Easter Is Not “The End.”

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Jesus will always be there for us on the road of life.

The Lord Jesus came back to life on the third day, but the story doesn’t end there.

When most people celebrate Easter each year, they usually tend to focus on the climax of our Savior’s sacrifice, namely His death and subsequent resurrection. However, the rest of the story sometimes gets unintentionally overlooked, the part where Jesus spends a short period of time walking on Earth in His new body. After Jesus arose from the tomb, He walked alongside His disciples on Emmaus road, and also visited some of His faithful followers inside their homes for food and fellowship.

The purpose for Him doing this was not only to provide living proof of His glorious miracle, but also to show His followers that He still cared about them and loved them very much. You see, from a human perspective, it would seem that the first thing Jesus would want to do is go back to Heaven immediately, after He had endured so much suffering here on Earth. Yet our Savior was the very Portrait of unselfishness as He went out of His way to spend time with those He loved before He ascended into the golden clouds of Heaven.

Why is this part of the Easter story so important to remember?

While it may be easy to see the latter part of the Easter story as less exciting, there are many meaningful lessons to be derived from our Lord’s final chapter on Earth. When I think about this part of the story, the first thing it reminds me of is how much Jesus loves us. He certainly didn’t have to stay behind and spend extra time with people, but He chose to because He loved them. He could have decided to leave for Heaven immediately, letting His followers believe the miracle of His resurrection by faith alone; but He wanted to show up in person before their very eyes to make their faith whole and complete.

The next thing this part of the story reminds me of is how the Lord desires to comfort us. When Jesus walked and talked with His disciples and other followers after His resurrection, He was calming their hearts from the fear they had of the Jewish leaders. Jesus knew that His followers would undoubtedly face persecution for their faith in Him, and wanted to assure them that any future attacks on their faith should not dissuade or discourage them. The disciples and other followers of Jesus would have felt absolutely helpless against the world without the loving, comforting words they received from Him.

The last thing this part of the story reminds me of is how the miracle of Easter continued to give people hope even after the Lord’s resurrection. When Jesus visited His disciples and followers, He encouraged them by telling them that the story wasn’t over yet. He let them know that another Comforter would come to them, the Holy Spirit, and that someday He would return again a second time as King of the whole Earth. Even more exciting news for His followers was the fact that after Jesus’ second coming, they would all ascend up into Heaven to live with Him for all eternity.

For Christians, the Easter story continues to go on every day in their hearts.

When I was younger, I used to be sad the day after Easter, thinking that because the official holiday was over, that meant we could no longer celebrate the Lord’s resurrection. However, now that I am older, I have realized that Christians NEVER have to stop celebrating Easter; in fact, they should be celebrating it EVERY DAY! You see, the Lord IS risen. That is a present state of being. Yes, He arose from the grave over 2,000 years ago, but He is still alive! Because He is still alive today, and sitting at God’s right hand in Heaven, Christians should ALWAYS have a cause to rejoice and be glad in their hearts! The story of Jesus’ Easter miracle is eternal, and those who know Him in their hearts will always have a reason to celebrate it, because He conquered the grave by coming back to life! What a wonderful thought it is to meditate upon! The Lord Jesus Christ provided a way for us to have eternal life through His temporary death on the cross. Because of His sacrifice, those who believe on Him can partake of His joy daily, and enter into eternity with a sense of fulfillment for their existence.

How can we continue to celebrate Easter after the official day is over?

There are many ways to continue celebrating Easter as a Christian, and not surprisingly they aren’t that different than what Christians should be doing to worship God daily. The best way to celebrate Easter every day is by offering praise and thanks to God for all that He has done for us. Specifically, we should thank Him for the amazing sacrifice of unconditional love that His Son Jesus performed on the cross for our sake. The more we show God our constant appreciation of His love for us, the more He will be inclined to show it to us more apparently each day. Also, another way to honor Easter in your heart every day is by simply remembering the events of Jesus’ loving sacrifice. The more you ponder upon the details of His journey on earth and all He endured to secure your eternal life, the more you will feel grateful to Him. Place yourself back in time over 2,000 years ago on the morning that Jesus Christ arose – imagine that you are one of His disciples, eagerly anticipating His imminent resurrection. Once you fully consider all of the circumstances surrounding the miracle of Easter, you will experience the great joy that the disciples felt when they ran to the tomb and found it empty!

What does the rest of the Easter story mean for us today?

The miracle of Easter provides eternal hope for mankind, ensuring that God is powerful enough to save us from spiritual death. After Jesus Christ ascended up into Heaven, His disciples were watching Him with their eyes lifted up to the clouds in the sky. Immediately after Jesus’ ascension, an angel appeared to them and commanded that they get busy doing the Lord’s work to further His eternal kingdom of reconciled souls. In the same way, we should also be busy today, doing our best to give the world an example of Christ’s love. While we should celebrate the miracle of Easter every day in our hearts, we should also be looking forward to eternity, and possess a sense of urgency about the countless lost souls that are at stake. When the Lord does eventually return, He should be able to find us diligent in His service, spreading the truth of the gospel and winning souls back to Him. We are not to forget about Christ’s return, but instead be eagerly awaiting Him when He decides to appear in the clouds of Heaven.

 

Here are the Lord’s own Words and promises to help us celebrate Easter every day:

 

Luke 24: 13-32 “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

“And he said unto them, ‘What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?’ And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, ‘Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?’ And he said unto them, ‘What things?’ And they said unto him, ‘Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:  And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

“‘But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.’

“Then he said unto them, ‘O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

“And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?'”

John 14:1-3 ~ “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

John 14:16-18 ~ “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Matthew 16:27 ~ “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Matthew 24:30-31 ~ “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Matthew 28:6 ~ “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Acts 1:9-11 ~ “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward Heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into Heaven.'”

Psalm 51:12 ~ “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.”

 

In the meantime, while Jesus is physically in Heaven, He is always with us spiritually.

 

Just as Jesus surprised His disciples by walking with them on the Emmaus road, He is always desiring to walk with us on our journey down the road of life. Whenever we need His help, He is there to guide us and also to comfort us. His Holy Spirit lives within the hearts of those who believe on Him, so that they are never alone under any circumstances. Jesus was more than willing to teach His followers more about Him as they walked together, and He is also happy to teach us too, answering our questions about life’s tricky twists and turns. The Lord certainly has not left us comfortless, as He stated in His Word: He gave us His Holy Spirit, His Word, and the privilege of constant communication with His Father in Heaven through prayer.

Jesus is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother, and He will always be there for us no matter what, as He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. While we serve Him each day, we can look forward to His glorious return in the golden clouds of Heaven. If you do not know Him today, I sincerely encourage you to meet Him today – He is waiting for you on the top of a hill along the road of life, lovingly reaching out His hand for you to join Him so you can walk together. Will you accept His invitation of eternal fellowship by asking Him to come into your heart and save you? The Savior is waiting for you, calling you by name to come follow Him before the sun sets and eternity begins.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

Embracing Acceptance

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There is one Person Who will always accept you no matter what.

Everybody just wants to belong.

Whether it’s in high school cliques, groups of coworkers, a family, or even a simple relationship with one person, such as a friendship or romance, every person feels an inherent need to be accepted by other people. While it’s easy to understand why this is a common, universal need, it’s important to remember that our personal self worth is not dependent on other people.

In a world where social rejection and emotional abuse runs rampant, it is critical to understand why we must keep our self worth independent from others around us. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why this is so necessary for our well being:

1. No one is perfect.

We’ve all heard this line a million times before, often as an excuse for people to explain their poor choices of behavior; but it is a fact that is worth repeating in this particular context. Every person that has ever been born came into this world with a flawed, sinful human nature. With that being said, everyone is naturally going to make mistakes throughout the course of their lives. Since everyone in the world possesses an imperfect nature, it is foolish to place a high priority on what people think of us or say about us. All humans are emotional, inconstant beings, whose moods and opinions can change for any reason. It is simply unhealthy to invest our self esteem completely in the power of extremely fickle beings. In fact, it’s not just unhealthy; it can also be dangerous.

One reason it can be dangerous is in the case of the breakup of a romantic relationship. After spending so much time together, confiding your trust, and caring so much for that person, it is extremely devastating when, for whatever reasons, that relationship comes to an end. If you invested a significant amount of your self worth in that person, their rejection or loss will not only feel like a slap in the face, but will leave you feeling completely empty as well. It will feel like an existential identity crisis in the worst case scenario. If so much of your life was centered around that person, there will be a large void in your heart after they are gone. Some people become so heartbroken that they feel like they have nothing left to live for after this happens, feeling utterly worthless. Just having these feelings at all is bad enough, but even worse is when some people choose to act on them. Sadly, this situation has happened thousands of times, and has resulted in some people wanting to permanently end their life. It breaks my heart to think of how many people have chosen to end their lives because of the shards of broken relationship dreams.

We must always be conscious of people’s sinful, human nature before we start defining our value by what others think of, say about, or do to us.

2. Everyone is different.

We are all created as unique individuals with specific strengths and weaknesses. Because of this, we must realize that we won’t always be accepted by someone else’s standards. However, if we always try to conform to someone else’s standards of approval, we will inevitably fall short of another person’s standards. It is impossible to please everyone, even when you have the very best intentions. Most importantly, the more you try to change yourself to please others, the more you’ll forget about who you really are. The worst thing you could possibly do is lose your identity while aiming for the affirmations of others. What usually happens is people will either sense you’re trying to pretend to be like them and become disgusted, or they’ll say they preferred the old you better. When you make the decision to change yourself to try to fit in or make someone else happy, you will wind up hopelessly confused, and feel like you have nowhere to turn.

One common situation when this happens is when teenagers attempt to gain popularity with their peers in high school. Tired of feeling like social outcasts, they’ll start buying different clothes or acting a certain way in an effort to imitate the popular kids. When they discover that changing their outward appearance and mannerisms doesn’t always win them friends and social approval, they’ll end up feeling disheartened because of other people’s shallow opinions. It can be extremely painful for anyone to go through this experience, especially when it happens at such a fragile, impressionable age. Teenagers have a main goal of discovering who they are before they become adults, and when they receive mixed messages about what gains people popularity, they feel cheated and betrayed by what their social environment told them was true. Worst of all, in their attempt to be just like everyone else, they sacrifice a lot of things that used to make them happy, and consequently may suffer a slight form of amnesia about what they used to like. Or the opposite situation could happen, where shedding their former identity actually succeeds in winning them friends. They might have gained their long-coveted popularity, but for the wrong reasons altogether, wishing that they could instead be accepted for who they really are.

Instead of conforming to man-made standards of approval, we should celebrate the differences our Creator gave us to design us as unique, irreplaceable individuals.

3. We all have a specific purpose.

Every single person that God has made was put here on this earth for an important reason. Whether or not a person has chosen to reconcile with his Creator is an important factor when it comes to fulfilling that purpose. We spend our whole lives trying to figure out why we exist, changing our occupations and mindsets frequently in an attempt to discover the mysterious, existential truth. For Christians, this matter is referred to as discovering God’s will, or calling for our lives. There will always be opposition in this world no matter what you decide to do, but Satan loves to discourage Christians by making them question their calling through the criticisms of other people. It is mandatory that we remember the Lord is our Master, not people. Nothing is more tragic than a person feeling like he has to abandon God’s call for his life just because some hateful, ignorant people decided to judge his abilities or ridicule him. If we allow the negative words of others’ mouths to affect us too much, we run the risk of wasting our potential for God’s service. When all is said and done, the only thing that really matters is a Christian’s obedience to God in the end; NOT man’s fallible opinion.

It is unfortunate that this situation happens every day, even in some Christian settings. Someone might possess a great amount of zeal and enthusiasm about wanting to do something for God, only to be shot down by the toxic words of malicious people. All too often this tends to happen in a church setting, where some people have wrongly chosen to spread their negative influence through harmful gossip. It is a shameful reality that many great leaders with a heart for God’s service have forfeited their potential either by choice, or in some cases coerced to do so. Imagine how many lives could have been touched by one person’s influence in a godly, positive way had he not been affected by the venomous words and opinions of others! Or even outside of a ministry setting, a person might be discouraged by common criticisms that accuse them of incompetence, or by being relentlessly compared to others with greater talents and abilities than he has. Satan wants nothing more than to take away valuable soldiers from God’s army in all areas!

God’s purpose for our lives far outweighs the opinions that others hold about us, so we must not allow constant criticism to affect how we follow God’s will.

So if our self worth isn’t defined by other people, then where do we find it?

The answer is simple –

Our self worth is found in God’s love for us.

We live in a world where people will ALWAYS reject us, but Jesus ALWAYS accepts us. It does not mean that He accepts our sin, however; it means He accepts us IN SPITE OF our sin. No matter what we look like, where we come from, or what we have done, God loves us unconditionally, because He is the very definition of love. However, since He is holy and righteous, He cannot accept our sin, because it would contradict His very nature. That is why He sent His Son Jesus, Who did absolutely nothing wrong, to die on the cross in our place, taking the punishment that we really deserved. If you do not know Him, all you have to do is acknowledge that you are a sinner, ask God to forgive you of your sin, believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sin, and accept the Holy Spirit to come live inside your heart. God’s plan for salvation is so secure, that He made sure the entire Holy Trinity is involved in reconciling a lost soul back to Him. It is through this plan of salvation that God manifested His love for us, even though we did nothing to deserve His love.

If you do know Him already, and you profess to be a Christian, then you can rejoice in knowing that you will always be accepted no matter what. When all your friends and family forsake you, God will never leave your side. He understands you better than anyone else ever can, and He is always there for you to talk to Him whenever you want or need to. No matter what man says, you ARE valuable, and priceless to the One Who died for you. You are an eternal soul of incredible worth, created in the divine image of God, and He is the only One Who gets to decide how much meaning your life has. Forget about the fallible opinions of sinful man, and embrace the knowledge that you are loved and accepted by the eternal Creator, and a wonderful Savior.

 

Here is proof found in God’s Word that you can embrace your acceptance:

 

John 3:16 ~ “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.”

John 6:37 ~ “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Romans 8:38-39 ~ “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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.”

Galatians 1:10 ~ “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
Colossians 2:10 ~ “And ye are complete in Him, Which is the Head of all principality and power:

Jeremiah 31:3 ~ “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

Romans 5:8 ~ “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

God wants everyone in the world to know that they are loved, accepted, and wanted by Him, whether they do the same for Him in return or not. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are saved in this context, because ALL souls are valuable in God’s eyes. If you have already embraced your acceptance by God, that’s wonderful; if not, are you willing to accept Him?

– Gloria D. Hopkins

Why It’s NOT A Sin To Be Sad

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It’s time for Christians to stop believing the popular myth that we have to be happy all the time.

Sometimes it’s just hard to be happy.

We all have bad days where everything around us seems to appear a mournful shade of grey. The tricky thing is, with human emotions being so complicated, there doesn’t even need to be a specific reason for us to feel this way. In our fallen world, we have to deal with sadness and other negative feelings as a way of life. While some people are born with natural dispositions that are more prone to these feelings than others, the truth is everyone is susceptible to experiencing the emotions that make the world lose its color.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: this is a negative post about promoting self-pity. Such a statement is quite contrary to my true purpose in writing this. My reason for writing this comes from a simple desire to clear up some common misconceptions that Christians might have about experiencing sadness and more complex emotional states, such as depression. My intention is that you will be comforted and reassured after reading this post, rather than wallowing in despair.

So let’s begin our re-assessment of sadness. We’ll begin with a few false ideas that some Christians have about it first.

Myth #1 –

If you’re feeling sad or depressed, it means you’re not right with God, and have sin in your life.

Unfortunately, I have heard this belief come out of many different Christians’ mouths. While it is always possible for a person to have sin, it is not a sin to be feeling sad or depressed in and of itself. Sadness entered the world as a result of sin, but it is not a sin to be sad. To hold this opinion is ignorant; to say it to someone who is struggling with sadness or depression is downright insensitive. If you make such an assumption about someone who is experiencing these feelings, you’ll end up sounding like the Pharisees in the New Testament, who claimed that a blind man was born that way because of his parents’ sin. To blame someone’s emotional pain on their sin without taking time to correctly understand their situation is an extremely hurtful thing to do.

Also, when Jesus Himself was here on this earth, He too experienced sadness, just like us. When his good friend Lazarus died, the Bible tells us that Jesus wept, and had compassion and empathy for Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha. Whenever he was rejected time and time again by people in different places, I’m sure Jesus was grieved like anyone would be. Of course, Jesus’ most awful experience with sadness had to be all of the events leading up to His death on the cross. Agony in Gethsemane, betrayal by one of His own disciples, being falsely accused by the Pharisees, being denied not once, but THREE times in a row by Peter, his other disciple, being mocked, physically abused, harassed, condemned to die as an unjust punishment, and ultimately abandoned by His own Father in Heaven – ALL of these things caused our Savior unimaginable sorrow.

Now we all know that Jesus was entirely perfect and holy without sin; so to say that feeling sad is a sin or to be depressed means you’re not right with God is ridiculous. Believing such a thing would be implying that Jesus was a sinner, which is blasphemy.

Myth #2 –

If you’re sad or depressed, it means you’re not thankful enough for the things in your life.

While this might be true in some cases, it is unwise to make this assumption about someone based on a shallow judgment. Practicing thankfulness is a helpful way to overcome sadness and depression, but it is by no means a magical cure to solve all of our emotional problems. For example, if a family loses a loved one, they may be thankful for the time they were blessed to have their relative with them, but they would still feel a great deal of grief because that person passed away. In a more common situation, a person might feel very thankful to God, but still feel sad for whatever reasons or circumstances they’re experiencing.

A biblical example of this would be Job, who lost everything he had except for his life, and still refused to blame God. Job was a very wealthy man living in ancient times who loved God more than all his many possessions. When God chose to test his faithfulness by allowing Satan to oppress him, Job had every reason in his flesh to give up on God and question His goodness, but he didn’t, at least not for long. Job acknowledged that God had given him everything he had in life, and that it was His right to take it all away if He so chose. However, Job was extremely depressed and sorrowful after losing his family, just as any normal person would be. Being sad about his circumstances didn’t make him ungrateful or any less of a Christian.

It is very important for us to understand that how we respond to negative circumstances does not always determine our spirituality in other areas. We can still be thankful to God while not particularly happy about our given circumstances. It might not be easy, but it is possible.

Myth #3 –

If you’re sad or depressed, it means you’re being selfish or too self-absorbed.

Now I have heard this one too many times to count. It infuriates me to no end when I hear people display such ignorance and insensitivity. While experiencing sadness and depression can cause people to isolate themselves from others, it is not fair at all to automatically label them as selfish or self-absorbed. Even more outrageous is when people say, “You’re not the only one who’s gone/going through this,” or “There are so many other people out there who have it worse than you,” or “Stop being over-dramatic and exaggerating your situation.” Saying these things to someone who has a legitimate reason for being upset is distasteful to say the very least. For one thing, these statements and other ones like them are hurtful, because they invalidate that person’s feelings. They don’t hear it as encouragement or helpful words; they hear it as subtle criticism directed at them for how they’re reacting. For another thing, these statements diminish the seriousness of that person’s situation. Would it be right to say to a person who has cancer, “You’re not the only person who has this or has had it happen to them; get over it”? Of course not! People who are experiencing sadness or depression are dealing with a serious sickness just like cancer, except it’s emotional instead of physical.

In the Bible, there were many different people who were sick and needed Jesus’ healing power. Whether they were blind, crippled, leprous, or even already dead, they each had a serious need that deserved to be acknowledged and validated. When they cried out for Jesus to help them, did He talk down to them and tell them that their problems weren’t as important as everyone else’s? NO! Jesus displayed His infinite compassion for mankind when He was on this earth, proving His love for humanity. Even if some of His disciples tried to convince Him to keep moving and walk away from them, our Lord and Savior didn’t listen to them. He cared about every single person he healed, since he was acquainted with their souls before they were even born. Not once did Jesus ever criticize a person who needed Him and confessed their faith in Him. Jesus treated every person he healed with the same amount of respect and concern that he gave to everyone else.

We should all try to be more understanding of a sad or depressed person’s situation before we label them as selfish or self-absorbed. Just as Jesus had compassion and took pity on those who needed Him, we must do the same for those around us who are struggling with sadness and depression.

If you’re feeling sad or depressed, God understands, and it’s okay.

Now that we have debunked some of these popular Christian myths about sadness, hopefully you have gained a better understanding of how God views this emotion. It is completely natural to experience it, and it is NOT a sin. However, there will be some people who will try to quote Philippians 4:4, where it says “Rejoice in the Lord always” to disagree with this post. It is important to note the difference between happiness and joy: Happiness is a temporary state based on circumstances, while joy is eternal hope in spite of circumstances. You can still have your Christian joy while feeling sad at the same time. When Jesus’ followers witnessed His death on the cross, they were sad that He died, but they held onto His promise that He would rise again. That hope they kept was the definition of their joy in spite of the negative circumstances. I would encourage you to hold onto your joy, no matter how sad or depressed you might be feeling. At the same time, however, I’m here to tell you that there is no need for you to feel guilty or ashamed of being sad or depressed. God knows and understands your pain, and all the reasons for it. He is always there to comfort you and heal your heart. He wants to help you.

Here are God’s eternal words of promise and truth to assure you:

Psalm 34:18 ~ “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Hebrews 4:15 ~ “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Isaiah 53:3 ~ “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Psalm 56:8 ~ “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ~ “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Psalm 55:22 ~ “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

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

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ~ “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

While it is not a sin to be sad or depressed, God doesn’t want you to stay that way forever. I want to assure you that no matter what you are going through right now, God is capable of healing ANY kind of damage within a human heart. The process cannot be rushed, though; He is a Master Healer that does things delicately with intricate care. You must be willing to trust Him and take His hand as He performs a beautiful miracle in your life. If you keep your eyes fixed on Him with steadfast, unwavering faith, you will be amazed at the wonderful things He can help you achieve and overcome. Trust me, He certainly will.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

Five Ways To Keep From Losing Your Mind

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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