Is there a special person, such as a parent or loved one, in this world that you know loves you? How do you know they love you? Think about that. Maybe it’s because they’ve told you. Or maybe they’ve been there for you. Maybe it’s their long term commitment toward you. They’ve made sacrifices for you. Maybe it’s a combination of these things, which have led you to know that they love you.
Do you know that God loves you? Is there any thought inside of you that causes hindrance in answering that question? If you can have a set belief that this other special person in your life loves you based on their words and their sacrifices, can you have a set belief that God through Christ Jesus loves you, based on His word and his sacrifice?
Follower of Jesus…God the Father loves you, Jesus loves you. And Holy Spirit is still here helping us in our weakness and praying for us when we don’t even know what to pray. May the Holy Spirit continue revealing to us just how much God loves us!
By the power of God through Holy Spirit may you let go and cast out all doubt. May you know and be certain of his love for you through Christ Jesus. May you continue getting to know the Lord your God, for he is good.
His Word, His Sacrifice
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ~ Jesus
Probably, not fully. In the book of Ephesians I came across this verse 3:19, which reads, “and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
What an amazing bit of truth. The love of Christ surpasses knowledge. In this chapter Paul is praying that this church may have the strength to comprehend this love – the breadth, and length, and height and depth, and to know…
“and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,”
“that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”
Today, if you consider yourself part of the church body, know that I’m spending some time praying this prayer of Paul for us. May we come into a deeper knowledge of his love for us. I mean, if we need to pray to even possibly have the ability to understand it, I would conclude that God loves us with an everlasting love that cannot be fully expressed with words. God loves you Church, and nothing can ever separate you from the love of Christ.
May God bless you. And may you be filled with the fullness of God.
Do you believe in Jesus and have received Him as Lord and Savior?
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)
If so, you are a child of God.
So that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. (Hebrews 6:18)
So you’re his child and its impossible for God to lie, so you can rest in these true unchanging statements found in his word – God is really good, and he loves you with an everlasting love.
God gave us his only Son (Jn 3:16) and showed his love in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) Nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38). He calls us children of God. (1 Jn 3:1) Jesus loves me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20). God is love, (1 John 4:8) and the reason you love is because he first loved you. (1 Jn 4:19) You and I were dead, yet by his great love he made us alive together with Christ – by grace he saved us. He cares about you. (1 Peter 5:6-7) God continues in steadfast love to those who love him and keep his commandments. (Deuteronomy 7:9). And his commandments are not burdensome. (1 Jn 5:3). His love endures forever, give him thanks. (Psalm 136:26) God loved us before we loved him. (1Jn 4:9-11) Christ loves us, the church, in comparison to the way a husband should, according to God’s standard, love their wife. He is fully committed! (Ephesians 5:25). Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” (John 15:9), may we abide in his love and keep his commandments, love God and love others. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Psalm 103:8) And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (~Jesus, Matt 28:20)
If our unchanging God loves us so much in that while we were his enemies he reconciled you and I to himself by the death of his Son, we must understand that in our imperfect love and devotion to him – he continues loving us to salvation by what he did.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with desiring a special word of knowledge from the Lord to minister and love those around us. I believe that these moments can truly make an impact on those around us. For example, there have been times in the past where I’ve had a dream of someone, and in response I reach out to that person. It just so happens to be perfect timing. These moments are special. But I found that sometimes I neglect the information I already have. I’ve learned, and am learning, that whether I have what I believe to be a special word or not, I can be more present in the lives of those around me. And it’s the love we show another, that will carry on into eternity.
Jesus Calls Us To Love Others:
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ( Matthew 22:37-39 )
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? ( Matthew 5:43-48 )
When Jesus was baptized he came out of the water and God spoke saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” After this Jesus was led into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. He was hungry and the tempter came and said to him.
“If you are the Son of God, command these stones to be loaves of bread.” Matt: 4:3
What is Satan doing? Is he simply tempting Jesus to eat or is he tempting Jesus to prove God has already stated. God said, “this is my beloved Son”, Satan’s challenge, “If you are the Son…”.
Has God spoken a truth over you that the enemy is challenging? How do you respond? Let’s see how Jesus responds.
But he answered, “it is written, “‘Man shall not live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matt. 4:4
May it be that God has the last word and we believe him at his word. We can live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Furthermore, Jesus is the word made flesh. He is the truth, and our salvation is made possible by his finished work at the cross. So the next time the devil whispers, “if you’re really saved you would….”, you can respond with, “it is written…”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:6
Before the Word became flesh, and even before the law came through Moses, and even before Abram’s name was changed to Abraham…He believed the Lord, and it was counted to him as righteousness. Righteousness has always been through believing, through faith in God. When you feel like you “should” be doing more, perhaps instead you should focus on believing God more. Believing first, good works is the result. Works apart from believing is a common type of religion. So how do we come to a place of believing? How does one believe in anything?
Let’s check out Romans 10
Romans 10:13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”
God sent Jesus, who sends disciples
Disciples will preach and share the Gospel
Some will hear and call on the name of the Lord.
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
So how would one keep growing in faith? Keep hearing. Well…how do I do that? Some things that come to mind include: prayer, being in his word, trusting him and paying attention when by grace he does what he does in my life. Having and praying for an attentive ear. May we always be thankful.
The person you have faith in?
Let’s consider your car breaks down today. Among all the people you know, friends and family members, who do you call? Whoever that may be, you have faith in that person. How did you get that faith? You heard them at some point, and got to know them. You began to trust them through circumstances because at some point you called on them when you needed them, and they were there. You didn’t muster up faith, that person gave you faith in them – most likely through there grace and love for you. Whether you know it or not, Jesus has always been there for you, through it all. God has always been there with so much grace, love and sacrifice. Do you remember the first time you called on God’s help and he answered – saving you in more ways than one?
Whether you are a newly born again Christian or have been walking this walk for awhile, there is something that you can call on the Lord for – even today. You don’t have it all together and if you think so, you may have taken a left on pride place. If that comment about pride annoyed you, you’re at the cul-de-sac, turn around. Pride hates being called out.
I confess, I too fight pride in one way or another – every day. When you think about it for awhile, bottom line, it is pride that keeps us from sharing the Gospel with all creation. (see Mark 16:15). Anyways. So I ask myself now, what is it? God, what is something specific that is going on in my life, that I need to call on you for? What am I trying to accomplish on my own steam, when truly I need to be calling on you? I believe if you ask God with an honest heart, he will reveal something to you, as he’s already beginning to speak to my heart about this as I write.
May God continue to bless you with righteousness that comes from believing Him. God has blessed you. May we continue to call on Him.
I awoke, unsure of what was happening. All I know is that I’m helplessly plummeting toward earth without a clue of how I got here. The thickness of clouds below make it impossible to know how long I have before I die. I attempt slowing my fall by rolling myself into the belly flop position. I try everything to gain control. No matter how much I do to prolong my time, I know the end is coming. Desperate, I even try flapping my arms. Coming to the end of myself I surrender. Something catches my attention, about an arm’s length away, I see a parachute! I quickly reach for it and it draws closer to me. I take it and put it on, the chute immediately deploys. I’m saved! I see countless others falling around me. And there, right beside each of them, a parachute! Some are flapping their arms with little to no knowledge of the parachute right beside them. Some flap their arms better than others, but it really doesn’t matter. Others don’t do anything, as though they’ve accepting their fate. The problem is that they’ve all at some point fallen and death is quickly approaching. I call out to them, “you cannot save yourself, turn to the parachute and put it on!” But it’s as though very few can hear or see. But I won’t give up. I keep calling out because someone just may have an ear to hear and a heart to see.
Like the rest of us, you are going to die and you don’t know when. We begin our lives loving ourselves and loving our own personalized collection of sin, but it has never provided lasting joy. Can you think of any sin you’ve committed 3 months ago that is still producing real joy in your life today? Are you not in the same spot you were in? It brings death. Yet, we go back to it again and again as a slave reports back to their abusive master, one who’s killing us. Selfishness, pride, idolatry, lies, we are all guilty of sin. We must turn from our sin and turn toward Jesus. Jesus provides the only way of Salvation. There is freedom in Christ!
If you can’t see, turn from your sin and ask Jesus to open your eyes and mind to the truth. Jesus, I ask you open this person’s eyes to see, and if they’re Christian, to see with even more clarity.
Acts 4:11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Thought of the morning: Earth is spinning at a 1,000 mph as it orbits the sun at 67,000 mph, all while maintaining the perfect distance away to allow for life to flourish. Furthermore, our atmosphere is designed in such a way to keep our oxygen contained within, not to mention everything else. As we continue spinning on this thing, orbiting the sun, no matter where we live at any moment gravity remains constant. To think this all happened by some cosmic accident is comical. God spent six days in His creation of this place. But with you and me, He has invested significant time and sacrifice in helping you know Him, trust him and be in relationship with him through Jesus his Son. God is good. Can you even begin to imagine what he has in store for those of you who have believed in the Lord Jesus?
“They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity — all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”
Acts of the Apostles 2:46-47 NLT
I know we all don’t get over to this mentioned “temple” each day, but notice these words from the Apostle Paul.
“…For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”
1 Corinthians 3:17 NLT
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT
As we go and meet with the church on the weekends and throughout the week in our smaller groups, and every day in between, may we always worship our Lord and God every day in spirit and truth. As Jesus said, “For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24 NLT
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
Is there something we must refuse or depart from, in our own individual thinking, so that we may live in our true identity as children of God?
One thought that came to my mind was the desire to fit in. Considering the next time I’m at the store buying something…should I be more concerned with how the cashier views me -> [which is pride], or shall I refuse the norm and think more eternally, loving that person by being relational and sharing Jesus. Anyone for that matter. I confess, I don’t share as much as I could be. I know there’s no condemnation in Christ – I do desire to share more and I need his help with this. God help me witness your goodness.
To my family in Christ. The other day I was just sitting in an office chair, in my bathroom, gazing at this verse that has been written in marker by my wife on our bathroom mirror. Can’t make this stuff up. And it reads:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
As I was looking at it a thought entered my head, one word, “Freedom”. I believe God’s perfect will for us is to be free and to live in that freedom – in Christ. But as long as we are conforming to the world, we will not be living free. What stops us from sharing the truth that’s in the gospel with the person in front of you? Is it conformity? I can make 100 excuses as to why I don’t share Jesus with the next person I see, but the truth, it’s because I am not living free, at least not as free as I want to be and could be. Because of that this person may have to go another day without hearing the good news that sets us free. We’ve already have been sent, and called to proclaim the Gospel. Any voice that suggests “not right now” that’s not his voice. The more I read the word, the more I see that “his timing” is today. May His word trump that voice of hindrance. There is no fear in freedom. May he bless us with that perfect love that cast out all fear. The Gospel is good news, and the truth about Jesus must be proclaimed. God is a good, and he is not the culprit for everything that happens. But he is the creator and he renews, it’s in his nature. He can take any mess and make it a masterpiece, if we let him. We must give him the canvas of our lives, and let him do his work so we may truly live out his perfect and pleasing will for our lives. God bless you in your walk.
“For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.” Romans 6:20-21 KJV
Good point. When I was living in sin it brought nothing truly good into anyone’s life. Love, joy, peace….nope, I didn’t see any of that in which it lasted. But now I see this enduring love, joy and peace he has brought into my life and the lives of those around me, as well as so many others who believe.
Following Jesus is the best decision I’ve ever made, for God is good. I wish I had considered Him earlier in my life, but I’m glad I know him today.
Have you ever felt inadequate or far from God’s love, as though you’ve just messed up too many times? You have this yearning to be in relationship with God but feel like there’s no hope. Perhaps you feel far away from Him and consider, is it something I have done? Maybe I’m just too far off? Sometimes thoughts like this will hit me and I have to respond with his truth. We can believe that his word is truth always, our thoughts – not always true.
Lets look at Romans 5:10-11
10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
I really like this verse because it puts unfruitful thoughts like this to death. There’s a catch – you must believe his word over your thought. If God was willing to go to this extreme while we were his ENEMIES, when we didn’t even care to think twice about God, how much more is he going to be there with you now that you desire relationship? While you were his enemy he was sending his only Son Jesus who willingly paid the penalty for our sins. Yet during a confusing season we consider that this same God who did that is saying, “nope they had their chance I’m done with them, they were once my enemy and I loved them so much that I sent my son, but now that they they love me and have turned to me – they are dealing with self doubt. That’s it – I’m done with them.”
Sounds so false because it is – its a lie.
God is the same yesterday, today and forever – the love he had for you when he sent Jesus is the same love he has for you today. The same love he had for you when he brought you to know him, when you were far off, is the same love he has for you today. Sometimes these seasons will highlight changes that can be made, but never think for a moment God has left you or stopped loving you. If the thought doesn’t make sense compared to his word – throw it out. His word remains true in all situations.
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.”
Hebrews 11:8 ESV
Truly takes faith to go and step into unfamiliar territory, outside of our comfort zone and our normal daily routine. Like Abraham and like Moses, we too have also been told to “go” and make disciples (learners) and to “go” and share the gospel. I believe just as God went ahead of his people during the exodus (13:21), when we go God is already there. And as he promised, “surely I am with you, even until the end of the age”.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”
Hebrews 11:1-3 ESV
What does this verse mean to you? Here are some thoughts I had regarding these verses.
Faith begins with coming to know the truth. Hebrews 11 begins this talk on faith by first looking at the origin, God’s hand in the creation of the universe. And the assurance of things hoped for. His word is truth, we can rest assured we have a loving God and Jesus is the Christ, the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth. In him we have been made right. We have freedom in Christ. He is our salvation. Let us be a people who are fully convicted of the truth that we find in his word which expresses his great love for us that in while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. May knowing the love of God and his grace through our Lord Jesus Christ be the foundation of our faith.
Happy to announce I’ve posted a new site, “The Empty Tomb” this week. Article is about the original argument between believers and non-believers during that 1st century, the validity of the guard at the tomb, and Jesus’ resurrection. Hope you enjoy!
Jesus knows he’s going to be turned in to be crucified. Just before his arrest he prays.
“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.””
Luke 22:41-42 NASB
Consider today God’s answer to Jesus’ prayer, and Jesus’ decision to go through that suffering after this prayer.
You are valued by your Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. For you, God was willing, Jesus was willing. This has nothing to do with making you feel bad, but has everything to do with how much he’ll go out of his way to save and redeem you. His love endures forever. Rejoice today that you have a God who loves you this much. You don’t have to earn his love – so don’t concern yourself with “trying”. Who would ever go through torture in effort to get someone to try to earn their love? That just doesn’t make sense. This action of Jesus screams “I LOVE YOU!!!”. Receive it. Receive him, every day. God is good and he loves you.
As I was wrapping my head around a verse, this illustration came out…
Chance is a young child. He has a very loving family and a great Dad who has been there in every way. He has a big brother, who is exactly like his Dad, and would literally take a bullet for him. He loves him so much. They have a beautiful home, pets and a beautiful garden out front.
One day, as he’s playing in the garden, a stranger comes into the yard who entices Chance with a puppy to follow him. He falls for it and is taken to a far away country, both physically and mentally. Chance’s mind continues being filled with deceit, as he is taken from place to place. He forgets nearly everything about who he is, the early years of his life, and his family. Now, 10 years later, his thoughts are only on what he knows and sees today.
However his Family is on the trail, but every time they get close, Chance is moved to another place. One day his Brother gets the perfect opportunity, finds and confronts Chance. He tells Chance the truth about his Dad and himself. Chance believes, but still doesn’t really know him. As his brother is sharing this truth he is spotted by Chance’s captors. Chance’s rescuer, is taken, beaten severely to death and thrown out into a field nearby. A few days pass and, alive, he makes a return to Chance’s room window and says to him, “hurry, come follow me”. Chance can’t believe it, his mind strays away – he cannot even comprehend. He looks back towards his bedroom door. “Forget all of that, follow me”, says the brother. And so he decides to trust him and follow him out of that dark room.
They arrive at a small air strip. “I don’t have any money”, says Chance. To the brother’s response, “I have your ticket”. He reaches out to give it to him. Chance receives the ticket. They have a long journey ahead of them, with possible turbulence along the way. Chance is also still wrestling with all that he’s experienced, all he has done, all that has been done to him, and the person he believes he now is. Now in the air, his brother opens up an old family album and begins to share, “this is your Dad, this is your family, this is me, this is you, this is who you are”. They flip through all the pages. Then the Brother looks intently on him, “You don’t have to live in that dark room anymore. Look into my eyes, I am giving you the right to become who you really are, your Father’s child. The person you were always meant to be before the fall. You must believe in me”. And so the journey began.
Now this is just an illustration, but one that was inspired by a true story – our story. The story you and I are currently living in. What chapter are you in?
12 But to all who did receive him [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
If you have yet to believe and receive Jesus, know it is God’s will for you to do so, it’s his will for you to become a child of your Heavenly Father. Don’t let your mind stray. Will you believe and receive the grace offered to you by his one and only Son Jesus, who paid the ultimate price to bring you the truth?
If so, will you allow him to help you become who you were always meant to be, as you’re on this journey back home? No matter what the captors may tell you about him, he is a good good Father, with amazing grace offered through believing and receiving Jesus into your life, his hand is outstretched in this moment. So you may become who you were always meant to be.
For you have believed and received, yet still remain concerned about your salvation – that it is like Chance rocking back and forth on his seat in the plane thinking, “am I really saved?” Know you have already been saved, Jesus loves you, your Heavenly Father loves you, and it’s time to become because you already are.
In last nights dream, I’m standing in this back auditorium room of a church and I am talking with an elder. At which point one of the Pastor’s comes up and asks if I’d like to join them and pray with them for the Church. We pray, and then individually find a spot to pray independently, as we are joined as one in prayer. We are praying primarily for the people within the Church Family, that we all may be one, as Jesus and our Heavenly Father are one. That we may see right through every attempt from the enemy to deceive and divide, that we may stand strong united as one body, the Church.
21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Have you ever experienced tension with your brother or sister in Christ or even perhaps another congregation?
May the Church know the truth, that person or those people who you feel tension with – God loves them. They are God’s children and you too are his Child. He wants his kids to have a good relationship. When others rub you the wrong way, pray a blessing for them. Also pray that you may see that person as the Lord Jesus sees that person. Love them. And never gossip or say bad things about your sibs. And never ever put down another congregation “another church”. To put down another Church is putting down the bride of Christ. Would you put down any bride in front of their husband? What if that husband is Jesus himself? The devil loves it and it should be no suprise that this kind of behavior comes from a place of pride. We who have put our faith in Jesus, we are the Church!
God loves a repenting, believing Church!
Consider this for a moment. What if every time the enemy came to cause tension between you and your family in Christ, you prayed blessing for that person or people – while at the same time drawing closer to God yourself. At some point the devil would consider stirring the pot to be counter-productive. At some point he’d be like, “forget it, every time I try to touch them they grow closer to Him, and each other.” What if we as Believers did that through every type of temptation and struggle, seeked God that much more fervently and loved eachother. That’s when chains are broken. May the chains be broken in the Church in Jesus name. May we through stuggle and strife seek God for eyes that see, and hearts that are more aligned with his. May spiritual blindness be gone in Jesus name! Me too God – Help me see like you! Help us all see more like you.
Thank you Jesus for loving us, your Church.
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Here’s a little story inspired by a dream I just had. Hope you enjoy and can take something from it.
I was riding on a city bus, along with my wife, trying to get back home. At first it’s just us, then a few others get on the bus with us. As passengers we’re all kind of just grouped together. We are driving through a rough part of town, and as we turn a corner I look out the window. On the side of the road behind the sidewalk there’s this little white girl wearing a summer dress and summer hat. She must have been about 4 years old. She looks a little out of place among the people there, she just didn’t match the “rough” scene. She’s standing in a place where she’s kind of screened by some bushes. I don’t see her mom, but I do see two black men, dressed in a way that would have you think they’re homeless. They are with this little girl. Everyone on the bus notices this as we round the corner. And you can tell everyone’s wheels are turning, including my own.
First thought, is she okay – did they kidnap her? People may peg that as racist and judgmental, but I confess, it was the first thought that came to mind. A man sitting near me points back and asks me, what do you think about all that? I answer, “I don’t know, i considered whether she was okay, and wondered if they took her”. Then another thought comes to mind, “Or maybe her mom is a crack head and those two men are watching out for the child.”
Then the man says to me, whatever you can say about those men or that little girl’s mom – that’s You. Taken back for a moment, I didn’t quite understand the statement. I felt like i was being a bit scolded, perhaps rebuked for my response. And perhaps for good reason, both of those thoughts I shared were very negative.
I respond to the man, “I know I am not perfect – my heart is not where I’d like it to be. My heart – It’s got some bad parts in it, and I thank the Lord Jesus Christ that he’s willing to help me with my heart. He has helped me so much with my heart”. I pat my chest, “but there’s a lot of work to be done in here”. And I know God is a healer and he will continue his healing work in me. I am far from perfect yet Jesus is my perfection. He went to the cross and paid the penalty for my sins. This heart has been damaged by the sin of this world, as well as by my own sinful choices. Yet God is so faithful that through the Lord Jesus Christ he has saved me from being condemned and he is restoring me each and every day. And this Jesus who took this cross upon himself and rose the third day wants to have that relationship with you too.”
At this point everyone is listening. Being moved he says to me, “you got to share this on the stage”. And I answered, “I had to share it with you. Perhaps this is the stage”. Then the man said, “you must keep sharing this”.
So now I share it with you…
I now believe his earlier statement “what you say about them is you” simply means we have all sinned and sin is sin is sin. We’ve all done it, and even the faithful have sinned, and still slip up. We are all guilty and sometimes even imprisoned by this thing called sin.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. [John 3:16-17]
Sin has always been the source of the problems, but because of Jesus, it doesn’t have to be the controlling factor in our lives anymore. Look to the Lord Jesus, he is the way the truth and the life.
May God bless you on this day.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. [John 8:31-36]
Was it the fear of Hell that led you to God, or was it God’s rich mercy, love and kindness that led you to repentance?
His tolerance and patience for me, I could never measure. His kindness toward me, in the midst of living in the dark, taught me so much about his loving grace. Ultimately, It was the goodness of God, his kindness, that led me to repentance.
“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
Romans 2:4 NASB
This verse rings so true in my own story. How does it relate to yours? God is so good- all the time. Thank you God for being so kind to save a wretch like me.
Jesus is for you and not against you. He desires a close relationship with each of us, and all of us. He also desires for his Church to have a close relationship with each other, being one as He and the Father are one. As he was praying to the Father he said this.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
This was a portion of the prayer he prayed by Jesus on behalf of all believers in John chapter 17, verses 20-23.
I’ve heard it stated that you don’t have to go to church to be saved. The truth is God loves you very much, and he has a plan and purpose for your life, a good plan. Instead of focusing in on what you have the liberty of not doing, as one who has been save by his blessed grace, perhaps focus on moving forward with Jesus who expresses a desire for his Church to be One.
I believe each and everyone of us has room to grow a little closer, with a genuine love for our fellow Brother and Sister, these who have been adopted into the Family of God.
May the Lord remove any contamination of pride that is found deep within and help us consider others above ourselves, as this is also his desire for our us in our walk.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
Philippians 2:3 ESV
Lord speak to our hearts this day, and as we focus on following you, give us clarity and remove any distractions so we may have a sound mind to follow you in the freedom you’ve blessed us with. Thank you God.
This story takes place in a small village located in southern Asia, where the people of the village know that at any moment they must retreat from their homes, due to the number of terror groups in these areas.
This village is small, about thirty in number, and resources are limited. There is one who lives there, who plays the role of a Mayor, yet has been more like a Father to the community. The villagers love and trust this man, he’s always been there to help. In the village there is also an elderly man who has took it upon himself to raise a young orphan. These two are very much loved by the Mayor, and the Mayor and this elderly man have been close for some time now.
One morning, off in the far distance a villager spots a line of trucks heading toward their village. Right away they know they must flee for their lives. The mayor puts everyone on a small bus, he has an exit strategy. The Mayor helps the elderly man up the steps to his seat and at the moment they both realize the child isn’t there. Looking out the window they see the child far off, playing at the edge of the water hole. “Mayor, save my child”, the elderly man pleads. The Mayor quickly gets out and starts calling for the boy. No answer. There is limited time and the enemy convoy is getting closer. Mayor sees a dog in the far distance. This dog has a reputation for being aggressive in nature. The boy is positioned about half-way, between the dog and the Mayor. There’s no time! The Mayor lets out a sharp whistle. The dog hears the whistle, sees the child and starts running toward him. The boy takes notice of the approaching dog and stands up. The dog clamps down on the boy’s arm, the boy lets out a shriek and after some fighting he gets loose and bolts toward the Mayor. The Mayor draws close snatches the boy up, the dog flees, and the boy is brought back and placed on the bus just in time. They quickly depart from the village and find safety from the enemy.
Although the villagers hated to see this young kid attacked by the dog, deep down they were glad the Mayor did what he did in order to bring the boy to safety.
We, who have accepted and believed in Jesus, have been given the right to become children of God. We don’t always understand why things happen, and we only see in part.
1 Corinthians 13
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
May God bless you today, and may you know you are already blessed in so many ways. As a child of his, may you see the blessing in that.
Praise be to God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
I remember when I was a young boy my family and I went to go visit some family in Minnesota. There was this day where we cousins were all playing, while the adults were preparing a family dinner. We were young then, I’m thinking under 10. I remember coming into the kitchen and I saw an oops, someone dropped a pan of soupy vegetables on to the floor. My cousin looked down and considered how he could fix it. I believe his mom was running a rag under some running water. While she was doing this my cousin got this awesome idea. He took one of the kitchen floor mats and pulled it over the mess. Brilliant! With a smile of success he looks to mom and says, “there you go!”. Mom wasn’t too pleased with the solution.
Out of all the early childhood memories with my cousin, this one has always stuck out to me. This morning I considered, why? I thought for moment, perhaps there is a good lesson I could take from it. God works like that sometimes.
As Christians we are all God’s children. And although we sometimes get into messes and try to cover them up, instead of getting to the root of the issue, his love remains faithful toward us. But that doesn’t mean he’s all that pleased with our solution. As we seek his ways and allow him to work in our lives, it is within his will to help us clean under the floor mat, removing everything that doesn’t belong. My aunt and those others who were helping in the kitchen had an awesome plan for a family dinner. God has an awesome plan for your life and for mine. But first things first. With God’s help, we must allow him to clean anything that doesn’t belong – anything that may be lying hidden underneath.
May the Lord be with you, renewing you daily as you set out each and every morning. We have an amazing Father in Heaven who loves us no matter what. And Jesus paid the price so we can walk in freedom as we let love be our highest goal.
…First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean
What drew me to seek God? Experiencing his love shining bright through the life of another. Ultimately it was God who led me to him. After experiencing his love I changed course. With his help I searched for truth and found Jesus. He makes good on his promises. “Seek me and you will find me”. Make God’s greatest commandments your greatest priority. Love.
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Love…It doesn’t have to be mushy. Love is so much more than what we see on valentines day. God is love. Love is the sacrificing of ones own desire, for the benefit of another. That’s what the cross tells me. And, I definitely have room to grow in this area. May we make a sacrifice today. Love someone.
Something becomes clear about us when in the very presence of Holy God.
Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” ~ Isaiah [isaiah 6:5]
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” ~ Job [Job 42:5-6]
And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. ~ Moses [Exodus 3:6]
Then the men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the LORD, this holy God? And to whom shall he go up away from us?” [1 Samuel 6:20]
But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” ~ Peter [Luke 5:8]
It’s healthy to take an honest look at ourselves, and realize just how much we need Jesus every day. Without Jesus, we have no chance.
Today I am writing to mostly myself, as this is often how these articles are born. I’ve been thinking on the subject of walking in the Spirit, and just want to write out some thoughts about this and what I believe.
I firmly believe it is possible to walk in the Spirit every day – not just on good days. Otherwise he would not have gave us the instruction to do so. Yet I have had my share of failures with this. But I choose not to believe based on experience but on the word of God. And his word says over and over and over – walk in Spirit. I can choose to trust my experiences and the experiences/opinions of others, or I can trust God’s word.
For example Romans 8, Galatians 5, 1 John….
However, I believe it is a choice I must make on a daily basis. It doesn’t start with hitting my knees and saying fill me fill me fill me. Maybe this has worked for some… Sometimes hitting my knees in repentance can help bring me to a spirit filled walk. Yet, as a Christian I already have Holy Spirit and what a blessing he is to me. He is in me, and if you’ve put your faith in Christ…He’s in you too. We can continue putting our faith in God by believing his own word on this.
So this is my challenge. I have approached his word as a child, not some great philosopher, and I believe this daily spirit filled walk is not some difficult formula to figure out.
First I want to set my eyes on Him, who he is, what he’s done, what he does…
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
I John 4:8 NKJV
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.””
John 4:24 NKJV
[Christ Jesus] “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”
Colossians 1:15 NKJV
Is it fair to say the following:
to walk in the Spirit is to walk for, with, and in Gods love – and walk in God’s love for others – no matter what may result. To walk for God with the motivation to love others just as Jesus loves us, and to walk like He walked, as his disciple. To make walking out his love our mission for God our Heavenly Father, and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
What stops you and I from walking for him, with him and in his love? How can you do this in the next 15 minutes? This may be as simple as making a decision paying a little closer attention to the person talking to you or sitting next to you at your workplace, or at home. It doesn’t have to be some emotional feeling. It’s having a heart to love as he did. Maybe its a text to someone, “love you”. You are so loved. Today is an opportunity to let his love in you bubble up and bless another!
The only thing that can stop you and me is the fleshly desires that rage war within us, which must be put to death the moment they surface. Deal with the problem – believe the truth of his word over that thought or situation. For this to be a continuous daily lifestyle, every part of my fleshly desires must be crucified, with fully devoted faith in our Lord Jesus, completely surrendered to God’s plan, which is a better plan – the best plan.
We are children of God, saved by his grace, never will be left nor forgotten based on his promised word; his love endures forever!
Walk in spirit and love. Here are some questions that I am asking myself, and may also help you along your way:
Is their someone I need to forgive?
Have I sinned? Do I need to ask forgiveness of another or from God?
Is there someone I need to have a talk with?
Is there someone I need to confess to?
Continue with Love:
Knowing the truth of his love for you, and filled with his love, who can you love today?
Who needs some encouragement?
For his glory, who can use my help or service today or even planned for this weekend?
How can I be more loving to the people who are in front of me throughout the day.
Who doesn’t know God, who doesn’t know about what Jesus did on the cross and the resurrection – who doesn’t know and how can I go about bringing this news that person.
Thank you Jesus for what you did, for giving us freedom. Thank you Father for adopting us as your own. I am eternally grateful.
It’s late, everyone is asleep and the enemy begins to speak. He says, “all those times you prayed for his protection upon that situation, and look what HE allowed happen”, this is Satan working against me, a land mine of deceit is being planted within my own heart, which I am now stepping onto. I can lift my foot and die, or I can allow God to help me diffuse and remove it.
According to Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
As I sit in my slightly darkened dining room late at night, I place my forehead on the table, hands folded on the back of my head. A ferocious battle has begun in my mind starting with that statement. The deceiver goes on to say, “you trusted him all that time, what did he do – nothing”. He’s getting further into my head. I find myself becoming angry and I boldly confess to God in the spirit, “I am so angry, yet I love you so much”. That still small voice speaks love, truth and knowledge toward me, tears begin to flow down my face.
The enemy’s goal for me, curse God. My verbal response is to my God, “I still trust you God, Jesus is Lord”. I sense the enemy is yelling but I can no longer make out his words nor do I care to hear what he has to say. I’m hurting in this moment, I only care to hear the words of my Father and my Lord Jesus.
On my phone I have youtube music playing the usual songs from my usual mix. As I’m fighting this battle, this particular video, that isn’t typically in my mix, finds its way into the playlist. God begins to highlight words of truth, He is always with me.
On the way into work this morning I thought to myself, I’d like to hear that song again. I pull on into the gas station to fuel up and on my way out the radio plays it next. God, you are always good, I can trust you, and you will never let me down.
Bad experiences and situations don’t make us who we are, they reveal our current heart condition. At the moment we experience something, we have a choice to take that combination of experience + existing heart condition and tack it on to our identity. The moment we choose to tack it on is the moment we give the experience authority to mold a false identity. This is where the enemy succeeds in his work. Unfortunately this happens under some very sad situations. It’s evil and demonic.
Someone does something you don’t agree with, you in turn become bitter and judge that person. Guess what, that person didn’t make you do that. That response was already in you. Does your initial response make you a bitter judgmental person? No, because you already are. It’s a flesh response. And it needs to be crucified.
May God’s truth always speak louder than the experience. Jesus came testifying to the truth. May his truth always take precedence in your heart no matter the situation that comes your way. God loves you and went to great lengths to express it. You mean more to him than you mean to anyone.
Dealing with the Flesh
Jesus said, if you want to be my disciple you must deny yourself take up your cross daily and follow me. Ever consider where he was headed with that cross? After much scourging, that day he was crucified.
It seems as though in the beginning of the Christian walk, the sin we live in is scourged with conviction, as we grow in Christ. Maybe the first thing to go is curse words or movies that glorify sin. You look to Christ, and one by one your list of should nots become fewer and fewer. At some point, hopefully sooner than later, you find yourself taking up your cross and following him, making the decision to crucify the flesh once and for all. This is a daily decision.
I confess, I see areas in my life where I have not fully crucified this flesh completely. I know the grace of God in Christ Jesus covers me, but I will not let that be my excuse to remain idle. I must walk that hill, I must continue following Jesus to the finish. And I know I don’t have to wait till I’m laying on my death bed to say it is finished. We look at Jesus, he never lived for the flesh. We look at Peter and Paul, in their heart they knew living for the flesh was over – long before they took their last breath. In regards to living by the flesh, that should be my opening and closing line every day, “It is finished”. Yet, I sometimes live with hesitation. What am I holding on to? I don’t know, maybe a sane reputation with the world. Because for many, this is merely fantasy and to others it’s just a good think to incorporate, in order to get the most out of life. God help me. To me, it’s becoming more and more clear, the word of God is the truth behind everything. God offers Salvation from eternal condemnation, Jesus is the way the truth and the life, and like sands in the minute glass time is quickly running out.
There is a real concern that “good” people I personally know are one fatal accident away from suffering hell for eternity. Yet, my lips often remain shut because of a variety of fears that I have yet to crucify. The minute I speak this truth in love toward an unbeliever, there’s a good chance I may appear insane. I need to be okay with that, always. I may also cause discomfort in my personal and professional relationships. I may even lose people I love. I must put on love and accept the risk. Because if God did not give me a spirit of fear, why would I walk in it. Unless I’m walking in a righteous God fearing fear, its simply living for the flesh.
And so I ask God help me to put to death the flesh within so I may walk in a way that is pleasing to you and most effective for your kingdom. ~ Amen
knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.
that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,
2 Timothy 1:7
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Remember that story in the gospel of Matthew where this Canaanite woman asks Jesus to cure her daughter from a demon and he replies, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel”. She persists and he replies, “…It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs….(matt 15:26)”
Reading that passage will get the wheels spinning. With this story in mind I’ve considered the story of the Samaritan woman at the well and other stories where he shows compassion for gentiles, and the Gospel in itself. So this story about him referring to this woman as a dog always threw me off. Did he actually directly call her a dog? I could be wrong, maybe he used the label, but I don’t believe so. Others have connected this story to the cultural label for Gentiles and this statement by Jesus to work as a test for both the Disciples and the Woman. That may very well be. However, I personally believe my Lord has never been one to be swayed to act in accordance with man’s religion or culture. So I’d like to consider that there may be more to this.
This morning I found myself reading the beatitudes in Matthew where he’s preaching to the crowd. I’ve heard it said that they call it the beatitudes because you’re not only supposed to do it, but be it. 🙂 So, there’s a point where He’s teaching the crowd not to judge. He illustrates using saw dust in the eye and planks which is awesome, see the connection between that and Joseph’s profession. But then he follows it up with this:
Matthew 7:6 Do not give dogs what is holy; do not throw your pearls before swine. If you do,they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.
I can’t help but see how similar this is to:
Matthew 15:26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
These words in the beatitudes were not directed toward gentiles, and they remain true even for us gentiles today. Perhaps the term “dog” is being used differently from what the culture assumes.
Proverbs 26:11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.
Long before the Canaanite woman, through Proverbs our God is sharing similarities between a “dog” and one who repeats their folly.
Then Peter comes along reminding us of this…
2 Peter 2:22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”
The sad truth is that many in the world will hear the gospel, push it aside and go back to worldly living, even in the event of a healing. Over and over some will do this. And we are to love them. However, time was limited for him, as well as for us, and we are to be a light unto to the world.
This story ends well. If anyone knew the heart of that woman, God who fully dwelled in Jesus knew. Yet, still as the woman heard his response, she humbly accepted the statement made and persisted in faith – Jesus commends her for her great faith and heals her daughter.
These are just some thoughts I wanted to share, I guess the thing we can take from this is to love everyone, spend your time wisely, take advantage of today – time is short.
Always know that Jesus is with you, always, to the very end of the age.
When you realize, “ahhh…i dont think i know it all, wow not only do i not know it all…I think there’s more to learn right now, I think the lord might want to take me deeper… when you assume that position mentally and spiritually, Christianity gets fun again, worship gets fun again, prayer gets fun again, missions gets fun again, giving gets fun again, taking communion gets fun again when you realize, humble yourself, you don’t know it all. You need to get off the high horse you made for yourself because you’ve figured out 1 or 3 things…and say, “I wonder if there’s more”…
I posted this as it was stated by the one in the video below, not to be picked apart or argued against, but just to help us humbly reach into the more, a closer walk with Jesus.
I’ve experienced good times as well as some bad. However, when it came to real joy, I could only recall real joy from my early childhood, ironically when sin was less prevalent in my life. So as an adult I eventually came to a point when I began putting God’s word into practice and things he said would happen actually did, again and again. Following Jesus has brought the greatest joy In my life. His word proved true in my life, and as one who believes, his word says he removes my sin, guilt and shame. The more I realized this truth, the more it makes sense why I received this undeserved joy and contentment. And sometimes around midnight on a Tuesday or Wednesday I find myself unable to even contain it. Those who have known me for years never would have expected this. Yet here I am proclaiming Jesus. What could cause someone like me to go to this extent? It’s simple, I believe. And I’m convinced nothing else offered in this world will ever measure up to the joy that’s found in Christ.
Social status, money, its all worthless if joy and contentment is what you seek. Do the rich and famous appear all that joyful and content? Only Jesus can restore the joy that was lost by a life lived apart from him. Yet God is so good, he invites everyone, no matter who you are or what you’ve done, into a right relationship through his son Jesus. And it starts by saying yes to Jesus.
On the fence? Not sure about following Jesus. Take it to him, you can start with something as simple and direct as, “God I want to know you, help me know you”, and with that be sure to keep your eyes and ears open. If you take a step toward him, and you’re willing to let me know about it, message me and I’ll pray for you. Regardless of who you are, how well we know each other, your beliefs – I am not here to judge you and I am always willing to pray for you. Just let me know.
During the day I work as a civil designer, and 90% of my time is focused in AutoCad (a computer aided design program). In autocad there’s a setting “filedia” that I need to set to “0”, otherwise if I type “open” a dialog box to browse for the drawing doesn’t pop up. Instead the program expects me to type the entire path of the file I want to open and press enter. Kind of like going back to dos. This has happened to me several times throughout the past.
So today I was working in cad and i went to attach a pdf using the command pdfattach. Like the open command, a dialog box was supposed to pop up so I could browse and find the pdf to attach. But it didn’t. Instead it wanted me to type in the path. It never happened to me this way. I was stuck because I knew the solution but I could not remember the command “filedia”.
So after failing to remember the command, what i did was escaped the pdfattach command, and typed open to open a drawing and with that, as expected, I was prompted to enter the entire path. Then instantly i remembered the command “filedia”.
You see, a memory has been burned with that process which helped me connect the solution to this new problem. Crazy how my brain works.
Life is full of new challenges and fresh encounters with unforeseen problems. And sometimes we get stuck. Another great reason we should always be in the Word. Holy Spirit will often connect an issue with my life with a parable or scripture. The solution can be found in God’s Word. God has the solution, is the solution, and he knows your next step. However in the midst of it all probably the best place to start, when it comes to encountering a problem, is to burn this process into your mind. Escape > Open,
Escape to a solitary place, and open up in prayer.
You may be thinking, “I cannot just get up and go be by myself all the time.” Do what you need to do, in the verse below it says Jesus first sent the crowd away. Then he went up to the mountain to pray. On another occasion it says he “slipped away”. I love that. If Jesus often went alone to pray, we probably need to be making a point to do the same…whether dealing with a problem or not…
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
After He had sent them away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone,
Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up and slipped out to a solitary place to pray.
In those days, Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and He spent the night in prayer to God.
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
To lay down ones life… At first glance I think of some of the sacrifices made, which have resulted in literal death. But I believe this laying down one’s life means so much more. Consider life as your time. Is what you are doing with your time mostly for you, or for those around you. Is your time spent only doing things with others that you yourself also enjoy, or are you willing to sometimes reach into a place of sacrificing precious time to give that time to another? Furthermore, are you willing to go out of your way, risk comfort, and be a light to someone who may not know Jesus; or maybe even someone who does…
And with time, lets never forget to spend time with our Heavenly Father and our best friend, Jesus. Spending time with the Lord is some of the best invested time we can spend while in this place.
James 4:14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
We are all in a different place in our journey. The eyes of some are wide-open, others are still waking up. No matter how open your eyes are, or how closed another’s may seem to you, never have bitter judgement toward your brother. You too were once spiritually blind, yet Jesus still loves you, as he does them. Some are like me, clear vision one day, perhaps a bit foggy another, as I continue feeling my way toward him, all the while asking God for a clear lens. And outside of a relationship with Jesus, we’d all be completely blind. For we are only able to see because of Him, so any arrogance that tries to seep in needs to go bye bye.
Sometimes as brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to have some difficult talks. Course correction as the family and body of believers, as we all continue growing in our relationship with the Lord. However, bitterness and judgement will benefit no one. On the other hand, staying faithful in prayer and remaining in Him will make way for His love to bubble up inside of you – eventually expressing its way through you. I believe this has the power to change everything, for the better, in every situation! Love each other.
1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
You know something, we have a good good Father and through our Savior Jesus went to great lengths to deliver us from the sin and evil in this world. He didn’t come to remove the evil from this world, but deliver us from its grip. We were all at one time controlled by our evil intentions and desires. However, as we put our faith in Jesus our desires change, he gives us a new heart. He sends us Holy Spirit and begins his work in us.
It is truly amazing to know that the God of the universe and everything in is is pleased to do his work in you and me, delivering us from what once a captive mind.
There is so much freedom for those who are in Christ, I’m just touching on a small portion of it. For there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Praise God for the freedom we have through Jesus Christ our Lord!
I remember when Jesus pulled me out of the drain pipe. Life without Jesus was just a daily grind. He pulled me out of that place, and showed me his glory, his love and the truth. Passion for my God swelled within my heart. This dead man was made alive in Christ, made new by the riches of His mercy. His passion and love infiltrated my hardened heart, giving me a new heart. A heart that believes.
God loves us so much he sent his only son Jesus, who paid the penalty for our sins, and was raised on that 3rd day for our justification (making us righteous in the sight of God).
Now we may once again have relationship with our Father, through Jesus Christ or Lord. Hallelujah!
One man, Joe, did some fishing at the lake, and then he went and tried fishing in the river across town. River fishing brought him great joy. His neighbor, Jim, also went fishing at the lake, but he has never fished that river. He actually hates the thought of it.
Later that day these two met up on the front lawn and began to argue. Jim condescending retorts, “how can anyone ever think it to be a good idea to fish the river”. Joe replied, “please come with me, we’ll both fish the river, and you’ll see the joy of fishing at this river!”.
Jim’s face drops, “quit pushing your river on me”. Jim leaves with a mission, a mission to discourage anyone from every fishing that river.
Have you ever met someone like that? What do we do with people like this? Stop arguing for one, start or continue loving them. A loving sacrifice for them will go so much further than a puffed up response for evolution. Pray for them! Because this atheistic mindset was the same kind of thinking the Apostle Paul once had, up until Jesus got a hold of him. Walk in love, as imitators of Christ.
“If you were stripped of every title, degree, office and position, who would you be? That is the real you.”
This had me consider the abundance of blessings I’ve received, and reminds me that these things (job, title, knowledge and experience) and these people (wife, kids and loved ones) don’t define me or make me any better or worse than anyone else – but remind me that I am blessed. Anything and anyone at any moment can be stripped away. However, My Lord and my God and the love he has for me can never be stripped from me, nor from you who are in Christ.
In Christ we are made to be children of God…adopted for eternity…forever blessed.
Christians and most educated Atheists’ would agree on these key points…
• Both have enough evidence to believe that Jesus walked the Earth about 2000 years ago.
• Both also agree Jesus died by crucifixion.
• Both also agree that the Old Testament Books of Micah and Isaiah were scientifically proven to exist centuries before Jesus was born.
• Both agree Isaiah 53 describes one who will be put through immense suffering and death for the sin of others.
• Both agree that Micah 5:2 references a future ruler coming out of a place called Bethlehem, whose origins are from ancient times.
• Scientific theories continue changing, God’s word remains the same.
To the skeptic I would ask; this Jesus, who was written about doing many miracles, and suffered crucifixion on a cross, and just happened to be born in a very small town of Bethlehem, as referenced in Micah, could He very well be the Son of God?
I am far from having it all figured out, but I am fully convinced Jesus is the Son of God. And with that I pray that if you haven’t made a faith decision consider this, move toward making that decision as it is the most important decision you will ever make.
Here’s the good news:
John 1:1,14 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Romans 3:23-24 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Romans 10:9 Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
This is the reality in which we live in. We are born into a decision that must be made. I encourage you, if you made a faith decision to believe in Jesus, continue this Journey! Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. May God bless you as you begin to follow Jesus.
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
Love this book of 1 John, as it has been an encouragement to me. It also puts the finger on the expressions like “oh no worries, Grace covered it”. Grace definitely has us covered, as we have all fallen short of his standard. However, I don’t think we are to live within a place of sin and self desire, banking on Grace. That would be a fleshly lifestyle, one that he went to great lengths to give us freedom from.
May we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh, and just like the verse says, we may not sin… and if we sin, Jesus has us covered. And he is faithful to forgive.
I know from time to time we may stumble, but we don’t have to live as captives to sin no more.
He went back to the Father and sent us Holy Spirit and now we may walk in Spirit and in Truth. And that is awesome! In Christ there is Freedom. Thank you God for your love and gift, and for helping me along the way. I am eternally thankful.
With joy, remain in Jesus by loving others just as he has loved us, to the Father’s glory may we bear much fruit!
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
After the sin in the Garden, God made clothes for Adam and Eve, made of skins. It doesn’t go into detail regarding the animal used to make the skins. I heard one guy share his guess, that it may have been the skin of a lamb. That would make sense. I too have walked with guilt and shame, but have since been clothed in Christ, the perfect Lamb of God.
God is so good and I am thankful for Jesus.
for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
I had this dream. We were all working in this trailer and it was just another day. Coworkers were talking about general things and the new guy was talking about things he’d buy, how much he’d drink, calculating his take home pay out loud for all of us to hear, just odd things were being said. Then someone came in the door and said, “hey guys do you see whats going on? Somethings going on with the forecast”. We went outside, it was about 11:00, and the sun was still sitting on the horizon, it hadn’t come up. I found it odd he used the word “forecast”. The sun kind of looked the way it looks when a thin cloud covers it, to where you can kind of look at it without hurting your eyes. It was just an eerie feeling that sank in as I heard a faint siren in the background. My boss and another guy walked off as the new guy and I stood looking from the front. I quickly started going into sharing the gospel and repentance with this guy, pointing at the sun and talking to him about at the end the stars are going to fall away. Do you believe?, I ask. It was crucial to me that he’d receive what I was telling him, and it looked as though he was. I felt the need to get back home to my family. My keys were inside so I went to open the front door of the office to go get them, but it was locked, I couldn’t get in. I wake up.
I can’t help but to wonder how close we are to that last day…Nobody knows… Matthew 24:36 puts it this way…”But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
All we can say is we are closer to that day than we were yesterday. And for many today is their last day. That last day could be very soon.
On that last day, who would be on your heart?
At this moment, that door isn’t locked. The door is open.
I remember in art class I was forming a clay cup with my hands. About half way through it jumped back about 6 inches, looked up at me and said, “are you sure you know what you are doing? I think I should stay looking like this”. I replied, “no, I’m not finished…you don’t even have a handle and your top is uneven…trust me.” But the half finished clay coffee cup said, “nahhh, im good” and journeyed off the table. I still love my coffee cup, even though it’s not quite finished…
Just kidding. Actually, after thinking about it, I did finish that coffee cup, and I’m glad to know it never lost faith in me – and it’s awesome! Last time I checked it was on display at my mom’s house. 😀
Lord, I am yours to form and to mold. As long as I am breathing, I know you are doing a work in me. May I never get in the way of that, and always trust you.
Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
In anything we do for another, may our love for God, and his love which lives in us, be the driving force behind our actions. May the love we give always be genuine (his love) – for fellow believers both young and old in the faith, and for those who have yet to believe; so they may come to Jesus when they experience the love of He who lives in you.
And He will be with you always to the very end of the age.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Imagine you go into a small village full of sick children. You have a backpack full of sunflower seeds. These are not just any seeds. These seeds put an end to a specific deadly disease that has wreaked havoc throughout this entire village. One seed is enough to redirect each kid’s immune system so that they may never be sick with this disease again. You personally were infected with this disease long ago, but you are now well and completely immune.
On the way into the village, a local guide tells you how people who look just like you have visited this village before and abused many of the locals in many evil ways. So he warns you, “be prepared, the response will vary, some of these people are very hurt and very ill.
Would you, with love for these children, still choose to continue into the village and unzip that backpack?
Because God the Father loves us so much he sent us the cure for our condition, Jesus, who loves us just as the Father loves him. He went to the cross not only so we can be forgiven of our many sins, but so we never have to live sick with sin again. So to the Believer, I ask, do you remember what it was like to live without Jesus? Consider the darker days prior to living for Christ, when you were furthest from living a life with Jesus. I know for me I had some very dark and dismal moments. But now I am free. We are free!
Someone in our path this week, this day, is living in that place of sickness without Jesus, and Jesus is the answer. Jesus provides an unlimited supply of seeds if you will. There are too many sick “children” who are living without their Father and don’t know Jesus – the one who gives those who believe the right to become children of God.
Sharing the Love of the Lord doesn’t cost a thing, it can always be given away for free. Give it away for God, give it away like Jesus. Give it away with a sincere heart just as you would in that poor sick village scenario, share the cure. The village is right here. Unzip that backpack, there are unlimited seeds to be planted. Love God, love others. Because there is no disease worse than an eternity without God.
Believe, plant those seeds, and let God do his gardening.
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
John 1:12 (NIV)
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
Though one act of disobedience brought sin into the world, God, through his one and only son Jesus, brought salvation to the World to all those who believe. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. We who believe receive him as our Lord and Savior, as the one and only son of God who brings us into a right relationship with the Father. What kind of relationship? A loving family relationship. We are now as the verse says – Children of God.
If you believe in Jesus, how much do you believe in his very word, the Bible, and particularly this verse? Do you truly see yourself and acknowledge you are God’s Child?
Today I want to put this into a perspective and think about it for awhile. These are some questions I am now asking myself, and I’ll ask you.
First, I think about a child with a loving parent?
How does the child approach them?
If the parent revealed they were God and had the unlimited power to move mountains, what would the child talk about with them?
In love for others, what selfless things would the child ask for?
How would the child move about their day if he or she was always consistently walking with them?
Would the child have any reason to fear at all?
If you are a Child of God, are you living in this truth?
Regardless of how you answer that last question, the truth remains truth, if you believed and have received – you are now indeed a Child of an AMAZING GOD! And God, your Heavenly Father, loves you!
I just want to be living and growing in this truth, right here, right now…
To God be the glory forever and ever amen.
1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 14:1 Let love be your highest goal!…
I came across this video and loved the message I received from it. Why? Why do I follow Jesus? Why do I do what I do? What is my Why? Better yet, who is my why?
First off, we all believe in something or someone, I believe in God the Father who is a good good Father, and Jesus who he sent into the world not to condemn the world but to save it. Jesus suffered the penalty that was not his own, it was my sin. He suffered on the cross, he suffered even before the cross, he suffered for me. All my sin wiped clean, from the sins I’ve committed in the past to the ones I have yet to commit. Once scarlet red, now white as snow – I’m forgiven.
He doesn’t stop with his endless undeserved love and forgiveness, his grace. He continues to pour out his love and his goodness into my life and the lives of so many – even those who don’t even know him… I see an orphan find a loving home – I see Jesus. I see the poor receive a free meal – I see Jesus. I see someone go the distance, putting their lives at risk for others – Jesus. Everything good and holy and perfect that I have the privilege of seeing in this world comes from the one I put my faith in, the one I get to serve. His name is Jesus!
So I take up my cross in love – because he first loved me. My loving Heavenly Father and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is my “why” and I must always keep my eyes on him.
Giving to those in need is truly a great opportunity to follow the greatest commandments – to love God and to love your neighbor. Helping someone who is navigating through a difficult season should be high on our priority list as a follower of Jesus. Jesus had and still does have such a heart for the poor and lost.
Imagine your family took a trip abroad. And on your trip your child was lost for days to fend for themselves on the streets of this foreign place. How much would it mean to you for someone to be kind and loving to your child? How much would it mean to you for someone to go out of their way to feed and clothe your child? Really consider, how much would that mean to you.
What if your child was taken by the enemy into a dark place. How much would it mean to you for someone to risk their life for the welfare of your child? Would it not feel like they were doing a great service for both you and your child?
Not too far away from where you sit this moment, you will find those he loves, some of his children, hurting from the effects of the weather, depressed, perhaps drunk or on drugs, living with no hope – and our prisons are full. Is it possible if your child was lost in a foreign country – they may too come face to face with one or more of these things? Is it possible they may eventually make a bad decision and find themselves in prison?
What would you say to that person who had the opportunity to help your child but didn’t – how about the one that did?
Here’s what Jesus said in Matthew 25:
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Be encouraged not discouraged! God loves you and through his Word he is calling you to act. You don’t have to wait for some special feeling to follow God in a greater way. Just look to his word, consider the above, he has much in store for us to do! And he’s with us to the end of the age!
If your child was lost and you had the opportunity to hug the person who fed and loved your child, how much more will God hug you. Feeling the Lords presence and joy can be overwhelming when you step out in faith for those he loves (and that’s everyone). And the Joy of the Lord is our strength. May the Lord’s love, his joy, be with you this Christmas season!
For God so loved the World that he gave his only Son. In love… In Christ… Give.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
I find that the light that we shine before men is the same light that we receive in Jesus. It comes from him. If it wasn’t for his light, his goodness, where would I be – where would any of us be? Jesus is the light of the world, and we are ambassadors of his truth. We are to follow him and let our light shine before men. In John 8:12 Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”. To me that indeed does not sound like this little light of mine. The light of Jesus gives me light that can flow through me, and as I follow him I will never walk in darkness, but be transformed to shine brighter each day.
Thank you Jesus for your goodness, faithfulness, gentleness – your light!
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit[b] is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
The other day I told one of my kids I’d rather have her put all her heart into what she does and get Ds in school, then have her work with little to no heart and get Cs. Chances are if she puts all her heart into her work, c’s and d’s will be a thing of the past. But for me, it’s not about the grade as much as it’s about my kids working with all their heart in whatever they do.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
With this, I consider our part as Christians. Being saved by Grace through faith, I believe our God wants to run this race with passion and heart. It’s good to look at the details of how we can run with greater passion and grow, but we must not lose sight of the big picture – and that is Jesus. His love, how he is our redeemer who is the only way to having a right relationship with our Heavenly Father.
So if we get too concerned with our “grade” we missed it. May our passion, our heart, always be driven by the love of our God and our Lord Jesus Christ. With Jesus as my savior, there is no test I must pass and no final I must stress over. My “diploma” has already been served and sealed through what happened on the Cross that day. Do I deserve it? No. I’ve accepted Jesus, and now am called by him a child of God. I’ve been adopted and he loves me. I have been freed and I am forever thankful.
And now as his love dwells within me, I want to run this race with all my heart.
Today I want to look at another command where Jesus tells us to rejoice. However, as I look at the context I find that some things need to to be done prior to you even having the opportunity to follow this statement. To be persecuted for His sake, we must be open to share our faith and live out our faith with those around us.
Matthew 5:11-12 (NKJV)
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Remember when Peter said he would go with Jesus only to realize he would deny him 3 times before the rooster crowed. Question: Would you be willing to die for your faith in Christ? Yes, No? If you answered yes, I’d like to ask a follow up question…Would you be willing to go up to the door of a nearby neighbor you’ve never met, and share just how much Jesus loves them? I confess, I struggle with this. Why? It’s fear, the Idol that I have put over the one true God. I am in a place of repentance, changing my mind on how I see this, and asking God’s help in transforming my way of thinking. I need to be thinking less of how they may take it in a negative way and focus more of why I’d want to share that with them – because Jesus loves them also, and I am to love them as well…
I believe many would agree with me that the second question would be very easy to accomplish when compared to the first, yet so many of us struggle with complete surrender. Lord help us.
I believe this command, the command to rejoice, would be something that would come natural from the blessing poured upon us when we are persecuted for our faith – as we continue standing firm in our faith. Maybe not in that moment, but when you live a life we’re you are continually knocking on Heaven’s door Jesus will answer.
Following Jesus: Commands of our Lord Jesus can all be summed up by loving God, and others as yourself. Jesus also says, “If you love me, keep my commands. ~ John 14:15”
So what are his commands? We’ll take this one verse at a time.
Matthew 4:17: New King James Version (NKJV)
17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
What is it to repent?
Answer: Many understand the term repentance (from the Greek word metanoia) to mean “turning from sin.” This is not the biblical definition of repentance. In the Bible, the word repent means “to change one’s mind.” The Bible also tells us that true repentance will result in a change of actions (Luke 3:8-14; Acts 3:19). Acts 26:20 declares, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” The full biblical definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action. ~ Read more gotquestions.org/repentance.html
In the book of Deuteronomy 18:17-19, Moses speaks of another Prophet who would come and God’s words would be in his mouth. This was spoken several thousand years before Christ entered the World. At the time of his ministry, Jesus mentions this to some of those who didn’t believe. This statement is still alive as an invitation for those who have yet to accept him.
45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, in whom you have put your hope. 46 If you had believed Moses, you would believe Me, because he wrote about Me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”
After meditating on this verse for awhile, the thought came to mind, wouldn’t it be cool to create a cross shape out of these verses in Deuteronomy.
Sometimes I wonder, how can the one referenced in this verse ever be confused with anyone other than Jesus. The Word indeed became Flesh and dwelt among us. God is Love, and Jesus lived a life displaying his perfect love for the Father and for us through the sacrifice he made on that cross, which just happened to take place during the weekend of Passover. Jesus, The perfect Lamb of God. It was never the nails that held him on that Cross, but His love for you and I.
John and Nicole were a couple who, with the Lord, did fairly well in life. John was a doctor and Nicole worked in real estate. They were both in love with the Lord and lived each day with the hope to walk more like Jesus. They lived out on a piece of property where the weather was nice and the ocean appeared light blue. It was like a paradise.
Through much work and sacrifice they were able to retire and move forward with one of their lifelong dreams, to adopt a group of orphans from a village torn by evil. A place where kids live in fear and hunger has become the norm. So when the time was right, they took a private jet and set out for this small village. The village was severely reduced in number so they agreed between each other that they would take as many of the remaining orphan kids as they possibly could from this village to come live with them.
So they depart toward this island. As their plane makes an approach, they land on a small dirt strip and get off with the intent of staying for a few days before returning home. So as they begin to settle in they meet with a young vibrant 8 year old child named Vivaan. They couldn’t help but to love this child so much and told him the full purpose of their visit. The child lit up with hope and joy. At about that time the pilot interrupts, “got word on the tele, we have to go now!” From a distance they see forces speeding toward them, and all the kids are running into the jungle. Quickly Nicole bends down to her knee and tells the boy, “Come with us!”, “I can’t my sister”, he replies. We will be back in 3 days, tell whoever would like to come to be ready! And then the child with the conflicting expression of joy and fear nods quickly and bolts into the jungle.
Now as you may have assumed, this is just a story to illustrate reality. You are Vivaan, through Christ the work is done and the sacrifice was made to provide you a safe passage into eternity, to be with our Heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus.
John 3:16 (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
1. The first question, Do you believe God’s message?
2. Second, have you accepted the invitation and put your faith in Jesus?
3. Lastly, like Vivaan, who are you going share this good news with?
Consider these three questions carefully, and know that no matter where you are in this life, God loves you so much more than you may realize.
To have God-given faith in Jesus, and know we are going to be with our Lord in Heaven someday is a beautiful truth. To know that the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords wants to dwell within us is wow-incredible and sometimes a partially accepted or even an overlooked truth…
In the scripture below, I personally believe Judas was prompted by God to ask this question below so that it can be made clear to us. This word spoken isn’t just for the Disciples of that time, but for you and me as followers of Christ.
18. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19. In a little while, the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live.
20. On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. 21. Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.”
22. Judas (not Iscariot) asked Him, “Lord, why are You going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?”
23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him.
We serve an Awesome God! May we believe in him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
Lord, may you make your home with us. The inner workings of me who isn’t more like you needs to go. Lord I need your help with this, we need your help. Cleanse me of all unrighteousness, I know there’s some stuff in there that shouldn’t be. For this temple to go about loving the way you love, only by you living within me and expressing that love through me can this be made possible. With you all things are possible. Perhaps it’s not about asking you for boldness, but praying you make your home with me and cast out all that doesn’t belong. In your name Jesus, fear and anything else not of you get out. I can do nothing without your help and guidance. Please take the wheel so that Your Glory may be seen by all those we encounter, may your love for all be shown. May your will be done. ~ Amen
Our Lord neither faints or grows tired, and gives power to the weak. Those suffering captivity in Babylon had to wait, and put their hope in the Lord. And upon waiting, a time came where God renewed their strength. If you are reading this, chances are you are not held captive in the same way they were, however sometimes we are made captive by the enemy. Whether we’re dealing with regret, depression, anger or some other emotion, it’s possible to be taken captive from the joy God has for us. Put your hope in the Lord and he will renew your strength and you will mount up with wings like eagles, running and not be weary, walking and you won’t grow faint.
I like how it says we can run and not be weary, walk and not grow faint. I notice, there’s no idle position. With God giving us power and strength, with our hope always in the Lord, we can keep moving forward in our faith.
28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
I know we have a big day today. It’s Saturday, a fresh new day with loads of excitement. Chances are I’ll be taking my kids to the park or some other activity. We’ll pull up, we’ll get out and I’ll say, “alright, go play!” They’ll run off. Eventually one will tease the other, or one will shove the other. Or the little one will be running and trip. With all that can happen, I know I’ll be staying attentive to what’s going on, and overall have control over the situations they may face.
Even if there’s an accident, I’ll be there to receive them with open arms. I am their Father, and although I have given them some control in the form of the free will to play and make choices while experiencing life on that playground, nothing will really be outside of my control because I am there always looking over them, and it is was my choice to let them experience the park in the first place. At the park, there may even be that grumpy kid there, and he may hit one of my kids. But that won’t cause me to leave the park early or stop taking them to the park, they’re still so young. And if something bad does happen, my child may even get the thought to blame me for this saying, “Why did you let it happen to me Dad?” But I will never stop loving my child. While they are young, I will not remove their free will to play at the park and be social on the account of fear. There is no fear in love, and I love my children, and I will always be with them. And if something bad actually does happen and if worse comes to worse, I’ll always be there to receive my children with open arms. I’ll hold them, hug them tight and wipe away every last tear.
I am their Father and I will always be with them.
Through this story I share some of the similarities between being a Father, and the love of our Heavenly Father. I know that while we are here “at the Park”, things can happen. I am thankful our Father is one who remains in full control over every situation that may happen, and is always one who receives his children with open arms.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Lord protect me from myself and the unrighteous thoughts that try to creep in from the unwelcomed. Help me see clearly so I may love you God with a more profound love, and may one way I express that love is through a genuine love for all. As you call me to, may I love myself in a way that is pleasing to you as Holy Spirit takes residence in my heart, mind, and soul. Please Lord, replace my human limited love, for Heavenly-minded clarity combined with your love. You’ve taught me that sometimes hurt people hurt people, sad people sometimes become angry people, and those blinded by this World must come to learn of your love for them. May you help me always see the truth with full clarity through your eyes, and love people regardless of what the past, combined with the lies of our adversary, creates in them. Please fix my heart, and help me to become more like you. ~ Amen
37 Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
I remember back in my earlier years, age 20-21, I was about as lost as I could be. I knew of Jesus but didn’t know him, and I definitely wasn’t following him at that time in my life. There was an evening when I just wasn’t getting along with anyone. I was living at my parents. I remember arguing and fighting with them, I remember one night storming out, “I don’t need this”, I thought.
So I start driving up this road, Magee road. I continue east outside the city toward the mountain. At the top of Magee there is a small parking lot at the base of the hill where people park when they want to go for a hike. I thought I’d go hang out up there for awhile. It was already getting late and I remember approaching the parking lot. As I drove toward it I remember taking the wrong road into the parking lot – boom boom, two tires flattened. I entered through the exit and the spikes got me. I hit the brakes to avoid blowing out my back tires, I then threw it in reverse and backed up out of the entrance, then I just sat there for a moment, “what now”. I remember no other cars were out there, except for a single car just sitting there parked. I approach the car and the guy in the car rolls down his window. I go on to tell him what happened using the language I used to use. There was a calmness about this person, a peace. He offers me a ride home and I accept. All the way back home this guy begins to share with me the love of Jesus and how he’s learned that Jesus is the way. This person seemed to have just so much joy and peace, as he shared his testimony. We get to my house and I thank him for the ride. I walk in the house and tell my mom I think I met an angel or something. She was still frustrated with me as is the rest of the family, more than likely for good reason. Quickly I let go of the experience I had on that ride home and went back on the defense. This day, I wouldn’t fully realize what just happened. But I know today that God was reaching out to me through this Christian man, in the midst of this difficult time.
So many times God has been there for me without me even knowing it. I am so grateful he’s never given up on me, and he never will. Today I believe this man wasn’t an angel, but a Believer who answered the call, and poured out God’s love toward this stranger who was lost. Thank you Jesus, today I am found.
So driving back to work from the project site I came up to a car that was driving really slow. I just wanted to get around him and get to work. I noticed the handicap license plate and I began to let up a bit from my frustration, but still wanted to get to work. “Eghhh, mooove, please don’t turn right at the light”, I said. This was followed by the turning on of his right side blinker. “AHHHH!, okay I’ll just jet around him after the turn, I thought”. So he made his right, and it turns out I had to wait another 10 seconds for traffic before making my right. Finally, I make my right and I’m off and running, FREEEEEEDOM! About 2 miles down the road I see that same car breaking down. Bummer, then there was that familiar nudging in my soul. I pass him up and get to the next light to make my left. That nudging of the spirit began to grow , “Okay”, I’ll answer the call, so I made a u-turn. I start driving back and I see him slowly driving along the shoulder, “oh good”, I thought, “he’s not fully broke down, he’s getting somewhere”, so I pass him up again – off to work. Then I look in my rearview, he pulls to the side again. Okay, I thought – so I made the u-turn again. People waiting for the bus notice me drive by for the second time in this old black truck. We’re doing circles now.
So I continue about a mile and make another u-turn and pull up on the shoulder behind this guy. I get out and begin walking up to his window, there in the backseat is his walker, and there he is, by himself, in his mid-70s with a front fender-bender and apparently an empty radiator. I asked him how he was doing and if there is anything I can get for him. He told me his story about the minor wreck he was in. He just dropped to liability a couple days ago because he hadn’t been in an accident for 40 years. The guy in front of him just slammed on his breaks, he rear-ended that guy and now the car is overheating. He shared a few times how he was just feeling really upset. I just tried to be an ear for him. I offered to get water but he mentioned the hood doesn’t come up. I offered him a ride but he wasn’t ready to leave his car. So we just talked awhile longer. After we talked for a few minutes I told him one moment, and walked to my truck wrote down my name and number on a piece of paper and gave it to him. Told him if you change your mind about the ride home just give me a call and I’ll come back. I looked down the road and saw the Walmart market and said, “if you don’t want to leave the car here you may be able to make it to that market and park it there temporarily.” He was up for it so I jumped back in my truck and followed with my hazards on. He passed the market and stopped on the shoulder again, then he waved me over. So I got out and walked over. He said, “you know I don’t have too far, I think I’m going to try to just coax it back home.” I asked, “you sure?” He responded, “yea it should be okay”. I said, okay and then he thanked me and shook my hand. But I felt a call to pray. Then that dumb spirit of fear started talking, so I just had to do something so I cut the fear off and asked the guy, “What was your name again?” Even though he never gave it to me. He replied, “Oliver and yours?” I told him my name and we shook hands again and then I said, Oliver, would you mind if I prayed for you? He looked up at me and said, wait for it……. He said…….”yea” in a more lifted calm voice. That spirit of fear was way off. And with my hand on top of the car roof I just leaned forward a bit and said, “Lord, thank you for Oliver, thank you for the opportunity to meet a new friend. “Lord please help Oliver get home safe. Thank you God, In Jesus name I pray, amen.” After the prayer, he looked lifted and with his hand he raised the paper with my number and said, “now I have a good friend to reach out to”, I said, “definitely, call me if you need help”. He said, “I’m just a good guy too” I smiled and nodded my head in agreement and then we said our goodbyes. I believe in that last moment the Lord just poured out an amazing blessing on both of us. And I know he’ll make it home just fine.
God brought me so much joy in this experience. God is so good. My way was to ignore the situation, and I was being very impatient. His way is to love others, love is patient, love is kind. Thank you God for helping me be more loving, an area for me that can always use some improvement. May you continue guiding me to live less for me and more for you Lord, with love always. Thank you. ~ Amen
I remember being asked this as a kid and my answer was simply, “because the bible says so”. I remember this being all of our answers, there was about four of us in that Sunday school class that morning. This is probably still the best most straight to the point answer.
But as I get older, this answer has a tendency to expand. Yes the Bible tells me so, as it always has. The life results based on the choices I make always seem to match up with scripture. Choices that I’ve made that go against scripture eventually lead to more difficult trials and a feeling of separation from God. Then on the flip side, there is the experience of blessings received as I walk in faith. The love and protection my Father in Heaven provides as I trust him through the many trials face. Just as the Bible tells me so. The true fulfillment I receive when living out my purpose, to live for God, whether it be raising my kids to know the Lord or providing for a complete stranger I meet as I tell them about the love of Jesus. Once again, the Bible told me to do this, so of course the results are going to produce a blessed feeling in my heart.
I believe today, and as a result I choose to put the Lord’s instruction into action. Trusting him, loving him, and loving others. Living with forgiveness, living in peace, being humble and considering others above myself as well as my own desires. It is those others who may or may not know the Lord, and in either situation it is the Lord, “Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4. As a believer in Christ, I must align my desires with his. This life is here today and gone tomorrow. This day will quickly be gone as well. So what shall I do with it? What will you do with it?
Today brings me to day 6 of this journey of writing about faith mentions in the book of Matthew. In the prior post I talked about the woman who was bleeding for 12 years, who came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of his cloak, then was healed. Jesus tells her that her faith had healed her. And then Jesus continues; Matthew 9:
27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”
28 After Jesus had entered the house, the blind men came to Him. “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” He asked.
“Yes, Lord,” they answered.
29 Then He touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one finds out about this!” 31 But they went out and spread the news about Him throughout the land.
Isn’t it True?
I imagine it was very difficult keeping news like this quiet. Isn’t it true that when touched by Jesus, these are the times when we want to share our faith the most? These men just reveived sight, literally, from the touch of Jesus. When we feel the touch of Jesus, his almight hand in our small individual lives, it’s like our faith is ignited. That’s all it takes, a single touch. His touch.
Our choice in this is to believe. To have ears that hear and eyes that see. Interestingly, these blind men were seeing clearly before they were healed. Through all the distractions, they could see the truth.
Faith, Where does it come from?
So where does faith come from, yourself or the one who restores sight? Where did it come from for these Men? I’m guessing they probably heard something about Jesus along the way, and their faith grew. In my own walk I experience a growing faith as I live by his word and see the results speak for Jesus. Sometimes living by his word doesn’t even seem to make sense. “Seriously Jesus, you want me to pray for that person” or “really? I should give even on this budget?” and in those moments I hear the Lord says to us through Proverbs 3:5, and I paraphrase, “Trust Me”.
This is one of my favorite lines stated by the Pixar character Dory, the friendly little blue fish from Finding Nemo. She makes for a great example of one who just continues taking steps forward.
Let’s imagine for a moment you are sitting in your dining room. As you look toward your kitchen you see dishes in the sink a dirty pot on the stove, and a floor that really needs to be mopped.
Out of the blue your child comes into the kitchen and spends the next two hours deep cleaning. Amazed and proud you ask , “do you love cleaning?” The response; “ugh I dunno, but I do love you.”
Do you feel at times you are simply waiting for your calling, yet in the mean time you’re sitting in neutral and going nowhere? Consider you favorite athlete, is there a chance he or she tried a couple other sports before finding the sport that best fit them? God knows his plan for you, and it’s a good one. And if you feel like you haven’t found that true calling, trust in the Lord, continue walking in obedience, and he will lead you there. And we must always be willing to be lead. I believe being lead works better if I continually taking steps forward. I know there is a time to be still, but not stagnant. So as Dory puts it, Just Keep Swimming.
May the Lord bless you and lead you in your continued walk.
In Matthew 9, Jesus heals a woman who was subject to bleeding for 12 years. This is a great example of faith put into action. This story goes into further detail in Mark 5:24-34 and Luke 8:42–48.
9:20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 9:21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
9:22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
In faith we need to be ready and willing to reach out to our Lord for healing. This woman’s sickness was very obvious to her, but not all sickness is. I believe we all have something in us that holds us back from growing in our faith. Have you asked yourself whether or not there is something holding you back? The answer may be obvious to you. Or perhaps the answer is buried deep, and there is no obvious issue that you’re aware of. I believe there are always steps we can take to take our faith walk to the next level. But this walk isn’t designed to be walked alone. We must reach out in faith and ask the Lord what holds us back. It’s amazing what he will reveal when you bring it to him.
Its interesting to me, the direction a post will take me as I begin to freely comment regarding a scripture. As I continued writing this post I had a couple things I knew of that were possibly holding me back. By the end of writing this post, I’ve realized the great slew of things that I must turn to the Lord for help with.
May the Lord lift each and every one of us up, and build our faith, as we maneuver and work through things in this life that may be holding us back.
In another story Jesus heals a paralytic man who was brought to him. I think its interesting how Jesus first takes care of what’s most important.
9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
As I watched my elderly loved ones grow older there was one thing they all had in common. They had to pay close attention to their health. These bodies we have are only built for a season, but to have a right relationship with God; the results are eternal.
We are continuing the course into day 3. Over the next week or two, I’m sharing thoughts in connection with instances throughout the book of Matthew where faith is mentioned.
I’ve recently experienced a storm in my life. A storm that lead me to think there is no way out, this ship is going down. In these storms you continue thinking to yourself this is beyond my control, this feels like checkmate. There is no clear solution to the problem. Have you been there? In these situations do you go straight to God for help? I have to be honest, my first reaction is to fix it, followed by an ounce of fear, a pint of anger and a gallon of frustration. This ultimately leads to a feeling of little hope.
Then finally in faith I cry out, “Jesus, save me!” You would think as a follower of Christ I’d get a gold star response for reaching out to God. However, I’ve been walking this walk for awhile now. I personally think, I should know better then to feed into the deception of my own sinful nature. At my cry out for him to help, I bet his response was much like the response he gave his disciples, as they were all on their boat through that violent storm.
Matthew 8:25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
So after feeding into my own desires, my own sinful nature, and trying everything my way – I remembered this one thing. His ways have always been better than my ways. I can always put my trust and faith in the Lord and his word. And in that moment when I cried out to God for help and put it all into prayer, can you guess what came soon after?
He rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Thank you Jesus, may we always be quick to put our faith in you. Amen.
Contining the course, over the next couple weeks I’m sharing thoughts in connection with instances throughout the book of Matthew where faith is mentioned. In the 1st instance we see Jesus lead us to putting our faith in him during those times of concern and worry. The next mention of faith I found was within the story of the Centurion.
The Faith of the Centurion
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
As a follower of Jesus, I want to continue growing in my faith. I want to have faith that is considered amazing to Jesus. As I take a look at the Centurion I see how he understands that only through the power of Jesus can his servant be healed, and it can be healed in that very minute. The Centurion knows he personally doesn’t have to witness it in person for Jesus to answer his prayer. This is just a personal thought but I imagine that at the time Jesus takes notice of this great faith, he considers the faith of the the World. I’m sure he wants to see this amazing faith in more of us. After making that statement about this Centurion’s great faith he begins talking about heaven and those who will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And then he mentions the unsettling news, those who will be thrown outside – into the darkness.
May the Lord continue helping us grow in our faith.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God
Over the course of the next couple weeks I will be sharing thoughts in connection with instances throughout the book of Matthew where faith is mentioned.
Have you ever worried about having the money to get through the week, or even how you’re going to get dinner on the table that same night? I can honestly say, “been there and worried about that”. However, the Lord has always been there for me and my family, as he is always there and will continue to be there for all of us. He is a good Father, which means he’s a good provider. Jesus brings us a lesson on faith, or perhaps our lack there of, in the 6th chapter of Matthew.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
May we always put our trust in the Lord with full serenity. He is in control, always has been and always will be. Our Heavenly Father, He’s a good Father, a trustworthy Provider and loves his children.
I’ve said happy fathers day to a number of fathers including my own. But I do not want to let this day end without saying a special thanks to our heavenly father. A father who is always there for each and every child of his. Thank you for being our heavenly father and always being there.
As I wake up and choose to thank God for this day, I find myself continuing the conversation. I thank him for releasing me from some of these chains that once held me down.
I invite him into my life, to continue his great work in this not so great me. May I move forward through this day thinking less about myself and more about the God I serve, one with unconditional love for this World, and grace which is unfathomable.
None of us deserve his love, yet he gives it unconditionally. He offers forgiveness like no other. His word says he is faithful to forgive. I consider his moment on the cross while suffering that unbearable pain, his words; Father forgive them, they know not what they do. My Lord Jesus, what an awesome gift and what an awesome expression of love and forgiveness. Thank you.
Lord, may you give me eyes to see like you see, so I may walk with a greater love and forgiveness as you do. Jesus, you are my Lord and savior. I’ve surrendered, I am yours.
So would you say you’re “on fire” for Christ? What is your spiritual temperature? Would you consider yourself red hot, or are you feeling more on the luke warm side?
Sometimes I’ll take a moment to reassess where I am now compared to where I was the moment I found Christ. I don’t want to live my life in some kind of cooling state from what I once was. I always want to continue pushing myself to the edge in my faith walk. When I first found Jesus, it wasn’t like I was just going about my business and wham! I first committed to following the teachings of Jesus while in the struggles I was facing at that time in my life. I put my faith and trust in Him even though it seemed easier to do things my own way, the way I’ve always done them. With my trust in Jesus, struggles were overcome, mountains were moved, and this led me to be ON FIRE for Christ. [my testimony] After this initial igniting of my soul, all I could think about each and every day was Jesus and how I can go about pleasing my Lord and my Heavenly Father?
That was then, and today is a new day. So now I ask myself, “Am I walking in the same way today as I was then? Honestly, I would have to say maybe not so much. Like riding a horse full sprint, I feel like it’s been taken down to a trot, then back up to gallop at times. I continue following Christ and I remain obedient, but I find myself asking, “must it really be a struggle for my passion to be reignited the way it was that first day?”
1 John 3:22 ESV
And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
God, I need you, I need your love and the power of the Holy Spirit working in me, so you may do the things you planned for me long ago.
And just like before, I must also make the choice to surrender and continue doing the things that pleases him, even when it becomes out of my way or even uncomfortable and challenging. I must continue pushing myself to the edge with my faith, just as I did at the start. As Paul put it to Timothy, “Fight the good Fight”. When personal battles seemed to subside, ready yourself and remain on guard and then consider this; it may be time to go on the offense. Where is your battle ground? Most of our battles are faught within our own mind and heart, and within your own family circles. Sometimes, the best way to fight these battles is to also fight ones outside your own camp.
I don’t want these to be just words on a page – I too need to put these words into practice more and more. So I’m going to share with you a small battle plan of our own. Today, not tomorrow, but today I commit to taking my kids out for a drive. We are going to pray for those in need of socks. And then, as a family we are going to shop for socks, a bag for each of my kid’s to donate. The church we attend recently put a big blue barrel out in the lobby for sock donations. Sunday, I want to give my kids the opportunity to live this out and feel the blessing of giving to people in need. I know this sounds like a simple task, but I know I need to armor up, and be ready to be hit with every distraction possible for the enemy to put in my path. The last thing the enemy wants is for my kids to learn more about and follow the teachings of Jesus.
Today, allow the Holy Spirit to stir up something in your heart. Allow the creative juices to flow. Pray for eyes that see and ears that hear. Be filled with the Holy Spirit and take this battle to the enemy. Always fight on your toes, not your heels, knowing the Lord is with you and will always be. He not only has your back, he has all sides. With the Lord always with you, never fear and fight the good fight.
As a Christian I want to continue growing in my faith, continually surrendering my life to Christ, so He may do the good works through me that were planned long ago. It’s not about doing more and more and more, to try to earn heaven. I can never earn heaven. I thank my Lord Jesus for salvation, and I want to live to please my Savior. I want to live as one after God’s own heart.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-2
As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
God has always been good, and has always been there. The other day I heard someone say, something I often hear from those who walk with the Lord, “I’m never going back” – (back to the old way of living). I too have said this, and although I may make mistakes, I know that I am never going back.
I was reading a Psalm of David. David is known as the one after God’s own heart. David was close with God, and he felt the love of God in his life. But David did go back to feeding his sinful nature, and he made some terrible choices. His sin was heavy, and perhaps from the conviction and separation came this prayer of repentance – Psalms 51. I’d encourage you to read the chapter below, but for the moment I want to take a look at these four verses of Chapter 51:
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.
Although David failed miserably, It sounds like David is saying, “I never want to go back”. I’ve felt it, other Christ followers have felt it. Once you feel the presence of our Lord and are filled with his Holy Spirit – its like you’re home. That incomplete void in your heart is filled. He gives you a joy you’ve never felt before. And the last thing you want to feel is a separation between yourself and God. You’ve now realized, the old way of living and your previous mind set is ancient history. I like how 2 Corinthians 5:17 puts it: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
Back to David, I believe his sins made him feel a great separation from God. So he makes the best choice any of us can make in that moment, a choice to repent. Through these scriptures David calls out to the Lord in prayer, a passionate prayer at that. And that’s where I will end this post, with Psalms 51.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
I saw this image shared on facebook and this post came flowing out as a result. I’m thinking this tip probably does help since it refocuses the attention away from the fear of something unknown, and on to things we can understand, but if I could take a moment, I’d like to share a little about my own struggle with anxiety.
I’ve struggled with both anxiety and social anxiety for much of my life. And to be honest, I still have my days. But when I found the Lord, I believe he has truly helped me through this. I now use anxiety as my alarm, one that goes off at a time when maybe I am not putting God first in my life, or placing my trust in him.
When I get anxious I say this little prayer that goes kind of like this,
“Lord forgive me for being anxious, I know and trust that you are in control. Lord help my ways become more like your ways. Help me focus on you and others today and less on myself or any fear that I don’t understand. Please help me put both you and others before myself. If there is someone I can help or serve, please make that person known to me. Thank you Jesus for always loving me and for always being there to help carry me through the struggle. ~ Amen”
And then the next step I take is to follow Christ by doing what I can to serve someone else. Serving others can be as simple as reaching out to someone with a few kind words of encouragement, or going all out in a big way for someone who can really use your love and God’s love in their life. There are a lot of hurting people out there.
I just felt like I needed to share this because our Lord and Savior has helped me so much more than the ativan ever did, and I am certain if others out there who are struggling with anxiety take a hold of this, they will be amazed by the result. God is good, all the time. Jesus once said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 8:32 puts it like this, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And he has helped free me from the anxiety. These are not just words on a page but promises made to us as followers of Christ. May the Lord be your refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.
The other day I got into a conversation with someone regarding the writers of the Bible. Who wrote it, who compiled it, etc. I felt like the question we were coming to was this, is the Bible reliable? Later that day I decided to take a refresher on the date of writings and the compiling process. As I was doing my research I came across a cool little video about the reliability of the Bible and how it has stood the test of time.
I hope you enjoy
How and when was the Bible put together? Learn more
Where do they come from? It seems as if these days, science has an answer for everything. Science often meets theory and we then see a lot of assumptions being made, often by those who do not believe in a Creator. Many scientists today can quickly give you their answers in regards to questions relating to life, evolution, and the beginning. But when it comes to things like instincts, the data gets vague. I’ve found that every piece of “science”, or should I say “false science” that contradicts scripture, happens to have a lot of assumptions or should we say guessing built into it.
I remember back in my early 20s, I became a father for the first time. I remember at this time I was living back at home. At that stage in my life I was pretty care free. However, one evening she (my daughter) and I went out the front door looking for my dad. She was 6. “He must be in the back yard”, I told her. So we started walking around to the back. She started walking out ahead and I remember feeling red flags, an overwhelming sense of caution. “WAIT!”, I yell. She stops in her tracks. “Come walk behind me”, I said. She does, and we continue walking to the back porch. Almost to the other side I hear a rattle. Another step and I would of been on top of a rattle snake. Quickly I stepped back, picking her up in the process. I’m not one to worry about something like this. In all the years I grew up in this place, I never came across a snake this close to the house. Of all the times we played, day or night, our yard always seemed to be a safe place. I’m sorry Professor, but I just don’t see how any type of adaptation over the course of time could be the cause for me receiving the bright red flag at that very moment. I can think of many other times my kids have ran out in front of me while playing around the house or some park somewhere. No red flags, except for this time in a place where I felt safest, my home. There was no noise, no rattle, not until I almost stepped on the thing of course. I had no idea. As people, we love to take credit for having “good instincts”. And that day, I thought that’s exactly what I had – awesome dad instincts. But the more I learn about God, the more I see how involved he is in our lives. It’s not us evolving, it’s him involving himself in our lives. I believe the only one who can bring a gut feeling, that quickly, at the precise moment is our loving heavenly Father.
I think there are times where natural instincts do live within us based on past experiences. These can yield both good or bad results. But then there are those times when we receive a gut feeling, a nudging. Nudging can often come from the Holy Spirit. Angels are also sent to care for people who will inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14). I believe it is by God’s grace and love that I received the jolt that day.
As that sun rises up, no matter where I am in my faith walk, I believe I must see it for what it really is. A new day. My past, whether it be filled with wins or losses, will not stop time, a new day will come. I see a new day as a fresh start given to us daily. I don’t believe we are supposed continue living off of the joys or regrets for yesterdays actions, with the intention of just coasting forward. I believe a new day brings the opportunity for new actions. What will I do today? How can I live this day out as a disciple of Christ. A new day, a new opportunity, an opportunity to serve, to pray, to forgive, to love. One of the first things God declares was good was the light.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
On this new day may I continue with love and a heart to serve, so I may possibly be a light to someone else, as I live out my true purpose while here in this place.
Walking in obedience doesn’t always come easy, but is always necessary. It gives us an opportunity to grow in our relationship with Jesus. Can I love my kids? Sure, it’s easy to be obedient in that way, and we all should. But how about in situations where we are truly put to the test?
For example, you are walking with your boss to a conference room to meet with a client and her lawyer. And on the way he tells you, “no matter what you do, do not admit you lost the confidential document – we will say there was a break in last night and some stuff was taken. I even have a police report to back this story. Otherwise, the consequences are severe with the possibility of prison time.”
You both enter the room and find a seat. The lawyer presses record on his device. The first question he has for you is, “what happened to the document….?”
Could you remain honest? Could you remain obedient to God?
In the beginning of my faith walk it started with stuff like cursing, what kind of movies I’d watch, what I chose to listen to, etc. The basic worldly stuff many of us begin to confront. But, I learned to never approach with the idea that I’m going to stop cursing because God doesn’t like it. It was more like, I want to stop cursing because I love God and I want to show him how much I love him through my actions. He’s always been there for me, even today. I’ve found that when I do things his way, the results always come out better in the end, than if I did it my way. It’s in that moment you are filled with an overwhelming joy. Your new clear vision reveals that God is with you. So you repeat this process over and over and your faith in him continues to grow. Keep in mind to stay on guard, the devil has a plan for you too. He desperately wants you to break this process and fog your vision.
With love, actions speak so much louder than words and I could never match the action Jesus took to save us. Salvation, this was truly a gift. With any gift, we first must accept it. He suffered the cross then, and today he continues giving to us his love through blessing after blessing.
When someone gives you a gift out of the blue, have you ever felt a need to go out and buy a gift to give back to that person? How about at Christmas gatherings? Have you ever went into one concerned that someone might have went out of their way for you, and you just have to have something ready to give in return. But what can I give them? What do they want?
Consider the gift of salvation and the cost. How much did God go out of the way for you then, and still today? What can I give him in return? What does he want? I know he wants a relationship with me. What can I do to help grow this relationship? How can I be pleasing to my Father in Heaven?
1 Samuel 15:22
But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.
Walking in obedience, submission to him and his ways, is not always easy but today I am personally choosing to submit to his instruction. I choose to follow Christ.
I wrote this post to serve as a micro summary of the genealogy from Adam to Moses. I’d like to encourage you to get into Genesis. There is a lot to be taken from the lessons found within this book. Many of these lessons point to the importance of putting our trust in God, and how He will bring us through the trials we must face while here on Earth.
130 years into Adam’s life, he had a son named Seth. Seth had sons who had sons, and eventually we come to Noah. Noah had 3 sons who stepped out of the Ark, Shem Ham and Japheth. Once again Shem had sons who had sons, and eventually that brings us to Abram who later becomes known as Abraham.
Abraham had a son named Isaac who later had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Jacob had 12 sons, one whose name was Joseph. Joseph is sold by his brothers. God brings him through this long journey from being a sold servant to being placed in charge of the entire land of Egypt. Joseph ends up forgiving his brothers and bringing his family into the land of Egypt, 70 in all. Years pass, and after Joseph and all his brothers passed on, the Israelites continued multiplying across the land of Egypt.
Beginning of Exodus:
Eventually a new King with no knowledge of Joseph came into power. Concerned about the number of Israelites now among them, he decides to enforce slave labor, and oppress the Israelites. Still, the Israelites continue to multiply, so the King decides to put out an order to kill their first born sons. It’s about this time that Moses is born.
Sometimes its easy to look at the World as it is today and say a prayer in hopes that Jesus would come. But then you begin to think about the purpose that has been given to us. I was once asked, “If Jesus were to come today, would I be ready?” I believe in my heart, I am! I’ve put my trust in Jesus. However there are people out in the world who have yet to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. This makes me want to say, “just once more day God, one more week”.
I’m thankful Jesus didn’t come before I came to know him. Even today there are people out there who are experiencing the love of Jesus for the first time. Every week you’ll find new Christian testimonies. Here’s a recent testimony I’ve come across on Youtube. Enjoy.
No matter what has happened in our past, or as we stumble along our path – his love remains.
No matter where you are in life, he still loves you. And here’s the good news, if you haven’t yet accepted Jesus he invites you to do so. When you make the decision to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior you can now be forgiven and saved. For he already paid the price for your sins; and His love will never fail, it will never give up, and it will never run out on you.
His love is like no other, and by accepting Christ, his love becomes everlasting.
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Clay was a born athlete and football was his passion. Highly motivated, every practice Clay would be out there doing drills before the team even showed up. He was the team leader. He loved his coach and his team, and always went above and beyond for them.
One evening he and the team were preparing for a rival game. This wasn’t just any rival game, it was the championship. Sitting in the locker room the Coach began connecting with his players, sharing strategies and exposing the other team’s every weakness. After explaining strategy the coach would often end with, “You must master this…”
That night the team played hard, but it was Clay who crushed every record and ultimately crushed the opposing team. As they were walking off the field a player from the opposing team calls out to Clay’s teammate Trent saying, “You suck man, you don’t belong out here.” In retaliation Trent loses it and attacks the other player only to get nailed by a right cross. Trent hits the ground. Anger quickly turns to laughter as the antagonist skips off the field. With Trent still coming to, Clay reaches down to give him a helping a hand. With a sigh he asks Trent, “What was that all about?” Trent in confusion responds, “what do you mean, you heard what that guy said!?!” Well yea Trent, I heard him – but regardless of what he or any of his team says to you, that doesn’t change the score. The game has already been won.
Sometimes I think it’s easy to put too much emphasis on the little things. In this story the game was won, but the insignificant battles rage on. Trent’s next step was simply to enjoy the bus ride back home. Perhaps we can do the same. Simply enjoy the ride home, and pull as many people on board with us as we can along the way. May we always praise Jesus for his leadership, his will, his love and his grace. He always goes above and beyond for us.
No matter what life brings, and whether I come out of my daily battles victoriously, or feeling completely and utterly defeated, that doesn’t change what happened at the cross. Thanks to Jesus, our Lord and Savior, the battle has already been won. Our adversary has already been defeated, yet he’s like a poor sport walking off the field still talking trash – doing all he can to distract us from the beautiful gift of salvation.
The book of Micah, an Old Testament book written by the prophet Micah, was likely written between 735 and 700 B.C. according to gotquestions.org. Micah prophesies the birthplace of our Savior several centuries prior to his birth.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
I’ve always found this biblical prophesy to be very interesting. Of all the places, Micah states Bethlehem to be the place. The population of this town was estimated to be well under 1,000 with some saying it had as little as 300 in the times of Micah. It was truly a little town.
This verse also declares the origins of Jesus to be “from of old, from ancient times”. There are many out there trying to separate Jesus from God, however the scriptures are very clear both in this case and throughout the Bible. As John 10:30 says, “I [Jesus] and the Father are one.”
The more I grow in my faith, the more I realize how much I rely on Jesus. The motivation to do good works runs dry when attempted alone. He gives me the love and motivation I need to go out into the World with the right heart. Without him, I am just so flawed. This morning I began to read 1 Peter Ch. 2, and in the first few verses it says this:
1 Peter 2:1-3
1 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
Now, I feel like I’m doing okay on the 1st verse, I’m pretty good at holding my tongue and not getting jealous, I’m sure I’ll have my moments. However, the 2nd verse hit home for me. I desperately need this nourishment, now that I had a taste of the Lord’s kindness. That taste has shaped and molded my life. It even inspired me to start this blog. But the truth is, I cannot do this blog alone, I need him. I cannot live this life in contentment without him, I need him.
This scripture was placed on my bathroom mirror a few weeks ago, and is still there – John 15:5
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
This morning I pray for the love of Jesus to come into my heart and fill me so I may go into this day ready for every good work. May he continue molding me and teaching me through his word so I may live my life in accordance with his will. ~ Amen
I really enjoyed a recent sermon given, titled This or That (The Power of Choice). If you would like to watch you can by clicking here. Life is full of choices and we have been given this God given freedom to make our own choices. The enemy works very hard in trying to influence the choices we make but ultimately, the choices we make is ours and ours alone. I choose to follow Christ, he has proven again and again that his ways are right. My ways, even when they seems right, always turn out wrong – if not aligned with the teachings of Jesus. I now give him all of my Trust, because I know his ways are right, and he has a plan for me, a plan for good, a plan to give me a future and hope. (jer. 29:11)
Sunday there was a scripture I learned that I really like. I posted it below. I want to meditate on this scripture so I can revert back to it when making decisions throughout the day.
In Deuteronomy 30 beginning in verse 29 it says:
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.”
The great thing about blogging and scripture is, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, the Word is relevant and true for you today and will always be. Jesus loves you very much and wants a relationship with you. And today, If you haven’t made the decision, you have a choice to accept him as your Lord and Savior.
Wherever you happen to be in your faith Journey, today you will have many choices to make. Follow his ways, commit to Him, and I believe you will be blessed as the scripture says, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses.”
May you stand firm in your faith and choices today and may God bless you in your walk…
As we follow Jesus, we continue learning how to put his words into practice. And for this reason it is so important to be in the word – because situations will often come when we’re least expecting, situations that demand a response. The more we are in the word, the better prepared we will be to respond. And through the word, he gives us the right action plan for whatever life throws our way. It’s a relief of mine to know that I dont have to figure everything out on my own, for I trust in my Lord and Savior and I can look to him for the answer. You know, there was an old song I learned as a kid, and it started out like this. “The wise man built his house upon the rock….” Have you ever heard it? This song is based on the following scriptures:
The Wise and Foolish Builders (Matthew 7:24-29)
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
I love God for a number of reasons, and my love for Him grew when I noticed his presence in my life in the midst of marital issues and little hope. I began to seek him in a real way, and that’s when I first got to know God in a real way.
As time continues on, so does life, whether it be a child sick, or things not going so well at work. But then you look to Jesus for direction, and when you follow Him, he makes it as clear as day that he is with you, has been with you, and will not leave your side. He shows you the way through it all, and you find that turning to him worked out better than if you would have done it alone. It always will. I can say, this I’ve experienced time and time again. His ways are better than my own, always.
Sometimes, during those times of disconnect or confusion, I desperately want to feel that feeling, the one you receive in that moment when he makes it clear to you he is with you.
So how do we stay close to Him? What does the Bible say?
James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts you double-minded.
Psalms 145:18: The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Collossians 3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
So what can we take from these three scriptures? We must always be seeking him and following his ways. Draw near to Him, call on him (pray to him), be in the word. I found one verse where He will come close to you without you doing any of these things. Want to know what it says? Psalms 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. And this happens to be the place where most of us meet him for the first time. Let this not be the only time we feel closest to Him.
So what can we do today, or even in this moment, to draw near to Him?
Spend some time with him. Pray, get into the word, and may we go out with the love of God in our hearts. Commit today to loving Him and loving others, as these are his greatest commandments for us. What better way to draw near to Jesus than to put into action his greatest commandments for you and me. Love is verb, love is an action word. In John 14:15 He says, “if you love me you will keep my commandments. In John 15:17 he says, “This is my command, Love others.”
What can we do today to show love to another? Not sure where to start? Start with those around you this very moment. Also, ask God to give you direction with this and I believe he will. What better way to end this post, then with God’s word; 1 Peter 4:8: Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
The other day I had the privilege of freely going to church on Sunday to give praise and to worship our Father in Heaven. I had the freedom to do this alongside other Believers. May the Lord be with our fellow Christians, the Church, throughout the world who are not experiencing that same freedom, those who are persecuted for their belief in Christ. If this is you, I know the Lord is with you, for you were Chosen by our God long ago, for the bible says this:
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5. he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Know that you’ve been adopted, you are a son, you are a daughter.
And He will be with you, even to the end of the age…
And if you are living with persecution I want to also make note of Matthew 5:10, which says: Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
May those of us who have more freedom in expressing our beliefs, express it with boldness – and never hold back. May God through the Holy Spirit lift us and move us and may we always be sensitive to his leading. May we always act in love and not be blindsided by the endless number of distractions that come our way.
Jesus served right before He went to the cross. He served his disciples by washing their feet. May we serve others in love and put others before ourselves. I sometimes struggle with this, putting others before myself, especially when they rub me the wrong way. May God help me to continue growing in this area of love and humility, and to always see these situations for what they really are. A test, and perhaps an opportunity to imitate Jesus, as He calls me to do so. I want to learn how to walk more like Jesus as I follow him and his ways.
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
I really enjoyed this sermon by Pastor Mark from New Life Christian Fellowship in Tooele, Utah. Talks about some of the things happening in the World today and where we as Christian’s should place our focus during these times. This sermon hit me in so many ways and gave me the encouragement I needed, as I was feeling a little stuck in my faith, trying to push forward.
May I set out today with boldness, never afraid to share the truth. May I live a life that reflects Christ, a life different from today’s culture and the expectations of man. May the way I live be pure in heart only to bring Glory to my Father above. Lord I’m so imperfect, faulty and flawed; I need your help. I cannot do this alone.
I want to continue distancing myself from the old me, the one who was satisfied with merely blending in. I no longer want to blend in but stand out in a way that brings glory to your name. Perhaps living my life as a fully devoted follower of Jesus will beg the question, “why is he like that?”. Maybe then I will have the opportunity to answer that question with the following, “I do this because of my love for Christ, Jesus is my Savior and he has been so good to me. I just never knew it until I began following his ways. I’ve accepted him in my heart as my Lord and Savior. Through all of it, God has always been there in my life. I live the way I live because I have chosen to follow his ways, and those ways are good.”
Perhaps then, I will have the opportunity to share my testimony.
I have a challenge for those who have not yet accepted Christ. The average life span is about 72 years, which translates to about 864 months. Chances are if you’re reading this you’ve already burned though nearly half of them. My challenge for you is to set aside the next 3 months and shake it up a bit from the norm. In these 3 months I’d like to encourage you to seek God with all your heart in these next three months. Find a local bible based church and attend every Sunday. Get involved in a small group. Change the station in your car. Get into the Word of God, the Bible, the book of Matthew and John are great places to start. A big part of seeking God is done by putting his word into practice in your life. And God will be there with you every step of the way.
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
I recently listened to a sermon where, during his message, the Pastor quickly added an intriguing fact surrounding the way Solomon referred to the worker ant as a “her” in Proverbs 6:6. The Pastor went on to say, “science has proven all worker ants are female, how would Solomon know this back in his time? I think God had something to do with that.” And, that’s where he ended it. Hearing this sparked my interest to dig in a little deeper.
To begin, here’s a little background on the Proverbs writer, Solomon. Solomon was the third king of Israel, following King Saul and King David. When he ascended to the throne, he sought after God and God gave him the opportunity to ask for whatever he wanted. Solomon humbly acknowledged his inability to rule well and unselfishly asked God for the wisdom he would need to rule God’s people justly. God gave him wisdom and also gave him wealth. Solomon had a great connection with our Heavenly Father. And now Solomon has this great wisdom, not wisdom by human standard, but by God’s. Think about that! Then He goes on to write most of the Proverbs found in the Old Testament. [more on Solomon]
Although he had great wisdom for writing Proverbs, did God just let him run with it solo? I don’t believe so. God maintains supreme authority over every single word used in scripture. This is made pretty clear to us through scripture.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
Hebrews 4:12 ESV
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
And so lets take a look at the verse, Proverbs 6:6-8
6:6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
6:7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
6:8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
So why doesn’t this verse refer to this particular ant as a he? Because that would be a lie, and you will only find truth in the bible, for the scripture says its impossible for God to lie [Hebrews 6:18 ESV]. All worker ants are truly female. Yes, each and every one. Which means, next time you see an ant carrying a crumb you can tell those with you, “Hey look at Ms. Ant over there carrying that huge morsel all by herself! Then your friend may say, how do you know its not a Mr. Ant? That could make for a great conversation starter!
So who first discovered this through scientific observation. I found out they actually have a word they use for the study of ants, myrmecology. The word myrmecology was coined by William Morton Wheeler (1865–1937), although human interest in the life of ants goes back further, with numerous ancient folk references. The earliest scientific thinking based on observation of ant life was that of Auguste Forel (1848–1931), a Swiss psychologist who initially was interested in ideas of instinct, learning, and society. ~ wikipedia.org
To be honest, I couldn’t find anything that specifically discussed the date the all female workforce was discovered. However, everything I was able to find and research take place between the late 1600s to the mid 1800s.
Here are some comments from this time frame on the study of both ants and bees (includes bees for purposes of discussion)
William Gould (1715–1799), is described by Horace Donisthorpe (British Myrmecologist) as “the father of British myrmecology”.
“For the generative process which takes place in these last two kinds [n.b.: ants and bees] we are almost entirely indebted to the nice and persevering labours of the elder and the younger Hüber; who have decidely proved that what have hitherto been called neuters are females with undeveloped female organs. ”
~ The Study of Medicine – John Mason Good (1825)
(Elder and the Younger Hüber, 17th Century)
“Swammerdam had announced in his Historia Inecorum Generalis (1669) that the queen, hitherto commonly called the “King of the Bees,” is the only effective female in the hive; that the drones are the males and the workers neuters. This identification rested upon his careful and detailed anatomical examination of each sex. He is positive that the workers have no reproductive organs, though it is now known that they occasionally lay eggs. He remarks that both the queen and the workers possess a sting, while the drones have none, and that in structure and disposition the workers resemble the queen rather than the drones.”
So, based on this research it appears that these scientifically observed contributions were just barely beginning to surface post 16th century. Solomon’s proverbs were penned around 900 B.C., a staggering 2500 years prior, during his reign as king when microscopes were non-existent. So how did he know? Well seeing that scripture is God breathed through the writers of the Old and New Testament, and God created the ant, it would only be natural for scripture to refer to these worker ants as female. Could you find a bricklayer who builds walls but calls them chainlink? It just wouldn’t happen.
Now lets not just end there. God knew this would be talked about and you’ll find a lot about this verse online. So why? He had a purpose for this as he does with all scripture.
Let’s read it again:
6:6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
6:7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
6:8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
While you let that process and swish around in the brain for a moment, I want to share a cool video that shows how people today, possibly with or without knowledge of this scripture, are doing just that – going to the ant and considering her ways.
Three words, God is Amazing! So lets go back to verse, now that its had some time to settle in. Some of us may read this verse and initially begin pointing the finger toward all the lazy people they know or don’t know. But the truth is, that will accomplish nothing. Instead we should always be asking ourselves, what can I take from this to grow in my faith as a Christian. I know there have been times where I’ve been a “sluggard” or “lazy” in my faith walk. But that doesn’t change the fact that there’s work to be done and a harvest is coming. Are you satisfied with the work you put into it? Personally, I want to do more and I know I can do more. I already know I’m saved, but I want to do more. I want to make my loving Savior, my God proud of me. Just the other day I prayed for God to start a fire in my soul, and that prayer is being answered. I pray for the Church, for all of us Christ Followers throughout the World to be moved to rise and take our faith to that next level, to go out on a limb, to be always changing and growing in our relationship with Jesus.
I hope you found this encouraging and may God bless you in your walk with him.
This morning I was cleaning my desk, quickly shoving random supplies into my top drawer from the surface of my work-space. Then something caught my attention, I looked down and noticed something on my calculator. I took this as a subtle reminder to never put anything above God’s word.
May we as Christians always put Him first and keep Him above all things in this life.
Proverbs 4:20-22 ESV
My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.
King David, the one known as a man after God’s own heart, was just that, but a time came where David got far off track and made some very bad choices.
2 Samuel 11 describes one evening when David got up from bed and walked out on the roof of his palace. It was there he was drawn to notice a woman bathing, she was very beautiful. Uriah, a soldier, was the husband of this woman, her name; Bathsheba. If only David followed the same steps of Joseph when confronted with the temptation of Potiphar’s wife. By the way, any men out there dealing with this type of temptation, there’s your battle strategy, RUN! Instead of running, David moves toward the temptation and calls for Bathsheba to be brought to the palace. He ends up sleeping with her and she becomes pregnant. Soon after Uriah comes into the picture, and David takes him right back out of the picture. David gave the order for Uriah to be placed on the front lines where the fighting was fiercest. This order was carried out and Uriah was killed.
So, what may have started out as a restless night turned south very quickly. David lusted for then sleeps with a married woman. Murder followed, as David arranged for the death of Uriah. In this situation, can David’s choices get any worse? After speaking with Nathan, 2 Samuel 12, David realized his sin and felt terrible for what he had done. David repents and confesses. At his confession Nathan responds telling David that the Lord has forgiven him.
When we realize what we do is wrong and confess, the Lord is quick to forgive – he wants that opportunity to forgive us. Consider a child who makes a bad choice. As parents we just want that child to understand the wrong in what they did. If a child gets angry and breaks a vase, what’s more important to the parent, the replacement of the vase – or the child’s acknowledgement of the wrong done. We get relief knowing our child understands they did wrong, and doesn’t want to do it again.
Although David was forgiven the moment he confessed, I believe he was not done feeling bad about what he did. I think it’s pretty natural for us as people to hold it against ourselves for awhile. But, I do feel God wants us to move forward from it. David truly felt an incredible amount of guilt and remorse for the incredible sin he committed. It has always been sin that separates us from God. Psalms 51 paints a picture of the remorse David felt after he realized the truth of what he had done. This is his prayer.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Feeling remorse over a past sin? Confess it and be forgiven. According to 1 John 1:9, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. That is the love of our Heavenly Father. But sometimes we chose to hold it against ourselves. I’ve been there, feeling bad about sins that I have already been forgiven for. Perhaps you too still struggle over something that has also already been forgiven.
Now I’m not sure if David himself wrote this, or if he uttered the prayer and had someone else record it. But perhaps writing is another way we can express our feelings to God. When struggling over a past sin, maybe we write God a prayerful letter expressing both our struggle and our need for him in our lives. This Psalm shows how David doesn’t want to just be forgiven, he wants to grow. Just as verse 12-15 of this Psalm illustrates, David wants to bring others to know God. He wants to sing of God’s righteousness, and give praise to our Heavenly Father. God arranged for this particular prayer to be placed in our Bible. I believe this letter brought our Heavenly Father much joy in knowing David wanted to grow in his relationship with him.
The next time I mess up or I feel separated from God because, more than likely, my own ways got in the way, I am going to write a prayerful letter to my Lord. This actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it in the terms of relationship. Have you ever attempted to write a letter (or text) to a friend or loved one after a falling out? I believe this to be pretty common. Just like in any relationship, with our Father in Heaven, it’s probably best to first pray verbally and then move on to written form if you’re feeling it in your heart to do so.
This is like being that child who tells their parent, “sorry I broke the vase”, then writes their parent a letter or draws a picture expressing their love and admiration for them.
15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
William Boykin, a founding member of Delta Force and former commander of Army Special Forces, talked about his career in the military and the importance of faith in his life. He focused on persevering through tribulations caused by false media reports and false allegations.
Lieutenant General Boykin was involved in the military efforts to track down Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and overthrow Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. He spent 36 years with the U.S. Army, before retiring in 2007. At the time of his retirement, General Boykin held the position of deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence.
General Boykin was introduced by a video before he spoke at the Cottage Hill Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama. Afterward he was shown talking to congregants as he signed copies of his book Never Surrender: A Soldier’s Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom (FaithWords; July 29, 2008).
The other day I was talking to one of my kids about Peter. God had a plan for Peter and I believe one of the first steps Peter took was the same step we all must first take, a step and decision to follow Jesus.
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
At this point I can only assume Peter didn’t yet love Jesus, but he was intrigued. I think this is the first step for new believers; to begin following Jesus and building a relationship with him. From here Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. At this time Jesus was also healing every kind of illness. Many lessons were taught and miracles performed, and then there came a time when Peter decides to take a step of faith.
Matthew 14:22-30 (Jesus Walks on the Water)
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Here Peter has seen what he’s seen through his journey of walking with Jesus. He now trusts Jesus enough to go walking on water with him. But then he began to doubt. If Jesus called you out on the water, could you walk along that unpredictable surface with full boldness, any better than Peter did that day?
In fact, I believe we are all called to walk on the water each and every day. I love how this shows how quickly Jesus reached out at the cry of Peter, “immediately Jesus reached out his hand”. I believe through this occurrence, Peter’s trust and love for Jesus only grew in large proportions.
Some time later in his journey, Peter’s faith was put to a major test and his own fear brought failure. Peter denied Jesus three times. After this Peter felt an incredible amount of guilt. After the crucifixion Jesus begins appearing to his disciples and the third time he appears to them he gives Peter the opportunity to express his love.
John 21:15-19 (Jesus Reinstates Peter)
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Peter definitely went through his ups and downs throughout his walk with Jesus. We see his relationship grow through the gospels and it doesn’t stop there. But at the start of it all it began with one step, the step to follow Jesus. Isn’t it true that in our own relationships with friends and family we naturally begin with first getting to know that person. That first step must be taken. And then another. Eventually you begin to trust them, and you too begin to make personal sacrifices for them as well. I believe it works much the same way with Jesus. And one thing to know wholeheartedly is Jesus is one who can always be trusted, for he paid the penalty for our sins. And the penalty was so mind boggling that many of us avoid the thought of it. Then Easter service comes around. And even though he went through it and we choose not to think about that too often, he still loves us anyways. He is always there even when we are not. We are so undeserving yet there he is at this very moment with open arms, no matter where we are in life.
No matter how many times I make a good choice or a poor choice, I know I have a loving Heavenly Father who has been there every day of my life and invites me to continue growing in my relationship with him. And he wants the same for everyone. It all begins with one step. Get to know him, then begin to trust him and finally, love him with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. Believe me, loving him comes easy once you get to know him and once you find him. And this will happen and here’s why I can say this, because the Bible says it. Jeremiah 29:13 says this, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” And this truth is found again and again throughout scripture. Learn more about what the Bible says about seeking God.
And whether you have already found him or are barely beginning to seek him, I hope you can find comfort knowing He will be with you every step of the way. And when you experience his love, his grace, you will also experience an inexpressible joy. And if it happens to be a first time for you, chances are your life will be forever changed.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
The other night I was in the book of Mark and came across Mark 4:15-41, the story of Jesus calming the storm. Some of these men on the boat with him were experienced fishermen. I can only assume they’ve encountered storms in the past, but this storm had them scared, scared to the point of fearing for their lives. Imagine that. For a seasoned fisherman to be this fearful, there must of been a lot noise, crashing of the waves and who knows, maybe even some crazy thunder. Their boat must have been rocking all over the place, and in the midst of this storm what is Jesus doing? He’s sleeping. The disciples find him in the stern, sound asleep on a cushion. In fear for their lives, the Disciples woke Jesus up asking, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
In Mark 4:39-41 it says this:
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
So during this storm, Jesus was there, but the storm was carrying on. However, when in fear the disciples came to him and Jesus was quick to take action, rebuking the winds and calming the sea. The calming of the waters did not happen until the disciples brought their concerns to Jesus. In a commentary I found, the author referenced an old testament verse 121:3 which says, “He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.” And that he did not!
Just as in the story of the storm then, when trials come, call out to Jesus and he will hear you cry. He will be with you through the storm. On the boat that day, He did not continue sleeping at the cry of his disciples, and he will also be with you when you call his name.
Always have faith in him during the storms in this life, and there will come settling point. But know that another storm will be coming. So be ready. Although none of us particularly like “storms”, it does provide an opportunity grow in our faith and relationship with him. But you must stay prepared so your faith and relationship can grow. Continue praying and trust in the one who calms the sea. Press forward in all trials following his example. Jesus lived and walked on this earth being the perfect example for us to live by. Whether you read the Gospels once, twice or dozens of times – these are the books I personally always end back up in because it is Jesus who is my perfect example. When going through trials I can usually find a section throughout the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) that help me continue on with clarity through various challenges that are thrown my way. It starts with a prayer and then taking the time to get into the word, and finally obeying his greatest commandments [hover to read]. The Bible has the answer through every challenge that we face. I’m going to end on thanking God for sending his Son who testified to the Truth, who is my perfect example, and for going through all that he went through for the forgiveness of my sins. Where would any of us be without Jesus.
Father, also, Thank you for the Bible, ancient words that have survived thousands of years which give us hope, direction and truth. A book organized by you, the one who created everything including us. A book by the one who loves us infinitely more than any person could ever. Thank you.
One of my favorite entrepreneurial speakers, Seth Godin, recently published an article titled, “An alternative to believing in yourself”.
In his post he says the following:
“Telling someone, “believe in yourself,” is often worthless, though, because it’s easier said than done.
Perhaps the alternative is: “Do work you can believe in.”
I love that! First, I think having confidence in our God is so much greater than always looking for ways to build ourselves up. For in Jeremiah 29:11, one of my favorite verses, he makes it clear – he has a plan for us. And I’m going to trust Him with that! We really just need to focus on Him, focus on following his ways. I also think, as Christians, its important to take a step back and ask ourselves from time to time, “What do I truly believe, or better yet, why?” How much do you believe in the power of God, think about the truly positive transformation God has made in your life? Think about all the times he’s made it clear as day that He is with you. If you like, think about that for a moment, here’s a song I thought was fitting for this time.
God you’ve done so much for me. And I can never fully repay the debt. But what can I do for my Lord, because I want to do so much more than I am doing now. We as practicing Christians have seen both sides, life with God, and life without God. And I know the pure joy it is to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and follow his ways. I very much want to share that with others. My hope is that others too can experience this Joy. Jesus is truly the way, the truth and the life.
So what can I do? Is there another step I can take, how about a challenge? I love him too much to be sitting in neutral. Time to step out on faith. I believe once again it has come to that time where I need to be clocking in each morning with even greater zeal than the day before.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I love how God is completely truthful with us. He never lies. In fact, there are verses in the Bible that would lead you to believe that not only does he choose not to lie – he cannot lie.
My first response to that is “But wait, my God can do anything he wants. He is God, right?”
Titus 1:2 says this:
“This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God–who does not lie–promised them before the world began.”
To take it a step further check out Hebrews 6:17-18
17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.
Impossible for God to lie? Really?
Actually it makes a lot of sense when you think about who we are talking about. This is God, perfect in all ways.
I remember one of my kids asking me why in the Old Testament God kills so many people, even children. I replied to the best of my ability while always relying on the holy spirit to help me through the teaching of my children.
As their teacher, I’ve learned that if I’m unsure of something I need to answer with, “that’s a very good question, let me see what the Bible says about that and we’ll talk about it together over lunch!”
On this particular question I think its important to always know that we as people only see a small fragment of the story. Our God is an all knowing God. What we see as death may be more like a beautiful awakening, like Jesus nudging your shoulder during a long sleep – waking you from a dream. As people all we see is what we’re allowed to see, on this side of Heaven. We don’t get to see the continuation of one’s life.
So in reference to my kid’s question, here are a couple instances in history when God made a decision that, for some, can be hard to understand the why or the how.
In the case of the great flood, God still made a way for Noah to escape it. But for the rest of the people there, Genesis 6:5 puts it like this:
5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
Yes, only evil all the time. I wonder how Noah felt being the only one who loved God while every other human heart was only evil all the time. I’m sure Noah trusted God, but how hard would it be to build an ark without the temptation to look over ones shoulder with knowledge that anyone who passes by is having an evil thought? I could only imagine the thought of hiding came to Noah from time to time, living in a world with so much evil.
Then you have the passover:
12 For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments– I am the LORD. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
From a human perspective this is very sad. They’re children. Why? – we ask. But once again, we do not see the continuation. But God is an all knowing God, an awesome God. And he loves us more than any person has ever loved you or me.
One may question – why would he include all these things that we tend to see as sad, in the Bible? This brings me back to the start of this article. God is always true, honest, and does not lie. He’s not one to sugar coat the truth. You want the truth, its in there. Through the words in the Bible, God doesn’t back peddle or side step in the description of anything that has happened. It’s all in there.
And the true answer of why one story or another is in the Bible can be found in 2 timothy 3:16-17.
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
So, in conclusion, I love that we have a God who does not lie and is completely honest with us through the instruction he left us, the Bible. This God of ours declares his absolute love for us, John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. This is his complete and honest truth. And he left us with the Bible because he is our Heavenly Father and he has a plan for you and me.
Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Jesus left us with the greatest commandment followed by a second great commandment.
Matthew 22:36-40 New International Version (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Once you’ve experienced the love and grace of our heavenly Father, loving Him to this degree comes easier. Love is an action word. We can always love Him a little more, and we can never love him as much as He loves us. But we will continue trying!
But then we get to that second commandment. “Love your neighbor as yourself”. This commandment stands regardless of whether or not you have a personal relationship with that other person.
So how do we do this?
Hmmm. To do this to the best of our God given ability, I think we really need to make sure we are doing the first and greatest commandment well. Building our relationship with Him is important. Continue seeking him daily. Pray often, and walk in spirit. The stronger your relationship with God, the better you will do with this second commandment. And here’s why.
Have you ever had a really good friend and that friend comes and tells you, “hey! you just gotta meet this friend of mine, coolest person I know”. At that moment you know you are going to meet someone that may become your friend. So you are probably giving this person the benefit of the doubt and hoping for the best, in that your first meeting will go well.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
God is more than just a very good friend of ours. Perhaps we should have that same attitude with every person we meet since we know and understand that every person out there is loved by our Lord and Savior – and it’s God’s desire for this person to accept Christ be saved and live out the purpose God has intended for that person. Who is God going to introduce to you next? And how will you respond?
In that moment may we focus on loving our God with all our heart, soul and mind. And then may we be open minded to love that person, giving them the benefit of the doubt and hoping for the best always.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Peter put it perfectly – Inexpressible and Glorious Joy,
Trusting God doesn’t come natural. If trusting Him was easy, I could only assume more people would be doing it. I know, during times of stress, that it is our God who I can trust, although my first reaction is to fix it.
Although we can trust Him, making the decision to do so does not mean we no longer have a part. We are to continue living out the purpose he has for us.
Memory triggered. This brings back a nice memory I had with my Grandma. She and my Grandpa were moving to Minnesota and I went to see them one last time before they left. The last thing she told me that day was “well… just keep on keepin on“. We hugged and that was our goodbye.
And I believe that’s what we as Christians are to do, especially through the storm, just keep on keepin on. And trust that God will handle the things that we come to feel unsure about. I have no idea how God brings everything together for the better – all I know is he does. I’ve seen this happen over and over. Months later I find myself replaying the events in an attempt to answering the question, “how did I get through that”. And as I try putting all the pieces together I get to a point where I just have to sigh and say, “wow God, you are in control“.
I’d like to close this post with Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
June 2015 is almost over, and it will never return. How will you take advantage of these final days in June? I want to give myself a June challenge, and I’d like to invite you to come aboard.
Before this month is over, I’ m going to keep my eyes open, looking and searching for any opportunity to share the message of Christ and the truth with someone else. Seeking opportunity can be done right now in this very moment from where you sit, regardless of whether you are around others or by yourself.
There are so many people in this World who needs to learn about the truth and who may be waiting for someone to share the truth with them. Jesus, without sin in every way, died for our sins so we may be right with God. I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and in Christ I have been made new. My old self is gone, the new has begun.
Now Lord, I seek your will, Please Lord use me, I am ready.
You said it, Jesus, long ago and I know the statement still stands to this day, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Who will you put in front of me Lord? I’m excited to learn your answer. I know you are here, living within us. And you are with me always, to the very end of the age. You’ve once again cleared my lens, even more crystal clear than before, and I see you as well as everything that is around us. Like giving me a thick pair of bifocals, you’ve brought everything into focus. And I know the time to act is now. Help me to continue living with a clear lens, and guide me to see what you want me to see. Put my tasks in front of me, as well as my other Christian brothers and sisters. Continue guiding us and challenging us. If in any moment there is something you would like me to do, make it obvious to me, I have faith you will.
Help me make that decision every day to put you and others before myself. I am yours.
And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:13-14 NKJV)
I love the story of Saul, later known as the Apostle Paul.
Saul was one who had a hate for Christianity. As a young man he witnessed the stoning of Stephen and he grew to be one who would make it his mission to persecute the Christian Church. When I think of Paul, I think of some ISIS leader. One with very evil intentions, who has a motivation to imprison and kill Christians. What would it take for an ISIS leader to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, quit their ways, and begin preaching the good news with the risk of being imprisoned or killed? Do any of us Christians feel like we want to be on the first ride out, in hopes of meeting an ISIS militant leader and preaching the good news? I don’t see anyone taking that trip now, and I doubt anybody felt like taking that risk with Saul in those days. So what would it take for a person of this character to find Jesus. A miracle? The touch of God? This is more in line with what happened with Saul. Saul didn’t learn about and accept Christ over a cup of coffee. Something incredible happened.
Saul was on the road to Damascus, a light from heaven flashed around him and he fell to the ground. He heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul replied, “Who are you, Lord?”. The voice responded, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting”. Saul could no longer see. Jesus gave him instructions to go into the city, and more instructions came after. He met with a man by the name of Ananias who also was instructed by the Lord to meet Saul through a vision. Upon their meeting Ananias placed his hands on Saul and let him know Jesus sent him so that Saul can see again and be filled with the holy spirit. Something like scales fell off his eyes, Saul was baptized and then after this he took some food and regained his strength. [Check out the book of Acts Ch 7-9]
As time went on Saul was more and more referred to as Paul and now we know him as the Apostle Paul. He dedicated his life to serving Christ, and wrote much of the New Testament. God had a purpose with Saul.
The following is a breakdown of the letters Paul wrote and the possible time-frames he wrote them:
Galatians (AD 47)
1 and 2 Thessalonians (AD 59—51)
1 and 2 Corinthians and Romans (AD 52—56)
Ephesians, Philemon, Colossians, and Philippians (AD 60—62, during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment)
1 Timothy and Titus (AD 62)
2 Timothy (AD 63—64, during Paul’s second Roman imprisonment)
It is debated whether Paul wrote the book of Hebrews or not, if so that would make 14 books total out of 27 in the New Testament.
Here’s a question you may take your time with and consider. Why do you think Jesus would guide someone like Saul, a persecutor of the Church, to come to believe in Him and write so much of the New Testament?
Here are some thoughts.
For myself, the story of Saul described an amazing transition. Saul wasn’t just somebody – he hated the faith. Have you ever known someone who truly hates something? What would it take for that person to love that same thing with all their heart? Something truly amazing must have happened. I think Paul was the last person any of us, both at that time and now, would expect to end up following Christ. Not only do we receive great instruction from our Father in Heaven through the Apostle Paul. This is a reminder to me that our Lord and Savior wants everyone to come to Christ, and he has no favorites. God has the power to soften the hearts of absolutely anyone. I wonder if any followers of that time every prayed for Saul prior to Saul coming to find Christ? Just a thought. Perhaps something we should continue doing for those living far from Christ, and for those many of us consider to be enemies of the faith.
Once upon a time I heard someone question the validity of the Bible due to it’s number of authors. For me, it helps knowing that more than one person wrote the bible. One thing to remember is that all scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). Yes there were multiple writers of the New Testament. But don’t stop there; who were they? The writers of the Gospels were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John who all lived in the time of Jesus, two of which were Jesus chosen disciples. They were eye witnesses. Then you have the Apostle Paul. The one we’ve been talking about. The last person anyone would expect to follow Christ, where his earlier mission was to stamp out the Christian Church, followed by an amazing transition to living for Christ.
Have you ever fell into the belief, or should I say the lie, that someone you know of will never find God because of who they are, or who you believe them to be? Guilty. But with Faith, all things are possible, and our God is an all powerful God full of Grace, Forgiveness and Love. Just like with Paul, God can make the impossible possible.
So where do we go from here? I think we need to continue to remind ourselves of our own role in this. In all walks of life our role is to remain faithful and obedient, as we continue our walk with Jesus, following his ways and growing in our relationship with him. Where would we be if the Apostle Paul chose not to be faithful and obedient? I’m very thankful that Paul made that daily decision to follow Christ. Just like with Paul and many others, God had a purpose and a plan for him, just as he does with you and me.
Making that decision to follow Christ daily brings a life full of joy as well as challenges. Life will still have it’s ups and downs. But with living a life for Christ, one thing you cannot call it is boring. It’s the adventure of all adventures.
I thought this made for a great video to go with this verse of the day…
Galations 6:1 NLT
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.
I’ve been asked on more than one occasion questions about what we can do. “As a Christian is it okay to drink? Can I still do this or that? I think this may be the wrong question to ask. Perhaps we should ask, “As a Christian, what can I do to bring light into this world, light to my friends and those I don’t know…
Ask that question of yourself today. Just asking that question is so much more positive than the typical questions, “Can I still do this”. I think still is the keyword here. The word still has a lot to do with change, or lack there of. Do you want God to use you to bring light and hope into the lives of others? If so, we as Christians need to continue growing and changing to be a reflection of Christ. We should always continue growing to be more like Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:23 NLT says this:
23 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial. 24 Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.
We should not put more focus on change and less focus on God. There’s things we cannot and should not do on our own. I believe we just need to focus on Him, change will follow.
I believe its also important to know, only Jesus lived life here on earth with no sin. Sin and temptation is something that doesn’t just go away. It’s something we battle throughout the rest of our lives. And one of the best ways to battle sin and temptation is by focusing more on Christ. Ephesians 6 talks about putting on the full Armor of God, which prepares you for this battle. If you were to go into battle back in the time Ephesians was written, what is the one thing you would be sure not leave at home? Your sword right? Ephesians 6 instructs us to put the full Armor of God on which includes the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God. Our focus needs to be on Him.
So I feel like I’m a little all over the place this morning. I’ll do my best to try to pull this all together. If you are a Christian or maybe you are considering making that decision, just know that God loves and cares for you very much. We’re Human, he knows we will never be perfect, and we will always fall short of the Glory of God. But this God of ours, he is so faithful to forgive. God wants a relationship with you. And He wants that relationship to grow. Following Christ will bring you much joy, but not without some challenges along the way. And He is always there to help see you through any challenges that come your way. Also, don’t let yourselves get stuck on what’s “normal”, from a worldly perspective. Don’t get stuck on that mindset, “what can I get away with doing”. Focus on his love, his grace. Focus on what you can do to bring light into the lives of others. With our focus on him we can be free of those other thoughts and begin living in this more fulfilling adventure.
Christianity is truly a great adventure, and God has a plan for you.
I’m currently going through a study on relationships. The first topic focuses in on finding a close Christian friend. Having a close Christian friend or family member gives that friend and yourself someone who can be leaned on during times of trouble or temptation. I do agree with this and think its very important to have someone you can call during hard times. Someone who will help lead you as Christ leads you. When going through trouble, its important having the right person to call or reach out to. You may have friends who have not yet made that decision to follow Christ quite yet. And even though you love them and they love you, they may unintentionally lead you further astray during times of need.
This section pointed me to a passage written by Paul – Galations 6:1-3:
6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.
Within this verse it talks about fulfilling the law of Christ by carrying each others burdens. Although I cannot find where the Law of Christ is specifically defined, I believe this is in reference to when Jesus talks about the two greatest commandments.
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Finding A Good Christian Friend
A good Christian friend will let you know if you begin to slip into sin. This isn’t easy to do since we are all sinners and sometimes as a friend, the last thing we want to do is bring up someones sin to them for fear of upsetting that person or coming across in a condescending way. But sometimes its necessary to have that talk. I believe if you are in this position where you need to have a talk like this with someone you know you must first go into prayer about it and ask for His help and guidance in bringing that message to that person.
Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”
Whether it’s you or that friend who has stumbled, its important to stay humble as we all will go through trials and stumbles. It is truly by the Grace of God that we are saved. A good Christian friend will be present and endure burdens with you.
This song reminds me of my childhood, growing up in the Church of Christ. This is where it all began for me. I have a mountain of respect for so many people from those earlier years. I’m very glad I had the opportunity to get to know and experience life with the Church. I look back now and think about those who were involved Sunday after Sunday, Wednesday after Wednesday, continuing to teach us about God and the lessons found within the Bible. I’m sure some of my Teachers thought everything they taught was going in one ear and out the other. Just know your involvement then has made an impact on my life.
And it doesn’t end with the Teachers. Whether you were committed to bringing the message, some words of encouragement, or simply a loving heart – you were a great example.
You were, and still are, the Church.
Remember that old saying, it takes a village… Actually, It takes a Church. 🙂
I find a lot of peace knowing and trusting that our Heavenly Father already knows all of our needs and will give us what we need. I just need to do my part in continuing to focus on seeking His Kingdom above all else, and living my life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
My previous post was on a lesson I heard about forgiveness, and how God wants us to also forgive ourselves. I wanted to follow that post with this video below. Often as people we mess up, and their are times when we come to this feeling that we are not “good enough” to bring our problems to Him. We begin to think, “How can I come to Him after all I’ve done?”.
The truth is, I know I have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I have made mistakes and will make mistakes. However, as I continue to live less for self, and more for Him, my hope is to make him proud of me. Although I will always fall short, it is by Grace I am saved through faith. Our God is a merciful God full grace, who meets us exactly where we are today. I believe this song paints a good picture of the awesome love and grace He truly has for us.
For him to still love me after all the stuff I’ve done, how can it be? A love and grace like no other.
His Forgiveness & Love
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Romans 6:14 ESV
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Yesterday, I had the privilege and freedom of taking my kids to church. I also was able to catch another great lesson on the subject of forgiveness. Yesterday was the second of a three part series titled, “Clean Slate”, with today’s focus on forgiving yourself. Jeff Love brought this message and not only did well explaining why we should forgive ourselves, but I also came out of today’s teaching thinking how truly loving and merciful our God really is.
Our Adversary likes to remind us of bad choices we’ve made in the past. I love the old quote he used on one of the previous sessions. When the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.
When we go to God to ask for forgiveness for our sins, he is faithful to forgive. It’s now behind him, and he doesn’t want us to hold it against ourselves.
One part I really enjoyed was how The greatest commandment, along with the one following, was brought to our attention:
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Right there Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Yes, I’ve done that very thing where I’ve personally imagined a period after neighbor and left out the yourself part.
Imagine you’re a parent of a child who made a bad choice. The kid decided to take the car for a spin and ended up crashing through the garage door that night. As a father, if my child was sincerely sorry for it, of course I’d forgive that child. I also wouldn’t want that child to live in regret and unforgiveness for this bad choice. That’s the last thing I would want for my child. The truth is, our heavenly father loves us so more than I can ever love my child as a father, I mean, it is God who defines love.
Living in regret and unforgiveness is not his plan for us.
When we mess up we need to ask for forgiveness and also forgive ourselves, then move forward with love all around.
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
As I read this verse I began to think, what a great verse to put up on my fridge (which as you see I ended up doing). Maybe I can also tape it on the inside of my wallet. Or how about on the pantry door? (did that too) That’s where all the goodies are ha!
But then there’s that part in the verse that says, “or whatever you do“. Now there are so many more places I can put this verse. I need to post it to fatherhood, marriage, work and relationships – there’s just an endless supply of areas where this verse can be posted.
I know the best way to post this verse is to post it on the forefront of our minds, as we are doing things always. So this morning I ended up printing a list so i can literrally post it a couple places and give one to my kids to post somewhere in their room. I’m looking forward to doing this when with them when I get home from work today.
Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
Do you know of a little one that looks up to you? Maybe a niece, nephew or your own kids? Don’t you just love it when they run up to you after a time of separation? I enjoy it when I get home from work and my 3 year old runs to me at full sprint. I believe this verse is an invitation to do just that, as a child of God.
In this chapter Paul describes God’s plan for both Gentiles and Jews. Paul also prays for spiritual growth, which happens to be a great thing to pray for. Paul prays that we as believers may come to understand the great love God has for us.
I read a commentary last night that left me fully convicted. It was about 7pm and there I was, sitting on the couch reading the Bible and at times I would pop my head up and see what was happening on the TV, then revert back to what I was reading. My youngest son was watching something on a handheld right beside me. One more TV was left on in the family room. Then there was also the faint sound of a video game being played in the distance.
The commentary was talking about listening for God’s voice and it states, “We don’t have the concentration to meditate on the things of God because we are constantly listening to the TV, turning up the radio, or doing all the talking ourselves.” I can tell you, the TVs were turned off soon after reading that. And then you know what happened? It became peaceful.
Imagine having dinner with a friend and you are telling your friend something very important, something from your heart, words you’ve prepared in advance. Blood, sweat and tears were shed in the preparation of what you are about to say. So you begin to speak, but you feel you don’t have your friend’s full attention. This is validated as they become engaged in a text. You love your friend but they’re not being a great friend right now. How counterproductive they are, in doing their part in growing the relationship.
The moment I read that I realized, I was being that friend.
When reading the word or doing a study, it may be very difficult to cut off all the sounds, especially with kids. But if there is something you can do to reduce distractions, it’s beneficial to go ahead and do it. Today I want to be sure to take time to be with God while in my study, distraction free.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
I find it very easy to set my focus on the matter at hand, such as taking care of kids, family, work, business. Then after all that is done maybe tonight, I’ll read the book of Galatians. Not the worse plan but there is a better one.
If I’m taking care of kids, how can I do that, while bringing Glory to his name. Family, work, business – how can I do all those things – while bringing Glory to his name, actively pursing opportunities to minister and to be the example Christ calls us to be. Every day I want to take up my cross and follow Jesus.
One thing I feel I need to point out is, although I can go into each day motivated to serve Christ and stay alert for opportunities to minister, I must also be sensitive to those nudges of the Holy Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit who is here to help us along the way. I must always trust in the Lord and follow his direction, surrendering all to Him. Always knowing and believing it is He who lives within.
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
I recently googled the phrase, who discovered the earth was round and came across several references to Pythagoras including this one below – which sat on top of the results…
“It has actually been known that the Earth was round since the time of the ancient Greeks. I believe that it was Pythagoras who first proposed that the Earth was round sometime around 500 B.C.”
After the Greek philosophers Pythagoras, in the 6th century BC, and Parmenides, in the 5th, recognized that the Earth is spherical, the spherical view spread rapidly in the Greek world. Around 330 BC, Aristotle maintained on the basis of physical theory and observational evidence that the Earth was spherical.
So what’s the Bible have to say about a round earth?
27 When He prepared the heavens, I was there,
When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,
Written Around 900 B.C.
21 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
Written Around 700-681 B.C.
Interesting. Roughly 400 years later, after being written in the Book of Proverbs, and then Isaiah, Pythagoras comes along and proposes the World is round, and has been given credit, for it even today.
19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
After reading this the two things that really come to mind in our culture today, in connection with rust and moths, are cars and clothes. For me it was mostly cars, not so much clothes. Everyone reading who know me are now thinking, “yea, no kidding”. Ha Ha. But as a youngster and even today, I’ll admit I have an attraction to cars.
I was reading an article just the other day about the 2014 Camaro ZL1. The ZL1 is a Camaro with a Corvette engine. 580 horses, yeaaa buddy. However this car runs about 57k. Imagine what you can do for God, with $57,000. If I were to break this into monthly payments it would run about $1,075 a month. Oh what we can do for God’s Glory with a budget of $1,075. Pizza for the homeless maybe? You know with that budget you can buy roughly 200 pizzas one month and spend a whole day handing them out to those in need. May have to buy them 20 at a time. Gotta keep em hot! I don’t know about you but just talking about this is motivating me to do something. I just love the idea.
So, is it wrong to own nice things? Absolutely not. But as Jesus said, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” This stuff – cars, clothes, whatever it may be for you, it is all temporary. Love lasts forever. Most of us have lost someone we love, yet we still love and miss them today. Love is something that last far longer than any earthly treasure you could ever buy.
And that brings me to Jesus. His love never fails, it never gives up, it will never run out on you. So very true there’s even a song for it.
No matter what I do or how much I grow in my faith, one thing will always be true – I am a sinner. I will always be sinner. I am so far from perfect.
But here’s the good news. Jesus came to bring us together with God. He made the decision to go to the cross and in doing so he paid the price for all the sins of the world including my own. The penalty for those sins I have committed in the past and the mistakes I will make in the future have already been paid in full, by Jesus.
On the third day following his crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead, proving he truly was the Son of God. Jesus is the only one who conquered death and paid for our sins.
In the Gospel of John, Chapter 9 describes an event where Jesus helps a man who was born blind be able to see. The Pharisees wanted details of how it all went down and what was to think of this man Jesus. They drilled the healed man with questions. The man didn’t know how to go about answering all of their questions but the one thing he did know and made clear to them was – once he was blind and now he can see.
Two chapters later in John 11, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. So I guess its fair to say, Once he was dead and now he’s alive…
When you seek and find Jesus, that is really what it feels like, your eyes are open for the first time and you feel more alive than you’ve ever felt before. It cannot be described in a way that is easily understandable for those who may not have yet experienced it. So those who have do their best to put into words how much God has changed their lives since that day, this we call our testimony.
Mark 5:19 “And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
I really do find it neat that when you do try to explain it to someone who’s also experienced it, they will finish your sentences, and you theirs.
Jesus is alive and well today.
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
So is there trouble in the home, issues between you and your spouse? Does it seem like you’ve tried everything but the cycles continue? Maybe, just maybe, there’s one more option.
Now there are hundreds of family counselors to choose from, and their answers for you will vary some. There is only one God. And his answer for us husbands has proven to actually work. What is his answer?
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,…
Guys, are we simply to love our wives? Or should we go as far as to be submissive? What if she’s in the wrong? Do we still submit with love? The verse above says to love her, “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. Were we (the church) sinners when he decided to give himself up for us? Yes! We were sinners then and still today. How did he give himself up for us? Jesus out of love and obedience to the Father made the decision to go to the cross and suffer as a sacrifice for many, and for that, hope is alive today!
Is hope alive in your marriage?
I believe there is! But we as husbands must be sure we are doing our part. I believe we are supposed to love our wives to that extent expressed in that verse above, to give ourselves up for her with unconditional love and sacrifice, just as the scripture says.
Make today the day you decide to give yourself for God and for her, maybe by first setting aside some prearranged thoughts, personal wants and desires. Begin with a 30 day goal of concentrating on just loving her with that ultimate unconditional love like what Jesus had for us, and continue loving her in a way that is pleasing to God. Be strong and courageous. I know this is no easy challenge, especially when you give all your love and receive back something that seems far from it. But stick to the script. When you cannot do it for her, do it for God. Take advantage of the God given gift of prayer. Pray for strength and clarity while also expressing thanksgiving. Although things may seem bleak, there is so much to still be thankful for. He will help you through it.
Now when it comes to loving my wife to this degree, I’ll admit, I fall short on this often. One thing I promise is, I’ll continue trying for both God and for my wife. And although we husbands will fall short, being human and all, I can say with complete confidence, blessings and healing will be poured out upon your marriage if you take this instruction from Him, and put your complete trust in Him and his ways.
Please come see how this played out in my own story.
This book I personally found very helpful, you can usually find it on amazon or a Christian book store near you. If you’d like to check out the website you can find it at loveandrespect.com
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,a whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.
13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
I cannot count the number of times Jesus has really saved me. He saved me from my sins at the cross. He saved me from myself and issues I personally face – countless times. He’s the one I turn to when in need. And he provides clarity when I ask.
I once heard that the true measure of love is sacrifice. The day is quickly approaching when that ultimate sacrifice was made roughly 1,985 years ago. Jesus went to the cross, a historic fact that has been accepted by both Believers as well as many renowned Atheists. And Jesus knew it was coming and made the decision to stay there and go through the pain of it all for us, even while not knowing in that moment how you would personally respond to it. He loved us first.
If it weren’t for Jesus, I don’t know where I’d be. I may be doing what we call the regular routine, go to work, come home, go to sleep (rinse and repeat). But there would be that empty space inside. That space that we often try to fill with something else.
I remember that empty feeling. I would try to fix it a number of ways. I would say to myself, “Maybe I need a vacation, maybe I need to go buy something new, or maybe I need a new job. Maybe I just need some sleep. Maybe I just need that drink.”
There comes a time when a vacation is something worth investing in, or a change in careers is necessary, but all along, all I ever really needed was a relationship with Jesus.
Having freedom from that empty feeling, the feeling that something is missing is truly a blessing, a gift in itself. Jesus once said, “If you abide in my word (accept or act in accordance with), you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
This verse was taught to me by Disney’s Jungle Book long ago. Here’s a clip for a little blast to the past.
So I always associated this verse with making that ultimate sacrifice, no greater love than when someone sacrifices their life for their friend. And Jesus went to the cross for us. I see the connection, and Jesus indeed has a greater love for you and me.
One thing that came to mind was another way we as Christians can lay down our own lives. The only way I can be a light into world full of darkness is by laying down my life for Christ and following Him completely, allowing him to take control of my life along with each step I take and each word I say. To walk in obedience is our evidence to God of our love for Him. I want to continue moving forward in laying down my life for him by taking up my cross and following Him daily. We only have one chance to truly sacrifice our life from a literal stand point, but we have an opportunity each day, every minute, to be a living sacrifice.
I know if I really want others to come to find Jesus – the most effective thing I can do is lay my life down for Christ, and let Him take the wheel. In my own story, their were those in my life who planted seeds along the way, but it was God who helped me see with clear vision for the first time, and it is a life changing event. Two years later I am still writing about it.
May I go into this day as a living sacrifice for Him.
Two dogs constantly fighting. This was one analogy given to me through a commentary. I’ll get into that in just a moment.
The topic for our Group’s study this week was Obeying God, and I just love some of the insight I receive from others both in my group and from commentaries found within our study bible. The reading for today was focused on how once we accept Christ, our old self is gone and we become a new person or creation.
One part of the commentary I was reading explains that sometimes it can be hard to obey God and leave old habits behind. But as we spend more time with God, we’ll be able to cultivate our new nature. This is where the dog fighting analogy came in. This man from India compared our new spiritual nature and our old selfish one to two dogs constantly fighting with each other. He went on to say that he could determine which dog would win. When asked how he could determine that, he replied, “The one I feed most, of course.”
As we take time to feed our new spiritual nature through reading the bible or praying, we give it the edge in the ongoing conflict between Good and Evil.
2 Corinthians 5:15
He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
Our heavenly father loves us so much and those who have accepted Christ have been given a clean slate. And although we stumble from time to time, our Lord and Savior is so eager to forgive us if we can just take a moment and give him the chance through repentance. There is nobody on this planet that can love you the way He does. As we begin to take notice of all that our Lord and Savior has done and continues to do for us, we come to this point that we no longer obey God only because the bible says we should, we walk in obedience because we love him so much and we know God is the only one we can trust with everything. Some see the bible as a book of rules. So why? Why would God who loves us so, give us some rules to follow? I believe it’s for the same reason a parent gives a child rules. Out of love, to keep them out of harms way, to protect them, to help them be able to live a meaningful life. Just like how kids need a parents instruction and guidance, we need his.
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. ~ Galations 3:27
Saint Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. St Patrick is credited with bringing christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works; the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish christians.
According to different versions of his life story it is said that he was born in Britain, around 385AD. His parents Calpurnius and Conchessa were Roman citizens living in either Scotland or Wales. As a boy of 14 he was captured and taken to Ireland where he spent six years in slavery herding sheep. He returned to Ireland in his 30s as a missionary among the Celtic pagans.
Saint Patrick described himself as a “most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped idols and unclean things had become the people of God.”
Many folk ask the question ‘Why is the Shamrock the National Flower of Ireland ?’ The reason is that St. Patrick used it to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans. Saint Patrick is believed to have been born in the late fourth century, and is often confused with Palladius, a bishop who was sent by Pope Celestine in 431 to be the first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ.
Oh how I love and need Proverbs 3:5 (Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;) but not without Proverbs 3:6. I think Proverbs 3:6 needs equal attention (in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.) because, yea, we trust God… But do we TRUST God in this way? By in all ways submitting to Him? I think this is where Proverbs 3:6 really brings it home for me. I really need to submit all to Him in all ways and in doing so he’ll help make my path straight.
Therefore, how does this apply to me today. There are people in my life that I’ve grown hesitant in sharing my faith with. They may know I’m a believer – but they don’t know why. Today if the opportunity arises, I will not be hesitant. If I’m called to act, no matter the person or people present, I will act. If I’m called to minister, I will minister. One of Satan’s favorite tools he uses on believers as well as non-believers is fear. This is the #1 reason why Christians (including myself) hold back on sharing our faith.
Will they judge me, will they no longer like me, will I get fired. These are some of the thoughts that enter my own mind in the moment and all three have a common component in that each one has a link to fear. The fear of being judged, losing friend or becoming unemployed. So with those thoughts, Am I trusting the Lord with all my heart, or better yet, have I, in all ways, submitted to him? Maybe not. But I’m working on it, even as I type…
So these are the questions, Will they judge me or no longer like me, will I lose my job. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Am I okay with that. If I’m going to trust Him with everything, I need to be okay with those maybes. God has always been there, and He will never leave my side. The waves were rough and Peter began to sink. It’s at that moment when Jesus grabbed Peter and pulled him out. That’s when he’s closest. I wonder if Peter wanted a 2nd try at walking on the water. I wonder if any of the other disciples were like, “CAN I TRY IT”. Would of you wanted to try it? I believe I would have. Actually, We can. Now its our turn. Today when in our workplace or wherever we may be, if given the opportunity let’s walk out on the water.
Wisdom Bestows Well-Being
1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.
13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
those who hold her fast will be blessed.
19 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.
21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the Lord will be at your side
and will keep your foot from being snared.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
“Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
when you already have it with you.
29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
who lives trustfully near you.
30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
when they have done you no harm.
31 Do not envy the violent
or choose any of their ways.
32 For the Lord detests the perverse
but takes the upright into his confidence.
33 The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
34 He mocks proud mockers
but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
35 The wise inherit honor,
but fools get only shame.
Today I got derailed by frustration in the work place….
Sometimes you start the day off strong, but then something happens. You get derailed. Frustration and irritability begin to sink in, and at this point, oddly (for some of us) the last thing you want to do, in that moment, is pray. And that’s what was going on with me. But I was fooled, its a trick.
If you want God to grant you freedom from this, one thing you can do is go into a quiet place and pray for a heart change. Pray for peace, clarity and maybe even a little humility. I find that during times like this, this is a prayer that is often answered quickly.
“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.
3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come
and will not delay.
The other day I was searching for a song that I heard while attending church in Phoenix. It’s a little different from songs that I usually post as you’ll find talking and a choir, but I love it. The words are truly awesome words to live by. It’s a great song to listen to when preparing yourself for that important thing you’re about to do, or simply just preparing for the day ahead.
Is there anything that makes you nervous or even fearful? For myself, public speaking is one of those things that can be nerve wracking. However, if I’m ever in the position where I do need to talk publicly, this is the song I’m going to listen to and sing along with, before hand. I encourage you not to only listen to this song, but to sing along with it. Doing so will help bring it all into focus for you. And keep these words with you where ever you go. I hope you enjoy.
I give myself away
so you can use me…
My life is not my own
To you I belong
I give myself
I give myself to You
I read this Old Testament story of a man by the name of Joshua, who was to take over where Moses left off. He was given the position to lead the people to inherit the promised land. And God spoke with him, preparing him for the work he had in store for him. “Be strong and courageous”, several times God said this to him. Being strong and courageous wasn’t even a suggestion for Joshua, but a commandment. God also instructed Joshua to meditate on the word day and night.
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I think this verse makes for a great memory verse. Every day we go about our way, we need to be strong and courageous knowing God is always with us always. To meditate on his word day and night is something that I can do better. To meditate on his word, I need to be in it, reading it often. I’ll admit, there’s days I get to wrapped up in the daily routine of work, family and my own thing. However, I want to continue building my relationship with Jesus in every way I can. And what a great way to learn more about Jesus, by digging into his instruction manual for us.
I recently started a new plan with Youversion, the old testament in one year. It sends me 3 chapters a day. So basically what I do is read one or two chapters in the morning, and one or two chapters in the evening before bed. In doing this I hope to learn and grow while taking on a couple of the instructions given to Joshua. The instruction to be strong and courageous in everything I do and to meditate on the word day and night. As I come across a story or a single verse that jumps out at me, I can take that verse and meditate on it through the day. By doing this, I’ll be ready for the tasks that God may place in my path.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
Psalm 119:105 ESV
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
I know the Holy Spirit is ready and willing to strengthen and empower us as followers of Christ. Are we giving him the opportunity? I recently read a commentary stating, God didn’t give us the power of the Holy Spirit to feel something, but to accomplish something.
In Acts 2:4 it says, “And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages”
This happened on the day of Pentecost when all the believers were meeting together in one place. As soon as they were filled they began speaking in other languages – why? To accomplish something! There were also others there that day, devout Jews from all different places, who were “completely amazed” to hear their own language being spoken. And then Peter who was also filled with the Holy Spirit, came forward to preach a message, a great message might I add. (Acts 2 14-41) and by the end of this message 3,000 were added to the church that day. With the Holy Spirit, truly awesome things are accomplished.
When I feel the Holy Spirit close, it feels like I’m on the mountain top, I’m full of joy and peace. But I cannot let that be the sole purpose for accepting the Holy Spirit in my life, just so I can walk around being joyful all day. There are so many who have yet to feel the love of Jesus. I must continue forward and witness to others as the Holy Spirit gives me the confidence, the boldness and ultimately his help in doing so.
May we all, who believe, accept this truth that the Holy Spirit increases our ability to share the gospel as well as our own testimony of faith in God, and he wants to accomplish something with you today. May we give our full trust in the Lord today and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us.