3 Reasons to Thank God in Times of Trouble

Thanksgiving to God

Thanksgiving to GodAre you in the midst of some trial or difficulty or heartache right now? If not, I know you’ve been there and you will be again.

The writer of Psalm 118 knew trouble. His life had not been easy. For example, verses 8-14 alone hint at betrayal and attack. He had learned that men – whether in lowly or exalted position – could not be fully trusted (Psalm 118:8-9). He had felt caught in a hopeless and dangerous situation with no way out.

But in the middle of those trials, he also experienced God’s personal intervention on his behalf. In Psalm 118:8-14, the psalmist testifies to God’s deliverance and expresses his gratitude. In this passage, we find 3 reasons to thank God when we face times of trouble:

  1. God is our refuge – When storms are raging all around us, we will always find safety in God’s presence. He is our shelter from the storm. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). From experience, the author of Psalm 118 had learned that people are not fully trustworthy, but God can always be trusted. He learned that he could not always depend on people, but he could depend on God in any and every situation. Like the psalmist, when we’re in the midst of trouble, let’s thank God that He is our refuge. When we hide ourselves in Him, He will be our shelter!
  2. God is our protector – When people and circumstances fight against us, we do not have to wonder or worry about victory. God Himself goes with His people and fights for them (Deuteronomy 30:3-4). When the psalmist was surrounded and swarmed by his enemies, victory came through the name of the LORD. Do you ever feel “swarmed by enemies?” Call on the name of the LORD. Thank Him that He is your protector!
  3. God is our strength – Verse 14 sums up this section of Psalm 118. “The LORD is my strength, and my song; He has become my salvation.” God saves! He will deliver us through trouble with the strength of His might. He is our reason to sing, so let us lift a song of praise and thanksgiving to the God who is our strength!

God is our refuge, our protector, and our strength! Thank Him today, especially in the midst of trouble.

How else can you thank God today? Express your gratitude in the comment section.

 

Jesus Is…

Who is Jesus?This month at Do Not Depart we’ve tackled a huge question: Who is Jesus? Although we will spend an eternity discovering the full answer, we have touched on a few vital truths.

Let’s recap what we’ve learned:

Jesus is the True SacrificeAli reminded us that Jesus was the final and full sacrifice for sin. “We can have hope because we have a loving Savior who gave himself to rob our sin. We no longer need to live under guilt and condemnation! We’re set free from the punishment of sin! And we’re able to approach the throne of grace confidently (Heb 4:16) any and every time we draw near to God.”

Jesus was fully humanLindsey showed us from Scripture that Jesus was 100% human. “Because Jesus was fully human, he understands fully what it’s like to be human… He understands our struggles…  our fears … and our feelings of abandonment when God seems distant.”

Jesus was fully God – Jesus was 100% human, but Scripture teaches He was also 100% God. (God’s able to do math like that!) Lisa laid out a list of reasons why we must accept the deity of Jesus. “Everything is different for us since Jesus is divine. Awakened to a higher purpose, we have a fuller joy now and a kingdom home with God forever.”

Jesus is our High Priest – Jesus is the only mediator between us and God the Father. He gives us access to God. I love how Caroline reminded us that because Jesus is our High Priest, “we can come to Him any time, any place, with anything on our hearts.”

Jesus is the Messiah – Jesus is the Promised One, the Deliverer, the Savior, the One God’s people had long waited for. I loved Patti’s conclusion: “Jesus our Messiah bore our every sin. He was anointed to make intercession for us with His very life, and save us from an eternity of separation from God. Jesus is the Anointed Savior Who was promised from the beginning – our Messiah and our hope!”

We could say so much more about Jesus! But instead of me rambling on, I ‘d like to share some words from the Nicene Creed, crafted by some of the early church fathers at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD.

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God,
begotten of his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made;
who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven,
and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again
according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of the Father;
and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead;
whose kingdom shall have no end.

Jesus – who is our Savior, our Sacrifice, our High Priest, and our God – is coming again as King!

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.  1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, NIV

 

Who Is Jesus?

Who is Jesus?

Who is Jesus?Recently, I came across a book my grandmother gave me in 1966 about Jesus and His disciples. It includes a one-page description and an artist rendering of Jesus and each of the twelve. The full-color drawings are beautiful. They just aren’t necessarily accurate. For instance, “Jesus” is portrayed with light brown hair and blue eyes.

In giving Jesus these specific physical characteristics, the artist separated Jesus from His Jewish heritage. Maybe that’s how the artist pictured Him. Perhaps the artist was swayed by his audience’s expectations. But a Jew with blue eyes and light hair would have been very unusual in ancient Palestine. A blue-eyed, light-haired Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible.

After seeing that drawing, I started to wonder about other ways we might have “altered” Jesus into a Savior of our own making. Is our understanding of Jesus accurate? Or has it been morphed by our own worldviews and preconceptions?

Jesus bookJoin us this month at Do Not Depart as we explore the Jesus of the Bible. Our goal is to delve into the truth of God’s Word to better understand Jesus. My prayer for us is that God will correct any misconceptions. That He would expand and explode our view of the Savior. That we would be humbled and fall on our faces in worship.

Have you ever believed something about Jesus that God later corrected? What was it? How did He show you the truth?

12 Verses for God’s Comfort & Strength

God's comfort and strength

God's comfort and strengthThe grief was raw. The crisis was fresh. I woke in the middle of the night, overwhelmed, feeling the weight of it pressing in.

Feeling on the verge of an anxiety attack, I began to pray. Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of Scriptures I had memorized. As I prayed them back to God, calm washed over me. Soon, I drifted back to sleep.

God’s timing is perfect. When that trial hit a few years ago, I was in the middle of writing a devotional book for “troubled times.” Because I had “hidden His Word” in my heart, it was there for God to use when I needed it most.

From beginning to end, the Bible assures us of God’s comforting presence and strength in times of trial and difficulty. The 12 verses below are some of my favorites. You can commit them to memory or print the pretty PDF version and keep it some place you’ll see it often.

  1. Deuteronomy 31:8 – God goes before and with us. We do not have to be afraid or discouraged because He will never leave or forsake us.
  2. Psalm 9:10 – God never forsakes those who seek Him.
  3. Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength.
  4. Psalm 73:25-26 – No matter what we lose in this life, we have God and He is all we need.
  5. Isaiah 40:31 – God renews the strength of those who hope in Him.
  6. Isaiah 43:2 – When we face difficulties, God goes with us.
  7. Jeremiah 32:17 – Nothing is too hard for our God.
  8. Matthew 11:28-30 – Jesus invites us to bring our burdens to Him.
  9. Romans 8:39 – Nothing can separate us from God’s love.
  10. Second Corinthians 4:7-9 The world may press us hard, but God’s strength and presence will not allow us to be crushed.
  11. First Peter 5:7 – God cares about us and every aspect of our lives.
  12. First John 4:4 – God is far greater than Satan.

Perhaps you’re going through a season of difficulty and trial. Or maybe someone who is close to you is struggling. These passages can be a balm to your soul. Plus, they’re merely a small sample of the amazing truths about God’s great love and care for us.

Share your favorites in the comments below or tell us how one of these verses has ministered to you. Rest in His loving embrace today!

The World’s Way or God’s Way?

Purity for Today's Christian WomanWhen I look at my three grown children I see hints of both my husband and me. My daughters have Wayne’s dark eyes. My son Mark’s eyes are green like mine. Sometimes when Mark speaks he sounds exactly like his dad. And occasionally the girls move in a way that mirrors one of my mannerisms.

Physically we are all a mix of our parents – good traits and less desirable ones too.  But unfortunately, the character and behavior of believers are also often a mix.  In some ways we reflect our heavenly Father and sometimes we look just like the world.

This month at Do Not Depart we are focusing on sexual purity for today’s Christian woman. The gap continues to grow between the world’s sexual standards and God’s. If we truly desire to follow Jesus, we must dare to ask ourselves: “Are my values and behavior in the area of purity being shaped by God or the world?”

God commands us to turn away from the world’s values and standards and instead be shaped by His thinking. His character. His ways.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2, NLT

Sadly, many of us are shaped more by the world than we even realize. We live in a culture that is saturated with sex, sexual overtones, and sexual undertones. It is pervasive. Our society has “lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19).

But God calls us to “put off” that way of life, “which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires,” and to be “made new in the attitude of our minds” and to live a holy life (Ephesians 4:20-24).

Today, let’s lay the world’s standards alongside God’s and see where we stand. The table below compares God’s truth with the world’s viewpoint on a number of sexual issues. As you review it, ask God to show you whether He or the world most shapes your attitude and behavior.

TOPIC WORLD’S VIEW GOD’S TRUTH SCRIPTURE
Sex Before Marriage At the worst: Anytime, anyone. At the best: Okay if you’re “in love” God created sex. But He designed it to be for one man and one woman within the context of a marriage relationship. Genesis 1:27-28, 2:20-25;Matt 19:4-9
Adultery Still frowned upon in some circles, but easily justified – loveless marriage, marriage problems, etc. The principle above also applies to the married man and woman. Sex should be reserved for the married couple. Exodus 20:14;Matt 15:16-20, 19:4-9; 1 Tim 1:8-10
Pornography –Defined as “obscene writings, drawings, photographs, etc.” Not only has our culture increasingly accepted pornography, our culture’s definition of what is “obscene” has also changed. So much so, Christian women read books like “Fifty Shades of Grey” without hesitation. Reading & viewing sexually graphic material fosters sexual desire & even creates a physical response. Since Jesus said lusting after a woman is the same as the physical act of adultery, we must guard our hearts & minds from anything that causes this kind of reaction. Matt 5:27-30Phil 4:8
Personal Appearance Women dress to be sexually desirable. Even clothing for young girls reflects this. Edgy, sexy, flirtatious is the goal. God is the author of beauty. But our culture has replaced beauty with “sexy.” Christian women must be careful not to cause anyone to stumble by the way we dress. Our conduct in every area must be for the glory of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4;1 Cor 8:9;1 Cor 10:31-33
General Role of Sex We live in a hyper-sexualized culture. Sex pervades every area of our society. Advertisers know that “sex sells.” We give condoms to middle-schoolers and “Teen Moms” grace the cover of supermarket tabloids. God created sex as good, enjoyable, & productive. But He also created limits. Our limits are to be one man with one woman inside the bounds of marriage. Sin has warped it and made it vulgar. Eph 4:17-24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What’s the verdict? Did you discover any areas that need to be transformed by God’s truth? Which areas do you think Christians struggle with most?