Why Satan Loves COVID-19

For all of us, the current pandemic is a time of great uncertainty in our country. We are concerned for those we love, for our own physical, mental and emotional health, jobs, and society. We have experienced inconvenience during this time. In many ways, the world has been caught by surprise causing great anxiety. One thing that adds fuel to the fire is social media and news outlets in general. With so many stories and tales, you do not know what to believe. Just trying to figure what is accurate can cause great stress among us all. If I asked folks today, I probably would not find anyone who will say they love what is going on right now in our country. Well, come to think about it, I do know someone who loves it, Satan.

Satan loves the commotion that this pandemic is causing. He works to consume us in doubt, fear, and worry. He works hard to destroy unity and bring about strife. He loves the turmoil and division in the world. Look out, though, Satan wants nothing more than to break up the body of Christ. This has always been his goal. Division is what he strives for, it is his playground. He fights against your faith.  The division that is occurring in our world, Satan is behind it all and he does not have to use much influence to accomplish that either. He is very subtle about intervening in our families’ walk with the Lord. He lays in wait for the perfect opportunity to pounce as a “roaring lion seeking whom he may devour”.

How can he succeed in doing this? What tactics does he use, especially during this pandemic? I would like to examine some of those tactics.

1. Fear- Fear is one of Satan’s greatest weapons which he uses to steer us away from God.  Christian, the opposite of faith is fear. If we allow fear to enter our lives it can destroy our lives.  Fear of the unknown, fear of people, fear of illness, or the fear of being hurt. Satan is good at planting those thoughts in your mind. He is behind those “what if” questions that you ask yourself. Satan uses fear to lead a believer into discouragement and sin. Today with this pandemic, most everyone is living in fear. Yes, COVID 19 is a scary virus, but Satan is apart of that confusion and paranoia that is happening today. We need to remember in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind”. We fear even coming to services of the church. Which brings me to the next tactic Satan loves about COVID 19…

2. Less Fellowship- Satan is loving that there is less fellowship among the brethren. Christians are to draw strength from one another and it seems to be going in the opposite direction today. With COVID-19 spreading across the country, churches have begun to adapt by having online services only.  But I’m afraid we need to be careful with this. It is certainly a wonderful and convenient amenity. However, let me ask you, and be honest with yourself: Are you able to watch the service online without distraction or able to really concentrate on what is being taught? If yes, that is great. If the answer is no, then Satan is enjoying your current path. My concern is that just using online services can cause those who were already slipping in their faith before COVID hit, to continue doing so. Satan loves it because he knows for some, that you do not desire to be there, which means he has an outlet into your life at this moment. We need that fellowship among brethren, something online services cannot provide. Yes, social distancing is the news of the day, as it should be; however, if we end up distanced from one another, we will be worse off, not better.

3. Discouragement – Satan definitely uses this! Discouragement is a feeling of despair in the face of difficulties. I certainly have been an easy target. Satan capitalizes on the disappointments in our life to make us disheartened. The devil will steal, kill and destroy your blessings, just to discourage your walk with God. The devil will mostly use the ones that you really care about to discourage your heart. He will use those people whom you love and respect to be insensitive towards you with words that will wound and leave you bleeding in your heart. He will use what you care about to break you down the most. I have been very discouraged by this pandemic due to how people are acting, treating each other and the loss of connections that I have seen take place, even with fellow Christians. All the devil wants to do is to crush your heart’s hope in God and the relationships with other Christians. Discouragement is one of his greatest tools.

4. Anger – Satan loves that folks respond to COVID 19 with anger. The way you live your life has been dramatically changed and you don’t have control over those changes. Over the past several months, I’ve seen people get angry with their family and friends, coworkers and medical experts, arguing about everything going on. Anger is one of Satan’s best tools because an angry person doesn’t listen to wise instruction, choosing instead to close their hearts and minds. We must be careful about anger taking root in our hearts. We can do that by nurturing our relationship with Jesus Christ. We can press into Him and confess everything we’re feeling and experiencing because He desires to help us. Having too much anger can disrupt and damage your life and the lives of those around you.

We are undoubtedly witnessing history in the making. Years from now, scholars and historians will analyze the effects of COVID-19 on our society, economy, and more importantly our spirituality. Are you responding in faith or fear? Even in the midst of chaos, make no mistake, God is at work. His plans will not be thwarted and his people will not be overcome.

How we respond to the growing pandemic is important and it matters. Perhaps we begin by resisting the fear that is leading to panic in various sectors of society. We need to remember that God has a plan for our lives. The enemy has a plan for us too. We just have to determine which voice we’re going to listen to, and who we will choose to follow. Don’t let Satan use COVID 19 to draw you closer to him.

Feeling Disconnected?

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1)

I remember growing up with the classic rotary and push-button phones. This was before caller ID and call waiting that we have today. When we did not want to talk to someone or be bothered, we just was laid the phone off the hook or we just disconnected the phone from wall altogether. Today technology has changed, but we sometimes go through that time when we just want to be alone to just breathe or just recharge. The stresses of life, no matter the situation, sometimes have us needing alone time. My question is, have you ever felt disconnected from the world, or more importantly have you ever felt disconnected from God?

With so many obstacles in this life, I know that many get to a point where they feel that disconnection from God. As Christians, we know how difficult it is to live in the world, but not be of the world. Currently with our country in turmoil right now, our daily routine has been disrupted. For me personally, the one thing that has been an adjustment is online church services. It helps so much to be with like minded people several times a week, not just online. I need that so much, and I am sure I am not alone in this. Has this change affected you, your Bible reading and your prayer life?

There are so many examples in the Bible who felt alone. The first one to come to mind is Noah. Here he is living in a wicked corrupt world and building an ark that took a hundred years to build, while being ridiculed by the people. His faith did not waiver, but do you ever wonder if Noah felt alone especially among all the naysayers. What about Elijah, he felt he was the only one not serving Baal. Even though God was there, he felt so alone, that he wanted to end his life.  There are so many examples but let us not forget Jesus when he was on this earth and when he was crucified. He was surrounded by evil men, men that pierced his hands and feet, mocked him, and spat upon him. We cannot forget the words of Jesus while hanging on that cruel cross. “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?”.  Jesus felt that disconnection from His heavenly Father.

You may feel disconnected from God because you allowed that disconnection to happen. There are things that you can do to reconnect. When is the last time you had a heart to heart with God? Not just recite a prayer to him, but a real heart to heart.  If it has been a while, this is a great place to start. What about just getting out and experiencing God’s beauty? I have taken up photography of Gods creation and it really is so relaxing and truly makes me appreciate more of what God has done and provided for us. Read your Bible more.  Get into His inspired Word. It is the road map to life and all the examples and instructions are in it. Do not forget to spend time with other believers. When you associate with the world, and if not careful, you can become like the world.  I know from personal experience and it can happen before you even know it.  Attend ALL services of the church. Especially now, we need encouragement from other Christians that comes in no other way than personally assembling with the saints (Heb. 10:24-25).

Satan loves for Christians to be disconnected to God. He celebrates your “change of heart.” He does not want you to apply the above suggestions. He wants your soul to stay dark. It is in this darkness that he plants the seeds of destruction in your spiritual life. Next thing you know, your soul has grown bitter. Less time with God equals more chaos in your life.  Is that what you really want, Christian?

Is being disconnected from God the right decision?

Have You Missed Assembling?

We certainly have been in some unprecedented times. Honestly, it has been something that I hope we never experience again. For me, this pandemic has shown me things that I did not really think I took for granted. Just simply going to a store during this time has been a trying of my patience. I mean, it has always been before, but the COVID 19 has brought it to a whole new level. Fear and panic can really wreak havoc. Our jobs are another one. While I have been blessed to be able to continue working, things are different than what I was used to, but the show must go on and I am glad it does. One thing that has really affected me more than I thought it would, is not being able to assemble with the saints.

I have not been in an actual assembly in several weeks and I can feel a difference emotionally, mentally and most important spiritually. While I am glad that Chris and many preachers are doing their lessons on social media it is not the same and frankly, I miss being in the assembly with those of like previous faith. I want to be at the normal meeting place. I know the church is the people and not the building, but I need to be with saints, learning, studying and worshipping together. One reason that we go to church is to practice love toward the brethren in the form of fellowship. Nothing can express the joy and happiness to be shared among the saints than in the services of the church.

Someone told me recently that all church is is basically a social gathering. Really?? I beg to differ. Despite what the world says, we gather together to honor God and offer thanksgiving to Him for salvation and the blessings of life. The psalmist wrote, “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You” (Psa. 22:22). We gather to remember His death, burial and resurrection. We gather to exhort one another. We DO NOT assemble together to worship the preacher or the singing or ourselves. Our object of worship is the Creator. Our responsibility is to seek and to worship God because He seeks true worshippers (John 4:23). To worship God is why we meet. Knowing we are there to worship Him and focus on His commands, His sacrifice is what keeps us from straying from Him. But being able to do it with our brother and sisters in Christ is an added bonus.

The world around us is so tempting and distracting, that I appreciate more now what assembling can do for our souls as well. We experience more profound and genuine fellowship when we come to the worship gathering. We need other Christians to teach us, encourage us, pray for and with us. We need other Christians to provide us with godly counsel. All of which are so important for Christian growth. Being among other Christians is a gift God has given us. Have you ever thought about that?

I am afraid that this time away from assembling, will cause those who were already struggling to attend to not come back or not really appreciate what they have been missing. I have heard the saying, “One who neglects the assembly of the saints is like a leafy branch of a tree. If one carefully lays it aside, the color slowly fades until the leaves go limp, curl up and die”. I hope and pray for the opposite affect on those that do struggle. So how important is gathering to you? Have you truly missed it or have you enjoyed not assembling? I pray you have missed it!

I cannot wait to hear Chris say this in the pulpit with a building full of people, Psalm 122:1, says “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.”

A Backsliding Heart

“The backslider likes the preaching that wouldn’t hit the side of a house, while the real disciple is delighted when the truth brings him to his knees.” – Billy Sunday

One of the greatest dangers we face in the Christian life is the danger of backsliding. It’s an all to common problem in Christianity today. With all the worldly interruptions, Christians slowly start crawling backward in their Christian walk. Sadly, American churches today are filled with baby Christians who have chosen, for whatever reason, not to grow up. God’s design is for us to grow in spiritual maturity until we are able to guide the church and lead it as Christ intends. When you backslide something else has your HEART. Most of the time it is sin, but not all the time. When something else has your heart you forget the Lord. Have you left your first love?

So what is backsliding anyway? It is defined as an interruption or step backward in our spiritual growth.  Thus the backslider is one who has gone back to the ways of the world and has lost the zeal and interest they once had for the things of God. The danger of backsliding is made clear by the many warnings in Scripture. In II Peter 2:22 the apostle Peter gives us two very graphic pictures to describe backsliding. One is that of “a dog returning to its own vomit.” And the other is that of “a sow going back to wallow in the mud hole after it has been washed.” Backsliding starts in the heart. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 14:14, “The backslider in HEART will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above.”

A warning found in Hebrews seems even more cutting, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today,that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13). We all know the story of Jonah. Here was a prophet of God, a man of genuine faith who loved and feared the Lord. But instead of going to Nineveh, Jonah rebelled and ran. However he had deep sorrow, the deep sorrow of a man who knew he was running from God! Jonah knew God would not let him get away with his rebellion. And when he stepped onto the boat at Joppa, he became the most dangerous man on the Mediterranean. Why? It was because God was after him! If you’re running from God, you’ll be swallowed up like Jonah in despair and heartache.

Do you have a backslidden heart? If you are not sure, here are some signs. Let’s examine some common problems that cannot be ignored.

1)      Your time with God dwindles. You neglect your prayer life. Prayer is a very special way to draw near to God. How much time did you spend in prayer last week?

2)     You desire to fellowship with other Christians diminishes. Do you not enjoy time with your brothers and sisters in Christ?

3)     You hardly ever read your Bible or you find scripture boring and not important. Your desire for God’s word is essential to growth. How much time did you spend in God’s word last week?

4)     Church attendance is lacking and inconsistent. You do not desire to worship Him or study His Word. You are in danger of backsliding if your increasing interest for pleasures, leisure time, sports, fishing, and occasionally skipping out on worship altogether seems easy. In my experience, this is normally the first outward sign to others that things aren’t right for you spiritually.

It is critical to heed these warnings because sin sears the conscience and ultimately hardens the heart. I cannot imagine standing in front of God and Him saying to me the words in Jeremiah 15:6. “You have forsaken Me, says the Lord, You have gone backward. Therefore I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you; I am weary of relenting!” If you are running from the call of God, living in disobedience, you will have only deep sorrow. You’ll feel like a condemned person, worn out by guilt and anxiety. Where is the joy you once had? Have you quit on God?” Jeremiah 2:19 says, “Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty”

Be honest with yourself. Are you in the faith? Is your commitment to Christ what it should be? The road back to God is much much shorter than the road that took us away from Him. When we come to Him with Godly sorrow and repent, God wraps His loving arms around us and welcomes us back home! What are you waiting for? Renew your commitment to Christ.

The Eyes Of A Preachers Wife

I have to say never in a million years did I ever think I would be a preachers wife. When I became a Christian, I never knew the journey it would take Chris and me on as a couple. I certainly didn’t know what to expect and how much this journey would change us both. It has had its ups and downs for sure and has taught us both so many things. I cannot begin to express how much I have grown spiritually as well, which has been a blessing.

I was so proud when Chris became a minister and was able to preach at his first congregation. Still not knowing what to expect, I try and have tried to be the best wife I can be by supporting him through prayer and encouragement. Something I certainly have is a whole new appreciation of what a preacher deals with and my eyes have been opened so much. I threw away those rose colored glasses that I had worn. I had never been behind the scenes. Before, I was always the one who showed up to services, heard the lesson and then left. Never giving a second thought of the preparation that went into the message the preacher spoke and the other things that came along with preaching. Preachers are called upon at all hours of the day and night. Most people don’t know or even realize that being a minister is not just preparing a lesson. He is there when people want private prayers, when some want just to talk about what’s going on in their life, marriage counseling, at home bible studies, etc. The preacher takes on the burdens of others to help. Why??? Simply, because he loves them and their soul.

A minister is serving God and is on the front lines winning people to Christ, which can put a huge target on his back. The enemy will throw everything at him to get a preacher to quit and sadly some finally do, because it becomes too stressful for some to handle. I have not only seen the struggles first hand on my husbands side, but from other preachers as well. I have seen many great preachers quit and it’s such sad news and unfortunately, it is an all to common occurrence. The job of a preacher can be 24/7 and carry unique challenges. I sit in the background but my view is clear.

So what is it that I see you ask? First of all I see:

1.The hours spent preparing. People look to the preacher for answers and think that the preacher should know it all. Preachers don’t get their knowledge from just skimming the Bible. They put countless hours studying, dissecting and memorizing scripture, something all Christians should do by the way. Preachers know they will be held accountable for teaching false information to the flock. This is something that is taken very serious by every preacher of the gospel I know.

2.They get discouraged. This is a big one. Did you know that preachers get discouraged frequently? They are so passionate about what they preach and teach and it discourages them when people don’t take God’s Word seriously. Honestly it can discourage other Christians as well. Lack of attendance, lack of fellowship, lack of interest, it discourages all preachers and teachers of the Word. But the bigger picture is, what do you think it does to God? Even the apostle Paul was discouraged. I personally have to remind Chris about what 1 Corinthians 3:6 says. It’s hard to not discouraged, I get discouraged with him as well sometimes, but only because I see how much he loves people and their soul. I see how hard he tries and gets knocked down. Discouragement is from Satan and will cause many good preachers to quit. A victory for Satan.

3.They are criticized. It seems to be a growing issue and preachers seem to be experiencing greater challenges today. Of course it’s not a new issue, it’s always been. Even Jesus was criticized. Unfortunately, most of the issues of conflict are not doctrinal issues, they are mostly trivial issues. Sometimes preachers have to turn down the volume of their critics and turn up sensitivity to God’s words.

4.They are passionate. Preachers are so passionate about the Bible and what they preach. People seem to always think the preacher is “beating them up”, when in fact it is quite the opposite. They want people to take God’s Word as seriously as they do. We should all take His Word seriously and obey, but a lot of people don’t. Folks, preachers are not up in the pulpit to “scold you”, they preach to get you to do better, to think about how you are living so we can go to heaven together.

Despite all the things listed, preachers love what they do. Preachers love God and love people. They get to pray for people, be there for those struggling, lead people to Jesus Christ, and teach the Word about God. Next time you assemble for services, Thank your preacher for his work and ministry. Honor them to others. Let your preacher know you are praying for him and support him. Good sound preachers are very hard to find today. So if you think just preaching a sermon is all a minister does, I hope this enlightens you to the truth and what I see as a wife of a preacher.

Thank you to all the preachers and teachers of Gods Word!

Encourager or Discourager?

I love seeing some of the church marquees whenever I go on a road trip or go about my daily route. I love to see the one line sermons on display. Many times I have driven by a sign and I will say out loud, “Amen!” I saw this particular marquee on a church building about a mile from my house. This one really spoke to me. It said, “Never put anyone down unless it’s on your prayer list”. I loved the lesson it taught and what a great reminder. We are all in need of encouragement in our lives. Whether we are the one needing encouragement or the one to give it, there can never be too much to go around. In our daily routine, are we guilty of putting people down more than we are uplifting?

With so much negativity in the world today, I know that people crave positive attention. Have you ever just looked around at people and observed them, looked into their eyes. Every person you know needs to be encouraged at one point or another in their life. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 it says, “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” This does not just mean our church family, but all men. God commanded that his people encourage each other because he knows we need it.

Here are some ways that we can be an encouragement to others:

Be wise in your speech. Communicate more effectively by thinking before you speak. Speak on the same level, giving them due respect. There’s no need to come in with an authoritative voice to get your message across to someone. Do your words tear down or do they strengthen?

Show compassion. Some people just need that kind word to get them through the day. Be careful how we speak to others. Cheer up one who is discouraged with a hug, spending time with them and giving them your full attention.

Be a good listener. Be sensitive to the emotions of others, paying careful attention to what they tell you. Sometimes people just want to know you care what they are going through and are listening.

The best encouragement is heart-felt and sincere. Today, uplift someone who is feeling down. One day, when you need it the most, there will be someone to lift you up with their encouraging words or actions. With that said, are you going to be an encourager or discourager?

Can You See God In Your Home?

When we have guests in our home, we always try to have everything neat and clean, don’t we? We are sometimes too conscientious about what others will think when they come into our homes. We try to vacuum and straighten up as best as we can. Making a good impression is important to most of us in regards to good hospitality. I know personally, I get a little obsessive about it. With all that said, ask yourself, when someone walks into your home and looks around, can they see God?

When asking this question, I am not just talking about the wall hangings with religious wording on them or the Bible that sits on your coffee table, even though those are nice additions. I am talking about so much more. I am talking about things such as what is being taught in your home or what entertainment is being shown on your TV, iPad, or computer? Do you have daily devotionals or prayer time with the family? Do you pray before meals? At the basis of our homes, the Word of God should be placed. Proverbs 24:3-4 says, “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” Our homes need to be so much more than just a roof over our heads; it should be where a foundation can be built for strong Christian lives.

Outside the four walls of our homes is a world that will stop at nothing to take you away from God. There is so much in the world that tries to compete with Godly living. In other words, look around. Is your home filled with movies, magazines, and books that do not glorify God? Can you memorize the lines to your favorite movie or song, but hardly know any scripture? In your conversations, does filthy language come out of your mouth? Parents, what is being done to nurture your children in the Lord? If we allow our children’s minds to be filled with worldly things, they can become conformed to this old world. In Romans 12:2, we are warned to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

There is a poem that I have read before that really puts things in perspective. The author is unknown, but it asks a great question?

“If Jesus came to your house to spend a day or two.

If he came unexpectedly, I wonder what you’d do.

Oh, I know you’d give your nicest room to such an honored Guest,

And all the food you’d serve to Him would be the very best,

And you keep assuring Him you’re glad to have Him there

That serving Him in your own home is joy beyond compare.

But when you saw Him coming, would you meet Him at the door

With arms outstretched in welcome to your heavenly Visitor?

Or would you have to change your clothes before you let Him in?

Or hide some magazines and put the Bible where they’d been?

Would you turn off the radio and hope He hadn’t heard?

And wish you hadn’t uttered that last, loud, hasty word?

Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out?

Could you let Jesus walk right in, or would you rush about?

And I wonder if the Savior spent a day or two with you,

Would you go right on doing the things you always do?

Would you go right on saying the things you always say?

Would life for you continue as it does from day to day?

Would your family conversation keep up its usual pace?

And would you find it hard each meal to say a table grace?

Would you sing the songs you always sing, and read the books you read,

And let him know the things on which your mind and spirit feed?

Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you’d planned to go?

Or would you, maybe, change your plans for just a day or so?

Would you be glad to have Him meet your very closest friends?

Or would you hope they’d stay away until His visit ends?

Would you be glad to have Him stay forever on and on?

Or would you sigh with great relief when He at last was gone?

It might be interesting to know the things that you would do?

If Jesus Christ in person came to spend some time with you.”

When someone comes to visit, maybe your house is large with high ceilings and wood floors. Maybe it’s a tiny apartment with a futon. Maybe it’s a one-story house with toys and laundry all over the floors and dishes in the sink. Whatever your house looks like, it should be a place that honors God, and your guests should see it. When people come to your home, do they see God or do they see the world?

Depression And Your Faith

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28-30

This evening I began thinking about why I started my blog a couple of years ago, and I knew it was for encouragement and strength using God’s Word. I just wanted to help people. God’s Word is the road map of our life and a great guide that we should heed too. Through His Word, we are able seek the aid that we need on all things, especially things we struggle with on a daily basis. As I write each blog, I always speak from the heart, because people generally seek honesty and openness. People are always looking for stories and people that relate to their own life experiences because we want to know that we are not alone.

For this reason, I am taking a different turn on this blog and want to discuss something that is sensitive for people to talk about, and that is depression. For those afflicted with depression, please understand you are not alone. A sad truth is that many Christians suffer from depression and either do not know it or cannot admit it because they think that would mean they lack faith. So many may suffer in silence hoping and praying for help. But I want you to know, before we move forward, that depression is NOT a lack of faith or spirituality. The most well known biblical leaders suffered with deep depression, as we will discuss further down.

Depression is so much more than having a sad day. It’s not something you can just blink and it’s over. It goes much deeper than that. It is caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals, along with other factors. I am going to admit something to those who read this. I was very hesitant to mention this, but I suffer from depression and have for many years. It took me a long time to realize this, but it is not something I can control on my own. For me, along with traditional medical treatment the Bible is a source of help during bouts of depression or anxiety. I lean on God so much in His Word and in prayer. I look to the Bible for help in knowledge, peace, direction and comfort. In 1 Peter 5:7, it says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

I read of so many examples in the Bible on this topic. Some people probably do not know of the examples we have. One example is King David. David was troubled and battled deep despair. In many of the Psalms, he writes of his anguish, loneliness, fear of the enemy, his cries over sin, and the guilt he struggled with because of it. Even though David struggled, he leaned on God to help him through it all, and God was with him every step of the way. It is wonderful to know God is right beside me through everything.

We recently studied the book of Job in our Wednesday night class and our ladies Bible class, and he is another example of someone who suffered so much anguish. If you remember, Job suffered through great loss, devastation, and physical illness. This righteous man of God lost literally everything. His suffering and tragedy was so great, that even his own wife told him to “Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9) Though Job maintained his faithfulness to God throughout his life, he still struggled deeply through the pain: “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” (Job 3:11)” I have no peace, no quietness, I have no rest, but only turmoil.” (Job 3:26) His cries for understanding, peace and relief were finally answered at the end of Job. It was a humbling book to study.

So please remember, God hears your cries. He sees your anguish and struggles. It’s easy to feel like God is silent or far away from the troubles of your life. Psalm 34:17-18, says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. Life is not always easy, but God is with us always and we are never alone. Don’t let anyone tell you that you lack faith in God because of depression, if anything we rely on Him so much more and know He is there.

Dealing with Loss

Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

One of the most difficult things to deal with in this life is the death of a loved one. Even for the Christian, death is a part of life. I would say anyone who reads this has experienced some type of loss in their life. We know that following a death, everyone handles things differently. Some are instantly devastated, others feel numb and disconnected, some may withdraw socially, while others reach out for help. What’s more, just when the initial shock begins to subside, a deeper sense of reality sets in. Grief can affect our behavior, emotions, relationships, and even our health. My personal experience with death has definitely taken me on an emotional roller coaster.

Two days after Thanksgiving, on November 29, 2014, I lost my mom to brain cancer. It was the worst day of our lives. I remember all the feelings and emotions I personally went through. I asked many questions, questions directed to God asking why is this happening or why is our mom, wife and Granny being taken from us? I found myself feeling angry because I could not imagine life without her. I wondered why does so many wicked people get to live and my sweet, caring mom was taken from us all. As a Christian, I knew better to ask these questions, but with the devastation of it all, I faltered. I had never experienced anything that tested my faith like this.

After her death for the first few months, my grief affected my job, my daily living and even my marriage. I shut everyone out, and was in a dark place. I knew that I needed to immerse myself in prayer and Gods word to help me with my broken heart. The Bible is filled with comforting words and I knew I needed to read and apply it to my life. One of the first verses that comes to mind is, Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” To me, this is the verse of all verses, because it is so true. For anyone who mourns and tries to cope with the death of a loved one, you can rely on God’s word to get us through some of the toughest and most trying times we may have ever faced. The Bible offers comfort, because God knows and understands what we’re going through. God’s Word, helped me through the darkest times of my grief, and continues to on a daily basis. Yes, I still have an emotional breakdown from time to time, but it’s only because I miss her so much.

There is a positive spin on such a sad topic. There is hope that one day, if we stay faithful, we have a promise of no more tears or sadness. It’s the promise that we read about in Revelation 21:4, “and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” God can give us the peace that we need to get through the death of a loved one. Just lean on Him, He is extending His hand to you. He can give you peace that covers all the pain.

In memory of the greatest woman I have had in my life…my mom.

But Jesus Turned Water Into Wine

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There are many topics of the Bible that people try to make fit their lives. One of the sins that people try to justify is social drinking. When it comes to the topic of social drinking, those attempting to justify the sin will invariably say, “well Jesus turned water into wine, so there is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol since Jesus provided it in the Bible.” The saddest thing about that statement, is that people use Jesus as a way to justify their sin. There is so much debate on this topic. So many opinions.  Many people see the word “wine” in the Bible and automatically associate the word with its modern usage denoting an alcoholic beverage. So let’s examine some scripture and some original Hebrew & Greek to address and understand this topic.  

Yayin”and “tirosh” from the Hebrew and “oinos”and “gleukos” from the Greek mean wine, whether fermented or not fermented. At present, the term “wine” is almost used exclusively of alcoholic wine, but let us never be guilty of an interpretation based solely upon modern day definitions. This is very important as we also need to look at the context of the different verses.  One example is Jeremiah 48:33. It says “And joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field, and from the land of Moab; and I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses: none shall tread with shouting; their shouting shall be no shouting.” The wine of fresh squeezed grapes coming out of the winepress is grape juice and could not be fermented. In Genesis 9:21, we read about Noah and it says, “And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.”  We know here it talks about fermented wine. Reading the context and understanding the proper definitions are so important. 

Furthermore, in Matthew 26:29, it was “the fruit of the vine” they drank. This is also in Mark 14 and Luke 22. The “fruit of the vine” would be grapes, and when the grapes are crushed they do not make alcoholic wine. You do know that God calls it wine while the juice is still in the grape don’t you? Unfermented wine was the most common wine in biblical times. Something else to think about is why would Jesus make alcoholic wine when the Bible condemns drunkenness? Galatians 5:21 says, “envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Scripture is pretty plain here. 

Another part of scripture says that people interpret wrong are the words “well drunk”.  The Greek Word for well drunk is “methuo” which means to be filled or full, not intoxicated.  An example is in John  2:10, “And he said to him, ‘Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guest have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!’ These people are filled up or full, but are not drunk. 

Another topic that causes people to justify drinking alcohol “well they used it for medicinal purposes in the Bible.” Let’s look at that for a moment.  The verse in question is 1 Timothy 5:23, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your often infirmities.” But what’s odd to me is that regardless of how much one intends to drink, he or she attempts to justify it by quoting what Paul told Timothy. Remember wine in biblical times was not like the wine today. Some years ago doctors began telling patients to drink a glass of wine with their evening meal. I remember seeing reports on the evening news regarding the benefits of drinking a glass of wine each evening. At that time, it was mentioned by a brother in Christ that his doctor give him that advice. When he told his doctor that he did not drink alcohol, his doctor quickly replied, “Just drink a glass of grape juice. It will do the same thing for you.” The medicinal properties in “wine” are not in the alcohol. They are in the grape juice.

The writer of Proverbs 20:1 warned, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Alcohol is an addictive and destructive drug that no sincere Christian should use to any degree. The Bible is consistent in condemning drunkenness. Paul also said that a drunkard cannot inherit the kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:9-10). In another letter, Paul said that carousing and drunkenness are improper behaviors (Romans 13:13). So there are many verses, where being a drunkard is a sin. Remember there is not one positive statement about alcohol in the Bible. 

Christ was sinless, and He is the perfect example for us to follow. He would not have made something that He calls sin, and He certainly would not perform His miracle in scripture, by making something the Bible condemns. So, one who wishes to please God will not drink any alcoholic drink, in any amount, for any purpose, at any time! Remember, the process of becoming drunk begins with the first drink.

 So many people have a problem with alcohol today.  There is a way to overcome them. Jesus is the way! In 1 Corinthians 6:11, it states, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” This verse means, when you used to drink and when you used to have a problem, you were washed and you were sanctified. You were cleansed of that sin and you do not do it anymore.  What a feeling to know your sins have been washed away.  Alcohol is not worth your life and most importantly it is not worth your soul.