Acts 13:52 Joy Amidst Persecution

And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52

When trouble hits a person, most people get depressed or discouraged. During attempts to accomplish something, it is common for a person to run into some roadblocks. Often this discourages the person and he gives up in order to try something different.

Joy is rarely seen in a person in the midst of major problems. Instead of joy one will see anger, frustration, depression, or fear. The focus or desire is often lost or given up.

As the disciples were preaching the gospel, many Jewish leaders were against them and pushed them out. The disciples left the area with joy and with God’s Holy Spirit.

The world does not like to hear the gospel message of Jesus. There are also many ‘believers’ in the church who get offended at hearing the full truth in God’s word. It means that they are wrong and must change. These people will often push out or persecute true believers who are preaching the whole of God’s word.

Just as the world gets depressed and discouraged, many believers will also get depressed and discouraged under persecution. This occurs because people have the wrong focus. Too many believers expect an easy, problem free life as a believer. Jesus actually promised the exact opposite.

Those who are going through trouble and persecution can have joy knowing that they are walking the path God has for them and that God is with them. During persecution, the believer can pick up and move on to the next location to reach others who are willing to listen. They do not need to stay stuck in one place, wallowing in despair of failure.

The joy of God’s salvation and presence gives the believer strength to move on despite all troubles.

As you are a witness for Jesus there will come times of trouble or persecution. Do not allow yourself to be discouraged or to give up. Look to God for your joy and strength.

Remember how much persecution Jesus went through for you. Remember that Jesus promised persecution. But also remember that God has promised you eternal life in the end with no more suffering.

Walk with joy and God’s Holy Spirit moving forward to a new place. Find new places to be a witness. Seek out others who will listen. Do not stop or give up. God is with you.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will be a witness for Jesus; that God will fill you with His joy; that you will be filled with God’s Holy Spirit; and that God will give you strength during persecution and troubles.

Amos 5:4 Seek God And Live

Seeking on a boat

This is what the Lord says to Israel: “Seek me and live;” Amos 5:4 

Most people want to live. They appear to do everything that they can to keep from dying. People go to the doctor to get medicine and surgery to cure them of sicknesses and injuries in order to prevent death.

During the time of COVID 19, people are putting on masks and isolating themselves to prevent sickness and death. People fear dying and will do whatever it takes to prevent it, accept for the one thing that will prevent death.

Amos tells the people that God is telling them to seek Him in order to live.

In a world that is dying, many are living in fear of death. Yet, many are turning away from God, refusing to accept that Jesus is the only way to life. God does not want to punish and destroy anyone, yet His holiness demands it. God’s grace has made a way to stop the judgement of death upon every person.

There have been many in the church that have turned their backs upon God and sought life in other ways, the ways of the world. The sinful ways of this world, however, will only bring about chaos, death and destruction. Their ways will only bring about temporary life, a moment of joy that will flee very quickly into depression and death.

All a person must do is seek God and His ways to find life. Jesus died so that everyone else may live. He is willing to give that life away for free, just by believing and following Him.

As the world is seeking ways to live, the believer has the answer and needs to point the way. The church has life, but must be willing to live it and share it with this lost and dying world.

You have access to true life that will never end, an eternal life. It is your choice if you will seek God or you will choose to seek other people and things. One brings eternal, true life, the other brings temporary life, then death.

Focus your life on seeking after God and what He desires for you. In spite of the death and sickness all around you, you will live for eternity. This body of yours is only a temporary dwelling place on this earth. It will not last forever, but your soul will.

Who, or what are you seeking today? Seek God and live.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will seek God and His ways for your life; that you will live your life by God’s standards; that God will strengthen to turn away from the ways of this world; and that you will know life in Jesus. 

Psalm 43:5 Discouraged? Disturbed?

Depression

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 43:5 

Discouragement is something is seen nearly everywhere. People are discouraged about their job, the family, their spouse, their dreams, and many other things. Life is not going the way that they had planned it to go and they do not understand why.

Many are also disturb at the way things are going. They see the news about killings, wars, financial crises, diseases, disasters and much more negative news and fear what is going to happen in life. They do not see any hope for anything good.

In order to cope with the discouragement and anxiety that people are feeling, many will turn to drugs, both legal and illegal. They drown themselves in things or activities to hide their pain and fears.

The author of this psalm asks the question of why his soul was downcast or discouraged and disturbed. He knew that he should be putting all of his hope and trust in God, while giving Him praise.

The discouragement and anxiety does not rest just with unbelievers, but many believers are feeling the same way also. They see what is going on and fear it. They have chosen to see the things of this world only and not see what God is doing.

Despite the garbage, sickness, sin and death in this world, every believer has a hope that is still alive. They have a reason to give God praise. God is on their side and has forgiven them and given them life. While there are troubles in this life, there is a hope of a future that is perfect with no pain, sorrow or suffering for all eternity.

Each one also has the joy of knowing God is right there with them to strengthen and guide them through this dark world. These are reasons to give God praise.

Choose to worship and praise God in spite of the negative things you see. Complaining and being depressed and discouraged will not change a thing, but praising God will give you strength. It can shed light into a dark area of life.

Put all of your hope in God and not in the people and things of this world. This world will pass away, but God will always be there.

Now go out rejoicing and praising God today!

I pray today that you will know the salvation Jesus offers; that you will know the hope Jesus provides; that God will remove all fear and anxiety in your life; that God will remove discouragement; ad that you will praise God in every situation. 

1 Peter 1:3 Praise God

 

Man praising God

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3

In the world there are a lot of troubles and problems. People everywhere are walking around depressed or angry. Millions of dollars are spent every year on medicines and counseling to help people with depression, because they cannot find a reason to be happy or find joy in life.

Many people blame God for what is going on. They do not want to look at what God has done for them and how great that is. All they see is trouble and pain.

With all of the problems, people turn to things of this world for help…drugs, sex, violence, or more. They refuse to see what God has done and can do for them.

Those who have learned what God has done for them find a reason to rejoice and praise God. The greatest thing that God has done for any person is not provide health or wealth or peace, but a new life and a living hope. This new life is found in Jesus Christ.

God loved people so much that He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to save them. With the death and resurrection of Jesus, God is able to provide new life for every person. He did not have to do it, but did it out of His great love and mercy for all people.

When a person realizes how great this life is, he has nothing else to do but to praise God. He wants to give God glory and praise for what He has done. He has a hope that cannot be taken away and will last for all eternity, despite the troubles going on in this world, in his own life and around him.

As a believer, think about what God has done for you. Think about the price Jesus paid for your sins. Think about what Jesus has given you–eternal life, a new hope. God as saved you for all eternity.

Take time to praise God for the salvation that He has given you. Praise God for the new life He has given you. Praise God for the hope He has given you.

Praise God today!

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will allow God to remove all of your sins; that you will know the hope you have in Jesus; that you will know the new life God provides you; and that you will praise God for He great mercy in your life.