We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body

2nd Corinthians 4: 8-10

 

Beloved,

There are so many things happening in our nation that it is easy to become overwhelmed with emotions that range from sadness to anger and even a sense of helplessness. It seems as though we are in a never-ending cycle of violence, and every time that we hit what we think is the bottom, we discover that there is another lower level. This sense of ever-increasing defeat is not limited to our nation, rather it is a feeling that may manifest in our personal lives as well.  There are times when our lives seem to be characterized by the occurrence of one bad thing after another. There are times when we feel as though we cannot handle one more thing. This feeling is natural, but fortunately we serve the God who is supernatural.

When these feelings arise in us, not only do we not want to face our own problems, we also don’t see any way possible to do anything about the issues affecting others. This space of helplessness and defeat is the space the enemy would love for us to stay in. When life is feeling overwhelming, we must avoid isolation, engage our issues with prayer and purpose, and seek where we might be of benefit to others. These steps will remind us that we are not in life alone; we have been intentionally connected by God to the people in our lives. I challenge us all to trust God in every circumstance, to seek His lesson for us in these seasons of life, and to place ourselves face to face with the reality that God’s grace is still at work in our lives.

In short, when life is overwhelming, we are to remember that God is still keeping us, and His presence is always with us.

In Him,

Pastor Nathaniel Wright



Focusing on the “Why?”

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. 

James 1:19 (The Message)

 

Beloved of God,

The book of James has been the focus of some personal study as I attempt to decipher the plan of God in these increasingly chaotic times. In the verse leading to verse 19, James is focusing on the why of our trials and difficulties. He concludes that God allows us to experience trials, because God is proving our faith. God is removing the defects and flaws, so that we do not lack anything.

So, we can’t get angry about what is happening to us or about what others are saying to, around, or in spite of us. Whatever they are saying is much more spiritual than they understand.

Out of trust in God and His ability to ordain our steps, we should listen to Him and let His Word shape our response, so that our response can reflect our faith. God is doing more to shape and perfect us through difficult exchanges with others than we realize.

The why is because God wants to prove our faith, but to prove our faith, we need to be a good steward of our response. If we don’t want to experience the same trials over and over again, James makes it clear that we should let our ears lead us, our mouth follow, and let anger straggle along (James 1:19 MSG). That way, when we are faced with someone who is using reckless words, we can learn to see this as both God’s work in our life and as a maturing of our faith.

We often let anger take us to a place that we regret once our anger has subsided. But James reminds us that Jesus wants us to respond differently. We follow Christ, and He helps us to control our emotions. By the Grace of God and the work of the Spirit, we can be transformed so that we can bring our emotions in check and line up our emotions with God’s Word and will.

If the Holy Spirit leads and emotions follow, we can make decisions that will expand the Kingdom of God.

 
In Him,
Pastor Nathaniel Wright