Our prayers go out to South Africa upon the passing of former President Nelson Mandela. May God’s peace fill the hearts of this great nation.
Have you ever been so consumed with your problems and personal concerns that it seemed there was no immediate relief in sight? For example, Sandra is a faithful member of her local church who has a loving relationship with her family and friends and is successful in almost everything she does. Recently, however, things have taken a negative turn financially, and because the pressures of the challenge seem so great, the usually positive and proactive Sandra is struggling with bouts of depression and stress. She has tried to involve friends to help her resolve her issues, only to find that few have the time or desire to listen to her problems.
While it may be hard to believe that a person can go from being a ‘got it all together Christian’ to feeling down in the dumps, it does happen. All of us have experienced this at some point in our walk with God; but instead of worrying or tracking down someone to join what could easily become a “pity party,” use the Source you know will never fail—God.
Everyone should understand the value of being prepared mentally and spiritually for attacks on our lives because they will come. In John 16:33, Jesus said, “…In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” God has equipped you to handle the storms of life by trusting in Jesus.
Similar to Job in the Bible, there are times when challenges hit us on all sides and we don’t always feel like responding with the Word of God; but rest assured that God’s Word is the solution to any problem. When you allow your responses and decisions to be founded on God’s Word, you open the door for God to come in and turn your situation around.
Job was a man who faced some terrible situations. His children were killed, his livestock were destroyed and he was struck with painful boils on his entire body. Job had lost everything and I’m sure he was tempted to completely give up and turn his back on God. Even his wife told him to just curse God and die because he was in such a pitiful state. But Job didn’t do that. While he did go through a time of complaining and questioning, he never gave up on God. As a result, God restored everything he lost.
When the storms of life hit you, what will you do? Will you become overwhelmed and lose heart in the midst of worrying, obsessing and attempting to fix every problem yourself? Or will you pass the trust test and employ His help by calling on Him first? There is no challenge too great for Him to handle. He can cause all things to work out for your good when you pray and seek Him. What you find difficult to do, God can perform sweatlessly.
In the midst of trusting God, know that He may not use your preferred method to solve your issues. God has numerous ways to get things done and He will change situations in order to fulfill His purposes and promises.
You must be willing to get out of God’s way in order for Him to work. That means refraining from worrying, complaining and trying to fix things in your own natural ability. When you worry, you hinder God’s promises from being able to work in your life. Instead, meditate on the Scriptures, seek understanding and believe in what the Word will do for you. Everything you need to survive the storms of life is in your Bible; so put it to use during the times you need it most.
Don’t forget that God is a prayer away. No, there is no quick fix for every obstacle you will face in life, but if you are a Believer, you have the very thing that will bring peace in times of trouble (John 14:27). Pray to God and He will answer. He promised to never leave or abandon you.
Worship is an essential element of the Christian life and, like praise, is a tool we can use to push the enemy out of the atmosphere. Satan cannot stand to be in the presence of praise, and neither can he stand worship because it brings God’s very presence on the scene. Not only that, but it takes the focus off of all his distractions and points it completely toward the Lord. Understanding the different ways we can worship gives us a spiritual edge that is vital to a successful relationship with God.
Worship should never be something we do haphazardly or without putting focused intention into it. It is essentially when we express our love, adoration, admiration, and respect for God. We tend to think of worship in terms of the “praise and worship” times we have at church, but as Believers, worship is not limited to the songs we sing before a message is preached from the pulpit. Worship is a lifestyle for those who are serious about their relationship with God.
In John 4:23, Jesus says, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” When we worship God in spirit and in truth, it means we are doing it from our hearts, with a motive of love for God. The Lord knows when something is coming from a place of absolute love and honor in our lives, and it is this type of worship that He desires.
Our obedience to God qualifies as worship because it is in obeying Him that we honor Him. Anything He tells us to do in His Word, and whatever He speaks directly to us to do individually, provides an opportunity for us to worship Him. When we give ourselves over to God completely and are willing to move on even the slightest impulse He gives, our lives actually become monuments of worship.
There are several different ways we can worship God, and all of them require our obedience. Incorporating these things in our daily lives positions us to be the true worshipers the Father is looking for.
Reading and studying the Word
The study and meditation of God’s Word may not fit in the traditional concept of worship, but it is a form of reverence and honor for God. When we focus on the Word of God and internalize it during our study times, it puts us in the spirit, which causes us to embrace the thoughts of God. Our times of study should be special times in which we commune with the Lord and worship Him.
Preaching the Word of God
What a way to honor and love on God! When we share the Gospel with people and receive the preached Word of God, we are demonstrating our love for God and our obedience to Him.
Singing spiritual songs
Ephesians 5:18-21 admonishes us to not be drunk with wine, but to be filled with the Spirit of God. It says we are to speak to ourselves in songs, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord in our hearts. This is probably what we consider worship to be, based upon what we experience in church. However, we should incorporate the singing of spiritual songs to the Lord as part of our daily routine. This way, we can keep an atmosphere of worship around us at all times.
Prayer and intercession
Prayer is communication with God, which is also a form of worship. When we intercede for others and stand in the spiritual gap for them, we are also worshiping God through our obedience to Him. We are to always spend time in prayer in order to have a thriving Christian life.
The sacrifice of praise
Anytime we do something out of obedience and reverence for God, even when our flesh doesn’t feel like it, we are worshiping Him. Praise can be a sacrifice because it isn’t something we immediately jump to do when times are hard. However, when we do it from our hearts, giving God our best praise, it absolutely paralyzes the enemy and releases God to get involved with the situation.
Worship can be incorporated in every aspect of our daily lives when we make a conscious decision to do so. It is completely abandoning our wills for the will of God. Becoming a true worshiper will open doors of blessings in our lives and take our relationship with Him to another level.
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