There are some who are facing their darkest hours of tragedy, persecution and loss right now. My family and I have recently faced a heart-shattering tragedy when my uncle was brutally murdered on Good Friday. I had already personally faced and persevered the most difficult year of my life, and this tragedy knocked me flat down.

 

As my family and I pick up the pieces of our shattered hearts and literally walk moment by moment through this tragic loss, I felt like God had abandoned us. There are still many unanswered questions, we are waiting for justice, and I am angry. People have told me that my faith was weak, or I didn’t have enough faith because I wasn’t saying or doing the right things in my time of grief and unknown future. I started to believe them until I had a revelation on what faith in God really is. My outlook of what defined faith changed when I heard these words from my pastor:

 

“Faith is not really faith until it is tested”.

 

It is easy to say we have the right amount of faith or real faith when everything is going well, comfortable and safe. It is easy to believe that we must have had big faith when our prayers were answered. It is easy to encourage others who are suffering when we haven’t faced their loss, tragedies, rejection and persecution. In these last days, Satan is on an all out assault on Christians around the world to turn from God. He is ruthless, relentless and brutal. The persecution of God’s children come in many forms, and we are tested now more than ever if we really believe in the goodness, love and eternal hope of God.

 

Measures of faith are not based on how many scriptures we recite, how we appear to others or how loud our praises can be heard. Authentic faith is based on our trust and commitment to God, even when our feelings, understanding and rational conflict. Faith arises through each wave of pain, desperation, suffering, grief and pain and is just as real through a whisper or tears. Faith can come after words of anger and anguish to God when we tell Him how we really feel about what is happening yet choose to still love and trust Him despite those feelings. When we read about those with great faith throughout the Bible, it always accompanied a great need, hardship and loss.

 

Here are four things to remember when our faith is tested:

 

1. As we experience brokenness and devastation, faith may only appear to be small and not of any significance to others. However, the roots of authentic faith are anchored deep in the One who will help us in our darkest hours. Our feelings, thoughts and circumstances may feel like God has abandoned and failed us, yet our decision to trust Him regardless of the tests, tragedies and trials we face is faith.

 

2. Jesus Himself had to have faith in His Father when he was betrayed, falsely accused, tempted and put to death. He was tested in every way we were. As he hung on the cross and became sin for us, He cried, “My God, My God, why have your forsaken me? “Matthew 27:46. His commitment to God’s plan and love for us despite his physical emotional and spiritual anguish in that moment demonstrated pure faith.

 

3. Our decision to trust in a loving God and Jesus as our Savior in this lost and broken world takes true faith. When the enemy has come to rob, steal, kill and destroy and all hope seems lost, it is faith that surpasses all human understanding, intellect and feelings. We can cry out for Jesus to help us keep the faith. “I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea. Do not close your ears to my cry for relief. You came near when I called you and said, ‘Do not fear’”. Lamentations 3:55-57

 

4. Our measure of faith is not based on how successful, happy and put together our lives are on this earth. Jesus told us that we will face hard times, and that has nothing to do with our lack of faith. “I have told you these things, so that in Me You will have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 Rather, it is based on if we are still holding on to our eternal faith and hope when loss, persecution, and hopelessness occur. “So we fix our eyes on not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” 2 Corinthians 4:18.

 

If you are facing your darkest hour, do not lose hope. “In every way we’re troubled and not crushed, frustrated but not in despair, persecuted and not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10. Cling to Jesus in the silence, pain and rubble. He is here and understands. No matter how much my heart hurts right now, I choose to believe this. Do not let people discourage you that your faith is weak because you have not responded or are unable to handle your pain the way or timeline, they feel you should. God knows your heart. He sees your tears. He feels your pain, and He is big enough to take what you have to say to Him.

 

No matter how bad, difficult or impossible your circumstances appear, He has an eternal plan to heal, restore and deliver those who have been severely tested, yet choose to love, follow and trust Him by faith.

 

 

Updated: Mar 19

 

In the wake of perversion being glorified, murder being celebrated, false religious practices being indoctrinated in our schools and hatred for Christians running rampant, it’s time to get serious.

 

As the days are getting darker, and the light of Jesus is needed more than ever, many churches, pastors, and believers are wandering around with empty lamps. And you know what an empty lamp will do for a lost and dying worldworld? Nothing. Without oil, there is no light. Without light, there is no revelation of sin and the need for a Savior. Without the revelation, there is no direction of repentance. Without repentance, there is no hope.

 

So why are we as Christians allowing worldly influences and power to dim, empty and dictate our lives?

 

If we are tired of the powers of darkness from news agencies and social media outlets who censor, mock and persecute Christian values, yet allow people with demonic platforms to freely share their messages, then let’s stop using their outlets until there is a change of heart.

If we are outraged on behalf of our fellow Christians who are persecuted for running their businesses the way they want to, then maybe we need to stop giving our time, money and integrity to businesses who openly support values that contradict God’s Word.

 

If we as Christians are tired of seeing evil presented as good, then we need to stop enabling that behavior by watching shows and movies, playing games and engaging in activities that that promote sexual sin, taking the name of our Savior in vain, and any other murderous, adulterous and demonic influences.

 

If we as Christians want revival to reach the nations for the Kingdom of God, then we have to stop mimicking the kingdom of darkness.

 

What are we so afraid of? Persecution? It’s already here. Just because many churches in this nation are so concerned about their fans, popularity and revenues and are blinded by the same darkness as non-believers, it does not dismiss the horrific and heartbreaking persecution around the world. There are people around the world dying daily for their commitment to Jesus who shine brighter than many self-proclaimed Christians who are so self-absorbed they do not even see what is happening. As the days get darker, it is vital that our lights shine brighter. We have to stop misrepresenting Christianity by intermingling with other religious practices, promoting a false sense of security for sin through sloppy grace, and enabling the powers of darkness to dictate our everyday lives.

 

What happened to preaching the pure and simple Gospel? What happened to speaking the truth about eternity, and that only followers of Christ will be in Heaven, and everyone else will be in Hell? What happened to repentance for sin and acknowledging the holiness of God? Those are the things that will fill our lamps back up with the precious time that is left.

 

How did we as the church let it get this far? It is not the world’s fault; it’s ours. They are in the darkness; we know better. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths”. 2 Timothy 4: 3-4

 

We need to stop waiting for someone else to take action to turn our nation back to Christ. We need to unify as followers of Christ and act now. Here are 5 passages from 2 Timothy to help fill are lamps with the oil needed to light our paths to reach the lost for God’s Kingdom.

 

1. We need to drop to our knees and repent for being silent to, tolerant of and compromising with darkness. “God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness... Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” 2 Timothy 2:19, 22

 

2. We need to take the fluff out of our sermons and preach the pure and life-changing Gospel of the Lord Jesus. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene”. 2 Timothy 2:15-17

 

3. We need to value and make prayer and Bible study the center of our lives, our families and our ministries so we can clearly hear and obey the Holy Spirit. “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us”. 2 Timothy 1:13

 

4. We need to be bold to call evil out and have no part of it. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people”. 2 Timothy 3: 1-5

 

5. We need to boldly and unashamedly preach, live and share the truth of God’s Word. is “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

 

We as believers and followers of Christ are called to be the light, and it’s time to stop blending in. It’s time to shine for Jesus, the one who have us the chance to live and serve Him before His return. He needs our lamps full because time is running out.

 

 

Valentine’s Day may have been a hard one for some of you. In an earthly relational sense, it has been years since I was held, kissed and told that I was loved. After years of healing and spiritual restoration, I decided a long time ago that rather than be depressed and wait for something or someone that may or may not ever happen in this lifetime, that I would look to someone greater than prince charming who brings eternal satisfaction and fulfillment.

He tells me that I am beautiful despite my extra pounds, wrinkles, gray hairs and stretch marks. He tells me that he loves me every day and even wrote me a love story. He champions me to be greater than I think I am. I love him so much I want to share him with you because He is too amazing to keep all to myself.

 

If you are feeling lonely this Valentine's Day season, missing someone who has left this earth or patiently waiting for the one God selected for you, embrace the One who provides unconditional and everlasting love. Jesus is the Prince of peace and Lover of my soul. He brought me hugs and kisses through my daughter and puppy and brings me surprises and blessings through the kindness of others. He engulfs my heart and soul with words of love, passion and encouragement. His name is Jesus and He will provide love like you have never and will never experience with anyone else!

 

After trusting Him with my heart, the voids have been filled to overflowing. My heart beats with the passion for souls and the eternal live connection I have with Jesus. Rather than lamenting on what I don’t have, I now seek ways to help those who may be experiencing loneliness and pain by showing them love, compassion and kindness. Every Valentine’s day I have a group of friends over for a Love One Another night and celebrate them by giving gifts, praying for them and loving them. Because of the love of Christ, my heart is so full serving others that I am no longer sad during this time. If you are feeling empty, here are three ways to let the love of Jesus fill you, so you can pour out to others.

 

1. Fill the voids in your heart with the love of Jesus. Nobody on this earth will ever love you more. We may feel the pain of earthly loss, but through faith we can connect our hearts to the One who can bring us eternal healing and fulfillment.

 

"So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God". Ephesians 3:17-19

 

2. Live each moment eternally focused, fulfilling the Great Commission from the One who loved us the most. Jesus died so that we could reconnected to the love of God for all of eternity. The pain we feel now is only temporary. By faith, choose to accept and show His love.

 

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

 

3. Reach out to others who need love, compassion and kindness. If you are sad you didn’t receive gifts or flowers, go buy them for someone else. If you have not been told that you were loved or valued, go find others who feel the same and tell them you love and care for them. Serve others with the humility and kindness of Christ, and your heart will be so full you can hardly contain it!

 

“Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” Philippians 2:1-3

 

Never forget that Jesus loves you fully, completely and eternally. Accept, embrace and value that love and introduce Him to as many people as you can!