God has not forgotten you!

Can a mother forget her newborn child?

Isaiah 49:15–16 Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

‘I will not forget you!’ – You may feel like God has forgotten you, but He has not!
Where man may forget in vital areas, God never forgets even the smallest detail of your life.

We are engraved on the palm of His hands.  He is aware of our issues and challenges.

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God has a plan

It is great to know that we can have confidence in God.  To know that we can trust Him.  To know that He is working in our lives.  Things are not out of control, God has everything in hand.

There is an old song: ‘He’s got the whole world in His hand’.  It goes on: ‘He’s got you and me brother/sister in His hand’.  Because of this we can know that we are going to alright.

For each of us God has a plan.  You are exempted or excluded.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.

Just look at the following:
There is a plan and God has a plan for you.  God knows the plan that He has for you.  It is good to know that God knows the blueprint for our lives.

Sometimes it feels like we are just tossed around by circumstances.  In the middle of all this it is great to know that we can have the knowledge that God knows what is going on for each of us!  I love this phrase: ‘Declares the LORD’   (NIV)  This is confidence, knowing that God has the master plan.

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Praising God sets us up for the supernatural

As we begin to praise the Lord we shift the focus, from our problems and onto God.

As Paul and Silas took their hopeless situation and began to use it as an opportunity to praise and worship God – God began to work on their behalf and cause a miracle to take place.

The result was a physical breakthrough – an earthquake.

There was an emotional breakthrough – the prisoners did not run away.

There was a spiritual breakthrough – the jailer came to know Christ.

There was a revelational breakthrough – they realized that God is bigger that anything they could ever face and He could make a way where there seems to be no way.

Listen to the words of this great song:

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How to handle difficult times

If we know how to handle the difficult times it will help us get through such times.  The Bible is full of examples of people who lived through difficulties and challenge and overcame.

Paul and Silas are such an example to us.  They have had been falsely accused, Publicly tried, Beaten, Sent to jail, Placed in stocks.  What was there response?

They began to PRAY, SING and PRAISE GOD!

How different is this to how we handle things today. Today we would get stressed, pressurized, angry, discouraged, despairing and depressed.

How about this for a strategy when you face difficulty and challenge: PRAY, SING and PRAISE GOD?

The key to our outcome seems to lie in our reaction and attitude.  I see people today descend into negativity and pessimism, fear and distress, depression and hopelessness.  Perhaps the example Paul and Silas set for us is something we could consider: PRAY, SING and PRAISE GOD.

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God is still in control

Imagine what it must have felt like for Paul and Silas.  Imagine what they felt like during the process.  Imagine what they felt like being dragged before the court.  Imagine what they felt like being beaten.  Imagine what they felt like being thrown in jail.  Imagine what they felt like being in stocks. (Acts 16:16-18)

At any stage during the process they must have wondered what was going on.  Was God still in control?

Dr James Dobson speaks of the betrayal barrier. This is a place (that everyone faces) when we begin to think that even God has abandoned us. It is a critical time in each person’s life.

The truth was that God was completely in control and He knew the end from the beginning.

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We all face challenges and difficulties

Each day things can happen that are beyond our control.  Paul and Silas were going around doing good, and they got problems for it.

Acts 16:16-18  As we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination [claiming to foretell future events and to discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners much gain by her fortunetelling.  She kept following Paul and [the rest of] us, shouting loudly, These men are the servants of the Most High God! They announce to you the way of salvation!  And she did this for many days. Then Paul, being sorely annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit within her, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out that very moment.

You can be doing the right thing, trying your very best, paying your tithes, submitting to your boss, making good choices and still face challenges and difficulties.

I used to believe that if people could just make a few good quality decisions they could pull themselves out of any situation. I still believe that a few quality decisions can make a substantial difference, but at the same time I have seen some people doing all the right things still facing challenge and difficulty.

In one moment Paul and Silas were on their way to pray and in the next moment their lives were utterly changed.  From quietly going on with their business (of praying) to going straight to jail. (All in one easy step.)

Have you ever had one of those moments when your life is going in one direction and the next thing you know it is going in a completely different direction?  At the time it must have seemed like a really hopeless situation.  A bad case of being in the wrong place at the right time?  A bad case of losing your cool?

When we face times of challenge and difficulty it is an opportunity for change and this change could have far reaching effect

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Being an overcomer in times like these

There is so much going on in the world today. There is so much insecurity and instability. The Lord had been speaking to me about ‘TRUSTING HIM’ and I never realized to what degree people would be called upon to trust Him.  We have got high oil prices, high interest rates, high inflation, high crimes rates and the list goes on and on.

The question is: ‘What should our response be?’  It is at times like these that people battle with many things.  It could be fear, worry, distress, anxiety and even depression.  But the Bible contains many records of people who faced disappointment and challenge and yet came out on the other side as overcomers.

I would like to encourage you to read the story of Paul and Silas in Acts 16:16-30.

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What possessing the land calls for

  1. Stretching as opposed to inflexibility.
  2. Uncomfortable as opposed to settling for what you are used too.
  3. New battles as opposed to just waiting for something to happen.
  4. A new mindset as opposed to a negative mind set (The spies).
  5. Hard work as opposed to resistance to effort
  6. The ‘land’ is usually occupied as opposed to as opposed to the wilderness.
Sunrise

Courage as opposed to fea

Joshua 3:14-16 When the people set out to cross the Jordan, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. Now it was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water began piling up at a town upstream called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the city of Jericho.

God wants to lead us. He wants His presence to go before us. The Ark represented the presence of God. Don’t go anywhere, if you are not sure that the presence of God is leading you in that direction. Without the presence of God in our lives, no land is worth possessing!

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The danger of looking too far ahead

Sunrise

The Red Sea can only be parted when you get there. The Israelites could not expect the Red Sea to be parted while they were still in Egypt. The future may not be as easy as was hoped. After all, the Promised Land was occupied and in order to possess the land there were some major challenges and battles.

There is a lady who works at my place of work. For all her life she has lived in a small, self-constructed, wood and iron house. Recently the government built her, as part of the government’s reconstruction campaign, a complete brick and mortar house. But even after it was completed she did not move in. She was so concerned about getting curtains and cleaning the windows and packing her goods that she, in the process, continued living in her wood and iron home, when, just a few meters away stood her new home. She was waiting for the Red Sea to part (all problems solved) before moving.

You cannot see everything that lies ahead, you cannot prepare for every contingency that may be ahead. Don’t let that stop you from moving into the future and don’t let that stop you from possessing what God has for you!

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The danger of looking back

Sunrise

Looking back robs us of what God has prepared for us. Looking back has the potential to bring us back to a place of bondage. Regret is a debilitating emotion. The ‘good old days’ always look good, because over time we have conveniently remembered the positive and overlooked or forgotten the challenges.

With God the best is always ahead of us. We have to believe that the best still lies ahead, no matter what the past may have looked like.

The ‘rear view mirror approach’ is not where things are happening. That should be your concern. The size of the windscreen in a car is much larger than the size of the rear view mirror. The reason for that is that there is far more ahead than behind and that should be our focus and priority.

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