Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Hope Embraced

     I was in my first year semester at Florida Beacon Bible College in Largo, Fl. (Over 30 years ago) Christmas break was upon us and everyone was getting to go home except me.  But then one of my dorm mates was going home to Hershey, Pa. offered to let me ride with her and we could take a day to go see my family in NJ.  Now Julia came from a strong Mennonite family and they took me in just as one of their daughters… even gave me chores to do.
     On Christmas morning I was hit with the reality of being with this family and not home.  I just couldn't get out of the bed with the thought of intruding upon this family's Christmas. My friend Julia kept telling me to get up, but I stayed in bed.  Finally her father poked his head in and said; “Young lady get up now!”  I was up fast.
     The family sat together to read the Christmas story from the book of Luke and pray. Then their father reached under the tree to hand out gifts to whoever’s name was on the gift.  The gift was placed in front of them to wait until all the gifts were handed out so that each person could be focused on individually. I watched as each person started getting a pile in front of them. Suddenly, I heard “Cindy”… And I heard it several more times. I ended up with a pile as big as the others.

     An overwhelming feeling of love, acceptance & forgiveness from God and this family flooded my whole being! I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or run and hide. I was blessed & humbled beyond words. I didn’t have anything to give them but they gave me more than just material things. They gave me hope and began the healing process in my life!
     My birthday happens to be December 27 and they have a daughter whose birthday is December 29. She was having some of her young adult friends from college and church over for a birthday dinner.  Again they surprised with the birthday cake having both of our names on it, and not only the family but this girl's friends handed me birthday gifts. Again, what an overwhelming sense of love!

     God was using this family to teach me that He loves accepts and forgives me. From that day on I vowed to God that I would do whatever I could to show people His love acceptance and forgiveness. 
     It gets even better!  Little did I know that one day God would place me in a church family whose motto is “Come visit us at Longview Church of God where you will be greeted with unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness.” 
     This is just one story out of my testimony. Maybe someday I will share the whole story.  God has brought me a very long wait these past 30 years and He's still working on me. I'm so glad he doesn't give up on us! To God be the glory!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Integrity Matters

         Well this thought has been rolling around in my spirit for the past few days so I finally decided to share it. It’s about a particular word and it’s definition is often not fully understood. This word often became a a subject of strong discussion, especially in our Ministry or  Biblical Leadership classes. The word? INTEGRITY
     One question that kept surfacing was, “Why is that so many pastors, church & ministry leaders are lacking in this area?”  By the way, my former students agreed that integrity should be a strong character trait for any Christian, not just leaders.  Another question asked was, “Why do so many people not follow through with doing things they said they would do?” That leads to distrust.
     The dictionary definition of integrity is: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.  SYNONYMS: honestyrectitudehonor, good character, principle(s), ethics,morals, righteousnessmoralityvirtuedecency, fairness, scrupulousness, sinceritytruthfulness, trustworthiness.  "I never doubted his integrity"
"He is known to be a man of integrity"

     Look at Proverbs 11:3 -  The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.

     Dr.Richard J. Krejcir says “The (character of integrity exhibits the obedience and practice of the moral code of ethics, morals, values, and precepts from God's Word. In practice, integrity will produce honor, truth, and reliability. It will allow one to keep his or her word and do the best even when no one else is aware. This is essential for deeper relationships, and of course for developing other people's confidence in you and Christianity.”

     I totally agree with that statement!  So, now that you know a little more about the word integrity.  Make sure you can follow through with the promises you make to others before speaking them out.

     This post is by no means a complete study on this subject, rather just a little something to chew on, especially during the Christmas season when so many promises are made and not kept.

     In closing, I am not sure if I will get another post on before Christmas, so if not… I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Comforted by the Lord

     Wow! The busy month of December has begun! But for some it’s a month of pain. Some have lost loved ones due to death. Some have been through the pain of separation and divorce, or having a child go wayward. This time of year often brings painful things to people. However, there is hope. God through his son Jesus wants to bring comfort to your life during this season. Once again let’s use an acronym to see how we can receive God’s comfort in our lives.
Cares “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
    We must cast all of our cares on the Lord. Despite what you may feel or what others have told you, God does care for you. But it requires faith and trust to believe that.
Omniscient – “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk...” Psalms 142:3
     The word “omniscient” means, “all knowing.” God knows everything from the beginning to the end. He knows the paths our lives will travel. As I have often heard preachers say, “Nothing comes to our lives that doesn’t first go through the hand of God.” His grace and his all knowing can be trusted to carry us through any situation.
Meditate - "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8
     One of the best things we can do to receive the comfort of the Lord is to daily read the bible. Did you know that the book of Psalms is the most read book of the bible? Why? Because David shows that he is human, which we can all relate to. Many of his psalms start off with a trial but he always end with giving praise to God for providing a way out of troubling situations. W can do the same. Things may look bleak, but if we will hide God’s word in our heart, the praises will begin to flow from our lips before all is said and done.
Faith“… if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
     Do you see that? Even if your faith is as small as a mustard seed it is enough to move mountains. So don’t accept the lie from the devil that your faith is too little to do receive strength and comfort from God. Put to use what you have and the Lord will multiply it
Omnipotent – “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; his understanding is infinite.”Psalms 147:5     Here we see another interesting word. Omnipotent means “all powerful.” God is more powerful than anything else in the world.  When you find yourself feeling weak and defeated ask God to show up in his power to remedy things as only he can do.
Rest "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28
     What an offer! Jesus was telling us in this verse that if we will give him all of our burdens, he would give us his rest. That’s a great promise to hold on to when the going gets tough.
Trust – “5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
     This may be a familiar scripture but it is so true. If we lean on our understanding we will mess things up every time. No matter how difficult this season is, make an effort to trust the Lord. Trust him that he will help you with the pain, with the memories, with whatever it is that you need in your life right now.
     All of this takes me back another familiar scriptures found in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
     Oh my friend, how the Lord wants to comfort you! He wants to comfort you so that you have peace and are comforted. But, he also wants to comfort you so that someday you will be able to share that same comfort with someone who crosses your path and is need of healing from the scars of life.

     In closing, I don’t negate the pain you’re experiencing. But, I want to encourage you that it’s the end. God wants you to move forward with your life. He wants to heal you of your pain so that you can be his instrument of comfort to someone else along the way in your journey. Be encouraged, the best is yet ahead!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Abiding in the Rush

     When most people read John 15:1-14 they usually end up talking about bearing fruit for the kingdom of God.  That is an important principle for us to live by.  If we’re true disciples of Jesus Christ we should desire to bear much fruit for the sake of the Gospel.
However, as I read this recently I had a different perspective on it.
      In this passage in John 15 two verses in particular stood out to me. The first is in verse 5, which says, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” As I read this I thought about how we all are in the “rush mode” getting ready for Christmas. The Lord spoke to my heart through this and reminded me that we must keep our focus on God, his Word and his son, Jesus -the reason for the season.  Maintain this focus will help us be less stressed with more opportunity to bear fruit for the Lord.
     Understanding that in this passage Jesus is the Vine we’re to abide in, let’s see what we can learn about abiding in the Vine. I have made an acrostic of the word “abide” from which we can glean five principles of abiding. Apply Build Involve Deny Examine.

Apply – “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15KJV - If we’re going to walk in tune with the Lord, we’re going to have to know his word. I don’t mean that you have to be a scholar or read twenty-five chapters a day. Just be consistent to read something from the bible everyday.
Build 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians  5:22-23   Ask the Lord to help you build these qualities in your life. They will certainly be helpful in the crowded stores! (smile)
Involve – 46And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47NAS  The believers in the early church stayed in close contact encouraging each other and they were committed to involvement in their local church.
Deny – “Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”  Matthew 16:24 Again, if we keep Jesus first in our life, and think of others more than ourselves, we’ll be less apt to growl back at another tired shopper.
Examine –“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-- unless indeed you are disqualified.”  2 Corinthians 13:5 We must regularly take inventory of our lives to make sure that we’re living in righteousness.
     Earlier I mentioned two verses that stood out in John 15. We looked at verse 5. Now let’s look at verse 11.   John 15:11 - "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”  “These things” refer to the scriptures Jesus just share in verses 1- 10. So, what Jesus is saying to us is that if we abide in him we will have JOY.  What a promise to hold on to for the rest of this month! The stress of shopping, the pain of being alone, missing a loved one, financial strain, etc.  As we abide in Jesus in the midst of it all we can still have joy in our heart.
Be encouraged my friend.  Even in the stresses of life, even in the rush of the holiday we can call on the grace of God to strengthen us as we abide in him. If you are struggling, pray the following: “Lord, I am hurting, I am tired, I feel so alone. Please send your Spirit, the comforter to come alongside me. Help me to focus on you so that I may have joy in this season of celebrating the birth of your Son.  In Jesus name, amen.”

     Until next time, I pray that you are filled to overflowing with the joy and love of the Lord!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Trials and Hope

     I've been thinking about the many people I've talked with recently who are going through intense trials. Some are financial, some are health related...some have relationship issues, some battle addictions.... The bottom line is that the closer we get to the end the spiritual warfare will be greater bc Satan knows his end is coming & he wants to take as many with him as possible. 
     None of us are exempt from these trials. But here's the good news. If you are born-again, have repented of your sin & made a decision to surrender your life to Jesus Christ, you have hope! Hebrews 6:19 says; "This hope we have as anchor of the soul, both sure & steadfast...." What a promise to hold on to! He will take care of us & make a way where there seems to be no way.

     Lastly, 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "....if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed; behold all things have become new." So, I am not a recovering anything, I am delivered! Praise God! I am a new creation in Jesus! You can be also, just ask Jesus to come into your life, ask for forgiveness if your sin & Jesus will cleanse you & make you a new person! And you won't have to go through life's trials alone! Love you guys!!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

What Kind of Soil are You?

     I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being willing to fully receive the Word of God... to receive all that He tells us.  I don’t want to let anything or anyone steal the word that God has put in me. From this point on anytime you see the phrase “the word” I am referring to the scriptures found in the bible. That caused me to think about the “Parable of the Sower” found in Matthew 13:3-8 & 18-23
     What is a parable?  Briefly stated, it is a story shared to conceal or reveal a spiritual truth

Today we look at the four different soils that can be in our heart when receiving the Word of God.

Wayside - Indifferent Hearer – "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.  Matthew 13:19

     This hearer can be one of two people. He is like an unsaved person who comes in, hears the truth but is unwilling to accept it.  Or it’s the person who doesn’t take the Word of God seriously & just lay it lay there.  They only want to accept what they want from the bible. The seed has no chance to take root so the birds come snatch it.
Stony Ground - Emotional Hearer – “20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.” Matthew 13:20-21 (emphasis mine)
     Look at how these verses describe this hearer. He has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, immediately he stumbles.  I looked up the Greek definition of the word “stumbles and it comes from a word that means, “offended.” These are hearers who are offended at the word of God. They don’t want to accept the truth that is being spoken. They are also “emotion driven”, meaning that when difficulties come along they give in the turmoil instead of turning to God.
Thorns - Double Minded Hearer – "Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.”  Matthew 13:22
     When thorns and briars overtake an area, it proves unfruitful. The stuff underneath can’t grow like it should. The word has to compete against what the hearer thinks is right for himself instead of what the Lord is saying. Perhaps they were sincere at first, but later being committed to the word became an inconvenience. They have some understanding of the word, but too many things pulling at them because they allow sin to remain in their heart. One pastor said; “The sins that are allowed to stay in the harbor of the heart will surely manifest themselves, although they may be out of sight for a time, like thorns covered by the passing plough.”  They struggle because they’re still holding on to their “pet sins”. They want God in their life but they also want to do what they want to do. In James 1:14 it says it this way, "Each person is tempted when …enticed by his own desire." (Emphasis mine)
Good Soil - Honest Hearer "But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." Matthew 13:23
     Look at he characteristics of this hearer. 1) He hears – In other words he allows the seed of the word to go into the soil of his heart. He lets the seed be planted. 2) He understands –meaning he takes time to meditate on and study the word. This is how the germination of the seed takes place.  3) Bears Fruit – This means he applies the truth received and walks it out in his life. He is doer and not a hearer only. (James 1:23)  In spite of scorching, weeds, and the trial the seed survives or if you will, endures. He is not offended by the word. Yes, it may hurt at times but if we are truly God’s children we must expect discipline at times. He is our Heavenly Father and he desires that we grow more and more into the likeness of his son Jesus Christ. “A heart that has been ploughed & torn by the Spirit of God. Here the weeds & thorns have been cut up at the roots and gathered out. The heart that is truly anxious for spiritual things has no room for the cares and riches that hinder the one thing needful.” – (Pastor James Smith) And of course the one thing needful is Jesus Christ.
     The seed sown in good ground endures and it yields fruit.  Some 100 fold, some 60 fold, and    some 30 fold. What does this mean? It means that some will bear more fruit; the key is that we bear fruit at all. Most of us will never bear the fruit that Billy Graham has borne. But we should bear some sort of fruit if we're truly a disciple of Jesus.

     In closing, let me encourage you to examine the soil of your heart. Ask the Lord to show you if you have wayside, stony or thorny places in your heart that need to be plowed and cleared out by the Holy Spirit. It may hurt. It’s okay. Let the Holy Spirit have his way. You will be better person for it in the end. Until next time, keep the seed of the word growing in your heart so that you can produce some wonderful fruit for the Kingdom of God.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Being Strong and Stable

     Upon reading the following verse I felt led to encourage you with it. 1 Peter 5:10 -  “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” In the first part of the verse is the phrase “God of all grace”.  One of my favorite definitions of the word grace is, “God’s ability in me to do that which I don’t have the ability to do.” I like that! It reminds me that the things I cannot do in my own strength, God will help me to do. Of course, we have to ask for his help.
     What I really want to focus on today are the last four key words in the verse – perfect, establish, strengthen and settle.
PERFECT“…but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18
     The word perfect in the Greek this word means “to mend (what has been broken or rent), to repair, to complete, to fit out, to equip, to put in order, to arrange, to adjust, to fit or frame for oneself, to prepare or ethically, to strengthen, to perfect, to complete, to make one what he ought to be.” (Emphasis mine)
    Imagine that, God desires to make us all that we ought to be!  In other words, God wants us to mature. He wants us to allow him to make the necessary changes in our lives so that we can be a reflection of him for others. This reminds me of Philippians 1:6 which says, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” What a promise! He WILL complete the work he has started in us!
ESTABLISH/CONFIRM- “But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” II Thessalonians 3:3
     Establish in the Greek means “to make stable, to place firmly, to set fast, to fix, to strengthen, to make firm, to render constant, to confirm (one's mind).  The idea here is that God wants to build your life and character so that when the storms of life hit, you will have firmly placed in your mind and heart the promise of God’s protection and grace to get you through that time.
STRENGTHEN – “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” Psalm 31:24
     The meaning of this word is pretty basic - “to make strong, to strengthen; used of one's soul.”  Simply put, the Lord wants to make you stronger in your character and in your walk with him.  In times of difficulty as we turn to God for help he promises to strengthen us. Some of the ways we can gain strength is trough a bible study with other believers, by being part of a local church and most importantly by our time spent in the presence of God through prayer, praise and worship.
SETTLE“Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation; the fear of the LORD is His treasure.” Isaiah 33:6
     This word means to “lay the foundation, to found, to make stable, to establish.” The word I want to focus on here is stable, but before I do that let’s consider the word establish in this definition. For those of you that are Christians you may be trying to find “your place” in your local church. You know you want to serve the Lord. You may even feel called to a particular area of ministry but you can’t see how it will ever come about. Let me encourage you with this thought. (I have to remind myself of this often!) Be patient. God will establish you where he wants you in your local fellowship. We’re all part of the body and we each have our particular function that God has designed for us. We just need to be willing to do what he wants us to do, not what we want to do.
     Now, getting back to the word stable or stability. What I want to focus on here is that God wants to make you a stable person. If you call out to him, as the above verse says, he will be the stability of your times. Jesus Christ is the only person that can give us true stability in our lives! The truth of the matter is that your life will never be ‘settled” until Jesus Christ has come into your life.
     What troubles you today?  Look at what Psalm 37:5 says, “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”  You see, that’s the key. We must commit everything to the Lord. We have to have settled in our heart and mind that no matter what we’re going through in our life, we are going to live for him.
Commit everything unto the LORD, and He will establish your thoughts. Do things His way; do them unto Him; turn them over to Him in prayer; and trust Him for the results. He will take care of you. If you’re going through a struggle at this time contact a leader in your church or someone that you know who is a mature Christian and ask them to pray with you.

     Until next time, be strong in the might of the Lord!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


     With all that happened just before the crucifixion of Jesus and afterwards, the disciples and other followers experienced a wide range of emotions. As we look at these feelings they had let’s see how we can apply some principles to our life today. Our main test is  Luke 24:1-4 but we’ll be going throughout the whole chapter. It reads, “1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 "He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee...”
Confusion: Luke 24:1-4
     In the original Greek language the word perplexed means “to be left wanting, to be embarrassed, to be in doubt, not to know which way to turn.” Imagine the thoughts they must have had swarming around in their minds. Could this really be?  What if it isn’t, where is his body? Thankfully, Jesus isn’t bothered by our questions. He doesn’t condemn us for having questions. He would rather us ask the questions than to ignore him.
Fear / Sadness: Luke 24:17 & Luke 24:5 –
     What were they afraid of? I think they wondered if they had been duped by Jesus. Was he really who he said he was? Did he fool us? They fear for their lives wondering if they would be arrested, even killed also because of their association with Jesus. Think about it, Peter denied Jesus  You might say, “Well I would never deny the Lord. But have you ever had an opportunity to speak up for him and didn’t because you were afraid of being embarrassed?
JOY: Luke 24:30-32
     Think about this – right in the middle of their sadness Jesus was right there and they didn’t even know it… until He opened their eyes. Once we recognized that Jesus is revealing Himself to us and we acknowledge him, great joy comes into our lives. I don’t know about you, but before Jesus was in my life I had no joy, no hope... just negative thoughts and feeling down all the time. As believers joy should be a mark of our lives. That’s not to say we never have tough times but that we don’t have to allow the tough times to steal our joy.
Doubt: Luke 24:9-11 & 35-38
     Ever have someone tell you something and you’re like “yeah right…” And then later you found it to be so? I can only imagine the doubts that must have flooded their minds when things happened as they did. After hearing testimonies they wondered; “Is it true that he’s risen?” Just like us, they didn’t remember the promises he had given. How many times do we go through a trial and we forget about earlier trials that God brought us through? Doubt… we all experience it at times. 
Adoration: 47"and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48"And you are witnesses of these things. 49 "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." 50And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.” Luke 24:47,48 51-53 (Emphasis added)
     This is the heart of the Easter Story – WORSHIP – We’re to worship Jesus as King of Kings & Lord of Lords…. He is risen indeed! According to verses 47 & 48, once we have received Jesus into our lives it gives a sense of mission. We’re now to be his witnesses telling other of the hope found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. And in our mission we’re to preach verse 47 – “repentance and remission of sins.”  You see my friend, one cannot experience the joy and worship of the Lord until they first have repented of their sin and surrendered their life to Jesus Christ. Does that mean life is problem free after salvation? Not at all! But, we now have the Lord to walk with us through those difficult times.
     I would like to close with a quote from a pastor (Tom Lovorn) that was used in a recent sermon I read. “ With hope, you can claim the Holy Spirit's guidance and power. And, with mission, you will have a reason for being where you are. You'll be purpose-driven to win your world for Jesus. Your whole image - the way you dress, talk, and walk; your attitude and outlook; your reaction to people and things – everything about you will be different. When people ask you, "What happened to you?" You can answer, "Easter happened, that's what!"

     Until next time, let’s rejoice that we have a risen Savior!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Finding Freedom

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified."  2 Corinthians 13:5

     As I started to work on this article and think about what I wanted to write I kept finding the above verse running through my mind. So, when as verse keeps tugging at me like that I have to ponder what the Lord wants to say to us. Then I reflected on some recent conversations I've had with people professing to be Christians but yet they were miserable with their life and still struggling to be free.
Perhaps we aren't taking an HONEST look at our lives. Or as our opening scriptures says… "examine your life". Look at this verse--Psalm 32:4,5 --4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. 5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden.
Or look at this one in the Living Bible--Psalm 32:3-5
"...But my dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration. 4 All day and all night your hand was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water on a sunny day 5 until I finally admitted all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, "I will confess them to the Lord." And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

     Now I can just hear some of you saying… "Cindy, this takes time." Back when I was single and involved with a singles ministry, I will never forget one truth that our singles pastor pounded into us week after week. Repeatedly, he said; "To the degree that you surrender, is the degree you will grow." You see some people turn to the Lord because they're miserable in their life, but not with a heart of repentance. That's why so many live defeated lives as Christians. They haven't fully given Christ control of every area of their life. If you want the speed of your spiritual growth to excel, then do more surrendering.  Another way to look at this is, “when the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of change, you will change.”
     Yes, I realize that some things do not change over night. However, you do not have to remain miserable. It's time to refocus on the truth of God's word, not the lies of the world and the devil. It's time to focus on the positive and not the negative. We need to get our eyes off of ourselves and onto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of life" (Hebrews 12:2).  We have to give to the Lord every area of our lives. And, when we ask for His help we must be ready to receive His answer, no matter what. You see this growth thing is according to His plans, not ours.
Ultimately we’re to go to the Lord for help. But sometimes we need another human here on earth to help us. If you are struggling with some issues in your life find a mature Christian believer that you would feel comfortable sharing with. Make yourself accountable. Anyone who knows me well knows that I push the idea of accountability. If we had more accountability with other believers I believe we have a lot less people falling into temptation or becoming defeated in their walk with the Lord..
      There is hope! You can be free! But, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to walk it out. Are you ready to take that step? If so, pray the following prayer: "Dear Lord, I am struggling with_____. I know I can't conquer this on my own so I am asking for Your help. Please help me to be honest with myself? Please lead me to another believer that can be supportive? Help me learn Your Word about this area of my life so that I may be a witness for You? Thank You for helping me to gain more freedom in my life! In Jesus Name, Amen."

     There’s so much more I’d like to share about this subject but I think you have enough here to jump start you on your journey towards freedom.  Now go to the Bible, find verses relating to your area(s) of struggle and meditate on them, ponder them daily to get them past your mind and into your heart. Trust God to make you free in His strength, not your strength.