VIDEO Trusting God In The Storm

Michael Chriswell
Nov 27, 2015

“After doing Christian counseling for 40 years, this is the most unusual and powerful story I’ve ever heard. It just totally amazed me!”
— Norma Grey, Christian Counseling Director – Orlando, FL

Dear suffering brother or sister in Christ,

My name is Michael Chriswell. This is a remarkable true story of finding God’s grace and overcoming the biggest of messes that we can make in our life, and/or the most painful suffering that the devil or others can throw at us.

Subjects in this emotional true story include: Dysfunctional childhood, sexual abuse, bullying, divorce, loss of family, loss of home, loss of possessions, loving money, being torn between God and success, business failure, bankruptcy, parental alienation, betrayal, adultery, loss of career, slander, rejection from friends, post abortion trauma, emotional abuse, total loss of dignity and suicidal thoughts, etc.?

If you are suffering in any way as a Christian, you will be greatly encouraged by this very unique story that has already encouraged and even saved many people’s lives before ever appearing on YouTube.

This video tells the story of my finally achieving what most of us call the “good life”. I was married with five children, living in a million-dollar home with all the toys, the travel, a successful business, and I was even being called the next “Zig Ziglar” (motivational speaker), by some. I was living my dreams, or so I thought.

After years of practicing the advice of success gurus, I overcame my very ugly childhood and proved I could “make something of myself”. By 2007, my small biz income was $700k and growing at 300% annually. By early 2008, I seemed to have reached the top of my game, but behind my smile was a growing sense of tension—I had no peace.

I had become a believer in Jesus Christ back in 1989, but with no one to disciple me, I continued living the way I’d always known. After I got married, I got more involved in church and then became a busy body “Christian” doing all the churchy stuff. At the same time, I was striving for success in the business world, and after one gigantic failure, I finally hit “the big time”. And even though I looked like God’s little “comeback kid”, there was a strong tension beginning to build deep in my soul.

While my business was growing, so was my desire for God and I kept sensing, “You are making progress, but in the wrong direction.” I had been relying on success like a false god and was deriving the majority of my identity and acceptance from it.

On October 30th 2009, the tension reached an 18-month high point. I got on my knees, cried out to God and completely surrendered everything to Him.

Nine months later (to the day), after attempting to tell the testimony of our unusual abortion story, it completely blew up in my face and my wife snapped, divorced me, and took our five children. I literally lost everything. Then it got even worse. As I began to trust and obey God in ways that didn’t fit with human reasoning, most of my family and friends turned against me. I even ended up homeless for a season. God was all I had.

All alone and broken, I sought Him with all of my heart, spending three years and thousands of hours studying the Bible and going on long prayer walks in the woods. I begged God to show me His ways and He began guiding me in astonishing ways. One of the first things He began to teach me was the principle of trusting and obeying Him. Initially, as you will see in the story, He did a miraculous parting of the RED SEA for me, in response to my obeying one of the more difficult teachings of Christ (Mat 5:39). Soon, I began to wonder what was possible if I obeyed all of the teachings of Jesus.

I spent the next 18 months, studying, organizing and obeying them. The more I obeyed, the more of His presence and fruit I began to see in my life. It was absolutely incredible! Today, my relationship with Him is truly indescribable, even when I’m suffering through hardship (1 Jn 2:5) and I know that I have still only scratched the surface.

I’ve been to the bottom of the pit and Jesus went with me, every single step of the way. Today, I have such joy, peace, hope and a contentment unlike anything I have ever known, even when I thought I “had it all”. God removed the idols from my life and the things I acquired outside of His will. He then helped me to find my ALL in Him alone. Eventually He even gave me some wonderful promises about the desires of my heart for the second half of my life. One of those desires is to Help you find your very own LIFE TO THE FULL, in Jesus! After you watch the story, subscribe at http://RelentlessHeart.com for some very encouraging updates and for practical teaching on how to fully abide in Christ and live with life to the FULL.

Trusting God Even If

The God we serve is able to deliver us. Daniel 3:17

Due to an injury that occurred in 1992, I suffer from chronic pain in my upper back, shoulders, and neck. During the most excruciating and disheartening moments, it’s not always easy to trust or praise the Lord. But when my situation feels unbearable, God’s constant presence comforts me. He strengthens me and reassures me of His unchanging goodness, limitless power, and sustaining grace. And when I’m tempted to doubt my Lord, I’m encouraged by the determined faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They worshiped God and trusted He was with them, even when their situation seemed hopeless.

When King Nebuchadnezzar threatened to throw them into a blazing furnace if they didn’t turn away from the true God to worship his golden statue (Dan. 3:13–15), these three men displayed courageous and confident faith. They never doubted the Lord was worthy of their worship (v. 17), “even if” He didn’t rescue them from their current predicament (v. 18). And God didn’t leave them alone in their time of need; He joined and protected them in the furnace (vv. 24–25).

The God we serve is able to deliver us. Daniel 3:17

God doesn’t leave us alone either. He remains with us through trials that can feel as destructive as Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace. Even if our suffering doesn’t end on this side of eternity, God is and always will be mighty, trustworthy, and good. We can rely on His constant and loving presence.

Lord, thank You for being with us, no matter what we’re going through.

Share this prayer from our Facebook page: Facebook.com/ourdailybread.

Faith relies on our Almighty God’s unchanging character, not on our circumstances.

By Xochitl Dixon 

Walking in the Light

Ephesians 5:1-17

If you’ve ever lost power at night, you know how disorienting it can be to try and find your way to a flashlight or candle. You think you’re heading for a doorway but unexpectedly bump into a wall. This is what our life was like before we met the Light of the World. In fact, we didn’t even know what real light was and had become comfortable in the darkness because it kept us from seeing how sinful we truly were.

An amazing transaction occurred when we finally believed the gospel, repented of our sins, and confessed Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We were rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of Light. And now Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, has come to dwell within us (Col. 1:13; Eph. 3:17). So how are Christ’s followers supposed to live? Today’s passage outlines three basic responsibilities:

1. Walk in love (Ephesians 5:1-2). As the Savior sacrificially loved us, so we are to love others. If we are at odds with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can’t claim to be walking in Light (1 John 1:7).

2. Abstain from sin (Eph. 5:3-7). Believers aren’t sinless, but they don’t habitually practice deeds of darkness.

3. Learn what pleases God (Eph. 5:8-17). The fruit of Light is goodness, righteousness, and truth. These are displayed in our character, conversation, and conduct when we are living out our faith.

Let’s make it our aim to move ever closer to the Light, letting Jesus expose and remove any areas of darkness so we can reflect His glory and goodness.

Get Your Mind Ready

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)

We have been born again (1 Peter 1:3), Peter tells us, to an incorruptible inheritance in heaven (v. 4), which is secure (v. 5) even though the intervening time is difficult (vv. 6-7). Such a salvation as we have is both mysterious and hard to understand, pondered by both the saints of old (v. 10) and angels (v. 12). Yet, we have it with more complete understanding and fulfillment than even the prophets ever dreamed possible.

Our rightful response to this knowledge and experience is given in today’s verse. We are to “gird up the loins of [our] mind.” Just as the flowing robes worn by the men of New Testament times had to be bundled up and tied at the waist to allow for rapid, unencumbered movement, so the Christian is expected to be ready to be on the move, to discipline his or her mind by the renouncing of all sinful and/or confining habits and attitudes.

To do so we must “be sober,” be clear-headed, calm, and in control. We must “hope to the end,” or more explicitly, “hope to the utmost degree” in our ultimate glorification at the return of Christ. The construction of “hope” implies a command to “fix our hope” on Him, a sure hope, not a wishful hope. This is the “grace that is brought [present tense] to the believer.”

Furthermore, we must renounce “the former lusts in [our] ignorance” (v. 14), being “obedient children” of our Father.

It is not enough simply to eliminate sinful patterns from our lives. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy” (v. 15).

A mind that is disciplined and purified is ready for action and victory. JDM

The heart is deceitful above all things

2 Kings 8:1-15

2 Kings 8:1

She had gloried that she dwelt among her own people, and now she must be tried by a temporary banishment; but doubtless she knew that faith’s path is not an easy one, and yet is always the way of safety.

2 Kings 8:2

She bore the trial well, entering upon it without question, and waiting under it without complaint.

2 Kings 8:3

In her absence others had seized her heritage, and she appealed to royal authority for its restoration.

2 Kings 8:4, 5

This was a noticeable providence. There were, as men would say, many chances to one against such a singular meeting of events. The king must talk to Gehazi, and the subject must be the woman’s son, and lo! just in the nick of time, the heroine of the story puts in an appearance. Wonderful, was it not? And yet, if we will but open our eyes, such wonders happen in our own case more times than we can tell.

2 Kings 8:6

Thus God repaid her a hundredfold the cup of cold water which she gave to Elisha when she hospitably entertained him. God will be in no one’s debt.

2 Kings 8:7

marching right into the teeth of Israel’s enemies: bravely did he perform the Lord’s errands, even as Elijah had done before him

2 Kings 8:10

He might recover as far as his disease went, but he would die because Hazael would murder him. The statements were quite consistent.

2 Kings 8:13

Hypocritically he denied that he would do it, yet in his heart he was already plotting.

2 Kings 8:14, 15

Thus he proved himself to be worse than a dog, though he had spoken so fairly. Fine professions go for nothing when the heart is wrong. We must have new hearts and right spirits, or we cannot tell what crimes we may yet commit. Who knows the amount of evil which any one of us may do if grace does not prevent? O Lord, save us from ourselves.

 

Take Up Your Shield of Faith!

Ephesians 6:16

Many people wrongly assume that the shield of faith is the most important part of their spiritual weaponry because Paul said, “Above all, taking the shield of faith…” (Ephesians 6:16). But if you think about it for a moment, you see that the shield of faith can’t be more important than the “loin belt of truth”—the Word of God—because faith comes from God’s Word (Romans 10:17).

So just what did Paul mean when he said, “Above all….”? The phrase “above all” is taken from the Greek phrase epi pasin. The word epi means over. The word pasin means all or everything. So rather than stating that the shield of faith is more important than the other pieces of armor, the phrase epi pasin describes the position faith should have over the other pieces of armor. It could be better translated, “Out in front of all….” or “Covering all….”

Therefore, the phrase “above all” emphatically tells you that your “shield of faith” is never meant to be held next to your side or timidly held behind your back. Faith is supposed to be out font where it can completely cover you and protect you from harm—especially when you are marching forward to take new ground for the Kingdom of God!

Just as Roman soldiers kept their shields out in front of them to defend them from deadly attacks and blows from their enemies, God wants you to tightly grip your shield of faith while keeping it out in front where it can protect and defend you. When your shield of faith is kept in this out-front and covering position, it can do what God intended for it to do! This is why Paul continues to say, “… wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” (See September 6 to refresh your memory regarding what the Bible says about the fiery darts of the wicked.)

But it is also very important for you to notice that Paul says, “… Taking the shield of faith….”

The word “taking” is from the word analambano, which is a compound of the Greek words ana and lambano. The word ana means up, back, or again; the word lambano means to take up or to take in hand. When compounded together, it means to take something up in hand or to pick something back up again. This plainly means your shield of faith can be either picked up or laid down. It places the responsibility on you as to whether you will use your shield of faith or allow yourself to go through life unprotected.

If you want to employ the use of your faith, you must make the choice to take it in hand and to place it in front of you. It will not assume its defensive position over your life by accident. Your faith will only operate in your life the way it was meant to do when you choose to pick it up and put it where it belongs—out in front.

If you ever go into battle without your shield of faith, you are making a mistake you will seriously regret. Keeping your shield of faith in position is not an option if you intend to overcome the enemy and win the battles that are before you.

Therefore, I urge you not to go into battle without this all-important piece of your spiritual armor. If you fail to keep that protective shield in front of you, you leave yourself exposed to the deadly strikes of your adversary, the devil.

On the other hand, as you choose to daily take up your shield of faith, holding it out in front of you so that it completely covers every part of your life, you put yourself in position to thwart every single attack that the enemy throws your way!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I thank You for giving me a shield of faith that completely covers me from head to toe. I don’t have to constantly succumb to the devil’s attacks. By holding my shield of faith above all and out in front so that it covers me completely as You intended it to do, I can be protected from the attacks that the enemy would like to wage against me. Forgive me for the times I’ve let my shield lay at my side while I stayed busy complaining about the devil giving me fits. I realize now that it’s up to me to pick up my shield of faith and put it where it belongs. So with Your help, Lord, I am reaching out right now to pick it up, to hold it out front, and to do my part to make sure the enemy has no access to me!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that God has given me a shield of faith that protects me against the works of the enemy. If I will hold my faith out front—and today I commit myself to doing just that—God’s Word guarantees that this mighty shield will thwart the fiery darts that the enemy wants so desperately to throw at me. My shield will cause those darts to bounce off, thereby protecting me from being struck. I will walk with my shield of faith out in front so that it covers me as God intended for it to do. As long as I do that, I can be confident that I will move forward in life without the enemy winning any full-scale attack against me!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Can you say that your faith is alive and active and out in front of you as God intended for it to be, or have you allowed your faith to become inactive so that it lags behind?
  2. Please answer these questions honestly, for a truthful answer may prevent future disaster in your life: Did you once walk in faith more consistently than you do today? Have you allowed your shield of faith to drop to your side instead of maintaining it in the forward position that allows it to defend you from the enemy’s attacks?
  3. What steps are you going to take to reignite your faith and return it to its position as the mighty shield of protection that God intended for it to be? What kind of plan are you going to follow to see your faith recharged, reenergized, and repositioned out in front of your life?

 

Suffering Is An Integral Part Of All Our Lives

During a recent seminar I attended on suffering, I mentally went around the room and noted the afflictions of the people attending the session. They included:

 

One couple whose daughter is extremely rebellious — A wife who is suffering over her husband’s unfaithfulness — A couple who have a child with Down’s syndrome — A single woman who is immobilized with self-doubt and feelings of inferiority — A senior executive who recently lost his job — A man whose 17 year old daughter is suffering with a terminal disease — A father whose son just impregnated a girl, and is in trouble with the police.

 

Often when suffering, we wonder if God has made a mistake. Or we may well feel He does not care, that He is not there, or that He is not fair. We may be tempted to ask, “In all my suffering, where is God?” The answer of course is, “The same place He was when His Son suffered.” We know from 1 Peter that God uses suffering to mature us in our faith,

 

…Now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed…Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6, 7; 4:12, 13)

 

If you are in the midst of a painful experience, may I suggest seven things you can do:

 

1. List and define your trouble.

 

2. Give thanks for your blessings and look for what didnt happen.

 

3. Amidst your problem, ask this question, “Have I contributed to the cause?

 

4. Explore the possible and potential benefits that can come from the pain.

 

5. In your suffering or tragedy, recognize that it may not be as bad as it appears.

 

6. During your time of trouble, recall the character of God and His promises.

 

7. Pray with surrender that God will work out the problem, and that He will work into your life the character or lesson(s) that can be learned from the experience.

 

 

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