God is Able

 

Today we’re looking at II Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need you will abound in every good work.” (NIV) The New American Standard Bible (NASB) says, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” What jumped out at me is, GOD IS ABLE!

That is such an encouragement for me. No matter what I’m going through, God is able! He is able to bless me above anything I can even dream of, He is able to hold me tight when I am going through a trial, He is able to guide me in wisdom, HE IS ABLE!

What a blessing to know that I don’t walk this walk alone, He is with me! I have Pandora on at the moment, and a little bit ago, it was playing, “Good, Good Father”, and that song just resonated with me. He is able because He loves me, and He is a good Father who desires to give me all that is good for me. When discouragement hits me, He is there to bring encouragement and remind me that I have peace, joy, grace, and salvation through Him and Him alone. When I am burdened, He is there to lighten the load, for He tells me to “take my yoke upon me and learn of me.” (Matthew 11:29 KJV)

As I write this, my heart is heavy. In the middle of working on this post, my sister emailed me to let me know that my nephew is in the hospital after a heroin overdose, and he almost died. How “on time” God is…to remind me that He is able, and then to hear news that could shake my foundation of faith in Him if it weren’t for that reminder that “He is able!” He can take my nephew and turn him 180° in the opposite direction, save his life, physically and spiritually, and set him on a new course. My faith in God is not shaken. I’ve already put my nephew on a couple of prayer boards, and I’ve heard from so many who have said they’ve been there, and sent me encouragement, and are praying for my family. How good God is to surround us with a body of Believers who uphold each other in prayer, give encouragement, and sometimes even wrap their arms around us physically to keep us on our feet.

That is such a great blessing from God! I am so grateful to Him for His care. He knows right where I am. He knows what is heavy on my heart, He knows just what I need, He knows! We do not serve a God who is distant from us, nor unconcerned with our lives and what we experience. He loves us with an everlasting love, He walks with us, His desire is to bless us immeasurably, and He is faithful!

As I just looked at the verse again, I notice it says that He is able to bless us abundantly so that at ALL TIMES we have what we need. Do you need encouragement? He is able. Do you need healing? He is able. Do you need financial freedom? He is able. Do you need peace? He is able. Do you need your marriage restored? He is able. Do you need chains broken? He is able. Whatever your need is…HE IS ABLE!

My friends, even in the depths of despair, GOD IS ABLE! Take courage and gain strength in the knowledge that God is able no matter what your situation. Reach out to Him and give Him whatever it is you need for Him to do for you. Remember, “the God of Angel Armies is always by your side!”

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The Battle is Already Won

Today’s devotional is from John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage I have overcome the world.” (NASB) In our study on courage, we must remember that in the face of the battles we struggle with, we have already won. Notice Jesus said that we will have trouble! Tribulation, trials, problems, struggles…they are all part of life.

When I was a new Christian there was a movement going around that said once we became Believers, we would never have problems. Everything would be smooth sailing. The only problem with that is, as new Believers, the first battle we come up against, we begin to feel discouraged, some even think they have lost their salvation. But Jesus never said we wouldn’t have battles to face, in fact, He said that we would have to go through these things. It is a certain fact! My mind goes to a song that was popular when I was a late teen/early adult that said, “I never promised you a rose garden.” That is exactly the point! Jesus never promised that we would go through life unscathed, without difficulties.

But, Jesus has won the battle for us, therefore we are victors in those things that the enemy would throw into our pathway. Once we have become Christians, Satan is not a happy camper! That’s when he throws everything including the kitchen sink at us. He knows he can’t take away our salvation, but he can make it so that our witness is ineffective, that we become discouraged, that we lose our peace, and that we give up. I’ve heard Believers state that before they were Christians they didn’t have as many battles and problems as they did after becoming Believers. Well, there’s a good reason for that. Satan isn’t worried when we belong to him, but he is worried when we belong to HIM…the One who gives life, peace, joy, strength, and saves completely!

Notice that Jesus says we should take courage! We can rest in the knowledge that God already has the battle won. We do not have to walk defeated lives, we can find peace, strength, and encouragement as we fight those battles. We must remember that the battle is the Lord’s (I Samuel 17:47), and it is He who fights our battles. Now, that doesn’t mean we just sit back and not try to fight. But what it means is, He fights with us, and it is He who brings the final victory.

My battle with anger is a prime example. Yes, Jesus has won the battle for me, but it is up to me to try and control my anger. Every victory is because He has given me the strength and courage to fight to get my anger under control. For me, this a life long battle. I win by baby steps. I am far from where I need to be, but I must say, I have seen some improvements. Satan knows how to get me to the point of exploding, I just need to recognize what weapons he uses to cause me to fail, and then fight against them.

As we walk out this life as Believers we know we do not walk alone. God is walking right next to us. He is fighting for us, encouraging us, strengthening us, helping us to become strong in our faith, to live lives that would draw others to Jesus. Be encouraged, you are not alone!

Trusting in God Develops Courage

Today’s Bible study is from Psalm 31:24, “Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the Lord.” Courage isn’t something that comes easily. We get attacked from every side and amid those attacks, we find that in our own strength we are defeated and haven’t much courage to face the battle. Today as I am doing my Bible Journaling, I am really struggling to concentrate. I have had a growing sinus headache, and even though I have taken medication and asked the Lord to ease the pain, it is still with me. I seriously believe that this is one of the tools Satan uses to distract us from doing the things God is calling us to do.

David had similar problems. When we read the 31st chapter of Psalm, David is praying to God, pouring out his heart of all the things, people, and situations that are coming against him. Enemies were seeking to kill him, others were being judgmental about his sin and attacking him with slurs and gossip, he is grieving deeply in his heart over the results of his sin, to the point where he physically has “wasted away” (verse 10), and he is discouraged. However, sprinkled throughout the chapter David reminds himself that God is the one who is his source of strength, his deliverer, his refuge, and in the end, David reminds us that we are to “be strong and let your heart take courage.” We can do this when we hope or trust in God. It is God who gives us the strength and the courage to face the things that come against us.

Satan knows our weak points and he knows just what buttons to push to cause us to turn away from trusting God. We can find hope in our lives in Jesus. David, in the middle of his sorrow and pain, declared in verse 14, “But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD,
I say, “You are my God.”’ We need to remind ourselves that we are not forgotten, God knows where we are, He knows the battle we face, and He is right beside us. Therefore, we can trust Him. We can put our full faith and belief in Him to deliver us and to give us the courage to face those hardships.

For me, the struggles at this stage in my life have been physical pain and trying to win the battle over my anger issues. Satan is constantly at me, trying to get me to become distracted and turn away from God. My husband says the attacks are coming because I have determined in my heart to Bible Journaling and blogging as a means of ministry to others. This may be true. But the funny thing is, I have been in ministry work almost my entire adult life and the attacks have never been this constant or severe. My pastor has said that when the enemy attacks, it means that something is about to happen to where we are heading for another level in our walk with the Lord, and Satan is pulling out all the stops to prevent us from succeeding and becoming an effective Christian in our witness to others. He’s running scared and he’s throwing everything he can think of in our pathway to derail us.

Without God to give us the courage and strength to persevere in those times of hardship, we would fail miserably, and our witness would be ineffective. We can find victory when we place our trust in Him. He hears our heart’s cry and He is ready to give us what it is we need. Then we can boldly say, as David did, “But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD,
I say, “You are my God.”’

The Armor of God

Today’s devotion is from Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” (NASB) The question is, how do we become strong in the Lord? If you read Ephesians 6:10-18, the Apostle Paul tells us. We are to put on the whole armor of God. Each piece of the armor is important. As Believers, we are in a battle daily. It is a battle that we don’t necessarily see in the flesh and is mostly a Spiritual battle being waged between the old man and the new man.

The first element of the armor of God is the Belt of Truth. We must seek out truth and that is found in God’s Word. Without knowing what is true, we have no defense against the lies of the enemy. The Bible says that Satan is a deceiver and the father of lies. John 8:44 says that he has no truth in him. So, when he speaks, he lies, and we must know the truth to be discerning when we hear him speak and know what we hear is not truth. We must also speak truth and believe the truth of the Bible.

The second element is the Breastplate of Righteousness. The Breastplate is extremely important because it protects the vital organs of the soldier’s body. Having the Breastplate of Righteousness is a protection against Satan’s attacks. Right living is also a testimony to others of the work God has done in our lives. Again, the only way to know how God expects us to live, is to read His Word and apply His principles and laws to our lives and exhibit those precepts so that unbelievers will see and know that God has made a change in our lives and is a testimony of God’s faithfulness to us.

Element number three is footwear…the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace. First of all, peace comes only through a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We are to spread the Gospel to others and to do that we must be prepared. Again, we are to search the Scriptures, hide God’s Word in our hearts, and go out to share the Good News that Jesus brings peace. Knowing God’s Word helps to strengthen us and helps others to know that they can rely on Him to deliver them.

The Shield of Faith is our next piece of armor. Shields fend off the attack of swords and other weapons of warfare delivered by the enemy. Satan wants to weaken our faith and he will throw all kinds of ammunition at us to derail our faith. Reading God’s Word, assembling with fellow Believers to be encouraged, learning more of God and His love for us, and remembering the times God has delivered us, all go toward strengthening our faith.

The next element of the armor is the Helmet of Salvation. Salvation is where our journey begins. Salvation is accepting Jesus into our hearts and lives, allowing Him to take total control, repenting for our sins, and endeavoring to live for Him for the rest of our lives. Joyce Meyer says that the battlefield is the mind, and it is true. It is one of Satan’s favorite areas to try and defeat Christians. He will try to deceive us into thinking that we have lost our salvation, or at least are a horrible Christian, and so we should give up trying to live a godly life. The helmet protects the head; therefore, the Helmet of Salvation is to protect us from the lies the enemy tries to place in our minds.
The last element of the armor is the Sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word. We are to read it daily for instruction, for encouragement, and for strength. As you look at the armor, notice it is the only piece of armor that is used for defense. The Sword is the only means of defense we have against Satan. The Bible says that God’s Word is a two-edged sword. It is given for teaching, reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. (II Timothy 3:16-17) Not only does it teach us, but it also shows us our sins and where we have messed up so that we can repent and correct our relationship with Jesus, and then in turn, as we bury His Word into our hearts, we can use it to fight against the enemy’s attacks. Jesus showed us how to use the Word to fight back when He was being tempted by Satan.

Satan knows the Word of God also, but he twists things around to mean something it doesn’t say. Jesus quoted Scripture in response to every temptation Satan brought before Him. Satan had no defense, because He knew that God’s Word is true, and his lies were no match for God’s Word.

The one thing you will notice about the armor of God is, there is no protection for the back. God does not want us to retreat or turn our back on the enemy. That is a very vulnerable position for the Believer. As the Army of God, we are to fight back to back, standing together to defeat the adversary of our souls. That is the reason meeting together as Believers is so vital. When one is weak, there are others who are strong who can help that one to gain strength in Christ. Having an accountability partner is a great help. We can keep each other from straying or retreating in the face of heavy opposition from the enemy, and that strengthens us when we are weak. Being with other Christians also encourages us to keep in the fight, and to rely on Jesus when the battle gets too hard.

So today, do you have your armor on? Are you prepared to fight the enemy? As Soldiers of God, put on your armor and prepare to win the battle against Satan’s attacks.

Courage

Sometimes life throws some heavy obstacles in our pathway and we can feel defeated, rejected, disillusioned, frightened, and alone. We can’t find strength to persevere, nor can we find the courage it takes to go through those obstacles. I’ve been there. I’ve been so afraid to even fight through the battles, that I forget that I have a Source of courage and strength. This month’s devotional series is on courage. Matthew 10:22 says, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

Endurance in a battle takes courage. That courage comes from one Source, God. David knew from where his courage came. I Samuel 17:45 says, “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.”

When we are faced with things that come across our path, be it normal events that happen to everyone or entrapments set up by Satan to trip us up, we can rest in the knowledge that God is our source of courage, that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews13:5), and that He gives us the strength and courage to endure to the end when we can say with confidence that we weathered the storm and came out on the other side in victory.

Jesus knew His disciples would have a very difficult road to travel once He was gone. They would be persecuted, rebuked, and even killed for proclaiming the Good News of Jesus. The early church went through such horrific trials that we, in this day and age, can not even imagine. But Jesus encouraged them to endure to the end. He was their Source of strength and courage, even in the face of death. For the majority of us, we don’t have to be faced with persecution like that, but there are areas of this world where persecution of Christians is currently happening, and many have given their lives to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior. We’ve all heard stories of how bravely missionaries and fellow Believers faced persecution and death. They knew the Source of the courage they possessed and endured to the very end.

David exhibited that courage when he faced Goliath. David was just a teenager, but because of his faith in God, he boldly stepped forward to defeat the giant, Goliath. Lest we think that David was perfect, he had his moments of doubt and discouragement just like we all go through. Read the Psalms, you will see David struggle with every emotion and battle we experience, but inevitably he always ends with praise to God and the assurance that God is with him, and he knows where to find the strength and courage to continue to endure through the battles.

A dear friend of mine is battling a rare form of leukemia, and I am amazed at her strength! She always has an encouraging word even when she is not feeling well. She does her best to be in church, and she is such an encouragement for me. I struggle with back pain that is constant, it never leaves. On the days when I feel like I can’t even get the energy to get ready for church, I remember what she is going through, and I know that if she can endure her battle, I can endure mine. She knows from where the source of her strength and courage come. Her faith is solidly placed upon the Savior! She is my hero! If she can be in church when she isn’t feeling well, then I can also. She has taught me so much in how to endure to the end. She has taught me to remember that my strength and courage come from God, just by watching her as she fights and prays for healing.

David’s courage came from the God of the armies of Israel. He fought Goliath in God’s name, giving God the honor due Him, and God gave David the victory. We can claim victory also when we remember Whom it is that gives us courage and strength, and when we give Him all the glory and honor despite our circumstances.