When the Prodigal son hit a low place in life (Luke 15:11-32), before he was restored, the Bible says that "he came to himself". He 'thought' his way out of his situation. He didn't wait for anybody to pull him out, pray him out, slap blessing oil on his head, etc. All it took was for him to say within himself, "Wait a minute. I'm better than this." Then the son returned home to his father, where he was received with love and compassion, and was restored.
If you're in a low place (reader), you can get up anytime you want. Your Father (God) loves you and is waiting for you to return to Him. Psalm 86:5 says "For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive; and abundant in mercy unto all them that call upon you." He wants to give you beauty for your ashes. He wants to give you joy instead of mourning. He wants to give you a garment of praise for your spirit of heaviness and despair (Isaiah 61:1-3). Last, but not least, He wants to give you HIM. Your Father's ultimate desire is to have a relationship with you.
Please, come home.
1 Corinthians 15:19 "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." ..... So many of us (even Christians) are miserable because we have placed all of our hope in Christ in this life only.... Our main focus is prosperity ..... Our prayer life has become a Christmas Wishlist.. We petition God for wealth, jobs, cars, houses, a spouse, etc... While prosperity is included in salvation, it is not the ultimate promise... The ultimate promise is Heaven! The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is about God restoring fellowship back with Man; and how far He'd go to do it. He went as far as sending His own Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins that we may be forgiven and received into His Kingdom (John 3:16). This present life here on Earth is only temporal, Heaven is eternal!
Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-21....  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Where are your treasures today (reader), on Earth or in Heaven?
The 9 fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). These things are the evidence that Jesus Christ is the center of a person's life. Because we are admonished in 2 Corinthians 6:14 to "not be unequally yoked with unbelievers", when choosing friends, choosing a husband / wife, choosing business partners, etc., the 9 fruits of the Spirit serves as the perfect guide. "You will recognize them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16-20).
Jesus said in John 15:1, 4-5...  “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Apart from Jesus Christ, we don't have the strength to love our enemies, we don't have everlasting joy, we don't have the peace that surpasses all understanding, nor the patience to endure all things, nor do we have self-control to resist anger, lust, substance abuse, etc... and the list goes on. But as we seek to please God (walking after the Spirit, not giving in to our sinful desires), we will begin to see fruits of righteousness in our lives.
I've never shared this with anyone outside of my church family, but I feel led to share this tonight....
For the last 3 years, I've worn the same 4 pairs of pants everyday of my life.. I've had the same 3 pairs of shoes.. one pair being my church shoes, which began to fall apart to the point where I had to take a black marker and color in the material part that was showing between my shoes.... Every church suit that I have, someone has given to me.. I didn't finish High School, so it was difficult finding a job.. My first job (at the age of 23) was working at McDonald's.. I worked there for 7 months, where I was mistreated by customers and co-workers alike; and not being able to retaliate, but having to display Godly characteristics.... Not to mention, having nothing to eat at home... Some days, I only went to work because every time I go in, McDonald's gives you 1 free meal...... On top of that.. 3 days a week for the past year, after church is over, I have to depend on people to give me a ride home.... I've even had to deal with constant persecution from individuals who can care less about Jesus, salvation or anything.. Being attacked for my faith, calling Christianity a cult.. brushing it off as being a waste of time... (and much more that I cannot openly discuss).
BUT GOD........ If it had not been for Jesus, I would have lost my mind.... If the peace of God wasn't keeping my mind, I would have been gave up a LOOOONG time ago.... Galatians 6:9 says "And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." ...... I've held on, trusted in God, walked in my integrity to the best of my ability... And now it's my time to reap! I just got hired working at a School District... I do my fingerprinting and paperwork, etc. this Wednesday ..... And this is just the beginning! Philippians 4:19 says "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." ..... Yeah, things were/are difficult, but I learned God to be my provider and ultimate source of fulfillment.... That makes it all worth it, to be able to say that I know God the way that I do... "Godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Timothy 6:6) ... God was/is teaching me contentment, gratefulness (things I didn't know a year ago).... Yeah, I had wants and needs... but Matthew 6:33 says "But seek FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." .... and it's my season to be blessed!
So if you're suffering from lack (reader), my words of encouragement to you would be to endure... Trust God, and endure... develop a closer relationship with Him, walk in His word, and just believe that He will see you through.... Hebrews 11:6 says "But without faith it is impossible to please Him. For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." ..... When you get the chance, read Matthew 6:25-34 .... stay encouraged (reader), God bless.
There are too many obstacles and hardships in this life to make it without Jesus.... Millionaires are losing their minds, committing suicide, etc. so money can't be the answer ..... But Isaiah 26:3 says "You keep him in PERFECT PEACE whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." .... What's money if you don't have peace?? .... What's to having a mansion with 5 floors if everyday you're contemplating jumping off of the balcony? .... What's to owning a Mercedes Benz if you're constantly bombarded with thoughts of driving full speed into on-coming traffic? ..... We often think that possession of materials will bring us peace, but it can't... It's not material that we need seek; PEACE is what we need! And Jesus Christ is the "PRINCE Of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6)! ..... Seek more of HIM... With Jesus in your life, you can have more joy eating Top Ramen, than someone eating steak and lobster who does not know Him.... "Godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Timothy 6:6).
Jesus said in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you." The peace Jesus gives is not a temporal peace, based on circumstances.... He gives us peace which surpasses ALL understanding (Philippians 4:7), that means even YOU won't understand it! You could be going through your worst trial, but because His peace is keeping your mind, you will not be shaken.. Friends will be wondering why haven't you lost your mind, but it's because you know a God who can do the impossible (Luke 1:37)... This is the way life was intended to be!
1 John 5:12 says "Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." ..... Are you ready to begin living? Allow Jesus to be the center of your joy.... God bless.
As a writer, my objective is to provoke thought. As a minister, my objective is to encourage you to Christ. As a disciple, my objective is to do these things in love.