One thing I know…is how difficult it can be, to remain on the path that God has placed us on…especially during difficult times of affliction. It seems like obstacles get in our way, along with temptations that can sidetrack us and put us on a detour road; that only takes us away, from where God longs for us to be.
In Proverbs 4:25-27, we read… “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”
How is it that we find ourselves on a detour road, rather than the path that God first placed us on? I have come to see that this happens, when we become too tightly focused on what the circumstance is attempting to convey to us. We must remember one thing…Satan isn’t only out to afflict us; but he’s also out to keep that affliction alive, in any way possible.
We need to remember that no matter what we face…we need to keep pressing on, with our eyes looking straight ahead. Now isn’t the time to get sidetracked, by thinking more deeply on our problems.
One thing I love about these Bible verses; is that they come right to the point and say… “Look right on…look straight before thee…turn not to the right hand nor to the left.” Just think how our times of adversity could be so much easier to cope with, if we would only look at what lies straight before us…never turning to the left or the right.
Now isn’t the time to succumb to temptation and the ways of evil; but rather, now is the time, to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and the prize that awaits us, at the end of these difficult paths. When we can stop listening to what the circumstance is attempting to convey to us and focus on the One, who can walk us directly out of these difficult times; then we will come to see that these paths of circumstance do come to an end.
As we view life around us, we see how there are more people being afflicted with pain and overwhelming circumstances and it seems as though we are facing greater obstacles and a longer duration of attacks from Satan. In Revelation 12:12, it reads…”Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
As we see the end drawing closer, we also see a greater amount of persecution, pain and heartache in this world and even though God may be allowing these moments to enter our lives for a reason; that doesn’t mean that Satan can control the situation. His power can be displayed to us, as he enhances a situation in our lives but the true test comes, when we either choose to fall prey to his power or walk away from the situation, only to draw closer to God.
These times we live in are never easy but knowing that God is close by, will give us hope, as we walk down these difficult pathways. One thing I’ve learned in my life; is that we definitely cannot have an attitude towards God but we can have one towards Satan and I think the reason why we suffer needlessly; is because we allow ourselves to fall prey to the works of Satan, while fearing the circumstance and where it may lead us.
It’s time, that we refer our minds back to the cross…at a time when Jesus defeated Satan. As we all remember, Jesus went through an insurmountable amount of temptation, as Satan was attempting to detour Jesus from the cross. In addition, Jesus suffered beyond any suffering we would endure in this lifetime but because He remained focused on His Father in Heaven; God delivered Him from these moments, through a victorious resurrection, while overcoming evil with good.
In this day we are living in; we can become so overwhelmed by our daily problems…especially as we feel them intensify but just as Jesus remained true to His Father and remained focused on Him; we too need to do the same and remember that there is no obstacle that can stop us or defeat an all-powerful God that lives in and around us. We need to quit allowing the circumstance to drag us down and allow the power that lives within us, to lift us up, to a place where we rise above the despair in our lives.
Remember, Satan is lurking around, seeking whom he may devour and what he’s focusing on the most right now, as he senses his time is short; is the weaknesses in our lives. When we allow ourselves to succumb to the weakness that attempts to take over our lives, then we are going to begin to feel a full blown attack from Satan but when we get an attitude and shun him, by focusing on God and His word, while we allow our personal relationship with God to become stronger; then the power of evil will begin to weaken, as our strength begins to soar, to a place that’s higher than despair.
Do we see our faith, as a limited faith? Do we only experience God’s goodness, by the limited faith we have or does our heart of belief allow us to experience the complete fullness of God’s power in our lives?
In II Kings 4:6, we read…“When all the jars were full she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.” This is a great illustration of faith. In this reading, there was only enough oil, for the woman to fill the jars that they had gathered but the moment she ran out of jars…the oil stopped flowing.
Are we only allowing God to fill us up so far, with His wonder working power…only to a place, where our faith limits the flow of His powerful presence? Have we run out of room for God to work, especially during the moments of adversity? We need to understand that when we limit the power of a great and mighty God; then it’s as if we have placed a stopper on God’s power, so He can only help us to a certain degree. If we are longing for God to do His best on our behalf; then our faith must match up with the power, of the God we believe in.
While facing difficult times of pain and heartache in our lives, our attention can become easily focused on every detail of the problem, due to the severity of it but when we do this; then our faith is being limited and from there, we limit the work of God. Faith can become a limitless faith, when our thoughts are focused on God and His word…while communing heart to heart with Him. When we can focus on the positive things that will allow our faith to grow; then we will begin to experience the limitless power of God.
Nothing can ever be hopeless, unless we choose to believe it’s hopeless. We need to remember that our thoughts and actions are either going to lead us to a stronger faith in God or these moments are going to place us deep, in a pit of despair, where Satan has full control of our circumstances. We will never fully come to grips, with the intense and mighty power of God, until we are willing to release ourselves from the circumstance and allow our faith to soar into the heavens.
We will always face trying moments of adversity and affliction but at the same time, we don’t have to remain there, when we can experience the complete and limitless power of God. When we go beyond our own thoughts and feelings, to experience a power that is never ending; then we will be giving God full control, while we watch a great and mighty God go to work within our lives.
The dark moments of circumstance can be an awful place to be. There is no sunshine in these moments, with beautiful flowers growing along the wayside…only a sky that seems so darkened by every problem, while ugly weeds line a path that seems so gray.
One piece of hope that I can offer you today…if you are walking in the midst of a dark circumstance; is found in John 8:12, which reads… “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
One thing I have come to see, after walking through some long and difficult moments of needless suffering; is that I don’t have to remain in the dark moments of circumstance. Even though Satan may have placed me there; that doesn’t mean that I have to remain there and live with no hope.
In our Bible verse for today, it states that Jesus is the light of the world and when we choose to follow after Him; then we will never find ourselves walking in darkness; but will always be in the light of His presence…where evil cannot have its way with us.
You ask me today…how do I enter this perfect light; that can destroy the darkness I’m walking in? Just turn to Jesus…the One who is the light…and commune with Him and get in His powerful word and allow new thoughts to form; that will walk you away from the darkened and deceptive thoughts; that Satan only uses to debilitate you.
When we choose the light of God’s presence, over the dark moments of circumstance; that is when hope will once more spring alive within us…letting us know that a powerful God is once more in control of our lives!
Why do we worry, when we are connected to a God that is limitless in strength and power? Are we allowing the symptoms of our problems to control our minds, while we completely forget about the God that lives within us? In Philippians 4:6-7, we read…“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (7) And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
When we face a problem head on; it seems as though the first thing we do is begin to worry and fret. We need to remember that worry is a negative feeling and it does not come from God. Worry is only going to cause us to sink further into the muck and mire of despair…because with every negative thought we produce; we are not only stopping the power of God in our lives but we are opening a door to evil, that says…“Come on in and continue from where you left off.”
In these verses, God is asking us to turn our worry into prayer. When we can leave the thoughts of worry behind, to have a good talk with God; then we are going to stop the power of evil, from continually leading us into needless suffering. God doesn’t want us to think about our problems but rather, He longs for us to present our problems to Him; so He can begin to work, on what has been broken.
The only way we are going to experience true peace; is when we come into the presence of God and give Him everything that is weighing us down, rather than holding tightly to it, as though it’s become our security blanket.
We need to remember that God is stronger and can handle our weaknesses…above and beyond, what we could ever comprehend. We are always going to face problems in our lives because we live in an imperfect world; but how we handle them, will either allow us to suffer more or experience an eternal peace that can only come from Jesus Christ!
How often do we reflect on the comforting words of Psalm 23? Sometimes, I think we just need a reminder that God is always there for us…to comfort…guide us and protect us, as we walk through each moment, of each day. Let’s read Psalm 23, which says… “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
The words in this psalm can be a reminder to us that God is always with us…no matter what we may face. When we choose to turn to God, rather than the problems that surround us from day to day; then He becomes the great shepherd that cares for our every need. When we are completely trusting in Him and resting in His arms of love and mercy; then we will never have any need of anything because He will be there to provide and make a way, as we turn to Him, as our source of help.
This psalm also gives us hope; that whenever we feel stressed or overwhelmed by the things that go on throughout our day; that we can rest in the green pastures that allow us to experience the quiet waters of His eternal peace. God becomes the One who restores our soul, when we are weak and brought low, by the blow of each circumstance. He will cradle us in His loving arms and heal the hurt that was brought about, through the trying times in our lives and He will not only restore the things that have been broken but He will place us on the right path that will allow us to walk in His righteous ways, rather than finding ourselves on some detour road…led by evil.
We may face times, when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. This road may be the result of losing someone close to us but I also believe that this road can represent a dark place of despair. God never promised that life would be easy but He did say that He would walk with us, through these dark moments and when we come to acknowledge His loving presence, while walking down a dark and lonely pathway, then His love will conquer the fear that comes about through these difficult times.
As we walk this journey towards Heaven, we may also face difficult battles, brought on by the enemy but even though God may allow these moments to enter our lives, they are not meant to harm us but rather, they are there to strengthen us. When we allow God to become the mighty warrior that defends us, during times of affliction, rather than trying to defend ourselves, then we will experience the complete fullness of a God, who will never fail us or forsake us.
Days can be filled with all kinds of obstacles but when we remain committed to the One who lives within our hearts; then His goodness will conquer and overcome each obstacle we face and in the end, we will experience His loving presence, as we dwell with Him for all of eternity…in a place where no pain and heartache will ever exist again.
Are we remaining in the dark, with a circumstance that has been targeted, as a means of destruction? Have we made ourselves prey to the works of darkness, by choosing to not seek the light of God’s presence, during these difficult times? In Ephesians 5:13-14, we read…“But everything exposed to the light becomes visible, (14) for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said; “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
As we begin today, let’s ask ourselves a question… how do we expose a dark circumstance, so it can be destroyed, through the light of God’s presence? I think the first thing we need to do, is quit running from reality. Many times we do not want to face a problem because it will only be one more painful thing to deal with but we must remember that while we are escaping reality…nothing is able to be repaired within our lives. First, we must acknowledge to God; that we not only need His help but that we are also willing to lay everything before Him; so He can begin the work that He longs to do within our lives.
The second thing I think we do…is that we allow the circumstance to have control over us, through our actions. In other words…we tend to get angry or allow frustration and anxiety to become road blocks, so God can’t work. Do we realize what this is doing to us? When we react in this way; then we are only allowing ourselves to remain trapped within the presence of darkness. When we can rise above the problem, by searching God’s word, for the answers that can counsel us; then we will be able to deal with the problem and find the strength to work side by side with God, until the problem is resolved.
The minute we come to grips, with what is happening in our lives, then we can expose it and allow Satan to see that his power is not able to rise above the power of a great and mighty God. When we choose to bring a problem or situation into the light of God’s presence; then it’s as if we have entered the light with the problem and once the light of God’s presence touches our spirits, the darkness is no longer seen and the problem that once had control over our lives…now becomes powerless.
Do you know that there is no place, where we can be hidden from the loving and compassionate eyes of God? Our circumstances have a way of convincing us; that God has either walked away from us or doesn’t seem to care. We can even be convinced that God will never find us, in the midst of what we see, as the darkest circumstance ever; but in Psalm 139:7-12, we read… “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.”
Nothing can hide us from the presence, of a God who is much more powerful, than any circumstance we may face. No matter where we are in life…God is there...no matter what we may be struggling with at the time.
In my life, there were many times, when I felt as if God couldn’t find me, in all the foggy moments of circumstance. It seemed as though my problems had convinced me; that I was buried within a deep fog…where God’s light would never be able to penetrate these moments, and help me.
It was during one specific moment in my life, when I was truly experiencing these foggy moments; that God began to show me that I was too caught up in the fog…to even know that the light of His presence was there with me. Finally, I learned that I needed to look above the fog, rather than into the denseness of the fog…to find Him…and as I looked up…it was as though the light of His presence began to shine through.
We must remember that what seems to be dark and dreary to us; is not to God…for what we perceive, as a dark circumstance; isn’t darkness to Him at all. We must also remember that wherever we are…or no matter what we are facing at the time; God’s presence will always be able to find us.
Today, we need to quit listening to the voice of our circumstance and start believing these truths that we find in God’s word. When we come to accept God, for who He truly is; then we will also come to accept that He is there…always watching over every little thing that concerns us!
One thing I have truly taken hold of, while walking down some dark and lonely paths of pain and heartache…is how much I truly need the power of God in my life…for without His power, we will never survive the blows that Satan throws our way.
When I was younger, I used to go to a Baptist church and even though I enjoyed the pastor’s sermons…something was missing and later I came to see that it was the power of God in my life. I had become so caught up in the religion, of the Baptist faith; that I never really focused on the power of God.
In II Timothy 3:5, we read… “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Don’t we realize how much we need the power of God in our lives? Can religion counteract the fiery darts that come our way? Can religion be the cure, for whatever is ailing us? I have come to see; that when the power of God becomes the missing ingredient within our lives; then that makes us more vulnerable to the power of evil.
There is one thing that I have truly come to see, in this verse above…and that is where it says…“Having a form of godliness.” In other words…religion becomes that form of godliness and before we know it; we begin to worship and follow after the rules of religion, rather than God.
The thing we need to take hold of today; is that religion won’t save us…only the power that is contained, within Jesus…God’s only Son…the One who died for our sins…and when we choose to follow after a form of godliness…above a true and living God; then we find that we have denied the only form of power that can free us from the difficulties of this life.
No matter what we face...let’s face it…we need a power that is much high and greater, than the so-called power that comes from evil…and the only way we are going to obtain that power; is not through religion…but directly through Jesus Christ. When we truly learn to draw from a power that can supersede all things; that is when we will begin to see our circumstances fall powerless to the ground!
Isn’t it amazing…the thoughts that can come into our minds, while walking through some very trying times in our lives? These thoughts have a way of convincing us that we are alone and will never come through the moments that are still awaiting us; but in Deuteronomy 31:6, we read…“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.”
You know…I think that all we need to do, while facing these negative thoughts; is to get our thoughts buried in God’s word. When the problem is saying that we are too weak to make it through; God is encouraging us to be strong and of good courage. When the problem is leading us down a path of fear and doubt; God is letting us know that we don’t have to fear or be afraid of what is happening…and why…because He is not only with us; but He’s the One that goes before us; as a shield, to protect us and keep us safe, from the fiery darts that come our way.
I think that one of the most difficult battles to walk through…is the battle of the mind. It seems as though we are always striving to keep our thoughts going in God’s direction…but isn’t it amazing how Satan can trip us up and make our problems seem much more out of control; then what they really are.
Instead of focusing on where the problem may be leading us; we need to get into God’s word and let His truth not only free us; but lead us away from these deceptive thoughts. When we can read and take in God’s truth, rather than allowing a deceptive lie, to take us by the hand and walk us away from the peace and joy we once experienced; then we will soon find that God can truly give us the strength to overcome anything that is attempting to overcome us.