To Whom Do You Cling?

When you run out of resources and find yourself in desperate circumstances, to whom do you cling? 

Some of us have a tendency not to ask for help. Either pride holds us back (we think we can do it all), or we don’t know where to turn….

I remember times in my life when I thought I could handle a situation by myself. I tried to solve the problem but ended up frustrated and disappointed. This mindset “I can do it alone” strategy was a sign of my spiritual immaturity. 

When we don’t grasp the hands of God in times of difficulty, it’s easy to forget who is the source of our blessings. Inevitably, we find ourselves completely lost. 

The temptation to forget God is always present — even when we are having the time of our lives.  When life is comfortable and pleasant, do we stop and thank or even think of that one person who has us on his/her mind at all times?

Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”

Whether in times of bliss or depression, God invites us to cling to the Lord Jesus and daily place ourselves at the foot the Cross, experiencing the death and life of Jesus. As Peter Scazzero says in his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, “The invitation is to go to the cross daily alone, while we’re suffering with our losses (job, marriage, home, health or loss of a loved one).” 

The invitation also stands in times of gladness, to thank Jesus for providing the forgiveness of sin for all those who believe in him. He paid the penalty for the sins that we committed in our ignorance, and even the ones which were deliberate. When we willingly receive what was done for us on the cross, the cross becomes our resting place and that is when we are born again. Our new life becomes the answer to Jesus’ prayer on the Cross “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they’re doing.” (Luke 23:34)

As we immerse ourselves in God’s love and cling to his promises, the result will be not loss, but rather gain — a fulfilled life, the life that God intended for us.

While “holding fast” to the cross, we will be able to experience God’s power resting upon us. Our part is to go forth and tell the story of the lamb who takes away the sin of the world. 

 (Psalm 63:8) “My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.”

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Her Mysterious Heart!

There are many great women who have changed and influenced the world around them with their hard work. But when it comes to understanding a particular woman’s heart, her immeasurable love and strength is unfathomable. God has designed her heart mysteriously.

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Everyone has a different definition of a woman’s heart – Hallmark cards, books, and movies come close to describing the nature of her heart but somehow miss the mark. This woman is called Mother. What is a Mother’s heart? Who can understand her tender heart? Not even the father of her children can understand her. Another mother might come close to understanding but she has not found anyone who cares enough to see her true self – where love resides, and shows itself through her actions or her smile. The only one who can really understand her at the deepest level is the designer of her heart, God himself. God has given her the joy of smiles and laughter as well as tears to shed whenever she needs to cry. He is the one who counts every teardrop. She prays without ceasing and relies on His promises, because He is the source of all her blessings. Never underestimate the power of her prayers.

Any woman who keeps her covenant with the Holy God will grow in righteousness, and God will develop within her a pure heart. We all know the story of Mother Mary in the Bible – the mother of Jesus, who was characterized by God as “Highly favored” (Luke 1:28) The angel appeared to Mary and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” Indeed Mary was a righteous woman and blessed by God as the one chosen to be the mother of Jesus. But Mary was still an ordinary human used by God in an extraordinary way. She recognized that she needed Jesus Christ as her Savior, just like everyone else. People praised her because she was given the blessing of giving birth to the Messiah. But how different is Mary’s heart from ours as a mother? There is no difference. She was in tremendous distress when Roman soldiers tortured her son by nailing Him to a cross. She was standing there as it happened. I cannot imagine the agony she went through watching Him, who had no sin, lay down his life for the sin of the world. What grieved her heart the most was to see the suffering of her innocent son. He was found guilty of loving us. As He was hanging on the cross, He asked His disciples to comfort her.

Mary sets the example for us. Some believe that Mary can hear our prayers and she prays on our behalf. But Jesus is our only advocate in Heaven. Mary directed her worship, praise and adoration to God through Christ Jesus alone. Mary said, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is His name (Luke 1:46-49).
Since we are celebrating the Heart of a mother this week, let us pray for all mothers – whether you are a mother or not, and whether your mother is with you or not, ”May the Lord our God bless you [her] with the love of your [her] children, patience, wisdom, faith, and may He be gracious to you this Mother’s Day and everyday of your life and use you for His purposes in an extraordinary way. In Jesus precious name, Amen!”

Friend of a Lion!

CAC3EAB6-84BA-403A-B08F-88AA69925BBB.jpegIt has been said, “In life, have a friend that is like a mirror and shadow; A mirror doesn’t lie and shadow never leaves.”
So true! Who do you call your best friend? Who is that one person who is your shadow? The one who knows you intimately — your sadness, happiness, silence, pains, disappointments, and hurts. Who is that individual who believes in you when you don’t believe in yourself? In Proverbs 17:17 Solomon says, “A true friend loves at all times.”

Everyone wants to be a light in someone else’s life, but who is your little candle that throws its beam of light and truth into your darkest hours? Friendship is an essential part of a fulfilled life. We are created to be social creatures and life without friends would be lonely and dull. Connection with the right people makes life more exciting and fulfilling.
On the other hand, let’s not sugarcoat this – sometimes those who call themselves our friends may cause us grief and hardship, constantly disappointing us. So what exactly is a friend? A friend is someone with whom you can be yourself without fear of judgement, someone you can confide in with complete trust, someone you respect and who respects you, not based upon worthiness but on a likeness of mind.

Yes, that’s completely true! But what does the Bible have to say about friends? Who is the very definition of a friend? The Bible takes it further — a true friend is someone who takes all your blame, shame, and punishment upon himself.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest definition of a true friend. He is the one who lay down his life for the sin of his friends (the world). In (John 15:13) Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

So here’s the question: If someone takes your punishment and is even willing to die in your place, wouldn’t you call him/her your truest friend, and your everything? Jesus did that very thing for you, me, and everyone….. Jesus’ death was a substitution, “the righteous for the unrighteous” (1 Peter 3: 18)
I call him my true friend! The “Lion of Judah” became my best friend (The lion symbolizes royalty, power, dominion, strength. That’s the theme of the revelation of Jesus Christ). As my Lord and my true friend, he is the first one that I must go to and consult concerning my life. After all, he has the permanent mark of a true friend eternally etched on his hands (the wounds from the nails which pierced him).

Moreover, he knows all there is to know about us and wants the best for us. The king of Lions humbled himself and became a lamb and suffered for the sake of his friends. Wouldn’t you like to call him your friend?

God’s Perfect Design!

Our neediness and God’s holiness are a perfect fit. He carefully designed us to have longings and feelings of incompleteness. If we don’t recognize and acknowledge these feelings, we will end up filling these needs with lesser gods (possessions, self-image, addiction, power, etc.), which will leave us unsatisfied. If we instead reach out to God in our neediness with humble hearts and desire to be blessed by him, we will see the fulfillment of his rich promises. I now rejoice in my neediness as it brings me continuously closer to his holy dwelling place.

Just like everyone else, when I rise up every morning, I have plans for the specific needs of my family and myself. These plans may be small or big, made in spur of the moment or far in advance. Even with all my planning, I must remind myself to be attuned to God’s plan. We all have a propensity to do what our flesh desires to do, without considering the outcome.

When we are determined to get our own way and insist on our agenda, we actually block God out of our consciousness. Rather than single-mindedly following some selfish goal, we must take a quick turn to God and ask Him to shine His light on our mission, so that we can see it clearly from His perspective. All it takes is a quick prayer, a simple conversation with our Creator. Of course, it must be done with an open mind and heart if we are to be receptive to His plan. I confess that sometimes I forget to pray before I move forward with my game plan. Other times I do pray about my idea, but without waiting to hear what God tells me to do. I hurriedly continue on with my original plan, then eventually face an unpleasant result. But the good news is that I’m beginning to recognize this! I’m practicing the act of “asking, waiting and obeying”. As painful as it is to wait (I’m not a very patient person), I’m learning to wait on God’s plan. The result is always beautiful, peaceful, drama-free, and satisfying. If our mission fits into His pattern for us, He will help us to achieve it. He will never let us down. And if our mission doesn’t fit into His plan, He will eventually change our desires to align with His own.

(Matthew 6:33)
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

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God wants us to live from our deepest and truest center in him. He longs for us to have a raw and authentic relationship with him and humbly bring our needs to him. He doesn’t want his children to hide and wrap their true self with good deeds and flowery talk. Let us allow his love to penetrate deep within us, so that we will live a pure and blameless life.

I don’t know what road you are on, but I can tell you this; the road that I’m on highlights all my needs. And no one can fulfill them but God. My weaknesses are evidence of my need for a savior. Are you in need of a savior?

The Miracle of The Cross!

Why do we presume only certain things from God? And why do we not stop for a moment and think of the verse where Jesus said, “God can do things that are not possible for people.” ( Luke 18:27)

We can’t put God in a box and set Him on the top shelf, expecting Him to do whatever our little minds devise.  God can do anything He desires!  Nothing is impossible for Him. We experience His miracles all around us on a daily basis.  Miracles are one of the ways God gives evidence of His power and His Holiness.  Miracles are meant to glorify God and remind us that nothing is too hard for Him.  God displays His sovereignty by healing people miraculously and His mightiness is on display hundreds of thousands of times each day through the miracle of newborn children. If God can create life, don’t you think He could raise a dead person to life?
Who are we to say, “Oh no, God won’t do this or that.” Why not? After all, He is God and we are not. It is beyond our ability to understand God’s mysterious ways. Thankfully, we don’t need to have the answer to all of our questions in order for us to believe in Him. All He wants us to do is to live by faith — a faith that recognizes the miracles happening around us but does not require them constantly occuring in order for us to believe. We can trust Him with our whole heart because He has a purpose for all He has done and will do.

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Based on His unconditional love for us and by His authority, He has done something that no human could do or even hope to understand (except through faith). The world witnessed God’s mighty power in the most important truth in the history – the death of Jesus and His resurrection. Surely it was God’s perfect plan, just as He planned Jesus’ miraculous birth (another event that’s beyond human understanding).  His resurrection has enormous relevance and impact to the lives of all of humanity.
This event was not only predicted by Jesus himself (that He would die and rise again after three days – the description is in Mark chapter 8), but also foretold in ancient times by the Old Testament prophets. Why would God hand His perfect and sinless Son over to religious but blindly misguided people who would harm and kill him?
God’s love and mercy are great, even to the point of His willingness to send His own Son to die on the cross of Calvary to pay the penalty of sinful mankind. He did this so that He, in complete justice, could forgive those who are willing to turn away from self-dependence and sin and turn to reliance upon Christ and His finished work.
As it is clearly stated (in Romans 6), with the death of Christ, our sins become powerless to rule over us. Without the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ as the lamb of God (who was perfect, without any blemishes), we would still be in our sins, unforgiven, unsaved, and unloved. The cross erases our old lives. So the cross is not just a symbol, it is the mark of our salvation.
The story of Christ did not end with his death.  His resurrection is equally vital to the message of the gospel. He rose from death just as He told His disciples he would (in Matthew 16:21).  If He is not risen from the dead, then we would still reside in darkness with no hope.
Because of His resurrection, his promise holds true. He said (in John 14:19), “Because I live, you also will live”. Our great enemy, death, will be defeated.  It is impossible to separate the death of Christ from His resurrection. You can’t believe in one and not believe the other, as that would be a false teaching of the gospel. We are forgiven of our old sins by His blood on the cross and receive our new lives by His resurrection. Now we as believers and followers of Christ are no longer under the power of sin. And that is why we celebrate Easter. Our Lord is risen! Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

“Have You Seen The One My Heart Loves?”

First I looked for him in my home,
he was nowhere to be found.
From there I went town to town and city to city, there was no sign of him.
Then I went across the world,
I did not find the one my heart loves.
I looked for him in the city there and did not find him,
through its streets and squares. I said;
I will search for the one my heart longs for.
So I continued looking for him, but still did not find him.
The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city.
I asked them,
“Have you seen the one my heart loves?” (Song of Solomon 3:3-4)
The answer was “No”.
I asked again, “Have you seen the one who wrote your story and mine?”
They said; “No”.
Scarcely had I passed them, and many more after….
when I heard a voice in the depth of my soul,
saying; “Call on me and come and pray to me,
and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me
when you seek me with all your heart.
I will be found by you.” (Jeremiah 29: 13- 14)

I shouted with joy, “ I found the one my heart loves.”
I held him and would not let him go, and brought him home, telling everyone about him….
How silly of me to look for
the One my heart loves in all the wrong places,
but not in the one place that he calls home —
the same place where his love resides —
deep within me.  My soul was drenched with his love!
I found the one my heart loves — God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

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Divine Jealousy vs. The Venom of Human Insecurity!

We normally think of jealousy as being a negative characteristic, a sin similar to envy. And we may think that jealousy is rooted in insecurity. Yet there is appropriate jealousy as well as improper jealousy. Righteous jealousy is a Divine (godly) trait.  When we worship false gods (possessions, money, our career, sexual immorality, self-promotion, obsessions with things, self-worship, etc.), we provoke God’s jealousy over our idolatry. You may say, “How could that be?” But God says in (Exodus 20:4-5), “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God….”

19D15932-C69B-4C4B-A196-D27C9F01764D.jpegGod is “jealous” in the sense that He expects full devotion, not a light or lukewarm commitment. Worship belongs to God and He is right to be jealous of it. God alone deserves our worship and praise (Jeremiah 10:6-7). He commanded His children to worship Him alone. He will not tolerate the worship of other gods.
God is jealous when someone takes something that rightly belongs to Him and keeps it for himself or gives it to another. Similarly we can have appropriate jealousy, when someone takes something that lawfully belongs to us.

On the other hand, there is an unrighteous jealousy that gives birth to animosity. This kind of jealousy goes hand and hand with insecurity.  Most people do not readily admit their deep feelings of envy, finding it easier to focus on the jealousy of others.  But if we are honest in our self reflection, we may find uncomfortable feelings beneath our pretentious surface.  For instance, you may say, “Why can’t I be like her/him? How come they have it all, and I don’t?” We may try “to keep up with the Joneses”. There is nothing wrong with desiring to have talents, skills or even nice things. But when our desire for more overrides the will of God, we can find ourselves dissatisfied with what God has given us. This is a dangerous place to be as it can lead to ruin and destruction.

Another problem with improper jealousy is that it can poison our relationships. The venom of jealousy can eventually bring relational separation and pain.
This brings to mind the story of Joseph. Joseph is an important figure in the first book of the bible, Genesis. His life story is at times heartbreaking, but it ends victoriously. Joseph was his father’s (Isaac’s) favorite son.  His jealous brothers planned to kill him, but settled for selling him into slavery in Egypt. How could his own flesh betray him? Sadly, jealousy can blind people to the point that they deny their own family.
As Joseph endured years of slavery and later prison (he was falsely accused of rape by the king’s wife), he continued to believe in God and remained hopeful. He glorified God even in the midst of his darkest hours and he managed to help other prisoners by giving them hope and comfort. God showed His mighty power through Joseph’s life and Joseph eventually became the second most powerful person in Egypt.

What do we learn from Joseph’s perseverance and his servant’s heart? The Bible encourages us to combat jealousy by renewing our way of thinking. We can accomplish this by reading the Bible, praying, obeying God’s commands, and fellowshipping with mature believers. We are blessed to have such great access to the throne of God through Jesus as our advocate.  God’s word can enable us to be joyful for someone else’s success, talents, and achievements.
As we start thinking less about ourselves and instead focus on God and on the needs of others, our hearts will begin to change. We can keep this in the forefront our minds, even in the thick of unpleasant circumstances, because of God’s love for us. He desires to show His power through our struggles.
The Bible clearly tells us that we are to have the perfect kind of love that God has for us. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not ENVY, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

At The Door of Life…..

“Like a wild flower; she spent her days, allowing herself to grow, not many knew her struggle, but eventually all knew of her LIGHT.” —NIKKI ROWE
She was looking through the door of life for many years. Locked within herself, gazing at the light outside and not knowing how to live in the light. Wondering what it would be like to live in this LIGHT, The true light of life. For many years, she didn’t have the courage to open this door. But after many struggles, she finally had the strength to open it.

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She reached out to hold on to the light, and to her surprise the light was pleased to hold onto her more tightly than she ever could have imagined. This light wasn’t ordinary or like light that the world offers, but this light was magnificent and divine. This divine LIGHT is God. He was revealed to her through her beautiful children years ago. He has spoken to her in her dreams and visions.
After she offered her heart to Him holding her hands in prayer, she had a glimpse of His glory. Her life has been changed since that moment. Her prayers began to be more about His WILL instead of her will.
He taught her through His word who He is and who she is. She’s His beloved child and He loves her. Not because of what she does, but because who He is. He forgives her and reveals to her the purpose of her life.
And most importantly He first shows her how to love him and then how to love everyone else, just as He loves them. He instructs her not to judge anyone but to forgive everyone and make room for everyone’s mistakes, just as He has made room for her mistakes. He teaches her to live in the present, not in the past. She can’t go back to change the beginning, but she can start where she is and change the ending. She does not need to grasp for or fear the future for He is holding her tomorrows in his capable hands. She looks for and finds God in the present.
He supplies her with an abundance of love, even for those who hate her. She can choose to pray for those who hurt her instead of getting even and can choose to forgive. She can not make any of these choices without the Lord’s strength. Of course she stumbles in her daily life. She is just a human. She lives in a fractured world, but she no longer falls, for God is holding her in the palm of His hand. In fact, the lower she bows before him, the higher He lifts her up.
She no longer follows empty rituals, but she has a child-like relationship with her God which helps her to follow him in her daily walk. No more feeling guilty or burdened with sin. She is who she is and she will never depart from the TRUTH. She found the true light and will remain in the LIGHT. No other power can separate her from this divine truth.
Nevertheless, she’s aware of her weakness. God says to her in his word, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Cor 12:9) Therefore she will boast all the more gladly about her weaknesses, so that God’s power may rest on her.”

She is no longer standing behind the door in the shadow of darkness, feeling confused, fearful, and doubtful. Now she’s standing in the shadow of the ALMIGHTY.
What matters to her now is that the Lord her God empowered her to walk through the door of life. He welcomed her into the spaciousness of God’s light. She can hardly contain her joy and has peace deep within her. She sees His miracles everyday and wants share them with the world. Her God is no longer compartmentalized in one part of her life. He is involved in every area of her life. She understands the path of knowing God is not easy. But she has hope that the God who invited her into this brilliant LIGHT will continue to shed light on her path.
Her final thought to others is this: “It’s not about who is right and who is wrong. It’s about who GOD IS. It’s not about who wins or who loses. It’s about loving one another as He commanded us to do.” As God unveils His glorious power and love to her, she prays that He will use her humble life for His purposes to reach others around her. This is not her story, it is God’s story unfolding in her life. She is simply telling you what God has done to make her His precious child.

Facing Your Giants!

At times we all face challenges in life. Perhaps you are going through one right now. Everyone deals with life’s troubles differently. These difficulties are the GIANTS in our lives. They come in different sizes and shapes and though they may not be visible for everyone to see, they are enormous issues in our lives – health issues, illness or disease, infertility, divorce, drug, food and sex addictions, financial problems, marital struggles, misbehaving kids, etc.
With all that we battle through everyday, it matters how we learn to handle the giants in our lives. How do you fight your giants? Do you give up or ignore them, or do you face them with faith and persistence, knowing that the victory will be yours? Sometimes we don’t feel God’s presence with us and we think He has abandoned us as we walk through our battlefield. Perhaps we are the ones who, by going our own way and not paying attention, are not allowing ourselves to hear him or feel His presence. We are so busy with the jingle of the visible world and think we can control and change things in our lives using our own power. We are spiritually blindfolded as our GIANTS try to defeat us, and not aware that God is always moving on our behalf. He is saying, “O, My beloved daughter/son, you cannot change things by relying on your own power. You have tried this many times before, but it never works. You continue aimlessly in a vicious cycle.”

img_0401But what if you move in faith like David in the story of “David versus Goliath”? If you do, you can know for sure that you will be victorious in the end. For those who haven’t read the story of David and Goliath in the Bible, here is a short version of it:
There was a war between the Philistines and Israelites during the reign of king Saul. David was a young Israeli shepherd boy who had an unshakable FAITH in the Lord. On the Philistine’s side was Goliath, a champion and an enormous man. No one could fight Goliath because of his giant size and extensive bronze armor. David’s only shield and protection was his faith in God.
When Goliath saw the young David coming toward him he said, “Come here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!” David said to Goliath, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty”. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, David slung it and struck Goliath on the forehead. The stone sank deeply into his forehead and he fell face down on the ground. Ah, what a sight it was! You may have heard it said, “God will put the GOLIATH in your life, that you may find the DAVID within you”. I agree with this statement.
When I studied the life of David the prophet (Prophet Dawud), I learned how to deal with my own daily battles. Through reading and meditating on God’s word, I became aware of the light around me and was encouraged to pray unceasingly. The light of God’s presence was shining so brightly on my life that I could clearly see the futility of my old desires and wishes. As we know, some old habits die hard, and mine were still showing up at times, becoming stumbling blocks on my path. As the time went by, I realized these habits were the Goliath (giant) in my life. How could I fight this strong giant on my path? The answer is, like David did, to move forward in faith! Then God will graciously surround us with His mighty power. That is what He did in my life, by surrounding me with mature believers to help me to draw closer to him.
I learned from spiritual leaders and strong believers that I need to do four things to defeat the stumbling blocks of life:
1- Come humbly before God, admit that I am weak, and pray passionately and earnestly from my heart.
2 – Ask God to fill my mind with His word. Read it over and over that it may protect me and become part of me.
3- Accept support from the other believers.
4- Hold on to God’s promises. As it says in (Isaiah 40:10), “Those who hope in the Lord will fly like Eagles …” Also the Bible says,”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ( Philippians 4:13 )

So David triumphed over a giant with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the mighty Goliath and killed him.
Don’t you think you could be like David the shepherd boy, who was a man of faith? You may be up against a giant (divorce, severe illness, financial devastation, loss of a loved one, loss of job, etc..) and feeling as if you have no protection. But the way to emerge victoriously from the battlefield is to focus not on how big your giant is, but to focus on how big your God is. Be confident, knowing that if God delivered David from the hands his enemy, He will also deliver you successfully through the battle and will hand you the reward that He has promised you according to your faith.
Jesus said: (Matthew 9:29 ) “According to your faith let it be done to you.”

Grief Does Not Speak!

You may associate grief with the loss of someone or something you love. But there is so much more in life that causes grief. Do you feel deeply distressed when you see someone whom you love living a destructive life? It grieves you, doesn’t it? Yet you can’t do anything about it, because their choices are out of your control… Grief will last as long as love does. Have we ever stopped to think about what grieves God? He is our loving Father, and has given us free will. Unfortunately, some of us misuse our free will to harm others or ourselves and these choices ache the heart of God. How do we know? Because it says in His word. “The earth became filled with evil. And God was grieved!” (Genesis 6:5) 

We know that the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit is a fire dwelling in each believer. He wants to express Himself in every part of our life. When we do not allow the Spirit to be seen in our actions, when we know what we want to do is wrong but do it anyway, the Holy Spirit is quenched. This occurs when we don’t allow the Spirit to reveal Himself through us in the way that He desires. The bible tells us in (Ephesians 4:30) “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.” For that reason, we should not grieve the Spirit of God, by living as though we are god.

We frequently encounter situations where we are suddenly tempted to do what is wrong through our words, actions, or temper. For instance, if someone treats you poorly, pointing the finger of criticism at something you have done and judging you, your flesh may prompt you to treat them as they have treated you. But the Spirit prompts you to do what is right – to forgive them and move on, letting bygones be bygones. Sometimes challenges are too hard for us to face, causing us to turn the other way, away from the true light. We may say, “WHY DID I DO THAT?”, because our flesh is often at odds with righteous living.

St. Paul said, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15) It’s comforting to know that a Saint like Paul had the same struggles as us and acknowledged his weakness.

It grieves God, when one knows right from wrong, but still continues to live in a sinful manner. Sexual immorality, bitterness and  anger, lying and stealing (which includes taking someone’s happiness, marriage, job, etc.), cursing, unforgiveness, and the justification of sinful actions all grieve the heart of God.

We humans are in need of an unearthly power to shape and mold us each day. This power is always available to us but requires our willingness. I realized that I couldn’t do right by my own effort, so I asked God, just as David asked Him in Psalm 51:10, “ Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” 

When it’s done in humility, this prayer brings us to a place where we recognize our need for a power stronger than the power that the world offers us through science or self-help books.

“Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.” (Proverbs 22:4)

This verse speaks of the importance of a humble life. If we want to have God’s blessings in our lives, we must allow Him to cleanse our hearts through an authentic and pure relationship with Him. He wants the best for us. So we must be vigilant and faithfully immerse ourselves daily in His word.

If you find that you cannot move forward in your life and come to a roadblock, whether it is a relationship or marital problem, financial difficulties, health issues, or a crisis of faith, if it seems like you are stuck in one place, and your prayers are not reaching the doors of Heaven, then you must ask yourself this question: “Is my way of living aligned with a righteous life?” If the answer is “No”,  it’s time to examine what it is that is getting in the way of your happiness and success.  Are your actions and attitudes giving God or someone in your life reason to grieve?”

Last but not least, remember – where there is a deep grief (concern or sadness), there is deep love.