Protecting Your Peace

Be Still
Quiet your soul, for God is in control.

“Peace, be still.”

With these words, Jesus Christ was able to calm a violent, stormy sea. With waves thrashing all around them mere moments before, His twelve disciples couldn’t believe their eyes when the water suddenly became as smooth as a small pond. Before Jesus spoke these three, simple words, they were fearing for their very lives; but they soon discovered the true nature of His deity when He proved His power over the world’s natural elements. They were completely surrounded by an extremely frightening situation, yet when Jesus performed His miracle, it made the living nightmare vanish right in front of them!

How amazing it is that God is able to make our problems go away with His miraculous power! No matter how noisy or stressful the world gets, He is above it all, ruling from His throne in pristine glory and majesty. It is no wonder that nothing troubles God, for He is God, the sovereign Ruler of the universe that He created. However, we humans down here on earth are of a far lesser state. Because of our sin, we are plagued daily with a variety of innumerable concerns, wishing that the whole world could just stop spinning for one second. In the midst of all the earthly chaos, though, there is a still small Voice that is calling out to us each day.

God is inviting us to possess His perfect peace every day, but many of our daily distractions keep us from finding it. Some of our distractions can’t be prevented, but there are others that can be helped. Let’s take a look at some of the things we CAN control to help us protect our perfect peace.

1. Avoid the unnecessary noise!

I know it’s an age-old solution, but it’s still valid today more than ever. If you’re trying to spend time with God through prayer or Scripture reading, find a nice, quiet place or time of day to commune with Him. Don’t try to convince yourself that playing music or listening to something else won’t distract you, because it will, in spite of your best intentions. Turn off the TV, stop the music, and go somewhere that you know you can be completely alone. Depending on your personal routine or daily schedule, this may be more difficult to do. All that matters in God’s eyes is that you’re making an effort to spend quality time with Him as His child. The point is, if the noisy distractions aren’t necessary, then put them away! The still, quiet presence of the Holy Spirit is far more rewarding.

2. Drain your brain!

Everyone has many different things on their mind each day. Stress isn’t called a killer for no reason! Whether it’s an assignment, a test, a work project, or a performance, any type of challenge can potentially become deadly if its weight isn’t kept in check. Do yourself a favor and put your fears to bed! A huge sense of empowerment comes the day you realize that your daily circumstances do NOT have permission to control you. If you’re struggling with a load of stressful issues, simply give it all to God, and leave it in His hands. He wants you to cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares about you. Once you accept the fact that only He has the real power in your life, you can put yourself at ease by knowing that He can handle it. Whatever it is that’s bothering you, God can take all the pressure away from you.

3. Remember God’s practical promises!

A great deal of anxiety occurs when we take into account all of the things that are said and happening around us in the world. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the hype that is designed to capture your attention and never let go! Sometimes we find ourselves becoming too occupied with man’s vain opinion or petty actions we hear about on the news. Remember, we are IN this world, but not OF it! Just as God is presently sitting above us in Heaven unaffected by man’s wicked imaginations, so shall we be unaffected if we recall eternal, biblical truths. Regardless of man’s words or actions, God’s truth never passes away or becomes void. Reassuring ourselves of God’s sovereignty can calm our hearts in the midst of the turmoil that surrounds us.

 

For further affirmations of peace, here are God’s valuable words of truth:

 

Isaiah 26:3 ~ “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Matthew 6:6 ~ “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Psalm 2:4 ~ “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

1 Peter 5:7 ~ “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

John 17:16 ~ “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

Isaiah 54:10 ~ “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

Psalm 119:165 ~ “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”

Now you can see that God fully intends for us to live in peace every day, no matter what situations are going on around us! He can carry away your stress and help you see that you’re blessed! If you are God’s child, you carry His power within you at all times, and you can be invincible to the troubles of this world. It doesn’t mean that you are blind to them, but it simply means that they don’t control your happiness or rob you of your peace. Nobody said that this was going to be easy, because protecting your peace is a full-time job! However, if you have unwavering faith in God’s Word, then you have nothing to fear!

– Gloria D. Hopkins

Reaching For the Right Fruit

Forbidden Fruit
We must eat of the fruit that is already given to us.

Forbidden fruit.

Since the Garden of Eden, this term has been used to symbolize anything our flesh desires that is against God’s will. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that everything we desire is evil; it just means that God might not want us to have something for any number of reasons that He knows about. As our Heavenly Father, God knows what is best for us, and also what is worst for us. It is His right to protect us out of His loving heart from anything that will seriously harm us by placing rules and restrictions around certain areas of our lives.

Let’s take a look at the story of the original Forbidden fruit to see why God really knows what’s best for us.

 

The Test of Contentment

 
Most of us are familiar with the story of the Fall of Man found in Genesis chapter 3 of God’s Word. Satan enticed Eve to sin by using the one tree in the Garden of Eden that God had forbidden her and Adam to eat from. That tree was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which God placed in the garden to test their obedience to Him.

Now, Satan knew that Eve was aware of God’s command, but he wanted to deliberately draw her attention to the one thing she couldn’t have, in spite of all the other wonderful things she had already been given. God gave Adam and Eve permission to eat fruit from all the other trees of the garden except that one, because He wanted to not only test their obedience, but their contentment as well.

Satan was the first being to sin, because he was dissatisfied with serving God in Heaven. It wasn’t enough for him that he was the Leader of Music among the angels, or that he had a beautiful appearance; he wanted to be worshiped just like God. So when Satan wanted to tempt Eve to sin for the first time, he projected the source of his original sin onto her, by making her want to be like or equal with God Himself. By telling her the lie that eating the Forbidden fruit would make her and Adam like gods, Satan was trying to twist and pervert the natural desire that humans have to be holy like God, since we are all made in God’s divine image.

What was wrong with Eve’s desire?

In truth, there was nothing wrong with Eve’s desire to be like God, since she was created to desire His holiness and perfection. However, there was something very wrong with the way she chose to pursue this natural desire, by disobeying God and not following His will. God is good and gracious, and he wanted Adam and Eve to be happy, but it is His divine right to withhold certain things He didn’t want them to have. You see, the Bible tells us that after eating the Forbidden fruit, the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened, because they knew the difference between good and evil. God desired them to be in a state of pure, innocent bliss in the Garden, while He would deal with Satan’s betrayal Himself. He knew that they did not need to know the presence of wickedness in the world, and that they would be better off without it; but Satan convinced them the very opposite – that God was being selfish and didn’t want them to be happy.

When Eve chose to eat the Forbidden fruit, she was missing out on all the other blessings around her, the many different trees that God HAD given her permission to eat from. She believed Satan’s lie that God was holding something good back from her, when it was really a commandment made for her own good. If she had just waited to ask God how to be like Him, I’m sure she would have received an honest, straightforward answer, rather than a deceitful, double-sided answer from Satan. It could very well have been the case that God might have wanted to teach Adam and Eve to be more like Himself over the passing of time, rather than having them attempt to be like Him through disobedience.

How are we like Adam and Eve?

Just like our very first parents, we are prone to discontentment as well. Whenever we take our eyes off the things that God has already given us, we automatically become dissatisfied, and begin lusting after things that He either hasn’t given to us yet, or after things that He never wants us to have. Now, some of our desires might be completely natural and wholesome, but God may not have chosen to fulfill them yet. Does that mean that He doesn’t want us to be happy? Of course not! God is good, and if He chooses to delay in giving us something, it simply means it isn’t the right time for it yet. Perhaps He wants to change something in us before we’re fully ready to have a particular desire.

For example, a small child might want to drive his parents’ car, but his parents realize that he is far too young to be responsible for such an object. They tell him that when he is old enough, he will be able to drive the car someday. Does that make the boy’s parents cruel and unkind for not giving him his wish immediately? No, they simply practiced common sense by judging what their son was or wasn’t capable of handling. The same thing applies to our desires and God’s will. There are many things that we might desire: a certain job, a nice house, a new car, a person to be our life partner. While none of these things are wrong to desire in and of themselves, they can quickly become wrong if we try to claim them for ourselves before God wants us to have them, or in a way that goes against His Word. The best thing we can do is wait on the Lord to do His will.

How do we possess the skill of patience?

It can be extremely difficult to wait on God to fulfill our desires, especially when our hearts so desperately want them in the present. In the meantime, God would have us to practice the skill of patience while He accomplishes His perfect work in our lives. We can start by asking ourselves a question such as this – What is God trying to teach me in this period of patience? There are always things we can improve about ourselves, and some of them might be harder to find than others. Thankfully, we have the help of the Holy Spirit  to identify what needs to change within us. There might also be the possibility of God wanting us to get busy preparing for the future while He prepares our blessings yet to come. What it all comes down to is the simple matter of our faith in God. Do we truly believe that He is good, and sincerely desires our well-being? Are we willing to trust Him enough to let Him have His way as He writes the story of our lives?

How can we learn from Adam and Eve’s mistake?

There are many different lessons to be found in Genesis chapter 3, but the one that stands out to me the most is the importance of thankfulness. Adam and Eve were perfectly happy until they listened to Satan’s lies and became ungrateful like he was in Heaven. Instead of focusing so much on what we want but don’t have, we should focus on what we already have that God has given us, and really don’t deserve at all after sinning against Him. Just like the many other different kinds of trees in the Garden of Eden, God has provided us with a multitude of blessings flowing from the treasury of His grace. If you hear Satan starting to whisper in your ear to walk in the direction of the Forbidden Fruit in your life, the best thing you can do is to just turn around to look at the Permitted Fruit. When he begins to draw your gaze towards what is off-limits (for your own good), reach your hands for the right things that God wants you to have right now. Practicing contentment can help you prevent a personal catastrophe!

Here are God’s own words about this matter:

Hebrews 13:5 ~ “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Psalm 27:14 ~ “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Psalm 145:15-16 ~ “The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.”

I hope this helps encourage you to be satisfied with God’s goodness in the present, even if you still have unmet desires in your life. Don’t forget to trust God no matter what, because He never fails, even when man disappoints. If you keep your eyes on the right fruit that God has permitted you to have in your life, then you should be able to stay away from the forbidden fruit, at least until God allows you to have it in the future. Remember that He is your Heavenly Father, and He loves you more than you could ever imagine.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

Finding the Dream: The True Meaning of Equality

 

hands

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

ALL men are created equal.

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his immortal speech about his dream of equality for all people in America. He believed in a world that would celebrate and embrace people for how they look on the inside, rather than just the outside. His legacy is remembered to this very day, inspiring millions of people everywhere to respect the truth that skin color does NOT define a person’s character.

While our nation has made tremendous progress in achieving King’s ideal dream, there are still more than a few holes that need to be patched up in the philosophy of equality. Let’s look at a few points of truth that need to be cleared up before we can find his dream, the true meaning of equality:

1. Equality isn’t just black and white.

First of all, the concept of equality is not two-dimensional. It has many different facets that contribute to its definition, just like the many different people groups who make up our world. If we can establish the fact that equality is for everybody, not just for black and white people, then we will make great strides in achieving harmony and peace for all mankind.

Now, before this post gets misinterpreted, allow me to define the word equality:

equality

[ih-kwol-i-tee]
noun, plural equalities.
1.

the state or quality of being equal; correspondence in quantity, degree, value, rank, or ability:

promoting equality of opportunity in the workplace.

 

That is the internet dictionary’s definition, but here is my own personal definition:

Equality is the condition where every person is recognized as a unique individual, worthy of receiving certain unalienable rights such as respect, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of career choice and opportunity, and freedom of will.

In other words, I agree with the moral philosophy of America’s Founding Fathers, as stated in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Now that we’ve taken a look at what the word equality really means, let’s examine why it is so important. In the past, there have been many misconceptions about equality, leading to some extremely tragic historical events. Without getting into too much detail about these past sorrows, it is fair to say that much of past social injustices was caused by one little word, which brings me to my next point.

2. The idea of “race” is a myth.

The word “race” was an idea formed by Charles Darwin when he wrote his book called, On The Origin of Species. Instead of accepting biblical truths, he turned to his own imagination to produce a false explanation of the different people groups that populate the world. Unless you agree with his theory about evolution, there is absolutely no need to include the word “race” in one’s vocabulary, at least in the context of attributing it to different cultures of people. We are all descended from two people: Adam and Eve, the first human beings to live on this planet. When God created them, they possessed a genetic code filled with endless possible combinations! It wasn’t until after the global Flood in Genesis chapter 5 that people’s DNA began to change due to the extreme climate changes. Our ancestral bloodline traces all the way back to the Garden of Eden, where our very first parents lived. We are all brothers and sisters born into a huge extended family! This is what the Bible has to say about this topic:

Acts 17:26 ~ “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;”

The fact is, there is only ONE race – the human race.

3. We are all equal in God’s eyes.

Every single person who has ever existed is an eternal soul created by an all-powerful, loving God, designed specially by His hands. God cares about all people, since he made all of us in His divine image. We are all already equal in that aspect alone, yet there is still another reason why we are all equal in God’s eyes. Here is the reason why:

Romans 3:23 ~ “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

Unfortunately, we are all born with an inherent sinful nature because of our very first parents, Adam and Eve, another proof that we all come from the same extended family. However, the story did not end there; God saw our helpless condition and provided us a way to be rescued from it, through the sacrifice of His perfect, Holy Son, Jesus. Because Jesus came to this earth as the Son of Man, He gave His blood for the redemption of all mankind, giving us yet another reason to see all men as equal. God the Father loved us so much that He wanted to adopt us all into His Heavenly family for all eternity, restored into divine union and fellowship with His holy presence. It does not matter to God one bit what we look like, or where we come from; His salvation is a free gift given to all men:

Colossians 3:11 ~ “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

In the perfect world of Heaven, there is only one existential distinction – the Creator and His creations.

Let’s make the dream of equality a reality!

In conclusion, I hope that these three points have helped improve our understanding of the true meaning of equality. Now that we have patched up the holes in our society’s definition of equality using God’s Word as biblical proof, we can fully accept one another as a special creation of God who is loved unconditionally by Him. As Christians, it is our responsibility to share the gospel with those who haven’t yet heard the good news around the world, so that we can reclaim our lost brothers and sisters into the family of Heaven. Also, it is our duty to show love and kindness to everyone around us, no matter what culture or ethnicity they come from, so we can be a shining example of God’s love to them. If we can prove faithful in these two things, sharing the good news of God’s love and showing it to people, then we will be successful in finding Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream become a reality in the world around us.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

Five Ways To Keep From Losing Your Mind

knight
A good soldier must defend his own keep!

Are you guarding your castle?

When it comes to spiritual warfare, one of the biggest battlegrounds is the human mind. As the control center for all of our thoughts, it is extremely important to keep a constant vigil over what enters it. If you are a believer in Christ, you are enlisted in the Lord’s army as one of His soldiers. To be a good soldier of God means you must have a solid strategy to defend the most powerful part of your life – the fortress of your mind.

In this post we’re going to focus on five different ways to protect your mind from losing it to the enemy, who is Satan. As the most evil being in the universe, Satan is constantly looking for any weaknesses in the strongholds of our minds. If he can spot a single flaw in our minds’ defenses, he will attack that one spot relentlessly until the rest of our fortress crumbles in defeat. In this brief strategy guide, we shall study some of Satan’s most common attacks and how to combat them.

1. Guarding Against Guilt

This is perhaps one of Satan’s most favorite weapons to use against us. He loves to make us remember our past sins and mistakes so that we’re stuck in shame instead of living powerfully in the present. What we need to do to protect ourselves from this attack is remember God’s forgiveness and unconditional love for us. God wants us to rejoice in our present condition, which is washed clean in the robes of His righteousness. These verses will prove to be useful weapons against the attack of guilt:

Psalm 32:5 ~ “I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

Zechariah 3:4 ~ “And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.”

Philippians 3:13 ~ “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,”

2. Pressured for Perfection

Satan loves rubbing in our faces that we’ll never be sinless like God. He desires to humiliate us for our natural human fallen nature so that we’ll be discouraged and give up on striving for holiness. This is usually the second approach Satan will take against our minds if he fails at making us feel guilty. While it is true that only God is holy and perfect, He doesn’t want us to beat ourselves up because our flesh is weak. He understands that we are made of dust, and His compassion is as deep as the ocean. These verses will provide a reassuring message to diminish the pressure for perfection:

Psalm 103:13-14 ~ “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

Philippians 3:12 ~ “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 10:14 ~ “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

3. Battling against Bitterness

This is one of Satan’s strongest attacks, since it is extremely personal and gets under the skin. Satan loves to prey upon those who have an amazing memory and turn it against them. He can stir up deep-seated anger from hurts that happened to us many years ago, at any given time for no apparent reason. A very subtle attack, he begins it slowly and silently, often triggering our memory from someone’s words or actions that may have occurred in a completely different context from our past hurt. If we let our guard down, Satan can besiege our entire castle and set the entire fortress ablaze with bitterness. It is our duty to take action and call upon God’s help before our mind is engulfed in the flames of wrath and revenge. Here are some verses to help achieve victory in the battle against bitterness:

Ephesians 4:31-32 ~ “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Romans 12:19 ~ “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ saith the Lord.
Proverbs 24:29 ~ “Say not, ‘I will do so to him as he hath done to me’: I will render to the man according to his work.
4. Driving Out Despair
If you have ever read Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, you will recall a chapter where Christian and his friend Hopeful are captured by a cruel giant named Despair, and they are taken to his dark, Doubting castle and thrown into his dungeon. They become so depressed from being tortured by the giant every day, that they actually consider taking the giant’s advice to commit suicide. I won’t rehash the whole chapter, but this is an accurate depiction of how Satan attacks our minds by emphasizing our negative circumstances. If Satan can make us relinquish our hope, then he has already won the battle for our mind. Only God’s powerful grace intervening can help us drive out the attack of giant despair. These verses can help you defeat this ruthless giant:
Psalm 43:5 ~ “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Psalm 27:13-14 ~ “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

2 Corinthians 8-9 ~ “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

5. Fending Off Fear

Finally, we come to fear, which is arguably Satan’s most powerful weapon against us. There are many different types of fears he throws at us: fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of following God, fear of witnessing to people, etc.; the list goes on and on. Each Christian will face a unique type of fear depending on his individual situation. Satan wants nothing more than to force us to cower inside the walls of our mind, retreating from the battle dangers of worldly opposition. If he can, he’ll keep us trapped by fear until we completely surrender to him, forfeiting the fight for God’s will. We must look to God for help, and remember His promises to be with us always, guiding our every step in life. These verses should help encourage our faith to be bigger than our fear:

Psalm 27:1 ~ “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Deuteronomy 31:6 ~ “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Psalm 56:3-4 ~ “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”

I hope this strategy guide was a blessing and encouragement to your heart. Remember, it is through God alone that we have the victory, especially in the battle for the fortress of our minds!

– Gloria D. Hopkins

Why Loneliness Can Be A Good Thing

Lonely
Could it be that loneliness is God’s silent call to you?

Loneliness.

We have all felt it at some point in our lives, to varying degrees each time it occurs. It is an integral part of the human condition because of our sin-cursed world. It is something that most people desperately try to avoid or escape, only to find it sneak up on them unexpectedly.

How did loneliness first begin?

The answer can be found in Genesis chapter 3, when Adam and Eve separated themselves from God’s fellowship because of their deliberate sin. Their disobedience caused darkness to enter their hearts, which God, the Holy Father, can have no part with, since He is the very essence of purity and light. Cast out of a perfect paradise in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were forced to face their future in the world virtually alone, because they used to walk and talk with God every day before they sinned.

As a result, all of their future descendants would feel a gaping emptiness inside them due to missing God’s loving presence. Countless tears have been shed by many people because of that very first loneliness. Human loneliness is the product of desiring independence apart from God. We were created for His pleasure, to fellowship with Him, and when that fellowship was broken, our souls were broken as well. As humans, we crave affection and interaction with others, so naturally we seek these things in spending time with other people; but the unfortunate reality is, we cannot fill our empty vessels with vessels that are just as empty as we are. It is impossible to find true fulfillment and connection with others who are seeking the exact same thing. God designed us this way in order to draw us back to Him, the only true Source of ultimate fulfillment.

We commonly associate loneliness with being a social outcast, a misfit, or a loner, who has very few to no friends at all. However, anyone can experience loneliness, even with many friends in their social group. A lot of times, loneliness occurs because we feel misunderstood by our peers. Even those who are closest to us are capable of misunderstanding us as a person, since everyone is created as a unique individual.

So what is the solution to this persistent problem?

Because loneliness is an ever-present problem that plagues people’s minds, it is difficult to identify one simple solution for it, since everyone deals with it in different ways. My advice would be this though: try changing your perspective on loneliness instead of trying to make it go away. Trying to permanently get rid of loneliness is like trying to prevent it from raining ever again. It is an inevitable part of this fallen world.

Now, I’m about to suggest something that will seem downright ridiculous to most people, and it will probably shock you the first time you read it –

The next time you’re feeling lonely, embrace it as a gift from God.

“WHAT?!” You may ask. “How can you expect anyone to view an emotion so painful as a gift from God? That’s crazy!”And your reaction would be completely natural and expected. But let me ask you this: If we never felt lonely, would we feel any desire or need to seek God’s presence? Of course not, because then we’d be entirely self-sufficient. That’s why God designed us this way, to need Him at all times, because we really are nothing without Him. We were created to love and worship Him with all our hearts, and if those actions are missing, our lives are vain and empty.

Does God know what it’s like to be lonely?

Jesus, the Son of God Himself, was certainly no stranger to loneliness. The Bible tells us that He was despised and rejected of men (Isaiah 53:3). Apart from His twelve disciples and those who believed on Him, nearly everyone else in Israel hated Him, particularly the religious leaders of the time. In fact, they hated Him so much that they wanted to kill Him when He had done absolutely nothing wrong. During His death on the cross, Jesus experienced the most painful loneliness of all: being separated from His holy Father because of Him bearing our sin. For the first time in the infinite existence of the Holy Trinity, God the Father turned His back on His only Son, Whom He loved so much. Jesus cried out in agony, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?!” Apart from the excruciating physical pain He was feeling from being tortured, and the horrible betrayal by His own human creations, the anguish of His Father abandoning Him was unlike any pain Jesus had ever felt before.

However, there is good news: because of Jesus’ heartbreaking moment of loneliness and separation from His Father on the cross, we have the chance to accept His wonderful gift of salvation, allowing us to be reunited in divine fellowship with God forever! Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, earthly loneliness will be a thing of the past in Heaven if we accept His gift and believe on His holy Name.

But what are we going to do about loneliness until eternity happens?

This is where the miraculous wonder of God’s grace comes in. God is so powerful that He can take something extremely painful in our lives and use it for good – for our spiritual benefit and for His glory. When we’re feeling lonely, we can allow it to consume us emotionally to the point where we’re drowning in self pity; OR we can quiet our hearts, and listen to the whispers of the Holy Spirit:

“I want you. I made you. I want you to seek me, and find me. I want to share a close, intimate relationship with you. I want to show you that no one person on this earth is capable of wholly understanding your soul like I do. You are a priceless treasure, and I sacrificed so much just so I could get to know you.  Please come to me, and tell me everything that’s in your heart. I long to be your best friend, and dearest companion. Know that I love you more than you could ever possibly imagine.”

God understands how our hearts hurt when we’re lonely. He created the human heart, didn’t He? He feels our every pain, and cares for us deeply. When we feel lonely, God is crying out to us, entreating us to come be with Him. Allow His arms to embrace you with His love, and open your heart to all the warm, Heavenly affection He has for you. Show God your appreciation for Him by giving Him the fellowship with you He deserves. His Son’s blood paid for our souls; don’t let Jesus’ sacrifice be in vain!

So the next time you feel lonely, turn to the One Who understands you best. Jesus is waiting patiently for you to answer His call. Will you listen to His silent cries? It would be shameful to grieve Jesus by ignoring Him when He is the divine Antidote to our painful condition. Don’t make the mistake of making Jesus sad when He loves you so much. Perhaps it is that when you feel lonely, He feels lonely as well, and misses your company.

Here are some verses to assure us that with God, we are never truly alone:

Isaiah 41:10 ~ “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Psalms 27:10 ~ “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.”

Romans 8:39 ~ “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Matthew 28:20b ~ “…And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

1 Peter 5:7 ~ “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

John 14:18 ~I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”

1 John 4:13 ~ “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”

Psalms 62:8 ~ “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.”

Hebrews 13:5 ~ “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

These are many affirmations that God is always with us, no matter how lonely we might feel. Let these verses be an encouragement to your heart whenever loneliness occurs, and your soul will be comforted by God’s amazing, unending love.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

Reclaiming Our “Muchness”

 

Alice
“We are but older children, dear, who fret to find our bedtime near.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Child of the Pure Unclouded Brow.

 

Who hasn’t at one point or another wished that they could be a kid again?

Childhood is considered by many as an ideal time of life, full of wonder, excitement, and imagination. However, every person who has ever lived can only visit this stage temporarily. We all have to grow up eventually, whether we like it or not; that’s just a fact of life. Yet we are not required to lose that childhood spirit of unwavering belief.

Most people consider adulthood’s rite of passage to be a shedding of youthful innocence in every sense of the word, and sentence themselves to a jaded, cynical mindset that seldom hopes for anything. They allow their accumulated negative earthly experiences and circumstances to disillusion them, leaving little to no room for true inner peace and joy. Sadly, this despondent condition can also be found among many professing Christians, not just the lost souls who don’t know the Lord.

Sometimes Christians fall into the hidden sin of bitterness, which can stem from a multitude of different reasons. Whatever bad things they have faced in life can cause them to become angry with God and lose faith in Him if they aren’t careful. We are all familiar with this common situation, but the root of this problem is simply this – unbelief.

For some reason people tend to accept the false idea that becoming an adult means you must automatically stop believing in anything good. This type of unbelief covers a wide range of emotions, from growing resentment to complete apathy. While it is natural to expect such feelings to result from living in a fallen world cursed by sin, as Christians we place ourselves in a dangerous position when we get lost in the dark forest of unbelief. We lose sight of the path before us because we’re too busy focusing on trying to find our own way. We run the risk of forgetting God’s goodness and questioning His holiness. Before we know it, we see the world differently than we used to, and we are transformed into different people as well.

“I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.” – Alice

Just like Alice from Lewis Carroll’s beloved classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, we are merely confused, small children in large bodies, wandering aimlessly in the adult world, trying to make sense of our ever-changing surroundings. We lose our “muchness,” or the carefree innocence and anything-is-possible mindset that we possess as young children. Instead of believing that God can do anything, we feebly ask ourselves, “Can God really do this for me? Why would He want me to be happy?” If only we knew how much it grieves our Heavenly Father when He hears us ask such questions!

If we know the Lord as our personal Savior, we are the adopted children of God! He wants what is best for us, and knows what will give us lasting happiness in our lives. Our Heavenly Father wants us to reclaim our “muchness” in spite of whatever tough circumstances we have faced. In other words, He wants us to have steadfast faith in Him, just like a child readily accepts and believes that anything is possible. We are expected to have a childlike faith to receive salvation, so naturally we must keep that same faith regarding everything else in our lives.

 

Here are some verses from God’s Word to help us reclaim our “muchness”:

 

Hebrews 10:23 ~ “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)”

Matthew 17:20 ~ “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

Matthew 19:26 ~ “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

Luke 18:16-17 ~ “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, ‘Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.'”

God’s Word tells us that anything is possible with Him, just like when we were children and believed in anything we wanted to. However, the main difference is, God’s power is a wonderful reality, contrary to what we dream of in our imaginations! Like little children, we can reach up and grasp His strong, loving hand, expecting His goodness to take care of us. The truth is, though we may grow up, we never have to grow out of our “muchness” and unwavering belief: we can live as pure, innocent children resting in the power and safety of our Father’s hands.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

Starting the New Year bright!

Happiness-is-a-choice-lifepopper-words-of-wisdom-how-to-live-a-happy-life-stay-positive-smile-1
The future is as bright as the promises of God!

Welcome to another new year!

As we say goodbye to 2015, let’s take a brief moment to embrace another year of God’s presence. We have seen many things happen over the course of this past year, and not all of it is particularly wonderful; yet I want to share a small, simple reminder with you: God is still on His throne.

No matter what man thinks, says, or does regarding the matters of this temporary earth, God is still the King of the universe, and He’s never going to abdicate His position of Heavenly power. Whenever we hear the news on television, it’s a constant flow of nothing but bad headlines. Natural disasters, political controversies, global violence, and social unrest are but a few of the many problems that our world faces today.

However, we are presented with two choices – Are we going to praise, or panic?

This world has been suffering from the war between good and evil since the beginning of time, but as Christians, that doesn’t mean we are obligated to live under its negative circumstances. In fact, we have many reasons to rejoice and praise God in spite of all the negative things in the world. First of all, what we see on the news each day is a strong indicator that our Lord’s return is imminent, and He will deliver us from what is yet to come and set this world aright. Second of all, we are provided with a unique opportunity to give this world a bright, shining testimony in spite of all the darkness that surrounds us.

God gives us some very specific words of comfort about this subject in His Word:

Luke 21:36 ~ “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”

Romans 13:11-12 ~ “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”

John 14:1 ~ “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”

As you can see, God has given us the power to be a shining example for Him every day in this world, and He has promised to be with us always no matter what happens in the future. All we have to do is make the choice to praise Him instead of panicking, and our new year will be very bright indeed.

– Gloria D. Hopkins