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James, brother of Jesus, offered some advice that can be hard to hear: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2-3.


King David shared his joy, when he called on God, and God answered: "When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted." Psalm 138:3.
When we feel inadequate, and when we feel that God couldn't listen to our prayers, Paul assures us that we are all inadequate without the grace of God, even the greatest of Christians, "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23. But Paul also says that we are made perfect when we seek a right relationship with God through his son Jesus.


Paul assures us that only the grace of God can save us, and nothing we can do on our own can get us into a right relationship with Jesus. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:8-10. God's grace is sufficient to make us worthy of his love.
That also means that nothing we have done wrong can stand in the way of a right relationship with Jesus. The Apostle Paul said, "God sent him who had no sin, to become our sin, that we might be the righteousness of God." Second Corinthians 5:21. Only the sacrifice of God's son could accomplish that total grace.


Through that sacrifice, all wrongs are forgiven, and nothing can stand between us and Jesus.


Jesus tells us that He is the only way to true life. "Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me." John 14:6. Jesus affirmed that he is God, saying "I and the Father (God) are one." John 10:30. The Apostle Peter declared, "You are the Christ, the son of the living God." Matthew 16:16.


When the Apostle Paul was jailed and the jailer asked how he could have a right relationship with God, Paul replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household." Acts 16:31. In his letter to the Romans, Paul said, "if with the mouth you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from [the] dead, you shall be saved." Romans 10:9. John declared, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." John 3:36.


We can pray for physical healing, but first, we need to pray for spiritual healing. When Jesus was asked for healing, he often replied, "your faith has healed you." Mark 5;34, Mark 10:52, Luke 18:42. Only by developing a deep faith, and a true, honest  relationship with God through his son Jesus, can we develop the faith that will heal all the emotional hurts, all the sins, and the physical injuries that we have suffered. If you are feeling unworthy, due to some past sin, the solution is easy: turn that sin over to Jesus. See Second Corinthians 5:21. Jesus' last words on the cross are translated, "It is finished." A more correct translation is that the debt has been paid, that the debt is "finished." Jesus was saying that his death had paid for the sins we have committed, once and for all.


We cannot come into a right relationship with Jesus on our own; we need a fellowship of believers. If you want spiritual renewal, contact a church in your area, and ask the saving grace of Jesus into your life. If you belong to a church but have not attended for awhile, get into regular weekly attendance.


We also need to study the word of God to come into a right relationship. That means reading the Bible daily, to hear all the good news God has to share about the abundant life, and about eternal life. Click here for a daily Bible reading schedule that you can print out and follow.  It also means praying for forgiveness, for direction, for encouragement, and for healing. It means letting go of the hurt others have caused us, and forgiving those people. Only Jesus can do those things, and this is the best time to start making that relationship for life.  


What is a right relationship with Jesus? In the Old Testament, the prophet Hosea declared that God desires "mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6. God wants our love, not our sacrifice. We can't work our way into Heaven, but the admission to Heaven is free for the asking. Your ticket was paid on the cross. Satan wants you to think that God doesn't care, but God has been waiting all your life for you to proclaim him the center of your life, to ask forgiveness and turn to Jesus as your savior.


God is love, and he loves you more than you will know, on this side of Heaven. He sent his son, Jesus, because of his love for you. See John 3:16 and Second Corinthians 5:21. That is the relationship that Jesus came to buy for us, and our response, loving and accepting Jesus as our savior, and turning our troubles over to him, is all that he asks of us. We respond by turning away from the wicked things in this world, and transforming ourselves to be like Jesus, as a natural response to his love for us. We are human, and we cannot be like Jesus without being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Then, we can call on all the power we need to accomplish God's will, including overcoming sin in our lives, turning our lives around and experiencing joy that does not come from earthly things.