It seems that people pray as a last resort. Others think it’s a waste of time.
The famous hymn bid the weary soul not to despair neither take matters into their own hands.
In this poem written to comfort his mother and one that has become a world-famous Christian hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Joseph M. Scriven writes, “Oh, what peace we often forfeit – Oh, what needless pain we bear – All because we do not carry – Everything to God in prayer.”
If you are confronting particular challenges affecting your peace of mind, your health, and relationships, don’t wait to be burdened down into utter discouragement.
The Lord, Jesus Christ, beckons you to bring your burdens to Him in exchange for a peace that is out of this world and overflowing joy.
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Jesus extends an all-inclusive invitation to the oppressed. He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, ESV).
Are you laboring under the weight of sickness, fear of the unknown, over-concerned about the pandemic, and the nations’ instability? Whatever nature or source of your worrying, Jesus knows all about it, and He wants to lighten your load.
But you must bring it to Him in prayer.
Just like going to court, you must enter into God’s presence with thanksgiving and praise. Declare on what grounds you enter His courtroom (by the shed-blood and in the name of Jesus Christ). Then you present your case to God on the basis that Jesus was beaten, mocked, crucified, and was raised from the dead on the third day so that you might have eternal life, abundant life, and peace with God and in your heart.
Jesus desires that you don’t wait to get to the point of worrying.
The Lord rather that you maintain a close-knit relationship with Him so that prayer does not become your last resort, but that you are continually praying and gliding through the challenges, jumping over obstacles, and living a triumphant life.
The Apostle Paul told the Philippian Christians, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Let us Pray:
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me so much that you gave Your one and only Son to suffer and die so I can live eternally in the future and abundantly in the present. Forgive me of all my sins and wash away my iniquities. In the name of Jesus Christ, Father, by Your Holy Spirit, give me wisdom, help, and resources to overcome my challenges triumphantly and to glorify Your name through it all.
I got to the nightclub at about nine o’clock on that New Year’s Eve many years ago. As I’ve habitually done, I first turned on the DJ equipment, starting with the mixer followed by the amplifiers. After ensuring that my working station (the DJ booth) was all set for the night, I came down from the booth and walked to the liquor bar to start on my first drink for the night, rum & coke.
Growing up, I heard many times from professional drinkers that a person should not drink different alcoholic beverages in one sitting. To avoid the worst complications, if someone is drinking stout, he should only drink stout and not also drink beer or whiskey, or wine. That night, I violated that rule big time. I sipped not only rum & coke but also beer, wine, and stout and topped it off with a puff of marijuana.
When it came time to leave the club that night, I was to drop off about three people home, and none of them had a driver’s license. It is true, when I came down from the DJ booth, I felt pretty tipsy, but I did not realize how drenched drunk I was until I started driving out of the parking lot. As I was steering out, my left eye was looking toward the right, and my right eye was looking toward the left. I tried to straighten them out but to no avail. (Read the whole story in my book, Relentlessly Pursued by God).
Drunk-Driving Deaths Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes – that’s one person every 50 minutes.”1
Divine intervention, that is, the grace of God kept me from being one of those statistics on that beautiful New Year’s morning, even when I did not yet know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. I was blind to the love of God in Christ Jesus. I never thought that I would ever be a follower of Jesus Christ. But that did not stop Him from protecting me despite me not knowing Him.
In his letter to the Ephesian church, the apostle Paul writes:
“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature, we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved)” (Eph. 2:1-5, NLT)!
That evening was one of the moments that my life almost ended due to my futile living. Some might call it a chance, others luck, but I now know it was God’s abundant grace that preserved my life that New Year’s morning (4 in the morning).
How to Avoid Drunk Driving
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “Everyone can contribute to the prevention of excessive alcohol use. Choose not to drink too much yourself and help others not do it. If you choose to drink alcohol, follow the U.S. Dietary Guidelines on moderate alcohol consumption (no more than one drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men).”2
The Bible does not particularly forbid drinking alcoholic beverages, but it does command people not to drink excessively. The apostle Paul writes, “Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:17-18).
You can read in my book, Relentlessly Pursued by God, how I started drinking very young. When I got to my teenage years, my drinking habits intensified. But now, after being liberated from the need to drink, my body can hardly support alcoholic drinks. Not only am I a “new creature” in Christ, but my body has also gone through a wellness transformation as a result of the grace, power, and Word of God.
All glory to the Lord God Almighty and His Son Jesus Christ, who thought of me, pursued me, and rescued me.
Look to the Lord. Call on Him, and He will show up to rescue you.
I was about seven or eight years old that a relative member was accustomed to send me to the little house-store across the street from our residence to buy a stick of cigarette for her. Buying the cigarette was not the issue. When I purchased the stick of cigarette, I was also to light it up for her. As smokers and former smokers know, you will have to inhale the smoke to light up a cigarette. So each time I bought a cigarette, I light it up.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Nicotine is the chemical in tobacco that keeps you smoking. Nicotine reaches the brain within seconds of taking a puff. In the brain, nicotine increases the release of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which help regulate mood and behavior; Dopamine, one of these neurotransmitters, is released in the reward center of the brain and causes feelings of pleasure and improved mood. The more you smoke, the more nicotine you need to feel good. Nicotine quickly becomes part of your daily routine and intertwined with your habits and feelings.”
After lighting up more than enough cigarettes for someone else, now I was hooked on nicotine. From that time, I began searching on the ground for cigarette buds to smoke. Cigarette buds are the cigarettes that others have smoked and thrown away the rest. It could be half of a cigarette or much more shorter. But once addicted to nicotine, a person becomes a slave.
When I became a teenager and more independent, I started buying my own cigarette. I would smoke at least ten cigarettes a day. There were many times I wanted to quit, and I could not get myself to do it. Even though I heard on the radio and watched public health commercials of the danger of smoking, I just could not cut loose from that enslavement.
According to statistics all across the board, smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths. It also increases the likelihood of developing other types of cancer. It increases one’s risks of dying of heart disease, incurring diabetes, eye problems, infertility and importance, complications during pregnancy, tooth and gum disease, and the list goes on.
Knowing and the continual hearing of these facts could not help me stop smoking. I threw away packs of cigarettes many times, trying to quit. But it didn’t take long for me to run back to the store to buy more cigarettes. I was a slave to nicotine.
Then, some providential circumstances started to shift my thinking and, ultimately, my life. I did not know then, but retrospectively, I can see that it was God at work alluring me for my own good. One of the significant divine events that ensued was when I found a beautiful leatherbound New King James study Bible. I went to volunteer in Homestead, Florida, which was devastated by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. While volunteering in organizing donated items sent by the people of the community, I saw the Bible and I set it aside for when I was done working. Effectively, at the end of the evening, I took my Bible and left. You can read the whole story in my newly published book, Relentlessly Pursued by God.
I started to read the Bible every day. That why the subtitle of the book is. “Events, People, and Circumstances Divinely Choreographed by God for My Appointed Time of Salvation.” God was using the Bible, various people, and all types of circumstances and events to draw my attention to His gracious love found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Although I was not yet a follower of Jesus Christ, the fact that I was reading the Bible, it began to transform me from the inside out. One of my friends with whom I used to spend time, drinking stouts, and smoking marijuana, realized the change in me, and although he was not a professed Christian, he told me about the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s local channel. And I began to watch it.
Astonishingly, one day as I stood inside that same friend’s wooden gate before knocking on the door, an inspiration came out of nowhere. I stood there for a minute and being sick and tired of being incessantly controlled by nicotine. I pulled out a stick of cigarette and started speaking to it. I held that cigarette between my thumb and my index finger. I looked at it. I said to cigarette, “look how small you are, and look how big I am, and I have been allowing you to control me. From this day forward, I will not be controlled by you any longer.” I’m sure my wording was not in so many words. However, since that day in 1992, I have not smoked nor desired to smoke.
It was not willpower, neither the patch nor some other medical or psychological product. It was the Word of God working in me. I did not know anything about talking to a lifeless object. I did not plan to take that bold and crazy action. But the grace of God was working in me and around me many wonders. It was not until a few weeks later, through God’s many interventions, did I finally came to know and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. This is the story that is told in my book. Relentlessly Pursued by God tells my story from when I was five years old to when the angel came into my room with a message from heaven when I finally surrendered and say yes to the Lord.
You, too, can begin a transformative life by making time for the Word of God. The Word of God is life, power, and light. Schedule time daily to spend in the Word of God. Please read it, study it, reflect on it, and share it. As you do that, you will begin to see a transformation that no other thing, people, or concept can ever do.
Mayo Clinic Staff, Nicotine Dependence (Mayoclinic.org), accessed on October 27, 2020.
My newly published testimony book is available on Amazon.
When the angel came into my bedroom twenty-eight years ago and declared to me that four-word statement, I automatically embraced the grace of God. For, I was on the road to nowhere land while God was doing everything possible to grab my attention to recognize His grace in Christ Jesus.
After living a life of all sorts of misery, sin, and spiritually impoverished, I was blind to the truth of the Gospel. I started drinking whiskey while I was not yet seven years old and got involved sexually around the same age. While I never conscientiously practiced it, but I observed many voodoo ceremonies. I didn’t know much about the spiritual aspect of it. I was only intrigued by the music, the dance, and the wardrobe. Similarly, as many Christians are fascinated by a preacher/prophet prophesying, I was also curious about the “lwa” (spirit) that would take control of mainly one of the service leaders and begin to speak secrets and warnings. However, I was deeply involved in promiscuity and excessive cigarettes and marijuana smoking.
Although I was dead spiritually, God’s love and grace came through for me and saved me. Paul writes to the Ephesians, saying:
“You were made alive when you were dead in transgressions and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience; among whom we also all once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Eph. 2:1-5, WEB).
God hates sin, but He loves people. He is not out to punish and condemn us. That is not how the Lord acquire His glory. His splendor lies mainly in seeing His creation hunger and thirst for Him, that they would seek to please Him in all they do. Albeit, punishment and condemnation are reserved for the end of the age judgment. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He was the perfect and sinless man that lived on this earth about two thousand years ago. He fulfilled His mission of paying the debt humanity owed God for the original sin of Adam. Those who desire eternal life with God must receive and embrace His grace in Christ Jesus.
What is Grace
I have heard many preachers define grace as “unmerited favor.” The original Greek word is Charis. It has to do with graciousness, favor, gift, grace, pleasure, joy, and so on. In a sense, you might say that God saved you by and for His pleasure. He delights in redeeming you. He is overjoyed in your salvation. And He is equally pleased with you as you gratefully walk in the abundant grace of God to minister His love to others.
Before his eyes were opened to the grace of God in Christ Jesus, the apostle Paul used to persecute the Church. On his way to Damascus to arrest more believers, Jesus stopped him in his track, temporarily blinded him so that he could permanently see spiritually. Close to his dying days, Paul told Timothy, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:12-14, NKJV).
I never dreamed I would be a follower of Jesus. Although I had great respect for those who follow Him, I had accepted what seemed to be my lot to live a dreary life in the world. But Father God wouldn’t have that. That is why you can be reading such an article right now because God pursued me until He caught me.
<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="16" max-font-size="72" height="80">You can read more in my newly published book, <strong><em>Relentlessly Pursued by God</em></strong>.You can read more in my newly published book, Relentlessly Pursued by God.