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Category: Faith (Page 1 of 2)

Experience Rest in God

(The Kimberly Joy Show: God Says, “Rest in Me and Enjoy Your Life”)

HOW DO WE EXPERIENCE REST IN GOD?
In order to rest in God, we have to have total faith in Him. When we choose to believe God above everything and everyone else, we experience rest. Philippians 4:7 says we experience a peace that is beyond human comprehension. It’s something that can’t be explained. For example, you may be going through something really difficult, yet you appear to be very calm. As a result, those around you, who don’t know about resting in God, think something is seriously wrong with you! Due to your current situation, they expect you to be upset, angry or depressed. Because you’re not, they assume you’re in denial about your situation. But, you’re not in denial! You’ve just chosen to put all your faith in God!

Personally speaking, I know resting in God is not always easy. Just because I have been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean I will automatically handle every situation, good or bad, as God would expect. I have to work at it every day! Why? I’m still in this flesh. I’m not perfect. However, I do serve a perfect God, and I have to make a decision to pursue the perfect God every day!

God has provided us with His Word to show us what to do, how to behave, how to think and what to avoid. God doesn’t just TELL us to rest in Him, but He shows us how. Throughout the Bible are examples we can emulate. In my article “Resting in God,” I shared the story of Paul and Silas when they were in jail (Acts 16). While they were in jail, they worshipped God! They could have gotten mad or been depressed. Perhaps they were experiencing some of those emotions. However, instead of yielding to those negative emotions, they pursued God’s peace. They chose to still believe God. Consequently, they were set free from jail because of their faith. James 2:26 (King James Version) says:

“…..faith without works is dead…..”

Paul and Silas didn’t just claim to have faith in God, but they proved it by praying instead of complaining and by singing praises to God instead of worrying or crying. They did this all while locked in chains behind a prison wall.

Another individual from the Bible, who demonstrated how to rest in God, was King David. Anyone who is familiar with David’s story knows he made some serious mistakes during his life. Nevertheless, even when he fell down, he found rest in God through his repentance. In Psalms 51:10-12 (KJV), David prayed to God:

“10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit.”

King David prayed this particular prayer after God sent the prophet Nathan to confront him about a sinful act he had tried to cover up
(II Samuel 12). Although God could have easily struck David down for his wickedness, He chose not to. Instead, He extended His love, mercy, and grace to David. Recognizing that God was giving him another chance, David repented—–he SINCERELY repented.

WHO IS CONDEMNING YOU?
Like David, you may have done something you’re not proud of or once lived a life you wish you could forget. Even though you have asked God to forgive you, you still feel guilty. Why do you feel guilty? Is God condemning you? NO!!! The eighth chapter of Romans lets us know that those of us who belong to Christ Jesus are no longer condemned. We have been set free!

So, if you still feel guilty, even after you have sincerely repented, perhaps it’s because those around you like to remind you of your past or because you haven’t forgiven yourself.

Either way, Satan is behind it! But, he’s a LIAR! God doesn’t want you holding onto that guilt. He wants you to let it go and rest in Him. Trust in His power of forgiveness and salvation.

While you may have to suffer some consequences for your past wrongdoing, it still doesn’t mean God hasn’t forgiven you and changed you on the inside. For instance, if you have sex with someone to whom you’re not married, you may wind up with an unwanted pregnancy or with an STD. If that’s the case, it’s not a sign that God hasn’t forgiven you. It’s a sign that you’re reaping what you sowed. However, as you move forward in God and strive to live holy, He can bless that baby in a special way or completely heal your body.

Recently, a young lady contacted me requesting prayer. She admitted to doing something she knew was wrong and was feeling bad about it. I assured her I would pray for her. I then encouraged her to not beat herself up and reminded her of God’s love and forgiveness. I also explained to her that her feeling of guilt was a good sign. Why? It proves she has a conscience and that she is still God’s daughter. Finally, I encouraged her to avoid going down that road again.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE CONTENT?
I’ve shared before that you can find rest in God through worship, prayer, and obedience. You can also find rest in God by simply enjoying your life. Bible teacher and author Joyce Meyer says, “Learn how to enjoy where you are on the way to where you’re going.” In other words, smile often and laugh as much as possible. Just enjoy the stage at which you are in your life. You may not be where you want to be or have certain things you would like right now. Nonetheless, that’s no reason to be down in the dumps. Trust me, someone somewhere wishes he or she had YOUR life. Paul says in Philippians 4:11:

“…I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.”

To be content with where you currently are in life doesn’t mean you shouldn’t desire more because God has more for you. It just means your desires shouldn’t cause you anxiety and stress. Your desires shouldn’t be more important than you being grateful and giving God the glory. God doesn’t want to hear our murmuring and complaining. Rather, He wants to hear our praise and see our smiling faces. He wants us to extend a helping hand to someone in need. When we focus on the Lord and do what pleases Him, Psalms 37:4 says He is guaranteed to give us what we desire.

Resting in God takes away the pressure Satan and the world try to place on us. When we give everything to God, He gives us His peace, and then things can be done His way….the RIGHT way. So, make it a point every day to rest in God and gratefully enjoy this life He has so graciously given you!

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What Is God Saying To Us?

(The Kimberly Joy Show: Rest in God…Obey)

WHAT IS GOD SAYING TO US?
God is saying to us His children, believers in Christ, to rest in Him. What does it mean to rest in God? To rest in God means to have total faith in Him no matter what! No matter what you hear, see, or feel, believe God!

When you sit in a chair, on a couch, or in the seat of a car, do you first check to make sure it will hold you? Perhaps you do if the chair looks weak. However, in most instances, do you check before taking a seat? Personally speaking, I don’t. I just sit down!

Why? I trust that particular seat is going to hold me. I have no worries it may possibly collapse. And guess what? When I sit down, it holds me up!

Although God is by no means a piece of furniture, we should regard Him in the same manner. If you or I have faith that a chair, couch, stool, or bed will hold us up when we rest on it, we have to have faith that God will hold us up when we choose to rest in Him.

Even if God doesn’t move right away, we have to remain steadfast in Him. God doesn’t always move the way we want, when we want, or how we want. Better yet, most times God doesn’t do things the way we expect. Nevertheless, when God does move, it’s always exactly what we need and when we need it. Therefore, it’s in our best interest to rest in Him.

ARE YOU CONTROLLING?
I know resting in God is not always easy because it means relinquishing control. We don’t want to give up control, do we? We want to always know what’s going on.

We want to know what’s going to happen before it happens. We want to know how God is going to move, how He’s going to bless us. But, it doesn’t work that way! Romans 1:17 (King James Version) says:

“…..The just (the righteous or those who are in right standing with God) shall live by faith.”

Living by faith in God is expected. It’s a must! And it can be done, even if you’re used to worrying and taking matters into your own hands. You can learn a new way of living!

As I shared in a recent article, you can find rest in God by worshipping Him. When you worship God you’re letting Him know that you love and trust Him. To worship God is to welcome His presence into your atmosphere. To worship God is to allow Him to have His way in your situation.

You can also find rest in God through prayer. To pray is to make your petitions (needs and desires) known to God. How often do you pray? Is God always the first one you consult with your concerns? I Thessalonians 5:17 says we are to pray without ceasing. In other words, we are to have prayerful attitudes and keep God number one!

HOW DO WE CAUSE OURSELVES GREATER HEARTACHE?
A third way to find rest in God is by simply obeying Him. To trust God is to obey God, and to obey God is to trust God. I find that we as human beings cause ourselves greater heartache when we choose our way over God’s way. Why do we sometimes choose our way? In that moment or situation, we think we know what’s best. We are fooled into believing we know better than God, the Creator, the one who is omnipresent and all-knowing. It sounds absurd when we think about it, doesn’t it? I’m not referring to the moments when we don’t know any better, but the moments when we do know better and still choose to do what we want.

The Bible or the Word of God is our instruction manual for living.

Unfortunately, many fail to follow it. II Timothy 3:16-17 (New Living Translation) say:

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”

If we trust and obey God, we will have rest. For example, while attending grad school, I learned I had to have surgery. This was a serious dilemma because the spring quarter had just begun, and I was taking my final class: Statistics. As a matter of fact, it was my second time taking the class. I had dropped it the previous quarter because I had a difficult time following the professor. Since I still had time to withdraw from the class without being penalized, the logical choice was to withdraw and reschedule the next quarter.

Even though withdrawing from the class seemed like a good idea, it wasn’t an easy decision to make because it meant postponing graduation. So, the night before the withdrawal deadline I asked God to tell me what to do. I had made up my mind to withdraw, but just in case it wasn’t necessary to do so, I needed to hear from the One Who knows all. As I slept that night, God clearly spoke to me. He said, “Stay in the class. There will be people who will help you.” When I got up the next morning, I had an overwhelming peace about the situation. I did exactly what God said and stayed in the class.

Fortunately, my professor and several of my classmates (people who didn’t really know me) were more than willing to help me during my recovery. On top of that, the professor decided to make the midterm and final exams both take home, which would allow me to use my book, my notes and get help from my classmates. God came through for me! As I look back on that situation, I realize that if I had chosen to follow my own mind, instead of obeying the voice of God, it would have taken me even longer to receive my Masters degree. Hence, that would have made me sad and caused me unnecessary stress.

Whatever you may be going through right now, I encourage you to give it to God! Worrying and trying to do it your way will not do you or your family any good. Do you realize that worrying and being stressed can send you to an early grave? It may be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the truth! Needless to say, that doesn’t have to be your story! Everything you need is in the One who created you. So, make the decision today to REST IN GOD!

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Rest in God

(The Kimberly Joy Show: Rest in God…Pray)

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DON’T REST IN GOD?
In the previous article, I discussed the importance of “Resting in God”. God expects us to rest in Him. He expects us to depend on Him, to trust in Him, and to give Him all our concerns. When we don’t rest in God, we open ourselves up to stress and anxiety, which can cause us to become ill. We may also find ourselves making choices that are outside His will.

I know firsthand that when I don’t rest in God, I only make the situation worse, and I wind up regretting it. Then I have to, in a sense, start all over and do it right the next time around. Like a child who is in school, I can’t move to the next grade or to the next level until I pass the test, until I learn everything I’m supposed to learn…..until I do it GOD’s way! Doing it God’s way is having faith in Him! That’s all resting in God is….having complete faith in God! Hebrews 11:6 (King James Version) says:

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is [God], and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

Having faith in God is what pleases Him. If we have total faith in God, then we’re going to live our lives submitted to Him. If we lack faith in God in any areas of our lives, then we’re not going to submit to God in those areas. For example, perhaps you are a smoker, and God has instructed you to give up smoking. You KNOW God spoke to you. Even though you crave cigarettes, God is telling you to stop smoking.

However, you haven’t stopped smoking because you have more faith in how you FEEL, than you do in the POWER of God. God didn’t say it was going to be easy. He just said to have faith in Him and quit!

Now, by using smoking as an example, I am in no way saying that smoking cigarettes is going to send you to hell. Nevertheless, if we say we trust God with our lives, then we have to really trust Him and stop using unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with every day life circumstances. Smoking, alcohol, overeating, or sex outside of marriage are common examples of what people use to COPE with life. But, we’re not supposed to COPE. We’re supposed to REST or have FAITH in God!

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DO REST IN GOD?
When we rest or have faith in God, as Hebrews 11:6 says, God will reward us. In other words, God will bless us. He will give us what we need and desire, as long as it’s in His will. So, if you’re struggling in a particular area in your life, you have to have faith in God. Understand that faith is not about how you feel, but faith is about what you KNOW! You have to know that God is your deliverer, your healer, your provider, your protector, your keeper! You have to KNOW that God has your back and will always take care of you. When you truly KNOW, then you won’t be led astray by your emotions, by ungodly thoughts that try to enter your mind, or by the suggestions of others. You will rest in God and wait for Him to move on your behalf.

As I shared in the previous article, I am still learning how to CONSISTENTLY rest in God. It’s a decision I have to make on a daily basis. One way in which I find rest in God is by taking time to worship Him.

Did you realize that God loves it when we worship Him? Don’t you too appreciate receiving genuine love from others? When someone sincerely loves me, I’m motivated to return the love. Likewise, when we choose to love on God by worshiping Him, despite what may or may not be going on in our lives, He is motivated to shower us with more of His love and blessings! Yes, God loves us, but there’s more He has for us. He willingly gives us more when He sees our faith in Him.

BESIDES WORSHIP, IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO FIND REST IN GOD?
Another way in which I find rest in God is through prayer. According to Philippians 4:6, God doesn’t want us to worry about anything, but to pray about everything. No problem is too big for God! Therefore, when we pray we must trust that God hears us and will answer our prayers. If we trust that God honors His children’s prayers, anxiety should not be present. Prayer and worry do NOT go hand in hand. James 1:6-7 (New International Version) say:

“But when you ask [God], you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

Does God want us to enjoy our lives? Does He want us to relax, take vacations, and enjoy time with our families? I believe He does! In fact, a couple of years ago, our family had a reunion in Florida. Although I really wanted to go, I knew my money was tight at the time. I kept telling family members I was going, but in the back of my mind I knew I didn’t really have the money. However, instead of making the decision to not go, I prayed about it. Once I prayed about it, I didn’t stress and worry. I didn’t concern myself with HOW I was going to get to Florida. I just asked God to help me and then left it up to Him.

I’m happy to say that God answered my prayer, and in a way I would have never imagined! One night during a revival at our church, one of the local bishops came to the service. Although he didn’t preach that night, our pastor allowed him to minister to a few of us. This same bishop informed me that God had instructed him to sow money into me! As a matter of fact, he said the purpose of the money was for me to go on vacation!

GOD ANSWERED MY PRAYER! No one knew what I had asked God for, except God Himself! God used this man of God to bless me so I could travel to Florida!

And not only that, but my brother invited me to spend time with his family in Georgia following the Florida trip. I didn’t have to pay to get to Georgia or to get back home to Cincinnati. So, God gave me even more than what I originally asked for. Why did God do that for me? He did it because He loves me and because I chose to REST in Him.

In spite of any difficulties you’re facing at the present time, I encourage you to REST in God and give the situations to Him. How is worrying and stressing about it helping you? It’s not, is it? Like award-winning Gospel artists Anthony Brown and Group Therapy sing, God did not create you to worry. God did not create you to fear. But God created you to worship Him daily. So, give it all to God! The Creator always knows what’s best!

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Resting in God

(The Kimberly Joy Show: God Says, “Rest in Me”)

ARE YOU RESTING IN GOD?
“Rest in Me,” are the words I hear God speak, especially during the moments when my mind is racing and I’m feeling anxious.

Although Philippians 4:6 tells us not to “worry about anything…”, I still sometimes find myself worrying, not about everything, but about the things my human mind can’t figure out. If I can’t see how or when a situation is going to be resolved, I become uneasy. The uneasiness is a result of knowing that I’m not in complete control. However, I have to remember that to have faith in GOD is to allow GOD to be in complete control!

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that resting in God is not always easy. In fact, it can be downright difficult! I believe that many of us, if not all of us, like to feel in control. We want to be in complete control of our jobs, money, love lives, children, the people surrounding us, etc. Nevertheless, it doesn’t work that way. If I try to control every circumstance and person in my life, then I’m taking on more than God has designed for me to handle. In essence, I’m trying to do God’s job! Have you ever heard the phrase “He’ll never put more on you than you can bear?” This statement is derived from I Corinthians 10:13 (New Living Translation) which says:

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

WHAT IS A TEMPTATION?
The word temptation is typically defined as “a strong urge or desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.” However, according to the Bible, a temptation is also “a trial or test”.

For instance, in Genesis 22, God tempted or tested Abraham when He instructed Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. God wasn’t trying to persuade Abraham to do something wrong. Rather, God put Abraham through this particular test to prove Abraham’s faith. Then later in Genesis 22:13, God provided a ram as the real sacrifice.

James 1:2-3 (NLT) say:

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”

Verse 12 of the same chapter also says:

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”

So again, although God takes us through tests from time to time, the tests are never designed to overwhelm or destroy us. Instead, they are designed to make us better, stronger and wiser!

WHAT DOES RESTING IN GOD LOOK LIKE?
During any test, as Proverbs 3:5 states, we are to depend TOTALLY on God. Therefore, if I find myself becoming overwhelmed and stressed out, it is simply because I haven’t placed it all in God’s hands. I can’t blame anyone but me!

To rest is “to be free from anxiety or disturbance” or “to remain confident”. Therefore, when we rest in God, our minds are at peace because we know that God has our situations under control. As I mentioned before, resting in God is not always easy. I’ll admit that I am STILL learning how to consistently rest in Him. Nevertheless, it can be done, if we put it into practice.

One way in which you can rest in God is through worship. Yes, WORSHIP! You can find rest in God as you worship Him. So, find time to worship God. Yes, even during the hustle and bustle of the day, find a place to be alone where you can worship God.

If you have to go to the bathroom or to your car, find a place to be alone. Believe it or not, I have had some awesome worship experiences in my bathroom and in my car. As a teacher, I would close and lock my classroom door in order to get a few moments alone with God. And trust me when I say that it doesn’t take long for God to meet you right where you are! He knows how much time you may have at that particular moment and He appreciates you sacrificing that time for Him.

HOW CAN WORSHIP BRING YOU INTO A PLACE OF REST?
When my mind is bombarded with so many thoughts and I find myself becoming emotional, worship CALMS me. As I sing or listen to one of my favorite worship songs and just meditate on the goodness of God, I am reminded that He is my everything. In that moment, He becomes priority, while everything and everyone else take a backseat. Then His love, peace and joy fill my heart. I am then no longer bothered by my present circumstance because in the midst of worship, God reassures me that He has my back! In that moment, God may even reveal some things to me and give me the answers I’ve been seeking in prayer.

These worship experiences bring to mind one of my favorite stories in the Bible involving the apostle Paul. In this particular story, Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in jail simply for preaching about Jesus. Being beaten, chained and locked up would be terrifying for anyone. I honestly can’t imagine how I would respond in such a situation. However, these two men of God, in the midst of suffering, in the midst of pain from the beatings, decided to glorify God!

Acts 16:25-34 (NLT):

“25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! 27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted to him, ‘Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!’

29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’

31 They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.’ 32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. 33 Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. 34 He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.

35 The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, ‘Let those men go!’ 36 So the jailer told Paul, ‘The city officials have said you and Silas are free to leave. Go in peace.’”

Wow! Their worship set them FREE!

Just like Paul and Silas were set free from physical chains, worshipping God can set you free from the thoughts that try to chain your mind. So, please be encouraged to LET GO…..WORSHIP…..and LET GOD!!!!!

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Life Has Its Rewards When We Draw Nigh to God

(“The Kimberly Joy Show: Rewards of Drawing Nigh to God”)

Life has its rewards when we draw nigh to God. So, it is in our best interests to surrender to the Creator, the one in control. After all, He has EVERYTHING we need! Unfortunately, as human beings, sometimes we forget that and behave as if we can do everything on our own. However, we cannot! Contrary to what some people believe, we can’t do anything without God because, again, He is our Creator. Acts 17:28 says:

“…In Him [God] we live, and move, and have our being…”

We breathe because of God. Our hearts beat because of God. We wake up every morning because of God. Therefore, we need God!

So many rewards are gained from drawing nigh to God. For one, we gain salvation and eternal life. Initially, we come close to God by accepting His Son Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus says in John 14:6:

“…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.”

Now, you may ask, “Why do I have to go through Jesus to get to God?” The answer is very simple. God set it up that way! According to Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, life became difficult for them. Their rebellion brought sin and death into the world. God had created them to live forever, to never experience pain, illness or death. Nevertheless, their decision changed all that. They would eventually grow old, weak and die. Moreover, EVERY person coming after them (including you and me) would experience the same thing.

Adam and Eve’s rebellion also caused a rift in their relationship with God. They became spiritually dead and were no longer connected to God. Therefore, because of the sin, death, and disconnection, God sent His Son Jesus to earth to serve as a Mediator. What is a mediator, you ask? A mediator is “a person who intervenes between two individuals who are not in agreement.” Sin causes us NOT to be in agreement with God. However, when we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives, He acts as our Mediator and reconciles us back to God. In other words, Jesus reunites us with God. 1 Timothy 2:5 says:

“For there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.”

Once we are reunited with God, God no longer sees us as sinners, but as His righteous children who will one day live with Him forever. II Corinthians 5:21 says:

“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

Another reward we gain when we draw nigh to God is peace. Romans 5:1 says:

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”

How would you define peace? Some definitions include “freedom from disturbance; quiet; tranquility, calm, restfulness.” In the biblical sense, peace means “to be complete” or “to be sound.” II Timothy 1:7 says:

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

When we are made right with God through Jesus, we are complete. As our pastor Apostle Banks always says, “Nothing missing, nothing broken!” Everything we need is in God. So, we don’t have to fear anything or anyone. We don’t have to fear what will happen tomorrow because God is our Father, and He is ALWAYS with us.

I’ll give you an example:

About three months ago, I was heading home around 6:30 in the evening. As I was driving, my car started acting strangely and eventually just shut completely off! EVERYTHING shut off! I couldn’t even get the key out of the ignition! Naturally, because I was feeling helpless and scared, I could feel myself tearing up.

A couple of minutes later, a few people stopped to try to help me, but they couldn’t. Then a few minutes after that, an older gentleman stopped to help. Fortunately, the man turned out to be a mechanic. Within twenty minutes, he had my car running well enough for me to get home. Not only did he turn out to be a mechanic, but he also happens to live near me. So, he offered to follow me home just in case I had any more problems. Once we got my car home, he then offered to repair my car, and two days later I was back in business!

Through that particular experience, God reassured me that He has my back! No matter what situation I am in, I don’t have to fear. I only need to have faith in God because He makes my life complete. In other words, God gives me PEACE! In fact, even as my car was shutting down right before my very eyes, God was whispering in my ear, “Trust Me!”

In addition, when we draw nigh to God we receive healing. We can be healed physically, emotionally, and mentally. However, I want to focus on physical healing. I find that sometimes as believers we don’t believe that we can be healed in our bodies. But, we CAN be healed if we just ask God and believe Him. Throughout the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), we read about how Jesus healed so many people. As believers, we are to follow His example. We can receive healing for ourselves and for others. In Matthew 10:1, Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them power to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. When we as believers draw nigh to God, He gives us the same power!

In our church Power and Faith Ministries, many people have been healed from cancer and other diseases. In fact, a gentleman in our church was healed from a brain tumor approximately ten years ago. The doctors had done everything they could do, and told his wife to call the family in to say their final goodbyes. However, she wasn’t willing to give up that easily. So, we continued to pray and stand on the Word of God. As a result, her husband was healed and he is STILL walking in his healing today!!!

While I was an English teacher at Dater High School, I witnessed God heal two of my students. One was healed from cancer and the other from near-blindness. When they each first told me about their illnesses, I called on other prayer warriors to join me in praying for their healing. I even went to see my student who had cancer, while he was in the hospital. Soon after we prayed, God healed both of them. I now communicate with them from time to time via social media, and I am happy to say that they are STILL doing well!

As believers in Christ Jesus, when we draw nigh to God, He shows us that we don’t have to accept what the doctors say or what our bodies tell us. We can receive total healing if we just believe!

So many other rewards can be attained when we draw nigh to God. Personally speaking, as I draw closer to God I receive more and more from Him, not just material blessings, but spiritual blessings. I hear His voice more clearly and He continues to use me for His glory. And, at the end of the day, that is what is most important. So, I encourage YOU to keep drawing nigh to God and trust that, as Psalms 84:11 states, there is no good thing He will withhold from you!

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It’s Not Always Easy…But It’s Necessary

(“The Kimberly Joy Show: Drawing Nigh to God is Not Always Easy”)

It’s not always easy to draw nigh to God, but it’s necessary. God loves you so much! He has numerous blessings in store for you. He has blessings for you that you probably can’t even fathom, that you may think you don’t deserve. God wants to use you in ways you can’t imagine. Jeremiah 29:11 says:

“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.”

However, in order to receive everything God has for you, and to fulfill the purpose for which you were born, you must draw nigh to God.

As I discussed in my previous blog post “I Choose to Draw Closer to God,” drawing nigh to God is a CHOICE. James 4:8a says:

“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you…..”

In other words, you and I have to make the first move. God may use His servants to minister to you. God may use people to preach to you, teach you, pray for you, and encourage you. He may even speak to you one-on-one like He did the apostle Paul while he was traveling to the city of Damascus (Acts 9). However, He won’t force you to serve Him. God will extend the invitation, but you must have a WILLING heart to submit.

Once you WILLINGLY submit to God, He then takes you in His hands like a potter. A potter is an individual who creates various objects from clay, like bowls, pots and vases. Jeremiah 18:1-4 say:

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you My message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.”

Just like a potter, when you WHOLEHEARTEDLY draw close to God, He can then shape you into the person HE desires you to be.

Considering the work that goes into making pottery, it’s not always a smooth transition. I’ve never taken a pottery class, but I’ve seen it done. During the process, the clay experiences pressure. Since clay is an inanimate object, it feels no pain while it’s on the potter’s wheel.

However, we as human beings are NOT inanimate objects. So, while God is shaping you on His potter’s wheel, you will experience pain from time to time. When I speak of pain, I’m not necessarily talking about physical pain (although that can happen too), but emotional, mental, and financial pain.

Why does such a loving God allow us to go through pain? Well, think about it! What if your life were perfect? What if you had everything you want? What if everything were to always go your way? Would you pray like you should or even pray at all? Would you crack open your Bible and study the scriptures? Would you give God the praise He deserves? Personally speaking, I hope I would. Although I can’t truly say what I would do in such a scenario, GOD knows! Even if I am committed to praying, worshipping, and studying the scriptures, God knows if I need to go deeper. He knows if I need to give Him more of myself.

I have found that, as believers, we can become stagnant. For instance, you may be at a place in your life where you just follow a routine. You read your daily devotional every morning. You say your prayers afterwards. You make sure you attend church faithfully every Sunday. You do the same thing day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

Although your routine seems “good”, God is nowhere in it because you’re not allowing His Spirit to guide you. For instance, God may want you to pray throughout the day, instead of just in the morning. God may want you to study beyond the daily devotionals, and go deeper in His Word. There may be more He wants to show you. There may be more He wants to tell you. And even though He has spoken to you about this, you choose to stick with YOUR routine because it’s easy, and you figure that it’s better than not praying or reading at all. So, now God has to shake things up in your life to get your attention. God has to allow you to experience some sort of pain in order to get you to draw nigh to Him.

God knows me better than I know myself. God knows you better than you know yourself. Isaiah 55:8-9 say:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God knows His purpose for your life. He created you with purpose. Moreover, He knows what it will take to get His purpose fulfilled. I share my personal motto, “Know Yourself…Be Yourself…Love Yourself,” as often as possible. In order to live out your God-given purpose, I believe you have to know whom you are, which can only be discovered through the eyes of The Creator. You have to then embrace and love your unique self. It’s sad when an individual spends more time trying to be someone else, instead of appreciating his or her distinctive qualities. I understand how miserable that can be! Once upon a time, I didn’t truly love myself. I thought I was ugly, and in many instances, I didn’t think I was good enough. I was very insecure, and, therefore, constantly compared myself to others.

Fortunately, I learned how to overcome my insecurities by drawing nigh to God. I realized that just being saved wasn’t enough. I had to get closer to God. So, I started pursuing God through my praise and worship. In fact, I would praise God like a crazy woman. Many didn’t understand my praise. However, the Holy Spirit was guiding me. I was praising my way through. I was, in a sense, fighting for my life. Through my praise I was fighting the fears and insecurities that were plaguing my mind. In addition, I drew closer to God by searching for scriptures that dealt with my particular issues, and I latched onto those scriptures. I memorized and recited them. I even taped them to my wall so I could see them every day. Those scriptures became the medicine I needed!

As I look back, I realize that if I hadn’t endured such pain, I wouldn’t have seen the need to draw nigh to God. If I hadn’t drawn closer to God, I wouldn’t be the woman of God I am now. I wouldn’t know how to encourage and pray for those who are going through what I went through.

I want to encourage you to draw nigh to God like never before. What is God telling you to do that you haven’t done yet? Is he telling you to let go of certain habits? Is He telling you to walk away from some people? What is God telling you to do that is causing you pain? Whatever it is, I encourage you to trust God and just do it. Ask Him to give you the strength you need, and He will! What you THINK you’re losing now, is worth what you’re about to gain. As Paul says in Philippians 3:8:

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.”

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I Choose to Draw Closer to God


(“The Kimberly Joy Show: Drawing Nigh to God is a Choice”)

As I continue on the path of this brand new year, I choose to draw closer to God.

Although I have been a born-again believer for a long time, I recognize that there is always more to learn and to receive from God. It would be arrogant of me to think that I have arrived! Besides, I sense an inner pulling from the Holy Spirit to DO better and to BE better. I’m not talking about being perfect because only God is perfect. I’m talking about simply doing what I know God is telling me to do.

How about you? Is God telling you to draw closer to Him? Is God requiring that you pray more? Is God expecting you to do further study in His Word? Is God dealing with you about your attitude? Is He telling you to correct your conduct? Are you treating people the way God expects you to?

LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE:

Maybe you are quick-tempered, and God has told you to cast down your anger and give it to Him. However, instead of doing what He has instructed you to do, you make excuses for your behavior and continue to fly off the handle. As a result, your anger has damaged your relationships with people. Your anger has gotten you written up at work. Perhaps, your anger has even gotten you arrested. To make matters worse, your anger has dimmed your light. What do I mean? People don’t respect you as a Christian. One minute you’re giving God praise, and the next minute, you’re cussing someone out.

Whether it’s anger or something else, why do we have a difficult time relinquishing certain behaviors or attitudes? It’s comfortable! Even if it brings negative consequences, it’s still comfortable! It feels good! It’s familiar! Therefore, we have to put all our faith in God. We have to just trust God and draw even closer to Him by CHOOSING to obey Him.

Drawing nigh to God is a personal choice each of us has to make. When God created man, He created him with a free will. God instilled in each of us the ability to choose how to act or behave. In Genesis 3, although God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, He didn’t force them to obey Him. Adam and Eve knew God’s expectations. In fact, Eve informed the serpent (Satan) of God’s expectations. Nevertheless, in the end they chose to disobey God. So, like Adam and Eve had a choice, we have a choice to draw nigh to God. God desires that we come closer to Him. He even commands that we do so, but He doesn’t force our hands.

LET ME TELL YOU A STORY (Taken from Matthew 19 and Mark 10):

As Jesus was heading towards Jerusalem, a man came running up to Him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus asked the man, “Why do you call me good? Only God is truly good.” Jesus then said, “But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.”

The man responded, “Teacher, I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”

Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. He then said to him, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Since this man was very wealthy, he just left disappointed. After he left, Jesus then looked at His disciples and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!”

I believe the rich man initially approached Jesus because he sensed that he needed to DO better and BE better. However, he CHOSE his possessions over having a closer relationship with God. He CHOSE his wealth over becoming the man God called him to be. He made his CHOICE, and God didn’t force him.

I want to encourage you to draw closer than you ever have before to God, even if it means letting go of those things that give you comfort. God is speaking to you. Do you know why? He CHOSE you. Think about that! God chose YOU! It reminds me of Mary the mother of Jesus. Out of all the virgins, God chose her to carry the Savior of the world. Although a virgin being with child was unheard of, by FAITH, she accepted God’s assignment for her life.

Now, Mary could have allowed doubt and fear to take over and told God no. And what if she had rejected God’s assignment? Would that have stopped His plan? Absolutely not! God would have chosen someone else, and Mary would have missed out on a tremendous blessing.

So again, just like Mary was chosen, God has chosen you. John 15:16 says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you…” First, God chose to save you from your sins. Now He has chosen to use you to share His Good News of salvation with others.

Like the rich man, you have the choice to say no to God’s calling. But, I want you to consider something. How can you say no to such a loving, merciful, and gracious God? How can you say no to a God who believes in you more than you believe in yourself? How can you say no to a God who loves you more than anyone? How can you say no to a God who gives you life every day? How can you say no to a God who is willing to forgive you of your sins, to heal you, and to deliver you?

Think about THIS! You’re where you are because somebody, somewhere said YES to God on your behalf. That person said YES to praying for you when you were sick. Another person said YES to blessing you when you were in need. A few said YES to encouraging you when you needed it the most.

So, again I encourage you, starting right now…today…CHOOSE to draw nigh to God and turn that no into a YES!

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Draw Nigh to God

For this new year of 2017, first and foremost, I must draw nigh to God. I believe that with each new year, everyone should strive for better. What do you desire? What new ventures are you ready to take on?

* Do you desire to go back to school?
* Do you desire a better job, perhaps one that is more fulfilling?
* Are you ready to purchase your first home?
* Do you want to lose weight?
* Do you need to get healthier?

I believe any goals you and I may have can be achieved with faith and perseverance. However, God reminds me that our first priority should always be to pursue Him. Yes, we can and SHOULD pursue our dreams, so long as we keep God at the forefront. If we pursue GOD first, then He will guide our footsteps towards our dreams and enable us to achieve our goals. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” To do anything outside of God comes with unnecessary headaches and stress. Now, who wants that?!!

To draw nigh to God means to come close to God or to come closer to God. That can be achieved by spending more time in prayer, in worship, in the reading and studying of the Scriptures, and in the house of God with other believers. Regardless of how long a person has been a Christian, one can never get too much of God. We are ever learning and evolving.

In the 4th chapter of the book of James, the writer James (Biblical scholars say he was a brother of Jesus) was addressing the early Christians and expressing to them the necessity of drawing close to God.

James 4:1-10 (New Living Translation)

(1) “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires that war within you?

(2) You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.

(3) And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”

According to verses 1-3, these early Christians were arguing and fighting. These were people of God in conflict with each other! Believers in Christ Jesus! Church folk! And why were these people, to whom James was writing, at odds with one another? As the scriptures point out, instead of just coming together on one accord, seeking the will of God, and focusing on pleasing God, each person wanted things to go his or her way. Each person wanted to do only what made him or her happy. As a result, they resorted to doing evil. They were lying, cheating, stealing and even committing murder. Because they had taken their focus off God and weren’t right inwardly, they were treating each other with contempt.

(4) You adulterers (or unfaithful people of God)! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.

(5) Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him.

If we say that we are children of God, but are not faithful to God, then we’re walking in disobedience to God, and are following the ways of the world. That, in turn, makes us God’s enemies. As harsh as it sounds, it’s the truth. To disobey God is to behave like His enemy!

(6) And He gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Those who humble themselves before God, FREELY receive His grace (unmerited/undeserved favor, mercy, lovingkindness). Why do we need God’s grace? Romans 6:14-15 say, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” God’s grace is so powerful that sin no longer has power over those of us who surrender to Him. During the Old Testament era, God’s people continued disobeying His laws because they didn’t have the ability to keep them. However, thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, His grace empowers us to obey God and to grow spiritually. Morevoer, we must understand that we have to respect and appreciate His grace, and not take it for granted by using it as a license to sin. Yes, God is loving and forgiving, but Galatians 6:7 let’s us know that He will not be mocked (or made a fool of), and we will reap what we sow. Therefore, God may forgive us for things we choose to do that we know are wrong, but we dare not think there won’t be consequences behind those choices.

Although these early Christians were out of order with God, it wasn’t too late for them. Fortunately, that same truth applies to us today!

7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

We cannot resist the devil, the world, our flesh or sinful, human nature, until we first submit or surrender to God. It is GOD who empowers us to say NO to our enemies!

8 Draw nigh or come close to God, and God will draw nigh to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

It is a personal choice to draw nigh to God, to allow Him to cleanse us, and to become totally loyal to Him. According to James 1:6-8, when our interests are divided between God and those things that don’t please Him, we are unstable. So, if you’re looking for stability or balance in your life, stop fighting and SURRENDER!

9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.

We have to have repentant hearts and truly be sorry for our sins and past mistakes. When we’re truly sorry, then we’re less likely to repeat them.

10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor.

Once we recognize just how much we need God and submit sincerely and totally to Him, then in time, He will raise us up and make our lives significant and honorable.

This year of 2017, I will draw nigh to God, and I encourage you to do the same! Drawing nigh or coming close to God must be an ongoing process because of the wickedness that is prevalent in this world and because of our flesh or sinful, human nature. Galatians 5:16 says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” In other words, when we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our lives, we won’t give in to our sinful nature. Everything we need is, therefore, in GOD!

The following video is from my radio broadcast “The Kimberly Joy Show: Draw Nigh to GOD”:

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I Still Believe

“I still believe” are a few of the most important words I jotted down in my notebook. On that particular night several years ago, as I lay in bed attempting to sleep, my mind kept racing and I could feel myself becoming discouraged. I could feel a “woe is me” moment approaching and decided to be like King David and encourage myself in the Lord (I Samuel 30:6). Although it was bedtime and I had to get up early the next morning for work, I jumped out of bed and sat at my dining room table with a pen and notebook. I could sense depression circling my bedroom like an eagle on the brink of landing, and I wasn’t having it! So I did what I’ve done before; I began to write. In fact, I’ve come to realize that some of my best work are birthed during such moments. Bible study lessons, sermons, poems, blogs. On that sheet of notebook paper I reminded myself that no matter what my circumstances may try to tell me, I must still believe. Believe what, you ask? Believe GOD!

Like any human being, sometimes I may encounter a situation that leaves me feeling disappointed, discouraged, sad, angry or even scared. However, in those moments God will whisper in my ear, “Trust Me.” It can be hard to trust God, at times, when what I see and hear is the opposite of what He has promised me. Nevertheless, I have to yet abide by Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” I have to trust that the One Who created me, the One Who knows me better than anyone, has my best interests at heart and will not leave me in the dust.

Recently, I had an experience that has elevated my faith in God. It was a Thursday evening around 6:30, and I was driving home from the gym. As I drove, my car started acting strangely. The battery light came on, the interior lights dimmed and the radio, including the clock, went off. Then my car began making noises, and the power steering suddenly stopped working. Since it was difficult to steer the car, at that point, I thought about pulling over. However, once I drove into a nearby parking lot, I decided that it might be in my best interest to try to get the car home. As I continued up the road, the traffic slowed down due to rush hour. While sitting at a traffic light, my car completely shut down. To make matters worse, I couldn’t remove my key from the ignition. Feeling helpless and scared, tears began streaming down my face. Within a couple of minutes, a few people stopped to help me, but were unable to. I found myself becoming frantic and knew I had to calm down and THINK. That was when I remembered that my car insurance includes roadside assistance. Just as I was about to make the call, an older gentleman stopped to also help. Remember the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, I immediately judged the man based on his physical appearance and car. He claimed to know what was wrong with my car, and I thought to myself, “You don’t know anything!” Fortunately, I was wrong! The man, whose name is Jim, turned out to be a mechanic who also tows cars. Within twenty minutes, he had my car operating efficiently enough for me to get it home. Not only did he turn out to be a mechanic, but he also happens to live near me. So, he offered to follow me home just in case I had any more problems along the way. By the grace of God, I was able to pull into my driveway just before my car shut off again. Mr. Jim then agreed to repair my car, and two days later I was back in business!

I share this story because through that particular experience, God reassured me of His protection and provision for my life. Even as I lay down to sleep that night, with tears in my eyes, I continued thanking God for taking care of me. Reflecting on that evening’s happenings, I recognized how God was with me every step of the way. For one, God did not allow my car to shut off while I was on the interstate. Also, just as I was about to pull over in a parking lot, I quickly changed my mind and kept going. God would not allow me to stop in the parking lot because He knew that Mr. Jim was coming down the road. If I had pulled over, Mr. Jim would not have seen me. In addition, Mr. Jim just so happened to be a mechanic, who tows cars and lives in my neighborhood.

None of what I just described was a coincidence. God, the Father, the Almighty, sent the RIGHT person at the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time to help me at the RIGHT price! Oh yeah, did I mention that Mr. Jim also saved me a lot of money? If I had taken my car to an auto repair shop or the dealership (as I’ve been known to do), I would have paid more than what I could really afford. God reminded me that very night that, no matter what I may be going through or facing, He ALWAYS has my back! Even as my car began shutting down right before my very eyes, God was yet whispering in my ear, “Trust Me!” Soon after, He indeed proved, as He’s done so many times in the past, that I can trust Him, and that’s why I can truly declare, “Yes Lord! I STILL believe!!!!!!!”

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Rest in Me


“Rest in Me,” are the words I often hear God speak. Although the Bible states, “Don’t worry about anything…” (Philippians 4:6a), I still sometimes find myself worrying, not about everything, but about the things my human mind can’t figure out. If I can’t see how or when a situation is going to be resolved, I become uneasy. The uneasiness results from realizing that I’m not in complete control. However, to have faith is to allow GOD to be in control.

Resting in God is not always an easy thing to do. In fact, it can be downright difficult. I believe that many of us, if not all of us, like to feel in control. We want to be in complete control of our jobs, finances, love lives, children, etc. Nevertheless, it doesn’t work that way. If I try to control every circumstance and person in my life, then I’m taking on more than God has designed for me to handle. Have you ever heard the phrase “He’ll never put more on you than you can bear?” This is derived from I Corinthians 10:13 which says, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

Temptation is typically defined as “a strong urge or desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.” However, in the Bible a temptation is also “a trial or test”. For instance, in Genesis 22, God tempted or tested Abraham when He instructed Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. God wasn’t trying to persuade Abraham to do something wrong. In fact, later God provided a ram as the real sacrifice (Genesis 22:13). Rather, God put Abraham through this test to prove his faith. James 1:2-3 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” Verse 12 of the same chapter also says, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” Although God takes us through tests from time to time, as I Corinthians 10:13 assures us, it’s never something designed to overwhelm us because during the tests, we are to depend totally on Him (Proverbs 3:5). So if I find myself becoming overwhelmed and stressed out, it is simply because I haven’t placed it all in God’s hands. I can’t blame anyone but myself!

God says, “Rest in Me.” What does it mean to rest? To rest is “to be free from anxiety or disturbance”. Another definition is “to remain confident”. Therefore, when we rest in God, our minds are at peace because we know that God has our situations under control. As I mentioned, resting in God is not always easy. Nevertheless, it can be done if we put it into practice. The following tips are things I had to put into practice in order to learn how to rest in God.

HOW YOU CAN REST IN GOD

1. Find time to worship God. During the hustle and bustle of the day, find a place to be alone where you can worship God. Believe it or not, I have had some awesome worship experiences in my bathroom and, even, in my car. When my mind is being bombarded with so many thoughts and I find myself becoming sad or angry, worship relieves me. As I sing or listen to a favorite worship song and meditate on the goodness of God, I am reminded that He is my everything. In that moment, He becomes priority, while everything and everyone else take a backseat. Then His love, peace and joy fill my heart. I am no longer bothered by my present circumstance because in the midst of worship, God reassures me that He has my back! In that moment God may even reveal some things to me and give me the answers I’ve been seeking in prayer.

These worship experiences call to mind the story of Paul and Silas who were beaten and thrown in jail for taking a stand for God’s Truth.

Acts 16:25-35:
“Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, ‘Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!’ The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.’ And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God. The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, ‘Let those men go!'”

Just as Paul and Silas were set free from physical chains, worshipping God sets me free from the thoughts that try to chain my mind.

2. Pray. According to Philippians 4:6, God doesn’t want us to worry about anything, but to pray about everything. No problem is too big for God! Therefore, when we pray we must trust that God hears us and will answer our prayers. If we trust that God honors His children’s prayers, then anxiety should not be present. Prayer and worry do NOT go hand in hand. James 1:6-7 says, “But when you ask [God], you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

3. Obey God. To trust God is to obey God. One day I was discussing with a friend that we as humans cause ourselves greater heartache when we choose our way over God’s way. The Bible is our instruction manual for living. Unfortunately, many fail to follow it. II Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”

If we trust and obey God, we will have rest. For example, during my time in grad school I learned that I had to have surgery. This was a serious dilemma because the spring quarter had just begun and I was taking my final class: Statistics. Since I still had time to withdraw from the class without being penalized, the logical choice was to withdraw and pick up the course the following quarter. Although it seemed like a good idea, it wasn’t an easy decision to make because it meant postponing my graduation. Thus, the night before the withdrawal deadline I asked God to tell me what to do. I had made up my mind to withdraw, but, in case it wasn’t necessary to do so, I needed to hear from the One Who knows all. To my delight, as I slept God clearly spoke to me, “Stay in the class. There will be people who will help you.” Having a sudden peace about the situation, I stayed in the class, and as God reassured me, my professor and several classmates were more than willing to help me. If I had chosen to follow my “sensible” mind, instead of obeying the voice of God, receiving my Masters degree would have been delayed, which, undoubtedly, would have caused me unnecessary distress .

4. Enjoy your life. Best-selling author and Bible teacher Joyce Meyer says, “Learn how to enjoy where you are on the way to where you’re going.” In other words, smile often and laugh as much as possible. Just enjoy the stage at which you are in your life. The apostle Paul says, “…I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength,” (Philippians 4:11-13). To be content doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t desire more because God has more for you. It just means that the desires shouldn’t cause anxiety and stress. When we focus on the Lord, He is guaranteed to give us the desires of our hearts (Psalms 37:4).

Resting in God takes away the pressure that Satan and the world try to place on us. When we give everything to God, He in turn, gives us a peace that the average person can’t comprehend (Philippians 4:7). So, every day I am making it a point to rest in God and gratefully enjoy this life He has graciously given me.

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