I have noticed a pattern in my life. When I become restless for something or some situation to change and I act out on my own to change it, it seldom works out for good. I know I am not alone in this. Too often we respond to our situations with impatience and irritation. We want to see quick results. We want instant gratification. We want, we want…and when we try and force the issue it does not usually end well. Sadly we followers of Christ sometimes forget that without God’s approval a lot of the things we desire and want to force are not the best things for us. Most of us know believers that got impatient waiting on a godly spouse and decided to accept someone that gave them the attention they were craving. One thing leads to another and they end up marrying outside their faith. Ten years down the road they cry out to God, “Why is my marriage such a mess?” We’ve all been guilty of rushing ahead of God’s best for us in one area or another. Though some situations are much more serious when we do this, such as marriage, all situations are more difficult when we rush ahead of God’s will. Our emotions can often be the driving force that set us on a path outside of God’s will. Hasty decisions seldom bring about the best results. God has created us to have fellowship with Him. He has made a way through Christ, for us to be able to come before Him morning, noon and night. He longs for our fellowship with Him. When we stay close to Him we are much more inclined to wait on Him for our answer. It’s when we take our eyes off of Him that we begin to stress and get impatient for results. The scriptures are full of verses petitioning us to wait on God. To lean on Him for direction, guidance and for all of our needs! Let’s take a look at just a few of them.. Lamentations 3:25,26 NIV 25The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Psalm 33:20-22 NIV 20 We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. 21 In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You. Psalm 37:9 KJV 9 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. Psalm 25:5 NKJV 5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day. Psalm 40:1-3 NKJV 1 I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. 2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. 3 —Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord. I personally love this verse, Psalm 37:34 NKJV 34 Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it. And finally a verse we should all put to memory, Isaiah 40:31 NKJV 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. The one thing we can be sure of is that we will never regret waiting on God. What He has for us is far better than anything or anyone we could ever gain through impatience. He has our long term benefit at heart. He knows the future. He knows who and what we need in our lives. If you are in the process of making a decision that could affect your future ask God for wisdom. Ask Him for direction. Ask Him to open doors He wants open in your life and to shut doors He wants closed. Seek His will in the matter and then wait on His answer. Rushing ahead without consulting God will not give you the result that is best for you in the long term. It may gratify you for the short term but God’s will in the matter will bring the best long term results! Lord, please remind us to look to You as our source for everything. Teach us to wait on You instead of running ahead with our own plans. Give us a heart that loves You more and more and trusts You in all things. In the name of Jesus, Amen “Stand still” – keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.” ~Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Archive | January 2014
Give us a heart like Josiah!
I am currently reading through the book of Kings. It amazes me that though God revealed His love for His people over and over againg there would rise up leaders that willingly chose to offer up sacrifices to idols and seek out occult practices despite God’s warning to them illustrating the verse in Jeremiah 17:9NIV 9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? That’s why it blessed me when I read about Josiah. Finally, after so many kings that turned their hearts from the One true God we meet Josiah. 2 Kings 22 NIV 22 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath.2 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.
3 In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the secretary, Shaphan son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the temple of the Lord. He said: 4 “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and have him get ready the money that has been brought into the temple of the Lord, which the doorkeepers have collected from the people. 5 Have them entrust it to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. And have these men pay the workers who repair the temple of the Lord— 6 the carpenters, the builders and the masons. Also have them purchase timber and dressed stone to repair the temple. 7 But they need not account for the money entrusted to them, because they are honest in their dealings.”
8 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. 9 Then Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him: “Your officials have paid out the money that was in the temple of the Lord and have entrusted it to the workers and supervisors at the temple.” 10 Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.
11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. 12 He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Akbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s attendant: 13 “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”
14 Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter.15 She said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’ 18 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: 19 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curseand be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. 20 Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’”So they took her answer back to the king.
God showed mercy because of Josiah’s humility, faith and obedience! Even after all the wickedness the nation had demonstrated, God saw and responded to the sincere heart of Josiah.
We read on in 2 Kings chapter 23 Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 He went up to the temple of the Lord with the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the Lord. 3 The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep his commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.
4 The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the Lord all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel. 5 He did away with the idolatrous priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem—those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts. 6 He took the Asherah pole from the temple of the Lord to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem and burned it there. He ground it to powder and scattered the dust over the graves of the common people. 7 He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes that were in the temple of the Lord, the quarters where women did weaving for Asherah.
8 Josiah brought all the priests from the towns of Judah and desecrated the high places, from Geba to Beersheba, where the priests had burned incense. He broke down the gateway at the entrance of the Gate of Joshua, the city governor, which was on the left of the city gate. 9 Although the priests of the high places did not serve at the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests.
10 He desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice their son or daughter in the fire to Molek. 11 He removed from the entrance to the temple of the Lord the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were in the court near the room of an official named Nathan-Melek. Josiah then burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.
12 He pulled down the altars the kings of Judah had erected on the roof near the upper room of Ahaz, and the altars Manasseh had built in the two courts of the temple of the Lord. He removed them from there, smashed them to pieces and threw the rubble into the Kidron Valley. 13 The king also desecrated the high places that were east of Jerusalem on the south of the Hill of Corruption—the ones Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the vile goddess of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the vile god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the people of Ammon. 14 Josiah smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles and covered the sites with human bones.
15 Even the altar at Bethel, the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused Israel to sin—even that altar and high place he demolished. He burned the high place and ground it to powder, and burned the Asherah pole also. 16 Then Josiah looked around, and when he saw the tombs that were there on the hillside, he had the bones removed from them and burned on the altar to defile it, in accordance with the word of the Lord proclaimed by the man of God who foretold these things.
17 The king asked, “What is that tombstone I see?”
The people of the city said, “It marks the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and pronounced against the altar of Bethel the very things you have done to it.”
18 “Leave it alone,” he said. “Don’t let anyone disturb his bones.” So they spared his bones and those of the prophet who had come from Samaria.
19 Just as he had done at Bethel, Josiah removed all the shrines at the high places that the kings of Israel had built in the towns of Samaria and that had aroused the Lord’s anger. 20 Josiah slaughtered all the priests of those high places on the altars and burned human bones on them. Then he went back to Jerusalem.
21 The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” 22 Neither in the days of the judges who led Israel nor in the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah had any such Passover been observed. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem.
24 Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the Lord. 25 Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.
Josiah lived in a time where wickedness was rampant among his people, yet he turned to the Lord with ALL HIS HEART AND WITH ALL HIS SOUL AND WITH ALL HIS STRENGTH! In the book of Matthew 22:36-40 NIV Jesus tells us to do the same,
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” When we love God with all our heart, soul and mind we are able to love our neighbor as ourselves. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, He makes possible what would otherwise be impossible.
We too live in a world full of rebellion from God and wickedness. My prayer is that God will give us a heart like Josiah. A heart that humbles itself before Him and loves Him with all our heart soul and strength! We too need to tear down anything in our lives that God considers idolatrous. Anything that we put before Him. Anything that keeps us from walking in obedience to Him.
Lord, forgive us for our sins, our rebellion and our hard heartedness. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, soften our hard hearts and make them tender for you God. Give us a desire for more of You Jesus. We ask it in Your beautiful name Jesus.
The WAY back
It is an amazing thing to me that the Son of God came to the earth in such a beautiful, simple manner. There was no pomp and circumstance at the time of His birth in the lowly manger. He came as a baby in order that He would go through and experience the various stages of life we would and yet not sin. The Word of God tells us He was tempted in every way just as we are. Hebrews 12:15 NIV 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. Our temptations are not foreign to Him. That in itself is sometimes hard for me to wrap my mind around. When He came to the earth He could have come in all His glory and majesty as the exalted Son of God, but rather He came humbly to demonstrate His love and affection for us in a way that we can understand. He was man and He was God. He dealt with the same things many of us deal, with yet did not sin. Through His holiness and obedience He made a way as the sacrificial lamb for us to become holy. When He willingly sacrificed His sinless body for our sin ridden bodies He opened the door for our redemption by the blood that was shed. That is love!
Until we really grasp that fact not just in our head but in our hearts, we will continue to strive to make ourselves acceptable to Him. However, striving will never accomplish acceptability. On our own, we will NEVER be clean enough, kind enough, loving enough, or giving enough. We simply cannot make ourselves be acceptable by anything we do. It is only by accepting that when He died on that cross, His shed blood made me acceptable in the eyes of God. It is through Christ alone that we are able to stand clean before God. It is through Christ alone that we are changed. When we come to Him and ask His forgiveness and ask Him to be Lord of our life we receive the Holy Spirit who begins to work in us to conform us into the image of Christ. Through prayer and prayerfully reading our Bibles we will grow closer to Him and deeper in our walk as followers. There will be times in our walk that we stumble. It is during these times it is most important that we confess our sin quickly, get back up and move forward. If we allow the accuser of the brethren (Satan) to cause us to feel we are no longer good enough to come before God we have missed the most important message of the gospel. We will NEVER be good enough. That is why we need our redeemer! That’s why God sent Christ! John 14:6 NIV 6 Jesus answered, “I am the WAY and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you are a Christian that is struggling with feelings of defeat, discouragement, failure etc. because of a stumble, a fall or outright disobedience than it’s time you confess your sin, and accept His forgiveness. He promises that if we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us from our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. (1John 1:9) HE does NOT LIE. Don’t allow pride or fear to keep you from intimacy with the lover of your soul. Pride will tell you that you need to straighten yourself up first before you come to Christ. You can’t straighten yourself up without Christ! Too often we listen to the wrong voice when we stumble and rather than confessing our sin and turning back to the One who willingly died for us, we try and fix ourselves up first. It is pride cloaked in works. His love for us is more than sufficient to forgive us and set us back on track!
Don’t waste another minute striving to get back to a place where you feel you will be good enough to come back to Christ. It’s impossible on your own. Instead accept once and for all that the blood He shed on the cross will cover every one of your sins. Not just some but every one. Ask for forgiveness right now and KNOW that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Begin to thank Him for His love and mercy and get back into a place of intimacy with Him through spending time with Him and in His Word.
Lord I am sorry for the things that I have done that have grieved You. I am sorry for hurting or disappointing myself and others through my actions. I pray for your forgiveness right now and I believe Lord that when I confess my sin You are true to Your word and that You are faithful to forgive me and to cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness. Thank You Lord! Keep me close to You and give me a hunger for Your word that I may grow closer and deeper in love with You.
In the precious name of Jesus,
WE are family
As followers of Christ, we inherit the blessings of having a church family. Our church family is not just within the walls of our own church but is worldwide. We are brothers and sisters with other followers of Christ from Canada to Australia and everywhere in between. It is so important that we don’t lose sight of that in our prayer lives. We need to hold up the body of Christ everywhere. For those who are suffering persecution in foreign lands, for those who are being sifted through trials, for those who are enduring hardships of their own making, we are called to intercede for them all because one day we will all stand together before Christ as one family, though from many tribes and tongues! Revelation 7:9-10 NIV 9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
I have noticed in my own walk and in the walk of others that the enemy loves nothing more than to separate us from our brothers and sisters. He likes to isolate us. When we have engaged in sin one of the first things we hear inside our heads is condemnation. If we continue to listen to the accuser instead of simply repenting and moving forward in our walk with Christ, Satan will use that condemnation and shame to isolate us from the ones we need the most. God created us with the need for fellowship. Just as He longs for fellowship with us, He has created a desire for fellowship inside us to have an abiding relationship with Him and with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Though each of us has unique giftings and talents, we are not created to stand alone or to operate alone. We are to operate as a family, each fulfilling his or her function.
When we stumble, fall, or just get discouraged along the way, it is important to reach out to our church family. It is humbling to do so but it brings with it great rewards. We have a safe place to come to for prayer, love and encouragement. All things each of us will need from time to time. When we pull back from our church family, we often find ourselves becoming discouraged, lonely and left to feel rather isolated. Bingo, Satan has succeeded in keeping us from moving forward in our walk of faith!
Several years ago, after a series of tragedies in my life, I became very discouraged. I wondered where God was when I was suffering? I pulled away from the church and thought I would be better off figuring things out on my own. Let me just say that it just prolonged my sorrow. I wasted precious time wallowing when I could have been enjoying the love and support of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am so grateful to God for wooing me back into the arms of a church family. Though, no church is perfect, it is still the best place to be for spiritual growth, encouragement, love and support. It is also a place where God will train us up in our giftings, if we let Him.
If you find yourself feeling isolated and apart from the body of Christ, ask God to give you direction in finding a church home. He didn’t create any of us to be islands. We function best and are most fulfilled when we work as a family. We just happen to have a very large family that encompasses every country in the globe and there is certainly a church family out there waiting for you and the giftings God has given you. Don’t postpone your loneliness and isolation. Ask God for direction in finding the church family He has waiting for you.
Hebrews 10:24,25 NIV 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Give the gift of HOPE
If there is one word to sum up what is lacking in this world of ours my guess is it would be “hope”. For those who have not come into a personal relationship with Christ there is not much to be hopeful for. Politicians reveal corrupt natures on a regular basis, the economy has caused many to lose their homes and savings, evil exists in every city and country, innocent people are being imprisoned for years for their beliefs while pedophiles get off with light sentences. Is it any wonder that so many struggle with depression and suicide rates have increased?
The World Health Organization states that:
- Every year, almost one million people die from suicide; this roughly corresponds to one death every 40 seconds.
- Suicide is among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years in some countries, and the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 years age group; these figures do not include suicide attempts which can be many times more frequent than suicide (10, 20, or more times according to some studies). http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/index.html
It’s a dark world we live in. Without “hope” many just give up. Proverbs 13:12 explains why, 12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life
If this world, as it is, was all we had to look forward to it would be easy to understand the lack of “hope” we see in most people. But it isn’t! We have every reason to hope. God has provided a way for a better life in this present world and in the world to come through Jesus His Son! Through salvation, we have direct access to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We receive His Holy Spirit to guide us and direct us. Our longing has been fulfilled through Christ! We can now operate out of the love Christ has shed in our hearts and thereby are able to make even this world we live in a much better place while we wait on Heaven!
It is so important that we share this “hope” we have received. The same gift we have been given is available to everyone who will call upon the name of Jesus. Without this hope many people will go on to live sad, unfulfilled lives struggling to take them into an eternity that will be even worse. When we share Christ with others we give them the gift of hope, knowing that He will take whatever mess their life has become, and mold it into something wonderful, just as He did with each of us that know Him as Savior and Lord. We are to “overflow with hope” as the word of God tells us in Romans 15:13 NIV 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Why not let your hope overflow into the life of another today? Reach out to someone that needs to see the “hope” we have demonstrated by your being the hands and feet of Christ. Let them hear of the “hope” we have through sharing the salvation message of Christ.
As we wait on the blessed hope of Christ’s return, let’s collectively share our present hope with those that need to hear! The book of Titus lays it out so perfectly… Titus 2:11-14 NIV 11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Lord, today use me to demonstrate the “hope” you offer to others that don’t know you or those that have been sidelined by sin and the cares of this world. Let my actions and words share the truth of who You are and the hope that You offer each and every person that willingly turns to You.
In your beautiful name Jesus,
Are you ALWAYS prepared to give an answer?
As we follow Christ it’s important that we always remember that our lives are to exemplify His character. I don’t think we really get this until we realize deep down how much He loves us. I spent years knowing in my head He loved me but it really has been only the last few years when I began to believe in the depths of my heart that HE LOVES ME! Me, who stumbles from time to time. Me, who wasted years living a life without the intimacy I now share with Him. Me, who is so far from perfect it isn’t funny. That’s right, HE LOVES ME and HE LOVES YOU too! The more I think about what He did for me on the cross and what He continues to do for me daily, I can’t help but love HIM!
It’s not enough for us to simply enjoy our relationship with Christ, but out of that relationship He has called us to love and serve others. This is going to look a little different in each of our lives. Some are called to minister as evangelists, prophets, teachers etc.. others are called to minister in their daily life as parents, neighbors, friends etc. but all are called to minister in one manner or another. We are to be ready and willing to not only do the labor He has called us to but also to give any man or woman that asks, the reason why. We read in 1 Peter 3:15-16 NIV 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Those are powerful words. That means when we are waiting in line for half an hour to pay for our purchases and the cashier is learning as she goes, we need to exemplify the character of Christ and be willing to give the reason why should we be asked. That means when someone cuts us off in traffic we are to exemplify the character of Christ and be willing to give the reason why, should someone ask. That means when someone blames us for something we haven’t done, we need to respond with the character of Christ and be willing to give the reason why should someone ask. This is something we need to be mindful of regardless of where we are, who we are with or what we are doing.
Often we designate certain areas of our lives that we know we must tow the line so to speak, but the word of God tells us that we should ALWAYS be prepared to give an answer to EVERYONE who asks to give the reason for the hope that you have! The only way this is possible is by staying close to Christ. It is out of His love and Holy Spirit that we are able to see each person we meet as someone He has put in our path. When we abide in Him throughout the day, we see as He sees. When we walk in our own strength we see as we see and will miss many opportunities to share His love to a world that desperately needs Him.
Over the last year I have formed a habit of praying each morning on my way into work that the Lord will bring people into my office that He wants there. I ask Him to help me to demonstrate His love to those He brings in. Yesterday I had a new client come in that was particularly challenging. After listening to her for a few minutes I was ready to respond with some “attitude.” It was then the Lord reminded me, “Did you not ask me to bring people in? This is one of the people I have sent.” Instantly, my response changed! I realized it was by His appointment this woman had come into my office and I was to respond to her the way Christ would. It made the rest of our conversation go so much smoother and by the end of the conversation her entire demeanor changed for good! However, even if it hadn’t improved, I was still to respond as Christ would. It is not dependent on how others treat us but how Christ would treat them.
Too often we become desensitized to the fact that we are His hands and feet everywhere we go and to everyone we meet. If you find yourself struggling with this please join me in the following prayer…
Lord, please stir our hearts to be prepared to answer ANYONE who asks the reason for the hope we have in You. Give us a love for what You love and a hate for what You hate. Let us be Your hands and feet today in all that we do, remembering to do all with gentleness and respect.
In the precious name of Jesus, our beautiful Lord and King,
Let His love OUST your fears
It is rather amazing how so many Biblical prophecies are coming to pass right before our eyes. Though it used to scare me when I would see some of these things happen, it no longer does. I am convinced that my Savior’s love for me will be sufficient to see me through the coming days. Not just me but all of His kids. I don’t fixate on prophecy but I do believe we are to “be wise as serpents and gentle as doves” with all that is going on. (Matthew 10:16) Throughout history, God has warned His people of coming events and that is true today.
So as we see more and more Biblical prophecies fulfilled how are we to respond? I believe the most important thing we can do is stay close to Jesus. As we lean on Him, He will guide us and direct our paths. We do not need to fear anything or anyone. We serve the living God who has promised to not give us more than we can bare and we can take Him at His word! He has promised He will never leave us or forsake us. He has promised that NOTHING can separate us from His love. If we are not convinced of His love for us, we have reason to fear. There is a lot of very dark things happening right now and this will only increase. However, when we come to understand just how very much He loves us, we can start each day resting in that love. As we rest in His love, we are able to be His hands and feet to others and share the good news with them. If we are not convinced of His love for us how can we possibly reach out to others with the love and peace of Christ?
If you are not yet convinced that God loves you, than it’s time to start familiarizing yourself with some truth from the Bible. He, who sent His precious Son to suffer and die in order that your relationship with Him may be restored, loves you! Let’s take a look at just a few examples of His words to YOU….
John 3:16 NIV 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.
1John 3:16 NIV 16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Romans 5:18 NIV 18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
1John 4:9 NIV 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
1John 3:1 NIV 3 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
Romans 8:38-39 NIV 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And finally Jesus’s words to us in John 15:9 NIV 9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. These words are for each and every one of us, not just a select few!
As worldwide troubles increase, do not fear. Trust in the One who was willing to die for you. Know that He will not allow anything to separate you from His love. Abide in His love and allow that love to flow through you into a world that desperately needs to learn of Him.
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Solomon’s slippery slope of compromise
Every time I read through the Old Testament I discover new things. I believe God draws certain things to our attention at different times in our life. The Holy Spirit beautifully reveals things as we need them in our walk. I have just finished reading about David and the Kingdom God promised him that would be continued through his son Solomon, should Solomon continue to serve God and walk in obedience. Well Solomon started off well. He rebuilt the temple as he was instructed to. However, even with his God given wisdom, he made choices along the way that would put him in opposition to God’s purposes. He began to collect women as his wives and concubines that served idols and false gods. Sure enough over time he too began to serve the same idols. He, who had heard from God twice in his life and had seen God’s hand move mightily through his father David! He compromised with the company he kept and it eventually caused him to compromise his obedience to the Most High.
For some reason, this time around as I read through the story it made me very sad. God had done so much for Solomon. He had revealed Himself in so many awesome ways and yet Solomon, through the lusts of the flesh, turned from serving Him.
1Kings 11:1-13 NIV11 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.
7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.
9 The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”
As I thought about this, it just seemed so ridiculous for Solomon to give up the One true God for idols after all he had seen and experienced and then it occurred to me, how often do we in the body of Christ do the same thing? We compromise in our relationships to appease our lusts and then find ourselves sliding down that slippery slope of separation from our intimacy with Christ. How it must grieve God’s heart when He sees us setting aside our fellowship with Christ for people and things that will never amount to anything outside His approval. How many Christians do we know that have “intermarried” their lives with those who do not follow Christ and then are surprised when they find themselves living out the difficult consequences of their decision? Sadly too many.
The beauty in this story however, can be found in verses 12 and 13, 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.” Though people may turn from serving God, He will never go back on His word. Because of the sake of David, God continued His promise through one tribe! That is the heart of our Father. He loves us and throughout history has always provided a way for His people to continue. The greatest way being through His precious Son!
My prayer is to have a heart like David. Acts 13:22 NIV 22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ Though I may stumble from time to time, I will continue to come before my beautiful King daily and ask for His mercy and guidance.
Lord let us not “intermarry” with the world and it’s idols but instead be a beacon of light and hope to the world that so desperately needs You! If we have Lord, please forgive us of our disobedience and hard heartedness and set us back on track. Continue the work of sharing the gospel through us Jesus!
Waiting Room behavior
Have you been waiting on God for some time for an answer? I have. I have cried out to God several times for a situation to be resolved and I am still waiting. I had initially hoped He would resolve the issue quickly and all would be well. He has not done so, despite many prayers and petitions. Do I think He is ignoring me? NO, I know He hears my cry and I also know He will answer it in His time.
If I am completely honest I must admit in my earlier walk with Christ I used to get very annoyed and sometimes very angry when I didn’t see answers come quickly. Sadly I see many believers still behaving in the same way. If God doesn’t answer them how and when they want Him to, they rebel in their hearts. It’s as if we think by being annoyed or angry we are going to strong arm God into giving us our results when we want them. Manipulation may have worked with others we have dealt with but it will NOT work with our Heavenly Father. You can’t rebel yourself into getting your way! I am grateful to God that He has taught me that the hard way! He didn’t give in to my immature demands. Instead, He waited for me to get to the end of my arrogant demanding and when I humbled myself often I would see results that I had longed for. He requires our love and obedience even when we don’t see things going our way. Even when things seem so wrong! We must never forget that He is the creator of the universe. He knows the beginning from the end. His ways are not our ways!
I am learning to praise Him despite immediate unanswered prayers. I am learning to worship Him and love Him despite difficulties I am facing. I am learning to trust Him despite what I see with my eyes. That is what the word of God tells me to do and that is what I want to do. When I find myself starting to grumble and complain, He reminds me that I am to trust Him with everything. Not just what I happen to understand. It’s called growing up in faith. No longer demanding my way and when I don’t get it withholding my love and affection from the One who NEVER withholds His love from me. My prayer is that as I journey on through the rest of my life I will do as David says in Psalm 130:5 NIV 5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope. And as I wait, I hope I will continue to praise Him and worship Him for who He is, not just for what He does or how quickly He does it.
Lord help us all to Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)
Fear bound? It’s time to fight back!
I am convinced that one of the biggest obstacles us followers of Christ face on a day to day basis is fear. From the moment our feet hit the floor the enemy of our soul longs to have us bound up with fear and keep us from moving forward in God’s purpose for us for the day. Sometimes it starts before our feet hit the floor. Many toss and turn all night due to worry and fear. Fear cripples us and as long as we allow it to rule our minds we will never achieve our destiny in Christ.
So how do we go about ridding ourselves of ongoing fears? We need to challenge each and every one of them as they rear their ugly heads. The word of God tells us He has NOT given us a spirit of fear. Therefore when we live in fear we are listening to a foreigner’s voice. We are called to listen to and be guided by the Holy Spirit. If we are making decisions based on fear and walking in fear we are not hearing correctly. We have tuned out the word of God.
When we make our decisions based on our fears we tend to go astray. For example, if we fear God will not provide us with a godly spouse we compromise and start dating outside our faith, this seldom ends well. If we fear God will not meet our financial needs, we refuse to tithe and miss out on the blessings He promises to those who obey Him with their tithes. If we fear failure, we will never venture out and do anything outside our comfort zone and therefore never accomplish the things God has in store for us! If we fear rejection, we will never be able to move past ourselves and reach out and love on others the way Christ has called us to. Yielding to fear will keep us frozen! Christ has not called us to stand still but to move forward with Him, being lead by the Holy Spirit. As we grow in our understanding of His deep love for us, we realize we have NOTHING to fear.
1 John 4:18 tells us 18 There is NO fear in love. But perfect love DRIVES OUT FEAR, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. When fear rises within us we need to challenge that fear with God’s word. For example, if we are afraid to trust God with our finances we need to open up our Bibles and find all the scriptures on how God will provide for His children. Just a few examples are Philipians 4:19 NIV19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Or Matthew 7:11 NIV 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! There are many more verses that will speak truth to us with regards to God meeting our needs. We needn’t fear! Taking the time to write out all the verses pertaining to a particular fear you may be dealing with is well worth it! Sow those words into your heart so that when the fear tries to ensnare you, you have a weapon of defense! If you continue to listen to the fear you will eventually succumb to it. This goes for fear of any kind, whether it be fear of failure, fear of being alone, fear of rejection etc. Romans 8:15 NIV says, 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.”
When we allow fear to speak to us throughout each day we are not allowing the Spirit of God to lead us as we should. Christ’s love for us is a perfect love and when we look to Him as our Savior, provider, healer, deliverer and lover of our soul, there isn’t anything too big for us to face or do.
If you are struggling with fear and have tuned out the voice of God, get back into reading the Bible. Ask God to reveal to you His truth for your life. Ask Him to replace fear based lies with the truth of His word. Ask Him to show you your true identity as a blood bought, child of the Most High God. Ask Him to show you the lies from the truth. Sometimes when we have listened to a fear based lie too long we have accepted it as the truth! You must challenge each and every fearful thought as it comes! 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Christ didn’t save you for you to stay as you were, bound by sin and fear. He saved you and desires to change you more and more into His image so that you can be a light in this very dark world of ours. So that you can bless others and love on others as He does. Don’t allow fear to keep you back from fulfilling His beautiful plan for your life!
Remember this: Isaiah 41:10 NIV 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.