Freedom.

Galatians 5:7,8
“You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom.”

After we have lived life for a while, it is very possible that we may feel guilt or worry for a fellow Christian or friend–like it is our responsibility to make sure that they’re keeping up on the right path. We may think that they took the wrong turn in life because we weren’t watching over them enough or we didn’t pray for them enough. However, we must accept that each man has his own free will to do what he pleases, whether or not we are there in his life.

And while it is true that we need to be there to encourage and support our fellow Christians and friends, we must not beat ourselves up for the other person’s decisions. Yes, we want the best for that person, but not to the point that we should try to control the other person’s actions.

Sometimes God has different plans for different people. Some involve a person having a steadfast and righteous life, and others allow the person to fall away for a little while–allowing that person to come back to God. No matter how a person lives his life, what is most important is that we pray for that person. For, in the end, it isn’t how we intervened but how God intervened.

We were called to live in freedom, not in guilt.

Everything Beautiful.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

What a wonderful display of God’s goodness to us! Situations around us may not be the best, and we may feel like life is ugly, but it says right here in God’s Word that He makes everything beautiful for its own time. Because God’s purpose is perfect, so are the things He does in our lives. Life is hard: change, death, hearbreak, loss–but God has promised to make it beautiful. Wow!

We cannot see the whole span of everything God has for our lives, but God is faithful, so we can trust that He has what is best.

One example of this that I love is one I heard when I was in kids church way back when: Imagine a tiny hamster in his cage, having a good ole’ time running around in his wheel. He starts thinking to himself, I’m a mighty hamster. I can do anything I want, and I choose to get out of this cage. Now Mr. Hamster’s plan is pretty good, but the problem is that something much bigger than him is waiting under the cage, and that something is pretty hungry–Mrs. Cat. Now, because the hamster can’t see the big picture, he is resolute to make it out of his cage. Thankfully, though, his owner caught him just before he nibbled through the cage door.

In this illustration, the hamster is us humans, the cat is our enemy the Devil, and the owner is God. In life, we cannot see the big picture. Only God can. It may be hard to experience some of the trials we go through, but in the end, they are the best.

A Christmas Poem!

What is the meaning of Christmas?
So many do not know.
Why do we string up lights
And decorate with mistletoe?
Why does Santa Claus come to town
With his flock of reindeer,
Bringing presents to girls and boys
Each and every year?
Why are there decorations—
Red and green in every store?
Snowmen, candy canes, and elves—
Oh wait! I see more!
Two humbly dressed parents
In a little stable kneel,
They seem to have a newborn boy.
How happy and proud they must feel!
It’s said that this child is the Messiah,
The Savior of the World.
That this precious boy is Jesus,
God’s special plan unfurled.
I guess He’s what’s been missing
Through the shopping and the malls—
He may not fill our stockings,
But he holds the best of all.
Through Him our sins are cleansed,
They’re washed as white as snow!
We can live a happy life
And to Heaven someday go!

-Laura Prosapio

We Do Not Cry Alone.

Psalm 56:8

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

How breathtaking to think that every tear we cry is collected by the Lord in a bottle. Not one tear or sorrow is unknown by Him. He feels our pain and He hears our every plead for help. We are never praying to a God who is unaware of what is happening to us or who is uncaring.
God is not dead, or is He sleeping, or is He occupied with other work. He is living and faithful and true. We never walk in life alone because He is there for us every second of it. He cares about you and me and He never will let us be forsaken, no matter what our circumstances are. This world may fall apart and people around us may fail us, but the One who will never leave us or forsake us is our Creator, the Savior of our lives and souls.

Trust.

If you haven’t noticed, lately I’ve been writing blogs about things I struggle with from time to time. Just so it doesn’t get left out, I thought I’d write about a toughie–and that’s trust in God.

Trust is so hard, especially when we can’t see where God is leading us, or what His purpose is for some of the things that happen in our lives. Trust is like a branch of faith, believing in God to lead us by His will because we know that it’s the best. Trust, in the end, fulfils God’s perfect plan for us, but it can sometimes be the hardest thing we can ever do.

When we trust in God, we surrender our hopes, our dreams, our plans, our will, and our desires at His feet. We say, “Not our will, but Yours be done in our lives, Lord.” And if you’re like me, you like to have control. I like to dream about my future and plan my life out detail by detail; but sometimes it’s as if I plan it so much, that I forget to trust God and open myself up for His divine will.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
But if we take life one day at a time, and we ask God for supernatural strength to trust that what He says is best, eventually we’ll be able to witness the amazing plan God has for our lives–a plan that is so great, even we cannot fathom it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Every tear we cry and every heavy-hearted prayer are known by God. He feels our pain, and His shoulder is there to lean on and give us comfort. He knows it’s not easy to trust, and that’s why He’s there to lead and guide us through it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Below are some passages I found in the Bible that deal with trust, and how in the end, it is the best for our lives.

Romans 10:11
“As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”

Romans 15:13
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Hebrews 10:23
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”

Hebrews 10:35
“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!”

1 Peter 4:19
“So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.”

Everlasting Life.

Today, this Bible verse has been popping up multiple times; and although I’ve heard it countless times and memorized it and quoted it indefinitely, it’s still sometimes nice to look it over again to sink it in and experience God’s love. Below are several versions of the same passage: John 3:16. This verse is not just God’s declaration of adoration for us as a people, but it’s also a constitution of hope that we have been redeemed. We are free from sin for eternity because of this single act of God–His Son being sacrificed for our sin. If we believe in Jesus, and that He died and rose again with the purpose to cleanse our sins and prepare a future home for us in Heaven when we die, this verse is our life support–our eternal life support.

Especially during this time of year, it’s vital that we recognize the true “reason for the season,” and that’s our Savior being born into this earth.

“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.” (NIV)

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” (The Message)

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.” (Amplified)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (KJV)

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (NLT)

Amazing.

PATIENCE!!!

“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
One fruit of the Spirit that I have trouble with is patience. Ask me for kindness, you got it! You want gentleness, I’ve got a fresh supply. But patience…oh patience. Ever since I was a little tyke, I can see my lack of patience, even though I’ve tried to deny it definitely. The evidence is one such home video of my 3rd birthday. Daddy said that I had a present, but then he went too far. He said that he’d give it to me for Christmas. My first response was a dragging and complaining “NOOO! I waaant it!”

Patience. Whether it’s waiting for a new possession, a crowded hallway in school, an upcoming weekend, a holiday, or my life to just scurry on by–patience is quite involved in my life (or at least the lack of it). I love to be able to have a grasp on life’s situations, and when those life situations are far away, then I feel as if I can have no grasp at all. Therefore, my problem.

David must have had a real inspiration from God to put the line “Wait patiently for the Lord” twice in Psalm 27. God probably knew that I’d be reading it someday and thought it’d be fun to make me reflect a ton. Personally, I don’t think it’s a funny prank. But I suppose it’s best for me to have to deal with my patience problems the most helpful place possible: and that’s in the presence of God.

When I turn to God, I find stillness and calmness. When I’m impatient, I find just the opposite–I find stress and worry and fear. But my life should be still and calm. That’s why when I feel impatient, I need to wait patiently for the Lord to act in my life. I know it’s hard, but when I surrender control of my life to the Heavenly Father, I will feel even more at control knowing that I’ve lost control. It’s amazing the ways God works sometimes! (Did I say sometimes? I mean all the time!)