Our God of All Comfort!
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (2Cor. 1:3-4). The dictionary defines comfort as, “a state of physical ease and freedom from pain, grief or distress.” The Bible tells us, when comfort is needed, the solution is the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. He is called paraklētos in Greek, which means “advocate; helper; intercessor; comforter, who stands at one’s side; and comes to one’s aid.” As believers we need not rely on outward remedies to ease our troubled hearts and minds, because our help is available from the ultimate Comforter.
Even before the Holy Spirit was sent to indwell within us. Scripture identified God as the one who comforts His people (Isa. 49:13). The Lord himself provides consolation and reassurance for us because no one knows our deepest hurts and pains the way He does. The Lord stays by our side through our trials and grief, allowing them to last only long enough to accomplish His perfect will. I love this anonymous quote: “When we have gone into the furnace of affliction, God’s hand is on the thermostat and His eye is on the clock.” Friends, God will never leave or forsakes us!
Those who don’t know the true source of comfort try to escape life’s pains, through pleasures, hobbies, drugs or alcohol. But only God can offer lasting relief from life’s pains and heartaches. When you face difficulties, remember God’s Holy Spirit is always at your disposal. While we suffer, God comforts! As we heal, God uses us to comfort others who need a listening ear, an encouraging word, wise counsel or simply a hug. Praise be to God, our God of all Comfort!
Grace and peace always,
Let go and let God!
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes (Matt. 6:25)? You may say, "But I can't help feeling anxious; I’ve always been a worrier!" I have heard that said countless times. My response is always the same, "Yes, you can!" Your ability to choose is part of God's gift of free will to us all. It isn't God’s desire for us to be controlled by our worries. The Lord may allow difficult situations to deepen our faith, stimulate spiritual growth, change a bad habit or attitude, but He doesn’t want us to be anxious.
We must be careful not to confuse concern with anxiety, it is normal for a Christian to care. Concern motivates us to intercede and to take godly action; it’s positive, it’s constructive and it makes us look ahead. Anxiety is the opposite; it’s negative, it’s counterproductive and it keeps us looking back. Simply said, concern motivates us to take action and anxiety paralyzes us. Concern can be accompanied by tears and deep reflection but in the end, concern leads us to make decisions. It should prompt us to trust in God and to seek His purpose and plan. Anxiety tends to be marked by uncontrollable emotions, crying, sleeplessness, nervous disorders, or endless pacing. Worry is a treadmill that tends to keep one in a state of fear and negativity.
The choice is always ours! We will occasionally be blind-sided by unsettling events like last week. At those times it's normal to react emotionally. But as God's children, we should not remain in that condition for long. Instead of falling into a downward spiral of anxiety over our circumstances, the healthier response is to pray. "Dear Lord, I lay my problems at your feet. This situation is beyond my control and I feel helpless. Lord, you alone have the power to change my circumstances. I know You love me and whatever You have planned for my good. Dear Heavenly Father, show me how to respond! In faith, I look forward to seeing how You will reveal Your love, wisdom, and power." My dear brothers and sisters, this is the way to find peace and freedom from paralyzing anxiety in this life. So, let go and let God!
Grace and peace always,
Love One Another
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34) Jesus said these words to his disciples on the last night of his life before dying, for OUR sins. After Judas had gone off into the darkness to betray him, Jesus turned to the other disciples and referred to them as his children. He went on to tell them, he would be with them only a little longer and then told them how they should relate to each other after he was gone. “Love one another,” he commanded them! In this command, Jesus didn’t focus on the feeling of love, but on the decision to love. This command is a decision which each of us must make and walk out daily.
The Lord Jesus knew that we would not always feel like loving one another, so he commanded it. Love must be a decision, not only an emotion! But as we all know, this command to love is not always easy to obey. That’s why it’s good news, to hear this is a “new command.” What makes it new, is Jesus provided us a model of love through his own life and death. We are called to love, Jesus says, “as I have loved you.” In his perfect love for us, Jesus was willing to surrender his life daily and even die for us. Through our own intimate relationship with him, we too discover the power to love sacrificially. Jesus went on to say, that when we love as he has loved us, we will become a powerful attraction to all others who do not yet know him and his love. Friends, the best sermon on love you will ever hear, is the one you see! We are called to walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us. The world will know, we are his children, “if we love one another,” so, walk in love and love one another as our Savior commanded, today and every day.
Love in Christ always,
How Foolish Can You Be?
“How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort” (Gal. 3:3 NLT)? Years ago, I learned a valuable lesson from a wise old servant of the Lord, that I have never forgotten. In describing my disappointment with my best efforts on a program I was working on, I told him that my intention was to work harder in the future. I have never forgotten his response; “you won’t ever be any better than you are, but the Holy Spirit who resides within you can and will empower you if call upon Him. Never forget we cannot improve our flesh.” Those words deeply resonated with me!
Until then I had always been taught, if you worked hard enough, you would be a better person. It was an eye-opening moment for me to realize our heavenly Father doesn’t want or even need our best self-efforts. They can neither earn us salvation, nor enable us to live an effective or holy Christian life. The Apostle Paul said basically the same thing to the Galatians when he wrote, ““How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort.”
Friends, in our own strength, we are unable to do anything of lasting eternal value. To become the effective servant God wants us to be, we must rely upon the Spirit to direct the work of our hearts and hands. It is also important to never forget, that dependence on the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean we can remain idle or inactive. Saint Paul described it like this “I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me” (Col. 1:29). God wants us to depend on His Spirit, who can empower us to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or ever think.
Grace and peace always,
That We May Understand
“What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us (1Cor. 2:12).” Sadly, many people today don’t read the Bible, and one of the main reasons they don’t, is they don’t understand it. We might expect that from someone who doesn’t know the Lord, but why do so many of God’s own children fail to comprehend Scripture? Could it be because they simply haven’t asked for help from the divine Teacher? One of the Holy Spirit’s chief responsibilities is to enable believers to understand the things that God has freely given us.
Sometimes we look at other Christians who know more than we do and it’s easy to think that we will never reach their biblical level of understanding. The real issue isn’t how much knowledge we have but whether we are growing in our understanding. The Holy Spirit will teach each of us what we need to know, not necessarily what others know. The Holy Spirit wants each of us to become more Christlike, so He will reveal truth and wisdom to help us better understand how God’s Word applies to our lives and circumstances.
The Holy Spirit’s goal is not to fill our minds with information but to bring us into a deeper relationship with our heavenly Father. He wants us to understand the truth of Scripture so we can know the love of Jesus. In turn, the depth of Christ’s love motivates us to know Him more intimately, to spend more time in His presence, to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest God’s Word. The priceless treasures of God’s Word could remain out of reach if you never ask the Teacher for guidance. Whenever possible, try reading the scriptures out loud, and before you begin, ask the Spirit for understanding and wisdom. An intimate relationship with our Savior awaits anyone who listens and allows the Holy Spirit to reveal the thoughts of our Creator.
Grace and peace always,
Fr. Greg +
Seeking God’s Voice
“Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; And attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, For You will answer me (Psalm 86:6-7). One of the things I often hear, is why isn’t God, answering my prayer? Have you ever called on the Lord for His guidance on some issue, yet couldn’t discern what He wants you to do? We can’t always know why God doesn’t make everything clear when we seek His help, but there are a few things that we can do to help prepare us to hear from Him when seeking His voice.
1) Surrender. First of all, if we have not fully yielded ourselves to the Lord, our hearts will remain set on our personal agendas and desires. If that is the case, we’ll have difficulty perceiving God’s will (James 4:3).
2) Seek Cleansing. We must ask God if there’s anything hindering our prayers. If He brings something to our mind, we must immediately repent and seek forgiveness through confession (1 John 1:9).
3) Study Scripture. God commits to answering our prayers if we ask according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). We must honestly consider whether or not our request aligns with God’s will as revealed in Holy Scripture.
4) Meditate. Scripture says God’s Word is a light to our path! It also tells us, the more we think about the truths of Scripture, the clearer the way will become (Psalm 119:105).
5) Wait. This is often the most difficult step of all, God promises to act on the behalf of those who wait (Isa. 64:4). This means we must resist the urge to run ahead of God by trying to fix things ourselves or manipulate the circumstances to get our desired outcome.
Friends, rather than letting uncertainty cause you to become anxious or fearful, consider these steps. Then try looking at your situation as an opportunity to trust our loving, all-knowing God who promises to work all things for our good (Rom. 8:28).
Grace and peace always,
Early will I seek You!
“O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water (NKJV). In Psalm 63, David said these beautiful words which have always meant so much to me, being a morning person who rises well before dawn to be still in God’s presence. Our God desires for us to seek Him in silence and have a deep loving bond with Him, as David did. So, how should we do that in this fast-paced world today? Well, knowing Him is the first step, which should take priority above all other matters. David used the word thirst to describe his burning passion to know God. The apostle Paul likened his pursuit of God to a race (1 Cor. 9:24). Saying, we must discipline ourselves and be willing to make personal sacrifices like an athlete in training who is competing to win an earthly prize. The next step is to spend time in God’s Holy Word daily. Making time to read and meditate on Scripture is essential for every believer. That’s how we learn who God is, how He works, and what He desires for us and the body of Christ. When we sacrifice and strive to know and understand the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will make the meaning spring to life. Dedicating time to know and experience God is a critical first step toward an intimate and fulfilling relationship with Him. Start today by making a personal commitment to rise a little earlier and pursue Him more diligently. Make room in your schedule for regular study and prayer each day. Friends, our heavenly Father is eagerly waiting for you to joyfully seek Him at the dawn of each day!
Grace and Peace always,
Forward by Faith
“By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible (Heb.11:24-27). Hidden in these verses is a short phrase that revealed Moses’ approach to life, “for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.” There was no shortage of uncertainty in Moses’ life. How could someone “slow of speech” address Pharaoh? How could a murderer become God’s chosen? How could anyone hope to lead the stiff-necked Israelites? And how were they to ever cross the Red Sea, conquer Canaan, or survive 40 years on the move in the harsh desert? Moses knew what the Lord expected of him, but he had no idea what that might look like. Like us, Moses had no supernatural vision into the future. He had no way of seeing the outcome of his obedience. This man of God moved forward by faith, trusting in the Lord’s power to guide him and protect him. Like us, Moses derived his security solely from God, who consistently kept His promises. The path forward hasn’t gotten much clearer in the millennia since Moses led the Israelites to the Promised Land. As a new year begins, we all look forward and wonder what’s to come. Will I get the virus? Will I lose my job? What happens to my family if I pass away? How can I ever accomplish all I have to do today? Thankfully, the source of our security hasn’t changed since the days of Moses. Folks, God is still the only certainty in this life. We learn from Moses’ life to cling tenaciously to the Lord daily. Even when situations before us look hopeless, we are in God’s sovereign hands. Even when the way forward is yet unclear, God walks before us. So, like Moses, we must move forward by faith and endure as seeing Him who is invisible.
Grace and peace always,
The Lord is Our Keeper
The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in From this time and forever (Psalm 121:7-8). Some interpret this to mean God will keep them from life’s hardships and difficulties, 2020 proved different to countless souls. With that being said, many believers still struggle to understand why painful things happen in our lives. They often wonder, why didn’t the Lord stop me from experiencing such hardship or heartache? The question deepens when we read a passage like Psalm 121. Many interpret it to mean God will keep them from difficulties, but the psalmist says, that the Lord will keep our souls. The truth is, the Lord will at times, allow pain in our lives. Sometimes He even orchestrates it! And we all need to be reminded from time to time that God understands the hurt, but He can also see beyond it to the deeper more meaningful purpose in the situation. The 2020 seasons of our lives can also strengthen our faith and make us more Christ-like by deepening our compassion and love for others. At times, God may even use life’s difficulties to keep us from becoming complacent in our spiritual walk. With His help, we can often profit more from walking through the hardship than from avoiding it. When our heavenly Father knows it’s best He doesn’t keep us from life’s trying events but instead, enables us to endure them by providing us wisdom and strength. The Good News is, once on the other side of our trials we can always see with profound clarity and gratitude how God’s hand guided us through it. In turn, our hope is then fully renewed, knowing that the Lord is our keeper even through the most trying times. Take time to reread Psalm 121, and ask the Lord to remind you of His promises when painful seasons or situations arise in your life. Never forget friends, the keeper of your soul is faithful, “the Lord will guard your going out and coming in From this time forth and forever.”
Grace and peace always,
Flight 2021 Destination Greatness
Good morning brothers and sisters and welcome to Flight #2021. We have taken off into the New Year. Please make sure your Attitude and Blessings are secured and locked in an upright position. All self-destructive devices should be turned off at this time. All negativity hurt, and discouragement should be put away. Should we lose Altitude under pressure during the flight, reach up and pull down a Prayer. Prayers will automatically be activated by Faith. Once your Faith is activated you can assist other passengers. There will be NO BAGGAGE allowed on this flight since God has given us all we need. Our Captain (Jesus) has been cleared for takeoff... Destination GREATNESS!
New Years Blessings,