NEWSPAPER COLUMN 2022 – LIVING ON PURPOSE

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LIVING ON PURPOSE

Published 1/17/22

God wants our heart not just our problems

God is faithful and is always with you, protecting and watching over you whether you believe He is there or not. Just because you cannot sense Him intervening, it does not mean He is distracted working on the other side of the world. There is an old saying, “God’s care for His children is like the Sun: It’s constant. Even though the clouds often obscure it, this does not mean it’s not there.” And Isaiah 59:1 reminds us, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear.” Even if you have made some serious mistakes, it does not mean He does not still love you or has forsaken you. Maybe He is just patiently waiting for you to give Him your life instead of just your problems.

You may be beating yourself up and thinking this is one of the worst times of your life but be encouraged, there is wonderful news! Have you ever considered Romans 8:28 as a promise directly to you and your problems? Listen to this again, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” This is a very popular passage in the Bible and for good reason. Many times we do not receive the enjoyment and nourishment from God’s banquet table because we are so focused on our situation. If we would spend the same amount of energy on prayer that we do on worry, I believe we would see more victory and less discouragement. Since God is working behind the scenes to make things work out for us, we may not be demonstrating enough patience with Him. Maybe He is trying to show you something very special that you would not have been able to see any other way.

It has been said the majority of great things which have been done on the earth, have been accomplished by those going through difficult times. Mature Christians are to be like steel when it is “tempered” with heat to make them pure and strong in experience and wisdom, yet covered with velvet as they manifest God’s character with compassion, humility, and sensitivity. Instead of spending all of our time trying to figure out why things happen, we can seek to know Him more intimately. How will this help? Because He is the only one who has all the answers and knowing and loving Him is how we learn more about everything. Learning and accepting this truth about the endless commitment of God’s love toward us is a revelation of His unfailing covenant to be with us now and forever.

Knowing that Jesus suffered on the cross because He loved us, allows us to see the lies of our adversary when he tells us that no one cares or that we are hopelessly lost. With the increased spiritual sensitivity which Jesus is waiting to give us, we can start making good decisions and get back on the right path of God’s will. A. W. Tozer is quoted as saying, “Man’s mighty burden is his obligation to God. It includes an instant and lifelong duty to love God with every power of mind and soul, to obey Him perfectly, and to worship Him acceptably.” Included in this quest to be transformed into God’s image is the fact that Christ will help us become victorious in whatever area we need to overcome.

New Year resolutions commonly include trying to resist food cravings as we admit how our minds lead and control our bodies. Charles Lindbergh is quoted as saying, “Success is not measured by what a person accomplishes, but the courage with which they have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.” Another example is having a problem with cursing, which by the way is a terrible witness. We can ask God to put an alarm on our minds and tongues to stop us before it is too late. It’s much better to be aware of our sins before we commit them than to ask forgiveness after the fact. What many fail to realize is that once our testimony is compromised we may never have an opportunity to share Christ with that person again because the enemy will always remind them about that time when we lost control. If we are determined to allow God to renew our minds, this will bring a positive change to the way we live!

Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com

LIVING ON PURPOSE

Published 1/10/22

Those who desperately seek God will find Him

I realize that my thoughts are not all that important, but what God has to say contains the power to change what man cannot change. May we choose faith over fear and allow our hope to be larger than our doubt! Did you notice that I said we have the choice to decide which side we are going to believe. Yes, but brother Billy how can I choose life? Well, Deuteronomy chapter thirty is an amazing place to start when trying to comprehend God’s plans for our lives. Verse 19, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”

These instructions and promises were being directed to the nation of Israel, but we can also incorporate spiritual principles like this into our lives today. God is saying to everyone that obedience unto Him will empower and renew our minds while imparting a clearer understanding of His perfect will. Our responsibility is to hear His word and then speak it forth in faith as we press forward in our quest to surrender our will so that we can accomplish His will. Men and women have always had choices to obey God or be rebellious and He is declaring that our decisions have much to do with whether we are blessed or cursed. We also notice that following His commands is associated with long life while on the other hand refusing to have a reverential fear of His holiness will bring judgment. Having a carnal nature always leads us to deeper levels of corruption and wickedness.

Do not confuse your current path with your destination. Just because it’s cloudy and storming today does not mean the sun will not shine tomorrow. We can have joy and peace on the inside no matter what is happening around us. An African proverb says; “however long the night, the dawn will break” which reminds us of the passage found in Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may last through the night but joy comes in the morning.” The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it because it is eternal. May we always remember that if we are walking with God, Satan can never defeat us. The devil is allowed to tempt and influence us so that we might be discouraged and make wrong choices, but the Bible promises in James 4:7 that if we have the perseverance to resist him, he will flee. Satan came to Jesus in Matthew chapter 4 and Christ stood strong against him. We read in verses 10 and 11, “Then Jesus said to him, away with you, Satan! For it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve. Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”

As many of you know, my wife is a two-time cancer survivor. She has walked through many dark valleys, but today we rejoice as she has been cancer-free for 10 years. She agrees with the old saying that it’s not how many times you fall down, it’s how many times you get back up! When we are facing a crisis, we have three choices: We can let it define us, we can let it destroy us, or we can let it strengthen us. Cancer or any disease cannot stop love, shatter hope, dissolve faith, destroy peace, silence courage, steal eternal life, or conquer our spirit. I Timothy 1:7 reminds us, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Faith does not go to bed and pull the covers over our head. The Bible talks a lot about spiritual warfare which is a reality for every Christian soldier. My new book is called, “Receiving our Healing – Going to war on our knees” and reveals that God wants to give us miracles, while also explaining what He requires from us. Mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual healing is included in the blood atonement of Christ and within this covenant, we can receive His promises. Nonetheless, to walk in the power and authority of His Spirit, we must know who He is in us, and who we are in Him. Jesus is our deliverer, our healer, our Redeemer and Savior, the King of kings, and the Lord above all lords.

LIVING ON PURPOSE

PUBLISHED 1/3/22

A Perfect Time To Begin Brand New

The New Year is here and I’m excited to see what 2022 has for us! My hope is this coming year will be a season of abundance not just with material prosperity and success, but of love, health, and spiritual awareness. As we plant seeds of faith, may we have the patience and expectation to witness the harvest of God’s blessings. One of my personal resolutions is to be more generous and joyful even when things are not going well. I’m reminded of a quote by Mother Teresa who said, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can all do small things with great love.”

January means “beginning” and as we plan our resolutions this is the perfect occasion to consider developing physical, emotional, and spiritual lifestyle changes. You notice I used the word developing because our goals are often a lengthy process. For example, eating a salad today is not going to automatically make us healthy, but it’s a positive first step that will pay off if we can embrace that little secret weapon called perseverance. Today let us believe that anything is possible and just like everything else in life, being diligent and determined are important aspects of personal transformation.

There have been many adaptations from the original Al-anon credo that encourages everyone to be realistic about trying to change everything all at once as it’s important to realize that changing who we are is a lifestyle and not just a whim. No one else can do this for us. We must see our need to change and be willing to do whatever it takes to be victorious. There is nothing wrong with having long-term goals and we should release our faith into accomplishing our destiny, but it’s also important to focus on our mission one day at a time. It would be better to take it slow with permanent results than to go through the motions and become overwhelmed with frustration and eventually give up.

Our world has changed and facing our fears and uncertainties is now a normal way of living. I’m very sorry for what many of you have gone through these past two years as God brings comfort times of sorrow. I encourage us to be brave in this New Year as we consider the old saying, “a ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what a ship is built for.” May we live in the moment and begin each day with gratitude. Let’s laugh more and take the time to consider those around us and how much they mean to us. We have the choice to see the glass half-full and to use our voice to bring hope and love at a time when the world needs it the most. John Bunyan is quoted as saying, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

Let us not forget that while we are advancing in our own journey, that we have a responsibility to demonstrate and teach wisdom and truth to the younger ones. Children may outgrow their shoes, but they will never outgrow the positive and encouraging messages we leave with them. Most of the time we are so busy that we rarely consider how easy it is to ignore what is truly important. Realizing that optimism is a learned behavior allows us to know that personal awareness and transformation is hard work. It’s not about how smart we are or how much we can achieve but our motive should be to allow God to empower us and work through us to accomplish His plans.

Finally, let’s make a sincere decision to exonerate those who have wronged us and allow forgiveness to cleanse our conscience. When we hold grudges it’s like an infection within our soul, but when we choose to forgive, we will experience a refreshing that will flood our soul with joy and peace. If we have wronged someone, may we have the courage to step forward in honesty and tell them we are sorry. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” Ephesians 4:32. Edith Lovejoy Pierce is quoted as saying, “We will open the book. The pages are blank. We are going to write the words ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” I wish you all a very blessed New Year!