Posts Tagged ‘John 16:33’

Overwhelmed But Not Overcome

July 28th, 2017

Emotions provide color and beauty to life.

 “I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed.”  Psalm 61:2 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about being, “Overwhelmed But Not Overcome.”

Feelings enrich your experience of life. But there are times when feelings are confusing, even overwhelming. In such times, you can find comfort and companionship from Jesus. “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV. Feelings are real but they are not always right. You have to deal with them but you do not have to believe them. There will be times when you may wish you didn’t have so many feelings to contend with. But I would not want to be without emotions, nor should you. Emotions also provide color and beauty to your life experience.

Jesus felt crushing emotions and dealt with them, as when He agonized over Jerusalem’s rejection. Luke 13:34-35 NIV. Or as He wept in Gethsemane’s garden when He foresaw the suffering of the cross. Luke 22:42 NIV. There is good news for such times. “[Jesus] understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same temptations we do, yet He did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.” Hebrews 4:15-16 NLT.

At such times, easy answers won’t comfort you nor will empty platitudes that urge you to ignore or deny your feelings make feelings go away. I have learned that feelings are real, whether positive or negative, and you must reckon with them. Denying troubling feelings only amplifies their power. They won’t just go away because you wish they would. You should deal with them. You do not have to submit to them. Your feelings are real, but not always based in reality. Ofttimes, it is better to doubt them than believe them. Don’t become a slave to your emotions.

Embrace and enjoy healthy emotions; God gave them for your blessing. But what can you do with the unhealthy ones – like anger, fear, discouragement, worry, doubt, frustration, jealousy, or distress? God always has the answer. “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4 NIV. First, do not indulge feeling guilty for honest emotions, nor continue entertaining unhealthy emotions either. Bring them out in the open. Without shame, place them in God’s presence where the Holy Spirit can help you handle every emotion. That’s what Jesus did in His agony, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow . . Father, please take this suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will, not mine.” Mark 14:34 NIV/36 NLT. You can fully trust God in such moments, if you will.

To understand feelings, you must examine their origins. Sometimes, only God can expose the source of your feelings. When emotions overrule your will, bad feelings prompt bad choices. The Holy Spirit within you will always give you the power and wisdom to make right choices, if you ask. Remove the hurry and you reduce the worry.

More than circumstances, busy schedules are the root cause of feeling overwhelmed. You feel overwhelmed when stuff pushes God to the outer edges of your life. When you are overwhelmed: make time to recuperate physically, mentally, relationally, emotionally, and spiritually. Take time to rest. You must prioritize the necessary time. Take time to share your need for prayer with a friend. Take time to quiet your heart in God’s presence. “I am content and at peace, as a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms, so my heart is quiet within me.” Psalm 131:2 TEV. Take time to pray, asking God for help and healing. Take time to listen, until you hear a fresh, invigorating word from God.

Feeling the emotions of circumstances beyond his strength, David determined, “I will cry to You for help, for my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering Rock of safety, for You are my safe refuge.” Psalm 61:2 NLT.

Today, I pray for you to choose daily to live by strong faith and not strong feelings.

Christian Communications 2017-0579

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The Practice of Peace

July 29th, 2015

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.” Philippians 4:6 NLT.

The practice of peace begins with prayer.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the practice of peace.”

Every day, disputes and differences polarize our lives and relationships. An unfriendly gap widens between religious and secular beliefs. Economic inequality divides communities, nations and our world. Political and international conflicts threaten our personal well-being and global safety on every continent. In today’s world, peace seems elusive. I observe that the less real peace we have in our hearts and homes, the more conflict we cause in every other realm. The God of Peace and the Prince of Peace are the only source of peace.

Incorrectly, people assume that peace is the absence of troubling circumstances. If that were true, there could be no peace at all, because problems are a fact of life. Jesus was clear, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV. Problems threaten your peace of heart and mind; perspective is at the heart of peace. Your evaluation influences your expectation.

Here is the Apostle Paul’s practical advice: “Don’t worry about anything – INSTEAD – pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done.” Philippians 4:6 NLT. You can worry, but praying and giving thanks is healthier. Worry and prayer are mutually exclusive. Worry is natural. Prayer and thankfulness are optional, but wiser choices to make. Often, the last things a person tries are the only things that effectively work. The practice of peace begins with prayer. Prayer opens your heart, settles your fears, and provides solutions.

Paul promised that prayer with thanksgiving is the sure path to experience God’s peace – “Shalom” – the peace of God in every circumstance. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NLT. The apprehension you feel when things are unsettled, or the mounting irritation from relational conflict, or the perplexity of spirit are dissipated in the simple, sincere practice of talking with God with thankfulness, reverence, and expectation. “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:19 NIV.

The prophet Isaiah wrote, “The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” Isaiah 32:17-18 NIV. You experience peace around you when you welcome the peace of God within you – peaceful dwellings, secure homes, undisturbed rest.

Today, I pray for you that the peace of God within you surrounds and keeps you.

Christian Communications

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A Confident Life

October 10th, 2014

“The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NIV.

Confidence is from your conviction of truth rather than your translation of current events.

My thoughts and comments today are about “a confident life.”

Daily life without confidence is tougher than life is meant to be. But confidence can be misplaced. Job searched his heart, “Have I put my trust in money or felt secure because of my gold? Does my happiness depend on my wealth and all that I own? . . If so . . it would mean I had denied the God of heaven.” Job 31:24-28 NLT. Job had it right. Confidence that rests on anything less than God’s Word and character is insubstantial and ultimately unreliable.

Confidence may dissipate when unmanageable and unchangeable situations raise doubts and instill fears. Confidence is not an easy thing to have in the kind of world that struggles against God. Civility and common courtesy are fairly uncommon in an, “every man for himself world.” Entertainment assaults sensitivities with coarse language and violent, sexual, or aberrant improprieties. Negative political ads malign the character and intent of opponents irresponsibly, slinging accusations without liability. To the point of dismay, headlines blare reports of governmental waste, incompetence, and brazen lack of accountability.

Crime and uncaring brutality offend normal sensitivities. Deadly health crises from the other side of the globe land callously intrude our cities, neighborhoods, and homes. In a global economy, one country’s financial recklessness impacts the affairs of other nations. With brutality, terrorists murder innocents without regard for the sanctity of human life. Confidence is hard to come by in such harsh realities.

Don’t look around; you can’t find confidence there. Look up; God is there. Then look inside; God is there too. In this truth, you can be confident, “The Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NLT. Meditate on that. God lives in you; that indicates permanence. God is greater than all others; that provides security. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5 NKJV.

When the Bible speaks of “the world” it is rarely referring to geography. Biblically, “the world is a system of unbelief and misbelief,” a system lacking God as its center or focus. You are warned to avoid the world system, but not to fear it. “Do not love the world or anything in the world . . The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” Read 1 John 2:15-17 NIV.

When faced with Sennacherib, the Assyrian King and his plundering army, Hezekiah, the Godly King of Judah encouraged the nation, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 NIV. When you face difficult places, people, or situations, remember the Almighty God is with you; His Spirit abides within you. “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV.

“In quietness and confidence shall be your strength . . The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” Isaiah 30:15 NKJV/32:17-18 NIV. That is what a confident life looks like.

Today, my prayer for you is to be assured of the omnipotence and faithfulness of God.

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Blessings in Disguise

November 22nd, 2013

“Problems and trials . . are good for us.”  Romans 5:3 NLT.

Rejoice even when you have to look for a reason to do so.

My thoughts and comments today are about “blessings in disguise.”

Apparently, my Mom believed I always knew what was good and presumed I would consistently chose the good. I am assuming all that because, from my preteen years, I can still remember her frequent, and necessary, warning to me, “Allen, if you know what’s good for you, you won’t do that again.” When I failed to know what was “good for me,” by a practical process of elimination, both Mom and Dad assisted me to learn what wasn’t. But we are all a bit like that, confusing what’s good for us with what’s not.

The reality is that we really don’t always know what is good for us, or at least we live as though we don’t know. We make foolish choices too often. The obvious choice is seldom the right choice. By nature it seems, we are prone to self-indulgence. You may assume self-interest is a good thing, yet the Bible teaches that self-denial is the path to choose. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23-25 NKJV. What’s good for you is this: follow Jesus fully, whatever sacrifice that requires.

Every one of us would prefer receiving, whether approval, applause, acclaim, recognition, or reward, but Jesus taught, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 NIV. There is pleasure from what you receive, but that is comparatively brief; however, your satisfaction in what you give endures long after the gift. You might presume that what you give leaves you with less, but what you gives compounds itself to your benefit more than what you keep. “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV. What’s good for you is this: generosity is a wise investment in your own well-being. See Matthew 19:29 NKJV.

Any one of us would prefer a carefree life, without pressures or problems, as unlikely as that is to happen, but the Bible teaches that problems are not always a problem; sometimes, problems can be blessings in disguise. Not everyone sees past their disguise. I expect yours or my first question would likely be, “How do problems benefit us?” The Apostle Paul, no stranger to suffering, reflects on those blessings in disguise as a reason for our joy, ”We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us . .” Romans 5:3 NLT. See James 1:2-4 NIV. What’s good for you is this: rejoice even when you have to look for a reason to do so. See John 16:33 NIV.

Look closer at both the context and conclusion of Paul’s words to Christ-followers in Rome. “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” Romans 5:2 NLT. On that foundation, Paul adds a further, less likely but equally as important, cause for rejoicing, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us – they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us . .” Romans 5:3-5 NLT. Problems are no indication of God’s disfavor; problems are places where you discover God at His best.

My prayer for you today is that you not overlook any blessing, in whatever guise it comes.

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Shelter in a Storm

September 26th, 2013

“You have been . . a shelter from the storm.” Isaiah 25:4 NIV.

You should prepare for storms you can neither predict nor prevent.

My thoughts and comments today are about “shelter in a storm.”

Weather forecasting has become quite a science. Satellites, meteorology science, computer imaging, and an accumulated history of weather patterns allow fairly accurate predictive warnings of dangerous storms, though the best meteorologists still cannot prevent the storms they predict.

Though of another nature, there is a different kind of storms that intrude into lives that you can neither predict nor prevent; these storms occur in the realm of emotional, mental, financial, physical, relational, or spiritual upheaval. You cannot predict when such storms will impose themselves into your life, but you can certainly predict that they will. How foolish to live as though your life will be immune from such disturbing times.

You should prepare for storms you or others can neither predict nor prevent. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV. People more often quote that than reference His important preface to those words, “In Me, you may have peace.” Before the storm comes, know where you will find safe refuge. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’ . . For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle.” Psalm 91:1-4/ 27:5 NIV.

Better late than never, but the midst of the storm is the worst time to begin your search for shelter. Isaiah wrote, “O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness, You have done marvelous things . . You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.” Isaiah 25:1/4 NIV. Distress, storm, or heat – whatever the description of your circumstance, God Himself is your sufficiency – refuge, shelter, and shade. God does more than just provide you shelter; He becomes your shelter. God and His Word are a safe refuge when storms rage whatever their origin. Proverbs 18:10 NKJV/Matthew 7:24-27 NLT.

Matthew, a disciple of Jesus, recalls a frightening storm, alarming enough to make fisherman fear for their lives. “Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.” Read Matthew 8:23-27 NIV. With just a word from Jesus, the wind and seas calmed, leaving the fearful disciples amazed and asking, “Who is this that even the wind and waves obey Him?” Yes, the wind and waves that may threaten and frighten you must obey His command. Solomon observed, ”When the storm has swept by . . the righteous stand firm forever.” Proverbs 10:25 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you will be safe and sheltered in Jesus when storms come.

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