Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death? It is exactly as the Scriptures say, “For you we face death all day long. We are like sheep on their way to be butchered.” In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us. I am sure that nothing can separate us from God's love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God's love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Romans 8:35-39 CEV
Many people never see God part the Jordan River in their lives because their feet are firmly planted on dry ground. We’re waiting for God to make a move while God is waiting for us to make a move. We say to God, “Why don’t you part this river?” And God says to us, “Why don’t you get your feet wet?” But if you make a move, you’ll see God move. And He can move heaven and earth.” ― Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker (Enhanced Edition): Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears
God Is Near Us
Samuel Johnson, an 18th century writer said, “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” Learning new things keeps us sharp and helps us improve ourselves. But, there is so much that we already have learned but just don’t either apply or remember. One of those things we need to remember is just how near God is to us. Here’s some hope-filled truth to remember:
There’s never a place we can go where His presence won’t be there first. He’s in our yesterday, He’s in our today, and He’s in our tomorrow all at the same time. He rejoices over us, rewards us, blesses us, and smothers us with His forgiveness and grace every day, throughout the day. In addition to the good, there is no tragedy we’ll face, no hardship we’ll endure, and no adversity we’ll encounter where God is not with us, steadily holding us up with His mighty, righteous, and perfect right hand.
When you feel lonely and wonder where God is, know that He is about you, above you, after you, amidst you, around you, among you, before you, behind you, beneath you, beside you, beyond you, by you, for you, inside you, near you, and over you. He is everywhere, all the time. Always and forever, He is near us.
When you experience fear and wonder why God won’t remove it from you, know that He hasn’t given you a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. That nothing can separate us from His love and presence. Always and forever, He is near us.
When you’re sick and don’t understand why God won’t heal you, know that He is still the Great Physician and Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals. The time frame you have in mind may not match His, but rest assured, He is doing a work in you and through you. Always and forever, He is near us.
There is nothing that we’ll encounter that God has not already defeated. And not just defeated, but totally annihilated on our behalf when He put Jesus on the cross to cover our past, present, and future sins. Always and forever, He is near us.
When you go through devastating situations, He is with you.
When your life seems to be spinning out of control, He is with you.
When you can’t see the path or even the next step, He is with you.
There are options everywhere that beg us to place our trust, hope, and joy in them. Those temporary joys and pleasures hold no comparison to the eternal, never-ending presence of our Almighty God who calls us His children. His presence is the prize. It’s what we get for all eternity.
When you cross deep rivers, I will be with you, and you won't drown. When you walk through fire, you won't be burned or scorched by the flames.
Isaiah 43:2 CEV
From Good News: Encouragement for a World in Crisis from Youversion
We never give up. Our bodies are gradually dying, but we ourselves are being made stronger each day. These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing. Things that are seen don't last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. This is why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 CEV
Jesus gave us the perfect formula for ditching anxiety. Worry replaced by prayer equals the peace of God. But remember, when we give our worries to God, we need to leave it with God. We cannot be double-minded in our praying. God grants a peace that this world can’t comprehend (John 14:27). It’s when we have every reason to lose our minds but because we trust God we are not moved. It’s this kind of faith that tells the world what kind of God we serve and how great He is. The truth is, the same time we have time to worry and ruminate on our fears, is the same amount of time we have time to pray instead. It’s all about what you choose to give your energy and your spirit over to in these moments. The difference is that one will keep you bound and the other will set you free.
Christ's prayer for His followers
Your word is the truth. So let this truth make them completely yours. I am sending them into the world, just as you sent me. I have given myself completely for their sake, so they may belong completely to the truth. I am not praying just for these followers. I am also praying for everyone else who will have faith because of what my followers will say about me. I want all of them to be one with each other, just as I am one with you and you are one with me. I also want them to be one with us. Then the people of this world will believe that you sent me. I have honored my followers in the same way you honored me, in order that they may be one with each other, just as we are one. I am one with them, and you are one with me, so they may become completely one. Then this world's people will know that you sent me. They will know that you love my followers as much as you love me.
John 17:17-23 CEV
God Has Good Plans
We’re living in an unprecedented time as we navigate the life-threatening and economy-shaking struggles we’re facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past, we’ve seen catastrophic diseases, disasters, and wars impact various countries, but this is different. At this time, the whole world has something in common: we’re trying to survive a deadly virus.
So, as followers of Jesus, how do we make sense of this? What do we do with our questions to God and our questions of God? How do we find good news in a continual stream of bad news? And how do we grasp how this fits into the all-familiar passage of Jeremiah 29:11?
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (NLT)
This verse gives hope and is our spiritual security blanket in hard times. It’s printed on t-shirts, etched on coffee mugs, and stamped on greeting cards. While God is a hope giver, we have to understand the context of this cherished verse.
Jeremiah prophesied to the Israelites in the southern kingdom of Judah before they were taken captive in 586 BC by King Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon. In Jeremiah 27, he prophesied that they would serve this king, his son, and his grandson, and that everything would be under their control (Jeremiah 27:6-7 NLT).
In the next chapter, a false prophet named Hananiah told the people that God would free them and restore everything to them in two years. Jeremiah challenged Hananiah because of his lies. He also said Hananiah would die and in two months, he was dead.
In chapter 29, Jeremiah encourages the people to live their lives while they’re in exile—to work, marry, plant, eat, and multiply! He tells them they’ll be in Babylon for 70 years and then, they’ll be brought home again.
God’s plans of a hope and a future for His chosen people probably didn’t match what their idea was. They wanted to go home, yet God said it would be 70 years. They wanted their own king, yet God said they would serve the Babylonian king. They wanted to flourish in their homeland, but God said to do that under a government that was holding them captive. Possibly the hardest part was that the older generation would never go back home. They would die in a foreign land serving a foreign king.
We can’t insist on our idea of a bright and hopeful future. We tend to be short-sighted and earthly-minded. But God’s ways are so much higher than what our minds can grasp. His plan is better! And it will include forever with Him in heaven, not just a short portion of our lives on earth.
If our hope is laced with doubt, fear and anxiety, we can change that today. We need to eliminate our“hope-so”attitude and replace it with a “know-so” mindset. Our hope should never be tethered to the conveniences and pleasures the world offers or the ease of a situation. Instead, we fasten our minds to the promises and truths in the Word of God and fix our sights on the day when our bright, glorious, and eternal future is made a reality. Instead of wishing away our days in the predicament we’re in, let’s have confidence that God will deposit hope into us no matter what we’re facing.
From Good News-Encouragement for a World in Crisis from Youversion
So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm. Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God's justice protect you like armor. Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Let God's saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God's message that comes from the Spirit. Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God's people.
Ephesians 6:13-18 CEV
Fix Your Thoughts
When we fill our thoughts with the right things, the wrong ones have no room to enter. — Joyce Meyer
Testing our thoughts and learning to take them captive is a huge part of the mental battle we have with our thoughts. So, when we can learn to do that as a regular practice, we will gain control over our thoughts.
But what if we chose to be more proactive with our thoughts in order to prevent reacting later on? There will still be thoughts that have to be tested and taken captive, of course. For we are not perfect. We can, however, choose to follow through with Paul’s exhortation in Colossians 3:2 NIV, which says, “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” In setting our minds on “things above”we will have less thoughts that need testing and being taken captive.
When we set our minds, we are striving for something and directing our mind toward a certain thing. This verse says we shouldn’t set our minds on earthly things. Those “earthly things” usually distract us and cause our thoughts to keep us from God’s best.
There are plenty of things we see every day that are out of our control. But, much of what we see can be prevented. What we put in front of our eyes is a big deal. If you feel that you have too many toxic thoughts, what is it that could be causing them? Could it be things on TV, social media, or the news? It’s wise to analyze the things we are viewing daily and ask God to show us what would be a good thing to decrease or eliminate altogether.
Much like we need to watch what we put in front of our eyes, we also need to consider what is going into our ears. What we hear affects our thoughts just as much as what we see. Have you noticed what types of music, books, or podcasts possibly cause toxic thoughts in your mind? Are there things you need to include, not just remove, that will build you up and help create healthy thoughts instead?
Instead of focusing on and setting our sights on things that could cause toxic thoughts, let’s be proactively mindful of what we choose to put in front of us. When we choose things that honor God and keep us pure in heart, we will have less thoughts to test and take captive.
What tends to be your struggle? What you watch or what you listen to?
List the biggest thing you need to eliminate from what you normally watch or listen to. Chances are you already know what that is. Give it up for 21 days and see what a difference you see in your thought life.
Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth.
Colossians 3:2 GNT
From Reset Your Mind: Overhauling Toxic Thoughts from Youversion
You were created for a great purpose that God specifically designed for you to fulfill. God not only chose you but he loves you! A lot of people don’t really understand God’s love for them and this oftentimes is evident in one’s life decisions, interactions and thoughts. All throughout scripture God’s words clearly identify His abundant love for every one of his children. God’s love is exercised for each and every one of us when He: forgives, covers, protects, provides, heals, restores, reveals, rewards, establishes and demonstrates his continued grace, mercy and power in our lives.
When you feel as though you are not loved, quickly demolish those lies with the truth of God’s word and declare out loud “God loves ME so much that he sent Jesus Christ to die for MY sins, I believe in Jesus and I will not perish but have eternal life.”
When you feel as though your sins are too great and you are unworthy of God’s love, declare out loud “I forsake my old ways and unrighteous thoughts. I turn to you, LORD, thank you for your mercy, love and for forgiving me generously.”
When you feel as if you are not valuable and unlovable, declare “God loves me and knows the plans he has for me, plans for welfare and not evil, to give me a future and a hope.”
Today choose to follow Jesus Christ as you journey through life. Be mindful of God’s love for you. You no longer need to seek love from the evil influences of this world. It’s all a mirage to block you and hinder your mind into believing that you are not lovable, worthy or valuable, but remember GOD LOVES YOU! God’s love is so powerful that his loving power can fill any void in your life. God loves you better than the world. Turn from the world’s way and receive God’s true, pure love.
God will forever come through in His Love.
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.
John 3:16 KJVA
From God Comes Through with Love by Dr. Kennetra Bryant on Youversion