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If we look at the accounts of what’s happening in society and the status of the world, none of this should surprise the Christian who actually reads and believes the Word of God.

God’s Word tells us what’s going to happen. It may not tell us when, but it does tell us what’s going to happen.

Matthew 24:7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
-Pestilences means a fatal epidemic disease. If coronavirus is not considered pestilence, I don’t know what is.

Matthew 24:10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
-Have you seen hate lately? If you turn on the news for two seconds, you’ll see someone hating someone else.

Luke 21:25-26 “And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
-Natural disasters have increased. In fact, while hurricane Zeta was making landfall in Louisiana, an ice storm was impacting people next door in Texas.

People may think it’s all a coincidence, but God’s Word is clear. People want all the craziness in 2020 to calm down but honestly, this is just the beginning. This is not meant to scare the believer, but inform them. We don’t have to be afraid because when we submit to God and have faith in His Word, He promised to always protect, provide, and prosper us in any season (2 Tim. 4:18, Matt. 6:33, Ps. 1:1-3).

So, don’t be surprised or afraid about what you see. This has to happen.

1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 (NLT) But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.

Jeremiah 8:12 Are they ashamed of these disgusting actions? Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be brought down when I punish them, says the LORD.

VS.

Romans 4:8 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

There’s a big difference between the old covenant and new covenant in how God dealt with sin. In the old covenant, a person was punished for their sin, but in the new covenant, a person’s sin was not counted against them. Why is this? One word… JESUS.

Jesus took all the punishment for every past, present, or future sins (Rom. 3:23-26). People in the old covenant didn’t have that luxury. They either had to pay for their sin through the punishment of death or a priest had to sacrifice animals to cover their sins (Rom 6:23; Lev. 17:11).

Thank God for Jesus Who took our punishment so that we can live a life free of punishment, guilt, shame, or condemnation.   

Proverbs 17:9 (CSB) Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends.

It’s a choice to be offended by the actions or words of someone else. However, if someone does something so atrocious that we take offense, we are to go to them privately and point out the offense (Matt. 18:15).

It’s unfruitful to go to a million people and tell them what so and so did to us. It’s not helping the situation at all. In fact, it’s only shaping the way they think about the person who offended us.

If you’re offended by someone, go take your grievances to them. If they apologize, great. But if not, give it to God and move on. Don’t allow offense to keep you up at night, eating you up inside, and having you display a negative disposition.

Some people have literally allowed the horror stories of others to shape and direct their lives. They think they’re acting wisely, but they’re living in fear.

Some people are seriously not getting married because they know people who were cheated on by their spouses. How foolish is that? What does another person’s spouse have to do with them? There are people who won’t fly because they’ve heard about plane crashes. Some people are unwilling to try certain foods because they “heard” it didn’t taste good.

We can’t keep living our lives through the lenses of others. These horror stories are meant to paralyze us with fear. We have to open our minds, do what God tells us to do, and live our lives being led by the Spirit, not through the horror stories of someone else.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

We seem to do fine when it comes to pleasing God by putting God above, friends, coworkers, or random people we don’t know, but when it comes to mothers, spouses, or children, people have a hard time and tend to question some things.

Pleasing God means doing what He says (Heb. 13:20-21): what God says in His Word or through the Holy Spirit. So, when God’s Word says you should leave your mother and father and cleave to your spouse (Gen. 2:24), that’s not the time to ignore that verse because you feel like no one should come before mama. That also means we should put God first by spending time with Him before we spend time with our fun spouse. When God’s Word says to physically discipline our children (Prov. 23:13), that’s not the time to question the bible. It’s better to please God than temporarily hurt your child’s feelings. He’s smarter than us.

Our parents, spouses, or children should not come before God. They are people just like everyone else. Our job is to please God, not man.

Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Jeremiah 29:11 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.

Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

As we can see, God has plans to prosper us, but we can also see His ways are not our ways. So, whatever pathway to prosperity we think God should have for us will most likely be different. The goal of being prosperous in every area of our lives will still be the same, but how we get there will be different.

For example, we may think God should prosper us in our finances by allowing us to receive promotions every 3 to 5 years. But, God is smarter than us and He sees the big picture. God knows if we receive those promotions, we’ll have more responsibilities at work, which will take us from our families. We’ll be financially prosperous, but our family will suffer.

How we become prosperous is none of our business. That’s up to God. Once we’re convinced that God is smarter than us and He has better plans than we could imagine, the easier it becomes to accept whatever pathway He creates.

When we see a 2-hour movie, we’re seeing the final product of hundreds of hours’ worth of work. There are a lot of behind the scenes things we don’t see, that have been done over months.

There are a lot of behind the scene things people didn’t see for us to get to the place we are today. Most of our efforts are spiritually located, on the battleground of our minds. We had to continuously confess God’s Word despite what we see. We had to continue to believe even though what we’re experiencing contradicts what we believe. We had to continue to renew our minds even though thoughts contrary to God’s Word were bombarding our minds.

People see the final product (house, healthy, genuinely happy family), but they may not know the work that was put in for us to experience this abundant life Jesus provided. Let people know there’s some effort involved to experience God’s best. The devil is not just going to let us have what God has promised. We must resist him and claim what is ours (James 4:7).  

Ephesians 6:12 For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age.

Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done.

The devil is constantly attacking our minds with thoughts contrary to God’s Word. He often likes to remind us of things we don’t have yet. His goal is to make us feel unloved by God and to make us believe God’s promises won’t come to pass.

Instead of dwelling on those thoughts, capture them, and replace them with the Word of God. So, if Satan tells us we’ll never have a certain career, we audibly declare “God gives me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4).” After declaring God’s Word, it’s beneficial to fill our minds with thoughts of thankfulness.

We think about all the things God has done in our lives. We think about how He healed us, how He provided for us, and how He did the miraculous. When we think about His wonderful works in our lives, we create a sense of gratitude and we can’t help but be thankful.

Don’t allow the devil to win by feeling sorry for yourself about things that haven’t happened yet. Be thankful for everything God has already done in your life.

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

Jesus said, His words are spirit and life. If Jesus, who operated in the earth as a man, said His words are spirit and life, then so are ours.

Our words are alive and depending on what we say, we can build up or tear down things in our lives (Prov. 18:21). If we declare we have joy, peace, and all our needs are taken care of by God, then that’s what we’ll have. On the other hand, if we say we’re stressed, worried, or broke (even jokingly), we’ll have what we say.

Some may not think our words have that much power but remember, the almighty God didn’t create the universe with only His mind. And He didn’t use His hands. He used words. If He used words, and we’re created in His likeness, our words have power too.

God wants us to enjoy this life. As we place and keep our faith in Him, He’s willing to pull off the miraculous just to see us smile. Unfortunately, we do certain things to tie up God’s hands. One of those things is allowing our logic or earthly wisdom to supersede God’s voice.

For instance, we may want another cookie for dessert. We hear God telling us “it’s okay.” However, our logic tells us we don’t need the calories and we deprive ourselves of something God has okayed. Or, we may want new clothes, but we don’t want to spend the money. God has approved us buying new clothes and He’s telling us to trust Him. We don’t buy the clothes because we feel it’s unwise to spend the money. We denied ourselves something God approved.
It’s all a lack of trust in God.

If we want something, it’s our responsibility to go to God and see what He says. If He temporarily denies it or tells us to wait, we should wait for His timing to get the item. If He approves, go get it and enjoy and trust that He knows what He’s doing. Don’t talk yourself out of something God is treating you to.

Psalm 35:27 Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, “Let the LORD be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”

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