Life Can Be a Struggle

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”  Colossians 3:16 (NASB)

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Let this be a time of worship to God.  Pray each prayer and add your own personal message to God.  Read each scripture as though reading it for the first time – listen carefully for the voice of God.  Listen to each song paying close attention to the lyrics provided.  These songs were carefully chosen.  Even if the music is not your favorite style of music, know that the musicians performing are sincerely making music to the Lord.  Try to feel the passion in their words and their musical expression.  Give thought to the message presented and confirm the truth therein by opening your Bible and taking some time to do your own personal study.  May you be greatly blessed.

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Let’s Pray Together

Father God, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, we worship and adore you.  Fill our hearts with that which is your will and control our steps as we celebrate your approaching kingdom.  We look to you for all our basic needs and thank you for all that you provide.  Please forgive us Father for all the mistakes we make along the way and soften our hearts so that we may forgive others.  Keep us safe from the enemy who wanders about looking to devour our souls.  Fill our minds with your wisdom and our hearts with your love.  We ask these things in the Holy name of Jesus.  Amen.

Life Can Be a Struggle

(Less than 30 minutes total time)

To many of us, it often seems that life is just a series of difficulties disbursed among moments of peace.  Everyday problems punctuate the rhythm of life with a constant need to reevaluate, renegotiate, or reimagine the path forward.  Small problems turn into big problems and big problems turn into insurmountable roadblocks that completely stop our forward progress.  Life can be full of struggle.

 “You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”  James 4:14 (NASB)

As a follower of Jesus, we live our lives knowing (not simply believing, but knowing) that God is on our side and He will intervene on our behalf as He sees fit.  The unbelieving skeptic, on the other hand, looks at the difficulties in a believer’s life and questions why God would allow a believer’s life to be so difficult.  From the outside looking in, the Christian life looks no different than the life of an unbeliever.

“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”  Romans 8:18 (NASB)

The unbeliever fails to see the bigger picture.  We are here in this life for a brief moment in all eternity.  Every difficult step in this life is preparation for our eternal existence with God.  Nevertheless, even mature followers of Jesus will become overwhelmed with struggles from time-to-time and wonder why life is so difficult.  We simply have to trust in the Lord, knowing that everything in our life has a purpose in his great plan.

“Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand.”  Proverbs 19:21(NASB)

Our plans are irrelevant and likely fall far short of what God has designed our life to be.

Let this song speak to your heart.

Faith Is Not A Feeling – Josh Wilson

Suffering is Part of Our Walk with God

Our faith in Jesus is not a feeling that overcomes us; it is a decision to follow his teachings.  There is no promise of a perfect life.  Jesus suffered greatly on our behalf.  The Apostle Paul suffered throughout his life.  Suffering is to be expected.  There is value in suffering.

“In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider—God has made the one as well as the other.”  Ecclesiastes 7:14 (NASB)

Believers are being trained by God to fully understand all aspects of life.  Wisdom comes from suffering.  Struggles in life are strength building experiences.  We should consider every struggle to be a challenge designed to stimulate our spiritual endurance.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”  James 1:2-3(NASB)

As a follower of Jesus Christ, you are never alone.  No matter what you are going through, God is with you every step of the way.  He’s not there to do it for you – He’s there to catch you if you fall.  Believers have access to the power of God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  There is no better helper than the spirit of God.

“My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”  Psalm 121:2 (NASB)

Therefore, believers sing praises to God for every struggle.  Every difficult moment in your life is an indication that God believes you are capable of overcoming the adversities placed in your path.  Every struggle is another opportunity to trust God and walk with him through the storm.

Let this song speak to your heart.

Praise You In This Storm – Casting Crowns

I was sure by now

God, you would have reached down

And wiped our tears away

Stepped in and saved the day

But once again, I say “Amen,” and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls

I barely hear your whisper through the rain

“I’m with you”

And as your mercy falls

I raise my hands and praise the God who gives

And takes away

And I’ll praise you in this storm

And I will lift my hands

For you are who you are

No matter where I am

And every tear I’ve cried

You hold in your hand

You never left my side

And though my heart is torn

I will praise you in this storm

I remember when

I stumbled in the wind

You heard my cry to you

And raised me up again

My strength is almost gone

How can I carry on

If I can’t find you

But as the thunder rolls

I barely hear your whisper through the rain

“I’m with you”

And as your mercy falls

I raise my hands and praise the God who gives

And takes away

And I’ll praise you in this storm

And I will lift my hands

For you are who you are

No matter where I am

And every tear I’ve cried

You hold in your hand

You never left my side

And though my heart is torn

I will praise you in this storm

I lift my eyes unto the hills

Where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord

The maker of Heaven and Earth

I lift my eyes unto the hills

Where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord

The maker of Heaven and Earth

And I’ll praise you in this storm

And I will lift my hands

For you are who you are

No matter where I am

And every tear I’ve cried

You hold in your hand

You never left my side

And though my heart is torn

I will praise you in this storm

Though my heart is torn

(Though my heart is torn)

I will praise you in this storm

(Praise you in this storm)

Struggles Are An Opportunity to Experience God’s Love

When we’re caught up in the middle of an especially difficult time, it’s hard to see the bright future that will surely follow.  It’s important for us to expand our perspective beyond the present and look back at past experiences.  Remember how God came through for you over and over again in your life.  There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God.

“In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:37-39(NASB)

Even when we stumble and fall victim to the schemes of the enemy, God remains by our side ready to wrap his arms around us when we come out the other side.  Our God is a never-ending source of love and mercy.

“You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.”  Psalm 86:15 (NASB)

As a follower of Jesus Christ, we receive and transmit God’s love every moment of every day.  It is God’s love that has transformed us into children of God.  It is God’s love that has empowered our Christian life and carries us forward into all eternity.

“We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”  1 John 4:16(NASB)

Life can be a struggle.  We all make mistakes.  In every circumstance, God is with us.  God’s love fills the heart of every believer and is the power that lifts us up from despair and moves us forward to a bright new tomorrow.

Let this song speak to your heart.

Lift Me Up – The Afters

Waiting for the sunrise

Waiting for the day

Waiting for a sign

That I’m where you want me to be

You know my heart is heavy

And the hurt is deep

But when I feel like giving up

You’re reminding me

That we all fall down sometimes

But when I hit the ground

You lift me up when I am weak

Your arms wrap around me

Your love catches me so I’m letting go

You lift me up when I can’t see

Your heart is all that I need

Your love carries me so I’m letting go

I know I’m not perfect

I know I make mistakes

I know that I have let you down

But you love me the same

And when I’m surrounded

When I lose my way

When I’m crying out and falling down

You are here to

Lift me up when I am weak

Your arms wrap around me

Your love catches me so I’m letting go

You lift me up when I can’t see

Your heart is all that I need

Your love carries me so I’m letting go

I can see the dawn is breaking

I am feeling overtaken with your love

With your love

I don’t know what I can offer

In this moment I surrender to your love

To your love

You lift me up when I am weak

Your arms wrap around me

Your love catches me so I’m letting go

You lift me up when I am weak

Your arms wrap around me

Your love catches me so I’m letting go

You lift me up when I can’t see

Your heart is all that I need

Your love carries me so I’m letting go

I can see the dawn is breaking

I am feeling overtaken with your love

You lift me up with your love

You lift me up with your love

You lift me up with your love

You lift me up

Thank you for spending this time worshiping God.

His door is now open to you.  You are in God’s presence.  Don’t leave without Him.  Keep Him with you throughout your day.

Go in peace.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

 

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