Why Persecution?

Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg

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“If the World HATES you,” Jesus told His followers, “you know that it hated ME BEFORE it hated YOU! If you were OF the WORLD, the World would LOVE its own. But because you are NOT of the World, but I have chosen you OUT of the World, THEREFORE the World HATES you!” (John 15:18,19) This explains why CHRISTIANS who are really following Jesus are frequently LIED about, VILIFIED and outright PERSECUTED by the forces of “this present evil World”! (Galatians 1:4)

“But come now!”, some may object. “This is the TWENTIETH CENTURY, a modern, enlightened and civilised age! Aren’t things different now?” Well, sad to say, NO, they’re NOT! The heart of Man is the same today as it always was! In fact, if anything, “Wicked men and deceivers have grown WORSE and WORSE”, just like the Bible said they would! (2Timothy 3:13)–And the Devil is just as real and evil as ever, and his people are just as vicious and against God’s people as ever! In this regard, times have NOT changed!

WHY did the World hate JESUS? He was PERFECT, the Son of God. He never committed a sin or did anything wrong, but look what happened to HIM! The RELIGIOUS LEADERS of His day were so infuriated with Him that they not only LIED about Him and actively campaigned against Him, but they actually had Him ARRESTED, TRIED and publicly and shamefully EXECUTED like a common criminal, crucified on a cruel cross!

WHY did they do this to Jesus? Because He EXPOSED them! They SAID the reason they wanted to get rid of Him was because He broke their RELIGIOUS laws, traditions and conventions. But the REAL reason that they wanted to kill Him was because He EXPOSED their HYPOCRISY and their SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, He showed the public what absolute HYPOCRITES they were! “White-washed TOMBS which APPEAR beautiful and clean OUTWARDLY, but within are full of wickedness, filth and dead men’s bones!” (Matthew 23:27)

Jesus PREACHED what they WEREN’T preaching, DID what they WEREN’T doing, and showed great LOVE and MERCY to others, exposing how LITTLE love these religious leaders had! His simple life of healing, teaching, loving and reaching the common people in the streets, markets, gathering places etc., exposed and condemned the religious leaders for their selfishness and lack of love!

If you preach the TRUTH, you cannot help but make ENEMIES! Jesus said, “If I had not come and SPOKEN unto them, they had not had sin. But NOW they have NO CLOAK, no COVERING, for their sin!” (John 15:22) Which is why the ones who SHOULD have been His FRIENDS, who were supposed to be of His same religion–the Scribes, the Pharisees and the Chief Priests–were the very ones who KILLED Him! Because He EXPOSED their religion for the empty, hollow, shallow sham that it really was! (Read Matthew 23!)

Another major reason that the religious leaders violently turned against Jesus was because His liberating message of, “All you have to do now is LOVE God and your neighbours as yourself!” (Matthew 22:37-39), destroyed their dictatorial control over the people! Jesus’ doctrine of GRACE gave the people FREEDOM and made them realise that they didn’t NEED the old laws, ceremonies and traditions of their former religion any more! OUR message of Love and freedom has likewise caused many religious leaders today to accuse us of being “immoral breakers of God’s Laws”, when all we’re actually doing is accepting and practicing the liberty that the NEW TESTAMENT talks about from cover-to-cover! God’s LIBERATING Law of Love!

Jesus told some compromising hypocritical religionists of His day, “The World CANNOT hate YOU, but it hates ME.–Because I speak the TRUTH against it, EXPOSING its evils!” (John 7:7) The reason why we true Christians today have so many enemies is the same: We have uncloaked and exposed the enemies of God with the bright and searing light of His Truth!

In our PUBLICATIONS–which we have distributed throughout the World literally by the MILLIONS to the BILLIONS–we have repeatedly exposed the ANTI-CHRIST FORCES that are taking over the World! The so-called “ONE-WORLDERS”, the international big money boys who control and manipulate this World’s financial and political systems!

In HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of pages of publications, we have exposed their plans to bring on the great ECONOMIC CRASH in order to destabilise things enough for them to be able to put their man on the throne of the World! The long-foretold “ANTICHRIST” who will ultimately demand the World’s obeisance and worship, forcing men to be branded like cattle with his soul-damning credit mark and number, 666! The Mark of the BEAST! (Revelation 13). The propagators of this plot have frequently used their enormous influence and financial resources to orchestrate massive media campaigns against us.

(For more on this topic, visit The Signs Of The End site)

Our uncompromising stand against the evils of COMMUNISM–an integral PART of the Antichrist’s scheme for World domination-has also caused many to turn against us and persecute us with a vengeance! Nevertheless we feel it is our God-given duty to expose the anti-Christ forces that are at work in this World, so that people can know the TRUTH, and BEWARE, and have their eyes opened to the “Signs of the Times” that are clear indications that we are NOW living in the TIME OF THE END, and that Jesus Himself will soon return to take over this crooked World to set things STRAIGHT!

Our challenge to the established CHURCHES to obey Christ’s command to “GO into ALL the World and preach the Gospel to EVERY creature!” (Mark 16:15), has also brought the wrath of many conservative RELIGIONISTS down upon us! Because we have given our ALL to obey Christ’s command, our lives have put other Christians to shame who REFUSE to do so, so they have either got to start obeying THEMSELVES, or somehow DISCREDIT US to ease their OWN guilty consciences! This is the REAL reason that so many supposedly religious people take it upon themselves to persecute and campaign against us!

Also defectors and backsliders, who, like Judas who betrayed Jesus, have lied about us and tried to stir up trouble against us to justify themselves! Actually, MOST of them chose to leave because usually they found they were unable to sacrifice and endure the hardships and rigors of our way of life. But SOME who have left us, rather than ADMIT and confess failure on THEIR part, turn against us in order to excuse and justify themselves for leaving. A few have even been paid and manipulated by our powerful religious enemies to write and speak against us.

Another reason we have often been vilified is because we have uncompromisingly proclaimed and exposed the evils of modern, decadent AMERICA! Warning them that, “The wicked shall be turned into HELL, and EVERY nation that FORGETS God!” (Psalm 9:17) Infuriating many Americans by telling them that God would soon judge and destroy their once-Christian nation for their sins against Him and the poor of the World! The Worldfamous evangelist, Billy Graham, has said the same of the U.S.: “If God does not judge the U.S., He will have to apologise to Sodom and Gomorrah!”

We have continued to warn America of her sins, yet she has continued to turn her back on God! She has become even MORE materialistic, MORE anti-Christ, MORE perverted and MORE vicious and cruel, not only in her relentless nuclear arms build-up and unprecedented weapons sales to the rest of the World–fueling the fires of war around the Globe–but also in her creation and exportation of absolutely sickening VIOLENT and PERVERTED horror movies and so-called “thrillers”, as well as her “punk”, “heavy-metal” and other demonic music that is corrupting the youth of the entire WORLD!

Not to mention her appalling example to the rest of the World, pretending to be so righteous and “Christian” while she annually slaughters millions of innocent unborn babies through ABORTIONS, has abolished and made PRAYER, GOD and the BIBLE illegal in her public schools, and refuses to make fair and JUST TRADE AGREEMENTS with the developing nations of the World etc. etc.! Our clear-cut Biblical stand against other perverted modern trends such as HOMOSEXUALITY, so-called “WOMEN’S LIB” etc.–trends which are becoming more and more prominent and acceptable in modern Man’s twisted society–have also caused many to rise up and fight against us! Nevertheless, NONE of these forces have been able to STOP us to SATURATE the World with the Gospel of God’s Love, as well as our warnings against these anti-Christ evils of our day!

So is it any wonder that we have many jealous and hateful ENEMIES, that we are viciously PERSECUTED, that there are many who would like to do anything they could to DESTROY our work for the Lord entirely? Jesus Himself warned His followers, “Ye shall be HATED of ALL nations for My Name’s sake!” (Matthew 24:9) So why should anyone be surprised if a little persecution and opposition is raised by those whom we expose with the light of God’s Truth?

Jesus told us, “WOE unto you when ALL men shall speak WELL of you!–For so did their fathers of the FALSE prophets!” (Luke 6:26). In other words, if you’re always so POPULAR, and everyone is always thinking and speaking WELL of you, then something must be WRONG with you! This is why the Bible says that, “ALL who will live GODLY in Christ Jesus SHALL suffer PERSECUTION!” (2Timothy 3:12). If everything is always so smooth and you never have any problems or persecution, then you’re NOT living GODLY in Christ Jesus!

Of course, very few of our enemies ever give the REAL reasons WHY they persecute us. Just like JESUS’ enemies never told the Roman Governor, Pilate, the real reason why they sought to slay HIM! If they’d said, “This guy is EXPOSING us, BREAKING our TRADITIONS, and LIBERATING the people from OUR CONTROL!”, Pilate would have thrown the case out of court! So they LIED and leveled POLITICAL charges against Him: “We found this man SUBVERTING the NATION and OPPOSING payment of TAXES to Caesar, claiming that He Himself is a KING! If you release Him, YOU are not a friend of CAESAR!” (Luke 23:2; John 19:12) But despite their lies and their futile attacks against us, they will NEVER be able to stop us, even if they KILL us! We’ll keep on going and keep on winning souls and prospering and multiplying until Jesus returns, because that’s God’s plan! In fact, our enemies could even KILL any one of us or even a LOT of us, and our work would STILL go on, because the LORD is our Leader and they can’t beat HIM no matter how hard they try! “If this work were of MAN, it would come to NOTHING! But if it be of GOD, then NO man is able to stand against it! Lest they be found to be fighting against GOD!” (Acts 5:38,39).

NO ONE can stop our work for the Lord, and we will keep on witnessing His Truth to the World’s BILLIONS, and winning and loving MILLIONS into His Heavenly Kingdom until HE HIMSELF finally stops us for our VICTORY CELEBRATION in HEAVEN when He returns! Hallelujah! (Revelation 19)

But until THEN, we’ll keep on fighting evil and “going into all the World, preaching the Good News of His Love to every creature!” Until the END! Praise the Lord! Are you fighting EVIL or GOOD? Or GOD! Beware!

 

 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Anchor

Building Spiritual Endurance

By Maria Fontaine

free-bible-studies-online-anchor“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. In your patience possess ye your souls.”
—Hebrews 10:36; Luke 21:19

As a part of our spiritual growth and Christian development, we inevitably experience the process of learning how to endure difficulties and delays. At different points in our lives, we may find ourselves having to get used to fighting more long-term battles. And in the process, we learn what it means to really hold on, not just for one day or one week or one month, but perhaps for many months or even years at a time. Through these experiences, we learn to truly cling to God’s Word and “endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3)

We may not have had to learn such heavy lessons of patience and endurance before, and it may seem like a hard saying when these lessons come knocking at our door. In our personal battles and trials, in many cases we may have experienced shorter struggles with quick victories in answer to our prayers. We’ve seen lives changed and souls won so easily. We’ve finished projects and have gotten quick answers to our prayers. We’ve seen rapid healings.

However, we all will face times in life where we have to make up our minds that we may have extended periods of not seeing any evidence of victory or even improvement at all, times when, if anything, you may be feeling pretty rotten. There may be times when you won’t be able to go on your feelings at all, but will have to cling to the promises of His Word, that God still loves you and God still cares. He is expecting you to go on for Him, no matter what you feel like, and no matter how long you don’t feel like it. It may come down to having to learn to keep going even if you feel like you’re just going through the motions, just doing what you’re supposed to do because God says so in His Word.

The Word tells us, “Blessed is the man that endures temptation.” (James 1:12) “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” (James 5:11) “Endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5 NKJV) “We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces patience; and patience, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3–4 NKJV)

Knowing that God’s Word tells us that we are blessed when we endure can give us courage to keep on going in the face of seemingly hopeless situations. You may have to keep going even when it seems like everything has turned against you, believing that God will never fail in one of His good promises. You may have to choose to wait on the Lord and rest in Jesus’ arms with those unbreakable promises in your mind and heart, like many of the hymn writers expressed, who learned to endure. We have to ground our faith in His Word and trust that His purpose for each one of us will be fulfilled, as we continue to believe and trust in His promises.

You can’t look at faith the way that a lot of people look at marriages nowadays, “Oh well, if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just get a divorce.” You’ve got to be “fully persuaded” in your own mind and heart that God is able to do whatever He promises. (Romans 4:21) You’ve got to have the attitude of “to whom shall we go; no one else has the words of eternal life!” (John 6:68) If you have consecrated and dedicated yourself and have made that kind of a commitment to the Lord, then no matter how hard things get, you’ll keep going by His grace and keep living for the Lord in whatever way He has called you.

Should we cower and tremble and hide our faces at the prospect of enduring hardness? No! We should be challenged and excited at the wonderful things the Lord is going to do through us.

If you are worried or fearful of the future and its uncertainties, the secret lies in increasing your faith through His Word and the wonderful promises that the Lord has given. Even if you find yourself in a time of suffering or enduring hardship in this life, you can rejoice that it is your destiny and your calling to be victorious over it, whether in this life or the next! The thing you have to realize when you go through trying times is that as a Christian there is a purpose in everything you experience in your life.

We don’t have to fear! Although we may have lots of problems, at least we know there’s a good reason for it, a purpose behind it all. We understand that we are in a spiritual warfare, and that most of our problems are a result of that, and they ultimately teach us lessons and make us strong. So just the fact that we know that these trials have a valuable, eternal purpose makes it a lot easier for us to bear them.

We have God’s Word, we have prayer, we have the Lord’s promises, we have a vision, we have a purpose, we have Holy Spirit power, and we know God’s plan for the future and where we’re going after this life. We have a reason for patient endurance during times of tribulation.

As Christians, we should not only believe it but we should preach it, even when what we believe and practice and preach is in opposition to much of what the world believes and practices. We’re called to preach the gospel, in season and out of season. It’s our calling as Christians to stand up for what we believe, even when God’s truth is unpopular. How much better to suffer affliction now with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin for a season. (Hebrews 11:25)

So let us rather “boast all the more gladly of our weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon us.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) He has promised that His grace will be sufficient!

 

 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

Why Evolution!

“The FOOL hath said in his heart,’There is no God’!” (Psalm 14:1)

By David Brandt Berg

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It’s so ridiculous for Man to NOT believe in GOD!–Because Man can’t help but believe in God if he just looks at CREATION! If you’re not an absolute FOOL, if you have a reasoning mind at all, all you have to do is LOOK at the Creation to know SOMEBODY had to design it, PLAN it & FIGURE it out, because it’s all so beautiful, so orderly, & works so perfectly!

If you haven’t got enough sense to know that there is a GOD, just look at His CREATION! Just look at the sea, the sky, the clouds, the mountains, the valleys, the trees, the flowers, everything! They’re all virtually shouting, “There IS a God! Look what He MADE! Look what a beautiful World He made for you to live in!”

The greatest PROOF of the existence of GOD is His CREATION! And that’s why EVOLUTION is so DAMNABLE & Devil-inspired, because it tries to explain away Creation by saying that it just happened by ACCIDENT & that God had nothing to do with it, that it somehow just threw ITSELF together!

The Bible says that, “The INVISIBLE things of God from the Creation of the World are clearly SEEN, being understood by the things that are MADE.” (Romans 1:20). The existence of our invisible God is proven by His visible Creation!–It’s “clearly seen” through the beautiful World He made. That’s why the Scripture says that only “the FOOL hath said in his heart ‘There is no God’!” (Psalm 14:1). Only an absolute fool, an idiot, would actually believe in his heart that there is no God! Most people who CLAIM not to believe in Him really DO believe, but they’re in REBELLION against Him!

THAT’S why the World wants to reject Creation & say it’s all just a meaningless chaotic Evolution!–Because if the World & its inhabitants ARE God’s Creation, then they are HIS property.–And if they are HIS property, then HE’S the BOSS & they DON’T WANT God to be Boss! Therefore the Scripture says, “they do not LIKE to retain God in their knowledge.” (Romans 1:28).

“Because, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, but became VAIN in their IMAGINATIONS, & their foolish heart was DARKENED. Although they claimed to be wise, they became FOOLS!” They got so smart they thought they could do without God, so they became what?–Absolute FOOLS, who “changed the glory of the immortal God into an image like to that of corruptible MAN, & BIRDS, & four-footed BEASTS, & REPTILES! Who changed the truth of God into a LIE, & worshipped the CREATURE more than the Creator!” (Romans 1:21-25).

So WHY did the Devil & Man COOK up this ridiculous, idiotic scheme of evolution? To try to get rid of God & the knowledge of God, “as they did NOT like to retain God in their education!” (Romans 1:28). And since they threw God & Creation & the Bible out, they HAD to cook up something new! They didn’t want the TRUTH, so they figured out a BIG LIE! EVIL EVOLUTION!

Dr. Robert A. Millikan, the great atomic physicist who pioneered the splitting of the atom, said, “If you’d say that a watch just put ITSELF together, invented itself, you’d be crazy! And just as there had to be a WATCHMAKER behind the synchronised perfection & order of every WATCH, so there had to be a CREATOR behind the synchronised PERFECTION of the Universe!”

There is NO PROOF for evolution! It has to be BELIEVED, therefore it’s a RELIGION! Even the founding father of this false faith, CHARLES DARWIN himself, confessed that “the BELIEF (note the emphasis on belief) in Evolution must at present be grounded entirely on general considerations. When we descend to details, we can prove that NO one species has changed, NOR can we prove that the supposed changes are BENEFICIAL, which is the GROUNDWORK of the THEORY.” Ha!

The very first verse of the first chapter of the first book of the RIGHT Book says, “In the beginning, GOD created the Heavens & the Earth!” (Genesis 1:1). Now either you believe that, what GOD’S Book says, or you’re going to have to believe what some LIAR says instead!

“And GOD created Man in His Own image, He created him in the image of God; He created them male & female.” (Genesis 1:27). And God formed Man out of what?–Previous forms?–Apes?–Beasts? “And God formed Man of the DUST of the GROUND, & breathed into his nostrils the BREATH of LIFE; & Man became a living soul!” (Genesis 2:7). This is the TRUTH of GOD’S Word!

CREATION is the basic FOUNDATION of the entire Bible! If you DON’T believe THIS, you won’t believe ANYTHING! Because when you doubt ONE word of the Bible, you’ll soon doubt the WHOLE thing! Jesus said, “Had you believed MOSES, you would have believed ME! But if you believe not HIS writings, how shall you believe MY Words?” (John 5:46,47). Now, what’s the FIRST of Moses’ writings, upon which all of his writings are based?–GENESIS! All about Creation!

If they had believed GENESIS, all about Creation, then they would have accepted JESUS CHRIST as their Saviour! So what did the Devil do to try to prevent people from believing in Jesus? He tried to destroy their belief in the writings of Moses, & in the book of GENESIS in particular, the story of the glorious Creation! And how did the Devil do that? By what big lie?

EVOLUTION! That was his greatest lie & most diabolically clever piece of teaching! EVOLUTION! As ridiculous & idiotic as anything you could possibly study, because it has NO foundation in FACT whatsoever; there’s NO evidence for it; no discovery has been made to prove it! It’s just a bunch of GARBAGE & ROT!

But even garbage doesn’t stink as bad as the lies of Evolution, of which the Bible warns, “BEWARE of the LIES of SCIENCE FALSELY SO-CALLED! For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They shall turn AWAY their ears from the TRUTH, & shall be turned unto FABLES!” (1Timothy 6:20; 2Timothy 4:3,4). This time has COME & these days are HERE, & their ears HAVE turned from the truth & are turned to fables! Like EVOLUTION! Don’t let the Devil & his Evolutionists fool you! Stand up for JESUS and His TRUTH TODAY! God bless you!

 

 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Activated

God’s Surprises

By David Brandt Berg, adapted

free-bible-studies-online-gods-surprises

The things we need to know, God tells us, and sometimes the things we want to know, He tells us; but often He throws a veil over the future so that it is known only to Him. In any case, regardless of what we know or don’t know, He’s promised to never leave nor forsake us. “I am with you always,” He says, “even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) And He’s given us the torch of His Word to show us where our path is going. We can always throw the light of God’s Word on the path ahead. (See Psalm 119:130)

The Bible says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105) So whenever a situation is uncertain and I’m not exactly sure if something is God’s will and whether He’s going to work it out or not, I always pray, “Lord, You’re still the boss and You’re still God, and if things don’t work out just the way I expect or the way I hope or the way I’m pushing for, if that’s not what You want me to do, if You have some other idea and You’re going to accomplish something maybe even better, or maybe teach me a lesson I need to learn, or whatever Your purpose is, help me to just do what You want me to do.”

It’s better to leave your mind open to whatever God wants you to do. Ordinarily, it’s something that’s reasonable and logical and just common sense. But sometimes God does things that aren’t according to our natural expectation. In those cases, we need to be willing to trust Him, even if He seems to change His mind or things don’t turn out how we thought they would.

We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future!

 
The Blank Sheet

Many people are more concerned about having God hear what they have to say than they are about hearing what God has to say. They’re trying to put their program across on God and get Him to sign His name to their program. I heard someone say one time, “Are you willing, not to present your program to God for His signature, not even to be presented with God’s program for your signature, but are you willing to sign a blank sheet of paper and let God fill it in without your even knowing what His program is going to be?”

—David Brandt Berg

 
 

Copyright © Activated Magazine. All rights reserved.

Activated

Oasis of Peace

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Six Steps of Meditative Prayer

Step 1: Choose an appropriate location. Most people find that meditation is best in quiet, uncluttered surroundings, ideally away from where they work or spend most of their waking hours. A secluded spot outside can be especially conducive. Fresh air not only renews us physically, but it also helps to illustrate how God’s Spirit can clear our minds and spirits.

Step 2: Take time to wind down. It’s nearly impossible to immediately go from the affairs of a busy day into a state of deep meditative prayer. Sometimes it helps to spend a few minutes on a transitional activity to phase out the material world, such as listening to soothing music, taking a short walk, or breathing deeply. As you try different things, you’ll find what works best for you.

Step 3: Leave your cares at His feet. If problems are distracting you and weighing you down, they’ll hinder the peace you could receive through meditation. Take a minute or two (or as long as you like) to give your present cares to Jesus in prayer. Be specific. Describe to Him what is troubling you, and ask Him to lift and bear it. Focus on God’s ability to bring solutions, rather than on the problems themselves. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Step 4: Get relaxed. Several minutes of gentle stretches and deep breathing, followed by a relaxation exercise (concentrate on relaxing your face and neck, then your entire body, part by part), can help. If you’re feeling especially tense, a shower or a bath or a short walk in nature might help you relax. Or if you’re very tired, a nap may be just the thing, because if you’re exhausted, you may not benefit as much from your time of meditation.

Step 5: Select a comfortable position. In meditation, the position of your spirit matters much more than the position of your body. You don’t have to sit a certain way—or even sit, for that matter—except of course you should be comfortable, so you can more easily focus your thoughts and mind.

Step 6: Meditate. You’ve found an appropriate spot and wound down physically. You’ve put your problems and cares into Jesus’ very capable hands. You’ve disconnected from the affairs of the day and are relaxed and comfortable. Now you’re ready to begin a time of meditation.

You might choose to focus on Jesus Himself, thinking about one of His attributes, or on some special blessing He has brought into your life. A specific thought from God’s Word can also be a subject for meditation. Reading a passage from the Bible or some other short devotional material may help get you started.

 

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You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
—Isaiah 26:3 NLT

 
If God be our God, He will give us peace in trouble. When there is a storm without, He will make peace within. The world can create trouble in peace, but God can create peace in trouble.
—Thomas Watson (c. 1620–1686)

 
Meditation is simply talking to God about His Word with a desire that your life and those you pray for come into agreement with it.
—William Thrasher

 
When we find our souls at all declining, it is best to raise them up presently by some awakening meditations, such as of the presence of God, of the strict reckoning we are to make, of the infinite love of God in Christ and the fruits of it, of the excellency of a Christian’s calling, of the short and uncertain time of this life, of how little good all those things that steal away our hearts will do us before long, and of how it shall be forever with us hereafter, as we spend this short time well or ill. The more we make way for such considerations to sink into our hearts, the more we shall rise nearer to that state of soul which we shall enjoy in heaven.
—Richard Sibbes (1577–1635)

 
In place of our exhaustion and spiritual fatigue, God will give us rest. All He asks is that we come to Him, that we spend a while thinking about Him, meditating on Him, talking to Him, listening in silence, occupying ourselves with Him—totally and thoroughly lost in the hiding place of His presence.
—Chuck Swindoll (b. 1934)
 

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Peace on the outside comes from knowing Jesus on the inside. You can do that by simply inviting Him into your heart:

Dear Jesus, I want to know You and enjoy Your peace. Please come into my life, give me Your peace, and help me get to know You better and grow in the Holy Spirit and the knowledge of Your Word. Amen.

 
 

Copyright © Activated Magazine. All rights reserved.

Anchor

Looking for Inspiration

By Peter Amsterdam

free-bible-studies-online-anchorInspiration is a wonderful, God-created thing. It is intangible but powerful. Some synonyms for inspiration are encouragement, enthusiasm, genius, insight, vision, awakening, creativity, spark, spur, and stimulation.

Inspiration infuses you with renewed zest for life. It influences, moves, or guides you to action. It provides a fire in your soul, so to speak. We all have times when we hit the inspiration skids; when we not only lack inspiration, but might even doubt that we’ll ever feel inspired again.

Maybe you’re facing a big challenge at your workplace. Perhaps one of your children is going through a rough patch and you’re overcome with worry. If you just had some unexpected expenses and your finances are tapped out, that can bring a lot of anxiety. Or maybe you have become estranged from a close friend or loved one and you feel awash in guilt and sadness. Or maybe nothing “bad” has happened but you just feel flat. Without inspiration.

When you feel like you’ve lost inspiration, or lost hope, or are just feeling so very blah, like the wind has gone out of your sails and you don’t know how you’re going to get it back, there are some things that can help. God, in His foresight and great love for us, created many things that can serve as sparks to boost our sense of personal happiness and well-being and reignite our inspiration flame.

Whether you’re trying to make it through a tough spot or seeking creative inspiration for a project, these sources of inspiration can serve as recharging stations to your spirit.

Reading God’s Word is paramount. The Bible is a direct source of divine inspiration. Jeremiah said of God’s Word: “Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart.” (Jeremiah 15:16 ESV) Communing with God should be your first priority when your inspiration has run dry and you need spiritual renewal. The truest and deepest inspiration comes when we are in relationship with our Creator. This results in the wonderful “joy of the Lord” referred to in the Bible, the inspiration that does not fade. (Nehemiah 8:10)

Meditating and reflecting on God’s Word, and the writings of other inspired Christians, brings faith and focus to your spirit. Spending time in worship and adoration can also be a powerful way to lift your spirit.

Friendship is not to be overlooked. Good company and fellowship are central to a happy life. We all need the support of others, and most of life’s best experiences are shared with those we love. And when we’re feeling low or facing hard times, friends are even more important. If you find yourself living far away from your friends and it’s not easy to have face-to-face fellowship, it works to pick up the phone or have a Skype call to keep in touch. True friends not only provide support, they also inspire us to be our best selves. Friends encourage us to keep going. They remind us that the best is yet to come, and that if we hang in there, we’ll pull through, as we have so many times before.

Nature is a magnificent source of inspiration. God’s creation is a constant and amazing proof of His power and design. Not only is nature, in its many forms, breathtakingly beautiful; it also showcases God’s power and His love for humankind. The majesty of creation is an ever-present reminder that the God who made everything is sovereign and more than capable of caring for every burden, fear, worry, and prayer that we entrust to Him. When we are reminded of that great truth, we can more easily cast our cares on God, (1 Peter 5:7) which can result in a lightening of our spirits and a sense of inspiration and hope for the future.

Seek out good news. This is an effective way to lift your spirit. As the verse says, “Whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” ( Philippians 4:8 ESV)

You can pay more attention to the good news in your life by pausing in the morning or evening to think about the things you’re grateful for and noting them in your gratitude journal. Science shows that people who keep a gratitude journal or make a practice of counting their blessings are happier and more content.

Appreciate the arts: music, painting, sculpture, literature, dance, photography. There are countless beautiful expressions of human creative skill, and when we take time to appreciate these things, we can be inspired and uplifted.

Enjoy life’s simple gifts. It doesn’t always take something significant or amazing to boost your mood. One small thing enjoyed fully at just the right time can have a big effect. Like a hot shower. A perfect cappuccino. A kiss from a child or grandchild. Vine-ripened tomatoes in a fresh salad. An ice-cold glass of water.

There are countless small gifts that we receive daily from God and others that can bring us a lot of joy and a sense of well-being if we are mindful of them.

Stay alive with exercise. Science has proven that exercise is good for your body and your emotional and mental health. It’s a mood-booster. So when your inspiration is lagging, get your body moving. I’ll admit, this isn’t always something that I feel eager to do, especially if my mood is a little blah or I’m feeling tired. But once I’ve done it, I feel energized and generally more inspired.

Try something new! New scenery and new activity bring new inspiration, so when you can, do new things, explore new places. Break out of your routines. New environments can bring new insights. God made each of us to be creative in some way, and activating your creative processes through learning something new can both be enjoyable and can open a pathway to new inspiration. Do something you haven’t done before. Consider a new hobby.

Make time for silence. God made us to need quiet. We need white space in our lives. We have to schedule time for God. We have to carve out “me time.” Sometimes we just need to shut down our devices and unplug, and get away from all the hustle and bustle and seek out silence.

You can gain a sense of purpose and joy from times of quiet, thought, reflection, prayer, and communion with God. Sometimes we need to think about our lives, where life is headed, and what our goals are. Many people shy away from being alone or being in a place of quiet or silence. If you feel that way, I encourage you that a place of silence can be the birthplace of fresh hope, renewed priorities, new perspectives, and godly inspiration.

Each of us is different. And at different times in your life, different things can help to boost your inspiration, to rekindle the flame, so to speak. So while you may have your “go-to” inspiration primers, don’t get stuck in a rut. Try new things! Let’s keep ourselves open to the many beautiful ways in which we can be renewed.

Don’t fret or despair if you’re going through a dry spell, or if you don’t seem to be bouncing back as quickly as you had hoped. If you’re in that place right now, God wants you to reach out to Him, trust in His promises, and have patience, regardless of your feelings or low inspiration level. Sometimes we feel inspired and sometimes we don’t, but we can always trust in the promise of Isaiah 40:31 that heavenly inspiration will come: “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)

I find those words “soar on wings like eagles” to be a beautiful picture of inspiration and freedom from the cares of the world that threaten to pull us down.

We can bank on God’s promises, on His unconditional and never-ending love for us.

Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (NIV).

Isn’t it wonderful to know that you are in God’s hands? That He wants you to prosper and to have hope? We can draw great peace and inspiration from the assurance that we are in His strong, capable, and loving hands.

 

 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

Anchor

In Partnership with God—Part 2

From the Roadmap series

If you haven’t yet read Part 1, go here. In Partnership with God—Part 1

For Part 3 of this series, go here. In Partnership with God—Part 3

 
free-bible-studies-online-anchorIf we hope to have a deep, enduring, intimate relationship with the Lord, we need to be willing to spend time with Him. This time can be spent in a number of ways—reading the Word, praying, hearing from Him in prophecy, meditating, praising, listening to uplifting music, or simply being quiet in His presence and resting in Him. There’s no perfect formula that you have to follow to “make it happen” for you. We each have to discover what works for us personally.

Building our walk with the Lord takes an investment of time. We don’t develop a deep and mature relationship with Jesus by giving Him scattered minutes of our attention here and there. Our quiet time with the Lord doesn’t have to be the same time each day, or the same plan, but whatever we do, it will cost us something as we’re all busy people.

If we’re serious about having a life partnership with God, we need to dedicate time to building it. And it’s likely that that will mean giving up something else in order to make the time. We’re all busy, many of us to the point that each day is a race against the clock where we’re constantly reassessing our priorities and schedules, sometimes hour by hour. Extra time is probably nonexistent in your life, too; hence, the concept of “making time” may require some effort.

Obviously, in our busy lives, “making time” for something is not so simple. It’s challenging to find the time for the things that we have to do, much less something that can be seen as an “extra.” We can sometimes be tempted to feel that we don’t need to spend time in God’s Word or prayer, or that we can make it through our day just fine without it. However, stopping to take time with the Lord always pays off—if not immediately, certainly over time.

It’s a matter of priorities and what we put first.

Here’s a story that you might be familiar with, but it illustrates the principle so well that it’s worth reviewing.

An expert on the subject of time management was speaking to a group of business students. He stood in front of these high-powered overachievers, pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar, and placed it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?”

Everyone in the class said, “Yes.”

Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar, causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?”

By this time the class was onto him. “Probably not,” one of them answered.

“Good!” he replied. And he again reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?”

“No!” the class shouted.

Once again he said, “Good!” Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim.

Then he looked up at the class and said, “What is the point of this illustration?”

One eager student raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things into it!”

“No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is this: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

What are the “big rocks” in your life? Are you putting them in first?

—Author unknown

 
What could be some of the “big rocks” for those of us who want to grow spiritually and bear good fruit in life or service to the Lord? Of course, we’d each need to figure out the details on this for ourselves, but some of the main ones to consider are:

  • Connecting with the Lord by giving Him quality time and our full attention.
  • Intercessory prayer.
  • Taking time to love others by showing concern, interest, sympathy, and understanding.
  • Spending time with our spouse and children.
  • Exercising and maintaining our physical health.
  • Our service for the Lord.

The gravel could be things such as:

  • Our work or study.
  • Maintaining our home and household.
  • Attending diligently to our responsibilities.

The sand or water could represent activities like:

  • Television, movies, novels, or other entertainment.
  • Blogging or online chatting.
  • Surfing the internet.

Having the conviction to organize your schedule and priorities so that you can protect your connection with God is a matter of Christian values. Of course, the application of those values is sometimes easier said than done. You might really want that time with the Lord, but it can be a struggle to prioritize it with the many responsibilities of everyday life that compete for your time. If you find that you are easily distracted and regularly neglect your commitments to your spiritual growth, then it may be time to reassess your priorities and how you invest your time.

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Many people go skimming over the surface things of life, without any sense of values: just living off the nonessentials, while the inconsequential things of life are crowding out the things that are worthwhile, and robbing them of the things that are in the long run really worthwhile.

No man or woman will ever be great in life or soul if they haven’t any real sense of values!

Trivial, temporal things so often are put first while God and His Word are crowded into a secondary place. When this happens, all of life is thrown out of balance, and the result is only disharmony, disruption, and confusion.

Are the great realities of life in the proper perspective in your life? Do you have a sense of values? Or do you let little trivialities and material things come before the reading of God’s Word and prayer? And do you excuse yourself by saying, “I’m busy, I don’t have time”? If that happens to you, it’s time to check your heart and your values.

There is life in the Word; it’s food for your soul. It’s absolutely essential to the growth of your soul! If you don’t have time for it, then your soul’s going to starve and you’re going to be a dwarf spiritually.

Prayer is communion with God. Without prayer, you walk unempowered in your own strength and wisdom. God’s Word says, “Without Me, you can do nothing.” On the other hand, it says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (John 15:5; Philippians 4:13.)

And that strength comes only through prayer and the reading of God’s Word. You can hardly expect to get the strength needed through a weak little hurried verse, or a little tiny prayer just before you hop into bed half asleep and sort of dazed! You can’t call that “seeking first the kingdom!”

I had an acquaintance who spent all of her years scraping, digging, slaving to build and decorate a little cottage where she could be comfortable for a few years. Just a few months after it was finished, she became seriously ill. At her bedside she said to me, “Time is closing in on me! There isn’t any left for me, and I spent the little I had on things that have not a bit of value in the place where I’m going.” She had a sense of values too late! Is it going to come too late to you?

I wish sometimes we could see all the events of life framed in the ultimate results they lead to. What a change there would be in our lives! We wouldn’t make such silly excuses for putting our Word-reading and prayer in the secondary place, and we’d not give ourselves to trivialities when eternal things are calling.

The one that lives for the present instead of eternity has no sense of values. It happens every day that someone will say, not by their word perhaps, but by their actions: “I just don’t care about getting the mansions in heaven and I’m not so interested in the eternal things! Give me rather a mansion here and a crown here, with a little fame and glory here, and perhaps a few trinkets here, and the favor of man and the pleasures of sin for a season—and I’ll be a little satisfied here.”

And the King of kings, who has offered them a robe of righteousness, a crown of glory, an eternal home among the many mansions there is put aside for these “other things” that really have no value!

—Virginia Brandt Berg

 
Our time with the Lord should rank as our highest priority, our most critical appointment. We can schedule a rendezvous with the Master of the universe, the mentor of all mentors, the wisest life coach, the most knowledgeable consultant ever. All He has to offer has been promised to us, if we seek first His kingdom and love Him with all our hearts, minds, and spirits and give Him our time on a regular basis as we work in partnership with Him. Pretty amazing trade-off, don’t you think?

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.