He Cares For You

“Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you.”
-1 Peter 5:7

It is a happy way of soothing sorrow when we can feel that –“He cares for me.” Christian! do not dishonor religion by always wearing a brow of care; come, cast your burden upon your Lord. You are staggering beneath a weight which your Father would not feel. What seems to you a crushing burden, would be to Him but as the small dust of the balance. Nothing is so sweet as to

“Lie passive in God’s hands, And know no will but His.”

O child of suffering, be patient; God has not passed you over in His providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows, will also furnish you with what you need. Do not sit down in despair; hope on, hope ever. Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble, and your opposition shall yet end your distresses. There is One who cares for you. His eye is fixed on you, His heart beats with pity for your woe, and His hand omnipotent shall yet bring you the needed help.

The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom shall give place to the morning. He, if you are one of His family, will bind up your wounds, and heal your broken heart. Do not doubt His grace because of your tribulation, but believe that He loves you as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness. What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of providence! With a little oil in the cruse, and a handful of meal in the barrel, Elijah outlived the famine, and you will do the same.

If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust Him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, He has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all your concerns in the hand of a gracious God.

– Charles Spurgeon

Wings of Silver, Feathers of Gold

“Though you lie down among the sheepfolds, You will be like the wings of a dove covered with silver, And her feathers with yellow gold.”
– Psalm 68:13

It’s a dark and stormy night.

OK, that’s a corny description but it really is! Were in the middle of a horrible thunderstorm. It’s one o’clock in the morning and I’m lying awake listening to the “rat tat tat” of rain hitting against the awning. The lighting is striking so often that if you looked outside you might think it was daytime. And the thunder? So loud you would be sure the storm was just a few feet over your house. It isn’t long before I hear the frightened voice my three-year-old son Joshua calling out “Daddy!”

He’s wiping the sleep from his eyes as I hurry into his room. The look on his face sums up his thoughts: “What the heck is going on out there!” My grandmother used to say that thunder was really the sound angels bowling and when you saw lightning it meant one of them had just gotten a strike. I was going to relay that little nugget to him, but I don’t think he would have bought it — I never did.

I picked him up and wrapped my arms around him and told him daddy was here and that everything was alright and I told him I loved him very much. The storm was still intense outside, but he put his head on my shoulder and soon fell asleep right there in my arms.

When my child called out to me I was there to comfort him. In the same way, when we call out to God, our heavenly Father, He is there to comfort us, His children.

“If I say, ‘My foot slips’, Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul. (Psalm 94:18-19)

Just as I wrapped my arms around my child, shielding him from that which he feared, God is always there to wrap His heavenly arms around us.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. (Psalm 46:1-2)

He shields us with wings of silver and feathers made of gold. He holds us tight as He whispers to us, “Daddy is here. Everything is alright now. I love you.” And even though the storms of life are still raging around us, we can rest easy because we are in His arms and all is well.

That’s why the Christian can sings:

“The nations raged, the kingdoms moved,
But when His voice was heard

The troubled earth was stilled to peace
Before His mighty Word.

The Lord of Hosts is on our side,
Our safety is secure;

The God of Jacob is for us
A refuge strong and sure.

Loved Unto The End

“For the Lord will not cast off for ever.”
– Lamentations 3:31

He may cast away for a season but not forever. A woman may leave off her ornaments for a few days, but she will not forget them or throw them upon the dunghill. It is not like the Lord to cast off those whom He loves, for “having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.”

Some talk of our being in grace and out of it, as if we were like rabbits that run in and out of their burrows; but, indeed, it is not so. The Lord’s love is a far more serious and abiding matter than this.

He chose us from eternity, and He will love us throughout eternity. He loved us so as to die for us, and we may therefore be sure that His love will never die. His honor is so wrapped up in the salvation of the believer that He can no more cast him off than He can cast off His own robes of office as King of glory. No, no! The Lord Jesus, as a Head, never casts off His members; as a Husband, He never casts off His bride.

Did you think you were cast off? Why did you think so evil of the Lord who has betrothed you to Himself? Cast off such thoughts, and never let them lodge in your soul again. “The Lord has not cast away his people which he foreknew” (Romans 11:2). “He hates putting away” (Malachi 2:16).

– Charles Spurgeon

Peace, The Gift Of God

WHOM SHALL WE FEAR

The Bible tells us that in the last days before Christ’s return that, “perilous times will come” (2 Timothy 3:1). We’re told that people would turn from worshiping God to worshiping themselves (2 Timothy 3:1-4).

As a result of turning from God, many false prophets will rise up and deceive, sin will abound, there will be many “wars and rumors of wars” and the love of many people will run cold (Matthew 24:11-12, Mark 13:7).

Certainly those days have come.

But Jesus told us that we were not to fear or be afraid (Mark 13:7) because He has given us His peace. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

The peace the world offers is, at best, temporary, but the peace Christ gives is eternal and flows like a river (Isaiah 66:12). It passes all earthly understanding (Philippians 4:7).

FEAR THAT LEADS TO PEACE

So how do we obtain this peace?

Jesus said “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! (Luke 12:4-5)

The path to peace begins, ironically enough, with the fear – fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord is the understanding that God is the King Of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16), who is the Creator of All things (Genesis 1) the righteous Judge over all mankind (Rev 20:12) and we stand before Him guilty of sin (Romans 3:23). With this godly respect and reverence for the Almighty we cry out for forgiveness like the tax collector in Luke 18:13, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.”

God responds to this cry by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16) “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) Those who put their faith in Christ are forgiven of their sins. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)

Consider these words from Charles Spurgeon: “Dear reader, where are you this evening? Can you by humble faith look to Jesus, and say, “My substitute, You are my rock, my trust”? Then, beloved, be not afraid of God’s power; for by faith you have fled to Christ for refuge, the power of God need no more terrify you, than the shield and sword of the warrior need terrify those whom he loves. Rather rejoice that He who is “great in power” is your Father and Friend.”

“Yes, Jesus said, “in the world you will have tribulation,” but He was quick to add, “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” “I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) No matter what happens to us in this life we will be with Christ forever. This is the foundation of our peace.

HAVING PEACE IN A TROUBLED WORLD

Now let’s build on that foundation. We are to be “anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:5-7

Once we accept Christ will we still fear the things of the world? Yes, but now our response should be to immediately take our focus off our worldly fear and look again to Christ, who is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). We “cast our cares upon Him” (1 Peter 5:7) and pray for the grace and strength to see His will be done. We let go and trust Him to handle the situation.

”Peace, peace, sweet peace,
Wonderful gift from above,
Oh, wonderful, wonderful peace,
Sweet peace, the gift of God’s love.”

Encourage One Another

The Bible uses the word “encourage”, “encouraged”, “encouragement” and “encourages” in many places. The Holman Christian Standard Bible uses “encourage” 21 times, “encouraged” 21 times, “encouragement” 12 times, and “encourages” 1 time. Strong’s Lexicon’s Hebrew word for “encourage” is chazaq (khaw-zak’), the Greek is paramutheomai (par-am-oo-theh’-om-ahee) and protrepomai (prot-rep’-om-ahee). Both mean to comfort or exhort.

If you take the time to do a word search in places like Crosswalk.com and find all the verses that contain any of the above words, you will see God’s character shining through.

In almost every instance, we see that God seeks to encourage His people as He wants us to be like Him and to encourage one another in His ways. (1Thess. 4:18; 5:11) In these last days of Apostasy where everyone seems to be doing what is right in his own eyes (Jud. 17:6; 2Tim 3:1) , we need to seek ways in which we can encourage one another as God encourages us. It is our responsibility to foster the well-being of each other as fellow believers. What are some ways we can do this?

Exhort to walk close to Jesus and remain committed to Him in faith. (Rom. 15:4) It is through our endurance and encouragement of the scriptures that we have hope. Endurance means perseverance, and we persevere because of the encouragement of the Scriptures. We can only have encouragement of the Scriptures when we “feed” on them daily and absorb their many spiritual “nutrients”. That is foundational to our Christian faith and in knowing who God is.

Build and strengthen. (2Thess. 2:17 ) Encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word. We gain strength when we pursue biblical Truth in our daily activities and interactions with others. We give strength when we encourage others to stay focused on the Lord and not veer off course where we’ll be derailed by the trappings of the world.

Motivate others to be their best. (Phil. 4:8) Pursuing moral excellence through character building. Become more like Jesus. We should make it our objective to strive for excellence in everything we do, and stay away from mediocrity or lukewarmness. Likewise, we give the same support to those around us and make them feel worthy of God’s love by motivations we give them.

Comfort the hurting/weak/sick. (1Thess. 5:14 ) If we see anyone who is struggling in their Christian walk, instead of judging, we need to help them in their weakness so they’ll make better choices. Sometimes folks go through very hard times and have many personal struggles. It can happen to any of us! So when we see someone “down on their luck”, try to be of service and help in meeting their needs. It’ll make us stronger in the process!

Heal the brokenhearted. (Luke 4:18) Jesus stated publicly that it was His mission to bind up wounds and heal the brokenhearted. He ultimately did that on the Cross. There were many brokenhearted people who were lost and needed the Gospel and a Savior, which He preached to them during His earthly ministry. We need to remind ourselves and other people that we are no different and to look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith. In Him we have that healing and cleansing.

Hope for a hopeless world. (Rom. 5:1-5) We can rejoice to having obtained peace with God by accepting His Son as our personal Savior. We now have a real hope of eternal life and know with certainty that Jesus will bring us to Heaven. That is also our Blessed Hope, that we make it an event we look forward to and to obey His command to WATCH for Him and be ready. (Mark 13:33 ; Matt. 25:13; Matt. 26:41; Matt. 24:43). Watching for me is an encouragement as I see current events unfold and know how they are lining up with references about the end times. (2 Tim. 3:1; 1Thess. 5; Luke 21:28 -32; Matt. 24; Dan. 12; 2 Pet. 3:3).

Resting in the Promises given to us in Scripture. (2Pet. 1:4; Jer. 29:11) These are referred to in Peter as “great and precious promises”, and they certainly are! In my mind, there can’t be anything better than to “share in the devine nature” which we will be given. I’m looking forward to it as I get older! That is real encouragement to me, to be finally free of limitation and sin when I’m transformed into a glorious being.

Encouragement is a buffer against Satan. He would like nothing better than to tear us down, make us feel impotent, like we don’t belong, that we’re not really saved, motivate us to make wrong choices or take our eyes off Jesus. Let’s be wary of him! He goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1Pet. 5:8) Although he is an accuser of the brethren, (Rev. 12:10), his days are numbered and he has already been defeated on the Cross (1Cor. 15:51 -57). God has therefore equipped us in every way to live victorious in Him when we wholly depend upon the Holy Spirit which resides within us. Let’s keep that in mind as we go about our job of being spiritual soldiers.

– By Lynette Schaefer

When Foundations Are Shaken

By Charles Stanley

Nuclear weapons . . . biological warfare . . . terrorism . . . September 11, 2001 . . . these words frequent headlines and conversations. How we live during these difficult days will testify to both our focus and our priorities. Should we live defeated and fearful of the events around us? Or, will we stand confident and assured in the promises of our Lord?

The very foundations of safety and security have been shaken by threats and acts of terrorism. The fear that arises from this situation causes us to seek a place of stability. However, Hebrews 12:27 says that God will “remove those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” Sometimes God allows our world to be shaken, so that we are forced to determine whom we will trust. Will we try to find security in the material world that easily passes away? Or, will we find our hope in the eternal Word of God? By focusing on God and claiming His promises, we can stand with confidence, determination, and perseverance in the midst of trouble.

Unconditional love is one promise that God gives His children. This love embodies His sacrifice on the cross, so that we might have forgiveness and eternal blessings. It is unconditional because He loves us no matter what we might do; His love does not depend on our behavior. God loves us absolutely, perfectly, and completely all of the time because that is His very nature. First John 4:7 says, “let us love one another, for love is from God.” In addition, 1 John 3:1 relates, “how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called the children of God.” We are blessed with the gift of God’s love simply because that is who He is.

God’s love is not only unconditional; it is also eternal. In Romans 8:38-39, Paul gives us this assurance by stating: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Can warfare separate us? No. Can terrorism separate us? No. My friend, not even death can separate us from our heavenly Father. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, I know them and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish”( John 10:27-28). We will remain in His eternal love forever. Therefore, as children of God, whenever we face trials that we do not understand and cannot control, we can rely on the awesome assurance that we are gripped by the unconditional, eternal love of our Lord.

God has also promised to give us His undivided attention. Now, you may say, “But there are too many believers for Him to think about each one all of the time!” Not for an omniscient God. He knows everything, and He is attentive to every single one 1 John 5:14 says that if “we ask anything according to God’s will, He hears us.” God hears our prayers, and answers them, too! In fact, He even knows our deepest thoughts. Psalm 94:11 states that “The LORD knows the thoughts of man,” and Psalm 44:21 says that “[He] knows the secrets of the heart.”
God knows everything about us, including how we think and what we desire. This is how He knows exactly how to comfort and guide us. In Psalm 94:19, the psalmist praises God for consoling his anxious thoughts. Likewise, in Psalm 32:8, God promises that “…[He] will counsel you with [His] eye upon you.” Because God is attentive to every single aspect of our lives—all of our needs, wants, and desires—He knows exactly how to relieve our fears and direct us to do His will.

When I am going through a difficult time in my life, I cling to another of God’s promises: His unalterable presence. I want to know that, no matter what I am going through, He is there. He vows to never leave nor forsake His children. (Hebrews 13:5) There is no one on earth who can make such a promise to us; only God can guarantee His eternal presence. (John 14:27)

When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, the Holy Spirit of God indwells us forevermore. He is our Helper who enables us to overcome every fear and hardship in our lives. Psalm 23:4 says that “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for [God] is with me; [His] rod and [His] staff, they comfort me.” What is it that gives us comfort? It is the very presence of God. (Psalm 91:1-9) No matter what we might face in our lives, God’s presence will enable us to remain strong, fearless, bold, and able.

God’s presence is so comforting because we also have the assurance of His unchanging power. Psalm 103:19 describes His infinite authority: “The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” Psalm 135:6 states, “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas, and in all deeps.”

You might think, “Well, if God’s in control, then why do bad things happen?” Isaiah 46:10 explains that God is going to fulfill His good purpose and perfect will. If He allows pain, hurt, and loss, then He has decided, in His infinite wisdom, that this will bring about His good purpose.

For example, a tragedy can persuade a nation to abandon its sinfulness and focus on God. You see, the Bible says that “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose”(Romans 8:28). So, we do not have to feel terrorized or afraid of what may happen. Things will only occur in our nation if God allows them. We should therefore be encouraged that all events—past, present, and future—are in the hands of our perfect and capable God.

As God’s children, we can stand firm in the knowledge of His unwavering promises. Joshua 21:45 says that all of God’s promises to the house of Israel came to pass; we can trust that they will hold true for us, as well. Therefore, we must not be controlled by events in the world. Everyone feels afraid sometimes, but we can overcome this and live confidently in the love, knowledge, presence, and power of our Lord. He knows that we cannot accomplish this by ourselves; He desires us to rely solely upon Him for assurance and direction. As His children, we have a responsibility to respond to trials with godliness, reverently serving our Lord.

If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, then you cannot experience the promises of God. Without a personal relationship with Him, you do not have anything of eternal value; everything you have can be shaken loose and torn away. Only God is unchanging and dependable, and, in His great love, desires that all men would come to know Him.(1 Timothy 2:3-4) He is waiting to hear you cry out to Him to confess and repent of your sins, and to surrender your life to Him. At that moment, as a new child of God, you too will be able to claim the amazing promises of our heavenly Father.

– Charles F. Stanley

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The Great Promise

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” – John 14:2-3

In John 14:2-3 we find Jesus making a promise to prepare a place for us and receive us to be with Him. It’s the Bible’s greatest promise!

Let’s look at this promise from Jesus’ perspective. When we do we discover two themes: “Preparation” and “Anticipation”.

Preparation…

“…I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)

My wife and I are busy preparing a nursery for the baby we’re expecting this July. It’s being decorating with colorful pictures to look at and toys to play with and we’re buying him nice clothes and plenty of diapers so he’ll be happy and comfortable when he arrives. Our goal is to create a place which will be an outward example of our inward love for him.

In the same way, Jesus is busy preparing heaven for us. His goal is for heaven to be an outward example of His inward love for us.

Anticipation…

“…I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3)

Oh, how we long to see our baby! We long to touch his face, to hold him in our arms, to shower him with love as we show him wonderful things.

So it is with Jesus. He longs to hold and shower us with His love. Imagine the great smile on His face as He shows us all the glorious things He’s prepared for those who love Him. We can’t even begin to understand how wonderful it will be (1 Corinthians 2:9).

When we arrive Jesus will shout for joy, “”I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5) and we will be introduced to a place where every tear will be wiped away and where the pain and problems of this world won’t even come to mind (Revelation 21:4). It will be a place where the blind will see his beautiful face, the deaf will hear his gentle voice, the lame will dance for joy, and the mute will sing praises to Him (Isaiah 35:5-6).

And we will spend all eternity in His perfect love.