“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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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’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.
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.
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.
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.