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?
Great introduction to a great song.
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.
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.
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
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.
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
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.
May the Lord help me live this out today.
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.
I wrote this article below back in 2013
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