Times of Desperation Are The Best



GRACE 2



You might be thinking, “Seriously, Linda? Times of desperation are the best? Are you crazy?”  Probably, but I have had a lot of time to think about desperation since I have been through desperate situations myself as well as knowing some others who have found themselves in situations and circumstances beyond their control. I have thought a lot about people in the bible who have found themselves in the most dangerous or crazy situations.  *Let’s face it. We’ve all had those moments where we have come face to face with trials and not knowing what to do in those situations… those situations that have had us laid out before the LORD, those situations that have had us completely at the end of ourselves, that have us carefully tuning in to hear GOD’s voice speak, paying more attention to what the Word of GOD has to say, and clinging to GOD more than we usually do.


“In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles.” -Psalm 34:6 (NLT)

Are these times pleasant when we are going through them?  NO.  However, those are the rawest of moments where GOD can work WITHOUT US trying to help HIM because there is nothing of self to get in the way because we have given up the situation to GOD, completely surrendering whatever it is to HIM.  That’s where GOD wants us: FULLY SURRENDERED TO HIM, relying on HIM, not just in the bad times but in the good times as well…  in the time of blessings and in the time of tribulations.  *In the pages of Scriptures, we see Joseph, Daniel, and Nehemiah who all lived for GOD, served GOD, and did great things for GOD.  However, they all went through trying times.  Through it all, they clung to GOD with steadfast devotion and unwavering loyalty.  Their success did not come by walking an easy road but by walking a narrow road paved with humility, suffering, persecution, and all while walking in obedience to GOD who upheld them no matter what the circumstances or situations they were in.  GOD worked everything out for their good and for HIS purposes, and GOD can work things out for you just as HE did for them.  Joseph, Daniel, and Nehemiah were blessed for enduring their times of trial, those desperate situations.   Remember it was desperate times which took Joseph from the cistern to the palace (Genesis 37-41), Daniel from the Lion’s Den into prosperity (Daniel 6:28), and Nehemiah from cupbearer to heading up the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-9).  

REFLECTION “For he clung to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses,” (2 Kings 18:6).  You can be like Hezekiah who did not depart from following GOD but kept the commandments of GOD.  Cling tightly to GOD at ALL times.  Be faithful to the GOD who has been faithful to you and who has kept you.  Be loyal to the GOD who has not let your enemies triumph over you.  Walk with HIM and follow the LORD’s commandments, obeying Him with wholehearted devotion.  Without GOD, you can do nothing.  With GOD, you are an overcomer and made victorious. *PRAYER Heavenly Father, Your power is made perfect in weakness. You are the Horn of My Salvation, and You are the Wellspring of Life.  No matter what the circumstance, good or bad, I will put my hope and trust in You for with You all things are possible.  Thank You for times of desperation because, in those moments, You teach me and show me more of Your goodness, Your faithfulness, and Your grace.  Thank you for making my feet like a deer able to climb the mountain heights You have set me on, and when I come to You to have my strength renewed as I wait upon you, let me rise up with wings like an eagle.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Linda A. Knowles

Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God.”  -Isaiah 50:10

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Does God Still Speak?

John-1027-widescreen-752x440Yes, God does still speak to His children today.

As children of the Most High God, we do not take on the beliefs of those in the world whether they are the ordinary unbelievers you come across every day or secular actors, athletes, singers, and the like  who believe that if you talk much about God they consider you to be a good Christian but then consider you to be crazy if you say God speaks to you.   The vain imagination of man and the world’s philosophy is contrary to the nature and character of God and is in direct opposition to what the Word of God says.

Our God is THE personal God.  He is so personal that you are fearfully and wonderfully made complex (Psalm 139:14).  There is nowhere you can go that you can flee from His presence (Psalm 139:7-10).  God knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).  You CANNOT get more personal than that.  He wants to talk to you (Isaiah 1:18, James 4:8, Hebrews 4:12), and He wants you to talk to Him (Jeremiah 33:3, John 10:27-28, 1 John 1:3).  Having a relationship with God involves communication with Him, and you can talk with God anytime even if you are shopping, cooking, cleaning house, doing yardwork, tending to your children, and taking care of other responsibilities or anything you are doing in your leisure time (Joshua 1:9; Psalm 16:8, 145:18).  You’re not limited in when you can talk to your Heavenly Father or in how often you can speak with your Heavenly Father.

“GOD DOESN’T SPEAK TO ME LIKE HE DOES TO YOU; WHY DOESN’T GOD SPEAK TO ME LIKE HE DOES TO YOU…”

Do you want to hear God’s voice?  If yes, what are you doing to nurture your relationship with God in order to hear His voice?   Are you being quiet enough to listen to Him?  In other words, are you going into your prayer closet where it is just you and God alone, in place of solitude, where He can speak to you without you being distracted?  Are you willing for God to interrupt you at anytime no matter what you are doing so He can talk to you?  If you have a relationship with God, you should be daily spending time in the Word, developing discernment about what is right and what is wrong, and hearing Him speak to you through His Word.  If you have a relationship with God, then you should be spending time in prayer, seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness.  If you have a relationship with God, you should know the Word is clear when it states that “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?”  (Numbers 23:19 NLT)   Since God does NOT change, the phrase “God doesn’t speak” is incorrect, and, therefore, does NOT line up with the Unchanging God the Bible speaks of. God uses various ways to speak to His children.

It is important to note this: Do NOT complain God doesn’t talk to you (1) if you are not opening your Bible to study or read it, (2) if you are practicing a life of sin that is drowning out His voice, (3) if you are not paying attention to Him because you’re too “busy” to give Him your attention, (4) if you are complacent, non-committed, indifferent, or stagnant when it comes to God and the things that concern God such as His Will and His Ways, or (5) if you have cut yourself off from Him by actually choosing to be disobedient, disloyal, and have chosen your ways and your will rather than God’s.

“SO GOD SPOKE TO YOU AUDIBLY?”

Usually when someone says, “God told me” or “God spoke to me,” the automatic assumption and conclusion on the part of the listener is that the person heard God speak audibly.  However, the Bible is filled with metaphoric language, which is “the changing of form or nature of a person or thing into something different by natural or supernatural means,” and anthropomorphic language, which is “ascribing human attributes to God.” For instance, in the New Testament, we are told “God is spirit,” (John 4:24) yet at the same time, we speak of being in the hands of God (Deuteronomy 7:8, Isaiah 49:16) and talk about God holding the waters of the earth in His hand (Isaiah 40:12), and we see, in Genesis 1:1, God spoke things into existence such as the heavens and the earth, and in Genesis 3:8, we see Adam and Eve heard God walking in the garden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8).

BAR OF MEASURE FOR THE BELIEVER

Within the pages of the Bible, we see the standard of morality and the standard of ethics are set forth by God, and therefore, any preaching or teaching is measured by the Word of God. If a teaching or preaching does not line up with the Word of God, then it must be thrown out.   With that being said, since the Bible is the Authoritative Word of God for those who are believers, it should be no surprise to believers when their fellow brothers and sisters use phrasing often used within the pages of the Bible which they cherish to give them instructions for how to live a life pleasing to God.  God speaks to us through both the Old and the New Testaments.  If you believe in the New Testament, you must also believe in the Old Testament.  The apostles and disciples did not have the New Testament you hold in your hand today.  They got their teaching from the Law and the Prophets as well as those who were in the very presence of Christ and walking with Him during Christ’s time on earth as well as through the disciples who went forth into all the world to make disciples of all nations preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ and the testimonies of those who were witnesses and were saved through the hearing of the message of the cross.

“HOW DOES GOD SPEAK?”   GOD SPEAKS IN VARIOUS WAYS.

  • GOD SPEAKS through the Scripture either by multiple verses or even just a single verse:  “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (2 Timothy 3:16 NLT)  “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”  (Hebrew 4:12 NLT)
  • GOD SPEAKS in Gentle Whisper/Small Still Voice. “And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:12 KJV)  “While you were doing these wicked things, says the LORD, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer.” (Jeremiah 7:13 NLT)
  • GOD SPEAKS in Your Personal Quiet Time With Him.  Jesus spent time in prayer, before God, and spoke with God regularly in a place of solitude.  “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”  (Luke 5:16 NLT) “In those days, Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and He spent the night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12 BSB)  And if Jesus spent time in solitude with God, how much more should we to hear what God has to say?
  • GOD SPEAKS Revealing His Thoughts To Mankind.  “For the LORD is the one who shaped the mountains, stirs up the winds, and reveals his thoughts to mankind. He turns the light of dawn into darkness and treads on the heights of the earth. The LORD God of Heaven’s Armies is his name!” (Amos 4:13 NLT)  “‘Her husband Joseph was an honorable man and did not want to disgrace her publicly. So he decided to break the marriage agreement with her secretly.  Joseph had this in mind when an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The angel said to him, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She is pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus [He Saves], because he will save his people from their sins.'” (Matthew 1:19-21 GW)
  • GOD SPEAKS by Natural/Supernatural Means.  God used a donkey, a burning bush, a bright light, and has used all of creation.  “Then the LORD gave the donkey the ability to speak. ‘What have I done to you that deserves your beating me three times?’ it asked Balaam.” (Numbers 22:28 NLT)  “When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!'” (Exodus 3:4 NLT)  “Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him.” (Acts 9:3 ESV)  “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20 ESV)
  • GOD SPEAKS by The Word Of HIS Testimony. “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;  The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” (Psalm 19:7 NASB)
  • GOD SPEAKS in Dreams & Visions.  Examples:  Peter, Paul, Ananias. “It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy,  Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.” (Joel 2:28 NASB)  “He saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners.” (Acts 10:11 NLT) “That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us!'” (Acts 16:9 NLT) “In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias.  The Lord spoke to him in a vision, ‘Ananias!’  ‘Here I am, Lord,’ he answered.” (Acts 9:10 BSB) “About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, ‘Cornelius.'” (Acts 10:3 ESV)
  • GOD SPEAKS through People.  “For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10:20 ESV)
  • GOD SPEAKS through His Son Jesus Christ. “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Hebrew 1:2 ESV)  “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” (Matthew 4:23 HCSB)
  • GOD SPEAKS through the Prophets.  “He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago.  Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us.” (Luke 1:69-71 NLT)  “I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles.” (2 Peter 3:2 NLT) “Are not these the words which the LORD proclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous along with its cities around it, and the Negev and the foothills were inhabited?” (Zechariah 7:7 NASB)
  • GOD SPEAKS through His Holy Spirit. “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, for He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-18 BSB) “Then He remembered the days of the past, the days of Moses and his people.  Where is He who brought them out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock?  Where is He who put His Holy Spirit among the flock?” (Isaiah 63:11 HCSB) “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14 NASB)  “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25 NASB) “Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and join this chariot.'” (Acts 8:29 NASB) “which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” (1 Corinthians 2:13 NASB)  “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (John 16:13 ESV)
  • GOD SPEAKS through Godly counsel.  “The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong.” (Psalm 37:30 NLT)  “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.  Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:20-21 ESV)
  • GOD SPEAKS through Circumstances.  “Daniel said to the king, “Your Majesty, may you live forever!  My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they couldn’t hurt me. He did this because he considered me innocent. Your Majesty, I haven’t committed any crime.” The king was overjoyed and had Daniel taken out of the den. When Daniel was taken out of the den, people saw that he was completely unharmed because he trusted his God.” (Daniel 6:21-23 GW)

 

Linda A. Knowles

The Horrible Crabapple Tree, Plastic Sandwich Bag, & Disgruntled Me

APPLE TREE 1On the property of the house I grew up in, there was a Crabapple Tree, and I despised the tree.  As a kid, I blamed the tree for the miserable apples it produced, giving me the displeasure of having to pick up all the apples falling from it onto the ground. I hated picking up those apples, and I most often could be heard shouting, “I hate this!” and “Stupid apples!”
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I braced myself before I started that chore, put a plastic sandwich bag on my hand because of how rotten they were, and then I would begin.  It was the worst chore, but I had only two options to go outside and complete my chore OR be grounded.  I chose to complete my chore.  All I wanted was for the Crabapple Tree to work with me.  I wasn’t asking for a lot when I shouted at the tree, “Work with me!  Not against me.”
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It was an absolutely beautiful tree, but the fruit was rotten.


WHAT KIND OF TREE ARE YOU?

APPLE TREE 3
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Are you a good tree producing good fruit, or are you a bad tree, like the Crabapple Tree in this story, producing rotten fruit?
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Jesus had this to say in Luke 6:43-45, “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit.  For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.  The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”


“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” -John 15:16



As a child of God, you are chosen by Jesus to go forth and bear much fruit.  How you conduct yourself is very important because unbelievers are watching you especially if you are witnessing to them about the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Some will try to push you to the edge to see how you will react, and so there must be a noticeable difference between you and those who are unbelievers.  Your conduct and your speech must line up together.  If the unbeliever cannot tell the difference between you and them, then there is a problem.  All of us are to be lights in this dark world.  If you live like the world while claiming to be a child of God, you are fooling yourself and still living in darkness (1 John 1:1-8).
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In 1 Samuel 9:2, King Saul is described as handsome.  God, however, saw King Saul’s heart.  King Saul did not do the will of God, bearing the fruits of disobedience and being more concerned about the approval of man.
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God tells Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 
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And God is still telling us the same thing today.  God wants us to do His will, and when we do His will out of obedience and devotion to Him, we are producing good fruit.  When we spend time in prayer, the Holy Spirit is working in us, convicting us, changing us.  When we conform our will to the Lord’s will, we will produce good fruit.  The only reason we are able to bear the fruit God wants us to bear is because of His grace and His mercy, and as His Holy Spirit guides and leads us into His Truth, we bear the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control.
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What fruit are you bearing?  Are your actions and your words lining up together?  Are you walking the walk and not just talking the talk?  Is there a noticeable difference between you and the unbeliever?


“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”  (2 Peter 3:9)



 Much Love To You All,
L.A.  Knowles

Set Your Face Like Flint Determined To Do His Will!

Romans 8.31NEVER apologize for obeying what God has told you to do (“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” -Galatians 1:10 and “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” -Micah 6:8).

Always take your complaints and problems to the Lord because He is the one who can guide your steps and give your soul rest (“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'” -Matthew 11:28-30 and “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”).

Keep your mind fixed on the things of God because He keeps you in perfect peace (“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” -Isaiah 26:3-4).

It doesn’t matter what any man or woman says about you, what matters is what God has to say about what you do and say, and it’s more important for you to know God (“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'” -Isaiah 55:8-9 and “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” -Hosea 6:6).

WHAT MATTERS MOST is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5) and “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14).

One of these sheep is not like the other….

MASK 6

“Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.  You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.  Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.   A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.  So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.  Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” –Matthew 7:15-20

Much Love To You All,

L.A. Knowles

Get Ready To Throw & Then Do So

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” -Maya Angelou

 

When we give of ourselves to help those around us, we demonstrate the love of Christ; and in the Gospels, when we see our Savior being moved with compassion, we also should be moved with compassion as we follow His example and help those around us.

May we always remember to be His hands extended.

Much love to you all,

L.A. Knowles

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BLESS 1

“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” -Luke 6:38

“For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.” -Hebrews 6:10

“And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.” -Hebrews 13:16

 

 

 

Giving Thanks Is Not Just For Thanksgiving Day

PSALM 138

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

I thank you, Lord, with all my heart;

I sing praise to you before the gods.

I face your holy Temple,

bow down, and praise your name

because of your constant love and faithfulness,

because you have shown that your name

and your commands are supreme.

You answered me when I called to you;

with your strength you strengthened me.

All the kings in the world will praise you, Lord,

because they have heard your promises.

They will sing about what you have done

and about your great glory.

Even though you are so high above,

you care for the lowly,

and the proud cannot hide from you.

When I am surrounded by troubles,

you keep me safe.

You oppose my angry enemies

and save me by your power.

You will do everything you have promised;

Lord, your love is eternal.

Complete the work that you have begun.

thanks

Developing an attitude of gratitude is a daily practice.

Choose joy by being thankful every day.

Much Love To You All,

L.A. Knowles