7 Ways To Go Deeper And Pull Closer

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If you're drawing breath on planet earth...there will come moments...times of adversity when you wonder what to do next.

In these moments...your solace will not be found at the local watering hole commiserating with someone as lost as a goose in a blizzard.

Your answer will not be found in extended conversations with friends about why it's unfair you have to deal with these situations.

When trouble strikes and it will...here are seven times we need to go deeper in the Word and pull closer to God.

1.         When you’re disappointed

Here’s the great news. . .regardless of the intensity of the enemy’s attack. . .you will never be put to shame or disappointed.

I realize that’s a bold statement. . . but there are eight verses in the Amplified Bible translation which say exactly that.  Here are three of them.

Psalm 25:3 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Yes, let none who trust and wait hopefully and look for You be put to shame or be disappointed; let them be ashamed who forsake the right or deal treacherously without cause.”

Psalm 25:20 in the Amplified Bible says:

“O keep me, Lord, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed or disappointed, for my trust and my refuge are in You.”

Romans 9:33 in the Amplified Bible says:

“As it is written, Behold I am laying in Zion a Stone that will make men stumble, a Rock that will make them fall; but he who believes in Him [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] shall not be put to shame nor be disappointed in his expectations.”

I particularly like the last verse which says that we shall not be put to shame or disappointed in our expectations.

The longer I live, the more I’m convinced that every adversity we face is a test.  Yes, a test to see if we are going to throw up our hands and quit … or do what God said and claim the very promises we just read. 

As Christians … we either believe God … or we don’t!

Jeremiah 29:13 in the Message Bible says:

"When you come looking for me, you'll find me. "Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." God's Decree. "I'll turn things around for you. I'll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you"—God's Decree—"bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.”

God is going to make sure you’re not disappointed … if you hold steadfastly onto His Word.  Not only that, He will reward you for what you’ve been through.

Proverbs 23:18 in the New Living Translation says:

“You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed.”

2.         “When you’re afraid”

The scripture tells us 26 times in the King James Version of the Bible to “be not afraid.”

There are 44 verses in the Message Bible that say “Don’t be afraid” and 66 verses in the New Living Translation with the exact same scriptural directive for us.

You don’t have to be afraid for a number of reasons.  One reason is because you’re not the one fighting the battle. But another is because the devil is no match for the One who is on your side.

2 Chronicles 20:15 says:

“. . . Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.”

You don’t have to be afraid of what you see.

You don’t have to be afraid of what you’ve heard.

2 Kings 19:6 says:

“. . .Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard. . .”

Isaiah 37:6 says:

“. . . Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard.” 

There is only one thing to do you’re afraid.  It’s to believe the Word of God.

Mark 5:36 says:

“. . . Be not afraid, only believe.”

And truthfully, you are rewarded for not being afraid.

Genesis 15:1 in the Message Bible says:

“After all these things, this word of God came to Abram in a vision: "Don't be afraid, Abram. I'm your shield. Your reward will be grand!"

3.         When you don’t know what to do

When you’re not sure what to do next take comfort in knowing that He always does.  Not only that, He wants to tell you what to do.

And you don’t have to be some super saint to get the message.  Simple, childlike faith is all it takes. As a matter of fact one of our biggest problems is we try to overthink it when hearing Him speak.

Proverbs 3:5-6 in the Message Bible says:

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track.”

If you’re in the midst of a storm or financial firefight and you don’t know what to do next   “. . . don’t try to figure it out on your own. . .”

If you’re trying to figure things out. . .to solve your problems by yourself. . .then you don’t need God.

Simply said, only one of you will be working on and through the problem, situation or attack . . . that’s either you or Him.

As the verse says, you must “. . .listen for God’s voice in everything you do. . .”

The reason you listen for His voice . . . is because He’s the one that will “. . .keep you on track.”

How do you listen for His voice?  When the problem comes up in your mind, keep committing it to Him and soon something will ‘come to you’ about how to handle it … if the idea persists and it lines up with the Word, you have your answer.

One more scripture Isaiah 48:17 says:

“Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.”

Not only should you quit worrying and listen for His voice. . .but realize He’s the only One who will teach you to profit in every situation.

According to Strong’s Concordance the word profit is the Hebrew word ya`al (H3276) which means to:  “gain, benefit, profit.”

Child of God, be encouraged when you follow His divine direction.  He will sustain you through every attack and even cause you to “gain, benefit and profit” from the attacks of the enemy.

But the key is to follow His direction.  We must understand and obey the words found in Isaiah 48:17 in the Message Bible which says:

“I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well.  I show you what to do, where to go.”

When He shows us what to do. . .we need to do it.

Heed the words of Psalm 119:60 in the New Living Translation which says:

“I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.”

When we follow His instructions. . .we get His approval.  Let me say that again…

When we follow His instructions. . .we get His approval.

Psalm 90:17 in the New Living Translation says:

“And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!”

When we follow His instructions. . .we get His approval. . .and we have the assurance in knowing that we’re on the right track.

4.         When you’ve spent every cent you’ve got

God reminded me of His biblical solution for mistakes of bad judgment.

James 5:16 says:

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed [the fault removed]….”                        

When we fall into the devil’s trap of purchasing things we regret, we become the possessors of what Jesus calls “sycamine trees.”

In Luke 17:6 the scripture says:

“And the Lord said, if ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it shall obey you.”

I can hear you saying, “Brother Harold, what makes you think my regrettable purchases are like a sycamine tree?” 

It becomes clearer when you see the definition of sycamine in the Greek.  It is the word sykaminos (G4807) and means “an imitation mulberry tree.”  It looks like it will produce fruit, but produces none.

When you mistakenly spend your hard-earned money for products or services that turn out to be an imitation of God’s best for you, my friend you have been sold a sycamine tree!

No matter how good of a deal it may have been at the time, if God wasn’t in the purchase, it may yield misery and discomfort until you are rid of it.

If you’ve made a mistake. . .if you’ve transgressed from financial wisdom, then you can take comfort in 1 John 1:9 in the Amplified Bible:

“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].”

Now, if you want to make the devil’s day. . .get into self-condemnation or an argument with your spouse over money.  Either way, he wins—you lose . . . in those choices.

I recommend absolute honesty with your spouse on your financial mistakes.  You’ve got to know that sooner or later they will find out.  It’s best that your spouse receive the bad news from you instead of reading it on a credit card statement.

If you’ve messed up, fess up, get up and move on with your life. . .stop looking back.

5.         When the doctor gives you a bad report.

Have you ever known someone who speaks with absolute authority but does so without the basis of all the facts?

When a doctor gives you a bad report. . .he/she can only tell you the facts they perceive based on their experiences and training or some test.

In essence, they’re spreading a bad report without knowing the truth.

Such proclamations can undermine the confidence of those who should know better.  And yes, such announcements can throw you into doubt . .if you don’t have a firm grasp of the truth found in God’s Word.

Facts can change but the truth remains the same.  God’s Word is truth. What does the Word say about physical health?

I Peter 2:24 in the New Kings James Version says:

“who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.”

You can have facts without having the truth.

For instance, the ten spies came back to Moses with a bad report.  They brought back the facts as they perceived them to be.  They brought an evil report about what lay ahead of them.

Numbers 13:32 in the New Century Version says:

“And those men gave the Israelites a bad report about the land they explored, saying, "The land that we explored is too large to conquer. All the people we saw are very tall.”

Numbers 14:36 in the New Century Version says:

“The men Moses had sent to explore the land had returned and spread complaints among all the people. They had given a bad report about the land.”

The ten spies who brought back the bad report suffered the consequences for believing facts over the truth … because it didn’t line up with God’s promise to them.

Numbers 14:37 in the New Living Translation says:

“These men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the LORD.”

The doctor may give you a bad report. . .he may give you the facts that he knows. . .but the truth of your healing is found in the Word of God.

The devil wants you to see giants when the truth is … a giant is like a grasshopper in the presence of God’s Word.

Before you call 911 to report a medical emergency you need to remember the truth found in Luke 9:11 in the Contemporary English Version which says:

“But a lot of people found out about this and followed him. Jesus welcomed them. He spoke to them about God's kingdom and healed everyone who was sick.”

6.         When someone you love is doing or has done something stupid.

Unless you’re the Cleaver family from the 50s TV show, “Leave It To Beaver,” you’ve experienced frustration, disappointment  and even heartbreak from family or close friends.

Despite your best efforts as a parent. . .your children will do some unwise (or let’s call it what it is. . .stupid) things.  Here’s what you need to know.

First, God is still on the throne.  If you don’t see His throne in your backyard or the horizon . . .He’s still on it and everything is going to be all right. 

Second, remember the reason Jesus came to planet earth was to deliver you and your family from the devil’s hold.

Hebrews 2:14 says:

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”

 Third, God doesn’t want anyone in your family to spend an eternity in hell.

2 Peter 3:9 in the Amplified Bible says:

“The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people's conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.”

Fourth, God not only forgives our sins, foolishness and stupidity. . .but He forgets them as well.

Isaiah 43:25 in the Amplified Bible says:

“I, even I, am He Who blots out and cancels your transgressions, for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”

The Message Bible translation of Isaiah 43:25 says:

“But I, yes I, am the one who takes care of your sins—that's what I do. I don't keep a list of your sins.”

Fifth, your loving Heavenly Father will even give you a hope for your children as they move into a relationship with Him.

Psalm 112:1-3 in the Message Bible says:

“Hallelujah! Blessed man, blessed woman, who fear God, Who cherish and relish his commandments, Their children robust on the earth, And the homes of the upright—how blessed! Their houses brim with wealth And a generosity that never runs dry.”

Sixth, your kids who once frustrated you. . .will now receive a generational blessing because you knew how to put a hedge of protection around them.

“The LORD hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.  He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great.  The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children.”

7.         When you’re advancing behind enemy lines.

As I wrote that line I began to think of the Integrity Music chorus that says:

“I went to the enemy's camp and took back what he stole from me.”

Next, I was reminded of a line from a very famous speech by General George S. Patton.

“We’re not holding onto anything. . .we’re advancing all the time. . .”

The line from that speech is memorialized in the movie “Patton” which interestingly enough is the first movie that my fine wife Bev and I ever saw together.

When you’re taking back what the enemy has stolen from you. . .you’re not fighting alone.

In fact, I’m going to give you seven indisputable reasons why you can advance behind enemy lines to take back what has been stolen from you.

First, you’re not alone because Deuteronomy 20:1 says:

“. . . be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee. . .”

Romans 8:31 in the Amplified Bible says:

“… if God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]”

Second, you’re not going to fight the battle because 2 Chronicles 20:15 says:

“. . . Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.”

Third, there is only one thing you have to do.  Mark 5:36 says:

“. . . Be not afraid, only believe.”

Fourth, if you’re going to face your enemies. . .call in reinforcements.  Psalm 118:5-6 in the New International Version says:

“In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

Fifth, anyone who opposes you, opposes Him.  Exodus 23:22 says:

“But if you will indeed listen to and obey His voice … I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.”

Sixth, you will come out of the battle unharmed.  Psalm 118:6 in the Message Bible says:

“God's now at my side and I'm not afraid; who would dare lay a hand on me?”

Seventh, you’ve got protection stronger than Captain America’s shield, Iron Man’s suit, Superman’s cape or Spiderman’s web.  Hebrews 13:5-6 in the Amplified Bible says:

“So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?”

When all hell seems to be breaking loose. . .these seven points will give you truth, comfort, strength, direction, power, peace and protection in the midst of every storm.

When you know the truth. . .you don’t need to let anything hold you back from acting on it.

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