you are a new Christian then long for the milk of His Word each morning and fill your heart up with His Word.

I Peter 2:2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

Then as you grow in Him then start learning to chew on the meat of His Word. He will teach you and lead you in the way you should go.

Hebrews 5:13,14 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Most people struggle at times with depression. It is not a sin but it is when the body, soul or spirit is depressed or down. However, it is not healthy spiritually to remain for a long period of time in a state of depression. The Lord will lift you up but He has given you His Word and His Spirit to strengthen you in Him.

 

A Life that Forgives

There are certain commands that carry much greater weight than others and the command to forgive seems to be one of the most important. A lack of forgiveness brings about one of the worse consequences that is mentioned in the Bible. The Lord said that if you do not forgive others then your sins will not be forgiven you.

Matthew 5:14,15 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Forgiveness also brings a great blessing from the Lord because He says that if you forgive others then your sins will be forgiven you. We are all sinners who have sinned greatly against the Lord and we desperately need forgiveness from God, the Father. In the same way, we need to desperately forgive others of their sins. You receive what you give away and what you withhold will be withheld from you.

Mark 11:25,26 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”

The meaning of evil is to cause grief. It is hard to forgive when someone has caused us grief and especially great grief. However, when we see what a great debt that we have toward the Lord and the great grief that we have caused Him then we lean more toward forgiving. However, forgiving is impossible apart from the Lord. He has given you forgiveness and this is the forgiveness that you offer to others. Jesus has forgiven you and Jesus has forgiven them. We can only forgive by the power of the Holy Spirit.

John 20:22,23 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

We forgive by faith, in the power of the Holy Spirit in obedience to Him, not by feeling. Our flesh will never want to forgive and does not have the power to do so.

Romans 8:6-8 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

When you forgive then the Lord releases you from the bitterness and resentment of unforgiveness. You actually are the one who is set free. The person does not have to even be aware of their wrong towards you and they do not have to be sorry for what they did. If they are sorry and repentant then that is wonderful but it is not a prerequisite to you forgiving them. Healing for you comes after forgiveness. There is no pain so great that the Lord can not heal but first you must forgive. He does not hold your sin against you because He has forgiven you. Forgiveness is the promise never to bring it up again. How many times are we to forgive? That is a great question and Jesus answered it for us.

Matthew 18:21,22 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Forgiveness is so important that the Lord told a parable about forgiveness to allow His hearers to understand more clearly what He was saying about forgiveness.

Matthew 18:23-35 For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

He who has ears to hear, let him hear. A day of accounting is coming and it will be too late to settle your accounts with your fellow man. For this reason it is of utmost importance to “keep your accounts up to date”. God declared the man wicked in this story because of his unwillingness to forgive someone else and therefore all of this wicked person’s sins were still on his account and were not wiped out and forgiven. Forgiveness is a matter of the will. It is letting it go and giving it to the Lord. You can’t, He never said you could, He can, He always said He would. Give the matter to the Lord and He will forgive that person through you by the power of His Holy Spirit. As long as you have unforgiveness in your heart then you are in a prison. However, you can settle the account with that person who owes you through your forgiveness by forgiving him. It is after this that you will be released from your prison.

Luke 7:47,48 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”

Did Jesus offer forgiveness to you? Yes, He did. Go and do likewise that you too may hear the words, “Your sins have been forgiven”.  Forgiveness begins with the prayer, “Lord, I forgive _________. Please forgive me of my unforgiveness and by faith I have forgiven _________. Then you will love much because you too will see how great a debt that you were forgiven by our Lord. Your slate will be wiped clean. You may have to forgive over and over again because the devil might continue to bring it up again but the devil hates to see you forgive and call on the Lord so he will quit bringing it up to you. It is hard to believe when you are in the pain but healing will come and the Lord will truly make something beautiful our of your life.

 

 

A Life that Chooses Life and Peace

There are two people within the Christian. There is the “old person” which is called the flesh and there is the “new person” who is the new spiritual man that came alive when a Christian is born again. He is born spiritually. This truth is a puzzlement to an unbeliever but is a reality to the Christian. A religious man asked Jesus this question 2000 years ago.

John 3:4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”

Jesus answered him because he was truly seeking to know the truth. The Lord knows your heart and if you are sincerely seeking to know the truth then you will hear the truth.

John 3:5-7 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

You must be physically born and your must be spiritually born to become a child of God and enter His kingdom. We are born spiritually dead and that is why we do not understand spiritual matters until we are born again. When we become born again then His Spirit enters into us and unites with our spirit and makes us become alive spiritually.  For this reason, no one can give us assurance of our salvation but the Spirit and He does assure our spirit that we have become His child.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

When you become His child, by becoming born again, you have now within you the “old man”, which is your flesh and the “new man” which is your spirit. If you allow the flesh to control you then you will experience death. If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the flesh then you will live.

Romans 8:12-14 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

If you are a Christian then you will want to be led by His Spirit. If you are a Christian then you will not want to sin. If you will feed your spirit by spending time with the Lord through His Word and prayer and allow His Spirit to control you then you will experience life and peace.

Romans 8:5,6 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,

The Christian life is a process of maturing and becoming more like Christ. It takes time and obedience. We all fall but the Lord picks us up and helps us get back on track.

Proverbs 24:16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,

You will find that the more consistent you are in your quiet times with Him the smoother your Christian life will be. It is a “sweet life” to walk with the Lord. Don’t get discouraged. We all have to learn to walk with Him. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.

Romans 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

He loves you and He remembers your sin no more!

Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

 

 

A Life that Finishes Well

When it is all said and done the most important words that you will ever hear is what the Lord will say to you at the end of your life. There is justice for all, the Christian and the nonChristian.

I Corinthians 4:5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

There will be no hiding. He will bring to light the things we have hidden in darkness and He will judge our motives. This is a heavy truth but it is better to hear it now than to wait until it is too late.

II Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

God is a God of justice. Justice means that there will be just compensation for what we have done. He will compensate the nonChristian with wrath and punishment for their not believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, and their resulting sins and lack of works of obedience.

Romans 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

God’s wrath is against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth. How many times have we suppressed the truth, which means, we heard it and did not do it. We justified ourselves, or at least tried to, until our hearts became dull and we no longer heard the truth. Repent, repent, repent and turn to Him with all of your heart. His judgment day is going to be a very frightening day.

Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Let no one deceive you with empty words. Don’t just listen to those who will tell you what you want to hear. His wrath is coming!

II Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

The Lord will reward the Christian for their faith, and their resulting obedience and good works. In fact, He says that judgment will begin with the household of God. If you are a Christian then that means you.

I Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

If John the apostle fell like a dead man when he saw the Lord how do you think we will be when we see Him in His glory? One of the responses when He returns will be of great and terrifying fear. However, for those who know Him, He will remove our fear just as He did when John saw Him.

Revelation 1:17.18 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

Another response will be that those who have done the most will feel as if they have done the least. He says that at the end He will separate the sheep from the goats. He will point out to the faithful the many things that they did and their response will be “Lord, when did we do these things?”

Matthew 25:31-40 But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

The Lord makes it very clear here what separates the sheep from the goats.

Matthew 25:41-46 Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Works are not what saves us but works are what are the outcome of our faith. May you hear the good words that will forever echo in your mind at judgment day.

Matthew 25:21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

 

 

 

A Life that Is Forgiven and Free

There is one thing that man can not live with and that is guilt. The Lord never intended man to live with guilt and when sin came into the world then guilt came also. The Lord made a provision for man’s guilt through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He died for the world that all who believe in Him may receive forgiveness of all of their sin. This word sin is all encompassing of everything that each person has done wrong that has brought guilt upon him. Jesus took our guilt as well as our sin. We are forgiven if we have received the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

All of us have believed the lies of the devil and have taken refuge in those lies. Those lies have led to our destruction and our sorrow.

Isaiah 28:16,17 Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone,
A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.
He who believes in it will not be disturbed.
“I will make justice the measuring line
And righteousness the level;
Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies
And the waters will overflow the secret place.

The devil is a destroyer and his goal is to destroy your life and to have you experience sin, guilt and ultimately death. Jesus came to give us life.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

The devil destroys us through lies and when we are deceived we believe the lies. They may seem appealing at first but the end is death.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

Death to the soul is the guilt, sorrow, grief, regret, sadness, depression and despair that we experience through believing and acting on the lies of the devil, thinking that it is the right thing to do. We have taken the bait of the devil and been deceived through our own desires and brought about our own death. Death to the body is not the end but only the door into eternity. Those who have believed and received Jesus, the Lamb of God, will go into heaven and those who continued to go their own way and never turned from their sin to the Lord, these will go into hell.

Hebrews 9:27,28 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

God will judge everyone first and foremost on what they did with Jesus Christ…either receiving Him or rejecting Him. This judgment will be just because God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for the world.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

We must be ready for the moment we see the Lord for we do not know what hour or day that will come. The only way that we can be prepared is to be right with God and this only comes through Jesus Christ. He is the only way to God.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

The Lord says that today is the day of salvation. Once you receive Him then He gives you a new life in Him and sets you free from the lies of the devil and the sins that once controlled you. He sets you free to live the life that He designed for you. His plans for you are to live a good life and a blessed life, free of guilt as you allow Him to be your Lord and Savior.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

 

 

 

A Life in Secret

There are three things that the Lord says that we need to do in secret. Again, He loves to reward His children when they do what pleases Him so He offers great rewards for these three matters of obedience. The Lord says that He sees in secret and He knows what we do in secret. He says that He will reward us openly. If you read the lives of the great men and women that God has used you will learn that they had their secret life with the Lord. Those who are not faithful in their secret life with the Lord eventually fall just as a tree whose roots are shallow or whose inside is rotten will fall. Your roots must go deep into his Word and into the soil of His love. If they do then your spiritual life will be nourished and you will prosper.

Jeremiah 17:7,8 Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.

First, when you give, you are to give in secret. You are to give to those who can not pay you back. You are to give to the poor.

Matthew 6:3 But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Second, when you pray, you are to pray in secret.

Matthew 6:6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Third, when you fast, you are to fast in secret.

Matthew 6:17,18 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Just as roots are not seen but produce the fruit on the tree for all to see, so you too, when your roots go deep with the Lord, the Lord will be glorified by the fruit of your life as you bear His fruit.

John 15:8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

May your trust in the Lord grow through maintaining your secret life with the Lord through prayer and meditation, fasting and giving.

Psalm 1:2,3 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.