Archive for Finances

Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

EasterNot too long before he returned to heaven, Jesus told his followers “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God; believe also in me,” John 14:1.

The English words “Do not let” mean “to refuse to allow or to permit something to happen.”  So, God gives us the power to reject a troubled heart.  Yes, the Holy Spirit in you equips you to reject a troubled heart even though you live in a troubled world!  We can reject the trouble we brought on ourselves or that others brought on us.  In fact, Jesus told us that God “will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away,” Revelation 21:4.

As believers in Jesus we firmly stand against a troubled mind and a disturbed heart.  God is our Victory!

Another wonderful verse is found in Proverbs 12:28: “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.”

Three Cross PaintingResting in Jesus

Jesus is our life!  He isn’t merely our pathway to life—he is our very life!  So, we rest in him even when we live in a world of chaos and feel fear in our hearts.  We say “no” to fear of every kind and surrender ourselves to heavenly Father, Christ Jesus and Holy Spirit.  They are our guardian and our provider.  Even if our enemies kill us, we do not fear, but rest in the Lord who called us into eternal immortality.  There is nothing to fear because heavenly Father, Christ Jesus and Holy Spirit commit their infinite power to bestowing eternal life on us.  We are more than conquerors through him who loved us!  Remember the verse we quoted above?  “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality,” Proverbs 12:28.  Yes, walking with Jesus guarantees immortality to his followers.  Even if we are executed by our enemies, we do not fear because God designed us for eternal life!

When we die, our spirit steps out of our bodies and lives eternally with Father, Son and Holy Spirit!  We cannot lose for winning!  Our God called us to eternal life so that’s where we are headed!

Overcoming Fear of Death

Death is a frightening experience that nobody wants to go through.  However, death happens to every human since Adam and Eve.  So, we overcome fear of death even though we cannot escape death.

We refuse to allow our hearts to be frightened of death because we belong to the Author of Life.  Jesus came to earth as a mortal and experienced execution on a cross.  However, Jesus volunteered to die and, thereby, became eligible for eternal life.  True, his death was very unpleasant.  His torture, crucifixion, spitting, screaming and beating was anything but pleasant.  Nevertheless, Jesus experienced this for our sake so that by uniting with him we could overcome the fear of death just like he overcame it.

Jesus was buried in a tomb hollowed out of rock.  They laid his body in this tomb and rolled a large stone across the door into the tomb.  However, in three days Jesus’ Spirit entered his lifeless body and brought it back to eternal life.  He walked out of the tomb and appeared to many of his followers before ascending to his father’s right hand.  Consequently, we face the experience called death without being terrified by it.  We know that beyond death lies eternal life for everyone who loves the Lord!  Eternal life awaits all of Jesus’ followers who love him and want to please him.  God gives us the power to reject a troubled heart even though we must go through physical death.  We are seeking immortality even though immortality requires us to experience death.  We are more than conquerors through him who loved us and gave himself up for us, so we do not fear death.  We refuse to let our hearts be troubled by the prospect of these bodies ceasing to exist.  Eternal life awaits all of Jesus’ followers because he died to bring us into everlasting life!  Our union with Jesus guarantees our union with him in eternal life!

Joyfully Anticipating Eternal Life

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God; believe also in me,” John 14:1.   We choose to not be troubled by placing our faith in the God who called us to eternal life!  All of us face a resurrection which brings us into eternal life in a resurrected body.  Truly, we cannot lose for winning!  Our God called us to eternal life without fear of harm, injury or death.  We refuse to be troubled by fear, anxiety or hopelessness.  We rest in our God who watches over us and will help us escape eternal death by raising us from the dead and placing us in an eternally resurrected body.  We choose to not be troubled because we believe in our eternal God who loves us with all his heart.  We are headed for an eternal life without any fear, pain, sorrow, regrets or suffering.

Remember, brother and sister, what Proverbs 12:28 promises you: “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.” 

Be greatly encouraged,

James Fields

When God Thinks About You

God can’t get you off his mind. His infinite love fixes you in his thoughts.  Before creating the universe, God filled his mind with wonderful plans for your life on earth and awesome ideas for your eternity.

We small mortals can scarcely believe that an infinite Creator thinks so often and so highly about us.  David asked, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him,Psalm 8:4. “Mindful” means that God’s mind is full of living thoughts about his loved ones.  We can’t explain how God simultaneously thinks about all his children, but he does!

Jesus described his heavenly Father like this: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they,Matthew 6:26.  Jesus was trying to help the human imagination grasp the outer fringes of God’s love for us.  If he is mindful of birds, how much more does he think about meeting human needs?

A verse from Job summarizes God’s feelings for his children.  “He never takes his eyes off the righteous,Job 36:7.  He thinks about us all the time.

Heart, MusicWhat happens in God when he thinks about you?

You rejoice his heart and place a song on his lips.  “He rejoices over you with singing,Zephaniah 3:17.  You are the source of his song because you are the object of his love.  The measureless One who made all things experiences a thrill every time his children come to his mind–and we fill his mind always.

You delight his heart.  “He takes great delight in you, Zephaniah 3:17. “Delight” exceeds joy.  Although our actions and behavior don’t always bring joy to God, he continually delights in our person.  Our imperfections, failures and weaknesses grieve his heart but do not lessen his delight in us.  He remains committed to perfecting us when we act very imperfectly.  His delight in us never waivers even when it is necessary to correct us, to rebuke us, or reprimand us.  “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline,” Revelation 3:19.

What happens to you when God thinks about you?

You wear a crown of blessing.  “Blessings crown the head of the righteous,” Proverbs 10:6. The new birth removed the crown of thorns you wore and placed a crown of God’s blessing upon your head.  The crown God placed on you represents the position he gave you.  You became an offspring of the King of the universe.  Like your Father King you wear a crown as a sign of your royal position.  You are his child.  Human frailties do not tear you out of his family.  Doubts about your God or yourself never decrease his determination to live in you by his Spirit.

Wearing God’s crown of blessing doesn’t exempt you from unpleasant seasons, difficulties or trials.  The crown simply indicates that whatever life throws at you, you will triumph; you will win; you will move out of unpleasantness into pleasantness.  “He rescued me because he delighted in me,” (Psalm 18:19) applies to you no matter how you feel or what’s going on around you.  You will eternally be God’s delight.

What happens to your spiritual foes when God thinks about you?

They cringe in fear of the One who thinks about you.  Devils flee from the One who fills His mind with you.  Wild panic grips their thoughts and feelings.  They flee from you as the One who thinks of you commands his angels to encamp around you.  Dear Christian friend, please notice the full quotation of Job 36:7. “He does not take his eyes off the righteous; he enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever.”  Let’s skip to verses 15 and 16 of the same chapter.  “But those who suffer, he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.  He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.”  Please don’t let life’s disappointments or hardships fool you into believing that God isn’t thinking about you.  He is “wooing you from the jaws of distress.”  He cannot lose sight of your best; your welfare fills the thoughts of the One who can’t quit lovingly thinking about you!

Be greatly encouraged,

Pastor James Fields

When the Angel Sat Down

Three Cross Painting

Hilarious glee filled the hearts of Jesus’ enemies.  They had succeeded in crucifying and burying this man who claimed to be the Son of God.  All who resisted the will of God rejoiced at their victory over the man they considered a great deceiver.

But one thing troubled Jesus’ foes.  They recalled that he predicted his resurrection.

The chief priests and Pharisees approached Pilate, the Roman governor over Israel.  “Sir…we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again,’” Matthew 27:63.

Soldiers At Jesus TombThey requested Pilate to station an armed guard at Jesus’ tomb so that his disciples would not steal the body and claim that He rose from the dead.  In addition to the guard, the religious leaders sealed the huge stone that lay over the tomb.  This seal was probably a cement-like substance spread over the edge of the stone that glued it to the tomb.  The weight of the stone plus the seal created a strong barrier to anyone who wished to remove Jesus’ body.

Everyone who resisted God’s plan for Jesus’ resurrection felt confident that they had thwarted his prediction.  The tomb was securely sealed, and soldiers guarded against intruders.

Angel Rolling The Stong Away From The TombGod always prevails over human resistance to his plan.  God never loses; sinners never win.  “An angel of the Lord came down from heaven and…rolled back the stone and sat on it,” Matthew 28:2.  The mighty soldiers fainted.  The seal that attached the stone to the tomb completely shattered as the angel touched it with a little finger.  Then the angel sat on the stone that was intended to prevent Jesus’ resurrection.

Dealing with Terrible Times

Through the apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit predicted terrible times in the last days preceding Jesus’ second coming.  Why terrible times?  Because humanity’s rejection of God exposes us to Satan’s hateful violence against all that God loves.

Although we live in terrible times, we can remain confident in the One who overcame all human resistance to Jesus’ resurrection.  The God who raised Jesus from the dead is the God whose Spirit lives in our hearts.  Don’t focus your attention on the terrible times; keep your attention on the heavenly Father who sent his angel to demolish human resistance to divine purposes.

Christians die in wars and natural disasters and are sometimes victims of crime.  However, death is like the stone that covered Jesus’ tomb.  It means nothing.  Physical death propels us into eternal life and eventual resurrection of our bodies.  Satan only wins hollow victories.

Do Not Be AlarmedWe can live without fear during the terrible times.  “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed,” Matthew 24:6.  Jesus predicted terrible times, but he also commanded us to reject panic, fear, and feelings of uncertainty.  Since God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, we choose to reject the fear, the panic, and the uncertainty that attempt to dominate our thoughts and feelings (2 Timothy 1:7).

What kind of people will God make us during terrible times?  People filled with divine energy to remain calm, “though briars and thorns are all around” us and we “live among scorpions” (Ezekiel 2:6).

Assured Indestructibility

Satanic creatures and human sinners sought Jesus’ destruction.  What’s new?  Sinners of both the spirit world and the natural world harbor intense resentment against God’s will and plan, but they can never win!

God enfolds his plans and purposes in assured indestructibility.  He mocked mankind’s effort to thwart divine purposes.  He sent an angel to sit on the stone sinners trusted to keep Jesus in the tomb.

You are God’s will.  His will brought you into existence and sustains your every breath, your every heartbeat, and your future.  God’s Spirit wraps you in assured indestructibility.  Get on with your life; pursue your plans.  Seek more intimate fellowship with the Spirit of Jesus.  Don’t worry about anything.  Don’t panic when things around you crumble.  God purposefully sees to it that his indestructible will for your life is fulfilled.  Often quote Job 42:2, “I know that you can do all things and that no plan of yours can be thwarted.”

If a mere angel can defeat Satan, how much more can our Almighty God crush him!

Be greatly encouraged,

Pastor James Fields

The Power to Overcome Fear of Bad News

Beach Scene By Mark Campbell      Ability to defeat fear of bad news does not originate in us, but in the Jesus who defeated Satan, sin and the world.

      The first part of Matthew chapter four records Satan’s attempt to destroy Jesus by causing him to sin.  Jesus never yielded to Satan’s attempts.  Jesus held to his righteous nature, rejected all Satan’s suggestions and completely defeated the Satan who led Adam and Eve astray.  Jesus faced many other temptations which are not recorded in the gospels, but in every case he proved victorious.  Jesus even felt forsaken by his heavenly Father as he hung on the cross and was drawing near death.  He cried aloud, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)  Nevertheless, Jesus held to his faith in heavenly Father’s provision.  Truly, Jesus’ “heart [was] steadfast, trusting in the Lord,” his heavenly Father (Psalm 112:8).

     The Spirit of heavenly Father dwelt in Jesus and empowered him to overcome fear.  Consequently, Jesus’ heart was steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  Jesus remained faithful to heavenly Father and to you and me during those grueling hours hanging on the cross.  He ended his earthly life by crying out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.  When he had said this, he breathed his last,” Luke 23:46. Jesus was so strong that he never blamed Father for anything, but committed himself to heavenly Father’s care!  Truly, Jesus’ heart was secure in his faith in Father’s love.  Consequently, fear couldn’t conquer Jesus.

     It works the same for you and me.  With the Spirit of Jesus dwelling in our human spirits, we can overcome the fear of the massive amount of bad news in our world.

     The Spirit of the same Jesus who endured persecution, beating, crucifixion and ridicule, dwells in you.  The presence of Jesus in your spirit empowers you to live above fear in this fear-filled world.  We chose to yield to the Lord’s promises that are recorded in his written Word.  We chose to yield to the Holy Spirit who dwells in us and enables us to overcome the fear of the rampant bad news that permeates society.  We can win against fear of bad news!  In these last days, fear attempts to fill us with lack of faith in God.  Remember that Jesus “began to be sorrowful and troubled.  Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,’” Matthew 26:36-38.  Nevertheless, the Spirit of heavenly Father in Jesus enabled him to deny fear’s control of his life.  Truly, Jesus’ heart was secure and overcame all fear.

Following Jesus’ Example 

     The Spirit of the resurrected Jesus dwells in all of his followers.  Although we don’t always feel his presence, his Spirit continually dwells in us.  We must follow Jesus’ example and say “no” to the fears we feel and the uncertainties we experience.  Give yourself to the Word of God and to the Spirit of Jesus who lives in you.  Then, God will empower you to completely defeat fear of bad news in these last days.  He will empower you with divine ability to not be alarmed by this world’s horrible plight.  The Spirit of God in you will keep you focused on the Jesus who died and was raised from the dead so he could make you more than a conqueror.  Scripture declares, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us,” Romans 8:37.

     So keep your eyes on Jesus and your spirit built up by God’s Holy Word.  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” Romans 15:13.

Be greatly encouraged,

Pastor James Fields

(Blog from the article entitled Overcoming Fear of Bad News)

 

Do Not Be Alarmed

     Easter     Jesus and his apostles visited the impressive temple built by King Herod in Jerusalem.  As our Lord and his apostles left the temple “his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings,” Matthew 24:1.  Truly, the buildings erected by King Herod were very magnificent and impressive.  They were large and ornate, expensive and awesome.  But Jesus surprised his followers by saying, “Do you see all these things?… Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down,” Matthew 24:2.

     His apostles came in privately and asked about his prediction of the destruction of the Jewish temple.  He answered, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come,” Matthew 24:6.Do Not Be Alarmed

     Then Jesus continued, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me,” Matthew 24:7-9.

      Sounds very severe.  But remember, Jesus told us to “see to it that you are not alarmed,” Matthew 24:6.

 The Benefit of Striving to Please the Lord

     “The righteous…will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord,” Psalm 112:6-7.  There it is!  People who strive to please the Lord are inwardly steadfast, unmovable and confident because they trust in the Lord’s protection and provision.  They stay full of God’s Word and, consequently, have no fear of the bad news that fills this world.  No, they don’t like the bad news, but they do not allow it to control their emotions and thoughts.  Their trust in the Lord keeps them focused on the God who protects his children and eventually takes them to the heavenly new Jerusalem.

     So, my brothers and sisters, let us strive to please the Lord.  First, spend private time with him by reading his Word consistently and spending time alone praising, loving and magnifying him.  His Word and Spirit will deliver you from the fears that are rampant in our world and make you steadfast as you trust the Lord’s control of what’s going on in you and around you.  Confidence in him will fill you with assurance that he can take care of your family and your friends!  We may be surrounded by a fearful world, but we need not allow fear to enter us since we trust in the almighty Creator of heaven and earth!

      We definitely live in the last days that Jesus predicted in Matthew chapter twenty-four.  However, please do not concentrate on the bad news, but concentrate on the Lord who is in you, with you and around you!

     Dear friends, we can overcome fear of bad news.  Bad news will fill our world, but we need not yield to fearing it.  God’s almighty power dwells in us and his Word strengthens us with divine ability to overcome fear of bad news.  Remind yourself of Psalm 112:8, “[Your heart is] secure, [you] will have no fear.”

      Remember Romans 8:37, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”  We don’t deny the reality of bad news, we just deny its ownership of our hearts and minds!

Be greatly encouraged,

Pastor James Fields

(Blog from the article entitled “Overcoming Fear of Bad News”)

Where are you focusing?

EasterThe clouds were so dark and heavy with rain. Lightening was flashing across the sky and thunder was rumbling deep in the ground. As I was driving towards this storm, I noticed my feelings becoming downcast and gloomy. My mind started wondering to all the difficult things we were facing at that moment. However, the minute I turned the car away from the storm into the bright sunlight my mood changed. I felt hopeful. I remember thinking “Thank you Lord that you are my sunlight in the midst of the storm.”

As I pondered on this, I recalled the apostles in the boat in the middle of the storm so focused on everything going on around them instead of who was with them! The One who tells the seas how far they can go, the One who commands the winds and the waves, the One who is always by their sides, their Savior, Jesus Christ!

The thing I learned is to turn my focus away from what is going on around me and trust in the One who saved me, Jesus Christ, the truth, the light, the everlasting life!

Where is your focus today? Social media, politics, fearful news? Take time to turn off the negative things of this world. Read, and meditate on God’s Holy Word. Spend time in fellowship with your heavenly Father and thank him for all the good things he has done and will continue to do in your life. Talk to him about your cares and then offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving for the answers to come. His unfailing love and encouragement will fill you up with his peace that passes all your own understanding.

Blessings,

Bonita Burleson
Comfort and Encouragement Ministries, secretary

Overcoming Fear of Precariousness

A nation of ex-slaves defiantly marched out of Egyptian control. The entire Hebrew nation looked forward to entering the land promised to their forefathers. But the Lord told the Israelites to turn back and encamp near the Red Sea.

This order appeared unreasonable. Why turn back toward Egypt? The Promised Land beckoned, so why not continue marching toward Palestine?

God continued speaking to Moses. “Pharoah will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering…in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’”  God baited Pharaoh; he wanted Pharaoh pursuing the Israelites!

God added, “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.”  Can you believe that? God purposefully and deliberately aroused Pharaoh’s desire to pursue the Israelites.

God led his people into precariousness; He placed them in harm’s way. The Lord arranged an unsettling, dangerous and frightening time for the people he loved.

Dear friends, God is love. Everything he does for us or to us springs from loving concern for our welfare. He only arranges precarious situations to help us overcome fear of precariousness. Overcoming fear of troubling, difficult times builds our faith in God and our confidence in his provision. Precarious times offer us an opportunity to find an enlivened relationship with our God and a stronger assurance in his promises.

When times were at their worst, God opened the Red Sea for his people. He used the same sea to destroy the pursuing enemy. Had he not promised Moses, “I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and his army?”  God leads us into precariousness so he can demonstrate his powerful provision for all our needs. Then, we enthusiastically glorify our Deliverer.

Overcoming fear of precariousness builds into us an expectation of victory. Without tests and tribulations, our expectations of victory remain dwarfed. The act of overcoming fear of precariousness enlarges our conviction that victory awaits us. As fear of precariousness dies, faith in victory rises.

Scripture referred to: Exodus 14

Be greatly encouraged,

Pastor James Fields 

“God leads us into precariousness so he can demonstrate his powerful provision for all our needs.”

The Ever-Present Comforter and Encourager

The Bible serves as an inexhaustible source of comfort and encouragement.  But no one can constantly keep the Bible before their eyes.

Kind-hearted, loving people often speak words that wonderfully comfort and encourage us.  However, they cannot remain with us twenty-four hours a day. Read More→

Turning Liabilities into Assets

God commanded a young man named Gideon to lead Israel in battle against their oppressors.  Gideon responded by listing his liabilities to God.  “God, I can’t lead Israel because….” Are you a modern-day Gideon?  Do you continually meditate on the disadvantages life hands you?  Some typical liabilities modern-day “Gideons” concentrate on are: an unsaved spouse, too little money, unpleasant childhood, insufficient education, personal appearance, and difficult or distasteful job.  The list of what we consider “liabilities” seems to have no end.  As long as you look for personal disadvantages, you’ll find them.  You see, human nature is turned toward concentrating on disadvantages.  Consequently, we create our own disadvantages by lack of confidence in God’s abilities. Read More→

Changed by Prayer

Many people believe prayer is an effort to cause God to do something.  Prayer, they believe, convinces God to act in the way we wish.  The statement, “prayer changes things,” flows from the lips of “both believers and unbelievers.”  Because we view prayer as an effort to cause God to do something, many only call upon the Lord during times of need. Read More→