God’s Holy Spirit: You Are Not Alone

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (NIV):

However, as it is written:
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no human mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

Are you struggling in your daily walk with God? Do you try to seek out and think about God, only to have the worries and struggles of this world to cause you to lose your focus on God? Have you ever felt that God was distant as you encounter life’s many obstacles and frustrations? If you have – you are not alone! All believers go through periods of uncertainty and doubt. Satan wants you to believe that you are not good enough for God to care about you. He wants to bring up your past sin and failures to make you believe that you are not worthy of God’s love and mercy. You must remember that God loves you and cares deeply about you. And most importantly, God is always present with you, as you go through the many highs and lows of life on this earth. 

I read a passage from a book the other day on this text from 1 Corinthians: “You are never alone, for I am at your right hand. Never despair, for I am watching over and caring for you. Be not anxious. What seems to you to be at present a difficult situation is all part of My planning, and I am working out the details of circumstances so that I may bless you and reveal Myself to you in a new way.” From the book: Come Away My Beloved by Frances J. Roberts, p. 14.

Earlier this week, I was having a difficult time with a work related problem, and I felt completely overwhelmed and alone. I had begun my day praying to God for help but as soon as I was out in the world, I felt as if I would be crushed under the weight of my worries and I allowed my mind to wander away from God. Throughout that day, I struggled and I fought with my own strength to solve my problem, but to no avail. I was completely overcome with anxiety and despair and I felt as if I were on a ground of sinking sand.

As I came home that afternoon, I was mentally and physically exhausted. I wondered why God seemed so distant during my day and I almost felt defeated and without any hope. I fell asleep early that night and woke up the next morning already worrying about the day ahead. And then I began to pray for God’s help. I asked, no I begged God, for the ability to feel His presence throughout my day. I admitted my human weakness and I told God that I was going to trust Him and I would cast all my burdens and anxieties upon Him, just as the Apostle Peter advised. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7.

In the midst of our despair we must always remember that God is watching over us and caring for us. Even as we are faced with difficult situations in life, we must have enough faith to realize that God will use these times of struggle in order to strengthen us and bless us in a new and better way. Remember that God continues to be in charge of this world that we live in – God is walking with us and ahead of us at all times. So keep your focus upon God and allow Him to lead you down the path that He has already prepared for you. God loves you and always wants the very best for you and He is with you every step of the way!

There is one verse of scripture that I always turn to that serves to remind me of God’s continued presence in my life and it is from the Old Testament. 2 Chronicles 16:9: For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

 

 

More Faith, Less Doubt

Matthew 14:22-36 (NIV): Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

Our scripture passage for today picks up immediately after Jesus had performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand. Jesus told the disciples to get into the boat and go on ahead of him, while he finished talking to and teaching, the crowd of people following him. Jesus, in need of time alone with the Father, went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. He had just received word that John the Baptist had been beheaded in prison and I’m sure that his heart was heavy because of the loss of his cousin and friend. In addition, Jesus had to deal with the ever increasing demands of the crowds following him and he surely needed time to recharge, pray and commune with God. Have you ever taken the time to consider that if Jesus needed this quiet time alone with God, don’t we need it even more?

 
After a long time in prayer and fellowship with God, Jesus looks up to find the boat carrying his disciples, a considerable distance away from land. Matthew’s Gospel tells us that during the fourth watch of the night (between 3am and 6am), Jesus walks out to his disciples on the lake. When the disciples first saw Jesus they were terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus immediately tells them to take courage and he identifies himself. Peter, probably still unsure if it is really Jesus, replies, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus tells Peter to come to him, and having some faith, Peter begins to walk on the water towards Jesus. However, when Peter felt the wind and saw the effects that the wind was having on the water, he began to lose faith, became afraid, and started to sink. Peter cries out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” And Matthew’s Gospel tells us that, “immediately,” Jesus extended his hand to Peter and caught him. Then Jesus said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Why do you doubt or have fear if you are a follower of Christ? Well for starters, this world that we live in gives us many reasons to allow fear or doubt to creep into our minds. Many people only put their faith and trust in things that they can see, touch, or feel. They read, see, or hear the distressing news stories that are occurring around the world and they begin to doubt  – they begin to lose faith. The troubling news and violence that we are exposed to every day causes us to fear, just as the effect the wind was having on the water caused Peter to fear, and to doubt and lose faith. Many people, including believers, become so overwhelmed with their worries and doubts and they turn to other things, like alcohol or drugs, to help them momentarily escape from or put aside their burdens for a short while. And Jesus asks, “You of little faith, why do you doubt?”

James, the brother of Jesus, gives us some encouraging words on how to overcome doubt and to strengthen our faith in God. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4 NIV).

The life of a follower of Christ will not necessarily be an easy, carefree life. We will face many trials, temptations, and obstacles. Our faith will be tested. However, when faced with these difficulties of life, we must learn to persevere in our faith, clinging to the hope and trust that we have in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our perseverance and faith in God, and in Christ, will grow and mature our life of faith. We will be given the strength to stand firmly against the many crashing waves that life, in this world, sends our way. Perseverance in our walk of faith and in our daily lives will bring us to a more mature and complete faith in God.

Rest for the Weary

Matthew 11:28 (NIV): Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

In our society today, it seems that everyone is in a hurry. We rush around aimlessly trying to fill our lives with material things that will satisfy us and make us happy. It’s important to us that we appear successful and in control of our lives and our destiny. We fool ourselves, and we try to fool others, with the pretense that we live perfect, stress free lives. For many of us, the lives we lead are anything but trouble and worry free.

Many people misread this passage from Matthew and the words of Jesus. As believers, we are not promised an easy stress free life. Our bodies will be physically tired and we will face troubles, worries, and burdens. However – through Christ and the Holy Spirit – we are enabled to encounter this daily life of stress and worry with a higher power that makes our very soul content. We can find rest and peace, not necessarily for our body, but for our very soul. 

Isaiah 40:28-29 (NIV)
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

This demanding and unforgiving world that we live in is often not a friend to those of us who feel weary and weak. War, terrorism, and violence seem to fill the earth and that can cause us to worry and even waver in our faith. We must remember that the same God who created the earth is still in control of what transpires on this planet. This passage from Isaiah helps us to remember that our creator God remains in control and is tirelessly working to provide strength for the souls of the weak and weary.

Psalm 62:1 (NIV)
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.

Make an effort to unplug from this world and rest in quietness with God. Allow God to refresh you with His Spirit and to give you rest and the strength needed to face each day. Instead of worrying about what the day ahead holds, trust that God will be with you and will supply you with what you need to make it through the day. Pray for God’s presence and trust that He goes ahead of you to prepare the way. End your day by thanking God for guiding you and sustaining you, for being present with you.