Finding Hope During Tough Times

Today’s world poses challenges for us all. Every day, we wake up to new issues and catastrophes to think or worry about...like:

  • Losing your job…kids are screaming…earthquakes
  • marriage is on the rocks…middle east violence…death of a vision
  • dreams are shattered…parents are dying…tsunamis heading for shore
  • money is gone…nuclear contamination…friends don’t call you back
  • health is failing…confidence evaporates…hope is gone
  • and, big questions like…     what happens when I die? 

If you find yourself here in search of peace… There is an "Real Answer!" 

His name is Jesus Christ! 

He can heal your heart, carry your load, restore your hope, give you purpose, and make you “real.”

Is Being "Real" Worth It?

Let me encourage you that being "real" is worth it!  Why?  Because we all know how it looks and feels to act or be fake in life...looking over our shoulder...using others...empty promises...feeding self...feeling guilty...and not having peace or joy within.  I remember many of the things I did before I began my journey to accept and know Jesus personally.  Those things maybe felt good at the moment...but later left me feeling guilty, upset, afraid, or alone during sleepless nights...in a crowd...or while searching for love.  When I finally admitted to myself that doing the right thing was harder and that it would take time to get what I wanted...I learned over time that doing what was right made me happier in the long run.  Telling myself "no" was not easy as I chose to become a better person.  I was well aware that anyone can take the easy way out....I did it many times.  But, there are no free lunches in life....great things have a price.  If we want the best, we must live our best.  We must love to be loved...forgive to be forgiven...give to receive...help to be helped...be a friend to have one...train to grow...believe to overcome...and let selfishness die to...really live!  Have you noticed everything we want in life asks us to do something that does not come natural?  

Think about it...eating potatoe chips, sleeping in, lying, spending money, giving up, and judging others are easy...right?  But...eating veggies, rising early, saving money, overcoming, and forgiving others is hard.  Yet, we never get rich without working...never train for a marathon on a couch eating junk...never achieve great things without chasing our dreams...and never change our world or that of others by doing nothing.  Do you want to win, be loved, regain hope, and find purpose in life?  If you are tired of feeling empty, discouraged, guilty, unloved, worthless, or worried about life and your future...maybe God is showing you that there is a more excellant way to live!  How bad to you want things in your life to change?  Are you willing to trust God...to be honest...to release control...to love others...to give God permission, and to do what it really takes to change?  From experience, I can tell you that it will not be easy...but, it will be, WORTH IT!  Just remember, every hero in history who changed the world stepped beyond the "easy" to achieve the impossible and be "real."    

What Is Real?

God is "real!"  The bible is the real word of God (II Timothy 3:16).   The bible is a written picture of God's heart, mind, will, and feelings on those things important to Him.  God's love through Jesus is real (I John 4:16).  God's truth through Jesus is real (John 14:6).  God's forgiveness through Jesus is real (Matthew 26:28).  Jesus paid the price for our sin by spilling real blood on a real cross to giving real forgiveness to lost people who need the real mercy of a real and loving God.  God's mercy and compassion are real (Romans 9:15).  From cover to cover, the bible shows God's "gift of mercy" to wayward people thoughout human history.  God's job for those who call themselves Christians is real (Matthew 28:19-20).  

As believers in Jesus Christ; God calls us to love, give, and to help others know Him through action, not empty words.  Jesus tells us that our relationship with and love for Him must be real (John 14:15).  Jesus goes on to show us what His real commands look like (Matthew 22:37-40).  And, Jesus drives all of it home in John 14:12 where He says, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing." 

It is possible to know God's will (Romans 12:1-3) and what Jesus is doing by reading the "red letters" that show what He did.  Knowing God's will for your life and what He wants you to do takes effort, but will be forever "worth it!"  Even though being "real" in the eyes of God and others seems like it requires a lot from us...it is worth it because we gain peace, find purpose, sense joy, and have our chance to change the world each day with God's help.  As we consider whether we want to live for God or not...most of us ask ourselves why we should give so much to change.  I can only tell you that God loves you enough to be real with you by giving what is most important to Him.  We find our answer in John 3:16 where Jesus says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son (Jesus Himself), that woever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  And lastly, becoming a "real" Christian is worth it because Jesus will never leave us alone in life's storms.  He is always with us...always (John 14:18, 20).  Now, you know more about what it means to be "real." 

Becoming Real 

If you “really want to change” your life and get to know Jesus in a “real” one-on-one personal relationship… Then read the following definition of sin, God’s laws, and pray the following prayer out loud meaning it from your heart:

What Is Sin? 

Any willful thought, word, or action that violates God’s laws.  According to the bible...the penalty for sin is eternal separation from God, man, and those you love.

Escaping Sin's Penalty / Repentance 

To avoid punishment for sin…God loves and gives us freedom to confess what we do wrong…to seek forgiveness from Him, those we sinned against, and from ourselves. Then, we must stop doing what wrong things and begin doing what is right in God’s eyes. This process of escpaing punishmnet for sin is called: repentance.

What Are God's Laws? 

God’s laws include the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20:1-17 and the teachings of Jesus Christ written and exampled in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and other passages where His words appear in red print. The Ten Commandments give us a basic structure and understanding of those moral issues that are important to God. The teachings of Jesus make our understanding of the Ten Commandments more personal as He explains, applies, and lives all He teaches to those He touched in everyday life.

The Ten Commandments / Exodus 20:1-17 (NIV)

  1. You shall have no other gods before me (idols – things more important than God).
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet (desire) your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

What Does Jesus Teach? / His Core Message

Jesus teaches that we are love God and others...to forgive those who sin against us...to hunger and thirst to do what is right...to repent to enter His presence and kingdom...to have child-like faith...to search for those lost without knowing Him...to pray for our enemies...to love those who use or hurt us...to bless those who curse or slander us... to go the extra mile when people ask us...to give freely when in our power to give...to share each other's load in life without complaint...to keep outselves in line with His love...and to help others to know the "real" Jesus because of how we live and love them.  Jesus teaches us to live for others, not ourselves.    

Did I Sin? 

If you want to know if you have violated one of God’s laws or His heart…check to see if you feel:

  • convicted, guilty, or ashamed after doing something
  • like you thought, said, or did something that really hurt someone's life
  • if you would feel embarrassed to stand in front of God knowing what you just thought, said, or did

If you know or feel like any of the items in the above “check list” are true…you probably committed sin. The fact that you know or feel that you did something bad shows that the Holy Spirit is “convicting” or making you aware that you did something wrong. When you feel this way, repent as explained above and ask God to forgive you. This puts the sin you committed against God, others, or yourself under the blood of Jesus Christ and restores you to a blameless place in God’s eyes. Being “blameless” means that you have been faithful to “repent” for any sin the Holy Spirit has “convicted” you of.

Are You Sure?

Now, before you pray the prayer of salvation below: ask yourself if you are "really willing to commit your life to Jesus Christ" based on understanding those things said above.  It's important that you make a solid decision.  Being a Christian is both a challenging and rewarding life-long journey with Jesus.  Please don't take it lightly...  If you are sure you want to do this…then pray the following prayer out loud and mean it from your heart….

Prayer of Salvation

Jesus I am a sinner and I need to be saved from my sin. I believe you are the one-and-only Son of God Who came to earth in the form of a man, died on a cross, rose from the dead, paid for my sins completely, and returned to the right hand of God Your Father in heaven. I ask You Jesus to come live inside my heart and life as my Savior and promise that I will do my best with your help to obey you as my Lord forever! I accept your free gift of salvation. Thank You for saving me! In Jesus’ name. Amen

If You Just Prayed

If you prayed the above prayer out loud and truly meant if from the core of your heart…you are now saved from sin and have God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit living in your heart and life.

You are now a Christian…

Praying Dangerous Prayers / Letting Jesus Be "Lord"

If you want to live the miraculous adventure of being all God created you to be for His glory and the welfare of others...consider praying dangerous "sold-out-to-Jesus" prayers like:

Jesus, while I am fully aware of what I am saying in your presence...  I give you permission to define my destiny, direct my will, dominate my thoughts, take my rights, order my steps, make my decisions, hem me in, make me "real," spend my life, give my possessions, and send me where I do not want to go as your ambassador of reconciliation to a dying world.  I ask you to fill me with Your love, bathe me in Your mercy, give me Your mind, grant me Your heart, open my eyes, to control my tongue, and to help me stand victorious in grace for your glory and good to others at any cost.  Lord Jesus, I am yours unconditionally forever!  In Jesus' name.  Amen!    Now...let the adventure begin...

What does being a “real” Christian Look Like?

Being a “real” or true Christian means that you recognize that your old way of life was wrong and that you need God to save you from sin. Being a “real” Christian means you choose to change your lifestyle to grow in love, forgiveness, mercy, and kindness toward others. Being a “real” Christian means you ask Jesus Christ and give Him permission change your heart, mind, soul, spirit, thoughts, emotions, will, and actions to be more like Him each day. Being a real Christian means you will see others through God’s eyes, love them with His heart, and give freely to those in need when in your power…because God gave life freely to you. Being “real” Christian can sometimes be uncomfortable, difficult, and painful when God asks you to put the welfare of others ahead of your own desires. The reward of being a “real” Christian grants you eternal life in the presence of God, sets you free from guilt, fills you with joy, restores your hope, and helps you see life through eyes of victory…not defeat.

Remember…

You are the only one who can choose to read your bible, pray, and let God change your life. Your preacher, best friend, or mama can’t do it for you. So, take personal responsibility to grow in Jesus, to love others His way, and to let Him get rid of sin in your life. Just be open, be honest, be teachable, be loving, and be “real”...  

Now what do I do…you ask?

  1. Ask around and see if you can find a modern day “translation” of the bible with the words of Jesus in red letters (i.e. NIV, NLT, NKJ, NCE).
  2. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to open your understanding of all you read in the bible in Jesus’ name.
  3. Start reading in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (New Testament) daily to learn who Jesus is, what He says, what He does, how He loves, how He forgives, and the price He paid to love us and save us all from sin.
  4. Ask Jesus to write His word on your heart.
  5. Follow these simple tips on how to grow in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  6. Pray often...talk to Jesus about everything in life…ask Him for help…thank Him for all He does.
  7. Go share your faith, look for miracles, and change the world around you in Jesus’ name!

Growing in Jesus

  1. Keep reading the red letter words of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John some every day.
  2. Pray in faith asking God for all you need to change, to love, to believe, and to help others in Jesus’ name
  3. Take risk by stepping out in faith giving God a chance to show miracles in the way He blesses your life.
  4. Meet with other “real” Christians for fellowship and to talk about your faith and everyday life.
  5. Attend a church that is “real” enough to help people in need and to example “real” Christian life.

Reading the Bible

The words of Jesus Christ are printed in red in most translations of the bible.

Why are the red letters important? Jesus is the Son of God. His words are the very words of God. When you focus on Who Jesus is…what He says…how He lives…how He loves…how He forgives…how He gives…all He teaches…and how he went to the cross to die to pay the price for our sins completely…you see the heart of God. The bible contains many examples, stories, and timeless principles. Reading it helps you broaden your knowledge of God and man’s response to Him. But you must remember that only getting to know Jesus personally giving Him permission to change you will reveal His presence in your life. Head knowledge is okay, but people in your world need to see Jesus living in and loving through you before they will accept Him themselves. So, read the red letters, get to know Jesus, let Him live through you, and change the world as “real” Christian. The world around us is tired of lip service…they need “real.”

One More Reminder…

Read the “red letters” daily, pray lots, love others, give freely, and ask God to take sin out of your life.

Prayer and Encouragement

Feel free to contact BattleCry Ministries for prayer or encouragement anytime at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

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BattleCry Ministries
P.O. Box 340
Cowiche, WA  98923

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