QUESTION: Why does it seem like I am always struggling?
ANSWER: This question is asked by many people and I have asked this question myself. Job 14:1-2 states, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.”
The Bible teaches that we all face a life “full of trouble”. It has been rightly stated that there are three kinds of people: “those going into the storms of life, those coming out of the storms of life, and those in the middle of the storms of life”. Therefore, life is a series of struggles but for the Christian the struggle is different. While it is true we struggle, our struggles have an eternal benefit. Our struggles are more of a transformation. Stated differently: God is using our current struggle to transform us or change us into His character and likeness.
Even the best of relationships will probably have disagreements. While the worst will more than likely have intense disagreements. Why all the disagreeing, fussing, and arguing? Why can’t people just get along? The answer is found in James 4: 1-6, “From whence come wars and fighting’s among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
Notice what God states about the fighting and warring. It begins within. Verse one states: “From whence come wars and fighting’s among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” In other words, something inside is not settled or peaceful; something is missing. Verse two further confirms this observation by revealing “Ye lust, and have not… because you ask not.”
The word lust means “a longing” for what is forbidden, according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Desire, according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, carries the meaning ‘move with envy’ or ‘be jealous over’. We further see couples arguing and fighting over, not necessarily external issues, but something not settled, peaceful, or missing.
The next area of battle can be more spiritual. Verse three reveals: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that y may consume it upon your lusts.” If someone seeks God in prayer but with impure motives, God will not answer. This situation can further add to the conflicts and hurts.
Verse four begins to reveal the direction that needs to be taken in order to silence this battle within it. It states: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” God must be first! If God is not in first place, internal struggles develop that can manifest as arguing, fussing, and disagreeing in marriage.
The answer to this externally manifested (arguing with spouse) and internally originated (lack of peace or something missing) is found in verse six. It states: “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” Humility is the key to solving the arguing, fighting, fussing, etc. When believers humble themselves before God; pride, arrogance, self-will, selfishness, etc. are removed from the marriage. Love and servanthood begins to flow and the relationship begins to become satisfying as never before.
Friends, if arguing, fussing, or fighting is destroying your marriage, get on your knees and humble yourself. In doing so, God’s power and peace will be released in your life as never before, and healing and restoration will begin to take place in the marriage.
Almost everyone is searching for direction or guidance, especially for the New Year. Many, if not most of the people who seek counsel at our ministry are seeking guidance at some level. For this topic, I want to focus upon the differences between God’s guidance received through His Spirit versus guidance received through feelings and/or emotions. Emotional-based guidance is usually a reliable indicator of God’s leading.
While feelings and emotions play an integral part in the life of a believer in experiencing love, joy, peace etc, they were never designed by God to be a sole indicator of guidance. Emotions are designed by God to express God’s life in and through the life of the believer.
To properly understand emotional-based guidance, it is necessary to define the use of emotions. A definition of emotions that I use is “energy motion”. We are created by God to use our energy in motion by registering inwardly life experiences. All of life’s experiences are registered this way and are not meant to be used as a primary means of guidance. Most females struggle with relying on emotional guidance; they believe feelings and emotions are the precise measure of guidance because of being tied to relationships. While men can fall prey in this area also, they are not as prone to emotional-based guidance as women.
On the other hand, spiritual guidance while involving emotions is centered around and focused upon Truth. Psalms 51:6 states “Behold Thou desires truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom” Notice the emphasis in this verse. The emphasis is upon Truth not emotions. Truth is brought into the life of the believer by the inner workings of the Spirit of God acting in accordance to God’s will. Truth will be brought to the life of the believer by the flow of God’s Spirit illuminating the mind, energizing the will for immediate actions while lastly being felt in the emotional core of a believer’s life. The believer is now feeling energized in a specific direction from God such that no apprehension exists and God’s will is accomplished.
Guidance by emotions usually leads to regret, anger, justifications for wrong-doing or embarrassment. God rarely guides His children by emotions but by Truth. Psalms 91:4 states, “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust; his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Notice the emphasis of Truth in this verse. Truth is the Believer’s shield and buckler. As God’s Spirit leads by means of Truth, that Truth becomes God’s protection for His children. Emotions or feelings can never accomplish this task.
Additionally, Truth provides for the believer freedom or a release from struggles. Emotions, at best, only give a temporary release from struggles and in the end the struggles return with a vengeance. John 8:32 states, “And ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free.” John 16:13 states, “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth is come He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speaks and He will show you things to come.”
God’s people are changed or sanctified by Truth never emotions. John 17:17 states, “Sanctify them through tThy truth Thy Word is Truth.” This verse gives a different emphasis of Truth. Change or guidance comes through the Truth; God’s Word contains the Truth. It is the Truth every believer needs for proper guidance.
Friends, begin today to trust God’s Truth instead of emotions for 2018. In so doing, you can become more like Christ and live out your God-given destiny by experiencing a New Year as never before.
Understanding and Doing the Will of God Once and For ALL
By: Dr. Rickey A. Nation, Ph.D.
I believe most Christians have asked this question in their walk of faith. What is the will of God for my life? I know I have asked this question many times. Believe it or not, people in Jesus’ day were struggling with the same issue. What is the will of God?
In John 7:12 we see the people of Jesus’ day wrestling with this issue as the Bible records, “And there was much murmuring among the people concerning Him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but He deceiveth the people.” As usual, Jesus took the opportunity to lay a foundation for divine guidance or how to understand the will of God. Jesus states in John 7:16-17 “…My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” Therefore, the first prerequisite to the knowing and understanding the will of God is a whole-heartedness to do His will. One of the main reasons some precious Believers never discover God’s will is because there is not a whole-heartedness to know God’s will. The order of Scriptures is know then do/obey. Are you willing to seek God with your whole heart so He can reveal Himself to you? Proverbs 8:17 reveals, “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”
After purposing or determining in your heart to do God’s will, what’s next? Seek your new identity in Christ. What’s that? An identity means to identify with something or someone. In this teaching , we are concerned about identifying with Jesus. Some identity statements are as follows: “I am the salt of the earth,” (Matthew 5:13); “I am the light of the world,” (Matthew 5:14); “I am a child of God,” (John 1:12); “I am Christ’s friend,” (James 15:15); “I am a servant of righteousness,” (Romans 6:18); “I am a new creation designed for His glory,” (II Corinthians 5:17). These statements reveal what God says about us and whom we now are in Him. These statements, and many more like them, reveal God’s will about whom we are as His children.
So, what is Gods will for our lives? Dr. Neil Anderson, best selling author, reveals in “Freedom In Christ” a devotional, “God’s will for those who believe in Him is to be alive in Christ [knowing my new identity] for the purpose of establishing His Kingdom by overcoming the evil one and becoming fully the people He has called us to be.”
Surrender today and begin asking God to reveal Himself to you as well as committing to grow in your new identity. As you do, God will begin to make known to you His perfect plan for your life.
Have you ever been awakened by fear? You know, things, people or circumstances that concern you now turn into fears—worse yet you’ve awakened to the worse fear of these. Personally, I have been awakened to fear many times in my Christian journey. Here are some suggestions I have found helpful.
First, make sure God is first. Matthew 6:33 reveals,”But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Notice the emphasis in this verse. We are to ’seek’ the Kingdom of God. The word ‘seek’ is a verb and berbs display action. We are to put action into pursing God’s Word, principles and Truths into our needs, struggles and conflicts. When we do, God adds all thing unto us.
Second, fear and faith both ask us to believe something that we cannot see, according to one well known ministers. Fear says, “Believe your negative emotions and circumstances. You lost your job, now you are going under. You are not going to make it.” Faith says, “God is your Sustainer. He will meet all your needs according to ‘His riches in glory’. Philippians 4:19 states, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ.”
Fear says, “Your situation will never turn around. You are stuck. You are hopeless.” Faith says, “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:10,33
Here is the freedom principle that is the key in this situation. What you focus upon takes root into your core belief systems. If fear, negativity and condemnation is the focus, then fear will wake you up at night. However, if faith and Truth are the focus, it will set you free. John 8:32 states, “And ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.”
If I am awakened to fear, it is a reminder that I need to switch over to faith. As I do, God’s power begins to set me free and He will do the same for you.
Your Question! God’s Answer!
Question: Why has God not changed my situation and/or answered my prayer/s?
Answer: Every day in the Counseling Center individuals come to us in great distress asking this same question. They have prayed and prayed about their situation. They have attempted to fix everything and everyone they can in order to feel better, but they do not. Worse yet their problems is unchanged and most often worse after their efforts.
These individuals are perplexed, tired and just plain worn out. They come because they do not know what else to do. They need our help to figure out what God wants from them.
The answer is simple, yet profound. Easy, yet difficult. It is understandable, yet complex in carrying out. God wants them to stop attempting to fix other people’s problems and work on their own. The problem is themselves. Straight forward answer, but the solution is often leads down paths these individuals have been struggling to avoid.
Friends, it is not easy at all to admit you have a problem. Harder yet, to admit the problem is yourself. But to admit and to say I have/am the problem is the only path to freedom and healing from the situation/problems that plagues you.
God seeks us out for change and healing in order to carry out his purposes in our lives. Genesis 17:5-7 states that God completely changed Abram. Even his name.
Admitting you have a problem is the first step. The next step is submitting to God and allowing Him to bring about the changes that are necessary in order to be able to live out your life purpose/s.
Changing and healing is difficult work. Yet it is the greatest gift you can do for yourself. Think about it. What choices do you have? Change and heal or remain miserable. Deceive yourself saying you are ok or live openly and honestly with yourself. Miss out on joy and peace that can be yours or know joy and peace. Will there be pain in your future? Yes. But how much easier it will be to go through future pain without past problems plaguing you.
God has done that for me. Here are some verses that describe the healing process. These are precious and sweet Bible verses.
Pray the following prayer to begin to allow God to change and heal you,
Dear Heavenly Father, please forgive me for thinking and believing I am something when I am nothing. That I can do something when I can do nothing. You are the God Almighty, for Whom nothing is impossible. I submit myself to You to change and heal me. To mold me and to create in me a new heart. I want to see with the eyes of Jesus, be a person after your own heart and to have the mind of Christ. Thank You for Your forgiveness. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Question: Why can’t I fix other people?
Answer: No one can really fix a problem for another person. Only God can.
Only God can……… Change a person’s mind
Only God can……… enable someone to forgive
Only God can……… tell someone the truth
Only God can……… heal a wounded heart
Only God can……… help an individual let go of anger
Only God can……… restore joy in an individual’s heart
Only God can……… exchange heaviness/depression for praise
And then He only does so if the individual wants Him to do so!!!
Friend, get busy living out the purposes God has for you and He will bring people into your life that He wants to use you as a vessel to minister to. No place in the Bible will you find an example of Jesus seeking after those who do not want His help. He healed and delivered thousands and thousands of individuals who came to Him wanting His help. These individuals had willing hearts and minds to change. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
In Genesis after Joseph was released from prison he did not seek out his family. He could have. He was second in command of Egypt, but he trusted them to God. And God took care of Joseph’s needs. Genesis 41:51 states, “And Joseph called the name of the first born Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forgot all my toil, and all my father’s house.”
Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for attempting to do only what you can do. I renounce the lie that I have any power to fix or heal. I announce that I am your willing vessel of ministry to those of Your choosing not mine. Help me to walk in truth and righteousness in order to set captives free. Thank You for Your forgiveness. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Question: I believe it isn’t necessary to deal with issues. Why can’t I just ignore them?
Answer: Many individuals believing ignoring problems is a proper way of dealing with problems, but it is not. This is real self- deception and it is a fatal flaw. These individuals go through numerous relationships and cannot understand why they are not able to retain them. They are not able because ignoring relationships is destroys relationships.
Self-deception is a defense mechanism individuals use to protect themselves, but doing so is living a lie. Some examples in which self-deception is employed are abusive marriages, addictions, family dysfunction, etc. The truth is they are not protecting themselves, but causing themselves more harm by not getting the help they need. Galatians 6:7 states, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” The Matthew Henry Commentary page 658 says, “He supposes it as a very possible for a man to think himself something when in truth he is nothing. Such a one does, but deceive himself. While he deceives others by pretending to what he does not have, he puts the greatest cheat on himself. He is neither free from mistakes not will he be more the secure against temptations for the good opinion he has of his own sufficiency, but rather the more liable to fall into them.”
Individuals are to come out of deception and walk in truth. John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make ye free.” It is not an easy thing to admit the truth about your marriage, yourself or your family, but it is the only path to being free and whole.
Friends, choose truth. Choose family and friends. Choose to see the good and not the bad in each other. Help each other. Do good for others not thinking about yourself first. Pray the following prayer to begin to come out of deception and walk in truth:
Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for trying to myself by self- deceiving. I renounce the lie that ignoring problems resolves them. Help me to walk in truth and righteousness in order to resolve problems and not protect myself wrongly. Thank You for Your forgiveness. In Jesus Name, Amen.
It has been said “every failure is first a failure to pray and pray diligently”. While I agree with that statement in principle, prayer may not be working in your situation for three key reasons.
Prayer is my lifeline. I have spent as much as 6-8 hours per day in prayer, My average time now is about an hour to one-and-a-half hours, daily. My time in prayer keeps me focused, balanced and communicating with God about my needs, as well as seeking His will. However, I have discovered three key reasons prayer does not work. Prayer does not work if there is unresolved anger, bitterness or unforgiveness. While all three are related, each one is a separate experience in which a person goes through when hurt, offended, abused, etc.
The Bible has much to say about anger because it is a legitimate human emotion. Also, everyone has experienced anger at some level when not dealt with. Scripturally, anger can cause harm and damage in relationships. Anger gives way to the devil and grieves the Holy Spirit. Those two reasons prevent God from working through our prayers. Ephesians 4:26 reveals, “Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath [intense anger].” Verse 27 tells us why, “neither give place to the devil,” and verse 30 admonishes “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Anger can be dealt with through repentance, forgiving the offender and seeking God for cleansing.
Bitterness is the second reason why prayers may not be working in your situation. Bitterness is anger left unchecked or dealt with, year-after-year-after-year. Some older people find themselves struggling with bitterness because of not dealing with or overcoming hurts that lead to anger that leads to bitterness. Hebrews 12:15 states: “…lest any root of bitterness spring up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”
We now see two damaging affects as the result of bitterness. First, it brings trouble of all types, shapes or forms to the life of the Believers. I don’t know about you but I do not want nor need more trouble. Second, a defiling process takes place within the mind, emotions and personality. I have never been around an embittered person for a long period of time in which their bitterness began to affect me in some negative way. If at all possible, avoid people struggling with bitterness. Bitterness definitely hinders our prayer life and prevents God from working in our situation.
Last, unforgiveness definitely plugs the flow of God’s blessings and workings on behalf of His people. II Corinthians 2:10-11 states, “To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also: for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ. Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
Satan gets advantage of us through unforgiveness, because forgiveness is at the heart of Christianity. Colossians 2:13 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” Because God, through Jesus, forgives us of all sins we to must forgive others.
Friends, if your prayer life is lacking it is probably because of unresolved anger, bitterness or unforgiveness. Seek God for cleansing and watch God begin to work on your behalf, because we are to “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamoring, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32.
Question: How do you resolve conflicts with other individuals?
Answer: You resolve conflicts by looking for the good in each other. Focusing on the weaknesses and wrongs of another destroys relationships. Sadly, this often happens in families.
Follow God’s example of looking for the good and positive character traits of individuals. God does and empowers individuals to become all He created them to be by using these strengths to overcome their weaknesses and faults. God knows all about us. Hebrews 4:13 states, “Nothing in all the world can be hidden from God. Everything is clear and lies open before Him…”
Yet God chooses to love and help us overcome in order to be individuals of godly character and strength. God forgives us and then helps us. John 3:16-17 states, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” God seeks us out to save us not only from eternal damnation, but for a better life here on earth.
God desires that each of us have good, godly character and that begins with resolving conflicts with those you love and are friends with. We need to forgive one another and work to help each other to become better human beings. Otherwise, all involved in a conflict may become bitter, angry, and destructive individuals. Galatians 6:1-3 states, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For is a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”
Friends, choose love. Choose forgiveness. Choose to see the good and not the bad. Help each other. Work for others. Follow God’s example. It may cost you something. It did God- His Son. It cost Jesus years of heartache, pain and then a cruel death. Begin to be the strong spiritual person Galatians 6:1 talks about in the relationships in your life by praying the following prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for focusing on the faults and wrongs of others especially those of my family. Help me to see them as You do and teach me all I need to know in order for reconciliation to begin. Thank You for Your forgiveness.