A Rough Start

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)

We are only half way through the first month of the year and things are already dim. Here in my little corner of the world, my neighbors have suffered a tragic loss, another neighbor has Alzheimer’s and last week was the four-year anniversary of the day my Mom went Home to be with Jesus. It has been an emotional and spiritual dumpster fire around here, and there are things on the horizon that scare the living daylights out of me. This is just life and we should never expect anything to run smoothly.

My pastor’s teaching this morning was a God-sent message of hope. He taught about suffering. It is not that trouble comes (Jesus stated very clearly that it will. See John 16:33), but how we navigate the trouble is what’s important. We have a tendency to let suffering crush us when it would be more to our benefit to let it build us. Granted, it is really difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel when we are in the midst of grief, anxiety and stress. The world we live in is harsh. The world we belong to is Heaven – we need to remember that.

God truly does work in all things in our lives, whether we recognize it or not. He allows the suffering simply because we need it to grow. Being refined in the fire (see 1Peter 1:6-7) is not easy; it is not meant to be, it is meant to remind us that we are a work in progress. It goes against our nature to let go of the trouble and trust in God; it is in our nature to try to figure a way out of it. We cry out to Him for help. We search Scripture for answers. We seek advice from others. We do our best to muddle through the muck and the mire, knowing He is with us, or we give up. God has a plan. He will work out His plan in and through us, if we will only let Him. That means letting go of trying to control things and trusting in Him.

In the months after my Mom went Home I must have cried a thousand gallons of tears. I was lost (and still am) without her to guide me; without her to console and admonish me. My heart aches for a conversation with my mother. God knows this. He knows the tumult in my soul. He knows everything. There is seldom peace in the circumstances we face, but there is always peace in Jesus Christ. It took me a long time to realize that fact and I have yet to completely trust it. Every day is an adventure in strengthening my faith and remembering that no matter what happens God is with me. Take heart, He is with you, too!

————————————–

Please pray for my neighbors. If you have a prayer request, please leave in the comments.

If you like this site and would like to help me keep it up and running, please consider the ‘donate’ button on the side of the page. Thank you and God bless you!

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Revolving Resolving

“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people of long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by earth for it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your own head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’, ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:33-37 NIV)

Here we are in the middle of the first week of the New Year and millions have probably already broken their Resolutions for the year. It is something that comes around every year; something that well-intentioned people do, and it is often nothing more than a failed attempt to change for the better. Change for the sake of change is, at best futile; at worst, it is nothing less than destruction. Change for the better must come about as a direct result of growth. Sadly, the learning curve on this is flat in our self absorbed culture.

New Year’s resolutions have always been a mystery to me. If something needs to be done, why wait until the New Year to do it. If you need to lose weight, quit a bad habit, get in shape, clean your closet, etc. why would you wait? If you make the determination that you need to fix your life in July or October, wouldn’t that be the time to get going on the repairs? The longer you wait, the worse things get.

The ultimate self-improvement teacher is Jesus Christ. Making a once-a-year vow to improve is just silly. Following His instructions, don’t swear to do something that you know you will fail to do; just do it.  There is no need to keep walking through a revolving door every year when resolutions are made. You don’t have to make a show of things, write a list or wait until a date on the calendar to decide to make your life a better place to be. All you need to do to truly improve your life is open your Bible and read The Instructions; pray for His Guidance and live your life. If you really want to improve and thrive – give it ALL to God and let Him do the heavy work.

 

______________________________________________________

Thank you for stopping by The Determined Christian, I appreciate you! If you have a prayer request, please leave it in the comments. I encourage you to pray for those around you who do not know the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ – let His love flow in and through you as you lift them up in prayer.

If you like this blog and would like to support keeping it up and running, please consider donating a small amount. The gray ‘donate’ button on the side of the screen will take you to my PayPal donations page. Thank you. God bless you with His peace and JOY today and always.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Good Riddance to 2021

Happy New Year! No doubt, 2021 has been a dumpster fire of a year. Globally, nationally, locally and personally – the year has been filled with chaos and flat-out weirdness for all of us. Some look to the New Year with dread that it will be more of the same (or worse), while others look ahead with excitement and anticipation for good things to come. Whichever view you hold of the New Year, I hope you put Christ first and decide to see where He will lead you.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV)

The world will be full of trouble and strife, and that will always affect us. However, we have a way of dealing with it as long as we look to God, read His Word, pray and trust that Jesus has our back. When we live in fear we give the devil an open door to come into our lives and make things worse. Holding to the truth of Scripture and trusting in God to guide us will give us the strength, courage and wisdom we need to navigate this world’s chaos.

As we celebrate the New Year, it is my sincere prayer that all of us would look to Jesus and focus our attention on Him. He is the giver of peace, the world is not. Jesus is the giver of life, joy and purpose. In Him, we have everything we need to face an uncertain future. Letting go of one year and embracing a new one; not letting the past haunt our present and keeping our attention on what He is able to do will make 2022 a better year. Good riddance to 2021, indeed!

I am looking forward to 2022 because God has put His purpose in my heart to encourage my fellow Christians. If my feeble words have a positive impact on just one person my blessings will abound. In the coming few months, The Determined Christian will grow in many ways – there are new features coming in January. I want to keep this blog simple and uncluttered, so there won’t be any advertising (at least for a while). If you want to support my efforts, the grey button on the side of the screen is for donations. I have a day job; I work part-time (15 hours a week) at a gas station, so donations will help me keep this blog running and help me get a podcast going. Once I have built an audience, I will be able to choose advertisers for this site that have products/services that are in-line with my Christian values.

Dear Christian, I pray that as you enter into a New Year, your heart is filled with God’s joy and the peace of Jesus Christ. If you have any prayer requests, please leave them in the comments. If you read a prayer request in the comments, I invite you to lift it up to God. Together we can make 2022 a year of prayer and conviction to live our lives in fearless good for the sake of our faith. May we always remember the grace God has poured out on us through the blood of His Son.

Happy New Year and God bless you!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Everything Old is New Again

Hello Dear Reader,

It has been several years since I have had a blog. In recent months I have felt a yearning to get The Determined Christian up and running again, so here we are! In 2011, when I first set out to write for my fellow Christians, setting up a blog was fairly easy. Things have changed. I am older now, and the technology to do this is a lot newer. It will take me a while to get the hang of it, but with some help and patience I think I can do it.

My purpose here is to support and encourage my fellow Christians in their walk with Jesus. We live in precarious times and it is of utmost importance that we help each other to remember that God is still in charge, even if it doesn’t always seem like it. One thing I would like to make very clear – I am not here to convey the lollipops and posies side of Christianity. Being a Christian is real; it is raw, and it overflowing with radical truth. The core of our faith is that God sent His Son to shed His blood on the Cross to save us, not to condemn us.

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:17

 

For the record: Unbelievers are welcome here, but I am not here to debate them. I will let others, who are more qualified and patient take on that task. As this site builds and grows, I hope that the community that is formed here will be Christ-centered, real, fun, thoughtful and prayerful.

Again, thank you for stopping by. May God bless you this day and always with His peace and joy in your heart.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Work in Progress

Welcome to The Determined Christian! This is a brand new site and still in the process of being designed. Please stay tuned…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment