Immanuel – Christ is with us during divorce pain at Christmas

Are you hurting due to divorce, separation, or estrangement from your spouse during the holidays?  Greg Laurie’s message “Immanuel” speaks the truth that Christ is with us and knows first hand the pain and loneliness of estrangement.

Listen to Immanuel (MP3) > Greg-Laurie-God-Is-With-Divorced-and-Lonely-People

On Empty? You’re ready for God to use.

God uses us when we are on empty and at our wits end.  This has been the pattern for millennia.  Take for example the prophet Elijah, who after a great victory ran from overwhelming troubles against overwhelming odds.  Elijah thought he was alone, but he learned “one plus God is a majority.”   Are your feeling empty and that you’ve run out of resources?   Listen to J Vernon McGee’s sermon:

 

When God and Elijah Were a Majority (MP3)

God leads us into impossible situations

With all the relationship trials and other tribulations, you are no doubt looking forward to God bringing you out of the trials.  But did you know he brings us into trials?  But God will have a victory, and your testimony of faith is what he wants.

James MacDonald looks at the famous story of how the Israelites were brought out of Egypt right into a situation where they were blocked between the might of Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea.  God lead them right into a dead end, before he delivered them with a miracle.  The fact of the matter is God leads us into our problem as part of His plan.  It is a hard thought that a good God would lead us right into trouble, but it is our faith and trust that he wants.  He is in complete control and will lead us out in His time.

Audio – James MacDonald – I am your victory

 

Putting on the full armor of God – everyday

My friend LA Marzulli has a great mini-sermon about taking seriously a critical element of the Christian life – putting the full armor of God.  We are living in a fallen world, full of all kinds of influences and attacks, physical, emotional, and spiritual.  Keeping Ephesians 6:13-17 in mind everyday is critical, and having peace in the daily chaos is possible!

Listen to this brief audio- LA Marzulli on putting on the full armor of God (mp3 – 4 min.)

 

 

 

Dad, are we there yet?

We have to do a lot of waiting in this life.  We wait for loved ones to come to the Lord.  We wait for reconciliation.  We wait for God to improve us.  This waiting is is part of God’s way to mature us:

“When you are going to play with me?” “Not yet. Not until I finish this report.” Fifteen seconds later the child asks the same question, this time with a tone of voice that can drive you mad. But the child is in us all. We too look forward to the day when we have learned perseverance before the Lord. It is the older wise man or woman who can take the many hassles of life in stride, without grumbling and complaining, with contentment rather than resignation. God has chosen to inject his character of perseverance and patient waiting into everyday, earthly life. We are patiently waiting for the Lord’s coming. Creation itself is patiently waiting for the time when it will be liberated from bondage (Rom. 8:22).

Welch, Edward T. (2006-11-01). Depression: A Stubborn Darkness (p. 94). New Growth Press. Kindle Edition.

Willful Wanderer- Come Home!

Do you have a prodigal?  Learn about the pattern of the prodigal as described in the word of God from pastor James MacDonald:

Does it make sense to you? Who gets up and walks away from their home, their family, and everything that’s familiar? Who puts everyone who protects and provides for them in the rear view mirror? A prodigal does. Don’t try to figure it out—it doesn’t make sense. Prodigals are not just young people; they can be any age. A prodigal may not leave their parents—they could leave their spouse or their extended family. A prodigal can physically take off or they can just emotionally check out. Hardly a family around escapes the heartbreak of loving a prodigal. If you’re waiting for a prodigal, take heart. You’re not alone and your struggle is not unique. Pastor James MacDonald will pour encouragement in you to keep praying. If you are a prodigal—what’s it gonna take for you to come to the end of yourself? Turn your stubborn heart back to God and come home. Someone is waiting for you.

Willful Wanderer–Come Home! (Audio)

Breaking the illusions we have of others

We have to trust people everyday.  For example, we trust that airline pilots, bus drivers and other auto drivers in traffic will do the right thing.   Beyond this more temporary trust, do we really trust people to never make mistakes or disappoint us?

Our unrealistic expectations – The truth is, many of us have built up unrealistic expectations of people.  When we first meet someone, there is that new excitement of a relationship and we expect him or her to live up to the imagined view we have of them. People, including us, cannot live up to high expectations.  They may feel the crushing pressure we put on them to live up to our illusions.  Also, over time, people inevitably do things that hurt us and we experience the deep pangs of disappointment.

God’s realistic expectations – We know from the word of God that all people, including ourselves, are broken, fallible creatures capable of sin and hurting others.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? Jeremiah 17:9

Does that mean we should become cynical and bitter towards people?  Not at all.  Christ gave us the model:

Christ understood people, so he did not entrust himself them. But he Loved them.  In John 2:24, as Christ looked over the multitude of people in Jerusalem, it says “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men.”  What does this mean?   Jesus knew the fickle and sinful hearts of people, so his expectation was realistic.  Jesus decided ahead of time not to have illusion of people.  Yet Jesus loved people so much that he died and suffered beyond what we can ever know to save them.   He was never cynical; he trusted his father God.

Only God can meet your expectations.  Have people let you down?   Then trust the only one who will never let you down – God through Jesus.   Focus on God.  Be grateful and let the Lord fill you with his love and forgiveness.

See  James MacDonald – When it’s hard to trust

 


Mother’s Day Testimonies

Rejoice Marriage Ministries published some touching testimonies from women and men who are trusting Christ to heal their marriages.   http://rejoiceministries.org/mothersday.php

 

Don’t take the easy way out

The Lord spoke a strong word tonight via a  sermon he directed me to.  David Wilkerson’s “Standing Steadfast in Christ” spoke about not seeking the easy way out.  As the Lord shows us in scripture through nature, those who choose to avoid conflict, people and the inevitable fires of life will suffer spiritual apathy.  It’s clear my trials at work and at home most be met head on with the grace of Christ.  So “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” combined with the fact Christ will see me through my storms outside and my emotional pains within is absolutely necessary for me to grow.

And growing means not focusing on my own self but on how I can serve Christ and others.  Wilkerson reminds us of Peter, who after he returned to the Lord and the risen Christ told him “Do you love me?  Feed my sheep?”

Lord, help all who read this know that we must face life with your grace to grow and bear fruit for you.  Let us not shrink from the spiritual battles at home and at work, but let us focus on helping the least and the lost of this world, in Jesus name.

Listen to Standing Steadfast in Christ>>

End of Your Loneliness

Loneliness is pervasive and deeply painful for many, no matter if they are divorced or married.  Ironically, the lonely are a great company.  John T. Cacioppo of the University of Chicago found that almost 25% of Americans feel chronically lonely.  Above this authority, God Himself so identified the pain of loneliness it was the first thing in His creation He saw as flawed.  In Genesis 2:18 He says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Gary Wilkerson of the Springs Church in Colorado says there can be an end to your loneliness.  Listen or watch.