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Be Productive...like Jesus

By Allison Paala


I have been doing a short Bible reading plan on my Bible app about productivity. Today the devotional and scripture was on how Jesus was very productive during his 3 years of ministry even though he did not always do it in a conventional way. 


When we think of being "productive", we often think of making a list of things to do and getting them all finished. However, Christ calls us to be productive in sharing His word and bringing others to Him. Sometimes what we view as a distraction can actually be more productive than the task we started on. In John 4:1-43  the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well is a great example of this. This story from beginning to end shows how important taking time for others is and following God's whispers when we hear them. Jesus did not need to stop and talk to a Samaritan woman. It took up time he needed for traveling. But he stopped and spoke the gospel to the woman, which led her to spread the word to others.


We need to be intentional in our actions and use discernment, which does not mean perfectly planning each day. Life is not one big to-do list. It is a series of opportunities to share Christ's love and his Word with others. If we let Him, God will lead us to people, places, and events in which we have opportunities to share the gospel. We talked Tuesday night in Bible study about the importance of the Great Commission and what it meant for us.


"And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:18-20


So go on and get distracted! Get distracted by praying for a homeless person, or helping an elderly person with groceries. Leave the laundry alone and go color with sidewalk chalk with your kids, read them a book, or look at the stars. Take time to listen to a friend who is struggling and take them out for coffee. Be intentional and prayerful in your relationships and how you live, showing Christ's love not just through your words, but your actions.  


"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:34‭-‬35



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Not Fair

By Allison Paala


“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.”  - Matthew 6:19-21


This verse from Mattthew is very well known and for good reason. It is such a great reminder in this consumerist, materialistic world we live in that THERE IS MORE! It is too easy to get caught up in the things that we have, or don’t have.


Last week I took my kids to the park and when we were leaving, my 8 year old noticed that his friend, who is younger than him and a GIRL, had her own rollerblades. Upon seeing this, he came up to me and complained, “Mom! Did you see my friend? Why does SHE have rollerblades? I don’t even have rollerblades yet. I only have roller skates and I AM OLDER!! And she isn’t even falling! It’s NOT FAIR!”


Hearing this broke my heart a little bit. Not because I had not bought him rollerblades, but because it hurt me to see that instead of being happy for his friend, my son was only envious. And, admittedly, I realized that I have not always been the best example of not caring about material things. I recently burst into tears because I did not have a raised bed for a vegetable garden, and while I would like to blame pregnancy hormones, I confess I have been distracted by having the things I want more than I like to admit. We had a long talk that day about how everything we have on this earth is a gift from God and not anything to be taken for granted. I also read that passage from Matthew with him and we discussed how when we start to feel envious, we can ask God to help us to instead be grateful for our blessings. 


This idea also ties in with the book of Ecclesiastes, which we just finished reading in our live group. The whole book is about how all of our work and belongings and struggles on this earth essentially are “hevel”, which translates from Hebrew to smoke, or vapor. It is a hard pill to swallow when we focus so much of our lives on our careers, our money, our stuff.


God wants us to enjoy our lives, but in a way that is giving Him the glory, not ourselves and certainly not our stuff. Wrapping up these blogs is always the hardest part, but I just want to leave you with the reminder that God gave me that day at the park. Every good thing comes from our Father, and we do not need anything else. So enjoy what the Lord has blessed you with, and pass on the love of Christ as often as possible.  


Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.  Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart” -Ecclesiastes 5:18-20


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Be Still and Know

By Marcia Jarrett


I am wrapping up a study in the book of Matthew and we just finished the Great Commission.  I was tempted to just glance over it as it is a passage we hear often, but God spoke to me in a whole different way.  

 

"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'" 

 

The root of the word "authority" is auctor which translates to author. Jesus is the author of our stories, but He does not call us to do anything He did not first do.  When He tells us to "Go", we can expect to be called out of our comfort zones. I take comfort in knowing that our service is not expected to be perfect because we are not perfect.  Looking at the tense of the commands in the Great Commission, we can know this is all an ongoing process.  "Teaching" shows that it is a process.  We should not expect to tell someone about Jesus and then be done.  It is an ongoing process.  We can expect the same for our service for the Lord.   God wants to grow us closer to Him, that is why He gave us Jesus- the ultimate sacrifice.  1 Corinthians 15:14 says, " And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."  We can stand secure knowing that Jesus is the Cornerstone of our faith and He will be with us always, to the very end of the age!  

 

So what does this Great Commission look like for our church?  On Sunday, Stewart said, "We are now the church gathered.  When we leave this building, we are the church scattered.  But we are always the church."  We are called to be counter cultural.  The first step is easy, step out in faith and do what is uncomfortable--Pray with a friend or neighbor, take food to someone struggling, tell them how much our great God loves them.  When you do not have the words or actions, pray.  God will always guide you when you ask. 

 

Like the Matthew passage says, we can be sure we are not alone.  God is all around us and sends us constant reminders.  I was out for a walk and came upon this sign at Kimball Hill Pond.  "Be still and know....."  Coming to the end of the ministry year, this is a good reminder.  As our schedules begin to open up more, we can be tempted to fill our time with unhealthy things.  I challenge you to fill those times by being quiet with the Lord.  Or call up a friend and do a study together.  Let's work this summer to begin looking for ways to practice being righteous for God's glory!



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All Creatures of our God and King

By Cindy Goding


This past week I was in Mexico for my sister’s wedding. It was warm, sunny, and the scenery was beautiful. What was weird is that we arrived on Saturday and the next day was Easter Sunday. I found myself getting sad to think I was missing the Easter service, the traditions, and the family time. What caught and convicted me is that just because we weren’t physically in Rolling Meadows sitting in “our” pew at Meadows Christian Fellowship, didn’t mean that it was any less special or a time of remembrance and celebration. God was just as much there with us, as he was with you all! 


See, sometimes we forget that it’s not about the building, the place, or even the people. Sometimes we can place too much faith in the person behind the pulpit instead of the person they’re preaching about. Sometimes we can hold too much pride in the area or ministry in which we serve rather than who we are serving. Sometimes we can criticize the flow, the music, the layout, the looks, rather than acknowledge and praise the ability to freely worship Him without persecution. Sometimes I forget, sometimes I need reminding. And this past week was a great reminder.


It’s not about WHAT, WHERE, or WHEN, it’s all about WHO! Who am I worshiping? Who am I praising? Who am I holding onto when things are hard, or better yet- who am I holding onto when things are easy? It’s the WHO that can sometimes become foggy or get lost. 


As I looked out at the vast ocean, I was reminded of His greatness. Of his never ending love for us. I saw his power, I saw his peace, I saw his love for color and beauty. I saw his enjoyment as the waves rolled in. I saw his attention to detail in the tiny granules of sand. I saw his creativity in the different animals and reptiles we encountered. I saw his plan for redemption as we interacted with people and a culture that wasn’t the same as ours, and yet, we were all praising God on that Easter Sunday. 


God is everywhere. And everywhere praises Him. When you read throughout the Psalms you encounter many verses that refer to all creation praising Him. I was reminded of that this past week.


Psalm 96

Oh sing to the Lord a new song 

     sing to the Lord, all the earth!

Sing to the Lord, bless his name;

     tell of his salvation from day to day.

Declare his glory among the nations, 

     his marvelous works among the peoples.

For great is the Lord, and greatly to be 

    praised. 

… 

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth

     rejoice;

       Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;

      Let the field exult, and everything in it!

Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy.


It’s not about the place. It’s about the person. So lift up your voice and PRAISE Him! It doesn’t have to be only on Sunday mornings, while sitting in the pew. It needs to be always, all the time, exuding from our very inner being.


Have you heard the hymn, “All Creatures of our God and King”? 


Listen to the words-


All Creatures of Our God and King (2012) - Mormon Tabernacle Choir


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IT IS FINISHED

By Cindy Goding


“And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” -Mark 15:37-38


“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded  up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook and the rocks were split.” -Matthew 27:50-51


This was the moment. The moment where everything changed for us. Let’s go back and put ourselves into the scene. Remember, Jesus had just experienced his triumphal entry into the holy city days before. He was welcomed like a king. People were shouting praises, laying down their garments, and tree branches on the ground to welcome Jesus. Those of the Jewish faith and religion had thought that their king had come to overthrow the oppressive rule of the Romans. Can you feel it? Can you feel the electricity running through the city? The excitement? The fear from the rulers?  “And the crowds that went before him that followed him were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” -Matthew 21:9


Jesus had one last week. One last week to spend time with those he loved, one last week to pour into his followers, one last week to teach the importance of his death and resurrection. Then, Jesus was betrayed by one of his own. He poured time into Judas. He spent time with Judas. He sought out Judas. He loved Judas. Judas was one he came to save. Can you feel it? Can you feel the heartache from Jesus? Can you feel the unspoken words in Jesus’ eyes as he tells Judas to go?  “Jesus said to him, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly’” -John 13:27


Jesus was arrested and tried before Herod and Pilate where he was found guilty for sins he never committed. He was sentenced to death. He was beaten, he was shamed, he was mocked, he was forced to carry the very tool used for death to the place where he would die. Yet, even during this time, he comforted those around him- he forgave the sins of the criminal next to him. Can you feel it? The sadness from those who loved Jesus as they watched him being nailed to the cross. The anguish from Jesus as he suffers from excruciating pain. Can you feel the confusion from Pilate as he sentences an innocent man to death? Can you feel the peace and joy from the criminal on the cross who confesses? “And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom’. And he said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise’” -Luke 23:42-43


Then comes the moment. Jesus breathed his last and the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom in two. The sign and power that shows this could only be an act from God. But let’s pause a moment and think about the significance of this. This was the temple where the Jews had built for God’s presence to reside. Where people came to confess and atone for their sins. Where only the high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, once a year, to repent for the sins of the people. The temple was incredibly sacred for the Jewish people, and it held significance and importance for the religious leaders. And yet, when Jesus died, the curtain that physically separated God from everyone was torn- was destroyed, was blown wide open. And EVERYONE was able to not only see into the holy place, but enter the holy place. Can you feel it? Can you feel the utter shock as this curtain falls limp to each side? Can you feel the power as the earth shakes and the rocks are split? Can you feel the awe and wonder as people cautiously peeked into the room? Can you feel them holding their breath as they step into the room where they could not enter just moments before? 


See, this was the moment. The moment where you and I were brought into the picture. Where you and I were allowed to become citizens of heaven. This was the moment where we realize Jesus was sent to not just be the payment for sins, but to redeem and reconcile the WORLD. This was the moment where God welcomed EVERYONE into a personal relationship with him regardless of heritage. The curtain was torn wide open to show that God WANTS us to be in his presence, to enter in with gladness, and worship. Where we don’t have to go through rituals or others to be in his presence, but rather we can enter at any point because Jesus is our forever high priest who petitions on our behalf. This was the moment where-


“For God so loved the WORLD, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him, shall not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16



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Holy Week

By Cindy Goding


Holy Week is the time when Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to Easter. It can be hard to stay focused on Christ and be intentional about Holy Week when our attention is being pulled elsewhere. Life can feel busy as we make the dinner plans for family, it can get distracted by pulling together Easter baskets for kids, our vision can become cloudy as we are thinking too hard about the outfits we will wear. Truthfully, it can be hard to keep our gaze on Christ, and wanting to remember this time and take note of Holy Week when our lives feel so very ordinary, distracting, and seemingly anything else BUT holy. 


So how do we prepare our hearts? How do we fix our gaze? How do we intentionally sit in this week and the significance behind each day? I encourage you to read through part of the gospels that focus on this week-long journey that Jesus took.To take note what was said, what was done, and where Jesus went and what he did. I encourage you to read intently what was spoken, how he interacted with others during this week, and how he interacted with God.


I think about Palm Sunday, the start of the end of Jesus’ journey here on earth. I can’t imagine the emotions that were being felt during this time as Jesus entered Jerusalem. Were the disciples caught up in the excitement of the crowds as Jesus is welcomed with a kingly procession? Or were they feeling dread or sadness as they began to understand the finality behind Jesus’ words that he will be crucified and killed? How did Jesus feel as he started the last part of his journey? Were the crowds surprised as their Messiah, their king, their Lord entered the holy city on a little colt instead of a chariot or impressive horse? Were the religious leaders anxious or furious about the arrival of Jesus, the “so called” Messiah? 


I think about the last teachings that he spoke to his disciples and others around him. Was there urgency or pleading in his voice as he talks about his second coming, about the time of judgment, as he wants those he loves to understand the message behind his words? What was his demeanor at the last Passover feast that he had with his disciples knowing that Judas was in the midst? Were Peter, James, and John taken aback or fearful when they saw Jesus so troubled as they went to Gethsemane to pray? Yes, Jesus was fully God, but he was also fully human. So was he counting the hours, the minutes, the seconds as each day passed? He knew what the end of the journey meant, he knew the weight of what was about to happen. 


So as we enter Holy Week, sit in this, reflect on this, remember to adjust your gaze from your normal, everyday, ordinary life, to Jesus. 


“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

-John 3:16-17



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Dry Bones

By Cindy Goding


I have been reading through the book of Ezekiel during this season of Lent to prepare for Easter. Truthfully, it hasn’t been the easiest read. There are many cringe-worthy moments in the book. The words portray the awfulness and depravity of sin, of idol worshiping, coveting, jealousy, of murder, adultery, and anything else that pulls us away from God. The Israelite's have once again strayed from God even in their exile and he is sending his word to Ezekiel to tell them of the coming judgment day. The consequences of their sinful nature is sobering to read.


However, this week I read chapter (37) about the valley of the dry bones. It is amazing to think that God planned to use a valley that exemplified nothing except death to create beauty and life. He has Ezekiel say the words, to have the bones come to life, to have the bodies have a spirit and to live. God plows the land and from this empty and vast wasteland, a place that is equated to the Garden of Eden appears, overflowing with abundance and life! What an image that brings, picture a desolate wasteland that is riddled with dry bones on the ground. Yikes, right? But then, imagine the word of God being spoken as the bones shake and rattle and come together, as flesh covers the bones, and bodies begin to form, then the word of God comes again and the breath of life is spoken over these bodies and suddenly they are alive! The wasteland is rebuilt and they become fruitful and abundant with life.


What I love about this passage is the fact that God commands Ezekiel to speak the words over the dry bones. Ezekiel is commanded to speak life into them! Isn’t that true for us today? Aren’t we commanded and guided by the Holy Spirit to speak words of LIFE into each other? Often, we can focus on the negative, on the nit-picky, on the small things that irritate us about each other. We can become trapped on our “my way is right” instead of coming together in unity. 


But what would happen if we spoke LIFE into each other? Real, encouraging, uplifting, edifying words of LIFE? Would the “wasteland” that we sometimes feel trapped in begins to grow into a beautiful garden? Would we choose to stay in the good fight longer? Would others around us see and recognize the work of Christ?


Yes, we don’t have a senior pastor right now. Yes, church is hard at times, exhausting, and overwhelming with all that needs to be done. Yes, it can at moments, feel like an empty wasteland and we are all dry bones. BUT GOD,  in his great mercy and compassion has sent the Holy Spirit and to us he is SHOUTING words of LIFE over us! COME ALIVE Meadows! Come Alive! See what greatness God has in store for us! We should be constantly breathing LIFE into each other! Not the superficial, surface level words, but the words that literally bring dry bones to life! Next time you are tempted to say something “constructive” or “negative”, I urge you to pause and question whether your words will cause dry bones, or bring them to life! COME ALIVE Meadows!


“Thus says the Lord God to these bones; Behold I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live…and you shall know that I am the Lord!” -Ezekiel 37:5-6


Have you listened to the song Come Alive by Hillsong Worship? If you haven’t, I encourage you to listen to the song! *Click on the link for the YouTube lyric version of the song.



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Fresh Perspective

By Jacqueline Stutsman


Soon after brainstorming ideas for this entry, I realized I had nothing “new” to say. When I purposed to write this blog, I made a quick list of passages that God used in the past to teach me something or bring me through a dark time in my life, but all of these lessons (profound as they were), were things I learned years ago. Then, deep in my soul the question formed, “Jacqueline, what NEW truth are you learning now?”. The question landed—I was both

silenced and convicted.


Our Christian walk is not about arriving, we never arrive at this side of glory, but God is constantly desiring to teach us deeper truths about Himself. His design is for us to continue growing until the day He appears or calls us home. Relying solely on truths I learned in my youth alone to feed my soul would be proof of stunted spiritual growth. As I pondered the Holy Spirit’s question to me, I realized that God certainly can and does use the lessons of the past to

strengthen and encourage me today, but when He does this, it is usually accompanied by deeper discoveries and fresh perspective. 


In Disney’s movie, Ratatouille, loyal and frequent diners at Paris’ popular restaurant “Gusteau’s” ask the waiter one evening “what does the chef have, that is new?”. This was enough to send the kitchen staff into a panic. For a restaurant that prided itself on achieving perfection with their late chef’s genius, the question of creating something new was preposterous. For those

of you who’ve seen the movie, you know that they dusted off an old recipe card and tweaked it to be better than what it originally was. This is what it’s like when the Holy Spirit brings to memory a verse or even a song that I have long forgotten. I’ve found myself remembering lyrics to songs and only now for the first time really understanding the deeper meaning behind them. Passages of scripture that I memorized as a young girl with my dad have popped into my mind and ministered to me, bringing with them a new perspective now that I’m in a completely new season of life.


One such passage is Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—

he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel

will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—

the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day,

nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—

he will watch over your life;

the Lord will watch over your coming and going

both now and forevermore.


Have you seen mountains lately? Or can you recall ever seeing them? I’m imagining the mountains of Colorado right now, and they are absolutely stunning and majestic. That same God, who made those marvels, is watching over me and making sure my foot does not slip, and He does this without needing sleep! He vigilantly watches over us, without requiring sleep or slumber (deeeep sleep—the kind I would like very much to have right now as a new mom). I am so encouraged by this. When I was a young girl, the bit about sleep didn’t mean much to me, but NOW? Wow, I’m floored at how powerful and unlike myself God is. I also am taking comfort in the fact that the pressure is off of my shoulders, because He is the one watching over me and my family. 


So with that, I ask you, what is God teaching you that is NEW? What old truths are you finding fresh perspectives in? Let’s ask ourselves and each other these questions regularly and deepen our faith.


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Copy Cat

By Cindy Goding


At Tuesday evening bible study we’ve been studying the attributes of God. This month we have been focusing on God’s goodness. We started in Leviticus reading through some of the procedures/protocols that had to take place when sin was committed by the high priest. The specific instructions of sacrificing animals was a little intense to read, but also brought to light the intensity of our sin. This passage also highlighted God’s goodness in the aspect that he still provided a way for the Israelite's to reconcile their relationship with him through the sacrifices the high priest would make. Even then, God desired a relationship with his people! 


The next week we focused on Hebrews 7 where recognition is given to Jesus as being our forever high priest because of the sacrifice he made on the cross and the resurrection from death. We brought into focus that “We are NOT good enough”! But that’s ok! So instead of downcast faces when we hear this phrase “I am not good enough”, we should be acknowledging that and saying, “YES, you’re right. I’m NOT good enough. But JESUS is!” And that should lift our faces and refocus our gaze on whom it should be on. God displayed his incredible goodness to us by the act that happened on the cross. When we were rescued from the kingdom of darkness and brought into his glorious light.


Finally, this past week we talked about how we are called to imitate God’s goodness. Now here’s the thing, we cannot be God. So we cannot forgive sins, but we can forgive others. We cannot heal, but we can pray for healing or for those who are working in the medical field. What does it mean to imitate? To copy? To emulate? Did you ever want to copy someone or something? Or did you ever have someone copy you? We know that the word imitate is a verb, which means it is an action! Not just a thing, not just a thought, an action! When you imitate someone you are doing a physical representation of something. Others can hear, see, or notice you are imitating them. So my question is, ARE YOU IMITATING GOD? Can others around you physically hear, see, or notice that you are becoming more Christlike each day? Can others around you physically hear, see, or notice that you are growing closer to God through scripture and prayer? Can others around you physically hear, see, or notice that you are loving your neighbor? What does that truly mean to imitate God? We challenged the women of the bible study to take these next couple weeks and do some physical imitating of God. Because God’s goodness isn’t just a good thought that he has, when he shows us his goodness we HEAR, SEE, and NOTICE it! Whether it’s something small like the beautiful sunshine, the word of a kind stranger, or an open parking spot… or whether it is something absolutely life changing. We KNOW that God is good because we feel it constantly! So how can we truly imitate God? 


Ephesians 5:1 (and backing up to 4:32) says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”.


So spread kind words, encourage others, build one another up in the faith. When someone asks for prayer- pray immediately so you don’t forget. When someone asks for help- be generous with your time and resources. When someone reports a praise- rejoice alongside them! God never withholds his goodness, or expects something in return. There’s no “catch” with God. He is GOOD, all the time. 



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Armor of God

By Allison Paala


When I started writing this blog about a month ago I wanted to focus on the importance of time with God, time in fellowship, and time spent reading the Word. About two months ago I became sick and missed multiple Bible studies, live group meetings, and weeks at church. And although I still had time to spend with God in prayer and in the Word, the lack of being around my usual fellowship cast a dark cloud over my head, making it difficult to have fruitful time with God as I usually did. I felt my soul aching for more. 


I thought once I was feeling better I could get right back into the swing of things and I would feel God's overwhelming presence again once I stepped back into church and was around the people who lift up my soul.


I was wrong. Satan wouldn't let things be that simple. My time spent at home away from the church had given the evil one the chance to creep into my thoughts. He told me that I was not missed. He told me that I don't need Bible study, that I could enjoy myself more if I do things like sit on social media and play games on my phone. He told me I was not good enough. 


I then fell Into to a period of depression where I wasn't enjoying time with God, I wasn't enjoying my family, and just getting out of bed was a struggle. I found myself not wanting to go to bible study even. After that, I KNEW something was very wrong. This was not who God created me to be. I remembered the words in 1 Peter 5:8-9" “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings."


This was one of my dad's favorite verses. He once told me a story of when he first became a Christian and was in the living room reading his Bible. He was so excited to learn about God's word. All of a sudden a feeling of darkness and dread overtook him and he had a very real experience with Satan that night. He told me ever since then that verse reminded him of just how hungry Satan is for vulnerable souls that he can get to. He will try any means necessary to fill our minds with worry, doubt, fear, and loneliness. 


As Christians, whether we have had a relationship with God for a long time, or are fairly new to this, it is important to remember to always live with the Armor of God.


Ephesians 6:10-18  "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."

This is so important because we are not more powerful than Satan, but God IS. When we hold onto God and allow Him to continuously build into us and shelter us, He will show us when and how to ignore the voice of the evil one. Satan knows how to get to each of us. For some people, it may not be missing church that allows Satan to infiltrate their minds. I have found that Satan creeps in when we are at our most vulnerable and when we let our guards down. 


  • The way the world is today makes it that much more important to keep God at the center of our lives. Darkness and evil are everywhere: On television, in the news, in our government, in our schools, at our jobs. But as long as we remain steadfast in our faith and trust in God, we do not need to be dismayed. Also, if you are going through a time of darkness, reach out to other Christians, pastors, and elders. Surround yourself with those who God has placed in your life to help in these dark times. Do not be ashamed. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!  Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”


John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”




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