Keeping a firm grip on God’s Word

When I pray I often hold the Bible in my hand. During meditative prayer and even during worship I like to hold on to God’s Word. In times of crisis I often carry it around in my house. It is symbolic. I hold on to the Word of God because His Word is my source of strength and It holds the truth I need to remember at all times. When we hold on to something it denotes that we are not letting go of it. That’s what I like to do. I like to not let go of the Word. What does that actually mean to hold on to God’s Word? It means that no matter what comes our way, our grip on God’s Word is the same. It means that there might be obstacles on our path but we will use the Word of God to go over the hurdles. We use the Word to flatten up problems and rise above dismal circumstances. Holding on to God’s Word implies that we continue to speak the Word despite the world. There is power in the Word. Hold on to power. Hold on tight. A firm grip will take you far. 

“If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7). Jesus made this promise to us. This promise has to do with holding on to His Word. If we hold on to it by keeping His words in us, we can ask whatever we wish and it will be done for us. Whatever we wish that is in accordance with God’s Word will be attained if we stay true to His Word. It sounds simple doesn’t it? Yet holding on to God’s Word is a daily challenge. We get tossed around by the waves of the sea of the world. One thought pops into our head and God becomes a far away concept. One bad break can send us back years on our faith walk. The enemy will do all he can to remove our grip on the Bible. However there is still hope. The Lord said “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge “ (Hosea 4:6). We know the truth. The goal is to keep knowing the truth so to speak. 

There is one amazing way to remain in the knowledge of the truth of God; being reliant on the Holy Spirit. He is the ultimate helper. He is the One who can help us abide by God’s Word. First we need to acknowledge Him and to be aware of how important He is. He can’t be separated from God. He can’t be separated from the Word. He is the liaison between the Lord and us. He is the incredible gift that Jesus gave us. If someone gives you the perfect gift you better take it and be grateful for it. I am grateful for the Holy Spirit. I thank the Lord for Him every single day. 

After acknowledging the Spirit we ought to invite Him into our lives all the time. He is always there but inviting Him shows that we can’t live without Him. It shows dependence. Every time you feel like you are letting go of the Word, invite the Holy Spirit and ask for help. He will keep the Word firm in your hand and He will bless you with more knowledge than you thought possible!

Suggested reading: Psalm 37:4; John 14:13; 1 John 5:14

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Indulge in your favorite comfort foods 

Comfort food is food that gives consolation or a feeling of well-being. Yogurt is one of my favorite comfort foods because it brings back good feelings from childhood. Comfort food takes you back to a familiar place that you love and cherish. It makes you feel at home. Most people eat their comfort food in order to deal with painful and tense situations. The Word of God is food for the soul and it is nourishment for our whole being. It is a huge supply of food that we should be having every day to maintain a healthy (spiritual) lifestyle. We can find some delicious comfort food in the Word. We can find passages that take us back to a familiar and safe place. What is your (Bible) comfort food? What passages do you turn to when you need to feel at home again while going through an uneasy time? Let me share some of my comfort foods . 

1. The ice-cream of consistency: “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). This comfort food is my to-go food. I snack on it the most. I take it out of the fridge of God’s provisions every chance I get. The Jesus who did great things for me years ago is still the same. He has the same love, He keeps the same promises and He has the same power. As I indulge in this comfort food, I find the strength I need. It gives me spiritual energy for the rest of the day. 

2. The calming dessert: “The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.” (Psalm 23:1-3). This comfort food brings a lot of peace. It encourages me to get into meditative prayer and it soothes my mind, my soul and my spirit. God is the ultimate provider for all things. Eating this food daily is a great reminder that I have nothing to worry about. He will always meet my needs. 

3. The hearty snack: “And now these three remains: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13). This snack always satisfies and it covers all food groups. It will sustain you for a long time and it will keep you in the truth. Eat it at all times. Don’t ever worry about overeating love. It’s the key to everything. 

I strongly encourage you to define your comfort foods and to indulge in them. They will bless you every time. Eat up!

Suggested reading: Isaiah 25:6; Ezekiel 34:14; 1 Corinthians 10:3

It doesn’t matter what you are up against 

I don’t know what’s going to happen this week. I don’t know if there will be acts of terrorism or casualties. I don’t know if you are going to have your heart broken or you are going to run into difficulties. What I know for sure is that God’s mercy will be enough for you and He delights in showing mercy. I know for sure that you will have what you need to face the challenges that will come up. I know that you are going to go through this week with the necessary equipment to have a great week. I also know that since God is on your side it doesn’t matter who is against you or what is against you. Romans 8:31 puts it nicely. It says “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” “These things” refer to all adversity, the opposition, problems, conflicts and all negative things. They will come. They will happen but it doesn’t matter because we have Someone greater and stronger for us. He is on our side and He is rooting for us. “These things” won’t win. You will win. 

I am not making negative predictions by alluding to the fact that “these things” could take place this week. If we think that nothing bad will ever happen, we put ourselves in a very vulnerable position and we stick our head in a bubble outside of reality. Once I understood that “these things” are bound to happen it actually made me feel better. Once again I have to say that I don’t go around expecting bad thing to happen. I go around with joy and confidence that no matter what happens I can handle it and I will go through it with flying colors because of the One who is for me. If you adopt the same attitude, you will live a lighter life and you will have a more constant positive outlook on life. Just hold on to the truth that God is for you. If you get sick, God will still be for you and He will help you. If you get bad news, God will still be for you and He will help you. If you get hurt physically or emotionally, God will be for you and He will help you. “These things” could be the worst things you have encountered BUT God will be for you and He will get your through them. 

Since God is for you and He always says you have nothing to worry about, enter this week with the assurance that you indeed have nothing to worry about. Keep in mind that you are in good hands no matter what bad hand life deals you this week. You are living in the truth and the truth is that blessings and favor will follow you every day this week. You are going to be a blessing to people around you and you are going to encourage those who need encouragement because that is part of who you are whether you know it or not. This week is going to be very good because it is what you can expect. Expect to be surrounded by mercy and grace. Expect to bounce back when you get punched by the opposition. Nothing that happens to you this week can stop what God has planned for you. His goodness is going to be present. His wisdom is going to dawn on you. His love is going to walk this earth thanks to you. Stay encouraged and praise Him for what’s to come. The good will be sustained, the bad will be dealt with beautifully, and the ugly will be beautified. Have a great week!

Suggested reading: Psalm 118:6; Jeremiah 1:19; 1 John 4:4

Take a break from the pain 

No one would deny that the atrocities taking place in the world have affected a lot of us emotionally. Pain and sadness seem to be a commonplace wherever you go these days. We are not immune to sorrow but we can take the necessary measures to deal with it. My proposal today is to take a break from the pain. Take a break from the sadness. “How?” you may ask. Have a fun. Have a party. Attack sadness with joy. Joy is a strength that can restore us from sickness to health and that can boost our morale when we tap into it. I am not saying this is easy to achieve but I am saying it can be done. Nurturing sadness will allow it to grow into something even more devastating. Cultivating joy will enable you to face the harsh realities of life with power. There is tremendous power in joy and it’s time we excavated it. Having a relationship with God implies having access to unlimited joy. Too many people are not aware of that and think that staying sad is pious and most accepted by God. No, He is not a sad God. Sadness is not in His DNA. It shouldn’t stay in ours for long. Let’s kick it out of our system!

I understand that having fun while everything around us is falling apart sounds like a bad idea. However, some popular bad ideas are what we should follow. If we want to start thinking the way God does, we need to let go of some of our old world patterns of thinking. When God advocates for us to rejoice at all times He is also including difficult times. Rejoicing when all is going well is no big achievement. Rejoicing when pain is eating us inside is a great testimony to our faith and trust. I have a friend who is always happy. Even when he gets bad news he bounces back very fast. He doesn’t believe in God but he knows the power of joy. He knows how much positive energy comes from joy and how it affects him in a wonderful way. 

I suggest you jumpstart joy. Do something fun. Watch a comedy. Read some jokes. Hang out with happy people. Give joy a chance to make an entrance into your life by finding it in the small things first. Once you have connected with it again, it will take off with wings if you stay open to it. There is a huge supply of joy waiting for you. God is the supplier and you are the receiver. Joy has a way of eradicating sadness and pushing it out of the way. We have a choice. We can pile up the dirt of sorrow on ourselves and be buried under a mountain of pain or we can dig ourselves out with joy. Like I said earlier, having a party in the face of adversity is a good choice. Instead of having a self-pity party we ought to have a happy party. If nothing else it will help you forget the pain for some time but I can guarantee that it will do a lot more for you. Take a break from the misery around you and spend time with the One who can heal all wounds. The more happy times you engage in, the stronger you will get when faced with sad moments. We can’t help feeling sadness but we can help ourselves get out of it. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). 

Suggested reading: Deuteronomy 12:7; Psalm 5:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16

More than enough 

The message today is more of a testimony. I believe it is important to share things that happen to us and that can encourage other people. I like theory but I like application even more. God is a God of application. He’s an active God and it is good to talk about all the things He does in our lives. I often talk about trusting God for blessings and knowing that He cares about our every need. If we engage with God on a personal level, He gets involved in our lives on all levels. I have put my trust in Him when it comes to finances and He has proven time and time again that He loves taking care of that aspect of my life. Surrender and trust go hand in hand. I have been tutoring on top of teaching for over ten years. Tutoring is a very lucrative side business. I also like that it helps find out more about students’ weaknesses and how I can improve my teaching. In January I prayed about my finances including tutoring. Here is what happened after I turned all over to God.

I had heard for a while that God was the God of more than enough but I had not really experienced it. My mentor taught me that faith paves the way for big changes in our lives and when it comes to finances, faith can make a difference. It’s a question of believing that God is interested in our finances and that we can get more than enough. If you are having money issues, take your issues to the bank meaning take them to the One who has all the resources. I had trouble believing in that before. It was not something I focused on and I wasn’t sure where to stand. Do ask Him for help and do believe that He will help indeed. I suggest you do it for yourself and see what happens. I was taken aback by the results. I sat down with my mentor in February and her words of encouragement about finances stayed with me. 

Words of encouragement can give you a great boost. What my mentor reminded me was that with God there are no limits and I needed to trust that. She said that I would tutor a lot this summer and it will just take off like never before. Tutoring last summer was weak. I only gave a few lessons. The summer before was almost nothing. I tutored one girl, one day for one hour. During the school year I did a bit more. Now in June a lady contacted me saying she was wondering if I could tutor her two kids all summer for 6 to 8 hours a week. She had asked one of my friends but he was going to be in Australia most of the summer. Tutoring those two boys was a great blessing and not just financially. They turned out to be great kids that I connected with. I enjoy tutoring them a lot and we even have fun. I was also asked by a high student for private lessons. He needs 10 to 12 sessions. Then another person from another town got in touch with me for weekly tutoring sessions. Now all these people came to me. I didn’t have to go look for them. The way the Lord orchestrated the whole thing is mind blowing. I have tutored this summer more than I have ever had during a summer and during the school year. I will also be tutoring two kids I had tutored before in the next few weeks. They need some refresher lessons. God opened the floodgates. It started with a decision to release it all to Him and to trust even when all was silent. Then the words of encouragement lifted my spirits up and finally it all came together the way God had designed it. Stay encouraged, friend. Surrender and trust. Let God be in charge of your finances!

Suggested reading: Matthew 7:11; Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 3:20

Midnight is coming 

Have you ever felt like you were a prisoner of your circumstances? Have you ever felt like your problems kept you in a prison cell? Trials and tribulations can keep us in chains. Our mind can be a self-inflicted life sentence that holds us in jail. When I find myself in a difficult situation, I remember what happened to Paul and Silas in the Bible. They were unfairly put in jail while they were doing God’s work. To make sure they wouldn’t escape, they were thrown in a dungeon and their feet were clamped in the stocks. Talk about being in a dire and desperate predicament. I am sure their problem seemed horrible to them. However, instead of falling into the trap of despair, they sang hymns and prayed. Their attitude is a perfect example to be followed. Now, around midnight, there was an earthquake, the prison was shaken and the doors flew open. The chains of the prisoners fell off. Friend, you might be going through a lot today but let me tell you that your midnight is on the way. God is about to shake your world and open the doors of your cell. The chains are about to fall off. Hang in there. He is going to set you free.

The way Paul and Silas react to their condition in jail is exemplary. They set a great example for us. You probably noticed that instead of crying, they sang. Instead of complaining, they prayed. Their circumstances didn’t change their connection with God. Their jail time didn’t change their daily routine of praising God. Their dilemma didn’t keep them from singing hymns. How many of us can say that when life hits us hard we just keep on singing and praying to God? Let’s have a Paul and Silas reaction to life, friend. Let’s exhibit extravagant faith that enables us to have fun while we are going through the furnace. It’s totally the opposite of what we feel like doing but what’s folly to man is wisdom to God. With Paul and Silas we are in the company of two very wise men. Let’s try it their way. It worked wonders for them. 

As we celebrate and keep on enjoying life as usual in the midst of trouble, God will intervene. It might not be a physical earthquake but it’s going to be a spiritual tsunami that is going to reverse your worst situation. Midnight is late in the day. This symbolizes that they received their freedom late when most people would not expect anything to happen anymore. They didn’t give up. They didn’t give up when most of us would. Midnight is coming, friend. Don’t worry about how late it all seems to be. It will happen. In the middle of your night, in the middle of darkness, God is going to open the door and bring the light in. He is going to take you out of the dungeon. He’s going to break the shackles and let you walk free. It could come to you as a surprise when you least expect it. Just keep on doing what you do. Keep on praying, keep on hoping, keep on believing. Take your eyes off your problem and fix your eyes on your midnight hour. Stay encouraged. There are no chains and no prisons too strong for our Lord. Midnight is coming!

Suggested reading: Acts 16:25; James 1:2; Psalm 77:6

You reap what you sow 

Galatians 6:7 explains that “A man reaps what he sows.” It is a principle that many people believe even outside of the Church. What are you sowing every day? What do you put out there? Are you aware of the dividends from what you plant? A farmer who sows corn will reap corn. A person who sows love will reap love. A person who sows hatred will reap hatred. It might not come into manifestation right away but it will show up eventually. Now, we sow things all the time. We don’t need to be in the fields to sow. We sow through our words and through our actions. To sow is to plant seeds. There are tons of seeds out there. There are the seeds of love, the seeds of hope, the seeds of malice, the seeds of deceit, the seeds of joy, the seeds of sorrow, the seeds of victory and the seeds of failure among many other seeds. Whether you are aware of it or not, you plant seeds all the time. You are the farmer of your life. There are good seeds and bad seeds. You can fertilize with God’s fertilizers or you can destroy with the enemy low quality products. Choose to sow the seeds that will produce bountiful crops. Crops that will feed you and others with abundance of blessings. 

The enemy likes to plant seeds in our minds but we actually do the sowing. He puts the seed of doubt in our head so that we end up with weeds that corrupt our harvest. Sow faith by acting on God’s Word. Sow those seeds of faith generously. Sow them everywhere you go. Be known for being a person of faith. When people give up on their crops, be the one to sprinkle their fields with words of faith. Be an encourager. Be a motivator. Don’t get intimidated by seasons of lack. What you plant will eventually grow. Winter might last a bit longer than usual but your spring is coming and with it new crops of blessings will be popping all over the place. Sow faith and you will reap faith. How? As you present faith to the world, the Lord will give you reasons to believe even more. He will act on your favor and what He does for you will boost your faith. 

I’ll never get tired of proclaiming that sowing love is the best thing you can ever sow. Sowing love takes on many forms. An act of kindness is a way of planting seeds of love. Taking the time to help someone is sowing love. Praying for someone is a big seed of love. Find a creative way to sow love. Find the best way that you can sow love. As you plant those seeds, you will be doing God’s work and you will be changing lives. Your seeds of love will grow into beautiful plants that will vibrate with life and hope. Plant hope. Let the seeds of hope fall into solid grounds. You will reap more hope for the future. 

Just remember that your words and your actions are seeds. Choose them carefully. What you sow is what you reap so you want to make sure that you are giving your soil the very best. Just be patient with it. Sometimes it will take a while but you will get results. Happy planting. It’s harvest time!

Suggested reading: Hosea 10:12; Romans 2:6-10; 2 Corinthians 9:6