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Posts Tagged ‘trouble’

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 Company of Friends

June 7th, 2017

Navigating difficulties requires the support of friends.

“The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“The Company of Friends.”

Trouble is a common experience. You won’t always cause it. You won’t always enjoy it. But you can and must learn from it. Trouble is never enjoyable, but it can yield a maturity of life and faith that is learned in no other way. Trouble can be faced with faith, not fear. The Bible says, “Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow.” Read James 1:2-5 NLT.

According to James, there are three elements which develop character and spiritual growth. Trouble – on occasion, everyone experiences troubled times or troubling people. Time – you must exercise patience and endurance to rightly learn from trouble. Truth – Godly perspective brings wisdom. Trouble is something you will have; time is something you must give; truth is something you must learn and in which you must be confident.

Among the things I have learned about trouble, this is most important. Navigating difficulties successfully requires the company and support of friends. Solomon wrote, “Two are better than one . . if one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble . .” Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT. Value those friends who will accompany you in your struggles and sorrows. Everyone needs someone alongside on their journey.

When you face troubled times or troubling people, which the Bible calls, “tribulation and persecution,” there are two questions your soul ponders about friendship. Are you there for me? And, do you care for me? Prize the gift of those friends who offer their company and compassion when you struggle most. “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need . . As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 17:17/27:18 NLT.

Jesus taught a simple yet profound truth, “Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This is a summary of all that is taught in the Law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12 NLT. Be that kind of friend to others. My Dad taught me a valuable lesson about the responsibility and mutuality of friendship. By his words and example, he taught me that, “You will have the kind of friends that you choose to be for others.”

I have learned the irreplaceable value of friendships. Friendship is a treasure not available for purchase or barter, and a treasure nothing else can replace. I am grateful for friends who have invited me to share their lives and inspired me to live the best version of God’s plan for my life.

Fortunately, even when no one else can be there for you – when they cannot, or will not – God is there! “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” Psalm 27:10 NIV. Though the dearest of friends may not be able to be near, God can and will be there for you always. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble. Therefore, I will not fear . .” Psalm 46:1-2 NIV. Though any circumstance and emotion may suggest differently, God is ever present. Always cares. Always there. “For God Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to be confident in God and His care for you.

Christian Communications 2017-6810

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Obstacles and Opportunities, Part 3

February 5th, 2016

NOTE: This is the third and final segment of my thoughts and applications about Joshua and the miracle at the Jordan. If you have not read the previous devotionals – “Obstacles and Opportunities”

Part 1 is at: www.allenrandolph.com/?p=9027

Part 2 is at: www.allenrandolph.com/?p=9036

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“When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.” Isaiah 43:2 NLT.

God works miracles beyond the
comprehension or capabilities of men.

My thoughts and comments continue today about, “obstacles and opportunities.”

I have been sharing about the miracle at the Jordan river that allowed Joshua and Israel to cross over an impassable river and utterly destroy an invincible city blocking their entrance to Canaan. Read Joshua 3:1-17 KJV. You also will confront circumstances – though much less than theirs – that will oppose your desired progress. There are two truths to remember: (1) Never limit God to your present circumstance. Read Ephesians 3:20 NIV. (2) God always has more than you can see from where you are. Read 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 NIV.

Sometimes, the problem is inward, requiring that you exercise discipline and self-control. At other times, the problem is beyond your cause or control, when you will need the kindness and assistance of others. God weaves people into your life for His purposes. But you will confront a few situations where and when only God has the resources and power to help you. With God, such an obstacle includes unforeseen opportunity.

God works miracles beyond the comprehension or capabilities of men. Those miracles require your conviction that, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NKJV. There are sovereign acts of God and miraculous interventions by God. Miracles have both divine and human elements. Miracles occur when God requires you to provide trust, faith, and obedience; then with you, He accomplishes what you cannot.

In the miracles of Jordan and Jericho, multiple human elements were required of Joshua, the Priests, and the people. God gave Joshua clear instructions, which depended on the specific obedience of any and every one involved. Holman, a dear friend and elderly minister, often encouraged me with Isaiah’s promise, “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.” Isaiah 1:19 NIV. Joshua was to prepare the people and instruct the Priests. The Priests were to carry the Ark of the Covenant into the swirling waters where they were to “stand in Jordan,” until they “stood firm on dry ground.” Joshua 3:8/3:17 KJV. The people were to wait for the waters to recede and then follow the Priests across the dry river bed. An element of faith and obedience was uniquely required of each.

In every miracle, there is a crowd willing and waiting to see what God can do. But first, God has to have a leader who is clear about the will and Word of the Lord. Then God needs a few priests who will step out with courageous faith and stand in steadfast obedience. Read Joshua 4:10/18 NIV. As I studied this Bible passage for a recent weekend of ministry, I felt the Holy Spirit speak into my heart. Alone in my room, I wept as I understood that the priests stood bravely in those threatening flood waters for more than their personal safety and future. In faith, they stepped into the waters and stood firm on behalf of others who could follow them – their wives and children, friends and neighbors, and a nation whose immediate fate and ultimate destiny depended upon their willingness to do so.

I may not be a leader like Joshua, but neither am I willing to just stand safely in the crowd. As for me, I choose to be a priest standing in faith and obedience for those who will follow after me. The Bible is clear; “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NKJV.

Someone is looking to you for your example and encouragement. A priest stands between God and man – before God on behalf of men and before men on behalf of God. Will you be a royal priest who stands steadfastly upon God’s Word for others? Step out from the crowd and assume your priestly responsibility on their behalf. “Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV. 

Here is a word for someone today, “Do not be afraid . . you are Mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:1-2 NLT. Be encouraged in God and an encourager to others.

Today, I pray for you to stand firm in faith for the sake of others.

Christian Communications 2016
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EDL Pix stormy sea

If you have not watched the video of this teaching, “Seize the Day.” My comments today originate from that teaching. I hope you will take the time to listen . . . https://vimeo.com/153012760.

If you watch the video, would you be kind enough to simply hit “reply” to the email – no comment required. It’s just a simple way for me to know if posting a video teaching is useful to EDL readers. By the way, at the website, allenrandolph.com, this video and three others are available any time. You can go to the website and scroll down past the calendar to the bottom right corner and you will see them listed. Thank you for your support of this ministry.

 

 

 

 

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Righteous and Gracious

November 20th, 2014

“The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works.” Psalm 145:17 NKJV.

Life is not always fair but God will always be righteous.

My thoughts and comments today are about being “righteous and gracious.”

Children seem to possess a heightened sense of what’s fair or unfair. They have not yet learned that some circumstances and some people are neither righteous nor gracious. It is assumed that if you do what is right all will be well, but that is not accurate. As a pastor and counselor, I have heard many people say, “Life’s not fair!” Of course it’s not; get over it. Life is not always fair but God will always be righteous. “For God is not unfair. He will not forget how hard you have worked for Him and how you have shown your love to Him by caring for other Christians.” Hebrews 6:10 NLT.

Jesus is your example when life seems unfair. “It is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering . . if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:19-24 NIV. “It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” Read 1 Peter 3:14-18 NIV.

On occasion, suffering is the natural result of what you have done or left undone. At other times, suffering is not related to your decisions or actions. Asking, “Why,” is seldom productive. I think there is much to be learned from the experience and examples of Daniel’s companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Read Daniel 3:1-30 NIV. They obeyed God; they did what was right; yet they suffered unjustly; but God was with them from beginning to end.

(1) Good people are not exempt from trouble. Truth takes the confusion out of trouble and unfair circumstances. David declared God to be righteous and gracious, “The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works.” Psalm 145:17 NKJV. Life is not always fair but God is always gracious.

(2) God will be with you at all times, in all situations. King Nebuchadnezzar was furious by their refusal to bow to his golden image, and committed them to a fiery furnace for their destruction. But they had company they never imagined; the Lord was with them. Astounded, the King saw, “four men walking, unbound and unharmed, in the midst of the fire.” Daniel 3:25 NIV. They experienced God’s company, special fellowship in the worst circumstance possible.

(3) Blessing will be found in suffering, and afterward. “After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace . . will Himself perfect you and give you firmness, strength, and a sure foundation.” 1 Peter 5:10-11 TEV. God will turn your pain into gain.

(4) God will redeem your suffering. People are watching to see if your life and faith work; for many of them, their life does not work and they have little or no faith. God will take the worst that happens to you and create the best result. Everyone has a story to tell. Let your story be a testimony of the goodness and faithfulness of God.

“Then the King promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” Daniel 3:30 NIV. Grace will write your testimony. Your story is not just about your struggles and circumstances; the real story of your life is about God’s provision, protection, and promotion. Even when others are not, God is ever righteous, always gracious. Imagine if others found us more like our Father in Heaven.

Today, my prayer for you is to trust God in every situation and rejoice at all times.

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God of All Comfort

May 24th, 2013

“God who comforts the downcast, comforted us.” 2 Corinthians 7:6 NIV.

Friends know you well enough to recognize your need for cheer and company.

My thoughts and comments today are about our “God of all comfort.”

A lot of things, and even some people, will make life less comfortable – the conversation you would rather not have, the difficulty you would rather not face, the change you would rather not make, the mistake you would rather not correct, the problem you would rather not solve. Those qualifying words, “rather not,” aptly describe things we prefer to avoid, if possible. A person’s natural instinct is to avoid discomfort, but that is not really possible. Learn to take life as it comes and make it better.

Your external comfort is God’s agenda,  but not His first agenda. His desire goes much deeper – your spiritual maturity by the continual development of Christ-likeness. See Ephesians 4:13 NKJV/1 John 3:2 NIV. One measure of spiritual maturity is learning to be at peace in disconcerting moments and growing by productive responses rather than destructive to yourself and others. Learn from uncomfortable situations, not just live through them; it is far more productive.

The Apostle Paul described a distressing time, “. . our bodies had no rest; we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God who comforts the downcast, comforted us . .” 2 Corinthians 7:5-6 NKJV. God comforts the downcast; how very descriptive. You know the feeling. Never despair; God will be there.

You find comfort in God. “[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NLT. God is the great recycler; don’t waste your sorrows. He redeems the worst that happens to you and transforms it into blessings for others. Ministry flows from your sincere empathy with another’s pain, then shares comfort from your experience of God’s grace. When you suffer troubling times or hurtful people – and experience God’s sufficiency, faithfulness, and comfort – you are better able to empathize with others. “I feel your pain,” becomes more than words.

You find comfort in the company of friends. “God comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him.” 2 Corinthians 7:6 NIV. Titus was comforted by his reception by the Corinthians; he brought their comfort, as well as his, to Paul. The arrival of Titus refreshed Paul’s spirit. That’s what friends can do; that’s what friends are for. A shared journey is a more comfortable journey. Friends should know you well enough to recognize when you need their cheer and company. Be the kind of friend you want to have. Solomon learned, “Two people accomplish twice as much as one . . if one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT.

You find comfort in good news. Paul wrote,“[Titus] told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.” 2 Corinthians 7:7 NIV. Stop reciting every disappointment; stop rehearsing every mistreatment. God’s Word is wise counsel: “Whatever is true . . noble . . right . . pure . . lovely . . admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things . . and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you know where to find true comfort when needed.

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