A Hand To Hold In The Darkness

When the storms of life rage and the darkness grows dense, that is no time to panic or fear. No matter how dark things seem, God can see what you can’t see, and He promised to be with you and guide you safely to shore if you’ll trust Him.

Uncle David the psalmist knew the truth that God is Light and the darkness can’t hide anything from His view.

Even the darkness will not be dark for you; the night will shine like the day, for Darkness is as Light to you. (Psalm 139:12) NIV

Most of us have experienced a “midnight hour” in our lives – a time when things seemed their darkest and bleakest. That’s probably how the disciples felt that night on the Sea of Galilee. It was night and they were struggling to no avail. The wind was blowing against them, and they were no doubt growing discouraged and weary. Yet it wasn’t dark to the Master. He was watching over them with loving care. He is watching over us, too, and He promised to help us in our time of need.

For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help the. (Isaiah 41:13) KJV

God is always present with us, and we have His promise that He will help us. But when tests and trials come, the rowing always gets tougher when we allow our view of God to become masked by the storm. If we’re not careful in the midst of a test or trial, we can lose our perspective of reality and take a wrong turn.

Like my pastor will say, every situation in life is in time and season. He also cautions people never to make a life- changing decision in the middle of a crisis. God’s time is always the best and it’s better to seek God and regain their composure and perspective.

I’ve seen people make life- changing decisions that they later regretted because they lost their perspective in a storm of life. Their ship was pitching and rolling on the waves of adversity, and they lost sight of the Master. They began to take matters into their own hands, and they suffered consequences that God never intended for them to suffer.

Storms have the ability to warp our perspective if we’re not careful. Even some of the great men of the Bible temporarily lost their focus in times of trouble. For example, Chief Moses as he dealt with a rebellious people; a heart sick Uncle David as he grieved for a son who had tried to kill him; a despondent Chief Elijah as he ran from jezebel; and an angered Chief Jonah as God forgave a penitent nation. At times, duress and personal struggle caused the attitudes of these men to become tainted by their troubles. They wanted to give up and quit. They wanted to take matters into their own hands and try to change God’s plan. But God wanted them to cling to Him and let Him guide them through the storms and struggles.

It’s so easy to lose your perspective of reality when things seem dark, but if you’ll hold tightly to the Saviour’s hand, light will come. The day will dawn, and your “midnight hour” will be a thing of the past.

Psalm 30:5 says, “… Weeping may endure for a night, But Joy comes on the morning.”

Photo credit: Pinterest

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God Cares For You

People often question if God cares. With everything that each of us go through in our lives, sometimes it seems like He isn’t even there. In my life I have been through seasons where I have felt this way. However, as I read through God’s word; I always find verses that reminds me that He is there for me. The verse I am sharing on this post today is one that has recently spoke to me on this topic and after studying it I really began noticing that God was helping me through the season I was in.

“Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7

Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand
Humility is one of the most important keys in our relationship with God. James 4:6 says that God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Without first acknowledging that we need God we may never give Him room to step in to act on our behalf. When we go through difficult seasons we need to humbly surrender to God instead of becoming pridefully closed off.

He may lift you up in due time
Notice that this part of the verse says in due time. We always want to get out of difficult situations right away. However, some situations that happen in our lives are very important for us to go through. James 1:2-3 says to consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. God can see the bigger picture that we often cannot see. We look at the one struggle that we are in and we want to be out of it immediately. God can look much further into our futures and see the benefit that will come from the struggle that we are in; we just need to trust that His timing will be better than ours.

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you
This last part of the verse is the most comforting part. No matter what we are going through, if we remember that when we start feeling anxious to just run to God, He will be there with open arms because He cares for each of us. John 3:16 says for God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son. God gave His son so He could have a closer relationship with each of us. God cares even when we may not feel Him there. Although there may be an important reason for a difficult situation to play our in our lives, if we run to God, He will still comfort us in the storm that we are facing.
If you take one thing out of this post today, just remember that God cares for you more than you even know. He will be there in the good times and the bad, no matter how bad things get, no matter how far you turn from Him, He will always be there with open arms. I have seen this to be true in my life.

Photo credit: Pinterest

False Evidence Appearing Real


False Evidence Appearing Real, or Fear is running rampant through our world today. We have a fear of attacks from extreme religious groups, economic down fall, the ongoing presidential election, and not to mention the fears in our own little worlds. Do we have enough money to pay rent? Am I going to lose my job? Is my kid going to get bullied today in school?
In my opinion, fear is the ultimate weapon of the enemy. He uses fear to keep us from tithing, speaking out in the name of Jesus, and it even keeps us from fully worshiping in church. To me that’s a sign that fear has snuck too far into our everyday lives if we are afraid what people will think of us if we raise a hand during a worship song in church.

Fear by itself isn’t conducive to our spiritual walk with the Lord. But when fear is mixed with other godly virtues we create a healthy dose of fear that motivates us to draw closer to him. Let’s start by looking at what Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, said about fear;

Proverbs 9:10 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

Here we have fear mixed with humility and faith. We have faith that there is a higher being than us (God) and humility to understand that he is in control and all knowing. It’s just like in school; when we realized or understood that the teacher in class knew more about a subject than we did we were more likely to come to them for help. God works in the same way. He not only created everything in and around us, but he also lived with us. God fully understands everything we go through and yearns for us to turn to him for understanding and wisdom.

Philippians 2:12 – “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”

Fear mixed with the reverence of God can be a great motivator. Never cease seeking the Lord and his word for we do not know the day or hour which God will come back. What a glorious day that will be which I don’t want to miss, and I don’t want you to either!
When we have a healthy balance of faith, humility, reverence, etc.… with fear we are able to see the change God wants to make in us. Whether that’s asking for forgiveness for a sin(s), changing an attitude or lifestyle, or becoming more consistent in our spiritual disciplines. The fear of the Lord should motivate us as Christians and not paralyze us or cause us to stay as we are. If the fear in your life is not motiving you to draw closer to him, then it is not from God. Rebuke that fear in the name and blood of Jesus Christ and break the hold fear has on you.

Dear Father, please show me the areas of my life that need changed. Use a healthy dose of fear to motivate me to change. I want to give you everything I have and I can’t do that without you. You have my heart and I am yours forever. You are my strength, my rock, and the one I hold onto. You hold everything in the palm of your hand but yet you still make time for me. How beautiful is your unfailing love and how blessed I am to call you mine. Thank you father. Amen!

Struggling Is a Landmark, Not a Roadblock.

Alex Sanfilippo

Every human being goes through seasons of struggling in their lives; it is something that we all have in common. Difficult times will look different for each of us. We are all in 1 of these 3 categories: In a difficult season, about to be in one, or just coming out of one. Super negative, right? From the world’s perspective, it sure is! But what about God’s perspective?

In my early twenties, my tendency was to give up and go a different direction when a difficult situation would present itself. When there was a ‘struggle’ I’d search for another way. However, as I grew in my relationship with God, I learned to persevere through these times of difficulty. Once I started persevering and refusing to just give up, I realized that I experience the growth in my life during my struggles. You cannot get where you need to be without going through the trials of today.

God has taught me over the last few years that my struggles are not roadblocks, they are actually landmarks. These struggles are things that I need to face in order to become who I am supposed to be in Him. Once I really started to understand that the struggles were a necessity for growth, two things happened:

1. I found myself deciding that I had to face them head on and remain positive in doing so.
2. After the victory, I found myself saying things like this: “That was the moment when change and growth started. That is what taught me the skills I needed in order to be where I am today.”

Since this principle has become part of who I am, I have grown so much! God has started using me to help others who are going through similar situations. All of this is possible only because instead of just giving up or turning a different direction, I trusted God and stayed faithful to Him. I continued to walk the way that He has called me to walk during those seasons.R

My perspective on difficult situations has been forever changed! I can’t begin to explain the amount of growth that I have experienced because of this.

I write this post today not to boast about being able to get through difficult situations, but instead to encourage you to do the same; press on! Start viewing struggling as a landmark, not a roadblock! James 1:2-4 has been a foundational verse for me on this topic:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4

I encourage you today, no matter what you are struggling with, remember that it truly is a landmark, one day you will look back and say: “That was the situation that God used to grow me.” Pray for God to give you the grace to persevere through whatever it is that you may be going through. Remember that He loves and cares for you and will help you as long as you remain faithful to Him.

Struggling is a landmark, not a roadblock. Press on through the time of testing and gain the testimony that will enable you to help others in the future!

Life Isn’t About Waiting For The Storm To Pass, It’s Learning To Dance In The Rain.

By: CHARLES HAMRICK

I read a quote in a friends email today that you have heard, but I am going to steal and share in this post.  It read, “Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.”

As I do with most things I related this to sports.  Golf and Football come to mind when I think of sports that you have to know how to play in the rain.  They only stop when there is lighting and thus there needs to be practice for how to compete in these conditions.  For football, I know that teams use “wet ball” drills and make it a point to practice when it is actually raining outside.  In golf, it is being prepared with the right equipment (rain gear, gloves, etc).

In both cases, it is a very different way of playing the game that you may have learned in perfect or near perfect conditions.  While I don’t prefer playing in the rain, understand that sometimes it just has to be done.

God calls us to “dance in the rain” through the storms of life.  Being a follower of Christ is not always Sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows (random Leslie Gore reference).  But just because it isn’t perfect weather, doesn’t mean that we need to run inside and not continue to play this game that we love (Following Christ).  Satan wants to push you inside and have you not share the love of Jesus with others.  I promise you that storms will come in your life, and there will be times that you don’t feel like being a Christ Follower.  Maybe that’s right now.  But in those moments, I encourage you to remember that Jesus came before us, and gave us a great road map of how to dance in the rain and make it through the storms and struggles we encounter.  The more you do this the stronger you will get and you will begin to welcome the storms in your life.

 James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Where is God During Difficult Times?

We’ve all asked this question at one point or another in our lives. Where is God during difficult times is a popular question? Here’s what we believe about where God is.

In this blog post, discussing where God is during difficult times. This is a topic that has been requested and searched for more than any other topic online. Where is God during difficult times is a question we’ve all asked at one point or another.

#1. What would you define as a difficult time? (What have you been through?)

You have minor and major difficulties in life. Most people only think of the major difficulties. But, a difficult time in life is anything that makes you uncomfortable. Difficult times are different for each of us. What you and (or) I define as a difficult time may not be difficult for someone else; and vice versa.

#2. So (the big question) where is God during difficult times is?

God doesn’t get closer or further from you based on the season of life you’re in. Good times and bad times, God is right there. You don’t need to ask “Where was God during my difficult time?” Draw close to God, and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

The answer to this question: God is right there. He’s not gone anywhere.

#3. What are some practical ways you can continue to honor God and keep Him first even in difficult times?

It all comes down to your decisions. Create the right steps. During difficult times we become reactive, instead of proactive. God is right in the middle of your difficulty with you. Here are the right steps to focus on during all times of your life:

  1. Get in the Bible
  2. Be patient along the way
  3. Be confident that God is grooming you for your future
  4. Focus on intimacy with God

Growing your relationship God is more important than any difficult time you go through. Jesus didn’t focus on the difficult times He was going through, He focused on growing His relationship with God. That needs to be our focus.

#4. Any final thoughts?

Transparency is huge when you’re going through a difficult time. Reach out to a small group of people that you can be honest with. Tell them what you’re going through. Don’t hold it in. (We covered this in a previous episode, The Powerful Choice to Stay in Christian Community)

Please remember that the best days of your life are still ahead of you. You will not be defined by the difficult time you’re in. Stay encouraged!

What is a difficult season that you’re going through or that you’ve been through? Comment below!

The Pace Of Endurance

People exercising at fitness gym

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with ENDURANCE the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne (Hebrews 12: 1-2 NLT).

I was going for a jog on the treadmill the other day. It was the first time that I had been running in a couple of weeks, so my stamina wasn’t quite where I would have liked it to be. Foolishly, I still tried to complete my workout as if I had been consistently training. Needless to say, this was a mistake. About halfway through the workout, I began to get tired and cramp up. Just as I was about to jump off the treadmill and give up, something rose up within me and I began to speak God’s word over myself. I began repeating over and over, “Greater is he that is within me, than he that is in the world.”

I had to slow down the treadmill a little bit and run at a slower pace, but that encouragement was enough to keep my legs moving. For the rest of the workout, I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me. He told me when to slow the treadmill down, and at what point I could speed it up again. He knew exactly how much I could take and for how long if I was going to reach my goal at the end of the workout. When it was all said and done, I experienced a little more pain that I would have hoped, but I completed my goal for distance in pretty good time. God knew exactly what pace I needed to run at in order to run with the endurance to reach the finish line. This is exactly what he promises to do in our race of faith.

Running this race of faith can be downright confusing and difficult sometimes. When we hand over our lives to Christ, we are making the commitment to trust Him no matter how we feel or what the circumstances look like. We are putting faith in His sovereignty, and believing that all things will eventually come together for good, even when it doesn’t make worldly sense. But it is so awesome that we serve a God who didn’t just come and say, “Here is the goal. I want you to run 1,000 miles over the next 40 years at a pace of 8 minutes per mile. Good luck!” Thankfully, we serve a God who says that He will not only run with us every step of the way, but He will even order our steps (Psalm 37:23 & Proverbs 16:9).

The fact of the matter is that God can see so much more than we can see in our limited understanding. His ways are so much higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). He knows more about our race of faith that we could ever conceive. He knows exactly where we are. He knows when it is time for us to speed up and when it is time to slow down. He knows the exact pace at which we can run if we are going to run with the endurance necessary to fulfill the plans He has laid before us.

What does that look like in our lives? Sometimes, it may take the form of a tremendous obstacle or hardship that God is using to send a message that it is time to slow down and connect with Him. It could be that He is allowing that obstacle to redirect our path in order to protect us from an even more difficult obstacle down the road. It could be the exact opposite. We could be in a season where it seems like nothing can get in our way. He may be blessing us with a mighty capacity to run far and fast because He knows that we are currently in a place where we can sustain that pace and not lose sight of Him.

No matter what your present situation is, God knows exactly where you are and exactly what you need. He knows if it is time to speed up or slow down. Your only job is to relinquish control of the process and trust Him. Not only can He see your finish line, but He ordained it. He designed you to run at a certain pace for a specified period of time. The more we submit to that design, the less painful the process and the greater our endurance. Lean into God today, ask Him if it is time to speed up or slow down. Give Him control, and let Him establish your pace of endurance.

What Are You Expecting God To Do For You?

Maybe you’re having a hard time believing that your kids can change, your marriage can improve or that you can ever lose weight, get a better job or get completely out of debt.

But Jeremiah 29:11 says God’s thoughts and plans for you are “for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

He has a good plan for you, and you can dare to believe He can heal you anywhere you hurt and help you with every problem you face.

It’s time to start expecting more from God than you’ve ever believed He would do for you before!

The key to having what God wants you to have is learning to think like He thinks. And Romans 12:2 teaches that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

I’ve discovered several ways we need to change our thinking so we can live with the mind of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:6).

Here Are Seven Awesome Psalms To Read Whenever You Are Struggling With Depression And Anxiety.

They are:

Psalm 23:4

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

God’s words bring peace (psalmsquotes)

Psalm 27:1–3

“God, You are my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? You are the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked come against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear!”

Psalm 32:7

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”

Psalm 46:1

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

God’s words bring peace (bibleverseimages)

Psalm 55:22

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”

Psalm 61:1–3

“Hear my cry, O God; from the ends of the earth I cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you are a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy…”

Psalm 34:1–10

“I will bless You at all times, Your praise will continually be in my mouth. I sought You, Lord, and You heard me, You delivered me from all my fears. When we look to You we are radiant. Your angels encamp all around those who fear You and You deliver us. Help me to taste and see that You are good, oh Lord. You say I will be blessed when I trust You. Those who seek You lack no good thing.”

Staying Strong During Life Challenges: A Reminder

If life challenges are knocking on your door, or they’ve already moved on in and seem to be making themselves at home, these are 6 empowering reminders I researched for you.

Tune in, because it’s time for you to rise up strong…

#1

You have A 100% track record for getting through everything in your life.

You’re doing pretty awesome!

You’re still breathing, heart beating, and you have what it takes to walk ahead powerfully.

Remind yourself every day – “I will be okay. Everything will be okay. I always get through somehow. I trust this.”

#2

This too shall pass.

Challenges are like storms that arrive in your life, like a weather pattern. Storms have a life span. And your life span is longer than its!

The storm will come and it will go, and you will outlive it.

Remember, this is a season. Like everything in life, it will eventually pass. Thoughts pass. Feelings pass. Challenges pass.

Be patient and trust.

#3

Diamonds are made under pressure, and so are you. Your challenges will be the making of you.

Life challenges pressuring you are softening your rough edges, calling you to evolve, buffering you to expose the power and beauty you have.

On the other side of this challenge, you will shine again, brighter than before.

#4

All challenges morph into wisdom.

This is the gift that challenges bring. They come to offer you something.

Whatever you get out of a challenge in the form of greater understanding, skills and life wisdom, you will not only use in future (as a handy side benefit) but you will NEED in future.

There is Divine Order in your life. Maybe you don’t know yet what this life challenge is gifting you, or maybe you do. Maybe you don’t know yet what this wisdom is for, but you will find out soon enough!

Perhaps the wisdom is to support something you will DO in the future. Perhaps it is to help you SHARE that wisdom with someone else in your life, to uplift them on their journey. You needn’t be concerned about why you’re being given this wisdom, only that it is has purpose.

The Universe/Divinity (whatever word you use to describe a higher power at play in your life)… it moves us across each others life paths, in right time and right order. We end up learning through challenges and then being called forth into work, career, vocations, relationships, situations and places in order that we can contribute through the wisdom we have gained.

There is purpose to what you are going through. Trust this.

#5

Sometimes things fall apart so that better things can fall together

That’s actually a Marilyn Monroe quote!

Remember that when it feels like life is falling apart, sometimes it’s actually life’s way of spring cleaning you (and your circumstances) to prepare you for the coming summer season of your life.

So even though it’s tempting to think that life is beating down on you, pause to consider if maybe the slate is being wiped clean in order that something better can form.

#6

What we resist persists. So, it’s vital TO let go and flow.

Use this mantra on a daily basis… “This is happening, and I choose peace.”

Your attitude is EVERYTHING when it comes to staying strong. You will either become a victim to what is happening or you will rise up and be a victor.

The choice is yours, and it all starts in your mindset.

I hope these reminders are helpful for whatever life challenges you might be going through now, or that you may face on your forward journey.

Source: The Daily Positive

Trust God and Step Out In Faith. Embrace change!!!

Screwed up like a ball
Protected by a covering
Afraid to share at all
Wound up by fear of change
A person can survive
Sitting on the outside
Looking at the beauty
Of what He’s doing today.

What’s the use of change
It only brings you problems
I’m perfect as I am
I do my best by Him
But there is something more
A loving kind of future
If only I would trust
And let dear Jesus in.

Oh peel away these layers
These chains that are my jailer
Let me open out
Into the flower that I am
The joy that lives within
Is buried deep inside me
Someone notice me
And help me live again.

Let me feel the power
A deluge of the water
Cleansing deep inside
Removing all my pain
Take away the fear
The thought of being foolish
Here, have all of me
I cannot stay the same.

Walk today in faith and have expect a change you never expected.

The Fallen Star

A true story from an anonymous reader.

I never realised I was in neck deep trouble until it hit me straight between the eyes.

All the lies kept piling upon each other until it was an unstable deck. And on the slightest breeze all came tumbling down.

It must be okay to say I fell. I fell deep and hard like the entire gravitational force of earth is concentrating on me alone. And when I fell, there where so many of them standing tall and mocking me, like they knew I had it coming all the time.

Why didn’t I see it coming? I was always the one who never made any mistake. But for the last 3 years it seems like i was living a lie. A reality which even I didn’t know was a big fat lie.

I had it all. And now, I was stripped of every power I had. My name, my pride, my dignity,my reputation, my love and all my life’s worth.

Down where I fell it was all chaos. All the beings were pointing their crooked nose and fingers and saying I was an outcast.

All I could do was curl up in that crater which I fall. I lay there for months hearing the scornful words from every one that passed by. I was called many names. The Harlot,The Pariah, The Black Swan..

Every time I hear those words I cringed and cried. My tears made a pool in the crater. Soon it became a lake. Deep down inside the lake I still lie. Curled up in a ball. A cocoon of myself. But they never forgot about me. They knew I will come out one day and they were all ready to rant about me more. That’s when I decided. They didn’t lost anything from my fall. It was just me and my loved ones who lost everything. Not everything. Everything was not lost. There was only one thing that was lost. The real me. All the little things that made me where gone.

And when that realisation dawned upon me I decided to let it all go. I will do what I want. I will rise again. I will see places. I will get my place back in the stars. For there are still people who believe in me, who looked upon me and who loved me. That love is all I need to shine bright.

Today I shine brighter than any around me. I do have bits and broken edges around me.. But all those broken edges made me the unique one that I am now.

Exterminate The Spirit Of Guilt And Condemnation

As a Christian, we experience the presence of guilt when we sin or do something bad. After fallen into the temptation, we start having this condemnation thought in us that God is angry and whatever we have asked will not be answered.I'm free from the past, free from guilt, free from shame, and free from condemnation. I'm free with a freedom that can only be found in Christ. Christianity is not about being bound by a set of biblical rules; it's  about being set free.   Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:12 #collarbone #tattoo #freedom #free #words #verse #romans

I was surfing through my old notes and saw one of Joyce Meyer’s writing about this particular subject.

“How much time do you waste feeling bad about yourself? Whatever amount of time it is, it is too much! Even if you are not where you want to be in your walk with God, you don’t have to feel guilty and ashamed. You can rejoice that you have made some progress. Jesus, who began a good work in you, will continue developing and perfecting His work in you right up until the day of Christ’s return. When the devil attacks you with guilt and shame, you can say, “I may not be where I need to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be! God is working in me right now, and each day I improve!”

My friend, your problems are not the root. When you go through an evil day, you are like a sickly plant with sick leaves. You may have leaves of sickness, poverty, a broken marriage or depression in your life. But these are just the leaves. These are just the manifestations of the root. It would be foolish to attack the leaves because they are not the cause of your problems. We all know that there’ll be no leaf if there is no root.

Joseph Prince in one of his preaching discussed something similar in dealing with the spirit of condemnation.

When there’s condemnation, there’ll be fear. When there’s fear, there’s going to be stress. And when there’s stress, there’ll be manifestations of the curse.

Now, if you disagree with me that the root cause is condemnation, let me refer you to Genesis, the book of beginnings.

Do you know that Adam was planted in the midst of a finished work? Everything was prepared for him. But the devil told him that he needed to do something to qualify for all the things he had already qualified for. The devil gave him a mistaken identity. He said, You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4–5)

The truth is that Adam was already like God! But Adam believed the devil, ate the fruit and fell. And the curse came.

Before there was poverty, sickness and death in Adam’s life, there was stress. How do we know that? Well, God said, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread…” (Genesis 3:19) And sweat speaks of stress and self-effort.

But if you go deeper, you will find that there was fear. Do you know what Adam said to God when God asked him where he was? He said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:10) Adam was afraid. He was fearful. So the deeper root of stress is fear. But before he was fearful, he felt condemned.

The deepest root of all is condemnation.