Human Emotions

In the first three chapters of Genesis, we see fear, guilt, shame, contentment, anger, and happiness. Emotions are part of our existence, and while they should not be ignored, they are also not intended to rule our lives.  Jesus showed extreme levels of emotion in his walk here on earth.  He was human in every way.

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;  (Hebrews 5:7)

Emotions are part of our existence, and while they should not be ignored, they are also not intended to rule our lives.  Emotions come and go.  How many times have you felt depressed or sad, but the next morning you felt great?  I’ve known of some churches to teach the Christian experience at such an elevated level as to make it inhumane. Emotions do take time to process especially when something tragic happens like death, terminal illness, or a divorce.

It’s normal for us as humans to experience lingering sadness and depression over enormous hurts, such as the loss of a relationship or the death of a loved one.  If someone harms your child, it is human to feel hurt, anger, anguish, and a desire for justice.   While the Christian may certainly struggle with feelings of anger, hurt, revenge, we fight not to succumb to them and we pray for God to provide peace. Christ gives us strength beyond ourselves to endure and overcome.  I’ve been there and back and I’ve been amazed at His power to overcome evil with good.  Since God has grace for all these things, He encourages us to come boldly to the throne so that damaging emotions will not find a settled home in our hearts.

We will be hungry; that cannot be erased.  We will be angry.  We will desire the opposite sex and companionship; those hormones and attractions are part of our mortal fabric. We will get physically tired or even bored because humans crave variety.  We will not want to suffer problems, pain, death, injustices, rejection, isolation, loss of relationships, loss of health, or fear of the unknown. We will get physically tired or even bored because humans crave variety.

Though we are human, our hearts have been changed with the touch of the divine. Our focus while suffering these things should be to follow the steps of the one “who did no sin, neither was guile [craftiness or deception] found in his mouth; who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:21-23).

In other words, Jesus left an example of how we should live. We should walk in the same path as our Savior. A person who believes he or she can’t overcome even the most minor temptations because “Well, what’s the use? God looks at me as a sinner anyway and I can’t stop doing wrong,” is not living the way God intended.  The mindset of Christ is to walk in his path and do what He would do.

Christ never emphasized the weakness of man over the power of God.

excerpt from How to Walk on Water     DOWNLOAD THE BOOK

Riding the Waves

Getting through trials is all about riding the waves. It helps to remember the old adage, “Trials do not come to stay, but they come to pass.” They will end at some point, whether we hold on to God or not. Life keeps moving; situations change; seasons pass. If we just go where God is taking us until we arrive at the resolutions to our trials, we can meet these challenges and learn from them. Ecclesiastes 7:8 (KJV) tells us, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”

So often we allow our trials to get the best of us. We become victims of circumstance when we should be victorious.  Consequently, our confidence and trust in God becomes adversely affected. We become like a man on the ropes in a boxing match, in a vulnerable position and getting pummeled by his opponent. Every time he wants to get off the ropes, his movements are so restricted that he has trouble handling the punch his opponent is throwing. Isn’t that how we feel sometimes?  The punches of life are coming hard and heavy and we feel we have no place to go.  But as any boxing teacher will tell you, “Get off the ropes and use them to your advantage.”

The spring from the ropes can help you get out of your current situation and change your position. No boxer is out of the match because he gets in trouble; he’s only out of the match when he goes down for the count. It takes patience and steadfastness to stay with challenges until we see the end.

God never allows troubles to stay in our lives so we can suffer spiritual defeat.

Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV) says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

God allows troubles to come to us so we can help others.

2 Corinthians 1:4 (KJV) says that God comforts “…us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (emphasis mine).

Most of my experiences come from financial trials and church troubles, but God reminds me that He is a God of comfort for any need. If I have been afflicted, it is by God’s design for the consolation of others.

Excerpt from– How to Walk on Water   DOWNLOAD THE BOOK

This, Too, Shall Pass

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The Bible uses the phrase “and it came to pass” repeatedly to signify that something has transpired or an event has occurred. It is usually accompanied by some version of the following familiar story:

During a Sunday class, the question was asked, “In your time of discouragement, what is your favorite scripture?”

A young man said, “’The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,’ Psalm 23:1.” A middle-aged woman said, “‘God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,’ Psalm 46:1.” Another woman said, “‘In this world, you shall have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome this world,’ John 16:33-35.”

Then Mr. John, who was eighty years old, and had a head of white hair and dark black skin, stood up and said with as much strength as he could muster, “It says, ‘And it came to pass…’ eighty-five times in the Bible.” The class started to laugh a little, thinking that old Mr. John’s lack of memory was getting the best of him.

When the snickering stopped, he said, “At thirty, I lost my job with six hungry mouths and a wife to feed. I didn’t know how I would make it. At forty, my eldest son was killed overseas in the war. It knocked me down. At fifty, my house burned to the ground. Nothing was saved out of the house. At sixty, my wife of forty years got cancer. It slowly ate away at her. We cried together many a night on our knees in prayer. At sixty-five, she died. I still miss her today.

“The agony I went through in each of these situations was unbelievable. I wondered where God was. But each time I looked in the Bible and I saw one of those eighty-five verses that said, ‘And it came to pass,’ I felt God was telling me that my pain and my circumstances were also going to pass and that God would get me through them.”[1]

[1] Stephen Sheane, “The Table of the Shewbread,” http://www.sermoncentral.com/illustrations/illustrations-about-influence.asp?Keyword=Influence [accessed May 25, 2011].

Excerpt from– How to Walk on Water   DOWNLOAD THE BOOK

$4,000 In One Day Is Not Too Hard for God….

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We needed $4,000 to pay the mortgage again, and the lawyers gave us a two-week deadline. We were desperate, and I couldn’t seem to find a solution in my head. I thought maybe we could borrow small amounts from several people, but a week went by and still so solution.  I thought, “Well, it is what it is and the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.”  I began to think of other places to live. Some may call this response a lack of faith, but I was being realistic.  I didn’t know what God ‘s will was in this situation.  He began to bring a certain sister to my mind—strongly.  I told my husband about this and he said this same sister had come to his mind, too. But she was not a blood relative and we were not close friends. She was a good, honest saint I had worshiped with, but she did not really know me. So how were we going to ask her for that kind of money?

I called her and explained that I needed help on a matter but was not sure how she would be able to help me.  She said, “Well, God already let me know that you all needed some help, so how much to you need?”

I thought the words were going to choke in my throat. “$4,000,” I said quietly.  You know how in your mind, you can’t fix your mouth to say the full amount but I figured that was close enough and we could find the rest somewhere else.

“That’s around the amount God told me you needed,” she said.

“Well,” I said bracing myself,  “It’s really more like $4,400, but if you can help some, that would be great.”

“I can handle that,” she said. “When do you need it?”

I gave her the schedule and she told me to bring the lawyer’s letter to her on Friday so she could get a cashier’s check to the proper parties by Sunday.  She was so gracious that she told us not to worry about when we’d paid her back until we got on our feet. She was true to her word and didn’t seem to worry about it.  Even after we got settled financially in more secure jobs, she told us to take our time.  She truly had the gift of giving and we paid her back in full.

A Package Just in Time

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Here is another story of God working on our behalf.  During one of the many times we had fallen behind on our mortgage, the mortgage company threatened us with foreclosure. This is it; we thought. This time we’re going to lose our home. The lawyers sent us a letter and told us we had to have $2,000 in their office by the next week, or they were going to proceed with foreclosure.

None of our friends really knew how much we needed; Gino just asked for prayer during church services about a “business matter.”  That was on a Friday. Sunday night after service, a dear sister approached us and said that ever since she heard our request, God would not let her alone. She felt burdened to give us a sum of money to the point that she said she did not want to disobey God.

This was a humbling experience; we almost felt ashamed to take any money from her, though we were both certain she wasn’t going to give us any amount that would be terribly helpful. She also said that she told her mother about her burden, and her mother had an envelope for us, as well. She handed my husband both envelopes and told us she was glad to get God off her. We thanked her, thinking it was so nice, but that we were still in trouble.  $2000 was a large sum of money.

On the way home, I opened the first envelope.  $1,000 in cash.  I opened the second one and found another $1,000 in cash.  We were speechless. Of course, we immediately put it in cashier check form and took it to the lawyer’s office. God had miraculously worked on our behalf.  If God has ever so precisely met your needs, you know that this type of blessing is extremely humbling. It does not make you proud or lifted up; it makes you awestruck beyond all reason because it puts you face to face with a real God who can meet real needs.