God is for us
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?
God has the power to give us a new life in the grips of His grace. As our faith in God grows, we will begin to see the different ways that God is working in our life and in the lives of others. God can change us, from the inside out to dispel any fears and alleviate any of our doubts. God can change us from the outside in, till we no longer desire to commit sin. We can seek to know and trust the power of God at work in our lives. No matter what life will bring, God’s powerful love can be our sure hope and inner joy.
Write Your blessed Name, O Lord, upon my heart, there to remain so indelibly engraved,
that no prosperity, no adversity shall ever move me from your love. Be to me a strong tower of
defense, a comforter in tribulation, a deliverer in distress, a very present help in trouble, and a
guide to heaven through the many temptations and dangers of this life. Amen.
-Prayer of Thomas á Kempis-
God deserves all the praise
The following is a poem that I wrote about being a great leader. If we focus too much on ourselves, we will miss the mark. To be a great leader means to spend less time thinking about ourselves and more time seeking to know how God can use us to help others. It is not about what you can accomplish, but about the impact that God can make on other people through you. Equipped by God and His loving leadership, God can use you to improve the lives of others. Never forget that God cares for you! You can trust God! God wants to help you! God is the world’s greatest leader!
I went on a search to be a leader great,
Searching high and low with a determined gait
I spoke with authority that I remember,
But none would follow, not one member
“Why should we trust you?” they did ask,
“What have you done to achieve the task?”
Focusing on myself is what I did wrong,
Then I rolled up my sleeves and worked right along
Shoulder to shoulder we got things done,
We worked side by side, all were one
A mate of mine stumbled, I stooped to assist,
My hand he did grab, a smile did persist
One was lost, didn’t know what to do,
I showed her how to achieve something new
I praised them one and all for their consistence,
All were unique and I encouraged persistence
When the task was done, they did shout
“You’re a great leader!” they all did tout
“Without you there to support our plight,
Lost would we be with no end in sight.”
“No thanks to me is due,” I responded
“A true leader I discovered and that is why we bonded.
Care, trust, and help He offers to all
With Him in your life you will stand tall
God is my leader true
All that He taught me came through
God deserves all the praise
Never forget this wonderful phrase.
God’s love and wisdom He offers free
Following His example is the key
To lead by God’s wisdom is the true treasure,
The secret of servant leadership, in one simple measure.
Children of God
The most important thing that you can learn is who you are as a child of God. All Christians are adopted by God as His beloved children. See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1a. As children of God there are many blessings and promises that God provides us that we can read in the Bible. We can strive to learn more about God’s great love for us and how our Father God cares for us. The more we take to heart and remember God’s promises for us, the more the inner joy that comes from being a redeemed child of God can permeate our life. The following was written by an unknown author and describes some of the great promises that God has for us.
A MESSAGE FROM GOD TO YOU
You may not know this…I know everything about you (Psalm 139:1). I know when you sit down and when you rise up (Psalm 139:2). I am familiar with all your ways (Psalm 139:3). Even the very hairs on your head are numbered (Matthew 10:29-31). For you were made in My image (Genesis 1:27). In Me you live and move and have your being (Acts 17:28). I knew you before you were born (Jeremiah 1:4-5). I chose you when I planned creation (Ephesians 1:11-12). You were not a mistake, for all of your days are written in my book (Psalm 139:15-16).
I determined the exact time of your birth and when you would live (Acts 17:26). You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). You were created for my praise and glory (Isaiah 43:6-7).
I am not distant and angry. On the contrary, I am the complete expression of love. (1 John 4:16; 1 John 3:16). And it is my desire to lavish My love on you! (1 John 3:1). Simply because you are My child and I am your Father (1 John 3:1). I offer you more than your earthly father ever could (Matthew 7:11). For I am the perfect Father (Matthew 5:48). Every good and perfect gift you receive comes from My hand (James 1:17).
For I am Your provider and meet all your needs (Matthew 6:31-33). My plan for your future has always been filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Because I love you with an everlasting love! (Jeremiah 31:3).
My thoughts toward you are as countless as the sands on the seashore (Psalm 139:17-18). And I rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). I will never stop doing good to you (Jeremiah 32:40). For you are My treasured possession (Exodus 19:5). I want to show you great and marvelous things (Jeremiah 33:3). If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me (Deuteronomy 4:29). Delight in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). I am able to do more than you could possibly imagine (Ephesians 3:20). For I am your greatest encourager (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17). I am your Father, who comforts you in all of your troubles (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you! (Psalm 34:18).
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to My heart (Isaiah 40:11). One day I will wipe every tear from your eyes (Revelation 21:3-4). And I will take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth (Revelation 21:3 -4). I love you! (John 3:16). I am your Father and I love you, even as I love My Son, Jesus (John 17:23). For in Jesus, My love for you is revealed (John 17:26). He is the exact representation of My being (Hebrews 1:3). He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you (Romans 8:31). And to tell you that I am not counting your sins against you (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Jesus died on a cross so that you and I could be reconciled (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). His death is the ultimate expression of My love for you (1 John 4:10).
I gave up My one and only Son that I might save you (John 3:16). You and I are reconciled through Jesus’ blood shed on the cross (Colossians 1:19-20). Jesus died and rose again on the third day to rescue you from eternal death (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 6:23; Matthew 25:46). If you receive the gift of My Son, Jesus, you receive Me (1 John 2:23). And nothing will ever separate you from My love again! (Romans 8:38-39). I have always been your Father and will always be your Father (Ephesians 3:14-15).
Your Father, Almighty God.
Grounded in God's Word
What lie is holding you hostage? What wrong thought robs you of living a life of joy? Pastor and author, Craig Groeschel, provides a list of reflective questions to think about in order to focus on how we can improve our thoughts to align them with the way God would want us to think about ourselves.
Are my thoughts tearing me down? Does my self-talk cause me to shrink back in fear? Do my thoughts cause me to keep people at a distance? Are my unhealthy thoughts keeping me from the life that God wants for me? Does my inner voice tell me I’m helpless or that life is hopeless?
The goal is to shift from these questions to affirmative answers to the following questions. Are my thoughts building me up? Do I think peaceful thoughts? Does my self-talk inspire me to take faith risks? Do my thoughts help me get closer to others? Do my thoughts reflect my faith? Do my thoughts reflect my hope and joy in Christ? Do they equip me to become more like Jesus? Do my thoughts connect to the vision God has for my life? You cannot defeat when you cannot define. It is important to identify any lie about yourself that is holding you back and replace it with truths and promises from God.
One way to do this is through prayer. Prayer can change you. As we pray to God, we can thank God for the blessings that He provides us. We can praise His great name. We can bring our requests and struggles to Him, confident that He hears us and is working to help us. When we spend time in prayer, God will have a way of working answers into our lives through thoughts or through others.
Prayer can even change your brain. Dr. Andrew Newberg, director of research at Thomas Jefferson Hospital and Medical College in Pennsylvania, studies the brain by using neuroimaging techniques. He has written a book called, How God changes your brain. He describes that prayer is like a physical workout for the brain and changes its chemistry. Another doctor in the same field, Dr. Caroline Leaf, further describes the impact of prayer on the brain. “It has been found that twelve minutes of daily focused prayer over an eight-week period can change the brain to such an extent that it can be measured on a brain scan. This type of prayer increases activity in brain areas associated with social interaction, compassion, and sensitivity to others.” Prayer also increases frontal lobe activity, which involves problem solving, memory, judgement, and impulse control.
Prayer is powerful because it is God’s power at work in our lives. Prayer can change your brain and move your life and thoughts in a positive direction. This is important as your life is always moving in the direction of your strongest thoughts. We can seek to pray and saturate ourselves in God’s Word to keep from being influenced by the devil or the world. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2.
Prayer can renew our mind, leading us to God’s peace, joy, and understanding. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7. We can actively seek to know Bible verses that will correct any harmful thoughts that we might have. We can ground our thoughts in God’s Word and hold on to His promise and truths.
Every day we can seek to learn more about Jesus and the joy that can be found in His great love for us. This then can impact how we approach all aspects of our lives. Every day we can experience joy in greeting, encouraging, and learning more about others in our lives. Every day we can be joyful to learn more about ourselves. We can seek to learn new things in order to be better equipped to help others and share God’s love with them.
It is important to note that there is a difference between the joy of the Lord and happiness. Happiness is often temporary and the result of outward circumstances or interactions. The joy of the Lord is based on something exceptionally good. It is God’s great love and presence in our lives. This joy is unending and can lead to inward peace and contentment. The joy of the Lord transcends what happens to us as it is based on who God is. God does not change. The joy of the Lord is constant even in difficult times as God’s love and grace in our lives does not change. The joy of the Lord is a great blessing! It is the joy of grace! It is the joy of comfort! It is the joy of mercy! It is the joy of forgiveness! It is the joy of love! This joy is rooted deep within us and provides Christians great strength!
The joy of the LORD is your strength.
The joy of the Lord as our strength can be a great constant in the life of Christians. This joy is strength for all moments of life! When we focus on the joy of the Lord, we can have lasting inward peace and contentment that provides hope and encouragement for each day.
The wonderful thing about the joy of the Lord is that it is not based on our decisions or who we are. God is the source and giver of this joy! For God had given the people cause for great joy. Nehemiah 12:43a. When we saturate ourselves in God’s Word, it will have a transforming effect on us as the joy of the Lord will be with us as a source of hope, encouragement, comfort, gladness, and so much more!
Pastor and author, Charles Spurgeon, has an excellent description of the impact the joy of the Lord can have on our lives. “There is a marvelous medicinal power in joy…[joy] is sweet to the taste, and comforting to the heart. This blessed joy is very contagious…Holy joy will oil the wheels of your life’s machinery. Holy joy will strengthen you for your daily labor.” Proverbs 17:22 states it this way. A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Joy from God’s Word and His promises can provide us with delight and purpose for each day.
Rooted in God's Word
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Jesus’ teaching is always relevant because He knows everyone’s thoughts, what everyone
is going through, and what everyone will face in the future. He knew that there are things in this
world that can cause people to fall away from their faith. That is why the importance of reading
and retaining God’s Word is emphasized. God’s Word is powerful and transforming. Through
reading the Bible, discussing God’s Word with other Christians, and attending church we are able
to persevere in our faith until we are called home to our eternal dwelling place in heaven. Remember experiences, Bible verses, and conversations that made you better understand God’s goodness, power, and love. When difficulty comes, remember these important lessons.
Perfect love of Christ
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner
being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and
established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge— that you may be filled to the measure of all fullness of God.
God’s love and grace is powerful. Coach Tony Dungy in his book, The Mentor Leader, shares how the most important knowledge of God’s love shaped his life. “From my perspective, a genuine sense of self-worth—the kind of confidence that can’t be shaken by circumstances—is best obtained through a relationship with God. The knowledge that He created me and cares for me does more for my mental health and overall well-being than any self-help book ever could. I am both humbled and empowered by the knowledge that Jesus Christ performed the ultimate act of sacrificial service for me. To know that God loves me that much is powerful.”
God loves you
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Humans were created in God’s image and with God’s help and strength are capable of
great things. God does not make junk and every person has God-given talents and abilities that
can be used to glorify God. Know that you were created to be great, something special, something
only you can be. Being great is not based on your job, possessions, power, or appearance though.
It is based on what Jesus has done for us through His suffering and death on the cross for the sins
of the world and His victorious resurrection. Because of His love that gives us the free gift of
eternal life, we are able to show God’s love to others in whatever we are doing in life, wherever
we might be, and with whom we interact with in our daily lives. It is quite amazing to think that
the all-powerful creator God knows us, has a purpose for our lives, cares about us, and wants to
God hears us
It can be frustrating when we have something to say and do not feel like a person is listening to us. With God there is no doubt, He always hears us and is listening intently. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14. That is quite amazing to think about. The all powerful God listens to us! When we dial the number we don’t have to worry about a busy signal or that the person is not available. No matter what God is doing, He is able to hear us as we pray. Prayer is so important that Jesus prayed often. He set the example of praying before He taught His disciples to pray. The disciples noticed that Jesus prayed often and requested Him to teach them. Prayer is the only tutorial the disciples requested.
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
The words, “Our Father” remind us we are welcome in God’s house because we have been adopted by the owner. We can talk to God because He is our loving Father who listens to us! All Christians are a part of the family of God and we know that our Father is always with us.
Christian, author, and professor of mathematics education.