Category: <span>thoughts by Jan Stewart</span>

Lord, May I look to you daily for the filling of your Spirit as you empower me to do your will. 


Be filled with the Spirit” Ephesians 5:18b

Whenever driving in Oregon, U.S.A, I sit in the car while the gas station attendant comes out to the car and asks, “Fill’er up?” Oregon is one of the few states that does not have a driver pump their own gas. I think it is a treat to have someone else fill up my gas tank.

Wouldn’t it be great if life were the same way? That when peace is needed, it could be poured in. When love is needed, it could be poured in. These are just two of the listed fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Interestingly, just before these fruit are listed there is a challenge to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  If God challenges us to do something, then we can know that this is his will and he will make it happen if we ask him.

I have to tell the gas attendant what I need and want at the gas station; the same is true for God. I need to tell him that I want and need him to fill me with his Spirit. What’s even greater is that God already knows exactly what we need and he is ready to give it to us in his perfect timing!

Other things in life will not give me the peace that I want. Not getting drunk with wine or trying to anesthetize from the pain of life. Solutions outside of Christ can only provide temporary relief to the deeper longings within me.

Ask God to fill you with the Spirit each day. As you reflect on the fruit of the Spirit, imagine what it would be like to have any or all of those particular characteristics true of you. Life is challenging, but God wants to fill you up with power from his Spirit.

Lord God, fill me with your Spirit today. I want to experience the power you give and all that you have to offer in life including freedom from the enemy and sin. May I look to you daily for the filling of your Spirit as you empower me to do your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Remember that your life is God’s, that he is filling you with his Spirit, and that he is faithful to direct you step-by-step as you obey his will in his strength.

By Jan Stewart
Used by Permission


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Further Reading

Understanding the Holy Spirit

•  Spiritual Oxygen: Are You Getting Enough?

•  Salvation Explained


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“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.”  Job 19:25


My wife died of cancer, but I still trust in God,” the speaker said to more than 400 college students at a winter conference I attended. I was impressed that he could passionately speak of his love for the Lord and had such faith after this devastating loss. That night I went to my room and asked Jesus Christ into my life.

At the conference, I read that faith comes from reading the Bible. I went to the bookstore and bought a Bible. A list of reading suggestions was on the inside cover. (If you want to know why Christians suffer, read the book of Job.)

Job was a man following God, living a good life. But Satan wanted to test Job’s faith and challenged God to allow him to do so. Shortly afterwards, Job hears that all his children died in an accident and his livestock was stolen. Then Job becomes drastically sick. In the midst of Job’s loss and suffering he states that he knows that he will see God because he believes that he lives. In spite of everything that Job went through, he trusted in God and had a relationship with him.

When we go through difficulties in life, we won’t always understand why either. But we can put our trust confidently in our Redeemer who lives and realize he will give us the strength we need for the day and the peace to endure.

Lord God, it is a mystery why life is so hard at times and why there is so much suffering. May you increase my faith and trust in you. Thank you that you give me the strength I need for the day and the peace to go with it. Amen.

Today thank God often that he is always with you, that you already have eternal life with him, and that he gives you the strength through his indwelling Spirit to face any challenges he allows.

By Jan Stewart
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Further Reading

When Someone Disappoints Us
When Confusion Prevails
•  Salvation Explained


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You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  Genesis 50:20 (NAS)

If I have to admit to hating something, I would say I hate suffering. I recently visited a relative who seemed apathetic to my husband’s cancer and all that we are going through. They proceeded to say that they don’t believe in the same God we do. Their reasons for this were actually unbiblical and contrary to my own opinions. However, instead of trying to defend my faith or refute their arguments, I listened. I prayed, “God, help them see that the Bible presents your absolute truth and not our culture’s relativistic truth.”

The challenge of reaching others for Christ can be painful at times. This situation felt like suffering.

In the verse above, after Joseph had suffered 23 years unjustly, he talks of his faith in God to the very brothers who had betrayed him. Only God could give Joseph that type of total forgiveness to relatives who had intended him harm and enable him to offer them grace.

People are drawn to others who keep short accounts, extend forgiveness, and give grace when mistakes happen — whether intended or not. When we are yielded to him, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to do what our own abilities can’t do or even want to do. Imagine having relationships and outreaches to others filled with grace!

Lord God, only you can give the supernatural forgiveness and grace to extend to others who increase suffering. May we look to you to accomplish the saving of spiritual lives as a result.

Seek to offer God’s amazing love and grace to everyone you meet, no matter what they do or say.

By Jan Stewart
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Further Reading

•   He Lets me Rest
•  Wisdom and Knowledge of God
•  Salvation Explained

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Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”  Matthew 21:5

I like to think of a hero as being triumphant and in control. I want to feel that my life is in control instead of squirming about areas of my life I want to see differently. Some areas I cannot change, since they are out of my control, i.e., a loved one’s health, a misbehaving grandchild, a couple of quarrelling relatives.

What does a hero look like? When Jesus entered Jerusalem as king, he wasn’t on a huge horse wearing armor. Matthew tells of Jesus riding on a donkey into Jerusalem, which symbolized that he is the King of the Jews. Instead of conquering Rome and building a new kingdom, he died on a cross. Yet, Jesus did conquer. He conquered death and sin when he rose again. He is the King of kings, the real hero.

Imagine Jesus as the hero of your life. Are there areas in the areas of appetite, attitude or agenda in which Jesus could be king?

Appetites such as entertainment, social media, sexual desires, hobbies, food, alcohol and shopping. Attitudes such as pride, apathy, complaining, greed, bitterness and unforgiveness. Agenda such as time, money, career plans, theology, belief system, future plans, politics, and family planning?

What would be the benefit of following Jesus’ leadership in those areas? Are you willing to let Jesus be king over them? Is there something holding you back? What do you think it is?.

Lord, be the King of my life. I need a daily hero that will rescue me from myself, conquer the areas of my life that could benefit me as a result and please you.

Ask God to show you if there are any areas of your life that remain outside of his control. If so, invite him to help you see you as the hero freeing yourself from anything that hinders your walk with him.

By Jan Stewart
Used by Permission

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Further Reading

•    When Confusion Prevails
•    Sitting on the Fence
•    Salvation Explained

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But where is the lamb for the burnt offering?Genesis 22:7

If I was Isaac, I would have been freaked out right about the time that his father Abraham tied him up and laid him on wood on the altar. I think I would have been yelling, “I’m too young to die!”

Yet Isaac was a strong young man and his father was old, over a hundred, so he could have most likely overpowered him and gotten away. But Isaac didn’t. He trusted his father.

Abraham’s great faith to sacrifice is only son is often mentioned, but what about Isaac? Isaac had great faith in his father Abraham. Abraham had said to him that God himself will provide the lamb.

We learn later in Genesis 22 that God was testing Abraham and stopped him from sacrificing Isaac. Not a whole lot is said about Isaac. What about Isaac having seen the knife raised above him? Isaac willingly sacrificed himself that day.

Sometimes I feel freaked out at the circumstances in my own life.

I wonder where is the cure for my husband’s cancer? How will we make it through the next six months of therapy? Genesis 22:14 reminds me that “The Lord Will Provide.” Just as Isaac trusted his father, I desire to trust God.

Lord, I want to trust you when things in life seem impossible, don’t make sense and even seem scary. Thank you for the reminder that you are one who provides. You, God, are the one who is in control. Amen.

By Jan Stewart
Used by Permission

Request: Will you pray for healing for Jan’s husband, and for others facing seemingly impossible situations?

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FURTHER READING

•  Struggling with Depression – Merri Ellen Giesbrecht tells her depression story and her story of hope
•  Dealing with Despair

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Matthew 11:28-29

Please pull your mask over your nose,” the flight attendant told the passenger across the aisle. An intercom announcement followed, “Everyone, wear your mask at all times, covering both nose and mouth.” I found the flight tedious. Flying during a pandemic can be stressful. Many safety rules continually point to the pandemic threat.

Just as these restrictions and rules can feel like a burden, with life challenges draining, in Jesus’ day, scribes and Pharisees placed rules and regulations on people. As a result, the people were oppressed with a sense of despair. They were given so many things to do that they were unable to measure up.

Jesus saw the burdens that were put on the people and knew how weary they felt. He called the people to come to him instead.

A yoke held two oxen in place so they could step together, keeping a rhythm going in their work. Jesus invites us to take on his yoke. As we step together with him in the power of the spirit , we can walk a steady pace in life. Jesus doesn’t demand or bully us into living. The humility and gentleness of Jesus makes walking with him appealing.

Then, he promises something which we truly need. He says we will find rest for our soul. He wants to remove the burdens and weariness that we feel from living in a time of a pandemic. Jesus, who is gentle, offers a soulful rest.

Lord God, remind us to come to you when we feel weary and burdened. May we experience your soulful rest. Thank you for being a gentle God. Amen.

Invite the Spirit to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, aware that he is walking with you and empowering you to obey him, no matter what the circumstance.

By Jan Stewart
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Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


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“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”  Philippians 4:5

How can I experience gentleness in a world that is harsh and demanding and always wanting things its own way?

I had not noticed this verse or considered gentleness until recently. Now I find that this is one of my favorite verses. I like being around people who are gentle. I’m grateful that God says that he is near me.

Paul writes this verse in the context of living anxiety-free and rejoicing in the Lord in (Philippians 4:4-8). Gentleness has an attitude that is levelheaded, reasonable, and mature. Jesus was all of these things, mild-mannered, tender, gentle and kind. Allowing him to live in us and for us to depend on him makes this gentleness possible.

The Lord is near. We are never alone, because he is with us. And because he is near and we live in him, we can exhibit his characteristics. The choice daily is to live in him, dwelling in his presence, or focusing on the harshness of this world.

In a time of history where a pandemic limits our activities, living anxiety-free is not common. But God gives us his Spirit, and a fruit of the Spirit is gentleness. We can show others that we have something that can never be shut down or taken away. God is in control. These are tough times, but we will get through them. He will give us his calmness. And when we exhibit his calm, gentleness to others, it will be evident that we know him.

Lord God, help us to be mindful of your presence that is with us. Fill us with your Spirit that we may reflect your gentleness to those around us. Amen.

By Jan Stewart
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Random Acts of Kindness it is amazing how random acts of kindness affect those around you.

The Gentle Christian

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“Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did — with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength…” 2 Kings 23:25a

Have you ever met someone that amazed you?

Josiah was someone who has amazed me. He lived in dark days. His evil father was assassinated, so Josiah was made king when idolatry was prominent throughout the land. He didn’t have a godly example to follow, and the world around him was facing judgment. He relied on God to direct him.

During his reign, Josiah got rid of idols. He implemented a Passover Celebration to honor God. He was a whole-hearted follower of God who made a difference.

We all have a choice at how we view life. Focusing on all that is going wrong in our world can be defeating. Sometimes in the darkness, it can be difficult to see what God is doing. Things can look bleak with the pandemic and the disunity currently existing throughout our world.

When we feel disheartened, do we look inward or upward? We can choose to be like Josiah, who decided to turn to the Lord. If we truly believe in the Lord with all of our heart and all of our soul and all of our strength, then we can choose to change our focus from the day’s troubles and instead remember the blessings. God is doing a work in these dark times, and he is looking for men and women who will follow him.

Lord God, help me to trust in you with all of my heart, soul, and strength. When the world around seems full of evil, help me to remember the blessings that you have given. Amen.

By Jan Stewart
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FURTHER READING

Hope for the Hopeless

Good News for You

God’s Love for you

Did You Know that You are Someone Special?

A Poem of Hope

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


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“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”  Psalm 27:13 (NASB)

Since the pandemic, I have wrestled with despair. I want to believe God is with me, but I am tempted to be at the mercy of an unseen virus that could sneak up on me and kill me or someone I love.

So my soul searches for God’s truths. Where is God in all of this? Do I believe what he says is true? Do I believe in His goodness despite my greatest fears?

David writes this psalm as he is running for his life. He, too, felt danger and uncertainty. As he wrote words of confidence in the Lord throughout Psalm 27, he was honest and yearning in his relationship with God and to be delivered from what he feared most.

The word “unless” in the above verse packs a powerful meaning. Believing in the Lord’s goodness brings hope from despair. He gives us a choice. We can either despair or have confidence in his goodness, seen every day as we have sunshine and rain, morning and night, birds singing, and flowers blooming.

If we truly believe in the Lord’s goodness, we can realize that he cares. Despair doesn’t have to control us, and fear can be overcome. God is in the midst of our crisis, yet he has a bigger picture of all of it.

Lord God, help me to trust in your goodness. When fears and feelings of dismay come at me, help me to choose to believe in your goodness instead of the circumstances. Amen.

By Jan Stewart
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FURTHER READING

Importance of Knowing God
I Want to Know Him
The Christian and the Bible – do you believe it is the infallible truth?


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